Friday, August 31, 2012

Speech, Speech!

Some of you have asked to read what I wrote for my speech for Ironman Canada 2012.  So here it is.  I think I stuck mostly to the script as I was talking, but as I was up on stage in front of quite a few people, I was nervous and undoubtably rambled a bit, but this was my message for the day.

Photography by david mccolm

Thank you!  Thank you to everyone involved in yesterday's race.  Thank you to my friends and family and everyone that has supported me leading up to this event.  Wow!

Thank you and congratulations to my inspiring competitors up on stage with me today - I couldn't have worked this hard without them pushing me all the way - so to everyone up here, a huge thanks to you.

And whatever they are putting in the water in Denver, they should probably keep on doing it.  A very special congratulations to your 2012 women’s amateur champion, Kendra Lee.  I was the amateur women’s champion last year, and although I was quite pleased to have finished 5th overall fastest time in 2011, this lady has certainly blown it out of the water this year with your overall women’s fastest time.  So, congratulations Kendra on your amazing race yesterday. 

Yesterday was the first day I felt I accomplished what it meant to be a triathlete.  This is my 3rd year in the sport so the learning curve has been steep.  I still don’t know where you buy salt pills and I refuse to have a bike computer.  In previous races, I have muddled through swims and cruised through bikes, all to end up very fresh on the run course.  As I learned more about what I could do, and what was expected of top level athletes in this sport, I realized that it is a push from start to finish in this race called triathlon.  I had tried in races past but often fell short of what I wanted, which, was to give the race everything I had.  

Knowing I was far behind the swim pack and all on my own, my brain had a lot of chatter, and some of it negative.  I learned to swim just over 3 years ago, and yesterday was the first day I was able to push all through 3.8kms of swim and I have never been more proud for doing so.  I have to say though, to the people who were cooking bacon on their houseboats out there, that was a small bit of torture.  And I’m a vegetarian.  I'm not sure we want to back on the water next year or not.....maybe we do :)

The bike course is ravishingly beautiful and just as ravishingly tough.  Whatever you give with your legs on this course, also seems to be taken away from them somewhere between the Yellow Lake climb and that sweet moment you know you’re in for the big descent.  Again, my only goal was to push from the minute I got on my bike, and man, is that tough.  I have never focused so much on keeping my legs going around in a circle.  At times, I was not convinced that I would make it up those last few hills because my legs now felt like some type of swiss cheese / cement hybrid variety.

The run is always my favourite but as I said I usually arrive feeling fresh and full of hope.  I made it out the first mile and then promptly came to a dead halt.  The dreaded multi muscle full leg cramp.  And then it started to dawn on me, this is what it means to be a triathlete.  This is one continuum of 3 different events that really are just one event.  So I stood there, bent over, stretching, thinking I might not even be able to finish this race.  My favourite race.  I had to finish.  So, I started moving forward, as many of you did yesterday, in the best way I could, but certainly not in the way I had planned.  I ran on eggshells for 40 kms, worried that one misstep would snap my legs in some Cirque du Soliel maneuver and have me rolling into the ditch on Eastside road.

But I made it.  And I made it because of the support of dedicated roadside fans, other racers, total strangers, and my friends and family.  People who are racing and suffering that still manage to scream encouragement at me as I go by - I am in awe of these people.  What you said meant the world to me.  

There is no better finish line than the finish ‘lap’ along Lakeshore Drive in Penticton.  I have raced in Hawaii and although it was wonderful, there is nothing like coming home to Penticton, and hearing Steve King’s voice on the microphone, calling you in.

And I am very proud to say I have finally figured out what it means to be a triathlete, and thankfully it feels pretty wonderful, because it is balancing out how not wonderful my body feels right now.

So Penticton, I thank you, as I have just been given one of the happiest moments of my life.  You are a gem and will always be.  

Thank you and congratulations to all competitors, volunteers and community supporters of this year’s 2012 Ironman Canada.



  1. What a great speech! So FANTASTIC you are! Super Congrats! Woohoo:)

  2. Wonderful speech - and again super huge congratulations!