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Do Not Go Gentle... part 1

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

---Dylan Thomas

When I started my blog back in July 2009, my purpose was to chronicle my dual pursuit of trying to become a writer and a competitive triathlete at an age that might be described as “near retirement.” (I think that sounds better than old.)

I titled the blog, “Do Not Go Gentle…” because I liked the notion of resisting the inevitable decline of aging. I believed then, and I still do, that with good training (and some good luck) I could become a more competitive triathlete (in my age group).

I started racing in 2005. Through last year I have participated in 80 triathlons and 45 distance races (from 5K to marathon), including eighteen USAT National Championships and three ITU World Championships in Canada, Netherlands and Australia as part of Team USA. I also completed the Ironman at Coeur d’Alene and in 2017 I ran in the Boston Marathon.

It’s been a very rewarding experience.

I am not an elite athlete. I am an average cyclist, runner and swimmer (maybe a little less average at swimming, but I’m improving.) But I am very well coached.

Since 2012 I have been trained by Heather Collins of Heather Collins Training. She provides me with a monthly plan that most weeks includes structured run, bike and swim workouts and supervised personal training sessions focusing on strength, stability and flexibility. After every workout I am supposed to do a series of really fun stretches. All told, with commuting time, it takes me about 25 hours a week (not counting showers).

That’s a serious commitment on my part, but if I had devoted all that time and tried to do it on my own, I would have failed. Learning (and maintaining) the proper technique and form and having the proper conditioning has made it possible for me to improve my relative performance in all segments and to avoid serious injury. It has kept me in the game, which was the goal all along.

Next week, I will talk about how professional training is also critical for my development as a writer. The two endeavors have some surprising similarities.

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