It's been a long time since I've blogged. Not because I haven't thought about it, but because this blog was started mostly as a 'triathlon' blog. In July 2009, just about a year after having my daughter, the sport of triathlon changed my life. Having run a handful of marathons here and there since 2000, mostly just to prove to myself that I still could run one, triathlons presented me an exciting new challenge.
I didn't know how to swim beyond pool lounging and the last bike I had ridden likely had a banana seat and streamers coming off the handlebars. It consumed me and challenged me like I hadn't been since competing years ago in gymnastics. It was fun and after moving to a new state where I knew close to no one, I met so many awesome people who were also excited about the triathlon lifestyle.
Last year was no exception. I completed 17 races, including 3 Half Ironman's and REV 3 Cedar
I struggled with this. A lot. What happened? How could a sport that brought me so much, not be fun anymore?
So, I did what any lost athlete soul would do. I signed up for a 50-mile ultramarathon.
And, then in an instant... my passion was back, just not for triathlons. I was hungry for a new challenge.
Sadistically enough, I guess I'm looking for how far my body will go. Where is that absolute limit?
My original intent for signing up for the 50-miler was to figure out if I could hack it at a Double Ironman. It turned into a much more fun adventure than I could ever imagine. I discovered trail running. This, from someone who gets lost easily and generally isn't a huge fan of nature-y things like snakes and bugs and dirt and such.
I ran the Prairie Spirit 50 Mile trail run in March with my friend Haley. What was supposed to be a nice, gentle introduction to trail running on a flat course, became this:
A full-out blizzard with sleet pelting our eyes. It was miserable, but awesome all the same.
After surviving that, I realized I was tougher than I thought. So, once Haley mentioned that she was considering a 100-mile run in December in Louisiana, I blindly signed up - even before she did. I guess I tend to jump and look to see what's below after the fact when it comes to races.
I'll admit, I honestly knew nothing about trail running at the beginning of this year. But, I learned to swim by watching YouTube videos and I've finished two Ironman's, so I'm good at embracing my ignorance. I've never had a coach. I never will. But, I do ask advice. I listen and I read everything I can get my hands on. Books. Articles. Blogs.
Which is kind of why I decided to start blogging again. Blogs and race reports are so unbelievably useful. I have learned so much from them and I feel guilty reading race reports of others and not contributing my own.
So, here we go... again. I'll try to catch up on some of my past races. I just finished my first 100k run two weeks ago. It's funny though, although I've completed several ultras now, I don't feel like an 'ultrarunner' like I ever did when I felt like I was when I finished an 'Ironman.'
Perhaps because the finish lines don't have hundreds of screaming people cheering you on letting you know you're almost there. You cross the finish line at an ultra to a smiling face or two that say, 'Good Job." There's no fanfare and no finale of a ceremony. You just finish and start planning your next one. Which, I'll admit has been a big change and also a welcomed one. I really enjoy the laid back atmosphere at the trail runs and I assure you they have the most amazing aid station volunteers you will ever meet.
Speaking of which, I've met a lot of very nice people out on the trails and have met some great new friends, but it's funny how I feel like some go out of their way to make you feel like you don't belong to their 'exclusive, tight-knit group.' Maybe that was true for Ironman-finishers too, but I guess I never noticed it- which brings me back to the the title of my post - 'Defying Labels.'
Despite my blog being named, IronTexasMommy, I don't label myself a triathlete or an ultrarunner. I'm just a mom, who is enjoying the heck out of doing things that I never thought possible - and I'm not afraid to fail along the way.