Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Take that tag off!!! Last Triathlon post

Hubders is a nut!!! He's the funniest guy I know, makes me laugh every day and prevents life from ever being dull.

One of his favorite ways to tease me is that he tries to wear new clothes with the tags still on them. More than once I have been sitting by him at church and suddenly realized that he has a tag hanging behind his tie. Jeans will still have stickers on them as he walks out the door. Shirts will have tags hanging off them. I have to chase him around the room in order to rip off the tags. He loves to act offended that I wouldn't let him wear the tags out in public. This little ritual has been going on in our home for quite some time now.

Saturday morning while waiting for the signal to start my division of the triathlon, I started hearing people call my name. I turned around and saw that my family had arrived, all of them in the green shirts from my sis. I looked at my sweetheart and saw that he still had the sticker down the front of his shirt! Surprise! Yup, that's MY man! I hollered at him to "Take that sticker off!!" He just smiled and shook his head.

I finished the swim, transitioned from swimming to biking and headed out. As I went past my family, I again told him to rip that tag off and he hollered that it was motivation for me and I would have to take it off myself once I crossed the finish line!

He couldn't believe how many women tried to take that tag off during the race. He had to protect it multiple times in order save it for me.

It's soo easy to take for granted how supportive that good man is of everything I do. Hubders thinks I can do anything and often I'm able to accomplish things for that very reason. I'm motivated to keep going and never give up simply because of his faith in me. He's the best husband on the planet, and he's mine!!! It's a beautiful thing!

My guy! Yup, he's the one with the tag on his shirt!

Just before my victory kiss. Notice the tag in my hand, I finally got to rip that thing off!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Triathlon Surprises

I love surprises, and got a big one this weekend. My sis, who lives here, called on Friday morning and we arranged to meet at a park later in the day. As I walked to the park, I could see her there with her kids and then I saw someone else who looked like one of my sisters that lives in Utah (I have five there). I looked again, sure enough, it was her! I ran and threw my arms around her asking what on earth she was doing here. It turns out she read my post on surprises, and decided it would be fun to surprise me by flying to the midwest to watch the triathlon! WOW!

I was dumbfounded! But as I think about it, I shouldn't have been. She's always doing really thoughtful and sweet things for people around her. Buying a plane ticket and arranging to be away from family and church obligations (she's Primary president in her ward), is huge!!! But that's just the way she is. We had sooo much fun together!!

My sis and me at the park!

To top it off, she brought green t-shirts (my favorite color) for everyone so that I could easily find my cheering section! Some of the shirts said, "It's a beautiful thing". I didn't quite understand why and when I asked, she said it's because I say it a lot. I had no idea that I said it, but over the course of the next few days, I noticed every time I said it, and she's right, I say it a lot! She also brought a black frame with "It's a beautiful thing" in vinyl between two pieces of glass. It looks fabulous and I'm trying to decide where to hang it in my house.

My next surprise was that my husband showed up a few hours later. You see, I originally thought the triathlon was not till the 29th, next saturday. Hubders had a three day conference for his work on the 20-22, so when I realized that the triathlon was on the 22nd, I was dissapointed that he wouldn't be able to be there. But it couldn't be helped, so we moved on. [Side note: When I posted that I was a ditz and had discovered that the race was earlier than originally thought, I stressed my sis out! She already had her plane ticket and had to change it!! She says she's gonna hold that ditzy moment over my head for some time!]

When hubders pulled in the driveway, I didn't know if he left the conference early or if the conference had been cut short. Turns out it was neither. Apparently an email was sent out in June changing the conference from a three-day to a two-day conference and I missed the email (I'm his secretary, and still a ditz!). So, according to Hudber, I surprised myself on that one. But, whatever, woot anyway, he was home!

So, not only did my husband get to be there, Sweetie is home for two weeks from college, my sis was there, my three still-at-home kids, and Cutie-Pie, my adorable daughter in-law who is a photographer came too! I can't tell you how great it was to see them as I came and went each time! Quite the cheering section!!! And sooo easy to spot!

Here's my cheering section. A sampling of the best people on the planet!

The wind beneath my wings (more on the tag on his shirt in the next post)

Cutie-Pie, Hubders, and Sweetie

My Girls!


Cutie-pie! Have you ever seen a more adorable daughter-in-law?!


Sweetie!! Home from college (for a minute, anyway!)

Bikey-boy and Cutie-pie!

Hubders and Girlie-whirl!

Triathlon and I lived to talk about it!

This is the first of three posts about the triathlon. This post is about the logistics of the actual race, the next two posts will be about the emotional stuff connected to the race. (this will be the most boring one, I promise!)

The morning started lousy. Having inadvertently set my alarm for 4:45 pm instead of am, my eyes popped open at 5:11, exactly 4 minutes before my running buddy "C" was to pick me up (we were meeting "M" there because she had a booth in a festival that she had to go to immediately after--crazy woman!). In a panic, I scurried around trying to get ready. Do you have any idea how many things you have take with you for a triathlon? Water bottles (lots of them), biking shoes, sunglasses, helmet, biking gloves (these are absolutely crucial!), two towels, Gu (which wasn't as nasty as I thought it would be), power blocks, your triathlon packet, swim goggles, the bike, a shirt to throw over the suit after the swim ... you get the idea, there's lot's of stuff. I threw it all into a bag along with clippies, hair elastics, brush, a yogurt smoothie and string cheese, (because you have to, have to, have to eat something and I obviously had no time to eat at home!). I threw on my suit, socks and shoes and ran to the door to see if "C" was there. Thankfully, she wasn't yet, so I actually had time to go put on deodorant and take care of other, um, personal needs (I know, TMI).

Food and hair were taken care of in the car and soon we were walking our bikes and all our stuff up to the club house, having parked blocks away. As you walk in, you have to give your race number and someone writes it on both of your arms with a sharpie. Then they write your age on your calf. "C" said, "Let's go to Cathy, a friend who was volunteering." So Cathy wrote on me. She learned it was my first triathlon and asked if I wanted smiley faces. "You, bet!" I told her. Later, I had a woman ask me, "Hey, how come you got smiley faces and I didn't?" I told her that when you're with "C", you get perks, which is true, she seems to know everyone and they all love her (who could help it!?)
My number and smiley face!

Yup! I'm 44!

We set up our transition area, got our computer chips (they looked like a Velcro watch kind of thing that you put on your ankle) and then went down to the water to wait for the race to begin. The temperature was AMAZING for August in the Midwest, so amazing that we were freezing until we got into the water. I stayed at the back of the pack as we headed off ("C" says there's less chance of being kicked and clawed in the back), and, since I'm an incredibly slow swimmer, that's exactly where I stayed. A quarter mile looks sooo much farther when you're in the water than when your standing on the beach! But, I just kept moving my arms and legs and eventually made it out of the water.

Waving to my family after the swim.
Next it was time for transition to biking. I toweled off, drank/ate (I don't know which to call it) the Gu, followed by LOTS of water, put on my shirt, socks, shoes, helmet, biking gloves, forgot my sunglasses, and headed on out. The bike was just as I practiced it, but maybe a smidge easier because of the adrenaline of race day. Nothing unusual happened and, twelve miles later, the transition to running went smoothly.
The end of biking

Running was the event that I had become stressed over. You see, my killer work-out class instructor had advised me to only give 60% on the swim, 80% on the bike, and 100% on the run. To me, this meant running the whole thing, no walking. But, two weeks ago, when we biked and ran the course, I was absolutely shocked by how hard it was to keep running after the bike ride, even though I'd combined biking and running into single workouts multiple times. I simply didn't have it in me to run the whole thing, so we walked up the hills and ran down them. I was grateful that I learned this before race day, knowing that it would have been defeating to learn I couldn't run the whole thing the day of the race.

I was fully prepared to run as much as I could and walk when I had to, but, since this was the run (100% remember?) I was determined to give it all I had and see how far I could make it before I had to walk. (Have I mentioned that I live in a VERY hilly place? There's no such thing as flat around here).
The run was easier than two weeks previous, maybe adrenaline again, who knows, but I was more than 3/4's the way and was sure I had one more tough hill to conquer and knew I wouldn't be able to run up the whole thing when I turned a corner and saw the finish line!!! The last tough hill was already behind me and I ran the whole thing!! What a happy moment!!!
I finished strong and didn't care what my time was (in fact, I never checked and since they haven't posted the times on-line yet, I still don't know how long it took me). I was just so thrilled to have crossed the finish line in one piece!!! No bleeding by the side of the road with a mangled bike, no drowning, no tripping and biffing it on the run! Just the toughest/longest work-out I'd ever done and it was behind me!!!

Me running up to the finish line.

Imagine my surprise when, "C" and "M" went to check on their standing, came back, and told me that "C" came in third (she didn't even have time to really train and she comes in third!), "M" came in fourth (she cut 30 minutes of last years' time!), and I came in fifth!!!! Admittedly, we were in the fat-girl division (they call it Athena's!--funny!), but still! I was third to the last one out of the water. We had the purple swim caps and there were only two after me, so I was SHOCKED that I came in fifth!!! "C" repeatedly told me that it's not about the swim, don't sweat the swim, and I guess this proves it. I was simply concentrating on getting from point A to point B, and had no idea that I had passed anyone in my division!! It was quite a happy moment.

"M" (4th place), "C" (3rd place), and me (5th place)

The triathlon was exhilarating, I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest. I think I may be hooked!!! Last night my husband looked at me and said, "I'm going to have to buy you a bike, aren't I?" I just gave him a big smile and he started calculating the cost. "C", "M" and I are already looking for another triathlon. We're all trained up, it seems a shame not to do one more this season!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Primary Pet Peeve

Primary teachers. (Mormon lingo: Primary is the organization in our church for children ages 18 months to 12 years). Love them. Been one. Worked with them multiple times. Thank God for primary teachers (literally!) But, have you ever noticed that every ward (congregation) has at least one that seems to think that sharing/singing time is their opportunity to simply sit and listen? Their primary class is talking, throwing things, refusing to cooperate with what's happening in sharing time, pulling others hair, you name it and the teacher just sits there completely oblivious and does exactly ... nothing!! Seriously?!! Hasn't it ever crossed their mind that having one adult for every 8 to 12-ish children is crowd control strategy, a strategy that will never succeed without their active participation?

I'm not in a leadership position in primary--not my place to do anything about this. In the past when I have been in a leadership position nothing we did seemed to make a difference on this issue anyway. But it's a pet peeve of mine and I wanted to vent.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Calming Down

My friend and I biked and ran the triathlon course last saturday. The biking was easier than I thought and the run was much harder than I expected. But it was a good thing. I'm much calmer now about it all. I know I'll cross the finish line, I may have to walk part of it, but I'll get there!! What would we do without good friends?!!

Here's a pic of us after we finished. It was SOOOOO hot!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Stress levels have now skyrocketed!

I have just learned that I've been a total ditz (so what else is new!). I've had the wrong date in mind for the triathlon!! It's a whole week earlier than I thought! Yup, only 16 days left! I think I'm gonna be sick!

Runnin Scared

I try to ignore it, pretend it's not there. Sometimes I even almost succeed. But, most of the time, it's there in the back of my mind, popping out at odd times and interfering with my already taxed thought processes. It spurs me on to do things I wouldn't normally do, things that are painful and inconvenient. It's fear, nagging, tug in your gullet, deep down fear.

That triathlon which sounded like a cool idea last September when two dear friends started putting the pressure on me to join them in 2009, is looming large. It's now only twenty-three days away and counting down fast. It seemed like a good idea, but, it was then comfortably eleven months away. I didn't even feel nervous when I paid my 90 bucks to register in January, eight months is plenty of time. The fear started mounting in March and now it looms so large that I find my insides shaking with it at odd moments.

They call it a Sprint Triathlon. In layman's terms that means that it's the shortest, easiest series of the three parts of a triathlon (swimming, biking, and running) that you can string together and still call it a triathlon. So here's what it consists of: a 1/4 mile swim, then a 12 mile bike ride, followed by a 5K run.

None of the parts by themselves feel too daunting. I'm not that great of a swimmer, but I just happen to have enough buoyancy(okay, it's fat) on my body that sinking takes effort, so as long as I keep kicking and moving my arms, I'll get there eventually. I figure I can ignore the stinking lake water and make it through the swim fairly well.

Next, we bike which is more intimidating to me. Although I'm learning to love biking, I'm just not that experienced yet. My own bike is WAY too heavy, I'd never make it. A good friend, who happens to be just my height (I almost wrote "just my size", but I'm sure her pants are at least two sizes smaller than the ones that I can button myself into), and has been a triathlete, graciously offered to let me use her amazing bike.

Her bike is sleek and incredibly light weight, which makes the hills sooo much easier!! The drawbacks? Well, I hadn't even heard of clips (in the biking world, I mean), until talk about the triathlon began. For the uninitiated (read, me a year ago), clips are what serious bikers use in lieu of pedals so that they can not only push down when they pedal, but they can also pull up. You see, there are no pedals on this bike, just two little do-hickeys called clips. The other part of the clip is on the bottom of the special shoes that you wear. In order to ride this bike, you have to get one foot clipped in and then, in order to avoid falling over, you must be moving forward as you clip in your other foot. The clip, of course always flips upside-down, so you have to flip the clip and then clip your foot in, while riding, before you can successfully start down the road. When it's time to stop, you have to get at least one foot unclipped really fast or your gonna fall over with your feet firmly attached to the bike, praying all the time that no one is looking.

I'm getting better at getting myself in and out of the clips, but when the lady who taught my killer exercise class learned which triathlon I was doing, she said, "Oh, that's a really tough bike course for a first triathlon." Great, my stress levels are rising! I can do a 12 mile bike ride, in fact, a friend and I did one with our kids a couple of weeks ago. But between the the hills and a friend mentioning that rideing your breaks down the really steep hills could cause your tire to pop off, and hearing that what this course takes is an experienced biker, the fear mounts.

Last of all we run. 5K is very doable at this point in my life. However, to run it AFTER swimming a quarter mile and then biking for twelve? I just plain don't have it in me yet! I know I don't! (can you hear the panic?) So, every day, I'm running or biking or swimming or doing a combination of them to try and get ready for the big day. Every mile I run, every completed bike ride and every half-hour in the pool helps keep the fear a bit more at bay. But I can't eliminate the fear, it's real and getting bigger every day. It didn't help when a man in my ward (church congregation), told me that when his wife did a triathlon a few years ago, woman after woman ran into one of the many Johny-on-the-spots before the race started to toss her cookies!

I don't want to place or outshine anyone in the triathlon. My one and only goal is not to die! Okay, I admit, I do have one other small goal. I don't want to do anything really really embarrassing. I want to be able to converse about the race afterwards without hanging my head in shame. Is that too much to ask? I certainly hope not! In the mean time, if you need me, I'll be swimming and biking and running scared.