Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Goes Up Must Come Down: Race Reports and Life Reports

So much has been going on in my life lately that I just haven't felt much like posting. Since my last post I have had three races and had a good time every time. I did the Socorro Chili Harvest Triathlon, which is the New Mexico Club State Championship and while I personally didn't have the greatest race my fabulous team, the indefatigable New Mexico Outlaws, once again took home the state Championship trophy.

Semper Outlaws!

The GEEKGRL and I also took a trip to Chicago to see our youngest son graduate from Navy boot camp. I have never talked much about my role as a father but it is something that I take very seriously. It was always my role, a role I chose for myself, to be the hard ass. While I am typically fairly liberal and progressive there are some beliefs that I hold to that are insufferably old fashioned and paternalistic. One of those quaint beliefs is that while a woman can and should be able to live life as they see fit the man absolutely must take the worst hardships life has to offer without complaint in order to provide his family with the freedom and safety they need to pursue their goals in peace and comfort. In my estimation any man who is unwilling to shoulder that role is no man at all. Sorry, but there it is. Anyway, my role was to raise a young man so it was always an ordeal for me to walk the like between being protective and supportive of my sons and being enough of a hard ass to make sure they didn't fold under the pressure of their role as husbands and fathers. Hopefully I was able to do that and do it in such a way that my sons don't just think of me as “that asshole.” Honestly, I think I succeeeded. Seeing Jon graduate and seeing him in his Navy uniform was the proudest day of my life. He has clearly grown to be a strong young man.

So, back to Chi-town. When the GEEKGRL and I arrived we drove over to the lake front and ran the Elvis is Alive 5k in full Elvis regalia. Holly cow was it hot! Well, at least if you were wearing an Elvis suit. I ran as hard as I thought I could but really struggled with overheating. I turned in a time of 22:53, which is off my 5K PR but it is my Elvis 5K PR so in the end it's all good.

The day after the kiddo's graduation the GEEKGRL and I traveled to Sheboygan Wisconsin to run the Full Moon Half Marathon. To kick the day off we had coffee with Iron Snoopy and then once in Sheboygan had a good long sit-down with the Wimmers, who also raced right along side us that evening. We had a blast getting to meet everyone and as always discovered that the world of endurance sports is just packed with quality people.

I was going for a half-marathon PR at this race and I really ran hard. The final miles were painful ones but I never gave up the fight. In the end I fell 43 seconds short of a new half-marathon PR but I can console myself with at least three facts. When I set my ½ mary PR 1) I was about 15 pounds lighter 2) it was about 30 degrees cooler and 3) it was not as humid. (Ok, so the rest of the story is that my ½ PR was set during the first half of one of my fastest full marathon times and I was in much better distance running condition. Oh well)

So all this sounds great, right? Well, it is, all that I have reported so far. However, during this same time period my life has also had its down turns. First off I was called into the hospital Chief of Staff's office and told that they were going to re-post the Chief of Psychology position in order to get a wider pool of applicants. I have held that position for eight months now and overcome 12 other candidates from a national pool and now this?! Well, while I am technically not excluded from still getting the job the whole situation gives me quite a lot of pause. If offered the job in the end is this the way I want to get it...the acceptable candidate who defaulted into the position after several exhaustive searches? Maybe I'm an idiot or overly proud but in a position of this importance I would like to know that the people I work with and for WANTED me in the position. My old job is still there for me and I have a chance to take the program in a completely different direction. I am excited about where it can go and people are excited about what I can do with it. Lot's to think about.

Next up on the bad news parade was that the GEEKGRL was told she had lumps on her thyroid and the doc wanted to get a biopsy. Everyone said it was probably nothing and if it was cancer it was the GOOD kind of cancer. WTF! If someone puts a gun to my head and tells me to feel reassured because the gun has 100 chambers and only one bullet instead of six chambers and one bullet I'm more likely to slap the crap out of them than I am to thank them. Sure, it's a reality of life but really, nobody needs this. Finally, in that same two week period the GEEKGRL gets laid off with, um, 0 days notice, cutting our family income by about a third. Not cool, not in the least.

So, while things may not be all sunshine for me I can at least take solace in the accomplishments of my friends. I'm not saying that I have it all that bad, my life continues to be awesome but I have seen better times. What I am saying is that it is the low times that having this weird group of “creepy internet friends” endurance freaks all, makes things so much the better.

By way of example my good friend Johnny Tri, Ironman and now Ultrarunner, just completed his first 50-mile untramarathon and he also crewed at Badwater this July. I am so happy for him and take pleasure in his accomplishments. In part because he is a great guy and deserves to be happy and successful but also in part because it helps me reflect on my own accomplishments.

I wrote JT the following “Your posts have brought back why I had become obsessed with ultrarunning. I have felt a little lost lately knowing that I had a drive to complete more ultras but having forgotten exactly why I wanted to complete more ultras. I guess I forgot because there are no words to describe it, no rational reason to explain it, it just is what it is, a feeling, an atmosphere, pride and humility, ecstasy and suffering...life.”

It may be cliché but I think it's true, you can only really appreciate life's high points if you are willing to endure its low points and, in my humble opinion, endure them with dignity.

Fortitudine Vincimus my friends, through endurance we conquer!


  1. Congrats on all the good stuff and you'll make it through the tough stuff. I saw GeekGrl FB updates so my thoughts are really with her.

    In 1990 I joined the Navy as an out of control teenage punk who thought I was the stuff, boy did the Navy teach me otherwise. Although I chose not to make it a career (a choice I still regret) I can't help but imagine where I would be without the lessons I learned, probably in jail or a trailer park.

    How's this for a twist...Now I am married to a Navy Commander. She is totally the type of person who gave me crap on a daily basis due to my punkiness so in a twist of defiance, I married the "enemy."

    Good luck to your son, where is he going to be stationed?

  2. Brian-congrats on John-that is really an accomplishment and thank you for sharing your philosophy! As for GG, I would bet she is fine..often these things are benign, although I know you will not rest until the results are heard. Lastly, the job situation-that just stinks! But maybe just meant to be? I can't imagine why they do not just want to have you? Maybe trying to squeeze more work out of you before they pay somebody bigger bucks? Geez..hang in there!

  3. "One of those quaint beliefs is that while a woman can and should be able to live life as they see fit the man absolutely must take the worst hardships life has to offer without complaint in order to provide his family with the freedom and safety they need to pursue their goals in peace and comfort. In my estimation any man who is unwilling to shoulder that role is no man at all. Sorry, but there it is" - that is poignant...and certainly agreeable. Congrats on your Son's graduation and the Elvis PB..

  4. Thanks S.Baboo! I am happy to give something back to you as well as since I have met you and GG I have admired your relationship as endurance athletes, Fellow Ironman and Ultra-runners. I look forward to the day we run an Ultra together!!

    Life sure throws those curve balls at us but I really think your on track with your thoughts, desires and Heart!

    Keep running my friend, that 100 is waiting for you!!


  5. I try to live by the same "man code." Varying degrees of success.

    As for the job, life's too short to tolerate disrespect and if you diminish your supply, your value will increase. I think if I were in the situation and had a desirable job that wanted me, I'd give them an ultimatum: hire me now or I leave now.

  6. Thanks a bunch for your post on my blog! I see you blog much more frequently than I manage to -- but I'm glad the Blue Sky Trail post helped somewhat. Take care & happy trails!