Jan 272013
 

 

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SWIM, BIKE, RUN!  I hadn’t raced in a triathlon since I was in my mid-20’s.  That was 15 years ago.  My SWIM BIKE RUN had become, COOK, CLEAN and Wipe little butts. A few things have changed over the years: my weight, my fitness level and like most, I’ve had kids, lots of them.

My attention, for years, has been placed on them.  This year, I decided to reverse the trend and focus on me, while maintaining all the “plate juggling” that comes with raising a family.

I didn’t want to sign up for this event.  I gave all the excuses in the world.  But ultimately, my husband “double dog dared me” and if you’re Southern, well . . . You don’t take that lightly.

First step, join a gym. Check!  My ultimate goal was to complete 14 laps, down and back. That didn’t seem difficult, until I began swimming.   4 laps into it, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.  My heart felt like it was about to burst and my body didn’t seem to be gliding through the water, as it once did.  I saw a lifeguard in the corner of my eye, standing over me, waving her arms.  Alarmed, I stopped to see what was going on.  Was someone hurt?  Was I in the wrong lane?

She said:  Are you ok? You seem to have difficulty swimming.  If you need assistance, there are floaties in the closet.

What?  I said: Are You talking to me?  What could I have possibility looked like to have had a lifeguard rush down from her Stand to offer me FLOATIES- how embarrassing. I never took my goggles off until I hit the locker room, to keep from being identified on my next trip, if there was EVER a NEXT trip.

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The morning of the race, everyone had State of the Art equipment, fast, light-weight bikes:  Cannondales, GIANTS.  You’re judged  by the type of bike you ride. It sort of separates the “Men from the Boys.” My husband had one of those bikes.  You can pick it up with your pinky – Sleek, fast.  Not me, I had a mountain bike: fat tires, takes 2 people to lift it.  In an effort to ease the  humiliation, my young sons were trying to find examples of other racers with mountain bikes.  “Look Mom, see there’s another mountain bike.” Uh, yes son, he’s 13.  Ok, just forget it.

Reflecting on my 20’s, it was a  different experience back then.  No kids, no schedules; freedom was at my fingertips.  We could eat Nacho’s with a glass of wine, after a long work week and not gain an ounce.  Now days, it’s baked chicken and steamed broccoli just to maintain. I remember my “Swim Cap” color;  It was yellow, a megaphone to the world that I was STILL young.  This time, when the Race Official wrote my age (with a permanent marker) on the back of my leg, 41, I wanted to explain, that I actually felt younger than this.  Can you write that underneath 41?

I was no longer a yellow cap, but a purple one; I was now 2 swim cap colors behind, with a chasm of 50 pink-headed caps, separating me from my beloved Youth.

To makes matters worse,  we were Almost the last group to enter the water. The only people behind us were the blue caps.  These were the ones to FEAR!

They were the 12-18 YEAR OLDS! As if I had a ton of self esteem, being placed virtually last in a line, behind 1000 racers, now we’ve got the “quick as lightening” group behind us; teens with endless energy, who pass you on the swim, upping the probability that you may, in fact, be the last person to make it to the finish line.  My goal: to see as few “blue caps” as possible.  My Prayer:  Please God, let me finish before the banner was taken down!

As if training for the SWIM, BIKE, RUN wasn’t enough, there were the Transitions.  They added 2-3 minutes,  (ok 6, because I couldn’t find my bike), then another 3  to put on my shoes, switch from helmet to cap, put on lip gloss.  Hey, you feel good, if you look good!

In the scheme of life, it’s important to note: you’re really only competing against yourself, not the yellow caps, screaming “YOUTH.”  You’ll never be younger than you are today.  Oprah said: Remind yourself – this VERY  moment is the ONLY one you know you have FOR SURE.

Embrace the power, the wisdom, the knowledge and influence you’ve gained in the years you’ve lived.

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Wave your Purple Swim Cap proudly.  Like the markings on your leg, all things mature, and with development comes freedom and adventure!  While the main event is SWIM, BIKE, RUN, learning to successfully navigate Life’s Transitions is a major part of the process. There are many ups and downs, changes we don’t expect. Just like coal is to a Diamond, the adversities and pressures of life – allow us the experiences to grow and walk through the Door of Greatness.

Life is What You Make It!  Cheers to Purple Power, Lip Gloss and 40-plus ladies signing up for their next Race.

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You!

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

 

 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Jan 142013
 

Our family drove cross country for Christmas: 42 Hours, 4 hotels, 4 kids and 3,000 miles of Awesomeness! We took pictures along the way, posting fabulous shots of our adventures on Facebook.  From ice fishing in North Dakota, shopping in Chicago to Skiing in Minnesota, we had an amazing trip, meeting up with friends and family all along the way.

Facebook Friends commented:  You guys are the most adventurous people I know.  One said:  ADOPT ME!.

I had to giggle: It made me think, while the pictures portrayed the fabulous side, the glamour, I have to admit, Facebook did not give you the behind the scenes, “clear picture” of what really happened. The cropped pics, the car fights, endless pee breaks, the number of pictures we took before all the kids looked at the camera.

‘Hey kids, quit making rabbit ears over Santa’s head, stop crying: from the bribes to the threats:  What Facebook didn’t tell you.photorabbit ears

We stayed in great hotels along the way; though nothing was mentioned about having to sleep in a room with 4 kids: children sleeping sideways, digging their toes into your back. My husband slept so soundly, he wouldn’t have heard a tornado if it ripped the roof off, yet I laid there all night, hearing all the sounds of each child: sucking thumbs, tooting in their sleep, kids whimpering as they re-lived fights, earlier in the day, with their siblings over a toy or an ipad.

We had a ton of fun ice fishing.  Ok, not really.  I’m going to have to side with my Mother-in-law on this one.  It was fun to say we did it once.  It was so cold, the bait froze.  My 4 year old finally stopped crying , after bribing her with a bag of doritos.  Thank you Doritos.  You’re a lifesaver.
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15 minutes of crying in 2 degree weather.                After I gave her the Doritos. 

On the 22 hour journey back, the kids had to stop every 30 minutes to pee.  In a last ditch effort, we gave them a 7-11 Big Gulp Cup to pass around. We trusted the kids to pass it up from the back of the mini van to the front, making it’s way through 4 sets of little hands. That didn’t work so-well last time, when they dropped it in my purse, but hey, it’s a new day, so we thought we’d try it again.  And it worked! Woo hoo. We labeled it “Hazardous Material” and guarded it with our lives.

Someone who shall remain nameless, forgot to bring the bag full of DVD’s for the road trip, so the kids watched “Mall Cops” and We Bought a Zoo – 9 times each. Every 2 hours, I heard: Mom – Push & Play.

So when we smiled for the camera to give you THE SHOT of us Ice Fishing, we may have forgotten to mention or display the fact that one of the kids stepped a little too close to the Propane Heater inside the Fish Tent, caught their backside on fire; jacket went up in flames, smoke billowing out the door.  I unzipped the tent, grabbed “said” child and threw them into the snow.  It felt like watching Uncle Lewis from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when he caught Himself & the Christmas tree on fire with his stogie!

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Looks like snow on his jacket, but it’s not. It’s the inside stuffing from where he caught on fire.

After 12 hours of driving through Snow and  negative degree temperatures, we pulled over on the side of the road, next to the Arches in St. Louis, rolled down our dirty, snow-covered window and snapped a picture for the Bucket List.  Did we go inside, catch the awe-inspiring sunset view from the top?  Uh, let me think . . . . NO! We were too tired, too hungry and too crazy-looking to be let in.

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But hey, that’s part of making memories.  If the journey wasn’t colorful, it wouldn’t be remembered as such.

“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between.” Norton Juster.

It’s the Journey that matters most.  The destination is but for a moment.  The journey from beginning to end is the gooey awesomeness in the middle; the best part of life. So, if my friend still wants us to Adopt her, we’ll take her, but thought she deserved to hear all the Facts that she didn’t see on Facebook, before a decision was made. Life is What you make it!

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You!

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 Posted by at 10:48 pm