2011 brought me more change than a clever sign can bring a bum. I figured that by this stage of my life I'd be "stable." I'm glad I failed to meet my expectations!
There were drastic changes in my life, personally, physically, and even professionally this past year. A lot of the changes just happened, out of nowhere. Some happened gradually, developing as minor changes occurred. Some were direct consequences of specific decisions made.
In the past year my wife's parents and my parents moved to Tucson (I live about an hour's drive south). Before we saw them maybe once a year, now we see them at least once a month, if not more! That's pretty sweet. I got to run a lot with my youngest daughter over the summer and my relationship with my oldest daughter really got stronger this year. We never had a bad relationship, but just sometimes rub each other the wrong way. I changed some behaviors I had with her, and communicated my desires for a better relationship. It helped!
This was really the year of the bicycle. In October of 2009 I bought the first bike on the left. At the time it was a huge investment, $300! But, I couldn't run because I was too heavy. At the time I weighed about 265 pounds. I quickly outgrew that and purchased the white bike in the middle. I put about 5,000 miles on that bike and decided to really take the plunge. I sold my guitar equipment to finance the purchase of the last bike on the right.
In January of 2010 I was down to 240 and decided I'd train for a 73 mile "race" (really a charity ride) that happened to be on my 38th birthday. I had never ridden more than 33 miles at that point and completion of that distance was a scary thing. As the time grew closer, I knew I could make the distance (I'd done it a few times), and I developed a time goal of 5 total hours. My wildest dream was to finish in under 4:30, earning a "silver" medal.
Then, fourteen days before the race I tore my right hamstring. I strained it running and it tore by kicking my leg out trying to keep the dog from running out of the door! Now the whole thing was in doubt.
I toughed it out, literally. I did my best effort and I finished in 3:45 and change! It was an intensely emotional event for me, ranking with the most powerful single moments of my life to date. I was literally overwhelmed during the latter third of the race, thinking about all of the changes that had occurred.
That was it...I was hooked on racing.
A few weeks after the bike race I participated in a Warrior Dash...kind of. I limped through it really. My hamstring was a bit touchy, but that promised to be too much fun to pass. Plus, I had purchased entrance for my wife and oldest daughter (youngest was too young last year). My cousin and brother-in-law joined us and we had a blast.
This past year I bought my wife a bike! It's pretty much awesome to be able to ride together. My dad bought a road bike. My father-in-law bought a road bike. My cousin bought a road bike. My uncle bought a bike, then got my other cousin and aunt involved in riding. My mother bought a bike. My sister bought a bike. My other sister already had a bike, but started riding more. My brother-in-law bought a road bike. How crazy that we're now a biker family!?!
One big change just happened yesterday, I sold my motorcycle. I've been trying to sell my motorcycle for a while. First, I never get to ride it, second it's expensive, and third, none of my gear fits anymore!
However, I'm still a biker! The picture on the left is in the summer of 2009 with my mother. I went on a day trip with my parents to the top of Kitt Peak. It was a great ride!
Over the summer I hoped to get into running shape. All I did was suffer injury after injury. Once I got all of that straightened out (for now), I was able to participate in two 5Ks, a 10K, and a half marathon. In addition, I participated in El Tour de Tucson, the 111 mile leg. In fact, if you throw out the first 5K, all of the events happened in a six week stretch!
My brother-in-law not only sponsored my participation in El Tour de Tucson, he participated, after only riding for about 3 months! My oldest daughter and father joined me in the last 5K, which was a pretty cool experience also.
The thing that I'm surprised by most is how much of a family event all of this has been. Not too much when everybody's got their own busy schedules, but on race day. We all go to the race together and participate in some form. Then we engage in some good people watching and spend the remainder of the day hanging out. It gives us a fun, common experience. I never would've guessed!