Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Road Turns One.

The Road turned a year old this week.  Since I've become hyper-obsessed about goals and training volume, I immediately starting thinking about the past year in terms of stats:  224 Posts, 4 redesigns and a countless number of hours spent reading and writing.

But then I realized that I was making a HUGE mistake by thinking about the blog in these terms.  Leave the metrics analysis to beginnertriathlete.com, because the blog is all about the intangibles.  Intangibles like a year's worth of self discovery.  A years worth of self-confidence building.  And year's worth of an education.    

When I thought about the last year in these terms, I felt a little guilty that my initial reaction was what it was.  Had I not started this blog, I probably still done the same amount of training & racing.  But there is no way it would have been as fun, it's doubtful that I would have improved as much as I did and I definitely wouldn't have pushed myself as far as I did.

I just e-read my first post for the first time in long while.  It was definitely a little uncomfortable to read.  I don't remember writing it, but I know where I was trying to coming from.  Some of it reads a little bit arrogantly.  But I know myself, and that arrogance was fear.   I knew I was well on the way to leaving my old life behind and embracing a new one, but I wasn't yet convinced that it would stick.  I was also afraid I couldn't do it, but still wasn't exactly sure what "it" was.  But there is definitely a fire in my writing.  And when I sat down last October to write it, I was writing with a fire that I had not had in a long, long time.  I was naive but determined, and boy did it show.

The one passage that stood out was this one:
"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."
This is the most honest thing I wrote that day.  The problem with it is that I was wrong.  Forget the failed summit bid, that's not important.  Where I got sideways was when I said that "I got in a staring contest with mortality and blinked first".  This never happened - I got in a staring contest with my own self doubt and was more than happy to acquiesce.  THAT's the stupidity of middle age.

But I didn't figure out that I was wrong on my own.  Which leads to the most important thing that this blog has given me - new friends.  And these are friendships that are as solid as any friendship I could ever have despite the fact you live all over the world and we've never actually met.

I can't count how many times I've picked up a good tip or a great piece of advice from your blogs.  I can't count how many times that you've helped me realize that we are just normal people working to make our bodies and our minds do remarkable things.  On the personal side, I've never been as happy or as sad as I have been after reading some of the things that you have shared.  And every day, there is usually an e-mail side conversation or two with you guys that has a way of really making my day.

But a lot comes from things that aren't said, at least directly.  When I read between the lines of your blogs, I find that we are not so different from each other.  Because there is a common thread of dedication and determination in what we do.  How we share ourselves on the blogs has the power to subordinate just about anything else we may disagree on.  And besides that, I have this theory that endurance athletes we are a little bit more tolerant about the ways of the world, regardless of what we personally believe.  I think this is because as endurance athletes, we make a connection with our lives that tends to make the more trivial things not matter as much.

Which puts me back on that mountain a few years ago.  There was no Grim Reaper dressed in North Face gear and Goretex over boots.  I just didn't have the right friends yet.  Now I do, and I'm not afraid to push it.

Thank you for an incredible year.

32 comments:

Barefoot Neil Z said...

I am glad I found you, to follow you, in time to read this post! Great job in reflecting what many of us feel in our weird blogosphere!

Thanks!

Word Verification: Flogshem

Johann said...

Well said! Congratulations with the 1st year! I hope there will be many more.

P said...

Happy Blogiversary, Patrick!

Karen said...

Happy Bday, blog!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Congrats on lighting that first virtual candle! Very nice post!

Quinton J said...

Very well written sir. A powerful post. Congrats on the one year anniversary. Keep shinin'

Kovas Palubinskas said...

You've come a long way since that first post and I'm glad we've become friends along the way. But, even though now you have the courage to stare that Grim Reaper dressed in North Face gear and Goretex over boots in the face, don't. That's the intelligence of middle age. The mountains will still be there tomorrow. (Unless they're active volcanoes, but that's a whole other point.)

Laura said...

Happy 'Versary...I love this little virtual world...

Megan said...

Happy Blogiversary Patrick! Sorry, I forgot that you already received the versatile blogger award, you don't have to do it again.

I agree with you 100% on what blogs have given me - new friends. It's amazing how someone who I've never met can encourage me and push me through tough times.

Cheers to blog friends!

Diana Tries-A-Tri! said...

Happy blogi-birthday!

I agree with you, it's amazing what these incredible people that we've never met can give us. It also totally freaks me out sometimes how similar I think we are hahaha. Looking forward to more years of comparing my nerd-status to your nerd-status!

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

Wow, you had a b-day yesterday and today is your blog's 1st birthday. Nice! I couldn't have said it better, the friends we've made because of our blogs is quite amazing. I never in a million years would have thought anyone would read my blog when i first started mine not quite a year ago.
Here's to many more blogging years!

Allie said...

Happy Blogoversary!!!

I love looking back on my blog and seeing how far I've come. It's amazing how much blogging can help you be a better person and see yourself for who you really are and seeing how much you've grown. Congrats, man!

Jen (Triathlete Within) said...

Happy blogaversary!

lindsay said...

I often think about how much more risk I was open to as a child. Ahh, innocence. Happy blog-birthday!!

Rae said...

Happy 1 Year of Blogging!!

Rad Runner said...

Does this mean you get a cupcake? I think you should head over to Native Foods and pick yourself up a treat (to celebrate the birthday blogrifficness of course)

I totally agree, we are all very similar, we are more tolerable (no doubt)and we try to find the positives in this mess we called life.. All while achieving one goal after the next.

TRI714 said...

Crazy world we live in, and yet sometimes things just fit where there supposed to. Who'd a thunk ? why did I choose to look at blogs on Triathlons ? What's the chances of you living less than a mile away ? Fate ?, Faith in humanity ? Karma ? I don't know ? for me it's pure stoke !!
Happy Blog "o" versary !

Emz said...

I have nothing snarky?!

what?!

I like Partick. You rock.

Okay, now please delete this so no one knows.

;)

Barbie said...

Happy Anniversary Patrick. I am so very happy for you. You have come such a long way.

Julie @ "Hotlegs Runner" said...

Happy blogaversary! I am very grateful to you, and the other blogs because I have learned so much by just reading about your experiences! Happy to have found you =) here's to more years of writing inspiring posts! cheers!

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

Very well said. (And LOL @ EMZ)

Aimee said...

Happy 1 year blogaversary!! Yay! I'm so glad I found you blog way back when. Not only for the free t-shirt (ha ha), but because I really enjoy reading your blog! :)

DRog said...

Congrats to THE ROAD! Great Post. Great Year. Great Things To Come!

D

Jennifer said...

You've coem a long way baby!

RockStarTri said...

Congrats. The blogosphere is a better place with you in it.

valen said...

Congratulations, and you are very welcome.
I liked the tolerance bit.

Kathleen said...

Great post and so true.
Everytime I wear my Free Yourself T shirt ( very comfortable by the way) I think about the blogger world and the friends I have made this past year.
Happy Anniversary

The Green Girl said...

Aw, happy blogaversary!

Chris K said...

I so admire your honesty and vulnerableness. It shows strength and character that I aspire to. Your blog rocks.

Glenn Jones said...

Great post Patrick. I should look in the mirror. I remember some of the risks I tookwhen I was in college that I shy away from now.I have been calling it experience. Maybe fear is the better word. Thank you!

Happy blogiversary!

Jill said...

Happy 1 year Blogversary - yay!!! I am sure you have shared some great stories and insights to the person you are, I look forward to sharing the next year with you!!

Her Name is Rio said...

Congratulations on your Blogiversary!

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