A lot of people have been asking me what I am going to do after Ironman? What will I do with my free time? What's next?? It's a question I've thought a lot about lately.
I've always imagined training for the Ironman is like pregnancy, the race to the birth and the depression you have afterwards to post-partum. Now, I've still never had a baby or completed an Ironman, so I can't say with certainty how these two compare (feel free to share if you've done both!), but I imagine the highs, lows, exhaustion, excitement and fear are similar.
The big difference between the two is that when you have a baby (and deal with post-partum or not) is that you get to continue to make goals. You now have this bigger (more exhausting) thing to do and take care of. You life now has MORE purpose, not less. However, after the Ironman, I imagine that you go through this depression, this waffling, this "what in the world am I supposed to do today?" thing. My goal is over...now what? and no, I'm not having a baby post-Ironman (mom)
My life has been rigidly scheduled for a year. Every minute of everyday. I rarely go out during the week because I needed to workout, eat healthy, get chores done, save money, and be in bed by 8pm...it's tough to do all that in one night! I sometimes go out on the weekends but I am always home by 9...our dinner reservations were at 5 pm when all the blue hairs eat. I was in bed by 8:30 pm both Friday and Saturday evening this past weekend just to give you insight on my exciting social life.
I can imagine that I will feel a bit lost post-Ironman. I've achieved a level of fitness I never imagined possible, and I won't know what to do with that post-Ironman. I've already signed up for some shorter triathlons for the rest of the summer to keep me semi-focused. I know a month of so of losing focus will be a good thing, but it's just hard for us goal oriented people. I will miss my schedule!!
In honor of being 30 (!) days out, here are 30 things I've learned (or would like to make note of) along the way:
- If I can do it, anyone can. No, seriously.
- Buy shoes regularly and don't skimp.
- If I am biking and yell "on your left", that means I am approaching you from behind, on your left. This typically means that moving to your right is your next move. Go ahead, try it.
- Everyone is fast enough to place in a race. You just have to find a race small enough…or slash the other girls tires.
- You don’t HAVE to do that really hard race, you GET to. The medal is your badge of honor.
- You know it’s been a perfect workout if when you finish that last set of intervals, you COULD do another one, but you don’t.
- We train to race. If there isn’t an ultimate goal in mind, what’s the point? Pick a race, set a goal, make a plan and execute.
- Never wait in line for a port-a-potty. Learn to squat, whip it out, or pee your pants…but don’t waste 5 minutes waiting in line. (I know others will disagree with me on this)
- Always say hello to a passing cyclist or runner. A simple wave is all you need…acknowledge their presence.
- Find your inspiration.
- Spend your time on your weakness, but don’t forget your strength.
- Athletes are not machines – you can’t go full steam ahead every day.
- When running or cycling in a group and you encounter a mad dog, you don’t need to outrun the dog, just the slowest person in the group. This is a lesson in pacing.
- Enjoy the crowd on race day…that’s what makes this different than your training runs.
- Find a group that you trust and enjoy and train with them. They will keep you accountable and make it fun.
- Be aware for your surroundings. If you run in the dark, in the ghetto, alone, with headphones, you are asking for it. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
- Push yourself harder than you ever though possible…just to prove that you can.
- Leave it all on the race course. When you cross that finish line, you should know that you went as hard and as fast as you possibly could.
- Never try anything new on race day – no new clothes, no new food, nothing!
- Run no more than 2 abreast. And that does not mean 2 abreast with 5 feet in between you. That means almost shoulder to shoulder. You’re slow and I can’t get around you when you take up the whole trail.
- I can tell if you are doing fartleks off me, so please pick something else to measure your distance.
- Waking up early never gets easier. Ever. But if you have a goal, it at least seems worth it…most of the time.
- Someone needs to convince races to start giving our finishers SHORTS instead of shirts. I have more shirts than I can shake a stick at.
- If you don’t have the support of your family and friends, you will fail. Surround yourself with people who support you.
- Take the time to do an easy workout with a friend to catch up. You will still burn the calories…and it’s better for you than beer.
- Don’t ever give up. You can finish. You may not win, but you can always finish. Put your mind to it, go for it, get down and break a sweat.
- Listen to the advice of your friends. You don’t have to DO the advice, but it’s always good to hear the opinions.
- Increase your core strength. Not only to get a 6 pack, but it helps prevent injury.
- Cheer for your teammates.
- Don’t die until you cross that finish line.