Forgive me, Flying Spaghetti Monster. It has been 9 months since my last post.
A lot has gone on, a lot has changed. I've wanted to write something on so many occasions, but it was as if I didn't know how to start. Part of it has been the ongoing legal situation, and the paranoia I developed as a result. Part of it was I felt like I didn't have anything to say while I wasn't training, or that nobody would care to read. I know that I tie entirely too much of my own self-worth to sport, and not being able to do anything has left me feeling inadequate, and incomplete. From there, I felt like "what's the point?"
My intention for this blog, moving forward, is to be more positive. I've experienced some pretty harsh lows in the last 16 months, so I've got to think things can only get better. I will write about my training, not because anyone actually gives a shit what I'm doing - but rather to show how I got from where I was to where I am now. I'm hoping that, at the very least, it can serve as a motivator to everyone who is injured. It can help them realize that within every competitor is the ability to become fit again. Fitness may lie dormant, but if you've done it before, you can do it again. The only limiter is you. You have to ask yourself, how bad do I want it? Goals have to start smaller.
It has been 122 days since I last took a day off from training. Alyssa pointed out a quote from the NYTimes article on Elite Athletes Pushing Through Pain that accurately sums up my school of thought:
"I was given a body that could train every single day. And a mind, a mentality, that believed if I trained every day - and I could train every day - I'll beat you." ~ Tom Fleming
I'm not going to kid myself and say that I'm an elite athlete, or that I have the capability of winning, well, just about anything. But I know that as long as I have a body that is capable of pushing through (incredible) pain, and is physically capable of training every day - that it's a waste of what I've been given if I don't. I'm not saying I'm against days off, I just don't feel like I need one right now. Take a year off from running or riding a bike and you'll know what I mean.
While my life in triathlon started many, many years ago, my technical journey to reach the Ironman (see also: I paid an entry fee) began 23 months ago. It was a Monday, the day after Ironman Arizona. Zero and I were online at 2pm trying to register ourselves on Active.com. He got through first, but I was still not getting through. Finally, he got through again and registered for me. We were both really psyched that we were going to get to do this race together. 2009 started off pretty well, with Z recording PRs in every distance from 5k to the marathon, and showing improvement on the swimming, bike and running off the bike. For me, I knew exactly where my fitness was, and with a much better Eagleman under my belt, felt that Arizona was going to be my day.
We all know what happened next.
As I went through my shitty stages of being angry all the time, depressed, unmotivated and in physical agony, I still had enough in the tank to at least get out to Arizona for the swim. WTC wasn't going to get my $575 for doing nothing for me, the least I could do was swim and eat some pizza afterwards. Hell, I paid for it. And while I was out there (and probably there are some who still don't know this), I signed up again for this year. My thought at the time was I'm going to be totally fine a year from today, I'll be good. I had already signed up for races like Columbia and Eagleman, and in February (after my last post), I signed up for the Chicago Marathon.
While things didn't turn out as planned, I sit here today with the same goal I had two years ago - to finish what I started. I don't believe that a person needs to do an Ironman to call themselves a triathlete, or that you need to do one to validate yourself. Race whatever you feel like racing. I was just commenting on how much respect I have for short course specialists like Hunter Kemper that, despite getting older, don't jump into longer races "just because." He's mad old now and has been racing for what seems like forever, and he's still competitive. If he still gets his kicks from that type of racing, good for him.
So, like I said, I'm welcoming a fresh start. It's a new day. I have unfortunate daily reminders of my physical limitations, but thankfully I'm too stupid to realize that and the result is pushing through the pain. I'm fueled by competition and desire. I had always thought of myself as being invicible, and it was really important to me that I was perceived that way by others. There have been many incidents in the past few months that have illustrated our own precious mortality, but I'm also finding that letting fear rule your life is pointless. You have to get back on that "carbon steed" (to quote Craig Hummer) sooner or later.
This is just the beginning. The beginning of a multi-chapter story that is still being written. Kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, the ending is up to me, or, to any of us. My next few posts will shed some light on the earlier part of the year, my second surgery, the day that changed it all and where I'm going from here.
For now, just a quick thanks to the people I have in my corner. I wouldn't be back to this point without any of you, and seeing your success has made me happier than if it were my own.