You know the story.
Girl meets Boy. Girl and Boy get married. And for the first few years, everything is perfect. Then they decide to have Baby. And that’s when everything changes. Baby is tough. Boy and Girl still love each other. But Boy and Girl also want to kill each other.
Oh, and by the way… I’m not actually talking about a marriage here. (Although maybe I am, to some degree. Heh heh. I love my Expert!)
Actually, I’m talking about triathlon.
Let me start over…
Girl meets Boy (Triathlon). Girl loves Triathlon so much. Girl attaches herself completely to Triathlon. She marries Triathlon. Girl and Triathlon are so happy together. But then a few years later, Girl decides that she will have Triathlon’s crazy, cranky, but somehow-still-oh-so-cute baby—-Ironman.
Growing Baby Ironman is warm-fuzzies and precious, but all along the growth process, all the Ironman growing makes Girl very tired.
Months later, Girl finally births Ironman, and while it was worth it…. Girl never wants to have any more Ironman…. Like, ever.
So for a while, Girl and Triathlon and Ironman just kind of survive in the post-Ironman survival mode. Some precious moments with a run here and a bike there, but mostly exhaustion, wine and bad eating habits and trying to console all the chaos from having Ironman.
Then something happens—maybe at 3 months—maybe a 6 months—whenever Ironman settles down and starts acting like an earthling, instead of an alien.
And suddenly…unexpectedly, the love re-appears.
Girl is able to really see and love Triathlon again. And Girl thinks… maybe I WILL have another Ironman one day….
Actually, I’m talking about me.
I am making the declaration that I am pretty sure that my official Ironman burnout is o-v-e-r.
I thought it was over a few times. But I was wrong.
It has taken me FIVE months. Which got me thinking, because five months is exactly how long it took my firstborn Swim Bike Kid to sleep more than 4 hours at a time. (Kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was two years-old, so my analogy kind of breaks down here). The exhaustion, the joy, the pain, the happiness—the parenting roller coaster—-so much like Ironman.)
Which in hindsight, I think it’s why Ironman is so hard. Yes, Ironman is just hard. Duh.
But long-distance racing is an unfamiliar process that involves much crying (me) and whining (everyone else…AND me), and everyone is just so damn glad when it’s over… sometimes the joy of the “why” behind triathlon (as a whole) can be lost.
I had told Coach T-Bone when he started coaching me:”Do NOT put me back on the bike. I do not want to SEE MY BIKE ever (EVER!) again!”
I actually told the Expert several times… “I’m deleting this blog and I am falling off the planet. Maybe I’ll just do yoga. I was so over all of it.”
Coach T-Bone spent many hours with me on the phone, talking through my burnout and external stresses in my life. And he finally said something that clicked:
“Find the reason you loved triathlon in the first place. Get back and there and figure it out. Because going forward without the love….that’s not worth it.”
So I have been looking back on it. And this past weekend with the family at the beach—I ran on the beach three times. Without a workout in my plan—just hit the sand and ran and looked at the ocean and remembered why I loved running, triathlon.
Now… my runs were not easy. (I have gained 20 pounds since Ironman…. Oh, lawdy)… but I was able to remember the WHY behind triathlon (not necessarily, Ironman – that one is still too close. :))
That triathlon meant freedom …and sense of self… and stress release…and joy. All wrapped up into three sports.
And today, I woke up at 5am. And I wanted to get on the bike. And then I wanted to run.
So I did.
And I am happy. Me. Back in love. With Triathlon. We will wait and see if there will be any more Ironman babies in the future.