So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"So When Are You Going to Do One?"

It was that day of the year again - perhaps my favorite day of the year - the day of the local Ironman.

This is a day that I immensely enjoy....a day that the entire city is immersed and obsessed with my favorite thing.  The triathlon.  All day people are swimming and cycling and running....and my neighborhood is packed with people who love swimming and cycling and running as much as I do.

My day is very active as I cheer on my friends.  I even drag my kids and husband with me.

But.......I get spared from the lake waters, eat real food for lunch in lieu of gels and relax on my couch instead of tackling headwinds on my bicycle.  I feel very satisfied with my choice to not subject myself to such self-inflicted misery, although every year, I am routinely asked:  So, when are YOU going to do one?

Even my husband asked me this, to whom my answer was:  When I am 50.

OK, so 50 is pretty far away.  Maybe I will be grandma.
However, I still consider myself still fairly new at this sport.
I have never used a coach or even a training schedule.  I have never tried a tri-bike or long sleeved wetsuit. I have never raced in a different state or swam in the ocean.  I have never found my footing during an Olympic triathlon nonetheless felt ready for anything longer....

I obviously have a lot to learn.

When I returned to running post high-school cross country, our city was having its inaugural rock and roll marathon.  Despite having very little experience with distance running, I actually did quite well and was quickly enamored with the marathon.  It was challenging.  It was prestigious.  It was undisputedly hardcore.

Anyone can run a 5K...but 26 miles?  You have really love running to run 26 miles.

But the marathon came at a price.  I suffered through an endless array of injuries.
Shin splits.  Tendonitis.  ITBS.  Sciatica.  Pulled hamstring.  Stress fracture.

My scoliosis, an annoying and unsightly 25-degrees curve in my spine, makes me prime candidate for pretty much any injury.  Each injury was unique in its own terrible way but they all shared one common thread:  They made me depressed.  And how does a runner deal with depression if they cannot run?

The marathon just wasn't worth it.

Over the past 7 years, which includes running for 30-weeks during my pregnancy, I have learned a lot about myself as an athlete.  There is so much more to running than just distance and there is so much more to recovery than just taking a day off.   My body will perform in amazing ways, but it requires a little more work and a little more patience than perhaps other bodies.

So while the marathon, a lost love, is still waiting for me to return, I am in no rush this time.  I am enjoying the path...filled with 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and trail races.  I have won races I never thought I could win and have set PRs that I never thought possible.

I am going to do a marathon again one day, but I am not going to limp and hobble away from the finish line in defeat and depression.
So until I can get my body to that point, there is no reason to even contemplate an Ironman.  Until then, I am going to enjoy the journey and seek successes that may be shorter but that are also followed by breakfast and sunshine.

And, of course, I will continue to celebrate the day of the Ironman while cheering on my friends, who are amazing and admirable athletes, while at the same secretly happy that it's not me out there.  At least, not yet and not any time soon.

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