That is the question I have been asked the most after completing the UFC. To understand my answer to this question I think you have to understand why I do events like this in the first place. Lance Armstrong has been quoted as saying that endurance athletes are running away from something.
Not sure I agree but Lance has been around a boat load of endurance athletes. I personally think each endurance athlete has a different reason for doing endurance events. I find that some do these events as races and their drive is to beat the other competitors. I find others are trying to set a personal record for the event. Then there are those who are doing these events because of the pure adventure of the event. I do know one thing. Glory, fame, and money for finishing an endurance event is not a major driver. The reason why I feel so comfortable saying that is because those three things are rarely associated with an endurance event. The Tour De France, yes, but that is an oddity in the endurance world. I have found that most endurance events are unknown to the general population and the award for completing them is simply a medal or in the case of the UFC several necklaces that all total equal about $30.00. I think about the most recent accomplishment of Erden Eruc.
Very few people have heard about this accomplishment. Only a handful of people were there to see him finish. It sure wasn’t broadcasted on the evening news but talk about an endurance event. How about the Spartathlon ? Try to find one person who knows about this event and can name one winner of it.
Then there is the RAAM that is held in the United States each year but find one person who knows about this event and knows that several people have died in this one.
I will say for those that do finish a serious endurance event they will gain the respect of those who have also finished the event. They know what it takes to finish the event. Hard to place a dollar amount on that but for me that is an honor that is priceless. So I am not running away from something, there is no glory, no fame , respect of your peers, and no money. Hmmmm could the reason that I do these events be that I am having a mid-life crisis. Based on the mid-life check list I have more “no” then ” yes” responses. So no mid-life crisis here. I think at 57 I am too old for a mid-life crisis anyway. I am pretty comfortable with my age and set my goals according. I don’t expect to be the overall winner of any events and in fact don’t even expect to win my age group. Now I would be lying if I didn’t say it does bring a sense of accomplishment when I pass folks younger than I am. Especially if they are 30 or below. You know how that saying goes “Old Guy’s Rule!!”. The simple reason why I did the UFC and do other events like it is simply because they are there and I view them as a challenge. A challenge that will push me both physically and mentally. I guess we all have things which makes us know we are alive. For me confronting a challenge is what makes me feel alive. The bigger the challenge and the higher the chance of failure the more alive I feel. In fact if I don’t have a big challenge in front of me I become a pretty grumpy restless person. A place I don’t want to be. I have generally found people who are grumpy with life and restless make bad personal life decisions. The UFC was a big challenge for me and it got even bigger once I was on the race course due to the weather. I think this was one of the major reasons for my lowest point mentally in the UFC. It happen in Cedar Key where we were just two days from finishing. The end of the UFC was in sight and the challenge of the event was fading. I had to remind myself that Rod and I still have a big challenge in front of us . That of getting across a very large body of water with us a long way from land. So I have found that when asked would I do the UFC again my answer seems to be “Probably Not”. In fact if you look at my athletic and personal accomplishments you will see that I have done very few of them more than once . I usually move on to another event which is different and thus is an unknown to me and more challenging. Now with all that said, and so my wife doesn’t get to excited, if a group of some select WaterTirbers wanted to do the UFC as a group then I would have to reconsider my answer. That would be mutl-day fun trip with some good folks that would be filled with lots of camaraderie and laughs.
Recovery after the UFC – I think it is general knowledge that folks can go through some form of depression after completing a major event such as the UFC. I really didn’t want that to happen so prior to starting the UFC I started to think about other events that I might like to do after the UFC. My hope was that this would help me recover mentally. I had trained multiple times for a marathon but had gotten bored during the training and had never done one. Well the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon was scheduled for October 7, 2012 months after the UFC. So I signed up for that event. To keep it interesting I also signed up for the Tampa Bay Frogman swim ( 3.1 mile swim) that was scheduled for January 13, 2013. In targeting those two events it gave me two challenges to start working towards once I finished the UFC. I think the strategy worked because I didn’t suffer any depression at all after the UFC. I felt good about finishing the UFC and was energized to be training for some different type of events.
In picking the marathon as my first event to train for it gave my upper body time to recover and I found that I really needed that. My lower body was feeling pretty good but my upper body was hurting. The biggest issue were my hands and arms. The first two weeks after the UFC I had a bad case of the lobster claw. The fingers on both my hands just seemed to curl up and stiffen up. This was uncomfortable but not near as painful as the nerves healing in my hands and wrist. That was very painful and it seemed to be the worse at night when I was trying to sleep. My poor wife who had wished so much for me to get home was now having second thoughts with all the switching my body was doing while I slept. I might have been home but my body was still on the water and paddling away. As with most things in life with each passing day my body healed and I got stronger. I was able to run the marathon and pretty please with my time. After the marathon my upper body had recovered and my lower body was in need of some recovery time. So training for the 2013 Tampa Bay Frogman Swim was the perfect event. I completed that event and again was pretty pleased with my time. So 10 months after the UFC I feel that both physically and mentally I could jump back into my trusted Kruger and attempt another UFC.
I started this post talking about the question I get asked the most. After I answer that question with ” Probably Not” folks generally followup with a second question. “Ok, well what is next ?” Hmmmmmmm have to check the bucket list. There is winning a seat on USA Senior Dragon Boat Team that will be competing in the Worlds in 2013, oh there is the North Carolina Challenge, hey what about the Missouri 340, no no no what about the Yukon 1000, and the Tip of the Mitt, but there is also the Swim Around Key West, wait what about biking (not the racing) across America, but what about climbing Mt Rainer, and Mt McKinley and………………………. Hear that scream in the background. That is my wife.