Danielle (Dani) Grabol started triathlon by losing 75 pounds and meeting some kind triathletes at her gym in a spin class.
Most recently she just completed the Epic 5 challenge.
The Epic 5 challenge is 5 consecutive Iron distance triathlons on 5 separate islands in Hawaii.
The Epic 5 was started by Rich Roll and Jason Lester. You can find details about the current race at http://www.epic5.com/
You can find details about the original Epic 5 Challenge in Rich Roll's Book Finding Ultra and also Jason Lester's Book Running on Faith.
Dani Grabol talks about what is involved in just registering for this massive event.
Dani trained with Dynamo Multisport - Coach Brent Pease to prepare for this enormous event. www.dynamomultisport.com
Dani trained about a year to prepare for the Epic 5 challenge and we discuss what her biggest week of training looked like. Spoiler ... it was a lot. This is at about 13 minutes into the interview.
We talk about what a huge commitment training for this race was for an entire year and what the hardest part of this was for her.
A huge part of this race is the logistical challenge that went with changing islands every day. We talk about what the plan was for the event and then we also talk about what went wrong during the race. Second spoiler: a lot didn't go exactly as planned.
Dani took two people with her as crew: Jason and Hilary and each team is paired with a local volunteer on each different island.
The Epic 5 Challenge is a teeny tiny race. There were 7 people registered. 4 started and only 3 finished.
Day 1 was on Kauai. First Iron distance triathlon. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. And right away Dani and her team had to adapt when she broke her race wheel at mile 40. Then they packed up and flew to the next island.
Can you imagine packing a bike for 5 days in a row? Dani gives a great recommendation for the Scion bike bag. www.scionbags.com
Day 2: Oahu. Second Iron Distance Triathlon. In Oahu Dani had some friends who came to see her race which was great. But again there was misfortune when she ran over some glass and started flatting again. She found a local bike shop to rent her a wheel for the day.
At about 35 minutes into the interview we talk about Epic Ellie who was a unicorn who came along for the whole trip and became an Instagram star along the way.
Day 3: Molokai. Third Iron Distance Triathlon. Here's where travel logistics went awry. Listen to how they keep the race schedule together with a change in flights. Also, Molakai is the only one of the 5 days where the racers swam in a pool due to the dangerous currents around this island. Amazingly Danielle was paired with a local on Molokai that used to live near her in Atlanta. It really is a small world.
On this day the sleep deprivation started to catch up with Danielle. We talk about how she made it through on such a small amount of sleep.
But no flats on the bike.
We talk about what she ate during the week. Finding food was an ongoing challenge since the teams could not carry food between the islands because they flew. Dani used a lot of real food like uncrustables and even a burrito at one point. She also used Gu Energy Roctane gels and drink mix.
Day 4: Maui. Fourth Iron Distance Triathlon. At this point Dani only has about 4 and a half hours of sleep since the start and her crew may have had even less. There was bad weather but they were still able to swim in the Ocean followed by a very windy bike ride.
It was on Maui where the challenge pushed Dani to the edge but she tells how she (and her boyfriend Jason) managed to continue.
Day 5: Kona. Fifth Iron Distance Triathlon. We quickly talk about blisters and chaffing. Her parents met her in Kona to watch the race. The racers swam on the Ironman World Championship swim course and bike course. They had rain on the course ... again.
We talk about her state of mind on the run on the 5th Ironman.
We talk about the finish. Which Dani describes as hilarious anticlimactic and awesome.
We talk about how she felt for the first few days after the race.
We talk about recovery and her Normatec Boots which she used to help recover.
What an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations Danielle Grabol on becoming the first woman to finish the Epic 5 challenge.
You can follow Danielle on twitter @dgrabol or Instagram @trigirldani