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5/9/08 Breathe, find your bearings, move on

It's happened to all of us: you seem to be going along well, you're pushing but in control, it all feels right, and then you suddenly realize that something's off. Then, that queazy feeling sets in as you realize that you're not only off, you're way off.

I'm not talking about orienteering, I'm talking about life. Anybody who's bothered to read my training log or check here and find nothing knows that I've obviously had my mind on other things lately. When it was just extra hours at work, I didn't think much of it. I was still getting in some training, still spending some time with my family, still making some progress on Carol's Song.

What I wasn't doing much of was sleeping (something I'm usually pretty careful about). Then the wheels came off. Remarkably, I was still physically healthy (albeit a bit heavier than I'd like), but mentally, I went to pieces. The result was nothing dramatic like a drug overdose or nervous breakdown. Rather, it was just that slow, sickening realization that not only was my current direction wrong, but I was much further off course than I wanted to admit.

I decided the only way to get things back under control was to radically simplify my life for a while. Work and family weren't optional, so I jettisoned just about everything else. Two months later, I think I've got myself reset. I'm still working overtime, but not nearly as much as I was. I've taken a vacation to see my parents and go camping with YaYa (giving Kate a break of a few days from caretaking).

My sister, Anne, certainly noticed the change. After a truly dreadful run at Middle Distance Nationals, she was shocked (and relieved) to hear me say, "It's just a race, let's go hiking." Indeed, the day at Letchworth was a very happy one only because I let it be.

I'm not going to immediately start pushing towards national-level competition again. In fact, it may well be that my days on the Blue course are done for good. However, I think I've got myself back to where a reasonable training schedule can be added to my life without throwing everything back into turmoil.

This blog is a little harder to justify. It's time consuming and without the ongoing experience at the elite level, I feel something of a fraud. The crucible of competition is the difference between a grounded position and a "thought experiment." Either might be wrong, but at least in the former case, you've made some attempt to validate your position. I could, of course, remove the tuition and just make it a sort of diary, but I don't know how long I'd stay interested in that. Besides, I already put a fair bit of personal information in my log on Attackpoint, so it would be a bit redundant to bring that focus to Carol's Team.

Therefore, I'm going to refocus this blog on the development of Carol's Song. I realize that this probably alienates the bulk of my readers, but getting regular posts on the development out in the public domain might help keep me moving on that front. Completing the program is a promise I made both to Carol and to those who have supported this site, and not one I care to break. For those who like to read what I have to say about training and racing, I should be getting back to regular posts on Attackpoint.

My sincere thanks to all those who have supported me, both in competition and in raising ALS awareness.

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