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.
WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. A LIFE FILLED WITH SWIM, BIKE & RUN. 5Ks TO MARATHONS, SPRINT TO IRONMAN 140.6