Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Round Two

Well, I did it. I have officially signed up for Ironman Coeur D’Alene 2009. I am registered, official, the money is in, and my confirmation email has been sent. And (knock on wood, fingers crossed, any anything else you may think will help), I’ll have the honor of toeing the line next year. Whatever the date is.

Because as of now, I’m really not sure.

With Ironman Arizona 2008, I spent nearly a year being unquestionably certain about what precisely I would be doing on April 13th, 2008 at 7:00 am (pacific time…?).

Treading water in nervous anticipation of my first Ironman… and then BOOM! The flurry of a 2000+ person mass start.

Alas, it did not come to pass.

So believe me, I thought long and hard about weather or not I wanted to attempt a second Ironman training. Repeat: weather or not I wanted to attempt a second Ironman training (because let’s face it: crashing 4 weeks before my race = I had completed nearly all the training, but was just not fortunate enough to start the race.)

Because I still dream about completing my first Ironman.

Why?

Because it is so much more than a race. Much more than a one-day event. More than Mike Reilley yelling, “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

Ironman is about setting goals, pushing beyond possible limits. It is a celebration of achievements: not just a single day, but endless days upon endless days upon weeks upon months of training. It is about making the impossible possible, facing the mental demons, the mental highs and yes – even the lows. It is about finding yourself, delving into your dreams and fears, becoming raw and exposed and stripped bare in the process. It is a journey, a process. And one day of racing is only one of many days spent working towards that point.

Then again: I wouldn’t know. As I haven’t crossed that finish line, haven’t even started my first Ironman race.

I just put in the training to do so.

And yes, there were those days and weeks where I thought I had done permanent injury to my “lady bits” (thanks ELF for that one!)…

And figuring out my nutrition was no easy task. Thanks to my fellow Camp HTFUers on THAT one. I would have been lost without Mary, Liz and Jen. (The worst part about the nutrition? Discovering that Margarita Salt Blocks gave me GI issues while running).

But you had better believe that I still consume them afterwards.

And yes, there were nights when the sheets and pjs were soaked with sweat. And I woke up, so ravenously hungry that I couldn’t help but eat a peanut butter sandwitch. I swear, I may have even sleep eaten on a few occasions… So that’s what happened to the Ben & Jerry’s…

My social life was on the fritz – but being the introvert that I am that wasn’t all that bad. I did miss seeing Nathaniel, though. But it made our special moments all the more special.

And I’m a pro at picking out breakfast foods, bars, and more breakfast food. No JH – Waffle House doesn’t count. But on several different occasions, oatmeal would be the first and last thing I ate in one day. Sometimes it would even serve as a midday snack.

Yummy!

But in the process of early mornings and even earlier nights, I found myself.

The sensation of biking – through the Blackwater Forest of Pensacola, Elfin Forest of San Diego (crying on the bike while the insanely fast group I was with took off down the road), and Blue Ridge Parkway of South Carolina – were rides that I’ll never forget. Without limits, without bounds, I grew, I thrived, and I knew that where I was, was the exact perfect spot for me.

Swimming was in and large the same. However, I had just joined a Master’s group. And had finally broken into the top lane. The guys in my lane were hardcore, could IM and fly with the best of ‘em. But when it came to anything over 500 free, I felt like a natural. And I grew with each session. It was exactly where I should have been and where I wanted to be. The perfect spot.

And running, running, running. Back to my roots, back to what I love. Running is my mental relaxation; where I go to think and to find myself. Canyon runs, trail runs, concrete runs, hilly runs, track runs, treadmill runs, and runs towards the port-o-potty – all played a big role in my training. Speed wasn’t essential, just the tranquility of running, listing to my breath, the sounds of my footsteps, my thoughts keeping me company – it was perfect.

I never had the priveledge of starting my Ironman race. But I loved who I became with the training.

Ironman – though I have not had the pleasure of competing in one – seems to be a culmination of everything good, bad, and in between. It is a celebration; a party of sorts.

And hopefully, fingers crossed and knock on wood, I’ll be celebrating with the best of ‘em sometime next June in Idaho. In the meantime, I’ll stick to shorter stuff. But I’ll still love the training and look at each workout, each session, and each race as a gift. Because that’s truly what it is.

10 comments:

Trigirlpink said...

oh boy.. a new goal set and ready to to tackle! Yay!
No "knockin' on wood" sista.. this time it's gonna happen!

Now about that kitty.... lol
dying for pix!!!!

Bob Mitera said...

Hi Marit - Makes me want to race CdA too to be there! (...and have someone to trade pulls with on the swim.)

Not only are you going to do great - I am already seeing a finishing photo.

Attitude is 90% of what Ironman is...and as Yogi Berra said, "the other half is mental".

kerri said...

WOOOHOOOOO! Here we go IRONMAN. (biting my nails) Loved that paragraph about ironman goals and the process. That's a keeper.

IRONMAN...here we come!!!

Train-This said...

Right ON SISTER! And I hope I can be on that SIDELINE SCREAMING GO AMRIT GO MARIT GO MARIT until I have the Ironman voice!

:-)

Dave said...

Congratulations on taking the leap to sign up again!

Alili said...

100% behind you. GO MARIT!

Kim said...

Hi Marit, I happened to read your blog awhile back through a friend of mines blog (Beth Shutt) and I just want to say how inspiring your blog is! I think of you while I'm training sometimes and how you were so ready for IM Arizona, and then had the set-back with the accident. You were very lucky to not be truly hurt, but although your dissapointment showed, you were so positive! I'm now training for my first IM in Oct. and I'm so excited you've decided to go back after it. Thank you for sharing such a great blog. Kim

Jen said...

Yea Marit! I'm so happy for you. Your going to be great at CDA!

Amber and Eric Rydholm said...

Cool.
Let us know if you need some altitude training.
-Eric

Ashley said...

AWESOME!!! IM CDA better watch out! There's a hungry girl coming your way....