Tuesday, August 30, 2011


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!


  1. Thanks for your perspective...I'm thinking about IM St George and IMAZ for next year. Last year I did IMWI and I felt like it was all IM all year any way. It was totally different just doing IMCDA this year and being done in June.

  2. I totally can see where you are coming from and sometimes I wonder why no one ever talks to me about anything besides running or biking! Don;t let the fun of triathlons escape you!

  3. Cheers to all that.
    I did three last year in six months
    One didn't turn out so well

    Just be sure to stick to your every other year plan, though.

    Don't want you to be a two and done stat

  4. How incredible is it that I really needed to read this today! I am having such a hard time deciding what to do for next year. I think you just helped me make my decision. Thank you so much Alexa, for sharing your thoughts and perspective.
    See you next week!!

  5. Thats a great way to do it. Its one thing if you were depending on tris for a paycheck. Its easy to get consumed by the sport because it requires such dedication to perform, especially IM distance.

  6. Good call, Alexa. I think sometimes people get caught up in 140.6 when you are just as much a triathlete no matter what distance you focus on. You just get more of a life focusing on sprints and Olys :-)

  7. Great post Alexa. You seem mentally sharp still. Or at least you did on Sunday!

    I like building my season up and up to one big race, especially at the end of August and then enjoying the Fall with copious amounts of Cider Donuts.

    You still get the badass award for 2011 for doing two Ironman races.

    2013 IMCA you say? hhhmmmmm....

  8. Don't worry Alexa, you have plenty of years to find your person before 30! ;)

    Being a 'one and done-ish' IM (at least to this point), I think it's perfectly fine to take a break from IM - even if it's more than a year. It's also OK to take a break from triathlon altogether, although I probably wouldn't suggest doing that just two years after you get a tattoo of lady stick people swim-bike-running on your foot.

    Enjoy IM Wisconsin, and I hope to see you in Canada in 2013!

  9. "Plus, it makes me feel like a badass." - You totally are badass!!

    So next year is IM-less? Does this mean you can finally build up the courage to ask out the Wegmans's cookie guy? Or Wegman's pizza guy? Or Apple Genius Bar worker? Or... haha :) It will be nice to be able to focus on something other than training constantly for a change though. That will probably be my 2013.

  10. Doing two Ironman races in 3 months makes you badass. Taking next year off to regroup makes you smart! :) I get it... enjoy Wisconsin and have a killer 2012 doing you!

  11. I didn't even do an ironman race this year, and I feel like all I did was eat/sleep/train/race! It's crazy how it takes over your life. And, it is totally badass that you're doing 2 IM's in 3 months!

    Oh, and at least you aren't 30 and single like me ;) Though, honestly... I think most of the time I'd rather be riding my bike than on a date anyway!


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