Belinda winning time 9:17:58
. To the crowd: "It was always my plan to have a good swim and rip that bike course apart," she said. "I had to concentrate coming in to town to stop crying, I was so emotional."
Also nice to see my pal Bryan win the men's
My 8th triathlon and first IM was IMC "1997" ... I earned a Kona slot ... I was so "green" I did not know what a "Kona slot" was
I also turned it down ... I had learned to swim a year prior ... to complete a local "sprint" ... I had never swam open water without a wetsuit ... I confess I told everyone I turned the slot down because "my year was 'complete' ... I had gone from 'fat/smoker' to 'IM Finisher' and had met my goals" ... in truth it was fear ... fear of the swim in Kona ... fear of swimming without a wetsuit
... 10 years ago, 1998, I raced IMC again ... and had a "dream day" finishing 32nd o/a at the age of 38 and took the slot in order to "face that @#$! fear". And a month later in Kona I put it behind me and fell in love with the island and IMH.
I went back to IMC in 2000, suffered a mechanical and an on-course injury as a result. A statement made by a friend ... days earlier ... echoed in my ears as I was roadside at mile 48 of the bike with a shattered hub and a bleeding body: "Their will come a point in the race where you must decide ... you will have to decide ... do you really want it? You will have to decide." I wanted it. And took SAG support and clawed my way back to the podium.
I still want it.
In the years since there have been set-backs caused by accident and an occasional injury ... I confess to cheating on my girl "traithlon" to play "ultra runner" or chase a few other "endurance distractions" ... but ... I still want "it".
And although I find my heart and happiness racing in Kona ... the soul of "my racing" is still in Penticton.
I am missing Penticton today and I wish I was up there ... but I am also enjoying the nostalgia ... great days racing up there ... deep and lasting friendship formed ... such a special-special place. Congratulations, Belinda, what a wonderful and special place to claim a win!