Yesterday, I learned that Tara Costa of Biggest Loser fame will be racing the Ironman World Championship in Kona this fall. She is my favorite contestant they’ve ever had on the show. She is fueled my a deep fire and I really appreciate her drive. Having said that—
I have mixed feelings about this development.
Before I entered the sport of triathlon, I would have been happy for her. I would have sat on my couch and rooted her on during the condensed 2-hour NBC coverage, completely clueless on how the qualification process works. And, I’m sure they will do a great job sharing her story.
But, now that I’m a triathlete and have completed an Ironman of my own, I want to hear the other stories. The stories of the men and women who sacrifice time with their friends and family, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year, to get better at the sport through snow, rain, wind, intense heat, injuries, setbacks and small victories. Most World Championship qualifiers take a long time to get to that level. I know some incredibly talented athletes who have been doing this for years and are still chasing after that dream. I want to hear the stories of those who finally make it after countless hours of thankless training. Those stories need to be heard. People need to know how tough it is and how amazing these qualifiers are. I’ve heard from a very reputable source that Kona is a grueling race and that there is a reason you have to qualify—you have to be tough to race there.
I did not enter the Kona lottery this year and I’ve decided I never will. I want to earn my spot. I may never get to the Ironman World Championship, but I know that if I do, it will be because I earned it. It will be because I had put in the work necessary to elevate myself to that level. Until then, I will continue to focus on being the best I can be. That is what I can control and I know that there is more I can dig out of me if I remain persistent and patient. I’m pretty sure the temptation of NBC offering me a ‘special interest’ spot won’t be banging down my door any day soon.