On Saturday I had one of the hardest decisions to make of my life – whether or not to toe the start line of the World Ironman Championships. In the end I didn’t race. But before I try and explain the decision that I made I want to start off with a huge congratulations to the amazing Mirinda Carfrae. Her performance on Saturday was nothing short of remarkable. She truly is a worthy World Champion.
So many thoughts are going through my head at the moment, and it will take time to sift through them all. I’d like to quickly elaborate on how I felt leading into the race and why I took the decision that I did. I started feeling slightly ill on Friday lunchtime, with a sore head and throat. I did my usual three short sessions that day but, on the run particularly, I knew something wasn’t quite right. My legs were like jelly and I was sweating much more than usual. My tired head hit the pillow at 7pm and I woke up several times during the night literally drenched in sweat, my head pounding and feeling like my throat was closing. I got up at 3.45am, had a shower, and went through my pre race routine hoping that I would feel better. But nothing improved. I knew I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my life.
Like all the other athletes, I invest so much time, passion, energy into getting myself in the best possible shape for Kona. I have so much respect for this race, and the toll it can take on your body. It is demanding and brutal, and competing when ill risks greater health problems. Furthermore, I believe I owed it to myself and all the other competitors to be able to give the performance I had trained so hard for. I sought counsel from those closest to me, but mostly tried to listen to my body, and what it was telling me. I said to myself, if I woke up on an ordinary day feeling like this would I train? The honest answer was no. At around 5am the decision was made. There was no going back.
Those that know me will understand how incredibly difficult, frustrating and heart wrenching it was to make that call. Two days later, and although I am starting to feel physically better, I know I made the right decision for me at that particular time. Yes I could sit here feeling sorry for myself, reflecting on what might have been, but ultimately wallowing in self pity doesn’t help me, or anyone else. My heart (and head) are hurting but my spirit is not broken. I will look to the future and all the amazing opportunities it will bring – putting Saturday behind me and moving on to fight another day. This is sport. As I have always said, it has ups and downs. Highs and lows. Yes, i do have a mountain to climb. But it is no different from any other I have faced, and scaled, before.
I want to give my deepest thanks to my amazing family, friends, coach and sponsors who have been with me every step of the way and to everyone around the world who has sent me messages of support and encouragement. I really do appreciate it. And, once again, my heartfelt congratulations to the two incredibly worthy World Champions, Mirinda and Chris, to my fellow GBR ‘top ten’ girls Julie, Rachel and Leanda….and to everyone that crossed that finish line on Saturday.
I am so fortunate to be able to get up each day and swim, bike and run; to have been crowned triple World Champion; to represent this amazing sport and to have opportunities i never could have dreamed of a few years ago. So, no looking back. Only forward. I will spend the coming days with my family and friends, seeing some of this amazing island with a smile on my face and tomorrow will head back to Boulder.
The journey to Kona 2011 begins here and the fire in my belly is already burning.