Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Triathlon Tuesday - Ironman Florida: The Final Report

You're probably pretty done with hearing me talk about Ironman Florida 2014 (Pre-race report: here; Race report: here), but I wanted to do one last wrap-up to address the question that gets posed to me most often:

Do I feel like I have unfinished business with Ironman since the swim was cancelled and I didn't get to do the "whole" thing?

I can answer that with at a resounding: NO.

I mean, yes.


But kinda, yes.

I think you get the picture.

Would I do another Ironman? Yes. If the opportunity arose and it worked with my family's schedule and it was what I wanted to put a couple hundred of my unspoken-for hours towards? Yes. I would do the race again just so I could get the swim in with it.

But do I feel like I need to do another Ironman race in order to "really" call myself an Ironman? No. I am an Ironman. I would like to perhaps do a full 140.6 someday (hopefully with my friend Megan who started this adventure with me, but was able to race due to injury), but doing that would not make me any more of an Ironman.

The way I see it, I have completed an Ironman, but not 140.6. And for me, honestly, that's enough.

And just FYI, God forbid you try to tell someone who raced IMFL 2014 that they are not a "full" Ironman. We will cut you. True story. Coming up with witty/snarky responses to those who would dare say we are not Ironman has become a favorite past time for some racers.

For me? Whatever. There's validity to both arguments. I still desperately wish I could've done the swim. But honestly, right now there are other things more important in my life than to even consider training for another IM. Like, getting my family relocated to Germany in January (Woot!) or concentrating on my writing feats (Primal Instinct was nominated for a huge award!).

So here it is, my final random collection of thoughts about Ironman in hopes it will help someone else who is considering/training for one:

1. I felt really crappy when I made it back to our rental house after the race. Dizzy, nauseous, exhausted yet not tired... It was ugly -- like having the flu. I tried to eat something (a piece of bread? I can't even remember), took a shower and got in bed. Three hours later I was wide awake, starving. I ate some rice and felt better.  I woke up at 6am (on my own) and made my way to IM Village to buy a finisher's shirt.
2.  I trained WAY TOO HARD for someone whose goal was to just finish. I started specific tri-training 36 weeks before the race. Too much, people! If I was doing it again with the same goals in mind, I would find a 12-16 week plan (but please note, this is NOT a couch-to-Ironman plan. You already need to have base fitness)

3. Yes you can do 95% of your bike training on an indoor trainer. I did, and would do it again. I don't like riding where cars may hit me, so I did most of my training in my living room (but also please note, I also did some specific bike-handling rides where I practiced: turns, opening stuff one-handed, grabbing water bottles from volunteers, etc. Things I would need to do in the race)

4. Doing it over, I would choose a race that was in the spring, not the fall. That would allow me to do most of my bulk training over the winter. I am a cold-weather gal, not hot, when it comes to training. So doing long runs over the summer, near about killed me. Something, ahem... say, around June 28th in Austria would be perfect. (2016... who's in?)

5. I am not one prone towards depression, but I got pretty hard-core depressed for a few days after IM (like sit-in-my-PJs-all-day-and-read-Sherlock-fanfiction depressed). Part of that was because this big event was over, part of it was because we didn't get to do the swim and part of it was because I sold my bike and all my triathlon gear coming home from IMFL.

True story. I posted my "triathlon starter kit" (bike, trainer, garmin, all of it) on a Tri website and some really nice lady (who was training for her first ever Half in Augusta!) bought it. She drove out from Charleston to meet us on I-95, on our way home from Florida. So there I was all sore and mentally exhausted from the race and halfway home I look over in our minivan and MY BIKE IS GONE. I needed to sell it because of our move overseas, and I'm happy that someone was so excited to get it all, but it was pretty jarring for it to be there one minute and gone the next. I think that contributed to my depression.

6. My body was in pretty poor shape for a while after the race -- more than I expected. From that damn bike section, I tell you! IT-band issue that manifested itself on the outside of my knee. Truly painful and lasted so long I thought I was going to have to see a doctor. It finally eased up about three weeks after the race.

So that's it. All my thoughts. If anyone has any questions, I'd be glad to answer them as best I can (post below or go to my full website's contact page to email me). Most of all, I want to encourage the people who are on the fence: Yes, YOU can do this. It's not easy, and for huge chunks of the training it's not even fun. But you can do it.

And so, yeah, I suspect some day I will cross a 140.6 finish line and be like: Okay, now I'm done. But if I don't, I'm fine with that too.