my life

iron life.

More often than ever before, I’m being asked: why do you train for such an extreme event like the Ironman? And then race 140.6 miles? How is this possible and how do you fit it into your life?!

All good questions.

Yesterday, when trying to figure out my Asthma/breathing troubles, my MD said to me: what’s wrong with just running 3 miles every day? He then proceeded to tell me that my Asthma and allergies probably wouldn’t be this bad if I wasn’t an ‘elite athlete.’  Granted, I’m not ‘elite’, but in his eyes, I am.  Compared to the majority of his patients, I guess I could be considered elite:)

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Well you see doc, running 3 miles every day, just isn’t enough for me… I have bigger fish to fry:) (I didn’t say this by the way, but it did get me thinking…)

I laughed…. sure there is nothing wrong with running 3 miles a day, and that’s not why I laughed ( I think as long as you are exercising in some form or another, you are doing something great for your body). I laughed because deep down I know I’ll never be that person who runs 3 miles a day… but can you imagine all of the free time I would have if I was?

It can be easy to get caught in the triathlon bubble, specifically the Ironman bubble. What once seemed like an absolutely insane feat to me, all of a sudden seems normal?  This is my way of life, this is part of who I am, my identity. How the heck did this happen? I was doing sprint triathlons just 4 years ago.

Recently, more than before, I’ve been thinking a lot about WHY I do this.  Why would someone in their right mind want to train up to 20 hours a week, while working full time with a long commute… leaving little time for anything else… heck, I forget what having free time even feels like.

Or… maybe it’s because all my friends are having (second) babies and I’m getting ready for my (second) Ironman. It has me wondering, am I doing the right thing? I know in my heart I’m doing what I want, but it’s certainly not normal.  Then again, I don’t want to be normal. Normal isn’t fun.

And there are times when my mind rambles about all of this…. Should I be traveling and exploring new places with Todd instead of training my face off? Will I regret this when I’m older?  Should I be having kids now instead of waiting? What’s the point of all this, I’m not going to be a Pro? IS this healthy, for me?  Is it too extreme? I would have so much more free time if I were just a runner… I would have so much more money if I were just a runner…. or a gym-goer… full disclosure: most of the money I make funds my habit. I would be able to hike so many mountains, camp every weekend in the summer… Our home would be decorated to the nines if I didn’t do triathlons… I WISH I had the time or the energy to decorate. I have so many great ideas… I guess I could go on… What I do know is, it’s all worth it.

This morning, I was tired… so tired that I could barely open my eyes.  Sure, I could have slept in, but that would mean doing my hour of intervals after work/commuting… and then figuring out when to get my run in.  I got out of bed (slowly) and crept into my ‘courage cave.’  All that stood before me was my bike and my bike shoes… I just had to put them on… easy, right? My body felt stiff and tight… I was not feeling this ride at all. Tried to do some dynamic stretching, but then just got on the bike, hoping it would warm me up. And then it happened. Usually after the warm-up, I start to feel my groove and settle in. I had 4 sets of 7 minutes at Z4 HR (my threshold i.e. not being able to talk pace) with a 1 min at Z1 easy in between sets.  For the 4th set I had to go EXTRA hard!! After the first one, I didn’t think I could finish the workout.

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But I did it… I finished. It got dark and dreary at times, but I did it. I was a sweaty freaking mess afterwards and it felt amazing.

And suddenly, there was the answer I was looking for….

Ironman training challenges me, it changes me, and it makes me into a person I never thought I was capable of being.  It takes a lot of GUTS and sacrifice to train for a 140.6 and it sure takes a special person to live this lifestyle.  No one is making me do this, I love this lifestyle. I need to remember this, I hope you do too.

Trust your own {iron} madness 🙂

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14 Comments

  • Reply Kecia May 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you for being so open and honest!! I too have VERY similar thoughts and feelings. While I know we will never have children of our own, I often think about all of the “other things” that we could be doing with our time and finances. I do “Trust My Own Madness” most of the time…sometimes I wonder if my madness is a little too mad 😉

    • Reply Kristin May 20, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Of course!! It helps to be open about these kinds of things… makes me realize I’m not the only one feeling this way! I also wonder if my ‘madness’ is a little too mad…. I know I’m doing what I LOVE to do, but will I regret missing out on other things? I hope not! I guess you can’t think like that though, gotta live in the moment I tell myself:)

  • Reply Lee@tri*inspired*life May 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    LOVE, LOVE this post Kristin!! You put into (great) words what so many of us feel. While I am not training for a full IM this year, there were times last year when the thought of one more training session overwhelmed me mentally and then physically I thought there was no way my body could handle it. BUT…you overcome all that and pull out awesome things. While race day and crossing the finish line is totally amazing, like you said… “It takes a lot of GUTS and sacrifice to train for a 140.6”. TRAIN is the key work here. Many of the biggest accomplishments related to a 140.6 are really those that are recognized on a random training day and could be when you are alone and fighting through the “demons”…no crowds, no one there to say “you can do it”…just you and your thoughts. It is completely life changing and I could not imagine MY life without all the swim, bike, run craziness!

    • Reply Kristin May 20, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Aww, thank you Lee!! It’s absolutely having the GUTS to TRAIN for the 140.6 event… doing the event is the easy part (ha, not really, but you know what I mean!). When my mind goes to dark places, I like to think it’s going to help me on race day when I need to stay mentally tough. It’s soooo mental, the whole process!! I’m so glad you agree with me:)

  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles May 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I know we have talked about this before, but never let others make you feel that what you are doing isn’t what is best for YOU. Do what makes you happy, work for what is important for you and everything else will fall into place..that is what life is about!

    • Reply Kristin May 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you, Sara! And YES , you are right! I need to remember this every.single.day xo

  • Reply Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead May 14, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Oh my gosh. This is exactly what I needed to read. I’m just a runner, but even doing the one sport gets time-consuming. I’m in post-marathon mode right now, without another on the calendar, and I’ve been running 4 milers most days. It feels weird, and I feel incomplete, but I’m also eating dinner at a more normal time, and getting caught up at work, and my house is clean, and I’m thinking, “This is a normal person workout. You could do this every day.” But I want to get back into higher mileage soon. … This comment is really going nowhere. I guess I just wanted to say thanks for sharing because it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this type of thinking.

    • Reply Kristin May 20, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      So happy to hear this, Cassie! Marathon training is no joke, and that alone can take over your life, just as much as a triathlon! Post – marathon is always tough, you suddenly have all this free time! I’m pretty sure I had post-race depression after my IM last year! Nice to know that I’m not alone either, appreciate the honesty!!

  • Reply Kristen May 14, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    loved your post. I struggle with these questions too. We definitely live our lives different from the average American. But when you attend the race meeting before an Ironman and look around – these are our peeps. Plus, you will never really know the impact that you have with your blog and social media.
    Achieving challenges is transferable to so many lifelong endeavors.
    When I see the photos of your fist pumps on your blog and read your Boston race report I get choked up. Reaching goals and sharing them with the world is a valid and worthy pursuit.

    • Reply Kristin May 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you Kristen, glad to hear you can relate:) You bring up such a great point about the pre-race meeting… everyone there understands what you are going through/have gone through to get to that one special day!

      Honestly, reading your comment about my marathon pics means the world to me. I forget about the impact I can have through blogging and social media. You never know who you could be inspiring!! Thanks for the reminder!!

  • Reply Alexis D May 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    This post was on point and well needed, thank you! Race hard!

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust June 2, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I love everything about this post, Kristin. I’m saving this one for the day when I can pick back up and start at Day One. I will need to read something like this to get me fired up again. A good reminder of why we love this sport, the sweat, the effort, the tears, the pain, the smiles, and the challenge.

  • Reply steena October 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been stalking your blog for a few weeks now and this one assured me that you can work FT and be as amazing as you are as a triathlete. I’ve often wondered if fast people have jobs, now I know at least one of them does! 🙂

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