Monday, December 31, 2007

In Review- The Year that Almost Was

Well, I know it's New Year's Eve because I'm once again reviewing the wreckage of my Fantasy Football team as we head to the playoffs and the inevitability someone else will win the league I've run for 13 years.

I decided to take on some new challenges in 2007. Of course, the unspoken challenge is continuing to be an older first-time dad, something that is not always the easiest thing. It's ironic in a way, because my own adoptive parents entered the game late- my dad was 48 and my mom 46 when I was born, even older than I was. Hopefully, I'll see more than 10 of Ian's birthdays- number 3 is hard around the bend less than a month after Christmas. Potty training is coming too.

The year started off slowly, with graduate courses and slow, easy training. There was the misery of the diet and the misery of the Plunge on the diet.

With no race on Margit's calendar and Ironman Arizona the first on mine, we had much more important issues on our mind. Like where Margit was going to be working and where Ian was going to be in day care. These big ticket items worked out with a lot less difficulty than we at first thought they might as Margit hit on a temp job at Pfizer and I took over full-time day care transportation duties around January 31st. Around the same time, we came to the difficult conclusion Margit's mom would have to go into a nursing home...

My grades were good, really good, and so was my training. I was ready for Arizona, but at the same time, Lake Placid was weighing on me and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I have to be honest that I never really felt that I deserved the result I got in Lake Placid. I felt like I'd been in the right place at the right time and not really earned what had come the way I might have had to at a race with a better field. At the same time, having passed on Hawaii left me feeling like I had to try and get a spot again. That's not the best way for me to go into a race and one simple mental error- not taking sunscreen before the bike, really impacted my overall performance. It became my worst race, and yet out of, also a learning experience. I both broke and then, in the end, didn't break. Running the last five miles of a race I'd lost the will to continue in was, well something.

And hey, the beer was good.

Oh yeah, and Peter Daly beat me and I posted another second at Brian's two weeks before Arizona.

On a serious note, there was Dave Parcells passing away in Florida and that was- that was a blow for everyone. I can't really express anything other people with more right and eloquence haven't already said. Dave was a great guy. He left a hole.

I didn't take much time off- I'd signed up for Eagleman. I couldn't find time for courses with the afternoon pickup at day care, so there was parenting, day care, work, and training. Margit's mom's situation finally started to settle out, our cat population jumped to six, and of course, by May the lawn had gotten away from us.

I had to drop out of a duathlon in June just a week before Eagleman with a strained calf. That's the first DNF due to injury I'd ever had and so close to an half-IM... Ice solved the problem. I went to Eagleman, had a great swim AND overcame my math meltdown that had me thinking I'd had a miserable swim, survived the drafting on the bike, and posted a pretty good time for being hurt. I even learned to appreciate Avril Lavinge in the porta-potty line, and snapped a great picture of Ian reading a certain coach's catalog that he got a good laugh out of.

I think it was a good summer, although it's always hard to remember the best of the warm lazy summer days when it's 30 degrees. There was plenty of great weather- and oh yeah, an iPhone.

The big event of the summer for me was the Swim Across the Sound. Never in my life have I dreaded anything more (well, except that time I was waiting for Margit to bail me out on her birthday). The thought of being out in a boat, jumping off that boat into 80-100 feet of water. I'd rather be in a pressure suit orbiting the planet. But it worked out great. I wasn't the boat anchor you'd think I was going to be. The harbour made me horribly sick. I was sneezing up man-sized phlegm an hour after I climbed up on the dock. I couldn't breath well enough to sleep for about 48 hours.

John Brennan- thanks again for organizing that. Awesome job.

Margit went from a contract job to full-time at Pfizer. That was a relief but not a perfect solution- but hey, they do have their own triathlon (employees only). Ian switched day care- tough moments there. He still talks about his 'old school'.

While preparing for the Extrememan half-ironman I found myself helping to set up the Madison Triathlon. Steve Surprise and I sat on the 'race committee', we showed up a day early and helped set up transition- I even gave the race day instructions to the athletes and was a bike course marshall.

Then came my third big race of the year, and probably my only chance at winning a triathlon. I didn't get it done, instead coming third. Enough said.

I took that to heart and went on kind of a tear. I placed in the top ten at a half-marathon the next week. Another two weeks and I jumped into a marathon, cracked the three hour mark, slept it off and won a 5k the next day. Then it was Reunion weekend at Rochester and a second place at a dirt duathlon the following Saturday in one of Rochester's kick-ass parks.

My college reunion was a great time and a real reminder of how much I enjoyed the extended stay I had at UR. The only low moment was Richard Lewis at Curb Your Enthusiasm. Man, he just couldn't get it done.

Somewhere amid the races Margit's BMW crashed into a deer and was totalled. Car shopping sure is fun, isn't it ? A throw away call I made to the Acura dealership I bought my car at about a TL I saw on my iPhone while we were at CarMax led to Margit, well, driving a TL. Also, I lost a cat. Jonah, you were a great friend, the one cat I could count on to Bite the Hand That Feeds.

Of course, I over-raced getting ready for Christopher Martin's and put up a miserable race despite running my fastest 5k in years.

But the big story to end the year with was seeing my son have the first Christmas where he understood what was going on. From magic reindeer food and cookies and milk left out on Christmas Eve and sharing the classics- Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, to opening gifts, he was a great joy. We have some greed issues to work out, and I swear this is the last year I stay up until 1 AM Christmas Eve building a toy, but it was a great day.

Now, 2008- my coach says let's have a great year. I have two IMs on the docket, my family is healthy, I have a roof over my head- so I think that's a great idea.

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