Saturday, November 13, 2010
At the end of each season, I always seem to get that empty feeling and feel rudderless and drifting with the current until that focus finally returns. At times this like these, I find it helps to reflect back on where I came from and what I have accomplished. Once upon a time I was part of an amazing high school cross country team in Vacaville, CA. In 1986 we won the last ever Northern California Championships and in 1987 we came in to the first ever California State Meet ranked 5th. Competing for myself and my teammates was incredibly rewarding.
After high school, I joined the US Navy and entered the submarine force and naval nuclear power program. That provided me an opportunity to learn alot about myself, and the lessons I learned from running helped me focus and perform well enough to earn an NROTC scholarship, get a wonderful education at California Maritime, got to play Intercollegiate Water Polo, Basketball, and Volleyball, while earning a dual engineering degree. Again the most rewarding part was being part of a team. After college, 6 years as a submarine officer took its toll on my waistline and then shore duty and sympathy weight gain left me morethan a little out of shape. After getting out of the navy, things didn't improve and one morning I found myself starring at a face in the mirror with 4 chins and tipping the scales at 230 pounds over 100 pounds heavier than my high school racing weight.
About that time a friend of mine at work, was organizing a weight loss challenge. I joined in, changed my eating habits, and started working out again. That turned the tide and soon that same friend challenged me to join him in doing the Carpenteria Triathlon that fall. Well I took the bait, and I haven't looked back since. I lost over 60 pounds and have kept it off, and embraced the challenge of becoming a triathlete. After a 14 year hiatus, I had a lot of work to do. I went from 9.8 mph on the bike in my first tri (having to get off and walk a hill as well) to averaging over 24 mph in a 40 Time Trial; I relearned how to swim and went from surviving the that first 1/4 mile OWS swim to being a top 1/3 swimmer in most races I enter and being able to swim an Iron Distance swim as a warm up; I regained some of my youthful form on the run going from 10 min miles in a stand alone 5k to 7 min miles on the run leg for an Olympic distance race. I went from sprints, to Olympic, to HIM, to Full Iron distance tris over a 4 year stretch, each step a struggle but reach achievement more rewarding than the last. This year I completed my 5th iron distance event at Cedar Point (and set a PR at age 40), completed my 9th marathon, completed my 12th HIM, and my 50th multi sport event.
Being able to say that you completed something that at one time you truly believed was impossible is such a powerful feeling. Completing the journey for another year is fulfilling but leaves me yearning for more. A new journey lies ahead, a mountain pass in western Canada is calling my name challenging me to face my fears and test my resolve on a 140.6 mile journey of self discovery.
So now when I look in the mirror instead of seeing the Pilsberry Dough boy, I see someone who has the guts to dare to reach for the dream, the resolve to work through the tough times, and the passion to see the journey to its end. Once you followed that rainbow to its pot of gold, (the finish line) and you become an Ironman, Eagleman, Tiberman, Devilman, Diamondman, Steelman, Black Bear, a Revolutionary, a marathon finisher, a triathlete, or whatever, you will know the journey was worth every drop of sweat, every sleepless night, and ever single mile.
Pain is temporary, pride lasts forever!