I've gone to Kona for the Ironman World Championships the last two years to do media work, and I've loved it. This year, I'm not there. I'd by lying if I said I weren't jealous of all the tweets, pictures and articles coming out of Kona, but I've known this was going to be the case for months....
I had to make a choice this year.
One of my best friends from high school and college chose her wedding date to be October 8, 2011. The second weekend of October....oh man....doesn't she know that's like a holiday weekend?! Haha jk. Not only was I invited to the wedding, but she asked me to be a bridesmaid. An honor I don't take lightly.
When I got this news I was torn. Going to Kona for Ironman is a big deal for me on a lot of levels; I don't just see it as a fun vacation in paradise (although it is a blast out there). The networking, the media experience, learning about the race first-hand rather than what NBC tells me, fostering relationships, just being in that environment 24/7 for a week.... it's all an important part of my career and lifestyle, and in the past two years I wouldn't have traded those two weeks in Kona for anything; I've learned more than I can describe. So, I wanted that trend to continue annually...
But there was a choice to be made.
My friend will only be getting married once, and although I'm not the world's biggest fan of weddings nor the girly girl stuff that goes along with being a bridesmaid, I knew I wanted to be there for her big day. Even if that meant giving up Kona.
I'm lucky enough to have some friends in my life who are wonderful, unconditionally loving people; who've been there through thick and thin; and who I know will still be around until we're old and gray.... this particular friend is one of those people, and we share a mutual love and respect for each other. That's something I take seriously, as I know a true friend like her doesn't come along every day...
Case in point: when I told her the issue of conflicting dates she even said it was totally OK with her if I went to Kona instead because she knows how much it means to me and my career. That's a true friend.
But I chose her. Kona will always be there year after year, yet this wedding will only happen once. It's something I can't miss.
So that's why you won't see me running around Dig Me Beach, Ali'i Drive, The Queen K, etc., this year.... and I'm content with that decision!
Now, that said, I will most likely be the only girl at the wedding checking her iPhone religiously to get Ironman updates on Saturday (except, I might be on the alter when some gnarly racing is going down on Ali'i!!! Oh maaaan!!!!). Hopefully the sports-obsessed peeps at the wedding will understand ;)
PS - Wish me luck walking in even higher high heels than I wore at the last wedding I attended in Sept....yikes!