When I raced Wildflower in 2011 for the first time, it was certainly the deepest I've ever gone. The amount of pain, and agony, and the amount of effort that was needed to fight off all the thoughts that told me to stop were simply excruciatingly monumental. During the half marathon, every step I took felt like I was going to fall on my face.
I somehow got through that...
It was two years before I was able to go that deep again in 2013, at the same race, Wildflower, in lovely Lake San Antonio, where I again felt like I was going to fall on my face, every step I took.
And I somehow got through that too. And managed to turn pro.
But I've always wondered: how many times can I go that deep without hurting myself?
not physically, but mentally. Because those experiences are not healthy by any means....in my humble opinion.
They are quite traumatic though I must confess I do not know what real trauma is. But as an average human being, those two races were as traumatic as it will ever get for me.
For the people that know me, I've always pushed myself. I push myself hard. But like an artist, I am always trying to find perfection. For an endurance athlete, that's not just perfecting technique, perfecting training, nor perfecting nutrition.
It's being able squeeze yourself into a pulp during a race, and feel like you're about to fall on your face every step you take. But without overdoing it that you blow up and jeopardize your race.
It's finding that sweet spot, the mount everest of all endurance athlete's goal. Pushing oneself to the absolute limit, while getting to the finish line as fast as possible.
And over the last 3 years racing pro, I have probably only gone there once. And it was at Ironman Arizona.
For my whole triathlon career, I have only done it 3 times. Wildflower '11, and Wildflower '12. Lastly, Ironman Arizona 2016. They say 3 times is a charm and I think there is some truth to that. Because I have to sadly admit, I think I have nothing else left to give.
I can still race, and train, but I don't think I have enough to go that far, to feel like I would fall on my face, every step I take.
And when an artist can no longer paint or loses the ability and inspiration to create works of art that he/she would be proud of, it's time to stop.
And I believe, now is a good time for me to stop. I wish with all my heart and might that I can be out there again this year, on the circuit doing what I love. But the fun and passion for me has always been chasing perfection. And I don't think I have the fire to chase after my definition of perfection anymore.
Many, many thanks to:
Joey Bianchi, David K. Kernan, Thomas Curran, Daniel Smith, Ryan Lenart
Jay Ridgeway and Pacwest Athletics
Pedro Dungo and Fitted by Pedro
Bizlink Technology, Annie Kuo
Shane Arters, Jim Atkinson, Duncan Seay,
Zoot Sports, and Team Zoot
Mom and Dad, and Anna
It has been quite the ride.
Yu Hsiao, SEG, Yu Hsiao Express, America's fastest Asian, signing out. 3/16/2017