No, I'm not really starting all over. I did that once before over 6 years ago when I sought an active and fit lifestyle, but in a way I feel like I am at a new starting point. Last October I was near the finishing point of a good bike ride that was my pre-race simulation ride for the Oilman half iron distance triathlon when I got hit by a vehicle and seriously injured. At that point I was certain that I was ready to make a serious run at a sub-5:30 finish and possible a sub-5:20 finish if everything went right. I was nearly at the point where I was ready to believe I was in the best physical fitness of my life--which is pretty strong for a (then) 46 year old who had been a Marine in his 20's. In any case, that race was not to happen...
I have worked since then to reclaim my lost fitness and move forward. I'm not fully recovered but continue to progress. At times I feel just on the edge of closing in on where I was 5 1/2 months ago, other times I feel less good, some times I just feel all mixed up and out of sync entirely. Fortunately, the good is increasing and the bad is decreasing, or at least this is generally true.
A year ago I was challenging myself to take on a big PR effort at the Ironman 70.3 Texas race in Galveston. I was successful in this challenge by going under 6 hours for the first time at this distance, beating my 5 month old PR by nearly 30 minutes and by crushing my 2 year old previous effort at this particular race by 2 hours and 2 seconds. It's hard to imagine that I could have had a better race success!
I'd love to talk about how this race was going to be the latest PR in a string of races that goes back to early 2009 but this won't be THAT race. I'm not saying I can't do this race--I am quite confident I can not only do it, but do it pretty well and still be one of my better half iron times. However, it is still a race in which I am not, and can not, be at my competitive best--something which both angers and saddens me, but there's not much I can do about that beyond picking myself up and continuing...
I will be continuing in the hope that I can once more get back to the precipice of my peak of personal fitness, just as I was the morning of last October 20th. I will be continuing because I need to show those that helped me back up that their efforts were not in vain. I will be continuing because I enjoy doing these things. I will be continuing because I will not let this be taken away from me and, may God help me, because I can not find it in my heart to forgive the person who caused me so much pain and injury and left me injured on the side of the road that day--so I hope that I will find the spirit to do so on the road or race course some day.
Come the morning of Sunday, April 7th, I will jump off the pier and wait for the start gun at 8:15 in the morning and hope it all comes back to me in a day of physical trial and joyous emotion.
I've done about 70 races in the last 6 years, but this will have special meaning of its own. This race has the potential to prove to myself that I can come back the rest of the way. Next Sunday I start over....again.