June 17, 2012

Love is a Father

Somewhere between the adventure of boyhood and the responsibility of manhood,
there exists an entity known as a father.

Fathers come in various sizes and exhibit assorted behaviors,
but they all live by a similar doctrine.
A father must be strong when he feels weak,
he must maintain composure when he feels like crying,
and he must steadfastly stand tall when he feels the world crumbling beneath him.
His wife adores him,
his friends admire him,
his grandson looks up to him,
and his daughter feels it all.

A father is a magical being. You can ignore his tirades,
but you can't ignore their causes.
You can disregard his demands,
but you can't resent his right to demand.

He has been an integral part of your life,
and you'll never forget the occasions when he built you up
so high you thought you'd explode.
You'll never forget the times you cried because you'd let him down,
and you'll never forget the comfort you found in his words
of consolation given when you needed to known someone really cared.

You might as well face it. His role isn't easy, but his part is just.
He can't be replaced or rejected,
only partially reimbursed and his words recalled.
But he is always remembered.

Whatever you do,
wherever you are,
however old,
whatever experience causes you to become,
you'll always know that what it takes to make a father,
makes you happy you have one.

Love is...having a father.

-Judith Apperson    

Thank you, dad, for all you've done for me.
I'm a lucky daughter to have you,
And Stephen is a lucky man to gain you.

June 12, 2012

IronGirl Atlanta

As mentioned in a previous post, my cousin Morgan and I traveled to Lake Lanier in Atlanta, GA to compete in the IronGirl triathlon. 

OK, OK, so it's not an Ironman distance. It's not even a 70.3. It's actually a sprint distance tri, about the same distance as my very first tri. But it was hands down THE hilliest bike ride I have ever faced. 

I had read the warnings from other gals who had participated in this race. Most of them were newbies (as if I'm not!) and said it had 3 very steep hills, many of which people had to walk their bikes up. Well, I have never had to get off my bike and walk up a hill, so I brushed the warnings off to the side and went on a total of 2 bike rides to "train" for this race lol

Big mistake.

Morgan & I, in pure naive bliss before the race

Before I start my re-cap, this race normally occurs in June. This year, it was in May, and the May weather had not exactly been warm (read, if you're from the north, the water is like bathwater, if you're from the south, it's downright frigid). The water temp was expected to be in the high 60's. And the races I'd been to in the past, if the water temp is not above 72, literally everyone is in a wetsuit. So...I decided I wanted to try and race with a wetsuit, never having an opportunity to get in some open water training in the wetsuit.

I ordered one from wetsuitrental.com (highly recommend) and I had it shipped to Morgan's house in CO since that's where I would be the week before the race. I was ecstatic pulling the rubber seal suit out of the box and ran upstairs to try it on.

It wouldn't come up.

I looked, and felt, exactly like this. I couldn't pull the suit up my legs. I felt like a whale! The more I fought the tight black rubber, the more I began to sweat. The more I sweat, the more I realized my effort was futile. Instead of giving up, I called my cousins in to help me pull it up...going beyond their bridesmaid duty!

They couldn't pull it up either! In fact, Morgan struggled so much, that I heard an "uh oh" then saw the tan of my butt peering though a half dollar sized hole in the side of the suit. ..on both sides. Finally giving in, I plopped down on the bed and uttered the words no girl likes to admit. "I should go up a size." I called wetsuit rental and they shipped a NEW wetsuit out to me, overnight, at no extra charge!

It fit!! Don't look so surprised, Morgan

I had the suit, I swam just fine in it at the local pool, and I was ready to go the morning of the tri.

Too bad there were probably only 10 people wearing wetsuits...

As the tables had quickly turned on me, I didn't want to look like the "newbie" in a wetsuit, so I ditched it and made my way to the starting line. I'm really glad I did though, because the water felt pretty warm!

This is just my wave! Over 140 women

And this was Morgan's puny wave. Just over 20 women

Obviously not as popular a sport from younger girls haha. I started in the very very back of my wave (I was actually running back and forth 30 seconds before the start trying to figure out which side looked less likely that I'd get kicked in the face or scratched). I squeezed in on the inside between the mob and the buoys, had a little struggles in the first minute, getting my breathing down and trying to get a breath in without the splashing water of other girls. I made my way out of the "washing machine" and got into a steady pace, passing as many people as I could. 

The bike route was gorgeous when we were in the actual water park area. But once we exited that, it was the most grueling, hilly ride I've ever experienced. At one point, I began to actually worry, for the first time in any race, "I'm not going to have anything left for the bike."

Of course when adrenaline kicks in, it's a whole different story ;-) During the bike route, Morgan passed me, and eventually, I'd completely lost sight of her. During the run, she passed me on her way IN when I was on my way OUT! Seeing her gave me that extra push, and I was able to finish the race stronger than I ever had, and completed the 5k in a time I normally finish *just a 5k in! (I guess that means I could probably push myself harder in road races)

Morgan ended up finishing 11 minutes faster than me!

...there's always next year ;-)