With 12 days left before Ironman Wisconsin, I have been thinking a lot about this season. Doing two Ironmans in 3 months is hard. And I haven't even DONE the 2nd one yet! I have essentially been in Ironman mode since March (with the exception of July). Even in July, I raced mini-Mussel, volunteered at Musselman, and drove up to Lake Placid to watch that Ironman. I wouldn't exactly call that an "Ironman vacation." I only took one week off from training after Ironman Coeur D'Alene!
Honestly, would I do it again? Probably not. I'm not saying that I regret the decision - it's been a great learning experience, I am getting to see parts of the country that I have never been to, and I am interacting with lots of great people. I think it's something that I needed to do for myself. I had the time, I don't have a lot of commitments in my life at the moment, so it would be hard to justify not doing it. It was a chance to do something incredible and I am glad that I had the means to do it. Plus, it makes me feel like a badass.
That being said, it has been hard to be so dedicated to something for so long. For ~6 months I have been living in Ironman land where all I do is work, sleep, eat, and train. I can forget a late night at the bar. I can forget day trips on the weekend. I can forget horseback riding. I can forget going on vacation. I can forget dating.
If I am lucky, I get to ride my bike with some friends. Or I can go to a(n early) movie with someone. Or I can chat with someone via Skype, Facebook, or phone.
I am 27, single, and live in a tiny apartment with my cat. One of those things I have no control over (that I am an almost 30 year old cat lady) but the other two are directly affected by my lifestyle. I am single because all I do is train (at least, that's why I like to think that I am single), and I live in a teeny apartment because I spend all of my money on triathlons! I am fine with the 2nd but I am getting really tired of the first.
So, all you people who keep asking me why I am not doing Ironman next year. This is why. I love Ironman, triathlon, training, talking about it, doing it, etc. But.. I am having real trouble balancing it with the rest of my life. And sorry, but I am not content with living for triathlon. I am not a professional triathlete. This is not a livelihood. This is my hobby. It is a hobby that I am passionate about, but I am not ready to sacrifice everything to do it. And yes, I have made some of my best friends through the sport, and I love the sport, but there are other things that I love as well that I've had to put aside in order to focus on Ironman. And I don't think it's fair to me, and it's definitely not fair to anyone else that is affected by this (mostly, my family and my poor horse Cherry).
Besides, I don't want to be 40, single, and unable to talk about anything except triathlon!
I think one Ironman every other year is a much better way to approach this. It will give me a season in between to focus more on maintaining balance in my life with people, activities, and other hobbies that don't involve swimming, biking or running.
IMC 2013, be prepared!