I wish every weekend was the 4th of July and a three day weekend. I really and truly mean that too. May and June have really gone by fast for me. In May the race season kicked off with a duathlon and an amazing weekend down in Ohio for the Triple T. Before I knew it it was my birthday in Lake Placid, backed up by the following weekend back at home on Keuka Lake for the Keuka Lake Triathlon. June went just as quick with another trip to Placid for a long weekend. Well this first section of my race/summer season came to a close this weekend. I must say that I am a little sad at the moment. The drive from Penn Yan back to Rochester was bittersweet. Great and new things are ahead, but its always hard to leave the lake and my family & friends behind. Luckily I have some amazing friends up here in Rochester who get me through the days. Whether that be getting out of the office to run at lunch, swimming before dawn, biking around Mendon and other areas where I would get lost without their help. I am really lucky to have such great friends here. My only wish would be that we all could work a little less so we could spend more time doing the things we really enjoy.
Such is life right? I’ll stop with the mushy stuff now. Just wanted to let my family and friends know that they really are my glue and what get me up in the morning, out the door for a morning jog (with a soft J), or on the trainer when its zero degrees out in February. I know its America’s Birthday not Thanksgiving, but I really am thankful. A lot of people would give anything to be able to run and bike, and swim and all that stuff. Many folks simply can’t whether its due to injury, handicap, etc..I don’t ever want to take that for granted. I am one of the lucky ones who has the ability to open my door and start running whenever I want. It’s a gift to be able to do all of these things, a privilege, not a right. So I am going to take it one day at a time and enjoy all the moments. The good, the bad..they are all moments…moments that make YOU who you are.
Why am I a little sappy tonight? Well because its weekends like this which really make it apparent that I really have it good. I have a great life because of my great family and my great friends. Plain and simple. If you are the type of person who can motivate themselves to do anything they want to do…well than you have the triple threat going on my friends. Things become very clear at the strangest of moments. Take for example today when I am riding my bike along the East side of Keuka Lake. Its a gorgeous day with the sun shining and the lake filled with activity. I can’t help myself from just grinning ear to ear. Its just that good. People will talk about a “runners high”, well I had a “bikers high”..and no their was no performance enhancing drugs involved. Its these moments where you know what you are doing is right. Riding my bike today was ride, riding my bike yesterday with my good friend Don was right too! We traversed about 6,000 feet of elevation in a little over 3 hours. We ended up making our way to Naples where we stopped at a little bakery shop and had bagels. It felt as if we were somewhere in Europe…far away from the stresses of real life. For a little over 3 hours we were free, we were relaxing. We were relaxing because our minds were turned off, we weren’t thinking we were just reacting to the ride…to the terrain…to each others subtle conversation. This is another moment and one that is every bit as important in the broad scheme of life as passing a test, getting a job…its just another layer to the cake I guess.
By the way, did I mention that the weather has been absolutely amazing for the past 4 days. I don’t think I can remember the 4th of July weekend every being so perfect in every way. Usually their is some rain or cold that comes through during one of the days, but none of that this year.
There were reasons I attained this Zen like clarity. Some of them I mentioned earlier like the ride with Don yesterday and the ride this morning. But their were also a couple other nifty little things that happened in my world. I raced on Saturday in Buffalo. I left Rochester at around 4:30 in the morning on Saturday to race the sprint version of the “Tri in the Buff“. I had some wonderful alone time as I listened to the Mumford & Sons album all the way through as well as some other more “pump me up” songs as I got closer to the race sight. I allow myself to enjoy the splendors of music while in preparation for training and racing..but during actual training (ir swimming, biking, or running) I don’t touch the sauce. I used to run with an iPod when I first started running a couple years ago but over time and I guess especially this winter I just stopped. One day I decided that since you can’t race with it, why would you train with it. Since then I have seemingly discovered the peacefulness and calm that comes from running without music. Trust me, if you go out in the early morning before sunrise when the rest of the world is still sleeping, and the sound of your feet hitting the ground is the only noise you can hear..you will be mesmerized by the melodic repetition. Running on fresh layer of snow early in the morning or late at night when the world literally feels frozen..like its just dead with no noise whatsoever can produce an equal sense of serenity in my opinion. Where was I…well I had a great cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s on my way to the race and that really made my morning I must say. Everything after that was icing on the cake. In terms of the race everything went pretty darn well. No flats, no mechanical issues. I signed up to be in the elite wave of the sprint tri thinking there would be 10-15 of us racing against each other making it really fun since you can’t always race against the best since they are often spread out in various age groups that start at different times. Well silly me because I was the only one who signed up for it. Luckily I had told one of my friends about it when I saw him in transition and he was able to have his wave start switched. This meant that it was truly a one-on-one race..kinda cool really. We both swam about the same time, I came out ahead by about 20 seconds or so and took that lead out onto the bike. I had a pretty solid bike and before I knew it I was the first one back to transition and I was off an running in a flash. The best part of the whole race was the fact that I finally had a bike rider lead me out through the whole course. I have never had this opportunity. At Keuka last month their were so many duathletes and intermediate racers on the course when I got their that their was no need to have anyone lead me through the course. However, on Saturday that was not the case as I was running solo. It was pretty special for me as it was another “first”. The first mile was great, second was so-so, and the third was steady. No records were broken but I laid down a solid time on a course that seemed to be a little longer than a 5k, but no worries since all the competitors had to run the same course. As I made my way to the finish line in first place I was once again greeted by my good friend Mary Eggers who was announcing the race again (who by the way did a fantastic job). I had a brief moment of exuberance I will call it where I was 100% happy in my mind, absolutely could not be in a better place at a better time kind of moment. Sure these races are the local sprint tri’s but they are really special to me. I am learning how to race, and how to race hard at these races. Its not the results that matter to me, although it is very rewarding to win a race and it provides a sense of validation to the time spent training. What really matters is that I am learning how to race against my competition. How to make myself hurt on the bike and keep pushing. I still have a long way to go and I hope that by the end of the summer I can hit some of the target numbers I have set in my mind. I am going to do 3 more sprint races this year and I know that I will accomplish my goal very soon. Anyhow, it was a great venue and Score this put on a great race as always. None other than the ageless wonder Curt Eggers finished 2nd, making it 2 races in a row where we both stood on the first two steps of the podium. Curt is over double my age and still absolutely destroying courses, it really is impressive. And I know that if I don’t bring my A games to these races that he is going to wipe the floor with me 🙂 I am sure we will have some more great fun racing against each other over the next few races this year. I’m looking forward to it, I know that! FULL RESULTS HERE
So the weekend was started off with my second W of my career. Not a bad way to kick off the Holiday weekend. I ended the weekend by spending some time with some friends on the lake. Directly across the lake from us live some of the nicest, most classy, most generous, people I know..and I the funny thing is that I knew them before I was even aware of it. My dad was friends with a woman named Jane and yada yada yada they ended up having kids, so did my parents and through the mid to late 90’s I spent a lot of time on the lake with a good friend by the name of Matt Weaver. So this weekend he was having his annual 4th of July weekend where all his buddies from college come down to the lake for a weekend of fun, lots of fun. I was graciously invited to join in the festivities yesterday afternoon and had an absolute blast hanging out with a bunch of really fun kids my age (I guess this is a change from the usual 8PM bedtime at the parents house). The food was amazing, their were tons of fireworks set off…some almost doing some real damage to one another, hahaha…but we made it out alright, only a couple fingers were lost..not a big deal :)), sloshball was played (I didn’t participate in this as I was a late arrival, however the basis premise of the game is quite intriguing and I look forward to someday having the opportunity to excel at this game.) Anyway, it was just a really fun time on the lake. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
It’s now close to 10PM on Monday night and I need to get some rest for the week ahead. More training and real life fun is ahead for sure.
Once again, Happy Fourth of July Everyone!