Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The last year

My youngest son is a senior in high school this year. It's a big deal. There are times when I'm excited about the future, and there are times when I break down thinking about the years of trick or treating or Easter egg hunts. I am not going to be able to handle graduation.

I don't think I'm alone when I look back over my life and can see sections or the start and end of big phases.

One of those phases started in 2004. That's when I left my old job. I went from travelling all the time and missing my sons' games or having to be on a plane on Sunday to be in another country by Monday am, and worst of all having to show an id at their school because the school didn't recognize home for breakfast, helping out with their homework, volunteering at their schools and being home when they got home in the afternoon.

You only have one opportunity to raise your kids.

Even when they got to high school, I made sure that I was there for breakfast, and I was there at the end of the day. I got to go to practices, bring drinks for their teams and watch games that I would have otherwise missed.

Now, JMAN is a senior. That means that each day his schedule changes. Some days he has to be at school at 6:50, some at 9am, some at 7:30, some at 9:30. Likewise, every day he gets out at a different time. Some days he comes home for lunch and then he's home for the day by 1.

I want to be there for that. I like having breakfast and lunch with him and hearing about his day or what is going on, what's important to him, what makes him happy or angry.

This is the choice I've made because we only have one opportunity. I love doing it, and I want to do it.

But, I'm not writing this to talk about my own personal parenting philosophy.

This is about stages. When I started doing triathlon in 2005, I didn't know anything about anything. I
was so very lucky to meet a few really great guys like Bill and also Tom and Dan (from Ranch Cycling of London---now global). For what I lacked in everything and anything related to cycling, these guys knew their stuff. I would get so frustrated with my inability to even go up a small ant hill. Yet, they were there constantly offering support and advice.

Bill probably doesn't even remember this conversation. But he told me that it takes 5 years to really get good at riding. Of course, back then, I blew him off with a "Yea, Bill. WHATever."

I mention them because if it weren't for these guys, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today. I probably would have quit triathlon. I am lucky to have people who are better, stronger, faster athletes than me....telling me that I *CAN* do this. 

When I decided to do Ironman Coeur D'Alene. It was the wrong decision. It was the wrong time. It was wrong on every level.

But....these guys helped me through it. They probably didn't even realize how much they were helping me at the time. I remember sending an email to Dan in which I was pretty much yelling/screaming/throwing the ultimate tantrum. Of course, Dan responded as though he was speaking to a rational adult.

Of course, Tom had a way of making me laugh, one laugh could wipe out an entire bad day.

These guys were like long lost brothers to me: teasing me over my attempts to be the "cool cyclist" and supporting me through my worst of races. Over the years, as people moved or family or work situations changed, I don't really talk to Dan or Tom much anymore. I'm fortunate that Bill is still around to keep me in line.

Ok. I know. This is becoming a little warm fuzzy, but I am getting to my point about stages.


The other day, I mentioned to the world's greatest coach that for a long time I was afraid to go back to Ironman, but I'm not afraid anymore. Now, I can't commit to the training.

The reason I can't commit to the training is because it's the last year. I am not going to skip breakfast with JMan to swim 3000m. I'm not going to miss him coming home from school because I'm running 10 miles.

But, I'm getting close.

And, I'm starting from a different place. For me to start thinking about doing Ironman, I need to be in a place of confidence because there will be plenty of days during training where my confidence will be shaken and days in which I question what the hell I'm doing. For me to be successful, I need to do it on a strong foundation. The foundation is there now; and in another year, the time will be too.

I won't be ready next year. What I hope is that the people that were there for me in the beginning will be there for me again...because it's coming. And, this time it'll be different.