Its been nearly a week since the Ironman World Championships and I have had some time to reflect on my 12th place finish.
For me, it was a culmination of a years worth of hard work, determination, goal-setting, finding new limits, making memories and becoming a better athlete. I set out specific goals for this race nearly a year go. I came into the event the most prepared and healthiest I have ever been. I was quietly confident and armed with a set of lofty goals. This is something a bit new for me. I have always been one to be conservative - nearly afraid to set the big-dreamy-feel-good goals - because what happens if you don’t reach your goals? You’ve let yourself down.
I guess you could say, I let myself down, in that I didn’t attain my big-dreamy-feel-good goal. Surprisingly, I don’t feel let down. This was my 5th time racing in Kona, and my 10th Ironman. Every time I have crossed that finish line, I become a stronger person than I was before I started the event.
Race day came, my game face was on. The moments before the swim start are some of my favorites. I feel race-week in Kona is a frenzy. Race morning is full of nerves along with the hustle and bustle of getting things settled. Zip up the Xterra race suit, and the second my feet hit the water its a moment when I can relax, take a deep breath, look around and realize what a magical sport this is. I got in a decent warm-up and floated around listening the rhythmic beats of Island Breeze. The canon blew and the race was off!
I can’t say my day was magical by any means. But, I conquered some great things out there as well. The 2009 Hawaii Ironman was the most challenging Ironman I have ever completed. Not much of the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run was fun for me. Saturday I was seeking fun first, and freedom to race without a ceiling second. I knew if the two could come together I would have a magical day.
I took the bike out conservatively (perhaps too conservatively) and came back to town strong on my Scott Plasma 3. Onto the run I was in 22nd place - ouch! This is not where I had any intention of being in the race. I think this is a great testiment to how our sport is growing and the talent depth of the women competing. One thing I am known for is not giving up. I was determined to run a 3 hour marathon (thanks to Saucony!) and end the day on a positive note. I ticked away the miles of the marathon and enjoyed feeling strong all afternoon.
At the end of the race, I finished up 12th. This is far from where I wanted to finish and much slower than the time goal I was aiming for. I know things happen for a reason, and this year was not my year. This leaves fire in my belly and the motivation to keep fighting until the next time. I race and train with no regrets. A few days post-race, and I can look at myself in the mirror and know I gave my best on the day. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Sometimes winning can’t be defined by a trophy or a prize check. For me, I was still a winner in Kona: I was able to race healthy & happy, I have an amazing family that was there to witness my entire race, I’ve got a great crew of sponsors, Matt Dixon coaching me, I received so many emails, texts & messages in support of my dreams, I have dear friends like the Hutters, Jeffro, Missy Meredith & the Missoula training crew, then there is the one and only Chris Corbin - the most supportive and incredible person in my life. Finally, I am so grateful to be on this journey, living the dream, racing & training around the world with incredible people along the way. It can’t get much better than this.
On Sunday I threw my finish-line lei into the ocean blue… releasing the bad and embracing all that is good for me. I am eternally grateful to be on this journey. Until next year… I will always be looking forward.