Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Iron perspective

I am seven months post-Ironman and about 7 months away from my next Ironman event.
me finishing Ironman France

Earlier last week one of my kids asked me to do something active and I declined only to be met with the sassy retort, "come on you did an Ironman." Which is true but unrelated to me wanting or not wanting to play basketball while simultaneously making dinner. I was literally hands on the pan on the stove.
The next Ironman

But yesterday on my run I was thinking about how now a few months out completing the Ironman has adjusted not only my perspective but also the perspective of those around me.

The Iron-conversation
My husband loves to tell people who are outside of the "active circle" about my doing the Ironman. It gets a sort of awed response. Especially if they don't know what it is then you have to explain it including the distances and they just think it's nuts. But for me I know that while it's certainly an extreme day it's not nuts. Also I know that while I enjoy being active I'm actually nothing special.

My kids think running 16 or 20 miles is a totally normal weekend activity for mom. The same as a gymnastics tournament or swim meet for them. Running a 5k is a totally normal family Saturday morning for my group. Biking shark valley ... a treat because it takes a little planning but still normal. 

The corporate mantra of Ironman is "Anything is Possible." Which is a wonderfully inspiring non-truth that I love to believe in. Of course not anything ... I can't fly, or breathe underwater or deflect bullets. But if I work hard I can train and complete an ironman. That also won't always be true. At some point when I'm much older I'll be unable to do this active thing that I love.

But I am about 5 weeks away from running a marathon and I'm totally calm about it. This is the first time ever that's happened. Normally this would be when marathon dreams would hit.

This is I think the start of the Rome Marathon ... it's going to be a great day.
I'm going to hopefully run it faster than I've ever run a marathon (that's always the hope, right) and I'm still totally calm. I think this is because of my new post-Iron Perspective. If I can run a marathon after all that of course I can run one by itself. Of course I have to do the training and I am I've got 2 20-milers down and one more to go. But I know I can do it.

I'm not sure I can hit my time goal but I am sure I can finish the run with a smile.

I'm not sure how the travel will affect me but I am sure I can finish the run with a smile.

Just do-it
Also the other day a training mate had a 4-hour ride and I said I'd go too. I haven't been biking much but I know she goes easy. So I agreed to go. My perspective has shifted. I know that if I need to I can go out and do a 7-hour ride tomorrow. I won't need to and It wouldn't be pretty but if I need to I can get it done.

It's shifted in my mind from the impossible to a slightly different ... what do I need to do to get that done?

In my mommy circle I am considered an exercise crazy. But yesterday I heard while watching the olympics that a downhill skier spends 3 hours in the weight room and 4 hours skiing every day. I cannot imagine 3 hours lifting weights. Not even with my post-iron perspective.

Ironman isn't the biggest race out there
The Ironman is my longest distance event. But once you get into that ultra circle you learn that it's far from the longest distance that people participate in. People run ultra marathons of 50 and 100 miles and more all on foot. Plus people do double and triple Ironman distances even deca and triple deca. Not me. One is enough but I did a double take when I realized that I know somebody doing a double in Tampa in a week and also 3 separate people doing Ultraman in 2 weeks.

Completing an Ironman has changed my perspective. Strangely this has caught me by surprise because right after the actual event it seemed surreal like I didn't actually do it.

That elusive question ... why?
This snuck up on me but I think I also know why I went ahead and did the first race and perhaps why I'm going on to do it again. Other than the obvious answer that I think it's fun.

About a year before I did Ironman France. Maybe more. We watched the Ironman Championship in Hawaii on television. My daughter said to me, mom you couldn't do that. I don't remember if I actually thought about it but that is perhaps why I went through and did it. I said to her then (a bit indignantly) that yes of course I could if I trained for it. Maybe that's why I did the first one to show her that yes I could. And hopefully that she can do what she wants if she works hard. That is the message I hope to model for my kids that if they want something and they work hard and plan well for it they can probably do it.

Don't misunderstand me here. There are tons of ways to show your kids this message including the basic get up and go to work every day, pay the bills and be there for them as much as you can. I do understand that nobody needs to do an Ironman to teach their family this lesson.

Am I nuts?
That last part is hard to calculate. Do my kids watch what I do and make the connection that they can do what they put their minds to? I sure hope so. Do they make the connection that my Ironman distance race equals whatever their dream or passion might be? Will they connect that what seems impossible is really most likely very possible? I hope so. I think so. I really do.

The same way if all the adults you know of go to college you have the perspective that going to college is just part of what you do I hope that my kids will see my actions and the actions of those around me being active and realize that it's totally normal. That a grown adult should be active enough that they don't fear food.

End of soapbox - 5 weeks to marathon day
I ran an easy 8 miles Saturday. The weather was nice. I felt good. I'm still not swimming as much as I should and I'm also not going to bed early enough on a regular basis. I blame the olympics.

It was chilly Sunday morning which meant ride to coffee drink said coffee and ride home. Brrrrrrr.

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