Colorado Athletes in Kona: Michelle Hildebrand

I started my journey into triathlon 10 years ago through the Team in Training for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Having no real background in endurance sports I was a typical middle of the packer to start and over the years moved from Olympic distance to 70.3 and eventually to Ironman in 2011 at Ironman Wisconsin. After this first one, I fell in love with the longer distance and have raced an Ironman each year since then. This is also the distance I excel at the most since I don’t have much raw speed but can push hard over the long haul.

In 2014, I reached the podium at the inaugural Ironman Boulder but missed Kona by one spot which was unfortunately the same story in 2015 at Wisconsin. Coming that close was heartbreaking but served as great motivation to keep pushing. Last year at Ironman Chattanooga in record heat, all of the cards fell into place and I finally grabbed that elusive slot to Kona. I’ve always been an athlete who loves the heat and a challenging course so lets see how the lava fields compare… hopefully the winds will be kind this year!

Training for Ironmans year after year is not easy while balancing a full time job but I’ve been fortunate to have the support of friends in Rocky Mountain Tri Club and the Tribella team, boyfriend Bill Ludington who has supported me every step of the way and local coach Steve Johnson to push me beyond what I thought was possible.

My journey to Kona has been a long one and it will make my first time on the big island even sweeter! Hopefully I can be an example to other middle of the packers that qualifying for the World Championships is possible with lots of hard work and dedication.

One thought on “Colorado Athletes in Kona: Michelle Hildebrand

  1. Yippee!! Great article. Having been one of Michelle’s training buddies for several years and raced 2 Ironmans with her, I can say that no one works harder than she does and all that hard work, focus and dedication has paid off. BIG TIME! You will racing with the best of the best b/c you ARE one of the best! Love you and will be cheering you all the way from the Grand Canyon! Hugs XOXO ~Kelly

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