on the road again!

I’ve found myself spending a lot of time alone lately, on the bike, on the trails, in the car – and wishing I had a way to record my thoughts. For whatever reason I find myself to be my most poetic (at least by my own accord) when I’m running, but as soon as the run is over, I’m caught back up in life and never take the time to write down (or even remember) what I came up with. Last Saturday I spent two sweat soaked hours on the trails at Lake Norman State Park and it was the perfect time to challenge myself and sort through some emotions. I didn’t sign up for an ironman because I thought it would be easy or fun or a great way to make new friends. I signed up because I knew it would be a huge challenge, physically and mentally. I wanted to (want to) discipline myself, face my deepest fears, overcome my demons, and find out what I’m really made of. In my first three weeks of real training, I’ve already had to recommit myself numerous times. Adjust expectations. Pull myself out of funks. Quit making excuses. I’ve made it harder on myself by taking the show on the road. Being away from all my running and cycling friends in Charlotte means a lot of solo workouts. A lot. And reaching out to strangers to find routes and rides (which so far have eluded me). So I can only hope that all this forced self-motivation will help me on race day. Race day seems really far away when I think about how far I have to go in my training to get ready for it, but it is frighteningly close from a calendar perspective. Then there are days when I just run for time and almost don’t even notice how far I went distance-wise. It is weird to surprise myself at the end of a 4 hour ride with such a great run off and then realize I just rode 70 miles all by myself – a distance i’ve only ever come close to twice, in groups. Part of me worries that if I don’t pause to recognize where I’m at this week, on September 27th I won’t be able to comprehend how I got from a pudgy out of shape world traveler to an ironman in 100 days. For the sake of really wanting to finish in a decent time for my personal gratification, I’m essentially praying to be the Fillnows’ biggest turn around project for 2015. But I have a long ways to go yet – physically and mentally. And I’m just getting started.

Leaving Charlotte was stressful and hectic and emotional for a lot of reasons I won’t go into here. Plus I was delayed because someone ran over my bike rack and I had to wait for a replacement. imageBut it gave me more time to visit with some friends and get organized for another 2 months on the road, this time domestically (well, staying on the continent anyways). I’ve had a good few days visiting with my sister and her babes in Cinci. Tomorrow I’m hoping to drop in on Greatfather for lunch before heading to Michigan to catch the IronCowboy for century ride #2!

2 weeks later

Disclaimer: I know I’ve completely neglected posting because frankly I was just having way too much fun to bother with it, but eventually I’ll go back and fill in the missing time.

Actual post:

It’s been two weeks since I woke up on American soil for the first time in almost two months. But I’m pretty sure it’s still April because my time in Europe and Africa just went by way too fast for it to be July 1st already. After all the amazing activities I crammed into those eight weeks, it’s kind of weird how void of activities these two weeks have been. I anticipated needing some time to decompress but I didn’t anticipate how tired I would be, just straight up tired, and jet lagged too. Originally I wanted to spend time catching up with old friends in Atlanta but once Matt blew out his knee and scheduled surgery, visiting hours were canceled and I rushed back to Fort Mill for really no reason at all because he wouldn’t hardly let me do anything to help him post-op. Le sigh. Oh well, I was back, and not having to tend to a needy patient meant that I had all the time in the world to dive head first into training. Coach wasn’t playing around – I think she was testing me to A) see how much fitness I’d lost and B) how committed I am to the Ironman. Five days in a row on my bike? Uh, okay cupcake, let’s go! 75 minute swim workouts? Sure, why not? Running in 100 degree temps with humidity? Shoot me now. But I hung in as best I could and after 10 days of semi-normal training I went out to attempt my very first century ride with the Iron Cowboy  and much to my delight and surprise I ended up riding 105+ feeling really good! So there’s that.

But the main question everyone keeps asking is “what now?” – that is, after they ask why I’m back and wasn’t I traveling for a year and how was Europe, etc. I’ve been bouncing ideas around for months and I’m formulating a rough plan but mostly I’m just taking it one day at a time. Trying to get my workouts done and reorganize my possessions and catch up with friends. I had fallen so in love with the European culture and lifestyle that returning to suburban America was really hard for the first week. Especially (no offense to anyone) to Fort Mill, because it wasn’t even where I used to live. I don’t know where anything is, I have no friends nearby, I have to drive 30-45 minutes to go do anything I used to do or see anyone I used to see. I still haven’t seen a lot of people or run some errands in town that I need to run and I just really don’t even feel like I’m back. Since I’m not staying long I don’t exactly want to get into a routine that will make it hard to leave again. The first week was so rough that last Tuesday I was actually about to click to purchase a [very reasonably priced] plane ticket back to Croatia for a girls’ trip spending a week on a private yacht, leaving today. Was it a once in a lifetime opportunity? Maybe. Would it have been super awesome? Absolutely. But seeing as how Ironman Chattanooga is the only race I’m doing this year and spending another two weeks overseas with only moderate training, I would have essentially been quitting on the race and the name of this website would have become a farce. A big part of the undertaking of an event like an Ironman, is the personal journey of training and the growth that comes with it. I learned a good bit about myself traveling “alone” overseas and hopefully some of it will carry over to my training and racing, but I know there’s a lot more to come too.

Not the most exciting post I know – I train, I watch Homeland, I drive a lot, I force myself to eat food that doesn’t taste nearly as good as it did overseas, and I sleep. But then, what do you expect from a homeless unemployed girl?