It seems so close. I can't believe it's only seven weeks until my first Ironman adventure will come to a close. The first seven months of the year haven't been perfect, but this weekend I've taken the opportunity to look back on the first half of 2011. It's really given me a chance to look at the strides I've made in the sport and helps put my current injury in perspective. I've set new PR's in several distances, finished my first 70.3 race, and am still at a point where I'm hungry and excited for more challenges. To me, the eagerness to keep pushing the limits and the dreams of what the future hold are good signs I'm in a healthy relationship. Sometimes I get so consumed with my training and races that I don't take a step back to examine my life as a whole to make sure I'm keeping a healthy balance. This weekend has given me an opportunity to do just that and I have to admit I'm very happy with the inventory I took of my life. I know as endurance athletes we become obsessed with our sport, but in some respects, I think it's necessary. You have to want to eat, breath, and sleep training to be able to drag your butt out the door when the weather isn't ideal or you are having a bad day. You have to have that burning desire to keep pushing your limits or you will never succeed. It's not easy to run a marathon, do a triathlon, or become an Ironman. A healthy obsession with success is key to your survival. It's the oil that keeps the engine running. I know at times we're not the easiest people in the world to be friends with or have in the family, but I try to make sure I share the joy and pain with those around me. The best memories I have of the last 3 years are the ones where my friends and family have made an effort to get involved and join me on my race adventures: the smiles of my parents and brother after finishing my first marathon; a week in Chicago with my parents and two dear friends; a trip to NYC with my cousin; a group of friends to share my first triathlon finish with; and a soon-to-be memory of a lifetime when I hug the neck of my parents at the finish line of Ironman Louisville. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I'm actually crying right now as I type this entry. To me, that's when you know you've found something special. As of now, all signs are pointing up.
As far as this weekend goes, I'm pretty happy with my progress. The swim and elliptical yesterday really helped quench my thirst for training. I decided to skip my long bike scheduled for today so I had some free time on my hands. One goal I've had for the last several months is to make every day count in the road to Louisville. Every day I make sure to do at least one thing that puts me closer to success on August 28th. Today was no different. My task for today was cleaning my bike. I'm not really good at cleaning and maintaining my bike because quite frankly, I don't really know what I should be doing to maintain it. They don't give you a lesson in bike maintenance when you purchase your bike so a lot of this I've just learned along the way. I taught myself how to change a tire on YouTube (Team-in-Training tried to teach me, but I apparently didn't listen well) and today I cleaned my bike after going into my local bike shop for some tips and tools to use during the process. I ended up buying a chain tool to clean my chain, lubed the chain, wiped down my frame, and tried to get all the sticky gunk off my handlebars. Triathlon is a messy sport so it took several shop rags to get the job done. Now I have a squeaky clean bike to take out for my next ride. I'm hoping that next ride is on Tuesday evening, but we'll see what the doctor says.
I also had a chance to catch up on one of my favorite TV shows of all-time. Second to ER back in the beginning, Friday Night Lights is hands down one of my favorite shows of all-time. I absolutely love the show and am very sad to see it go. Next week will be the final episode in the series. I'm not sure why this show never caught on with the general public, but it's been a show I haven't been able to stop watching. My guess is that scheduling is why it never took off completely. Friday nights aren't really prime time spots in TV viewing land. It's a shame because it's very well written, touches on several interesting social issues, and always leaves me emotionally invested in the characters. It's crazy how you become attached to fictional characters and laugh, cry, and cheer for them like they are your own family. I guess that's what you get when you come across a good show. The ending of Friday Night Lights will definitely leave a hole in my TV viewing schedule. Hopefully someone will come along and fill it with another show just as spectacular. If you haven't watched it, you should do yourself a favor and go pick up the series. You will be glad you did.
Time to sign off for now. I'm really going to make an effort to blog more often. As you can see, I've given 3 updates in 3 days this weekend. I won't be that active over the next 7 weeks, but I'll at least try to update a few times a week. I think you'd get pretty tired of me if I updated every day anyway. Talk to you soon.