"that's why you see me walking round like nothings bothering me even though half you people got a fucking problem with me."- Eminem from "Till I Collapse"
In 2001 Peter Reid was sitting on his duff growing a beer gut after falling from the pinnacle of the sport. His former coach tossed him a tri mag with a training plan for completing your first Ironman highlighted , essentially stating don't let your melt down in Kona be the way you went out. Get back to what the sport is supposed to be: fun and a personal challenge. In October 2002 he finished second in Kona and a year later won his third and last Ironman World Championship.
On a more minor league scale ( I am nowhere near the league of Peter the Great) this year I was thinking of skimping on some races, just going through the motions of keeping in shape and getting some fitness back, until I bumped into one of the younger athletes from the club: My friend Chris Rinaldi. Chris and a mutual friend John Corbo remind me a lot of the way I used to be. Fire breathing warriors out there having fun and pushing themselves to the limit. The word can't doesn't exist for them. Sure there are going to be bad days but you just take them for what they are and keep going. As I shot the shit with Chris as he was finishing up a treadmill session it was amazing to see how he's progressed. 2 years ago I bumped into him and Corbo on a training ride and Alexei and I were giving them tips on training and riding. Now they're kicking ass and taking names dominating the 20-24 age group. As I talked to Chris I asked him about his goals for the season. He rattled them off: make nats, have fun doing it. We talked about finding sponsors and how he and John have racked up quite the group of backers and followers. We talked of races where the courses were fast, the podium spots obtainable and the post race beer plentiful. It helped me get back some prospective.
Louisville had been painful in more ways than just physical. I had gone in broke, and mentally out of it as my grandfather had died the week before I was due to fly out. My grandfather was one of the guys who didn't look at me like I was crazy when I said I was going to New Zealand for a second time in 2009 . Likewise he had shown up to every track meet in High School, rain, wind, snow, cold it didn't matter, he was there. When I went into Louisville I had spent most of the money I had tucked away for the race on getting my sister to the funeral from Rhode Island, as well as picking a set of new clothes for the funeral, and eating out because my heart just wasn't up to cooking , or essentially doing anything. Add to it one of my friends I was supposed to meet down there had been dragged on a last minute trip to Chattanooga and then a hurricane kept my friend Adam from being able to fly out it just added to the dark cloud over my head. My mind hadn't been fully in it Louisville, yet I still finished but I didn't have anything left to give for the rest of the season.
After talking to Chris and seeing his passion it's reignited my flame. My training has been harder and more consistent, and I've felt better doing it. I'm actually looking forward to the season I'm going to race a little more locally and put my Kona dream on the back burner for the season, I'm going to focus on going hard and building up my street credit. In 07 and 08 I raced like a rock star, and I want that feeling back. In 07 I wasn't worried about placing and in 08 I knew I was capable and 09 well 09 was still an ok year but it was an introduction to the real world. 10 and 11 I let the real world kick my ass, that ends in 2012. Do I think I'm going to pull a Peter Reid and win Kona in 2013...well stranger things have happened but winning in the 25-29 age group would be equally gratifying.