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Ironman Maastricht, Conclusion

Ui, what a race. I had a lot of fun, doing it. 

I had a lot of pain, doing it,

I enjoyed playing tag with co-competitors.  

Reading shirts on my way,

taking in the spirit, 

feeling the empowerment - not only mine but everybody's. 

More of an empowerment if it's difficult.

This was Iron number nine My kids made jokes about an nine-iron... Yeah, Golf would be a sport I really would suck at...

So what does it mean to tackle this distance over and over again, just because I think I can I think I can? 

Did it once, it's easy, right?

No. Each of those races bears a different challenge.

Some challenges are called hills. Like the ones Mont Tremblant always puts to the end of the run/bike course loops.

Or like the one giant one in Coeur d'Alene at which's foot there are pirates. actually my favorite pirates for for that day my whole family besides of me consists of pirates. 

Or like the never-stopping ones in Wisconsin. 

Some are called wind - like the continuous wind from the South which hits riders back into Kalmar

Some are called sun, creating that tell tale half moon on the back of the too-short-topped cyclists in Cozumel

Some are called heat, radiating from Louisville's streets. Actually, from the Sun as well...

Some are called soccer - goal two for Germany, right when one of those last competitors, aka me, plods back into Regensburg City

Some are called loneliness out there on Louisville's running course.

Some are called odometers, being on strike for it rains like in Maastricht or showing me 180 km when I still have about 10 km to go like in Kalmar. 

Some are called surprise hills, even if they are no hills it messes up your mind when you find slight rollers North of Copenhagen, whilst not expecting any of that. 

Some are flat country, like Chicagoland, my only training grounds for that super hilly Ironman Wisconsin.

Some are cut-off-times, Surprise ones like in Maastricht, or regular ones with delayed swim start like in Louisville.  Coming back from all those back issues those really challenged my mental math during the run

Some are within myself, not imposed by race creators, other people or technology.  Getting up early to train. Not once but regularly for several months. Fitting in training without leaving my family for too often. It's some balance required here and my part time job definitely helps.  But that means I train alone essentially all of the time.  Getting up to run when the back hurts while resting... Running makes it better, during the run. I know this and still it's hard to get going.   Feels good being done  though - afterwards. The feel of guiltiness when I start training but leave some housework un-done. Or have some classwork to be corrected still and the class needs to wait another day for it.  My GI system which in the meantime I taught to handle heat races but which is still overwhelmed by cold.  As it seems. Another challenge to overcome. Expectations. Expecting no hills and then dealing with them. Expecting the odometer to be right and resetting mentally and pedaling on. 

There are more. Of course. Zillions. Everyone doing any kind of training has a black list of challenges. Or is it red?  Who has no such list  - not only for training, races, and general sports -  but for every day?

Other stuff?

Do it, overcome it.  If it's important I will.  

So, what's my take-home from Maastricht? Body works again? Yeah. Not flawlessly but conceivably better than in Mont Tremblant. Few back issues, no burning feet, no putting off the shoes on the bike. Maastricht is a beautiful, hospitable city, lots of old and ancient churches to visit (oh did my shins hurt when we walked all over town the next few days after the race!)

Before the race I had seriously considered this one my last Ironman race. Especially for the Hawaii Lottery doesn't seem to exist anymore.  And the Legacy program?

But there's more to Ironman than getting to Hawaii. There's inspiration. What else is it, that our body can do if we will it to do so?  

So my take-home, again, is one of those answers to that old question - why do I do this? 

Well, "Because I can" is an answer Martin once gave.  One athlete at the test swimming on Saturday gave the same.  Another answer is, that if I can, me, the person who has always been last or second last in PE class, the person who never did any sports until age 38, if I can, others who see this an impossible feat, so they don't dare to try, also can.   Especially with so few ladies in the sport...

(S)he who does not do the first step, will not arrive.