When it comes to racing the Big Island, few names are as synonymous with the IRONMAN World Championships as TYR triathlete Mirinda Carfrae. Finishing in the top tier of six IMKONA races, Rinny  has impressively earned the coveted Kona crown three times and remains the female record holder in the run.

However, gearing up for race day this year will prove to be far different than any other she’s experienced. As a new mom Rinny’s life has changed in more ways than one. Looking toward October, we sat down with Mirinda to find out how she plans to take on the Big Island this time around.

What part of the Kona experience are you most excited for?

I love racing in Kona. I love to compete, so I really look forward to the actual day.  I’m not a huge fan of race week.  It’s tough to juggle the appearances and making sure you have everything sorted and ready.  By the time I get to Kona I just want to unleash and race.  The journey is a big part of the experience and I take it all in, but I prefer race day – even up until the last finishers.

As a new mom, how has your experience leading up to this year been different than before?

They say the days are slow and the weeks are fast, and I couldn’t agree more. This year has gone by so quickly! Having Izzy has been an amazing experience for both Tim and I. Her entry into our family has given us both such a sense of purpose, and seeing her at the finish line is rewarding on so many levels. In becoming a mom I’ve learned to more efficiently balance my time so that I can be most present for my family.

Has parenting taught you any new lessons that you’ve applied to your life as an athlete?

I’ve become more patient.  Izzy has brought so much joy into our lives. Now I find myself really connecting with the little joys that sneak up on you.  With really big racing goals and time management challenges I love that I’m able to laugh and smile at some of the simplest moments with her. Seeing the world through Izzy is so raw and real.  She keeps me balanced and is such a gift to our family.

How will you be training once you arrive on the Big Island?

By the time I make it to Kona the major work is done. Training on the Big Island is all about that taper into the race. As you know I crashed in 2015 so I stay pretty guarded, away from traffic and crowds. I will still swim, bike and run daily, but the focus will be more on maintenance. To keep the feel without taxing my system I utilize the same routine every year with a large focus on eating, sleeping and staying healthy. The Tuesday before race day I will swim the course, ride Hawi and run the energy lab.  It’s like visiting a close friend.

What is your favorite part about racing Kona?

I love the finish.  It’s magical.  The people, the smells the lights –  I can’t think of anything that compares to the final 1/4 mile to the pier.   The accomplishment really settles in and the emotions flow.

What is some advice you have for first time competitors?

Enjoy the day!  Smile, dig deep and know that it’s going to be a long and challenging race.  You’re going to have high and low moments, just ride it out and when you can, let the crowds carry you.

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