Type A on Alii. Meet Kona Qualifer. Alana Kennedy-Nasser.
Posted: Oct 03 2014
She's a Wife, a Mom, a Doctor, a two time Kona Qualifier and one of the nicest individuals you'll ever meet. Meet one of our favorite Type A's. Coeur athlete Alana Kennedy-Nasser.
Coeur: First, Congratulations on qualifying for Ironman Hawaii again! How does it feel to go back?
Alana: Thank you! It is a bit surreal to be heading back to the Big Island! I recall finishing Kona 2012 and declaring, "One and done!" Alas, here we are. Never say never, right?
Coeur: Now, you live in Houston which can get pretty warm. Do you think the Texas heat has helped you prepare for Kona's climate?
Alana: I love Houston! And I love the heat and humidity, far more than I love the cold and dry. We had a bit of a "cold" spell recently, but the heat and humidity returned just in time. Houston never disappoints!
Coeur: It seems that (like so many Ironman competitors), you're an over achiever. You're a Mom, a Doctor and a Kona Qualifier. How do you find time to do it all?
Alana: Type A, all the way! I'm a triathlete in the morning, a doctor during the day and a very underpaid chauffeur after 5. But I'm a mother of 4 awesome kids (from 1st grade through college!) and a wife all the time. My training strategy has been simple - undertrain then race hard. I know I don't have the same fitness as many of the other competitors, but my life is so full in so many other ways that I wouldn't want to sacrifice more time from family simply for more hours on the bike.
Coeur: Of course Kona is the big show in long course triathlon and everyone who is anyone seems to be on the Big Island. We've heard that some athletes like to experience as much of the race as they can and spend a lot of time on Alii and at the expo. Others make a point of staying away from the action so that they don't get distracted. Do you all fall into one camp or another?
Alana: I am actually arriving the weekend before the race and spending race week at the sports medicine conference. This answer probably goes back to your earlier question about balancing work/life! I'll attend the conference in the morning then experience a little Kona excitement in the afternoon with my husband and friends!
Coeur: Coeur has a nice sized contingent going to Kona and a couple are first time qualifiers. What advice do you have for a first time racer in Kona?
Alana: Race smart. Everyone is fast! The last 30 miles on the bike are very, very tough if the famous Hawaiian "air conditioner" is turned on, like in 2012. And how you feel at the top of Palani Road on the run pretty much dictates the rest of the day - so here's to hoping we feel good going easy up that hill!
Coeur: We don't want you to give away any secrets but do you race Kona any differently since it is the World Championships or once the gun goes off is it just another Ironman?
Alana: Kona is my 6th Ironman - I've done Florida twice, Texas twice, and now Kona again. I've always improved on my second attempt at a particular Ironman, so I typically race them having learned my lesson the first time!
Coeur: Quite a few of us will be out cheering on the course in Kona, so we have to ask. Do you ever hear what people yell to you on the bike and the run or are you concentrating so much on your body that you don't notice? Also, if you do notice, what is the best thing you've heard from a fan during a race?
Alana: I am well known for "running like a zombie." I see and hear everything usually but don't react much. Mentally, I am high-fiving everyone but wait until the finish line to physically do it! Mentally smiling the whole race - well, for most of it anyway.
Coeur: We think that the finish on Alii drive is one of the most magical places in all of sport. What do you think you'll be feeling when you make the turn on to Alii?
Alana: Gratitude. I'm very blessed with a beautiful family, wonderful friends, the best training partners, and a job I love. I live a very rich and fulfilling life. There is no finish line better than Kona, and I look forward to it!
Coeur: For most people, there’s a decent sized break after Kona. Will you take some time off from training as well? If so, do you give yourself a post season reward of any kind?
Alana: Yes! I eat terribly for a short bit, starting with Kona's best Donkey Balls! I take the winter off from biking, and this year, I'd really like to finally conquer Pilates.
Coeur: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us! We’ll see you soon in Kona!
Alana: Look forward to seeing you all in Kona! Please remind the dolphins where the swim start is on race day!