The Road to Recovery

It has been a glorious 5 days since the Ironman.

Mostly because it’s been a non-stop celebration of the event, and because I’ve not done a darned bit of exercise since the event.

Monday I felt pretty tired, as would be expected.  I went to the expo that morning to purchase some finishers gear.  There was a finisher jacket, which I purchased online because the line to get into the tent was absolutely ridiculous.  It took an hour just to get into the store.  I also purchased a robe, an icon for my car, two shirts, lounge pants, a cup, a robe, and a beanie.

What the hell right?  I’ll never do this again.  All week I’ve worn Ironman stuff.  I think I’ve earned it.

And I mean that.  I thought about it right after the event.  Now that I know I can do this, the natural inclination would be to think about another.  But I think that would cheapen it somehow.  It wouldn’t mean as much if I did it again.  This way, I know I am an Ironman and don’t have to keep that lifestyle.  I can go back to lower distances and know that I am doing them because I want to do them, not because I am not capable of more.

We ended up going back Tuesday because it just plain made sense.  I had done what I set out to do, and it was no longer necessary to keep my wife and my dog in Louisville.  On Wednesday, I contacted a local tattoo shop and they happened to have an opening so I took it and got my tattoo.  You can see it below:


I loved the reaction in the tattoo shop when I went in. All week I’ve been in a place where everyone knew exactly what the IM is.  I went into the shop and said “So Sunday I did an Ironman” and their reaction was nonplussed: “And?”.

The tattoo is pretty much exactly what I wanted.  They did a great job. I anticipated lots of people asking me if the tattoo hurt, and I have an answer ready: “Not as much as earning it did”.

Over the last week I have recovered faster than I thought I might.  Tuesday was a hard day because I was in the car all day, but by Thursday I felt 100% again.  Each day I got around better than I anticipated.

So whats next?  Well, I have a half marathon in November that I will start running for on Monday.  It’s more formality than anything, something to give myself something to do.  I really don’t need to do any more than maintain fitness to do that.

Second, I want to readjust my intake and body weight.  I was taking in 3-4K calories a day for the weeks leading up to the event.  Now, I’m not needing near that many so I need to get my body to adjust to lower calorie levels again, preferably before Thanksgiving.  I’m already down to 172 despite not doing any exercise because my body is shocked by 1500-2000 calories a day again.

On Monday I go back to work.  It’s been a good break, but I am ready to have a normal week again.

So I go into my weekend nursing my new tattoo (harder than I thought when I got it) and looking forward to new adventures.  This one is done.  I made it.

I am an Ironman for the rest of my life.


Runnin’ in the rain

Mar 25: Day 41

Planned workout(s) today: Run, 5 minutes Z1, 15 minutes Z2, 10 minutes Z3, 15 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Weight: 172

Had lightning storms go through last night, and this morning I had wind and rain to deal with on my run.

I think a lot of people when you tell them about the events you do (and I’ve done a ton) think the event itself is what makes you tough.  I’ve had some tough events, to be sure.  But honestly?  It’s running a training session in weather like this, when you are cold, tired, and hate every second, and still do it.  THAT’s what makes you tough.


When I went out this morning it was a light drizzle with 35 degree temps. By the time it got to my Z2 work, it was full on rain, with sideways wind.  On the Z3 stuff, it was pouring, to the point that I had to keep wiping my eyes under my hat to keep seeing where I was going.  During the Z3 I had a tough hill to climb, but I did it, and kept pace, even though part of me was saying the whole time WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF?

See, when you are racing you have something to achieve.  You’ve spent money, you spent time, you have a ton of people around you to inspire you.  It’s really not hard to keep going in that environment.  You have a finish line to achieve, a tangible goal.  This is something that can keep you going even when conditions are tough.

On a bull$%^& training day in March when conditions are terrible?  It’s easy to ask yourself why?  Why am I doing this to myself?  Just stay home!  Crawl in bed!  It would be so much easier.

Except, those are the moments when you truly forge who you are.  Not when you are racing and everything you have been building towards is on the line.  When you are 7 months out and still make it happen, with nothing you can articulate on the line.  That’s the mark of true discipline.

I was glad I found it today even on dead legs, up hills and into wind and cold rain.  I needed to find it.  It gave me reassurance that no matter what, I CAN do this.  I can make it happen.

At the end of the Z3 I had to walk for about a minute.  That’s OK.  I accelerated into Z2 and finished the full workout afterwards.  Came home to pancakes.  Who doesn’t love pancakes at the end of a run?  🙂

I have to push forward, because I found my tattoo.  THIS is what I want on my leg when I am done.  What do you think?


Another tough day tomorrow.  I’ll push through, and I hope that YOU all push through whatever challenges face you today.  It’s worth it!  YOU are worth it.


To tattoo, or not to tattoo…

Mar 13: Day 29

Planned workout(s): None (rest day)

Weight: The bloat is still real.

I really need this fasting day today.  Not so much to get the scale down, but just to reset my mind and get back on track.  Slipping into some bad habits that I really don’t want to slip into.

For those who do triathlon I am sure you’re seen it: the IM-Dot tattoo.  It’s a badge of honor that says “I’ve done the full Ironman”.


There’s a kind of mystique about this thing.  There isn’t any actual official rule about getting it, or what it should look like, or where it should be.  But there are some unspoken ones.  I’ve never even done a full ironman and am aware of these.  They include:

  1. You need to actually do the race first.  Training doesn’t count.
  2. DNFs don’t count.
  3. 70.3 (half ironman races) doesn’t count.  This one is kinda squirrelly though.  People seem OK with it as long as you put 70.3 somewhere on it to clarify.
  4. Non-official ironman events don’t count.  Even if it’s the same distance, if you use their logo, it should be one of their official races.
  5. Races where elements are cancelled outside the athletes control (like the bike being cut  short due to severe weather) MAY count, but leans to no.

I get these rules.  They make sense to me, but it’s kind of my personality. Heck, I refuse to even put on the race shirt for a race I haven’t completed yet (that’s a topic for another day, actually).  I’m totally OK with waiting until I have finished a complete, official IM before I consider getting this tattoo.

From there though, there’s a lot of personal choice involved.  Where you get it is up to you, although the calf seems pretty common.  What you do with the base logo is up to you too.  There’s all sorts of room to express your personality and journey through the tattoo.  Check out some of these examples:

IM collage

Me, I’ve always pictured the IM Dot with a dragon perched on top, wings spread.  That would be how I would do it.

If I do it.

See, I’ve never been inked before.  I don’t find them offensive or anything, but I’ve just never done it.  So now the real decision is, for this major life event of such personal importance, is now the time?

I just haven’t made up my mind.  What do you all think about it?