Saturday, July 20, 2013
My Ego: What got it all started...
So it goes without saying that men are superior to women when it comes to physical accomplishments. Right? I mean, just look at any professional sport that has both male and female leagues. Look at the Olympic world record times. This is as obvious as stating that women can't drive!!!
So maybe I'm a chauvinist pig, but it's hard to argue with the above statements. But even if they're true, they can easily lead to a mindset that can get a guy like me in trouble. Which, is exactly what happened back in 2002 when I first started dating Analise, my wife and best friend. Here I was, this tough West Point cadet, and there was no way a female was going to put me to shame.
I entered West Point at my current height (5'11") but only 150lbs. With the unlimited and high calorie food, I quickly gained weight and peaked at 185-190lbs for my last couple of years. Almost all muscle and overall very fit. I could run a 2 mile PT test run in under 12 minutes, do over 100 pushups in 2 minutes and over 110 situps in 2 minutes. I was one finely tuned machine!
Or so I thought. Early in my Cow Year (junior), I started dating this cute girl who ran on the cross country team. She was a fellow physics major who didn't seem to mind my seemingly complete lack of personality. We went to air assault school together, we studied together, we ate together, and unfortunately, we also ran together.
At West Point, dating is a bit weird. You can't go out on normal dates or hang out in dorm rooms. So for time together, we'd go on runs; my badass self with the female XC runner. A few weeks of this, and she was convinced that I was the best listener ever. Apparently it didn't occur to her that I couldn't get a word in because I was doing everything I could just to breathe! After a month or two, my friends had to go to her and ask her to take it easy on me. It turns out I had developed a stress fracture from trying to keep up, but wouldn't admit it since there was no way a women could outrun me!
It took me years to catch up. We married and trained together, but she continued to smoke me in race after race for years. Running, triathlon, cycling.....it didn't matter. In 2007 she finished fourth OA female at the Longhorn HIM (now Austin 70.3), while I limped to a 6+ hr finish. She crushed her competition over and over, while I tried to keep up and just finish races. My ego just couldn't handle it.
I trained. I worked. I hired a coach. And eventually, I was faster. We did Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2009 and I beat her by over an hour. But I wouldn't haven't done that training if I wasn't working to beat her example. I owe a lot to her. I wouldn't have run or even dreamed of triathlon without her. (maybe I'll post the story about her buying her first bike later). She introduced me to endurance training and this sport, and I definitely am indebted to her for it. She's gone on to have a baby and put other priorities first, but she's still my inspiration.
I'm going to ask her to do some "guest" blog posts. She's not only a much more entertaining writer than I am, but she'll provide some great perspective and contrast to my posts. I'm a bit more focused and numbers oriented, while she's the "happy go lucky" side. She might even make this blog enjoyable to read!
Deep down, I'm still that guy, struggling to keep up with the hot XC chic. And as long as that's the case, I'll keep getting faster. Take motivation wherever you can get it!