Many triathletes have experienced the Ironman triathlon blues.
The Ironman blues are often encountered shortly after the crowning achievement of crossing that distant finish line for the very first time.
You would think that anyone who has looked into the eye of the tiger on race morning and stared it down by swimming 2.4-miles, biking 112-miles, and struggling through the 26.2-miles of the marathon would be thrilled by their accomplishment.
After all, didn’t all the months and months of determination, sacrifice, and hard work result in the goal they had fixed firmly in their sights through those endless swim laps and flip-turns and butt-numbing hours in the bike saddle through all kinds of pain and weather?
So why is it that they feel so crappy when they finally reach their goal and have time to relax and savor their stunning accomplishment?
Why have the imagined ticker-tape parades and glorious adulation of hundreds become dark and gloomy days of despair and unhappiness? Why the haunting emptiness when the cup of victory should be overflowing with giddiness and pride?
THE POWER OF PURPOSE
The greatest lesson left behind when one strives for the Ironman Triathlon finish line is just how powerful a person can be if they have purpose.
A big house, a shiny car, and a roomful of money is not enough to erase the shadow of discontent that is the constant companion of those without purpose in their lives.
Someone who has been bitten by the Ironman bug for the first time exudes fire and passion because suddenly they have found a sense of purpose and every day leading up to the big race they have a clearly defined target to focus all of their being on.
On race day they tap into physical, mental, and emotional reserves they never new they were blessed with and in one defining, glorious moment they reach the distant finish line and the realization of their hopes and dreams that have been their singular goal for so long.
And then what?
The let-down, depression, and feeling of emptiness and despair that are often by-products of Ironman triathlon success is most likely brought on by having an incredibly defined sense of purpose for so long that suddenly ceases to exist once the finish line has been reached.
What we should take away from Ironman success is the intrinsic value of having goals in our lives.
Goals give us purpose and nobody should ever be without a clearly defined goal in their life.
So it stands to reason that if one is suffering from the Ironman Triathlon blues, the best way to resolve the problem is to set another goal.
For some people it’s another Ironman, but the goal can be anything that challenges you to become more and gives you a reason to get up every morning and hit the floor running.
You can write that book, be a volunteer, or try for the big promotion at work.
No goal is to modest or infinitesimal if it gives you purpose and keeps alight the fire within.