2005 Ironman Hawaii – Three Weeks and Counting!!

Well, we are pretty much in the 3 week window of Ironman Hawaii. Every year, time seems to go by faster and faster. It is really hard to believe that in less than 2 weeks we will be boarding our flight for Kona – for the 15th time. Yep, this will be the 15th time I have competed in Kona!!!! In some respects it feels every bit of the 15 years, but in other ways, it feels like just yesterday that I toed the line in Kona for the first time. In 1991, I had no expectations, I simply wanted to finish and finish with a smile. I stopped 12 times on the bike to use the porta potties – yes, I actually went into these little steam rooms and not only that, a number of times I waited in line!!! I have had many emotional and physical ups and downs on the lava fields in Kona since that first race in 1991, but the basic goal still remains the same – to go and have the best race possible.

Many things have changed over the years:
– I am no longer of the “new faces” in Ironman but rather someone that is facing the twilight of her career. I can remember going to the pro-meetings those first years and being star struck with I saw the likes Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen. Now when I go to these pre-race meetings, I am lucky it I know ½ of the people – there are so many new faces.
– My performance expectations have come full circle. I have gone from zero expectations in 1991 to many years of placing an incredible amount of pressure on myself to place well. Now I am back to the point not feeling that I have nothing to lose. I feel as though I have nothing to prove out there – if I have a bad race, life will go on, and if I have a great race, it is icing on the cake!!!!

Since my last update, I have jumped into my IM Kona training. Once again this year, Belinda and Justin Granger have come to train with me leading up to the race. It has been awesome training with these guys. Belinda is consistently one of the fastest cyclists in the sport, so to be able to chase her around the roads of North County San Diego has been of great benefit.

In addition, I was fortunate enough to get to meet my favorite Nascar Nextel Cup Driver – Jeff Gordon (#24). The folks at NBC arranged to have a meet and greet with myself and Jeff Gordon at the California Speedway on the labor day weekend. It was pretty exciting for me – kind of like a diehard Golf fan getting to meet Tiger Woods. I wasn’t sure if anyone had informed him as to who I was etc, but was pleasantly surprised that he did know what Ironman was and he was aware that I had used his ‘drive for five” motto in the quest for my 5th Lake Placid win. The meeting was very short, and after taking a few pictures and getting an autograph, he was on his way. I really appreciated him taking the time to do what he did – heck, it was a couple of hours before one of the most important races in his season. We then got to watch the race from the pits – this truly gave me an appreciation for what it is all about!!

Leading up to Kona I will be writing blogs on MSN’s special Ironman Web Page starting on October 3rd. You can follow my pre-race preparation; get the scoop on what is happening in Kona before, during and after the race; and then I will check in after all the hype of the race is over. From October 3rd – December 3rd click on the following link to follow my blogs:

http://spaces.msn.com/members/ironmanprofile1

Until then, take care
Heather

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