Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To All My Friends and to All My Acquaintances...

Editor's Note: This was written last week prior to Rev3 Maine. I will post my race report and feelings on the day later this week.

Growing up, summers were always my favorite time of the year. After all, when your birthday is in August, you always look forward to that time of year.

We also were lucky enough to have a pool in our yard, a quiet neighborhood that let us ride our bikes everywhere, and an empty lot next door that was perfect for running around, building bike courses, or doing whatever we really wanted to do.

Summers have been a bit harder for the past three years. Three years ago last month, we lost Peter to cancer. And it’s his loss that has put me on the path that I’m on: to recognize that you must enjoy and embrace every moment. To work hard but love what you do for work. To honor and cherish your family and friends. And to live your dreams.

As I’ve said before, one of my dreams has always been the sport of triathlon, ever since the old Kona broadcasts. One month after Peter’s death, I made the purchase of my first bike and entered my first race.

It was his death, too, that made me recognize that I was not enjoying the path that I was in through law school. And although incredibly difficult to come to the conclusion that working in the running and multisport business was what I enjoyed and what I needed to embrace, it was also incredibly liberating. I never get there without Maggie and John at Maine Running Company. They gave me the freedom to realize who I am, what I could do, and let me run with it.

That spring was my first triathlon: Revolution3 Quassy’s HalfRev distance race. It put me into a world of hurt and a trip to the medical tent, but I was hooked regardless. Without my experience at that race, there’s no way I wind up applying for Team Rev3. And without my experience at Maine Running Company and being a part of Team Rev3, I don’t wind up working for Rev3, either.

This summer has been particularly trying: trying to train for Rev3 Maine and Cedar Point; changing jobs; moving to Virginia and leaving our friends and family in New England. In actuality, it is the culmination of my journey over the past few years. This is everything that I’ve been working for since that moment I decided to pursue triathlon in 2010.

In some ways, it’s bittersweet to be getting ready to race Cedar Point. I’ve been looking forward to that moment of that first fullRev distance event for a while; what happens if I don’t succeed the way that I think I should? But that’s where enjoying the process is important: I love the workouts, the processes of building fitness. I love my job. I love interacting with people and helping them achieve their dreams. In a way, that’s what I had gone to law school for; to help people. But I’ve found, at least through my interactions, that I have a better chance at helping people through athletics than I do trying to navigate our admittedly adversarial legal system.

I’ve come to recognize that I’m really lucky to have had the experiences that I’ve had. I have some of the best sponsors in the world. Blueseventy is phenomenal with wetsuits. I love my Helix, but having suits that also do so well for the novices and intermediates in the sport is fantastic. PowerBar is making fantastic nutritional products these days, including my personal favorite nutrition product on the market: their Energy Blends Blueberry-Banana fruit puree. Reynolds wheels have been fantastic. I’m absolutely in love with the 72 Aero wheel matched up with the Continental GP4000s. Pearl Izumi’s apparel is the best I’ve found, and the EM running line has really made a competitive shoe line. Biotta beet juice is delicious and can be performance-boosting. NormaTec and Compex have helped keep me injury-free through all of this moving with their compression and muscle stimulation products. Quintana Roo is making some innovative bikes that offer a great fit and value to athletes. SBR Sports has saved my rear-end, literally, with their TriSlide, and does an awesome job killing chlorine-scent with their TriSwim line-up.

And also, a huge shout-out to the folks with Revolution3 that got me to where I am today: Carole Sharpless and Charlie Patten. Carole is who heads up Team Rev3. I was lucky enough to have somehow stuck out of the pile in one way or another to her when I applied a few years ago. You can’t ask for much better for a team leader than her, and we on Team Rev3 are lucky to have her. Charlie is the guy who makes Rev3 happen. He, too, is here based on experience: through his racing, he saw a need for something better. Spectating events is harder than it is racing them. Giving something for the family to do, hosting races in places that aren’t just race towns but great vacation areas, is incredibly difficult but somehow he makes it all work. I can’t ever thank them enough.

Finally, my family and friends. I don’t get here without you. Your support has meant the world. Letting me squeeze workouts in, coming to spectate events, watching me push myself to my limits (and then beyond), or helping me push there. It means the world, and I can only hope that I give you thanks enough.

And Hannah, well, there’s never enough words. So, let’s go with I love you and thanks for being along for the ride…and go from there.

So here we go. Two and a half weeks of insanity. Time to enjoy the journey.

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