Loneliness and the journey

The Natchez Trace near Leipers Fork, TN. Take during Sunday's ride.

The Natchez Trace near Leipers Fork, TN. Take during Sunday’s ride.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I started to feel it this weekend. That empty feeling I get. The loneliness that sets in as the miles build.

I’ve written to you about how miles and hours alone help me focus. It’s my time to think. To reflect on how lucky I am to be healthy. How fortunate I am to be able to live the life I live: a job, a loving family, a hobby I’m crazy about, and the good sense to attempt balance.

That’s one side of the coin. Luckily it’s where I spend most of my time. But on the other side, there’s the loneliness. Cold grey mornings when your training partners can’t or won’t join you. Those mornings when your body says no.

They don’t make me unhappy. They just are. It’s just part of it.

Pushing forward is the only option for someone committed to the lifestyle I’ve chosen.

Consistency is the key to success.

So that means beautiful mornings alone as the sunrises. The beauty of mornings first light sparkling off of the frost covered landscape. The mesmerizing drift of your own hot breath as it escapes. Those mornings when movement is in itself an act of constant prayer. Hours of laughter with friends.

Other times it’s just the cold. The sound of your own inner demons. The miles. The tweak in my calf muscle. The deep feeling of something wrong in my hamstring. The tightness of my hips. And that feeling of being the only one in the world awake…freezing…pushing into the unfeeling arms of the distance while your wife and kids sleep warmly in bed at home. How much I’d like to be there.

I felt that loneliness this weekend for the first time in my training cycle. A bad run followed by a bad ride. A sore calf muscle. Deep fatigue.

Followed by the question: Why am I doing this? Again?

Sometimes I wonder if the loneliness of those mornings is as important as the joy of good mornings. Because I know I’ll be out there for both.

It’s all part of coming to know yourself.

Peaks. Valleys. Detours.

Hearing. Listening.

Accepting the loneliness as part of the journey.

I love you,

– Daddy

“With the birds I share this lonely view…” – Anthony Keidis (Scar Tissue by Red Hot Chili Peppers)

TRAINING:

Thurs: Swam 2000 / Ran 5.2 miles

Fri: Swam 1000 / Biked 55 minutes of hard intervals

Saturday: Ran 12 miles

Sundays: Biked 46 miles