Monday, 17 June 2013

Reflections on life after half Ironman

I started writing this post (in my head) to coincide with it being one month after my race. Instead that period got a bit distracted. I applied for a permanent internal promotion at work, the day after I returned from Mallorca, had the interview, thought I had bombed and instead got offered the job exactly one month after my race! In addition, when I got home, the law courts had issued a little bit of oddly worded legalese to confirm that the Beardy one was well and truly single. Cue many tears of joy because the life that had felt so vulnerable and temporary was now on its way to be nice and solid.

And in all of that, choosing  my next race seemed quite insignificant. Of course, racing and challenges has now become a massive part of our lives but there seemed so much more to decide on and act on right now. The last four weeks had really given me a taste not just of what I had been missing since 2009 (when I was first locked in a battle to finish some seemingly insurmountable challenge and have been ever since), but what I had been missing by not fully being embedded in family life, not being able to commit to future plans - and now all that had changed.

So here are some forward musings:

We love Ironman. Yes we love the brand. We love the slick organisation, the color-coded bags. We enjoyed following every rule to a T with paranoia (Jon wouldn't pass me a split time nor an Aussie flag!) because we wanted to feel that taking the start line with Lucy Gossage and Tamsin Lewis et al meant I really was worthy. We loved that I was part of something big. If I am to do another event, it's going to be Ironman branded. So to continue in this tradition, we're going to save up (because I can do that now with a permanent job) for a full Ironman in 2015.

It doesn't mean I am not competing this year. Oh no! I just don't want to compete or challenge myself with the level of intensity I have had to. While I am a very slow person, you may think that I don't need to train much but as I am so naturally unsporty and really not ergonomically structured for sport, I do need to put in lots of work on strength and conditioning and recovery to get where I am today! It's not the training that kills me, it's the planning for the next training and recovering that does!

I have really enjoyed swimming and want to continue open water adventures. I did have my heart set on Coniston 5.67 mile shore to shore but I hear that Buttermere is a bit shorter and that will be a great challenge for this year.

Jon is going to get a bike for commuting and some weekend rides together may teach me some cycling love if ever see a day with sunshine. And over Winter I will see if my heart and body have the energy to return to distance beyond the 26,2 mile mark. I never buy into this "once a runner, always a runner" thing! I think I got into it because it was accessible, not because it's in my DNA!

And so life after Half Iron will, in amongst this, return to the rich variety of things that made me tick: opera by homeless people, theatre by refugees, Freedom from Torture, and street outreach, volunteering and Doing Culture! Cooking and baking and making and writing and taking photos. Catching up with my friends in London and Finland and beyond. And of course my family, not just in Mossley and other places up north but in Malaysia and Australia, who need lots of time to cultivate and update so they are all ready for 2015 where I hope I can get many of them to cheer me at the full 140.6!

PSssstt you can still support the half and the great work of Freedom from Torture by going here.