Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Retrospect - 2009

By any account, 2009 was a year like no other year, for that I am grateful!

Although our lives have been affected, like most everyone else by conditions and situations beyond our control, we have managed to remain positive and on plan. Yes, we've had some setbacks and some have been hard to swallow, but for every foot that we were pushed back, we managed to move two forward. This I attribute to the resolve of my wife and two beautiful daughters, without their determination, help and support, my personal accomplishments would have not been possible.

For me, the year began like any other year. Except this time, my goals were a little higher, somewhat more aggressive and yes, a whole lot "Goofier".

On December 31, 2008 I took the plunge and registered for my first ever full Marathon, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. On February 17, 2009 I registered for the 2010 Goofy's Race and Half Challenge and on May 14, 2009 I registered for Ironman 70.3 Augusta... my longest distance yet. Many wondered if I had lost my mind. To be honest, I sometimes wondered myself.

But all was good. I managed to complete the Marathon and the Ironman 70.3 and in just 10 days we'll see how "Goofy" I really am.

Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons:

1) I learned that those constant aches and pains, you know the ones - those that will not go away, are a reminder that there is a price to pay for that sedentary life style I chose to live for the first 50 years of my life.

2) I learned, or rather reaffirmed, that goals can be set, worked and achieved no matter how crazy or unreachable they may first appear to be.

3) I learned that it is very, very difficult, almost impossible for me to get up and run or swim before the sun comes up, but I have no problem doing this to ride the bike.

4) I learned that there's no way I will ever, ever be the fastest in my age group so I learned to concentrate on my own swim, bike and run.

5) I learned that you must really pay attention to your body, your doctor and your therapist. An IT band issue almost sidelined me early in the year.

6) I learned that it is very important to surround yourself with a great support team.

7) I learned that I'm not as bad in the swim as I thought I was. I learned that with plenty of practice, concentration and determination you can make it from the starting gun to T1 in no time flat.

8) I learned that I don't give it a second thought when I go out for a long swim, ride or run, but when an event is approaching, the knot in my stomach gets tighter and tighter.

9) I learned that real life gets in the way... sometimes. You just have to adapt and continue.

10) I learned that people who usually ask you "why"?, will never understand.

And a bonus lesson... I learned that it is true, you're never to old to learn!

It is with great honor and humility that I now take the time to thank each and everyone of you who have supported and believed in me from the git-go! To my family - WOW... what can I say?! I am blessed to have you in my life, I love ya'll!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 - Decisions, Decisions!

Putting together a competition schedule for next year has not been easy. Many factors have to be considered before making the final commitment to any one event. Most of these have to do with the travel factor. Will these events require more than a one night stay? How far a drive is this event from my home? These are not as big a deal as the fact that work schedule (vacations) and my daughter's senior year (college) soccer (Belmont University Lady Bruins) schedule will have to be seriously considered.

I would like to participate in at least one Marathon, a couple of Half Marathons, one or two 70.3 Ironman Triathlons, one or two Olympic Distance Triathlon and a couple of Sprint Tris. Add to this the obligatory 5 milers to support local causes.

The year will begin in form with the Goofy Race and Half Challenge on January 9&10 at WDW, Orlando. For those that are not familiar with this event it's a Half Marathon on Saturday, January 9th and a Marathon on Sunday, January 10th. This Half and Full will not be counted towards my 2010 goals! Or maybe they will!

First off I have two 70.3 Ironman in my sights. I would like to return to Augusta and I am considering the Steelhead. The Augusta 70.3 simply because I would like to see improvement on this year's time and the Steelhead because the timing and location are right.

The one obstacle with Augusta is that on that same weekend, Belmont Soccer has two games and it would be a big deal (to me) to miss either. The Steelhead is on a date (July 31) with no conflicting events. Additionally, this event is held in Benton Harbor, MI and it would be sort of like a homecoming to me. I went to high school in St Joseph, MI which is the other half of the Twin Cities, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, MI. The event expo is held at Lake Michigan College, school which I briefly attended. As far as the distance, they're both almost equidistant for driving. 408 miles to Augusta, 459 miles to Benton Harbor. Hotel reservations have been made for both, will make a decision soon.

Regarding shorter distance triathlons, I am looking at Chattanooga Waterfront Tri on July 11th and Music City Triathlon on July 25th. Both of these are Olympic distance events. One issue with these is the timing. If I choose to do the Steelhead (July 31) it would make sense to choose the Chattanooga Waterfront as well.

I will go back to the Mach Tenn Sprint Tri and to the Mountain Lakes Tri. I did both this year and enjoyed them. Again, I'm looking for time improvement.

And as far a running events are concerned, I will run the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville and the St Jude Memphis Half for sure. I have registered for the lottery for the NYC Marathon. A decision on which events I will run will be determined by whether or not my number comes up for NY. Should I not win a slot in NY, I am seriously considering San Antonio, Chicago or the MCM.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Have A New Hero!

I have been blogging my experiences for the past couple of years. Documenting my progress most of the way. Besides the obvious reasons for doing what I do, I have set a goal to attempt to inspire those around me through example, to get fit and to adapt a healthy life style.

I will not attempt to take any credit for what others have done on their own for I know how hard and difficult each step of the way is, therefore the credit belongs solely to each and everyone of them.

Last week, on Thanksgiving Day, my entire immediate family - wife and daughters along with my future son-in-law and grandson, took part in our local Thanksgiving Day run. We have always been a close family but this marked the first time that we participated in an event such as this one, together. I was proud!

Yesterday, my wife Monica took it to the next level. She ran the St Jude Memphis Half Marathon and finished in 2hrs, 51min, 22secs.

What makes this event extra special is the fact that she has been suffering from issues on her feet for the past few months. She developed plantar fascitis and the pain has almost sidelined her more than a couple of times. Add to that the fact that she suffers from hallux valgus (aka bunions) to a point where surgery has been seriously contemplated.

Many would have thrown in the towel at this point and none would have blamed them. After all, who in their right mind would put themselves through this kind of agony?

She seeked the advise of doctors and therapists and followed their recommendations to a tee; she has been very diligent in ensuring that she does what she has been asked and to do it proper and timely. She set her goals and stuck to them adapting as needed.

With the tremendous support of our friends and family she made it to the race and to the finish line. As she tells us, it was not easy but it was one of the greatest things she has ever done.

She has inspired me to continue doing what I've set out to do. To look at my aches and pains as opportunities and not obstacles. She is the epitome of dedication and perseverance.

The trip to Memphis was made extra special because of the friends we went with. Charlene, Skip, Sheila, Marilyn and Michele. Your support throughout the two days was tremendous and special. I thank you for being there, we're blessed to have you in our lives.