After a 19 hour travel day the Tuesday before Kona I asked Megan what was on our schedule for the next morning.

We are swimming with Hines Ward so we need to be on time.

NO BIG DEAL – right?

Voice in my head: Hines Ward played football, he can’t possibly be very great at swimming and I think I heard that he was doing this as part of a charity type thing anyways, so maybe just maybe I can doggy paddle along side everyone and no one will notice I am a. afraid and b. can’t really swim.

Wednesday morning we made our way down to the Got Chocolate Milk tent and met up with Hines and his crew. If I wasn’t already panicking about my swimming skills or lack there of shall we say – I really started to freak once we got there. Hines looked nothing like I thought he would. Instead of a the large football player he use to be he was fit and trim compared to the imaginary Hines I had in my head. It was clear he wasn’t messing around and wasn’t just swimming as part of some PR thing, he really needed to get a swim workout in.1294

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Thankfully Danica {www.chicrunner.com} was on the same page as me and we all as a group agreed to meet Hines and the rest of the Become One team at the scheduled breakfast post swim and NOT attempt to keep up with him and his crew. The swim took us longer {ahem this was clearly my fault} than expected so we literally rinsed off in an outdoor shower, threw on some clothes and walked up past the expo {it was outdoors!!!} to met everyone at breakfast.

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I had assumed the breakfast was a huge event, and was pleasantly surprise at how small and intimate it was. Danica, Amanda and I all sat down with Hines and his wife and chatted away over breakfast.

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 It was clear after talking to Hines and his wife that he did not mess around in his training for this event. He had embraced the lifestyle of an endurance athlete and wasn’t just simply doing this for media attention. He talked about his workouts and how they left little to no time to do much with his wife. Both of them travel for his football engagements frequently so workouts for training for Kona took up most of his free time.

I’m a Redskins girl through and through so though it was COOL meeting Hines I was MORE interested in talking to the other three athletes {sorry Hines :)} who were chosen by Got Chocolate Milk to be part of Team Become One. 1309

Eric McElvenny, Josh Kalb, and Chrisann Dalton {you can follow her on twitter —- https://twitter.com/YearToTri} were three of the nicest people I had the pleasure of meeting on this trip. They shared how excited they were when they were chosen to be a part of this program and how they felt a responsibility to really appreciate the opportunity they had been given.

Eric who is a challenged athlete lost his right leg below the knee during an explosion in Afghanistan. With the help of Challenged Athletes Foundation he now has a prosthetic leg and completed two triathlons in 2012 before tackling the training for Kona. He talked about struggles he faced while training, including a serious infection on his leg where the prosthetic was attached. It really was hard not to tear up a bit thinking about what him and countless others have sacrificed to make their dream of Kona a reality.

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Meeting Eric and his teammates was the first of many moments where I literally felt speechless as to what these athletes were about to endure and what they were going to finish.

It was neat bumping in to the athletes around town all week and then seeing them cross the finish line on Saturday!

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Are you a fan of Hines Ward? Do professional athletes tackling sports that are not their own inspire you?

At the awards banquet they announced that Hines Ward went out and got the M Dot Ironman tattoo that day! Have you done an IRONMAN? Did you get the tattoo? Would you get it if you did one?

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View walking up to breakfast with Hines

For those of you who don’t know who Hines Ward is:

  • Profession: Former professional football wide receiver & current television analyst
  • Claim to Fame: All time leading receiver in pro football history, with 1,000 career catches, two world championship victories and MVP of Super XLV
  • Fun Fact: He won Season 12 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2011

About the Become One Program:

  • Become One aims to inspire others to reach their goals and also to shine a spotlight on the importance of post exercise recovery. The athletes were coached by eight-time Ironman triathlon champion Paula Newby-Fraser and a team of elite athletes, coaches and sports dieticians.

 

Timex Sports is on:

Mile Posts Blog is on:

Facts on Hines Ward and information about the Become One program were taking from the got chocolate milk? IM Kona press release. I was in Kona as a social media ambassador for Timex – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Comments

  1. Anyone who completes an Ironman is a serious athlete in my book! I am not a Steeler’s fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I always thought Hines Ward was a class act. He’s a guy who goes hard and you can’t fault him for that even if you don’t like his team.

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

  2. Oh for sure! I don’t fault him at all :) Just wasn’t as starstruck as a Steelers fan may have been 😉 I think what he did was absolutely amazing especially considering it was a completely new sport to him!

  3. I’m so totally jellyfish that you got to do this trip. How awesome.

  4. Always admired Hines on the football field and love that he took on this challenge to become an Ironman. I’ve been following his progress on Team Refuel’s You Tube series. Awesome that you got to me him and all of the Become One athletes!

  5. I don’t follow football too much, so didn’t really know about him until he appeared on the Tri circuit. What I found funny for me is that as I was looking at your pictures, I’m thinking, “That’s Paula Newby Fraser!”

  6. So cool you got to meet Hines Ward and the Become One Team! Full Ironman is on my race plan for 2015 and I cannot wait!

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