A week ago today I had the great fortune to participate in the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon. It was an event where I finally reached the pinnacle of personal success following a year of hard work, sacrifice, pain and some pretty neat accomplishments along the way.
As I wrap up a year long foray into the the world of running (something I never would have thought I would experience or be interested in the least). I'm happy to say that this year has truly been a life changing adventure and turned out to be one of the tipping points and created a giant change in my life.
Since my early teens when I suffered the embarrassment of coming in dead last in my small towns annual 4th of July four mile running race, after which I swore to myself I would never ever run again and turned to the bicycle and guitar as my go to escape vehicles.
Jump ahead a million years...
One year ago I just happened to be on a 24 hour fitness "expletive deletive" treadmill due to the fact all the crappy lifecycles were occupied as usual! I thought to myself?
"I wonder if I can actually run a mile"?
Cyclists in general hate to run. At least that's what the consensus seems to point to.
The next time at the gym.
"I wonder if I can run 2 miles at 8:30 pace"?
Then, the following week while heading into mile 4 on the treadmill.
"I wonder if I can run a Marathon in six months"?
"I wonder if I can run the Boston Marathon when I'm 60"?
"Who's this -Dean Karnazes-"
...and so it begins...
Cycling, in the beginning really was all I needed. At the age of 17 I saved up all the money I earned bagging groceries, flipping hamburgers and mowing lawns to finally accumulate enough money to head down to "Quinn s Service Station" in downtown Hingham (New England) and finally purchase that (crappy) french racing bike I'd had my eyes on for the past year. Even though it was a big piece of shit right down to the stupid uniquely French threading and parts, I found my heaven!
I'd ride 10 miles to and from Burger King and everyone would think I was crazy. I started riding into Boston during my days off without telling my Mom and Dad then cruising the city streets just for the thrill. 17 miles there and 17 back! I felt like the Cat's Meow...
When I finally got to California I landed a job as a "Bike Messenger". At the time I thought, I've found my dream job. Little did I know. You can't make a living on it...Next!
I got an almost real job and started club riding and racing at an amateur level through the 80's. Around 1990 I fell back into my involvement with writing and playing music...oops drugs/alchohol, got deeply in debt, began driving a cab which had me "spinning my wheels"for a decade, gaining a considerable amount of weight (borderline obese) and sliding into the deepest darkest depression which nearly killed me!
On top of it all I had put a lot of personal problems and issues which I had been dealing with most of my life on the back burner but, unfortunately were simmering, growing worse and finally coming back to bite me big time!
...and so began the rebuilding. Inspired, determined, I began again with losing 45 Lbs. in 3 months, club riding, racing, centuries, double centuries and so on.
From 2002 to 2007 became my personal apocalypse inter-weaved with some grandiose athletic achievements, amazing musical creativity and culminating in a life threatening illness which took me 2 years to come back from followed by the 2008 financial meltdown, another huge bout of depression, shutting down from friends and family, working myself to the bone for nothing, moving from building to building, salary cuts and on and on and on...
Then came my dogs...
That changed me. Innocent, loving, honest beings that needed me in every way. They loved me un-conditionally, they were there in good times and bad. This all happened at the right time. They took the focus off of my own misery and somehow in a strange way forced me out of myself and on a new path filled with some optimism, satisfaction and the true person that I think I could be if I just put in the effort.
Sometimes I think if only I had children I may not have had to go through all this bullshit.
Unfortunately, genetics, my horrible self image and so many other issues tossed up just an overwhelming amount of red flags and killed that idea from the get go!
Here I am now. Some new direction, personal tragedies, including losing my beloved younger brother which is something I just can't seem to come to grips with (that just cut the legs out from under me), more and more beautiful animals in my care, a best friend who has been with me for almost 40 years, a whole new Universe of running, personalities, inspiration, adventures, discipline and hopefully onward and upward.
Maybe I will spend the rest of the month contemplating, building myself back up mentally and physically and just flow with where 2013 takes me...
I just have to thank so many of you and you know who you are because I annoy you frequently. I'm working on it all and maybe by the time I'm laying in my deathbed I'll have figured it all out.
In the meantime...Enjoy the ride...