Friday, June 27, 2008

The 1st Annual Superman Memorial Ride

i woke up this morning with a plan. today was a day i had not been looking forward to. it comes every year and every year i handle it differently, horribly, sadly - but this year i had a plan. i took the day off from work and began what will now be known as the Annual Superman Memorial ride. this year, being the first, i had Brian help me map out a route. i aired up my tires, filled up my water bottle, and suited up for what was to be my first real physical crack at releasing the pain. i mounted my bike, closed my eyes and breathed so deeply my lungs ached with the desire to release. i held it, experiencing the uncomfortableness it produced, welcomed the sting it radiated through my lungs and finally - when there was no more question - i released. the bad black air of my sadness, hurt and anger flowed through my mouth until i could actually feel it leave my soul. i took in the clean white air of peace and acceptance and felt it move through my spirit in waves of green and blue, filling the spaces and washing away the awful nightmares of the previous hours before dawn. i looked up into the sky, clipped in and began to ride. one pedal stroke - anger, another pedal stroke - regret, still another - despair, until all my pedal strokes revealed a small glimmer of happiness. i began to remember. not the shittiness of the day, not the unbearableness of the funeral, not the crapiness of not being the sister i should have been. i remembered his crooked smile, his laughing eyes, his strong will and his ever present love. i remembered his smart alack comments and the way he used to rile me up at every chance he got. i finally heard what my mom had been telling me. i never thought i was a very good sister. i regret it every day of my life. i wasn't the sister i should have been but i was the sister that he needed. i was the sister that he wanted and i was the sister that he loved. i really enjoyed every inch of ground i covered on this ride, on this day that i never thought i would enjoy anything. i rode to my church and sat by the waterfall in the middle of the courtyard and prayed. i didn't pray for anything in particular. peace, acceptance, happiness, love...i sat and listened to the water churning, saw the sun playing with the shadows of the trees and felt the soft grass beneath my feet. beautiful. i returned to my bike to finish the ride and decided that every year this Superman Memorial Ride would occur. i will always take this day off from work to jump on my bike and revel in the best that God has to offer. next year i will have shirts made for me and my family. i will send it to them and they will go on a family ride and send me pictures of the jaunt. i will persuade my friends to do the same. we won't have to be together, they won't have to take the day off, but we will all ride at some point that day and commemorate it with pictures and stories and beer (because Clark loved beer...maybe a Keystone or two). i have more plans for this ride, i will eventually make this ride into an event where people come from all over to ride, to remember and to honor the heroes in their lives, their Supermans. but for now, i will gather the pictures every year and i will make a scrap book for Clara, so she knows how much her daddy was loved, is loved and will always be loved. we will never forget and we will always remember.

June 27, 2009 - are you ready to ride?

3 years ago today...


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Public Service Announcement

i just wanted to take the time to write a note concerning my...well - myself. i just started doing this whole blog thing not too long ago. i am just a 27 year old trying to find my way. i graduated with a creative writing degree hence the reason my blogs can be very emotional and dramatic. i am a writer. i really had no idea people actually read my blog, besides Dana and Brian. but i never really worried because they know me and know the extent of my craziness and my saneness and the fact that they run together to produce me. i mean no one ever leaves any comments so i just assumed no one was reading and i was safe to put my thoughts down and get them out because that's typically what writers do...but apparently there are people out there reading this thing and are now leaving me comments that either A) make me feel like complete shit (which i must admit is quite warranted) B) make me cry because they are touching and are just what i need to hear or C) nice and fun and lighthearted. in this multiple choice test i choose C and will adhere to the following guidelines from here on out:

1) my posts/stories will be just that - nice and fun and lighthearted, although i will put thoughts and feelings in them because that is what i do and it is how i write
2) my posts/stories will be about my training and non training and whatever else i can muster without getting too personal
3) my posts/stories will stick to the sane side of my thoughts and not venture near the other crazy side

i do want to thank you for being concerned and letting me know that you fear for my life. i can assure you that it is not in danger of expiring unless there is some plan out there i am not aware of. i can promise you that i will keep on chugging along, continuing to find my way - it just won't be for your criticism and condemnation because although its well meaning, its pretty hurtful and i am trying to get away from that sort of feeling. i also want to thank those of you who felt it was necessary to call me out and point out the fact that i am a very selfish, bratty princess who needs to get on with my life and get over myself. it is true and i needed to hear it. i am making every effort, and have been even before it was publicly announced, to make those tendencies disappear. but like all good things, it doesn't come without some serious work and unfortunately time - which is why i had started this blog and which is why i am going to continue it. it is my fault for so openly sharing my feelings and thinking i wouldn't receive any repercussions because of it. thinking back on it...i just went about it the wrong way.

regarding BOD: i would like to take the time to say that Paul is in fact not a BOD at all. he is a very good man, and i have been very blessed to have him in my life for the time i did. he showed me many things i would never have seen had it not been for his patience and kindness. i thank him for the things he bestowed on me and i am glad that he is doing all the things he has been dreaming of. that saying "you always hurt the ones you love the most" holds pretty true in this situation. i do not know much about him anymore so i am very sorry to have given you such an ugly impression of him. ugliness comes out when you are hurting so i guess i am the ugly one, but again, i can honestly say that i am working diligently to change that.

regarding my most recent posts: it sort of feels like it happened yesterday. like i have been feeling this sadness for a really long time but just never really let it come out, not all the way. all of the feelings i have been writing about have been there, but i was never able to recognize them because i was numb. quite frankly i don't even remember much about the first year after Clark died and then last year it sort of snuck up on me so fast i didn't know what was happening. i'm afraid of letting the numbness pass and letting the real hurt take over, but i guess if i don't do it now, i'll never get better and that's the exact opposite of what i am working towards. i can tell you though that i am getting up and working and living my life. i am not sitting in a damp and dark room wasting the day away. like i said, i'm a writer - a story teller if you will - so i apologize for giving you a glimpse of something you didn't necessarily want any part of. i know its not your fault, its that whole "train wreck/car accident" phenomenon. you don't really want to see all the blood and guts but you just can't help looking. i had been writing my thoughts on this because it always helps to know you are not alone. if by chance, someone happened upon my blog that was feeling a very deep loss, the fact they may take comfort in my words, knowing that someone out there is going through it too - well that's something to me. and three years to get over your brother dying or anyone that is close to you for that matter? well i think its quite safe to say three years is nothing in a 27 year old life where 19 of it was filled with something that is now gone. i welcome every single year it hurts, every single emotion it brings and every single memory it sprouts. that is, after all what life is about. and to be able to write about it in such powerful and thought provoking way as i seem to have the ability to do, well that's something too.

i would just like to say, in closing, that i never thought i would be able to write through my pain again. i actually didn't write anything for a very long time after this particular day so it seems that i can get a little carried away and delve in a little too deeply trying to get it all out so i can reread it and make some sense out of it all. apparently more so than most are comfortable with. i would also like to point out that i never said this blog was solely about training or triathlon so those of you who came here for that, i am sorry to have disappointed you. even the name of my blog doesn't point to anything that would trigger "oh wow, this must be a great blog about the trials and tribulations of racing"...i mean "back at it" could refer to anything from "back at fly fishing" to "back at knitting" to "back at making sense of something that hadn't before had any" i don't feel as if i have purposely misled any of you.

so, all that being said, and now that i know some people actually do read this thing, i will be a bit more mindful with my personal meanderings and stick to the facts in this particular blog this is one of those posts that is entirely too long...i know that i have pissed off/alienated quite a few if not all of you all in a matter of days when i have been posting for months and NOW i get to know you read - OY! maybe now you will leave more comments so that i know you are there :)

if you feel you would like to further discuss my psychological well being, then you may email me. after all, i have clearly not hidden my thoughts behind any fake names to express my feelings and i'd expect that same from you. i am also taking donations if you feel it would benefit me to "see someone" as i am not in the financial position to pay for such services. please don't take pleasure or displeasure in the fact that i have moved my more personal posts (feel free to follow the link, just be forewarned, IT IS OF THE PERSONAL NATURE). they ultimately were moved NOT because i am ashamed of my thoughts or my feelings, but because it is very easy for some to pass judgement on the things i write behind the veil of a comment box, but to say it in person...well that's a whole nother ball game and if you're not ready and willing to step up to the plate and address that ball coming 110 miles at your face, you're either gonna let it fly right by or you're gonna get bring it - i'm ready and willing...are you? i have a pretty strong gut feeling that you're not, you don't really want to help, you just want me to get help. well that's nice and all but if the bucket of "kindness and concern" keeps getting passed, then well, where does that leave me, the one who warranted all of this in the first place? that's right. right here in this exact space writing this exact blog....

feeling better...


50 things i loved, love about you...

1. your "bull nose"

2. your hugs

3. your beautiful hair

4. your very tan skin

5. the way you so effortlessly picked up any sport you tried

6. the way everyone who ever met you loved you

7. your smile

8. your always happy, laid back attitude

9. the fact that you never stressed about anything

10. the fact that for a solid year you lived off of strawberry pop tarts and chef boyardee

11. the hat you gave me the time i came to your apartment and looked like hell

12. when you called me your little sister even though i was older than you by 5 years

13. that you used to rest your elbow on the top of my head to try and annoy me

14. letting you do "superman" on my feet in the living room

15. having to visit "our relatives" together bc having you there made it bearable

16. having you come to my banquets every year even when you really didnt want to go

17. how chubby we used to be

18. the fact that you had braces twice and i only had them once

19. each time i thought i killed you (ok, i hated that part) and then you would wake up

20. your smart ass comments

21. your chilibowl haircut all through elementary school

22. the fact that you hated Woo

23. the fact that you always stood up for me

24. you always made me feel pretty

25. you always made me feel smart

26. you always made me feel special

27. your fantastic taste in clothing

28. your "doodoo brown eyes" that looked like chocolate and not the doodoo you said they did

29. your work ethic

30. Megan

31. your nickname "dooser doo" after the Fraggle Rock Doosers

32. your "angel butt face" nickname and the way you got it

33. your woobie

34. when you used to steal the ladies underwear section out of the Macy's ads

35. when we used to go down to the park and roller blade together

36. your hockey games

37. after we would fight, you would still love me

38. you would always sit next to me at campfires

39. you would aways want me to go first until you got older, then it was you first

40. your forgiving nature except when it came to crappy mike who didnt deserve it

41. that your favorite color was pink and you were so proud of it

42. your ever present and endearingly cute cockiness

43. the way you always stuck up for the little guys

44. how you made everyone feel welcomed and liked

45. how excited you were the day we got baptized together

46. the fact that you loved being my brother

47. that you left us with Clara and she looks and acts just like you

48. how much you loved Collin and he loved you

49. the fact that you are a hero and you gave your life for someone else's

50. that God let me have you in my life, even if it was just for a little while

...and still do. i love you Clark Anthony - always, forever and unending.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

She's a BRICK House...

she's mighty, mighty just letting it all hang out...

so yesterday was my first official, non-planned but fervently enjoyed brick that started at 6:30 AM. on a Saturday. its so incredible because although i am considered a tri veteran with a good number of races and 2 years of training in my repertoire, i am also experiencing the joys of a newbie. i recently got my first bonafide tri bike (my previous two were roadie conversions), had my first road ride in over a year, my first pool swim in over a year, and now my first brick in over a year...WOOOHOOO! the day started when my alarm sounded at 6AM. i quite literally jumped out of bed because i was so excited to get going. i had just switched out the Cobras for the Strykes the previous day, making this a special rendezvous between the open road, Mufasa (the highly anticipated name of my new bike. it has been a constant back and forth battle of the sexes, but in the end, "he" won out and gave a name most fitting for the animal that he is), and me. i had been planning this ride all week long and knew i had to do it first thing in the morning because it isn't the safest route with a lot of traffic. thankfully, i have a very hard time sleeping in past 6:30 so the early morning start time made the adventure all the more exciting. i felt like i was the only one on the road (i saw a total of 4 cyclist while riding where as in when i left for my run, i saw 7, and it wasn't nearly as long). i've never done any riding by myself and have really enjoyed getting to know me as a cyclist. i think a lot while i am riding. i think about BOD and the absolute joy i used to get out of our rides together. he would lead me from the front, circle around and push my limits from the back and then congratulate me at the end for a job well done. that was before. currently i must find it in me to do this for myself. now i enjoy the pure and simple fact that i am here, on my own, navigating my way, getting lost only to re-find that way and showing myself that i am a strong willed woman who is physically not where i want to be at the moment, but pushing the envelope every chance i get to reach the level i once possessed. this is the time i think about that level and envision riding up on it, doing a congratulatory little dance and leaving it in the dust as i surpass it.

i was pretty much near the last leg of my route when i felt the rim of my tire grinding the pavement in front of me. CRAP. FLAT. i pulled off to the side of a shaded alcove on Harbor Island and commenced the tire changing ritual that coach had us perform so many times. CRAP. AEROTIRES. the inner tube i packed was for my old tires and the stem wasn't long enough to fit my new ones.


"did i say crap, i meant SHIT."

"what to do? Bri is at the TNT Saturday session as are most of the people i could call to come and rescue me."

"BOD? yeah right. not only would he laugh but he'd probably send out a camera crew to tape me standing here with my thumb up my butt. well, that's not true...he would just ignore my call."

"who then...?!"

"JB!!!!!!!! "

and thus, my life savor arrived with a spare tube that had a long stem (thank God) and a fresh CO2 cartridge. he stayed long enough to make sure i had everything squared away, told me i sucked for not going to the launch of, and bid me adieu. thanks JB and BTW, your new magazine is awesome. you guys have done a fantastic job!

i cut out about half a mile from the original course so as not to press my luck with the "not quite inflated all the way" inner tube and headed home. this is where i decided that even though the ride hadn't gone exactly as planned, and i got a little more rest in towards the end than i had wanted, i was going to make this workout count. there was a fire lit in my heart ,and it shot down to my legs and out my feet. what is the only way to squelch a fire coming off the bike you ask? - run. it. out. and so i did. at the end of my 2 hour-ish ride, i did a 40 minute-ish run. and for the first time in a long time i felt accomplished. not to diminish my recent marathon escapade (i knew what was coming, i had planned and was ready to face it), but there - there in that gorgeous morning of black tops and white lines flying beneath my frame, the sun rising with a bright splash of color in the distance, the trees and flowers overwhelming my senses - i took something unplanned and a little discouraging and turned it into a something i could be proud of.

so there. my first brick. soon to be followed by my first open water swim (oy!). oh the things i do for this lifestyle i've come to hold so dear.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why Do I Tri?

Team Evotri,
People from all walks of life start training and participating in triathlons everyday for a variety of reasons – some to lose weight, some to get back into working out, some to build confidence, some to revisit the world of the living after a major tragedy; unfortunately, I happened to be the latter. After my brother was killed in June of 2005, I was in a place so low that I couldn't decipher which way was up and which way was down. I decided to join Team In Training because getting out of bed each day was becoming a chore and making it through each day was becoming unbearable. I needed an outlet; I needed to be around good people doing good things for themselves, for the community but ultimately for others. I needed to be a part of something bigger than myself. I worked hard to train and complete my first race – the 2006 Wildflower Olympic Triathlon. The experience was one that quite frankly is hard to put into words. It was truly one of the most tremendously challenging and fundamentally defining moments of my life thus far. Hence my life in triathlons began. Being a part of such an incredibly generous group of people did wonders for my spirit and helped me to focus my hurtful energy into something greater. When I found out that knee surgery had to be performed if I wanted to continue this lifestyle, I was devastated. What was I to do without the daily grind of swimming, biking and running? I had a really hard time after that and in January of 2008 decided that enough was enough. The only way to get back into training was to jump in, head first, and hope not to crack my skull. I prayed that I would somehow upright myself and land on my feet - and land on my feet I did…running. I trained and completed the 2008 San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon on June 1st and it was my grand re-entrance to the wonderful world of something bigger. My team raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association…we were racing to remember for those who could not. Now I see something bigger in the members of Team Evotri that I would love to be a part of. I hope to make a difference by continuing to utilize my three nutrition certifications and training experience in helping triathletes of all ages in every aspect of training, nutrition, racing and camaraderie. I want to help those who have been handed something overwhelming in their life – whether it be a death, an illness or something else that may be working against them – and help them turn it into an energy so positive that their soul shines because they have found the outlet that enables their life to make sense through sport. I love this thing called tri and would feel honored to be able to continue to spread the word alongside such an incredible group of individuals.

Happy Tri-ing,


Monday, June 16, 2008

what a weekend

well the weekend turned out pretty good...

Friday - darted over to CPYPoint Loma to get in my favorite instructor's class (he kicks some serious ass) and also found out that this particular instructor is holding a Saturday session at the beach tomorrow morning! wow, what could be better?! the surf, the sand, hot yoga instructor...i'd say not much! so i called it an early night in preparation for my first road ride since getting my new tri bike. i was planning to be on the road by 7ish Saturday morning so i would be able to make the beach yoga by 10.

Saturday - woke up feeling ready to ride but leery because, although this is embarrassing to admit, i have never actually ridden by myself. i printed out directions for the San Diego International course preview and headed out on my new beauty (which has yet to be named and i think i know why - my aerobars are uncomfortable. i am having my bike guy switch out my Carbon T2 Cobras for the Carbon Strykes. i am hoping this way i can ride in complete comfort and finally name this thing!) with a bottle of Accelerade and my directionally challenged self. i stopped to look at my directions at least 3 times and still managed to take the wrong turn twice! i finally made it up Canon (in my small chain and easiest gear, oy) where i was met by two uniformed officers telling me it was too early for me to go past and i'd have to wait until 9AM to get on to Cabrillo National Monument Drive...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! can't a girl just get a complete ride in without always running into a hiccup? oh well. so i doubled back and put in some extra miles by going back to Harbor Island and doing a loop there before finally heading back to my apartment where i got ready and left to visit my favorite little coffee cafe for some joe before some Steve ;) yoga ended up being just what i needed but by far the hardest class i have ever participated in. between you and me, i think he was trying to kill us. then of course i pull a katie. apparently this was a "donations" class and i of course didn't have any cash on me because 1) i never carry cash and 2) i am broke. so i stood there in limbo for an entire minute debating if i should walk over to the donation tub and pretend to put money in or just leave. after doing the whole lean one way then the other at least 3 times, i finally decided on the latter and tried to sneak off, but by then he was totally aware of my retardedness and was sort of looking at me all perplexed like...really?! could i be anymore dorky?! ok, don't answer that, we all know i can BUT now the hot yoga instructor now knows it too. Lord have mercy...

my post training afternoon consisted of a very special baby shower to welcome Haileigh Goudreau to the family, 6 very strong and very yummy Patron margaritas, 3 ginormo beers of some sort that i did not partake in, 2 dozen oysters on the half shell and lobster tacos split between Bri, Dana and me at South Beach. Sadly, we had all done pretty taxing workouts that morning so we were yawning the entire time. when we finally decided to leave, we swore it was at least midnight only to find out it was 9PM!!!! ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME. i don't even know what to say here except that i am embarrassed and ashamed of my 80 year old tendencies as as a 27 year old...i'm speechless.

Sunday - woke up and felt like a run. i know, i know...i just took a vow the day before to not run until i complete reading Chi Running, but i really really wanted to run. i needed to clear my head and decided a short run wouldn't hurt. i did NOT take my Ipod so i could listen to my body just as the book says and i ran. 3 miles. i kept it short and sweet and you know was awesome. i could have kept running but i started to get a hot spot because of the no socks thing and was forced to stop. probably a good thing, but aahhhhh...i so love that feeling of the nothing between you and the road but the soles of your shoes, the wind gently rolling over your body caressing your face, your cares and worries dissolving through your soul like an hourglass down to the bottom of you feet only to be left behind in a trail of sand and fury marking your course until it all runs out and you are left with a clear mind and a knowing smile.

Sunday Funday at Bri's was next with quality pool time and of course mimosas. we then hightailed it over to OTB for some margaritas and dinner as we watched the Lakers pull a win out of their very lucky asses. oh well. the Celtics will pull it off when its all said and done :) this after Brian had quite adamantly declined going with us because he had too much to do...yeah right. ;) good times, good times.

all in all - pretty damn good weekend. just what i needed with my crying spells and cranky attitude. thanks you two, you are always there to pick me up when i am down rolling around in the muddy puddles of my own misery. luv u two!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June is SO NOT my favorite month

moved here for your convenience. thank you :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Day of Non Training

so my conversation on google chat with Bri tonight before i left work:

me: is it 5 yet?
well yes katie b
actually it is...
and what did you have planned for this evening?
loops around Fiesta AND yoga.
whats that?
youre not doing either
hhmmmmwell thats unfortunately lazy
but good for you

Brian: LOL
So far you're cracking me up!!

me: i just reread what i wrote and am laughing hysterically
i crack myself up
Brian: So what happened?
Why aren't you doing anything tonight?

me: i'm really tired
like abnormally tired
and starving
so i'm going to eat and sleep
a little like garfield
wow, i'm a fat cat
thats nice
and i hate cats
esp fat ones
so wow, i'm really loving myself at this moment in time
yay for me

Brian: LOL
You are too much!

me: well i try ;)
okay, im out to commense the fat cat syndrome
have a good one

Brian: You too!

me: talk to you tomorrow

Brian: TTYL!
Have a great night!

aaahhhhh, this is what good friends are for - they let you be fat cats and even though they are laughing, they are laughing with you and loving you for it. thanks Bri :) i'm so glad we're friends.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Romp Around Fiesta

well i took my bike out last night and came to the realization that Gabriel is not a Gabriel at all, in fact 'he' is not a 'he' at all, 'he' is a 'she'...some background here is that i have this thing with naming the inanimate objects i hold dear. car one - Cabby (the Cavalier), car two - Max (the Mazda), car three - Monty (the Montero), current car - Sammy (the Scion). my bikes are no exception - bike one - Delainey (a Specialized Dolce), bike two - Val (Specialized Vita Multi Sport) and now the new bike MUST be named before i ride it again. i had been referring to my new Giant Trinity as a 'her' since the inception of our courtship, but had talked myself into thinking that it should be a 'he' since having anything in between my legs for that long should be a man. i thought Gabriel might be a fitting name. he was, after all, God's Angel (according to the Internet). but alas, i was wrong. so not only have i eradicated men in my bed, i've now removed them from between my legs on long rides. i think i may be hitting for the other team...JOKING! but really, the bike is a definitely a female...she handles well but is pretty touchy, turns on a dime, has extremely sleek and sexy lines and is very light...

now to the actual ride. my first lap went well. i was moving at a pretty good pace (i haven't gotten a bike computer yet, so i don't know how well it was, but i felt fast). as i merged into lap two, i felt my hips and thighs start to yelp, like helpless little puppies trying to get their mother's attention for food, drink, attention, anything. like a good mother, i ignored them. i had wanted to get in 4 to 5 laps before the sun went down. by the end of lap three, i just kept thinking "good God, is it over yet?!" let's not kid ourselves here either. i am fully capable of admitting that when i left the island, it was not because it's the winter months and i needed to high tail it out of there with the setting sun. no. no, this is summer and it's light out until about was 5:50. i was leaving because my ass hurt. my thighs hurt. my shoulders hurt. my eyes even hurt due to the gusts of wind threatening to take me out. okay, that's a lie...but it was windy. sort of. even though people were passing me like bats out of hell. okay, okay...i thought it was windy. as i was making my way around the island for a measly 20K of total mileage, i started to make some observations:

1) the island is pretty active around 530-6

2) 7 plastic bags caught up in various brush makes the place look a little trashy

3) at least 45 trash cans lined the area, making the 7 plastic bags hanging out pretty ridiculous

4) 4 cyclists passed me, one going mach 10 with a pretty gnarly getup

5) one hot ass in a SDTC jersey passed me and that added immensely to the scenery

6) one 80 yo women passed me and didn't think twice about it

7) 4 jet skis raced around, doing all kinds of little tricks

8) a port o potty stationed every 500 yards or so

9) at least 10 runners booking it around the circle

10) this island is boring as hell

that's when i started to think of this guy i once knew awhile back and how on two occasions he had ridden around Fiesta for 4 or 5 hours in preparation for the Florida Ironman. i was ridiculously bored and tight after just 45 minutes. how in the world could someone put themselves through that more than once?! craziness i tell you, utter insanity. well, props to him. a 5 hour marathon that puts you in excruciating and debilitating pain - yes. 5 hours around a 6.5 mile loop with minimal scenery, pretty high wind variance around each corner, and no change in elevation - absolutely not. so Ironman Florida (not that it ever was high on the list) is definitely out.

i left the island loving my new bike and hating the weakness i felt after my first ride in over a year. i think i'll try a bit more entertaining route for Wednesday's ride.

Monday, June 9, 2008

San Fran and Escape from Alcatraz

well San Fran was pretty amazing. i really love it there. its quite a bit chillier so i'd probably be miserable in the winter months, but i really liked it. i think this is the 4th time i have made the trip and each time am reminded why i like it so much...the trees. they're everywhere. the smell. the sight. the sound. endless forests of enchanting, magnificent works of nature that only Mother Earth could produce. in a word - perfection. i could explore redwood forests for hours upon hours upon hours. to sleep under a redwood is an experience that can't be matched, so i'd imagine sleeping in a redwood would be a treat unlike any other. the beauty of the northern coast of California is enchanting to put it in words and i love it.

i did find myself in the midst of an extremely entertaining race Sunday morning. if you've never spectated the Escape from Alcatraz tri, i highly recommend you do - its a good one. i saw many triathletes that i could call by name, which was really exciting, besides the one i went to see ;) it was fantastic to be at a race again and just fueled my passion to get back on the course even more. i'm really looking forward to getting back to the skill level and strength i enjoyed before my knee surgery and then surpass it in leaps and bounds. of course i'll just keep right on going until i am stronger and better than i ever thought possible. i found my drive for the sport again. i am ready to take on the challenge and although my first tri back won't be until Wildflower Long Course 09 (solely due to my lack of race funds. i need a sponsor...anyone know anyone who wants to sponsor a middle of the pack no-namer?), i am planning to start my merge back into the sport immediately. i have big plans for next season, commencing with my first half ever - Wildflower Long Course, followed up by Vineman 70.3, and finished off with the Longhorn Half. these three race will all lead up to Ironman 2010. if you have any suggestions for my Ironman location feel free to shoot 'em at me. i have no idea which one i want to do but i figure i still have a bit of time to get that all mapped out.

so in light of all of this, i will be taking Gabriel out for the first time today to ride him as many times around Fiesta as i possibly can before the sun sets. i should be out there and riding by 6 and hope to get in at least 4 or 5 laps. i really just want to get a good feel for him before i take him out on the open road, where i am hoping we just so well that we ride as one. i'm looking forward to getting back in the saddle and giving Gabe the ride of his life. ahhh, the beginnings of a new relationship with your new bike...nothing like it :)

happy tri-ing everyone...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rock N Roll 2008

(updated to be SLIGHTLY more pc...6/9)
well, i did it. i finished the highly anticipated, alarmingly daunting 26.2 miles of continuous pavement slapping and Shot Block popping. it was a day to be remembered and not just because of the immense accomplishment of defying my own physical limits, but because i really felt the love and support of good friends and family like i've never experienced before. be prepared, this is shaping up to be a very long post ;)

the morning started at 4:05 AM with the sound of my backup alarm. it seems as though i set alarm one of my alarm clock (set for 6:30 AM, actual race starting time) instead of the race day alarm two (set for 4 AM). thank God i had the sense to set my phone alarm; it quite literally saved my ass! i felt rested enough as the bell sounded, cutting through my dream of who knows what, to punt me from my slumber. we had gone to bed at about 8:30 the night before after eating a very yummy pre-race dinner of rice pasta with garlic sauce (heavy on the garlic), grilled jumbo shrimp and sauteed baby broccoli. sooooooo good! i felt energized and ready to get on the road. mom made a pot of very weak coffee (race day ritual) while i got dressed and put my nutrition together for the day. with everything on and everything i would need in tow, we left the apartment and headed to Michael's house to meet the team. as we waited for everyone to arrive, i continued to stretch my ITB and other muscles so i would have long and flexible legs to carry me through the trek ahead.

the starting line was nothing like i had ever seen before. in a word: CRAZY. there were people everywhere, for miles they lined the streets, speckled the grass and stood in lines for the port o potties. it was a sight to behold. officially it tallied to be 16,373 runners to finish the race, but to start...who knows. a lot. as 6:30 neared, my nerves perked up but not as much as a regular race day. i stayed pretty calm the entire time and never had the freak out moment that usually piggy-backs race mornings. Elle, Alex, Sarah and i all started together in corral 19 while Michael started up in corral 14. it took a good 10 minutes to actually cross the starting line. like i said: CRAZY.

Elle and i took off right away to start making our way through the massive droves of runners that were keeping us from getting into a comfortable, natural stride. i don't think i actually reached that point until mile 6 of the course. i did end up running into my old friend Trey at about mile 2 (he was late to the race in perfect Trey-day fashion), who i didn't know i missed quite as much as i do until i saw him. it was fantastic to get to see him, chat with him for a couple of miles and catch up on life. he's a great guy. i'm sorry we've lost touch. such is life and the happenstances that take you along your path. i'd say just before mile 6, him and Elle found their own pace and took off a bit ahead of me. from then on i was on my own. it was to be a day of intense determination, unwavering stamina, inexplicable pain and the ability to dig deeper than i ever thought possible.

i felt really good until mile 8. i was keeping a steady 10:30ish per mile pace and feeling really strong...and then it the feeling as you exit the nice air conditioned comfort of your home into the blazing heat of the Texas sun, that wave of heat slapping you in the face and knocking the breath clear out of you. and this was only mile 8. i still had 18.2 miles to go "God help me get through this." i put my head slightly down so the brim of my hat prohibited me from seeing what was to come and tried to desperately get to my place of detachment. the place i go when things become unbearable. i know this place well, but the amount of pain it takes to get there is a fine line between finding the place or finding has always worked in my favor before, but one never truly knows how much you can take until you take it. the outcome is never certain and frighteningly volatile.

i was able to make it to mile 14 in pretty high spirits, knowing my friends and my mom were waiting there to greet me. it was the most fantastic greeting i have ever encountered. approximately 15 people were there waiting for me with signs, cheers, high fives and hugs. i switched out my run bottle with the backup one my mom was to bring that contained fresh Accelerade and a new pack of Shot Blocks. i stopped to take quite a few pics while Angie screamed "NO, DON'T STOP! YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING!!!" and laughed all the way. it was great fun and just the lift i needed. i hadn't yet made it to the point of no return and was trying to push it off as long as i could. this moment, this display of immense pride from my support crew, the love i felt from every single one of them was unexplainable and i truly felt blessed to have them there. and yes, i cried but it was joyful and overwhelming and fantastic. i left feeling refreshed and then i took a sip from my new run bottle and it was as if the heavens had opened up and the angels sang, "hallelujah, hallelujah" mom had put ice in it!!! i literally can not tell you the joy i felt and the tears welled up again. thanks mom, you are unequivocally the best mom in the entire world.

i was joined by my fellow teammates Sarah and Alex at mile 17 and greeted by the PB support crew of Jesse, Jenn, Austin, Kelly, Ogas, Ditas, Lilly and Bob at mile 18. by this point i was moving quite a bit slower and the pain was to the point of absolute hell, but the support we had out there just kept amazing me each time i saw one of our groups. they were God sends...or Angie/Alexis sends if you want to get technical. they had really planned this out well :) i couldn't have asked for anything better! they all had signs, cut outs of our faces and cheers to spread. comically inspiring.

this might be the time to tell you a bit about my competitive nature. its on the verge of maniacal. if i have it in my mind to beat someone, you best be damned sure it's gonna happen. i've experienced many of these in my lifetime through training days, triathlons and other races, but none as strong as the will to beat, we'll call her UD (AKA uber douche). there is a background here (not that she has done anything to me but the fact that she lives her life and treats those around her with such hidden and unabashed deceit is more than i can bear), one that is not worth mentioning because to give it validation through words is nauseating, but let it be known that it was my sole objective to come in under 5 hours and to beat UD...the good guys will prevail in this story. i was determined to have some manner of a fairytale ending, even if its not the kind little girls dream of. so when she caught up to me at mile 17, i dug deep and forged on a half a step faster to widen the gap.

UD caught up again just before we came upon our mile 14 support crew that had travelled to meet up with us at mile 22. i was more than happy to see them because i was by now in the most unfathomable pain. i really cannot put into words the steady, creeping, all-consuming agony that had started at mile 8 and was now in full bloom in the midst of my being. every fiber of my physical, mental, spiritual entity hurt with such an intense fire that the depths of my soul, my higher-self could feel the heat. towards the end of 22 UD was steps behind me. i could feel her at the back of my shadow. at that moment i passed Angie, and she took wings and carried me with her. she began to run, in her jeans, in the heat of the day, after drinking mimosas all morning long, after spending hours tending to all the plans to make us feel supported throughout the course, she ran with me. she said things like "you can do this" and when i answered in tears with, "i don't know if i can keep going. i can't describe the pain..." she came back at me with, "you are the strongest, most determined person i know." she ran me up a hill to round out mile 23, told me she believed in me and knew above all else that i could make this happen, that i could accomplish all that i wanted and to just do it. UD never caught up with me again after that. thank you Angie. you can never know how much our friendship means to me or what it felt like to have you get me up that hill.

i thought of all the pain Taishi had to have gone through while having radiation pumped into his little body, all the countless nights Jane's son had suffered through during his chemo treatments, Bryan's struggle as he went through a stem cell transplant, the heart wrenching sadness Jeff's family must have felt when he relapsed, the despair Ria's children and husband felt when she died, the tragic grief our families felt after losing Josh and the completely devouring sense of emptiness and anguish i feel every time i think of how my brother was taken from me, the inconsolable sorrow my mom must feel knowing she outlived her handsome "angel-butt-face" and the fact that her granddaughter will never get to know the true beauty of her father's love...

from 23 on, no words could be said to soothe me. no sentiment could be thought to console me. i was fried in every sense of the word. i was to the point of cussing at my brother. "Clark Anthony, get your effing ass over here and get me through this! You're an angel, angels perform miracles! Get your ass to work!" and other profanities that i cannot remember. my mind wasn't even coherent enough to be able to recite Hail Mary's which is faithfully what i chant in my place of detachment. the pain was unbearable. i was hurting like i've never hurt before...pain is a funny thing. it can inhibit or it can propel. in every person its different. no one person has the same reaction or deals with it in the same manner. my brother made sure mine was the latter. so i guess he did perform a miracle that day. he gave me the fortitude to venture to a place i had yet to visit physically and saw me through to the other side. i saw a bright yellow sign at mile 24...PAIN IS TEMPORARY and that is what was to get me through the last 2.2 miles. i literally had no other coherent thought through the rest of the race except "pain is temporary, pride is forever"

as i rounded mile 26 i noticed tunnel vision had set in, but i don't know how long it had been there. the finish line seemed to never come, even when it was in my sights. i heard nothing, thought nothing, saw nothing except finish, and that's what i did.

it literally took me an hour to get from the finish line to the letter 'Z' where my team was meeting. i was moving at a pace slower than i'd imagine a turtle would move after a marathon. i was wrapped in ice from head to toe and glowing with the most fantastic feeling of pride and accomplishment. i had done it. i had done it and i had done it by myself. i had no one meet me to run me in. i had no ipod distractions to keep my mind off the pain (although i did try for about 2 miles and had to give it back). i had no BOD waiting to congratulate me at the end. it was all me and it felt so great to know it was over. all of it. over. the anticipation. the disappointments. the Saturday torture sessions. the race. it was all behind me and as i exited the finish area with my ice, my race towel, my metal and my pride i was greeted by my best friend Tonice, the most unconditionally loving and supportive mother to ever live, my teammates and some of the greatest friends i've ever known (save for Jessie and Harlan who were stuck in Texas). one of the best, yet most painful days of my life and i wouldn't trade it or change a thing about it for the world.

we then left to go get my half of the mother/daughter tattoo (mom got hers the day before) and then rounded out the evening with the most scrumptious house salad with all the fixings and sweet tomato vinaigrette you've ever ordered, the most delicious blue cheese crusted - medium rare - center cut fillet you've ever tasted, and the most glorious - fully - loaded baked potato you've ever seen. add a blueberry something or other to dull the ever lingering pain, Marty and Gunn to add laughter and entertainment, my mom continuing to shine with the ever lasting love that is her spirit and you get one hell of a day. thank you all for everything. i could not have done it with out you. all of the supportive advice, life saving sessions, emails, phone calls, notes and cards. every little bit of positive energy sent my way. everything. you all know who you are and i thank you from the very most sincere, grateful and loving part of me.

official time: 4:53:37
official pace: 11:12 per mile
official division place: 904/2107
official feeling: awe

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