And there's no other high quite like the one of finishing your first Ironman. I'd imagine it's like the first high you get when you try a drug (not that I would know firsthand), nothing is ever quite as good. Believe me, I've tried (3x) fruitless times to capture that same high without total success. I think it's a combination of 1) only having the goal of finishing - no time goals, nothing. This is the first Ironman, it's uncharted territory; 2) doing what you once thought was impossible. Before the race, you never tried to do a race of this distance, you didn't know if you'd be able to string together all three events, throw nutrition in there, and find success. And when you do, it's the best feeling in the world.
The start to the day was perfect. Standing at the tip of Wrightsville Beach, watching the sun come up over the Atlantic just enough so we'd have enough light to swim. And the end of the day was perfect. After I gathered up a plateful of food, I stretched out on the concrete wall by the channel while Mark was getting my bike. I just looked up at the stars and kept saying over and over to myself "I can't believe I actually did it", all while smiling so much, my face hurt. I was on an adrenaline high for the next two days, hardly able to sleep because I was so happy/excited/and wanting to do another one. And I was hungry. Hungry like I'd never been before in my life. I ate everything in sight. It. Was. Awesome.
So, here's to many more years of triathlon, Ironman, and fun... and of course, the finish line high.