One year ago could I have predicted this? No! In November of 2009 I signed up for IM Arizona. I knew it would sell out within 1 hour and registration for all Ironman events open one year in advance. PIC Michelle signed up too. I thought that IMAZ would be my next Ironman.
When I finished IM Canada in August 2009 one of my main thoughts afterwards was "I want to do that again". I didn't have too much time to think in that direction because I headed off to Australia to race ITU Worlds which was two weeks after IM Cananda. Then one week after ITU worlds in Australia I ran the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler in Steamboat Springs, and then I launched into training for Clearwater 70.3 World Championships.
When the dust finally settled I knew I wanted to do more Ironman distance racing. I started towards that goal by signing up for IMAZ. I had also put my name in for the Western States lottery. After finding out I didn't get into Western States, and having hired Chuckie who has oodles of IM experience, I knew I wanted MORE IRONMAN, and was hoping for a side of KONA.
Most of you know how the year went: charity slot into IMCDA ($1100 = youch), which resulted in a Kona slot, which resulted in a fabulous experience and a huge PR of 10:17. So after Kona here I sit...with an entry to IM Arizona, which just happens to be 4.5 weeks away.
Going into Kona, Chuckie and I talked about AZ and we both agreed to wait until after Kona to make a decision. The day after Kona I told Chuckie that I would love to do AZ. He said to wait a week and then decide.
It was imperative that we see how my recovery goes. If I hurt something, or I'm lacking motivation, it would be a sign that my body is pretty taxed and that it's time for a big rest.
One thing Chuckie talks about in reference to Ironman is that you must be willing to "go to the well" during an IM. If you aren't ready to see what's at the bottom of the well, then you aren't ready to race. That was the biggest decision factor for me. I asked myself, "Are you ready to go to the well in AZ like you did in Cananda, and Coeur d'Alene, and Kona? Because I believe that whatever shape I am in, it won't matter, if I'm ready for the pain cave, if I'm ready to face the mirror, then I'm ready to race (Ok...not "whatever" shape I'm in...but you get the picture...being "ready" is both a physical and mental endeavor).
11 days of recovery and I'm very pleased with my progression. All of the soreness has been gone for over a week. The chafing turned to scabs and now is in the "itchy scabs falling off" stage (attractive...yes). The 5 purple toenails have stopped hurting and are now preparing to fall of during some imbarassing moment like swimming masters, or getting a massage. I am left the with fatigue that I can not feel but that Chuckie reassures me is still in there. I'm in the bucket whether I can feel it or not.
The desire I had to race IMAZ that I felt one day after Kona has only grown stronger. It's PIC Michelle's first IM and I definitely want to be on that starting line with her. I love racing the distance, I really do.
Troy (the hubby) and Chuckie (the coach) are both on board with the decision to race IM AZ, and so, with that, the decision is "YES".
It's exciting to think that AZ could be the start of my 2011 season. If I recover well enough and race smart enough I may have a chance at another Kona slot. That would be really really really exciting. I so badly would like to go back to the island and race again (like tomorrow, I would really like to go back tomorrow).
So there you have it, the decision has been made, the flights/hotel/car have been booked. I'm headed to AZ for another dose of swim/bike/run and I couldn't be more jazzed. I think one of the most exciting things about racing AZ (besides watching PIC go through her first IM experience) is that PunkRockRunner is coming out to cheer for me! The reunion of he and I is nothin' but trouble. Not to mention Chuckie V and Mighty Mouse will be there too. Throw in PIC, Sidekick Annie, and Troy (who I call Boo) and you've got a bunch of triathlon junkie goofballs!
I sometimes lay awake at night, twitching under the covers, wondering when the motivation will dip. I don't know, right now I can say that training for these races brings a certain sparkle to my eyes, and racing these races fills me with joy.
I gotta find a way to get back to that island!