How much can you possibly know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight? – Tyler Durden

First, a quick progress report from the world of the doughboy.

After a solid improvement at the Garden Spot Village half-marathon, I’ve been feeling very good about the direction I am heading. Weight loss continues slowly but steadily. Training has been subpar considering the challenges of May and June, but I’m ramping it up right now. Directing a 5k was awesome, and brought together my new passion for running with a community focus. I had a bike fit done, replaced my saddle, and added aerobars. My wetsuit fits far better than it did last year, and trying it out for 500 yards after a 1650 set, I never felt choked or short of breath. My old suit that was taken in at least once, has been retired. It was originally a 56inch coat, and 51inch pants. There’s no point in trying to alter it further. This is me in a 50inch coat and 42inch pants.

I also upgraded my black suit which I had to wear a few times this week for church functions. Many people commented about how slim I am looking. A properly fitting suit will do that to a man. But they would not want me to take my shirt off. I told people “this is not the after picture yet.” I can finally see the progress. But I’m nowhere near finished with the transformation.

OK, so that’s the last month synopsis. Basically all good stuff.

Now to the planning……

It’s not like I don’t have some major concerns right around the corner. Devilman in less than two weeks, Eagleman in under seven. In the meantime, I’ll return to Annapolis to repeat my first open water triathlon, hopefully going under two hours this time.

But as much as it annoys Yoda, my mind is also always on the future. What then? I’ve been weighing options of events to shoot for in the fall. There’s a brand new Runner’s World Festival in October that would involved doing a 5k, a 10k and a half-marathon all the same weekend. I would also like to do Skipjack in September, a quasi-half-ironman with a distance of 75 miles. (More bike, less run.) I feel compelled to return to Eagle Rock Resort for the 5k swim I DNF’ed last year, but they moved it to a Sunday. I am stingy with Sundays, as I only get four per year. I am definitely in for the Bird-in-Hand half-marathon, so I can earn the Road Apple Award, and try to take more time off of my March PR. I want to go sub-3.We are also going back to Dewey Beach for Olivia’s birthday weekend, and a repeat of the sprint tri.

So many races! With my personality of wanting to get too scattered, and try to do everything, I am definitely needing some focus. But at the same time, I’m becoming free of the negativity and self-imposed limitations, and dreaming big. PA Grand Slam of Trail Runs in 2013. Full Iron in 2014. Chesapeake Bay Bridge when I finally learn to swim properly.

Then, perusing the materials from my Hyner bag that another racer picked up for me, I ran across something that instantly caught my attention.

Freestyle Adventure: your sport, your route, our finish line.

August 11, 2012 – the finish line is open from 4pm to 6pm, at a rural spot in Renovo, near Hyner. How you get there is up to you. It’s called the Try All By Fire. The main sponsor is Try! chips, whose producer lives in Mifflinburg, and is involved with many endurance events. The website sets a tone that I am excited about. It’s part triathlon or race, part burning man. You find your own way, your own distance, your own means. Then everyone gathers for a celebration with live music, camping, beer and a pig roast.

The only time I spent away from training last summer was the Phish festival in upstate NY. Other than the neck injury, it was awesome. I love being in tribal sub-cultures, with like-minded people. So often I am so far behind at a race, that finishing is a small letdown, as the festivities are over. This model sets everyone finishing together. But the journeys will be solo.

That’s how this whole experience works. I train on my own. I am only with myself and my thoughts. Then come race day, I get to see the tribe. At the start anyway.

I am not saying what the details of my journey will be yet, and I may not post them until it is done. But I promise this: it will be a reach, and it will be, like the Doughboy 5168, autobiographical in nature. Honestly, I want it to be a spiritual retreat, a vision quest. Not just a check mark on the list of races I’ve done.

This is my focus. It will include new challenges, and unfinished business. It will be me against me. It will be hard, and it will be totally worth it.



One thought on “Vision Quest

  1. Doughboy I am so inspired by your posts, particularly this one. I am recovering from a hip adductor injury but have been told I can still race this summer. As I read your post I realized I too have so much to look forward too! Good luck on all of your races (I am in awe). Even though I am a swimmer, I just hired a swim coach to enhance my swim time. I’d like to reach a PR in my swim this year. I am doing a 14.0 in Manssas, VA in July and Iron Girl Syracuse again this year. I’d like to throw in a bike race as well but I need to get rid of my hyrbrid and get a road bike 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouraging others to continue on this journey with you!


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