You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Wrong. If you believe in God, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I've never been to the greyhound races, but I've seen them on TV. They have these beautiful, big old dogs - I say beautiful, they're really ugly - big old dogs, and they run that mechanical rabbit around the ring, and these dogs just run, exhausting themselves chasing it. When those dogs get to where they can't race, the owners put a little ad in the paper, and if anybody wants one for a pet, they can have it, otherwise they're going to be destroyed. I have a niece in Arizona who can't stand that ad. She goes and gets them. Big old dogs in the house; she loves them.
I was in a home not long ago where they'd adopted a dog that had been a racer. It was a big old greyhound, spotted hound, lying there in the den. One of the kids in the family, just a toddler, was pulling on its tail, and a little older kid had his head over on that old dog's stomach, using it for a pillow. That dog just seemed so happy, and I said to the dog, "Uh, are you still racing any?"
"No, no, no, I don't race anymore."
I said, "Do you miss the glitter and excitement of the track?"
He said, "No, no"
I said, "Well, what's the matter? You get too old?"
"No, no, I still had some race in me."
"Well, did you not win?"
He said, "I won over a million dollars for my owner."
"Then what was it, bad treatment?"
"Oh, no, they treated us royally when we were racing."
I Said, "Then what? Did you get crippled?"
He said, "No, no, no."
I said, "Then what?"
He said, "I quit."
Yeah, thats what he said. "I quit"
I said, "Why did you quit?"
And he said, "I discovered that what I was chasing was not really a rabbit. And i quit." He looked at me and said, "All that running, running, running, running and what I was chasing, not even real."
*The above was part of a sermon from Pastor Greg of First Lutheran
While this sermon likely has MULTIPLE meanings and could be different for each person, it made me think about this years racing. A quick breakdown of my year:
For those non runners or triathletes, a PR is a personal record and for a lot of people, something they chase after with every training session and race. Sure you can say I had a SUCCESSFUL summer but what measures success? What do these PR's and times bring to the table? What about all these medals and awards hanging on my wall? Am I any different than the greyhound? Chasing something that isn't real?
While I might not know the answers to those questions right now and probably have yet to discover all the consequences of the past years worth of training and racing, I'm still left with all those experiences. Good or bad, I have had a blast racing this past year, crossed paths with some incredible people, made friends and maybe lost some too along the way. I have probably upset some people while also inspiring some others, I've replaced late nights with early mornings. When it comes down to it, lets hope that down the road, it was all worth it.
With that, I might as well make a confession as well. I did something crazy a month ago, I got some ink. While I have had the itch for a second tatoo since getting the M-Dot one, I finally pulled the trigger. Last year I had this little mishap on the trail which resulted in a trip to the ER. It could have been much worse than it was and with that, on the 1 year anniversary of that crash, I got this tatoo. Being a triathlete and a runner, I put myself in some less than ideal or safe situations. While some are controllable, some are not and for those, I'll take all the help I can get.
I had pretty much forgotten about the Minnewaska triathlOn for some reason. It’s the same day as the Graniteman raCe so i never sign up not knowing what one i want to do. It was at Hoot the week previous that Corey had mentioned he was doIng it so naturally i had to sign up. And like any Good friend I RECRUITED another guy, Mr. Mike Loween! He kicked my butt at COLT so i needed a chance to even things up. The forecast looked less than favorable but come race morning the storms held off and left us with a windy, chilly and drizzle which is better than A thUnderstorm! The bikes were racked, our gear set up (thanks to Corey i remembered to put my shoes and socks in a plastic bag) and we made the walk down the beaCh.
With the wind coMing off the lake we had almost whitecap swim conditions for the shoRt 400 yard swim. I figured the wetsuit was poIntless as i would spend more time in T1 Than i would save in the water. With the colder weather i wore my sleeved bike top and half way into the swim the zipper pulled appart and left me swimming with a caPe! Me and swimming are just not friends lately! Anyways, i drafted Corey for about 50 yards as he took off like a bat out of hell and i wAs 16th out oF the water and was happy to get on the bike.
The bike course is basically an out and back with a small little loop Atop the hill. The first 5 miles i was focused on passing as many people as i could knowing the trip back to T2 was downhill. I never saw the leaders but after 10 miles or so on the bike it was pretty lonely out there. There was no way of knowing who was part of a relay so i just assumed i needed to catch them all. I returned into T2 a little winded and about 3 guys i could see in front of me. I got out of there and started off along the lake.
Maybe just shy of 1 mile into the run I Spotted Corey and gave him a high five and pushed on. I had passed one runner and was at the turn around point. As i made the U turn I spotted Mike (he got a high five too!) and knew I had to kick it into high gear. There was 2 more guys i Could see and quickly passed one and had to dig deep to even catch the next one. This is known as the “hurt locker” to us, Putting yourself through hell and pain and leaving it all out there. We went stride for stride for a little bit and i eventually pulled away and had about a 1/4 mile to the finish. I didn’t look back to see where he was, i just kept running as fast as I could. I crossed the finish line and felt terrible but relieved.
I Spent some time at the finish line watching the athletes come in and talked with Mike for a bit trying to convince him to do an IRONMAN and checked the results. 3rd! I came in third overall behind the stud Zabel and the Kona Kid. Couldn’t have Been more happy with the reSults. We hung around for a bit talking to other athletes and getting ouR awards and door prizes. You better look at the photo again, you might have missed thoSe huge 2nd and 3rd place medals ;) Regardless of the medals or our plaCes I had a blast racing with some good friends and was able to support a local race. Mike even took home an age group medal which I hope he hung on the fridge! The numbers are down for triathlons and these smaller races are being canceled. If you can’t coMpete in them, try volunteering or donating. They really are BENEFICIAL to ouR community.
peace out 🤙🏼
WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. A LIFE FILLED WITH SWIM, BIKE & RUN. 5Ks TO MARATHONS, SPRINT TO IRONMAN 140.6