Post Race: Kelly Williamson

Written & Image by: Eileen Swanson

Does your background as a short course athlete who has spent time training at the Olympic Training Center help you in Ironman races such as the World Championships?
Yes, tons did! In fact almost all! I still consider myself a newbie in Ironman racing. As a short course triathlete I raced the best in the world so I know mentally how to race the best in world. During short course races I would fall back on the bike – as swimming and running are my strengths. It was a tough race but at the end of the day I was happy with both my swim and my run. Ultimately racing is racing; short or long course. More racing equals more experience.

Everyone racing in the Ironman World Championships experiences highs and lows throughout race day. How did you get through your lows mentally and physically?
I have a mantra that helps get me through. “No one is forcing you to do this. You choose to be here.” I say this to myself when I am in a low. I draw a lot of support pre-race from family and friends. This support carries over to race day. It is a long day for everyone. I am not a quitter. Everyone has a bad day or low moments in races but I know that in a few minutes I will have a high. If I have a low moment on the run I just grit my teeth and tell myself to put one foot in front of the other. “In the end, it is about knowing that you did all you could to do your best on the day, no stone was unturned.”

What key components do you think age-group athletes should include in their training if they are preparing to compete in Kona for the first time?
Emulate the conditions! Whether it is riding on very hot or windy days make sure you put yourself in the elements and figure out how to handle them before race day. My second piece of advice is practice, practice, practice in open water! Lastly, this sport creates character. Enjoy the day!