The high eventually lost momentum. Everyone who had congratulated me for completing the Ironman had already said their ooh’s & ahh’s & they aren’t going to congratulate me again. So what next? I was not ready to dive back into training yet. My body was still recovering – it was telling me that it’s still tired. Or is it? The fatigue could also be a product of lack of physical activity & poor diet. I knew it was the latter but refused to acknowledge that it was a cry for normalcy. Normalcy being the active/healthy lifestyle that was pre-Ironman. I had put on a few more pounds & stopped running shirtless at the park even though it was the middle of a hot 100+ degree summer. (This is something I used to do thru half of the Texas winter). I started to look at myself in the mirror, scrutinizing myself for no longer being in the best shape of my life. IMTX is now too far in the past to justify poor decisions. My need for self improvement was growing and with it, the need for a new purpose.
Being signed up for Oilman (a half iron distance race) was not enough to bring back my drive to inspire & to be inspired. It didn’t help that while I was wanting to make my comeback, I was set back several weeks due to a lupus flare and from having to recover from a PF injury. I spent at least a month doing nothing & watching my friends bounce back from IMTX into full trianing mode for IMAZ. I lost a lot of running endurance during that recovery period and became frustrated and angry when I struggled to run an easy 3 miles with HR at anything less than zone 4. Meanwhile my friends were out running 16 miles on a weekday after work & going on century rides like it was just a recovery spin. The Ironman status seemed unattainable & my friends superhuman. After 4.5 months post-IMTX, I finally broke down & cried. Hello to a delayed onset of the Post-Ironman Blues! I was desperate for a plan for self improvement once again. Having nothing to work for & having no direction was becoming unbearable. Life outside of training was also too perfect. I was happy & ironically, part of the frustration is because I don’t know how to be happy…. not yet. Still working on it lol. Anyway, the wake up call came soon after this episode to finally set things in motion.
The swim was canceled at the 5i50 Olympic Tri in Galveston due to rough weather conditions. I was actually happy, which sort of stung my conscience because that is not like me. Since when was I ever afraid of a triathlon swim? It is the swim more than any other leg of the race that brings me to life. I realized how much I miss that. The bike leg was a brutal challenge once we hit the turnaround, having to push thru the strong headwind & crosswinds all the way back. It was then that I knew I still have the grit & determination for the sport. I wasn’t that far out of practice on the bike, though that was not the case when I started the 6.2 mile run. The last time I had run 6 miles was during Ironman 4.5 months ago, WTF! No wonder I was so miserable! At this point I had only 4 weeks to do something about it before Oilman.
I read Chrissie Wellington’s “A Life Without Limits” book after 5i50. The first chapter described the Ironman experience to the T. As if I had already forgotten, it reminded me of the grandeur of such a feat & I longed for that IM experience again. When Chrissy described her win in Kona in 2011, she described how embracing her fiance at the finish was so different than all the other times she had won. You usually embrace your loved ones or friends at the finish. But that time it was so much more special because he was BOTH. I couldn’t help but think, that’s what I want! I want to do an Ironman WITH Fabrice. The moment at the finish would be so different than this past year when he was there only to spectate. I already repeatedly told everyone that I will not do an Ironman in 2014 and for sure will not do IMTX again, but somehow we came to the conclusion that the solution would be to sign up for IMTX 2014. If we wait beyond 2014, we’d be married & probably making babies so racing together would not be a likely possibility. It would be the same situation for many of our triathlon friends, so this seems to be the last year that the team would be so actively training together. We also heard that Ironman will not be renewing its 5 year contract to hold the race in the Woodlands. So it’s now or never.
I’m happy to announce that this journey to Ironman continues. I now have a tangible & attainable goal to put the Post-Ironman Blues to rest!