The Many Moods of IM
Triathlon offers a range of racing distances with each having their own set of challenges and demands. However, there seems to be a set of moods that are very specific to ironman training and competing that are unlike any of the other distances. I’ve named these the “Moods of IM” and my family was more than happy to offer there opinions on these moods they have observed in their mother and wife. I’ve chosen to leave some of their descriptions out being that I am the author of this article and can control the written contents. So, as you begin reading take this in with a light heart and have a good laugh. For that matter, feel free to share your “Moods of IM” with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We just might find ourselves with a best seller book in the triathlon section of Barnes and Noble!!!
Let’s start at the beginning. Mood number 1: I’M Excited! Do you remember how excited and happy you were when you pointed and clicked to register for your ironman!?! Oh yes, the journey begins! We think about this everyday for quite awhile; about our training, travel to/from the race, etc. We talk with our family, friends and training buddies; basically anyone who will listen to us talk about this incredible event we are going to soon be preparing for. We are like a kid in a candy shop we are so excited.
Next comes the second of our moods. I’M Beginning! Yes, we are finally following our training plan for this great journey we have decided to take on. We are still talking endlessly about our ironman and our family loves listening to every minute of this. They smile, shake their heads, nod, and are completely onboard with this amazing event! Training goes from winter maintenance, strength training, and a solid base to the spring and summer months when training volumes really start to increase for this ironman. We are still smiling and filled with excitement through this second of moods. We have just completed our first 100 miler with a run off and then a long run the next day. We maybe exhausted, but the lawn still gets mowed, laundry done, and dinner made.
The third mood then starts to set in: I’m Realizing (realization)! Wow, this really is a lot of work. “Honey, I’m going to be gone until about 1-2pm again this Saturday. I have a long ride and run off with my training buddies…okay!?!” “Oh, and I am going to meet the gang for an early long run on Sunday too… okay!?!” We are hoping that we have enough energy to get the lawn mowed or the house clean when we get home. Maybe we could sneak in a little nap before the lawn! We are spending lots of early morning hours training and have come to the realization that there are going to be many early hours so we can limit the amount of time training takes from our family. Our family now just nods and says, “I’ll see you later today.” We secretly hope they will have the lawn mowed by the time we get home.
Number four appears about 7-8 weeks out: I’M Questioning (guilt & doubt)!
We are starting to show some wear & tear of this big commitment. We are now so dialed into following our training plan that we feel guilty about missing a workout and more guilty about mentioning that we will be gone for 6-7 hours on Saturday to train again. We start questioning our training. Have we done enough, how can we do more and maintain our balance with our family, can we get a little more in, etc? We may even find ourselves getting a little, hmmmmmmmm… short tempered. Could this be fatigue? “No honey, I’m not tired. I just need a little more sleep and not have so much to do!!” We may even have a mini meltdown… “What was I thinking, will I ever be able to ride that far? Etc” Then, just about the time you think you’ve had enough, your spouse smiles at you and says, “remember, this is all part of it, tough it out.” When did they gain the understanding of this IM? Hmmmmmmm, could it be the last 10 months!!
Hence, Mood number 5: I’M Moody(& irritated)! “No honey, I’m just tired. This has nothing to do with ironman training!” I have just put my swim paddles on the wrong hand, brought two different running shoes for the run off, called deer antlers horns, forgot about a meeting, fell asleep while my husband was talking to me and have now told my coach my weekly bike mileage for the 3rd time in 24 hours. In addition we have just snapped at our spouse because they were kind enough to do the grocery shopping and they did not buy 99% fat free ground turkey and instead came home with 97% fat free. Oh, and those bananas are not ripe enough either!!! Moody… what’s that!! Hee-hee
Finally… number 6: I’M Joyful!! We have arrived at the finish line and that incredible feeling is like very few other things we have felt in our life. There is this incredible rush of emotions that leaves us speechless, in tears, in amazement, and just plain old HAPPY! We just can’t get that cheesy grin off our face. We have worked hard to get to this point and are very proud of how we have been able to push our bodies both physically and mentally. Our family is there celebrate this accomplishment with us and they maybe filled with as much joy as we are. This joy could come from the perspective that we will be theirs again!!
Unfortunate number 7: I’M Depressed (Post IM Depression) Lucky 7 can sometimes be good, but in the moods of IM it can be lonely. A good friend of mine described the days following IM as, “like losing your best friend.” When we invest ourselves so heavily in something, it is hard when it is then gone or over. Is this fact or fiction? I don’t know if there are any facts to support it, but the feelings seem real. We each address these in different ways and in looking back to the many moods of IM we find ourselves back to number one before we would have ever thought possible.
“Hello, I’M Excited, it’s me again!”
Sense of humor is a key in IM training, realizing that our family is affected by our decision to commit to an ironman and what we do in training does take away time from them and other things we might otherwise be doing. In our house we choose to laugh often, love living, and remind mom that this is her hobby. We laugh about the “moods,” tease about the “lean meats” and need for fresh vegi’s & fruits, and drinking enough water. We travel the IM journey together in many ways!
Live, love, and laugh at your “Many Moods of IM” and above all else… enjoy the journey. Remember to share your moods and let’s create a best seller or at least a lot of good laughs. All the best!!!