Since turning to long course racing, early season form has never been my focus. For this reason, despite the high expectations triathlon media and fans have placed on me, I am actually happy with my 6th place in the Ironman 70.3 San Juan this past weekend. It is impossible to stay in peak form all year round because the body and mind need rest. No rest can result in chronic fatigue, injury, and ultimately a very short career in sports.
I am coming off one of the longest breaks in my 14-year career as a professional triathlete. In addition, the new list of obligations and commitments from winning the Ironman World Championships less than 6 months ago has grown exponentially. Unlike some of my competition, I have not had months to prepare and train for this event. And to be perfectly honest, in the grand scheme of things, my goal is defending my Kona title and this is when I will definitely have my “A” game. 6th place is not a “sub-par” performance for me this time of year. It does not mean that I did not give 100% in San Juan. This race hurt a lot! It was a tough course, hot conditions, and the competition was fierce. There were also some new faces on the start line who were keen to show they mean business in their IM 70.3 distance debut. These girls were the ones who stole the show on the day, with Helle Fredrikson claiming victory.
Winning in Kona is a day that seems so far from my immediate reference of fitness and state of mind. But after being a professional triathlete for so long I know what I need to do to be hitting my peak when and where it matters. I love what I do and sometimes it is very hard to justify calling it a job. Racing and trying my best to win races is all I know and at the time, that was what winning Kona was all about: doing my job as best I can. My office is anywhere in the world. My co-workers are some of the fittest, nicest, and most driven people on the planet. Sometimes I stand on a start line in the shape of my life with my eye on the big prize and sometimes I am simply on the journey to that place.
Racing in San Juan helped me recognize in a profound way that what I do is not a pursuit of a selfish goal, but a journey that enables me to inspire, motivate and encourage people of all ages, in and out of triathlon. I have had many humbling experiences as a direct result of finally reaching the ultimate goal of my triathlon career. I’m excited about future races so that I can continue this journey. The next race on my schedule is the Ironman US Pro Championships in St. George on May 4.