Life After Ironman

13 Aug

6 weeks on and here are my thoughts on life after Ironman.

Completion of Ironman Austria was the biggest achievement I think I had made in my life up to this point. Just making the finishing line gave me the greatest feeling of success, even though the day didn’t go completely to plan. As soon as I finished, I began reflecting on my experience, thinking over and over about what happened and what I got out of it. To anyone who asked ‘how was it?’ my answer always started with ‘I loved it’! I genuinely did, loved each aspect of the race, the support on the day, the atmosphere and most definitely the finish. How could anything compare to that?

After nearly two years of build-up, life after such a big event takes a bit of adjusting to! After Austria, I had been warned about the ‘post-ironman blues’ – a time when all the craziness of your A race and focus for the whole year is over. When your post-race buzz is fading, there is a rather big hole in your life, when once you didn’t have a minute spare. Training is limited as your body needs time to recover. Mine felt ok immediately afterwards, I didn’t ache and I didn’t have any of the dramatic side –effects I had heard about. But then I did have a nice long cool down (6 hr 21 walk/jog!). Two full weeks off any structured training was just what my body needed but by the end, I was twitchy as anything.

I found my mind was still in ironman-mode, switched on and continually reflecting on my experience. It’s hard to quieten that voice in your head that says ‘keep going, you’ll be fine’! I had this voice finely honed from all the hard months of training. You absolutely cannot have a voice that tells you to stop.

3 weeks after Austria, fatigue hit and my motivation to train plummitted! Without the burning desire and crazy obsession with something, I found getting up in the morning difficult for the first time ever. I’d be in a beautiful lake with the sun coming up and still felt no love! On my bike, I felt alright but nothing special, not like I had the fitness to ride 112 miles! Running made my heartrate go sky high so had to be careful to keep it all under control. I lost my appetite, but this always happens to me after a race.

I had several interviews and blogs to write and this helped keep my focus positive, although inside I wasn’t necessarily over the moon about all aspects of my race. My main disappointment was with my time and how my body reacted during the marathon and in the heat. Lots of lessons learnt and to be improved on. I still maintained the overwhelming feeling of achievement for simply finishing, but I think it’s only human to always strive for better. I tried not to compare myself with others. I was reminded by the stats about those who have completed an Ironman after heart surgery and I’m still in the minority (made me feel better!).

The only sensible thing to overcome the temporary sadness was to line something up to look forward to! That for me was round 2. I entered Roth (iron distance event in Germany) a couple of weeks after finishing Austria. As the deadlines for next summer’s races were fast approaching, I had to make a decision. There was never at any point a question of whether or not, I’d do another Ironman. I knew a long time ago, in the middle of training for Austria, that this was for me.

I also entered a half ironman distance race for September which meant my training had a closer goal to work towards. Suddenly everything started to fit into place again! Speaking to friends, I heard that this is a common thing to do after Ironman and probably the reason why people go on to become lifetime endurance junkie.  Oh no, I think I might be part of that club already…!

After making it round the course in one piece, I am now determined to become faster, fitter and stronger. Another year’s training and I’m excited to see what is possible next. Was it all worth it? YES!

 

 

 

8 Responses to “Life After Ironman”

  1. jason cuthbert 13. Aug, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Good points made here about perhaps over analysing your performance.
    Glad you also made the point that you have also had big surgery just months ago.
    Running in the heat is a pain tho right?
    I exactly echo your sentiments about that. Its a mental battle.
    And I had a period of losing that battle in Lanza.
    Cannot believe that you had it so hot in Austria.!!
    You still considering double trouble?

  2. Colette 14. Aug, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Well done Corinne. Yours words are very inspirational to me. I am doing the Vitruvian in a few weeks time and not convinced I am going to get round but will keep your words in my head about just keeping going and not quitting to try to get me to the finish line. Thanks.

  3. Corinne 05. Sep, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Thanks Colette. See you at the Vit -good luck!!

  4. Corinne 05. Sep, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    YES!

  5. Jim 14. Sep, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Awesome, Corinne…you did it! So happy for you. If I wasn’t focusing on a less is more run/bike approach right now I think reading this would have inspired me to put down my credit card for registration. One day. Congratulations. Truly. Well done!

  6. Corinne 14. Sep, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks a lot Jim! I think you should just do it!! :)

  7. Geoff 23. Sep, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Corinne, you are an Irongirl! I did Austria as well this year, after a radical change in my life, working to it for 2,5 years… The temperature was hell and time completely irrelevant. Training makes us forget about what we actually do. You did a full distance Ironman… I felt great for three weeks, but up to today i feel tired, I am not training and I feel burned out. I guess a body needs time to heal and recover. I signed up for Challenge Copenhagen and will get back in the bike and put on my running shoes soon. Good to read that you go to Roth. Hope to read soon in your blog that training is going well. What you did is amazing. Really amazing. Forget about hours, it’s about life, quality of life, feeling good and meeting nice people. Good luck!

  8. Corinne 24. Sep, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    Hi Geoff. Thanks for your kind words! Really appreciated. It was a tough old day out! Bring on Copenhagen and Roth!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.