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.