Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Iron Mom Chronicles - Final Volume

Enjoy the Ride

By Iron Wil

To think that not too long ago I couldn't imagine making this announcement in the absence of a panic attack... but here we are now, and with this post, I will officially retire from triathlon. I suppose if I'm being honest, I'll also be retiring from pretty much all long distance endurance events including but not limited to marathons, century rides, and any swimming that isn't absolutely necessary lest I flail, sink, and drown. I've had a good run, guys, but it's just time to move on.

If you've been around the block with me a while, you know all about why I got involved with endurance sports in the first place. I needed something bigger than my roadblocks and found it in Ironman. Along the way I learned how to get to the end of countless miles, countless times, and it turned out those lessons were exactly the ones I needed in order to navigate (and ultimately remove) the obstacles in my life.

I suppose you could call endurance sports a tool for me then, but what is a tool, if you think about it? It's something you use to do a job, and once the job is done, the tool needs to be put away or else it just ends up becoming part of the clutter. I guess that's where I found myself with it all; I realized I needed something new, something non-competitive, something quiet, because subconsciously I'd already learned all I needed to learn about lining up, mastering fear, and about just putting one foot in front of the other until I got where I needed to go. The visceral pull to know these things is what gave me the drive to hold the pace necessary for that lifestyle -- it was a war, after all, but I have to believe we all get tired of fighting eventually, especially after finally accepting that we've won.

Coming to that understanding coupled with the increasing demands from work recently made for the perfect storm, I guess. I did a lot of soul searching while in the throes of a disorientation I hadn't felt in a long time, and realized that what I really needed in my life now was serenity, not mortal combat -- me against the great race, a.k.a. my demon du jour in disguise. Honestly, I don't know that I'll ever be able to see a competitive endurance event as just simply a race to do for fun, much as I imagine a soldier who has been to war might have a hard time using his gun in sport. The mind's a crazy place, you know?

Anyway, I've started a yoga class that I foresee becoming habitual. There's a nature preserve near my house as well, which seems to be the perfect place for trail running, not to mention kayaking. And trust me, I hear you; so much for cutting back, right? But compared to the pace I was keeping, this is Zen, baby.

I don't pretend that I'm ever going to be able to completely "relax" in this life, but I'm sure going to try. I've paid my dues, and the thing I need to do now is just sit back and enjoy the ride.

So in closing, thank you to all of you who have come this far with me, especially my teammates and sponsors. I love you and will be cheering for you -- always.