Monday, June 7, 2010

The Road's 100th Post (And all you got was a stupid t-shirt)

Well, hopefully you get more than a t-shirt from my blog. I hope something I've written has made you chuckle, think, or has been inspiring in some way. I've certainly picked up a lot of wisdom from reading all your blogs, and I hope I've been successful in contributing to the blogger world in some way, shape or form.

Here is the link to my first ever post on 10/18/09. I've just re-read it for the first time in awhile. It was interesting to revisit, but I also felt a little embarrassed as well. It was the kind of embarrassment you feel when you look at (or when you someday look at) your high school yearbook 20 years after you graduated. Last October was only 8 months ago. But by every other measure, last October was a lifetime ago.

I understand why I wrote what I wrote. But I definitely had my guard up, and lingering between each sentence is fear and anxiety. I tend to jump into things before I actually understand why. Starting this blog last year is an example of that. I knew I needed to document what I was doing, though I wasn't sure why I was and where it would lead. But it was leading somewhere, and I might as well embrace it. That's why I started typing.

I think the below passage is the most telling.
Endurance sports are perfect for me. I've never had those fast twitch muscles needed to play baseball or football. But, I've always been able to go and go. The mental game. The discomfort. The solitude. Before my wife introduced me to the Hawaiian vacation, my idea of a week off was a solo back-packing trip around Mt. Rainier.

Because when I was younger, I didn't worry about falling off a cliff. Snowstorm and no climbing partner? No problem!! That was the stupidity of my youth. But this last March, cold toes and heartburn kept me from a summit in the Sierra Nevada. It was a clear day and about as safe as a winter alpine climb could possibly be. But I got in a staring contest mortality and blinked first. The cold and my discomfort where convenient excuses. That's the stupidity of middle age.

Yep, that's me admitting a mid life crisis. Over the previous year and a half, I had been taking steps in getting my health and physical confidence back. But I was still concerned about it all, and I was worried that I couldn't keep it up. I was anxious about "cold toes" and "heartburn" being more than just the exception. And I was afraid of what would happen if those things became the rule. I knew I needed to get back to where I came from, at least in certain ways. Getting caught up in my career (and related trappings) to the extent that I did and at the expense of who I really was had changed me in a way in a way I didn't like. It just took a long time to figure it out.

I sense shame in the post as well. I kept talking about "my story", and that the story may "eventually come out". The truth is, I had to get something off my chest, but had no idea how to do it. Though it was possibly naive to think that the answer was hidden in the hundreds of hours of training I was hoping to do, over time those hours did help me realize that I already had the answer. And it was simple - tell the truth. Just admit that until 18 months ago you where drinking too much, had let yourself go, and had (pardon my French) fucked up a whole bunch of things in your life that didn't need to be fucked up. Further, just admit that you are 40, there is nothing you can do about it, and that right now might be a good time to get off your ass and re-prioritize some things in your life. Because God willing, you still have got plenty of time to live. And while you are living, you can love and learn and experience anything you want. Once you get it out, you'll feel a million times better. There will be no more shame. In fact, most will recognize that the progress you made in those 18 months was anything but shameful.

I'd like to think I've come a long way in the last 8 months/99 posts. When I started, I knew the writing would be cathartic. Some days I'd write something worth reading, some days I wouldn't. But in the end I think I managed to get a few things out in the open.

But what I didn't realize 8 months ago was that the reading of other blogs would be just as important.

As I read your blogs, I realize how lucky we are. Sure, we've all got problems, tragedy even. But I'd like to think that we have all found ways to manage and cope with our lives in (I dare say) a "higher than average" positive manner. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but clearly we all have something in common. Whether its triathlon, marathon, trail running, or whatever endurance sport we are constantly gushing about, it is clear that our participation in these sports is a big part of our overall lives. And in every case the benefits of these sports go far beyond the act of just participating.

This is a gift we should cherish as long as we can.

So thank you all for reading this post, and for all the other posts you've read. Thanks for the comments to my posts. And thanks for letting me be a part of your world by sharing your lives too.


shel said...

congratulations on your milestone. amazing how fast sport can get into your blood and take hold of you. it gives you so much more than you give to it... with the amount of required training, that is saying something. sharing our journey is the key to inspiring others to get off the frackin couch. keep going and best wishes on the next 100

Jennifer said...

I love it! I have been reading your blog since the beginning and find it funny, dark and insightful. You candor is appreciated and I think it shows, and now you are getting other 'writing' jobs'. Way to go Patrick! It's such a good thing when you can have a receptive place to share those life changing moments (and the other stuff too...) Cheers! And keep on writing!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughtful reflection and thanks for sharing your previous 99 posts as well.

Your 2nd to last paragraph really resonated with me and makes perfect sense. Overwhelmingly the group of endurance bloggers we all follow are an overall extremely positive group who seem to consistently just smash through the obstacles life throws their way. This is an inspiring quality that is the commonality of the group but also the key driver to help push us to individual success.

I never really thought about this but you are 100% right. Excellent post Patrick!

bob said...

great Blog post, Patrick. I greatly enjoy your writing style, wit, humor and, of course, the inspiration to bust some butt on a daily basis.

Keep it up're doing great.

Matty O said...

Well Jeff summed up what I wanted to say haha! Pat, great post. My use of my blog is to keep me accountable of my workouts. I feel that people are "watching" me and keeping me going. Like Jeff said the group of bloggers going for endurance, or even just to get their lives back are really positive. There have been a lot of comments on my blog that snap me out of a funk right away and get me back on my feet.

Your posts also help people see your perspective on things. Keep up the great work, there is a reason people keep reading right?

OrangeBlossom said...

Congrats on the 100th post! I've been enjoying reading your blog; especially mixing in of family and workouts ... because, that's life. Although, I disagree about the t-shirt; mine is definitely not stupid. =) Free Yourself is exactly what I've been doing these last few months. Keep up the great work.

KovasP said...

It's been awesome to follow your growth and increased confidence over these posts. That being said, I hope we haven't seen the last of the angry young man writing letters to the muscleheads in the gym and those with lack of pool etiquette. You're on a great journey, you're helping Ian start his own, and I'm glad to be along for the ride.

Emz said...

I love this post.


DRog said...

Was glad you included that first post..."Statistically speaking, it's half over"
wow, odd way to think of it...(I just turned 40 in May)...fer sure Training is the best part. I didn't sense the same things you did rereading your first post.

I'm equally amazed at others...and reading and following their journey is fantastic for me. I started my blog so I could print it into a book for my kids to look at later in life...and am now more interested in the blog community! amazing stuff.

great post!

Caratunk Girl said...

I love this post (and your blog) - thank you so much. Like Jeff said, that second to last paragraph resonated with me - the blogs I read and the people who read my blog motivate, inspire and help me in so many ways. We are surrounded by positive people, and we are lucky!

Congrats on the 100th!

Kathleen said...

I always enjoy reading your posts.
Congrats on all your growth and your 100th post.

Rad Runner said...

Congrats on your Blog Birfday, to maaaaaaany more!

skierz said...

Awesome post! You have nailed it so well! I look forward to the next 100 and the journey we all share along the way!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Bravo! Excellent 100th post and cheers to hundreds more. So many things you wrote hit home with me. Funny how 95% of us have never met, yet we feel like we've known each other for years. Keep up the good fight and the blogging!

Christine Jensen said...

Congrats on 100 posts! I enjoy reading about your endurance journey. (and I really like the t-shirt too!)

Lindsay said...

Happy 100! Hands down one of the best "milestone" posts I've read. I read back over my old posts and think about what a dork I was... /still am :)

Glenn Jones said...

Great post Patrick. I wish I would have found this 10 years earlier instead of waiting until I was 50 to do something about how life was dealing the cards and I was just looking at them.

4 The Love Of Freebies said...

This is one awesome site


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