Ever since a young age, my parents always enforced "fun" when it came to sports. I'm lucky that in 20 years of competitive sports, I have experienced very little burnout and a lot of happy smiles along the way. Here in Kona for the 2013 Ironman World Championship, I am less than 48 hours from my 7th Ironman and my 3rd Ironman World Championship.
Triathlon Magazine Undie Run
I came to this island with the same joy as years past but with a bit more confidence in my ability to race in this specific 140.6 mile event. Unlike other years, this year has been very special for me is being able to share this experience with Gloria, as well as with so many people following my journey on social media.
I feel Gloria said it the best in her most recent blog about owning what you signed up for.
"You signed up because it is a challenge. You signed up to push and overcome your limits. You signed up because deep down in your soul you need to unleash your greatness. You signed up because you need it to feel alive. You signed up because you have proven to yourself once before that there are NO LIMITS TO YOUR GREATNESS.You also signed up for the pain, the hard, the sweat, the tears, the solitude, and the adversity. When YOU signed up YOU accepted the challenge of the unknown. You ACCEPTED the opportunity to dive into that water and fight it out to the end with your body and mind. When you signed up you KNEW that there is NOTHING EASY about IRONMAN. So stop mentally trying to find the “easy way” around the day. Stop right now and let go of any ego, resistance, and anxiety."
So, beyond having a trained, fueled body that is absolutely incredible for what it is able to do for 140.6 miles, I believe that the key to happiness when taking part in an endurance event is never forgetting that the "big day" should be fun and the days leading up to that day should also be filled with positive energy.
In the words of Gloria "Never leave a negative statement go unchallenged."
Preparing for a 140.6 mile event is time-consuming. Often times, the athlete-in-training trains alone to prepare his/her body and mind for his/her special day. The reason why I smile so much when I am at an Ironman is because I am happy to be around so many talented individuals who can help me discover my limits.
And lastly, I smile because I get to help other athletes and fitness enthusiasts dream big and to not be afraid of the time it will take to reach a goal but instead, enjoy every day of the process of reaching a goal.
On Saturday October 12th, 2013 at 7am Hawaii time, Ironman Live will be watched by people all over the world. 1500+ human bodies will battle the Kona sea, the Kona winds and the Kona heat to cover 140.6 miles in order to earn the coveted Ironman World Championship finisher medal. No one said it was going to be easy, so easy is not what I am hoping for on race day.
It's finally time to put the training to the test and to pull out every item in my Ironman tool-kit to execute to my best on race day. I have confidence in my body and mind that I can get through any and all situations in order to cross the finishing line but I do not take my body or this distance for granted. I don't race for a time on paper but instead, for the opportunity to discover my greatness as an endurance athlete.
140.6 miles is a long way to go and I can't describe the excitement I have to race with all the athletes on race day and to be cheered-on by so many strangers, friends and supporters from afar, who treat every single athlete as a rock star. In Kona, you don't hear athletes and fans asking "are you ready?" It's strange to not hear that but on that flip side, it's nice to have everyone around you - near and far - confident that you will finish the race because you trained so hard for the day (not just once but also to get a ticket to Kona).
I wish the best for every athlete to have a fun, safe race and to be mindful that 140.6 miles takes a major toll on the human body. There's will be many times when we doubt our potential, our ability to overcome the odds or the desire to dig deep.
Sure, this may be the Ironman World Championship and the endurance event of the year but it is also the day that most of us have all dreamed of for a long time, as we trained our body to qualify for Kona. The work was done to qualify for Kona, now is the time to enjoy the payoff of hard work.
For each one of us who qualified for Kona, there was one person behind us who didn't get the slot. There was also a handful of athletes who worked just as hard to race in Kona but the odds were not in their favor. Then there were hundreds who may never get the chance to race in the IM World Championship but still participate in an Ironman as if that day was their Kona day.
Saturday is a very special day for me because I get to do what I love..... I get to use my body, challenge my mind and discover my deepest capabilities. I have no magic ball to know what the day will bring for me so all I can be confident about is the fact that my body is healthy, injury free and trained. Going into this race with my current level of fitness, I look forward to being smart and smiling as I cross my 7th Ironman finishing line.
Thank you for your support.
A few Trimarni videos for your viewing pleasure: