It has been 61 days since Ironman Lake Placid and I am finally starting to feel normal again.
Here are a few thoughts I have had post race!
Staying active & working out
I have some sort of workout structure again in my life and it feels decent. I have been focusing on workouts that I enjoy and that make me feel good. Mainly 1 hour or less of HIIT and circuit training/conditioning — both with loud music, of course! I have also been enjoying short runs of 6 miles or less, super casual bike rides (10 miles or less) and working out in my home gym just doing whatever. At this point I’m focusing on keeping my body active and moving. I do not want to gain my notorious off-season weight like I have in the past. I feel I am at risk for this with no real races yet on the calendar!
Speaking of races…
I have started eye-balling a few races for 2018. I figured I will do what I have been doing for a few more weeks and then slowly start to reincorporate swim, bike, run again. (I have not swam since Lake Placid!)
I think I have narrowed it down to only doing half Ironman’s next year. (There is a small chance I may aim for Ironman Louisville — but that is highly dependent on how I feel, what else I have going on, budget, etc. etc. But I think that would be my next full, if ever!)
I did just find out that one of my favorite races (and my first ever triathlon) won’t be happening next year. RIP Triathlon Champ Racing in 2018. Their Half Ironman race was listed on my potential list of races for next year and I’m 99% sure I would have raced it had it not been canceled. Their races were iconic in the past five years I have been doing triathlons. Their events have been some of my favorite summer memories. This line reads on their website and it felt surreal:
“We are proud that some of you, who have continued on to the half and full distance races, began your triathlon career with CHAMP racing.”
So I think I am leaning on Ironman 70.3 Muncie and Ironman 70.3 Ohio for 2018. A big contender is that my family is looking to do a vacation in Greece next summer. We have narrowed down the Greece vacation dates to May, June or August. I am voting for August so that my training and racing will be done for the season. May or June might be a terrible time to vacation since that will be peak training time. Although I keep reminding myself that Half Ironman training is WAY easier to still live life and manage than full Ironman training is! I also love July races and the timing of training is good. More to come!
No longer eating like an Ironman athlete
I am no longer burning 10,000+ calories a week. From just the past 2 months post race I can feel that I’ve become a little more “fluffy“. Not fat, but that I am not as lean as I was while training and that I really do need to start balancing what I eat, drink and do. The crazy thing about Ironman training is that you can legit eat all day, everyday and not gain any weight. I really, REALLY miss that, amirite?!
It’s crazy how the Ironman training process actually works
When you stop and think about it, it’s actually amazing. I remember starting off my trainer rides at 1 hour 15 minutes. Then 1 hour 45 minutes and so on and so on. Eventually I was riding for 7+ hours. Same thing with swimming and running. Then you start to build your base with brick workouts on Saturday and then long runs on Sunday (or whatever back-to-back days work for your schedule.) It’s amazing that the body adapts to it and then allows you to cover the distance through all of these combined efforts. Plus — adding in the taper is the icing on the cake. Through all of the marathon training I have done, I can honestly say that I never fully understood what taper was supposed to do until the Ironman taper. I also remember thinking I was actually leaning out even more during tapering. Maybe it was my body finally reacting to the sheer mile volume of training and then the rest phase (like my body finally caught up). People talk about the body being so amazing, especially during pregnancy for a woman, but I am just as amazed at how strong the body is when it comes to Ironman training!!
Sometimes I am still shocked by Ironman
The other night I was reading a memoir from a local runner and she was describing her very first 5K. I thought back to my running journey and my heart skipped a beat when I thought about the Ironman and how I started off with 5Ks too. My whole running and endurance career slowly evolved from barely being able to run 3 miles. I also thought about this one moment, probably 5-6 years ago at this point. It was summer and we were waiting in line for tickets at the Cleveland Zoo. I looked at the people in front of me and there was a really athletic looking couple standing in line. I noticed they each had tattoos of the Ironman symbol on their calves. In that moment I honestly remember feeling not worthy of ever being an Ironman. I think I had just started looking into my first sprint tri and somewhere deep in my heart was the desire to do an Ironman, but I would have never admitted it back then. But I honestly thought that me becoming an Ironman was unattainable. I thought that Ironman was only for the super elite and fast. My heart still skips a beat when I think back to that moment and when I think about crossing the finish line at Lake Placid.
Why do people do it?
It sounds like a poetic piece of literature, but Ironman made me feel alive. I’m not saying I felt like a dead piece of lard before, but Ironman surfaced so many emotions I hadn’t felt in quite a while. It’s easy to get in the same routine, doing the same things, hanging out with the same people. Ironman forced me out of my comfort zone. It helped me make new friends. It helped me do new things. It helped me realize what was important and what wasn’t. It made me feel grateful, lucky and happy. Who wouldn’t want to feel that way?! Ironman helps you realize the big picture. It helps you appreciate that although life is short and small, we can still do great things. Asking people why they do an Ironman is a loaded question. If you have to ask why — you’ll never know 😉
Read more of my post Ironman thoughts here.