What a crazy year! So many awesome things happened. My journey to the Louisville Ironman was a success. I finished and after a day’s worth of sleep and a pizza I knew I was up for the challenge again…not this year, but in 2017 it’s on again!!! There is so much to put in words but I wanted to share a couple things that I think made the experience epic and successful.
• I learned my true limitations. That’s not to say I reached them, but I exceeded the limits I thought I had and realized I have more in tank. This was a huge epiphany. I understand now, through the training and mental fortitude it took to prepare, that I was my biggest obstacle (a close second are the hills in Lagrange, KY…). It was me that got in my way. It was me that set perceived limits that kept me from achieving more physically in the past. Now, I did have help, lots of help. All my strength training partners in St. Louis and my trainers at The Lab, my riding (Mason and Cindee) and running partners (Dan and Jote), my triathlon coach Jennifer Harrison, and most important my family (Karin, Carolyn, Taylor). This was a big commitment and every one of these people played a huge part in me crossing that finish line.
• I gained a real understanding of what community was. Apart from a few elite participants being “elitist” I felt comfortable, at ease, and genuinely welcome at every part of this experience. In truth most everyone was just like me, and age group participant hoping they didn’t have a heart attack on the course, wreck their bike (I did get caught up in one crash), or drown (all real fears). We all helped and supported each other. And the spectators, they were awesome. Tons of locals sitting out cheering and supporting all the athletes.
• Mile 18 on the run…a make or break mile for me. It was grueling getting to that point but the final 8 miles are a blur. There was nothing significant about them other than ticking off the miles until mile 23 then that limit I thought I had was lifted. I had a mysterious amount of energy to run that last 5k and cross that finish line.
• Managing my anxiety. I stood in the swim line scared to death. I questioned what I was doing, why I was doing it, and was it worth it. My goggles broke in line so that ramped up my anxiety 100 fold. I was jumping into a huge river with huge barges, huge bridges, a fair amount of pollution, and a Blue algae warning just minutes removed. Normal people don’t do this. But we aren’t normal.
• I can eat a lot of pizza! Finish line pizza was food from the gods!!! I will admit, my sharing skills from pre-school went out the window here (though some will question I have any sharing skills to begin with). I devoured an entire pizza moments after that finish and would have cut the hands off anyone even suggesting I give up a piece. My body needed food, not race food, but food food (pizza is not technically food food but it was heavenly)!
What all this tells me is I can’t wait for the next one. I have improvements to make and times to beat. 2017 will be upon me fast and I am going to spend 2016 improving myself and preparing to take that course by storm.
Jeffrey “Previously Fat Guy”