Good artists copy. Great artists steal, – Picasso, Steve Jobs, maybe Woody Allen
So yes, this post title is a complete rip-off/tribute of the series finale of Breaking Bad. I couldn’t resist. It fits.
The last episode of the show was perfect for the television format, because unlike the infamous Sopranos non-ending, it had closure. In fact, one could argue that the real peak of the series was the epic Ozymandius episode, the rest being merely denouement. Breaking Bad was compelling human drama.
I won’t say that the story of Walter White was in any way inspirational, quite the latter. It is a cautionary tale of the hubris within us all that left unchecked, and given cause to self-justify, can be insanely destructive. The now famous intent of writer/creator Vince Gilligan is that he “wanted to take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface.” But the writing subtly reveals season by season, that the Scarface was within Walter White all along. Heisenberg was just an excuse to let his true feelings out. But for all the identification with the anti-hero as one we secretly sometimes envy, but should pity, I was left with the relief of the overwhelming feeling of this singular hopeful thought:
Unlike Walter White, none of my mistakes/sins/mis-steps are irreversible.
Enough with the stretch at profundity. I had a point here. Ah yes, the Finale, aka…. Felina.
I write today to announce an end of sorts. As I post this, I am within 100 clicks of 50,000 page views here. That is small potatoes in the blog scene for the people I often quote. But for a guy who just set out to chronicle the adventures of one more fat man at the back of the pack of this tribe of endurance junkies, it’s something. I’ve written often about the amazing people I’ve met along the way, from the fellow travelers that look like me, to the world-class athletes and never-say-die adventurers who treat me as a peer, simply for being crazy enough to show up. And then, the greatest gift of this experience thus far has been hearing a couple variations on the theme “I started running because of you.” I’m no John Bingham, but the few instances of this have been moving and humbling.
So what’s ending precisely? The journey? Of course not. The quest for Ironman? Not by a long shot. No, the end has come for a small part of this adventure. It’s time to bury the DOUGHBOY.
It All Started With Ski Goggles
When I began to run, December 2010, I didn’t want anyone to know. I felt silly. Come on, what does he think he’s doing? It’s as ridiculous a notion as a dog walking on its hind legs. I had to hide away for a long time. In fact, when a friend of mine mentioned my running to the congregation, my initial gut response was horror. As we know, I got over it. I outed myself. Soon after, this blog was born.
But I still had a need to make it known that I was under no illusions. The DOUGHBOY was born. I’m just the right blend of wannabe ironic hipster and Gen X pop culture addict, that it made immediate sense. It also gave people a smile on the course. The doughboy tshirt was my uniform for races until I got the custom tri-top printed.
Well, it’s been three seasons of racing as this semi-alter-ego. It’s been great, but it has run its course. It’s time to retire the doughboy. It’s time to finally let go of how I see myself, namely stuck as fat/slow forever. I am not getting to Ironman by wishing. I’m getting there by becoming the kind of person who does an Ironman. Ironman is not about the day you cross a finish line. It’s about becoming the person who trains regularly and drops the excuses.
The Swan Song
I can say I end this stage with satisfaction. 2011 was a year of constant new excitement and motivation. 2012 was a year of frustrating setbacks and stall-outs. 2013 became the year of getting it “right,” fixing all the misses (I promise not to use the word failures, lest I incite all the scolding emails). The Doughboy had lots of unfinished business in 2013.
Hyner Challenge – 2012, backed out — 2013 FINISHED
Devilman Triathlon 2012 – DNF ——– 2013 FINISHED
Eagleman 70.3 2012 – DNF ———– 2013 FINISHED
Lewisburg Sprint – 2012 DNF (bike missing) —- 2013 FINISHED
Dewey Beach Sprint – 2012 DNF ——— 2013 FINISHED
That left one piece of sad history. The Chilli Challenge.
In 2011 I entered the race, an adventure tri which begins with a 20mile bike ride, then a 2.2 mile kayak course, then a 4.75 mile trail run. I went off course on the bike segment, and had to DQ myself.
2013 Chilli Challenge – FINISHED
I ended in perfect, appropriate doughboy fashion. Dead last, with a nearly empty parking lot. I give great props to Jeff Miville of PA Runners for leaving up the big inflatable finish line to the bitter end. I could see it for the longest time as I completed the run around Lake Chillisquaque. Also waiting for at the finish were Amey and John Johnson. John is a trail running superstar whose relay team won first hours before I finished, and Amey is the greatest cheerleader ever. She took plenty of photos, including this run course goofball. I was so surprised to see them waiting for me at the finish.
It was fitting, it was fun, it was a relief. And, I knew this was the last time I would wear the Doughboy name. I intend not to fit it in the 2014 season. And even if I still do have the shape, I have been around the scene long enough now to know I do not need to keep apologizing for being there. I don’t need to keep pointing to myself and saying “yeah guys, I know I don’t look like I belong here. I’m in on it.” I don’t need to keep singing the Sesame Street song “one of these things… is not like the other….”
The Doughboy served me well. He was my Tyler Durden. My Heisenberg. My persona that allowed me to do things that I, Andrew Weaver, did not think I had any business doing.
I will keep the domain name as is, because the story is ongoing. The Doughboy will always be a part of the story. But I am letting go of him. I don’t need him anymore. He’s done everything he set out to do. He has dragged his large, lumbering, stiff, slow, unbalanced self across finish lines that his creator would never have thought possible a few years ago. He will remain out in cyberspace to encourage the next Doughboy to get up and do it. He will always be a part of me. He completed four half marathons, two half-ironmans, two homemade and one official olympic tri, numerous sprints, a 5k swim, and the Hyner freaking Challenge. He became RD for a 5k race. His picture was tweeted by Chrissie. He was awesome.
But he’s done. He’s retired. He has outlived his usefulness.
Teaming up in a new format.