Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Broccoli first

Ever since I was a kid, I've eaten my dinners in reverse order.  Least favorite to most loved.  Thus, broccoli was always a first course for me.


And, as I'm sorting through my thoughts on my first Ironman experience, I keep finding myself getting caught up on the bad bits.  You know, things like barfing in the water and grinding up Old Sauk Pass on a couple of Clif Bloks and a prayer.  It's all emphatically disappointing and, frankly, it's getting in the way.  The bad bits, that is.  And you know what?  This weekend I toed the line to an Ironman with good people and family watching and had a BLAST, despite all the tribulations.

So, in an effort to clear the air, I have to purge a little post about what happened, so I can get on to the long list of good things that warrant much more of my thought and attention.

Broccoli first, please.

Bad Bit #1: Not finishing the race.  Yeah...that's a pretty big bit.  I have HUGE amounts of disappointment flowing through my body about how my Sunday ended and how far afield that ending was from what I planned and trained for.  But I have to trust my decisions and my own instincts and know that the story still remains valuable, even with a different ending.  I can tell you how progressively worse it has been to awake each morning since and remember this reality anew.  But life will go on, even without melodrama, and I will have excellent memories to share and hold.

Bad Bit #2: My propensity for barfing.  I'm going to use the word barfing, because there just isn't a graceful way to talk about this.  It's gross.  And indelicate.  But it was my reality for much of the day and the major reason for me pulling out of the race after 57 miles on the bike.  Yup, 57 miles.  But more on that later.  Let's just say simply that my stomach had a very different plan for the day and it didn't involve any of the nutrition that I had carefully scoped out, tested, retested, and trusted for these past months.  Am I bitter?  Absolutely.  Do I feel better now? Yup.  And oddly, feeling better now only makes it worse.  I want THIS healthy body back on THAT course.  I want a do-over in the most pronounced way.  I want to drive the 20 hours back to Madison this very moment and start where we left off.  But such is not life.

Bad Bit #3: What does this mean?  I have a list of possibilities, but it bows heavily on the negative and somewhat destructive side.  I've had five states worth of conversations with Mighty M about what this means and how it reflects on me, what I could have done to prevent it and what I can do to avoid it in the future, and how I will use this experience.  Will I focus on the "failure" to cross the finish line?  Will I use it as a learning experience?  An indication of a limit?  How will I describe how I feel about it?  How, in fact, will I feel about it?  Right now I'm a little numb and tired, emotionally.  I'm slowly pulling out the bits and pieces of my feelings and looking at them closely.  I tend towards brutal honesty and harsh criticism, but this is tempered by M's soft touch and forgiving perspective.  Somewhere in the middle I will find the right words.  For now, though, I am still figuring out what this will mean to me, now and in the future.

So there they are, my bits...my broccoli.  

I didn't finish my first Ironman.  I got wickedly sick and I couldn't make up the difference on sheer will.  And now I'm unsure what this means.

31 comments:

Duane said...

Jayme, you are still such an inspiration to me (and so many others). You will sort it out and you will get over the bad bits and capitalize on the good stuff, even though it may be hard to find good stuff at this point. You are still one of my heroes!

Run for Chocolate said...

the real courage is to toe the starting line, don't worry you'll get to the finish someday. Who knows maybe I'll be there with you! (it would be a priveledge)

Brian said...

I hope nobody was trying to draft you on the swim -- yuck!

You'll figure out what it means.
I'm glad you're feeling better.

Brian said...

BTW, found this somewhere...
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. ~ Thoreau

;-)

Wendy said...

It'll take some time to work it out. But let it be said, you earned our admiration, and I'm sure you will continue to do so.

TriTurtL said...

For me, broccoli is just a vehicle to get me to the good stuff--a good ranch dip, a nice lemon butter sauce... I couldn't have the yummy sauce if I didn't eat the icky green stuff. (And really... the green stuff is what's good for you anyways, the sauce isn't.)

My heart broke when I saw that you had to pull out of the race. But in the end, I don't think any less of you for listening to your poor belly. (Gosh, I hate barfing! Is that not one of THE worst feelings in the world!!!)You are an inspiration to me no matter what your finish time. When I look back years later at my own IM attempt, your blog, training and experiences will be an important part in my training. I know... A total stranger... but you've made a big impact.

Bill said...

Jayme - we all have those race days. I'm so sorry it turned out to be your first IM.

We've got a small IM-distance race on the 22nd out this way, if you're game. Very small field; only 5 entered last year. But a very tough, hilly course.

-bill

MtngirlinCali said...

I've been lurking on your blog for a few weeks now and was so upset to hear about your illness at IM. However, like the previous commenter said, having the courage to start makes you a winner all by itself. The fact that you managed 57 miles on the bike after having tossed everything on the swim is amazing in itself....be proud of yourself for how far you went under such adversity! I look forward to hearing about your training for the next one, which I'm sure you will finish easily. You are an inspiration for this sprinter!

TriBoomer said...

J,

It was good to finally meet you. Your big smile, just before we got in the water, was just the trick to calm me and allowed me to start having some fun.

I understand that you're unsure of what getting sick before your Ironman means but don't let that get you down. Often wisdom and understanding comes through time and distance from the event. Keep your eyes and ears open and I'm sure you'll find the answers.

Stay tuned...

LBTEPA said...

(((HUGS)))

Nancy Toby said...

Just keep in mind, it really *IS* the journey. The other 364 days of the past year were just as important, in their own way, as your Ironman day. And the sun will rise and set just the same on the next few thousand days, too.

Can't wait to read the rest of your story!

Marcus Grimm said...

Though I totally understand your disappointment (and would feel the same), the reality is that an IM race is just a celebration of IM training and you completed an entire IM training program - and that's AWESOME.

As far as I'm concerned, you're just like the kid who gets too sick to attend their high school graduation... yes, it sucks, really sucks - but it doesn't change ANYTHING they accomplished.

Add up the numbers of your training log for the past six months... I'm sure they're waaaay more impressive than 140.6.

JohnnyTri said...

it means we are all still your bloggers friends and we still love ya.. it means that there is something more for ya which you will fill us in on as time goes.. it means YOUR AWESOME no matter what your stomach decided to do.

rockon`

ShirleyPerly said...

I too was very disappointed initially when I DNF'd at IMFL last year. But not finishing, which is the first time I've EVER not finished a race, was much more meaningful to me. It taught me that I'm human, just like everyone else (not "superwoman" as many had thought), and will sometimes fail. It taught me how to "get back on the horse when I'd fallen off." It taught me that training & racing, while a big part of my life, is NOT everything.

Hope you're able to find out what this means to you soon! BIG HUG :-)

JenC said...

My husband told me that it isn't about the single day, but the training to get there. You put in the training and had some bad luck on the actual day. Doesn't mean you couldn't do it. I understand you are disappointed and hope that it motivates you to try again someday. Good luck and hang in there!

Wes said...

I, for one, hope this is the precursor of great things... I looking forward to hearing what you have to say, no matter how long it takes to for you to figure it all out :-)

jbmmommy said...

Bad bits aside, you've done an amazing job for a long time in preparation for that race. The outcome doesn't negate your accomplishments. You did your best and should be proud. Take care.

Andra Sue said...

Hey...if it makes you feel any better, you're not alone. I, too, didn't finish my race on Sunday (a HIM) and I'm trying to figure out what it means for me as well. Not quite there yet.

I do, however, wholeheartedly agree with all the commenters who said it's all about the training, not the race itself. :)

Jetpack said...

Jayme,

I am just so sad :(

-Tyler

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Babe, it is what it is. I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said - except that I think you are still the same person I read on this same blog last week.

Ironman is not a magical transformation, at the end of the day it is just a race. It's you who does the transforming.

And that is a good thing!

tri-mama said...

Goodness, it sounds like you just came down with the flu. There's just not much you can do when your stomach won't work with you, and you can't do that day without nutrition. It sucks. But you are awesome for going through the year, training so hard and going as far into the day as your body would let you go. I say, go for it again, when you are ready.

mishele k said...

There's no way around it-- it effing sucks. It's not fair at all. I am so sorry about your race, not only because it hurts to stop but because you deserved this. You put in the time, the miles, the love. I imagine that knowledge will make you even angrier at first but I hope you see it means you can. And, one day, you will. You're tough and a real inspiration to all of us.

It was wonderful seeing you out there on the course and really living. Hopefully next time it turns out the way it is supposed to... don't lose heart.

Siren said...

You'll sort it all out in your own time. From over here, what it means is that you're strong and wonderful and able to do what's right and necessary no matter how much your heart wants it to be otherwise.

I have a terribly persnickety tummy and am prone to barfing at the drop of a hat - I suspect one day I'll have a race experience just like this to report. I just hope I can be as graceful about it as you are.

Meggan Ann said...

It means you have to sign up for another one!

:-D

Go Mom Go said...

I can't stand Broccoli either. I don't even make my kids eat it :).

You WILL figure it all out, probably not right now but some time it will all come together.

Now go sign up for another one! :)

momo said...

somewhere in there was the word "failure" and i have to say - there is nothing about your performance that was a failure in any imaginable way.

ironman is about the journey, jayme, it really is - and in every journey, there's the opportunity to have unexpected things thrown your way. you did and you dealt the best you could until, physically it would have been wrong for you to continue. you did the very right thing by honoring your body!

you will have another chance, if you want it. you know you can go the distance, you've proven it over and over again in your training and preparation. right now you just need a little time to digest, figure out what you want and then make it so.

i know you can do anything you put your mind to. i have complete faith in that.

BIG HUGS.

Fe-lady said...

There is always another race...(did you sign up for next year?)
Glad you are feeling better. It took me awhile to get over my DNF too...and it wasn't an IM by any means, but it still sucked that I was unable to finish. And guess what, life DOES go on, people still love me and everyone else has completely forgotten (but me)- and I am getting over it, cause I am planning something else! You will too!

Wil said...

It all happens for a reason, and along the way you figure it out. I promise.

21stCenturyMom said...

You asked the question 'what does it mean' and I'm pretty sure the answer is 'it means you got sick and wisely pulled out before you got more sick'. I'm so sorry your stomach tossed your race as well as your cookies but it happens. You showed up, you toed the line and you went as far as you could go under the circumstances. That is very admirable. You were wise to quit when you couldn't get any nutrition down. There is no way you could have gone the distance under those circumstances. No way.

I'm sorry I missed you there. I was in T1 and T2 doing sunscreen but it got crazy busy. I did see a couple of people who DNF'd and the look on their faces was so sad - so very sad. I wanted to give them a hug and say something encouraging but they obviously wanted to be left alone so I refrained.

As others have noted, nothing can take away all of the training and confidence building you did on your way to the start. Not even a DNF.

kelly said...

You are an ironman despite not finishing. Simple as that. This is all part of the learning process. Every race I run, I take something away from it to help with the next one. You are awesome and a total inspiration to me. I love reading your blog and it always makes me smile and sometimes makes me cry. Thankyou for being you!!!

uncadan8 said...

It is disappointing in the worst way when you cannot finish a goal like this. I was very disappointed with my LOTOJA DNF, but I am trying to focus on the lessons and experiences and use them to make me a better rider. I'll be back for next year, and I know you will do another Ironman. Completely.