Missing in Action: My Departure and Planned Return to My Journey

May 27, 2011 at 10:56 am 1 comment

It has been over two years since I stopped actively training for triathlons.  January 2009, to be exact.  Prior to that I was actively working with a coach, Jim Vance in San Diego, was logging plenty of hours in the three disciplines, and was in the best shape of my life.  I was weighing in at about 170 pounds and had 8% body fat.  I had a plan worked out for the 2009 season, which included a few 70.3 races and a full Ironman at the end of the season that I had already paid for.

Then, January 2009 came around, and I met the woman that I fell in love with immediately and end up marrying the following year.  Now, just over two years later, my wife and I have a beautiful baby girl and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

The only areas of my life that I’m not completely happy with right now are my physical fitness and this lingering feeling that I failed myself by giving up on my dreams of completing an Ironman.  Meeting my wife pushed training down on my list of priorities.  In the evening, all I wanted to do was spend time with her, so I would skip a training session.  Then, we’d end up staying up late and I’d be too tired to make my training session in the morning before work.  I was completely consumed and, in retrospect, although I could have done it differently, I wouldn’t trade that time with her for anything in the world.

And so was the downfall of my training.  By the time the I fell victim to the Great Recession, I had lost most of my fitness gains and put on 15-20 pounds.  I truly regret not using the extra time on my hands during this period of unemployment to pick the sport back up, as the training would have done wonders for me mentally, but I was too depressed to do anything that reminded me of my former life.  Triathlon was one of those things.

After losing my job, we moved to San Jose and spent the next several months travelling and lounging around the house while we looked for jobs.  I eventually found a job in San Francisco the following year, and I’ve been with my current firm ever since.  That brings us to today.  .   I commute to San Francisco each day from San Jose (about 1.5 hours RT) and my wife and I have been married for a little over a year.  My daughter has made me happier than I thought I ever could be and most every aspect of my life – personally and professionally – is going amazing for me right now.

It’s my fitness that needs improvement.  I’m now 30 and have only worked out sporadically over the past two years.  The last time I jumped on the scale, I thundered in at about 215.   And every time I see a story about triathlon, watch a cycling event on television,  or even see a weekend warrior riding a bike with aero bars, all I can think of is that I need to get back into the sport.   Get back into fitness.

So, today, I’m announcing my renewed commitment to triathlon.  Only, this time, I’m going to try to think about it a bit differently.

Last time around, my training almost felt like a second job.  I was a slave to it and every day felt the same.  I’d wake up early to go for a swim or run before I had to get ready for work, I’d go to work for 10-12 hours (I’m an attorney with a large law firm), commute home and immediately do a second workout (typically bike or run), then eat dinner.  By the time my day was done, it would usually be around 9p, and I’d only have an hour or two to unwind before I had to go to sleep so that I could wake up early the next day and start the whole thing over again.

This schedule, quite frankly, will not work for me this time around.  My wife and my daughter mean too much to me for me to spend this much time out of the house, so I’m going to have to figure out a way to squeeze everything in.  Further, even though I was happy with my progress and felt good after the training sessions, I wasn’t having fun.  I realize now that I was training angry and that I was out to prove something.  I’m not quite sure what I was trying to prove or why i was trying to prove it, but that anger and burning fire inside of me went away when I met my wife – nothing else mattered to me when I met her.

This time around, I’m going to do it for the right reasons:

– My health.  I want to grow old enough to watch my grandchildren start their own families – something my grandparents never got the chance to do.  I know that both my physical and mental health will improve significantly once I start training again.

– My daughter.  I want her to know that anything is possible when you commit yourself to it.  I want her to dream big and to want more out of life than what many people settle for.

– My wife.  I want to be an even better husband to her than I am now (and she’ll tell you I’m pretty amazing..haha) and I know this is the only aspect of my life that I’m not happy with at the moment.

– Me.  I want to do this because I want to do it.  Everyone has that bucket list of things they want to do in their life.  I put my list down on paper a few years back and completing an Ironman is right at the top of that list.  Bucket lists aside, I want to do it because it is fun.  I don’t really have any hobbies to speak of at the moment (other than making goofy faces at my daughter) and I’ve yet to make a single friend outside of work (that my wife wasn’t already friends with) since I moved to the bay area 1.5 years ago.  I want to start training again, join some clubs and make some new friends.  I want to start building my life in the Bay Area because I don’t see myself ever leaving it.

Now, the tricky part is figuring out how to make this all work together.  My initial plan is to start small and keep it fun.  So, with this, my first phase plan is as follows:

1)  Focus on Cycling.  My comeback is focused on fun, not pain, and cycling is the discipline I enjoy the most.  I’ll expand once my fitness expands (and my weight decreases).

2)  Focus on Fun.  New routes.  Riding my bike to work.  Day trips with a training ride mixed in.  Anything to get me moving on a consistent basis that I’ll enjoy.

3)  Focus on Consistency.  They say it takes about 66 days to fully form a habit.  Starting tomorrow, I’ll put in at least 30 minutes each day for the next 66 days.

4)  Focus on Life Balance.  Scheduling and creativity will be key to this, but I need to balance my life in such a way that I can continue to be a great father and attorney, while at the same time not neglecting myself.

I’ll be setting up my schedule in TrainingPeaks with these four points in mind.  I’m going to try to use this blog to help keep me accountable to myself.  If anyone out there is actually reading this, I hope you’ll hold me accountable as well.  66 days starts tomorrow.  Phase 1 here I come.  Wish me luck.


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Post-It Wars and the Importance of Accountability in Training 3 days down; 63 to go

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jason Bui  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I found your blog while looking for reviews of the 2008 PINARELLO.

    I hope you’re able to get back into the training. It’s the one thing that I’ve found to be the most rewarding aspect of my life right now. We’re about the same age, but my life has recently gone off into a different trajectory.

    Will be in SF next week for the marathon!

    BTW, keep writing and posting! At least I’ll be reading!


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