Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm an what?

The countdown started at 376 days, though I actually signed up for Ironman a few days before that.  And let's be honest, even signing up was something that I looked forward to and planned for as soon as I made the commitment to myself to do it..  And before that, there were years of thinking about it and wondering if it was possible...this one dream that I'd spend over a year of my life dedicated to, and that would be over in 16 hours, 37 minutes and 39 seconds.  The countdown went from 376 days to 100 days to double digits and then single digits...and then back to double digits... and then all of a sudden, there's no more countdown.  Ironman is over.  Mission accomplished.  But now what?

There are some moments that I have to remind myself that this actually happened.  As I think back to that day, the thought that I did a marathon is mind-blowing.  I was at the race before the sun came up and I didn't finish until hours after the sun went down.  I was awake for 24 hours.  I lost an entire day...but I gained so much more. 

Since then, not one day has passed that I haven't thought about Ironman.  It's weird to think about it in the past tense, free of the stress of cutoff times and anxiety over what to wear and how fast I'll be on the bike.  But that's the problem, past tense.

For the first time in over a year, I don't have any specific goals.  It's a weird feeling when the one thing you've dreamed about for years - literally years - is done.  Over.  Completed.  Past tense.

Will I ever do another Ironman?  I've been saying for awhile that it's going to be one and done.  But in the days and weeks that have followed, I realize that maybe, possibly, that's a journey I'd like to take again.  It won't be the same though.  It won't be my first.  If and when I toe the start line of another one, it will be with the knowledge that I am already an Ironman.  I think that's a big deal.  I also know that if I decide to experience that again, I will need to be faster, and not have to chase cutoff times.  No matter what though, I am taking a few years off from the insanity that is Ironman training.
First run/walk post-Ironman in the lovely fall colors!
So, what then?  Where do I go from here?  What do I focus on?  What do I do now?

I have the Disney half marathon in January, but I am specifically not making any goals for that race.  I am going to have fun.  I signed up for it because a) it's a team race, Jon loves Disney, and who doesn't want a vacation?  and... b) I figured it would give me a reason not to become a complete couch potato after Ironman. 

After that..... who knows.

One thing I know for sure is that I want to give back to the team, as a thank you for all the people who helped me out during my Ironman year.  So there will still be early mornings and long workout days, but it will be done in a different capacity, as a cheerleader or SAG driver or ... something.

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