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Why MY “Redemption” is None of YOUR Business

On Sunday this week, my mom texted me, “How are you today?  A week ago, I was just thinking about you as it was getting dark.”

She was referring to the beautiful and hot sunset at Ironman Lake Placid last weekend.  [And how I was still out there trucking along, walking and relentlessly headed towards the finish line–like a crazy person. In the dark.]

I don’t really remember much about the race now. I am glad I wrote a race report, so I can go back and read it–it’s like reading a stranger’s report.  Funny, and glad that I worked on my race report the day after the race. Because the memories have really (really) slipped since then. Arguably more evidence of the mild concussion on the swim… I know I know…

I hardly remember anything from the bike portion.  The run is a blip.  Though I know I did a lot of crying on the run, because over a dozen people have also mentioned my weeping on race day.  🙂

I remember waking up on Monday (after the race), and talking to my Mom… Telling her that I was going to work on long-distance open water swimming and probably not race Ironman Louisville (or triathlon ever again).  That was around 8:00 in the morning.

By noon, I was dying to register for 2016 Lake Placid, and by dinner time, I was lobbying the Expert for it.

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Why in the world does this happen?

Well, contrary to popular belief, it’s not an illness.  [At least not a documented one.]

In complete short-form analysis of my race day, I had two major limiters:

1) a possible mild-concussion from the head blows in the swim… at best, the most severe migraine of my life with an added bonus of lost vision during the bike; and

2) foot issues that forced me down to a walking marathon (if I wanted to finish the race).

Two things that were really out of my control on raceday:  head blows and blown tootsies.

For me, when things out of my control dictate my day, I simply don’t want to be defined by those circumstances.

I loved the course in Lake Placid.  The bike was gnarly, but fun.  But it was exactly what I had ridden in training. The hills. The unexpected heat.  I loved it… but then, I didn’t.  Because of circumstances.  The pounding head and inability to see out of my right eye. That kinda sucked.

Me on that bike course without a headache? With full vision? I don’t know what that would be like… (I want to know).

Then the run course.  I was down 20 pounds. I had reduced long run, “Zone 2” running pace almost 2 minutes per mile. The run course was beautiful.  And hilly.  And my feet were falling apart.  I loved it… but then, I didn’t. Because of my feet. Because I couldn’t run without ripping my feet open.

What would my run have been like without the migrane concussion? Without the foot issues?  I don’t know.  (But I want to know.)

That’s why I am going back to Lake Placid in 2016.

Text with my mom:

Me: I’m going back to Lake Placid next year.

Mom:  Okay, honey. 🙂

And that’s why I am racing Louisville in a little over two months. Because I don’t know what else to do–other than move forward.

And those are my reasons.

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And guess what?  I have so many people who me and Swim Bike Mom and all of it. And that’s awesome (so thank you!).

But I don’t do these things for others… Or for reactions.  I do them because I want to.

[Yes, I know.  Haters are most certainly gonna hate.  People are gonna flap their stupid mouths behind their two-faced backs. And that’s fine.]

But I don’t have to explain ANYTHING to those of you who think my decision is dumb. (Yet, here I sit… furiously typing away anyway… because somehow I do.)

I don’t have to respond to those who say “What an IRONMAN finish isn’t “good enough for you?”

What really rips me up about a comment like that… is that I actually clawed my way to that finish.  Lawd, yes… it’s “good enough”!

But then I ask myself… was it?

And the answer… is actually, YES. It was the best finish I could have imagined under the circumstances. Yep. It was good enough.

It was good enough where I want to do it again.

(Plus Mike Reilly never misses Placid!)

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I am going to continue to work hard to be the best ME possible.  I share my journey hoping that it will resonate with people, help people dig themselves out of addictions and depression, or hell, just to make folks laugh. Whatever I can do, I write and Instagram to be a point of reference or inspiration or silliness. I am just me… nothing has changed about that.

I loved Lake Placid. I want to race it again.  Under different circumstances and see what happens.

Maybe the circumstances will be better.  Maybe not. But I am willing to gamble on it and enjoy the ride of the new hashtag: #IMLP2016

And that is my journey.

#JustKeepMovingForward

39 Comments

  • carmen Guevara

    August 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Thank you for this, I really needed to hear this from someone like you, yes! I am not crazy. I did my first ever attempt to a triathlon 2 weeks ago it was hard and miserable compared to my expectations that day I said loud I don’t think I am going to be able to do able Ironman and put myself through the suffering of 14 hours when I wasn’t even able to walk after my first attempt. But now I am starting to train again thinking next year is my best chance to do several triathlons and start my serious attempt to register to an Ironman in 2017 which is my original goal. Thank you…

    Reply
  • Kristin

    August 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I love this Meredith. You are such an inspiration! I have a training plan mapped out for IMMD 2016! I’m so excited to join the Ironman club! Thanks for being you and doing what you do!

    Reply
  • Jennifer

    August 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

    This is why I love you!

    You have taught me so much in a short period of time. Not only to love myself just the way I am, but the person whom I am becoming.

    Xoxo

    Reply
  • Cassie

    August 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Love this!

    For the feet – I get horrible blisters and a trail race I do, I had several people mention Run Goo to me. I bought it on Amazon. I have no affiliation with them, but from one blister sufferer to another, I had to pass it on.

    Reply
  • Allison

    August 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Good for you! Don’t let anyone get in the way of your dreams and goals. I saw the comment posted and chalked it up to jealousy. Glad you aren’t letting it get to you.

    Reply
  • Mia

    August 5, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I say good for you! I am such a newbie (did my first sprint in June, second July, and first Oly this month) and I read your blog from
    first post to most recent and it has been inspiring. IMLP is the closest IM venue to me and I know lots of people who have done it multiple times. I think it’s courageous you are going to get back out there and do that course again and (hopefully) experience it in a whole new way. One isn’t better than the other, just different (I think, anyway). You are amazing! Not that it means a whole lot, but I appreciate you putting yourself out there and inspiring all of us 🙂

    Reply
  • Emily S.

    August 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

    You rock Meredith!

    And I totally relate to the ever changing thoughts after a long, hard race- going from never wanting to do it again to wanting to sign up again. I tell people it is sort of like childbirth- it seems horrible at the time, but then you find yourself wanting to do it again. I think the mind forgets the pain over time not only to protect us, but to convince us that certain things are worth repeating regardless of the pain.

    I hope that IMLP 2016 gives you the opportunity to race under better circumstances. We’ll be cheering you on!

    Reply
  • Anna

    August 5, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I think it is awesome you are going back for more!! I had the same thought when I finished my 70.3 this June. I had to walk my run portion (got burned to a crisp on the bike and it hurt to run). I wanted to sign up the next day for next year’s race! I wanted to see how I could do when I am in the best position to truly race.

    Reply
  • Cynthia

    August 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

    That is awesome. Go get it, Lady!!! I can’t wait to see how well Louisville treats you in October. You continue to inspire me every day. And although I am sworn to no full IMs in 2016, it is hard not to think and dream about another one. And this is after finishing Ironman Boulder on Sunday, just 3 days ago, while swearing on course I’d never do one of these (stupid) races again. Onward and upward!

    Reply
  • Kay

    August 5, 2015 at 11:16 am

    You are adorable! I laughed out loud and read your post on the ten mile training run to my husband and said “honey, this is me” he laughed out loud and as a small boned runner, just has never experienced anything like that. Your LP journal was amazing. I am 60, have done several Olympic and sprint distance tri’s and one 70.3, and am far too fearful to attempt a full ironman, but reading your posts makes me almost think of trying.

    Reply
  • Lisa

    August 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I did my first Ironman in Boulder on Sunday. It was HARD and AMAZING! My feet also blistered at about the 13 miles point on the marathon and I walked the rest of the race. During the run I thought about my plans to burn my shoes and take up yoga. Two days later I was thinking about signing up for Couer d’Alene because I want to see if I can do better next year – though the thought of one more Gu is still making me gag a little. If we based all of our decisions on past pain experience no woman would have more than one child. Nothing REALLY worthwhile is easy and no one else’s thoughts on what you choose to do with your time on earth should carry any weight. All of us only has a finite amount of time, why shouldn’t we do what we love with that time?

    Reply
  • Donna

    August 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    This is a great post. This hit me:
    “For me, when things out of my control dictate my day, I simply don’t want to be defined by those circumstances.”
    That’s how I felt about my circumstances at IMFL Canceled swim and a foot shot up with 3 Cort shots just to get through the run. It wasn’t the race I deserved and 138.2 wasn’t going to make me happy. People don’t always understand the reasons for a “redemption” race, and that’s fine. Haters are gonna hate when goal-diggers see their goals through to 100% of what they know they are capable of and not settle for less. I don’t know 1 person who did IMFL in 2015 that didn’t sign up for another 140.6 to make up for it… Go forth, be awesome and kick ass in LP2016.

    Reply
  • cheryl

    August 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Totally get this…why I have been racing/training for over 30 years. There’s a perfect IM out there someday for me…haven’t hit it yet, so still looking for it. I will find it. You will too.

    Reply
  • jennifer

    August 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    No, you don’t have to explain anything to me, but i’m glad that you do. I truly admire you and love your writing and the sbm army. Truly amazing.
    ( i have read this back and it does apear to be a little stalkerish. Sorry about that, but it is how i feel)

    Reply
  • Sara

    August 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    You GO girl! Haters are gonna hate….who cares??? This is YOUR journey, YOUR life! And it is even YOUR blog, so say whatever you want but – I beg you – don’t feel like you owe anyone an explanation!

    I don’t comment on here much but please know that you are SUCH an inspiration to me and I am way more invested in your journey than I should be for having never met you 😉 I cried (at my office desk, like a weirdo) reading you IMLP race report, and I literally cheered out loud when I saw that your registered for 2016 on Instagram.

    You are a badass and being an Ironman is just who you are. For what it’s worth, I’m right there with you and I cannot wait to follow along on your journey back there.

    And- since misery loves company – I’ll add that I’m a runner and one of my major races (Ragnar Cape Cod) – something I had put my heart & soul into planning and training for – didn’t exactly go the way I wanted the first time around. I hurt myself during it – stupid IT band – and even though we finished I didn’t get to eat up the course the way I wanted to. My boyfriend found me crying on a curb a few hours after finishing. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset – I had captained this great team and carried us to the finish – my dream had come true, all my work had been worth it! But for me, personally, I felt awful because I didn’t get to tear up those miles like I had wanted to. Like I had trained so hard for. Like I had pictured doing in all my training runs. So….needless to say….I was back on the course the next year. And guess what?? I got hurt AGAIN!!! (You’d think I would learn) No tears this time but I signed up so soon for the 2016 race that my team is actually team #1 – the very FIRST registered. So……..I feel you.

    Keep kicking ass!!! Sending nothing but love your way from Boston!

    Reply
  • Ana

    August 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I think IMLP 2016 will be YOUR race. And if it is, or even if it isn’t, the only one whose opinions matter are YOURS. Love you, lady, whether you sprint across the finish line, crawl across it, or cartwheel through it!

    Reply
  • Kelly

    August 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Your story is definitely inspiring me to dig out of my own addictions and depression. Without the goal of becoming an IRONMAN in 2016 at this point in my life…I would be lost. Your stories and accomplishments motivate me to stay strong and push through everyday. Things will get better…and in the meantime, I have my commitment to becoming an IM finisher shining at the end of my dark tunnel. Please keep inspiring!!!!

    Reply
  • Mel

    August 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    A true inspiration Meredith!!! I was thinking about you whilst doing a triathlon two weeks ago. The run was tough but it was ‘only’ 5km, so I just kept thinking of how far you had to push yourself which spurred me on to stop complaining and just enjoy
    it.

    Reply
  • Michele whaley

    August 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Words… Fuel for the soul… I love your words because they have meaning to you and you own that commitment … It’s your life! Live it passionately !!!

    Reply
  • Susie

    August 5, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I am right there with you, girlfriend! My “A” race was last weekend. And there I was having broken a rib just a week before. Yes the first words out of my mouth were, “”s**t, this is going to slow me down!” But I raced anyway, and even beat last year’s time. I was still irritated that I didn’t make my goal time – the one that meant I felt I was ready to step up to the next length of race. But you know what? I think I will anyway! Because every day should be a new adventure with things to look forward to and new goals to reach! Thanks for all of the encouragement that you provided at the training camp in Florida, and all that you do to promote this wonderful sport to everyone!

    Reply
  • Raydel

    August 5, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Love this. I am preparing for my first sprint triathlon and I am NOT a swimmer. I know my weakness but Id rather focus on my goal and work on my weakness. The goal is to well, not to drown !! Anyway , the goal is to finish without any injuries and enjoy and learn from this experience. I’m not going to let anybody bugged me down with their time. I’m doing this for me !! Just like you Meredith. You’re such an inspiration!

    Reply
  • Cathy

    August 5, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    There’s probably not any outcome that would make you really decide to never race an IM again…no matter how bad it is, I always want to see how I can do better and each ‘bad’ race teaches us something…it’s all about being on a constant journey to being fitter, stronger

    Reply
  • Diana

    August 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Good for you! I had a less than ideal experience at IM Canada on the same day….planning on 2016…to see if I can do better. Yes finishing is great…but there is the thought that I could do better:-)

    Reply
  • Kim

    August 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    I belong to a group called Mom’s in Motion. A fellow member/ Ironman told me about your book when I first told her that I wanted to do a triathlon. The book was very helpful when a friend and I prepared for and completed our first sprint triathlon in July. We followed 6 friends to Lake Placid 2 weeks ago to cheer for them at Ironman. My friend and I were excited to see that you would be competing as well. What an awesome and inspirational day! We cheered for you as well. We wear pink hair for cheering and have a lot of fun! Best of luck in your future Ironman endeavors!

    Reply
  • SoAnyway

    August 7, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I would say that it’s just possible that “finishing” IS no longer good enough for you. You are an experienced IM athlete, and you’re entitled to have goals and aspirations beyond finishing. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a bad day and doing the best you can on the day of battle, wanting to go back to try again without things going wrong makes perfect sense to me.

    You’re a fabulous athlete SBM 🙂

    Reply
  • cheryl

    August 8, 2015 at 9:05 am

    The older I get, the more I realize the value of privacy, cultivating your circle, and only letting certain people in. You can be open, honest, and real while still understanding not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life.

    Reply
  • Jodi

    August 11, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I can relate to your post on so many levels but the part that hits the core for me is when you said “I don’t know. (But I want to know.)” I have had that experience in my life, not with Tri’s but with running Tough Mudders. I had people in the beginning telling me I was crazy and why would I do this, my answer was nothing short of: I don’t know, (But I want to know.) Our first one was awful, worst possible weather conditions short of a monsoon and there was maybe 50 other people on the course. I also “clawed” my way to the finish and when I was done I said NEVER AGAIN! Until 3 days later when I too asked, “what if?”
    What if- the conditions were better? What if- I hadn’t torn a ligament in my thumb after the second mile and had to compete with 1 hand? The What if’s. As an athlete, this thought nags us and it pushes us. I can tell you I had the same reaction…we did another one that year. Now, we have four under our belts.
    I just completed my first Tri Sprint a week ago, again I asked what if- what if I was 10 pounds lighter? What if- I had bought my own bike, instead of borrowing one? What if I work on my stroke more?
    I don’t know. (But I want to know.)
    Now, I look to the future and I think “Is a 1/2 Ironman possible for me? Full?
    I don’t know. (But I want to know.)
    All because I picked up a book called “Swim, Bike, Mom.”
    Thank you for your inspiration.

    Reply

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