OK—its been almost 3 weeks since XTerra in Maui. What have I been doing—well—a whole lot of nothing. You can ask Don—he will tell you that I really am spending significant time not accomplishing anything—which most of you know is very out of character for me. Tonight at dinner I told Don that I think that I am getting close to the end of this—though not entirely yet.
OK—XTERRA was hard—I mean REALLY hard. Those that were there can attest to the conditions and I was also battling my wonderful competitors—in the end 5 mins separated 1st-3rd and the 3 of us went back and forth throughout the race. I think I dug deeper than I ever have—unfortunately I ended up on the bottom step of the podium, but I learned a ton from this race. But my recovery after the race is from more than that. It was the last race of the year—but I think more significantly it was the last big thing in a year of many big things - -and both my mind and body are now in the recovery phase from almost a year of stress and change.
A quick summary of all that has gone on this year since I have been pretty quiet on the writing front:
In January my boss left the Daimler very abruptly. I was asked to step in and act as CIO (Chief Information Officer if you are unfamiliar with corporate jargon) until a replacement was found and in place—with a promise that they would not ask me to extend my retirement date (I knew it would turn out to be an empty promise and started preparing plan B) Taking over a large department (1000+) under these circumstances was not easy-I had to fix things, keep morale up, prepare for the new CIO and essentially learn a new job for the last 6 months of my career.
Part of our retirement plan was to sell our house—so during all of this we were cleaning out our house, listing and selling it. Since our post retirement plans are pretty drastic—we did not purchase another house, the cleaning out process was pretty dramatic—we have gone from 3700 sq. ft. to a 200 sq. ft. trailer and a 10x15 storage unit.
House sold and we had to be out by the end of May, which would have been perfect for the originally planned retirement date (beginning June)—but of course that was just wishful thinking. The first extension request was until the end of June (that I knew would not work) and we finally negotiated Aug 3rd and it stuck. Part of the deal was for the company to provide me with a furnished apartment once we had to be out of our house. The other small wrinkle was a friend had been living with us (and is really the only reason we were able to get the house ready to sell in a reasonable time-thank you Carmen) and, knowing it was temporary purchased a condo—but it needed a bunch of work-which we (mostly Don) helped with once our house was taken care of.
While all of this was going on I had some pretty big athletic aspirations for this season: qualify for Kona and make it onto the podium at XTerra Worlds. I was going to give myself 2 shots at making Kona. First one was at IM Texas in April. I had a good race but not quite good enough—taking 5th for my first full Ironman podium finish. Second shot occurred at IM Mont Tremblant in August—which in the perfect world would have given me a solid 2 months of training while retired—but that was not to be. I came up a little short and ended up with a 4th place finish after leading the race until the mid-point of the marathon when some GI issues slowed me down. In the middle of the 2 Ironmans I also had to take care of getting qualified for XTerra Worlds—we headed up to Victoria BC in early July to tick that box—which I easily did but had a nasty crash on the mountain bike and bruised my ribs pretty badly (they are still not 100% today).
Wow-I’m tired just reading this—and we are not done yet. After getting back from Canada in late August we had to turn all our focus to my son’s wedding—prep for it and taking care of all the family coming into town. We are also working on figuring out how to live when you don’t actually have your own house/apt. The trailer is great but handy locations to park it are really scarce close in to Portland—this is still a work in progress-hopefully solved before we wear out our welcome at friends and family’s houses!.
After the wedding it was time to get serious about getting back on the mountain bike to get ready for XTerra Worlds and we had a great trip through Moab/Sedona/Phoenix to prep—I did get a mental break on this trip but the training was really heavy and we were also trying out taking the dogs in the trailer for the first time. We got back from this trip in time to pack and get ourselves over to Maui to prep for the race.
So now I’ve written it out—I think once the race was over both my body and mind said—BREAK TIME not just from the race but from the whole year—and I have been listening to them. We did do a couple of hikes, took 1 surf lesson while still in Hawaii but there was also a ton of sitting on the couch, sitting by the pool, wandering around catching Pokemon, reading books and playing mindless word games. I thought about writing this blog several times and just didn’t have the desire. We’ve been in Mexico since Sunday and haven’t done a single thing—so I still can’t tell you what Cabo is like other than our deck and the pool lounge—that should start to change in the next few days.
I think we all have to take some time to decompress—and know that it can take more or less time depending on what’s been going on. Circumstances this year caused me to push things too far and that is why it’s taking me so long to recover—I am glad I now have the luxury to take the time needed—the fire is still there and I have big aspirations and stupid plans for 2019—that I will need to be well rested for.