Three weekends. Three races. Three states.
Three sports. Three different distances. Three different finisher’s medals… One heck of a ride!
Ah, Friday. Who thought we would ever make it this week? The time has come to put the wraps on tri season.
It’s been a very, very busy year. Wedding, house, IRONMAN training, work, more IRONMAN training, trips, home projects, etc. But it has all been wonderful and there has been ample taco consumption. Mmm!
I am now about to close out my tenth year of racing. Wait, what!? That’s bizarre. That’s a decade… 3,402 days since I first put on my goggles, biking shorts, and running shoes, and took the plunge in the American River. Ah, to be not old again…
My first brush with the sport came when a friend encouraged me to sign up for a triathlon training class with a local ex-pro. It took all of about three days before I knew that I was hooked. Since then, triathlon has always managed to weave its way into my busy schedule, and oddly enough, it is one of the few consistent things in my life, despite the inconsistencies offered by such activities.
Regardless of which races are selected or what states I get to road trip to, triathlon is always there with expectations around training, adequate sleep, squeezing in extra workouts between a career and family responsibilities, and yet in all of the demands that it makes, it also offers up some peace in that consistency. You bust your butt, take some time to recover, get back at it, throw in a few warm-up races, fix the nit-picky stuff, and then have a great (or not so great) time at your A race (highest priority) before settling back into the remainder of summer. Rinse and repeat annually.
Funny how something as simple as swim goggles, a comfy pair of running shoes, and a bike can provide this extra element of stability into your life…
The multi-sport lifestyle, and it is a lifestyle, works in all facets of our journey down the winding river of life. When things were trying in a prior job, I found some sanity in my training, including many stress relieving swims after bad days in the office. When things were great after college and I moved into my first condo, I had an epic running path to wear out and new bike routes to find.
Things have changed yet again, and training time is more limited but that just forces me to be smarter about the time I spend in the saddle. Plus, I am slowly learning that there are plenty of things more important in life than simply training hours, the training only supplements the exciting things in life and makes them more scrumptious.
Looking back over a decade of racing *gag*, there were certainly a ton of highs and lows. Favorite race moment so far: crossing the finish line at Coeur d’Alene and high-fiving my parents on the way down the finisher’s chute. The mere fact that I found them in thousands of spectators is incredible! That moment will be forever cherished because not only did they believe in me enough to show up (and road trip with me), but they were there at the finish, knowing that I would make it. I shouldn’t be surprised – my family has always been there for me, prodding me along my stubborn way. It’s how the Aaron’s roll. It was topped off by having three other friends waiting for me at the end with a burrito in hand. Such sweet, glorious Mexican food!
Check it out here:
Last year’s big race was special in its own way. My Best Man and my (then) soon-to-be-wife traveled out of the country with me to Canada, which in itself was a brave endeavor, but little did we know that was only the beginning of the adventure… a few rainstorms and 12 hours and 10 minutes later, our suffering finally ended, but despite the race not going “well,” we still made great memories on our journey. Unsurprisingly, there’s lots more to be learned from races that don’t go well.
This year, capping off 75+ races and a decade of racing, plus my 4th IRONMAN starting line, we will once again jump into the fray. Regardless of outcome, my wife and I have experienced a heck of a lot this year, and as of 8/7 (11 months of being married), we’ll see how this next 140.6 miles pans out.
Here’s to many more years together, and at least a few more seasons of some great racing :D
I’ve never ended a season with such a bang, so I’m looking forward to the challenge. And I’ve always struggled with feeling stale in the taper phase, so here’s hoping kicking it in gear over the next two weekends will set up success for the grand finale.