Goals and Life

Every so often, I look back at the journey and how I have changed in so many ways. Had some one asked me in 2001 if I would be racing ultra endurance mountain bike events and 24 hour races, I would have laughed at them. At that point, I had one goal. Run 2:48:00 and qualify for the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials. And if I didnt reach 2004, there was 2008 - when I was a little older and with more experience with the distance. I was commited to that goal - running twice a day and topping 80-100 miles a week. All my workouts focused on being able to run at 6:20 pace or faster. I was setting PRs in every distance from 5k to half marathon. I felt confident, but realistic, going into my first attempt at qualifying. The Top of Utah Marathon, Logan Ut. A pretty, rolling downhill marathon. I was hitting my goal splits for the first 20 miles as the course wound down the Blacksmith Fork Canyon. But when we entered town, my pace was slowing. More then I could chance. I was watching my goal slip away from me with every mile. I remember making the last turn, with the finish line in sight and seeing the clock over the line ticking over 2:47:56-57-58-59. 2:48:00-01-02... And I was still two blocks away from that clock. 2:48:17. Close your eyes, count to 17 and imagine how far you would run in that time. That's how far I missed my goal by - maybe 130 meters max. I made one more attempt at the 2004 trials, but failed miserably. I went into that race overtrained and stressed. At the half I knew it was over and struggled in to just finish. Time to set my eyes on 2008. My plan was to make an attempt as soon as the window opened. Well, I had several solid races, with some fast times. But I never managed to put it all together. I wasn't as focused that go around - which didn't help. I was starting to see I might not be as fast a marathoner as I wanted, no matter how hard I trained. And I wasn't willing to risk losing my running to an injury.

My focus in life was changing and as a result, so were my goals. While disappointing, the realization that I may never run fast enough to toe tbe line at the marathon trials also gave me freedome. So I took the swimming and the running and looked at triathlons. But while I did.have success on the road in both half and full distance races, I never really had a goal. Maybe that was my problem and why I never performed to potential. I went to Kona, racing sick - cough, fever, the works - finished okay, but not inspired. It wasn't a race I really wanted to do again. So the following year, I turned to Xterra. Maybe in the off road scene, I would find inspiration. But after three years of frustration, all I found was increasingly tame courses amid politics I didn't want to be a part of. The travel was draining me - emotionally, physically and financially. I didn't want to quit without giving it a fair try, but I wasn't happy racing. And if you aren't making a living at something, why continue down the same unfullfilling path year after year? It doesnt make sense.

And that leads me to the next chapter in my life. I wrote erlier this year about my switch to ultra endurance mountain bike racing. And this time, well defined goals, the ability to have fun and spend time with the people important to me -not sitting behind a windshield. It's been great this year - seeing the potential and the simple joy in riding. The first few stories have been written - the RMES, the Breck 100, and all the 24 hour races this year. And so far all the stories have been ones if discovery, of reaching beyond my prior limits. Only one more race this year remains to be written. I don't know how the ending will play out, but I can hope. I have my motivation and my inspiration. All that remains is the riding

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