Post Saundersfoot sprint tri on the Sat, the adventure continued on Sunday with watching Ironman Wales Tenby. I’ve been wanting to be spectator for a while now and I finally got there. I decided against volunteering as I wanted to soak up the atmosphere and move around the course. To make the swim start, it was another 5.30am alarm call and I was on the street, getting a good sport at North Beach by 6.15am. As soon as I stepped out the door on to the streets of Tenby, the atmosphere was electric. It was still dark and I joined the crowds heading for the swim start. Athletes were making their way through the crowds in various states of undress, many were getting wet suits on in shop door ways, there was racking everywhere so we were all just funnelled in the same direction. The nerves in the air were palpable.
As I waited for the race start, the day dawned and the sun rise welcomed the athletes on to the beach. It was sheer drama hearing the Welsh National Anthem and then all of sudden they were off, hundreds of swimmers launching themselves into the calm cool waters, all looking like sharks as the pack headed towards the first buoy. What a moment!
I got to various points on the course and it was such a joy to see so many different shapes, sizes and ages taking on this race. I saw the bikes around 70-80 miles into the bike course and I saw all different kinds of emotions, everything else by that point had been stripped away. There was pain, tears but a lot of smiles and some still clearly loving it. I had a phenomenal time watching the race, it deeply affected me on many levels. Its crazy, insane but incredible race.
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Ironman wales without a doubt.
So just do it…!
Yes I’ve been told on numerous occasions, if you want it badly enough then you’ll just do it. But I don’t work like that. I like to think and get my questions answered before I commit to anything. Is the quest important enough to sacrifice the time away from the family?? I don’t know. If I was younger, fitter, single no children, this wouldn’t even be dilemma, it would be a yes. So the very fact that I am contemplating these big issues and giving it careful consideration, does that in itself indicate that I don’t want it enough. If I really wanted it would I be signed up by now?? That’s how certain views have been presented to me. I can’t want it enough. Maybe they’re right. Or not?!
What I find really interesting is that out of 2,400 women only 255 were women. Why? I genuinely would like to know the reasons that only 10% of competitors are women. I don’t have these answer, all I do know for definite is that women are tough enough, absolutely 100% tough enough. So again why? Maybe I’m not the only one who would put my dream to one side as I don’t have the confidence in myself, ability or able to put myself first above all of the family. For sure this would be the ultimate selfish goal. I don’t mean that in a negative way, we all have a right to be selfish and put ourselves first but what I find comes with being selfish is guilt. The big ‘G’ and I know this is something that Mum’s suffer with in aspects of life. How do you get through this?
Somebody replied to a tweet along these lines with ‘get a coach who will give you an honest appraisal’. I’ve already got a top notch coach but I love the idea of having an honest appraisal of my life in every area. How do we work and function as family? Do we work effectively together? I am the only one who feels perhaps home life doesn’t quite work at the moment and how do you talk honestly and openly about these issues and then tackle them?
I feel like Sunday has opened a can of worms for me. Possibilities are exciting but practicalities not so much. I know I can’t take on an Ironman mission without working really hard for good couple of years to build a solid endurance base. I can’t go from zero to hero as my body is a bit broken in parts and I need to add layer upon layer of endurance and resilience. I turned 40 this year so I don’t really have time on my side. I’ve only taken up triathlon over the last couple of years. For 30 years of my life I pretty much did no sport. I’ve always enjoyed being outside and being active but never any sports related activities. I was very ill in my mid 20s with Crohn’s Disease and again in my early 30s with endometriosis. Diving straight into huge levels of endurance training is just not right for my body, I’m not free of pain but I do manage it. I have realised though that sport is now really important to me, it gives me a positive outlet that I have not found anywhere else, it boosts my self esteem and helps me manage pain and chronic illnes.
I do have a loose plan for the next couple of years and who knows what might happen. I definitely feel my kids need to be a little bit older. This ultimately will give me more freedom and not have to rely on my husband and his work hours so much (don’t even get me started on the ‘I’m stuck in traffic’ scenario). I need to get the kids doing as much stuff for themselves as well which is not a bad thing for their own self-sufficiency in the future.
I’m not listing a load of negatives here and then just having a moan. I see these as problems/obstacles which can be solved and over come. It’s just trying to find the right solutions. I would be really grateful for anyone’s input and advice but I would particularly value opinions from women who have undertaken Ironman with young children, a job, a home to run and a husband without getting divorced or the kids forgetting who mummy is. I know the reality of this race is not the glory on the day but the many months of hard work, exhaustion and sacrifice leading up to the race. Ultimately is it worth it? Why would you put yourself through it? This is just a hobby something that I do in my spare time so can I justify this? I am not naive, I know the enormity of the undertaking, I do realise that the training could be anything between 15-20 hrs a week and you’re pretty much too knackered to do anything else so please accept that I know this and if anyone has really useful insights and knowledge I would be very interested to know. Maybe I was just too caught up in the emotion and excitement of the day and should discount going out to play with the big boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!