They Say Ironman Kona Changes You, and Now I Understand!
October 6th, 2022, Scott Jessen (Head of Product here at Tennant Products) and I landed on the Big Island of Hawaii, an island 2,000 miles from the nearest land mass and also happens to be one of the world’s most active volcanos—literally a fiery rock in the middle of the ocean (basically nowhere)—and for this week, held over 5600 of the world’s fittest and strongest endurance athletes on the planet.
The island was abuzz, with runners and cyclists ant-trailing the long stretches of the Queen Ka'ahumanu Hwy during the days leading up to the Ironman World Championship. Lava fields on either side of the road, wind blowing from the deep blue ocean on one side and the volcano covered in rain clouds on the other. It was glorious.
The temperature is typically mid 80’s; but the lava creates heat, and without the wind, can raise the temperature double digits. While Scott and I went out to scope the course on our bikes, it was 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but the ambient temp from the road was 103!
The race is a 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 miles on the bike, and a full marathon run. Not only that, this island had a mind of its own and would offer these supreme human athletes the challenge of their lives.
Ironman for Men & for Women
This was the first time Ironman had two separate race days, one for women and the other for men. This allowed more women to qualify and for more airtime for their race. Women’s sports often don’t get the same airtime as men’s and yet can be just as exciting to watch. Ironman is looking to level the gender gap with two race days and awards men and women equal winnings. It was exceptionally good to have more time for women this year with an incredibly exciting women’s race.
Tears & Cheers for First Mom to Win & First from the USA since ’95!
For the first time since 1995, the Women’s Ironman World Champion was from the USA. AND she is the first mother to win. Chelsea Sodera @ChelseaSodaro is 33 years old, and this was her first time to Kona. This rookie swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran a full marathon in 8 hours, 33 minutes, and 46 seconds!
Watching Chelsea cross the finish line and run right into her husband’s arms, I found myself crying like the other women around me. Her husband was holding their infant daughter, and I heard myself gasp “OMG! She must’ve been training when she was pregnant!” Incredible, I thought...and was reminded just how miraculous the human body is. Read more about Chelsea’s win.
Men Making History Too
The men’s race was another exciting day. Gustav Iden set a new course record completing the race in 7 hours, 40 minutes and 24 seconds. Amazingly, the first four men all finished faster than the last record. Unbelievable to watch! Read more about the race.
Real Stories from Working the Finish Line
As race volunteers, Scott and I spent several hours helping exhausted, sweaty, chest-heaving athletes come back to reality after they’d crossed the finish line. Our job was to assess if they needed medical attention, get their brains working again, and keep them moving. When you cross a finish line after an Ironman, you often aren’t walking straight and may not even know your name—even if you are okay health wise.
Helping the night of the men's race, Scott and I heard stories from men from all over the world. They were all ages, shapes and sizes. The youngest was 20 and the oldest was 82! Many had completed multiple Ironman races and overcame significant physical challenges. Some had heart issues, others lost hundreds of pounds or survived cancer. A few even lost a leg or even two! Yet here they were proving to themselves that they could overcome at the greatest level. It was really quite moving to get a view into their lives.
Ironman Kona Changed Me
As many of you know, I’ve tried to be active my whole life. I love to hike, cycle, ski, kayak, and more. You also may know that my health has really challenged me at times, even stopping me from doing the things that I love. So, for me to see Chelsea win, watch the men set new records, and talk to athletes one-on-one when they came off the finish line, it was inspiring to know that the human body is far more capable than we think. And here’s the kicker—what we THINK is what matters most.
I spoke with Ironman legends Mark Allen (6X World Champ), Michellie Jones (World Champ and Olympic Sliver Medalist), and Julie Moss (famous crawl across the finish line) about what went through their minds when they were doing the race.
Each of them tapped the center of their chest as they told of having something internal, a passion that you must have if you are taking this on; because after you come off the 2.4 mile ocean swim and 112 miles of cycling, you think there is no way my legs are going to run a marathon now...just no way. But you put one foot in front of the other and go a mile and a half and then another and another, and that's it. You are locked in and committed to making progress even if it's hard and uncomfortable. Sounds like a life lesson, I thought.
We say that seeing is believing. I saw things this week that I didn’t think possible. Ironman changed my perspective on humans and our lifeforce. I now have a new understanding of “possibility”. At Tennant Products we believe that...
If you give the body what it needs, it WILL heal itself
...and then ANYTHING’S possible!
I hope my sharing gave you a bit of hope and encouragement to rethink what's possible for you. It is my dream that you live well.
Why did Tennant Products go to Ironman?
Dr. Tennant originally created our products to help his patients heal from their health challenges. Each product is designed to help healing at the cellular level. Over time, the idea of healing at the cellular level has reached athletes.
Collegiate and even professional athletes are starting to find that Dr. Tennant’s nutraceuticals not only help their overall wellness, but also help enhance recovery and performance.
It just so happens that the healing necessary to overcome health challenges has much in common with the healing athletes need. We went to Ironman to learn more about what endurance athletes experience and what they need to recover and perform.
We heal by making new healthy cells, and we need the right materials to build new healthy cells. No one knows this better than Ironman GOAT Mark Allen who is a raving fan of Dr. Tennant’s products.