My last attempt at an Ironman was a full 10 years ago and it didn’t go to plan to say the least. My first and only DNF wasn’t as difficult to take as I thought it would be. I started having stomach issues less that 12 hours before race start and spent the night on the bathroom floor by the toilet. Still, I started the race, hoping that maybe if it was something I’d eaten, it would be out of my system. I knew that if I couldn’t eat or drink, I wouldn’t be able to finish. By 60k into the bike, I felt like I’d hit a wall. By 70k I felt like I was going backwards. By 90k, I called it a day.
Ironman training can’t be abou a single result for so many of us long term or lifelong athletes. There has to be some passion for the journey or it wouldn’t be enough to keep us coming back for the challenge that this distance brings. It can be a long, hard, boring and sometimes lonely road so the journey itself, the road to an Ironman has to be part of the road in order to keep bringing us back.
Still, I felt content enough 10 years ago to take a break. I told myself that, even if I never did another Ironman race, I was happy enough with the journey to the start line and what I was able to do under pretty sub-optimal physical conditions. Plus, I could tell that I just didn’t have enough desire at the time to keep going. I felt that my Ironman journey could be over and I was actually pretty happy with and proud of what I’d accomplished. One DNF didn’t define my Ironman resume.
So, why am I back? First, let me say that I now see that I had lost my passion for the training. I was starting to do the bare minimum to get by and it was starting to be a chore and starting to hurt more: less preparation and training means more discomfort race day and that was where I was headed. Fast forward 8 years, and WTC announced the return of Ironman Canada to Penticton. Plus, my age had slow marched up as well and by the second year Ironman would be back in Penticton, I was rolling into a new, milestone age group. It felt like I was meant to go back there. But COVID threw us all for a loop and I find myself heading down to Tempe, Arizona once again for Ironman Arizona, the location of my last IM race start, my DNF 10 years ago.
So here I am:
I am fit. I am looking forward to it.
I am worried that I am not ready.
I am confident that, all things going my way, no stomach issues cropping up to bite me in the butt, I can get it right this time.
I feel like I could use a few more long workouts in my pocket but I know it is better to be under-trained than over-trained.
The first personal victory this time will be getting to the start line healthy. I’ve got 5 days to get through until then. Let’s see how it goes.
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