Friday, July 16, 2010

One Year

 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 cake healthy snack and eat it too.  But at the same time, I wasn't the only one that got me to to where I am.  There's the guy at the bike shop, the girl at the running store, the guy I racked my bike next to in transition a few races ago, people from the OC Triathlon Club, and of course all of you in the blogging world.  I have a bit of a debt to repay.

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.

19 comments:

Barbie said...

It's amazing what you can cram into a year if your mind and most importantly your heart desires it. You are always a much better person for it, not only physically but mentally as well. The lessons learnt will always hold steadfast for other challenges in the future.

FLATOUT JIM said...

Except for SWIMMERS (Like Barbie), I think everyone Craps themselves about the swim. Especially their first open water swim.

All Hail Joe Strummer!!!

TRI-james said...

You are right – this lifestyle is ‘natural’ and it has saved me twice.

Jennifer said...

I am saved too! Was headed down a very slippery slope and got kicked in the butt and now I am healthy and wise (wanted to add wealthy but not yet!)You have done an amazing job putting you self and life into a good place. What a great accomplishment!

Mark Zarro said...

LOL, great post. I personally prefer "passion" or "passionate" over "consuming" or "natural", but I know the feeling very well. Keep up the great work!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

"Get the Girl! Kill the Baddies! PWEI were terrible, can't believe you were invloved with them. :)

Seriously though, this post is right on and I actually was thinking along these same lines on my ride this morning. No matter how much you learn, train, test, and know, triathlon (or cycling or running or...) will still occasionally kick your butt and remind you that you don't know anything yet. I think that's what really great about endurance sports. Measurable improvement with no end in sight, fun while we're doing it, and the gear (oh, the gear!).

DRog said...

Nice year! if "those" were great punk days - THESE are Greater Mulisport days!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

The "event" may change but the way we attack them usually is the same!

I am type A, like a lot of folks in the multisport universe. So when I do something I jump in head first. Unfortunately a large chunk of my lief was "consumed" with alcohol and crappy foods. But damn could I drink with the best of them!

It was fun to read your post because it seems you are attacking Triathlon and your business venture the same way you attacked your punk days. However, you now have the benefit of experience. I guess it it to old saying of, "The more things change the more the stay the same!"

We have roughly the same 1st tri anniversary! I am repeating my first in 15 days and am excited to compare the results.

Matty O said...

Awesome job man, stick with this same tri over and over again to gauge improvement :)

I agree a lot with Jeff's comment. From what I can tell we are all of the similar mindset... all or nothing and we jump into things taking the risk.

It has been fun over the year huh? We are 7 months into our experience. Wouldn't change a thing except I need to get rid of my job, keeps preventing the long training days!

Emz said...

ok.
completely
awesome.

Love the photo.

So impressed with all of it. The motivation, the blog, the business!!

YAY for you!

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

This is a great post! You have accomplished so much in a year! Yay for you!
I love this part and totally agree with it: "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."

bob said...

congratulations on what you've accomplished...it's been great fun to see and I'm looking forward to watching the heights you will reach.

Kathleen said...

I love reading your posts. congratulations on what you have done and best of luck in all you have yet to do.

Jon said...

Give yourself another year. Its gonna be a different ball game by then.

Luke said...

It is inspiring to read about your first year and I look forward to getting the oppurtunity in 11 months and post about my first year. I hope I can accomplish much..By the way I wish I could run a 4 miler in 36 minutes. It's coming soon though.

EZEthan said...

140,000 Yards... that's like 1400 football fields!!!

Congrats on your first year... just the tip of the iceburg I'm sure.

Rad Runner said...

You already know that top pick rocks, but I am gonna say it anyways..
Is it ok if I am still holding on to my punk? Even though I am not longer in junior high?

Chris K said...

Patrick, very nice post. Honest, insightful, moving. I could not agree more. I also think that we are investing in our future. I love that fact that I will be a "young" old man. Solana Beach is my 'hood. It would have been great to buy you a beer at Pizza Port after the race. Unfortunately, I will be out of town.

J. L. said...

Great post. I could have been reading my own words about the past year (tho my first tri was in a lake) and I also don't write, so thanks for putting it into words!

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