Thank You, Friends, Family and Herbalife, for Supporting My Success in Kona
By Heather Jackson, Professional Triathlete Sponsored by Herbalife
November 25, 2015
When I saw that Herbalife is hosting the #ToYouWithThanks hashtag and campaign that encourages people to express their thanks to one another for helping achieve a wellness or life goal, I felt the need to get involved. After taking fifth place at the GoPro Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, I’m so grateful to all of the people who helped me prepare. The top 10 finish is a huge validation of everything we’ve done. This result was beyond anything I could have imagined. No, I didn’t win. I was not even top three … but fifth place for me was way beyond my goal of earning a top 10 finish, so that was like a “victory” to me. I fully attribute it to the incredible team around me that supports me.
Thank you to my friends and family and fans for all the notes of motivation, inspiration, and support that kept me going each day. As I mentioned in this video about the race, my overall goal is to win, so everything from here on forward is getting me to that finish line first.
This was my biggest race of the year – the World Championships. It had taken me two years – including two months out for injury, coming back from the injury, and then three Ironman races to qualify just to make it to the start line of Kona. This was the race I had planned my whole season around, so I wanted to give everything I had.
I dedicate my performance in Kona to my husband, Wattie, without whom my race would not have gone as it did. I am also grateful to Herbalife for the custom-painted helmet.
Kona is probably the biggest week in long-distance triathlon in terms of athletes being in the same place with all of their sponsors and so it’s usually the time most want to capitalize on doing videos or photo shoots. Unfortunately, it’s also the week athletes shouldn’t be out in the sun and on their feet all day. Thank you to Herbalife who sent a video crew two weeks prior to Kona to do some filming.
— Heather Jackson (@hjacksonracing) November 3, 2015
And thank you to all of my other sponsors for keeping things to early in the week and so brief. I’m truly grateful and it contributed to race day more than you might realize.
Wattie was supporting me throughout my training, carrying three bottles of Herbalife24® CR7 Drive in his jersey and three on his bike during miles and miles of training in Tucson, Arizona before the race. “Are you drinking enough?” he would ask while handing me bottles at exactly every mile during my long 20+ mile training runs. The training in Tucson is hard. It was in the 100s for most of the three weeks prior to Kona, the winds blow from all directions, the roads are rough and bumpy and not forgiving near the end of 120-mile rides. The training got me ready physically for Kona and I am grateful for that. All of the other little things were taken care of here as well, little things that added up to an incredible Kona 2015 journey for me.
The whole bike ride, I just drank and drank and drank. I started out with five bottles total of Herbalife24® CR7 Drive – two on my Cannondale frame, one in my Speedfil front bottle, and two bottles in my Wattie Ink Aero jersey (one of the main reasons I have switched to a jersey for full distance racing). I was through two bottles of Herbalife before the first aid station, so I could toss the two bottles from my jersey pockets. The rest of the bike, I would grab as many bottles as I could at each aid station, getting in approximately two bottles of electrolytes an hour and using the water only bottles to keep myself drenched and cool the whole day. I took in my salt and a few gels and just kept drinking. This is what I had practiced in all of my long training rides.
But I walk away from my Kona 2015 journey with many lessons learned of what worked, where I need to focus, and even more motivation to improve in the upcoming years. I think about all the little things that went into my preparation. I went into Kona ready and knowing and believing I had done everything I possibly could have to prepare for that race. I had absolutely no excuses or anything we could have done differently or better. It was just up to me to execute to my physical capability and put it all together on race day, just like it was another training day with the same gear and equipment I use everyday. This was only possible because of the team around me and, to them, I am so grateful.
Another thank you, again, to my incredible sponsors for making this possible … for supporting me in the best possible way and believing in me as an athlete. I feel truly grateful not only for your support as a sponsor, but just as much for your support as friends. Thank you to all of you who were there on race day and to those who sent texts or emails of good luck.
Thank you to the people who deal with me on a daily basis 🙂 Wattie, you make this journey possible and I could never thank you enough for that. I love you so much. To my friend and Coach, Cliff English – thank you for everything Cliff. It has been quite a journey and I know there’s a lot more to come. To my friend and doctor, Peter Leavitt – thanks Pete for all your support and belief in me … for always keeping me healthy and for dealing with my nonstop text questions about the slightest cough or sniffle … 🙂 To my Mom and Dad – I love you. Thank you for being there for me on race day and always. I apologize for not naming everyone here … Thank you all for being out there cheering like crazy! Even if I didn’t acknowledge it at the time, I heard you!
To my fans, supporters, followers from near and far – thank you for your continued support and following of my triathlon journey! I am truly grateful for all of the friends I meet each and every race and am humbled at the messages of love and support I receive. Thank you all so much.
Through proper training and nutrition, see how
Heather prepared for Kona.