It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Tyler and I just gave it a name. – Narrator, Fight Club
It was the cold, rainy morning of December 1, 2010, when a spark was lit. It was the Archduke Ferdinand moment of my personal life, which is probably way too grandiose a metaphor, but all things being relative, it was a big deal to me.
The energy had been building. I was still swimming in the joy of watching my kids enjoy the magic of Disneyworld. My family could not believe the energy I had on that trip. My mother was probably wondering if I was on some sort of stimulant. In a way, I was. It was pixie dust.
That morning, I got up and thought about the fact that it was actually December already, and realized I was 15 months away from turning 40. You’re not supposed to have a midlife crisis at 40, but since 40 is the new 30, that makes it even worse. Even so, I proclaimed to Meghan “I need to do something. I have more than a year. I should start lifting again so I can bench 250.” She said “forget that. Why not do the Disney half marathon in January 2012?” I said “you’re on!” and I got dressed and went out in rain that was flooding our creeks. I don’t recall how long I was out, but I went a mile and a half, and that was the beginning of it all.
Of course, even though I knew very little about the world of participant-oriented endurance sports, I at least knew that I didn’t need to go all the way to Disneyworld to run a half-marathon. However, with the clock ticking on both my need to make changes, and my children having a strong belief in magic, this was the best excuse I had to take them back before the previously set timeline of four years.
The rest, as they say, is history. It has been chronicled here on this blog. So now that the first year is complete, the celebration video has been made and shared, year two begins.
The day itself has been stellar. It began with the icing on the cake, an email from Trirock that I was indeed one of the first 25 to register online yesterday for the 2012 series, so I will be getting a free entry to Annapolis. Sometimes it pays to be an obsessive fanboy for some things. The video announcement came at 3pm, and there was a one-day registration special mentioned ahead of time, but the first 25 free was a surprise.
If that was the icing, the cake was my run, and eating plan. My runs have been awful since the Doughboy 5168. I went two weeks without training at all, and getting back has been rough. Runs were few, short, and slower than usual. The upside was that I spent time with the kids at the indoor track at Susquehanna, getting them ready for the 200m dash (Jack) and the Mickey Mile (Olivia). Well, today I went out and did a 6.5 mile run in 1:38. I expected a 17minute mile pace, and got 15. My garmin died after one mile, but with my phone clock and mapmyrun, I was able to estimate everything rather accurately. I had a very free run, not sure how far I’d go, or what route. Now usually, a lack of a plan is my downfall. Today though, I just let go, stopped worrying about how bad the first mile went, and decided I was covering some distance today, let’s just go out and enjoy the run. Somewhere around mile 3-4, I started to do just that.
A lot of runners will say that they had breakthroughs when freed from gadgetry. I need my garmin to let me know when my pace is dropping unnecessarily, since I don’t yet have the feel for knowing my pace instinctively. Today was helpful though. The other crutch I have found I cannot live without, is the music. This could be a problem when in races where it’s discouraged. On the track the other night, I did a silent mile in 16:30. I took a break, then did a mile with my music, and I went 13:45. Vast difference. The first mile probably was a warmup that helped the second, but I know the music was a factor too.
The other cake is the lack of cake. I’m eating the way I know I should, and can. I don’t want to get into the details on it right now, but I will say that the second year of this project is going to focus much more intentionally on food. In fact, I suspect that the direction of the content of this blog will take a serious shift. Defining this blog can be done in two ways. The easiest, most measurable is in the distance. It’s all about going the distance for me. So year one is zero to olympic tri with half marathon close. Year two is the amping up to the half-ironman level. Year three I hope to be about the full ironman.
But in a less concrete way, year one has been simply about getting moving, setting goals, trying new things, getting my bearings, learning my strengths and weaknesses, and just enjoying the ride.
I can’t know exactly how this next year will go, but as of right now, I believe the themes will be much more focused on discipline, long-term emotional health, making changes that last, and excelling in areas that were previously content to be just-finishing. This is just what’s on my mind now, the year may progress completely different from what I envision right now.
What year three and beyond will bring, is a complete mystery to me right now. I like that. I have event plans for 2013, some concrete goals, but as to what it will mean to me internally, I’m nowhere close to knowing. If I did, I’d already be there, right? It’s like the methodology of my college prof who would have us ask ourselves “what would an intelligent person say or do?” The idea is, if you can answer that, you are an intelligent person. At this moment, I have no idea where I will be down the road. I’d like to think I have an idea, or a desire for what it should look like, but I’ve surprised the heck out of myself over the last year already, I hope more surprises are yet to come.