Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh.Em.Gee: My First Triathlon!

So, I've survived my first ever you can tell by the fact that I'm even writing this blog.  What an experience!  In order to tell this story, I have to start a week ago...bear with me.

Sunday, May 13th, was Mother's Day.  The weather was nice, so Mark (my husband) suggested we take a family bike ride - what a nice idea!  And it was, until the flag flew off the bike trailer.  Mark had been pulling both girls in a bike trailer for about 7 miles at that point.  He had also pulled them to the top of a pretty steep hill.  The steep hill was where we lost the the top...the very top.  I had already climbed The Hill twice, but, being the kind wife that I am, I told Mark to take the two screaming girls home and get their dinner started.  I would climb The Hill once more to obtain said missing flag (again, super wife).  I went to clip back into my pedals, only my foot slipped off, and the bike jammed forward into my tailbone...HARD!  Feeling instant pain radiate throughout what felt like my entire pelvic bone, I mouthed an expletive to my husband, fought back tears and told him to go on.  I took several deep breaths, clipped myself into my pedals, and started chugging up The Hill.  Needless to say, the flag is back on the bike trailer; I made it home in one piece, albeit riding in my drops the whole way and cringing every time I hit a bump (and there happened to be A LOT on the way home).  Ice and ibuprofen were my two best friends for the rest of the week leading up to the race.  Thanks to the help of my husband (super husband) and my mom, I was able to rest the following two days to some extent.

Wednesday morning, I decided to swim.  I figured that would be the least impact on my tailbone, and it would be a good way to gauge what else I could do the rest of the week.  Fortunately, my kick is weak anyhow, so I didn't rely too much on that as it was.  However, it still hurt.  I did my workout, got out of the pool and told myself I was NOT riding my bike later that day.  Thursday I ran...slow to start, but I surprised myself with an 8:30 mile at the end.  Not sure where that came from!  During that run, I had an epiphany: I'm going to do this race and really do it just to finish.  Because I had to go out a little slower than usual, I was forced to really take in my surroundings that night.  The fresh air, the smell of freshly mowed grass, the sun on my skin, the pavement beneath my feet, and the people I passed.  What a joy running was!  Why not just have fun with this race and all future races I do?  Sure, competing to set a PR is ok, but what happens when you just go to complete it?  That was my plan for the triathlon.

Friday, we attempted another family bike ride; this time, we avoided The Hill.  We had fun taking the girls to Peace Valley Park and letting them stretch their legs by wading in the lake.  When we got home, I could feel my tailbone enough to make me take notice, but not enough to lay me out on the couch for the rest of the night.  I was healing, and my body was telling me that, come race day, I'd be ready for it.  Saturday was a nice 3.5 mile jaunt with my Fleet Feet No Boundaries buddies, and then a great afternoon filled with vegetable garden planting and yard work.  I was in my happy place.

Then, 8:30PM rolled around and my nerves took over.  I'm very good at procrastinating, so I had just tried on the shirts I had borrowed to wear the next day (Friendly Tip if you do a triathlon: Don't wait until the night before to try on your clothes).  I started freaking out!  Two of them were too small (I thought), and one was too big!  Now what?  Do I go to Kohl's or Walmart to find something else to wear?  Do I wear my bathing suit and pull my shorts on at transition?  Do I suck it up (or in) and put a t-shirt on before the bike so my flab isn't waving in the wind?  So many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there repeatedly trying on the different tops I had.  I called in the patience and reality check that I knew my husband would provide.  Mark told me that I had nothing to worry about, that I looked fine in either of the small(er) tops, and that it wasn't about what I was wearing - it was about what I was doing.  Point taken, Super Hubby!  I settled on this matter and continued packing my transition bag.  Mark went over a checklist with me before he put me to bed (he literally had to tell me to go to sleep), and I set my alarm for 4:30 the next morning.  I laid there, wide-eyed and staring at the ceiling for awhile, but soon I drifted off to dreamland.

The next morning, I rolled over and said to Mark, "I don't want to do this."  Essentially, he told me to shut up (Note: author has taken liberty to paraphrase the previous remark) and get ready to go.  I got dressed, went downstairs for breakfast and coffee, and then headed out the door with Mark, all the while going over a mental checklist to make sure I had everything I needed.  We got about 10 minutes from our house, and I blurted out "I forgot my ID!"  I had not picked up my race packet like a good girl the day before, and I needed my photo ID in order to even get it.  God bless Mark.  He calmly turned around, drove home, and patiently waited in the driveway while I went in to get what I needed.  On the road again.

And then, the race was on.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Worries are So Minor.

The Dash
By Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who love her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

My step-grandmother passed away tonight.  It was a whirlwind of a loss.  My mom called me at 5:45 to tell me that the doctors believed she suffered a brain aneurysm and that her brain had shifted.  There was nothing the doctors could do for her at this point, so they took her off life support and were just waiting for her to pass.  She did less than two hours later.  Barbara, you will be missed by all those whose lives you touched.  May angels lead you in.

In the grand scheme of things, my shit is too small to be so worried about.  As I sit here typing, I've spent the last two days feeling sorry for myself because I can't get my nutrition just right in order to lose weight and fuel my workouts.  I've been so incredibly stressed out about it that I've been eating myself and my family out of house and home.  Yet, tonight, I'm snapped quickly back into reality and reminded that life is too short to get hung up on the small stuff.  This is small stuff.  My imperfections are small stuff.  This life is only the beginning.  I'm wasting it by feeling depressed about things that are not going to change overnight no matter how badly I whine, cry, get angry or wish.

Instead of "why can't you get this right?" or "why can't you be perfect?", new questions are instantaneously flooding my mind.  What is your purpose?  Are you a blessing to those around you?  Are you living your life with intention?  Do those around you know how much you love and care about them?  Are you living your life as an example to your children? Your spouse? Your friends?  What was the last act of kindness/love that you did today?  What are you doing to better the lives of people around you?

I'm angry.  I'm upset.  I'm sad.  I'm shocked.  As my husband hugged me and then helped me clean up the playroom, I wanted to yell at him for not doing it earlier while I wasn't home.  Instead, I stopped myself and thought "he's helping me now, and thank God he's here."  Life is so ridiculously short, and it seems that I have to be reminded of that too often.

How are you spending your dash?  I know that my dash needs improvement, and I'm not letting another second go by without changing it.  Tomorrow, I'm waking up with intention: to be a blessing to everyone I see.