Well, the 2006 Ironman World Championships here in Kona has come and gone for another year. A huge congratulations to Michellie Jones (Australia) and Normann Stadler (Germany) for their impressive race from the front wins!!! For Michellie it was her first win here in only her second appearance and for Normann it is his second title after a disappointing race here last year.
I wanted to give you all a personal update on my race yesterday here in Kona. For those of you that have experienced this race before you can understand when I say that this race and this Island are like no other. This was my 16th time on the start line here in Kona, and I have enjoyed almost every experience imaginable during those years. What took place yesterday was certainly not what I had hoped for. I was in great shape and looking for another strong performance here in Kona.
I am a firm believer that every time a person races here in Kona, they leave part of their heart and soul out there on the course. Over the years, I have had many, many races where I have had to dig very, very deep to overcome the Kona demons and pull out a good race. Much of who I am as an athlete is associated with this race, and I have left a great deal of myself out there on the lava fields. I am very proud of each and every time that I crossed the finish line here, but today was not meant to be. Some might ask – why did I not just keep going and achieve that goal of crossing the finish line?? It wasn’t like I couldn’t keep going; I could have slowed down and made it through the day – something that I did last year. It is something that is hard to explain, but yesterday, my IM Kona tank was empty!! There is a point where there is nothing left to give – and yesterday I reached that point. This is not to say that I won’t be back to tackle these demons, but yesterday it was not meant to be.
It was a very tough decision to make out there on the race course. I saw Roch and he supported whatever decision I made, but wanted to make sure that I was OK with it. I went over and over it in my mind with the same result. It was a very emotional choice – but the one I had to make. I spoke with Paula Newby-Fraser on the phone and it was comforting to know that she totally understood the demons I was facing out there. After a little bit of feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I would make my way up to the Ironman Live studio and see if I could help out in any way. This was the best thing that I could have done, as it helped me to gain a lot of perspective on the day. Life will go on, there will be many more races, and this is just a little blip on the radar screen!!!
A special thank-you goes out to all of my sponsors and support crew. Without their unwavering support over the season, I could not do what I do. Despite my disappointment yesterday, the year has been great. I have not been broken, and I will be back!!!