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The Power of a Dream 

 March 8, 2022

By  Vicky McGrath

I’m going to tell you something that might be difficult to believe. In 1999, my fiancée and I went to Hawaii to get married – specifically so I could watch the Ironman World Championship (IMWC) triathlon in Kona. The race is held each October and we planned to watch the race before flying to Maui where we’d get married.  I was super excited because the top man and woman professional athletes were both Canadian.

When we arrived in Kona the day before the race, we walked onto the pier where the bikes were all racked in preparation for the race the next day. Nervous and excited athletes were all around us, looking fit and healthy. I looked out over the swim course, marked by a series of buoys into the distance and saw a sea turtle swimming below. On race day, we lined up on the sea wall with hundreds of others for the swim start and we watched athletes for fourteen hours swim, bike and run 140 miles across the Kona landscape. I can still see every place we stood, clapping and cheering on each athlete as they passed by. It was amazing to be in the crowd throughout the day and the atmosphere at the finishing chute was electric, hearing each athlete’s name announced as they finished. Watching the race was magical and I vowed I would do the race myself, even if it meant outliving my competition!

Now, I had only started running about five years before that, to try to lose weight. I had done a couple half marathons and one marathon the year before, but I hadn’t done any triathlons at that point.  And, if you don’t know, the race in Kona is the Big Kahuna, the holy grail, the race every triathlete aspires to complete. My dream was pretty big!

Normally, to participate, a triathlete would have to qualify for the IMWC by completing another Ironman race with a competitive time. It is super exclusive and only the highest-performing athletes qualify in this way. So, to allow for the “average triathlete” to have a chance to participate in the race as well, the IMWC has several charity options and lotteries that you can enter your name into each year, in hopes of gaining entrance to the race. So, I entered every contest, lottery or event that I could, hoping to get a spot in the race. I didn’t wait and wish my dream would come true. I started participating in triathlon in 2000 with my friends on a twenty-year-old mountain bike. I raced my first Ironman in Wisconsin in 2002, my second in Florida in 2003. In 2006, I crashed my bike during a long training ride in preparation for Ironman Canada in British Columbia, when I broke some ribs and punctured my lung so I had to defer that race to 2007 but I took action, every year that I could. Even in the middle of COVID-19.

I began a gratitude practice in 2021, writing out each morning how grateful I was to be qualified for the IMWC and for the friends and family who joined me on my trip to Hawaii. In addition, I’d feel grateful, so grateful to be completing the race. 

I also began visualizing myself completing the race.  I saw, heard and felt what it would be like, like a movie in my mind, in infinite detail. For example, In Hawaii there’s a bird that has a specific call and I hear it in each of my visualization sessions. I heard the breeze in the trees, the waves on the shore, I smelled the moist, salty ocean air. I saw my family and friends at key locations along the race route, cheering me on. Since I’d been there and knew how the race is set up, I visualized myself checking in my bike and hanging up my transition bag, starting the swim in the ocean with dolphins swimming around me, riding my bike through the lava fields, seeing the ocean on one side of the bike course on the way out and the other side on the way back to the run transition, running in the dark and running through the finishing chute on Alii drive with the announcer saying “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”.

And can you believe it? My dream arrived! I was given a spot in the 2022 IMWC. I was ecstatic!

This is the power of a goal/dream and visualization. You have the power to achieve any dream you have in this life. It’s never too late and you’re never too old. But you’d better be prepared to say yes when it arrives!

Have you started creating your dream come true life? I’d love to hear your comments. If you’d like to work with me to learn more about how you can make your dreams come true, book a call with me today!

Vicky McGrath


Vicky is a professional speaker with over thirty years of speaking experience across North America. Vicky will lead your team, virtually or in person, through her engaging, empowering formula to develop: a success mindset, intuitive sales success and goal setting for success.

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