A Different Sort of Struggle – The Postponed Ironman

These last few days, the mental struggle has been very real. Those who follow triathlon are probably aware that Ironman Maryland was postponed because of Hurricane Joachim. First of all, kudos to Ironman for being able to reschedule it for two weeks later. That could not have been an easy feat. I am very grateful to be a local triathlete who is still able to participate. It will be my first IM – as readers know – and I am glad it wasn’t outright cancelled. I don’t have the funds or desire to try to plan a trip to Florida or Arizona or Cozumel (even though that would be FANTASTIC) to race in one of the remaining IMs this year.

My heart goes out to the athletes who are unable to return to the race on October 17th. To me, that would be a terrible loss. Months and months of training so hard…I can’t imagine. Advice: You did the work. You were ready to race. Push through and enjoy the benefits. Thank your supporters and the people who have stood by you. And consider the options.

My struggle is different. The taper was fabulous. I was getting rest. Checking off those final long long swims in the pool. Checking off the bike rides. I had a mini bike emergency a week before the race was supposed to happen that was handled fabulously by Handy Bikes DC (shoutout!). Everything was set up and ready to go. My mind, my body, my spirit. I had family and friends flying in to Sherpa. Everyone was so excited for a seriously special day.

Boom – Cancelled. (No one even knew whether it would really be rescheduled or not). Oh no. Now what? At this point in time, I was so glad to have a coach. He was the one who initially broke the news to me. Thank goodness. I would’t have wanted to hear it from anyone else. He was immediately in touch with me regarding our next plan of action. I remained pretty positive with the news until that Friday.

The Friday right before the race was supposed to happen, I was at work and legit had a moment. I had to go into the bathroom and just cry. Everything came out. I wasn’t supposed to be at work. I was supposed to be racking my bike, supposed to be at the expo, feeling the excitement of the race, the athletes, my Sherpas. All of the training, the work, my sister was here, I just was an emotional basket case. I sat on the toilet and literally said out loud as I was sobbing, “What the hell is wrong with you? Pull it together.” I just couldn’t stop crying.

This was maybe because I got my coach’s plan and saw the HUGE workouts to bring me out of taper – and just trying to ramp my mind back into a different mindset. A training mindset again. 10 mile run, 55 mile bike….apparently I just go right into a half Ironman. A 3,400 swim on the docket?! Oh man….I am SOOOOOOOO sick of the pool right now I could barf. And I love swimming outside whenever I can — and now I am stuck in indoor pools that randomly close on me when a small child uses it as a restroom. Bless their hearts, those mini-swimmers…but ugh. When I am in the middle of a huge set….it is really difficult to drive and relocate to a different pool.

The rainy weekend didn’t help. Stuck inside for training sessions. Although I did a brick (thank you Green Lizard for opening early for us so we could bike inside!) with two of my fabulous training partners. That helped immensely. While I love triathlon, I was looking forward to spending some more time with people that I had been neglecting. Another two weekends of getting up at the crack of dawn, losing daylight during the week, everything just got very overwhelming. I love the balance, and I am damn good at it – but I just don’t want to see 4:30 on my alarm clock for a while. Like 2 weeks. That’s all I need.

Luckily my bestie Sherpa was able to change her flight. She is still able to make it for the race 🙂 And I am now starting to gear up for the race again. I have a few more training sessions to check off the list this weekend and I plan to use them for self-reflection and remembering how far I have come. To really focus on my body, listen to what it is saying and just mentally prepare for what is in store next weekend. One of my best friends ran her first marathon last weekend. She fought injuries and battled through. I was so proud. Her and I had had a wonderful discussion earlier in the season about the quote: “Remember why you started.”

She said she saw someone holding a sign that said that and she teared up as she thought of me. I am tearing up right now just thinking about it. That is exactly what I need to do this weekend. Remember why I started. Nothing has changed. So the race changed dates. Big deal. This Ironman was for me. For healing. For reflection. For challenges I never thought possible. None of that has changed.

Have I forgotten why I started? No. But maybe I lost sight for a bit. I plan to use the rest of this weekend (as well as the live KONA STREAM YES – and some other friends racing IM Lou) to re-instill that drive and desire. I have already crushed so many doubts and demons and I just can’t wait to bawl my head off as I finish this race next Saturday.

My life has changed drastically in these past few months. All for the better.

“Remember why you started.” “Remember why you started.”

How could I ever forget?

See you at the finish line on October 17th!