Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflecting on 2009

As I begin to think about the past year, the first word that comes to mind is “wow!” If you’d told me a year ago that this year I would have completed a full and two half ironmans I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

I’d like to say that 2009 was about much more than Ironman, but that wouldn’t really be true. For the most part, it is what consumed me this year. While I generally try to be a little more balanced, that just wasn’t realistic for me this year. But it was my choice and I am really glad that it turned out the way it did.

So, how do I feel about 2009? Very happy and so proud of myself for what I accomplished. Honestly, I vacillate between being very matter-of-fact about things [whatever, it is just an Ironman, anybody can do it], and being completely in awe of myself that I actually did it [I swam/biked/ran how far!?!).

Everyone keeps asking me if I will do it again. My response is that while the race itself was hard, it was only one day and I think I could do it again. However, the training was tough, and while I am so glad I dedicated myself to it this year, I don’t know that I would do it again.

Nevertheless, I am so glad I did it. It is a great feeling to know there is nothing that I cannot do if I put my mind to it.

At the end of the day, one Ironman or lots, fast or slow, I am Ironcat, and I’ve got the schwag to prove it. Hehe, check out what I got:

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful, healthy, and rewarding 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do You Hash?

Monday night I had the pleasure of joining my team-Zmates for the newest team activity…hashing. I’d heard of it before, and there have been rave reviews of the latest addition to the team calendar, so I decided to check it out.

Not being much of a drinker (okay, I don’t really drink at all) I have shied away from hashing before. From what I heard, you drink beer during and after the run, and there are all kinds of esoteric traiditions and vocabulary involved. Yet, I kept seeing all of these messages saying how much fun the first few hashes were, and how it is fun even if you don’t drink, so “what the heck, why not?” I thought.

I showed up to PRR on this very cold past Monday night dressed in five layers on top (well six: sports bra, long sleeves shirt, short sleeved shirt, two more long sleeved tops, fleece vest) for which I was called out later.  It was a chilly and windy 31 degrees.

Then we learned to deal. Basically, you run around with the group and attempt to find the trail (which is just the route, mostly on paved streets/sidewalks and occassionally over grass). Someone has gone out ahead of time and marked the trail with dollops of flour and chalk. Without going into detail, you run along and try to figure out the correct course, which can sometimes be tricky. Along the way, there are marking that indicate beer is near (BN) or shot check (SC).

It was really fun! The best part is that during the hash, you’re not really thinking about how much further you have to run or how long you’ve been going. You’re looking for trail signs and trying to figure out if that mound is flour or snow. It was a great change of pace from the usual boring run. I might be hooked.

Afterwards, everyone gather for beverages, “orange food” (i.e., cheezits, Doritos, and other such yumminess) and revelry. This includes some drinking games and the calling out of strange or inappropriate behavior such as wearing race paraphenalia or new shoes (from which you are forced to drink).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, chips and juicy-bevies which may or may not contain alcohol, whatever the quantity, are not sufficient post-run nutrition. This I learned when I woke up hungry at 1 am. Doh! Maybe I need more chips next time.

For more about hashing, check out this Wikipedia article.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Thanks to everyone who reached out to me after reading my post about my post-Ironman blues. I am happy to report that I am steadily getting better.

Earlier this week, I went ahead and booked the trip to Disney. I find it kind of interesting that it was like a switch was flipped in me, and I instantaneously felt like myself again. I felt  happy and I had something to plan. Funny how that works.

To prepare for the Goofy Challenge, I was supposed to walk 11-12 miles today and run 26 tomorrow. I decided that since I am an ironman, I don't need to do the walk. (ou know, because I am so tough...hmmmm.)

Three weeks ago when I walked 8 miles the day before the long run and it left me achy. Strange. My butt and back hurt. Although I usually don't do 8 miles straight, I walk miles at a time pretty often so I don't know why. So yeah, I'm skipping it and I don't feel bad about it.

Of course, Snowpocalypse is interfereing with the planned 26-miler today. A couple of years ago I ran 20 in the snow and ice and while I got it done, I think it was foolish. Yaktrax worked great, but I just don't need to do that again. I'm thinking that I will take a morning off from work this week to make it up. I am definitely not going to do any more than an hour or so on the dreadmill. [Headed there soon, I promise.]

I hope you all are enjoying the snow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I got the blues…

No, not Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I’ve got the Post-Ironman blues. I’ve been keeping this pretty much to myself, but IronHolly’s post has made me feel a little less embarrassed, so I thought I would pay that favor forward and share what I’m going though.

Week 1 was pretty exciting still. I was sore, tired and hungry, but I had the joy of all of the wonderful messages and calls [and flowers...thanks, Mom] pouring in. I returned to work that Thursday (with my medal, of course) and eagerly anticipated the weekend plan of doing nothing and/or whatever the heck I wanted.

Well, the weekend didn’t turn out how I planned. I wound up overcommitted with team events and errands. By the end of the weekend I was in a serious funk and was really sad.

I admit that I thought I was immune to this post-race depression thing. I’ve done 6 marathons and countless other races and frankly, didn’t understand why people would get depressed after a race unless something went wrong.

I've always subscribed to the theory that I choose to be happy. That hasn't changed.

I also didn’t think I’d have a problem since before I signed up for Ironman, I had signed up for the Goofy Challenge in January 2010. I figured the goal of racing a half marathon followed by a full marathon the next day – at Disney, no less – would keep me motivated and focused during the two months following Ironman.

But…..I don’t know.

I have stayed active. I began getting back into light workouts just 4 days after IM. Thanksgiving day I even raced a turkey trot (5k) and did really well (sub 28-minutes on a hilly course) despite going in with no plan and no goals.

Yeah, I am taking it easy with the workouts (read: working out just once/day – haha). [No, I have not been near a pool since the week of IM.]

This past weekend I did my Galloway-recommended 8-mile walk on Saturday and 23-mile run on Sunday. It all went perfectly.

But I’m still blah. And it feels like the training ate up my entire weekend. Boo :(

Apparently, the “goofy” goal isn’t enough for me. I need something. Something to look forward to. Something to work and/or plan for.

So, I got the crazy idea of taking a vacation that didn’t involve a race, training event, or work event. Ooooh.

Not to shift blame, but to make a long story short, the Knight’s schedule is NOT cooperating. At all. Grrrrr. I feel downright thwarted. I could go alone, or with friends… Anyone want to go away with me?

So I tried to focus on making a vacation out of the Disney trip but at this point I am not sure if I feel like racing -- or training for that matter.

Thus, add to everything else the stress of a) not knowing whether I want to race Disney; b) not having travel arrangements less than 6 weeks from the race (verrry stressful for this type-A girl); c) feeling completely powerless to make any decisions or arrangements given my indecision and the Knight's demanding work schedule.

I did a little googling and the consensus is to be that you need to give yourself time to recover. It also seems that taking on a new, non-tri related project or goal is recommended.

So, what now?

I’ve always had goals. Whether it was to get through school, pass the bar, get a clerkship, get a job, run a marathon, do 8 pullups, find a house, plan a vacation... I always have something to work on.

Right now, I am kind of lost.

My body is telling me to “stop the insanity!!” My recovery from Sunday’s 23-miler was seriously tough.  The next day I hurt everywhere and was sooooo tired. I could barely walk because everything hurt. I am better now but I am still not inclined to continue pushing myself like this.

I mean, I am keeping busy with work, moderate workouts, and occasional social activities, but to be honest I am just not happy. :(

I keep reminding myself of how fortunate I am. I am healthy, I have a good job, I have wonderful friends.You know...

I’m enjoying not waking up at the crack of dawn for workouts. I am enjoying the flexibility to stay up later and meet friends for lunch or dinner. But I need more.

And I need to relax and maybe even pamper myself. But I can’t seem to do that when there are meals to prepare, a litter box to clean, and a closet to reorganize.

Okay, I’m done whining for now. I am off to continue working on being happy. Tonight I’m going to some of the wonderful free holiday concerts in DC tonight.