It has been an exciting year for me with the Boston Marathon in the spring and then all the new challenges of competing in my first triathlons. The season culminated with the Muskoka Half Ironman. It was a beautiful day and all my training came together for a successful race. It was a thrill and my family and friends were there to support me. Elijah ran around all day cheering for me. My family, friends and training buddies were there at the end to celebrate with me as I crossed the finish line. For months I geared up for this amazing race. It had, in fact, been a goal of mine for years and now it is finally accomplished. BUT, what happens after the big race?
After a couple of days of recovery and getting back to normal life, I find myself asking, “Now what?” What is my next goal?…
For months my body and mind had been training and focusing on this big challenge. Now that it is accomplished, I find myself feeling strange…a bit lost actually. It is a type of withdrawal! I had been so focused on getting in my runs, swims, long rides, brick workouts….I was so excited and nervous. Now I find myself missing the focus and determination of a very clear and exciting goal.
How do I deal with this post-race void?
TAKE TIME: Sometimes it is hard for me to slow down! Taking time is good….Time to be thankful for all that has happened. Time to rest a bit and do other endeavors. I can thank my training friends for all the work we did together to accomplish the race. I certainly did not get there alone. I thank training friends: Nate, Dave, Scott, Lesley, Nicole, Barb, Geron. I thank coaches, Wolf and Barb of the Aktiv Racing Team, and Christine, with Masters Swimming . I thank God for a body that is healthy enough for me to train in swimming, cycling and running.
REFLECT: What did I learn through all that training and the new experience of the Half Ironman? I learned that I love challenges and goals! I discovered how much I enjoyed the variety of three sports and a trying a new challenge. I certainly like to push myself and strive for new goals.
SET NEW GOALS: I had no goals in mind for after the Muskoka Half Ironman. Often I know before a race is over what I will be doing next. This time I did not have that sorted out! Rather, I knew my family commitments were going to be all consuming after the race. This fall Elijah had a heart catheterization at Sick Kids Hospital and I really could not think of anything else past that. Elijah is doing amazingly well after his procedure and is running around with more energy than ever.
Now I can start to think of athletic goals. I would love to do a full Ironman, however, I know that this is not currently a possibility. I will likely focus on local races. The Multisport Canada Series has a variety of races from Sprint to Half Ironman distances – I will plan to do several of these races next season. I have not yet done the Olympic Distance (longer than sprint and shorter than Half Ironman) so I will definitely need to try that distance next season.
Post race “depression” is surprisingly common. After the intensity of training for a big event there is a definite void afterwards. Learning how to deal with this cycle is a part of the whole training experience. Have you experience a post-race void? Add your coping strategies to this article and add your ideas for future races! I would love your ideas and input into new challenges that may be waiting around the corner!