Sunday, September 16, 2012

Still an Iron Maiden

When I signed up for the Ironman US Championship last year, I thought I had a much better idea of what I was in for.  The vision of racing in my hometown, like the NYC Tri but bigger, with my friends and family to cheer me on, was awe-inspiring.  While logging miles on the treadmill, I visualized running down the finisher chute.  In my planning, I changed things up a bit, joining a team of fellow Ironmaniacs in training, all of us dragging our tired and sore behinds out of bed when many people were getting home, all in the name of surviving seventeen hours of swimming, biking, and running.  I thought this would give me an extra boost of support in the shared suffering.  I thought that this year would be different, that I'd be ready or at least make myself ready, that I would be able to stick with the eight-month regimen and hear those six words all wannabe Ironmen and women want to hear.  What it boils down to is, I thought I'd be able to transcend my previous athletic mediocrity, to push myself, to prove to myself and others that I had the mettle and the skill to do this.  

Boy, was I dead effing wrong.

In all fairness, my situation was vastly different eighteen months ago.  It seems inconceivable that almost my entire life would be thrown up in the air and land in different circles on the Twister board.  New job, new man, new living situation, new kidney for mom have all added up to figuring out which end is up again and again.  It has been exhausting and confusing.  Why did I not anticipate any of this when I hit Submit and dropped more money than I care to admit on a single race?  How could I know that I would feel the tug of all these occasionally conflicting forces, almost like being emotionally pulled apart by four horsemen?  It came down to sheer physical exhaustion and being really honest that my travel schedule for my job would not allow me to log the miles on the bike that I need, especially since I'm still struggling with anxiety on training rides.  What made matters worse, WTC's ticket logging system does not work well at all, and it took escalation to the race director to get my refund.

Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic experience to volunteer and spectate.  Also glad I did not have the pleasure of swimming in potentially sewage-contaminated water.  I was so pumped for trying again in 2013, even when standing on line to register and hearing about the price increase and the time cut.  After that punch in the gut, the final body blow came when they then suspended and cancelled the race.  

A huge sense of regret and disappointment has subsided but still lingers, as well as burnout.  I feel like I let myself down. In a way, it hurts worse than those thin college rejection letters because I don't think I fought hard enough for it. Maybe that's harsh, but it's what festers in me.  This quote from Ironman champ Chris Lieto gives me some comfort as I ponder what's next:

"There’s a point where you have to realize that Ironman is not your life, and that you have to look at what you want to do with the rest of your career and get healthy. When it’s all said and done, does it really matter if I go to Hawaii or not? Do I come back 100 percent next year versus having a lackluster performance like I did last year in Hawaii because of the same issue?" 

Here's to next year, ever upward (I hope).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How Many People Can I Inspire to Register as Organ Donors by November 4?

As many of you know, my mother experienced advanced renal impairment last year and was on dialysis for six months. In mid-December, she received a successful kidney transplant, one of the best Christmas gifts ever, and has recovered superbly. To celebrate her donation's first anniversary, I will run the 2012 New York City Marathon to benefit the National Kidney Foundation, my third marathon and first 26.2-mile trip through my hometown. This is one of the best marathons in the world, and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to experience it. Since 1950, NKF has been dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

Where do you come in? For starters, please consider becoming an organ donor if you have not done so already. My goal is to convince at least 26 people to register as organ donors, one for every full mile. Need some motivation? Every month, more than 2,000 new names are added to the national waiting list for organ transplants, and about 18 people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. Organ and tissue donation helps others by giving them a second chance at life. It's as simple as signing the back of your driver's license in most states.  For more information on how to register, visit NKF's Organ Donor information page.

Please let me know when you have registered so I can track it on the counter below. More to come. Love your kidneys!!!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's Been a While

Today I received an email from a college friend who mentioned that I haven't written anything recently. That nudged me into action. I'm sorry I have neglected you, blog. I know I promised you more before. We've been together for over 8 years now, you deserve better.

Well, I do have quite a bit to write about, although I don't want to expound too much and bore you to tears. Here is the short-short version:

  • I have a new Significant Other. It's been almost 14 months now. He's tall dark and handsome, good with his hands, likes my cooking (what's not to like? my mom would chime in), and makes me smile and laugh. I think I'll keep him around :). 
  • I left the old job in September. What a long, strange trip it had been. I learned a lot, and met some cool people. After five years, a nice pen just wasn't enough to motivate me to stick around for another five, it was time to move on. 
  • I got a new job, but it was not all I hoped and dreamed of. Enough on that... 
  • I got a new-new job, and it so far is all I hoped and dreamed of. After a good chunk of time on the beach, I spent a few months working outside Philly. Recently, I have been commuting to Silicon Valley Sundays and coming home Thursday. More on this later... 
  • Mom got a second chance, but you knew that already
  • I have aspirations to become a real estate tycoon. With my previous apartment sublet, I'm now starting to look for more property. If I had my way, it would be a swanky two-bedroom with a view. We'll see how this shakes out. 
  • Since starting Ironman training in December, I've bested my indoor tri and marathon finish times (the latter in Paris, which also deserves a writeup of its own), improved my cycling, and completed my first half IM (barely). April through June have been tough for training with the out-of-town work and long hours. Plus, getting over what has become full-blown anxiety of biking has taken longer than I thought. It wasn't until the Patriot Half that I felt really good in the saddle, and there are still some technical skills to relearn. Even though it's looking like a long shot at this point I'm still holding out hope of hearing Mike Reilly lauding my finish. Appreciate everyone's support in the journey so far. My offer for baked goods in exchange for accompaniment on a ride still stands. 
So there you have it, the last nine months in just under 350 words.