Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You, Mom

Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday (40th, of course!). We got to have dinner together tonight (cooked by my sister who is only 6 weeks postpartum), and I was telling her a story from work I was reminded of how much of who I am as a nurse I owe to her. My sister and I are lucky to have an awesome Mom and Dad, but tonight's post is about our Mom.

Yesterday at work I had a patient in his 60s, with minimal cardiac risk factors, who came in with chest pain. His cardiac enzymes (which indicate heart attack) were negative, but his Electrocardiogram (ECG) was a bit abnormal. Since he didn't have any further chest pain, I reviewed the ECG with the cardiologist and we decided to proceed with the test. The patient had sneakers which looked broken in and muddy. He was slender and fit- low suspicion for heart disease. That being said, I prepped him before the test. I told him that his ECG was abnormal and that it might be significant or it might mean nothing. I told him that if he developed chest pain, it would be an indication we needed to stop the test sooner rather than later.

The test started well...we chatted, he walked. Less than three minutes in, he developed chest pain. His ECG began to change. It became the ECG of the patient who is having THE BIG ONE. This is the "Oh S#$t" moment that I've had only once before in 6 years of doing stress tests. This is the moment you wonder how you will prep for it but you never know. I went into autopilot. I calmly stopped the test, got him laying down, gave him nitroglycerin, and called the cardiologist. Thankfully I work with an awesome team and we got this patient back to being pain free. I prepped him for transfer for cardiac catheterization (an invasive procedure to find and repair blocked arteries), called his wife, stayed with him to monitor him, and breathed a sigh of relief. I was off of work today, but apparently he called to say thank you. He got a stent in one of the arteries in his heart and was discharged from the hospital. Because he listened to his body and his symptoms, and came to the hospital, he avoided a potentially fatal heart attack.

So I was telling my Mom this story, and she told me how proud she was of me. If only there were words to convey how much of who I am as a nurse practitioner I owe to her. At 16, I volunteered in her Emergency Room. I learned from her and her coworkers. Even before then, I learned that you never know when you are taking care of the family member of a friend. To treat everyone as if they are your  matter how difficult they are. I did CPR before I was 18. I dealt with things many people don't deal with until much later in life....and I learned the lessons that stay with me now.

-Be kind
-Talk to people...explain what is happening...sometimes that means more than anything.
-Show respect
-Think critically, act calmly
-and when all else fails, call your Mom for advice

Most of all, I thank my mother for deciding at 22 (married and graduating nursing school) to work full time and embrace the daughter she hadn't quite planned upon. I am so thankful for all you and Dad have done for me.

Thank you, Mom. For being an amazing Mother, grandmother,role model, "What Would Kyle Do?" hotline, and wonderful friend.

Love, Kier

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bring on 2012

So those who know me know that 2011 came in at a relatively low point for me, and has had it's share of crummy moments. Don't get me wrong- there have been some wonderful milestones with my children and my family (including the birth of my new niece). I have also been repeatedly reminded how many wonderful family members and friends I have. Tommy has lived up to the "in sickness" part of our wedding vows a lot this year. I was telling someone the other day that all of my crazy health issues have been these "flash in the pan" things. Something crazy happens (hearing loss, allergic reaction, exacerbation of my rapid heart rhythm), I go to deal with it, and it gets better or just fades into the background. Just in time for the next issue....

Late 2010/2011 by the numbers:
ER/Urgent Care visits 3
MRIs 3
Knee Surgery 1
Heart Procedure 1
Doses of steroids 4
Episodes of significant hair loss 1
Unexplained rashes 1
Meldowns- Countless
Whining blog posts- ?about 5

So I am OVER it. I figure I'm going to kick 2012's a$$ rather than the other way around. I am going to control the things I can, and stop stressing about the things I can't. Being in healthcare, we tend to look at things as "it could always be worse". I think the lesson I have learned is over the past few months is that it is ok to think things suck sometimes, but not ok to use them as an excuse to lose sight of your goals. So my plan for 2012 is to control the things I can:

- The 15+ lbs I have gained
- My dedication to training
-Optimizing time with my family
- Becoming a morning person again (this is one thing that really bums me out..I miss my time in the mornings.....need to start getting up early)

Goodbye 2011. Some awesome things have happened, but I am O.V.E.R you. I want to race, I want to run part of the way across the country, and I want to feel badass again!!! Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Meet My New Coach

I didn't go into the planning for my 2012 season thinking I would have a coach. I thought I would use training plans and make it work. Sometimes things just happen at the right time, and for the right reason.

Enter Sharpie/Mama Bear/Carole. MB is our Rev3 "team Mom" (of course that makes her sound old and she is anything but). She is a very important facet of the "glue" that holds our team together. She is also a friend, and one of the toughest cookies I know. A schedule that doesn't fit mine = stress for me when I can't meet the challenge. 
Sharpie top left, me bottom right.
My challenge in the past has been finding someone who understands my crazy life/schedule (full time work, kids, and husband who works shifts). Tommy's schedule is predictable, but makes a consistent training schedule require that much more creativity. 

So why Carole? Like I said, she is the toughest cookie I know. She has made the podium multiple times in 70.3 and 140.6 races, and overcome some huge obstacles. Anyone can be an awesome athlete, but to also be one of those truly good people, who makes others laugh and supports everyone around her, is an entirely different story.

So why Carole?

She will kick my butt, but do so lovingly.
She knows what the past year has entailed, so will take that into account while kicking my butt.
Her blog is one of my favorite...she can make me laugh until I snort with one post, and cry with the next. 
She is a fantastic athlete, and will help me become a better one.

Because the home page of her website says....

I'm hoping she can help me with some of that....a tall order, but I think she is cut out for it and I am ready to work!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Story

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled triathlon blog.....

Everyone has "those" gifts they remember as kids. The "must have" holiday gift that you just had to have. My sister's was the "Hundred Dollar Car". It wasn't actually $100, but she asked for it and never got one. Years later, she bought one (complete with gas pump) for my daughter.

So one of my "must haves" was a Cabbage Patch Kid. This was the year they were the hot item to have (probably 1984 or so...I was 8). Apparently my parents had difficulty getting one, so they went for a substitute. Imagine Ralphie opening a Red Rider BeeBee Gun case to find a water gun inside...I got a "Cabbage Patch Kid" who was a few shades too pale, with a soft rather than hard face, and she was a bit bigger than the CPKs that my friends were getting. So here was the kicker....she came with a birth certificate. Like an authentic, green and white, signed by Xavier Roberts himself (the guy who discovered the cabbage patch) birth certificate. How is that possible? Of course everyone else knew she wasn't a real CPK, but I played with her and at some point down the road got a "real" CPK. The funny part? I still remember the name of my "Fake" CPK, but not the real one. (As I type this I realize CPK usually means "California Pizza Kitchen" around here).

Most Cabbage Patch Kids had names like "Abbey Olivia" and "Autumn Summer". Mine was named "Vanessa Munching". WTH kind of middle name is "Munching"? But I played with her...and almost 30 years later I still remember her.

Years later, my Dad told me the story. He borrowed the birth certificate from the legit CPK bought by the neighbor for my good friend Nadia, went to the store and Xeroxed it, whited out the name, copied it again, typed in the new name, and colored it in by hand. Whew! Guess what he was drinking while he did this?

Know who the bottler is? Van Munching and Company!!!! Hearing this story years later, I so wish I had saved that "Vanessa Munching" birth certificate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bigger Isn't Always Better........

"The best things come in small packages"....
"The best perfume comes in small bottles"....
"Bigger isn't always better"......

Perhaps it is the fact that I am an imposing 5'1", and went to a High School with a graduating class of 18 people, and left the inner city teaching hospital for the small community hospital that feels like home.....I'm all about small (if only my hips and butt got the memo). (I did follow up the 80-person High School with 30,000 of my closest friends at the University of Maryland).

Where am I going with this? This past weekend was the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K at the National Harbor in DC. I DID NOT register. The appeal of loads of chocolate at the finish line were outweighed by the idea of dealing with traffic on the DC Beltway, parking permits, etc. Apparently this was a good choice. I wasn't there, so it is all secondhand, but I did read the letter sent to participants from the race director. It sounds like there were lots of logistical issues (parking nightmares, the race started over an hour can read more about it here). The first year of holding the race in DC, and they went big with 20,000 participants. If it goes badly, it happens on a HUGE scale.

In contrast, a couple of weeks ago we held the first annual Don't Panic Foundation 5K. 196 people registered. It was a small race, but well-run, awesome sponsors (lots of firefighters, police officers, and Georgetown Cupcake, anyone?), and we look forward to growing it a bit every year.

This whole idea of "bigger isn't always better" is why I love Rev3 Triathlon and their races. Rev 3 does things on a big scale, but manages to make you feel like family. The race series continues to grow, but they keep that "small town" atmosphere. Awesome expo area (at the race site), huge finish chute, great volunteer support, and staff that work their tails off but do it with a smile and love what they do. Those are just a few of the things that make Rev3 fantastic. Finishing my first 70.3 holding my daughter's hand, one of the best memories a Mom/Triathlete could ask for.

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog." Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've been thinking a lot lately about the sport of triathlon, and having "what it takes". I've not had it in the past year. I think competing (or even just racing for fun) requires several things:

- Determination
- Dedication
- Physical Ability
- Motivation

I've never been lacking in determination. When I joined the fire department and someone told me I couldn't be a firefighter, I had to prove them wrong. When I suffered a torn meniscus, I walked 6 miles of my 70.3 in Cedar Point, and 11 miles of 13 at the Half Full Triathlon. (Ok, the line between "determined" and stubborn is fairly blurred, but oh well).

Dedication is something I wish I had more of. My training has not been consistent for quite some time (more on that under "physical ability"). I've tried to listen to my body, and sometimes rest seems best, but not training makes me feel like a slacker (especially when you are friends with amazing, dedicated athletes who seem to make it work every day). The past few dedication has been more consistent. I've been training 6 days a week, and slowly building my run mileage, but I have so far to go.

Physical ability has been my biggest issue this year. The list of medical issues is long (and sometimes quite random...ectopic pregnancy, torn meniscus, abnormal heart rhythm, hearing loss, hair loss, allergic reaction, blah, blah, blah). Regardless, my ability to consistently train or race this year has been nonexistent. For a long time I was pushing through, training despite not feeling 100%. Thankfully, just being able to exercise made me feel a bit better. Lately...exercise has been a coping mechanism and I have increased my physical ability. I have a long way to go, but I'm making progress.

Motivation. So this is where I've had a huge boost lately. I kept waiting for things this year to motivate me...trips to races, my desire to race, anything. It just wasn't there. Part of it was related to the health issues, but with more motivation I might have sucked it up a bit more often. In the past few weeks, the motivation has been abounding. It started when I went back to spin class. Sherri has been my favorite spin instructor since I started taking the class, but I took a hiatus when I thought it wasn't conducive to triathlon training. I've since discovered that it is a good way for me to get speed work in, especially because I feel like I can't push myself hard enough alone on the trainer. Our daughters became friends this year at school, and I have been attending her class pretty consistently. She has this ability to constantly remind you of the mind-body connection. It has helped me to find some serious focus while working harder than I have in a long time.

Then there are our new teams members on the Rev3 Triathlon Team. These are some crazy fast, really dedicated triathletes. I'm going to have to bring it in 2012.

Cookie the Wonderdog has been great motivation, too...she pushes me to be out there running even when I'm not feeling it. Today we ran after dark, with flashlights and a reflective vest, and I am so thankful for the motivation.

There are so many things that influence my motivation, but I am thankful for ongoing family support (and my husband who understands my endurance sport addiction even if he wouldn't do a triathlon himself), my friends (like friends who persist despite health issues, and Katy who is pregnant and still staying in fantastic shape!), my teammates, and my kids (who will soon be faster than me). Bring on 2012!!!!

"If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don't nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life - this is also 'playing' the game!" - Emily Post

Monday, November 28, 2011

(Mis)Adventures in Parenting

As our children get older (5 and 9 in a few days), I realize how right everyone was when they tell you it doesn't get easier. I feel like we are constantly faced with moments where we have to respond to some question/issue/challenge with the kids, and you feel the weight of making sure you say/do the right thing. Sometimes I swear I could be in a cheesy movie...waiting for things to freeze and the narrator to debate various responses and their implications. Unfortunately, there often isn't a "correct" answer. I am thankful that Tommy and I have similar parenting styles, and that I have awesome friends and the "What Would Mama Kyle Do?" hotline at my disposal.

A recent example of one of these scenarios (but not the one that prompted this post...I'll get to that in a minute) occurred last week. My 9-year-old wants to still believe in Santa. Apparently some 4th grade boys at school were ranting about how stupid kids who believe in Santa are. I was in the shower, and she asked if we could talk. This question always makes my heart drop a little. I am so glad that she talks to me, but I'm waiting for the question that I can't answer, or the conversation that makes me sweat. want to talk about Santa? No problem. (Movie narrator: "Say the wrong thing here, and you could totally ruin the holiday for your sweet daughter).

Me: "People get into wars because one group of people believes in something that the other group thinks is stupid."
S: "oh"
Me: "If you believe in Santa, it means that you believe in the spirit of the season. Christmas is all about giving, and caring, and being generous. That is what Santa is about, too."
S: "Ok"
Me: "Those are stupid boys- I can call them stupid, you can't. You should always stand up for what you believe in, but if you know they will tease you for believing in Santa, don't even talk to them about it. They aren't worth it....and they might get coal in their stockings. Does that help?"
S: "Yes...what is for breakfast?"

Ok, so that was an easy one. Maybe not therapeutic for me to call the boys stupid, but oh well! Today was the episode that has me more and more irritated as I think about it. One of the other Moms, we will call her Ms. X, often volunteers for recess and lunch duty.

S: "Today at recess, Ms. X told us all about the last Twilight movie since she knew I would not see it. She said it wasn't too bad, though. There was no s-e-x in it."

Me: .......................................................................(Crickets)

Excuse me? You are a parent of a 9 year old girl. Exactly when did it seem appropriate to talk to the girls about a movie that is not appropriate for their age, and to use/spell the word "s-e-x". The main character gets knocked up by a vampire, and then turned into a vampire. Totally appropriate for the girls!!!!!!  I am not naive enough to believe they don't hear about it at school, but from ANOTHER PARENT????? If I thought the girls were discussing something like this (without parent participation), I would probably pass along to the other Moms so they can determine what they want to discuss with their child. I'm irked that someone who wants to be her daughter's friend rather than parent feels this is appropriate behavior with all of the other children. I appreciate the input from some of my go-to Moms (whose parenting styles and opinions I respect immensely), and will be following up on this.

No one said it would be easy, but it would be nice if other parents didn't make it any harder.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 Tri Season...In Pictures

So I may not have raced as much as I would like, but I had some fun, volunteered, and sweat a bit two. Bring it on, 2012! 

 San Juan 70.3
Andree's Race Sherpa (A hard job but someone had to do it).

(There were Pina Colada's at the finish line!)

Rev 3 Knoxville
Mommy Road Trip with Laura.....Rocked the injured reserve with Kati!
(Yes, both of us had surgery not long before this race!)

Tri Slide Pit

Rev3 Quassy
Charlie really let me drive this! Only took 15 minutes to figure out how to open the gas cap!

Make a Wish Triathlon

Having my hubby there made my day...even if he laughed at me trying to pour myself into my TYR wetsuit!

MoCo Mojo Kids Tri

Rev3 Anderson

(The pic of Andree and I post-race is missing because I was covered in a pic was happening!!!!)

Many Thanks to My Sponsors!!!!!!!.....and to my Awesome, Fantastic, Supportive Family and Teammates

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rev3 SC: Relay Report

Rev3 Anderson embodied all of the things I love about the Rev3 series, and the awesome support we feel as members of Team Trakkers/Rev3. I flew to Atlanta on Friday to meet up with teammate Andree for the drive to South Carolina. Tommy went above and beyond to make sure he was home from the firehouse in time to get me out the door to the airport. I slept like a rock on the plane, and arrived in Atlanta ready for the weekend. I was very excited to meet Andree's husband and sweet puppy Kaleigh.

The 2 hour drive to Anderson was relatively uneventful, until I started itching. It started as a vague itching on my neck and face, which I chalked up to my sensitive skin. We dropped our stuff off and headed to the race venue. It is always like old home week when hanging out with our teammates. Many of the Team Trakkers members were working the race, which made it that much better. The venue was nice, with the finish line, T2, and expo at the Anderson civic center. T1 was at Lake Hartwell, up the road.

My rash had other plans for the weekend. Despite benadryl, it got worse overnight. I ended up going to urgent care in Anderson as the hives were spreading and the itching becoming unbearable. No fewer than three people said "Bless your heart" to me at the urgent care center. Translation: "You look awful!". I got a steroid injection, and was back to the expo. The big celebrity participant was Ryan Sutter (and his wife Trista) from The Bachelorette. This was the one season of the Bachelor/Bachelorette I ever watched. I might have said hello, but I was covered in hives, looked ridiculous, and certainly wasn't going near any strangers.

Saturday morning- awesome!
Saturday night was mellow. Andree and I bowed out of dinner with our teammates since she was battling allergies and I was not very good company. Pre-race dinner at Outback, followed by an ART session with Andree's chiropractor from Atlanta. That alone was worth the trip. He worked on my SI joint and my shoulder, and neither have felt this good in ages. I didn't sleep well that night-poor Andree had to deal with my scratching. It was chilly at transition race morning. Since there was a Half Rev and the Oly, I had lots of time before the swim start.

I was initially supposed to race the Oly as an individual, but after my Oly in September I realized that I had a long way to go to get my fitness back. I put out an email to my teammates, asking if anyone wanted to race the relay. My teammate Kristin (who just competed in the Full Rev at Cedar Point), and teammate Kacie's husband George (who is prepping for Cozumel), both stepped up right away. George is a wicked fast cyclist, so he offered to do the bike. Kristin is training for a marathon, so that left me with the swim. Eek!!!! I'm doing the swim portion of the race????? As long as everyone is ok with not winning, I am fine with that. Of course what I think is being matter-of-fact sometimes comes across as self-deprecating. I want to be a fast swimmer, and tell myself I can be, but I'm still figuring out how to make it happen. I started Masters this month, and am working toward my goals (of course this is on hold until the hives are gone- chlorine is not my friend).

Pre-race with Teammate Kati (my race angel- she works the races and always looks out for me)
The pre-race vibe was incredible. Since it was a regional collegiate championship, there were 100+ college triathletes. They were cheering like crazy, chanting, hyping it up. It was so much fun. I felt good at the start, and hung tough until the first buoy. My lack of fitness just caught up with me. I told George that if I could be in the mid-30s, I would be happy. Since I didn't have to use my legs for the bike or run, and have been complimented by two Masters coaches on my breaststroke (while they told me that my freestyle kick was awkward and painful), I did resort to some breaststroke. I surprisingly held my own that way. Obviously not a good plan for next season, but it got me through, and within my time goal.

I sprinted out of the water into T1. Knowing I didn't have to do anything else, I ran hard. George was off like a flash. I came out of the water at the back of the relay teams, but didn't give George too much of a deficit to make up. Kristin and I hopped on the shuttle to meet him at T2. We knew he would be fast, but George came into transition more than 20 minutes ahead of the next closest relay team (he had the fastest bike time on the Oly course). Kristin ran hard- a 10K PR. George and I ran the finish chute with her, and our team took a solid first place. This was my first ever podium finish at a Rev3 event. The coolest part? The awards were hand-made by our teammate Anthony's mother.
Why do I look like I need to go to the bathroom? George, Kristin, and I. 
The "Rev3 Rocks!" relay team with Josh, flashing the Rev3 "sign"

The finish party was great, as always. Once again, the collegiate athletes got things really amped up. We had a blast cheering on our teammates, and then headed back to Atlanta. Six days later and I'm smiling from a great weekend, but still have the hives. Apparently South Carolina didn't agree with me too much, but I will be back next year!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Make a Wish: The best of tris, the worst of tris

This weekend was the Make a Wish Olympic triathlon. After a year of health issues (most of them bothersome rather than life-threatening), I was excited to compete in a race I had done two years ago. How would I stack up? I knew my fitness is seriously decreased. Leading into the race, I was dealing with six weeks straight of migraines. Literally a headache every day. I have battled headaches since I was 10, but having them this consistently was new for me. To top it off, I noticed that my hair is falling out. Not in clumps, but noticeably. Again- none of this is life-threatening, but the headaches seriously impacted training.

In the days leading up to the race, I learned that Heather ZG, a tri-club member who often had encouraging words for me on facebook, lost a tragically short battle with pancreatic cancer. Like unfair short. The thing that strikes me about Heather is her consistently positive attitude. While we weren't terribly close, I was struck deeply by the loss of a vibrant mother of two young girls. I decided that I would race this race for her. I would enjoy being able to race, and having my family there (only Tommy's second time seeing me race in person since he is usually working or on munchkin duty).
Tommy and I Pre-race
This was the "what not to do" of pre-race experiences. We left home at 3:30pm. Worst-case scenario, it would take us 4-4.5 hours to get there. It took us 4 hours to get over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (usually a 1 hour drive). I was gearing up for a meltdown. Tommy and I were driving separate cars, and driving that long is a surefire way to get the arthritis in my sacroiliac joint flared up. Two hours into the drive, I was desperate for a potty break (all of the pre-hydration with First Endurance EFS and water...uuugggghh).  We didn't arrive in Bethany until 10pm. The CEO of Make a Wish called me to tell me packet pickup was extended until 10:30 pm. We got the kids and dog dropped off, and I ran to get my packet. Pre-race dinner was one half of a chick-fil-a wrap (no dressing)...not my ideal scenario. I was in bed at 11pm, after some serious stretching and foam rolling.

Wake-up was 5:15. I was so thankful to be 2 miles from the race site. 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter. I got my bike numbers on, etc., in the back of my minivan, and then headed to transition. Tommy was already there to meet me. I was so happy to have him there, especially with my Grandparents watching the kids so they could sleep in. All of the women were in the back of transition...less than ideal but at least we were all on equal footing. The numbering was messed up, so there were issues with the rack. Got everything set up, then went to talk to Tommy. I happened to go back to my transition spot, and noticed my helmet was gone. in nowhere near my transition. In a wavering voice I asked loudly where it was. Thankfully someone near me had seen it on the ground (when someone moved to our rack, they knocked it down, apparently), but they just picked it up and put it on the closest bike. I'm so thankful I went back. That would have been a bummer. Worst pre-race nightmare, only I didn't forget the helmet.

Tommy enjoyed watching me struggle with my wetsuit. While he isn't a triathlete, he has known me for almost 19 years and always knows what to say (even if it was in between laughter about my wetsuit antics). I was fortunate to be racing with a team of Montgomery County Firefighters (two of whom are in the top ten fundraisers each year for the race). We all walked down to transition. Yes- I peed in my wetsuit, and when I hit the cold water I was thankful I had!

The Swim: (50-some minutes for 0.9 miles)
They told us before the swim that the current was in our favor. This was not exactly true. The swim was much more challenging than in 2009. Granted- my swim fitness leaves something to be desired. This was one of my more comfortable swims. No freak out moments....just feeling like I didn't have a fast gear. The challenges? Being in a wave with bright yellow caps when all of the buoys were yellow- not helpful when you are at the back of the pack. Getting moved around by the current. Finally- trying to get out of the water with a serious undertow and some decent sized waves. The good news was if you breathed to the left you could see the high rise buildings near the finish. It made for a good landmark (though they didn't get close for what seemed like eternity). Then as I kept plugging along, I breathed to my right. The day was grey (to say the least), cloudy, and foggy. For a brief time, the sun shone through a break in the clouds. It was absolutely beautiful. I thought of Heather, and reminded myself that it was about celebrating my ability to race, no matter the time.

I ran out of the water and past Tommy. I believe I yelled "that freaking sucked!". I knew I was 20 minutes slower than 2009. Slower by 8 minutes than my 1.2 mile swim last year. Wow- I knew I was out of shape but SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Transition wasn't bad (so thankful my helmet was there).

The Bike (25.5 miles, 18.5mph pace)
I have been waiting for this bike course on my Kestrel Airfoil Pro. The bike was made for a flat, fast course like this. I got a new computer installed this week, and tried to keep my speed >20mph. I played leap frog with another woman (I swear she was drafting for a while). I caught a few in my age group, but definitely felt the lack of fitness. When my computer said we had 3.5 miles left, I passed a volunteer who said "5 miles to go!". What?!?!?!? It was then I realized my computer was set for 700 wheels, not 650. Crap!!!!! I was much slower than I thought.

Oh well. The woman who I had been leap-frogging with passed me toward the end, but I hammered to catch up with her (and for the record totally beat her out of transition and on the run...I did compliment her on her bike as we passed in opposite directions on the run). Tommy and the kids were there as I rode in, and to cheer me as I went out on the run. My heart totally swelled. I was so happy to see them. They cheered for me like crazy.

The Run: (9:40 pace/10K)
The run was tough. My fitness just isn't there. It is an out and back, so you really get to see where you stack up. The first place female finished as I started (always a bit demoralizing, since we stared in the same swim wave). I must have pulled a lat muscle on the swim. I had pain when I took a deep breath near my left shoulder. I walked some and tried to stretch it out. Walking was fine, but every breath when I ran was painful. I was walk-running. for a bit. The volunteers were awesome. I tried to run more than walk, and the pain started to subside. I hit the turnaround, and by that point realized I wasn't as far back as I thought. There were a lot of women behind me (we were all in one wave, so you knew exactly where you stood). For some reason, after the turnaround I started to think about Heather, and about having my family there at the finish. I realized that I can't cry and run. I made a few awful sounds and then decided to suppress the tears. As my teammate Andree told me during my pre-race meltdown....I needed to let it all out on the course. So I did. I thought of Heather and her family a lot. Again, we weren't super close, but it could have been any of us, and her amazing spirit touched so many. I thought of all Tommy and I have been through this year, and gave thanks for being able to race (no matter how slow). I thought of seeing my kids at the finish. About 2 miles from the finish, I actually got lost in my thoughts. I had to remind myself I was in a race. Being rather competitive, this doesn't usually happen. My pace picked up toward the end. I got near the finish chute, and saw my family. I looked back to make sure there was no one close to me (so that we didn't get in their way), and then put out my hands for the kids to join me. They raced to the finish with me (there were two awesome volunteers there waving us on), and both got medals. The finish time was not pretty (30+ minutes slower than 2009), but a victory nonetheless. I did find out from several other triathletes (including the second place female swimmer), that the swim was slower than years past.


Make a Wish puts on a great race and party. It is so nice to hang out with the Montgomery County crew, and they have a child/adult who was granted a wish as the guest of honor. The woman who spoke this year received a heart transplant as a child, and a second transplant at 14 years old. Listening to her talk was another reminder that it doesn't matter if you win, just that you are there and can actually participate. I started this race hoping I could beat my previous time, and ended it thankful just to be there. By far, my slowest Olympic but my most meaningful race ever. Many thanks to Tommy and my Grandparents for making the weekend possible, and to Andree and other good friends for the pre-race pep talk.