If We Were Riding’ is a weekly triathlon-ish newsletter written by Kelly O’Mara and produced by Live Feisty MediaSubscribe to get it in your inbox every Wednesday morning. You can also read past issues. This episode is Oct. 10, 2018.


Not in Kona? That’s OK. I’m not either, but I’m living vicariously through people’s Instagram posts and their inability to respond to emails. Have a mai tai and it’s like we’re there! Though none of us are having as much fun as Jan Frodeno.

From the Big Island

Are you sick of pictures like this yet? I’m actually not, weirdly. I find the Kona Insta spam soothing, like Frasier reruns playing on the TV in the background.

Photo above from: Talbot Cox. And if you’re looking to get even more in the Big Island mood, he’s also got a series of Kona videos following a handful of the top names. Of course, everyone’s doing media; it’s as if this is the biggest triathlon week of the year. I particularly like Linsey Corbin’s daily photo series documenting her prep; it’s as if her husband is a branding expert. And on the Ironwomen Facebook page, Sara and Ashley have interviewed nearly every one of the women (complete with Kona athlete trading cards from Flows Journal)—including Lucy CharlesMirinda Carfrae, and the legendary Julie Moss.

The other thing I’ve been geeking out on is the fact that this is the 40th anniversary of the first Ironman race. (If only they had put that on the shirts all year, so we’d know…) Even in my cynical state, the details out of that first event are amazing. “His crew ran out of water and handed him a beer – which only made matters worse as he staggered and bumped into cars.” Gordon Haller, the winner of that first race, finished in 11:46 and he’ll be back on the Kona start line this Saturday.

Which brings us to the details of the big day:

There will be more coverage than ever before. Like a lot more. Like it’ll start on Ironman Now’s Facebook Live with a red carpet body marking show at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday and last until 5:20 a.m. ET the next day with a finish line party. In between, there’ll be a race and stuff. I plan to just watch the Facebook Live on my TV, mixed with Ironwomen Facebook coverage, but if you want to watch on actual regular TV then the start of the race will be on NBC Sports with random updates throughout the day. Oh, and if you just want the highlights, then there’ll be a highlight show on NBC Sports on Sunday afternoon—which is a lot faster than the few weeks it takes get the NBC special.

Phew. Now if I could only get some real Hawaiian poke while I watch it’d bring it all together.

All wet in Chicago

In the rain this weekend, Gwen Jorgensen made her marathon debut. Going into the event, there was quite a lot of press about the Olympic triathlon gold medalist. This Outside story is excellent; this New York Times one has an odd spot in the middle. The gist of all of it was: Can she make the Olympic marathon team? Can she win gold?

Unfortunately, the Chicago Marathon didn’t go well for her, by any metric of elite marathoning. (Notably, it didn’t go well either for cult favorite Alexi Pappas, who was also making her marathon debut.) Gwen ran a 2:36 and came in either 9th or 11th, depending on how you count. I’m obviously of the opinion that we can’t count amateurs farther back as having beaten her; you can only race the race you’re in. Still, it’s an interesting point to consider. Two of the top American women came not from the elite field. And the other two have interesting stories themselves. Sarah Crouch, who was 6th and the first American, had plateaued the last two years but never gave up.

And though he too didn’t have a great race, the Japanese Citizen Runner is my new favorite person.

Put down the phone and step away

In the last six years, 259 people worldwide have died while taking selfies. Most of the fatalities came from falling off of tall things or in front of large moving things. However, these numbers don’t even factor in the non-concrete impacts of social media adventure-ing in the great outdoors. Not to repeat a point we’ve made over and over, but the internet has made an irreversible impact on the outdoors, both good and bad. And I’m not sure we can ever go back to a time when Insta posts didn’t lure people into hidden spots or hikes they’re unprepared for. The L.A. Sheriff’s office had to conduct more search and rescues this year than any year before—and they know it’s at least in part because of people trying to mimic things they’ve seen on the social medias. Put down the phone guys. No video and it still happened.



Comments & Thoughts

I thought I’d add a new section with some of the best comments, replies and input I got over the week.

– Heather and Deanna wanted me to know it’s apparently the law in many states to run against traffic when there is no sidewalk. (Which I still think is bizarre.)

– Peter had a nightmare where he was forced to swim with Lucy Charles, Mirinda Carfrae, and Rachel Joyce. “I credit Live Feisty’s Ironwomen and If We Were Riding for the fact that all the pros that I was super intimidated by in my dream were female.”

– Pam wants to know what’s the deal with peeing in the pool. “I thought only little kids did it, but from what I’m hearing, that’s not the case.”

– And Christine – “I love your newsletters and thanks for sending them out every week. They are a highlight!”

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