Turia Pitt’s Success at Kona

I really feel so bloody proud of myself! Kona was so brutal, and I’m totally ecstatic to have finished. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve taken on – the wild heat, the humidity, the powerful crosswinds that almost push your bike off course.

It was far from the perfect race – the heat got to me, I couldn’t keep any food or drink down, I battled a headwind for 90 km… so much of the day did not go as planned and I had to dig deep and then keep on digging, even when I was certain there was nothing left to give.

turia-resized-2

Over the fourteen and a half hours of my race, I battled these conflicting thoughts. It was like every lesson about overcoming pain and challenging myself came out to be tested. I had moments of sheer euphoria and intense pain. I compared myself to others on the race and I wanted to give up more times than I’d probably like to admit.

But then I’d find a way to come back to myself and focus on the path ahead of me. It was in those moments that the race became achievable.

It’s interesting because the theme of this World Championship was Kupa’a – a Hawaiian word that means being steadfast and focused, being true to your journey and your surroundings. I heard Mark Allen, six-time World Champion, speak about Kupa’a last week. He spoke about turning your focus away from the other competitors so that you can remain steady and focused on your own race. He spoke about being loyal to what surrounds you – accepting the heat and the wind and embracing that as part of the experience.

So, for every challenge, for every moment I wanted to give in and give up, I came back to kupa’a.

It’s not like there was this one big decision to just be focused the whole time. It was this back and forth struggle between negative distraction and positive progress all day.

I think that’s why I’m so proud of myself. Not because it was a perfect race or a personal best, because it was neither. I’m proud because I kept fighting to have kupa’a. I fought all the way to that finish line and that feels damn good.

Meet HOKA Athlete Heather Jackson

HOKA athlete Heather Jackson made her IRONMAN Kona debut just last year, yet she finished as the top American female. She placed 5th overall, making a huge come back on the run leg of the race. This time around, Heather is a favorite to head to the podium. She has proven her dominance in the 70.3 distance since switching from Princeton hockey player to pro triathlete, winning IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur D’Alene and IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside twice. Heather’s training focus transitioned to the full IRONMAN distance this year, and her eyes are set on a big win at Kona.

heather-smaller

Heather is easy to spot on the course. If you don’t catch her Pink inspired hair cut (her favorite music artist), distinctive tattoos, or HOKA Clayton racing shoes, you can be sure to see her rocking a Wattie Ink speedsuit. Wattie Ink is co-owned by Heather and her husband Sean Watkins, who she feels lucky to have as her top supporter, training partner, and manager.

One of our favorite parts about Heather is how she dreams big in all aspects of her life, and seems endlessly interested in mastering new things. She says that if she wasn’t a triathlete, she would attempt to be a pro snowboarder. Leave it to the triathlete to be great at every sport she tries! However, Heather can also admit her short comings, claiming she would be a rock star performing with Pink if she wasn’t tone deaf. For now, she’ll settle for being one of the fiercest competitors in triathlon, and fitting in some quality rest time while she’s not training. Specifically, sitting on the couch with an ice cold IPA and laughing at kitten videos.

HOKA ONE ONE wishes the best of luck to Heather and our other athletes competing at Kona, including Kevin Collington, Luke McKenzie, and Leanda Cave.

 

 

 

A HOKA Runner’s Guide to Tempe, AZ

When you explore a place on foot, you see the things others do not. You discover the place locals go to grab a cup of coffee, the best place for a pint, and the best places to stop, stretch and breathe in some fresh air. At HOKA, we have runners all over the world who know their towns best. So we’ll be sharing HOKA runner’s favorite destinations in their hometown for visitors to get the local experience. We’ll begin with the towns many people travel to compete and watch IRONMAN races around the country. Our next stop is Tempe, Arizona, home to runner Sean McManus.

im-tempe-pic

HOKA: How long have you lived in the Tempe area? What’s special about this town?

McManus: I have lived in the Tempe area for 11 years now. I came out to Tempe from New Jersey to attend school at Arizona State University. I was immediately attracted to the Tempe area because of the weather, the diversity, the hundreds of miles of cycling and running trails, and the proximity to a major city which gives it both the urban and rural feel people are always looking for. In less than 5 miles I can jump on dirt trails, run around a lake, or immerse myself with 60,000 college students, all while living in a quiet community where everyone knows their neighbor. It’s hard to replicate that anywhere else in the world.

HOKA: What’s a good scenic or interesting place for a short run in your area? What’s your favorite run route?

McManus: The IRONMAN Arizona venue, Tempe Town Lake, is the perfect place for a quick run. You have uninterrupted pathways with great views of downtown Tempe, the Town Lake, iconic Camelback Mountain, and more. You can find loops ranging from 3 to 9 miles without ever retracing your steps. If you want to make it a longer day, you can easily connect to the Tempe/Scottsdale Greenbelt which features more greenscape (yes even in the desert) for miles and miles.

HOKA: What’s the best coffee or breakfast spot?

McManus: The best local coffee and breakfast spot in Tempe has to be NCounter. Conveniently located on Mill Ave in Downtown Tempe only steps away from the Ironman Arizona Expo, NCounter is a great place for a cup of coffee, a big plate of pancakes, omelettes, or even a healthier option at their juice and smoothie bar where they make everything fresh in front of you.

HOKA: Where should someone go to eat a post-race meal (or brew)?

McManus: Tempe features dozens of great restaurants and bars in the Mill Ave district, but the most iconic Tempe brewery still has to be Four Peaks. With 8 mainstay beers (I recommend the Kiltlifter Scottish Ale or Hop Knot IPA) many rotating seasonal beers, and a great festive atmosphere all-day long, this is the go-to place to celebrate your accomplishment of crossing the finish line or even as a spectathlete to wind down from a restless day. Other great options in Tempe are Pedal Haus Brewery (Cycling themed and Triathlete friendly!), The Handlebar (Also bike friendly!), and lastly Pita Jungle (Healthier Options).

HOKA: Where should someone go to get any last-minute running/racing gear … and why?

McManus: Voted one of the Top 50 Running Stores in America for the last 4 years, Sole Sports Running Zone in Tempe is the best place to get any and all of your running needs. They have an expert staff (their owner is a retired professional triathlete), great customer service, and a large selection of HOKA! Sole Sports hosts 3 group runs each week on Monday & Thursday nights at 6:30pm, and Saturdays at 7:00am. Each month Sole Sports puts together fun free events that attract 100-400 runners and have included pub runs, slip n slides, ice cream relays, and cross-country style races. Located next door to Sole Sports Running Zone in Tempe is Landis Cyclery, Arizona’s 100 year old full-service bike shop. They have great mechanics, a large selection of road, mountain, hybrid, and triathlon bikes, and do carry a small selection of swim gear as well. 6 miles north of Tempe, in Scottsdale, is Tribe Multisport, an award-winning triathlon shop for all the tri-geeks out there who want only the best gear, best bikes, and best equipment.

HOKA: Anything else to see/do/experience in this town in a short weekend trip?

McManus: Other than taking in all that Tempe Town Lake has to offer, visitors should definitely catch an ASU sporting event, climb “A” Mountain (not just “a mountain”), play some golf at ASU Karsten Golf Course, run and ride through Papago Park, visit the Phoenix Zoo & Botanical Gardens, or get your shopping fix at Tempe Marketplace or Scottsdale Fashion Square for some premium shopping experience. 

A HOKA Runner’s Guide to Chattanooga, TN

When you explore a place on foot, you see the things others do not. You discover the place locals go to grab a cup of coffee, the best place for a pint, and the best places to stop, stretch and breathe in some fresh air. At HOKA, we have runners all over the world who know their towns best. So we’ll be sharing HOKA runner’s favorite destinations in their hometown for visitors to get the local experience. We’ll begin with the towns many people travel to compete and watch IRONMAN races around the country. Our next stop is Chattanooga, Tennessee. Home of Fynn Glover, avid runner and co-founder of Roots Rated.

HOKA: What’s the best coffee or breakfast spot?

Glover: Everything about The Farmer’s Daughter is great: the coffee, the friendly waitstaff, the wonderful environment, and of course the delicious food. Sit outside in their expansive outdoor patio and listen to live fiddle and banjo folk music. Watch children playing in the pebble rock garden. And enjoy one of the best breakfast experiences you can have in Chattanooga.

fwi5uxsnmpekdzbtgvhe

HOKA: What’s a good scenic or interesting place for a short run in your area? What’s your favorite run route?

Glover: The trails at Raccoon Mountain run primarily along the outer edge of the brow and offer incredible views of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River gorge. These single track trails are consistently in great shape, but they are technical (plenty of rocks and roots) so watch your step! The primary loop is approximately 13 miles of rolling terrain with some short climbs. There are three trailheads: East Overlook, the Visitor’s Center, and Laurel Point. No matter where you start, or which direction you travel, you’re in for a great run in the woods.

There is also Chattanooga’s River Walk, which extends 7.5 miles from the Chickamauga Dam to Ross’ Landing in downtown Chattanooga. It’s an amazing urban trail system that has become the recreational spine of the Scenic City. The Riverwalk itself is a wide concrete path that extends entirely along the Tennessee River. With several entry points and parking lots, you can choose your preferred distance, but if you’re starting from downtown, there’s no better place to start than the Chattanooga Riverfront at Ross’ Landing. If you’re feeling frisky, a 15-mile out and back is at your disposal.

chkqhrlibxcsdzz3kv4s

HOKA: Where should someone go to eat a post-race meal (or brew)?

Glover: Tremont Tavern is a local neighborhood pub that has one of the most welcoming atmospheres in the city. And their specialty burgers have consistently been ranked in the Top 5 in Chattanooga. If you can handle the heat, the Jalapeno Jack Burger is a must. It’s also a great place to grab some brews. They have 21 rotating beers on tap and hundreds of bottles. Also, Brewhaus is cozy gastropub with patio seating, great beer, and a delicious taste of Deutschland. The cuisine is balanced and tasty, featuring bavarian bratwurst, schnitzel, and spaetzle, and they serve a wide variety of regional craft brews. The up close and personal views of the Walnut Street Bridge, downtown Chattanooga, and the Tennessee River make it a fantastic spot to spend time with friends.

ji5iwoacd99dtlldnmkr

HOKA: Where should someone go to get any last-minute racing gear?

Glover: Hub Endurance, Suck Creek Cycle, and Trek Store Chattanooga are all great options for your biking related needs.

HOKA: Anything else to see/do/experience in this town in a short weekend trip?

Glover: Rich in Civil War history, Point Park has the most fantastic overlook of Chattanooga. And getting there by riding straight up the face of Lookout Mountain on the Incline Railway is an experience to remember for the whole family. Point Park is just a short walk from the incline station. Also, the Tennessee River Gorge is a 26-mile river canyon, just a few miles north of downtown Chattanooga. The Gorge, referred to by locals as the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee, is the fourth largest river gorge east of the Mississippi. The River Gorge Explorer is a high-tech vessel that provides an exciting 2-hour excursion, guided by a TN Aquarium naturalist.

nvxwfeeiyzniruu2pzqw

Find more great information from Fynn on the Roots Rated Insider’s Guide to IM Chattanooga.