The nature of athletics, and life in general, is that things do not always work out. Through failure, disappointment, and challenges, we rise. We learn lessons, we endure, we rise. Was the season a tough one for me? Yes. Did I learn from it? Did I make the most of it? Yes. Did I rise? Yes, and I will continue to. Let's review 2009.
Spring months: Unlike last spring, I am not slow on the bicycle. Giros, collegiate races, Battenkill, Bloomfield... all good results. I begin falling in love with the bike. Pretty amazing to be able to put in a ton of work and not always be hurt. Should I just be a cyclist? It would be a lot simpler to only have to worry about all these different sports. I'm out running and I feel that damn pain in my calf again. That's it, I'm done with running, it's broken my heart so many times. I win at Bristol. Hands stretched toward the sky in triumph. I think this is it.
May 17, 2009:
This year was supposed to be about triathlon. But I think I'm done with triathlon. I am signed to to race in Memphis (huge race, destination race, family plans involved), and I cannot bail on this. I'll just race it for fun. I'll hammer the bike, and cruise the run. No problem.
The day before the race I am at the race site previewing the swim and checking out all the festivities. I'm starting to get excited. I have forgotten how much I love triathlons. Race morning rolls around, I am stoked. I am representing the U of R in the collegiate race. Taking on athletes from huge schools (Arkansas, 'Bama, Purdue, etc.). They all have organized clubs, coaches, and teammates. I don't. It's just me. I hammer the swim, demolish the bike, and do my best on the run. 3rd place isn't bad, is it? 9 minutes off qualifying for a professional license. I can do this triathlon thing. I have to get way faster on the run, but it's doable. I love triathlon. I AM NOT DONE.
June: Empire Cycling Championships. I cannot sprint, so I get demolished by Brendan and Jack after dragging the field around, but beat everybody else. I'm a cat. 3 cyclist. I get word that a new team is forming, and that I'm invited to be on it. I go from racing alone to being a part of the nearly unbeatable Minerva Design Team. Am I lucky? Hell yeah I am. I worked hard for this.
July: Running is going amazing. I went for a 90 minute run today. The main focus of my year, the Timberman 70.3 Half Ironman in New Hampshire is 5 weeks away. Fitness is coming around. I am going to do amazing. OH WAIT, later that night I am at work and I break my toe. Next day I go to the doctors: no running for 6 weeks. No Timberman. This shit happens to me all the time.
August: I am the U23 New York Stat Time Trial Champion! Next year I go for the overall!
They will not let me transfer my entry fee from the Timberman. I have to go and do the Aquabike (swim, bike, stop). Swim goes well, bike goes great (24.2 mph avg for 56 miles). Add the times up and add a running time that I am capable of, and it puts me in the top 10 and qualifies me for the World Championships. I can do this... I just have to wait until next year.
September: Close out the season with a win. A sign of what could have been, but also what is yet to come. Racing me next year? Be afraid.
Lessons learned: I love triathlon. It has been my dream for years to be a professional triathlete. I am not going to give up that easily. I need to be careful with my fragile running legs, and do all I can to stay healthy, all the while killing myself in workouts to get FAST. I can do it.
I'm pretty fast on the bike. Bike racing is the best way to train on the bike. I will make some serious improvements this winter, and I will be ready to represent Minerva Design in the spring.
When things do not go your way, you get creative and you get stubborn. You keep going. You keep fighting. Here's to 2010.
Fear the Dino.