Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012!

I have heard it said by many people that 2012 was a terrible year.  A horrible year.  A year they would like to forget.  Some of these people have also said the very same thing about 2011, 2010, 2009, etc.

I'd like to send 2012 off with many thanks.  It's been a challenging year on many fronts.  While setting my goals, personal, spiritual, and athletic, for 2012, I knew that these would involve some discomfort and discontent for me.

All of my goals had to be built from my baseline spiritual goals.  There was one goal with 5 aspects.  Everything I did, everything, every single thing, had to be in line and beneficial for each of the following which I call

 The 5 Things:
1.  My relationship with God
2.  My marriage
3.  My children and extended family relationships
4.  My health
5.  Becoming debt free

From each of these aspects, I built my goals.  In each area, I am thankful to say that I have made great strides!  Of course I am far from where I'd like to eventually be, but I am moving in the right direction and have done the work necessary to continue to work on these things in a deeper and more meaningful way.

The troublesome times definitely showed up.  Points where I had to decide that even the good things I was involved in had to go.  Negative people and situations had to be removed if there was no hope of things changing.  That old saying about life being too short...I get it now.

Losing "friends" and feeling quite lonely has been the most difficult thing of all.  Once a very social and outgoing person, I find I do most things alone now.  I have a circle of friends that are true and not an inflated version of what friendship should be.  I am so very grateful and blessed by these people.

I have found myself being called to a lifestyle that is so contrary to anything that I ever have been before and yet, I know that this is where He is asking me to go.   I know this because I have seen myself change in ways I never thought possible and yearning for that next step in the change.  It is not scary, it is not without direction.  I was blessed to find a spiritual director this year, after close to 13 years of seeking one out.  This relationship has been the catalyst for so much growth within me that I hardly recognize myself at times.  I am thankful that I keep a journal to see this transformation in a more objective way.

On the outside, I may not seem much different, but I know I am seeing things through different eyes today.  And this is the blessing.

As far as my goals for 2013, they won't change much from 2012.  The only change will be to narrow the path even more so as to focus my efforts even more on the 5 Things.  By fall, the 5th thing will be reached and a new goal will begin.  The freedom of being debt free will allow us to do things for our future that we have not yet been able to accomplish.  I am looking forward to that!

My threshold through which my daily life will pass will be two-fold.  I will strive to continue to find joy in each day and I will be practicing the true nature of Gospel Charity.   As my faith tells me, I must find Christ in every person that I meet.  I must love them as Christ would love them.  As I sat in Mass last night, I prayed to God that He show me how I can better do this.
Gospel Charity were the words I heard.  Gospel Charity.  Of course!  How can I possibly "see" or "love" someone as Christ would if I do not "think" of them as Christ does?  Gospel Charity needs to begin in my head, move to my heart and then the act will come naturally. 

This will be a challenge for me, this I know.  I hold myself to a very high standard of expectation and as a result, I hold others to that same standard.  This is unfair of me and something I have been trying to change for quite some time.  2013 will give me the opportunity to put this into true practice.

Since this blog is where I tend to document my athletic endeavors, I will share my goals that I have defined thus far.
My main focus for 2013 will be to finish Ironman Texas.  I can't really set many goals past that point as I do not know what I will feel like after the race.  I would "like" to consider another go at the 100, but I am not ready to commit to that just yet.  I hope to at least fit in some 50s.  Only He knows where He will bring me.  

2013 will be a big year for our family.  We will see a college graduation, a high school graduation, an Ironman finish (hopefully), our son going off to college, preparations for Confirmation for Lem and Reconciliation and Eucharist for Boo.  I am certain many other things will bless our lives this coming New Year and  I look forward to every moment.  For even in our trials and hardships we are blessed.

Au Revoir 2012! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Catching Santa

My kids and I are somewhat obsessed with Kid Snippets.  If you have never seen them, they are worth a few minutes of your day that you could otherwise be doing something much more important.

The shopping is done, the workouts are happening, and the knee is behaving!  Now, if only I could get the wrapping finished!

Many blog posts are sitting in my draft folder...I will finish them.  I hope. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

No. Please. No.

Just got word that NBC will be producing a remake of my favorite movie of all time, The Sound of Music.

Kelly Woo over at Yahoo News...I know, shoot me now, reported in her online article that Robert Greenblatt from NBC Entertainment (now there's an oxymoron) said...

Maria von Trapp "was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist"

 Ummmm....excuse me?  Mr. Greenblatt, may I introduce you to Julie Andrews?

Take a listen....

Miss Underwood is, I am sure, a wonderful person and appears to have made a name for herself among the music industry, however, in comparison to the voice of Julie Andrews, well, there just isn't any way to compare the two.  

I only wonder if Blake Shelton will be reprising the role of Captain von Trapp. 

Somethings should never be re-made.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies
My Mom's Orange Dream
My kids
The Sound of Music

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is for NBC to not touch this movie. Never ever.  Like Ever.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Advent 2012

I have been thinking of Advent as it fast approaches this year.  Everyone, it seems, is in such a hurry to get to Christmas.  Stores had decorations up before Halloween, neighbors had lights up weeks before Thanksgiving, and the commercials and mail ads have been hitting our home en masse!

Living in a warm climate, the liturgical seasons really help to provide a natural pause to life, a natural season that we might not have without the weather to remind us of what month it is on the calendar.  80 degree Halloweens, with 80 degree Thanksgivings, followed by sudden temperature drops plunge us right into our 50 degree winters/Christmas.  Advent is an after thought, if considered at all.

I rather enjoy the gentle warmth of Thanksgiving and fall and then lean into the season of Advent, slowly, intentionally, and purposefully.

Reviewing past blog posts about Advent, this one from my older blog seemed to bring me back to simpler times.  Funny thing is, I remember how "stressed" and "too busy"; "too worldly" we seemed to be.  I suppose it always seems that way. 

This year, Advent will be a time, once again, to focus our lives on the simple beauty of Christmas, through the preparational time afforded to us through our Heavenly Father.  How wise and wonderful He is to give us these times and seasons of preparation!

I have learned in the last many years that living simply does not mean sitting around doing things.  It does mean that in having less, we may do more work.  For instance, having convenience foods sitting in the pantry may seem to make meal prep go faster, but it does not do anything to remove clutter from our lives.  Pie crust mixes, pre-packaged cookie and cake mixes, may seem handy, but they take room and don't we already have all of the ingredients needed to make these things?

What we don't have is the time.  Living simply, to me, means stripping away the busy-ness of life that keeps me from making homemade cookies and cakes, and delicious made-from-scratch meals that my family loves.  When I am too busy answering calls, texts, emails, etc, to be "with" my family, my children, then something must change.  Yes, it means once again saying "No" to outside comittments and no one likes to hear "No".  I know I don't like saying it.  But it is necessary for the life I aspire to have.

New Year Resolutions for 2012 were simple.  No activities were going to be allowed into our lives if they did not help these five areas of my family's life.

1.  Relationship with God
2.  Relationship with spouse
3. Relationship with children
4. Health and fitness
5. Becoming free from Debt.

As we approach the close of the liturgical year and the year of 2012, we are closer than ever to these goals.  There have been a few detours and bumps in the road, but all in all, we are on the right path.

May you each be blessed by the season of Advent and may you always for the joy and peace that God has for you.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I've been doing a bit of pruning in my life and as it seems, it hurts.  But once the cut occurs, the healing begins and the peace sets in.   Amazingly, a new sense of freedom fills the void left behind by the pruning.  And then I know that all is right.

Today completes my first full week of Ironman Texas training.  It has been fun to get back to the swimming and leaving my comfort zone, tried mountain biking today.  On Wednesday I was able to get a 5K in for Heart Rate Training purposes and establish zones for the next 25 weeks of training.

I plan to run another time trial this week to double check my numbers as my Garmin chest strap has not been very reliable.  A new one should arrive sometime this week.

Week two of training will need to be tweaked a bit to allow for closures at the Y due to Thanksgiving.  Spin classes are canceled and the evening pool times have changed.  Knowing what I have to get in this next week makes it easier to adjust the schedule for the entire week.

Puppy Rosie is growing bigger every day.  She has been with us 4 weeks already.  She has come a long way on her leash training and can "Sit" very well.  She still has some work to do in the "potty-training" department, but we see hope that in the next few weeks, she will be trained completely.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Relentlessly Forward

Moving past the past and towards the future, whatever it holds.  Can't change the past and I'm happy to be done living in it.

Lessons will come slowly and I'm already planning another go at it next year.  Cactus Rose has not seen the last of me just yet.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cactus Rose DNF

This is the post I have not wanted to write and have put off writing until now.  How does one say "I failed...again"?

I did.  I DNF'd the Cactus Rose once again, and for now, I have to be okay with that.  This DNF makes for my 6th DNF.  Not a number I am proud of.  Not a number I want to share.  But it is what it is.

Saturday morning came early, 3:30 AM, and getting to the start line was non-problematic.  At 5:00 AM the GO was given and into the dark and hilly adventure we ran.

The temps were perfect.  44 at the start, high of about 65 for the day.  I ran a nice pace, comfortable for the long haul, and visited with many faces I have seen at other races.  At one point, I took a small fall on a straight and clear dirt path, quickly got up and kept on going, somewhat embarrassed that I tripped over nothing.

Just past mile 15, I had a nice tumble down one of the hills after slipping on some of the rolling rock.  I took a quick assessment of myself and did not note any injuries.  So I kept on.  I felt pretty good, the hills were becoming more steep and as expected at Cactus Rose, more treacherous.  The pace began to slow as I navigated the rolling declines and straight up inclines.  As I reached the summit of one of the hills, I noticed I had a significant amount of back pain and as I continued down the hill, my legs seemed to have pain radiating down the hamstrings and into the quads.  I took a few advil, but after several hours, I could no longer keep the pain under control.  Music didn't help.  Walking didn't help.  Sitting down and resting didn't help.  I felt dizzy and the pain was causing me to feel very nauseous.  I tried to throw up a few times, but I couldn't get anything to come up.

As I approached mile 30, I knew I was looking at the prospect of a 16 or 17 hour 50 miler.  I thought that I could live with that.  I continued to tell myself all of the reasons I needed to keep going and that I was through the worst of the climbing, so coming into Equestrian, mile 35.5, I decided to sit for a bit, get my head together, and then continue on.  I made it over to my drop bag and attempted to bend over open it.  I could barely move.  Sharp pain shot through my legs and brought me to tears.  I looked at my pace for the past 2 miles.  I was averaging 27:00/miles.  At that pace, or probably slower, the last 14 miles would take me about 6 1/2 hours to finish.  Common sense told me that continuing would be a very unwise choice.  I sat for a bit and had a chat with myself.  Could I be happy walking away from this race yet again?  Would I regret it?  Would I wake up the next day and wish I had suffered through the last 14 miles?  I decided I would be happy with what I had and though I was disappointed to not have a medal or a finish, I knew that I had given all that I could into my training and into this race and it was time to call it.  I could live with that.

As you can imagine, Sunday morning came and everything looked different.  It's always easy to second-guess ourselves after the fact.  The reality is, I could not safely continue that race.  My mind and heart wanted to, but it would have been irresponsible to do so.  Regardless, I wish I had.

I have battled many emotions this week.  Aside from the physical recovery, which coupled with the illness I had going into the race, has been more difficult than I expected.  My back seems fine, but my legs took a beating.  Today is the first day that I felt almost myself.  My legs are still sore, but I can navigate stairs again and don't mind walking to the mailbox.

Hearing the typical "you went much further than I ever could"  from others doesn't seem to make it any easier.  Probably because I trained so hard, so long, and it wasn't enough.  I know of others who say they didn't train as much as they should have, and seemed to have a great race.  While I know I had the unfortunate experience of falling, I still feel like with the training I put in, I should have been able to gut this one out.

Am I a true trail runner?  I can finish races at Huntsville, but elsewhere, my odds are not that good. 

I am taking some time off to heal.  Physically.  Mentally.  I need the break.  I am looking at what it is exactly I am trying to do out there anymore.  Do I want to put myself through this challenge again?  Do I want to race again?  Do I want to run just for the joy of it without a goal of a distance or time?

Running soothes my soul, racing is killing my love of running.  And each DNF steals a bit more of my confidence.  

I don't know where the journey will lead next.  I do know that my family has given up a lot of time with me for me to do this stuff and this stuff does not seem to be serving me well of late.  I will focus the next few weeks getting things back to normal around the home and learning to run for the love of the run once more. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cactus Rose Prep

Race week is finally here and taper madness has set in!  We have enjoyed some distraction with the help of our Rosie, but when I found myself vacuuming the walls in the family room, I could no longer deny the taper vortex I am currently being sucked into.

Since Saturday, I have really tried to take stock of where I am in relation to this race.  What are the positives and where do the challenges lie?


My training has been spot on, having only missed a few runs, and none of my long runs.  I did cut one of the long runs short by about 2 miles, but the heat that day more than made up for the lost miles.  

500+ running miles have been invested into this race.  I have run as many "hill" workouts as I had intended to and utilized spin classes to further prepare my legs for the climbs and descents that I can't get living in the flatlands.  

Biking, swimming, yoga, weight-training, were all added in this year and I believe have made me stronger and better conditioned as an athlete.  I didn't set out to just trash my legs this training cycle.   

I am better trained physically for Cactus Rose than any other race I have ever run. I am not injured.  My weight is right where it needs to be, and my energy levels seem good.  

I have experience on this course, even though I DNF'd in 2010, I have a good idea of what to expect out there.  If I can make the first loop a fun experience, focused on enjoying the scenery, taking in the proper nutrition, and not let the brick in my head take over my race, I will get to the second loop and turn on the endurance machine.  

I know what I need to get through this race, I know how to prepare my drop bags and I know that if I put one foot in front of the other, I may not meet my time goal, but I WILL finish the race barring an unforseeable injury. 


The terrain.  The terrain.  The terrain.  No amount of hill training I can do on a treadmill can fully prepare me for the inclines in Bandera.  What's more, the rolling rock can't be duplicated on the flats I live on. 

I will be alone for this race.  I will know people out there, but I will be alone.  No crew, no family coming to encourage me, no friends that I am planning to run with.  I don't have a good track record with these circumstances, but this does not mean that record needs to continue.

My nutrition plan has not come together as well as I had hoped.  I began using EFS a few weeks ago and it looked promising, but thanks to my high maintenance stomach, I can't use the product anymore.  So water and S caps are the standard for the day.   I do know that I need about 200-250 calories per hour and I should be drinking about 20 ounces per hour, especially in the heat.  Looking at the forecast, race day will be the coolest weather I have run in this season, possibly requiring gloves and a long sleeve to start.   I will need to be very aware of my hydration level as becoming dehydrated has ended a few races for me.  

I woke up with a cold today.  I have been so healthy, so strong, and have really tried to steer clear of illness and injury.  Today, the cold that has hit several friends and family members has tried to make it's way into my body.  I'm taking everything I can to combat this thing.   The last thing I want to do is DNS because I have a cold...


My goals for this race are simple.  I need to finish.  I need to win the mental battle of this bad boy and finish this thing.  For Hans.  For Monika.  For Kelly.   For a dear friend who was suddenly sidelined from his racing schedule during one of his most successful racing seasons ever.  

I'd love to finish this race in 12 hours.  I'd be happy with 13.  What I don't want to do is set a time goal that will cause me to drop from the race if I don't think I can finish in that time frame.  

This race will serve as a mental preparation for Ironman.  Self-supported, no crews, no help other than a bare minimum aid station.  If I can get through Cactus, I feel I will be one step closer to finishing IMTX in May.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Baby!

I'd like to introduce you all to our newest family member, Rosie!  We met her when she was less than a week old.  Her mother rejected her and all of her siblings and some friends of ours from our Homeschool Co-op, adopted her and one of her sisters.  Mary hand fed the girls against all odds of them surviving.

Happily, Rosie and her sister both survived and now are 7 weeks old!  We brought Rosie home yesterday and she fits right in our busy home.

Hannah, our 12 year old lab isn't so ecstatic, but hopefully, she will find a soft spot for this sweet little girl.   KC, our little terrier mix, has done much better adjusting to not being the baby, though she is not THAT happy about things.

I'm hopeful that in a few months, Rosie and I will be able to blaze some trails together.  She has tons of energy, is very obedient, and seems to have a wonderful personality that will translate into a happy and well-balanced dog.

Taper madness has begun and she is the perfect distraction from all that I would normally be obsessing about this week.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taper Time

My training cycle is complete and though I have had a few bumps in the road, it has been a very consistent 20+ weeks of training, probably my most consistent of any I have ever done.
I believe the cross-training from the triathlons has been the best thing I ever could have placed into the training plan.
As the mileage has picked up greatly the past month, some of that cross-training has had to drop off and I truly miss it.  As I head into the next two weeks of taper, I am looking forward to having the time again to swim more, get a few more yoga sessions in, and maybe even an extra spin session or two.

My biggest challenge will be the mental/emotional hurdle of Cactus Rose.  I am already heading into the race 0/1, which most people would feel they should take the attitude of "I'm going to kill this race", but I have a reluctant sort of revenge.  I want to kill this race, and perhaps I will, but this race is no joke.  This is not a race that I could walk if needed.  It's terrain is the most challenging I have ever been on, and as a flatlander, the most challenging to figure out how to train. I respect this trail and this race as well as this distance.

I have three goal plans for this race, the first goal of course is to finish.  The others, I may reveal beforehand, however, I hesitate to do this because I typically mess up badly when I do that.

For now, I am sticking to the taper plan, catching up on duties that have been neglected around the house, and mentally preparing for a jaunt through the hills.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


With great anticipation many of us Mumford fans have been awaiting the release of their 2nd record and yesterday was the day!

I downloaded the album and immediately began listening.  I had a nice hill run scheduled and the new tracks went with hills like chocolate sauce on ice cream.  And just as sweet too!

I will admit, I was not a Mumford fan until I had a chance to listen to their first album, Sigh No More, on the run, in the woods, all alone.  Enjoying uninterrupted listening to the music and the lyrics, I was completely mesmerized by the beauty, the pain, the struggle, and the triumph that was written so perfectly into the compositions.  Since that day, I have been a huge fan, and I was really doubtful that the second round would prove to be any where near as good as the first. 

I am excited to report that not only does Babel meet my expectations, it exceeds them!  

From the opening track, the title cut, Babel, there is a definite carry over from the first album of the plight of the sinner, the struggle against one's self to become right in the eyes of the One whom the character is clawing his way back to.  I'll leave it to you to decide for yourself who exactly this is.  I listened to each track and could see it being a lover or Christ.  Since I am a sinner, constantly clawing her way back to Christ, I hear this album as a prayer.  Some of the prayers are pleading for acceptance, forgiveness, some are ramblings of how angry he is at himself for falling yet again.  Some are a complete submission to accept the consequences of his actions. 

Currently, after 4 or 5 listenings, I have a few favorite tracks. 
Babel, I Will Wait, Holland Road, Ghosts That We Knew, Lover's of the Light, Lover's Eyes, Hopeless Wanderer, Broken Crown, Below My Feet.   That's 9 out of 12 that I have listened to over and over again, drinking in each lyric and piecing together the painting the verbage paints for me. 

One cautionary note about the song, Broken Crown.  There are a few "F" words thrown into the mix at what I think is the very best part of the song.  And while I don't subscribe to the use of the word as a rule, I do think that the way that the word is used in this song is totally appropriate and understandable.  Unfortunately it is a song that won't be played outside of my headphones for the sake of my children.  

I definitely have a new crop of tunes to carry me through Cactus Rose in a few weeks! 

Monday, September 24, 2012


Since leaving the world of FB, I have actually been able to carve a few minutes a day out to read.  I am working on my 3rd book of the "summer" which is highly unusual for me. I read often with the kids and for knowledge, information, and growth, however, rarely do I have the opportunity or time to read just for the fun of it.  

Of late, I have read You Are an Ironman by Jaques Steinberg.  

This was a quick read, though, admittedly, I really did not want to get to the end of the book.  I really enjoyed learning about each athlete, his/her challenges, and learned quite a bit about triathlons that I had not yet experienced.  There were moments in this book when I had to stop reading to keep from bawling my eyes out!  I get so inspired by the stories of everyday people overcoming their various challenges and doing what most would never or could never dream of doing.  I recommend this read to anyone who is considering doing an Ironman or to anyone who knows anyone who is doing an Ironman.  It will give you a small peek into the thinking that goes into and behind these types of events.

The next book I "read" though an audiobook.  I had never really "listened" to a book this way, outside of  a children's story.  It was a bit weird at first as my hands weren't occupied while reading.  I found it hard to focus at first, but then started listening while running and began to enjoy the format very much.  
Eat & Run by Scott Jurek is a fantastic read!   I had the opportunity to meet Scott Jurek in 2011 when I ran Rocky 100.  He and several other "big dogs" showed up to run, and by far, he was the most personable!  I have always admired Scott, and after reading this book, connecting dots of things I knew of him from blurbs on the internet, and meeting him, I feel as though I have a real feel of who he is and what drives him.  Definitely one of those people I would love to have dinner with and chat with on a good long run.  
I hate this picture of me, but it was such an amazing meeting during my first 100 miler, I will always treasure it!

His story is inspiring, heart-breaking, and real.  I found myself not listening to it because I didn't want it to end.  I have never really felt as though I'd like to re-read a book, but this is one I definitely will re-read.  I plan to buy a hard copy of it though, because I am one of those people that like to mark my favorite lines, and Scott's book has many favorite lines for me!

Currently I am listening to Rich Roll's book, Finding Ultra and next on tap is Chrissie Wellington's A Life Without Limits. 

What are your current reads? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


With great sadness I write today to let my followers know that the young boy, Hans, who is/was my inspiration for running my first 5K, entered Heaven yesterday.

As it was, I had my own little boy, Boo, at the doctor yesterday for a suspicious looking mole on his back.  I thought of Hans all day and wondered how he was doing.  This morning, I received the message that he has passed away.

I feel so selfish for my tears, my anger, my pain.  I did not walk the path of cancer with Hans.  His family and very close friends did.  My tears, anger, and pain come from the sorrow that this family must feel, and the complete helplessness that I feel about not being able to do much after praying.

What do we pray for?  A healing?  A miracle?  Understanding? Comfort? Heaven?  When the pain is so great, do we pray for it all to just stop?  I know I did with my Mom.  But for a young boy?  A boy of only 9 years?  Sometimes, I just don't understand.  But I do know this.  Hans changed the hearts and lives of many, many people. He was the inspiration for me to run a 5K after a mere 5 weeks of running experience.  He afforded me the opportunity to DO something WHILE praying.  And he continues to provide this for me.

The family has asked that we pray for them.  And if you are so inclined, please pray a Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.   I am off to hug my babies. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CASA 5K 2012

I headed back to this race with the tongue in cheek mind set of "defending my title", which was really just a joke because I know I have not done any type of speed work and as well, I assumed this race would have many more runners than it did last year.

Richard and I registered about the same time.  I am not sure who egged who on more.  But all in good fun, we registered and knew that above all else, this great local race is all about one thing...the kids.
A great organization and a great group of folks putting on a fun race, what's not to love!

Last year, I believe the attendance was low because there were two other local races of the same distance going on.  Also, this race is a trail race which does deter some folks from coming out. If they only knew what they were missing.

This year, the race was much larger.  About 300 for the 5K and 100 for the 1K.  Yours truly was picked by Gary Van Kuiken along with three others to help demonstrate the moves for the YMCA song.  Sorry world...someone had to do it.

The kids race was first and are they ever the cutest things!  I just love watching kids run!  It makes my heart happy!  They have no care as to time, pace, place, etc.  They just run for the pure joy of it.

The 5k was next up.  Richard and I had done a small warm up on the course prior to the race start and found a large puddle but nothing too risky.  Richard had a "plan" and I figured I would tag along for the ride for as long as I could.  I didn't expect I would stay with him too long as I really had not been feeling that great.

The race began and the first mile was done in 7:36.  A bit too fast for me.  I slowly let Richard creep ahead of me and by 1.5 miles, I was well behind him.  I tried to get my HR down as I really didn't feel very good.  I kept running, but at mile 2, I began to feel as though I was going to throw up.  Not from running, from sickness.

I actually took a short walk break to get my stomach to calm down.  I can't believe I had to walk in a 5k, but I did.   I came upon a young girl from our homeschooling group, Clare, and she was holding her own!  Great little runner and someone to keep your eyes on in the future.  She took first in her age group.

I picked the running back up and stuck to nose breathing the rest of the race.  I figured any chance of winning anything went down the tubes with the walk and that was ok by me.  There turned out to be several very slick muddy areas on the course and I was expecting to see a lot of falls from those who were not accustomed to trail running.  I didn't see anyone fall though, which is a good thing. 

After crossing the finish line and catching my breath, we checked our times and I was first in my age group again, with a time of 25:26.  8:10/mile.  Richard took first in his age group with a 23:06!  Nice and speedy!

We were enjoying visiting with friends and watching the different activities that the race had going on.  Richard went back to check results and found that I had been awarded the Female Masters Award.  I was not expecting this in the least!

We snapped some more pictures and received our awards.  I have a nice gift card to buy my next pair of Flows with!  That is how I came to buy my first pair of Pure Projects last year!

Thanks for a fun day, CASA!  What you do is amazing stuff!  Thank you for letting me a small part of it all!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Since Clear Lake Tri, I have been faced with beginning the focused running training that will hopefully prepare me for Cactus Rose 50.

Truth be told, I have really struggled with whether or not I honestly want to do this race.  I have not felt in my heart that I wanted to for a while and I was hesitant to even mention it to anyone.

I did tell a few people close to me and they all confirmed for me that it made no sense to show up to start a race that my heart wasn't in.  Cactus Rose is not the kind of race that one can traverse without their mind and heart focused on the finish line.

I made the decision to train for a solid few weeks and then make my decision.  Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the distance of this race.  Others have a hard time to believe this when I tell them that the 50 mile distance is challenging me emotionally, but it has been.  Yes, I have run several 50 milers, however, I DNFd CR50 in 2010 and to go down that road again is not on my list of things to do this fall.

Thinking that getting through some higher mileage cycles and seeing how my body adjusted to the increasing running mileage, I could better discern my fitness level for CR, I set about setting a date to make a decision.  During these higher mileage cycles, I have not let up the intensity or frequency of the swims and spins/cycling as well as weight-training that I had taken on.  It has been a challenge to get all of these workouts in, but the payoff has been worth the effort.

Tomorrow is that day.  But my decision is made.  I am in.  My heart is in.  My head is in.  My fitness is better than it has ever been.  I will run Cactus Rose 50.  And God-willing, I will finish Cactus Rose. 

Another decision that I have had on my mind is whether or not to run the "training run" in Bandera on Sept 22.  At this point, I still can't commit one way or the other.  I will think on this a bit more before making a final decision.  The two reasons I would not do it are the time it takes away from the family and the risk of injury on the CR course which could take me out of the race altogether.

As ridiculous as this sounds, if I should end up with an injury at CR, I would prefer it be while running a race rather than a training run.   There are obvious benefits to running the trail before race day, but I am not convinced that those benefits are worth the risk.

I am entirely convinced that my current level of fitness and endurance is the direct result of the cross-training taken on while participating in the sport of Triathlon this year.  I have trained harder than I ever did while "just running" and yet, I feel stronger, fitter, healthier, and have more endurance than I believe I ever had before.  Therefore, I will continue with the current training regime, only letting up the last week or so before CR.  I can not duplicate that difficult course in my hometown, but I can run on trashed legs and ride that fine line between fatigue and injury.  It will require me to be completely in tune with my physical state and not ignore any type of pain, ache, etc.  It will also require me to be diligent in my daily nutrition to prevent my body from breaking down.  This is a challenge for me, as I often forget to eat, but one benefit of tri training has been the increased appetite it has afforded me.  I wake up hungry! 

Here's to that little race in Bandera!  Happy training all!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Clear Lake Triathlon 2012

Pre Race

The week before this race we were on vacation and I enjoyed a very light week of training, (19 miles/4 hours total training time) which followed several weeks of heavy training in preparation for Cactus Rose.  I upped the training time a bit this week, heading into Clear Lake with approximately 55 miles on my body and finding myself having to practice extreme self-discipline by not going all out during the workouts.  

Wednesday, the boys, Richard, and I headed into town for packet pick up.  I really try to not give negative feed back about races, but honestly, packet pick up is a huge pet peeve of mine.  In a world that is trying to become more "green" how much sense does it make to ask 900 people to make the drive twice to the same event?  Surely, most of this could be done on race day morning, since we all have to stop and be body marked as well.  And how does packet pick up really prevent anyone from not giving their bib to someone else?   Every running race I have participated in has allowed for race morning pick up.  Why triathlon can't do this is beyond me.  Rant over.

My last real training day was Thursday and I felt amazingly well.  Friday I did a short yoga session and at the end of it, I felt an unusual "pop" in my right low back.  By the evening, my back felt quite sore and I had pain radiating into my leg.   I also had been having some neck spasms that I attributed to sleeping in a different bed and using a pillow that was not my own on vacation.  I took some Advil and figured all would be well in the morning.

Race Day

At 3:40, the alarm sounded and we were up and ready to get out the door by 4:15.  Back pain was still with me.  I tried to ignore it as I ate my breakfast and slammed down some coffee.  I took a few Advil which seemed to take the edge off.

We arrived at the race site and were pleased to see that we were being placed into a covered parking garage.  A very nice accommodation indeed!  Transition set up went smoothly and I went through my mock T1/T2 simulation, noting all the in/outs and landmarks to help me find my bike.

Mark and I walked the docks to find the swim start.  The water was lit up by the lights and was a very creepy neon green color.  The first thing I saw in that neon green water was an alligator gar.  I tried to push that out of my head and not get overly concerned with what exactly I would be swimming in.  

The Swim:  1500 meters/40:21

I was in the 5th and final wave of the Olympic distance.  It was a large group incorporating all women 39 and over, AND the relay swimmers.  I was a bit nervous about having to tread water for a few minutes before our official start, but kept it under control focusing on any thing I could other than where I was.  
The start was sounded and I began my swim from the pack.  I spent the first half of this swim climbing over people, getting hit, etc, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not seem to get away from the group.  I noticed that I was the only one who really cared enough to stop swimming, look around and try to find a clear path.  Once I realized that I needed to act like Dory and "just keep swimming", I kept my swim going and didn't stop as much.  I did try to avoid the guys as a hit from some of those big guys could take me out of the race.  I felt stronger with every stroke and in the last few yards I recall thinking that I could certainly have continued swimming longer.  
The finish was up a ladder.  It was quite the stretch to get my leg upon the first rung and set both my calves into cramps that I was able to quickly stop as I stomped my feet onto the running surface.
40:21  10th AG

T1:  3:30   

I have no idea why this transition is so long.  Obviously I took a nap, got a massage, and had a pedicure... or maybe I just need some tweaking and practice.

The Bike:  46K/1:41:05

My plan was to take the first loop at a slower pace than the second loop in an effort to adequately recover from the swim, gain course knowledge, and then prepare for the run.  The first loop went well, other than getting passed by everyone.  But I am not really competing against anyone just yet.  I am still new to the bike, new to triathlon, new to how to do nutrition on the bike, etc.  I took the time I needed to feel comfortable handling the food while pedaling.  I did pretty well taking S caps, honey stingers, and even Clif shot blocks while keeping a 17 mph pace.  
Kemah Bridge

The course was a very nice route winding through the NASA area, (on the day that Mr. Neil Armstrong passed away, rest in peace good sir), through some local marinas, and across the Kemah Bridge.  I braced myself for the climb as I finally saw it about a half mile from the actual bridge.  It took my breath away and then I remembered this.
Thank you, Fish!

Fish had written this out for me as he headed to bed on Friday night.  If you know Fish, you know  he is not a "mushy" sort so this was very precious to me.  He remembered my favorite scripture verse, Phil 4:13, and he loved me enough to give this to me.  I tucked it into my spibelt and had it with me for the entire bike and run.  
I recalled this immediately upon seeing the bridge and instantly, my eyes filled with tears.  I am so blessed.  I get to do THIS for fun!  I thought of Bean who was heading back to school probably at that very moment to finish up her last year of college.  I thought of my beautiful grandbabies and all of my children, my family, and was overwhelmed by gratitude.  Ride the bike, Karen.  Ride the bike.
I kept my head down so as not to see the actual climb, (this is something I do while running hills also.  I think it tricks my brain...probably not, but I am going with it.)  Before reaching the very top of the bridge, I noted my speed was 8 mph.  I could have walked faster, but that wasn't even in my mind.  A guy passed me and encouraged me and then reminded me to use "the other gears".  Oh.  Yeah.  I forgot about those.  Honestly though, as little experience I have on the bike, I have even less on using those "other gears".  Where is Youtube when you need it!?!
I managed to make it to the top and fly down the other side at 25.7 mph!  Very fast for me!  I know this is nothing to other cyclists out there, but to me, it was huge.  
This is when I noticed my back was in rough shape again.  No worries, just focus on the race.

I was determined to take loop 2 faster, but Mother Nature had other plans.  It so has it that as I left out on loop 2, I could see a magnificent thunderstorm rolling in from the bay. It was HUGE.  It became windy and suddenly, the flat roads were all hills.  I thought of the recent spin classes I have been attending and tried to focus on my pedal stroke, consistent stroke count, hearing my metronome in my head.  This seemed to work until the bridge showed up again.  I tried to figure out "the other gears" well before the bridge, but my confidence in not losing my chain was minimal.  As I hit the base of the bridge, I saw that every other rider was off their bike and walking it.  I didn't know we could do this.  Seriously.  I figured they knew something I didn't so I followed suit.  I got off the bike and started walking.  I with the gears a bit to see if I could figure out how to get to the others rings, when another woman passed me asking if we were told to get off the bike.  I told her no, and assured her that I was just a wimp.  
Then I realized I needed to ride that bridge.  I hopped back on and somehow managed to crank up that dang bridge, "using the other gears", passing the other walkers, and then made up some good time on the flip side.  
Looking back, of course, I wish I had not ever dismounted the bike on that bridge, but it is what it is, and I probably was only off for about 2 minutes.  
I finished the second loop with my last two miles at a 21 mph pace.  Felt very strong coming into transition.
1:41:55/16.8 mph/14th AG

T2: 2:15

Obviously, had the manicure this time around. 

The Run:  10 K /55:14

My strength.  My comfort zone.  My happy place.  The run.  I wasn't excited by the idea of three 2 mile loops, however, it wasn't as horrible as I anticipated it to be.  I rather enjoyed seeing the same volunteers 3 times, encouraging runners on the out and back, and seeing Mark at the transition area twice.  First loop, I took it easy, about a 9:30 pace, I suspect.  Second loop a tad faster, Mark was smiling saying, "You are going for a sub-9, aren't you?!"   Told him I was just running on feel, which I was.  Garmin wasn't cooperating, (seriously, don't know why I wear the thing anymore!)  
The third loop I kicked it up a bit and crossed the finish feeling stronger than when I started the run.  
55:14/ 8:55/mile/7th AG

The most interesting thing I discovered this race was that each discipline, I felt stronger at the end than at the beginning.  I suppose this confirms my place in the endurance/ultra world.  This is where my strength lies.  I am not that fast, but I can go for a very long time.  
I won't lie, I would like to become faster, but I always try to keep in mind that I would rather never be fast to have the ability to do this stuff for a very long time!

My back is still not feeling very well, which is not good as I am heading into full on CR training.  The mileage is going to pick up for running and those work outs will become my primary source of mileage for the next few months.  I will continue with the swimming and biking because I feel that they are helping me to become a stronger all around runner.  Oh, and I have a little race in May that I registered for.  

The best part about today was Richard's performance!   I will let him tell you about it!  Congratulations, friend!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bridgeland Tri

Heading into Bridgeland, I didn't consider tapering much as I am attempting to keep my endurance building looking forward to Cactus Rose in October.  My average training mileage for the 5 weeks leading up to Bridgeland was about 75 miles per week, and 9-10 hours per week.  I have been feeling good at this level which was another "goal" I had for a reason that I will speak to later in this post.

Bridgeland was by far, one of the best run events I have ever participated in.  Organized, clean, pleasant in every way.  Whatever these race directors are doing, I pray they keep doing it.  I can't believe this race is only 4 years old.  It had the taste and flair of a highly seasoned race.  In a  pool of 1650 participants, I never felt crowded, overwhelmed, lost, etc.  I found several people I knew and met many I had only known by name until race day.

Packet pick up was a breeze, save for the horrible traffic to get to the site.  249-290 was under construction and this made for a slow drive time.

One aspect of triathlon I do not enjoy is the stress of getting to the packet pick up on time.  I imagine this is true for most people.  Trying to carve the time out of the day to get to some of these locations the day before the race is difficult at best.  But it is what it is and aside from this issue, everything else seems to move along quickly on race day morning, which I am sure is the whole reason behind packet pick up.

Race morning is always an early rise time.  This day, I was up by 3:45 and Mark and I headed out the door pretty soon after that.  The drive to Cypress was much quicker than the day before alleviating the pre-race "am I going to be late?!" anxiety I typically feel.

Body marking went well and I headed into transition to set everything up.  I was close to both the bike out and the run out which was great!  I walked around to get a feel of what it would be like coming out of the water and to get a general acclimation to the layout of the transition area.  

As Mark and I headed to the swim area, I started feeling quite a lot of anxiety regarding the swim.  I have no idea why the nerves jumped up, but a little pep talk from Richard, and I felt a bit better.  I walked towards the swim start and just tried to keep myself calm.  550 meters is nothing compared to what I normally swim, but for some reason, I was really spiraling into a puddle of self-doubt.  Perhaps it was related to my experience at the Y Freedom Tri, or perhaps it just was what it was.  I decided to throw out any expectation to time for the swim and focus on feeling comfortable while having a good experience in the water.  

I was in one of the very last waves, making my wait time about an hour to get into the water.  When it was  finally my turn, I got in the water, waited for the go, and started swimming.  Instantly, the anxiety left, I felt calm, and I focused on slow, steady form.  Kind of a funny thing to focus on when one can't see through the water.  I hope to one day swim in clear open water.  That would be amazing!

I finished the swim in 13:16 and was pleased at how well I felt during the swim.  I only used the breast stroke briefly while trying to site around the last buoy.  

T1 was a bit slower as I wanted to be sure to hydrate well and eat a bit.  3:19 was most definitely a bit too long and I will work on that for next time.

This race was the first race for the new bike and she did fantastic!  I felt very comfortable the entire ride and again, settled on the idea of not pushing myself too much, saving a bit more for a very hot run.  The first 4 miles on the bike felt great.  For some reason, miles 4-8 or so felt like much more work and my quads weren't real excited to push through.  I chalk this up to my inexperience on the bike and hope that more training on the bike will result in a better average mph.  The last 5 miles went well when the quads turned back on.  Total bike time was 44:17 (avg 17.6 mph).  T2 time was 2:36.  Again, another area to cut some time.

Philomena and I after her first race.

Heading out on the run, I again made the decision to hold back and not go all out.  I really wanted to savor this experience on this day.  It was very hot, and I didn't know how my body would respond to the heat and full sun.  I felt great the entire run, feeling stronger with each stride.  I tried to encourage the other runners along the way and made sure to hit every sprinkler that was set up to keep us cool. I crossed the finish line with a run time of 25:59 (8:23/mile).  Total race time  1:29:29.  17th in AG.  

I would highly recommend this race to anyone interested in a good sprint tri.  I enjoyed my time very much and will probably register for next year as soon as it opens.

Coming off the race, I have not let up on the training at all.  I am increasing the amount of cycling and running that I am doing.  Follow me on Dailymile (right side bar) if you are so inclined.  I am registered for one more tri this month, Clear Lake.  I will be taking on much more of a challenge as I am registered for the Olympic distance.  Then full on Cactus Rose training will be here.  

My reasoning for the heavy training over the last 6 weeks has been simply to prove to myself that I can handle the training load that will come from Ironman training beginning in January. (yes, I registered).   I am at about 3/4s of the time that I will be putting in weekly and feel tired, but good and stronger than 3 months ago.

At times, I feel like I am cheating on my trails by enjoying the tri training so much.   This evaporates rather quickly after noting the increased endurance and overall strength that I feel I have gained.  

Once I cross the finish line at CR, I will take some time to ease up and recover and then head into full time IMTX training.  I can't believe I am at this point in my "career" but I am embracing it all realizing that each moment is truly a gift! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Increased Training; Increased Focus

As the mileage begins to increase on the training plan, I am noticing a greater focus on being in the moment.  Previously, while working through the training plans of the season, I would find myself not really focused on the run at hand, but rather, thinking about the next one.  When would it be?  Where would it be?  Would it be a good one?  Which race would I do?  And so on.

This training cycle, and perhaps it is because I have added in a few new tricks to the bag with swimming and biking, I find I am truly intentional in the workout I am doing at that moment.  I have been focused on my breathing and form while running.  Not so much my pace.  I am also really trying to listen to what my body is telling me.  If I have a wonkiness in my leg, I make a mental note and try to address it immediately or shortly after the run is complete.

In my swim, I am solely thinking about breathing, head position, how my hand is entering the water, my pull-through, etc.  And occasionally, it all comes together for a lap or two and I feel amazingly strong!

During the biking, which I am totally new to, I am focused on maintaining the proper RPMs, breathing, again, the position of my feet on the pedal.  I am entranced by the "push/pull" mantra that my legs sing while feeling the rotation of the wheels.

For someone who as easily distracted as I am, these moments of total focus are a real gift.  It is where the cares and concerns of any day are stripped away and I am able, for just a little while, to embrace the moment for exactly what it is.  This is a true gift and one I hope to be able to appreciate for a very long time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blessings Run

Heading into this weekend, I had full knowledge that getting my miles in was going to prove to be a challenge, but I had a plan and the plan my mind.

Then reality showed up as the front door and took any hope of what I thought would be away.  I kept my head about me and re-figured my plan.  And then reality showed up again.  So once more, I re-figured the plan and again, reality won out.  Slowly, I could feel the fires of angst being stoked.

I am embarrassed to admit that many times this is the way things go in my life, and I tend to just throw my hands up and stress about missed mileage, missed workouts, and act badly with bouts of pouting and frustration.  Over the past several months, I have been working on my attitude when these things come up and today afforded me the perfect opportunity to exercise my "blessings" muscle.

Today's lesson looked like this:                              

I am going to run in Huntsville!  -

Reality showed up when Mark told me he was working today which meant I needed to stay close to home for the kids. 

Blessing realized - I have a wonderful husband willing to work 6-7 days a week to provide the kids and I a very good life.  

I have happy, healthy, active children that require me to be with them to keep them safe, fed, and cared for.  

I switched the plan to run with my local running club early in the morning. -

Reality showed up in the form of an adorable little boy who wanted to crawl into bed 20 minutes before my alarm because he was scared and needed his mommy.  Early morning run out.

Blessing realized - Boo is 6 years old and chances are, he won't be climbing into bed with me many more times.  He is working through his developmental fears and I am so thankful that I can be the one to be there for him, (thunder, dark, scary noises, all a big deal to a little boy).

I decided to run as soon as the kids were awake while the older kids were around to babysit. -

Reality once again arrived in the form of little Boo sneaking downstairs to surprise me with a "breakfast".

Blessing realized -  He poured a cup of coffee with cream, placed it onto the table with a cute little clementine on a plastic toddler plate.  He was so excited to see my reaction to his efforts!  He told me he could only pour a little coffee because the pot was so heavy and he used the plastic plate because he couldn't reach the ceramic plates.  He and I sat together and enjoyed the moment.  He savored watching me eat the orange and drink the coffee.  It was a priceless moment that I would never have had if "my plan" had happened.

Switched up the plan one last time to just go run for two hours while the teens were still at home. -

Reality, my dear companion, reminded me that my teens had a busy day at Church serving at Mass and then a Baptism service.  This meant I had less then 2 hours to get my mileage in.  

Blessing realized - Mark and I are blessed with amazing kids that feel called to serve others as much as they can.  We are continually humbled by their dedication to God, to our faith, and to our parish.  We are inspired by their witness.  

I headed out the door promising my son that I would be back in plenty of time for him to get to the Church.  As I set out on my 90 minute run, these thoughts filled my mind.

Sure, I want to run for 2 hours, but I get 90 minutes.  I am blessed to have 90 minutes.  To run.  To pray.  To sing along with my music.  To see the town.  To feel the sun.  To feel the rain.  To breathe.  I also had the blessing of snuggling with Boo, having breakfast with him, and reassuring his sweet soul.  

 I had 90 minutes to offer thanksgiving for the friends and family in my life, some of whom were having great races today!    

I had 90 minutes to pray for the soul of an acquaintance from our Church family that gained her eternal life this morning after 10 months of battling cancer.  While I rest in the knowledge that she is blissfully happy, I grieve with her family who will miss her so much until they are once again re-united.  

Would I have given up 30 minutes of run time for all of that?  Yes, I would.  In fact, I would give the entire run up for that. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Y Freedom Tri 2012

Going into this race, I didn't have much in mind other than to have fun, finish, and learn some things along the way, especially with regards to nutrition on a race of this distance.  I didn't have time goals for this race because I am not very cognizant of my ability in the area of the swim or bike.  I had hoped for 25 - 26 mins on the run.  Richard gave me a time suggestion and he hit it very close! (He predicted 1:15.)

The week leading up to the race, I have noticed pain in both feet.  I didn't have any problems with this during the race, but they are aching tonight.

Woke up at 4 am and out the door by 4:35.  Arrived in plenty of time to pick up the race packet and get settled into the transition area. 

I had concerns that I would not remember certain things today, such as using my inhaler, eating, taking the gels, etc., so I wrote the plan directly onto my arm.  This was very helpful and I will probably do this again.

I left the handheld and Garmin at home and focused on relaxing as much as I could while also pushing myself, drinking on the bike and at the aid stations instead of carrying my bottle.

The Swim:
I had seeded myself with an 8:00 minute swim.  The pool was a 50 meter pool, which I had somehow overlooked.  The swim was a 300 meter swim, shorter than the CB & I tri.   I think I waited about 15-20 mins to actually hit the water.  Swimmers were sent off in 10 second increments and this was very well organized.

As I started in my swim, my chest started closing up and I began to feel my asthma take hold.  I knew I had to get a grip on this or I would be done.  My head immediately started thinking of quitting, of drowning, of having an all out attack in the water and have to be rescued.  I slowed my stroke down and even did some breast stroke to gain my control of my breathing again.  After about 30 meters or so, I felt better and fell into a comfortable stroke.  In the last 50 of the swim, I noticed several people walking in the water.  I had not noticed that the pool was shallow the entire length!  I could have put my feet down at any time, and never realized it!  I'm glad I didn't know this during my panic attack else this swim could have gone a totally different direction.    I finished the swim in 7:34.

Walked/jogged into transition and promptly ate a Cliff gel and an S cap.  This is the first time I have used a gel in over 2 years.  I knew I had to try something as eating trail mix while on a bike is a bit tricky.

The Bike:
Headed out onto the bike course which was very, very well organized and officiated.  I felt completely safe on the roads and even at the intersections.  The traffic officers and volunteers did a wonderful job keeping us in one piece.  I felt pretty good on the ride, pushing at points and backing off at others.  I kept reminding myself to conserve for the run.  I found that I actually picked up speed towards the end of the bike, which may be related to the wind that blew a nice rain in just as I ended my ride.  Bike time - 37:07

I hopped off the bike, not so gracefully, but I didn't fall, so that's always a plus!  T2 went more quickly than T1 as the shoes were easier to get on and I didn't have to mess with socks this time around.  Took another S Cap and headed out on the run as the skies opened up cooling us off and making for a fun muddy run for about 3/4 of a mile!

The Run:
The run went very well.  I felt stronger with every stride and am quite certain I had negative splits.  I passed many of the faster-than-me swimmers and cyclists that had passed me just a little while beforehand.  I tried to keep the mood fun and encouraging.  Most people were happy to be out there, but there were a few that weren't big fans of my happy mood!  I've had days like that, so I understand that mindset.
I finished the run in 25:27.   Total race time:  1:14:37.  Finished 7th in AG and 146 out of 500 participants.  

Participating in this race was fun for many reasons, but probably most importantly is because this is where the seed was planted by my great friend, Richard Last year, he invited me to run this with him as a relay and I can recall standing outside the pool fence looking on at the swimmers thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could try this one day.  Two months later, I was starting in my Master's swim class and today, I was on the other side of that fence!  

 I was able to select a military person to honor for this race, and it was on my heart to run for Luke Finney, USN.  He is an amazing young man who has already done great things in his young life.  I am blessed to know him and his family and while I know my effort in this race can not compare to what he has done, is doing, and will do, physically, I pray that this small showing of support is an encouragement to him as he continues on his path with Navy.

This race was an inspiring one to be a part of as it was meant to honor our military men and women.  There were many DAVs out on the course, serving us yet again as they cheered us on, handed out water, and directed racers to stay on the course.  I found myself thanking as many as I possibly could and being moved to tears to see so many of our older service people supporting this race and this cause.  Seeing the military representatives carry their respective branch's flag across the finish line all together was very moving.  A true moment of pride for any American!