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Takei Rikako’s Road to Kona

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Our journey continues with Takei Rikako, as we reach blog post 5 of our 6 part series on the 56 year old IRONMAN champion! If you missed the last post about her motivations, you can read that here: Takei Rikako’s Triathlon Inspiration If you haven’t seen our first blog post introducing her, you can read this post first:Introduction to Takei Rikako

According to Takei Rikako, going to the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona can be as difficult as getting into Harvard! Truly the best of the best competes in this race. We had to know more about it!

What is IRONMAN World Championship?

The IRONMAN World Championship is a one-day race. It begins with a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. Each participant has 17 hours to complete the race.

The annual world championship is held in Hawaii, and it is known for it’s brutal length, weather conditions, and being one of the hardest races in the world.

How does it feel to be a part of the legendary triathlon race?

Takei: That’s a really tough question. Training is touch, sometimes I wanna quit. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to quit! But, no matter how hard, or how old I get, once I’ve reached the goal it feels like I’ve climbed the top of a mountain.

I hold on to that feeling during the race. But it’s funny, once I’ve crossed the finish line and that feeling goes away a little, I think to myself “I’ll never do that again!”, but the next thing you know, I’m signing up for the next race!

What does the Ironman Mantra “Anything is possible” mean to you?

Takei: Those are my words of the day, of my life. I repeat them to myself, always. It keeps me going!

How do you eat during this training?

Takei: I really focus on eating good fats, protein, and I focus on my iron intake. So no more mayonnaise, but I’ll eat lots of avocado, nuts, and olive oil, and fish oil. I’ll drink protein powder shakes too.

Before the race, I’ll eat Thai noodles for the iron.

In IRONMAN you really need the stamina, so some athletes like to eat ice cream. But that makes no sense to me!

You can follow along with Takei’s Instagram account as she’s been posting some of her meals here: Takei’s Instagram

What are the weather conditions (wind, waves, etc) like in Hawaii?

Takei: Everybody talks about the side wind on the bike course. The wind is unpredictable, and some people have fallen. I remember one year a man fell over and seriously injured himself. There was blood everywhere! I’ve been lucky and never fallen myself, but it’s scary because there is a strong side wind, so I have to lean the body angle about 60 degrees to keep a balance and not to fall out of the bicycle.

And running in the heat is awful too. The heat just transfers from the ground to your body, and it makes the run so hard.

Then there’s the current during the swim. Sometimes the current is going the opposite way from the goal. But fortunately, the salt water makes it easier to float through.

It’s a beautiful triathlon. During the swim, you’ll see turtles, and they’re really friendly! They swim with everyone, right underneath us.

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