This year I've completed one triathlon. One.

And it was a mere sprint distance race. More than a decade has passed since my race calendar was so sparse. It also has been nearly four years since my last ultra-distance race, a reality that leaves me teetering precariously on the knife-edge distinction between "I am an Ironman" and "I was an Ironman."


And I'm totally OK with that.

In previous years, I would see my fellow athletes posting their swim/bike/run feats and immediately start looking forward to my next workout. I had a list of destination triathlons I continuously updated and replenished, and I envied my friends who were headed to their next Ironman races, leaving visions of Kentucky, Chattanooga, Maryland, and Lake Placid dancing in my head.

Not anymore.

These days, I am happy to log 30-60 minutes of exercise and get on with my day. While my husband longs to conquer 80-plus mile bike rides again and insists he has more Ironman races left in him, I'm totally not feeling it. When I ask him why he wants to do another one, he says "for the challenge." In my opinion, been there, done that. Twice. I know I can rise to the challenge. I know I can train for and successfully complete an Ironman. I have the will. I have the endurance.

What I no longer have is the desire. I do not miss sacrificing every moment of free time at the altar of Ironman. I do not miss having multiple body parts hurting every day. I do not miss constantly smelling of chlorine. And I most definitely do not miss the injuries.

A friend who is currently training for Ironman Kentucky recently told me that he is having back problems and has been unable to run since the end of June. In lieu of running, he has been replacing run days with extra rides, hoping his lungs won't notice the difference. However, I speak from experience when I say that while his lungs many not notice, his joints likely will.

While training for Ironman Arizona in 2013, I suffered a hip injury and spent the last two months prior to the race substituting aqua jogging for running. Albeit mind-numbingly boring, it was a decent cardio workout and perfect for meeting the "specificity" requirement — which refers to how similar a particular exercise is to running — but my joints and bones were sorely unprepared for the pounding that awaited on the marathon portion of the Ironman course. I ended up walking nearly half of the 26.2 miles and barely squeaked out a PR, besting my 2011 Ironman Cozumel time by a mere second.

Of all the items an athlete may need to purchase to support an Ironman habit — compression socks, sports gels, anti-chafing glide, liquid nutrition — an electric stim machine is not usually one of them. But it was an essential item for my Kentucky-bound friend to combat his back pain.

"You know you are getting old and banged up when you go from looking for ways to get faster to looking for ways to get healthy instead," he said.

These days, I am totally content to settle for healthy.