She’s the embodiment of the Coeur values. Quick to laugh, always willing to help others and fiercely loyal to her friends, family, and teammates. She knows we do this for fun and because we love the lifestyle, but when she races, she races Lights Out!
Today, we’re chatting with Coeur Co-Founder and six time Kona Qualifier Hailey Manning.
Coeur: First, congratulations on qualifying for Kona….again! This will be your sixth trip to The Big Island. Does it ever get old?
Hailey: Ha! It gets different, but never old. I love the island so much that I literally dream about it during the year. I get to see friends that I ONLY see in Hawaii once a year, and I absolutely love racing in Kona so it hasn’t gotten old yet.
Coeur: Now some people may know this but you have a pretty special relationship with your coach. Can you tell us about that and how the two of you work together?
Hailey: It IS special! My husband Mark is my coach and has been pretty much since we met. He got me off of cigarettes, and back into some real fitness. Cut to nearly a decade later and here we are! It’s hard sometimes- I may be having a bad day and need him to not be my coach and just be my partner, and he’s always in the kitchen with me, so there’s no sneaking treats during final Kona prep. That being said, there is not anyone I could pay to care as much about my success as he does or to be as invested as he is in my racing. We put the plan together and then my job is to execute it. We adjust on the fly as needed if things come up or I find myself over tired.
Coeur: Last year, you not only quailed for Kona but you also made it onto the Podium. The year prior, you cracked the 10 hour barrier and finished with a “nine” in front of your time. Has it been hard to stay motivated since you have already accomplished so much on the Big Island?
Hailey: I think that’s one of the hardest things about being Type A…we are never satisfied. In 2013 I was over the moon to have gone sub-10, but I didn’t get on the podium. Then last year, I got on the podium, but was pretty close to 4th. So then you start thinking, ohh, a bit of time here, a bit of an improvement there, and POOF, you find yourself wanting to WIN the race. That helps me stay motivated. And knowing what the competition is doing, knowing that they want it just as badly as I do helps me to not get complacent. There’s always a time where I think, ohh maybe not again, but then I seem to get over it pretty quickly and my desire to be on the island returns!
Coeur: Like so many Ironman competitors, you're an over achiever. You have a full time job and still find time to train, recover and race at a very high level. How do you find time to do it all?
Hailey: There are not enough hours in the day! This is the biggest challenge. I try to be a master of efficiency, and then outside of training with people, there isn’t a lot of social time. We do a Sunday dinner with friends, but really that’s the only social time of the week. Thankfully my training partners are my best friends so since I see them all week long training, I’m not missing out on much social time. I also outsource as much as I can. We have food delivered at least 1x/week and I will also get groceries delivered if I’m strapped for time. All of these little time saves, add up to real time that I can use to work, train and recover. I truly believe that if you want something badly enough, you will make the time for it.
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 think you’ll fall into one camp or another?
Hailey: I think the first year you go, you must take it all in- go to the expo, hang at Lava Java and then just complete the race. Take in the entire day, as you only get one first Kona. I definitely did that my first year and it was amazing. Now that I am trying to be more competitive, I find myself falling more into the keep it close to home camp. I try to take one day to go to the expo to visit with sponsors and I always take plenty of water and know that I will be there longer than anticipated. You can’t be too serious though as we’re not pros at the end of the day and this is just a (serious) hobby. I do enjoy hanging at Daylight Mind for coffee and looking at the water and visiting with friends.
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?
Hailey: It is SO important to me to see you guys on the course. Especially those I’m really close with, like Mark, my mom, and Kebby. I look to Mark to tell me where I’m at in the race and to remind me to eat/drink and keep good form. I rely on other friends and family to just be amazing emotional support. I love all of the fans on the course though and anything to make you smile is always welcome…all of the funny signs like “smile if you peed on yourself today”. Things like that help keep it light and can take your mind off of the pain.
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?
Hailey: It is one of the best places and I always get a bit emotional at the end of an Ironman. I can already smell the big banyan tree, see the chalk on the road and hear the cheers of the fans. I hope I’ll be thinking about the great day I just had and that now I get to stop and see my family and friends. And I always think, how is it already over? The day really goes by so quickly and then another year is done, just like that!
Coeur: You put so much into training and racing. What will you do after Kona? Do you take any time off?
Hailey: First stop? Wine more than once a week and some weeks that don’t include ANY wakeup calls with the number 4 at the start ;) I will take about a 6 week break and then see what is next…
Coeur: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us! We’ll see you soon in Kona!
Hailey: Can’t wait to see you and thanks for this opportunity to talk!