Truth Be Told: Thoughts on the Double

Social media and blogging is a funny thing. I do my best to always maintain my honesty, but sometimes for the sake of saving my sanity, this honesty is revealed in a retrospective look at things. This doesn’t mean I’m presenting a “THIS IS GREAT” image to fake people out. But rather, I’m presenting that image at times on purpose because at that time, I need to do what I can into forcing myself to believe it to!

The first rule of the double is: we do not talk about the double.

The second rule of the double is: if we talk about the double it’s only in positive terms. No negativity allowed!

The third rule of the double is: we do the double. No matter what.

Why? Because your mind is a powerful mother f*cker! There’s no sugar coating that. I had already done all of the training in the weeks prior to this. My body was ready to handle the stress of this. But the mental side of it, well, that’s never something that you can zip up and put your feet up and say “okay that’s done now too!” It’s a constant, every day process.

So, in hindsight, how was my double? Really hard. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it, or that it wasn’t a success or that I didn’t secretly love it all in a weird I love hard things way. But, it was really freaking hard.

After IMUK, I woke up Monday and could barely touch the front of my left shin it hurt so bad. The post Ironman state is a tough one to be traveling to new places in. I was tears when the cab driver for my hotel that night said he didn’t take Visa, I couldn’t find an ATM, and when I converted all the cash I had it only came to $28 of the $35 I needed. I was in tears as my bike bags and suitcase got caught in the revolving doors and I missed my shuttle to the airport. I arrived in Switzerland to find out exactly *how* expensive it is when people warn me “it’s super expensive there.”

But even through some of these tears and the frustrating and tough moments, I tried to never say out loud how hard it was. I tried to be upbeat, and positive. The only person who needed to know my true mental and physical state was Hillary. My twitter, facebook, and Instagram, did not. I needed to give myself a fair shot at this double, and I knew that reigning in the mind was the most important step.

So every time things seemed just overwhelming, I stopped. Literally. And I asked for help. I told the cab driver I just didn’t have the money, unless he’d also take these $10 euros I found in the bottom of my bag. We would have to go to an ATM if not. He took the euros (I think he felt *really* bad for making me cry, haha). I accepted help from the random man with my bags and getting them unstuck. He went in and told reception I’d need the next shuttle (which was luckily in 15 minutes). And in Switzerland, well, living off of yogurt, salami and cheese sandwiches, and chocolate really could be worse.

As for my shin, I just decided that no matter how it felt NOW, it was going to be fine on race day. It wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t walk and do some stuff. I truly just felt that I could will it to get better by race day. Even if I cried over it every day, maybe it still would have healed. But that would have been a lot of unnecessary stress on the rest of my body and mind.

I realize that a lot of this sounds a bit foofy and maybe even borderline “holistic health,” which is a bit different from my more analytical and scientific personality. But the fact of the matter is that stuff like this isn’t cut and dry. There’s just not enough people who have done it to have a good hold on what it does to the body and how you’ll feel throughout. Hence why you don’t see those “16 weeks to a back to back ironman” plans floating around out there. I’m really lucky that my coach has done it probably more than anyone else and has most of the data is in her mind. But I do have to go with my heart a lot through this, and what I have discovered after doing this twice, is that more than anything, these 2 weeks are about managing stress. Learning that you can’t cut corners, at the expense of mental or physical energy, is important. Pay for a cart to wheel your crap around. Get the taxi. Don’t stress yourself out just trying to save $2. Making things as easy as you can for yourself is key. Learning to embrace that “temporary amnesia” that Hillary told me I’d need to find, is also key. 

Oh, and I guess, this is also probably the post where you expect me to give a race report? Hmmm, let’s see if I can cover that quickly now:

-The swim – non-wetsuit for pro’s, I felt so-so. I was a little disappointed with the 1:03 in the sense that I was hoping to solidify that sub-60 swim time again, but, all things considered I wasn’t surprised with a 1:03 either.

– The bike. This course is glorious and is everything an Ironman bike course should be. I absolutely loved it, the perfect mix of flat, climbing and descending. Frequent and consistent referees on the course, great crowd support. Just a brilliant bike course.

-The run. This…..hurt. I knew very well how hard I had run that first week. I knew this was going to be a struggle. But I’m super proud of how long I held on before things started to break down and I’m grateful for the other strong women I was running against who kept the heat on which helped me keep going. In the last 5k I had fallen back to 9th place. Out of the money, by one spot. I spotted Natascha Badmann, 8th place, about 30 second up with about 2k to go. As much as I willed my legs to, I just couldn’t make up that ground. Until, I turned into the finish chute. Natascha, whether she knew I was right there or not, was celebrating with the crowd. Essentially the door was open. So, I ran through it…..and it was caught on camera. 8th place a little bit of cash was a great way to finish the trip.

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Thank you to everyone who helped to make this trip possible!! Please head to my sponsor page and support the companies that make this possible for me if you are able! The day of Switzerland, I was saying I was done with the double….then a week later I was saying I should have tripled. So who knows what the future could bring 🙂

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa Godesky is a professional triathlete & coach.

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