As I write this, there are some athletes who have already crossed the finish line, the speedy ones who have put 140.6 miles behind them and have officially earned the title of “Ironman”. More athletes are still out on the course — on the run course, by this time of night — gutting it out for the 15 or 16 hour finish, or maybe just wanting nothing more than to get in under the 17 hour time limit.
I was supposed to be one of those people out there today. Well, at least I paid my money to be one of those people out there. And, instead, here I am, writing a blog post (and yes – and a long overdue blog post, at that).
Obviously, Ironman Wisconsin (affectionately known as IMMoo) didn’t make my race schedule. I really wanted to give it a go, wanted to be able to hear those words: “Laura, you are an IRONMAN!”, but it all came down to me not being able to commit to the overwhelming amount of training.
Way back in March or so, my IM dreams started out on a rocky note: I spent a few weeks trying to put in the 8 hours of training that was the starting point of the most basic IM training plan out there. And you know what? I wasn’t even able to do that. I made excuses — some legitimate, some not so much legitimate — and I skipped sessions and failed to have the desire to rearrange my life to accommodate swimming, biking and running.
My main issue? Even before all the hours of training a week, I was always tired. By the time I stepped back in the house after work (and that was 12 hours, usually, because of my commute), what I wanted most was to nap.
And my mood and attitude closely follows the amount of sleep I get. I’m an 8-hours a night kind of girl, and during the week I was lucky to be averaging 6 hours. And funny how being chronically sleep-deprived impacts everything from the ability to make decisions to having the motivation to go out and sweat and follow a training plan.
The other deciding factor was the realization that I’m much more social than I ever imagined. Whodda thunk it? And the idea of all that solo training? Honestly, it depressed the hell out of me. I knew that I’d have company on some of the longer training bike rides if I wanted, but other than that, I was pretty much on my own. And how much fun would THAT be? When instead I could be strength training at the gym with my trainer? Or out playing softball? Or tennis? Or any of the other things that would fall by the wayside if I were training for an IM?
So, I gave up the dream. Which sounds overly dramatic to me, since in reality it wasn’t a big thing but more of an acknowledgment that this wasn’t something I wanted badly enough or could handle at that point in my life.
And truthfully? As I’ve followed my friends online throughout the day, I’m not at all regretful about not being out there with them. I know in my heart that if I had really tried to push my way through the training, the likelihood for injury or breakdown would have been extremely high. I’m very much at peace knowing that it’s better the way it worked out.
An IM race might be in my future — I haven’t given up the idea completely — but it’s on the back burner for the time being. It seems like every triathlete I know is doing IMWI 2011, and I find myself getting a little caught up in the madness, but know that next year probably isn’t my year either.
So, the upside? Instead of being somewhere in the middle of the marathon, wondering why the hell I had signed up for this insanity, I’m at home, watching Hoarders (which always makes me feel better about the little bit of mess in my house!) and virtually cheering on all my friends while sipping a lovely glass of red Zinfindel. That doesn’t seem like so bad a trade-off, now, does it?
I’ll get there someday, of that I’m pretty sure. It just might end up being a 70th birthday present to myself!