For anyone who hasn’t done an Ironman (or other supreme endurance event) I shall start by explaining how many months (if not years for some) go into training for that one big day. It becomes a massive comitment, at least 10 hours a week of training, along full time work, and if you aren’t careful can become all encapsulating.
From, what seem like, impossible training sessions, early mornings, unhelpful self doubt, supreme tiredness, empty legs and an ungodly taper we embark on a big part of journey to push our bodies to new limits. But the sense of achievement from the good sessions, fellow athletes and fancy bikes makes the hard days worth it. Then suddenly its over and its a very harsh snap back to reality.
IRONMAN weekend is a fantastic, unbelievable, exciting and amazing experience, but for me it was also a time of very little sleep. The adrenaline pulls you through race day, a sense of meaning driving you forward to reach that special red carpet, where hundreds of people cheer you over the finish line. To hear the words: you are an IRONMAN!
You would think after indulging in wonderful foods, the night after the race you would fall into a deep sleep, awoken by nothing. However, and I can only talk for myself, this wasn’t the case. The high you get post race in unbelievable. You are on cloud nine, afterall you have just completed what most people wouldn’t ever consider attempting. This high lasts for a few days, and continues to be an amazing feeling, and you excitedly scourer the internet for what will be your next challenge.
Then all of a sudden, you are back at work and the tiredness kicks in, all that lost sleep creeping up on you knocking you for dead. Its true what they say, the legs recover within a few days, but the body takes slightly longer to catch up. I found after a few days, I somehow almost forgot the supreme brutality that my body had gone through and struggled to understand why I didn’t bounce back after a few days like I have after every other event I have completed. Toby did buy me a swaggy new cap, which nearly blew off of my head in this wind we’ve been having..
Nearly every night since Wales I have been in bed before 9, until Monday this week all my body wanted to do was sleep. This coupled with the lack of training direction is what I understand as the IRONMAN blues.Sat on instagram, I could see so many other competitors starting training again, did they not feel the effects of the race too?
My coach had scheduled a number of rest days in the week after the IRONMAN, and this is the point I am glad I have him. I know the old me would have tried (and failed) to train through the fatigue, which ironically would probably have lengthed the recovery time significantly!
After 2 weeks, I can say I am feeling much more like myself, my bounce has returned and I am excited to start training for Snowdonia marathon. I have had a very enjoyable run & cycle this week, which reminds me why I do all of this!
I hopefully will be able to do a bit of commuting to work again as I’m pretty fed up of the car and traffic. Its also an exciting time as I am trying to decide which IRONMAN to take on next year! I have narrowed the choices down to Lanza, Nice, Vitoria and Hamburg. But for some reason my heart is pulling me to towards Lanzarote. I mean start with the hardest right?
What is your view? Do you have a favourite IRONMAN?
As always thanks for reading!
Pocket Rocket Rach