Trending: Gearing up for Ironman, NFL refs

Mirinda Carfrae dreamed of playing basketball as a young girl growing up in Logan City, Australia. Her dreams then shifted to becoming a world-class triathlete and Ironman World Championship winner. Now she dreams about being late.

"It's more a nightmare than a dream," Carfrae said Tuesday. "It's funny. It has only come about since I've been a triathlete, but it's always before my biggest events. In the dreams, I'm always forgetting something, like my shoes. I'm always racing against the clock."

Carfrae, 31, will be racing against the best triathletes in the world, a brutal 140.6-mile course and fierce conditions at Kailua-Kona in Hawaii on Oct. 13.

"It's a race against the elements, really," said Carfrae, who goes by “Rinny.” The 2010 Ironman World Championship winner leaves her training home in Colorado for Hawaii on Friday. But competing in Hawaii is no day in paradise, with the biggest challenge often being the heat and wind. "The elements can really shift everything. The first year I raced there [2009], I felt like I was in an oven, it was super humid ... that was tough to try to compete in," she said. "There was 90-degree heat, 100-percent humidity, that's why it's tough."

Carfrae called the Ironman World Championship the "Super Bowl" of triathlons. "If you win Kona, the rest of the year doesn't matter," she said.

The Ironman course on the western side on the island of Hawaii includes a 2.4-mile swim in Kailua Bay, a 112-mile bicycle ride past lava fields and along the Kohala Coast, and a 26.2-mile run on the Queen Ka’ahumanu highway, ending at Ali’i Drive.

A 5-foot-3, 116-pound former point guard, Carfrae played basketball competitively until age 18. She began triathlete training as a teen. "I was always the smallest player on the team. I was a pretty good player but my skills weren't going to take me any further." Carfrae followed the NBA as a child watching Michael Jordan and has been hooked since. "We only had four channels and we would get the NBA games on all the time," she said. Today, she roots for the Boston Celtics and her favorite players are a pair of point guards, Boston's Rajon Rondo and Chicago's Derrick Rose.

Carfrae is featured in a series of videos spotlighting Ironman competitors posted on the "Ali'i Drive" YouTube channel each Wednesday and Friday leading up to the race. Carfrae hopes those videos and the race coverage on NBC (scheduled for Oct. 27 from 4-6 p.m. ET) will win fans over to her sport.

"If you're a sports fan, you need to watch this race," she said. "There are always a lot of special interest stories, a lot fantastic stories. ... You'll be hooked. It's a great sport."

Elsewhere ...

The fallout from the blown call at the end Monday night’s Seahawks-Packers game continued:

The use of replacement referees inspired Green Bay TV station NBC26 to offer the "Replacement Weather Guy" (#replacementweatherguy) a shot. His Tuesday forecast (above) was slightly off, calling for temperatures of minus-200 degrees at 7 a.m., with a high of 346 degrees at noon.

The NOC offered this replacement ref parody video “Whistle” -- complete with Flo Rida’s song of the same name:

If you see any offbeat links from your favorite sports site or catchy tweets that might be of interest to others, pass them along to me @billsperos or bsperos1@gmail.com.