Lessons from Half Ironman Training

Today is a bittersweet day.  It was supposed to be my first Ironman 70.3.  Steelhead.

It’s not my first DNS. (Did Not Start.)  There are plenty of races I’ve signed up for that I didn’t race, for one reason or another.  That happens when you’re impulsive and sign up for races often.  Steelhead was not an impulsive decision.  I had an incredible coach, I was fundraising for a good cause, and I was dedicated to my training.  But my body said, “Lauren, knock it off,” and I decided to listen.

Okay, so I’m not donning my wetsuit and jumping into Lake Michigan today.  That doesn’t take away the hours and hours of training I logged to try to read my goal, or the lessons I learned along the way.

In an attempt to stay positive today, here are the things I learned about life, triathlon, and myself during training… in no particular order.

I am a badass.  I mean, I kind of knew that already, but there were so many training days that proved to me how tough I am.

I can ride 63.66 miles on a bicycle.  At one time.  And then I can still walk.

You have to know when to call it a day.  Sure, there’s a chance I could have made it to the starting line this morning.  But there’s also a chance that pushing it that hard could have meant ignoring my UC and putting myself in the hospital.  Pushing yourself is a really important part of endurance sports.  But so is knowing when to stop pushing yourself.

I can swim half a mile in open water in 18 minutes.  I took more than five minutes off my open water swim time this year!

I am a little fish.

Drinking water is important.  A lot of water.  Way more water than I ever thought I needed.

Left to his own devices, Goose makes really awesome signs.

Don’t let the teenage boy do your body marking at a race.  If he is your only choice, make sure you repeat your race number several times.

Otherwise, this could happen.

The most difficult decisions to make are the most important ones.  I’ll admit I’ve been a little weepy this weekend.  I cringed when I checked the weather and saw today’s high of 74 degrees in St. Joseph. (Come on, seriously?! In August?  I checked the weather to make me feel better.)  A few times, I wistfully thought, “I should be checking in now,” or “We should be leaving for St. Joe now.”  But at the end of the day, I know that the decision not to race was the right one.

I am almost back to being 100% again (yay!), and I am more aware of my body’s limits.  I learned about my arthritis and my body’s extreme reaction to heat.  Now I know how to better prepare myself in racing situations, and just how far I can push my body before it starts pushing back.  Best of all, not racing due to my UC gave me the push I needed to start getting involved with CCFA.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

What have you learned from tough situations?  Is there anything awesome in your life that a difficult decision lead you to discover?



Filed under Life, Triathlon

4 responses to “Lessons from Half Ironman Training

  1. You are awesome in so many ways! Keep doing what you do!

  2. It’s killing me that it’s cloudy and cool this morning…ugh.

    Anyways, amazing job on your training . You are right–you have so much to be proud of, 70.3 or no 70.3. Yay you!

  3. you are and always will be awesome…your intense training is something to be so very proud of!!

  4. Damn, re the bicycle number. I can’t even come close – then again, my last bike ride was when I was about 12.

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