I've never seen anybody train for and cross the line at an Ironman, and come out crap on the other side.
This is one of my favorite mantras about the Ironman, and it is so true. You can't go through the crucible of Ironman training and not change, and rarely, so very rarely is that change not a good thing.
Quite by accident, I returned from my thirty minute run just in time for the Ironman World Championships on NBC. I hadn't meant to run hard, but I've been listening to my body, and my body wanted to run hard. The fact that my father's neighborhood is flat here in Mobile did not hurt. The temps were in the fifties, and there was a strong wind blowing. My stepmother, God love her, asked me if I wanted a hoodie or a jacket to run in :-) I laughed and told her that I was running in short sleeves.
As usual, it took me a minute or two to get warmed up, but I managed a 9:17 mile or something like that for the first mile, and after that, it just got better: 8:51, 8:28, and 8:11 for the last half mile. I've never run here before. My reward for being brave was a beautiful view of two different lakes. It was a good run.
These Ironman shows always bring tears to my eyes. The hard work, the dedication, the stories of survival and failure, they bring a connection. I've never been strong enough to hang around the Ironman finish line until midnight. The final hour is especially moving. Around mile 17 at Ironman Arizona, the enormity of my year weighed heavy on me, and I was so ready for all of it be over. Training from January to November, and training the last months alone, had taken its toll.
The second Ironman has been birthed. Things have settled down. The pain, the struggle, the heart ache, they are all distant memories, and only the happy memories, the pride, the joy, the accomplishment rise to the surface now. I know that I will be back. I'm on a three year plan to my toughest Ironman ever, and I want nothing more than for those that have the desire, to share in these things.
Anything is possible...