RICHMOND, Va. -- Volcanic activity aside, a trip to Hawaii is a dream for most of us.
Sue DeJesus is going, but she had to do a lot more than just buy a ticket.
DeJesus is a respiratory therapist at Chippenham/Johnston-Willis Hospitals, and is a triathlete. We originally profiled her back in August of 2017. Since then, she has been training and working toward completing a full Ironman Triathlon distance of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon run.
The Texas Ironman event was her very first at the full distances, and she won her age group qualifying her for the Kona World Championships.
"I thought it was going to be harder than it was," DeJesus said. But she was quick to add "Don't get me wrong, it was really hard and I was really tired but I expected it to be harder than it was."
"My coach gave me really good racing strategy."
DeJesus finished the Texas triathlon in 13 hours and 51 minutes and is now the North American Champion for females age 65-69. Impressive regardless of age, but even more so when you consider she didn't even start competing until after she turned 50.
Now, she's got an entourage building to follow her to Kona.
"My son was texting me," DeJesus said. "The very next day he bought his tickets. It was a whole family excitement that this is really happening. We're really going!"
Athletes have to pay their way to Hawaii for the competition. DeJesus has set up a GoFundMe account to help offset the travel and training costs.
She is excited to see the 50th state which she will have to take in outside of her purpose for being there.
"You train so hard just to get there and once the training is in the bank, then you enjoy the venue," DeJesus explained. "During the race itself, you have to focus on executing the plan."
And DeJesus's plan is very simple.
"I want to win" she said. "I want to train to win. Do my best on race day and whatever my best brings I can accept."
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