One Year Ago
|July 24, 2012||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
365 days ago, I got all kinds of sweaty for 140.6 very special miles.
In the 12 months following my Ironman, I’ve kind of broken up with the sport. I’ve ridden my bike a whopping 3 times and the only reason the pool has seen more of my sweaty face is because pulling with a buoy was the only form of cardio I was permitted to engage in while stuck on crutches with a broken foot.
In the last 52 weeks, I’ve also very gleefully received a refund check from the one 2012 triathlon I signed up for, that was very fortunately (for me) cancelled, and deposited it into the bank account I use to fuel my marathon travel. Emphasis on the word “marathon.”
While 2012 has been delightfully lacking in multisport training, it almost was quite the opposite. In the immediate aftermath of IMLP, while still all high on wetsuit strippers and midnight finish line parties, I very nearly did something very stupid. I came thisclose to signing up for IMCdA. A gaggle of my training friends were all taking the plunge, and it seemed like the right thing to do. The only thing that stopped me from making this terrible decision, was the guilt I felt for neglecting my boyfriend-at-the-time through an Ironman training cycle. After months of planning our relationship around my training and racing needs, I thought it would be unfair to put him through another stretch of embarrassingly early bedtimes, Friday nights spent with my face in a bowl of pasta, and date nights built around my need to wear compression gear at all times.
While I normally embrace my selfishness and resent planning anything around members of the opposite gender, I’m really quite grateful for this one occurrence. While I watched my friends spend the winter and spring gearing up to swim/bike/run through Coeur D’Alene, I never once thought “gee, I really wish I was doing that 100 mile training ride instead of heading to a bottomless brunch right now,” or kicked myself for missing the opportunity to show up for work with goggle indentations three times a week. NOT ONCE. The people are great, the training…less so. Instead, I looked gratefully at my Hokas day after day, and laced up for run after run.
After having my fall marathon season stripped away from me by a broken foot, I resented that 2011 turned into the year of triathlon. Sure, I liked the whole swim/bike/running thing, but I never felt truly comfortable calling myself a “triathlete.” I was a swimmer, turned runner, turned injured runner dabbling in triathlons to stay healthy, turned Ironman trainee because why not challenge my athleticism? But never a triathlete. And when I lost the ability to train and compete, it was running that I missed.
Fast forward a year and I am exceedingly happy with the goals I’m chasing and how I’m spending my days of training. Sure, I still need to figure out if I like trail running, or road running, or long running, or short running, or fast running, or fast long running best, but the bottom line is, I like running and I never hesitate, or feel out of place, calling myself “a runner.”
When chatting with friends who are getting into running or racing, they’ll always say apologetically, “but I don’t think I like marathons that much, I like half marathons.”
My response is always, “okay…so don’t do them. Do halfs.”
Everyone has a happy distance, or a happy sport, or a happy event that makes them feel fulfilled as an athlete. Too often, we get distracted from what that is by the desire to do the same thing our friends are doing, or succumb to the pressure to race something because “everyone is doing it” or because we feel the need to show how awesome we are by constantly one upping a race distance, or each other. This culture seems to be especially noticeable amongst us internet crazed endurance athletes.
Some people’s happy place happens to be the Ironman. And that’s awesome…for them. It’s just not mine.
I don’t for one second regret doing IMLP. It was one of the best and proudest days of my life. Working my ass off for a training cycle, managing the insane lifestyle, and completing every mile of that race was an incredible experience that taught me a lot about myself and my capabilities.
But for now, I’m happy leaving the Ironman phase of my life in 2011 and embracing the fact that one of the many lessons I learned during that time is that I’m just not happiest when I’m training for an Ironman.
I kicked off the celebration of my Ironmaniversary with a 13.1 mile run this morning and I’ll continue the celebration with some more quality time in my hokas later today, because really, I can’t think of a better way to spend July 24th, one year after Lake Placid.