Ironman NZ 2005 Post Race

Now it’s Wednesday and it’s 4 days past the big day. I am late in posting this due to activities and travelling around NZ, but here it is.
Sunday after the race, I manage to get my sore, stiff bod up early so that we can get down to the Ironman NZ store and pick up our cool Finisher wear. My other race buddy and I drop back from the other two people since our legs aren’t functioning that well and wish they would slow down. Oh well. It is good to get up and move around. Gotta get blood circulating down into the legs to flush out the lactic acid remaining from the race.
Amazingly, my knees and IT band do not ache. I only feel stiff and sore from lactic acid buildup in the muscles. As I race more, my body is definitely adapting to the stresses and I am glad for that.
I spend way too much money on t-shirts, jackets, hats, etc since everything is ridiculously marked up for this event. But, it is my first Ironman so I want to get some cool things to wear back home as now I am part of the Iron Club.
We then head for the Ironman Championships Qualification Roll-down meeting. Sometimes a race will have slots which will get you automatically into the Ironman Championships in Kona in October. It is the race that everyone wants to be in and competition to get in is tremendous. The only way I can get in is if I manage to get a roll-down slot from those who are ahead of me in finishing time, but do not want to go.
I have watched the Kona race twice and it is REALLY tough due to the extra heat, humidity, and devastating wind that whips up from the ocean and blows across the lava fields. Last year, there were 20-30 MPH winds lashing at the racers. Winds like that really test your strength and training. It is truly the ultimate Ironman out of all of them, and the ultimate test. I hope to get in so that I can race.
But alas, to no avail, no roll-down slots make it far enough down to me. I will try to qualify again at Vineman Half Ironman in August.
As you may have surmised by now, I am hooked on Ironman. Saturday after the race, I really thought Ironman was a ridiculous thing to have done and how could I ever want to do this again. Yet the morning after, I know that this was a momentary reaction to the stresses of the event. I am part of the Iron Club now and don’t want to leave.
What is it about Ironman that makes me want to keep doing them?
Certainly there is the basic benefits of maintaining and improving one’s health and fitness doing an enjoyable activity. How many people in the world are as fit as those who train seriously for the Ironman?
My coach is fond of saying that Ironman is a metaphor for life, and that during the course of training and the race itself, you go through physical and mental trials mirrored in real life. I like this aspect because it gives me confidence, knowing that I can apply the same principles in being successful getting through an Ironman and its training to other areas of my life, such as being successful as a father or entrepeneur or in relationships.
Conquering obstacles is paramount to finishing Ironman, and one can draw similarities between Ironman and how we solve all the problems that exist in all our lives. I think about my resolve disappearing with 3 km to go. How many of us have experienced the same despair? Did we conquer that despair or did we let it dominate us? The same despair exists in Ironman; do we have the fortitude to get past this despair and get to the finish line or do let it consume us and we drop out of the race?
The support I got during the race was phenomenal. I once again thank all the people who came to cheer me and my fellow racers on. They had an Ironman level workout running around doing all there supporting! And yet, when I receive this support I feel good and feel that there are others out there willing to give me, and that it is ok to receive it and use its energy and enthusiasm to do the impossible. As I experience this, I like to examine the feelings I have inside regarding this support and learn how to open up and acknowledge it more, and find ways to gather support for other aspects of life.
Then there is the challenge of doing something we could not before. Humans are pioneers in spirit; we are really good at pioneering externally – building, exploring, travelling to the unknown. But here, I believe Ironman is pioneering internally. It is exploring what you really can do and breaking down mental barriers and beliefs which prevent you from doing them.
Racing Ironman is like taking the ultimate test. We all have beliefs ingrained in us from people and situations in our past which put limitations on ourselves. It is about personal growth and breaking through those barriers which have been around so long.
Ironman is about perfecting our technique, certainly in our racing, but also taking that out to all areas of our lives, and thus we become more resilient and better people in general.
This is what I believe about Ironman. This is why I will continue to race Ironman, in the hopes that I will continue to improve and grow, and to not stagnate in life.