I have had the weirdest experience with my Ironman. I know I completed it, I remember every second of the day like it was yesterday, but it often still feels so surreal, and there have been times that it has even felt insignificant. Yes, I dedicated most of 2014 to training and it was the absolute best day of my life and I worked out 15+ hours straight, swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles, yet there are days my brain just brushes it off as a regular old accomplishment.
Maybe it was the relative lack of soreness post-race or the desire to do it again the second I finished or the sheer fact that my body and brain were so ready to tackle the distance. Maybe it was all the activities I threw myself into post-Ironman or the fact that I am struggling through Marine Corps Marathon training. Whatever it was, it wasn’t until we were out volunteering and spectating at Ironman Maryland, a month after Louisville, and until Pablo showed me the finished video we (mostly he) created to recap our journey, that the significance of my accomplishment truly set in.
The Ironman Maryland triathletes reminded me to celebrate my own accomplishments. Seeing their faces as they chipped away at the miles brought back endless emotions. I could feel the pain I saw in their faces, feel the exhaustion displayed by their bodies, the excitement in their smiles and the determination that burned in their eyes as they got closer and closer to the finish line. I recognized it and I cheered, celebrating them, but also celebrating myself.
It finally became real to me:
One hundred and forty point six miles, 140.6!
I felt so proud of every single one of those athletes and I felt proud of myself too.
Training and completing an Ironman is anything but insignificant. It is amazing, and I am determined to remind myself of that whenever I doubt my abilities: I did an Ironman. I tackled a 2.4 mile swim with ease, continued onto a 112 mile bike ride with a smile on my face and worked my way through 26.2 miles of exhaustion, jumping my way over the finish line. I did that! And not just that, I had the discipline to train for over 6 months, so I could do that.
It’s really about so much more than completing the event. It’s about realizing what determination can lead to, what hard work delivers and what can be achieved when you set your mind to it. And you don’t need to do an Ironman to come to this realization. It can be a 5K, an open water swim, a half marathon, a century ride, a triathlon or something completely unrelated to swimming, biking and running.
Celebrating your accomplishments however big or small is a way to remind yourself that you have what it takes to do anything you set your mind to, that you have what it takes to achieve success.
It is so easy to let a setback derail you, to doubt yourself when things aren’t going very well and to wonder if you have got what it takes when you are faced with obstacles. Remembering what you have already achieved, reminds you that you are strong enough, determined enough and capable of doing ANYTHING.
Do you take the time to celebrate your accomplishments?