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2013 GoPro Ironman World Championship FINISHER

“Athletics brings out a side of you that is wonderful. It brings out so many good attributes like competing, intensity and playing at the highest level.” 
— Julie Foudy, Olympic gold medalist and former Women’s Sports Foundation president


“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
-Wilma Rudolph, Winner of 3 Gold Medals at 1960 Rome Olympic Games

“The medals don’t mean anything and the glory doesn’t last. It’s all about your happiness. The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing.”

“Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.”

On October 12th, 2013 at 5:37 pm (Hawaii time), I crossed my 7th Ironman finish line. 
I swam 2.4 miles in the ocean in 1:07:16.
In one of the most brutal swims a triathlete can ever experience. Let;s just call it an open water boxing match. But, I stuck to my racing plan (given to me by coach/hubby Karel) and exited the water feeling hungry to bike. A PR swim in Kona.
I biked 112 miles in 5:30:10. 
The winds were relatively calm until the last 30 miles which then we faced very challenging side winds. But, I stuck to my racing plan and ended up riding strong and shocking myself (and Karel) with a 10 min PR in Kona. 
I ran 26.2 miles 3:51:14
There's nothing easy about the Ironman World Championship but this run will make you or break you. But, I stuck to my racing plan, ran from one aid station to another and walked through each aid station from mile 2-24. I really dug deep at the end after leaving the energy lab and finished with a PR run in Kona. 

Experience came in handy on race day. With 2 previous Ironman World Championships in my career highlight record books, I knew what to expect and how to race this race. But most of all, I went into this race with a goal. PR in Kona. With IM Lake Placid being 14 weeks ago, I knew I had better fitness than when I raced for a 10 minute PR in Placid and punched my Kona ticket. 
I trained smart with the help of Karel and only did 1 x 100 mile ride and 3 x 15 mile runs between IM Lake Placid and Kona. For 22 weeks, I trained smart in order to execute on race day. 
Within 14 weeks, my body did something incredible. I dropped 16 minutes in two incredibly challenging courses. 
My performance in Kona not only validates my train smart, recover harder approach to training but also that any athlete or fitness enthusiast out there must dream big if you want to do something incredible. 
10:35 was the goal for race day and I adjusted my plan on the run just to ensure I would PR. The new goal became 10:40 but all throughout the day, I reminded myself that I don't have to be fast on race day, just slow down the least amount possible. 
I raced my own race, I stayed confident and I embraced the pain. I overcame low moments, times of self doubt and bottled up the cheers (thanks GLORIA, mom, dad, aaron and Karel from afar and everyone else out there...I virtually heard you!). I took risks, I was proactive and I stuck to my plan. 

The most amazing accomplishment for my body is knowing that I have finished every Ironman that I have started. I continue to find myself learning so much about my body with every Ironman journey. 

I am sore, I am chaffed and I am sunburn. 

But, every pain that I feel now is a result of the day I had yesterday. 
Words can not describe how grateful I am to everyone who followed my journey, not only on race day but also for the past 22 weeks in order to get to the IM World Championship starting line. 

Wow - 10:37:10

What I love so much about sports, but specifically my passion for endurance triathlons, is that you never know how incredible your body can be until you make it do the impossible. 

Dreams are easy to talk about but making them happen is the tough part. 

Thank you body for making it happen. 

Marni Sumbal
7x Ironman Finisher, 3x Ironman World Championship finisher

Thank you Gloria for your cheers and support yesterday and for capturing this amazing moments.
Thank you everyone for your support on social media and for tracking myself along with all the other inspiring athletes.
Thank you to my mom, dad and Aaron (and extended family) for supporting my dreams and most of all, letting me dream big.
And lastly - Karel (and Campy). I just can't explain how much this race meant to me for I never thought I was capable of the race I had yesterday. I stuck to the plan which was created based on weeks, months and years of hard work. I am so excited to see what the future brings for I never want to stop dreaming big and testing my limits alongside so many amazing, inspiring, motivating athletes of all levels.

Now it's your turn...... how will you dream big with your body?