Jun 8, 2010

A New Adventure




Dear all,

It has been over a month since my last post. Mirroring my current level of depression, the urge to write comes and goes. Some days I felt optimistic and hopeful. Those days have been few and far between. I couldn’t help but fall back into hold habits. Habits that I thought were long dead. It was inevitable. Take away the one thing that makes a man happy, and you will kill his spirit.

The last 8 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion. I wish I could sit here and say that everything is alright and that I am healthy, but it is not true. The road ahead is unpaved, and I don’t know how bumpy the ride is going to be. However, I have a plan and am beyond committed to getting myself back on track.

While reflecting on this year, I can’t help but attempt to make sense of everything that happened. I have always been a firm believer that everything in my life has happened for a reason. Maybe that’s why I haven’t posted anything since my injury. While searching for answers to my own questions, it has been hard to invite everyone into my struggle. Well, I may not have all those answers, but I’ve put a few of my thoughts to rest.

Breaking my heel was an accident. Accidents happen. I can no longer look back on that day and ask “Why me?” I can only ask “What now?”

My original plan for this year was thrown out the window the second my heel hit the ground. Racing isn’t an option. I still haven’t taken a step without the protection of a boot. Despite my efforts over the last couple months, I have lost a lot of fitness. I am still swimming very well, but my riding has suffered greatly. I can’t even speculate about my running because it may be 2 or 3 weeks before I set out the door. So without racing what can I do?

Train for Ironman! If all goes well, I will be toeing the line in Cozumel on November 28th 2010. If everything happens for a reason, this winter pushed me towards Ironman. Hopefully, it will be the start of a long and satisfying relationship. I always thought Ironman was my future; this injury has finally forced me to accept that future.

Because of this injury, acceptance has become a new part of my life. An athletic career can end in an instant. An injury can strike at any time. I need to start dealing with the negative aspects of this lifestyle or I will never be able to enjoy the positives. Triathlon isn’t the end all be all, and if I don’t enjoy the process, the finish will never be satisfying.

So now, I’ll allow my life to revolve around the process, not the finish. With that in mind, I’ve saved up a little money cleaning pools during my 8 weeks off from training, and I intend to use it to enjoy the next 4 months.

I am leaving Tucson, Arizona and heading to Boulder, Colorado in less than 2 weeks. There, I’ll spend the rest of June and most of July crashing at my buddy’s place and riding in the mountains. My only goal will be to truly enjoy every day of training in a training paradise. From there, I will be headed back to Cleveland for a week. I know it is barely any time home, but that is just how it will work out. My flight leaves for Switzerland on August 3rd. Once I get to Switzerland, I am dropping off my bags and catching a train to Barcelona, Spain. The goal is to ride my bike back to Switzerland by August 30th. The trip covers around 1400km and goes from Barcelona, up the Mediterranean coast, through the south of France, into Italy, and north to Switzerland. I will have to average around 60 km a day for 25 days (and I won’t be riding every day), so I’ll get plenty of riding during the month of August. Once back in Switzerland, I will be setting up camp at the Swiss Olympic Training Center. I’ll have 2 months of dedicated Ironman training in the French Alps. I’ll return to Tucson on Oct 25th for a couple weeks of training and a long taper. John Kulbis will be joining be in Tucson, so this next winter will definitely be a great one.

The next four months are going to be absolutely hectic. I’ll be living out of a suitcase or out of a saddle bag for a long time. My plan is to work hard, train hard, enjoy EVERY single day, and truly make 24 the best year of my entire life. As for Ironman, you all know that I won’t take that too lightly. But, with the right attitude and some hard work, I’ll be sure to toe that line in the best shape of my life.

I know I have been REALLY bad at updating this blog lately, but keep checking it. From now until Ironman, I will be updating it every week. And once I get to Europe, I’ll be posting pictures and stories about my travels every time I find internet connection.

Here’s to one real adventure… triathlon style.

AJ

7 comments:

  1. Trials (and tribulations) of miles (and fences). I'm confident you'll get it back - you have plenty of time. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly the running will come around. Plus, you're going to Boulder, Switzerland, Barcelona and the French Alps in the next few months. That's amazing. At least you're following your passion. Few people do. Welcome back, my friend!

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  2. All of this traveling?? How could you not enjoy yourself! I am VERY jealous of the experiences you get to have! Enjoy every second of this adventure!

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  3. Hang in there man. Injury sucks no matter how you look at it. Being a competitor I know your personality does not allow for any deviation from your "plan". Its a hard one to swallow but take the time off you need to let your body heal man.

    You have your whole life ahead of you, don't mess it up because you started to run on your heel too soon.

    Shout out from Cleveland, hang in there man and good luck on your journey!!!

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  4. You've got a great summer planned and you are going to see some beautiful places! Just think of your Mediterranean road quest as a way to reacquaint yourself with one of your best friends, your bike! Your positive attitude and your tenacity will take you to the top once again. You are a beast, AJ!

    P.S. Thanks for helping me with my freestyle swimming technique ;) Who knows, maybe I'll see you out on the course some time :P

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  5. Considering your circumstances, you sure have an enviable 2010 planned out! Enjoy!

    There is no doubt in my mind that you'll be racing Kona in 2011.

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  6. Hey AJ -- just found your blog and look forward to following your journey!

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