ASK THE GOAT: It’s not you, it's me
In 2011, I was a triathlete. I ran simply as one-third of a training regimen. Most of my hours were spent biking through the country roads of Goldston, Gulf and Deep River, or swimming at the Sanford Nautilus and Racquetball Club.
Sometimes I would knock back distances of 15-20 miles, but most of my running miles were short, intense and paved. After an accident in late 2010 at Raven Rock State Park, I rarely ran trails.
Three incidents got me out of triathlon. First, I had a really bad bike race. Every possible lemony-snippet that could have occurred, did. Second, one physician told me my 2011 cancer misdiagnosis could have resulted from issues aggravated by my hours spent on a bike seat. Last, I quite simply overtrained. Too many hours in the pool and the saddle left me feeling overwhelmed. So I effectively “retired” from multisport altogether and actively sought out a new path.
After several months of feeling lost and awash, I entered a small race in the hills of Ellerbe. It was called the Derby 50K. The community, organization and race direction were great. In the five or so hours I spent with this group of ultra-runners, I had completely restructured my path as an athlete. The next 14 months found me knocking back over 4,000 miles, half of which were during 55 marathons and ultra-distance races on trails in 11 states.
But as early as last September, something began to change. I had a really humbling race in Georgia at my first attempt at a 100-miler. I followed that sobering failure with an injury at Greensboro’s Triple Lakes event. However, after six weeks off and relocation to Texas, I felt rejuvenated at my completion of the Wild Hare 50, and filled my race schedule back up with ultras through April 2013. It was short-lived. Out of the ultra-races I registered for, I completed two and left early or did not show up for five. Why? Not unlike the triathlon of 2011, I just am not enjoying them. I am not having fun anymore.
I went for a swim in February. I cannot express in words how good it felt. This was my first time in over a year. My wife and I bought mountain bikes for the rocky trails of the vast Texas park system and I equally love those miles.
So, as fate would have it, I have taken up the reigns of triathlon a second time. My days are filled with hours of training time, equally divided between swimming, biking, running and cross-training. I have fewer than 10 races slated for 2013 and am excited about each one. Last time as a triathlete, I overtrained; as an ultra-runner, I over-competed. I have taken safeguards not to replicate these poor decisions.
So Ultra-Marathon, I am sorry I will not be seeing you exclusively anymore. I am doing a budding sport entitled Ultra-distance Triathlon, and will see you periodically. We are no longer an item. I apologize if I led you on. I really thought I loved you. It isn’t you. It’s me.