“The First 50 Finishers Impress Us. The Final 50 Finishers Inspire Us”
-Random sign seen on the course. Author Unknown.
Do you know what they call the final person to cross the finish line? They call him “Ironman”.
2826 Athletes. 342 DNS/159 DNF/5 DQ.
I usually thought of the Ironman Finish Line as the end of my 4000 mile journey.
Of course, that isn’t true.
It is simply the culmination of this part of my lifelong journey towards better health and fitness.
But it is an incredibly important milestone. One I have dreamed about for over two years, obsessed about for over a year, and has been the focal point of my day to day existence for the past 30 weeks.
That portion of the journey is behind me, and it is time to look forward again.
I had frequently heard about what some refer to as “PIDS” (Post Ironman Depression Syndrome), and I have to admit that I feel a little lost without this goal in front of me.
Despite this, I am never doing a full Ironman again. I am very comfortable with that decision, and it will not change.
That said, I am very glad that I did it. But the training is far too disruptive to my work and family life. All balence is lost, and I need to get that back.
I considered walking away from triathlon completely (I was getting very burnt out during the peak training weeks), but I don’t want to do that either. I simply don’t enjoy the 6-8 hour bike rides. I dreaded and eventually hated my long bike day. I doubt that I will ever do a century ride ever again. If I can limit my rides to 2-3 hours, I will likely find my love of cycling once more.
I considered limiting myself to sprints next season since I really enjoy them. But I will likely end up with a more balenced schedule next year. I hope to sign up for the Rev3 Wisconsin Dells Half as my big race (if it is still around next season). I will also participate in the Lifetime Fitness MPLS Olympic distance, and then a few sprints. Training for a 70.3 means a lot of 2-3 hour rides (with a couple of 4 hour rides), all of which will be far more enjoyable, manageable and less disruptive. It also means that I can limit my swim sessions to an hour or less.
For now, triathlon season is over. The weather has already started turning cold. I might get one more 30 mile ride (just for fun) before putting the bike on the trainer for the winter. For the next several months, spinning and swimming will be for cross-training and nothing more. I picture doing one or the other (not both) each week until I start 70.3 training.
Running is another matter. The fall running season is just starting, and I am excited to have a run-centric training plan for awhile.
Knowing that it would be easy to land on the couch and stay there after IMOO, I deliberately loaded up my post Ironman calendar with several events. So far, I have the following lined up:
October 4-5: Twin Cities “Loony Challenge” (5k, 10k, 10 mile)
October 25: Monster Dash Half-Marathon
November 22-23: Route 66 Marathon Weekend (Full Marathon, 5k and 1 mile fun run)
January 1: Polar Dash 10k
January 17-18: Houston Marathon and 5k
Next year will also include the Pittsburg Marathon, and I will throw my name into a few lotteries hoping to get into NYC marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, or Chicago Marathon in the fall.
I will also run my first Ultramarathon. I did a 50k training run leading up to IMOO, so I know that I can do it. It would be nice to do an official event to get it off the bucket list. I will likely do the FANS 12/24 hour race. It is a local event with a 2.2 mile loop (trail, but pretty flat). Basically, they just measure how far you have traveled in the permitted 12 or 24 hours. I could easily just stop at 50k, but I will likely just keep going to see what I am capable of. I do not see myself doing any additional ultras after that. Again, I want balence in my life, and Ultramarathon training would likely disrupt that balance.
Then, there is the question of this blog.
The whole point of this blog was to document my 30 week journey. It was a journey that had a clearly defined start, middle , and ending. That journey is over. I have already discontinued the “Flashback Fridays” (since that story has been told), and I see no need to continue such a meticulous training journal. The blog has been fun, but has really taken up far too much of my remaining free time. It is a wonderful document for me and I will likely get it printed as a personal souvenir of my journey. I considered ending the blog here, but decided against that as well. This seems like a great venue to post my future race reports, and I will continue to do so. Otherwise, I do not plan any further regular updates. This will be my final post before going on hiatus. I am flattered by the number of people that chose to follow me on this journey. I hope that this blog was useful to some of you whose journey has mirrored mine, or for those thinking about doing their own Ironman journey.
But it is time to move on. There may be one final epilogue (I am considering getting an M-dot tattoo).
Thank you all for reading and for all of your support. You have all helped me (in more ways then I can count) to complete this journey…