I really feel so bloody proud of myself! The race was so brutal, and I’m totally ecstatic to have finished. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve taken on – the wild heat, the intense humidity, the powerful crosswinds that almost push your bike off course.
It was far from the perfect race – the heat got to me, I couldn’t keep any food or drink down, I battled a headwind for 90 km… so much of the day did not go as planned and I had to dig deep and then keep on digging, even when I was certain there was nothing left to give.
Over the fourteen and a half hours of my race, I battled these conflicting thoughts. It was like every lesson about overcoming pain and challenging myself came out to be tested. I had moments of sheer euphoria and intense pain. I compared myself to others on the race and I wanted to give up more times than I’d probably like to admit.
But then I’d find a way to come back to myself and focus on the path ahead of me. It was in those moments that the race became achievable.
It’s interesting because the theme of this World Championship was Kupa’a – a Hawaiian word that means being steadfast and focused, being true to your journey and your surroundings. I heard Mark Allen, six-time World Champion, speak about Kupa’a last week. He spoke about turning your focus away from the other competitors so that you can remain steady and focused on your own race. He spoke about being loyal to what surrounds you – accepting the heat and the wind and embracing that as part of the experience.
So, for every challenge, for every moment I wanted to give in and give up, I came back to kupa’a.
It’s not like there was this one big decision to just be focused the whole time. It was this back and forth struggle between negative distraction and positive progress all day.
I think that’s why I’m so proud of myself. Not because it was a perfect race or a personal best, because it was neither. I’m proud because I kept fighting to have kupa’a. I fought all the way to that finish line and that feels damn good.
I’m so grateful for the whole experience. Every single person starting out in those early hours down at Kailua Pier had trained fervently. We’d all made substantial sacrifices to arrive at that moment, and we each had set our mind on the same crazy big goal. To be part of something so phenomenal is something I’ll never forget.
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