Saturday, October 30, 2010


I have this quote hanging in my office at work. I've had it for over a decade. I walk by it every day, but re-read it again yesterday. It sums up my 2010 race season (I finished my last two races injured because I was too stubborn, I mean persistent, too give up), and life in general right now.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race"
Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My 2010 Season in Pictures

Trakkers Gear!

Post-its from Jenn at HQ...always appreciated

Meeting Teammates

My first race sporting Trakkers Gear

My Daughter's First Race

Columbia Tri

Rev3 Quassy: Trakkers Tent

Rev3 Quassy

Half Rev Quassy

Working the Quassy Water Stop

Iron Girl Pre-Race

Pre-Race with Trakkers Teammate Kelly


Rev3 Cedar Point- Trakkers & First Endurance

Rev3 Cedar Point: My First Half!!!!!!!

LOVE the Rev3 Bike Racks!!!!

Cedar Point- Hotel Breakers

Waiting, waiting, waiting for mommy


While Mommy Races.....

Finishing my First 70.3

Finishing with My Daughter!

The Best Support Crew!!!

The Best Support Crew!!!

Half Full Tri: Pre-Race

The Minds Behind Rev3 Timing

T1 Here I Come!

Love those hills!

Finishing 70 miles after a knee injury and walking 11 of 13.1 miles

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saying Farewell

Many of us have been lucky enough to know one (or maybe more) of "those" people. A person who will seriously do anything for anyone. They will be there to listen, to make you laugh, in this case to fight a fire with you, to answer the phone when you call 911..... I hope that my children will come to make good friends like this.

(circa 1995)

This was my first big fire "riding the line" (in charge of the hose nozzle, actually responsible for putting the fire out). Dome is the one breaking in the door.

This week we lost a dear friend, and Montgomery County Fire Rescue lost a great man. We are all left wondering what we could have done, but all we can do now is remember. I met Dome when I was in Jr. High and he was in high school. We ran track together, and my most fond memory was him daring me to hurdle a metal gate. I tried and the gate won. The aftermath was ugly, and 20 years later he still teased me. When we met again in the fire department a few years later, he was always looking out for me. He and Tommy became fast friends, and teased each other mercilessly. In the fire department, he was known as Poon (after way too many people mispronouncing Poonjumnern). There aren't really words to explain him, but the words I keep repeating this week are kind, selfless, and totally freaking hilarious.

The scope of his friendships is evidenced by his Facebook page. He was an avid photographer and the pictures show you his view of the world. His very tragic, very unexpected death became known to many people through Facebook. Working in healthcare, I've always been aware of the sensitive nature of revealing bad news. In this age of social networking, many people found out via email, text, or Facebook. It is good in the sense that people who might not otherwise have known were aware in the initial days and could attend the funeral, but it is a crummy way to learn such news. There is some solace in reading all of the posts from his friends, knowing how much we all miss him, and reading some of the very funny stories that are actually fit to print.

The fire department gave Poon a wonderful send-off this weekend. I am thankful to have so many wonderful friends who share fond memories of him. I still struggle with getting back to normal. I can't bring myself to post a "normal" Facebook status update yet, out of respect for him, or to tweet about all the silly things my kids did this weekend. Poon touched our lives in so many ways, and his passing has left a gaping hole.

A co-worker made an amazing tribute video.

William Penn wrote this, but Dome "Poon" lived it. "I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."

I hope we can all learn a lesson from him.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Half Full Race Report

I knew Half Full was just about finishing for me (my non-triathlete husband, who knows me so well, reminded me on Saturday morning that it was just about finishing, not about time). My knee injury was still lingering (but improving), and I had pretty much been in a taper since Cedar Point three weeks prior. I figured whatever happened would happen, and I would give it a shot. I contemplated the Aqua Velo, but had signed up for the full 70 miles and wanted to give it a shot.

Races in Columbia are always like home team events. It is so nice to see so many faces at the expo and on race day (not to mention the Mid Maryland Tri Club tent). This race was made even better because Trakkers and Rev3 timing were there. I got to have a pre-race dinner with Trakkers Teammate Kati and her husband Paul (who knew PF Changs had such an awesome Gluten Free menu?). I saw Krista from Team Trakkers and lots of MMTCers at the expo and transition (thank you to Missie for coordinating the small army of volunteers).

Race Day:
It was c-c-c-cold! My feet were frozen before the swim. I got to spend a few minutes in the Rev3 trailer with Kati, Charlie, and the rest of the Rev3 timing crew. (Thank goodness for their space heater).

Swim (39:45- ouch)

Heather B. and I were hanging out before the swim start, and suddenly realized our wave was all lined up. We got in line, and got ready. It was the most calm swim start EVER. (I really like the time trial start). My swim was slow and steady, but on the last leg I found it hard to stay straight (the finish buoys were smaller than the others). I was all over the place. The swim time was my worst this season, but again it was just about finishing.

T1 (2:06)
My time wasn’t too bad. Kept on the tri suit and just went with arm warmers. Sockless without issues thanks to TriSlide. Came out of T1 with Heather B.

Bike (3:52:48)

Heather and I leapfrogged the first 6 miles or so, and I felt pretty decent. Shortly after mile 6 (when Bob Reid passed), my left knee started to hurt. Not just nag, but hurt. I had to let Heather go (not that I “let” her go, but I couldn’t keep up). I found myself maintaining rather than attacking, trying to save something for the run. On flats after downhills, where I would normally pedal, I coasted to rest my knee. I didn’t chase down people in front of me like I normally would, just tried to keep going. On the second loop, I stopped to use the porta john. I would never have stopped if I felt ok, but I had to go and knew I couldn’t go on the bike. At least three times during the run, I talked myself into a DNF (and cursed myself for not switching to the Aquavelo). Looking at the results now, I would've been third among the aquavelo females. Go figure! I told myself I could pack it in at Transition, but would finish the bike before I gave up.

T2 (2:25)
Couldn’t run up to the transition area. I told myself I would rack my bike, change my shoes, and be done. I racked the bike, changed the shoes, put on my big knee brace, grabbed my stuff, and headed to the “Run Out”. For feeling like I had nothing left, my T time wasn’t too bad.

The Run (aka the walk) (2:59:10)
I started with a run-walk plan. Made it about three miles that way before the walk became longer than the run. I was passed by lots of people and tried to cheer everyone on as they passed. I got lots of encouraging comments, too. The volunteers were AWESOME. Having your name on your bib is nice, and to a person they pronounced my name correctly (that never happens, and I don’t really care, but I noticed and appreciated it). I got hungry on the “run”. This never happens to me during a race, but when you are mostly walking and it has been 9 or 10 hours since you ate, I guess it does. (You don’t have the elevated heart rate and shunting of blood from your stomach). I was starving, and there was no food aside from Gu Chomps on the run. The support was great…I just could’ve gone for pretzels or a cookie. I continued to try and run. I kept telling myself “You don’t get to DNF against cancer and you can’t DNF this race”. When I got tired, I just kept saying “I am NOT A QUITTER”. I didn’t want my family and friends tracking me to see me DNF, I didn’t want to face my fellow MMTCers and Trakkers teammates with a DNF. I figured a DNF is reserved for serious injury or getting pulled off the course.

So I walked. It was lonely. There was a woman I could’ve walked with, but she struck me as very negative and crass, and I didn’t want to spend that much time with her. I actually mustered up a jog to get away from her a bit. I saw MMTC friends on the course, and Chip who encouraged me (unfortunately my knee had nothing left). I walked/ran until mile 8, and then it was pretty much walking. I knew I could make the cutoff, but would have a time of about 7:30. Exiting Centennial Park, I was passed by Dave from the Challenged Athletes Foundation. He was pushing a challenged athlete in a jogging stroller (he had pulled him in a raft and cycled with a special bike). He asked if I was hurting, and I said yes, but that I would finish. I told him that I thought he was amazing, and he said “I am just blessed”. If that wasn’t motivation, I don’t know what is. So I kept walking. The volunteers all cheered for me (along with the other racers), though I didn’t feel like I deserved it since I wasn’t running. I got to mile 12, the rain held off, and I knew I would finish.

We turned back into Centennial park, and you could hear the finish line. I saw some of Team Fight, and they told me I had to run when I rounded the bend. I had nursed my knee just enough that I thought I could run the finish. My RoadID reads “Finish Strong”, and I didn’t want to do anything but. So I jogged around the corner, and then sprinted the finish chute. Susie was there to catch me. She put my medal on, gave me a huge hug and said “I waited for you”. Then she got water for me. Missie gave me my finisher’s shirt, and Kati was there (just like at Cedar Point) to congratulate me (since she works with Timing, she knew I was walking the run). This was by far the hardest race I have ever done mentally (and a pretty challenging course). I always say I need to work on my mental game, but I think I won the mental game on this one. I couldn’t give up. This wasn’t the fight against cancer, just a race, but a race embodying optimism. Two days later, my knees ache, but I’m so thankful for all the support out there.

I think the Finishers shirt sums it up:
“Half Full is having hope and optimism in the face of adversity. Whether it is a triathlon or the fight against cancer, HALF FULL is having the determination and positive attitude to get to your finish line. One mile at a time, we will finish this race, but more importantly – WIN this Cancer Battle. “