Thursday, June 28, 2012

2012 is a Bittersweet Symphony

I want to start this week's post out with the words to one of my favorite songs. It seems fitting since this is the title of the post. The song is Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. It's an older song that most people probably know. Just in case you aren't familiar here's a link to the video on YouTube.

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mind
I am here in my mind
But I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no(fading away)

Well I never pray
But tonight I'm on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airways are clean and there's nobody singing to me now


Why did I pick the title of this song for a blog post? Well if you've followed my blog recently then you probably know I have had some good and bad stuff going on this year. This last week was an especially bittersweet one. 

My family and I were packing to move into our new home finally and very excited and stressed about all that entails in itself. Wednesday afternoon I was on the receiving end of one of those phone calls that you never want to get. It was my husband telling me that our 7-month-old puppy Ruby (affectionately referred to as Ruby Roo or Rubester) was hit by a car. I was shocked to hear this and immediately left my office to race to the animal hospital. My daughter had let Ruby off of her leash for a moment to untangle it and Ruby darted for the road, which was very uncharacteristic of her. My daughter heard a thud and the scream of our poor little pup. Ruby had been hit by a random 20-year-old girl. One of our old neighbors saw what happened and was kind enough to help my daughter. They drove Ruby to three different animal hospitals. Yes, three! The first two were closed. Ruby was dying as she layed on my daughter's lap in the car bleeding and gasping for air. The poor little angel. She died shortly after arriving at the animal hospital. My daughter was an emotional mess. My husband said he'd meet me in the parking lot of the animal hospital. His eyes said it all as he walked over to me. I saw a tear and I just lost it. No! No dammit! Not my little Ruby Roo! 

After a few minutes of breaking down I collected myself to go in and see her. Lying there with her pretty brown eyes open but no breathe I realized how fragile life is. We had lost part of the family. This dog was my heart. She had become my daughter, my best friend, my favorite pet ever. It felt like I was having a bad dream. Unfortunately this really happened. It's been just over a week now and we really miss her. My last memory of her was my husband and I taking her for a walk to the school that was near our old house and running with her in the field. She had a blast that night and so did we.

She will never be forgotten. RIP my sweet little Ruby Roo. You brought us much happiness and fun for the short time we had you. Hoping I get to see you again someday my dear friend.

Then on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, we moved into our new home on Thursday! A house we waited for months to get. The day after suffering such a huge loss. Talk about bittersweet. There were ups and downs with the whole house buying process and it stressed us out the to the max but we are in now! There is so much to do but we are absolutely in love with it! It already feels like home. It's a place for us to retreat after long days or bad days and a place for us to grow our love and perhaps someday our family. Maybe we'll even find our next Ruby once we're settled.

Finally, just a quick update on the foot. I actually managed a 3.9 mile trail run on Sunday and felt decent. Still somewhat painful after but getting better every week. So I made the decision along with my coach and therapist to race this weekend. Just a sprint tri as I am not ready for much more with regards to the run. But it's a step forward. And I have to accept where I am in the season and in life. Sometimes it is a bittersweet symphony. This life.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stopping to Smell the Flowers

Before I begin this post, let me just state that I may be overly-emotional this week. In a good way though! I am stopping to smell the flowers. There is so much to appreciate.

It's been an incredible year!!!

  • I married the love of my life! A man that is my very best friend in the world,  makes me laugh everyday and makes me feel special...and lucky! 

  • I made the Rev3 Triathlon age group team! A team of inspirational, fun and fit people for an organization that does some amazing things like Running Across America to raise money for cancer! 

  • I will be moving into the house of my dreams anyday now! A beautiful colonial in an amazing neighborhood with an in-ground pool for practicing my swimming and a ready made gym! Perfect house for us! Pictures to come.

It's also been a challenging year!!!

  • The process of selling our home and now selling/buying at the same time! The stress of it all! Ugh!

  • I have the worst running injury ever in terms of time off - so far it's beaten my stress fracture last season! Not being able to run during these last 7 weeks has been a real challenge but I've survived it. I know I will get it back soon (fingers crossed).

  • Some personal stresses that my husband must face thanks to a ghost of the past who quite frankly seems bitter. I guess I'd be bitter too if I lost the most amazing man in the world thanks to my own stupidity! Her loss my gain!!!
So I am a little emotional. I have been blessed with wonderful friends and family and teammates and people that believe in me and support me. This post is to say thank you and also to let you know that I will be back stronger than ever soon! And more importantly wiser! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Twinsburg Duathlon Relay Race Report

After not racing since April I was pretty excited to have some action this weekend! When my husband asked me if I'd like to do the Twinsburg Duathlon relay I couldn't resist saying yes. He would run and I would bike. It sounded good to me.


Twinsburg would be my new bike's maiden voyage along with my new wheels! Have I mentioned how much I love my Kestrel and Gray wheels? It would also be the first time I raced in my new Team Rev3 kit and my new aero helmet. This was a race with a lot of firsts! Steve and I headed up to the Twinsburg expo and had my coach and bike mechanic Sean put my race wheels on and tune up the bikes a little to get race ready.

We went home and rode 22 miles to see how the bike and wheels would handle for race day. I had only used the wheels once maybe 6 weeks back. We rode one of our usual routes. I was quite speedy on the first half. Unfortunately we had some bad winds heading back so it slowed us down a little. I was in a silly easygoing mood on Saturday night. Steve and I cooked a nice pre-race dinner of gourmet pizza and salad and craft beer and took it easy.

Race Day:

We got up Sunday morning and ate a quick breakfast, got dressed, loaded up the bike and our other stuff and headed out around 6am. We arrived at the Twinsburg Rec center where the race starts around 6:45 to get setup. We were both really excited. Here's a picture of me rocking my awesome new Rev3 kit and posing with my new bike.

The Start:

Finally around 7:40 I watched Steve and the others lineup. The race director Mickey made some announcements along with the local USAT official covering some of the race rules. And then they were off to run the first 2 mile leg.  A quick run to the ladies room for me and then I headed over to the relay area to get my bike shoes, helmet, shades and jacket on. It was starting to drizzle so I grew a little nervous about the weather. I hoped it would stop. Not so much luck!

T1, Bike

 Steve met me in the transition area 12:24 later and we switched the timing chip as per the rules. I grabbed the bike to run it out of transition and mounted pretty easily and we were off. I was a little nervous starting up with the rain since I don't have a lot of experience riding in the rain and had never raced this bike or wheelset before.  I knew I was close to the front of the pack so I just wanted to get on it. The start of the course is hilly for about the first 2 miles so I was probably just averaging 17-18mph and had to watch the turns with the rain. 

Once we hit a flatter section I opened it up more averaging between 22-26mph for much of the flat and slowing down for some turns. The rain unfortunately was coming down pretty good in parts of the race including some downhill parts with traffic as the roads are not closed. I just tried to be cautious. There's one section of the course with a longer climb and I slowed down there to 12-14mph as it was a tougher climb. Once we hit the descent I was back quickly to over 20mph hitting some downhill in the 30s. That's always a good feeling. The whole ride was good. There were a couple of other guys that I stayed with pretty much most of the race as I passed them and they passed me. I kept them as my markers. I wanted to finish in 30 minutes or less for the 10 miles. I ended up at 32:43 including our two transitions. This means I likely averaged about 20mph. Not bad for racing in the wind and rain and being a little conservative on the push. In fact I learned from my coach later that I had the fastest bike split of all the women in the race! And I think I ranked like top 15 or 20 overall with the men so that made me feel pretty good about all those miles I've been putting in!

T2 & The Finish:

I raced into the transition area and met Steve where we again switched the timing chip and he was off. I racked my bike and then got myself dried off a bit and headed over to watch the finish. It's always fun watching people finish! Steve made it back in 12:24 again for the second 2 mile run. Talk about even splits! Not as fast as he had hoped but still pretty good at a 6:12 average. For not doing a whole lot of running lately and no speedwork I think that's solid. They held the tape out for him since we were the first co-ed relay team with a time of 57:52!

Our first relay was a success! In fact we would have been third in the men's relay in terms of our time)! Not bad. Needless to say we were happy with the results. We stuck around to hang out with friends, get a bite to eat and collect our awesome award plaques. It was a great race again this year. Mickey does a fantastic job with the event. It draws a lot of strong local competition and it's just a fun atmosphere. We'll definitely be back again next year. Either for the relay or individually. TBD.

Special thanks to Rev3 Triathlon for the awesome new kit! And also to Swiftwick, who makes the world's best socks, Pearl Izumi who made our Rev3 kits and supplied the awesome Pro Aero jacket I wore, which  kept me dry through the race as well as the comfy and light tri bike shoes. Finally thanks to PowerBar for the pre and post race hat and race fuel. I used the PowerBar Perform for the race and use it for much of my training. It tastes good and keeps me going without any GI issues, which we all know is important!!!