What does one experience after a major goal is met? 55 weeks of anticipation, preparation, expectation, so many “-ations”! Waking up the morning after the World Championships, the first thing I felt was physical – a heightened awareness of all the muscles that had paddled me through the swim, pedaled me along the bike and paced me through the run. The acronym “DOMS” played in bold letters through my mind as I recognized the tricky ways of the body portrayed in my own through the phenomenon known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Brought on by the microtrauma of prolonged or severe exertion of competition or training, the lactic acid built up through this process and perhaps simply as the body’s way of double-checking that participation in such events was intentional, giving the athlete pause to reflect on his/her choices. It is always amazing to me that I can barely sustain a moderate pedestrian pace the day following an endurance event and marvel that I was able to finish the day prior in as good a time as I managed. As the day progressed and we walked around the city center in Linkoping, however, my muscles relaxed, my gait normalized and DOMS took on new meaning beyond the physical…
Deliriously Opting for More of the Same
In much the same way we forget the trials and tribulations of childbearing and birth, there is an amnestic moment approximately 12 hours after the finish line when the woes, fatigue, aches and exhaustion fade away and all that remains is the sense of accomplishment from the previous day’s event. It is at this point that a competitor is most likely to research, and often subsequently enroll, in a future challenge. I would recommend to any partners of these potential candidates to restrict access to the internet during this most vulnerable period unless you are willing to support yet another race. Though it had been a consideration prior, it was definitely in this post-race haze that I elected for the double in Milwaukee and added the Sunday Sprint Race to my already anticipated Olympic Distance Age Group National Championships on a Saturday in early August. As an added bonus, I also signed husband up for the event. J Upon learning of this, he did heed my advice and took away my computer after I related 5 more events for the summer including Aquabike and Aquathlon Nationals, noting that enrollment in further events would best be performed during a period further removed from the post-race elation.
Discovering Options Most Suitable
Though I certainly added to my task load for the weekend in Milwaukee, it was not lost on me that even in adding a Sprint Tri to the Olympic in which I was already enrolled, I would still only be completing HALF the distance over TWICE the days as that which I had just endured in Sweden. Even as the post-race disorientation lends itself to future engagement in similar activity, it provides context for modification, encouraging more appropriately aligned challenge with skill. While I appreciate the challenge of the Long Distance venue and it certainly helped vindicate the trip and overall effort, I also recognize that my strength in (and general enjoyment of) racing is over a shorter distance. It is often in seeing the complete picture that we are best able to understand and I do think that I would have continued to push for longer races had I not experienced this expanded version first hand and have gained even more respect for my friends and all who repeatedly take on the Ironman challenge. I have realized, however, that more racing is in my future, but in the Sprint, Olympic and occasionally Half Ironman distances. I am also intrigued by the emerging multi-sport options of Aquabike (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile run) and Aquathlon (1500m swim, 10K run) and am grateful that options exist to continue to fine-tune my continued competition.
Dating One’s Magnanimous Spouse
I would be remiss to ignore that one of the major perks of the World Championships 2015 was the opportunity to enjoy a week-long trip to Europe with my husband, without our three children. While I certainly miss them, appreciate their travel savvy and would definitely bring them back to the child-friendly environment that was ubiquitous in Sweden, it was a tremendous gift to have time alone as partners rather than parents. To connect as adults who continue to share mutual interests, humor and conversation beyond report cards, potty-training and discipline. To savor meals, naps and books uninterrupted. This is not to say any of the parenting pieces are bad or undesirable, but that a break to truly reconnect while knowing that our children were safe back home with friends who love them as their own, is a priceless gift. Especially for the husband of a triathlete, who often plays a supporting role, I am immensely grateful that time outside of the race provided true respite and enjoyment for us both.
Doing Other Meaningful Stuff
While the race was certainly a milestone moment, one I will never forget and that which will forever mark my place on Team USA, it holds meaning far beyond the swim, bike and run. The experience has been enhanced immensely through sharing with others – in person at the gym, in conversation with fellow parents while watching our children play, at work with patients and my colleagues and especially with family and friends through the development of MamaTriDOc. I have been truly amazed by the encouragement, the shared stories of individual challenge and achievement, the movement toward increasingly active lifestyles and striving for personal best. To have rekindled my relationship with writing in a venue that allows me to be true to all parts of my most authentic self has been perhaps the greatest gift of this experience. From this I remain inspired that there is always more to be learned, new layers of self to be uncovered, that one challenge met can expose fertile ground for personal development. While the next “stuff’ might not be in the genre of racing, coming through this experience has shown me that goodness multiplies, that we can appreciate that which has been achieved, enjoy the moment of success and remain confident that our best is yet to come.
May we all Draw On Moments Significant to Dream On with Motivation Strengthened and Dare Ourselves to Marvelous Success!