This past Sunday, Sept. 7th I participated in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships held in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. My journey to qualify for this event took 3 years and included racing in six half ironman’s, four Olympic distance, eight Sprints and one Full Ironman.
I am a very competitive person by nature therefore my initial approach in the sport of Triathlon was that I had to be ALL in or I won’t attain my goals. I struggled with finding balance between my training and spending time with my family and friends, work, or doing activities that didn’t involve a pool, bike or running shoes.
In 2013 I checked off a couple Triathlon goals of mine. I placed first overall in the 70.3 Try Charleston and finished sub 5-hrs in two 70.3 races. While I won a few races that year, my pivotal moment came in July after I raced the Ironman 70.3 Racine in Wisconsin.
Up until that point I would rarely miss a workout. Getting in my training came before anything else in my life. Yes I was successful at races, but something was missing from my life. On my flight home from Wisconsin I wrote out a list of what is most important to me and learned that the “something missing” proved to be balance.
That day I made a promise to myself that I would not put Triathlon ahead of my family, friends, or work. Triathlon is my hobby; it is not my job and it should be fun. I gradually stopped obsessing about my workouts and began spending more time with my family and friends. Of course I missed some workouts, but it was okay. In turn, my life naturally became more balanced and I was happier than I had been in a long time.
I would be lying if I said it was no longer a goal of mine to qualify for Worlds, but it was not my sole focus. This past April I went down to Florida with a group of close friends and raced Ironman 70.3 Haines City. I was not focused on qualifying for worlds, but rather to have fun and do my best.
When I crossed the finish line in Florida, I was so focused on finishing strong and having fun, I didn’t know I had in fact qualified for Worlds. The moment I realized I had, I found my best friend who was also racing. We hugged, jumped up and down, screamed, laughed and later sprayed champagne.
On Sunday when I stood at the start-line, it felt surreal. I looked back at everything I had learned and experienced this past year. I thought to myself, this is it, you’re here and about to participate in an event you dreamed about. I felt so lucky. Two of my closest friends were there to cheer me on and I was racing amongst the best Triathletes in the world. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of joy running the last 500m through the Village of Mont-Tremblant and crossing the finish line under the banner that read “Ironman 70.3 World Championships”. I had achieved my goal and I did so while living a balanced life.