Monday, February 1, 2016

Embracing Your World Championship

by Sue Aquila

This October will mark my third time racing the Ironman World Championship. I find the athletes that I meet before a championship race (70.3, 140.6) often deflect their intentions for the race. You will hear people refer to the race as a:

  • Celebration
  • Victory lap
  • End of season party
  • Recovery from a previous race
  • Bucket list

Rarely will you meet an athlete who is there to race and to make the podium. Few will admit it publicly. I don’t think people are trying to act too cool for the race. I believe that it is one of the few times in their lives they find themselves to be just one among thousands of the best athletes in the world.

For most of us, unless you live in Boulder or Tucson, we are big fish in our small ponds back home. Local triathletes expect us to do well or win our local races. We have all the right equipment, the racing kits and the demeanor of a pro. We know when we start the race that there may be only a handful of people we are racing to get on the podium.

When we get to Kona, we face the reality that at our best we may be average and at our worst we may be back of the pack. Not an easy fate to swallow.

My truth is that I believe Hawaii is the toughest Ironman race in the world. We face heat, wind, and stellar competition. The historical significance of the race adds to the gravity deserved of a world championship.

If you are racing Kona, my suggestion is not to hide. Accept that you belong and you are there to finish as one of the best triathletes in the world. My goal is to one day stand on the podium in my age group.

Embrace your World Championship. Put your intent out there and dig deep to find out who you are on the worlds biggest stage. It may be humbling, it may hurt beyond anything you can imagine and in the end you just may be a champion. Kona is a gift that you will carry with you for the rest of your triathlon career.

If we treat our World Championship with the reverence it deserves, we honor all the men and women that have given us the gift of our sport.

Embrace everyone’s World Championship.


Sue started her triathlon journey with a 50 pound weight loss and continues as a multiple Kona qualifier. In 2013, she was named the Overall Ironman All World Athlete Champion in her age group and in 2014 won her age group at Ironman Texas. As a successful entrepreneur, she believes that, “You can run your business like your training and your training like your business!” As a coach (USAT Certified), she helps athletes to develop success in all areas of their lives: family, health and work. She blogs regularly at fewoman.com. You can find her on Twitter @fewoman.
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