Qualifying for Kona
I've spent the past three years working as a means to support my athletic passion, triathlon. Vacations (except for Christmas) were scheduled around races. I've gone to Austria, Quebec, Vancouver, Utah, and more recently Hawaii. These may seem like simple trips but when you add an Ironman or Half-Ironman event into the fold things get complicated. So triathlon, in a sense, has fueled my traveling. This may read as me just talking out loud, but as I reflect on the past few years of my life where I'm going with this will start to make sense.
The ultimate goal for me in triathlon was to qualify for and compete at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Qualifying typically requires an athlete to place in the top 3-4 of his/her age group at any given Ironman event. Honestly, I thought the odds were never in my favor. Coming into Ironman Mont-Tremblant I had a little voice in my head always saying, "you're gonna be awesome" ... "I have such a good feeling about your race" ... "I'll be with you." That voice, funny enough, tends to have a weird sixth sense about things. I'm talkin' borderline creepy weird. And go figure, she was right. I finished 5th in my age group and was lucky enough to be behind some athletes who already qualified (side note: the guy who won ended up getting top 5 at the World Championships, hella stud).
Expectations for Kona were low. Like any great business - under promise, over deliver. The goal: don't fuck it up. Have a positive attitude, finish the race for all your peeps, and smile as much as possible. The result: pain, suffering, doubt, fear, illness, wind, heat, kisses, smiles, love, happiness, tears, and lastly, relief. That last one caught me by surprise a little. You spend so much time working towards a goal and in a moment, it's over. Granted, it was 10hr and 21minutes, but still that one singular moment of crossing the finish line led me to wonder, "Now what?"
I still don't think I know the answer. My life has changed so much the past few months. The voice mentioned before, is the best thing to ever happen to me - my wonderful partner, Rebecca. Throw into the picture her (our) 3 year old boy and it's no longer about 'dating' someone, it's about family. When should I have this hip surgery I've been putting off? What's best for everyone, not just me? What are my goals now for triathlon? How have they changed, or has figuring out new goals just been delayed a little? What are my goals in life? Where do we want to be next year? What do we want to see? It's funny how a singular focus for three years can give you tunnel vision about the other things in life. So, now what? Seems like it's the time to give everything else more deliberation.