I feel rejuvenated, remotivated and reconciliated! But let's step back first to where the next path began before discussing how it ended.
I left one passion, anxious to get started on my next one - becoming an elite Wii Sports athlete! It didn't take long to realize that this may be more of a dream than a goal. My 4 year old daughter has a higher bowling average than me and I threw my arm out pitching a splitter to my son. So where do I go from here? I'm a passionate guy and I need some hobbies and reality TV shows can't really be considered a hobby (you hear that Baker?). I contemplated golf but the game is to frustrating, the clothes are actually uglier than tight lycra, and anyone that's done a tri and played a great round of golf knows firsthand that the satisfaction isn't close to being comparable. Softball? Talk about another sport where the recreational enthusiasts take it way too serious! I mean, come on, these guys live, eat, sleep and dream softball. I don't know if my wife is ready for me doing a very consuming habit like softball after participating in the relaxed atmosphere of triathlon training and racing for 20 years. Those guys are in some serious shape as well which is a bit intimidating. Movie club? After waking up at 4am for the past 15 years, I'd end up falling asleep before the opening credits finished.
So I guess by default, I'm back in triathlon. Time to dust off the bike (I wonder if it's antiquated already?) and maybe even bust out the swim goggles. I didn't say I was going swimming, I'm just going to bust out the swim goggles.
I'm a lifer in this sport. I actually find it amusing when people ask me "are you still doing that triathlon thingy?". I stated long ago that there are two types of triathletes that fall out of this sport; those who will sooner or later get back involved, and those who are haunted by the fact that they aren't participating anymore but feel overwhelmed about getting back involved so they rationalize and justify and do everything possible to stay away from anything or anyone tied to the sport. Triathletes are made through hard work and determination, but it goes deeper than that. There is common personality traits obviously but there is also something inherited that makes this endurance drive or quest part of us. Because of this, you can't just bow out. Why would you want to give up something that's provided so much personal growth in the first place?
Personally, I need my daily adrenalin fix of exercise. It makes me feel good and allows me to be a better me. Racing tris feeds my competitive nature and also keeps me honest. It prevents me from falling into a rut and getting too comfortable with routines. It allows me to distinguish the years, remembering specific trips, goals, accomplishments.
One of the ways I keep the enthusiasm and passion going is that I don't over race. In the 90's, I raced quite a bit and loved it, but would always feel a bit burnt by the end of summer. I realized that if I wanted longevity, I needed to race less often each year and focus on a key race instead of many key races throughout the season. This alone has kept me hungry in the sport and hopefully will 5, 10, 30 years from now. It would be cool to be duking it out in the 65-69 age group with Rob Straz at the Griskus Sprint in 2033. Hear that Straz???I'll be there and I'm calling you out my man!
Another way I stay motivated is that I vary the training stimuli. I switch up the routine, the courses I train on, the daily schedule. I actually am quite bored with long, steady rides, but truth be told, I have been for over 5 years now. Besides at my camps or the Vermont ride, I don't ride over 4 hours even when building for an IM. I feel I can get a lot more out of a quality 4 hour ride when training for an IM than an easy/steady 6 to 7 hour ride.
One more thing is that I have the opportunity to work with new triathletes each year and their new born passion and drive can be infectious.
So I'm back in, and looking forward to a great 2008 season. Thanks to everyone who sent me encouraging and concerned notes. I actually received quite a few, so thank you.
Have a great April 2nd!