Some people get fit by going to a gym, I go to Ironman.
That’s how I view it now-a-days. Here’s the deal: I told my Coach that all I wanted was to start Ironman Lake Placid (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) with confidence and finish with a smile. That could happen at sixteen hours and change and it would be fine by me. I believe that in my core.
I started triathlons because I wanted to get healthy, and it went slowly but surely taking over my life. I quit my job as a preschool teacher, became a blogger, got through my first Ironman, my second, and now my third. Not in a million years did I ever think I would be where I am today.
Each of my Ironman races have been the conclusion of a journey. Florida was about feeling like an athlete who could compete after sitting on the couch smoking cigarettes for so many years. That will probably be my best race in terms of finishing time. Arizona, was about keeping a balance between life and training. A lot of things kept coming up and I had to let go of my original timing goals and realize I could just enjoy the experience. So now what would this journey to Lake Placid be about?
What I do know for a fact, is that I’m going to Ironman Lake Placid as part of Team Got Chocolate Milk, my go to recovery. I drink it, my muscles love it, they sponsor me. It’s a great partnership where we all win.
There are no shortcuts to a race like this. At some point, the training will get intense, with long days and many miles in them. And though I nailed my first week, this second week has seen some missed workouts as I am attending a conference.
Am I worried? A little bit. I know enough to know you’ve got to put in the work. Am I freaking out? Not yet. There’s still time, and I made a commitment to myself not to do exactly that … freak out and obsess. So what meaning do I give these twenty weeks of getting to Lake Placid? What part of me can I challenge?
Lately I’ve been involved in several women’s groups on Facebook. From the Women For Tri initiative to a great group called Ironwilled: Women Who Tri. On Twitter, I started a list called Women In Triathlon to keep better tabs on everyone and to which you are welcome to subscribe. Reading about women, interacting with so many who race triathlons, and seeing their fierceness but yet their femininity has got me thinking.
I’ve never been a girly girl, but in becoming an Ironman it seems I have forgotten how to be a woman. I can’t remember the last time I got a facial or had my hair done. If it’s not workout clothing, I’m not sure the last time I bought something new. I’ve focused so much on my body … on feeling fat or thin … that I forgot about all other aspects of what makes a woman beautiful. I’m forty-two and all of a sudden I am seeing new wrinkles every day. From the sun and the swim, my hair is having issues with grey hairs becoming more abundant. Beauty comes from the inside, yes. But in these days where my insides seem to get a down more easily than usual … a boost of the outside might help things out a bit. It’s not about being vain, it’s about feeling beautiful in your own skin. And with the amount of selfies I take, well, I see myself changing rather quickly.
So that is my new challenge…. How to get to Ironman Lake Placid feeling confident that my training is done, but feeling the most beautiful me? Embracing the changes my body goes through as I get older, but at the same time taking care of it so those changes are more gradual. I don’t know what it will take to get there, or if I can do it, but it sure is a different side of me I’d like to explore.
What about you? What is beauty to you? Do you consider yourself beautiful?