Three weeks ago today I was crossing the finish line of my first Ironman. It feels like a lifetime ago and it feels like yesterday. I already struggle to believe I was ever fit enough to complete the distance. I’ve so far avoided the biggest problem most people seem to get which is the post ironman blues, although I know i’m not out of the woods yet. I can totally see how it happens, you dedicate most of a year to acheiving this goal and all of a sudden, it’s gone. Acheieved, yes, but still gone.
Where is there to go once you’ve acheived the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced?
It’s a question i’ve been asked a lot too, lots of times by many people. It’s great in a way that people think i’ll be looking at some other big challenge, but it can be difficult to answer. What do I do next?
The ironman wasn’t some huge lifelong dream for me. It was something I got really interested in last year and 12 months later it’s done. I’m definitely not ruling out another one, to be honest I had kind of hope that would be it. I’d do it, it would be incredibly difficult, but that would be it. It really has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It’s given me a belief that anything is possible. If I want to acheive something, all I need to do is write it down make a plan, then do the steps. It’s made me understand a little more what motivates me and taught me that i’m not the lazy person I think I am. I’m not going to call myself lazy, when I’m not training I’m just looking for the right thing to focus on! The weather on the day makes me think I can go quicker, as does my lack of experience on the bike. If it hadn’t been so hot, I think i’d have gone sub-4 in the marathon. I think 11:30 would be a realistic goal if I did it again.
So I’m not ruling out doing another one, but it’s not going to be anytime soon. The pressures the training put on me and Philippa were tough. Whilst most of the training was great, I really can’t put Pilla through the lost weekends again soon. Pilla didn’t sign up to the endurance event obsessed me and I don’t think it’s fair to unilaterally decide to spend all our money and time on an event for me. I’ve been blessed with an amazing wife and best friend who has been an unbelievable support through this whole thing and now there is some payback time.
I’ve trained a little, a run here and there and i’ve been cycling into work, but nothing huge. I’m definitely not stopping training though. A week ago I entered a local half marathon with the aim of just running gently to run off some of the ironman fatigue. As soon as I got to the car park, put the running kit on I fired myself up to go quickly. I was feeling pretty crappy with some stomach issues prior to starting but I felt pretty strong still. I ended up kicking on to a 1:36:36 half marathon, which is about 6 minutes faster than I’ve ever been. For the first time ever I felt pretty quick and I loved it.
So what’s next? Well ‘Project Philippa’ is about to begin which is going to be about getting Pilla fit through running and circuits and that is going to be fun :).
And for me? Well, I want to get quicker. How quick? Well, having just done an Ironman, anything is possible….