July 2015, a post-race diary excerpt following Ironman Bolton.
I didn’t ache at all. I didn’t have problems going up (nor down) the stairs. I felt the inevitable joy of lying horizontal and not having to get up for swimming running nor cycling. That joy lasted almost exactly 36 hours, at which point I started to feel fidgety.
I wasn’t able to imagine what post Ironman would feel like. Many people asked me ‘what will you do afterwards?’ and all I knew is that I did not yet know. What I didn’t bank on was just how content I would feel, despite a feeling of going soft around the edges, a side effect of 30 minutes of exercise in one week instead of my usual 14 hours plus. Despite aggravation due to my lack of sweating, I was feeling pretty excited about life and all of the endless possibilities. I’d had two main thoughts on this subject of possibility on the days after Ironman:
1. Ooh I could start painting portraits again. Ooh I could start taking photos again. Ooh I could do this or ooh I could take up that.
2. So when can I start training again?
But — I’d whispered to myself several times during the race, and stated quite explicitly to the doctor after the race: ‘I am never going to do this again’. However, just like childbirth, so these mothers say, the pain could hardly be remembered, and instead was replaced with butterflies for fond memories of that day — that glorious day when I was surrounded by 2499 people who get me.
On that glorious day, I crossed a finish line that marked the end of a year of mental preparation and hundreds of hours of physical preparation; yet at the same time it marked the beginning of a new me, a stronger person who can achieve anything that she puts her mind to, and damn it — can even do so without people she knows being there to cheer her on. Sure, my parents offered to be there, but Bolton was simply too far from St Ives to allow this sort of kindness.
I was left pondering on 2016, considering doing my best at half distance. For the moment though, I’d simply be, with this new found philosophical outlook and time within which to ponder, with my hand in a fist under my chin.