Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dealing with disappointment

Two and a half weeks ago, I woke up and the first word I said (out loud) was "f*ck." I was three days removed from the most fun week I had experienced in quite a while: Dino camp with my buddy Dylan (a fit bloke). After this huge week of training (with an increase in volume AND intensity---->dangerous), my thoughts were "okay, if I just make sure I do not get sick, I am going to get a huge benefit and fitness boost." I took all the precautions, including eating clean (and a lot), sleeping, and taking it super easy. So when I woke up with a sore throat, I was exceptionally disappointed. Thinking it was just a cold, I put down some breakfast and headed off for work. As the shift went on, I felt undeniably increasingly ill. By the end of it, I was so feverish and had such bad chills that I drove home with the heat on in my car (and it was 90 degrees that day). I made it home and made it to the couch, and that was about all I could accomplish.

The next several days were a bit of a haze, but it did not involve eating or moving. Luckily, with the help of a great friend, visiting (luckily for me) parents, and some powerful western-medicine pharmaceutical products, I started to recover. However, after all was said and done, two weeks had passed without any training whatsoever. With the gradual and conservative approach that I will have to take while returning to training, this illness may have taken as much as 5-6 weeks away from me, when all is said and done. That, for all intents and purposes, is a season-killer.

So now what? Where to go from here? If you know me, you know the answer to that one. I am no stranger to getting my heart broken and losing a season. In the past it has typically been injuries that have derailed my racing. Most people would have thrown in the towel a long time ago, but where there is passion, there can be perseverance. Over the past year I have doubled my weekly running mileage, with only one minor setback (which was a good thing ironically due to the fact that it shed some light on the root cause of the numerous injuries). I never lost my love for the sport and my belief that I could get everything handled, and improve. The fire never went out. It is still burning now, despite this latest bump in the road. When things do not go well, you get them better, and you KEEP F*CKING GOING.

So we look toward next year now, with new lessons learned. After consulting with the V-Beast, and continuing to further my knowledge base, it seems that consistency is the be-all, end-all. Interruptions such as these are the greatest factors in undermining long-term development, much more so than training slightly fewer hours each week. That will be a goal of mine from here: stay healthier.

It is what it is. It will do me no good to lament the loss of what was shaping up to be a good year of racing. It was never really about this year, anyway. It was about one, two, seven etc. years from now. Everything I do now lays the foundation for my success down the road. I intend to get healthy, and start getting fit again. Then I intend to get fitter and fitter and fitter. There are few feelings that compare to that of being able to run across the line and raise your arms. I will get that again soon, I just need to wait a little longer than I would like.

I will leave you with this quotation from Teddy Roosevelt (who was, by all means, a real man). It may be my favorite.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done
them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the
arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat

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