Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Racing's Done for Me

2011's Tour of the Tucson Mountains was my first athletic endeavor as an adult.  After just having completed this year's Tour of the Tucson Mountains, I thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect on what's happened.  Besides, I could use a bit of a pick-me-up.  I've had a lot of stresses lately that are really not worth the weight I've placed upon them.  I've been a bit sick, or something, and haven't been able to exercise much either.  So, I decided that putting this together would be a good way to remember and celebrate.

In the picture below, you can see the change in a year.  In last year's race I was in over my head, but this year, while I didn't meet my goal, I was rock-solid.   

In the past 12 months I've participated in 13 events which included a duathalon, warrior dash, two metric centuries and a century ride, one Pikermi, a trail Pikermi, a 10K and the rest were 5K's.  In the past year I spent quite a bit of time injured. I've had problems with the rear chain, from glutes to calves.  Part of the source is weakness due to being out of shape, but I'm afraid some of it is due to a back injury from 1998. But I'm patient, pay more attention to how things are feeling, and devote a lot more time to strengthening things.

One of the coolest things was mentioned by my brother-in-law last weekend.

He commented, "Isn't it cool that your dad, sisters and brother are now into running because of you?"

I would agree 100% if you crossed out the "because of me," portion because regardless of why they run, they run now for their own reasons, just as I do.  No matter who started us, we laced our shoes (or in my case, slip on my VFF's) each morning for personal reasons.

Below I've taken a picture of the bibs and medals I've collected this year.  I was surprised that I've earned 5, first in age groups and two second places (one I was nursing a bad hammy and was beat by like 5 seconds).  In all fairness, the 10K was REAL small, as was one of the 5K's.  But hey, I wasn't the only one in my AG, so it's legit.   
My favorite race was the first one, but I was an emotional wreck during and for about an hour after.  I was angry, sad, remorseful, proud, all at once.  During the race I faced a lot of things that had been bubbling to the surface during the previous few months of training.

My least favorite was my slowest 5K, 21:30.  I finished 3rd but led most of the race and just BONKED in the last half mile.  Had I run a smarter race, I'd have won.  

Either way, before I raced I had lost about 50 pounds or so in the previous 6 months, and another 40 to 50 since.  But I don't think I would've lost the second half, much less even kept off the first half, without racing.

Racing is my new hobby, and I love it.  It gives purpose beyond selfish and conceited reasons to exercise.  It gives me confidence and identity, both the quiet type.  I'm so glad I took the plunge and tried the first one.

Saturday I race in a metric century.  I'm a bit worn out and not sure how I'll do.  It's not a race I was sure to participate in until last week.  So I'll go, enjoy my time there, push as hard as I can and see what happens.


  1. Dude, You ROCK! Your like my hero, you just do it all and have fun doing it! That is so cool...your first picture comparing 2011 to 2012 is very telling, great job buddy!

  2. Yeah, those before and after photos are amazing.

    Good luck this weekend!