The Hammer of Anticlimactic Smashing

And yet another month has disappeared and 2013 is halfway over. Better start practicing writing 2014! It is the best time of the year: when we celebrate our independence from our wonderful British neighbors across the pond!

The most important day of my life so far, and certainly the busiest month, has gone whipping by in a blur of travel shenanigans, weddings, graduation, and then the crowning moment at IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene. It’s really hard for me to wrap my brain around the completion of a race that’s 140.6 miles, especially one that I’ve spent years training for. It’s almost like a dream… I know that it happened but I’m having trouble putting all of the pieces together.

The buildup of nerves, fears, doubts, and the random muscle pains and spasms is pretty incredible two and three days before the race. You see your competition at the race venue, you wonder if you’ll be able to finish, and yet for whatever reason you decide to strap on your wetsuit and toe the starting line. Welcome to IRONMAN!

A race lasting half a day certainly has its ups and downs, even more literally when you have several massive hills to climb multiple times. It’s really a matter of time and mental training that will determine your successes that day. The swim provides you an almost hour warm-up for the rest of the day, the bike will test your guts and willingness to push yourself while still having faith that you know what you’re doing, and the run requires that you just figure out a way to get through it all. GU, sports drinks, and peanut butter and jelly will only get you so far. The rest, well, the rest is up to you, your guts and instincts, and your courage to push on despite having nothing to push with.

As soon as I soared over the finish line after 11 hours of grinding, everything just shifted into a blurry mess and all of a sudden it was Wednesday and I was back at work again, sore as can be and completely and utterly emotionally devoid of life. The accomplishment and thrill from the race was very real and nearly tangible, but the reality was life had kept on spinning along without me. Somehow in the IRONMAN fray, I moved ahead while the rest of my life moved in a totally opposite direction. I redefined myself with an insane amount of swim, bike, and run while everyone else plowed on with work, their personal lives, and sundry adventures. Talk about anticlimactic…

Upon nearing the last quarter mile of the race, I almost wanted to sit down just to hold onto that moment and the feeling of conquering something I strived so hard for. It was fleeting away very rapidly and, of course, had to be chased over the finish, but it amazes me how short 11 hours can actually be. The physical properties of time may never be understood, but it becomes more a reality that time goes faster and faster and FASTER the older you get. I am already beginning to understand that the consequences of this race will be far reaching, how far, I cannot say, but it’s going to be big, big, big.

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I do know that after completing one of Earth’s toughest endurance events that there is very little that scares me physically. Given X amount of time, I can make it happen. That’s a pretty cool feeling! Unlike my normal approach after accomplishing huge goals, I am going to attempt to sit back and enjoy my summer. I have five races left, three tris, one lake swim, and one half marathon, and other than that I would like to do “normal people” things. Rafting the river, Aces baseball, going hiking with the dog, and BBQs. Yes, that is all very unexciting after IRONMAN, because that was the foundation of my entire summer, but now I get some time to just do it all or not do any of it. That’s totally up to me!

I hope that the reality of my race begins to sink in quickly. At the moment, my life just feels anticlimactic after a huge buildup, but I do have some great unplans right around the corner. Plus, there’s always next race season ;-)

How do you handle the major downer after a huge life event?

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2 Comments

  1. I do believe that an event has 3 components–anticipation, the event itself, and reflection upon it. The more important the event, the more time and space needs to be devoted to the before & after. Give yourself space before re-entry (even if you did have to go to work that week) and enjoy the reflection. Congratulations!!

    1. I will definitely need tons of time for the re-entry! The anticipation in and of itself was almost overwhelming. I’m glad you were along for the ride though! Quite the adventure, eh?

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