Friday, July 29, 2011

Fat Salmon 2011

(Fellow fish, I mean teammates and a view of the "scene"!)

(Enjoying this gorgeous day!)

My favorite open water swim race was this past weekend (2010, 2009) . The sun was FINALLY out in Seattle so the day was absolutely beautiful to swim 3.2 miles from I-90 to Madison Beach. Choppy waters made this event a little more challenging than years prior adding 4-5' on most swimmers results from previous years (a long eight additional 8 minutes for me). My past swim buddy was gone from the get-go, so no pedicure for good-ole' Tom while swimming THIS year!

(Tom, the speedy feet dude! 4th overall and #1 Master!)

(Mark demolishes his first 3-mile open water race!)

(Bridget and I ie: partner in crime!)

The choppier the water the more strength is needed. As I long for more strength, that I recognize can not be achieved through swim/bike/run alone, I (and Bridget) have enlisted in my long time buddy Curt Ligot and his Kinetic Force shenanigans to get me in "fightin' shape", as I am now officially now at "fightin' weight" (Insert big smile! Take that UC!!!). Excited for a few focused months of building some real muscle back, the heels and wedges will be in the back of my closet for now!

Thank you TYR for the amazing Hurricane, tracer goggles, and comfy suit to do this super fun adventure!

To more open water swimming, strength, and is good!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rev 3 Portland 2011

I did it! The 2011 goal was to complete a triathlon. Seems so minor from where I was a year ago. Seems so BIG from where I have been this past year. (reminder posts: here and here)Who would have thought? Would love to say I did the race to prove to myself “I am back!” but really I am so far from that (but will use that as a blog title someday!).

I did this race for ME. I needed to know that I could do this sport again. Yes, it is incredibly challenging to go to a start line with not even half the fitness I had currently displayed, especially with a little “P” marked on your left calf. The “P” represents professional, a choice I made when my health was at its best for months. But at the end of the day, life is too short, and I wanted to play. I didn’t want to wait around until my fitness surpassed where I was in July of 2010 just because of the “P” status and the expectations that are placed on you while “displaying” it.

This race brought more tears to my eyes than any athletic event I have ever participated in. Everything truly felt surreal.

It is challenging to write this report because it felt so unusual than any other race in my life. There was no second or third gear, there is no pushing the pace, and there is very little fitness to pull from. It was a race of staying steady and making it to the line on both feet. This made it incredibly challenging to “race” as it was nothing of that sort for me.

Although it may sound dramatic, the truth is, my mind could not stop flashing back to the days in the hospital bed (total of 7 nights, over 10 ER visits, and one only 2 weeks prior to this race). To the days of taking 50mg of Prednisone and 3 vicodin for over 5 months (and tapering off these medications have been even more of a challenge). My training is half of what it used to be, simply because the recovery time is twice as long for any workout. I need two days off a week, and typically have 10 hours + a night of sleep. When the going got tough I would just smile thinking about how lucky I was to be out on a beautifully sunny day, with 31 TNM athletes, and countless supporters out there cheering for me. I was awe-struck by how many people had really followed this journey back to health that did not even know me.

I did not need this race to show to me or anyone else how weak I have become (losing over 8 pounds and I can tell you it was all muscle), I needed this race to know exactly where my body is now, how much recovery time is needed, and to help coach and I move forward with my upcoming plans. I needed to just get out there again, experience living, and doing what I love. I got all this and more.
You will probably not see me at a triathlon for the remainder of the year, Coach and Mark and I have developed a plan as my fitness and health improve to get me stronger. With this intact, I am accepting of the strategy to taking a few more months off of triathlon racing. I got my fix and am satisfied….for now!

To my amazing supporters (a little story first):
My swim coach growing up (Dick Hannula) would, along with emphasize the importance of our fitness and health, would also highlight the priority of friendships and the relationships formed in sports. His words were “Your best friends in the world are with you during your highest- highs, and your lowest- lows”. He would reference this as our teammates sharing the same experiences during every practice, every swim meet, every great success, every hardship. And that they were!
It takes a true person, a true company, and a true heart to support someone during their most challenging times to date:
Thank you to TYR, Gerk's Issaquah, RUDY Project, Cyclops, Lululemon,Brian Perry, Peter Schmidt, Mom, Mark, all my teammates, tri-buddies, coaches, doctors and family.

With you guys......anything is possible!