In adventure racing, as well as life in general, a great teammate is hard to find. But, I must be lucky indeed because 18 years ago I married the greatest teammate for my life’s journey, a soft-hearted spanish girl that saw something in me worth sticking around for.
I didn’t have much to offer her. There I was, a pack-a-day cigarette smoking enlisted guy in the Air Force, an F-15 aircraft mechanic that routinely ended my day exhausted and covered in hydraulic fluid or jet fuel. Foul-mouthed and with no direction in life, my ideal breakfast was a 6-pack of powdered donuts, a Mountain Dew and a couple of cigs. And there she was, a college graduate–top of her class–that worked her way through school, had motivation to succeed and enough energy at the end of the day to always go for a run or workout.
We were an unlikely pair and while we struggle during our years of dating, our days together since our marriage have been wonderful. Like a great teammate, she always gives every ounce of effort she has for the success of our team. When I am frustrated, she always gives encouragement. When I am bone-weary, she’s there to lighten my load.
Perhaps she knew that one day I’d give up cigarettes, start exercising and become a world-renowned adventure racer–still working on that last item. More likely, 20 some years ago she saw something in me worth loving and I was smart enough to realize that I had just happened to meet the greatest person in my life and how wonderful my life would be if she was in it.
Ana, I love you with all of my heart and I am so glad to be running life’s race with you. Everything that I have accomplished is due to you, your love and your encouragement. You have always been, and always will be my #1 teammate and I am very thankful that you chose to share your life with me.
Here’s to a wonderful 18 years and many, many more!
Now get out there and train damn it, we’ve got races to win!