Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Withdrawal Symptoms

I’ve officially withdrawn from Ironman Wisconsin, 2006. And, yes, I’m OK with that.

After taking a new job and managing the required cross-country relocation I just couldn’t summon up the training groove to get me to the starting line healthy, positive and confident. I began to hate workouts as the angst grew apace with my falling further and further behind the curve.

I cut workouts short when I felt like it (which was most of the time) and skipped them entirely when I could. I avoided racing - showing up only at Galena and Steelhead, a far cry from 2005’s dozen races. I had the time to train, I just…didn’t…want…to. In retrospect, my body was telling me something and I needed to listen.

Oh, yeah, there was also Horribly Hilly Hundreds in late June, a southwest Wisconsin century ride billed as one of the worlds toughest. At that point I was still ambivalent about IMWI. Should I? Could I? I didn’t know and couldn’t decide so I decided to use HHH’s 200K distance as my go/no-go coin. Heads I race IMWI, tails I watch from home.

And on that tough, hot, sweaty, day, after walking up my second climb in a row, after 90 miles of sheer hell, I bailed. I was in good company: the SAG wagon was full of fellow bailees. But, still, I bailed. My coin came up ‘tails’ as in getting your ass kicked.

But an epiphany struck me around mile 75: triathlons are supposed to be fun. And somehow this transformative sport that I love so much had become very un-fun. Instead of turning on, I was burning out. And I didn’t know whose goal IMWI 2006 was, but it became clear that it wasn’t really mine.

So I gave myself permission to relax. CoachKaryn helped a bit too. There’s nothing magical about IMWI 2006. The future is never guaranteed either, but if I’m meant to do IM, I’ll do it on my timeframe - when my life is supportive of the training demands and my mental approach is focused. Maybe I’ll meet CoachKaryn and her band of IM stalwarts at IMCDA in June, 2007 (more about that in a few days.)

In that moment of realization, the stress melted away. I goofed off for months and still finished Steelhead. CoachKaryn told me I'm stronger than I give myself credit for. We'll see about that, but at least the angst cloud stopped shitting on me.

I thought about titling this post “Entering feels great. Withdrawing can be good too.” You figure it out.


bunnygirl said...

Good for you! You're absolutely right that this is supposed to be fun. If now isn't the time, there's always next year.

Stay fit and enjoy life! That's really what it's all about, anyway.

Shelley said...

One thing is for sure..there will always be "other" Ironman races out there!! You will know when the time is right!!

The Spandex-King said...

I also withdrew for about the same reasons. I thought this was what I wanted to do and the time was right to do it. Turns out I was wrong. I had some injury issues that slowed my training down. Came down to I just lost the desire. Training was a chore and wasn't fun. So I still hope there is an IronMan in my future. But if there isn't, well then there isn't. I can live with that. I know the time is not now. My training group looks at me as a quiter. But to hell with them, I don't do this stuff for them.

Flatman said...

Man, as long as YOU are okay with that decision, WE are all okay with it too. You have to do what's best and feels right to you. Like Shelley said, there are many more IM's if you want to do one later.

Good luck!

John Lorelle said...

I read your Ironman blog and enjoyed it. I wrote a similar story about my 2005 race at http:\\jlorelle.blogspot.com. I contemplated 2006 because I really missed the atmosphere but also decided that I just wasn't ready. Good luck in the future.