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July 10, 2009

Now What?

Whenever I finish a big race, I spend quite a bit of time thinking of the tank gang from Finding Nemo.

In particular, I replay the final scene where the fish from Dr Sherman’s dental office make a daring escape by first clogging the tank’s filter, and - once placed into individual plastic bags for tank cleaning - rolling themselves across the table, out the open windowsill, across four lanes of traffic, and over the pier to finally find their escape in the big blue Pacific. They cheer their amazing accomplishment, then float silently for a few seconds, at which time Bloat the porcupine fish voices the question on all their minds: Now what?

(And if by some chance you’ve never seen the movie, or forgotten the scene, just click and watch the first 80 seconds of the video below.)

So that’s where I’ve been mentally for the past couple of weeks: celebrating my achievement, in some ways marveling at how I was able to accomplish it in the first place, and trying to answer the quiet question growing steadily louder in the back of my mind: now what?

I indicated earlier that I don’t have any race plans for the remainder of the year, or any huge event on my radar for 2010. The situation is like this by design, but I admit that it feels a bit foreign. Normally my motivation for training comes from anticipation of one challenge or another; without anything tangible to work towards, I’m guessing that compulsion will be greatly diminished.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s hard to explain the weight that is off my shoulders now that Western States is in the books; I feel like I have all kinds of time to refocus on other areas of my life that have suffered in the process of averaging 80 miles a week for five straight months. It’s one of those balance issues, and I’m making a course correction to steer myself closer to the midline I frequently claim to straddle but veer away from more often than I like to admit.

Perhaps another great adventure will capture my attention someday, but I’m not going out of my way to seek it for a while. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the freedom of training as much – or, in some cases, as little – as I want to, whenever I want to, as a secondary endeavor behind the other priorities in my life. (You know … just like normal people do.)

As far as the blog is concerned, it’s full steam ahead. I have a handful of product reviews on tap*, a vacation report featuring a cool mountain biking story, and the rest of the customary nonsense that pops into my head during whatever miles I spend on the trail.

After all, just because I don’t know where I’m going, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the journey.


*on the subject of product reviews, a couple of updates …

1) The Drymax Lite Trail socks that I tested and
promoted during the Western States training camp are now available to the general public, and you can get a sweet deal on them from Wilderness Running Company, who have a a special introductory price of $7 through the end of the month. Believe me: when you can get Drymax socks for seven bucks, you should grab them by the handful. The lite version is ideal for hot summer trail running.

2) I raved quite a bit during
my review of the GoLite Rush pack, and since that post was written, my recommendation would only grow stronger. In the past several weeks, I’ve used it for running, hiking, biking, travelling, and as a basic day use pack, and it’s served all of those purposes wonderfully. The Rush is also available from Wilderness Running Company, and you’ll get a 10% discount by using the coupon code (R&R10) on my left sidebar.


RBR 7/10/09, 5:15 PM  

Here's to balance and living the wonderful life you have and deserve!

That said, a repeat at Vineman in 2010 doesn't sound like a bad idea. :o)

mindy 7/10/09, 6:50 PM  

Enjoy the break Donald - I love the idea of having nothing planned and training at will - the best way to recover. Now let's get an update on some more important things...your thoughts on Michael Jackson, Janet from Three's Company getting a DUI, and David Cross on the Adam Carolla podcast.

Jo Lynn 7/10/09, 7:02 PM  

I have plenty on my calendar that I can't do due to my fall. You're more than welcome to do one or two of them. ;)

Alisa 7/11/09, 8:22 AM  

Enjoy thinking about what's next, you've earned a bit of time off and reflection.

I re-read your Western States race report and am still in awe of that accomplishment! Wow!

Annette 7/11/09, 10:48 AM  

So, now it's time for "Finding Donald." :) Enjoy your freedom for awhile, because like all of us, I'm sure some new endeavor will grab you and you'll be off on a new adventure. I mean, not having something coming up can sometimes be like floating around inside your own plastic baggie - boring, pointless, and with potential to go a little stir crazy. :) (I know - I'm at that point right now! Time for me to make a plan.) Seriously, do enjoy your time. Who knows, maybe you'll start to like the freedom. ;)

Darrell 7/11/09, 2:37 PM  

Definitely enjoy the journey. I have no doubts that sooner or later something with grab your attention in the endurance/running/tri world. Enjoy the freedom of choosing wisely.

Rick Gaston 7/12/09, 3:58 PM  

You got it right. Just savor the adventure and enjoy yourself for awhile. Enjoy freedom from the tyranny of a training schedule. Somewhere down the line something will tickle your imagination and the juices will start flowing again.

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