Long story short, we did it. After 13 hours, 6 plus minutes of survival/racing I can call myself an Ironman. The weeks leading up to the event were a mixed bag of all kinds of feelings and circumstances. I was grateful that the migraines were under decent control. I was worried that 3 weeks of relative rest and making sure I wasn’t hurt going into the event would not lead to being unprepared. A friend who I had just ridden with on my 1st ever century ride ended up having a massive stroke later that week and is in a brand new race to recover strength and speech. Another acquaintance from my running group died from cancer. Our best couple friends got a divorce. . . lots of stuff. Thankfully I was able to also feel optimism that after a full year of waiting and training that the opportunity was present to complete a once in a lifetime accomplishment.
The previous weekend I spent with at the time relative strangers camping and participating in my 1st Ragnar Trail Run. What a great experience it was and despite knowing now that it sapped much needed strength from my legs from Ironman I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I had agreed to do the trail race when I was very much struggling with my back and migraines and I figured that Ironman was really not possible. I somehow did both and I really cannot explain it other than I am blessed with rapid healing and know that God watches over me more than I deserve.
Several other friends also completed Ironman and MANY friends actually came out to cheer on a cold, rainy day which made the race even tougher. Thoughts of them and my other friends and family supporting online was integral to keep pushing this beat up, reconstructed body to finish. Despite cancelling our trip to Vegas to nurse to my wounds and staycation at home I am feeling settled and satisfied. I can’t however say that I feel accomplished or that I did anything ‘special’ and I cannot really explain that. My best guess is that I generally have to set expectations for myself that are beyond what my pain levels and injuries would otherwise allow or else I stagnate and end up feeling MORE tired, have MORE pain and start to feel unproductive. Fourteen years after my spine saving 1st fusion and 12 years on my 2nd and hopefully last set of fusion hardware it is working. It won’t last so I will try to enjoy and appreciate the now.