I won Ironman Canada over the weekend.... yay!
I thought I would share a few of the thoughts I had about the race that I shared at the awards ceremony....
The women's field.
It was an honor to line up with such a classy, strong and motivated bunch of women at this race. I got the chance to get to know 2nd & 3rd place finishers over the weekend, Rachel McBride & Jen Annett, and they were so much about what is RIGHT with our sport. It was so refreshing. All three of us made it down to the midnight finishline to hand out medals to the final finishers and awkwardly dance on tired legs cheering everyone on. I realized then that these women are just like me: hard working, humble, passionate about triathlon, striving for the best day possible, and they sure as heck can ride a bike! I raced Jen a month back at the Coeur D'Alene 70.3 and I remember her coming past me smooth, strong, controlled at mile 35 or so - all while I was breathing like a freight train and giving it my 110%! This served as perfect motivation for me the past 4-6 weeks of training as I knew Jen would be so strong on the bike on Sunday. Rachel took control of the race from the gun on Sunday with an incredible swim and she went to town on the bike, at one point creating a lead of 10+ minutes. I also wanted to thank the other pro women who took time out of their own race to cheer me on. Not only do I look up to these women as competitors and friends but I admire the tenacity and will to never-give-up that so many of them display on and off the course.
The support crew.
I wanted to take a moment to highlight the people behind the scenes that often don't get recognized. For me, this is my A-team. The people I interact with on a daily basis who have a front row-seat to my high's, low's and in-betweens. My number one is Chris Corbin, and without Chris none of what I do would be possible. Chris has seen it all and has never for a moment doubted my potential or wavered in his belief in me. Chris, like many Iron-supporters can relate, has also been the recipient (not by choice) of all the sacrifice that goes into preparing for an Ironman: early bed times, taking recovery days serious, weird diets, long training days, dealing with me being "h-angry", the list can go on and on. It truly takes a team to prepare for an Ironman, and without a team, my performance on Sunday wouldn't be possible. Jesse, Jay, my parents, sponsors, training partners, supporters, the list goes on and on. Often the people in the background don't get the recognition but without them, none of this is possible.
The reason I chose to race Ironman Canada was "My Why" for the race on Sunday. My "Why" changes throughout the year, but Sunday I had a specific goal in mind. My last few races have been (unfortunately) influenced by other racers and I haven't felt that I have had the ability to race a honest race where I really am able to test myself. If I look back to when I first got into Ironman (12 years ago!) the allure was this big challenge. I wanted to be challenged on Sunday and I sought out Ironman Canada as I had heard so much about the iconic scenery of Whistler and the epic proportions of a hard bike and run course. Basically, I wanted to be challenged and I wanted to have the chance to race myself. My race plan for Sunday was to only worry about myself and to not let the other women influence my race. Jesse and I laid out a plan before the race and in the end, it was all on me to race with blinders on and simply EXECUTE. On Friday it was announced that Ironman Canada would be extended through 2020 and I am thrilled to hear this news. I love the challenging courses and I can truly say (winning aside!) that the Whistler venue is in my top handful of favorite Ironman events I have had the opportunity to experience. Thank you to the Ironman Canada organization (Chrstine, Keats + many more!), the town of Whistler, and all of the volunteers for making this event possible.
This win was a special one.
My finish line line photo pretty much sums up why this win was so special to me. If you've been following my journey, you know that the last few years I have had some tough luck when it comes to Ironman racing: a nasty bacteria infection, a stress fracture in my femur, mechanicals, hypothermia, bad luck, near wins, podium finishes, you name it. I have had some decent results, but nothing that truly allowed my work to shine through. I just want to send a few words of encouragement to the group of people who didn't have the day they dreamed of at Ironman Canada (or other events!). We put ourselves in a vulnerable position when we start a race, putting it all on the line after so much work goes into a single day. You have to not be afraid to fail and that takes courage. I have failed many times over my career, and to put it bluntly: it sucks. Those are the days that build character, thicken your skin, and show what you are made of. Those are also the days that make Sunday all the more special for me. I encourage everyone to find something you are passionate about that gets you out of bed everyday, chase that dream and don't stop until you get there. If you fall short of your goals, don't let that stop you. Keep working hard, keep chasing, stay the course, if you fall - dust yourself off to get back up again and have some fun along the way. The spirit of Ironman is "Anything is Possible" and I truly believe that if you put your mind to it, anything IS possible.
Thank you to everyone that played a part in making Ironman Canada such a memorable and special weekend for me. It's an honor to add this title to my resume and I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to cross the line first - something I never take for granted.. Wahoo!