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Post Ironman Mont Tremblant: Moving Forward

I intended on writing a “Post Ironman” summary right after I had written the Swim, the Bike, and the Run segments about my race. However, every time I would sit down to do it, I had a huge mental block.  It has been over 6 weeks from race day and I am still trying to wrap my head around the entire experience.

Some days I feel very proud of myself for finishing, despite all my difficulties. Other days, I feel depressed that I had worked so hard and nothing turned out the way I had envisioned it.  At times, I have even felt angry, especially about what happened on the bike course, “Why me?”, etc.  It’s a jumble of emotions to sort through!

I ran into a colleague at my “Surprise” 5K a few weeks ago, who had done Ironman Lake Placid several years back. He had gone into the race with a healthy body and had an uneventful (good) day. He said it still took him about a year to mentally process everything about the training and race.  This made me feel a little better about my mixture of feelings about the event.

I have to admit that I feel like I have this “unresolved race” inside of me. I had spent 8 months training for this grand event that never came to fruition.  It’s a frustrating feeling because I did finish the event against many odds and I am officially an Ironman! I should be thrilled (and a lot of the time I am!). However, I still have a feeling of disappointment like “I’m not really an Ironman because it took so long”. Obviously, I did what I could on the swim and bike and I am proud of that. Although, every time I retell the story of my shifter breaking on the bike course, I shudder a bit at the idea that I was almost not able to finish! Should I have tried to push myself harder on the run?   I don’t know.

So what’s next? If you had asked me the day before Ironman Mont Tremblant, I would have said that I was 99% sure that I would be doing it again in 2016. However, after the race, that 1% of uncertainty won out! I realized that anything can happen during a race of that magnitude. I could have started the day with a healthy body and still had mechanical problems on my bike or injured myself, etc. leaving me with the feeling of an “unresolved race”!

Will I do another Ironman? Yes, again, I say this with 99% certainty, but it will not be in 2016. However, my family absolutely loved Mont Tremblant and asked to go back there next year for vacation. So, I am going to make it a Race-cation and do the 70.3 there next June! I am really looking forward to focusing on a shorter event and hoping to have a better experience on race day!  As for now, I am taking a much needed break from biking and going to focus on running. And speaking of Race-cations… I started training for the Walt Disney World Marathon last week, so that is what is on the horizon here! I’m very excited about the opportunity to do this and I am working on some new running goals!

Have a Great Week!!

Angela Campos

Saturday 3rd of October 2015

Thank you so much! I do think it will take some time!!

ilka Erath

Thursday 1st of October 2015

I have so much respect for anybody finishing an Ironman. It might take you some time to really put everything into perspective and to reflect on what you really have achieved. Sometimes we put our standards high and if we don't live up to it for whatever reasons we feel like we didn't achieve anything. I think in time you will look back and see what you did accomplish. It's a lot!

Angela Campos

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

Scott, thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments, they made me tear up a bit!! I really appreciate your support and insight! My family is so proud of what I accomplished under such adversity and I am working on it, but still feel a bit melancholy at times. I do think that all the suffering will be something for me to reflect upon as I move forward on my journey. Thank you again!!!

Angela Campos

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

I understand completely Kendra, but you (and I) are both Ironmen, even if we do not feel that way yet! My coach compared it to childbirth, so maybe we are experiencing a little post "ironman" depression. We worked hard for so many months to reach a goal and then had a little let down that it did not turn out the way we planned, even though we completed it successfully! Check out what Scott wrote below, it made me feel a bit better :-)

Scott Challender

Tuesday 29th of September 2015

Hi Angela and Kendra, I fully understand how you both are feeling. I finished IM Canada in 16:03 in 1998 in some of the worst conditions on record, windy and peak temperatures of 43 C/109 F. The bike aid stations started to look more like triage areas towards the end of the bike leg, over 250 of the original 1700 athletes who started pulled out. Much of the run I don't remember, it was just one foot in front of the other. I doubted for the longest time whether I would even finish in the cutoff time. Afterwards, I often just felt like an "Iron Survivor" rather than an Ironman. But with time, I was so proud of myself for not pulling out or quitting, of toughing it out when everything in me told me to stop. Remember to tell yourselves that despite the greatest adversity, you finished, you didn't listen to the voice in your head that might have told you it would be OK to drop out, your family would still love you. You are both true Ironmen, you dug deep within yourselves and finished the race. I understand the frustration, I've been there as well, but I can tell you that as time progressed after that long 16+ hr day, I drew more inspiration, strength and motivation from that Ironman effort than any other I have ever done. The medal will tarnish, the tshirt will fade, but regardless of the time, the glory of what you did will never go away. You had the courage to do the training, toe the line and worked through a long challenging day to make it to that finish line and be an Ironman. A heartfelt congratulations to you both, you are members of a very small club which has incredibly tough entry requirements and dues that only you know how much it cost. You are an Ironman and will be for the rest of your lives, not matter what else you do. :)