Trust. Believe. Love. Appreciate. “Hiki No”: my guiding words for Ironman World Championships.
Trust in my preparation and trust in my body, mind and soul. Believe that I am ready and capable and that I will deliver the performance on race day. Show love and respect for myself, for my competitors and for those that support me. Appreciate that when I demand of my body it responds to the pressures I place on it. Be grateful that I am in a position to demand these things of myself. Be thankful that I have the support, friendship and love of so many wonderful sponsors, mentors, coaches, friends and family. Believe in “Hiki No” – Hawaiian phrase meaning “Can Do”
My preparation was pretty much as good as it can get: a huge bank of consistent training and a great season of successful racing. I spent the final few weeks prior to Kona in The Woodlands, Texas. Here I was cared for and spoilt rotten by a wonderful triathlon community and I got my fill of pre-race acclimatization for heat and humidity! I trusted and believed, I loved and I appreciated. Hiki No, Can Do.
Race day started brilliantly. In my few weeks in Texas under the guidance of Tim Floyd at Magnolia Masters swim team my swimming had progressed massively. I exited the water in the perfect position to be competitive for the day ahead. Those of you who know me will know just how much this means for me. Swimming has always been the area that I have had to work the hardest on. I am delighted not only to have improved so much but more importantly to have delivered those improvements on race day. This fills me with confidence and self belief that I can and will do the same again in the future.
On the bike I was feeling strong and comfortable and moving well with a good group of girls. I got penalised for littering – unbeknownst to me, one of the flimsy plastic water bottles provided at the aid stations had fallen off my rear carrier. I had to serve a stand down penalty just after the bike the turn-around point at Hawi. I knew that it would be crucial for my race to stay in contact with my competitors. I worked hard to get to the head of the group before the penalty tent to try and make sure that I could do this. I worked so hard to try and bridge the gap but just could not get back to where I wanted and needed to be. I refocused myself and concentrated on maintaining as high as power output as I could. I could see that my watts were dropping and that I was falling further and further behind. I shut off the negative doubts in my mind. I stayed positive and pushed as hard as I could. I hurt, but I expected to hurt – good results demand effort. I gave a shed load. I told myself that I could do it. I believed I could do it. I got into transition 27 mins behind the leader. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.
I took my time to regroup but I had lost my belief and confidence that I could finish a marathon feeling the way that I did. I made the decision not to run. I hadn’t come to Kona to have an average performance – I’d done that in the past. I came to Kona to do myself proud. I came to deliver my hard work, effort and ability to the finish line. I knew that I couldn’t make that happen. It goes without saying that part of me will ponder what could and might have been had I committed to the marathon. I am disappointed and frustrated that I didn’t perform to the level to which I believe that I am capable. However, the honest and realistic part of me knows that I simply didn’t have the performance on that particular day. I don’t know why and I won’t make excuses. I will reflect and I will analyse. I will learn, improve, adapt and move forward. A race is the visible tip of an iceberg. An athlete’s performance is underpinned by hard work, commitment and dedication. Results that fall short of personal expectation do not diminish or erode my efforts. They fuel my desire and motivation to keep going.
On reflection I can see that qualifying and competing in Kona was about more than just the race. It was about proving to myself that I could compete again at the highest level following some testing times. It was about committing to a goal and working towards that goal. Challenging myself to qualify and compete gave me structure and purpose when I needed it most. For this I am very thankful.
Thank you to all my sponsors, supporters, friends and family for being part of this journey and making it possible. Special thanks to my coach Phil Skiba for the route map and navigation and to my husband Richard and good friends David Tilbury- Davis and Gordon Crawford for keeping me on the road- in more ways than one!
Well done to all who competed. I hope that you leave Kona content with your efforts and energised for your future plans.
Remember and believe: “Hiki No”