Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Three Years


Three years ago, I stumbled onto this blog, and then this blog. I had recently "retired" from the ironman distance two years earlier, and I had no intentions of racing the distance again until I was in the 50-54 age group. Not long after following Charisa's and Ian's blog, I caught their passion for training/racing, and I found myself making plans to race Ironman Australia. I had a coach that told me it takes about three years to nail down your best ironman race, and thus, I gave myself three years to 1. Break 10 hours and 2. Earn a Kona slot. IM Canada marked the end of this three year period, and as you all know, I failed to break 10 hours, and I failed to earn a Kona slot. So now what? I move on.

Moving on could have meant signing up for IM Canada again next year, and continue to pursue breaking 10-hours and earning a Kona slot, I still love it that much. But I resisted because there was another voice in my head, a voice telling me to honor capping the goal at three years, a voice telling me not to obsess over the 10-hour barrier and a Kona slot, and a voice reminding me that there are other things I want to do in life. And though my finish time did not reflect it, my race at IM Canada was truly a culmination of all the hard work and lessons learned in the past three years of ironman racing.

There were at least three moments at IM Canada that I had very valid and justified reasons to quit. But when faced with those moments, I was poised, I made clear decisions, and I problem-solved, and in doing so, I bettered my chances of getting to the finish line. Though I didn't break 10 hours, I raced myself to my best finish time on that day. Yeah, I'm disappointed that my best days did not happen on race day, but man, I did have some best days in the past three years. I take solace in knowing that I did the work (30+ hour training weeks, 400 mile ride weeks, 80+ mile run weeks, 10+ hour training days), and for the most part, I enjoyed it. No regrets. And my best days weren't always about miles or effort, but it was also about good company, the amazing view, the places I went, and the fact that I just could. When I look at the past three years with this perspective, I feel satiated and fulfilled, and I can move on. I mean really move on, like spending next summer swimming the open waters of Croatia, running through Turkey, experiencing the awesome bike culture that is Copenhagen, using my Spanish in Spain, or possibly visiting my good friend Peter in Austria.

And finally, maybe it's because I'm left with neither of the goals I set out to fulfill, but I can't help but to think how narrow minded I was when I set the goals. There was nothing about having fun, building relationships, visiting new places and meeting new people, blogging, inspiring, being present, and overcoming challenges; but lucky for me, these things unfolded organically during the process. Thank you to everyone I've met along the way and as I've heard so many time these past three years...onward and upward!

9 comments:

Michelle Simmons said...

Man I loved watching that video! Totally made me smile and you captured the essence of the stuff that makes it fun... the people and the relationships... You have great perspective on all of this!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Loving the new goals!

Teresa said...

Awe Kiet! Love you so much. You may be done with ironman for a bit, but something tells me you are not leaving the sport! I think of triathlons as one of your best friends and every great relationship has a love/hate aspect too it. See you at the next 70.3???????? Now quit making the tears flow with those videos!!! Had no idea you were filming!!!
xoxo
tn

Jill Costantino said...

Great video! You are such a great guy. Congrats on your 3 yr journey and my guess is that whatever comes next will be just as amazing (if not more) than what you have experienced. You embody what most want ans strive for! Congrats again on ALL of what you 've done to date:)

Beth said...

Awesome video! I think I said this before - but I'll say it again, I'm so glad you've enjoyed the journey and had fun along the way. That's what really makes it all worth it! And the journey is far from over! Can't wait to follow on your new adventures. And you never do know what life holds for us - you may be back to IM before you think! ;)

Libby said...

wow. I LOVE this. everything about what you learned on the journey and the peace you have with where you are at right now. as per usual, right inside my own head :)

mtanner said...

Again, I agree with everyone and in a way I am jealous of your being okay with everything. I know you are not done with the sport though! Good on you for embracing all sides of life! and dont forget about coming to train with me!!!!

Kim said...

Wow.. so very true and it brought us together too! Look at us.. two kids.. running around the world having fun and enjoying life! We sure are lucky!! Have a great day adn whatever the next adventure is - I"M IN! Let's go Kiet!!!

Genevieve said...

LOVE THIS!!! I will be looking you up for Vineman next year, whether you like it or not. Hope everything is going well for you, Kiet!