Determined sailor conquers Whistler Ironman

Petty Officer First Class Kim Chaisson

Petty Officer First Class Kim Chaisson

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A sailor with Regional Cadets Support Unit Pacific gave herself a confidence boosting, early 50th birthday present by completing her first Ironman Race.

It took Petty Officer First Class Kim Chaisson from dawn to dusk to complete the gruelling Ironman Canada course at Whistler on July 29 during in an energy-sapping heatwave.

She finished near the bottom in a field of 1,191 racers but says she was proud of her perseverance to complete the race course that involves 3.8 kilometres of open-water swimming, 180 km of cycling and a 42 km of running.

“When I crossed the finish line I thought to myself, I can’t believe it’s finished. I did it, it made me feel better than graduating college,” said PO1 Chaisson. “It was a great 50th birthday present to give to myself.”

PO1 Chaisson finished in 1,148th place, with a time of 16:47:05. A range of emotions, from relief to jubilation, swept over her as she crossed the finish line in the darkness of late evening.

“Conquering the course was an internal battle and a process because throughout the race my mind was constantly working to shut my body down,” said PO1 Chaisson. “As the race continued, I continually asked myself: Why are you doing this and can’t I just stop and walk for a little while?”

At several points she did take a break to walk or get off her bike to rest and rehydrate at one of the designated rest stops, but says she was determined not to quit.

“I was thinking to myself, how you are going to feel tomorrow if you don’t get this check in the box as one of your life’s accomplishments. I needed to get it done, so throughout the race I was constantly thinking about conserving my energy and not succumbing to the heat.”

She relied on the encouragement of friends, family and co-workers at the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific) throughout her journey to compete in the race.

She noted her husband Paul (Taylor), an avid cyclist, took on the lion’s share of chores and responsibilities around the house for the past year which led her to properly train for the event.

She joined Frontrunners over a decade ago, starting with a 10k run clinic, which lead to her first triathlon called the Sooke Sprint Triathlon in 2007. Since then, PO1 Chaisson has competed in over 65 distance races.

Despite being active in many sports as a youth and winning the Female Athlete of the Year in Eighth Grade she would gradually drift away from sports in her teens and 20s.

She became focussed on the sport of running in her late 30s because she was slightly overweight and feeling lethargic and tired all the time.

“Training for this event and all of the triathlons has helped me build self-esteem, and combat aging while discovering my completive side, along with the added bonus of making new friends because the social network in the triathlon community is very strong,” said PO1 Chaisson.

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