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Showing posts from December, 2015

on December

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I've never finished an ironman feeling quite so peaceful.  It's different than feeling done kaput finished, I'm not ready to wash my hands of this distance no matter how I felt at mile 60 of the bike.  But, like everyone posts haughtily on instagram all the time, I do think that I have finally learned how to honestly be in love with the process.  With where I am, just me, not comparing myself to anyone else around me and where they are and how fast they got there and what their story looks like and how mine doesn't measure up.  My day went how I wanted it to go, start to finish.  That's what I care about, not about the time, or the heat, or the chafing, or the gut bomb, or the blisters or whatever else I could use to bring it down.  And with that comes peace.  Maybe I'm growing up.  
The week after ironman, I did almost nothing.  I had this idea that I would have so much extra time in my life since I wasn't training, but instead my body ate up all those hour…

Ironman Cozumel Run: race report

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When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
-Mary Oliver

As per usual in ironman, I got some random quote jammed up in my brain at the beginning of the training cycle.  Because I can't just show up and race, I have to feel all my feelings and crap along the way.  I'm not sure why this one was so powerful to me lately other than acknowledging how strongly I needed to internalize the last line: I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.  I want to leave a big fucking dent in the planet when I go, I want there to be a hole in the space left by my absence, I don't want to just visit and quietly depart, I want to make a gigantic mess, leave a permanent scar, have a tiny part of the world ring with silence when I evaporate into nothing.  And what that looked like this fa…

Ironman Cozumel Bike: race report

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The first ten miles felt great.  Legs were good, stomach was settled, power was right where I wanted it to be, brain was quiet.  I had to hold back quite a bit to keep watts in range, which I've never experienced in ironman before, usually it's legs vs. The Power Meter right off the bat.  When I did this race in 2013, I spent the first twenty miles crammed into a huge pack of riders, wasting time sitting up and coasting to try and get shaken loose and frustrated with so many athletes around me.  This year could not have been more different.  There were 2-3 riders near me most of the time; I passed a few people and got passed by a few people, but I had open and clear road for the majority of the ride.  I could feel a little bit of swirly wind going on, but it didn't feel like much, and (sigh) I remember thinking to myself, maybe the wind on the far side of the island won't be bad today and we'll all get to ride so fast!
I went through the second aid station right bef…

Ironman Cozumel Swim: race report

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One of my biggest hesitations about returning to this race was not that in 2013 I was in a bike crash and broke my arm and in all my finishing pictures I have a great big bloody handprint on my shorts.  It was that there are jellyfish in the sea.  I've been told plenty of times that they don't hurt, they are little no-see-ums but when I escaped the first go-round at this race without being zapped, I considered myself lucky and vowed never to return because I was sure my luck would run out.
Last time I was here we stayed in an all-inclusive resort, and for a lot of reasons I don't think that was the best logistical decision.  This time, there were six of us staying in a huge VBRO that we found just blocks away from packet pick-up/the grocery store/T2/the finish line, and it made the whole trip much easier.  After we landed, we picked up our packets, went for a shake-out run and got bikes built, ate dinner and were off to bed.
On Friday we rode pretty early, down to T1 and bac…

the beginning of the end

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I've made it no secret that life beat the shit out of me this year.  After IM Boulder, I made some pretty big changes; the best way to describe how I reacted is to say that I drew in.  I did what I needed to do to survive.  I think I talked to about four people on a regular basis there for a while.  Outside of doing my job and taking care of my family, I didn't have the energy to pour into anything other than the work I needed to do to heal.  
And as the months went by, I started figuring some of my shit out.  It was hard.  It's still hard, it's exhausting, it's uncomfortable; there are times when I want to rip my skin off just to get away from all the feelings, but I'm working on it.  For a while, being happy felt strange, like my face forgot how to make the muscles that move that smile.  Michelle was extremely skilled at navigating me through these months against what she knew about the state of my mental well-being, and in hindsight I'm glad that I kept t…