Monday, November 20, 2006

The Journey Begins: Everymom

When most people say "I'm training for the Ironman", they mean the Ironman this month, or maybe this summer, or at the most next summer. When I started training for the Ironman, I was talking seven years down the road.

When I started training for the Ironman, I had just had a baby, I weighed over 200 pounds, and couldn't run a mile. In short, I was Everymom, not Ironmom. No one would've believed me if I told them what I was doing, so I just chugged along with the support of my husband who bought into this crazy dream of mine.

I had trained for the Ironman once before, in a former life only vaguely remembered through a haze of all-night nursing sessions and laundry baskets full of diapers. In that former life, I was much younger, much fitter, but far less sensible. I had decided to do the Ironman mostly on a whim. The guy I was dating was doing it, and I had done plenty of triathlons, so why not? I sent in my check to Ironman Canada, got my packet in the mail, and that was that. I started ramping up the mileage, doing "daily doubles" and swimming with a group of uber-competitive Iron athletes.

What I discovered is that even young, fit bodies don't respond well to rapidly increasing exercise loads, without a good solid basis of long-distance work. I suffered from shin splints, knee pain, a lot of stress, bleeding ulcers, and anemia. My doctor threatened to take a baseball bat to my bicycle if I drove up to the Ironman, telling me I was so anemic that if I fell and scraped my knee I'd bleed to death. My friends drove away with bicycles festooning the tops of their cars, and I stayed at home in crushing disappointment, consoling myself with the idea that there was always next year.

But next year brought relationship turmoil and breakup which I solved by immersing myself in the adrenaline-soaked world of skydiving. There I met my husband-to-be, and life spiraled away from the Ironman. Though I still did some shorter triathlons here and there, I had too many other things occupying my time to train so intensely again.

So it came to be that eight years later I was sitting on a park bench in the early spring sunshine with a three year old on the playground and an infant in my lap and it hit me that the Ironman dream was not one I was willing to give up on. Motherhood was wonderful, but triathlon was a part of me that I was not willing to relinquish, and the Ironman is triathlon's penultimate challenge. Though I wouldn't mail in an entry form for six years, from that moment on I was training for the Ironman.

1 comment:

Maureen said...


I just wanted to say Congrats!!! for successfully completing the Ironman. I've been following your journey for the past several months and was thrilled to see you achieved your dream. Sorry to hear that your toe took a beating, but your body probably needed a rest--and your injured toe ensured it got it.

Now that you're an Ironman, I hope you still can keep the spark going. Unfortunately, my husband and I both seem to have lost it. After being quasi-compulsive fit freaks for most our lives, we both sort of got "burned" out on the mega-training. For my husband, it came after completing the FL Ironman and for me, it came after finishing my second Eco Challenge. For now, I feel somewhat content just running a few days a week, but deep down, I feel like I'm missing just seems that after doing the Eco Challenge, it's hard to get too excited about running a local half marathon. I hope that you don't find that to be the case with you...

Congrats again!