It has been a few days since we finished up the marathon and I've been a little quiet, reflecting back on the experience. Originally, I had wanted to find out if this was the stuff I was made of. Because I know that I want to try IMWI next year, I felt like I had to do this, to know what it felt like to go this distance by itself, to know what it feels like and to assimilate it into how I wold think it might feel to go this distance AFTER having swam 2.4 and biked 112 miles. I had a very specific progression in mind for my year this year. First, the marathon, followed by two HIM distances (SORT and Pigman ) in relatively quick succession, all completed prior to going to IMWI with the intention of feeling solidly like I have the fortitude to successfully complete that particular journey next year. Sure there are some smaller fun events I have in mind, but those are really my A races and objectives. I think the reason I have been so introspective the past few days is that I feel like I shortchanged myself. I have spent weeks, months really, trying to work a plan to get me across the finish line in 5.5 hours or so. That's not lightning fast, but a respectable enough time for a first attempt. My plan started in January, carefully mapped out with tempo runs, long runs, speedwork (that makes me laugh a little to write that....... speed...it's all relative I guess.) and all the things I needed. So many factors contributed to not fully working it - blizzards, cold, family crises, and finally nagging injuries I brought on myself trying to ramp up too quickly towards catching the end of the plan and being ready. Sometimes just plain laziness get in the way. The end result is that I failed my plan, and I don't feel like I gave this race the best I had. I disappointed myself. One of the things I have found in the past couple years of getting to this point is that triathlon is about competing with yourself. That means training for and with yourself, and competing towards the goals you have set for yourself when you toe the line. I am comfortable, probably most comfortable, doing these training things by myself, alone. Sure I enjoy taking a bike with a friend or going to the Tuesday Tri -Out for SWAT, but really feel like my most productive days are those where it is just me on the road or in the pool working on my own personal goals and having that time in my own head to clear out the stressors from the day. I enjoy spending an hour, or sometimes two or three hitting the road alone. Does all this take away from my time with my family? Really I don't think so. For me it boils down to planning. If I have somewhere to be to be there for my kids, I need to figureout something to be able to meet my needs and theirs too. Let's be honest- these boys don't need or want me around them 24/7. They need to know I am there for them if they need me, to provide enough groceries/meals to sustain themselves, and then for me to get the hell out of their way and let them live their lives. most days they barely notice that I get home from work, let alone to say much more than hi or to have even a 15 minuteconversation with me that I don't initiate. They are on the verge of adulthood- they don't need me breathing down their neck all the time, they just need some guidance from time to time when they start to wander off the path. I think there is room for me to get my "Me Time" in and still be a good mom. Scratch that - a better mom who is happy and healthy and hopefully setting a good example. I can make excuses about how I need to give p that time to offer it to my kids, but that would just be making excuses. Life happens, and you have to arrange your training plans around it so that you can balance them both. Pirate says it alot and it's the truth, "The more you do, the more you get done." So anyway where as I going with this? Oh yeah- I've been in a funk a little bit because I don't feel like I gave it my best effort, all that I could have done. Some of it was training, some was injury, but there was a part of me that made a choice not to push myself. So no commitment yet for sure, but i am thinking about doing it again. If not this year on another course, then the same run in 2008. For me. Smarter, faster, and more satisfying. In a masochistic kind of way, i kind of liked it. Not so much at the time, but the process of getting there and getting it done. Life is a process, and this is only the first of many steps. This wasn't just something I checked off my To Do Bucket List as ToDone.