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Falling in Love Again.

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.

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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….

Sigh.

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.

Finally. Whew.

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.

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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.”

Burnout central.

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.”

Ah-ha.

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. :))

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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.

Yay.

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11 Comments

  • Cameron

    December 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I am sure one day I will want to do an IM again but man it was a lot of time to train and that took alot away from my family. 70.3 training is so doable without completely disregarding life. I may stick with those until my kids are a bit older and more self sufficient. 🙂 Glad you found your mojo again in the tri-world! 🙂

    Reply
  • Angel

    December 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Good for you! I was just sitting here at work thinking about how I kind of wanted to put my name in the lottery for the New York City Marathon, but that it was crazy because I swore after my first (only) marathon that I would never do that distance again. That I would just do sprint/olympic tris and a few half marathons and maybe a 70.3 some day, but never anything longer. It’s been about a year since that marathon and now i’m starting to think about doing another. That was probably about how long it took me to get used to being a mom, and then after my divorce getting used to being a single mom… so I guess my curve is even slower than yours.

    Reply
  • Jen

    December 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Wow! This is incredibly timely for me. I am in the midst of post-Ironman burnout. (3+ months later)Went from the most amazing day of my life, to, well.. a complete and utterly miserable rut. I have no motivation or energy. Even though I am forcing myself out there, even did a short bike/run brick today…. I feel sluggish like you wouldn’t believe. I actually texted my running partner today to say I think I might need a week off to somehow “reset”. I am happy that you have found the triathlon love again… there’s hope for me! 🙂

    Reply
  • Michelle

    December 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I think how you are/were feeling is completely normal. Balance is the key and we all need a break sometimes-if it’s not from work, from the kids, or from our training. I always have a what I term a “sabbatical” or “trial separation” from running around the end of September and October. I still exercise, I just immerse myself in yoga, classes at the gym and weights. By November I’m ready to start tri training again (I’m in Australia so it’s now officially summer here- yay!) and then by about April I’m reading to concentrate on the winter running season. Sometimes a bit of time off can recharge your body and brain.

    Reply

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