>If you were a child of the 1980’s, you may recall a really cheesy TV show called “In Search Of…”. The show was narrated by Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame) and was a quasi documentary wherein the crux was to go and find the “truth” about some weird, random, or out of the way person, place, or thing. For example, some topics were: Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, the Yeti, etc. Looking back, the show was certainly campy, but I think it actually speaks to an intrinsic need of some folks to search for something. To yearn for something big. To find closure.
Perhaps a more appropriate example to consider is a search for the holy grail. And by holy grail, I don’t mean Holy Grail (as in Dan Brown looking for the Sacred Feminine, the cup of Christ, or some quest for Medieval knights). In this case, the holy grail is some transcendent place where we collectively accomplish all of our endurance sport goals.
For many folks, this grail — also known as a bucket list — might be running a marathon. It could be biking 100 miles. Hell, it could be running a 5k. The simple matter of fact is that people set a lofty goal for themselves and often put their whole being into achieving that goal. For many triathletes – the ultimate goal is completing an iron distance race. If you’ve ever watched NBC’s Kona special (and what self-deserving triathlete hasn’t), chances are you’ve been moved in some way or another. Perhaps watching the show motivated you to run an Ironman. For other endurance athletes, perhaps the big goal is qualifying for Kona or for the Boston Marathon.
Here’s the rub. I’ve done a marathon. I’ve done an Ironman. What’s next for me? What is my grail quest now? As much as I’d like to dream, I know that I will not likely ever qualify to race at Kona. I simply have neither the time nor the proper genetic makeup to run an Ironman in 10 hours. Nor will I ever be fleet-footed enough to qualify for Boston. (Technically, if I race another 20 or 25 years, I might have a chance at qualifying for one or both of these races). So where should I place my endurance focus for 2011 and beyond? Another 140.6 race? A friend has been trying to convince me to race the American Triple T. Based upon race reports that I’ve read, this race actually scares me. Another friend has tried to convince me to run a Ragnar Relay. Should I think about an ultra marathon (there’s this one in Jacksonville that seems fun). Any of the events I have described above are probably lofty goals, but I think not goals that I’ll commit myself for at this point.
So what’s in store for me? The first quarter of 2011 will bring a heavy dose of running (the 26.2 with Donna – the National Marathon to End Breast Cancer and the Gate River Run). The summer and early fall will bring a mix of local and big-time triathlons (the Marineland Olympic Triathlon, the Beaches Fine Arts Series Triathlon, the Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon, and Rev3 races in Knoxville and Anderson). I’ll finish up next fall on Thanksgiving morning with the Outback Distance Classic 1/2 Marathon.
Are any of these events “quest worthy”? Well, absolutely they are. While I won’t be on a quest for a KQ or BQ time, I’ll be in search of a good time, fun racing, positive results, and hopefully, lessons learned.
What are you in search of for 2011?