Now that I have had 3 weeks to recover from my Ironman adventure, I have also had time to think about my experiences leading up to, during and following Ironman Texas. From my perspective of hindsight I can only now truly understand why my friends who had previously completed Ironman races were so enthusiastic to see me take on this effort, and why they described this undertaking in such glowing terms as a transformational process.
I would encourage anyone wanting to take on the challenge of completing an Ironman to do so with one caveat, that caveat would be that they should truly want to take on this goal. The process of preparation will not be easy, but by race day a proper training program will have you both physically and mentally prepared. The importance of the mental preparation is not to be underestimated in this process.
During my own race I experienced problems of a sort that I did not experience in training, however I always felt confident of my ability to overcome those issues and complete the race. Of course part of that could have been my own innate stubbornness that refused to allow me to fail.
There were a couple things for which my training did leave me completely unprepared. The first was the emotional feelings associated with receiving the cheers of support from the many friends and family members that I saw along the race course. Racing in and completing the Ironman was emotional in itself, but being able to do it with so many friendly faces around made it truly special. It was not long after I had finished that I was virtually surrounded by excited friends. The second is the admiration I have earned from friends because of my Ironman finish. In this regard I am a bit embarrassed with the feeling that I am being placed on a pedestal in such a way. However, I have come to feel that this is not necessarily a bad thing. I feel that with this I can be a positive example to those who wish to also take on the challenge of the Ironman and may feel less confident of their own abilities at the time they register. For those who may feel inspired by my story, I hope I can be up to being the example that helps them achieve their own success. In a way, I am only
just learning what it means to serve as this example and hope I prove to be up to the challenge.
Finally, moving forward I know that I want to take on the challenge of Ironman again. I am not sure when this will be, and my race schedule is already too full for it to earlier than the second half of 2012. The question of which race really has me wondering and will have to wait for some time to come, especially since most Ironman races need to be registered for almost a year in advance.