Ironman Texas Feels

I have lots of feelings about this race. Mostly a mix of overwhelming relief that it’s over, but yet gratitude for a strong finish on one of my toughest race days. I don't feel I have any natural, athletic talent. However, I do pride myself on being mentally strong. I think that’s something that’s been instilled in me from an early age- a drive to never quit, even when everything is breaking down and nothing seems to be going the right way.  My brain just says "Just one more step. Just one more. One day or mile you might not be able to, but right now you CAN." I've found that the point where the body actually fails rarely actually comes. That’s what I love about this sport, and also why it’s so addictive. That’s also the part of me that was tested more than ever at Ironman Texas.

It's not that I had a bad race, or that anything major went wrong. It was more like a series of tiny disappointments mixed with a complete inability to get my head where it needed to be in the days leading up to the race.I know it sounds so crazy, but when I raced Chattanooga, I did it with a smile on my face. It was one of the most fun days of my life and it felt like a party from start to finish. Texas was very opposite of that.

I won’t go into gory details, because they aren’t that interesting or even different from all the other participants out there that day. Those who raced know what it was like - hot day, boring bike course, slug fest swim, stomach pain and cramps on the run, etc. etc. I know that I am so very grateful to God, my training, amazing volunteers, and family and friend support for helping me push through for an overall satisfying time on the clock, when everything was pretty stacked against the possibility of having a good race.

I left Texas feeling like I have nothing left to prove. Sure, I could have shaved a few minutes off the clock if conditions had been better, but I know I raced my best THAT DAY, and I'm quite satisfied with that. 

Unfortunately, great race results aside, I didn't enjoy the day. And when you've trained for five months of early mornings, long weekends, and demanding interval workouts, you want race day to be fun. Because of that, starting with the swim and lasting through to the finish line, I swore up and down I was taking a break from the Ironman distance. That feeling hasn’t changed over the past week. I haven’t felt the urge or excitement at the thought of competing at the Ironman distance in the near future. I do have mixed feelings because I feel that I’ve found something that I not only love, but that I’m good at. I just don't feel the half Ironman distance caters to my strengths like the full Ironman. It’s just MY race. But right now, I feel what’s best for me is to sit back and enjoy life for a bit. I want to remember what it feels like to NOT be Ironman training (I’ve been training for an Ironman since February 2016). For that reason, I’ve scrapped all the tentative plans I had for a packed schedule in 2018. I’ve picked only one 70.3- an “easy” one that I can either take as seriously or make as fun as I want, depending on how I feel these next few months. I’ll do some shorter distance races between now and then. For fun.

By the end of the year, I think I’ll know whether I’m ready to return to distance, or whether I just enjoy jeep rides to nowhere, working in my yard, going to the beach, packing up for an impromptu visit to see family, and swinging in my hammock more.

If you find yourself in a similar position- please feel no shame in sitting back, re-evaluating your goals, and trying to find the spark that made you fall in love with your sport! 


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