Monday, September 18, 2006

Ten Major Side Effects from Ironman

Exercise great caution when completing an Ironman, as the following side effects may occur:

1. A big, goofy smile may permanently be on your face for an extended period of time. There is no end in sight, and this side effect usually lasts longer than four days.

2. You may experience an overwhelming appreciation for every single aspect of your life. Sheer euphoria may be achieved while making waffles on a Saturday morning. You may feel a strange love of rain falling on your window as you read a magazine. This usually makes above goofy smile even bigger.

3. Cell phone batteries typically will run out. You are so excited to return phone calls from all of your friends and family, that as you sit on your couch and watch the rain fall you feel an overwhelming appreciation of friendships and support that were magnified during the past nine months. You want to thank each one personally and explain that they were with you that day, whether they knew it or not. And this leads to cell phones dying.

4. You may experience cramping in the fingers, from writing personal thank-you notes to your friends and family, who supported you in so many ways. Some were actually on the course. Some had their students make construction paper cards for you. Some put Gatorade in your mailbox. There are varying amounts of acts of kindness to repay, and inevitably you will feel extreme cramping in your writing hand.

5. You may experience restlessness at night, as you play out the last half mile of your race. You will not remember the pain during the race as much, but that last half mile--you remember every second of it. And you will keep thinking about it, over, and over, and over again until it's 2:37am.

6. You may find yourself desiring the strangest things. Said things may involve actions that you NEVER in a million years would have expected to desire. Do not be alarmed if you miss getting up at 5:00 to go swim, or wish you could go out and ride a nice, hilly, 75 miler.

7. You will feel an overwhelming sense of love. It might be for a friend, or for your family, or your spouse. Most likely, it will be a combination of all these people. You will not realize that an Ironman triathlon can bring out these strong feelings of love and loyalty. It might bring tears to your eyes at the strangest time, like while making dinner or grading papers. Because, you realize that without this love as a support over the past year, you would not have made it to the starting line, let alone the finishing chute.

8. You may feel a little lost. You might wonder if you can top this, or what to do next. You should breathe deeply. You have plenty of time for all of these things, and you do not have to make a decision rightthissecondforcryingoutloud. So slow down, and enjoy the moment, Mr. or Mrs. Type A.

9. You will ultimately realize what it was all about. You will look back on this and remember the best part about it: the perspective. You will remember that when you trained for an Ironman, you had to let go. You HAD to. If you didn't let go of unnecessary feelings and doubts and drama and events, you didn't make it to the starting line. And that, you will realize, was the best part about the journey. The all-encompassing and all-simplifying manner in which you arrived in the water at 6:50am on a September morning reminds you of this. With Ironman, you cut out all extraneous activities and focused on what really mattered: namely, love. And you will vow to carry this into your life now that Ironman is over.

10. You dream about your next one. When you can finally fall asleep, that is.

24 comments:

Batman said...

cgsavThank you for letting us follow your journey. It was up and down, raw and real-time. Unedited. You are exceptional.

triteacher said...

Girl, you are the wisest 29 year-old I've ever met! (And this comes from 34-going-on-64 year old.) IM sure does make you do all those things & no, we don't have to decide "rightthissecondfor cryingoutloud" BUT since you asked on my blog... how would you go about getting off enough time to go to Florida in 08? IMWI works so much better training schedule-wise too; I mean, a taper right when school starts. Talk to me, TST.

RunBubbaRun said...

I think I just started to fall asleep right now. Signed up for next year and already planning. When will it stooppp.

Sounds like a good plan. You could always check out the KOna IM course. maybe I will see you at the HFP races next year.

Better yet, we can walk around the chicago marathon expo with our IM hats on.

RunnerGirl said...

Sara I serious feel like I just finished reading a boko that I never wanted to end! Your adventure to the IMWI was amazing... Thank you for letting us inside ths adventure with you.

a.maria said...

i love number 9.

The Big Cheese said...

I loved this post.

Manitoba Guy said...

#6,8 and 10 pretty much sum up my post IMW feelings! I'm already thinking of IM Florida for '07! I wish I lived closer to Penticton or Madison. Stu has it made, right in his back yard!

JeffM said...

Thanks for sharing an amazing journey. I've been inspired to think 08 IM somewhere is possible.

Scott said...

Wow #9 is powerful!

Chris said...

Sleep? It's 5 am. I don't need no stinkin' sleep! :)

I love each and every one of those. Especially, like some of the others, #9.

jbmmommy said...

What an awesome post. I hope that someday I will know that feeling as well. Looking forward to keeping up with you on whatever you decide to do, that you're not deciding right this second. Enjoy.

rob reddy said...

you get it sara - welcome to the club

no two IM journies are ever the same but the accomplishment is - enjoy them all

Flatman said...

you are awesome.

Kim said...

Girl, you made ME cry with your last posts recalling your Ironman raceday experience. I have read all your posts through your incredible journey and feel like we have became FRIENDS. you inspire me to train for an ironman. it would be a gosh darn shame if we never met!! :)

greyhound said...

I'm glad these are going to be in the archive, because I am going to need them again and again in the coming year.

I'm glad you'll be along for the journey. Nice to have a guide who's been there before.

Cliff said...

Thanks for sharing TriSaraTops....

i feel some of your points this season...i can't wait until I do IM next year ;D

TryAthlete said...

I kinda have the feeling that one day, when asked for childhood sources of inspiration, a kid who does the Ironman will say, "I had this teacher in school, Mrs Z, who was an Ironman..."

JohnnyTri said...

Wow, thats great! It thats what I get after the IM, count me in!!!
Your awesome sara, thanks for letting us follow along..
Rockon`

christine said...

A well earned perspective, #9 is a beautiful tribute to all your hard work.

xt4 said...

That was awesome. I'm all about #5.

I think you're pretty cool.

tri-mama said...

Excited beyond belief now! I love this list. Gingerbread waffles? Any chance you might post that recipe?

Iron Benny said...

First of all, congrats on your IM finish. You left me an interesting comment at my blog that I would love to correspond with you about. If you want to, e-mail me at ironmanbenny@yahoo.com. And by the way, all ten of those things are true, along with many others. Take care
Benny

Siren said...

Thanks for these beautiful glimpses into the other side. It will give me something to motivate me when I'm faltering on my resolve to hit the pool tonight after work.

jeanne said...

oh that was just beautiful! thanks for taking us on your journey. what a great list. you deserve to revel in every minute!