Wednesday, October 19, 2016

You Don't Know What You Got Til It's Gone

Well, this is not the post I expected to write today. Although my posts have been scarce lately, and non-workout recap even more so, I've been planning a few Ironman training wrap-up posts for weeks. Today I had actually planned to do something a little different and talk about the music that has inspired me, motivated me, and kept me going throughout training - my IMNC playlist of sorts (even though music isn't allowed on the course so I'll just be singing the songs in my head rather than listening to them). Something light and fun before delving into my long, thoughtful race plan and my final training post before the big day.

But that's not what I'm writing this morning. Instead, I'm trying to process the 12-hour-old news that Ironman North Carolina will, in fact, not be a full Ironman. Due to flooding in the area from Hurricane Matthew, the bike course has been shortened to 50 miles, making the race total 78.6 miles rather than 140.6. It's not a full Ironman. It's not even close. Ten months of waking up every day with this goal in mind, and it's going to end over 60 miles short. I can't believe it. I don't want to believe it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hokie Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

Oh my gosh I have so much to say about this race but all I really want to say is that it was the BEST race. THE BEST. I was so happy and my heart was so full I thought it might actually burst. It was so much more than I was expecting - because what did I really have to expect from a little ol' half marathon after training for an Ironman for 4 months? - and not in any ways that are quantifiable but it was a rare day for me when numbers truly did not matter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Recent Revelations

On Owning It
A few weeks ago I ran with Christy, who's training for the Richmond Marathon, just a few weeks after I do IMNC. Over a few miles we caught up on life and training, and both reflected that our training cycles have not gone exactly as planned. We talked about our goal races and how we think they'll shape up, and she said something I've been thinking about ever since. She told me she had recently come into a very zen place with her training and racing goals, and had accepted that she hasn't been able to train the way she would have liked and that she isn't sure if she'll get the sub-4 she's been working at for the last several years. 

It took me a while to process that, but after several days, it started to sink in. Although I'm sure that she's battled some conflicting feelings, and maybe even still is, when I listened to her tell me she had accepted whatever race she's given, I believed her. She owned the training that she had done while also owning her shortcomings, and owning whatever comes out of that. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City Race Recap

I signed up for this race way way back before a 2016 Ironman was on my radar. I saw an ad for it sometime right before or right after my first half Ironman in October of last year, the Beach2Battleship half, and something about it jumped out at me. I had never been to AC but from looking at the pictures it looked like it would be a fun venue, and it would give me an excuse to go to New Jersey and hang out with Alyssa. Registration opened at noon on November 1 of last year, and an hour later when I remembered to register nearly half of the spots were already sold out!

After I signed up it was always in the back of my mind, but since it was so far away and I was preoccupied with other races this year (initially, Big Sur, then Ironman North Carolina), it got pushed to the back burner. It honestly didn’t hit me that I was really doing this one until I arrived at packet pickup the day before! I think I tried to avoid thinking about it the week prior because both of my feet started being total assholes and I wasn't sure I could trust either of them.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Nation's Triathlon 2016 Recap

I signed up for this race right after I moved to DC. I had heard of it previously but had never done it, so when I moved here, it seemed like a fun opportunity to do a race in my new city. I got my IMNC group on board and even managed to talk Ben and my brother-in-law into doing it (first tri for both of them)!

There is a sprint and an Olympic distance race, which both run concurrently, and we chose the Olympic. That distance was still pretty light for those of us in Ironman training, but after several long, hard weekends I was looking forward to having a distance a little more familiar to tackle. The others all made their travel plans, and all week we discussed weekend logistics. I was so looking forward to having a weekend with some of my favorite people doing an activity I love in a city I come to love a little more every day.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I'm Here.

Remember when I used to write about feelings and things that were important to me, and how fitness things weren't really fitness things at all because they were so much more than that? I do, and I'm not sure what happened to that blog or when or why it turned into how I swam or rode or ran a million miles (please hear me out and don't just click out because I said "Ironman" for the 40 millionth time this year). My Ironman journey is one I want to share, I just haven't been sure how to do it, or if anyone will even want to come along. I have so many posts floating around in my head that, admittedly, do pertain to Ironman training, but they are so much more than that. They're full of the thoughts and the feelings that I have that relate not just to Ironman training, but to life. They're the types of posts I used to write, the ones that I thought just about anybody could relate to, whether you get your cardio in from ultramarathons or running to the kitchen from the couch during a commercial break. They're the ones that stem from my own personal adventures in fitness but aren't really about fitness. They're about what I'm going through and what it feels like to chase my dreams and to both succeed and fail, the highs and the lows and all the in betweens and what I learned at each step.

To be honest, training for an Ironman has had me wondering where I fit now. I worry that I seem too far removed from the Beginners Club to be relatable, but at the same time all of this stuff is way too freakin' hard for me and I'm in way over my head to be a part of the Real Athletes Club (not that they'd have me anyway). One of the reasons I started this blog was to be yet another voice on the Internet telling anyone who would listen that hey, if I can do this, so can you! "This" being anything you think you absolutely can't do. The only problem with that now is that I don't feel qualified to spread that message anymore, because for the first time since I started turning my can'ts into cans, I found something that I thought I really, actually, might not be able to do. I just didn't feel like I could continue to preach that gospel when I didn't believe it myself anymore. I'm not sure if I ever stopped believing it, or if I just hardened myself to it. I got so frustrated when I struggled, and so afraid of failure, that I stopped letting myself go to those places of, "What if....?" I stopped dreaming of all the things I could do and I stopped writing about them because I just wanted to wall myself off from the possibility that I might have finally bitten off more than I could chew. 

How could I blog about my experiences and share them openly and transparently if I couldn't even be honest with myself about them? Where could I go from there? What should I do? I haven't quite been able to find the words to do this until now, but I think I just....write. Write about my experiences and my struggles and try to make them as real and relatable as possible. I still have workout recaps and race recaps to write, and I do want to write them because I have some irrational fear that future me will be really upset with past me if I don't (although present you would be just fine if I didn't, I'm sure), but right now I just want to share what's on my heart and what's really going on.

I've honestly felt like I've lost myself over these last 17 weeks. I have no idea who I am outside of Ironman training anymore (which I realize sounds ridiculous - it's been 3 months for crying out loud), but I also haven't really felt like myself since I've been in Ironman training. I've completely lost sight of where I started and why and how I got here and why I wanted to be here in the first place.

Maybe it's just that literally all of my energy - physical, emotional, mental - has gone into training over the last few months, but I honestly haven't even had the emotional capacity to feel what this training and achieving this goal mean to me - or what it meant to me when I signed up, anyway. I have been going through the motions and while that's gotten me to a place where I feel physically ready to tackle this (some days, anyway...other days I think about all the miles I haven't covered in training but maybe should have and I just want to puke), I would be remiss if I didn't take some time I wasn't ready to do it before now, and I'm not sure what's changed - possibly the fact that I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and I can feel the days left slipping away - but I'm ready now. I'm ready to explore what this really means to me, to open myself to reflecting on the good and the bad that has gotten me here, to being vulnerable again and sharing that vulnerability and telling you I am really, really scared and I have no idea what on earth made me ever think I could be an Ironman but that I am also so excited and so ready and so full of hope despite all my fears. I'm ready to come out of the fog I've been in and start to dig through the feelings and clearing out the emotional baggage swimming around in my head and my heart. I'm just ready to feel what endurance sports mean to me in the first place and to tell you all the things they teach me because it's about so much more than just swimming, biking, and running. I'm ready to embrace this as the life-changing journey it is and should be. 

That's all I wanted to say today. That I'm here. I'm really here. For the first time in months, I am really here.