Katie Arnold didn’t find out she had qualified for the Ironman World Championship triathlon until she was getting fluids pumped into her and regaining consciousness in a Michigan hospital. “I had just kind of collapsed at the end of the race,” says Arnold. “When I woke up at the hospital my friend was telling me that they thought I’d come in first (in her age division) and I didn’t believe them.”
That unexpected victory cleared the way for Arnold, a Columbus native, to participate in the World Championship in Clearwater Florida this November, a position she probably didn’t think she was going to be in a couple of years ago.
Soccer was Arnold’s first love until a fluke knee injury during a high school practice caused her to shy away from contact sports and find a new place to direct her energies. Her original plan was to get a scholarship and maybe try her hand at professional soccer. That injury changed everything. Rather than wallow in frustration and despair, Arnold reacted to her situation like a true warrior and rolled her talents and drive into another sport, arguably the most difficult of them all: triathlons.
“I think I just saw a triathlon on TV or something and thought, ‘I could do that,’” says Arnold. “So I started training and doing half-marathons and working my way up.” Getting ready for a triathlon is a no easy task. Arnold’s training regiment before she qualified was something completely of her own design. Now she’s hired a coach to help her with some areas and trains pretty much every day in the pool, on the bike and running all over the Columbus landscape.
“Motivation isn’t a problem for me,” says Arnold. “I’m an ultra competitive person. It’s just in my nature.”
For more information on the Ironman World Championship go to www.ironman.com/worldchampionship70.3