When this post goes live, I’ll be in the waters of Kailua Bay along with nearly 2,000 other athletes about the race the Ironman of all Ironmans- the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Today will be the seventh time I’ve had the opportunity of racing here on triathlon’s sacred grounds and I will honor this race and this island in every way I can, with all my heart, mind, body and soul.
Sometimes I’m approached by people who don’t happen to be involved with triathlon or endurance training at all, and they want to know why I do this. It always makes me giggle a little to see the incredulous expression when I explain that not only do I not get paid to do this, I pay to do it!
Others have just begun on their journey in the same sport but don’t believe they can.
Still others yet comment that I must ‘know the course like the back of my hand’ or that it will likely be a ‘piece of cake for me’, having raced here before.
To the first question, the answer to why I do this is simple, and actually a question posed right back: why not? Many of you who read my blog or books and know my story are already aware that I started out as a sprint distance triathlete. I was sure I could never do anything as long as an Ironman, until the day I saw people of all walks of life completing the distance- physically challenged athletes, elderly athletes, athletes fighting illness and disease, and realized that if the only reason I was not giving it a try was because I didn’t think I could, it wasn’t a good enough reason.
To not try things simply because of not being sure we can complete them, or complete them to a specific degree of mastery doesn’t make sense to me. If we implement that model of living, how would we ever move forward?
It all comes down to choice.
We can all chose to not try things and take the comfortable route.
Sometimes, this is the right option.
I think we all know within when it is… and when we simply want to choose something that feels easier and less risky.
I always try to make it clear that I don’t think this means that we should all be racing triathlon (but I do think we should all be moving, since the one body we have is a terrible thing to waste), as well as that this philosophy goes far beyond sport.
We can take the path of a self fulfilling prophecy that is positive just as easily as one which is negative; the trick is to believe that either can come to fruition, and actually, it’s probably far more likely that good will come of taking risks compared to something awful.
As far as feeling like I know the course so well, or the idea that it’s going to be easy as pie…I wouldn’t deign to adopt that attitude, even one iota.
There is something so special and unique about the feeling one gets when staying on this island; and the idea of copping the mindset of knowing how the day will unfold could, in my opinion, be a set up for a big curve ball.
This isn’t to say that I won’t race with confidence and enjoy the strategy of the game; rather, to say it will be balanced out with a well thought out race plan, full of mantras, positive energy, respect for the course and the island and a feeling of community with my fellow athletes, all the volunteers, the amazing energy from the crowd and my incredibly supportive husband, who is, without a doubt, the person who makes me whole.
Follow live (Bib # 1614; click here, starting at 7 AM Hawaii Time, or check out the IronTrac App for your smart phone), send good vibes and enjoy the day!
Oh, and choose to do something you’re interested in, but uncomfortable with. You’ll be glad you tried!