Tomorrow at 9:00am west coast time Ironman will announce who will receive the Legacy Slots that send 200 eligible athletes to Kona. I applied at the end of last year and am in the cue for a slot. The slots are not awarded by merit or how close you got to qualifying or how wonderful a human being you are or anything like that. You simply become eligible when you finish 12 Ironman full distance 140.6 mile races. When you do 12 you can submit your qualifications, listing the events you did, etc. and get put onto the list of athletes according to when you submitted your Legacy slot registration.
I wrote about this after Ironman Arizona last November but here’s my Ironman history in a nutshell. I’ve finished 12 Ironmans. My first one was Ironman Arizona in 2009. I’ve done Ironman Texas twice, missing a Kona slot by one place at the first Texas race. I’ve done Ironman Chattanooga twice, finishing 4thlast year. I’ve done Arizona 8 times now, with my best finish there also being 4thin 2017.
My goal has always been to qualify for the Ironman World Championship and go to Kona. I never expected it to take so long or to be as difficult as it was. I have always had other goals for each and every race but of course Kona was always the dream.
Now I’m in an odd position. The goal, the dream, for now anyway, is no longer there to drive me. That goal has been part of my thoughts for 10 years. Last fall was a whirlwind finale. Ironman Chattanooga was the focus: fundraising, training, planning, aiming to win my age group and earn a slot. The swim, my strongest discipline, ended up being cancelled. I wouldn’t have won anyway but might have moved up a place (or 2?) from 4th. Less than 2 weeks later we went to Kona to support another athlete in her first chance to race there. I had always said I didn’t want to go until I qualified but having an athlete there was probably the only thing that could have changed my mind. I was very grateful that I got to go and share the experience with her and I learned a lot but it did alter my mindset a little. Finally, the next month we were off to Arizona to race a 2ndIronman just 7 weeks after Chattanooga. My resolve, determination, and drive were not the same and it showed in my performance.
So now I wait to hear if I’ll be racing in Kona this coming October or if it will be in 2020 or 21, I’m not in a hurry. I have mixed feelings about it all. That’s because it’s not the way I dreamed or imagined I would get there. It’s not what drove me to put in all the work. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the opportunity and the privilege to possibly get a Kona slot. They are VERY hard to get. And I’m sure I will be excited and anxious and happy I get it tomorrow. But there’s also going to be a part of me that’s a little sad and disappointed. The emotions are just not the same when you compare receiving a legacy slot versus winning your age group at a race, showing up for the Kona slot “rolldown” procedure, and registering for the Championship after standing on top of the podium for your age group.
I’m not looking for sympathy here. I’m not posting this on Facebook either. Many may not understand this but it’s my truth. I just wanted to put my emotions down BEFORE the announcement because, who knows, I will probably feel a LOT different when they offer me a slot to the Hawaii Ironman World Championship!