As many of you know, Saturday is Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. To some, it is the triathlon highlight of the year. To our TSC members who are racing, congratulations! Enjoy the experience. Savor not only the journey that got you there, but the fact that you are out there on a magical course with some of the world’s bests athletes. Race your race and have a good time.
Regardless of whether you are racing or not, I wanted to share a few thoughts about Kona. This is not to diminish Kona at all. It really is a great race. But rather I wanted to provide some perspective on it and Ironman in general.
For one, you do not have to do an Ironman to be a triathlete. Ironman is a brand and a race distance. You do not have to race an IM branded race to call yourself a triathlete. There are other race distances from sprints all the way up to deca-Ironmans as well as other race brands like Rev3, Toughman, and your local club. BUT they are all triathlons. Ironman branded races are good and attract good racers but that should not diminish other races or companies out there that are equally good (or far).
Secondly, if you dream of one day racing Kona, try not to put a timeline on it. Failing to qualify can be frustrating but there will be more races. Let the process and journey unfold before you because that is what matters. At the same time, if you are a first time dreamer wanting to qualify, it might seem daunting and an impossible task. It is not. We have helped countless athletes achieve their goals. But, it will take time and practice. Be open to it and the fitness, swim skills, and endurance will transform you. With hard work, a good plan, and consistently sticking to that plan with dedication, you will get there.
It might be this year, or next year, or five years from now (I doubt the race is going anywhere), but do not try to apply an arbitrary timeline to it. When (not if) you get there, you will want to be at your mental and physical peak, which both take time to hone.
Lastly, avoid comparing yourself to other athletes and judging fitness by the outside shell or technology. All last week and this week, social media and triathlon news has been and will be covering the latest tech everyone has. As well as the incredibly looking, buff fit athletes that are showcasing it. Look no further than the bike check in and the underpant run. You will see what I am talking about. It’s tempting to say “look at that guy/gal with x% body fat; they must be fast. And here I am with a spare tire plus an inner tube around me. There’s no way I will be that fast” or “that bike is the most expensive machine out there, the rider will break 4:30 for sure. And here I am with this old rusty bucket of bolts.”
But like your momma always told you, don’t judge a book by its cover. Yes, tech is cool to look at and yes there are some fit looking people out there, but that should not diminish your hard work and your fitness. May I remind you that Chrissie Wellington won three championships on an entry level Cervelo P2 and never once did she wear a bikini at the underpants run.
So with that in mind, good luck racers, and good luck dreamers. Let’s turn your dreams into a goal, and that goal into a plan, and that plan into success.