Put It in the Books

I have continued setting goals that stretch, and force me outside of my comfort zone. This is all part of continuing down the road that runs through reinvention and beyond. Some of these recent goals have really pushed me physically. Others involve continuing growing as a writer, another goal I set for myself a decade ago.

On Sunday, I completed my first Olympic triathlon. That’s something I had planned to accomplish last year, but a bike accident in early August derailed my plans. My wife, Mary, was even more amazing—she rocked her first half Rev—doubling my distances on the bike and in the run, and going .3 miles further on the swim.

The number tattoos have been applied--Rev3 2014.

The number tattoos have been applied–Rev3 2014.

Training began for me back in February. I remember my first tentative run at the Bath Y. I was happy that I ran 21 minutes on the indoor track without pain, as I was trying to push beyond a time in the fall when I couldn’t run at all due to excruciating left hip pain.

It’s hard to articulate the feeling of accomplishment that comes from swimming nearly a mile in the Atlantic Ocean 18 months removed from when two lengths in the pool was a significant challenge. I swam well, and then, I rode the bike portion of the Rev3 triathlon. The bike is my strongest tri event. I intended to save a little for the run, but once I hit the halfway point of my 25-mile ride, I decided to pull out the stops and push it hard back to the beach. If I had to walk my 6.2 miles, then so be it. Fortunately, the gradual build-up of training mileage carried me through the run and while I was struggling during my final two miles, I made it to the finish line and now I can say I’ve completed an Olympic-length tri.

With Miss Mary before taking off on the first leg of the Rev3 Triathlon.

With Miss Mary before taking off on the first leg of the Rev3 Triathlon.

I appreciate many qualities in my wife. One that I continue to be amazed by is her ability to push herself as a triathlete. After beginning with sprint events five years ago, she’s worked up to Olympic-length triathlons. She decided that this was going to be the year she attempted a half—that’s 1.2 miles swimming, 56 miles on the bike, and then, finishing with a 13.1 run.

Mark was up for the Rev3 weekend in Old Orchard, and he ran most of the 13.1 with his mom. He’s that kind of son—supportive of his parents.

Seeing Mary and Mark coming down the home stretch made me so proud of all Mary’s invested in her training, pushing through the aches and pains that go hand-in-hand with being a triathlete.

Mary’s SheJAMs running partner, Heather Sheriff Gosch, also completed the half Rev. It was awesome seeing her come through the finish arch and know she also had knocked one out of the park in terms of setting a significant goal and accomplishing it.

And then, there are women like Marcia Feller, who sets the standard for what it means to support and validate others. Oh, and she’s a pretty amazing athlete, too—someone I hope to emulate (along with her partner, Bob Murray) a decade from now.

SheJAMs—she swims, she bikes, she runs—SheJAMs! is an amazing group of women. The club provides a place and training environment for women to push through all the subtle messages they are fed about what they can’t do. It’s refreshing to find groups that tell woman that they can be amazing and then provide the support to help them find their inner champion. I’m still looking for the male version of this kind of support network.

Another Rev3 is in the books, and it was an amazing couple of days for Mary and me. So much appreciation to all the SheJAMs crew, the Rev3 team that makes any of their events worth participating in, the volunteers who encouraged everyone, providing water, Gatorade and other support along the route, and also, a new appreciation for Old Orchard, the beautiful, seaside resort town that remains accessible to all.