Friday, December 3, 2010

More Positives

Recently I have been amongst family, and have also had really good running support from my husband. He deserves all the kudos shared to him for all his support and encouragement in my endurance sport activities. He also loves me selflessly. And I, luckily and wisely, love him.

However, a part of me feels inadequate to Carlos. Shocked? Surprised? I am not. He is very smart and loves physics. He is very analytical and can figure things out pretty well. He has few of the ‘soft’ qualities I am learning to consider a strength in me. I have basically grown up valuing being analytical and ‘smart’. There has not been a lot of emphasis in my circle of family and friends about feelings, memories, and the such. ‘Soft’ doesn’t solve math equations and find solutions to overwhelming global problems. ‘Soft’ doesn’t pay the bills.

Besides feeling inadequate, I am reminded, repeatedly, at how lucky I am to have Carlos; to have “found a man willing to put up with [me].” This from my family.

Don’t put me wrong. I love my family. And I know they love me. They encourage me in my activities. However, as a family we also tend to point out the negative and not encourage the strengths (positives) in individuals. It’s a fact – just like the earth is round (OK –oblate spheroid – I know!).

And so…I am pointing out my positives. I can not wait and should not expect others to point out to me what is good in me. I should know this. What do I bring to the relationship with my husband? How is he lucky to have me? What is valuable about me?

This is not a series of bravado statements meant to put my husband in a poor light or to pull me up at his expense. This is me pointing out my strengths and building my confidence so I can more readily accept affection and love from Carlos, as well as affection and friendship from others. And so…here I go. Today I start with the most intimate relationship I have. Tomorrow I go on to what I can bring to friendships.

My dad is a banker. From him I have learned to be fiscally conservative. I have probably gotten Carlos to save more than he sees necessary. I can, and will, say I am too conservative and Carlos got me to loosen up too!

I may have a low confidence, but I see Carlos’ strengths often – and let him know it. I see a lot of career potential for him. He needs only to go for it. He would have stayed in the classroom until he retired if I had not encouraged him to shoot for more. I asked him often if he wanted to stay in the classroom, and he said he was ready to move on.

I have encouraged him, probably by role model, to get him to take better care of himself: eat more healthfully and go to the gym/get exercise. He loves biking and golf. Now, everywhere we go (where there are people who knew him 5+ years ago) they ask if he has lost weight. Yup – just look at his driver’s license picture! He feels better too.

Just as Carlos has supported and encouraged me with running, I have supported and encouraged him with golf and to take pride in his improvements. I have gotten him lessons (which he loves), and pretty much encourage him to go. I have heard many accounts of a day on the greens – beautiful shots, drivers (golf clubs) not cooperating, et cetera. I don’t mind. It is better than watching sports all day!

I think I have gotten Carlos to ask for more from life. I don’t mean things (there, again, we see things differently), I mean experiences: travel, friends, hobbies, job, et cetera.

I am not jealous. He works with women all the time – he’s in education. He works with smart, problem solving women. He also travels a lot. I am good with that. Why be jealous? It’s wasted energy.

What Carlos sees is what Carlos gets (in me) – I do not play games and expect him to pick up on signals to guess another meaning from what I say. Given that he is analytical and scientific this is a very good thing.

Everything here I can add a caveat - that Carlos has helped me in those areas (yes – my strengths) as well. We are a couple. Neither one of us is perfect. I am thankful for him.

I just need to know that am not someone to be tolerated but actually have something to offer others. I can not let others take my confidence down. I am strong willed. I do like certain things a certain way (or see them that way), but I am not inflexible or insensible to the fact that there are other ideas out there, and possibly better ways to do things.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, my last post was about my weaknesses, and a determination to take lessons and create strengths. What are my natural strengths, though? Well, first, being who I am, my tendency is to take a strength and prove that it is still a weakness. But not today. Today – my strengths.

I am a soft engineer. What does that mean? I love the analytical, but remember soft details. Why remember a formula when I can remember where to find it in a book? I can’t look up that a friend likes a certain food or has a passion for a specific hobby. I remember where I had lunch with someone I worked with over 10 years ago (Burger King – he had had a heart attack, and was on a good diet, but every once in awhile he splurged (called it a fatburger!) and he did that day. Nothing major – just enjoying enough. With Joel I went to Wendy’s where I first learned about feta cheese and how much he loved it!). I remember the how I felt when my parents told me my Grandma Wehrle and Grandma Fiske died, and the weather at my Granddaddy Fiske’s (snowed in Richmond, VA and my uncle shoveled snow at the church that morning).

I am loyal and dedicated. It takes a lot for me to not do something that I said I would do. I hate breaking appointments or agreed meetings. I most likely will come through.

I am determined. If I decide I want to do something chances are, I will do it, as long as it respects those around me and myself!

If you ask me for help, if it is within my abilities I will find a way to help. It could be to help organize an event, serve at a party, go for a run (or walk or wander) or just listen.

I love to volunteer.

I love a challenge - whether it is personal or professional. There is something excited about taking something that's in parts and an idea, and make an end product.

This is not a complete list, but a good start. A good place to build from.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weaknesses, a bit of emtional house cleaning, and a Resolution

Yesterday I told my boss of 5+ years that I had another job offer and, more than likely, I was going to take it.

I was afraid it was going to become a bad situation. It could have become a bad situation. It started to become a bad situation with my boss going in to his usual defense mode (he is, after all, defending his growing company). I fell in to some of my usual behavior, but not all. And that, I believe saved it from becoming a bad situation. I kept emphasizing his strengths and the company strengths, and that we need to get a transition down so it can continue to succeed.

And then he started asking why: beyond the “I want to grow” and “I am looking for opportunities”. And then I said it: I had become afraid of him. It surprised him, but also made him curious: how and why. And we started to talk. And we listened. And I made sure that I was not making him a villain. He isn’t. It’s a two way street. I was fully aware of what was happening at work, and felt unable to change things: afraid to speak up.

It is easy, in retrospect, to ask, “Why didn’t you talk to me?” my only answer is, when you are afraid you avoid those situations. I hid. I would cringe when he asked to talk to me: who was going to show up? Dr. Jeckyll or Mr. Hyde? Would he try to engage me in a “debate” about anything? I dreaded having to ask questions – wondering if he would help or send me on my way with a quick synopsis with a topic I needed a handbook to resolve and I would feel dumb and too afraid to ask more?

I know my weaknesses (but if you see any please let me know – I can always learn and grow): I lack confidence in the work place. The fact that I state freely that I felt dumb probably speaks volumes on this matter. I am not dumb, but do not do all things well. Some things I do very well. I am human. Enough said. My boss remarked that he was surprised, with all of my marathons and triathlon training that I wasn’t more confident. I thought about that one and realized that, at work, I felt as if I had to hide my personal life. So, it is possible that all that self-esteem building work didn’t come through at work. It remained hidden.

I also tend to project my expectations from someone (likely a reflection of my own fears) on to them before I ever approach them. Kind of like a teenager who gets in to a car accident and only thinks “My parents are going to kill me” when in reality the parents are just relieved their child is OK. I build anxiety when there may have never been a reason. Glorious! I have tried, judged and pronounced myself not worthy before ever speaking with anyone about the true issue. This must be resolved.

A friend of mine once commented that she thought I looked for compliments from others, and asked how can I expect positive remarks from others if I don’t feel confident myself. Although I disagree with her assessment of seeking compliments from others, I agree with her observation of confidence.

And so, aware of my self confidence at work (the lack thereof), that I have been apathetic for two years at work, and that I can immobilize myself by projecting fears on others, I will be starting a new job in most respects soon.

My resolution is to take these lessons I have learned about myself and instead of building a pattern; that I break free and return to my motivated self and bring in that self confidence I have built with my training, and interactions with friends in many spheres of life. I resolve to do this without returning to minimizing myself (physically and emotionally). Ghad zooks. And so I take a deep breath. I take the lessons I have learned. I resolve…because if I waited for the New Year to change – I could put it off another day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Good Fit

This past weekend I was at my alma mater: the University of Michigan. It was only my second visit since graduating. I LOVE Ann Arbor. I LOVE U of M. I love the feeling of the city, and the energy of the campus. It is amazing. When I am there I am home and comfortable.

And it is also where I tried the hardest I ever tried to fit in to a group that was a “bad fit” for me.

This realization came about after finding a group that is a “good fit” for me, and has accepted me for me, and is happy to have me there. The difference is amazing.

I realize now how bad of a fit it was for me in the organization in college. I wanted to be there. I was energetic and excited. But as hard as I tried, I never made progress. I worked my ass off, and it was never good enough. The officials in the organization never learned who I was, never acknowledged me, never spoke with me, never said thank you. I was one of a nameless group. I tried. I did what people said: I always volunteered, always helped, always worked my ass off. It was never good enough. They only asked for more. In short, they broke me. Even worse – I let it happen. I should have realized that and realized that surrender is acceptable, but I didn’t – and it got me in to trouble.

I was so yearning for acceptance, and eschewed acceptance from so many other areas at Michigan – other friends, other organizations. I kept trying (volunteering, trying out for subgroups), and kept getting rejected. I loved the organization, but apparently love wasn't enough. It was just a poor fit.

I still tried because many others were like me, and succeeded. But not me. I failed. I struggled. I lost control. I lost sight of what was important. I worked such that I think people were afraid of me. I stopped joking around. I focused, and I still failed.

I didn’t participate in the organization my last two years: I did a co-op one year, and couldn’t bring myself to go back the next year. I remember that, as I walked to the information meeting the year after my co-op I started crying. One of my roommates – Melissa – talked to me, comforted me, and helped me to realize that it was OK not to go back. And I didn’t.

It was many years before I joined any organization again.

And then I found Team in Training. And there I found a good fit. And there I healed a lot of hurts in the past. I have learned that you can not avoid judgment by others, but you can only do the best you can do. And there I met a group that slowly showed me that it is safe to open up, showed me that it is OK to try; that I can have goals without losing sight of what is important because there is a mission much bigger than you are. I have met the most amazing people – all ready to cheer you on, share moments of joy and disappointment with you, and share a celebration. And you want to do the same.

As I have grown and gotten stronger I have taken on new challenges, and will continue to do so. I get to cheer friends on each time they do an event - and there are many events that go on within TNT and even more outside of it! I am grateful. I am proud. I am growing, and going beyond the safety of the organization, but not beyond the lessons I have learned, mission that keeps me grounded and not beyond my friends. In fact, it seems that we are all growing and changing and exploring new areas. And that is expected! It's exciting to be a part of so much activity.

Looking back I see the mistakes. And accept I can not change them. And am thankful that, even though I didn’t always do right by me, it has brought me to where I am and now I can do right by me. And I can make changes today. I have learned.

I need to be able to go in and be honest with myself – whether something is a good fit for me or not. If it is – great. If it isn’t – I need to know that it is OK to let go – that I will not disappoint anyone, and it is more important I stay true to me so I can affect the most good and enjoy what I do, instead of getting lost.

It has been a tough lesson, and I learned it the really hard way. However, I think the lesson was invaluable, and will serve me well as I continue to grow and love what I do, and explore new possibilities. I am excited again!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Richmond Marathon

I chose the Richmond marathon because I had heard good things about the race and because my mom’s side of the family lived there. It had been a long while since I had been to Richmond, and I thought it was a great reason to go. So, I put it on my list to do in 2010. It was a good choice.

We are staying at my Aunt Judy and Uncle Eric’s. They have an old home in Richmond – a bit drafty and cold, but very warm and welcoming in the heart. They have been terrific – opening up their home to us, making sure I ate correctly (for me) before the race and getting me to the race and helping Carlos get around – I saw Carlos and Eric 5 times during the race!

My parents arrived on Friday. They drove up from Michigan. Eric is my mom’s brother – so again – the Richmond Marathon was a good reason for a family gathering! They also made the rounds on the race course – but after mile 13.1 (where I saw them for the third time) they decided to wait at home. Spectating is a LONG day. I am always impressed when people make the rounds of the full course, and am grateful to Carlos for his continued support.

I slept well on Friday – heck – even slept in compared to almost any other day (woke up at 5:30 a.m.).

The weather forecast called for sunny skies with the race starting in the 30’s and ending in the 60;s: perfect.

I was there early – the 8k started at 7, half marathon at 7:30, and full at 8. They were pretty punctual all around. While waiting I chatted with a few people, but pretty much just waited quietly.

I was racing to my heart rate for the first time. It’s a pretty good strategy, but I think I still need to practice some more. Usually my heart rate rockets when I start, and then comes down somewhere between mile 1 and 3. So I was expecting 10-10:15 minute miles for the first 2-3 miles. Today this was not the case. It stayed low – even at the start. So I started with a sub 9 pace. Lesson learned – have to pay attention to my heart rate AND my pace. More about that later.

The course is mostly flat with a few hills along the way – most notably miles 9 – 16. The course is also very pretty. You are taken through some very scenic places along the river in Richmond, and the leaves are in their splendor. All in all – a great course. Even the ending is downhill – which is awesome!

For the first 13 miles or so I played tag with the 4 hour pace group. The leader was loud, motivating and did a great job. I preferred keeping ahead and/or behind as it was a bit crowded around him.

I was having a strong race, and then about mile 13.5 (right after seeing my family for the third time!) noticed that my quads were starting to burn – as in how they feel after a hard workout. Hmmm…not good. Luckily, I had this happen after mile 18 in Atlanta, and knew that I could run though it. Cycling and training for Augusta also taught me I can work through it. I slowed, but ran through it for the next 12.5+ miles.

I saw Carlos and Eric for the 4th time about mile 18 and let him know what was up – that I knew I would finish – it was just going to be slow. And on I went.

Richmond had terrific water stops – every 2 miles up through mile 20, and then every mile after that. I walked each – after mile 20 walking a little more at the stops, and a little more slowly for each. They had gels at two stops, and two junk food stops (including Coke). I was self sustaining for foods, and skipped it but it was well run.

After mile 20 I started running it one mile at a time. That was my goal – and I did. I kept the walking to just the water stops.

I even picked up my pace for the last 2 miles or so. The last half mile is down hill. I picked up my pace, but could not sprint. Bother. I saw Eric at mile 26, and Carlos right at the finish. I had never gotten to see Carlos so many times during a race. It meant a lot to see my family along the way. This was my first event without a gaggle of TNT family along the route. Blood family did a pretty good job, though!

I finished with a PR – 4:09:27. I wasn’t expecting that. In my mind I was thinking it was a good way to end marathoning for a year by not PR’ing as then I would not have the siren call in the back on my head, calling to try for another soon. Oh well – and so I will go in to triathlon training and get stronger throughout the year and come back in 2012. So much I want to do…it is funny that my running/event schedule is filling up through 2012. Of course, things are subject to change (injuries, life events, et cetera) but for now – I am fully booked for 2011 and working on 2012!

The real adventure was getting home. Carlos and Eric had agreed to meet on Franklin Street at some tower. However, Carlos forgot the second part of the directions. We walked a fair bit looking for Eric. Eric, apparently, walked quite a bit looking for us. We never met up, and Eric does not have a cell phone. Carlos had his, but I did not put mine in my post-race bag, so I was phoneless (and I have most of the family phone numbers). We ended up stopping at a Double Tree hotel and hanging out in the lounge for 3.5 hours waiting for traffic to die down. During that time we used a computer to get Eric’s home phone, called home and spoke to my parents. They offered to get us, but we told them traffic was horrible, and we should wait until the roads open after the race. I had warm clothes. We had food, drink and college football. We were good to wait. About 3:30 Eric and my mom picked us up – no worse for the wear.

We got home, I took an ice cold bath (their cold water is cold enough that there is no need for ice!), cleaned up, and relaxed. People who ran that day and are a part of Judy's church came over for dinner, as did family. I got to speak with new runners and a new group of people and loved it. The new runners said they would keep going! Yea! I got to meet my cousin Jason’s children for the first time (they are now 6). I got to meet my cousin Cameron’s girlfriend. I got to see my cousin Brice for the first time since my wedding (7 years ago).

Overall, I would say this has been a pretty fantastic weekend. Richmond marathon is a terrific course. I have gotten to spend time with my family which has been pretty special. I also got a lot of support from my TNT family as I trained for this event. Overall, I know I am a fortunate woman. I am grateful. Thanks to all who made this a special event.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I recently went to a day of motivational speeches. It was fun, and paid for by three organizations selling their “get rich and be financially independent” programs. I listened – and they were nice. However, I also realized that my goals are not in line with theirs. Yes – I want to help myself. Yes, I want to be able to go for my dreams. Yes, I would love to be able to train almost any time I want instead of strange hours and fitting it around work. Yes, I want to retire comfortably some day. But (and here is the kicker) I want to work. I want to work at a job that I LOVE. I want to be one of those people that looks forward to going to work every day and enjoys (loves) what they do. I want to enjoy the work environment. I want to be productive. I want to enjoy where I spend a bulk of my time they way I enjoy my free time (and training).

But I am not. And that makes me sad on a daily basis. I do not like my job. I do not like the work environment. I do not really like the way my boss manages the office. He’s a good guy – and I like him. We have worked together and it is like a bad marriage. We are both to blame. And I – I want out. I want to find something new.

I would not trade in my time here or coming to my current job. When I started here it was a great job for me and my needs at the time. But it has been 5 years. And I have grown. And I want more. And I do not see that more where I am now. I want a job that doesn’t keep me at my desk 40 hours a week.

I want a job where I get to interact with clients and other personnel. From that description I could be working at a bookstore, or as a maid, or a janitor. I think I want more than that, but if I ended up doing those jobs until I find my passion, so be it.

A part of me is still searching for that ideal job. I am not sure. In my mind I would love to work at a not-for-profit. I am an idealist at heart. I am not so concerned about salary – as long as I am happy, and I see opportunity for growth and expansion in my experiences. Another part of me wants to use my love for business to grow someone else's business and following their passion: Doing the ground work to get a dream going. I have a few other ideas along the same vein: business development. Those are the two areas that interest me...right now.

The more I think about it, the more I think I need to leave where I am – whether I have a job or not. And just gamble. This scares me a little (OK, a lot). But some things you just need to do. I spend too long at the office to be as unhappy as I am here. I know it scares Carlos, but he swings back and forth – when I get really miserable he literally tells me to quit that day. Other days he says “You need to keep working.” I know he trusts me in that I don’t want to not work – but I want enjoy where I work – to find my passion (the way I did with running). I think he just gets nervous about me finding it.

I am putting this out here because if anyone knows of an organization that is willing to work with someone who will work hard, has a lot of skills to offer, but has a lot to learn, and you think it may be a good connection let me know!

I am putting this out there because I want to talk with people who have followed their heart. I would say dream, but I am still working on that. Right now it is a feeling in the heart.

I am putting this out there to ask my friends – are you working at a job you love? If so, how did you discover your passion? What is it that you love about what you do? I am searching for my answers, and looking for guidance from those who are on different paths from me….which is just about everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Richmond thoughts

I sit on the verge of another marathon. I am not nervous or scared. I am looking forward to running another marathon. A part of me is sad as I know this will be my last marathon until after Ironman Arizona, if I get in to IM AZ (that is a whole other subject – IM FL sold out before it opened to on-line registration. Anxiety about this, but also taking it in stride). Back to marathons for now.

So, it will likely be my last marathon until after IM AZ. As much as I love swimming, biking and running, and as much as I love getting to train intensely for 11 months, I will miss pure running. I will be setting aside a few other goals to do this one. But, I plan to work on getting faster and going farther while away from marathons. I doubt training for an IM will make me weak! I just won't get to test it in a pure running mode. Both goals are pushing my boundaries, both are goals. Both, for me right now, are fun. Both are also pushing me away from my minimalist ways. I am learning that it is OK to have dreams. It is OK to go for them. That I will incur judgment from others (heck – with IM AZ too: spending so much money for an ego trip).

Regardless of the direction I go – I need to go for me. I must be dedicated to what I do as I will have people telling me it is the wrong direction. Many friends are going in other directions and I miss them already. I am a bit jealous of where they are going. I am also excited about where I am going. Never in a million years did I expect that I would consider an ironman. But, I can tell you that 6 years ago I never thought I would run a marathon.

And so here I sit.

Part of me is wondering if the era of PR’s is over. If it is – no big deal. It isn’t why I run. However, there is something intoxicating about hitting a PR. I feel strong – cross training and hill work outs. A part of me would love the “reward” of a PR. However – who knows. I don’t. I feel strong - and that is a pretty good feeling, regardless of the outcome.

A part of me is excited about the adventure of what will happen before, during and after the race:, weather, if my body will cooperate or not…and who and when I will see along the course (will Carlos get up early? Will my parents be there early? Probably not but…with each race there is the opportunity), where will my aunts and unless be? It is a bit of an adventure to find people you know. .

I am excited that I get to share something that I love with my family – they have never seen me run for an event (few family members have). Most of my family still associates with me in terms of college and college activities, especially since my Granddaddy and Grandma Fiske went to the University of Michigan. This is something new – my first real ‘adult’ recreational activity.

This is also my first event without Team - even ING this past for which March I trained on my own, I knew a lot of Team people along the course. This one is just me. I am not worried, but it will be different. I love running alone, so I am not worried. There is so much going on when running I do not get bored - I love reading my body, listening to what it says, and working with it and my surroundings. However, seeing friends and family along a course is always exciting - spreading happiness.

And so, as with any new event there is a passing, opportunity and a beginning. I am looking forward to all three.

Monday, November 1, 2010

In the middle before I realize I am even there

Half the time I am in the middle of something huge before I even realize the impact it has on my life. Not that I am totally oblivious. It is because I see it every day, and you do not always notice the changes every day until one day you catch an unexpected glimpse from a different perspective. All of a sudden things change and you see it for so much more or so differently. All of a sudden you have story and not just an event.

I don’t mean to be the accidental tourist in life, but a lot of times there is so much going on I do not realize where I am until I am deep in the woods – for better or for worse. It has been good (Team in Training) and it has been bad (eating disorder).

Sometimes it is because I am so focused on the goal I do not see what is happening around me. Sometimes it is an unexpected consequence of my focus on a goal.
Sometimes it is because I am having so much fun with friends I never noticed everything else. Honestly – the latter is the most fun, and the most scary – opening myself up to rejection, losing a goal because I took my eye off the ball to have fun…you name it and that’s why it is scary.

Much of my life was spent on the former. I am just starting to warm up to the latter…and loving it. As I said, though, it is also scary. You can control yourself (or at least think you can!), but can not control others: what they think of you, what they say about you, if they invite you to go out, et cetera. However, the joy you feel from celebrating the accomplishment of a friend, from enjoying a drink or pizza with friends, from experiencing something new as a memory with people you love, from just hearing a warm hello and getting a hug is very much worth the risk of being hurt by other’s actions (usually not deliberate actions either!). I will admit, I am still awkward sometimes about hugs….but have realized that a slight hesitation on my part can be quickly overcome! People are usually open to a warm welcome!

And me? I am grateful for the second chance.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eating Pears

I used to hate pears. I thought they tasted too gritty. Last year my boss gave us gourmet pears for Christmas. At first I was hesitant. And then I tried them…and I liked them! So I looked around and tried Bosc pears. I liked them too – not gritty. And then the standard Anju pears were on sale for 99 cents per pound. So I bought one…and liked it! Of course most that you get in the store are not ripe and you have to let them sit a few days and then eat them fast but they are good! I look forward to eating a delicious, juicy pear.

And that is how many things go – an unexpected opportunity to try something different. And things just grow from there. I start looking for opportunities to experience more of something and low and behold there is a delightful bounty. I start figuring out what I like and do not like. I figure out how to pick the opportunities that best suit me and how to wait (that’s often the hardest part for me).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Comparison

I have heard a lot of people saying "At least it's not..." and enter your own disaster of choice here. And there is a point to that. I understand that. However, right now, to me, a comment like that - as simple as it is - is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

To me saying something like that implies that your own experience is not important - that it is but a trifle and does not matter. Being a person who spent years (and I do mean years) minimizing her experience, and comparing her life to others, that comment today makes me very sad and angry. Why? Because even if you are a person who has had opportunity or has not faced a major disaster (as perceived by the popular culture - TMZ gossip not withstanding here)why do your experiences - which helped make the person you are - have any less value than someone who has had hardship? The answer is - for me - they don't.

I had a friend that had a major series of strokes. Her doctors told her mother she would never hold a job again - never be independent. Ha - she proved the doctors wrong. How can my life and what I have experienced ever compare to something such as she experienced? It can't. I can only respect and admire what she has accomplished

However, does the fact that I have never come back from a sever disease mean that my accomplishments are any less important? No. I have faced my own challenges. I have come back from an eating disorder and depression. I face a stigma since my illnesses were mental (some would carry it so far as to say that I chose those paths for attention. I didn't need to go there to get attention!). I have come back from minimizing my existence and dealing with severe depression and now am enjoying life in fulfilling ways I never imagined. That, to me, is something to be proud of.

I am working on no longer comparing my life to the lives of others. It gets me nowhere really. What I prefer to do is to look at people I know and observe things that I like about them, and figure out how I can emulate those traits and attributes to enrich my life. I am grateful to all my TNT family for showing me about loving and living life - even though they didn't know I was learning from them. I admire my entrepreneur friends that throw caution to the wind and go for their dreams - I am working on getting there some day! I love reading about the travels of my friends and family, even if I am green with envy. I am planning my own trips and experiences, and may add some of yours to my list! I am listening to people as they tell their experiences as there is insight which adds to mine, and I just enjoy hearing what other people experience - it's completely different from my life.

And so I can not directly compare my life to the life of anyone else. But we can relate experiences and realize the basic feelings of being human. And we can appreciate each other for what we are. We both have value, and our experiences have value. And we can use our experiences to guide us on future endeavors.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Looking through a Window

I was writing a letter to a friend and I used an allegory I haven’t used in years. I stopped and paused, and realized the power of the statement – what it meant to me. It startled me and it made me smile.

In my letter I mentioned that, for many years of my life, from college to a certain point in adulthood, I often felt like I was looking at people live life through a window. Somehow I had no idea how to get to the other side of that window – how to be a part of life instead of watching it. I was, in short, trapped. I did what I was supposed to do, but felt like I couldn’t participate in the joy and celebrations. I didn’t know how.

I remember walking out of the movie “Life is Beautiful” with a friend when I was an undergrad. I was sobbing. Why? Because I realized that so many people fought so hard to live, and there I sat with all the opportunity in the world but was minimizing my existence.

Once leaving graduate school I wouldn’t say I had that feeling often, but I also didn’t think about it. I did and felt a lot: traveled, met Carlos, fell in love, and married Carlos, lost relatives and friends, went to a few weddings, celebrated holidays. Yes, I enjoyed and mourned events in life. But, I still kept myself back. There was still a part of me behind that glass minimizing my existence.

I remember when I heard Steve Irwin died. He is the first who was a celebrity that I really mourned. To me he was someone so full of live and loved everything around him that it just tore me up he died. On the flip side, he died doing something he loved – exploring the world. Again, I felt guilt that a man so full of life died while I sat there not knowing how to move on, live life and participate. You wouldn’t think it’s a hard thing to do, but for me it was.

Carlos and I moved to Georgia. I would gander that about 90% of me was past the window stage, but I was still figuring out how to shake the last of my past, the last of my controlling what I eat; how to get past that window.

Two years ago I started with Team in Training. Apparently something clicked. I won’t get lost in the details, but I was in my second season when I realized what Team meant to me. I was running with Carolyn Hansen and she talked about throwing a party for her daughter Kate to celebrate her being cancer free – and that it was a HUGE blast. It kind of hit me as powerful (and unusual) to throw a party for that, but made complete sense…and I loved that they did it. Life is, after all, a celebration. And I started seeing it in so many places. A friend of mine was battling cancer and writing a blog. I waited for his blog to hear how he was doing but also to read his words. He was so full of life. He truly lived by the Livestrong mantra “Live for today, fight for tomorrow.” Hearing that mantra for the first time was a wake up call. And soon things were falling in to place, and I wasn’t thinking about things they just happened. I loved it. You can’t be around people fighting for life without learning something. You can’t be around people who embody the team spirit without learning to celebrate. You can’t run an endurance event without fueling (and fuel we did).

Fast forward to this morning and I was writing my letter. I used, for the first time in a long time, the allegory of the window – watching life happen. I realized it no longer applied to me. I was there. I am here!

Yes, I am not perfect about it. But, it’s not controlling me. I am not always behind the glass wondering how to get past. When I notice I am keeping myself back I can figure a way around and out. Ask me about my professional career and I know I need some chutzpah there – but I am working on it.

Meanwhile I am enjoying what I do. I am grateful for what I get to do, and I will continue to give to those who gave me life – who got me past watching life simply by living theirs – until I no longer can do so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I haven't read the book (17 hours to Glory - stories about the people who get to Ironman Hawaii), but a friend posted this quote from it. I like it. I think the quote applies to all endurance sports, it fits me, and says a lot about why I have fallen for endurance sports.

"The Ironman has value because it demands value. It cannot be done in one blast of self-destruction or prodigal effort. What sets it apart from bungee jumping or other dares is that it cannot be done on a whim. And it is so hard that you cannot simply do it and risk damaging your body as a cheap price to pay. It demands a long-term physical and mental discipline, a careful accumulation of hard work, and control over the mind and emotions to allocate your energy to the last drop."

Hmmm.....mental discipline? Yup. Physical discipline? Yup. Willing to work hard? Yup. No wonder why I love endurance sports - it puts my powers to good use instead of evil.

When I think about Ironman I know I can finish - with the right training. The only thing that scares me is what can stop me - a structural injury. I will deal with it, heal, and try again. You can't plan for everything, but you can train for anything! This next year will be interesting!

And after I accomplish this goal? I can visualize more Ironman 70.3 (I won't say full Ironman competitions yet) competitions (Ireland, Spain,or Italy anyone?) and my first ultra marathon. But that is getting WAY ahead of myself. Let's see about this goal first! There are a lot of ifs, and no guarantees. I am pretty excited right now!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Southern Odyssey

Warning - this is LONG but is my report from my first relay race. The short version is I loved my team and had a great time. Think of a long road trip and college weekend (without beer) rolled in to one. Lots of great people and generosity. Lots of time to get to know people. Loved running at 1:30 a.m. Would do it again.

It becomes an adventure near the end during our third interval if you want to skip the rest!

I had taken a camera, but let others take pictures. Hopefully I will post some soon.

A Southern Odyssey

I had heard about the Southern Odyssey for a long time – the Big Peach was promoing it a lot. I wanted to participate, but didn’t know a team.

Fast forward to July. During a ride at Cartersville, Chris Hartley asked if I wanted to run with his team. I thought about it during the ride (had to consult with Carlos and be sure I was comfortable with what it would do with my training schedule for the Richmond Marathon. As it ended up, it is not ideal, but I wanted to run it so I said yes. This was basically my first 20 miler for Richmond. We shall see what happens there in a few weeks!

But for now, back to our Odyssey!

Getting there

After a couple of last minute team member changes due to fatigue and injury, we were set to go. Twelve team members, two vans, 200 miles. Six people are in each van. When Team A is on the road, Team B is resting and vice versa. That’s it for the typical rules/process.

I was runner 7 – the first runner for Team B.

The race started in Athens, GA. Team A started at 9:30 a.m. Team B did not need to be at the start. Four of us (Lauren, Paul, Kelly and I) met to drive up together at Lauren home to drive to the exchange point (Team A to Team B) – my start. Katie B and Tim (married) joined us at Katie’s start (leg 11) since both of them needed to work.

Lauren brought more than just a great pair of running legs and good person to be in close proximity for an extended period of time – she brought our much needed second vehicle - a Honda Odyssey! Quite a nice vehicle – good pick up and turning radius. It also does it’s best to minimize Darwin’s theory by protecting you from yourself in many ways, sometimes to our frustration.

So Team B participated in our Odyssey in an Odyssey. Team A was in “Baby Blue” – a light blue church bus that looks very much in size like the special needs buses of yore. The blue made it very easy to identify.

Team B's First Interval

As we drove to our starting point, we realized we may be late. Start stress reaction 1 in me! We passed Baby Blue and the question came up if we should stop to which I said “No.” I wanted to get to the start. I could have been less pushy, but it ended up a good thing we carried on. We arrived, I found the bathroom and then wandered over to where Team A was waiting, walked with Chris to get our numbers. I was still putting my number on (we were team 1!) when our 6th runner arrived. Eep! I quickly finished putting on my number, put on my bracelet, gave Bart a fist bump and was off! My first leg was 9.4 miles and I started at 2 p.m. It was hot. I also think eating to run in the afternoon is hard. I could tell I was a little off as food I had eaten felt high in my chest. However, it was basically an annoyance - slowing me down a little and being a little uncomfortable.

During this leg I learned this event will be different from anything I have ever done. Other teams cheered as they drove past me or as I passed where they waited for their runner. One team gave me some cold water (very nice since the water in my bottle was warm). The generosity and spirit on this Odyssey was spectacular.

My leg finished – about 1 hr 29 minutes. Three people passed me. All were flying. I gave Paul a fist bump and he was off. I was navigating, Lauren driving and Kelly communicating with Team A. Team A had headed off to the camp site to rest and eat. We quickly realized that Team A has the shortest legs, giving us little rest time between legs. We realized that if we went to the campsite we would have little rest time, and little time to eat and a lot of driving time (1.5 hours driving time of a 4 – 4.5 hour leg for Team A). We worked with Team A and they agreed to bring food and our gear to the second exchange and we would sleep near the third exchange.

Meanwhile, we also kept running. We would drive ahead a bit, check on our runner and cheer them on and then drive ahead again. Paul had a great run. Kelly was off. Kelly had done the Bourbon Relay in Kentucky last year – the only one of us who had done a relay before. Kelly handed off to Lauren. Her run was rated as “moderate.” As we drove it we thought “moderate my ass! This is hard. It was almost all on an incline!). We saw her at the top of one of the inclines and then headed off to meet Katie B. and Tim.

We found them. A side note about Katie B – she had finished her first Ironman (Ironman Wisconsin) about 3 weeks ago and she was ready to run! Her first leg was also 9.4 miles, and she kicked it. At this point we had two vehicles, and would continue to do so until the next exchange point. Tim picked up the next leg – 7.4 miles. It was getting dark. He had a flashlight. It ended up he ran on gravel roads which took a toll on his knees, but he made it and did great time. While there one runner came in and had to wait about 7 minutes before his van came in – and he had run hard. There were some FAST teams out there including the UGA cross country team. They flew.

The third exchange between teams (Team B to Team A) was at a church – they were open letting us use the bathrooms, and had a cafe they kept open, and were selling water and Gatorade. Yea! It was there we took a team picture, met Claire – the woman who prepared food for us, and got dinner (this is about 10 p.m.) We pulled out the cooler, put head lights on it so we could see and ate in almost pure silence. We were hungry and the food was terrific.

With our first leg done we drove to the area of the next exchange and slept in a parking lot. Laruen couldn’t sleep and wandered. I slept a little, but not much. Soon the time passed and we headed to the next exchange. When we arrived there were many teams there that had just gone right there and slept at the exchange site. Lesson learned – no need for a camping site – we would never use it – just go right to the exchange site and sleep. That was our plan after the second leg.

Team B's Second Interval

So I got ready for my second run. I go up to the exchange site and the race director sees my sweatshirt and gives me a big hug. His two kids had gone to U of Michigan. We chatted about Michigan and the relay race and other races he had directed. Soon Bart came in to site, I passed my sweatshirt to Kelly, and I was off – with the director wishing me good luck on my run.

The weather was perfect – cool/cold but not too cold. The sky was clear and you could see so many stars. Absolutely amazing. Three runners passed me. We chatted a few seconds and they moved on. I kept moving along. I felt a little bloated/yuck on the run, but it didn’t bother me much, just made me a little uncomfortable. One van tailing a runner asked if I was OK running alone. I told them I was and thanked them. People are so amazing. Eventually I saw my team waiting for me. They would go ahead about a quarter of a mile or so and then move on as I passed. I actually enjoyed the alone time at night. I had on a safety vest, head lamp and flashing light (all runners did at night). I felt comfortable. It was gorgeous.

Soon my leg was done and I fist bumped Paul. He was off. We continued our game of leap frog with Paul and a few vans tailing runners and never leaving them.

Next up was Kelly and I drove. I started leap frogging her, but thought the other vans may be getting annoyed, and then asked if she wanted us to stay with her. At that point we heard dogs howling and she said “Yes” very quickly. So, I stayed with her. We did the same for Lauren and Katie. I asked Kelly for some of her Ginger Ale and she gave me her second bottle. It worked wonders and I started feeling better with a few slow drinks and burps.

At this point I was getting tired and pulled a little ahead just out of fatigue. We would leave them close to the end of their leg to let the next runner get ready. Tim was running the only leg where we could not follow him – he ran up and back at Amicalola Falls. A short but vey hard and steep run. I fell asleep before he left and next thing I heard he was back. It was a hard run and his knees hurt. Tim got some of the worst runs and was quite good natured about it.

Now it is Team A’s turn. We headed to the next exchange to sleep. A few vehicles where already there. We sacked out. Soon someone was knocking on our window saying the pastor had opened the fellowship hall to let people sleep in there and use the bathroom. We stayed in the van, but appreciated the bathroom and running water. He really did that out of the goodness of his heart and we all appreciated.

I woke up after a couple of hours sleep and knew I was up for good. I was also in the very back of the van and unable to escape. I also had to go to the bathroom. I muttered (good naturedly I think) that I was the wrong person to be in the back of the van. Kelly heard me and let me out! Yea! So I wandered, saw other teams arriving (some had gone to breakfast). Eventually other team members started waking. We had breakfast (leftovers from last night, bagels, cream cheese and bananas) and waited. It was very relaxed and fun. Lots of teams and activity – very festive. Things started clearing out. It was here I realized ours is one of the last teams. None of us are slow – 9-10 minutes miles. A few of us (Team A) were running sub 9’s (and sub 7:30’s). There were some speedy teams here. They also must have really underestimated their finish time as we didn’t pass many people and so must have started before us. It is all a guessing game, I know, but was surprised at the speed of the other teams.

Team B's Third Interval - It gets good here!

And so we waited and got reports from Chris. About 11:30 Baby Blue pulled in to sight. With a fist bump with Bart I was off on my last leg (seven miles) of the relay. I felt the best for this part – stomach felt good, and I felt light. I was a little tired, but still kept a fair pace. It was starting to get hot. Team A had the shortest legs as well as the cooler morning legs. Oh well – we decided that means Team B gets better bragging rights!

I finished my leg with little adventure – our van waiting for me every couple of miles. They handed me a water bottle refill with about 1 mile left. I fist bumped Paul. He took off and like that I was done running. Kelly was getting nervous about her leg as it was over 7 miles and getting hot. Soon it was her turn. Paul did great. Off she went. We followed her closely – giving her a water refill and some salt. We were thinking it’s a good thing the rest of the legs are shorter (4 miles and less). The end was in sight.

Lauren drove ahead because she wanted to go to the bathroom and get ready before the exchange. I took the van, Paul was with me, and we drove back to follow Kelly in. Bad news here – we took a wrong turn and missed her. By the time we got back I was flustered and Lauren had been running about 8 minutes. I waited as impatiently as a flustered person can and soon we were back in the van and heading out. My main mission was to see Lauren and get Katie B to the exchange. For some reason I thought Lauren’s leg was about 3.1 miles. We passed Lauren and arrived at the exchange. I kept thinking that the one time we don’t wait somewhere for the runner something bad would happen. Well – not horrible but after Katie was on her way Lauren told us she had been out of water for about 2 miles. It was hot out there. I felt very guilty. We got her water and started up the van to go follow Katie.

More bad news – we couldn’t find Katie. She can run well, but 2 miles in less than 10 minutes…not likely. Her goal was a 9 minute mile. Eek! We turned back. Eventually we saw her and she gave a frustrated shrug – she had missed her turn and ran for awhile before realizing it. She was back on course but frustrated when we saw her. We checked don’t her water status and then headed off to the next exchange. So far Alpharetta has not been good for us (we started making mistakes once we hit Alpharetta).

Next up was Tim. We were determined not to lose him! Somehow we lost him at the start, back tracked, and picked him back up. Then we went ahead and saw one turn poorly marked so turned back to make sure he made the turn. All seemed OK. We headed to the end to get ready for the finish. We waited. Finally we saw Tim. He yelled “Does anyone have water?” from afar. He was out of water and it was hot! Yikes! We brought water to him, and came in to the finish as a team, but he was really hit hard by not having water for the last part of the run. It took him awhile to recover. It was really hot out there.

Lauren mentioned that she and Tim tend to dump water on their head to cool down. Lesson learned: next relay I will check to see if a runner dumps water on their head. If so, their support intervals will always be short because they will run out of water suddenly. I don’t do that, so it never dawned on me that anyone would run out of water on a shorter run. BIG lesson learned.

We finished as a team in 31 hours on the nose. We had a great time. I loved my team mates. It really felt like a long road trip and college without beer all rolled in to one. There is no reason to do this except for the fun of it. I loved it. The challenge was running on little sleep, staying organized, and (for me) running shorter legs. I always say my favorite running distances are between 8-20 miles as that is when I feel my best. This had me running 20+ miles but in segments mostly shorter than 8 miles.

Would I do it again? In a heart beat! So many wonderful people and good will and just a terrific Odyssey!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Augusta 70.3

The day before I was pretty calm, and nerves only hit while I was in line with all these amazing people wearing shirts from other ironman and half-ironman races. I felt a bit….small. But, I saw many friendly faces, chatted and relaxed and moved on quickly. Enjoyed the inspiration dinner (Shout out to Cliff. He gave a very inspirational speech. Loved it.). Soon after I went upstairs to sleep…which I did…until 2:59.

Race day came and I felt pretty good. We met in the lobby and I remember how good the peanut butter smelled. Mmmm…I promised myself peanut butter after the race. I stuck with my pre-race meal – it works for me.

There was a call for rain that day. Luckily I had garbage bags for my transition gear. First time syndrome set in. First I forgot if I set up in front of or behind our front wheel. I knew my set up, but was clueless where it went. Thought of Darren for the first of many times of the day. Luckily I had many experienced teammates around to ask for a reminder. I had no problem, though, with the order and positioning of my gear. I fussed and fidgeted with my transition – trying to decide if I wanted to put all my gear in the garbage bag or not. Finally I decided I could do no more…left my transition set up in the garbage bag and headed out to catch the shuttle to the swim start. I caught up with Susan, Belinda and a few other team mates and so hopped the bus with them. Grateful for the company

I walked to the swim start with Cameron, Chris and Lindsay. Once at the swim start Alec joined us as well. Our group slowly grew until we dispersed in preparation for our swim start.

I was in the woman’s 35-39 age group…and it was an awesome group. There were about 13 of us from the GA time there: Joanna, Barrett, Susan, Pam, Belinda, Kim, Lauren (two of ‘em!) I can name off the top of my head.. I loved it. As we moved up I felt very relaxed – chatting, dancing to the music and laughing. I hopped in the water no problem and moved up towards the from of the line. As I looked back I saw how huge our group was. They really could have broken our group in to two. Wow! And before I know it the horn blew and we were off. I started off OK, but then couldn’t breath because of the water lapping in my face. I tried keeping my head out but I quickly realized that if I kept turning my head side-to-side I was going to exhaust myself. I did what I could and decided to turn on to my back and backstroke. I was worried, confused, and honestly felt like I was not going to make the swim. I swam like that past the bridge still doing the back stroke…still keeping pace with most people. I decided then and there that I need to try a 5k swim to practice.

I started to relax and decided to flip over. Still didn’t work, but it was better. I retuned to my back for a few strokes and then returned to my front and it clicked again. I found my rhythm. I didn’t think, I just kept going, counting my strokes. I was afraid to sight, but did periodically. More often I glanced to the side and made sure I saw some yellow swim caps around me. At least with the river current I could not swim too far off course! I started sighting more, relaxing more, and feeling more confident.

After this point I never thought I wouldn’t finish. I never thought of the finish, but I never had any doubts creep back in. I was ready and felt great!

When we finally reached the swim exit I started running up – and heard Mary and Mike yelling and cheering. I started smiling – something that didn’t leave my face until well after finishing. I had gotten the swim done. After that my heart beat remained normal, breathing normal, and I just enjoyed.

I messed up here, and put my helmet on before my sunglasses. Darren’s talk about transition and the order to do things was running through my head – accent and all. Dang. I dinked around a bit trying to get them inside the helmet bands and quickly decided to undo my chin strap and move on. I was set. I grabbed my bike and headed out.

I felt great on the bike. Loved it. It was raining at this point, but it was the first time I have ridden in the rain and ignorance is bliss. I honestly felt like we were given license to play in the rain. I smiled the entire time. I went little faster than my other rides, but I felt great and my legs were not tired. I went with it. I was comfortable with the course and knew the hills would not really be a challenge. I felt ready. I passed people, and also became very familiar with the woosh-woosh-woosh of the disc wheels as the riders with them passed me.

I loved the course: getting to click through the gears and feel my speed increase. You can thank Jane Eastman for creating that monster in me. As I looked back to my first long ride thinking “How will I get through 56 miles” to how much fun it is now that I am watching for opportunities to gain speed, and listening and watching for when I need to change gears and reading my body – wow! Exponential increase in enjoying the bike. That combined with all the activity on the course my time on the bike just flew by.

The home stretch came up fast. I knew what to do, and started spinning out. I was at a great pace. I was a little nervous remembering Darren talking about how a little extra speed on the bike can kill you on the run. But I had felt great on the entire ride and was still feeling good.

The transition went well. I was not speedy. Loved my dry socks and shoes. Worth the time.

Once geared up I headed out.

I felt strong and did not struggle, but I had no speed in my legs. Every other run off the bike I had had speed. This time…nope. Darren returned to my head with his talk at Moe’s about how just a little increase in bike speed can kill your run.. However, I took it as it was, was glad I felt strong and went with it. I headed out and saw Mary, Mike and Darren cheering away. A little cheering does good for the legs.

The run was the hardest part. I walked all water stops. My stomach was telling me if I ate anything sweet it would consider causing problems. I ended up running the 13.1 on water, one salt packet, and 4 sharkies. My stomach cooperated though. Victory!

Where the first lap split from those finishing the 13.1 I saw the TNT tent and people I know cheering wildly. I know I picked up my pace a little (naturally).

As I came to the end of the run I started picking up my pace. I threw off the sponges I had in my jersey and handed Carlos my water bottle. I rounded the corner to hear the cheering of Mike, Mary, Darren, Mary, Jessica and teammates. I actually had enough kick left to sprint it in. I finished and was thrilled! Loved it! I was stunned with my time, excited (even if I was disappointed with my run speed – it still beat my expectations). I am so ready to go again…and go for more!

I wasn’t emotional until Tuesday at work…putting together how far I have come in two years, remembering how grateful I am for so many people who love life and share that love willingly. Without Team it would have been another mark in my life – a challenge to finish and move on. With Team it is friends, heroes, inspiration, and an experience of a lifetime! And about eating peanut butter and enjoying every bite.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Looking ahead

Today was our last group ride before Augusta. It was short - 20 miles. We are deep in taper mode. While riding today I realized how much I love gathering speed as I shift through the exhilarating.It is a high..

We have one more group swim, a few short workouts on our own, and then it is event weekend. Always sad to see an event pass; to have a team end. Always exciting to start training for the next event, and to be part of a new team.

I am pretty excited about the Augusta Ironman 70.3. It is my first triathlon. My wave start is 8:18 with the 35-39 women age group. My bib number is 1201. I have no idea what to expect really. Well, let me rephrase that - our coaches and teammates have been talking about what to expect, and I have some idea, but in reality this really means I know what I need to do...I am not sure how it will all play out. I know I can swim strong. I know I can keep a 17 mph average on the bike. I know I have had fast runs off the bike. Will I be able to maintain that run for 13.1 after riding my heart out for 56 miles? Is my pace too fast? I am not sure...but I plan on doing the best I can and suffer (and learn from) the consequences. I am ready. I have learned what I can, now it is time to play...and learn from that for the next time!

I don't like to look past an event, but I am looking forward to what's coming up after. I have had the opportunity to join a relay team to run the Southern Odyssey relay. 200 miles from Athens, GA to Marietta Georgia with a team of 12. I am really excited.

After that I plan to run Richmond, VA. This is exciting as I have family there, and I can't wait to see them. I don't go to Richmond to see my family there nearly enough, and am really looking forward to seeing them all, and enjoying the visit and getting to run the marathon. I am a little nervous about the actual run. I have done great cross training, but I am a little worried about stepping up my running (a little) and getting in two long runs after Augusta. One long run will be in relay form at the Southern Odyssey. Not ideal, but fun and worth it! Luckily I have spoken with a few people - one being a team mate (Lauren) and she is running New York 6 weeks later. She build up my confidence about my being able to still do well at the event just when it was waning. Gotta love my team mates.

Then I plan on resting...relatively. I was planning on running Napa Marathon, but will be delaying it. I want to start running some hill repeats and tempo runs....start building strength. Then, January 8 the fun begins: Ironman training.

So, there will be a lot to write about over the next few months.

Oh yeah - one last thing. I hope to order room service after Augusta. First time in my life! I'll let you know if I go through with it or look at the prices and go down to a breakfast buffet!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


For this entire season tri training has been pretty relaxed. Intense, but relaxed. We can mix things up for training, switch rest weeks, and more. Now it is less than 10 days to the event and....we learn the rules. Most of them are with regards to the bike: no drafting, you must stay 4 lengths behind anyone except when passing, when passing you have 20 seconds to pass, you must remain on the right side as far as possible or else you are blocking, et cetera. At three penalties you are disqualified. There are time penalties for violations. You actually have to go sit in a penalty tent.

You must put on your helmet before taking your bike off the rack, and leave it on until it is back on the rack.

Other rules include you can not receive any external help and people can not join you at any point along the course.

All these rules make me a little nervous. I don't want to mess something up and get disqualified.

And so, in less than 10 days I will be participating in my first triathlon. Besides being nervous about the rules and possible mechanical failures on the bike, I am pretty excited. It's all new to me. I have loved training, and think this will be a fantastic experience. I hope so as I have signed up for more next year! 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Great weekend for a holiday!

This weekend's weather couldn't have been more perfect. So many friends have been posting about terrific runs and rides. Love it!

And so this weekend is the first of two as we peak for Augusta. It started off with a 68 mile ride in Cartersville followed by a 2 mile run. Yesterday was a 16 mile run, and today a 2500 meter swim in open water. It has been terrific! Add to it a lot of time spent with teammates and friends and well....I can't ask for too much more. None of the activities this weekend have been official group training sessions (GTS), but I still spent a lot of time with my outstanding teammates.

Saturday's ride was 68 miles. One group was leaving at 7 (eh - we left at 7:12) and a second at 7:30. This would be a.m.! I felt strong up through mile 48, and then periodically would get a "legs of jello" feeling. However, it would soon fade (as I have learned) and even towards the end we were averaging 20+ mph on the flats. Seven of us stayed pretty close to each other until the last 15 miles or so when "horse to the barn" syndrome takes over...and you just go as best you can. There is a section at about 5 miles out where you can just put the hammer down...and it feels great after pushing through all the hills. Then getting of the bike to it, even though it is hard. The transition from bike to run is rough. However, I have great times on my run after I bike (sub 9 minute miles). I know for Augusta I am going to have to rely on my Garmin to slow me down to about a 10 minute mile, or the run portion will not be pretty! If my Garmin doesn't work that day for some reason, I know I can rely on my watch and mile markers. Regardless, I love running off the bike. I think because it is hard. However, I have my nutrition down, and that makes a big difference getting to the run.

Sunday was a run. I ran 16 - a mile or so more than posted, but I wanted a 16 miler to prepare for the marathon I want to do 7 weeks after Augusta. I started the first 8 with two friends - Joanna and Tushar. Most times, the day after a long bike, I run a 10:30 - 11 minute mile. Yesterday we ran a 9:45 average (and Joanna has been injured). It must have been a combination of the weather, flat terrain and company. For the second half I met up with someone else i know from TNT. We have chatted at the last GTS - Duane. I know he has done Ironman triathlons, but I jumped in. We averaged 9 minute miles or so - and he ran with me for 6 miles. I finished the last two on my own. While we were running he mentioned his wife, and it turns out I had been her mentor for Marine Corps Marathon last year! So I get to see Christi on her birthday! Yea. Funny thing was we had met before, but I hadn't put everything together...until Duane and I ran together. Anyway, I was impressed that I could keep up, and hold a conversation with him. He did slow down his pace a fair bit to run with me...and he pushed me along. Always exciting to know you can push yourself just a little bit more.

Today there was a group meeting for an open water swim - 8:30 we met (a.m. again here!). I got to sleep in! Woo hoo! Anyway, I love open water swims. My body and mind hit a zone pretty quickly that I hit in running at about mile 8 (my favorite part of the run). Once you are in that zone you just go...and I went. I will not win a swimming race, but I can swim strong and well, and enjoy it.

All of this is topped off by the fact that before and after each sport I got to talk with friends - hear stories, get to know them a bit. I eat out a lot more than I ever did in the past...all to spend time with my teammates and now friends. I actually value this time as much as training. I get annoyed when I have to pass up these opportunities because a client may call, or I have work to do. This is new. Sometimes I feel like a slacker...but then I remind myself that there is more to life than work. Work is important, but it is not everything, and everything in my life should not bow to work. I know many would disagree with me. I spent many years of my life that way. If I find a job I am passionate about things may change, but for now it works for me. For now I am grateful for the opportunities I have to reach out and meet others. For now I am grateful to be a part of something bigger than me, and bigger than what my goals are. For now that all makes me very happy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An introduction

Usually I am a pretty closed off person. Today, though, I decide to take a risk and start my own blog. Over the next few months I will talk about training for Ironman Arizona in November 2011. Training starts on January 8, so I have plenty of time to talk about other things...such as Augusta 70.3 coming up September 26, and the Richmond Marathon on November 13.

I know a lot can happen in the next 15 months. I have no idea. Injuries that end my adventure can occur (although I hope not and will do my best to take care of myself), accidents can happen, sickness (one of which I am raising money to cure) can happen, family events occur and...well...who knows. But, this is something you have to plan, and take the punches as they come.

I know there are times I will be grouchy and in a bad mood (so I have heard - to what extend I shall learn). I know I will be pushed as I have never been pushed before. And I can't wait!

So, welcome to my blog. It will be an adventure. I am excited. To me this is living...early bed times, early mornings, long rides, long runs, swims....Yea!

About the title (warning - thoughts will start wandering. I will usually be direct, but this has been a wandering path influenced by many). It comes from the movie Life is Beautiful. I remember the first time I saw it I cried at how hard so many people fought to live. And there I sat with opportunity slowly killing myself...staying safe...staying distant...and I sat there and cried. I was embarrassed and sad. I have worked for a long time to regain my vibrancy and my zest for shed my fear of judgement.

When I started running with Team I was immersed in a group of people that truly love life. I was immersed in so many heroes that are fighting for life. This time I was immersed, and life was demonstrated to me every day. This time I was ready...and I slowly put the pieces together. A friend died of cancer. His blog that he wrote as he fought inspired me to live. I started seeing life and love everywhere - families, smiles, tears, fears, finding a plan B: it all made life.

And here i am - so excited about a new adventure. So excited that I get to train for an ironman! So excited that I get to swim, bike and run. The ironman is a goal....getting there is the adventure and a big life event in itself. Life s messy. Life isn't always as you plan it. Life is what you make it.

La Vita e Bella!