Sunday, November 8, 2009

The third time is the charm...

We learn wisdom from failure more than from success; we often discover what will do by finding out what will not do.
- Samuel Smiles

I think one of the hardest things for a person to do is to admit when they have reached a roadblock that they can not cross unless some things are changed. Today, I met that roadblock head on when I did not complete my Ironman.

Some will view me as a failure. Some will tell me I am simply too old to be doing this (Im 46). My parents told me tonight that this was "utterly ridiculous" and a "man's sport" and I had no business doing it. Others saw my attempt as brave and powerful and a move to celebrate being a lighter, healthier person than I was 11 years ago.

I won't lie. It hurt more to have my parents tell me those things than it did for them to remove my chip when I did not make the biking time cut off. When you ride 112 miles, you have plenty of time to think. As I turned into a blustery windy course here in Panama City, i knew the bike course would be a challenge. I did my best. It was not enough.

When failure comes, you must sit back and analyse why. In my belief, you also have to sit back and figure out what you have learned from this and what is my higher power's plan for me?

I learned so much this year. I pushed my body to places I never dreamed possible. I believe I became a more mentally strong individual. So many positives came from this even though I am not an Ironman.

The one thing I know for an absolute fact is that I MUST lose some more weight if I am to attempt Ironman again. People are kinda shocked when i talk about being lighter and my obesity but its kinda like my favorite author, Randy Pausch talking about his cancer before he past away. He would always say "Let me introduce you to the "elephant" in the room" You know everyone is whispering about my cancer, so lets talk about it so you understand where the cancer patient is coming from.

So the compulsive overeating gastric bypass patient KNOWS that most people look at me and go "there is no way that will happen"...and today they were right. Today was not my day. I know now what my limits are and I know what needs to be accomplished to achieve them. I have some work to do and I head into that work unafraid.

Let them talk if they want. Let them laugh if they will. Lots of people laugh at those who put it out there and fail but i refuse to be swayed. The one thing my parents DID raise is a fighter. I plan to get some more work done and come back one more time to attempt this race....but not until 2011. This will give me time to complete those intermediate goals.

The third time is the charm....


Marci said...

You are amazing, really I mean this. I am so impressed by your determination and resolve. I have no doubt that you will be an Ironman Melissa!!
How was the bike course anyway?

Anonymous said...

I did my first half ironman yesterday. My bike ride was also windy and I was crying around mile 45 b/c I didn't know if I could even do the half. I thought of you and it helped keep me going.

You are one leg closer to completing it.

Lani said...

Melissa - You can do whatever you set your mind to. One of my favorite quotes "It's not what you did yesterday but what you will do today that will make a difference tomorrow".

Your positive attitude despite the enormous pain you must be feeling shows your determination.

In 2011 - leave your parents at home.

Irene Odell said...

I *know* you will beat that course and this demon.

You are the embodiment of what the ironman represents....persistence against impossible odds.

You have no idea how many people you truly inspire.

Kendra said...

Melissa, I was sad to see you didn't get to finish yesterday, but I am so glad to see that you're ready to commit to 2011. I bet taking time off from the full time training and working on the losing weight before ramping up the ironman training is going to do the trick. It won't matter that you'll be 2 years older because you'll be in better shape and even more determined. I can't wait read about the next step in the journey. It was great to meet you the other night. You are inspirational. And if I ever see you in a hotel lobby I will be sure to act like the paparazzi. You really are a celebrity. :)

Cuke said...

Melissa you are a classy lady, others can learn a lot from you. I am proud to know you!

Calyx Meredith said...

Oh - my thoughts are with you as you deal with the disappointment - but you are STRONG!! We know you are iron strong. You are such an inspiration. You will achieve your dream. Anyone who tells you otherwise just doesn't know how hard you work or understand your level of determination. Take care of yourself!

TriRed said...

I think that you inspire me more than many people for whom Ironman races come easily. Your tenacity and heart will get you to the finish line and that will be a far sweeter victory than you can imagine. Just remember, this is all part of an even bigger plan and you will get there! I have all the faith in the world in you!

Tri Mommy said...

You are awesome, you know. And I really do hope you know that.

2nd, Your parents are WRONG. I think that is the hardest thing I learned in life - our parents do NOT always know best nor are they always right.

You rock and your positive attitude shows the champion you really are! You will be an Ironman.

The Running Girl said...

Melissa, I am so sorry that you didn't make it. I was watching for you and was the one who asked you if it was you as you headed into the building for T1. You have a strong spirit and I truly believe that you WILL be an Ironman when the time is right.


A couple things. Age (being young) can actually be a detriment. I dreamed of IM when I was 35 and actually was in much better shape than today. I didn't try because mentally I didn't think I could do it. At 49 I failed at my first attempt due to poor training. By 50 I had given up and ballooned to 230 from 200. By 52 I mentally and physically was back in the IM frame of mind. IMAZ was next and it wasn't pretty but due to some good fortune of finding Harvey (the professor) on the marathon course, I finished. Melissa, the body is old, but the mental capacity is now running at 110%. It is amazing what you can do when you KNOW you can.

Your mental capacity is running at 110% in terms of DESIRE. I have no doubt you can finish IMFL 2011. Your plan to drop some weight is sound. It certainly has helped this old body.

If you need some suggestions on how to change your training plan and racing schedule, let me know. I don't think you need to conform to a "traditional" coaching plan.

Keep up the great attitude and we will get you to that illusive LINE.

Sarah said...

So proud of you and I know I hate that you were so close, but you will get there. I know it. Cheers to you for being such a rockstar.

J.O. said...

" that her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat" Teddy Roosevelt

Never give up on your dream

Anonymous said...

I don't read blogs anymore (or write them, as you can see from my lack of it), but I had to check in and see what was up with you and your Ironman.

I'm so sorry to hear about your disappointment, but I'm pleased to hear that you are going back! I like the quote that J.O wrote.

Never give up on your dream! Sounds like a good plan to me!

Keep going, ignore the naysayers, and chase YOUR dream. This is about you and YOUR dream, not theirs. GO FOR IT

ShirleyPerly said...

Too old? No way, cuz that'd mean I'm too old since I'm older than you.

But I've heard some people take 5-6 tries before completing their first IM. I waited 3 years after my first IM DNF to retry again. I had a LOT of work to do on my swim and my attitude. This year I trained with Coach Bill expecting the worst (heat, hills, wind, rain, rough water, no wetsuit allowed, etc.) instead of just trying to make cut-offs under the best of conditions, which was probably my biggest mistake at IMFL06. There are so many things that can and will not go your way during such a long event. When you know you can handle 99% of them and still make the cut-offs, you know you will be ready.

Best of luck to you and keep your dream!