Views From The Finish Line…A Final Look Back.

There is never a true “beginning” to any story, nor is there ever a true “ending”. There is always a “before” and there will always be an “after” to absolutely everything.

There are, however, convenient starting and ending points for a narrative. A story arc always just feels more complete when there is a clear beginning to that tale, and a clear and concise point where that arc comes to its conclusion.

After a five year journey, which started with a vague decision to “lose a few pounds” and to “run a 5k”, I believe that this narrative has come to an end at the finish line of this week’s Twin Cities 10 Mile.

This does not mean that I will stop running, but this blog was intended to document my journey “from couch to Ironman”. That journey ended 2 years ago. It changed as I tried to find a new calling, a new passion. I dabbled in Ultramarathon and tried the 50 states marathon club. I even tried cross-country skiing. None of these endeavors excited me and those pursuits were abandoned. Finally, I decided that I just needed balence and to make running a PART of my life and a PART of my identity…not it’s sole defining feature. I decided upon this months ago…after signing up for most of this year’s events…and I made it to the end of that schedule. In the process, I tied up some loose ends and found peace in this new harmony.

Ultimately, this passion is something that will be more organic, more subdued, more balenced. It is changing my approach to running.

Events will be for fun and to motivate me to stay healthy. I have not been competative in awhile (except for the surprising results in Waconia) and I have mostly let go of that pressure. As such, the nature of these events will change as well. They will no longer be selected to push my body, and my boundaries, to the brink. They will not be extreme. They will also not be the basis of my yearly life schedule. Traveling for events will occur very rarely (if at all). I won’t bother with race swag or photos (unless included with registration fees) as the swag never gets used and all the race photos look the same after awhile.

My blog will also go dormant. This document was mostly for my own benefit. It was to keep me accountable and to track my journey. It has been successful in that regard…and I am stunned that so many others have followed this journey. But my future in the sport will be more mundane and I am finding that I have less and less to say. It is time to bring this to a close as well.

Despite these promised changes, I am not saying “never again”. I may compete in another marathon at some point. The one thing that I feel that I am missing is a World Marathon Major. There are three of these in the United States…Boston, New York, and Chicago. Chicago would be the easiest race logistically…and is the least inspiring for me. New York sounds amazing and is the biggest marathon in the world. Both races are lottery registrations. Boston is a bucket list race for almost any runner. I will NEVER qualify for this race, but I could do a charity registration. I would just need to find a charity that I believe in that would accept me. Maybe this will be a 50th birthday present to myself. Time will tell…

As for triathlons, I will do one or two local sprints every year just to keep me cycling and swimming. I will never do another full distance Ironman, but a 70.3 may be in my future. It is not a priority, but I’m not ruling it out either. It just feels increasingly unlikely. Despite two new Ironman 70.3’s being launched mithin driving distance, I have no current interest in signing up for either event. Time will tell…

USAT Age Group Nationals was an unexpected wild card. I qualified by winning my Age Group at the HITS Sprint Triathlon in Waconia. This opportunity will be too good to pass up and I know that I would regret passing on this race. I have been invited for the Olympic Distance Age Group National Championship in Omaha next year and I will also compete in the Sprint Age Group National Championship (no qualification needed) the next day. This will be the big travel event of 2017. The rest of the year’s schedule looks quite minimalist by my standards:

-Hot Chocolate 15k (Minneapolis) – April
-Lifetime Tri Minneapolis (Sprint Distance) – July
-USAT Nationals (Olympic and Sprint) – August
-Twin Cities Loony Challenge (10k, 5k, 10 mile) – October.

If I ever do a big race again (Boston, Ironman 70.3, or any full marathon), I will likely post a race report here. I can almost guarantee a few blog posts for Nationals. But my days of regular blogging has come to an end. To my readers, thank you for following me and for the encouragement and inspiration along the way. You have made this journey easier, and more enjoyable as well.

Before I sign off for the last time, I wanted to take a final look back at my five year journey…the medals, the 50 States Marathon map, and the views from the finish lines…

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8 Comments

Filed under Random Musings

8 responses to “Views From The Finish Line…A Final Look Back.

  1. Bummed to see you signing off, but glad your journey has been so amazing! Congrats on a great 5 years! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, thanks! Blogging was great during Ironman training since it kept me accountable and I could see exactly how far I had come. Now it feels like a chore. With six months and no races, I really won’t have anything to blog about! But, I’ll still be reading, commenting and cheating on the blogs I do follow!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 50in50marathonquest

    Hey Ray, just want to say I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog…your race trips and recaps are very well written and detailed. I can relate to your marathon journey, being of similar age/pace/goals and it is great to compare to your notes and experiences. But, achieving that IronMan is an incredible inspiration – that is something I cannot relate to…as you know I’ve kicked the idea around but just can never see myself being able to do that kind of race – the sprints were enough! Then again, even right now reading your post, I’m telling my wife…you know what maybe one day before I’m 50, maybe who knows?!! Wish you the best on your blogging hiatus and hope you enjoy the new change of pace (pun sort of intended)…hope you stop by and say hello once in a while, Cheers my friend!

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    • Thanks! I’ll still be reading and cheering. And an odd blog post or two may sneak in. But the racing and blogging had become a second job instead of a hobby. Time to regroup. The Ironman race was the best experience I have ever had and I highly recomend it. Being able to do the training and knowing that you belong at the start line is incredibly empowering. The training is crazy. Make sure that you have the time to commit to it and that your family is onboard and that you WANT to do this. Lots of people in their 40’s and 50’s get into the sport (kids are off to college, career is on track, more free time and disposable income, and a mid-life crisis brewing). You got the running thing down. The swim is the intimidating part for most. But it can all be done. There is no event that quite matches an Ironman (well, I assume Boston does…). I have very extensive race report and a week by week training report of my 30 week training plan if you are interested. If you can do a marathon, an Ironman is possible. Just like the 50 states is possible. That isn’t something I want bad enough to continue chasing…but you do. In this sport, you have to follow your passion!

      Liked by 1 person

      • 50in50marathonquest

        Great insight and perspective…I will look up your IronMan series of articles and race reports. Totally agree on the commitment..it absolutely has to be something that I can dedicate. I share some of the same sentiments on the blog…sometimes it feels like a job that I just don’t have time to get to. Take care.

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  3. I’ve contemplated the same thing myself especially with this crazy past season. I’ve definitely changed my racing strategy to be more supportive of the rest of life but thik there are still things I’d like to go after. Good luck! Perhaps our paths will cross one day at the Finish Line.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post and touching a very important side of “competitive” sports. I believe that finding serenity in our endeavours is very important so please don’t feel that this new aspect of your sporting live would be uninteresting to document. There are probably a lot of people with the same thoughts as you so do keep us posted if you feel that it would be part of this new journey :-). Otherwise all the best for the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words. I will have a few more blog posts this year since I have a few races scheduled. I am enjoying reading about others journeys more then blogging about my own right now. First “race” in 2 weeks. Won’t be pretty…but there will be chocolate at the finish line!

      Liked by 1 person

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