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I Quit. Yes, Really. Maybe…

A few hours ago, I emailed Coach Monster and told him, “I quit.”  And not the workout, not the weekend’s workouts… but triathlon.

I just experienced an Ironman training week. And I didn’t like it.  And it’s not even close to “as bad as it will get.”

Running: 32 Miles
Swimming: 12,000 meters
Biking: 100 miles


In this episode of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…”

Sunday was a half marathon.
Monday was a 3600 meter swim.
Tuesday was a 25 mile bike plus strength.
Wednesday was another 3800 meter swim, plus 5 mile run.
Thursday was recovery (thank God).
Friday was a Monster spin class plus 3 mile run (plus a core workout where he (the Monster) proceeded to beat me in the abs with a foam roller while I did v-ups.  That was not on the planned schedule.)
Saturday was a 3800 meter swim plus 9 mile run.

Today was supposed to be 65 miles on the bike.

My "I haven't earned the 'right' to wear it yet" watch...but the watch I've been wearing for reminder/motivation.

My “I haven’t earned the ‘right’ to wear it yet” watch…but the watch I’ve been wearing for reminder/motivation.

Yesterday, in light of the big workout scheduled, the Saint Expert was taking the kids to Stone Mountain for the day, so I was “free” to make the workout happen.  Saint Expert.  I will call him that until this training is done…  [Raising children takes a village?  No, Ironman training takes a village.]

So, I had a great swim.  Shared a lane with a super fast guy, who also created a huge wake, so it was like open water practice.  I drank a Core Power protein drink on the way home, and got ready for my hilly run, leaving from the house.


Not sponsored… but really a fan of the strawberry light version.

We (fortunately, or unfortunately—-depending on the day) live in a hilly area.

My outside bikes rides are hilly–boasting as much as 2000-3000 feet of elevation gain in a given 40 miler (depending on the route).  Runs are hilly, but not completely unbearable.   I know I need to be working hills with Rev3 Knoxville Half coming up in May, and of course, the big dog—Ironman Couer d’Alene—which is a hill climber’s dream.


Power breakfast on Saturday & Sunday… gluten-free bread made into French toast, crushed almonds, flax oil, honey… of course, coffee.

So I took off running yesterday, and decided to go a new route.  Apparently, this route was uphill…and uphill only (e.g., “uphill both ways” in the South).

But I was really proud of myself.  I watched the miles tick off…. 1, 2, 3… I was getting tired, but my pace was staying good around 11:45, my heartrate in Zone 2.  Then, I kept running on a gradual incline… 4, 5…stopped for a quick potty break at 5.5, then resumed with a big hill around 6.

Only 3 more miles to go… awesome!

And like I had never run before in my life—-I realized that I had made a rookie mistake.  No fuel. I was having such a great run, I forgot my fueling regime.  I usually have some sort of fuel (GU, ShotBlok, or the like every 30-45 minutes). But at 7.5 on the nose, I bonked. My right hamstring cramped up, and I was toast.  I ended up sitting on a curb for awhile, playing on Instagram, and then I hobbled the remaining 2 miles home.


After a boiling hot bath, I felt okay.  Tired, but okay.  I looked on the bright side—it was a strong and great 7.5 miles in the hills.  If I had fueled well, perhaps I wouldn’t have bonked.  Maybe I would have —but overall, I was okay with the run.  It was 9 miles—a few walked— at two hours.

The plan was to go to bed at 9:30 and feel rested for the long ride.  But I got caught up in the “Sex and the City” movie (as if I had never even seen it… ha…), and I ended up in bed at 11:15.  Still, slept until 7, which wasn’t too bad.

Rise and Shine!! Time to ride!


After another power breakfast, I met the Weatherman at Harbins Park.  It was thirty-seven degrees, and I was bundled up.  Not too terribly cold, considering, but the wind… the wind was absolutely horrendous. The Weatherman headed home after 30 miles, which left me with 35 miles to conquer on my own. I was already tired. After the training week I’d had— my legs felt like mush, and I was so wind-beaten.

Instead of doing the 30 mile loop again, I changed it up, and found a hilly (but reasonably less-so) five mile loop to repeat a few times. The downside of this “easier” loop was the wind. It was fierce. I was almost blown off my bike 5 times.  At one point, around Mile 48, I burst into hysterical tears—and thought W.T.F. am I doing?  It was so bitter and windy.  I was pedaling furiously, and going nowhere in the headwinds.  8, 9, 10 miles an hour.

I stopped and called the Expert at Mile 52.

“Tell me that this is worth it.  I don’t think I can do this.  The Ironman race.”

“You just bought plane tickets,” he said. “You have to do this. Finish it up. Or head back to the car. But be safe.”

“Okay. I will.”


I gave in.  And I rode four miles back to the park.

I let the tears roll down my cheeks during the homestretch, the wind was beating the hell out of me–combined with my tears—I was a slobbery, sweating, crying mess. I didn’t have the miles left in my body (or soul) to make it to 65.   This was the hardest, worst bike ride ever.

I pedaled and cried right past a woman doing yard work, who shouted out, “Are you okay?”

I nodded.

Of course, I am okay.  I’m on a bicycle. I have on earmuffs. I’m wearing spandex and crying. My waistband on my pants are SO tight.  I’m wind-burned and we won’t even talk about the shape of the Queen after these last four hours.  Yeah, I’m freaking great.  Let’s have tea. 


“Thanks, but I’m okay,” I shouted back to her, smiling weakly. (It’s not in a Southerner’s nature to respond to a courtesy with only a nod.)

During the ride back, I considered how I would tell Coach Monster that I quit.  Not quit the ride… but that I couldn’t figure out how to make this body, this woman get to Ironman.  That I quit triathlon.  I mean, I almost told him I quit last year, but I came back around.

So I was pretty sure this time… if I was telling the Monster…


Couer d’Alene. Ironman. Triathlon. No. 

I wasn’t sure how to tell him that triathlon was over for me, so I just wrote to him:

“I’m not sure who I think I am, or what delusions I’ve been living under. Ironman? For me? In this body?  No. It’s too much. Thanks for changing my life. But I’m done.  ”

….to be continued?


  • Melanie Bocock

    February 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Sit down with your coach. My opinion is that your plan is extremely aggressive for 8 months out. It’s most important that you get there and finish. Part of getting there and finishing is not getting burned out this early on. I’m 6 weeks out from my first IM and like you have done two 70.3’s. I had to do “burn out” control. I did back to back 20 week plans. 20 week 70.3 plan and then right after that 20 week IM plan. 40 weeks is a really long time. I realize that now and I am not sure I’d do it that way again. Don’t quit! Re-evaluate your plan. 12000 meters a week now?

  • Jessica

    February 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve mostly just lurked around your blog, but I wanted to extend my support to you. I’ve “almost quit” tri so many times: after a nasty bike crash; after getting fed up with swimming at the crack of dawn; after having many a workout plan foiled by family and work obligations. But it’s worth it. Crossing an Ironman finish line is worth all the punishment we inflict upon ourselves. I would normally be in your shoes this time of year, training for an Ironman or a 70.3. But with a young family, a demanding job, and a PhD in the works, I’ve had to forego this season. So please, do this not only for yourself, but for all of us who tri vicariously through you. You CAN do this.

  • katie

    February 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I don’t think you’re really training for IM if you don’t smash face first into a few walls. I know I did……again and again and again. Give yourself credit for actually calling out for help to Expert, Monster, to us. I just withdrew and threw a pity party for a few days. Look at the week you just did. Weeks like this will get you through the race. These weeks are what prepare you for that time in the race when it’s hard and you want to quit. But you’ll be able to think back to your training and how you sucked it up and trained on. I reflected on my training so much during my race. I thought about the workouts I quit out on, how I wished I had been stronger, but how regardless they still got me to race day. You’ll get to race day too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s no shame in taking a couple days off and letting your mind regroup. do what you need to do to get to the next day and to the finish line. You’ve got this!

    • Leslie

      February 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Katie said it beautifully… We’ve all plowed into walls face-on. I had my own bout for most of January. It doesn’t mean it’s over… Step back, be nice to yourself, and try again. Tomorrow is another day, next week is another week. You can do it. Trust us….all of us.

  • Summer B Bailey

    February 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    If its any consolation, I believe everyone feels this way the first go around. Give it a few weeks, watch yourself get stronger, last longer, and beat up that inner critic that says “I can’t”. YOU CAN, YOU WILL! and repeat. =) I know you can do it, just believe…

  • Lisa Serrano

    February 10, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    this post has perfect timing for me!!! I just bonked on a bike ride and I wanted to die! I was alone and it was only 45 miles!! Somehow I underestimated fuel. I felt like I was reaching into a coma the last 5 miles! I only pedaled when required. I hurt bad. then I got to the car, drove to the grocery store and inhaled 1000 calories in near seconds and wanted to puke. Everything suck and I felt like such a disappointment! BUT this too shall pass… we fix our mistakes and carry on! I guarantee I won’t be bonking on the bike at least in the near future! Regroup, then KEEP ON GOING!!! you are a superstar!

  • Sarah F

    February 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Rest up sweet pea….. You’ve got a lot of training ahead of you. You are no where near done. You are having a bad day. And tomorrow is another day. Hang in there. You’ve got this.

  • Lisa Serrano

    February 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I just experience a bonk on the bike with only 45 miles! I felt stupid, disappointed, a failure….but we learn from our mistakes and keep on going! You are an inspiration to us all! Love your journey!

  • Amy

    February 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    So we are training for our first Ironman races on the same day but mine is in France with even more hills. Admittedly not the easiest choice for someone who trains in flat tropical Florida (me). This week was a killer. Fwiw, my volume is less than yours 6200 yds swimming, 23 miles running (no half marathon and 6.5 hours on the bike (my indoor riding is by time not distance). All we can do is give it our all. Keep going. If I can do it you can too.

  • jen erb

    February 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Meredith,
    You are so brave for toughing the rides outside. I wanted t0 tell you I know of 3 guys here, ( already Ironman) training for July Ironmans who are staying indoors on their trainers. Our temps here are about 35 to 40’s and they are not braving it outside. You are so tough to even be out there. Give yourself some more time for the weather to warm up and the rides will be a lot more enjoyable 🙂 I promise. You are awesome! Love ya

  • Jen Ridgley

    February 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Don’t give up. You will have many more days like this in the next few months BUT you will get through this. It took 3 tries for me to get my Ironman finishers medal so I know how this feels. I was pushed into doing my first one when I was just not ready and I paid the price with a DNF. Second tim around it was a mechanical failure. Third time was hot as Hades, puking on the run but I finished that bitch and you will too. It wasn’t just me crossing that finish line it was everyone who trained with me and believed in me from the start. You can and you will do this.

  • Jacky

    February 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Oh darling! Look at how far you’ve come! Look at all you’ve done! Don’t look at the goal but take it a day at a time. You had a long training week besides your jobs and being a mother, which is not little! Also, we’re all entitled to bad days, aren’t we? Think why you started in the first place and how badly you want it. Know that we’re here for you and that you’re pure inspiration to all of us!
    Whichever you decided, I’ll stand by you 😀 Chin up champ!

  • Nikki B

    February 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Hey, Girl…I totally agree with Melanie below…Full IM-ing is a marathon not a sprint!!! I NEVER had that much mileage 4mo out for an IM…and my IM pb is a CdA!!!! You CAN do this (if I can) and you will KILL it 🙂
    Just get your $$ in the bank everyday and it will bear interest!!!!! Pulling for you…

  • Steve Voiles

    February 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    You CAN do it just take a few recovery days and talk to Monster about easing back a little on the training. You’re not trying for fisrt place your goal is to finish with your sanity intact.

  • Suzanne

    February 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD. There are a bunch of us woman between the ages of 30 and 57 in Worcester Massachusetts on a tri team training for our first Sprint and Olympic distances and you are our hero! “YOU GOT THIS” is our motto! And you have got this!

  • andrea

    February 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Get some fuel. Get some rest. Breathe. And then take another look at your training log. Who do you think you are? Someone who just swam 6 miles, biked 55+ miles, and ran 30 miles …in A WEEK!!!! …in THAT BODY!!!! Yes you can! <3

  • Ann Marie

    February 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    It’s ok to have those days….they are very normal. I don’t even really know you but you are such an inspiration to me. I love seeing and reading your posts. I love seeing how active you are with your family. I was just talking about you the other day at the gym. Ironman training is tough and our coach is tough too. But you will be ready…..I promise you that. I’s still on cloud nine when I think of mine and you will do the same. Hang in there sweet lady and keep your head high. I had those days too…they only made you stronger. Big hug!!! Ann Marie

  • Ann

    February 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Hang in there. You can do this. Don’t let one bad day get in your way. You’ve got plenty of time still. The weather will be less brutal as spring gets closer and you’re going to keep getting stronger and fitter. Things will get better and you’re and not a quitter so keep your chin up and keep moving forward. 🙂

  • Rachel K.

    February 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    If I can offer a small encouragement for you to keep going, whatever you choose that to be – but keep going. For all the women who read your words who are too out of shape, too heavy, too injured, too discouraged to do what you do and who take encouragement from your journey. You don’t have to be an Ironman finisher to be an authentic person who helps other, but I know you want to keep going! You have a great life, you have a great family, you have your health and your faith…keep going. Thanks for sharing the journey with us – it really helps!

  • Donna

    February 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I’m gonna sound trite, but days like this are what make you stronger. This is why my coach tells me Race Day is simply your “victory lap” for surviving the training. Training is supposed to hard. It will be hard. If it doesn’t scare the snot out of you and have you thinking, “maybe this isn’t for me?”, then my guess is you’re not doing it right.

    We are all stronger than we know. You are stronger than you know. Keep your eye on the prize and just keep moving forward. 🙂

    Besides, I’m counting on you to make this look like cake, so in 2014 when I’m doing IMFL, I’ll know what I”m in for. LOL

    • Chris

      February 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Donna, this is exactly right! IM day for those of us just participating and not racing for slots is really the victory lap. At least if a good plan is followed it should be.

  • Ed C.

    February 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Hang in there! Last year was my Ironman first and I had days like that. The night I tripped while running in the dark and found myself lying on my back staring are the stars was one of those moments where you wonder if it is worth it. My coach told me early on that the athlete I was today is not the athlete that would be at the start line of Ironman Arizona, and she was right! You too will find yourself so amazingly strong at your race that you will cry because of the path that got you there. I love your blog and look forward to your adventures.

  • alikane

    February 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    SBM!!! You CAN do this! Yes, it isn’t easy, if it was it wouldn’t be an IronMan! There will be great training days (weeks) and 100% crappy ones…these are all steps toward achieving your goal. Talk to The Monster…maybe you need a bit more recovery time before you take the next leap toward achieving your goal! Just Keep Moving Forward!

  • AMT

    February 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    SBM – I just found your site this weekend and I am using you as inspiration to get my running friends convinced that they can tri. Rest up and then get back out there. You are inspiring!!

    • Adriana

      February 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Weeks like the one you had can be overwhelming and put a strain on you. Been there and questioned myself when we’ve had crazy training weeks! Our thoughts can become our own worst nightmare, but don’t let them win! What helps me is to think about how far I’ve come since day one of Tri training! Think of the many things you’ve accomplished so far and don’t lose sight of your goals! Tri training is supposed to be hard. If it were easy, then everyone would do it. Hard is what makes us stronger! Don’t give up, tomorrow will be another day 🙂

  • Cindy Foley

    February 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    How many bad days have you lived through before?? It’s just another bad day…ok, a really bad day. You can’t give up yet. You have a solid base that you’ve built up little by little. You.Can.Do.This!! (And you are actually grateful that you can do this…don’t forget…)

  • Mandi

    February 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    As a good friend and Ironman once told me when I had a horrible training week- ‘sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.’ Sounds like this week wasn’t your week to be a nut. Keep going, you’ve come too far on this journey to step aside.

  • Gina

    February 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Plan a fun day with your family next weekend. Find a movie to snuggle with your kids on the couch to (and take a nap). Then see how you feel.

  • Kdod

    February 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Many of us here in Couer d Alene are using the To Be Iron Fit book and plan in there. There are three to choose from and they are plans that many have used and been successful. It seems like you may be doing too much this far out… is more important to make it to the start line and enjoy the journey to get there……just a thought from a triathlete working mom of three??????

  • Kate

    February 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I was where you are on October 15. I can’t promise you that there will not be a few more weeks like this, but what I can promise you is that surviving days like these make race day a piece of cake. I did my first full just last month, Jan 12 in Key West. In October I called my coach after a week from hell and a ride that I cried the whole way home. “I can’t do this. This is not me, this isn’t my thing. I was so stupid to think that I could do this to myself. I knew that this would take sacrifice, but this isn’t worth it. I’m lonely, and scared, and I can’t do this”

    My coach told me all the things that I tell the athletes that I coach-we all have our ups and down, training is that way so that the race isn’t. you got out there and the next time it will be better. the training is the hardest part.” She said that it would change. It DID! I found myself going from hating everything about myself and the commitment I made to willingly swimming 3200 yards in a hotel pool during a hurricane (9 strokes and turn, 514 lengths) and riding 9 consecutive Sunday afternoons for 6-8 hours on my trainer and never did one of those days in November and December feel like that hellish day in October.

    Be patient with yourself. Let your body catch-up to your ambition. And continue to surround yourself with with all the things that made you know that doing and ironman was something that you wanted.

    I coach all of those “woman between the ages of 30 and 57 in Worcester Massachusetts” and let me assure you that what you are doing keeps each of them motivated everyday. Whether you feel like it or not, you changing your life is inspiring thousands. Keep at it, you are stronger than you know. You’ll find out how strong on race day!

  • Windy Tuttle

    February 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Meredith… Don’t give up.. Every comment on here has validity, but the bottom line, the absolute bottom line, is that this race, this distance, is already living deep inside your core, untwined into the fiber of your being, and it’s for this reason, that you won’t quit. You have inspired thousands of women with your candid wit and stories… You have a full ironman story to write and tell-that’s what’s in your future. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

  • Jen

    February 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    You don’t have to do it today. You only have to do *today* today. Question: Do you have to do such an aggressive training plan? There are plans with less hours/mileage that are perfectly suitable. If you continue at the stress level you’re at now, you won’t make it to the start. But I *know* you can do it – you just need to find the right balance for you. Take a breather and regroup. You’ll be okay.

  • Betsy

    February 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Oh, SBM, hang in there, but remember this is supposed to be FUN! Remember WHY you chose to do this in the first place. If you finish the IM, great. If you don’t, the training itself is an amazing journey that will change your life. Give yourself a fighting chance and make sure you are eating and resting enough and marvel at how far you’ve already come.

  • Colleen Kingery

    February 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Hate to tell you this, but you’ll probably want to quit a bunch of more times between now and IMCdA. It’s just part of Ironman. BUT… you won’t quit because you aren’t a quitter. And when you cross that finish line, you will smile to yourself (through the tears, I’m sure) and say “that’s right… I’m no quitter”! Sending you a big hug!

  • Pam

    February 11, 2013 at 12:40 am

    This is IRONMAN not IRONEASY. Talk to your coach. Trust in the process and as I was always told – training is far worse than race day. Look at the mental accomplishments. Your body will be ready and enough about size. Race day it is mental. This is your mental practice. The reward is only a few short months away. I PrOMIsE you it will be so worth it in the end. Visualize. Believe in yourself and its yours!

  • Mamajo

    February 11, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Oh! honey! I wish I could share a bottle of wine with you. I have no clue about your training plan or what you should or shouldn’t be doing. I have a pretty black boot on my leg that recently replaced a purple cast. I am grumpy and miserable that I can’t just run and every time I come home I see my roadie sitting on the trainer. I have three kids and understand completely about having a saint to watch the children while training. I have sat on curbs as you stated above while my child sat patiently waiting in the stroller or bike trailer. Children don’t care how much I hurt, but every time that has happened my baby has climbed out and given me a hug. That hug meant the world and if I wasn’t on the other side of the country I would hobble over and let you know that you have inspired me, had me in tears and made me laugh to the point of almost peeing my pants. So, whatever you do or don’t do tomorrow or next week I think you are a pretty awesome kick butt person!

  • Emily

    February 11, 2013 at 10:23 am

    SBM…you have so got this. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there will be days like this. I’m currently training for a full marathon followed by a HIM, and I feel your pain, with only half the distance to train for! You are such a role model to me, and so many others, and I find it so helpful to see the reality of how hard triathlon is peek through….cause it is the truth! There is bad with every good, and it’s important to be honest about it. Hang in there girl, you have this, and will continue to be such an inspiration no matter what your decision is. We love you.

  • Virginia

    February 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I read the update today, so I know that you are ok, but please realize that it is ok to want to quit. It is ok to have bad days. You are my idol and an inspiration to me, but if you never had bad days, I’m not sure that you would be. You are REAL…not some super woman. What you are doing is super human, but you are inspirational because you are a real mom doing it! It’s ok to feel down. I’m still proud of you.


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