New Passion

Somewhere along the way, I lost my love, my drive, for triathlons. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy and really like triathlons. However, wanting to swim, bike, and run every day is not quite there anymore.

I’m not sure when, where, why, or how it happened. Maybe it was during the training for my first full iron race? Maybe after the race? Did I get burned out? Is it because I have no goals set? Is it because I’m not being coached anymore? I don’t know.

I do know that sometime during the past few months, I came across something I truly am enjoying: trail running. I didn’t expect at all to find a passion for trail running. In fact, I swore off running trails because of a minor injury when I first started trying to get back into shape.

When I first started working out three years ago, I would reward myself on my “long” runs (at the time it was 5-6 miles). I would run the nature trail in our neighborhood which was 0.5-1 miles. I did that until I was running along and had a stupid twig got caught between my feet and tweaked my knee.   For weeks I had a persisting knee pain which would not go away. Fortunately, it went away but my “reward” was sworn off. I vowed I would never run a trail ever again. I stuck with road running for three years until I tried trails again.

A friend of mine had posted she was contemplated running a 50k trail run on Facebook. In a stupid instance, I replied, “I will, if you.” Then I saw the “deal” after my comment. I thought, “holy, cr**, what did I just do?!” I am in serious trouble.

I trained horribly for this event. I barely ran more than 120 miles in preparation for the race. Training for my 140.6, I had run more than 500 miles from January to the date of the race during the prior year. Talk about lack of motivation.

Well, race day came and we ended up not finishing the race. That day was not really about me. I was simply trying to find my passion again. I went out for friendship, trying to help a friend, and to find my passion I had lost. Well, I managed to do that.

See, having not finished the 50k, it gave me a goal to achieve: Finish a 50k on my own. Apparently, as much as I think I’m not very goal/deadline oriented, that is exactly what I need in my personal life. I became obsessed with/passionate in finishing a 50k. I began running again. Running so much that I could care less about the pool. In the two months, I hit the pool just three times. Why do I still have my pool membership? I don’t know.

I went on and completed my first 50k. While it was overwhelmingly disappointing in finishing time, I did complete. This wasn’t good enough so what did I do? I signed up for another race.

This past weekend, I entered a 25k. Interestingly enough, the course was much tougher than the 50k I had completed. My body feels like I did the previous 50k race instead. I’m sure it didn’t help having a medical procedure completed 12 days prior which pretty much left me lying on my back the entire time. I do know, however, that any workouts within those 12 days would not have really impacted my performance.

So I completed the 25k. It was a two loop race. The first loop was great. I was 2nd overall male nearly the entire loop. I stopped quick enough to top off my bottle and keep going. For whatever reason, something in my brain set a trigger off. It was almost as if something told my body, “you crossed the finish line, dummy, quit running!” I began the need to start walking even though I had a great 15 mile pace in the previous race. At about 7.5 miles I didn’t see anyone at all near me. Then it happened I got passed by the next male, who was also in my age group, at 8.5 miles. I learned something valuable by that. I learned I have a fatalistic view when that happens. I had given up hope on catching him.

Looking back, I know I was only 12 minutes behind him. Had I kept the faith and kept trying to run versus giving in to running, I’m pretty sure I could have possibly caught back up to him. Unfortunately, I gave in and never caught him.

From everything though, I try and learn from it. I learned many valuable lessons.

The most important thing, though, was I ENJOYED IT. I found my passion for working out. How much so?

Well, I think about it all the time. I lay in bed wondering how I can make it last forever. I think about it work. I think about it in church. I think about it all the time. How I can improve on it? How I can make it more enjoyable?

You see, it seems to have become a blessing in disguise. It gives me hope and something to look forward to. It’s something that makes me happen and I pray every day that I don’t lose it. How do you keep passion alive for a lifetime? I really don’t know. I just hope the passion lasts a lifetime but only time will tell…