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Life since Ironman

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I always knew that doing an Ironman wasn’t going to solve every issue in my life but I think with the amount of time spent training, fantasizing about crossing that finish line, it sort of consumes you. It gave me this false sense of security to think that after Ironman I was going to be okay. That as long I cross that finish line I had finally done it. I accomplished what I have always wanted to accomplish. This is true, but where is the fun in that? All I knew was with this post depression Ironman I now had the opportunity to actually stress about other things in my life. These other aspects/versions of myself were now exposed since my identity of trying to reach 140.6 was accomplished. Let me tell you, that really sucked.  I thought, “I am an Ironman, I can’t possibly believe that I am not good enough on these other aspects of my life?”

Finally having time to think about all of my flaws in life really gets to you. I found myself feeling like I was not good enough for school, relationships whether they were family, friendship, or significant. I finally felt the load of moving to a new city, being away from family again, and adjusting to a new work load. The excitement of training for Ironman Wisconsin was over and even though I did cross that finish line, I felt like an imposter in all other versions of myself. 

It was due time for an off season.

I needed to give my body time to recover. This wasn’t just musculature, tendons, bone, but my mind as well. I needed to see Ironman Wisconsin for what it was, an accomplishment although there are so many things I want to improve on that day it is what it is. You can’t change it now. You celebrate those days. I needed to get it in my head that I am proud of myself despite my time, and that I am proud of myself in school, and I am proud of myself in everything else I do. This off season I needed to heal mentally so I could move forward.

First task was to get away from triathlon for a bit. So I did things like lifting, yoga, and rock climbing!

I went on random bike rides and made new friends!

 

I did half marathons with the goal of having fun and working on running form!

 

I got to run slow and enjoy the season change without worry of what my Garmin said my running pace was. I had seriously forgotten what it was like to just run for fun.

 

And of course I drank coffee, but not to stay awake for Ironman training or for school. But just to enjoy myself and maybe even catch a sunrise.

What I realized

is that I have so much more self worth that isn’t revolved around Ironman at all. And frankly, that is a great thing. I needed to understand that Ironman is not my only identity nor is a graduate student, or anything else I am. I could be a little bit of everything and it was OKAY to not be in full training mode. This time off has allowed me to fall in love with running again, as well as have a new found motivation for training again. Off season is a time to rest, reflect on celebrations and mistakes, and plan for what is to come. I am very excited for this next round of Ironman training but I have to remember that it is not my life but an aspect of it and it is not the end all be all of what is to come. I think we can all be a little guilty of being so passionate about something that we obsess over how to get there and when you do it’s like “now what?” You feel a little lost, insecure, and goal-less and that is totally normal. I am very happy with where I am right now and hope the same to anyone else in their Ironman journeys.

 

 

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