After completing my first full, it took me a little while to assimilate back into society. I felt really overwhelmed in all aspects of life. I felt like I owed my boys a lot of time, my house was trashed, and I needed to catch up on work. Instantly, my training took the back burner. Of course my body needed some well-deserved recovery time, but I’ve always been more of a fan of “active” recovery. I definitely feel better sooner by moving, not by sitting. But this time, it was tough trying to catch up so many areas at once, especially when I felt exhausted most of the time. So I found myself missing workouts more than making them. At first I kept telling myself, it’s ok… I just did a full. But that excuse started wearing pretty thin after a few weeks and I found myself really slipping off track. I kept telling my coach, “I need to sign up for something”. I said this because I know how I operate . . . if I have an empty race calendar with nothing coming up, it is much easier for other commitments to become more important. But as soon as I have something on the calendar, I’m really committed to my plan and make most of my workouts (unless mommy duties arise.) Goal-oriented race results seem to be what motivates me to remain consistent, so I tend to always have something on the horizon . . . doesn’t matter if it’s a half-iron or a 5k; if I have my registration confirmation, I’m all in! After three weeks of this “hit or miss” training, I received an email from my coach saying, “Pick a Race!”
I purposely didn’t sign up for anything after LP because I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling; I was concerned about my chronic patella tendonitis. However, I’m happy to say that my knees didn’t bother me at all during IMLP! Totally shocking, I know – I was expecting to be pretty shredded after. But there I was three weeks after, feeling great physically – I think it’s because my pacing for the full distance was so much slower than what I would normally race. So I started checking out which races were still left. There were a couple of local sprints, but I didn’t think my body would respond well to me asking it to go fast. I thought maybe a longer race would be good since I had already built a large endurance base over the past year. I found the Ironman 70.3 Poconos at the end of September and emailed my team to see if anyone was interested. I had a taker, but still didn’t sign up until a week later, when I received an email from my coach saying, “Sign up today.” Funny thing is (though not surprising), that’s all it took to get me back on track!
I’m really looking forward to this race; I definitely wasn’t ready for my season to be over. However, I’m going into this race completely differently than every other half iron that I’ve done. Each previous one has been an “A” race – the focus of my training for a mid-season “big” race, or the culmination of a season-long effort pulled together for an end-of-season hurrah! Now, for the first time I’m going into a half iron NOT at my highest fitness of the season. For me, this race is more of an afterthought; a bit of motivation to keep doing the work and remain consistent. Instead of chasing a result, I’m practicing the process. . . . I want to try something new with my nutrition, I want to see how my run pace and heart rate fare in cooler temps, and I basically just want another notch in my half-iron belt. I’m looking forward to putting in a big day of solid racing and executing my plan both physically and mentally.
So now what? What am I doing post-Ironman? The same thing I was doing before Ironman . . . striving for balance – keeping harmony between the multifaceted life of Jen-the-Mom, Jen-the-Wife, Jen-the-Employee, and Jen-the-Triathlete. And striving for consistency . . . having fun while backing it up day after day, week after week, and year after year.