Confession - Yesterday I was signed up to participate in the Beach2Battleship full ironman. I made the decision to sign up for this race shortly after Cedar Point. B2B was technically sold out, but had opened 25 more charity slots. For days I wrestled with making this decision but when the slots were down to 4, I jumped and signed up. I felt right away that I had made a horrible mistake. I had spent an ungodly amount of money to participate in yet another ironman and I was stuck. I figured, though, I had seven weeks to get back in the game. But as you know, those seven weeks were disastrous with going back to work, hurting my back, having bad saddle sores, catching a cold, and finally falling and busting up my knee.
Nonetheless, Wednesday we packed up the car and began our trip to Wilmington, North Carolina. Earlier in that day I began to feel the internal tension and nerves that ironman continues to serve up. By dinner time I was full-on nauseous and barely kept that dinner down. Thursday was no different as breakfast was a little bit of cereal, lunch was a little bit of sandwich and then I did something truly embarrassing - I cried when I picked up my race packet. We checked into our hotel and I was going south fast. I began to panic and kept telling Dave over and over again "I just wanted to go home." Thankfully, our hotel had a "happy hour" and just one glass of wine later I was feeling fine. But, I still couldn't eat dinner and I was a blubbering mess by the time I crawled into bed. Friday I had a full-blown panic attack - sweating, sobbing, heart racing, full-on nausea. All of this over a stupid race. A stupid race I have at least tried before. I never unpacked my bag and told Dave I was ready to go home. He checked us out of the hotel, then checked us back in. We went over to the Convention Center where I turned my chip in and then got it right back. Seriously, I could not have been more of a mess. I sobbed uncontrollably as I called my coach. She talked me down and I agreed I would give it a try. That lasted all of 30 minutes. We turned in our keys at the hotel and we were off. For the next two hours, Dave tried to convince me to turn around and at least give it a try, but there was no listening or reasoning with me. We drove half way home on Friday, and made it home yesterday.
What the hell?!?!
To say I'm embarrassed is an understatement. Which is also to say that I'm mad, angry, upset, and sad. I so badly want to be an ironman. I so badly want to put all this behind me. But, I'm just not ready. What I haven't really spoken about and have completely internalized is Louisville. Louisville did some serious damage to me mentally and I just haven't recovered. Unless you were inside my mind and body on that day, you have no idea what I saw or experienced. Honest to goodness, I think I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That race feels like it ruined me. Every time I read a race report from an ironman all I fixate on is how sick they were - everyone feels crappy during that race - and I can't get past how awful I felt and then being shipped away in an ambulance in Louisville. I CANNOT move past that. Physically, I know I am ready for the ironman, but for some reason my head cannot make that leap with me. Truly, I was ready for Cedar Point, but given that it ended poorly, I just wasn't ready to move on so quickly to Beach2Battleship.
So what's next? I don't know. Maybe that's a good thing. Ironman will always be there and someday, someday I will do it. It just won't be any time soon. What I need before then is to live life, have fun, gain more experience, and learn to love racing again.
Tomorrow I will hang up my bike and I don't plan on getting on it for a long time. I plan on doing some yoga, pilates, weight lifting, and a lot of running with friends. I am currently signed up for the Houston Marathon, but in all honestly, I'm going to switch to the half marathon. I need to find myself again. The person I was when I rocked the Boston Marathon in 2009 is not the person I am now. Heck, if you told me to go out and run Boston tomorrow, I probably couldn't do it for fear I wouldn't be able to do it. In the future I will be that beast again. Today I am Meredith. And that's all I need to be.