Monday, April 22, 2013

A Boston state of mind.

We live in America. A place where people run into a blast to save the fallen. Runners who run 26.2 miles and keep running to give blood. A place where thousands of police and firefighters put themselves in harms way to get others out of danger. We call ourselves Americans. And the events of this past week in Boston have reassured me that we live in the greatest county in the world. We choose as a county to come together, to find these people that wish to hurt us. And in a year or two when these newly injured with lost limbs, get up and run that Boston marathon with their new running legs, America will proudly look on. And remember those that didn’t make it.
I write this with a heavy heart thinking of all those affected in Boston but knowing we will come together and be strong together. There is no other choice. 

Tonight in Chicago hundreds of people took part in the Run to Remember. We stood together at the start, hand over our heart as the national anthem played, and ran becasue we could. For those that will one day soon realize that they too, can still run. And for those that will never run again. A moving sight to see the running community come together and remember. Not just today but to remember everyday. As my friend Hailey said, 'a senseless act of violence cannot conquer the spirit of an athlete' And tonight was proof of that. 

Writing about any other life events seems trivial to all this. But on the off hand chance of someone reading this who is newly injured, or needs a lift, the words will continue.

This weekend I competed at the ITU San Diego triathlon. A sprint distance race that brings racers from around the world and a race with a Paratriathlon division. This race finished up a week long high performance Paratriathlon camp in Chula Vista, CA. Think swimming, biking, running, and eating with some awesome people and teammates. And blue skies.

The first sprint race of any season is always a little scary. You’re not sure what the competition has been doing in the off months, not sure if your training will be enough, etc. This race was no different. I had 2 others in my Tri2 category that I would be competing against. 3 of us now, but in a month at nationals, there will be 7! An exciting time for the sport. No need for details but I was overall happy with the race and know where improvements can be made. I crossed the finish line first in my category, once again holding an American flag high overhead remembering those in Boston. My signature move, as Brian calls it, as I run down the carpet waving the flag wildly and always a happy moment. And then as quick as it started, the first sprint race of the season was over. And a big shout out to my awesome handlers Dan and Basia, who are the best support crew around. Either you guys need to come back to Chicago, or we need to make our way out there.

I was a little nervous going into the race as a few weeks ago I competed at Oceanside 70.3 and going from long distance 
training to speed training can be a little challenging.
At Oceanside I represented the Challenged Athletes Foundation and their Operation Rebound and was proud to compete beside fellow wounded vets. It difficult to compare courses when it comes to longer distances but I had done Oceanside 3 years prior and had a goal to beat that time. The 1.2 mile swim went well and I felt like queen of the bike up until mile 28. At mile 28, there is this mountain of a hill that I had to walk up 3 years ago. I had one simple goal for my bike and that was to make it up without getting off. A pedaled at a solid 2.5 mph for about 10 min but crested that hill, on my bike, and let out a big whoop! I couldn’t have been happier. The run was a bit different. Not my best and no real excuse other than I was tired. I realize a 13.1 mile run after a 56 mile bike is supposed to be tiring but when I crossed that finish line I didn’t want to take one step further. I did manage to take 2.5 hours off of my time from 3 years ago so I was thrilled with that. And there are always areas for improvement, but this run was brutal. And to think of doing all that over again, to make it 140.6 miles, is extremely daunting. It’s one thing to talk about it, another to do it. Good thing I’ve got some time…
So 2 big races of the year done. Still not sure how that happens. The next month will be trying to get my speed back up to par before nationals in May in Austin, TX. As I mentioned we could have 7 female Tri2’s there and the competition could be tough. I’ve definitely got a few at my heels, which makes it even more exciting. That’s what the sport is all about. There will be a lot of back and forth between sprint and endurance and I am hoping they work to my advantage. Time will tell with that one..

In other exciting news, we had some of our Dare2tri athletes qualify to compete at nationals this year and we will have a team of 11 in Austin. It’s really an exciting time for this sport as we lead into Rio in 2016 and I love being a part of it at all.

The other big event was Little Leg’s 9TH birthday. Yes, somehow it’s been 9 years since I lost my leg and Little Leg was born. This year’s party was one of the best. At a local neighborhood bar where we know the owner, many friends flying in from out of town, an awesome group and a party to remember. The usual drinks from the socket, the pens, the pins and this years addition of temporary tattoos. Of my leg. And maybe even some dancing on the bar and a leg shaped lamp (Think 'A Christmas Story') A day I’ll never forget and I love sharing it with those I love every year. And let’s be real, Little Leg rocks.

Jake is getting older. Or so says the gray in his beard. Lucky for me he promised me he’s never going to get old and his hips are never going to go bad. Guess I lucked out there.

Work is still great with ‘when I’m there’ being the key phrase. This spring has turned out to be quite a busy one with training, racing, speaking, and whatever else takes me away. Luckily I’ve got a supportive boss and company and love being there when I can.

Brian and I are ready for summer. Ready for some bike rides by the lake, picnics, grilling and getting over this cabin fever. Chicago needs to hurry up and forget about all this rain and snow we’ve had recently. It’s April people, Chicago needs to get with the program.

I guess that’s all for now. As I sign off, make sure you take the time to hug your loved ones today.

Until next time, PEACE OUT. America rules.