How is it April 14th already? I mean seriously? How?
Remember being a kid. Starting school in September it was FOREVER until Christmas. Then Summer was FOREVER away from the start of the new year. Grade 1 took at least 30 years to finish (and not just because mathing is hard). Grade 5, don't even get me started on grade 5 (I liked fires then, and had light up shoes).
But now, 4 months into 2018, our blog is empty, our instagram is limping, and the only one doing anything remotely progressing our goals is John, and he's in Korea! I mean damn......
So you know what? It's time. It's time to get us fired up for 2018. Over the next few weeks you're going to see some changes. But before you see the changes, I wanted to share where we've been, to put some context into where we're going.
And since me (Trevor) is writing this, you'll get to hear mostly about me. I mean like I said John is in Korea, so that's cool. And Brandon has this cabin in the woods somewhere now, so he likes to instagram about that. That's cool too.
But why don't I tell you about how post-Ironman Arizona almost killed me. That's more interesting right? Okay, not almost, but pretty close.
"Trevor, are you seriously going to talk about a race you did 18 months ago". Well, unfortunately, the answer is yes. Why? Because adult time isn't like grade 1 time. That shit sneaks up on you (or feels like yesterday; I seriously am starting to understand how every grandparent ever can remember the exact dates of things like when the Sears catalogue arrived that one time at 2:47pm on December 4, 1958, because that was yesterday to them!), and my goal for this year is to undo some of the aftermath of IMAZ. So yep, imma talk about it.
So IMAZ happened right, and it was seriously everything I wanted it to be, and more. Like, life changing awe inspiring stuff. But then it ended, and real life started again
He's the thing they don't tell you in the training and nutrition and guides and all of those other 'resources'.... They don't tell you about how the after can be harder than the before.
I assumed IMAZ would finish like any other race. I'd be sore, I'd be tired, I'd get a (little) bit fatter, and then I'd reset and get back to it. It would be great. When I finished Ironman Victoria 70.3 for the first time, for example, I got right lazy after. Well deserved indeed. But by winter's start I was back at it having lost little progress and having recharged with motivation.
So after more than a full year of training for IMAZ, plus crushing the race, and then going on an amazing adventure to Cozumel to watch Brandon and Alex, I settled in to my post-training recovery mode expecting to have a few weeks to contemplate and then to find my motivation and get going again. But that didn't happen. No, instead of recovering, things starting getting worse....a lot worse.
I can't remember the first time it happened. Maybe February, maybe March of 2017, but I jumped on the trainer for a quick ride, and after about 20 minutes I came off. I didn't feel right. I sat on my sofa and immediately fell asleep. And not an okay asleep. Like a comatose, I can't move my limbs, kind of sleep.
After a few hours I awoke and didn't think much of it. "Must just be tired" I thought. Carried on with my day (actually I think I just went to bed), no biggie.
But then a few days later I tried the trainer again, and again I was overwhelmed with the need to sleep.
And then it started to get harder and harder each day to to get out of bed.
And then the kicker, I fell asleep swimming laps IN THE POOL! Yes, no joke. Halfway into a 25m length and I did a full-on underwater head bob, like you would on the a road trip with your parents or on the plane ride home from Vegas, smashing your head on the tray table and then trying to look super cool as the cute flight attendant checks on you.
But this time there was no "yeah I'm super good hot stuff *wink wink." Only the fear associated with momentarily drowning. I got out of the pool immediately, and, you guessed it, fell asleep.
"To the doctor we go!" said no man, ever (unless his penis is itchy of course). But, the pool experience was enough to send me straight away. What ensued was a variety of internet print outs, doctor head scratching, surveys, symptoms analysis, lot of "G" type tests with electrodes and beeps, a 24 hour holter monitor (which itself was really itchy), and an awkward hospital ultrasound where I asked the tech questions about "what a perfect heart looks like on the inside" while she tried to both appease me and get the scan done as quickly as she could (because she was busy probably, not to stop me from asking more weird question).
So that all took months and the results were...... basically nothing.
So where did that leave me? Well, I couldn't really exercise, I didn't know why, and frankly I didn't much care. I kept eating like I was still an Ironman (because nom nom nom) and put on weight accordingly and didn't really pay it too much attention. The team was crushing it without me, so I was quite happy to observe and run the instagram from the sidelines for a bit.
What I could do is swim very minor sets for technique only, no exersion. I could also stretch. So I did both, as best I could, whenever I could. If I could make 500m with breaks I was lucky. But I can now touch way beyond my toes so that's sweet.
So what's the point of me telling you all of this?
The point is, Ironman Arizona fucked me up way more than I imagined it would. So lesson 1 for today, just be prepared that most people (like everyone on TUSA essentially) recovers quite well from these races, and moves on and doesn't worry. But apparently some of us don't. And that's okay. I hope you're not one of those. But if you are, just plan for it, I guess. And don't go in the pool alone.
Okay, so fast forward. It's now, 18 months later, I'm finally started to feel 'normal' again. How do I describe it? Well now when I exercise, while I may suck at it and get tired, it's (to my relief) because I'm just generally out of shape after 18 months away from hard training. It is no longer because I randomly fall asleep after exerting myself. So I'm actually taking that as a win! Fat and lazy, yep, but crippled with exhaustion, nope!
Which leads on to lesson number 2. How to rebuild your training and your life after being a recovering Ironman who did not recover very well at all and who used to fall asleep in the pool but doesn't anymore.
And.......anyone out there have a lesson plan for number 2? Because hell I sure don't. Not at all....
I'm not going to lie, it's a bit overwhelming. I have my "IMAZ" plaque on the wall and every morning I wake up and think of who I was then. And then I waddle over to the bathroom and get to look in the mirror at who I am now, and the memory doesn't really match the image staring back. And honestly, that sucks.
Don't even get me on started on the number of pairs of pants I split the ass out off lately......
But I can (and did) get new pants. Really, the hardest part is knowing the monumental task of rebuilding that lays ahead of me. Like, monumental. And this isn't adult time monumental, this is like every-excruciating-second-feels-like-eternity monumental. I'm back in Grade 1, waiting for Santa, wishing he was here.
But where's the happy? Well here's the happy! Just last week, I swam 1000m non-stop in the pool, and not only did I not fall asleep, I was faster last week than I was 18 month ago before IMAZ. I guess swimming 25m at a time was better than zero. Slippery through the water, as they say.
I can't run and I dare not try. The extra weight I'm carrying is too much for that kind of stress right now.
But I started spin class. And while I consistently at the bottom of the class (partly because the over-zealous instructor is not going to motivate me by yelling "go harder". Fuck you instructor, I do what I want), and only really make it about 30 minutes, I show up and try.
And this is how it starts, people! This is how our grind began way back when we did this on a dare and a prayer. And it feels good. It feels familiar. It feels attainable.
So that's how 2018 is starting. It's starting with 1000m in the pool, a memory of a legacy, and the opportunity to start brand new.
I know how far I got last time. Let's just see how far I can get this time!
It's good to be back.
GO TEAM UNICORN SPARKLE ADVENTURE!!
Oh yeah, Brandon got a bit fatter but is still strong as fuck, so he's going to dominate this season. John is blowing our minds. I can't wait to watch that guy this year and hopefully join him cheer-squad style at Ironman Canada. Vanessa has an amazing new commitment this year to maximizing her training/life balance, which she'll be putting into action. And Mat, Mat's has ambitious race schedule already and, oh yeah, he's got kids. Update complete!