I had a session with my physical therapist this morning - Dr. Wade - a.k.a. The Magician. Seriously, he works wonders on my aches and pains... everything from plantar fasciitis to tight hamstrings to screwed up shoulder. This morning was my second visit since ironman to work on my right inner hamstring that has been a little tight. Nothing too serious, I had the same issue just before Grandma's and 2 or 3 sessions of ART (active release therapy) sorted the problem. He knows I am back training again (I can't remember, did I actually stop??) so he was asking how my legs have been since ironman, were they sore immediately after it, the next morning? And I had to say they've been great - apart from this tight hamstring which isn't a "new" pain - I haven't noticed any signs of fatigue. So he asked if I thought I could have gone faster on the run at ironman. And it got me thinking... I really hadn't questioned it before as I was just so happy with the way the race went. I knew I was capable of a sub-4hr marathon but the closer it got to race day the less I believed it would happen. So finishing it in 3:48 just blew me away.
I remember my first thought after crossing the line at Grandma's in 3:16:45: "I could have run faster" - and then almost immediately saying to myself, HELEN - you just smashed your PR by NINE minutes. BE HAPPY! I got over it pretty quickly but considering how good I felt at the finish line I figured I had to have something more to give. I mean, you look around and see all these people completely smashed - they really did go ALL OUT.
So could I have gone faster at ironman? Could I have squeezed a few more minutes out of the run? I guess so. But would I have felt as amazing as I did crossing the finish line had I been in pain? Not a chance. And at the end of the day, finishing strong and feeling good is more important to me than pushing myself to my absolute limit. And more importantly, it tells me there's another race in me, another challenge, another quest for discovering something new about myself.