Sunday, July 22, 2012

One year ago today..Forcast, Optimism!

Exactly one was year ago today I remember thinking to myself WTF next?! I was being rushed back to the cath lab for the second time with the doctors scratching their heads and me signing stupid paperwork stating it was alright for them to crack my chest open if they thought that was the right thing to do (95% chance). Yeah, I was scared and wanted the entire situation to be what it was weeks before when I was racing and chasing pr's, but that was not the case. The reality was I was really in lots of trouble and nobody really knew why at the time...especially me and my family. OK OK enough of that...been there done that, and thank God, got through that! Let's fast forward to the here and now.....1 year later and 1 year way better off than what I was at this time last year, WAY BETTER OFF!! See, for the last 20+ years I have kept a journal of all my workouts, races, notes, pr's, who I trained with, and who I raced against. These have been valuable pieces of information when it comes time for me to evaluate my year to year performance standards (I do my homework). When all this first happened I remember thinking, okay I will miss the Damit Man Tri this weekend, but try to do Socorro, if not then Austin is still a few months away....Was I ever wrong, but I was constantly readjusting in order to stay positive in my way of thinking, I need goals and data collection in my athletic life (no matter if it starts from the beginning again). When it was all said and done, I accessed what I could do at the time, set out to try to keep what fitness I had left, and try to make any gains possible...even if it meant taking little baby steps. I used the previous mentioned logs to see where I was from year to year, I would race exact races for these purposes, and for the majority I was pleased with the way my tri career had progressed. I am happy to say I have accomplished everything I set out to in this sport...and then some. My point here is that I should/could be alright with riding off into the sunset, being put out to pasture, I have nothing else to prove and I knew my day in the sun would come to an end at some point, but I am not positive that point is just yet (I prefer editing the final chapters of the book on my terms based on the data I collect myself).

For the last year I knew that there was no way I could measure up to where my fitness level was or what workout I did the prior year, it just wasn't happening (on a regular basis) and I was too scared to push it enough to make it happen. I've never been the one to take the easy road out, but even if I sit here on the couch, type, watch The British Open, and do nothing else..I am still ahead of the game at this point a year ago!!! When something big happens that could tend to tilt your world to the negative it is very important to hunt any positive way of thought available, this is it for me. At first I would say if it never gets better than this, well, I can deal with that. Two weeks later I test, it gets a little better, I say the same thing. Another few weeks pass it got better, etc. etc. In May I ran the same time in a 7.5 mile time trial as I did a year ago! The other day I swam a 100 free in a pool with no lane lines in 1 minute and 2 seconds (I took it less than 100%), my bike feels really good and I have been riding a heavier thick tired mountain bike on the majority of my rides, I am running every morning with the XC kids, and bottom line...I feel good. What a year it has been and I am extremely excited to close the books on last year, but I will carry with me forever the life lessons learned, the new friends I've made, the memory of what it has taken for me to get to this point, and the optimism of what the future has in store!

Some time ago I sat down and mapped out a plan to get back to racing again. I figured, at the time, in a year I would be able to get at it again in some capacity. This weekend was a little bitter sweet for me because I really wanted to do the Damit Man Tri. It would have been cool to pick up exactly where I left off a year ago to the date, but it just didn't happen...I probably could have have done pretty well today, but I feel I just need more time to be sure that when I get into it, I will be alright coming out the other side of it... know what I mean). I guess it's a two way street for me to collect positive data, see, if I was way far away from where I used to be then I would have been more likely to go and have fun, wave to my friends on the course, stop smell the roses, and other cliche bullshit like that, but that's just not me. When I decide to race again I want to be as competitive as possible and I do know it takes a year to a year and a half for the heart to heal on a cellular level, so I will take solace in that fact. I am happy with where I am now, I know, based on my own research, that with the right type of training I will get faster, and most positively I am responding better to the right type of training with each passing week! Two prong?? Well, I am liking the way my life is right now. We have had a really good summer, gone fishing, taken the kids to amusement parks, gone to the movies, and have some pretty kick ass friends and family that keep me pretty busy most of the time. Once again I feel very lucky to be where I am right or not....but I do miss it dearly..The way I raced was always straight from the heart and that's the reason I loved it so much. I'll put it this way, there were races where I had no business placing where I did, trying to ride away from people who were more talented, or try to run better than much more talented runners, but I made it happen. Not with my legs my lungs or my head, but rather I would do it the one way I do everything (teach, coach, write, etc.)...with my heart! Honestly I felt all the power come directly from there then I would channel it where ever it needed to go, I loved it, I tested it regularly, and it always felt sooo good in the end :) This is the sole reason I think it would be better to wait a little more longer...more testing needed ;) Not the type that the Dr's tell me me because they are all over the place with their thoughts, ie.. One says no limitations so that evening I run the exact time trial I did a year ago, then I go see another one and he says I am higher risk of of cardiac arrest what the hell?? I felt fine running fast and it turned out ok, but that crap lurks in the back of my mind.

Bottom line is I am happy to have been able to accomplish all I have in the sport, lucky enough to be a part of the Elite Racing Team (special thanks to them for sticking by side and providing me motivation to get better), being a part of the Power Bar Team Elite back in the late 90's, all the friends and memories I've made along the way,  the sprint finishes (win or lose), and of course all the road trips...above all the time spent in Hawaii! I couldn't begin to explain the feelings and expectations which accompany being a member of an "Elite" team... I am a blessed man for sure. Next season I think I'll opt for the Champions team because I love their company, what they stand for, the owners, and the people who work there..(especially the little sponsorship coordinator). I will end this post back with the reference to optimism. Optimism for me, can lay in any direction I choose to look. If it's the upcomming tennis matches against Levi, the optimism Leticia will medal in the Paraolympics (a grown man will cry), the optimism that I will race hard again, or perhaps and best of all; the optimism that just maybe I find a perfect balance and blend of all of the above.....

Here's to this coming year! Life is good!


  1. Awesome, Mike! Man,you have the biggest,strongest heart of anyone I know.

  2. Looking forward to reading your 2013 outlook. Thanks for sharing your blog!