Monday, December 30, 2013

The post Ironman blues and a Happy New Year.

As we are about to embark on a new year, there is much to reflect on. As the title suggests, it only seems right to split this blog into 2 sections. The Ironman Blues and a Happy New Year.

Part 1: The post- Ironman blues.

Since that glorious finish line on Nov 17, I've gotten the proverbial question, 'So, what's next'? approximately 1,235 times. I'm sure others that have done an Ironman can relate, as if 140.6 miles isn't enough, there always has to be something more..right?

After the Ironman I thought I was invincible. In the days after I thought I would do a marathon in the coming months and it would be the easiest thing ever. I did, afterall, do a marathon after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike..doing one on it's own would be nothing. I thought about how I couldn't wait for my next 1/2 IM and how it would be a breeze. I was an Ironman and I could do anything!
I promised my coach I would take 2 weeks off which was no doubt, the smart thing to do. I did just that, other than two 5K 'musts'. The Turkey Trot and the Santa Hustle with the Blade Runners. Both turned into 'fun' runs and I posted my slowest 5K times in years. I chalked it up to a tough day, some cold temps and my muscles still needing to recover. I was an Ironman, how could a 5K be that hard?
I got sick, and 2 recovery weeks turned into 3 weeks. And being the holidays, I was continuing to eat everything in sight. Plus some. In the meantime, needing a 'next', I had signed up for the Disney 1/2 marathon on Jan 12...more on that later.

Week 3 came and I was ready. I had my 2014 schedule planned out, I needed to learn to sprint again. There was nationals and worlds and a possible Paralympic Games in a few years. This is what I was supposed to be doing. So, I got on the bike, I put my running leg on and I started again. Only something was different. My legs said no. Spinning my legs on a bike seemed like the hardest thing ever, trying to run a 12m mile for 3 straight miles was a daunting task. Everything from my hip flexor down flat out said no, when I tried to make it do anything. People told me it was that time of year, or my muscles still hadn't recovered or give it time. So I kept at it and gave it time. 6 weeks it's been, and without many changes it's been frustrating to say the least. The most damaging part about it is, I have stopped enjoying the workouts. I pride myself on racing and competing becasue I enjoy it. If that ever stopped, I was going to need to re-evaluate my goals in life. Maybe it's not the nationals and the worlds, but it's traveling, or spending more time with old friends, coaching, or doing something different to re-invigorate the joy and the challenge in all of this. I've dabbled in the thought of a year off and then force myself back on the bike, or back on the road on another workout becasue I think that's what I'm 'supposed' to do. And that time really will make it all better.

So, what's next? Your guess is as good as mine. I'm sure I'll continue on in hopes that it does get better. There are some big goals at stake but goals can and do change. The questions of why it's taking this long to recover, when will I enjoy it again and if my running days are over will remain. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get rid of these post- Ironman blues, feel free to pipe in. In the meantime, maybe I'll just go climb a mountain. Or swim the English Channel. Or something cool like that.

In 2 weeks, Brian and I are once again registered for the Disney 1/2 marathon with Achilles. As you can imagine,  my training has been sub-par and for the first time ever, I am thinking of backing out. To save both the physical and the mental pain of what 13.1 miles might do. What I thought would be a breeze 6 weeks ago, is turning into a daunting event. As a woman always after the next PR, I need to conclude that this will not be my fastest race and maybe I should stop and take some pictures with Cinderella and Goofy along the way. If only I had more time, because time fixes everything right?

Part 2: A Happy New Year

Ok, I'm done being a debbie downer. 2014 is a day away and I can look back on 2013 and say it's been one heck of a year. From winning races and loosing races, from the Pledge of Allegiance at 'W''s library opening, to seeing a best friend get married, to PR's, to the ever thriving Dare2tri, new babies,
to the sights of Paris, and London, becoming an Ironman, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, new friendships, enjoying my healthy, lovely family and boyfriend, throwing endless tennis balls to Jake, and most importantly, living. It's been a good year and it will be tough to top. Below are some of my favorite pictures of the year to reflect back on.

Tomorrow night I will raise my glass with you to another year. So here's to another good one, to doing whatever it is that makes us happy and to living and enjoying this great country we all live in. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. Life is good.