Posts Tagged triathlon

The big time dream coefficient

Swim…Bike…Run. I’ve been training for months for the 11 Global Lake Oconee Olympic Triathlon. That’s 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run. I can do it, but an entrapped ulnar nerve in my right elbow has forced me out of the competition, again…
Three doctors told me surgery should be done ASAP to prevent further permanent nerve damage yet I struggle to find excuses why I shouldn’t do it. “It’s getting better; it’s not so bad…” My mind reels with the what if’s. I am stronger, faster, and fitter than I have ever been. Why me? As if that’s an excuse… The road to Hell has been paved by excuses.
Why am I so obsessed with a race that means relatively little in the scheme of life? The Boston Marathon has been forever marred by the senseless tragedy of it all. All those people chasing their dream have had their glory ruined by cowards.
My kids love me; I know they do. I see it in their faces when I give them chocolate milk just because. I want them to grow up chasing their dreams as wife and I have done. I am weeks away from dissertation success and beating the human odds everyday for the last five years since I was confined to a wheelchair and hobbled by a cane. Right now, son’s dream is to beat “Temple Run.” Well, he’s four. Daughter’s dream is to be a dance choreographer and she competes at the highest levels of our expectations.
I am reminded of Rudy where a small-town guy that is too small battles and beats the odds of a big-time dream. Dreams can be reached; they just need to be tempered with realistic expectations. On September 29, i will toe the line at Ironman 70.3 Augusta. See you at the starting line.

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Embracing the suck of an intergalactic fracture

Stardate: 58365.1 Sector 001, Atlanta. It was 4 degrees Celsius and I was dressed in shorts, a long sleeve t-shirt, and Mizuno running shoes. It was the Atlanta Marathon and I knew I could run the distance. As I started from Turner Field, I paced myself- not running too quickly with the lead pack. I’d been in that situation before, but 26.2 miles meant careful planning. At mile fifteen, a monkey jumped on my back but I had enough energy to run over and hug daughter, 9.2 to go. When I hit “Cardiac Hill” (for those of you familiar with the Peachtree Road Race) I slowed to a crawl. Then, cramps… I had to make it. As I rounded Capitol Avenue to see the Olympic Rings, I told my running companion, “Let’s make this count…,” and sped across the finish line with family cheering. That’s what a race feels like. That’s why we do it.

With training, setbacks come and go; each one seems like it’ll be the end of the road. You take two steps back for every one forward. Then the next race appears on the horizon and you know it is a goal worth reaching. Whether it is a fun run or an Ironman, each runner takes a challenge to push themselves farther and faster than before to earn the intrinsic reward of achievement. You spend hours in the pool, miles on the road, and days of recovery only to be sidelined by an insidious, barely visible crack that runs through your tibia and the doctor suggests surgery.

This is not my first rodeo, daughter and son barely know the “healthy” me, having seen me undergo surgery after surgery to repair the “blue light special” fracture of the day. Health is not a goal, it is a drive to meet the needs of my family; but I do not train to become healthy. It may be a side-effect, a good one; but, I train to embrace the suck. To prove to myself I can be stronger, faster, smarter.

Wife is the real victim; she works harder to help the kids, care for me, and perform well at work.  She is my Lt. Commander Nella Doran to my Captain Picard. Picard opened his heart up once and it was worth it; my wife is worth every moment we spend together.

Today is Halloween, and I am going to dress as wife’s husband, and son and daughter’s father. You don’t need a costume to make that look good. Sometimes, you just need to show up. The next race is the May 11, 2013 11Global Olympic Triathlon at Lake Oconee. I’ll be there because sometimes you just need to show up.

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