Mahalo ’15

by Matthew on October 9, 2015

I can thank our Brent Pease for getting me back here for the first time in a long while. We reboot with a soft ball in the strike zone, the “Mahalo” post from Kona. But this edition is (thankfully for you) less about my thanks and more a quick preview of three resilient, tough women who will be hopping into Kailua Bay tomorrow morning to begin a wonderful personal journey that is race day in Hawaii.

Liz Waterstraat has come to the GREEN family from the Chicagoland area where her athletic accomplishments are matched by her coaching accomplishments.  Coaching her has been an intellectual treat, as we’ve used elements of her vast past successes and inter-mixed them with some new stimuli. Like her teammates here, Liz is a deserving champion, having qualified at Ironman Texas this year, winning her F4044 age group en route to an Iron-distance PR and a second overall placing in the women’s amateur field. Between running a successful coaching business, parenting two young children and supporting her husband, Chris, who also will be racing tomorrow, Liz has gracefully navigated her training load with a positive “Find a Way” attitude that makes this Coach proud.

 

Erin-Liz-Lab Erin & Liz training in the Natural Energy Lab

 

Erin Humsi is a coach’s dream. She is perceptive, diligent, hard-working and collected. I have joked with her that when she came to us three years ago, given her previous success using “interesting” self-coached choices, all I had to do was provide some simple structure and she would soar. Sure enough, that’s what has happened.  In reality, a coach can only be so lucky to have one Erin Humsi cross their path in a lifetime. She is an all-world human being above everything else. Erin will be taking on her third Kona in a row, having qualified at Ironman Florida last year where she was second in her age group and second overall female amateur, despite the race’s cancellation of the swim, a relative strength of hers. Her preparation for tomorrow is equally about the collection of her two prior experiences here and the cummulative consistent work of the 33-months getting to the day.  It will be a treat to watch her race.

 

Erin descending Hawi Erin descending Hawi

 

Speaking of blessings, we have the personification of gratitude here in Kona this week in our own Haley Chura. This will be Haley’s 6th Kona in the last 7 years, her second as a professional. Haley was struck by a car nearly three weeks ago as more eloquently summarized here. Her attitude in navigating the emotional and physical trauma of the incident has been as elite as her athleticism. We have set milestones for her in the last 19 days, and she has been steadfast and resolute in meeting those, showing the same consistent dogged commitment I’ve seen from her since day one seven years ago. As the scar tissue breaks up each day, the incredible fitness she had earned shines through more and more. Neither of us know exactly what tomorrow will bring, but that she is here in Kona, that she was back on a bike – outside – on a blustery day up in Hawi no sooner than Wednesday this week, that she has the courage to even think about racing, well, her Coach is turned inside out with pride and gratitude. This week in and of itself has been Haley’s greatest victory yet in my eyes.

 

HC rides outside again! HC rides outside again!

 

Kona week is, for me, a celebration of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.  The week provides context for reflection which ultimately gives way to gratitude and thanks. I would be remiss not to say thank you to all of our athletes and their families and friends for sharing them with us, the coaches. There are so many, individually, I want to thank, but I’ll save those for individual contact. To our coaches: Maria, Shanks, Brent and Haley – thank you for being a great, balanced, caring and professional group of voices for our athletes. To my own family, and in particular, L, W, C and my patient and loving wife, Elizabeth: you all are the greatest team a father and husband could ever be a part of. Thank you for your patience and support, your unconditional love, your deep sense of caring and equal love of laughter.  Daddy loves you wildly and blindly, and I have the best coaching job in the world because of you all.

Mahalo and GO GREEN,

Matthew / Coach

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