Solana Beach Triathlon, July 2009. To this day I still have no idea how I managed to smile 3 minutes before my first ever ocean swim.
A year ago tonight, I was most likely sitting exactly where I am now, on the couch. It was around this time that I was making the 4th ever entry into my training log - I happened to run 4.01 miles in 36:05 that day. The only other entry for the day was that it was "hot".
A year ago tonight, I was preparing for a bike ride the next day. My training log shows I went on a 9 mile bike ride the next afternoon.
A year ago tonight, I was 11 days in front of my first triathlon in Solana Beach, CA. I had no idea what to expect, and I was terrified of the swim. I had not gone for a proper swim in the ocean yet (the race was actually the first time), and I'm not entirely sure I had even managed to swim the race distance (1/4 mile) in one pool set yet.
A year ago tonight, I had 1000 unanswered questions floating around in my head.
I got through that first race, and in the year since have done 6 more. I've also ridden another 1500 miles, ran another 800 miles, and swam another 140,000 yards. My weekly training has gone from about 4 hours a week to 10. I'm a lot faster, but of course I am - time spent participating will do that to anyone. Much more importantly, I'm a year wiser and experienced.
However, the number of unanswered questions I have has actually increased. Sure, plenty of questions have been answered, but they're just replaced by new ones. So for a second, forget how fast you are or where you place in your age group. Forget training volume. Forget any of the competitive metrics. Count the unanswered questions you have. Because this shows that what we do is constantly on our minds, and the desire to continuously gain knowledge literally becomes a permanent part of our psyche.
The thing that never ceases to amaze me about this lifestyle is how consuming it becomes. But I actually think "consuming" is the wrong word, at least for me. That word and I have history, and not all of it is good. Rather, I'll use the word "natural". And I think I'm very lucky to be able to use that word. This is a time consuming sport, yet it still manages to not only improve my quality of life, but I dare say my time management too. I'm a different person, a better person, and I think (I hope) it shows. It took me half my life to get here, but there's no point in keeping score. I'm here and I'm going to stay here.
There's a point to all this. Pardon my French, BUT THIS SH*T WORKS, PEOPLE. Replace "triathlon" with "running" or "cycling" or any other endurance sport you want, because it's all the same. The opportunity afforded for positive change in life through participation in ____________ is just incredible.
This is the primary reason I wanted to give Endurance Athlete Project a go. I can hear your groans already - a shameless plug. Well, it is and it isn't. Of course I'd love to have my
Back when I was a kid, I was involved in the punk scene. The scene was completely independent from the traditional conventions of the music business. We put on our own shows, put out our own records and generally worked outside of the norm. Those where great days. We measured success with a a different ruler. We where honestly, truthfully and passionately where more interested in playing in some kids basement in Syracuse than the LA Forum. I've go a lot of great memories from those days. And the funny thing is, I remember way more from the early days than from the days where things got a little bigger. This might be because I got flat out rejected from a super cute British Air flight attendant on the flight over for our first European tour. She didn't care about me or my band, even though I still had all my hair. It was all downhill from there.
I'm a little older and hopefully a little smarter now. Experience definitely counts for something. I've also discovered that passion is ageless and these days feel a lot like the old days. So I want to give back. I want to take my experiences in the apparel business and put them into play with endurance sports. Because 15 years ago I sat on a different couch in a panic trying to figure out how to get 300 t-shirts printed for a band long forgotten (anyone remember Pop Will Eat Itself?), and that ended up working out OK in the end.
I'm doing the Solana Beach race again next week. You know, for "old times" sake.