Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recovering and Reclaiming

This post will be quite scattered as my mind is in that general state most of the time lately.

I am in week 3 of recovery and just as I was beginning to feel somewhat like myself and fairly well-rested, I have developed an acute case of a very unhappy psoas muscle.

It may not be as acute as initially believed as I have been thinking back over the last week before the race and see now that there were signs that were probably mis-read as something else.

Thankfully, I am in recovery and I can take the time to get this squared away.  This leaves me with a mind that does more thinking about things than normally afforded.

So here are a few of my ramblings, feel free to skip to the next person's blog.
Finding the New Normal  not as easy as it seems.  Going from 16- 20 hours of training time + prep and clean up time which could easily add another 15 hours per week if not more, to zero - 8 hours per week...very weird.

The top 3 things that made my race successful:
Aside from prayer and lots of it on many fronts and by many people the top 3 contributors to my IMTX finish
1.  HR training - For years I have attempted to HR train to no avail.  This time around, I stuck with my HR zones after developing them myself, based on my personal ridiculously high HR.  I did not race with a Garmin, only a HR monitor.  The majority of the race was done in Zone 2/3.  I am happy with that given the heat of the day and the goal of finishing by cut off.

2.  Be Iron Fit - One of the concerns I had about taking on the challenge of IM was the fact that, unlike many other athletes in the area, I could not budget in a coach for my training.  I would have to find a plan that would work for me and pray that it was good enough.  Be Iron Fit did that for me.  I did a lot of comparing of mileage and time between Fink's plan and the plan of local coached friends and found them to be close to the same.  Of course, being able to have a personal coach comes with benefits that a book can't provide, but I am blessed with some great friends who were happy to share their experience with me. 

3.  Tailwind  - I have reviewed this product a few times already, so I won't do it again here.  I do believe that Tailwind saved my race. I never felt bad.  I never felt dehydrated or low in electrolytes.  This product does what it says it will do.  Period. 

People often mentioned to me that they have no idea how I could possible have had time to train for this event.  The truth is, other parts of my daily life suffered.  Below is a short list, in no certain order. 

my family time
my laundry
my checkbook - not balanced
my household organization
lack of time to cook real meals
lack of time to  plan menus or grocery shop
my ability to read a book
my ability to watch a movie or a tv show
my time with friends

Lessons I learned while Training

I never knew if I could really make it through the training for this race, but my motto was, I will just keep going until I hear otherwise.  In other words, when deciding to do something, even when we aren't sure, keep putting one foot in front of the other until it is obvious that we should be doing something different.
Prayer was crucial as I truly did not ever want this race to be solely about me.  I wanted to glorify God in my efforts. 

My family is truly amazing.  Every single one of them.  Near and far.  And my friends.  I can't even begin to imagine my life without them.  From in-person support, to texts, emails, private messages, voice mails, cards, signs, chocolate covered strawberries, mentions in DM and FB posts, and any other means of support offered, my friends and my family did that for me.

Questions that I get asked most often

The most popular question after, "How do you feel" or "How did you find time for that?" is "Where is your tattoo?!"

I will not be getting one.  This race was never something that I believed I could do on my own power so I do not feel that I can claim stake to the M-dot being permanently marked on my body.  If I ever was to have one, I would have to have Phil 4:13 incorporated into the tattoo as well.

What's next?

The next question after the tattoo question is, would you do it again?  I respond with an emphatic YES!  I would absolutely do it again!  However, for now, I won't.  Training is so much fun and I have never felt stronger than I do right now.  But it has come at a cost.  I have given up time with the ones I love the most and while they wouldn't have had it any other way, I am not ready to ask them to give up more.  For now, I will focus on some shorter distance races so that I can keep my skills up and focus on strengthening my ability in each discipline.  As well, I also miss running trails and would like to spend some time doing that this season.  There are a few possible tris I am looking at, nothing over the Half IM distance though. 

Which is harder Ultras or IMs, which do you like better? 

Ultras and Ironman are both filled with their own challenges and their own thrills.  I love all of it.  I love the preparation, the people, the training, the excitement, even the nervous anxiety that sets in.  The taper, not so much, but I don't think we are supposed to like it. Recalling that every thing I am blessed to do is a gift from God, I can't say that I regret doing any of it.  (OK...maybe not the night time trail run that had starting temps of 112 degrees.)

I  read an article where the author wrote about a co-worker who said to him, "Welcome to the club", after he finished his first Ironman.  The author realized that he never saw this as a way to "enter a club."  He was training FOR the Ironman.  For the CHANCE to PARTICIPATE in an Ironman, but to BECOME an Ironman, that was never a thought in the plan.  I can relate so much to this line of thought.  I am not a stellar athlete, and I don't say that to downplay my ability; I just say what I believe to be true.  There are better athletes out there, faster, stronger, facing larger challenges, etc.  I love doing what I do and I am so thankful to have the opportunity. 

Yes, I finished Ironman, but AM I an Ironman?  That is yet to be determined. 


  1. Looks like you are recovering well, other than that pesky psoas muscle. You trained well and you participated (and competed) to the best of your ability, and there is no doubt that you are an Ironman--I should know, I was there when Mike Reilly announced it!!!

    PS I think an M-dot tattoo with Phil 4:13 would be awesome, but that's a decision you have to make.

  2. Great post, as always, Karen! As someone who intends to train for an IM in the near future, I love seeing what worked for you and how it affected your daily life. It is quite a time-suck, but I am sure the accomplishment is well worth it! Congrats again!