If you follow the social media feeds of any Ironman pro or age grouper you’d be fooled into thinking that they exist in a utopian world where the sun always shines on their Gucci training locations, every day brings a new personal best in whichever awesome training session they did, and their lifestyle is paid for by a myriad of sponsors who provide them with everything from cars to state of the art bikes and kit.
It is fair to say that I am as guilty as the next social media savvy Ironman at playing this game. I mean who wants to hear about all the crap stuff, right? Well my hope that this blog will go some way to redress that.
Emotionally it’s been a tough few weeks and with upheaval and change comes a certain amount of reflection on the bigger picture with the inevitable question being asked of “What the hell am I doing this all for”. For five years I’ve pretty much sunk heart and soul into this journey, and, don’t get me wrong i’ve met inspirational people, with amazing life stories that have influenced and changed my life outlook.
On a day to day basis, however, keeping that momentum going for those 3 or 4 race days in a year has required an increasing amount of effort. The usual strategy of conning myself along, interspersed with a training PB here and there hasn’t quite hit the mark this season. Perhaps largely due to plateauing in performance and consequential "changing it up" to get onto that “next level” has involved a new world of pain and mental toughness which i’ve yet to reap the benefit from. Long gone are the days when i’d finish a workout and feel awesome.
After five years of playing this game, training has become “normalised”. By that I mean it’s no longer something I think about or require to be specifically motivated to do, its just like the process of getting up in a morning and going to work. Whilst this makes getting the job done so much easier, it does in effect turn in into the aforementioned, job. Do I still enjoy training ? I honestly don’t know.
2016 has been the year of fatigue management. Constant muscle soreness, feeling mentally frazzled, and lack of proper sleep, takes its toll and would obviously point to overtraining, However, on paper and according to the stats I have been working well within the limits. What the stats don’t show however, is whats going on outside the world of training. The source of the fatigue problem were eventually identified by my Accountant (of all people) when he confirmed a fairly significant increase in the turnover of my business. With mine being a physical job this has a huge impact in other aspects of my life. Solving the problem of to many clients however, is obviously easier said then done.
You are an Ironman
There was a time when to hear those words as I crossed the finish line would have me breaking down in tears, Now however, when i’m introduced as “This is Justin, he’s an Ironman” its with a sense of impending doom that I know how the next fifteen minute of well recited conversation will roll out. Catching up with mates and even with people I barely know the first question they ask is “How’s the training going?”, my heart sinks as i’m sure they really don’t have any interest in how I didn’t improve in my latest FTP test. Instead I politely respond with a banal answer and switch the conversation to something more interesting. It seems that at some point I have become so one dimensional that, that is all i’m really known for. This I guess is largely my own fault and “unboringify” Justin in 2017 will be one of the big three annual goals.
I am committed to this path for 2017, if in that time I break through this crap phase and find the antidote to ironman then all well and good. If not, then 2018 may bring a load of free hours in my weeks.