First off, let me say how sorry I am to continue to drag this whole thing out. You all have put up with 3 posts just on the race, and now I'm still here talking about it. Every time I look at the readership of this blog I am shocked that so many of you tune in to read me babble along through these. Thank you! I tried to put in some pictures so at least you have something fun to look at while I mumble along.
These Ironman races are my love...MY LOVE (third to Annie and Troy). I have the pleasure of squeaking out two of them a year and they are two of the most cherished days of the year for me. I often think that maybe one year I'll take a break from Kona, and from doing well at Ironman, and I will just race a ton of them. But to do well at them, you do have to limit them, and so, I get two precious days a year.
That being said, I will replay those two days a year over in my mind the other 363 days of the year. I think about these races, what went well, what didn't, what needs changing, what worked, what didn't work. I try to share some of that on this blog, and some of it is just too raw to throw out there...but I try.
I came into Cozumel on less than sure footing. For several reasons my life has had a few challenges in the past few months and it's manifested itself in different ways. I have felt internal angst, but I have also learned things about my family, my husband, and myself through it.
I arrived in Cozumel ready for a month long nap, both physically and emotionally. I slept a lot those days before the Ironman. I even skipped the practice swim and a bike date with Sarah Piampiano on Saturday to sleep even more. I'm still sad about this. But I was tired, and whooped, and just didn't want to move much.
I laid in bed and just wondered what I was doing with my life and whether doing what I love would be the demise of so many other things I love. I worried about Troy, about my family, about my friends. I train so much, I say "no" so often, and I'm tired when I'm not training. But I love it, and I live it, and Troy loves it, and we get to travel so much more than most.
After the race I left Cozumel full of life and joy. I was on cloud 9 and race day for me was an affirmation that of all the things I do in this world, of all the hats that I wear, besides being a mom and a wife, this Ironman thing is what I love most, and sometimes I feel like it's the only thing I am truly good at. It's funny how that can happen. Race day is supposed to exhaust you, but it was life giving to me.
Emotionally I understand now what happened to me at the finish, but it's taken some time to admit to all this in my head. When we lose control in life, we aim to control other things. Most all people strive to have control in their life, after all, the opposite is uncomfortable. I think triathlon draws in a lot of Type A people because Type Aers like to control things and there are lots of opportunities with three sports and lonely training to be in control. Type A people don't do motocross...to much is beyond control, and too much is high risk.
Setting the 10 hour goal was my way of trying to control my world when I was feeling out of control. Which is quite pathetic because of all the things I could "control" the 10 hour barrier was a lousy choice! Ususally I am the girl who just sets forth the "plan" and then I go about executing, keeping a rational brain about not setting time goals and not getting stuck on things I can't control.
When I came across in over 10 hours there was a huge emotional release. I think that it was my way of lamenting the total loss of control I felt. I can't make people that I love healthy, I can't make people that I adore like me, and I can't pick a number and race to it. In a stupid way, I kinda thought that if I broke 10 the other things in my world would be righted, or that I could at least get a handle on them. Or at the very least that me lacking a handle on them would suddenly not seem so bad.
Like most triathletes, when I struggle in other aspects in life, it's really easy to disappear into the training. Training for an Ironman is a good excuse to stick your head in a hole.
We ultimately don't have control of much. We go out there and we do our best, in life, in sport, in relationships. And sometimes our best falls short of what se set out for. But if we are grounded, willing to learn, to self asses, and if we can still smile, then we haul ourselves out of the medical tent, we walk back and get our deserved medal, we grab a massage and some grub, and we move on. We fall into the arms of those that never leave our side and we go grab a fruity drink.
It may not make a lot of sense to you, but it does to me now, and it's my blog. Ha!
So, if you read this blog to learn something through my mistakes, I will say, let go of the time goals. Work on what you can, and drop the rest. Lose the expectations, not because they are unrealistic, but because having expectations doesn't get you any closer to achieving them. Focus on the hard stuff that no one else will do, be calm when others have angst, rally when others are falling apart.
I say these things not because I do them, not because I have mastered them, but as a reminder to myself. After all, it's my blog... HA!
In terms of this crazy sport called triathlon, I still have much to work on, but when I look at what I asked myself to do, and I look at how much I gave to myself out there, I am really pleased. I am not upset about not going under 10, but I am upset that I set that as a goal in the first place. I am beyond lucky to be able to race these races, I am beyond lucky to have the support that I do. I don't take these days for granted. They are a gift. But I also realize that racing triathlon is most the time, the thing I do to feel in control of my life, my weight, my emotional state, and my health. It may not be the best, but I recognize that it is that for me right now.
I want to give humble thanks to the following:
My husband and daughter: I am both easy and hard to live with. They are both easy and easy to live with. They are the two people in this world that I would lay across a set of railroad tracks for. Thank you with all that I am.
Chuckie: Two years he has put aside his own goals and dreams to train me. Thank you for all that you have done for me, it's been quite the education.
PIC: She really is my sister from another mother...and father. Thank you for being that listening ear, and that woman who really accepts me for me.
Kompetitive Edge: Thank you guys for all the pep talks, and all the gear, and all the support, and all the well wishes. You have become family to me this year.
Quintana Roo: Thank you for the bike! Seriously, I love my little blackjack. My QR loved racing in QR!
Punk Rock Racing: Ron Ron Ron. What can I say? Not only do you provide me with the best t-shirts ever, but with advise and friendship that I really value highly. I call you when I am nervous, and you always calm me down.
TYR: My body thanks you. I have no chafing...except from the gel wrappers I stuck up my shorts. I have the most wonderful training gear. I am so lucky.
Justins: I went through about 40 jars of almond butter this year. Without you, I would be really skinny...and would barely be able to stand up!
Love Grown: I went through 58 bags of your love this year, and had it not been made with love, I would have surely starved to death, and died of a broken heart. Thank you.
Nathan: The best hand held bottles and waist packs anywhere. There was many a run where I would have been left high and dry without your products.
Nuun: The new grape Nuun has single handedly saved me from many a delirious bonk. My body thanks you.
First Endurance: What can I say, the Pre Race has propelled me to new heights, and the Ultragen has been there when I dragged myself up on the porch, kaput from all the training. Your products work. Bottom line.
Josh at Tri-Massage: From the All Sports Recovery Club to Josh's MRT, by body is healthy, happy, and ready for many more years of this. Thank you.
To everyone who reads and my extended family: thank you for coming on the journey with me. From twitter to Facebook, to this blog, to my email and phone, I always get so much support from others. I think about all the close friends I have made the last 5 years and I know that these have been the best years of my life.