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2009 Arizona Ironman Finisher

After a long 14 hour 25 minute workout...still smiling!


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08/01/2012: I am keeping the post below from the last time I was on Spark because it's still meaningful. My life is a little different from 2010, but the quest is the same...find peace in me, as I am, in who I am becoming, and all parts of my life. It's a daily challenge, one in which I celebrate the small victories.

Since 2010 I have learned alot about myself. This includes finding new strengths, making and sticking to very hard life changes (divorce), looking at the areas of my life where dependencies on other people was holding me back and trapping me in self-hate, and assessing my ability to take care of myself emotionally and physically (while still being able to embrace the support and love that comes from good friends and kindred spirits).

Life is not an easy journey. Being a functional, sane adult is the hardest thing I've ever had to learn to be/do. But with every new opportunity to practice (which I seem to get LOTS of), I get a little better at making healthier choices. Choices...ah, yes. I also learned that I have a lot more choices than I thought. I can choose how I react. I can choose what I let run my life (emotional damage or conscious awareness). Like I said....hardest thing in life for me has been growing up.

So day by day I am celebrating. Today's WOOHOO is that I'm in day three of my fitness challenege, and I haven't talked myself out of it yet! :)
In November 2009, I completed Ironman Arizona triathlon, a 140.6 mile triathlon. For an entire year I planned, trained and readied myself for the "longest workout of my life". Every single workout I did, I imagined crossing the finish line, hands flying above my head, a gigantic feeling of pride, a soul forever changed.

After 14 hours and 25 minutes, for about 20 seconds, I felt the gigantic sense of pride, my hands were waving in the air, and I was forever changed. I just didn't realize how changed I would be.

It's been about 8 months now since I became an Ironman. Where most of my tri friends took a month off and started training for their next race, I lagged behind. I didn't feel up to the task of training. I was busy with work. I wanted to do my laundry and sit on the couch and watch TV. "You're burned out, Brandy, it will just take a while and then you will feel better." I thought that was it.

Training and being focused for as long as it took for Ironman was a feat. I had to see a spine doctor every week to get adjustments and twice a month I recieved injections in my spine, just so I could keep training. My doctor advised against the training, but I couldn't listen. I wanted IM more than anything.

I thought doing Ironman would make me into someone else. I thought I was going to have to reach down so deep inside on race day that I would crack open and all my light would shine. I thought it was going to be the event that pushed me to see how great and dedicated and strong I was. Granted, I did get to see how dedicated I could be, but it wasn't satisfying, it was emotionally painful. I don't regret it now, though, because I know I can make myself endure way more than I thought. I CAN get the job done.

In February 2010, I decided I needed a boost, so I hired a triathlon coach to write a plan and coach me. In the past this was always what worked to get me motivated. I signed up for multiple races this year (a half Ironman, an ultramarathon (31.1 miles), and a sprint tri), because in the past, this also motivated me, gave me a goal to work towards. I even hired a nutrition coach to help me lose weight, because that always worked to help me get motivated.

It's now July and I'm still not motivated by any of the above things. In fact, I am not training, not racing, and not following a meal plan. So what's the problem, right?

The problem is that what used to work is not working anymore. I believe this is because I have used these things to be band-aids to cover up dealing with issues. Essentially, I have run out of places to hide and things to do which keep me from looking inside, to the place where true happiness will come from, if I am brave enough to journey within.

I am thrilled to have a Masters Degree, to have completed the most challenging one-day endurance event, and to have the many successes I have earned. I just now see that they cost me more than I thought.

So I am starting here, now, on learning to live again, for me. Learning to live a life that does not revolve around suffering for success. An internal life that is encouraging and supportive, not abusive and mean. I have a long way to go. It will not happen overnight. It might even be a day-by-day thing the rest of my life.

Although I have gained close to 50 pounds since March 2009, I now "get it". I am learning about my addicitons to medicating myself with food, stuffing anger through stuffing my stomach, and the fake relief I get from feeling "full". I have lived my whole life trying to find the magic thing that will make the voids full and the painful spots numb. I intend to chip away at these behaviors piece and piece, to find the peaceful, fulfilled Brandy, who is just waiting to be uncovered.

Member Since: 11/27/2007

Fitness Minutes: 10,668

My Goals:
Be compassionate towards myself.
Drown the voice in my head that screams I have to be perfect, and the one that says I'm not good enough right now.
Follow passion, not dysfuntional programming.

My Program:
Turbo Fire (BeachBody), 6 days a week
1500-1800 calories per day
75 oz of water per day
Log food into Sparkpeople every day
8 hours of sleep a night
Multivitamins/Vit C daily

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Read More About BRANDYCOHEN - Profile Information moved here. (Updated August 1)

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    thanks for the add... wow.. IMAZ... im doing my first 70.3 in August, 13.
    1970 days ago
    Hi, I'm sorry about your after IM blues. Still congrats on your IM finish.
    I would be interested in your blogs/training log/journal of your year leading to IM if you had one. I've just started training.
    You look great in your Mexico pic.
    2781 days ago
  • v TRIMOM11
    hi ////tri team leader,
    I'm new to the team and still learning my way around the Spark site.
    Congrats on your IM finish! Very impressive.

    2978 days ago
    Hey there Spark Triathletes Team Leader...
    Haven't been a member of the team long and am not on the Spark a whole lot these days, but in checking out your are a rockin' endurance sport fiend! Well done on your Ironman....that is a fantastic accomplishment! You TOTALLY motivate me to keep after my dreams, not worry about the pace, and focus on the experience...keep that beautiful smile, it says it all...
    You've got some great races set up for this year....look forward to hearing about them along the way.
    BTW, at some point, I'd love to pick your brain about Bengals...we've got 5 kittos and hubby would LOVE a Bengal sometime...research prior to jumping in blindly is key for me.
    Take care...keep on keepin on!

    3002 days ago
  • v SMURFETTE0725
    WOW! WOW! WOW! BEYOND PROUD OF YOU!!!! You are my HERO!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    3209 days ago