Life After Ironman
I started in the sport of triathlon in 2005. With hard work and good coaches, I peaked from 2012-2015. I worked out twice a day most days, six days a week, long workouts on the weekend. And I achieved a lot of success — look back on blog post after blog post about race after race. And, even though it was hard work, I loved it, the people I’ve met, the adrenaline rush of racing, great conversations on long bike rides and runs.After Ironman Boulder 2015, for several reasons, a bit of burnout and some other personal stuff, I decided to take a step back from all the hard training. I certainly didn’t become a couch potato, but what I do now is a far cry from back then.
And there are consequences of the decreased training load. Some are good — I’m less stressed out because I don’t have to worry about fitting in my workouts. I don’t have to figure out how to do a four hour bike ride while remaining within twenty minutes of my car in case someone needs an emergency angioplasty. And, I have more time for things like sleep and weekend brunch.
But, I’m definitely not as fast, particularly as a runner. I found that out in a big way when I ran a half marathon in December, hoping for one goal and definitely not achieving it. And my body has changed. I’m not heavy, but I certainly don’t look as ripped as I do in the photo from the frequently circulated article about me on Forks Over Knives.
There’s guilt too — I’m so used to doing morning and evening workouts, am I really exercising enough if I run in the morning and don’t do anything else later? Or if I decide to sleep in past 5:30 am? And people still ask, “When’s your next Ironman?” Am I still worthy of the reputation I’ve gained as the VeganHeartDoc who swims/bikes/runs like crazy?
I had a lot of reasons to tone down my training. I don’t regret it. I still work out six days a week, but most of the time it’s just one workout a day, not two. I’m training for a marathon at the end of May, the Mountains to Beach Marathon. Initially I thought my goal for the race would be 4:20, but I may be finishing in the high 4’s. And that’s ok.