This blog is dedicated to all the 12+ hour ironman finishers who have ever dreamed of becoming much, much faster.
How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #27: No matter how fast or famous you get, never forget where you came from.
I am improving by leaps and bounds every week and it’s hard to believe I met the Boss Man himself exactly a year ago in the Philippines. I have evolved so much as an athlete and a person in these last 12 months that I would hardly recognize the triathlete I used to be. But as I continue my ascent to triathlon superstardom, autographs and all, I realize it’s important to stay grounded and remember my humble beginnings: 9 years spent as a semi-decent age grouper, a Nobody dreaming about becoming a Somebody.
Since it is approaching Kona week, we can talk Kona. I dreamed about going to Kona and everyone knew it was my goal to qualify while I was in the women’s 18-24 age group. It’s a funny little age group…since the number of Kona slots are allocated based on the number of people in each age group, and women’s 18-24 is one of the smallest, there was usually only one or two slots. Most of the girls racing in 18-24 were either first-timers just trying to finish before the 17-hour time limit, or a handful of faster girls trying to get the one or two Kona slots. After my first one, I considered myself one of the “faster” girls…but “faster” is a relative term.
For your viewing pleasure, I have pooled together all my finisher photos from the 5 Ironmans I did before this season, and even dug up my split times.
- 14th age group, 13th collegiate. (This race is also the Collegiate Ironman Championships.)
- First Ironman ever at 20 years old.
- 1 IV in the med tent.
- 10th age group.
- Worst Ironman ever.
- 2 IV’s in the med tent.
- I had a fever during the marathon (later found out due to a bladder infection) and walked more than half of the marathon.
- I cried out of physical pain for the first time in my life during the “run.”
- Bella won and her victory speech made me feel better. She told me to keep my chin up and that my day would come. Ok, she told everybody that but I pretended she was talking just to me.
- 3rd age group, 1st collegiate = Collegiate Ironman Champion!
- I cried out of happiness for the first time in my life when I found out I won.
- zero IV’s!
- 7th age group.
- Didn’t train very much for this one so I raced in a SuperGirl outfit and had a blast.
- Belinda won, but I didn’t stay for her speech.
- Last chance to qualify in the 18-24 age group and came no where close.
- zero IV’s!
- 9th pro…but 20th woman overall.
- I wasn’t ready to race pro yet.
- I wasn’t ready to race in extreme heat and humidity either.
- at least 1 IV in the med tent–I don’t actually remember as I couldn’t stop puking.
I finished in the dark a lot. My fastest finish in Wisconsin 2005 (which remained my PR until I broke it this year in China) was officially a few minutes past sunset, in the dusk.
I was never a very talented triathlete. I wasn’t one of those fast bitches who qualified for Kona on her first try. Or second. Or third…
In fact, I never made it to Kona as an age-grouper. The closest I ever got was my 3rd place at Ironman Wisconsin in 2005. A little German girl named Christine Waitz beat me by an hour and took the only Kona slot in our age group. It was her first Ironman.
Next year I want to go to Kona with all my teammates. Now I have to qualify as a pro.
Never stop dreaming. Your day will come.