As pro athletes the world over compete in last-ditch efforts to accrue qualification points for the Ironman World Championships, we thought we’d talk a little about what it takes an age-grouper to hit the big island.
I was lucky enough to qualify for Kona in 2017 and toed the line with over 3,000 other competitors, all keen to create memories to last a lifetime. You can read more about my experience here. Anne, our Bindi Nutrition Sales Manager extraordinaire made the iconic trip in 2016, and although many aspects of our training and nutrition differed there was one massive similarity between us – a similarity shared by every single athlete with eyes set on the Big Island finish line.
What is it?
This is the single most significant factor in success. Without a doubt.
“But Belinda, what about motivation?” I hear you yell.
Look, motivation is fab, but sometimes, for no reason, motivation takes a hike. No matter how confident and upbeat you are, it takes a lot of energy to be motivated every second of the day.
Determination kicks Motivation’s butt every damn day. Determination is the grit and the will, the voice inside your head that tells you to GET UP out of bed because you need to. You may not want to. It might be cold, and dark, and wet, and a hard bike set, with an even harder run to follow. Or it might be a 4km swim in choppy open water.
Where’s Motivation then? Standing in the corner, fingers in ears singing, “lalalalalalalala,” to block out all that noise.
A determination to be better, be stronger, be more committed – that’s what gets you to the start line. And determination is what gets you to the finish line.
When Julie Moss crawled her way down the finish chute after her body broke down, it wasn’t motivation in her eyes that kept her going. It was her sheer determination to finish that race. Her whole body had given up on her, (if you haven’t seen this moving footage you should Google it right now) all she wanted to do was place her hand on the finish line, and when she did, that was it.
Athletes flock to Kona from all over the world. Each with a different nutrition plan, coach, dietary requirement, training schedule and family/work commitments. But they turn up.
Determined to give it everything. Determined to make their mark. Determined to come away with a little piece of history. Determined to experience a race like no other.
This determination gets athletes through the gruelling training, the early nights and even earlier mornings. It gets them though missing countless social events and family celebrations. It gets them through juggling work and 6-hour training sessions in a sport that from a non-triathletes perspective appears demanding, obsessive and weird.
Kona may be the ultimate goal for many triathletes, but it’s also important to remember where and how everyone starts in this sport. For the majority of those newbies, all it takes is a little determination, just one decision to say, ok, let’s do this, and step outside their comfort zone.
If you are interested in completing your first triathlon, or if you have been training for a while but need some help with your nutrition, click here to read more about our Bindi Starter’s Guide to Nutrition 😉