Iron Woman

crusheddreamsWe interrupt this service for a very special announcement. My illusions have been shattered, my hopes and dreams for a better future crushed and, my irrepressible positivity has been well and truly pressed. Such an earth shattering crisis of faith I have been moved to write a midweek blog.

A friend of mine competed in a half ironman contest on Sunday. Before you get all sniffy and start talking about it only being a half I should perhaps remind you that this is no mere 13.1 mile pootle but, 70.3 miles of swimming, cycling, and running. How anybody is capable of such a thing is beyond me, and if I go into the background it will stun you even more.

This individual has had a hard time of late. For a fair bit of last year, without anyone knowing, her iron levels were dropping. She was slowing and struggling a bit, which made her feel down. This was compounded by the fact that iron depletion can make you feel a bit shit and moody as well. All in all, just over 8 weeks ago her confidence was low and her outlook a little bleak, then she got a diagnosis. She started taking iron supplements and things started to take a turn for the better.

Just to make it clear, during my first proper winter of marathon training this lady would be bouncing down the hills at the end of a 15 or 20 mile run. She was always quicker and stronger and, hell yes I was jelly of her abilities. I still am. So when she found out what the problem was, and then decided to do 70.3 I had no doubt she could do it. Still 8 weeks is not a lot of time to train for such a thing and, lacking in confidence because she was feeling down about everything she kept it to herself. She didn’t want to make a big deal because she was worried she would DNF and really didn’t need any more pressure than she was putting on herself. Eight weeks to get back on it. Training on bike and in water, and she did it and came in 3rd female. Fucking awesome.

Right you ask, why have your illusions been shattered surely this is all great and empowering stuff?

13418790_10156920767070456_7019467837765970544_nWell yes except for one thing, when news of this feat got out on facebook there was one little message which cut everything down. Somebody, who although a great athlete, was lacking in confidence managed to pull of an amazing achievement in only 8 weeks, and there was one person who thought it acceptable to belittle the whole thing by telling my mate she had spent more time than that training. That all the suffering and self doubt she had been through before was not worth noting. Half of any sport is mental, and before the training even began properly an epic struggle had already taken place.

It pissed me off, and really made me doubt the whole ethos I thought runners had. Of being supportive, of celebrating peoples individual achievements, of being there for each other to build people up. I was just about to jack the whole thing in and give it up as a bad lot when I realised. This was a Tri athelete, I bet they are a cyclist really who just runs because they are jealous of how great runners are. My friend however, my friend…. she is a runner who just happens to be a better cyclist and swimmer than the snarky, mardy, bitch who leaves shitty comments on facebook.

You know who you are, we love you superwoman and if you are at a loose end between August to November help me get quicker for Valencia.

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