Saturday, October 27, 2018

Relationships Matter

I had parent/teacher conferences this week. 

I always get a little nervous about conferences.  There is always the chance of a parent that is confrontational or placing the blame on me rather than the student. 

I come away from conferences exhausted. 

I also come away from conferences with a renewed sense of what is important to me as a teacher.

Relationships matter

I have only been a teacher for eight years.  This is the beginning of my ninth year.   That is a good chunk of time but most teachers that are my age have been teaching for 20 plus years. 

I get several reminders every year during conferences.  First, parents or grandparents or whoever is raising the student all care about their child.  They may not parent the way I would, and they may not have the skills that I have but all of them love the child and want what is best for them.  Even if they don't have the healthiest ways of showing it.   

I feel a big part of conferences is making sure that the parental units know that we are on the same team.  We both want what's best for their kiddo.  If we can be on the same page, then the student is going to do so much better. 

Again, relationships matter.  Not just between the student and the teacher, but also between the teacher and the parental units. 

I had some pretty incredible conferences.  Some that make me smile, some that make me want to cry and a few that make me so glad that I put in the time to make the connection with a student.  When you have a grandmother in tears because her grandson struggled all year as a freshman but is doing well as a sophomore AND his teachers are connecting with him.  She said she could tell that a lot of his teachers were "getting" him and she was so thankful.  I get to be a part of that!  Not only that, I'm not the only one!  That says a lot about our school and how hard the teachers work at building relationships with their students.  So many connections made and so many students that have made the switch from tolerating their crazy Language Arts teacher to maybe, just a little bit, buying into some of the things she is telling them. 

The grades aren't as important as being understood.  The grades aren't as important as making a student feel valued.  The grades aren't as important as making sure a student knows they are missed when they are gone.

The funny thing is, when all those things happen, the grades get better. 

You know why?

Relationships matter!

That is the number one reason that I worked so hard to become a teacher. 

This also works for more aspects of my life than just teaching. 

The relationship between my husband and myself makes it so that we can support and encourage each other in our goals, whether they be race goals or job goals or just the goal of getting the dishwasher unloaded and dinner ready after work. 

The relationship between my children and myself, especially as they become adults is amazing!  How did we manage to help such amazing people to be hard-working and kind adults?  Because of the relationship! 

The relationship between my coach and myself makes it so I can push myself to do more than I ever imagined or sometimes be pushed to do more than I thought I could. 

The relationship between athletes and the different races we participate in.  These races are put on by different people or groups and how we interact with them makes a huge impact on how we perceive the event and how we did on any particular day. 

The relationship between friends.  How we support each other and lift each other up in good times and in bad.  The people that stick by you during the hard times and are still around to raise a toast during the fun times are the best.  You know why?

Relationships matter!

Things have been a little off for me the last few weeks.  Don't really know why.  Don't feel like working out.  Really, really tired.  Kind of feeling blah. 

This week I had Parent/Teacher conferences. 

Today I had a group bike ride with a bunch of really amazing people. 

Both reminded me that relationships matter. 

So I will keep pushing forward and I will work my way through the blahs.   I know I will come out the other side with some life lessons in my pocket and a little more strength to build on in the future. 

I know this because...

Relationships matter!  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It's All in the Attitude

I have been thinking a lot about attitude.

Positive attitude.

Negative attitude.

Most people tend to think of attitude in those two ways.

When you work with kids you see all kinds of other aspects of attitude.

Whiny attitude.

Defiant attitude.

Determined attitude.

Frustrated attitude.

Joyful attitude.

Curious attitude.

I probably could make a longer list but you get the idea.

I have also been thinking about what I can control and how to let go of what I cannot control.

My attitude affects how I am able to handle struggles and how I view successes.

I was looking back over my posts from the past year.  One of the reasons that I enjoy writing this blog is completely selfish.  I like having a record of my journey.  My blog isn't trendy or popular on a large level but it is a great way for me to do some self-care.  Writing things out helps me put things in perspective and appreciate my journey in ways I don't think I would as clearly otherwise.  If my meandering thoughts encourage someone along the way that is a bonus!

My coach and I met last week and talked about my Olympic triathlon at Best in the West last month and how I felt about it.  A month later and I'm still really proud of my attitude at the end more than anything else.  I didn't beat myself up for not doing better.  I didn't get mad or frustrated that I was almost last (beat two people).  I would have done all of those things just a few years ago.

For once I was able to focus on the positive.  I had pushed through being uncomfortable and kept going.  I finished my race in spite of things not going as well as I had planned or trained for.

Welcome to life.

I watched many of teammates struggle with injuries and race results that weren't what they had been working towards.  Everyone handles these things in their own way.  But the consistent thing that makes someone able to move on to the next goal and the next challenge is attitude.  Does the struggle make the attitude negative and full of disappointment to the point that forward progress, both in the mind as well as the body?  Or does the struggle make the attitude one of determination, possibly even an attitude of grit? 

Life can seem to hit with a storm of struggles that can make having a positive attitude difficult.  I think we all have been there at one time or another. 

Which is why I am happy that I was able to be proud of what my body (and my mind) was able to accomplish that at my last race.

Sometimes it becomes so easy to focus on all the things we can't do that we lose sight of the things we CAN do. 

Sometimes it is easy to constantly speak out the negative or the frustrations of those struggles.  If we are constantly speaking the negative that is where our mind lives.  You hear the phrase "focus on the positive" all the time for good reason.  When you are looking for positives, you will find them.  The more often you look, the more you will find. 
It's easy to find excuses on why we can't reach our big goals that we stop trying to even attempt smaller ones. 

Easy to say.  Not always easy to do. 

I have struggled in this area for most of my adult life.  For me, my self image plays a big part in my attitude.  I've had to work very hard to not beat myself up for struggling, for my weight going up or for a race being slow. 

The journey to becoming a healthier me has been a slow one and not gone the way I imaged most of the time.

I have learned that a lot of my journey hasn't been about become a smaller size but about changing attitude about where I am in the moment.

I still have a long way to go. 

I have come so far.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Best in the West 2018-Changing Goals Mid Race

Since my last blog about the race in Cottage Grove we have been crazy busy.  Trip to Whistler for Joe's Ironman race, backpacking trip with girl friends (blog about those later), family time and working on getting my classroom set up made the month fly by.  Suddenly it's time to be back at work learning about my new school and what grades and subjects I would be teaching.  All while trying (not so successfully) to maintain my workout schedule to prepare for the Olympic Triathlon at Best in the West.

The second week back to work was the first week with my students.  One 9th grade Language Arts class, two 10th grade Language Arts classes  and two Freshman Success classes.  I was nervous about teaching high school, a little bit of second guessing the decision to make the move.  I had a blast!  At the end of the week we had our first assembly and I loved the energy from the staff and students.  I have always loved this school.  I have been so very pleased with the experiences my own kids have had there and I am ridiculously excited to get to be a part of the staff.

The beginning of the school year is always a bit exhausting.  Starting at a new school and learning new standards and curriculum, learning the ins and outs of the building, connecting with the staff, planning and prepping for the kids, meeting the kids, lesson plans, activities, and the list goes on.  And that's just the first eight days of my school year!!  All of that with an Olympic Triathlon after those eight days.  Yikes!!

Joe and I always volunteer at Best in the West.  Usually he is racing Saturday and I race on Sunday.  So I volunteer Saturday and he volunteers on Sunday.  If you volunteer you can stay at the park where the Best in the West events take place.  We haven't done that before because we are only about 45 minutes away from the lake and the thought of sleeping in a tent and then getting up and racing didn't really appeal to either of us.  This year we had our trailer!

Joe took the trailer up earlier in the week and got it set up and then spent a few hours helping with set up.  I spent Thursday afternoon/evening after work prepping the food and packing for the weekend.  Friday morning I packed up the cooler and had almost everything out in the garage to load into the truck.  I came home at lunch to finish packing up a few things and help Joe put the cooler and other big things in the truck.  I love living just a few minutes from work!

After work I made the quick commute home and we headed up to Foster Lake.  It was nice to just be in the truck and be still for awhile.  I had been fighting a headache all day and it can be very tiring to try and keep the headache under control and still maintain a certain level of energy for the students.  The nice part was that the trailer was already set so it was just a matter of getting the food from the cooler to the fridge and putting our things in their spots.  We decided to go grab our race packets and check in at the volunteer tent before we started dinner.

Our friend Mark had decided to do the Try a Tri event on Sunday and he was there on Friday to pick up his packet and listen to the race briefing.  He was a little nervous about it all, especially the swim part.  Pretty normal.  We told Mark to come over to the trailer and he could join us for hamburgers.  We had a relaxing time hanging out, eating dinner and visiting.  Joe spent some time getting all his gear lined up for his Half Ironman triathlon the morning.  I was volunteering the next morning doing body marking which meant we both had to be up early.  So that meant early to bed.

Morning came quickly but I love that I sleep really well in our trailer.  We both got up and started getting ready for our day.  Joe for racing and me for volunteering.

I love volunteering!  It's so fun to support and encourage people.  Body marking is a kick in the pants to do.  People are excited, or nervous, or scared.  Or a little bit of all three.  I like talking with them and joking around.  Basically I am a big dork, just like I am when I am teaching. lol  Actually, just like I am most of the time.  😆
When you are doing the body marking you use a big, fat sharpie to write on people.  Their bib number goes down their left arm, bib number on their left hand.  On their left calf you write what event they are doing.  Half Triathlon you write HT, Sprint Triathlon is ST.  But then there is also an aqua/bike event where you swim and bike but don't run.  This is SA or HA.  You can also do a duathlon where you bike and run (no swim).  That looks like SD or HD.  This year we added something else.  If it was their first time doing the distance we put a start underneath.  If it was their first time doing a triathlon or that event of any kind they got two stars.  I LOVED that!  So fun to give people that were doing something new extra love!  Their right leg I wrote their age they would be on the last day of the year.  Always funny to see people trying to think of what to say.

I got to do the body marking on Joe when he came to set up in transition.  It is a little weird to not spend the morning being his sherpa.  Somehow he managed on his own.  😉  I missed him taking off at the start of his race, which I know isn't a big deal in the large scheme of things.  But I always hate it when I can't give him loves before he starts.  But I do like volunteering and doing it first thing leaves me the rest of the day to hang out and cheer for my guy and any of my teammates that are racing.  I got done with my shift and headed down to the lake to see if I could catch Joe coming out of the water.  I made it just in time!  I got to see Joe and then make it up to transition to see him heading out on the bike.  It always makes people laugh when I shout, "Don't fall down!!!"
I headed to the trailer to let Finn out and to get some Advil.  The headache from Friday was still lingering and I wanted to stomp it out so it was gone before my race on Sunday.  I got to see teammate Ron come out of the water before I went to the trailer but I missed seeing Rebecca, dang it.

Finn and I hung out at the Pure Endurance tent with all of the Booth family.  The kids had fun playing tug with Finn and his rope.  Pretty fun to watch Finn pull but not as hard as he does when he plays with me or Joe.  He was very sweet with the kiddos.  I also loved being able to get some visiting time with Janelle.  We haven't gotten to sit and chit chat in ages! I got to see Logan take off on his Kayak Sprint Tri.  Instead of swimming he kayaked, then biked and then ran.  He did awesome!  So fun to cheer for him!  He's grown a lot since I met him three years ago and he would run with me on the track!

My friend Kristy showed up to hang out with me and cheer for Joe.  Waiting for people during a triathlon seems like a lot of sitting around doing nothing but it seems to go so fast!  Visiting with people, people watching, cheering for friends and teammates all takes a lot of time.  But so much fun!!

Ron came in on the bike looking good.  Then came Joe.  He also looked strong and ready for the run.  It took awhile for Rebecca to arrive and when we saw her running her bike in from the dismount line I shouted that she needed to smile!  She smiled, which was great.  But then she wasn't smiling and I knew something was wrong.  I asked if she was okay and she said no and asked where coach was.  I ran over to the Pure Endurance tent and told Jon that something was wrong and he needed to go talk to Rebecca.  He worked his way around the transition area so he was close to where her bike was racked.  We could see them talking and it was obvious she was upset.  She was having problems with her foot and she made the hard decision to stop.  She is signed up to do her first Ironman next May and pushing through 13.1 miles of pain right now doesn't get her to the bigger goal in May.  Not an easy decision but the right one in the long run I'm sure.

Kristy and I went to the trailer to get Finn some water and put him in the crate.  It was getting hot and boxers don't do great when they get really hot.  The trailer was nice and cool so he was ready for his afternoon nap time.  😍

When we got back to the tent Rebecca was laying on the ground stretching.  I plopped down next to her and let her tell me about what happened.  We laughed, had a few tears and mostly I just listened.  It's disappointing to not be able to finish something you have been training for for so long.  Love my friend Rebecca and wished she had a better day.  Got this text from her later that afternoon.
Sometimes all takes to help out is laying in the grass with a friend. 💜
We got to see Ron and Joe go by as the finished their first lap of the half marathon part of their day.  More hanging out, people watching and visiting.  It's rough being a spectator!
Ron came down the finish chute and was gifted a beer from Block 15.  (They know him well!)  So funny to watch Ron finish the race with a beer in his hand and a huge smile on his face.
Ron is the one with the huge smile and the beer in his hand!!
Joe finished not long after that looking strong.  After Joe was done and he had recovered some we headed back to the trailer.  It was so nice to not have to get in the car and drive home.  We just could hang out and relax in our home away from home.  We got dinner going and I started getting my gear put together for my race the next morning.
Joe crossing the bridge to enter the finishing chute.  Looking good!!
All too soon it was morning.  Now it was my turn!  Joe was volunteering at packet pickup and had to be there bright and early.  He took off and I finished eating and getting my things ready.  I headed to the transition area to get my body markings and start getting set up.  Now it was someone else's turn to write on me!  😉  Got my things set up and wandered back to the tent to grab a banana and keep myself moving.
It wasn't long before it was time to get the wetsuit on (or should I say the wiggle dance?)  My teammate Ruth was doing the Olympic Aqua Bike so we got to joke around a get some smiles before go time.
Foster Lake on race morning.
Start of the swim looks very quiet right now.
Race Day selfie with my hubby.  He was volunteering at Packet Pickup.
My friend Mark was there to do the Try a Tri race later that morning.  So Mark and Jodie had arrived in time to say hi and watch me get started on the run.  So fun to have them there!
Love my teammate Ruth!  We always laugh when we hang out together. 😁
Waiting for our turn to start the race.
Go time seems to take forever to arrive and comes all too quickly, all at the same time.

We were the last group to take off.  It was kind of crazy at the start, people crisscrossing all over the place.  Lots of feet in the face, arms everywhere, it was a little nuts.  But I was able to get to the outside edge of the crowd on the left and getting going pretty quickly.  I felt solid and just tried to stay steady and straight.  When I went around the yellow turn buoy the sun was perfectly aligned that the reflection on the water was blinding.  I literally could not see anything straight ahead and had no idea where the next turn buoy was.  I headed off in what seemed to be the right direction.  The people on the paddle boards and kayaks were supposed to herd us back if we got too off course.  Eventually I did finally see the turn buoy.  I had been staying to the left side of the orange buoys which was keeping me out of traffic.  After the second turn buoy I should have headed for the second orange buoy.  The first one wasn't really lined up well and I think I ended up going quite a bit out of my way by keeping to the left.

Overall the swim felt solid.  Not as fast as I had hoped and not as fast as last year but it was still a solid swim.  The run up to transition is long way but I was moving right along the entire time.
Had a decent transition and took off on the bike feeling really good.  I was excited to see how the bike ride would go.

I ate my PB&J at the start of the ride.  The weather was perfect, cool and no wind.  I had fun and felt really strong.

It didn't take long to get to the hill that is, in my opinion, wicked steep at the start and then isn't as steep but just keeps going up.  I'm always very happy to get that hill done.  It still makes me anxious even though I have never not made it up it.   When I got to the top and turned I could hear my back wheel rubbing on something.  I was pretty sure I had gotten a rock stuck between the brake and the tire.  I had that a few weeks ago only when it happened then it completely stopped my back tire.  At least this time it was just rubbing.  I stopped and got the rock out.  So nice to have people concerned that I had stopped. Was asked by the flaggers and several people riding by if I was okay or if they could help.  The fact that people who were racing were willing to stop and help me just made me smile.  It didn't take long to be back on the bike and be going again.

I was nearing the turn around point when I saw Ruth coming the other way.  So fun to wave and shout to each other on the course.  That always seems to give me a little boost.

As I rode along I found myself thinking about what it was like to do this ride the first time.  How big the hills were, how hard I worked, how scared I was.  The hills are still big and I still was working hard but the fear wasn't a part of the ride this time.  There were several parts that I remember being so long and I loved that they were still work but didn't seem to take the eternity they had the first time.

I'm not sure if that is a change in perspective, being a stronger athlete or just being able to enjoy the bike ride now but no matter what the reason, I'll take it.  😊
My friend Heather was a flagger at the corner at the bottom of the wicked hill.  I was so focused going up that I didn't see her off to the side but heard her cheering for me as I started up the hill.  That made me smile as I was grinding up the steep part of the hill.  On the way back down I knew she wouldn't be able to see me until I was passing so I decided to make sure she knew I was coming.  I got to the steep part flying down the hill and I started shouting, "HEATHER!!!" at the top of my lungs.  lol  The flaggers that were right at the bottom looked at me like I was crazy.  As I looked to my right as I flew by I saw my friend jumping up and down shouting back.

So much fun!!

Still felt like I was doing really solid.  Maybe not any faster than the year before but at least as well.  I try not to look at my watch so that I don't start getting mental about going too slow or worry about maintaining what I've been doing.  There is one last steep hill leading up to the dam and as I was working up the hill my back started to feel a little tight.  I didn't think much of it because that happens sometimes but usually is fine once I'm at the top.

Not this time.  My low back just kept getting tighter and tighter.  It felt like the whole low back was just seizing up.  I couldn't get it to loosen up.  I would stand on my pedals and move around and then sit and try to get going fast again.  I would for a little bit and then I would have to try and move around again.

I had this happen when we rode on the Cascade Lakes Highway during our Training Camp in June.  I was able to get off the bike and stretch it out for awhile which helped.  Not really ideal for a race.

The last five miles of the bike were tough.  Usually I can get some pretty good speed from the dam to the park.  Not so much this time.  I couldn't keep the back loose and I couldn't seem to get any power in my legs.

My goal of a PR on the bike faded away over five short miles.  My goal of a PR for the race also faded away over those five miles.

Now there was a new challenge.

The mental one.

I don't see myself as someone who is good at mental challenges most of the time.

I got off the bike to the cheers of my coach.  That made me smile.  But holy moly did my back hurt when I was walking my bike into transition.  I told coach that my bike was acting up like it did at Training Camp.  I'm pretty sure that he passed that on to Joe who was cheering for me with Jodie near the run exit.

I thought about quitting.

The run was not going to be good.  Another run that was not going to be strong which was frustrating because I had wanted to have a good run after how badly Cottage Grove went.

The thinking going through my head was that my back hurt, my goals were now in the trash can, the run was probably not going to be pretty, and wondering if I should I keep going or quit.

That's a lot of thinking in the few minutes in transition.

I didn't worry about having a fast transition.  I stretched out my back a few times while I changed my shoes and gathered up my stuff for the run.

I don't remember actually deciding to keep going.  I just found myself heading to the run exit.

I guess I decided to keep going.  😆
Coach told me to start out slow so that I could give my back a chance to loosen up.  Not a problem, going fast wasn't going to be happening.  lol

It was fun to see all the Try a Tri people on their run!  Hopefully they all had a good time and are thinking about doing another triathlon.  I missed seeing my friend Mark.  I think he had already gotten to the trail towards the lake.  Darn it, I was hoping for a high five!

I forgot to hit the button on my Garmin to end T2 until almost a quarter of a mile into the run.  Dang it.  I hit the button and my metronome started beeping.  I had been using it some on my training runs working on cadence.  But in the run setting it is easy to go in and mute so I tried to do that in the triathlon setting.  It didn't have that option. lol  I would have had to stop, pause the Garmin and then try and figure it out that way.  But I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn't start again so I just left it.

I got to run a 10k with my watch beeping the entire time.  It was totally annoying! All it did was remind me that I was going slow.

I was able to get trotting and it was weird.  I actually felt like I was moving pretty good.  Then I would look at my watch and realize I was doing a 13'30"/14" minute average pace.  Not a 12" or lower pace like it felt like.  Sigh.  At least I was not walking.

Our camping neighbors were manning the first aid station and were sporting outfits to represent Riverdale, Archie and the gang.  Pretty cute.  If it's the same family as last year, last year they were Scooby and the gang.
Awesome Volunteers!!!
The grandpa of the family was taking pictures as we came into the aid station.  We had some great conversations with him hanging out at the trailer over the weekend.  He said I should make sure he knew it was me when I was coming up to the aid station.  So I started waving my arms and shouting, "Hi Dick!!!!"  Made for a funny picture.
Waving at the photographer.  Looks like I'm having a spasm.  lol
Still managing to smile.
This course involves a short out and back one direction and a longer one in another direction.  By the time you are at the last turn around and now, finally, heading toward the finish you can see exactly how many people are still racing behind you.

There were two.

That's a little demoralizing to have worked hard all summer through a lot of travel and hiccups only to finish off the season with a big fizzle.

In the past this would have had me walking and really just giving up completely mentally.

I kept running.  It was slow and it hurt but it was running.

Somehow I had decided that my new goal was finishing the race as best I could with what I had for the day.

What I had was a tight back and a slow trot.

Better than nothing.

I was able to run without stopping for most of the last three miles.  A few bits of walking towards the tops of a couple of hills and a couple times walking at water stations.

The Riverdale gang from the first aid station went by me in their pickup truck and gave lots of shouting and cheering.  Another reason to keep smiling.  😀

I got to the trail that leads down to the lake and the finish line.  So nice to know there was only about a quarter mile to go.

I came down the path and could see the bridge and there was my hubby and my friends Mark and Jodie cheering for me as if I had just one the whole stinking race.  Gotta love that no matter how the race went.

I like this video that Joe took because I can hear my peeps cheering for me and it shows me high fiving a volunteer as I went by.  😊

Came around the corner and saw coach and then got to get high fives from Ron and Ruth who were cheering for me from the saloon.

Was able to dig deep and run a pretty good clip into the finish chute and across the finish line.

Felt good to finish with a smile on my face.
Best in the West Olympic Triathlon #3 Finisher!
I didn't finish the way I had planned when I started the race that morning.

I did finish.

I not only finished but I finished and didn't promptly start beating myself up for things falling apart.

Sure I was disappointed, but somehow I was proud of myself for not giving up and how I was able to keep moving.  I didn't beat myself up or cry about how things had turned out.

I actually was kinda proud of myself.

Then I was a little surprised that I was proud of myself.

Guess I'm growing up a little.

Shout Outs!

Best in the West, Blair, Staci and the entire Posse!  As always, a fun time from start to finish.  We loved volunteering!  Camping at the park was so nice and hanging out with all the volunteers, Posse and triathletes was a kick.  Getting all the free race photos is awesome!  The races were awesome for all of us.  It really is one of the best ways to end the triathlon season.  For me personally it is a great way to start off my school year.

Check out the Best in the West Events website to see all the events they put on all year long!  So many fun things to be a part of!

Coach Jon Booth-Pure Endurance.  Three years of training together, meetings, adventures, lots of races, PR's, laughter and even a few tears.  This is me after all.  Can't do much without some tears in the mix.  Thank you for encouraging me through a weird summer on my end while you were dealing with a rough one on yours.  I love you and your family!!  Janelle and kids, thank you for supporting Jon so he can be such an awesome coach.  I know he wouldn't be able to do it the way he can without you guys supporting him.

Pure Endurance Teammates.  Wow!  When I was first thinking about working with Jon, one of my hesitations was worried about being the slow one and it bothering people.  Silly thing I know.  I am over it...mostly. lol  I love my teammates.  I love seeing everyone in our team kits, hanging out in the Pure Endurance tent and cheering loud and proud for each other as we all do our thing.  Different goals, different abilities but all on the same team.  So glad to have such amazing people added to my tribe.  You all rock!

Joe Van Veldhuizen.  You are my rock.  I would not be able to be the wife, mom, teacher or triathlete I am without you by my side.  Love having these adventures with you.  Thank you for believing in me!  I love you!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Who Are You Racing For?

Who are you racing for?

I saw this sign just after the turn around during the run portion of my triathlon last weekend.  It got me through the last three miles of that 10k.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Race report for the Tri at the Grove 2018.
Pine Meadows Campground, Cottage Grove Lake, Site $17
This year we camped on the opposite side of the lake from the triathlon in our trailer.  We went a few days early and it was nice to have some down time.  The campground was very nice and it was a good test run on how dry camping would go.  No electrical hookups or water.  Everything went great and we didn't have any problems.  Joe was doing his workouts for his Ironman that was coming the next week.  I enjoyed doing my shorter workouts, hanging out with the pup and reading books.
View from our campsite! 
Joe went over and help set up on Friday night and I stayed at the trailer and got myself ready for the race and then went to bed early. 
Race day was gorgeous and I was excited to get things going.  

I love getting my stuff ready and seeing my teammates and talking to people near me.  The energy in transition is just fun.  
My hubby and sherpa for the day. 💜
Teammate Rebecca.  Sunshine smiles!!
Teammate Ruth.  More sunshine smiles!!  (I love my teammates!)
Getting ready for the swim!
My swim went well.  I felt really good and that was fun.  I did struggle with other people getting in my way.  Think I'm going to change up the line I swim in with the buoys so that I'm not so much in the middle of things.  I lost my groove several times because of other people and that is something I definitely need to work on.

I came out of the water feeling good and headed for transition.  T1 went smoothly and I got going on the bike in a decent amount of time.
Here I go!
My bike ride was awesome!  It felt great.  I was down in my lower bars almost the whole time.  My legs felt solid.  I just felt strong the entire time.  I had a complete blast!  Last year I had a huge improvement on my bike portion of this race but a lot of that improvement was due to the awesome new bike I had.  This year my improvements were going to be 100% me because it was the same bike as last year.  😁
 When I got done with the bike I knew I was ahead of last year's time.  I try not to look at my watch while I'm doing the bike or the run because I don't want to start getting in my own way thinking about speed or pace and making myself crazy.  I'm supposed to be having fun not becoming mental.  😄
Heading to T2-Smiling!!!
Got through T2 in a descent amount of time and took off on the run.  Couldn't feel my legs so I gave myself a few minutes of walking before I started running.  I ran a mile, walked a few minutes and then ran another mile.  The first two miles felt really good and I felt like I was going a descent pace.  (Still not looking at my watch.)  But then things started falling apart.  My legs were cramping up some.  So I would run for awhile and then when things just felt too tight I would walk for awhile.  It was a bit discouraging because I had started out so well.

I had just gotten to the turn around and was heading back when I saw the sign.  All along the route were orange cones with encouraging signs stuck in them.  This particular one I'm sure I have seen before but for some reason it really hit home.

The sign said, "Who are you racing for?"

Huh, good question.  Here I am, struggling through my run.  Frustrated that I can't seem to get my legs to cooperate and do what I've been able to do in my training runs.  This question just kept coming back to me.

When I'm doing my training, most of the time I'm alone.  Gives me lots of time to think about things.  Sometimes it gives me lots of time to not think about things as well.  Both are good for my own mental health.

So as I'm moving along and working on NOT thinking about how my legs are cramping up I start thinking about who am I racing for?

The answer may seem obvious.

I am racing for ME.

My race, my effort, my time, my struggles.  Every single stroke in the swim, pedal on the bike and step on the run is for me.

To be a healthier me.

To be a happier me.

To be a me that works hard at meeting big scary goals.

To be a me that can keep moving when things are not going the way I planned and still be proud of what I was able to do.

I finished that run for me!  Good, bad or ugly, it was my run and I did it the best I could.  What a great feeling.  Sounds weird but it was very freeing to be in that place mentally during the race.

I finished that run three minutes slower than the year before.

But because I had a faster swim, a kick ass bike ride and the first two miles of the run were solid I was still able to get a PR!

Not that long ago I would have not enjoyed the PR and would have let the struggles on the run take all the joy out of my day.

Not this time!!

I am pretty excited that I was able to do so great for 2/3 of the race and then to keep myself moving even though things didn't go quite like I had planned.
Add caption
Made it!

There was an issue with the timing system during the race.  The Posse did a great job of rallying and getting times and splits down as best they could.  I am sure that was a bit of madness and stress during the race.  (I'm also sure that's an understatement!)  So for comparing purposes from last year to this year I am going to compare my times from my Garmin watch last year to this year.

Swim:  35:21 (1:48 faster)
T1:         2:51 (1:12 faster)
Bike: 1:39:41 (6:23 faster)
T2:         2:29 ( :33 slower)
Run: 1:28:16 (2:21 slower)

Total time: 3:48:40!!  (6:28 faster!!)
Bonus fun fact:  Fastest Olympic Tri of any Olympic race, 5:58 faster! 

Now the goal is to figure out what the problem is during the run and get that dialed in before Best in the West.  I was very dizzy after the race and didn't feel good.  Not as bad as last year but definitely there.  I did much better fueling during the bike but we are thinking that the nutrition still isn't giving me what I need so that I can sustain during the run. 

There is ALWAYS something to work on! 

Remembering who I am racing for helped me finish a fabulous (and really hard) day. 

It could be that I could see that same sign on another day at a different race and it could say something completely different to me.  Will be fun to see. 

As always, here are my shout outs:

Joe:  Fabulous and supportive husband that has let me join him in the world of triathlons.  Love having these adventures with you.  Thank you for being my sherpa and taking care of me before and after the race.  I love you. 

Coach:  Thanks for keeping me moving during all my crazy travels this summer.  I would not have done as well as I did if you hadn't helped me figure out ways to get some version of workouts done in spite of the limitations I had.  Where there's a will there's a way! 

Best in the West:  Once again it was a great event.  I know that you probably didn't enjoy it as much as I did with the technical difficulties that were going on.  But in spite of all that, I had a great time.  I appreciate all the hard work that goes into putting on these events, long before race day and long after.  You are appreciated! Also, free pictures!  Seriously, that is so cool! They are always so fun to check out. 

If you want to do an event in September checkout Best in the West Events and see if there is something that looks fun to you.  They even have a Try a Tri event that is a super short version of a triathlon so you can get your feet wet and see if this might be something you'd like to do more of.  DO IT!!!  😀

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Be Stronger Not Faster

There has been a shift in my thinking when it comes to my workouts.  It started a few months ago.

I was doing a swim workout and Bri and been talking to me about doing better with my pull.  Basically when my hand goes in the water I need to do a better job of using my hand like a paddle so I propel myself through the water better.  I wasn't surprised that she mentioned this because Jon had also mentioned it before a time or two.

I am swimming and working on getting my hand to be placed right and really feeling it pull.  With me and swimming I often find that when I focus on something I forget to do other things.  This means things can fall apart.  A lot of times when I'm learning a new thing in the pool my swim times go down for awhile.  Once I get the new thing dialed in better my times get faster again as I am able to do all parts and pieces together better.

Not long after this I had a day where I was really tired.  More tired than usual which is always a bit daunting since I'm pretty tired most of the time.

I was supposed to do eight 100's at my best pace.  There wasn't an expectation of a particular time, just that I would give it my all for each 100.  Usually my best effort on the first one is faster than my best effort on the last one.

Not always fun to have a series of intervals that are supposed to be your best effort when you are tired and don't even want to do the workout at all.

I decided to not focus on being fast.

I was going to focus on being strong.

I was going to work on reaching really well and pulling hard and keeping my body lined up and keeping my kicking strong.

Did my warm up.  Did my drills.  Did my builds.

Now it was time for the first 100.

Strong not fast.

I felt good.  I felt streamlined.  I was working hard.  I was working at staying relaxed and breathing well.  Bri always tells me to absolutely give the last 25 yards my all, I can breathe when I'm done.  lol

I got done and looked at my watch.

I had done a 100 in 1:52!!

I have been trying to do a 100 in less than two minutes since last summer.

I stood up, threw my hands up in the air and gave a big WOO HOO!  I'm pretty sure that I freaked out some of the 5:00 a.m. swimmers.  lol  I looked at Bri who was the lifeguard that morning and she had a big smile on her face.

If it worked to swim strong not fast once and get that result, maybe I should keep doing it and see what happens.

Every single 100 was under two minutes.

What the heck?

Bri told me when I was done that the other lifeguard had commented that I was looking really good during my builds.  Bri agreed and was pretty sure I would do a 100 under two minutes.  She loved that I did ALL the 100's under two minutes.  😊  I have to say, it is a seriously cool feeling to have your kiddo be proud of you.  Love my girl.

Coach asked me later what was different.

At first I wasn't sure.  I thought maybe that my form was more dialed in, or my pull was finally getting better.

But some other things have happened in other areas of my workouts that made me rethink that.

Coach has also been working on my bike skills.

Not too long ago I had to do hill repeats.  I rode out to a road that has several hills and picked the one that was long enough for me to be going up for the time that Coach wanted.  I would turn around, zip down the hill, turn around again and go up again.

I found myself working on the uphill part and thinking about just going up the hill strong.  I'm not going to go flying up a hill.  Even fast riders go slower uphill than they do downhill.  I decided that if I wasn't going to go fast up the hill I would do it like my swim and just work at going up the hill strong.  I had pretty solid results on that ride.

I don't think it was a big aha moment.  Just a general awareness that has been growing over the last few months.  A big change in my own mind set.

My focus has slowly been changing from wanting to be faster to wanting to be stronger.

When I reflect on my Oregon Dunes Triathlon I realize that I had been thinking that way during that race.  I wanted to have a strong race.  Boy did I!!  It's been almost two months since that race and I'm still smiling.  😁

I have spent a lot of time being very bothered by being slow.  I want to be as fast as all my teammates.  I want to keep up.  I hate being slow.

I still want those things but I am realizing that I will be much more successful in the long run if I stay focused on getting stronger.

In my head I've had it backwards.  I wanted to get faster and that would make me stronger.  Now I know it is really the other way around.

Being stronger will eventually help me get faster.

Maybe this is something that is really obvious to others.  You might be reading this and thinking Duh!  lol  I know that my husband and my coach have both talked about this in many different ways.  Evidently I didn't realize that my thinking was backwards and what they were saying didn't really compute.  I was getting in my own way.

Seems like a small thing.  I'm not really changing my workouts.  I've always worked hard and tried to do all the parts and pieces the way Coach asks me to.

But I know as a teacher that sometimes the way a student approaches a hard task can make a difference on how the task comes out.  Perfectly capable and very smart students can struggle with something because they are so busy thinking about it one way they don't hear me explaining what they need to do in order to be successful.  When they finally are ready to really hear me and have that aha moment things get easier quickly.  They are so excited that it all makes sense and love being able to say, "I get it now!"  Best part of being a teacher!

From now on I'm working on focusing on being stronger.  Maybe the improvements that I have made the last few months are just because that is the normal course of where my training was going to bring me.  But I'm convinced the change in my focus is a big part of why I am seeing a sudden upswing on my improvements.  I have improved steadily since I started this journey but recently it has seemed more dramatic.

So now I have a new motto to add to the list of things I repeat to myself often as I'm working out.

Breathe, smile, have fun, repeat.

And now:

Be stronger not faster.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pure Endurance Training Camp 2018

This was our second year to do the Pure Endurance Training Camp.  It's actually the second year of the camp so Joe and I have 100% participation so far.  😁

Camp started on Friday evening June 8th and went through Monday June 11th and we stayed at a huge house in Sunriver, OR.  It's about a 2.5-3 hour drive and normally we would have left as soon as I got off of work and been there by early evening.

This year our oldest daughter had a concert with her community college that didn't start until 7:30 p.m.  It was going to be her last concert in Oregon since she will be moving to Boston this summer to finish her college degree there.  Not only was it her last concert here but she also had a solo.  There was no way we were going to miss it!!  It was totally worth it.  Her acapella group was awesome as always and her solo was so beautiful. 
Joe's mom, my beautiful daughter Bri (who is also my swim instructor!) and me. 
While there was no question about staying to see our kiddo's concert, it did make for a long drive in the dark.  The weather had gotten rainy and there was a bit of fog on the road up towards the top of the pass on the highway we took.  It made for some white knuckle moments on the trip.  We got to the house at about 11:00 p.m.  Jon had arranged for us to have the bedroom right by the front door so we were able to grab the essential stuff and get into the house quietly since everyone was asleep.  Neither of us had any trouble falling asleep ourselves. 

We got up in the morning and got to see many of our teammates and meet a few more that live in Idaho and one that is new to the group which was fun.  The house was full of a lot of really great people.  Jon was there (we missed his wife!) and the new Pure Endurance Coach Kristen.  Kristen's husband Ryan and their toddler Trevor were there.  It was fun to get to know them better.  Rebecca, Mike and Chad were there.  Tonya and Kathryn were the new friends from Idaho.  Oh my!  We hit it off right away.  Love people that you just connect with immediately.  There was also a young lady named Stephanie who has started training with Kristen.  She was also very sweet.  She was finishing up some college papers so she had to spend some of her down time working on that. 

Last year it was gorgeous the week before and the week after Training Camp.  We actually had snow when we were getting ready to do our open water swim and had to adjust our bike ride because it was going to be too slick on the Cascade Lakes Hwy that goes around Mt. Bachelor. 

For the second year in a row the weather was gorgeous leading up to camp and the forecast looked like it would be that way after camp.  During camp, not so much.

The agenda for Saturday morning was to head to Wickiup Reservoir to do an open water swim and then head out for a bike ride after.  It was cold when we were getting ready to get in the lake for our swim but it was bearable and it didn't take long to get used to the water.  I did have one small malfunction. lol  I had gotten Joe and I swim buoys.  These are bright colored floaties that have a tether that attaches to a belt that clips around your waist.  I put mine on and everything seemed fine.  But once I got going it just went whoosh and slid down past my butt and off my legs.  Not a problem I expected.  Good thing coach was in his kayak and keeping track of all our little floaties.  He came over and helped me adjust it so it wouldn't fall off. 
Don't we look warm and cozy?  lol
By the time we got that figured out I was far behind everyone.  I wasn't too worried since most of the time I'm behind everyone no matter what.  I decided that I would swim their direction until I met them coming back and then I would turn around and work my way back too.  Going out went pretty well.  I wasn't trying to go fast but really work at my form and my stroke pulling the water better.  Doing it in a wet suit in a lake feels very different from the pool. 

When I turned around the wind began to pick up which was causing some face water to happen on my left side.  Since I usually alternate my breathing when I swim I am very comfortable breathing on either side.  This is an advantage when you need to avoid the face full of water while also trying to suck in air.  This tends to lead to sucking in water instead and then choking and sputtering.  Hard to swim fast or well when all that is going on.  I began just taking breaths from my right side.  No big deal except I realized something right away.  I generally swim a pretty straight line during an open water swim, which is a good thing because sometimes I beat people out of the water at a race that are faster than me because they swam farther than I did.  They either zig zag a lot or they go way wide and then have to work their way back.  But when I was breathing on just the right side I stopped going straight.  I basically was going way to the right and was doing the beginning of a very large circle.  lol  I had to think about ways to compensate for this, still breath on one side and also sight so I could keep an eye on where I needed to go.  I decided to reach my left arm way to the left when I took my stroke.  It felt very exaggerated but it seemed to compensate. 

I wasn't going fast while I was figuring it all out but it was good to have the experience.  I would rather have a slow practice swim where I can figure out what works and what doesn't than be trying to do it during a race.  Kind of the point of practicing!  I hear so many people say they only swim in pools except for on race day.  I just don't get that.  I would rather practice in the real setting as often as possible. 

When we got out of the water we all took the time to change out of our wet things completely and put on dry clothes.  We had to put on several layers because it was cloudy and cold and there was possible rain coming our way.  Kind of a bummer to have to bring along all the winter riding gear when we have had several weeks of shorts and sleeveless top rides.
Last instructions from Coach
Good looking group of crazy people.  ;-)

The plan was to do the long course route for the Pacific Crest 70.3 that would be happening later in the month.  Those of us that didn't want to go that far, Kristin was going to be at Elk Lake to pick us up or see if we wanted to keep going for awhile longer.  That would be a ride of approximately 27 miles, mostly uphill the entire time.  We started out as one big group until we were on Hwy 42 which would bring us to Cascade Lakes Hwy.  The faster group got moving but usually it isn't very long before they are out of sight.  This time I didn't lose sight of them until just a little bit before we turned.  I got a kick out of that. 

I wasn't too sure about this ride since it was mostly up hill the entire time.  There were some rollers but for the most part it is just a steady climb that starts getting steeper the closer to the mountain we got.  I had just decided, much like the swim, to just work on the skills that Jon has been teaching me about riding on hills and using my gears more efficiently.  I was going to have lots of practice! 

I was feeling really solid and just moving along at a nice steady pace.  I didn't feel winded or like my legs hurt so much from the grind that I couldn't do it.  Until about mile 14.  A spot on my lower left back started to get tight and I couldn't adjust my position and get any relief. Then I could start to cause problems all the way down my left leg to my knee.  I saw Jon up ahead and decided to stop and see if I could stretch it out.  I didn't want to cause an injury by trying to push through it but I really did want to get farther than 15 miles.  When I stopped and told Jon what was going on he told me to stretch for five minutes and then we would see how it felt and decide if I should keep going or call it a day.  I didn't realize that Stephanie was right behind me!  She was super quiet and didn't say anything.  When I stopped and she was suddenly there it startled me.  lol  I encouraged her to keep on going, no need for her to wait for me.  It didn't take long and the tightness went away and I was much more comfortable.  By the time I was feeling ready to head out again Tonya had caught up and stopped as well.  She had taken a bit of a hiatus on workouts for awhile and so she was working hard and doing awesome.  She talked about being done but Jon suggested that we stick together so that if my back started hurting again or Tonya was struggling too much we would be together.  Sounded like a great plan and Tonya agreed. 

I'm in the yellow jacket.  We did get some blue sky for the first half of the ride.  
We took off again and things started getting steeper so I knew it was a good thing I had taken the time to stretch before we started up bigger hills. About five miles later Tonya decided she was good with her efforts for the day considering how little she had been working out.  Jon and Tonya cruised by me in the truck and wanted to know if I wanted to be picked up or checked on again.  There was seven miles left for Elk Lake and I really wanted to make it there so I told them to go ahead and I would meet them at the rendezvous.    

About a mile later my back started getting tight again.  Dang it.  But since I had told Jon to meet me at Elk Lake I knew I needed to just keep going.  No big deal.  I could handle it. It had also started raining and getting colder but it was still very doable.

Then it began to snow!  And I mean big huge fat snowflakes.  This wasn't just a quick flurry, it just kept snowing.  I had to laugh.  It was all a bit ridiculous.  There were a few cars that would pass me and that made me laugh more.  Not that long ago I would have seen someone biking on that road in the snow and thought they were absolutely crazy.  Now I was actually the crazy person doing it.  What the heck?
Pretty good little hill ride.  😋
I came around a corner and could see Jon's black pickup with the bright red kayak on top sitting there waiting for me.  While I was bummed that I didn't make my goal of 27+ miles I was very happy to see his truck.  Jon didn't have to do much talking to get me to call it a day.  Stephanie and Tonya were already in the truck.  We loaded up my bike and continued on to find the next rider.  Jon had decided the snow wasn't going to be stopping and he was going to pull everyone off the ride.  Katherine was next, she didn't argue either.  Then we let Kristin know the plan and got up ahead of Chad and Rebecca and let them know what was up and load their bikes on the Yukon.  Now we had to find Joe, Mike and Ryan.  We got up ahead of them, found a spot to pull over and wait for them.  We didn't have to wait long.  '

While we were sitting in the truck, Kristin, Jon and Joe were standing outside talking and suddenly Tonya says to me, "You know, Joe looks just like Bono!"  We all look at him and he is standing where we are looking at his profile.  With his bike glasses on and the hair he really did!  So funny.  Tonya called him Bono the rest of the weekend. 

Chad and Rebecca finishing their ride.
Everyone was pretty great about having to finish early.  We all figured it made for a great story.  Not only did we ride the Cascade Lakes Highway, we did it in the snow for some of the ride.  lol 

We headed back to the house to grab food and relax.  Jon decided that since we had gotten done early he would give his Coach Talk instead of waiting until after dinner.  Basically he talked about his experience at the Hawaii 70.3.  He shared what went great, what went crappy and how he dealt with it all.  All those lessons we all have had at one point or another and ways to deal when things don't go the way we planned or trained for.

It was a very good reminder that no matter how fast or slow you are, everyone has workouts and events that don't go like we want.  It's important to know how to mentally deal with it at the time and then take the time to process and be okay with being disappointed. 

After that it was time for some relaxing time.  Well, for some of us.  Mike went for a run and Rebecca decided to ride one of the cruiser bikes that was in the garage, ring a cowbell and cheer for Mike as he ran.  Oh my goodness it was funny!!  Mike said he kept telling people he didn't know the crazy woman with the bell. 

Joe and Chad were going to do a 13.1 mile run.  They were doing loops through Sunriver and coming back to the house to refill water bottles and get fuel.  On their last loop Rebecca was waiting for them near the trail and jumped out ringing her cowbell.  From the way I understand it, both Joe and Chad took a big jump sideways and yelled out.  I thought Rebecca was going to lose it when she got to the house she was laughing so hard. 
While this was going on Tonya and I went to the hot tub and Kristin sat by it and let her son put his feet in.  (By the end he was totally sitting in it, but it took him awhile to get there.  lol)  We had a lot of fun just chatting about funny things, working out things and serious things.  One of the things I love about a bunch of people staying in a big house doing fun things is the way you can get to know people because you have time between all the activities to just hang out and talk. 

Soon it was dinner.  Everyone was helping set the table and get things ready.  I loved all of us sitting around talking and laughing.  Joe started giving Rebecca a hard time about scaring the crap out of him and Chad and all Rebecca could do was giggle.  She just kept giggling which then got everyone else laughing.  It was so funny. 

After dinner Coach Kristin shared about different aspects of the mental side of being an athlete.  She had several books as resources.  One I have read and I'm looking forward to checking out the other ones.  Next Rebecca shared about something she learned at another Triathlon Camp she went to that was about the importance of having strong toes.  lol Sounds funny but it makes sense.  By having your toes stronger it helps with stability and also strengthens other small muscles in your legs which all connects to being strong overall.  Strong toes.  Who knew?  😉

Unfortunately some of our merry crew had to leave Sunday.  Rebecca took off around 5:00 a.m.  I don't think any of us were awake then.  lol  Sorry Rebecca!  I waved in my sleep.  😍  Chad was had to take off after we finished our swim. 

The plan the next morning was to get up and go to the Sunriver pool called SHARC and do some lap swimming.  Jon was going to video us swimming underwater and then he could go over what he sees with us later.  Pretty cool stuff.  About half of us were in the outside pool.  It was cold outside but the water was about 84 degrees so once we got in and moving it was very comfortable.  For some reason I was struggling a lot with my breathing and couldn't seem to get things going well.  Decided not to fight it and just do what I was comfortable with.  I had woken up with a headache, I had taken medicine for it so it wasn't terrible at that point but I'm sure it didn't help. 

After the swim it was time to head out for a trail run along the Deschutes River.  We eventually found the road to get us to the trail head after a bit of adventuring and got set up to head out.  Everyone kind of did their own thing.  I was struggling, my headache had come back in a fierce way so every time I ran it was not fun.  I ended up just hiking.  Joe was struggling with tight hip and when he had turned around and met up with me I decided to go back to the car with him. 

My new friend Tonya!  
Once everyone was back at the cars Jon set up his video camera and had us run past it a few times so he could show us our form later.  There was a lot of joking around and giving each other crap while this was going on. 
Next up was lunch.  We took care of our own breakfast and fueling during workouts.  Jon provided lunch and dinner each day.  We ate very well!  Yum. 😊 Stephanie had to head out, between homework and family visiting she needed to get back home.

Later in the afternoon there was an optional group ride.  Jon, Kristin, Joe and Mike were going and I decided to go along too.  It was fun and a little frustrating all at the same time.  I forgot that even though I'm a much better rider than I used to be I am still not even close to being as fast as those four when they are just on a casual ride.  I was good until we got to a big traffic circle that is where everyone comes into Sunriver.  I was at the back of the group and when everyone stopped I ended up being at the bottom of a small hill.  When a very nice car stopped to let us go by the time I got up the hill and my shoes clipped traffic had started again because I was so far behind.  I had to wait a bit for a break so I could get across the crosswalk too.  Everyone took off.  Fortunately Mike noticed that I wasn't with everyone and waited for me.  Good thing too because I would not have known were everyone went.  Joe had told me were going to head out Spring River Rd.  When I got on that road we couldn't see anyone.  Mike told me that we were turning left up ahead.  I probably would have seen them but probably not until I was already too far to turn.  Anyway, I got frustrated with it all.  Reminded me that when a bunch of people say they are going to go on a casual ride I need to look at who they are before I decide if I want to go along.  I was going to peel off and just do my own ride around Sunriver but everyone took off at the traffic circle so fast I didn't get a chance to tell them my plan and I didn't want to freak people out that I was lost.  Mike stayed with me until everyone up ahead stopped and we caught up.  He didn't have to do that but it was very sweet of him.

That night there wasn't any set plan for any presentations so we sat around and talked and laughed while Jon talked to different people about their workouts, plans and goals for future events.  I loved the camaraderie that was in the house all weekend.  I had so much fun getting to know some really great people and getting to know others even better. 

One of the big perks of becoming an athlete is the amazing people that have come into my life.  Some have been there from the start and we have just gotten closer.  Others were my friends for a shorter time but I still love the memories of the fun we had during that time.  And still more have become my friends and have let me keep them.  I am a richer person for all the experiences I have had, the memories I have and the friendships I have made. 

We were supposed to go ride the Makenzie Pass on Monday.  This pass is a narrow, winding road and is closed in the winter.  Each spring when the road has cleared of snow they open it to foot and bike traffic only for a few weeks before allowing cars to go on it.  Unfortunately because of forest fires last summer there was a lot of downed trees and rocks in the road.  The road was closed Monday through Thursday for crews to work on clean up and only open to bikes on Friday through Sunday.  Darn it.  I was really looking forward to seeing how far up I could get before the guys came barreling back down the hill.  lol

Instead we did one last lap swim at the SHARC.  Breathing went much better this time and I felt like it was a good swim.  We also all went and spent one last time hanging out in the hot tub. 

All too soon it was time to start packing up our gear, finding all our stuff that was spread out all over the house, help clean up the kitchen and get the party wrapped up.  Lots of hugs and laughs as we said our goodbyes. 

My students couldn't believe I would take a day off work, spend money to go do hard workouts all weekend and have a blast doing it.


I'm already looking forward to next year!

Thanks Coach for all your hard work, pushing us out of our comfort zones and putting together a fun weekend for all of us.  Oh, and for letting me steal your pictures for my blog.  Notice I didn't even ask this time?  lol 

ps.  I have about three other blogs started.  Some adventures, some deep thoughts.  Will probably have a bunch in a row.  I know you are excited.  😆