Post-Ironman & Triathlon Reflections

Hello everyone!  I never really posted about ironman and on reflections on my 2014 triathlon season in general, but it’s something I had intended to do months ago.   I did have mixed emotions in the months post-ironman.  I didn’t get what some might call the post-ironman blues (I was more than happy to let my body relax and recover for a couple of months), but it did leave a lot of questions in my mind.  After the HUGE feeling of accomplishment and success, what would be next?  I had put years of work into getting to that finish line, so after reaching it, I did feel a bit lost as to what my next big goal would be; should it be triathlon-related, something new, or did I even need a goal?

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Beyond my dreams… But then what?

The post-race high was by far the best and I basked in that glory as long as I could (maybe a couple weeks?).  Though soon enough, reality set back in and the excitement and conversation about the  race subsided.  I was and am still very proud of the accomplishment, but it was less and less a topic of conversation.  As far as my free time went, I certainly had enough going on: a couple of weekend trips, house hunting, and hobbies such as cooking that I was looking forward to again; so I was never bored nor did I feel like I needed to sign up for another long-distance race to fill up my time.  My motivation for racing was just not as strong as it had been prior to ironman.  I still loved training, but wasn’t ready to sign up for another race immediately.  At the same time, I didn’t have anything on the horizon and was kind of in no-man’s land.  I loved the gadget-free workouts and time to workout with friends (and I needed that time to recover mentally and physically), but the change in mindset was an adjustment for me.  I also knew what it felt like to hit my “peak fitness” in April, and now I wasn’t (and still am not) there.  But I’m okay with that for now.  I know I can get there again someday if I want.

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And if I’m totally honest I will say food and eating was a little bit of a challenge in the months post-ironman.  I went from being a food disposal that could never get full during ironman training to eating like a normal person and remembering I didn’t have to eat extra snacks/servings or eat copious amounts of nut butter.  I still love my nut butter but I am trying not to finish the jars too quickly.  It shouldn’t be so difficult, as I should be able to listen to my body/fullness more, but I do love food and I  had mentally conditioned myself to larger portions to get the calories I need and not wake up at night.  Some days I still want to go back to endurance training so I can have that wonderful feeling of exhaustion.  I adored coming home physically spent from a long brick and throwing on my compression gear and refueling, though I know that this is not the only reason I should be training (still, one of my favorite things is a big breakfast or smoothie post-ride, run or swim!).

I also had a lot of people who wondered what my next ironman would be, but I don’t see ironman races as a frequent occurrence in my life.  If and when I do them, they will be calculated and deliberate.   I love my body and it serves me well for endurance efforts, but I feel that it needs time in between long-distances, specifically for the run portion.  I feel marathons are a lot of stress for my hips/knees, and if you’ve ever seen me run you know by my form that I’m not a born runner.  I feel I have to be careful with how many long distance runs I perform over a given time period.  I also very much love my husband, and while he is a number one supporter, a hobby such as ironman has me away from him a lot.  I would venture to say the biggest culprit is the bike, purely due to time required.  It’s just a lot of commitment if you do things right, and if I commit I like to do things right.  I absolutely LOVED my ironman training & race (I feel that Marni prepared me so well and gave me the best balanced plan possible), and I’m not saying I will never do an ironman again, but it just won’t be in anytime too soon!

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Thank you Betty Designs for keeping me fast & fashionable

So since IMTX I had felt a little “off” or not as focused on the triathlon front.  I eventually signed up for an Olympic distance race on Labor Day (with David & some of our friends) which I did some fairly solid yet less volume training for and it was a great success for me.  After finishing it, I knew it was the perfect way to end the season.  I had completed both an ironman and also a shorter distance race in which I finished competitively within my age group, something I had hoped would someday happen.  I had debated signing up for a half ironman in the fall, but it never felt right.  My heart is just not there to train for another endurance event this year.  I don’t think this is a bad thing; I think every athlete needs breaks and time to refocus.  I still love training and will train and enjoy staying fit even if I don’t have a race on the calendar, but I don’t want to sign up for a triathlon because I feel like I have to.

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Where is my heart?  What I do know is I want to spend more time in the pool and to sign up for something different and fun –  maybe a long swim?  Swimming just feels right lately.  I’m not always at my fastest, but there are days where I feel one with the water and it’s like when I first started bike riding: Zen.  The fluidity and ease of the water yet the challenge of the workout are the perfect juxtaposition.   I love starting my day in this happy place, knowing that I’m getting to watch the sun rise from the water.  I also want to explore some creative and expressive hobbies: maybe journaling, yoga/meditation, and art.  Or whatever I yearn for during this extra time on the weekends.  I guess I’ll let my heart be my guide and see where next year takes me.

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Sunrise is my favorite part of the day – fresh beginnings and new adventures

Have you ever had these feelings after a big accomplishment or event?  I have a hard time translating these thoughts to paper.

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6 thoughts on “Post-Ironman & Triathlon Reflections

  1. I like the finished feeling after an event! I was super happy to have finished IMC. I would not usually jump right back into training but I finally got into NYC marathon so I started training again! It has been good so far. But I will be happy to not be training for anything long distance next year! I would agree with the eating too. That is the hardest thing about post-IM is not eating as much as you did a month before!

  2. Yes! I know exactly how you feel as I find myself in that place right now. The body and mind need time to recover after big events.

    I definitely encourage you to try a long swim event. I just completed an open water 5K swim and it was awesome. I really want to start doing more – it is much easier on the body!

    Good luck in whatever you pursue!

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