Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blessings in Blue Ridge - July 24, 2011

You all know that this race season just did not go off as hoped. I had all these grand plans of doing my first half IM this year, among many other key race milestones, and had scheduled all my events months in advance to make sure everything was in place to make that goal a sweet reality. But then, one medical thing after another started popping up, along with some fairly big life stressors, and pretty soon it all started falling apart. Missed trainings, abandoned races, and a whole seasoned chalked up to a big fat "do-over"! Aside from the physical setbacks with losing some speed & strength, it has really taken an emotional toll. I've never been an athlete, I'm overweight, and I have to work extremely hard just to keep up with the back of the pack. Let's face it folks, I'll never be in it to win it - I am in it just for the pure glory of being in it! So to lose ground has been really discouraging!

The race on my calendar for July was the Tri the Mountains sprint in Blue Ridge, GA - I had not done this race before and was looking forward to it. But as it got close, I wasn't sure I was going to actually make it to race day in light of everything. I almost caved - almost just threw in the towel and gave in to the weight of the discouragement. The rest of my season had gone down the drain, why bother trying to salvage what was left? But, at the last minute, I decided to go ahead and pack the old gear bag, load up the old carbon steed (at least I think it's carbon, LOL), pick up the Sherpa (a.k.a. my mother, who incidentally still doesn't quite grasp that the title of Sherpa is not an insult, LOL) and head south. I mean, I figured the worst that could happen would be I didn't finish, but I knew for certain I wouldn't finish if I never got to the start.
On Saturday night, we had the most absolutely divine, hands down, amazing pasta dinner this side of the Mediterranean at Cucina Rustica. This charming little place is tucked back in a little hidden hideaway, and if you didn't know it was there, well.. you wouldn't know it was there. But not only was this place classy (they even *snapped* the cloth napkins and placed them in your lap for you!) the food was just indescribably good! Even my mother, a.k.a my Sherpa, a.k.a the biggest pasta snob EVER (we lived in Italy for several years, so she's spoiled), still has not stopped ranting and raving about the place! After a big massive carb-loading feast, it was back to the hotel for a sleepless night - not sure if it was the stress or the fact that I was sharing a bed with my mom and was afraid to move... So the alarm went off and raceday began on only about 2 hours sleep.

When I loaded my bike onto the rack at the hotel, I noticed that one of my plugs had come out and the handlebar tape had started unwrapping. Don't ask me why I didn't notice that when I took my bike OFF the car the night before, but I didn't, and somewhere along the highway between Chattanooga and Blue Ridge, that dang plug just jumped right on out of my handlebar and made a break for it. It's only a little tiny piece of plastic, but that little thing will keep you off the course. No one wants to lose a core sample of oneself if you should fall on that unplugged handlebar :) Anyway, luckily the race directors had a whole container full of plugs and a roll of duct tape, so I was good to go. Yes, folks, duct tape really does fix ANYTHING!

The swim was really nice - the water was a little warmer than I'm used to, but it was so clear and really smooth to swim in, despite dodging all the feet and elbows flying all around my face, but that's what happens when you're not the fastest.... Combat swimming at its finest, folks :) but again, the water was wonderful, and I had a great steady swim, although slower than what I was used to.

T1 was pretty smooth as well - no fumbling around, and managed to avoid forgetting any critical pieces (like my race number, LOL! I forgot that once during a race). I headed off on the bike to see if their definition of "rolling hills" was the same as mine, LOL... Well, it wasn't, LOL... That bike course felt like sheer DEATH on WHEELS! I mean, it was the hardest 18 miles I've ever ridden... EVER. I know alot of that comes from my setbacks, but holy moly those were more like mini mountains than rolling hills, LOL! My legs very quickly wore out, and I ended up walking up a fair amount of the hills. Folks, if you think walking uphill is tough, you oughta try it in bike shoes, LOL! I also experienced my first technical difficulty during a race - my chain came off and it got jammed up and stuck behind the rear derailleur somehow. I got it back on, but it kept popping off and it took me a good 10 minutes to get it squared away enough to continue riding. Once all the "competers" passed me on their return trip (while I was still making my way to the turnaround), it became a pretty solitary environment out there, LOL! The SAG truck passed by routinely to make sure I was ok and didn't need anything, but for the most part, the only time I saw anyone else was a couple of times I saw a male racer ahead of me that always stayed too far ahead of me to catch. I'd get close on the downhills, but just as soon as I'd get within a few bike lengths, there'd be another daggum hill and I'd have to get off and walk. He and I did that little dance for a few miles until he finally had to start walking some too - and I started closing the gap! It only took a few more hills, and then it happened! I got to chick me another dude, folks! I was humming to the tune of Katy Perry in my head "I chicked a dude and I liked it", LOL... and yes, I liked it as much as the first time :)

I finally got back to T2, and man, I was glad to get off my bike! I strapped on my Sauconys and headed out for the last 3.1 miles of the course. There was a little uphill right out of transition, but then there was a nice long downhill, which was mostly in the shade. This thankfully afforded me the ability to catch my breath a little and actually jog really slowly (although I'm pretty sure I wasn't moving any faster than most people can walk). Of course, after about the first mile, I had some moments of deja vu, the shade disappeared and more hills swelled up right out of nowhere. Now, mind you, I had been out on the race course for well over 2 1/2 hours by this time. At every other race I've ever participated in, the course has cleared out and there really is no one left to cheer us stragglers on. Most all of the "competers" have packed up,and even the spectators have headed for home well before we get to the run course, because, well, let's face it - it's hot and those people have already accomplished what they showed up to do. But not in Blue Ridge! There was more support along the entire course than you could shake a stick at... even by the time I got there! Not only were there aid stations at every mile, there were spectators cheering, people parked along the road honking their horns, early finishers hanging around to shout in support and hand out bottles of water in between the aid stations... it was really overwhelming to see!

Shortly before I reached Mile 2, I saw this really cheerful volunteer named Jenna at the top of the hill, and as soon as she saw me coming, she ran over to me and asked if I minded if she walked with me for a little while. I almost could have hugged her - no one has ever done that for me before! She was so supportive and poured out so much encouragement - she never let me give up, even though it was a thousand degrees and I was hurting so bad! She was my saving grace that day - if it wasn't for her, I would have sat down on the side of the road and just cried. I don't know her last name, but Jenna-in-Blue-Ridge, from the bottom of my heart I thank you and will always remember you!

As I rounded the last big turn to head onto the main drag of Blue Ridge towards the chute at the finish, I saw something that almost made me burst into tears. There were SO MANY PEOPLE... it looked like hundreds of people - lining both sides of the street, filling the park, screaming, shouting, cheering, ringing their cowbells.... all for me - a straggler, a slowpoke, the second-to-last-place finisher. And when I actually crossed the finish line, the actual professional race photographer was there waiting for me! I couldn't believe it! You can believe I cheesed it up big time - I never get that opportunity, because the photographers usually jump ship once the big dogs finish, just like everyone else. But this time, I actually got pictures - PROFESSIONAL PICTURES - on every leg of the race! Good thing too, lol, cause my Sherpa was so caught up in worrying about me that she forgot to take pictures LOL!

And if all of that was not enough - there was actually a TON of food left too! It was catered by a fabulous restaurant, and it was beyond delicious. And they even held the awards ceremony until the very last racer crossed the finish line, which was about 2 minutes behind me. I know I'm going on and on and on, and probably not communicating eloquently enough to impress just how big of an impact this race had on me. Most of the time, by the time I cross the finish line, I feel like an afterthought. Spectators are gone, some water stops are already abandoned before I get to them, only crumbs left in the food line, and the announcers say "oh yeah, racer # so-&-so crossed the line" as the tumble weeds blow by ... one time they had even deflated the arch and had actually packed up the finish line equipment... that was really depressing!

But not this race. Not at the Tri the Mountains Sprint. I cannot impress just how much of a class act the GA Multisport organization is and how welcoming the entire town of Blue Ridge, GA is. They celebrated every single racer that stepped foot on the course, and they did it with fervor and passion and generosity that I've never experienced before. At the awards, the last two finishers (me and another lady) were awarded $100 gift certificates to applaud the fact that we were out there twice as long as most everyone else, that we ran in the hottest part of the day, and had the guts to just keep going, even though we were suffering something awful.

Here are my splits:

Swim: 18:05

T1: 2:48

Bike: 2:04:02

T2: 3:03

Run: 55:07

My total time was 3:23:02, and I finished 362/368.

A couple of weeks ago, I got my Summer issue of USA Triathlon, and on page 112, there is a phenominal article titled "What Triathlon is All About". This article talks about how we all celebrate the prize winners and would never want to take any glory away from them - I mean, they have earned it! But the author, Jeff Matlow, states in the article that "it doesn't matter how far or how fast you get to the finish line" but that "Maybe what matters is that you dared to toe the start line and to give it your all". He also champions the back-of-the-packers by saying:

"To everybody who doesn't come in the top 10 of their age group, and those who cross the finish line with their hands raised high despite the fact they've missed the race's official cut-off time - we are the people that triathlon is really about."

Here's a link to the digital edition of the magazine - not sure if you can view it without becoming a member, but if you can get it to work, you won'd be disappointed!

Digital Edition of Summer Magazine Now Available News USA Triathlon

Anyway, I wanted to share that little bit about the magazine with you all, because the race in Blue Ridge was the total embodiment of that article. So to the GA Multisport club, the town of Blue Ridge, Jenna-Volunteer-Extraordinaire, all the other volunteers, all the sponsors,my fellow racers, and to my Sherpa - I tip my visor to all of you... we are all what triathlon is all about!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What a Day!

The last few weeks have been a total whirlwind around here - work's been insanely busy, the kids are all but on their own, and then there's all the mess with the doctors & hospitals... I've hardly had time to catch my breath! Today was really no different. You'd think that since it was Saturday there would be some chillaxin' time... I really had my heart set on sleeping in! I never get to anymore, and it double-sucks since I've never NEEDED to more in my whole life (at least it feels like it, LOL). Between working the long hours, and Kurt's incessant snoring, I can't remember the last time I had a night filled with mouth-open-drool-inducing-rip-van-winkle slumber that lasted well into the next day... Even with his surgery (which only seemed to turn down the volume, not cut out the snoring altogether), the fan on, and me being doped on hefty antihistamines, I still get woke up when he comes to bed at 3 or 4 am and jump-starts the chain saw!

I tossed and turned from about 630am or so until about 830am, elbowing with every toss and kneeing with every turn - I mean, it's only fair right? If he sleeps just right on his side and keeps his shoulders pulled back, he doesn't snore much. Only problem is that I have to stay awake to hold his shoulders in just the right position - and that, well.... that just defeats the whole purpose, now doesn't it? Anyway, I went ahead and got up, watched infomercials for awhile, then I got my sweet Bailey up out of bed to go cycling with me. I haven't ridden in weeks with all this cardiology crap happening - partly because of the chest pressure, and partly because I'm afraid I'll cause it, LOL, even though the doc has said I could do "light" exercise. Anyway, we got two hours in and I tell you, it was awesome! It was freaking AWESOME I say! It was really nice to get back out there, and Bailey was the best training partner today. We sang some cadences, braved a dog, a horse & dog combo, and managed not to get hit by any cars.... Heck, I even rode standing up a bit... GO ME!!!! WOOT!

We had to take her bike down to the Hub for a tune-up, and then we headed over to PF Chang's for some Kung Pao.. man how I love me some Kung Pao! That's one dish that never fails to make me happy :) We got in the car, looking at the sky which was getting blacker by the minute. We barely got in the car and pulled out of the parking lot to drive to the mall, which was just across the parking lot mind you... (we could have walked), and the freaking SKY OPENED UP! I mean it was a torrential downpour!!! We thought about waiting it out in the car but decided to make a mad dash for the building instead - throwing all good sense down the tubes, since we left the stinking umbrella on the front porch at home, LOL! Smart people would have went home, but I was on a mission to buy a cute frilly sundress for the anniversary photo shoot I booked for Kurt & me on Monday. In the short minute or two it took us to run from the car to the building, Bailey and I looked like we had been run through the car wash! I mean we were S-O-A-K-E-D with a capital DRENCHED! We got into Barnes & Noble, and had to stand in the entryway till we stopped dripping, then headed to the bathroom to dry off with paper towels, LOL! So, off we go into the mall, up and down each hall, covering the entire upstairs and downstairs, scouring every stupid store that had anything REMOTELY girly but came up empty. After more than 2 hours of steady walking, we did learn a thing or two about mall shopping.

1. Sundresses do not exist for people with boobs bigger than apples
2. People let it all hang out at the mall... I mean, these folks around here give those obscene Wal-mart folks a run for their money!
3. Do NOT go into ANY store with "New York" in the name of it, unless you want to spend $168.00 on a long tank top (yes, I said one-hundred-sixty-eight-dollars!)

We ended up leaving the mall with nothing but Dippin' Dots! Mani-Pedi's made it a little better though, even though it was a "my-color-looks-better-in-the-bottle" kinda job, but oh well! LOL! Topped the evening off with a frozen lemonade & burgers & fries.... sinfully good! It was almost 9pm by the time we got home, and I've sat here for an hour and a half trying to get my blog on. Kurt's gone on a play date to the movies, so I'm thinking I'll hit the sack and HOPE and PRAY that I get some good sleep tonight. Or else Father's Day might start with a very unpleasant surprise for my Hunny Man, LOL!!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It Can't Be Time for June Already!

I can't hardly believe that it is June already... I mean it seems like just yesterday that we were trying to get through the holidays and then my birthday in February and my fabulous trip to California to visit the fabulous Mackay family. And all of a sudden I wake up and it's June already and the temps are creeping up almost to the triple digits. I feel like Rip Van Winkle - I blink and months went by. Before I knew it, I had a high school graduate living in my house, and it seems like the other two are running out the door too. I know they're still in school, but it feels like I'm going to blink and they'll all be gone. Of course I'm a little sad, a little homesick for the good ol' days when my babies were babies, all cute and cuddly, when the house smelled like baby powder and kool-aid instead of Victoria Secret body spray and butts & feet. It seems like the last two decades went by in the blink of an eye. But then again, I am really looking forward to when life becomes all about me again, LOL! When my kids all fly the coop, I will actually be able to take vacation days to... (wait for it)... actually..take..vacation... instead of run a kid here or there. I can't hardly even fathom it!

But I guess I shouldn't get ahead of myself, should I? I mean, one never knows what will happen from one day to the next! SO much has happened over the last few weeks that has really shaken things up and threatens to throw my vision and goals into a blender and hit puree. Take my triathlon season for instance... Initially I had planned to start the season with the Rev3 Olympic in May, which I had to cancel because Andria was graduating. Then I had to cancel the Tour de Cure to participate in the Dragon Boat Race - both of which were entirely worth it! Then a couple of weeks ago, I get derailed by some pesky chest pain and now am strapped to this stinking monitor for two weeks. Most of my training has been grounded until they do more tests, which also means I'm going to probably havbe to miss the River Rat swim on the 11th ... SNIFF! I've had so much down time, that it's that much harder to do even the simple training. My coach still thinks he can whip me into shape in time for my Half IM in September, and he probably could, but the longer I am out of commission now, the harder I'm going to have to work in a shorter period of time to get there. At some point I'm going to have to decide whether it's worth pushing that hard or whether I should push that half back to the beginning of the 2012 season. I really really wanted to do it this year... to have 2012 be the year of the big Kahuna - the whole shebang - my M-dot-tat-earning IRONMAN... but I may just be better off making this another sprint/Olympic year and just use this season to get back to full speed instead of pushing too hard.

I don't know if I can bring myself to do that though... I don't know if my coach would forgive me... I don't know if I would forgive me.... I mean, all I know is "balls to the wall" - push as hard as you can from start to finish, go big or go home, heck... just down right get-er done! Imean, for Heaven's sake - I'm the girl who sewed my own wedding dress in two days because I couldn't stand to stop in the middle! I'm so afraid that if I stop in the middle of something, that I'll get distracted from it and won't follow through in the end. I've done that too many times in my life - always stopping just short of what I really wanted to accomplish, and I really want not to do that. I mean, I'm at the point in my life where if I can't reach a goal, there better be a dad-gum good reason!!! And not one of those shrugging "eh, oh well" reasons neither... I mean like a house fell on me or I got struck by lightning 10 times in a row (I've already knocked on wood though, so don't worry) kind of reason.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see what the doctor says after I go for the nuclear stress test and echo... but it just chaps my rear end to have to be still... I't makes me absolutely insane - I don't know how to downshift... The only gear I know in my day to day life is all-out, sprint race pace, big ring, all day every day... too bad I can't really do that when I cycle, LOL!!!

I'm going to spare you any more ramblings, at least for the night. And I promise to type my next blog post in the day time when my mind is clearer and I can edit it in Word, LOL!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes... or Kurt (Unless You Think He's a Babe - Which I Do)

LOL.... Long title, I know, but I wanted to clarify to prevent any smarty tarty comments that Kurt wasn't in the "babe" category :)

Anyway, so on Sunday, I was logged in to Training Peaks to get a view of this week's schedule that my Oh-So-Fabulous Coach uploaded (he does this every week ya know). I got a look at Tuesday (which is today) and said "Holy Crap, He's trying to kill me!" There was a 2700yd swim this morning and then a 30 minute time trial bike ride this evening, on the heels of Monday night's nearly 4-mile run and will be followed by another 4 mile run tomorrow. I didn't realize I had said it out loud, until I heard my fabulous husband say "You did this to yourself. He is only steering you on the path your put yourself on. He is just making sure you get there!" WHATEVER KURT! LOL... Kurt is usually a man of few words, but every so often he comes out with a hum-dinger and just makes me want to pop him in the chops, LOL!!!! I just wanted to tell him to stuff it in his pie hole, LOL... but I couldn't because he is absolutely right. Well, I could tell him to stuff it in his pie hole, but not with a clear conscience. I mean, after all, no one is forcing me, and my coach is doing what he does best. But I need someone to blame when it hurts so bad..... so I embraced my unclear conscience and told him to get to stuffing... LOL

All in all, I'm thankful for a coach who drags me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone and a wonderful babe of a hubby (with a newly stuffed pie hole) who supports me in everything I do!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

No Cause Necessary!

Here lately it seems that everyone, myself included, wants to help and support people who are involved in a specific cause... like all of the efforts to raise money for cancer research, or children's hospitals, or diabetes, or this-or-that kind of tragedy. But I think we often forget the opportunities we have each and every single day to honor those that aren't capable of doing the things we can do. We whine and complain and look for excuses not to take care of ourselves - I'm too tired, I have a headache, I just don't feel like it, I know this isn't healthy but I'm going to do it anyway... and so on. I decided today that I no longer need a formally organized event to champion the cause of health and wellness. I don't need to wait for the Race for the Cure to honor my dear friend Andrea who has suffered through the darkness of breast cancer. I don't need to wait for the next PanCan walk to honor my great aunt, and second cousin who were all ravaged by pancreatic cancer. I don't need to wait for an American Cancer Society race to honor my sweet uncle who was taken from us way too soon by esophagus cancer. I don't need to wait for the Tour de Cure to honor my grandpa, my uncle and my stepdad who struggle every day with diabetes. Instead, every single day that I can wake up and move forward on my own two feet, I am going to be grateful that I can do all the things I complain about. I am going to run with commitment, pedal with determination, and swim with resolve, because I have been blessed with the ability to do it. I know that all of the people who can't would give anything to be able to depend on their own bodies, and it would be such a shame to waste the gifts I've been given - it would be dishonoring to those beautiful people. You know, I think it's funny how God works - His ways are so mysterious. He must have known I needed a reality check and reminder that I should be grateful that it hurts when I run because I have 2 legs to run on, and that I can only go 11-12mph on my bike even though I'm pedaling for all I'm worth because I have 2 arms and 2 legs to operate the bike, and that I feel like I'm going to pass out when I swim sprints because I have 2 arms & 2 legs with which to propel myself through the water, even though I look like an "angry squirrel". I've been listening to my ipod alot lately, and it has a ton of music on it from various sources - Kurt actually preloaded it for me, LOL! But these two songs keep coming up... The first is Melissa Ethridge with "I Run For Life": and the second is Rob Thomas with "Her Diamonds"... I've tried to link to YouTube, but if they are having problems you won't see the links to the videos :( Anyway, they hit me so close to home. They remind me that I have a duty every single day to honor God for blessing me with good health and a strong heart and a duty to honor all of those who are not able to enjoy the things that I call "torture". I won't be waiting anymore on any organized "cause" to motivate me - I am going to sim, bike, and run in tribute to my loved ones and everyone else's loved ones who can't. I will keep them with me every day and do my very best not to take anything for granted. I am going to swim, bike, and run for life every single time and do my best to endure the pain & struggle, because one day it just might be my own life and sickness that someone else is running for. Andrea, Tim, Betty, Jim, Robert, and Jerry - you're with me always!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Hunny Man is HOME!

He's here! He's here! He's finally here! No, not Santa - my hunny man is home! Kurt is finally back from his trip to Colorado, and I know he's only been gone 2 1/2 weeks, but I tell you it has been the most stressful and eventful 2 weeks of my young life... I think nearly all areas of my life have been put in the blender and puree'd, but now that he's home it's all going to be better :) but SHHHHH! Don't tell him, or else he'll get a big head about it, LOL! Now that he's home, I don't have to get up extra early to make sure the dogs get to eat and potty before work. Now that he's home, I don't have to stay up late to make sure everything gets locked up when the kids get home well past my bedtime. Now that he's home, I don't have to do my own laundry, and I can stop buying new clothes because I'm tired of doing my own laundry. Now that he's home, I don't have to pump my own gas or check the oil in the car, the van, or the lawnmower. Now that he's home, I don't have to watch movies by myself, and our DVR can finally be emptied of all the shows that I couldn't watch because we only watch them together. Now that he's home, I don't have to let the girls have a slumber party in my room to keep me company. Now that he's home, I don't have to bear the weight of sadness and hurt feelings all by myself because there's no one else to talk to. Now that he's home... well.... the list just goes on and on and on. Now that he's home, I don't have to leave all the empty spots in my life open, because my better half (he truly is what makes me a better person) has finally come back home :) Ok, ok, ok... enough of the smushy stuff... :) I'm sure the harping and nagging will kick into overdrive as usual first thing tomorrow, LOL!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

And the Race is On

(and here comes pride up the back stretch)... Oh Sorry! I was hearing George Jones in my head :)

Over the last couple of weeks I've been working on getting my race schedule lined up and I started registering for things left and right! I had planned to race the Rev3 Olympic in Knoxville, but a few days after I paid for it to the tune of a couple hundred bucks, I learned that my first-born's high school graduation is that day :( BOOO! So I had to back out. BUT, luckily the folks at Rev 3 are giving me credit against a future race so all is not lost. Even if it would have cost me the entire entry fee, I couldn't miss my baby's graduation, now could I?

In addition to all the racing I'm doing, there's alot of things I'll use as "training events" as well as a team-building day for work. After all was said and done and my debit card stopped smoldering, here is what 2011 looks like for me:

April 9th - 65 Roses 5K race
May 1st - Scenic City Sprint Triathlon (doing this as a relay with my girls, and I've got the swim leg)
May 21 - Dragonboat Race (I actually signed up to ride 62 miles for the Tour de Cure, but I forgot that I had already signed up for the Dragonboat Race)
June 11 - Chattanooga Rat Race (1.2mi swim in the Tennessee River)
June 26 - Tellico Sprint Triathlon (800m swim, 16mi bike, 3.1mi run)
July 24 - Tri the Mountains Blue Ridge Sprint Triathlon (600yd swim, 18mi bike, 3.1mi run)
August 21 - Fall Creek Falls Olypmic Triathlon (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run)

and then....

the big Kahuna...

the Mack Daddy of my 2011 season....

September 25th - Ironman Augusta 70.3 - this is my very first 1/2 Ironman and will consist of 1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, and 13.1mi run.... yes folks that is a 1/2 freaking marathon AFTER the swim and the bike! YIKES! I'm really nervous, but I've just got to look at it the same way as all the other races.... one foot in front of the other!

Also this July, it looks like I'll be registering for a full Ironman in 2012. I almost peed my pants just typing that, but hey... I've come this far, right? There is no going back now - I mean, there's no other way to earn that IM tattoo, so I've just gotta do it. Unfortunately IMs sell out quick - some within minutes - so I'll have to be poised and ready when the registration opens, which will be the morning after this year's race. Can you believe it? I'll have to register a year in advance, which will mean I will have 365 full days to freak out and think what the heck have I done! LOL But with any luck, come July my new motto will be Lake Placid or Bust!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pressing the "RESET" Button

Well, hello again, my bloggy friends! It's been quite a little while since I've blogged about anything, and it's just been because I've been feeling like my life was put in a blender turned on "puree". Somewhere near the eand of January, I started feeling out of sorts - nothing I could put my finger on specifically, but just "not right". I assumed it was because I was getting close to needing another dose of my hormone pellets, so I just did the best I could with trying to force my way along "business as usual". I was able to take a fabulous vacation at the beginning of February to see my dear friend Shell in San Jose, and for the record, Shell, I will be forever indebted to you... You'll never know how very much I enjoyed that trip! It really helped me to remember to put "First Things First" and take time for joy! So when I got home, I tried to cut back on some of the things that were overwhelming me, and essentially I "uncommitted" myself to all of those activities I'd been trying to cram into those 2 spare minutes I'd find along the way. I thought it would help, but nothing seemed to make any difference. As a matter of fact, I just started feeling worse and worse, spiraling farther down to a place where motivation and desire and appreciation just seemed to disappear. I gave up on healthy eating, training, spending quality time with people I care about, and all that just broke my heart because it wasn't that I didn't want to do those things... I mean I wanted to want to, but I just couldn't make myself really want to enough to get up and do them. Sounds like jibberish, I know, but there's not really an easy explanation for where I was.

When I went to the doctor, hoping for more pellets to end this madness, we learned something completely unexpected. Oh, before I forget to mention, I decided to change doctors - I didn't like the old one anymore (really cold bedside manner), and the search for a new one just made me even later for pellets. Anyway, because I was a new patient, they had to do the whole "how do you do" blood work up and physical, and would not just slice-n-stuff my pellets like usual. I was so frustrated and sad, and at this point in my journey I was just a mess.... crying over every little thing, just desperate to find me again. but I'm telling you, it was a good thing they insisted, because getting those pellets at that time would have had really big consequences. We thought my problem was lack of hormones, but in reality, when my bloodwork came back, my levels were OFF THE CHARTS high for both the estrogen and testosterone. I was so shocked! I've been on the pellets for years, and no one had ever bothered to check them along the way. It's no wonder I felt like I wanted to do pinch somebody's head off and then felt horribly emotional and depressed at the same time! It was like Roid Rage, PMS, and Postpartum Depression got together and had some kind of hay day with my body.... brutal I tell ya! So, my new doctor (nurse midwife actually) has made a plan, and we're changing some medicines around to help me get back to normal. Subtract the pellets, add in progesterone, multiply all that by a little less hectic schedule and more sunshine, and we've got an equation for health with any luck!

After almost 2 months off of training and eating right, I'm finally starting to see the light! I've been out on a few runs, a swim and a couple of bike rides, and although I can tell I've lost some speed and it hurt really bad like I when I just started working out, but admittedly it is feeling really good to start making my way back to the land of the living! A couple of weeks ago, I got my Road ID in the mail. In the midst of my chaos, I had forgotten that I'd ordered it. And it was waiting for me when I got home one day. Once I looked at it, I couldn't help but feel that little spark ignite way down deep. I remembered the thrill I felt when I pedaled past that guy at the Tellico Sprint last year, and instantly knew whatever it takes, I'm going to get back in the race to the rhythm of Katie Perry (not that I advocate her views at all, but her song inspired the catch phrase on my Road ID)....

Thank you all for being patient and compassionate and for not giving up on me!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday, I turned 39, and I have to say that it was up there in the top 5 birthdays I've had in my whole adult life! The entire day was full of loving friends and family, warm sentiments, thoughtful gifts, and more delicious food than I should have eaten in an entire week. Kurt gave me his gift a couple of weeks ago so I could take it on my trip to San Jose, so really, I've been celebrating for weeks now *big cheesy grin*! The fun hasn't stopped yet, cause as soon as I'm done playing around in Bloggy Land, Kurt's going to take me out to lunch at Famous Dave's (never been there) and then on to shopping for a new couch & loveseat! But wait! There's more! If we get back from shopping in time, we'll be headed over to my sister's house for a good old fashioned weinie roast... I'm going to need a vacation from all the celebrating :)
Anyway, I just thought I'd share a few of my favorite birthday things with you!

This is a dry erase board eraser shaped like a paw print (like you couldn't tell, LOL) that I got from one of my employees - and it's magnetic too so it sticks to my cubicle wall :)
This is my dinner from Red Lobster last night - that's right folks... you're looking at a pound and a half of snow crab legs WOOO HOOOO! Funny thing is, that was the second time I went to Red Lobster... yesterday :) My fabulous boss took me there for lunch and then we went again last night for dinner... MMMMMMMMM
This is the aftermath, LOL! Little bits of crab & lobster everywhere :)
This, my friends, is the latest edition to my windchime collection - this was a gift from my favorite Kiwi fruit, Shell. She's the one I went to visit in San Jose, and this windchime came from New Zealand where a really uber talented craftsman hammered and pounded and twisted ordinary kitchen forks, spoons, knivees and fishing line into such a sweet sounding work of art... it's the coolest thing I've ever seen, and it has now assumed its rightful place of honor hanging above my back porch. Big huge sloppy wet hugs and kisses, Shell! Can't tell you how much I love it!
I received so many wonderful blessings on my birthday, way more than I could blog about, so please know that I loved every bit of it from every single one of you... God really gave me so many gifts and made it clear that I have infinitely more things to be thankful for than I have fingers and toes to count on. Thank you all for helping to make the last 39 years more than a girl could ask for!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Single Digits, Baby!

The countdown to madness is down to single digits now! In just 9 more days, I leave the Scenic City of Chattanooga for sunny San Jose, CA where I'm going to spend 5 whole days with my soul sister, my favorite Kiwi (ok, so she's the only Kiwi I know, LOL), my dear friend Shell Mackay!!! WOOOO HOOOOO I cannot wait!

We haven't seen each other since October of 2007, when Shell came to one of my scrapbook retreats back when I ran them in Colorado. It was so much fun, because we got a "surprise" blizzard the weekend of the retreat. And Shell still insisted on wearing her freaking flip flops with her green toenails hanging out in the snow, LOL!

I'm so excited, because now I finally get to attend one of her world famous Scrapgrlz retreats. Been trying to get there for years, but life has just gotten in the way! It has gotten so much in the way that I haven't scrapped more than 2 layouts in the whole 2 1/2 years I've lived here in Chattanooga. Isn't that just a crying SHAME?!!! I am barely going to be able to hold my head up and look my fellow retreaters in the eyes from all the shame! But, scrapbookers are generally a forgiving lot, so I should be okay :)

I've already warned my coach that I'm going to be spending 5 days... count 'em ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR-FIVE DAYS.... of sitting on my rump eating absolutely NOTHING good for me and doing NOT ONE squat, NOT ONE single stroke in the pool, NOT ONE single step in the running shoes, NOT ONE single rotation of a bike tire... there will be NO FITNESS involved whatsoever, LOL!!! I'm going to be in culture shock, but it will be a fabulous change of scenery and hopefully will be just what I need to refuel. Of course I'll probably be begging Coach Andy for mercy when I see the workouts he's planned for me when I get back, LOL.... but it'll totally be worth it :)

San Jose better hold onto it's shorts, cause the Shellbillies, along with a Flat friend or two, will be tearin' it up... WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Widgets, Countdowns, & Tickers... Oh MY!

Ok - I'm just going to come right out and say up front that this has absolutely nothin' to do with nothin' LOL, except for some whining and griping! I have been working on my webbin' and bloggin', and just trying to get back into the technological groove lately by redoing my blog site, working on some new graphics, and actually making a point to post more. However, I have forgotten most everything I know about PSE, so the graphics are coming along VERY slowly.

SO I decided to work on posting instead, and actually have quite a bit to blog about... New race schedule starting to fill in for this year, some neat family things, and just general who-knows-if-it's-blogworthy stuff. I logged into Blogger to start drafting a new post, and I was really bummed to see that my countdown widget has stopped working - you know, the one for the Ironman Augusta 70.3?! I was proud of that one and one I really want to keep right at the top of my blog for inspiration and accountability, but the stupid thing stopped working... kicked the bucket... bought the farm... bit the big one! The website where I created it isn't working either! I've tried looking for other websites or ways to learn how to create my own, and I'm still coming up empty *sniff*.

I just don't understand in this day and age how I can be so technologically challenged! I want my widget!!!!