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Monday, September 20, 2010

Pushing the Reset Button

Ironman has been done and over for a week now. It was a wonderful experience for me with lots of highlights.  I shaved time off my swim and transitions and took nearly an hour off my bike from last year, allowing me to finish comfortably in under 17 hours a la the plan, even after I was reduced to a walking-only regimen a bit after the halfway point of the marathon. I smiled literally all day. Aside from the technical stuff of the details of the kick, pedal, and stride are the personal connections through the day - seeing people you know cheering you on, people you don't know calling your name (it's on your bib, but it takes a while to figure out why all these people know you), and people doing hysterically funny things that keep you going.  I find myself living for one connection, one person to the next and that is what got me through the day in the high spirits I finished with. I had a blast, enjoyed (almost) every minute.
Eclipsing all of that is knowing that Mike was unable to achieve his goal for that day. He can tell his own story, it's not mine to tell. It's ironic in hindsight that everyone's encouragement and attention to saying "You'll do it this time" were directed at just me most of the time prior to race day.  It was a given that Mike was going to get there and be comfortably ahead of me, I was the one who would be racing the stopping of the clock.  After all, he is stronger than me, faster than me, can go longer, harder, and endure more suffering than me before breaking.  I wish we had had that day instead.  Had the tables been turned, it would have been easy for me to concede and support because that was the performance that was expected of me really. I can see that every mention, every picture, every "atta girl" someone sends, crushes his spirit and sends him to dark places.  I am not able to experience the joys that come with the achievement because the mere mention feels like rubbing it in Mike's face and I watch him become more and more hurt and distant with each word and picture. I hesitate even to post a race report as I know talking about my own wonderful day will feel like a kick in the teeth for him. I know he is a bigger person than what I am seeing right now, but I can empathize in knowing he is still licking some fairly large wounds.
And so, with no  further ado, today opens the next chapter.  I am done talking about Ironman until Mike is ready to move forward.  The pictures will be archived, thoughts of the tattoo put on hold, the scrapbook mementos and Finisher stickers tucked away for later, and the conversation geared once again to what is on the horizon not what happened in the past.  It would be great to celebrate and relive it over and over, but it is not worth the emotional costs at this point in time.  
So what's next?
On the short term, I want to continue to work on my weight and lose that last few pounds that seem to be permanently affixed to my ass. Operation Eat Whole begins again today and will hopefully be a giant success without the concurrent pressure of trying to peak my endurance training.
I've also done zero activity for the last week, unless sofa surfing counts. So tonight, weather-permitting, I will try a short run and see where that goes.  We'll take it from there, but I am intent on maintaining fitness through the winter. And taking my pup for nice long walks. And finding joy in life every day, because that is what it really is all about.

Brought to you by the letter J-Wim
Fortitudine Vincimus! (Through endurance we conquer!)


Wendy said...

You r right. Watching you 2 race for a couple of years, we expect you out of the water 1st and Mike to pass you somewhere on the bike. I missed you on the bike when I was working the Olin ave gates and was worried something happened to you when I saw Mike. Rob quickly filled me in that you were out ahead of him. Then, when you were off of the bike - we were very concerned as to where Mike was. I can't imagine what either of you must feel. Good luck with your winter plans!

bigmike600 said...

If you are waiting for me to get over it, you'll be waiting a long time. In fact I may never get over it. Bottom line is you did it and I didn't whatever my excuse is it shouldn't matter. My disappointment shouldn't have any affect on your celebrations or whatever. Celebrate away. I'm going to feel like shit whether it's tomorrow or next year. I don't want to be the person who prevents you from enjoying your accomplishments. Re live the day over and over if you want, get the tattoo, sticker the whole house, do whatever you want. I appreciate your concerns but don't worry about me. I'll move on at some point but if you wait for me, you'll never get to enjoy it.

Pharmie said...

Jenny, I can absolutely understand where you are coming from. I'll never forget the day that I finished Grandma's marathon while Steve DNF'd.

You and Mike have been SUCH an inspiration for so many people over the past several years. I hope to see you at many WIBAs to come, and I'm looking forward to following you both in your future races.

TRIFishy said...


My name is Gena and I work for a tri store online. I happened upon your blog and enjoyed reading about triathlon in your life :) Congrats on the Ironman!! Anyway, I am contacting you to see if you are interested in a simple sponsorship. Please let me know at I just wanted to note that you have been selected as you met our specific guidelines. If you are interested just send me a quick note and I’ll send you more details about the potential sponsorship.

Safe and Happy Training.

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