During the late stages in a long distance race, there always comes a point when the physical battle also becomes a mental battle. All of the sudden a switch is flipped in your head. You’re thinking how great everything is going one moment then the next moment you’re feeling like you can’t go any longer. You start to dream up the perfect warm meal and you quickly realize how hungry you actually are. You realize how cold you are and wish you were bundled up in a hoodie and blanket. You’re feet hurt so damn bad and legs start to throb and you wish you were still in bed. Sometimes I wish I could close my eyes and wish I were magically back home. The battle almost becomes too much to handle.
The half marathon was the hardest thing I had done in my life. When you push beyond your comfort zone and past what you thought were your limits, you see what you are really capable of doing. I guess you start to see your true self. When you take on long distance races, it’s really a battle for yourself and nothing else. I didn’t really see my life as much then. I had a failed relationship that I wish I could have back at the time and I wasn’t amounting to much in the work force. I guess the half marathon was a point I was proving to myself, my self worth.
Winning the battle that goes on in your head and the physical battle that the rest of the body takes on, is an amazing feeling. Running, especially close to the end of a race, can be miserable at times. But there always come that moment when you feel powerful from the perseverance you didn’t think you had. That could come the moment you cross the finish line or a few days after the race. But it comes. And when it does, you can’t wait to do it all over again.
I took a week break to rest after the Thanksgiving half marathon. After that I began my training for my first marathon. I had about 3 and a half months to get ready for the race The training for that was basically identical to half training except the long runs….well they got longer. So the routine was second nature getting back into it. Even with the confidence I had from the half, I still told myself just this one marathon and that’s it…
A few months into training, I was sitting on the couch flipping through a running magazine and watching the coverage of the Ironman Championships in Kona. I had recorded it a few moths ago, so I was finally getting around t watching it. You can probably picture where this is going already. Haha! Inspired by that, my mind was wondering if I could do one and when.
I emailed a friend from my high school cross country team and asked for his advice, since he had just completed one. He told me since I was only running and had to start from scratch with the biking and swimming, that even doing a full Ironman in the coming year was pushing it. I looked up races I could possibly do. Little did I know Ironman races are not every weekend like road races are. There are only a handful in the US. Because of that, pretty much all of them sell out fast. So really I was late to the registration game anyways.
So I just went with the next best thing, a half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). I picked one in my home state, which is always a plus with travel. And it was in late September. Which gave me about 9 months to train for that. But I didn’t want it to interfere with marathon training, so I held off until that was in the books. With my first marathon scheduled for March and my first half Ironman in September, I started to realize that this was becoming my lifestyle. I loved it. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I didn’t care. It was all I wanted to do.
At this time I was still working for the video company. It became a weekly thing for me to contact my employment agency, asking for something that I could use my degree in. Still they didn’t want me to leave. I got the feeling that they had a hard time keeping people on for this company. I was getting more and more fed up and couldn’t wait to get another job. I don’t believe anyone is above any job in the world, I just wanted to find something I loved to do career wise. This wasn’t it. Since my job search was such a struggle too, I began to think about going back to school. All I wanted was to be happy with where I worked. I didn’t want to be someone who just stayed somewhere because of the security of a pay check. I was still scared to wake up one day and realize I wasted so much time doing something I hated.