I was reminded this week that it really is never too late to start chasing your dreams.
It was the 2 year anniversary of me completing an Ironman Triathlon in Cairns in 2021 when I was 52.
An Ironman is 3.8km swim, 180km cycle, 42.2 run.
Even writing that now it seems kind of impossible but I actually did it! And it was one of the most challenging but amazing experiences ever!
I also managed to train alone for the event through Melbourne’s harshest covid lockdowns and during the worst part of my menopause transition. And, I then ended up completely alone in Cairns for the event because of another snap lockdown in Melbourne which meant I literally had no-one there cheering me or at the finish line or even helping me afterwards.
Yes, I can categorically say I achieved this goal because of my own determination, grit and resilience. Words I probably would have never used to describe myself as a younger woman.
Now, plenty of people do ironman triathlons and there were plenty of women a lot older than me passing me throughout the day and night. But I suppose why I’m so happy that I achieved this – is that I spent 30 years of my life wanting to run a marathon but not thinking it was possible for someone like me or that I was capable. Finally, at 47 I found the courage to give it a go and ran that marathon even with an osteoarthritic toe joint that impacts how I can run.
The marathon opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. Perhaps I wasn’t too old and it wasn’t too late to start chasing some of my other dreams?
I then completed 3 half ironman triathlons and finally the full. It definitely wasn’t an easy road to becoming an ironman. I really struggled. Initially it was going to be a 9 month journey. For various reasons, including my struggles with menopause, race cancellations due to covid and me not feeling ready (story of my life!), it ended up taking almost 3 years to get there. But, I did get there and I’m so happy I stuck with it and didn’t give up. The younger me would have given up at the first hint of failure.
This anniversary has been a reminder to myself and I hope other midlife women.
I’m not as fit as I’d like to be at the moment, as I’ve been focusing on study and developing my career and I’d found myself lately allowing some of those feelings of doubt sneak into my thoughts again – that maybe it’s time to leave those big goals in the past and maybe I am now too old?
However, seeing the images of me crossing that finish line has sparked something in me (I get so emotional just looking at them, as I can still vividly remember how incredible it felt).
My body is now much more settled into it’s new hormonal profile, my kids are older and less reliant on me and I think I could approach my training slightly differently. I know I am capable of the distance now and I know my new post menopausal body better. By tweaking my training perhaps I can go faster even though I’ll be older? Yes, the seed definitely seems to have been planted. I have 2025 currently as my new goal – but as I’ve learnt before, I may need to be flexible and adaptable.
The main lessons I have learnt from my Ironman experience?
We are not too old and it is not too late to chase your dreams.
And, that it’s so important not to allow our own self limiting beliefs to hold us back.
We really are so much more more capable than we can ever image.
Chase those dreams!