A married father of two riding his way through the crazy life of parenthood, trying to balance family, work and training for an upcoming marathon and Half Ironman triathlon. It's a process. It's a gift. It's life. LIVE IT!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I Need a Plan

First things first, I. NEED. A. PLAN! It is becoming increasingly clear that I am in need of some goals to bring focus to my fitness and training. I had trained up for the CapTexTri Olympic distance, but for family reasons, decided to pass on the race (good thing since Mother Nature intervened to cancel the race...more on that later.) With a crazy summer coming up with vacations, taking a week to work as a camp counselor, and work deadlines, I will be tested and challenged with sticking to a plan...but that's part of the fun, right? So here is the deal. Before vacation June 15th, I will have a plan.

The CapTexTri was canceled Monday, leaving thousands of disappointed triathletes. We felt horrible for those people who traveled to Austin for the race, only to leave without competing. I hope their stay was enjoyable and really, really hope they'll be back for another race soon. On a successful tri note, my buddy competed in the Brazil Ironman this last Sunday and did incredible. He left the water in 627th place and almost picked off half the people in front of him on the bike and run to end up 315th. Amazing effort and great result.

On the family front, things are going well. We have been busy with summer activities...swim lessons, Little Gym, trips to the park, bike rides and a few hikes. We're gearing up for a family vacation which will take Chicklet and Happy to the beach for the first time in their young lives. Chicklet is looking forward to enjoying a few weeks with her cousins, of whom she adores. She will also be turning three in a few weeks which is causing great anxiety for mom and dad as we try to figure out where the last three years have gone. Psssst....don't tell her, but she is going to be super stoked with the new bike she's about to get for her birthday. (Dad's pretty excited about that too!)

Happy is growing fast and more mischievous by the day. He turned one last month and has been walking for the last three months (which only adds to his level of mischief.) He is so much fun and also LOVES THE BIKE. More on that to come this summer, I'm sure.

On a side note, thanks for all of the comments and e-mails about Blotches and moving on. She is very much missed around our house these days and we have been remembering her fondly. There is a void that will not soon be replaced.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Letting Go

Every day, through good times and rough ones, she was there. Never questioning my decisions or paths, never second guessing my choices. Blotches Hamilton was a loyal friend...by my side for nearly half of my life. Yes my world has changed quite a bit in a decade and a half. There have been jobs, moves, my mom's battle with cancer, a marriage, two kids and countless other changes, but she was a constant. Tuesday I was forced to make a decision no one ever wants to make. At 14, the adventures we'd both engaged in had taken a toll on Blotches' body and it was time to say goodbye.

A hard goodbye to be sure, but one that brought up such incredible memories. Blotches was with me as I climbed the highest mountains I've climbed and never left my side at my lowest points. Come to think of it, she knows more about my history than anyone else on earth. And even knowing EVERYTHING she didn't care. She stood by my side. We should all be so lucky to learn a thing or two from that.

The morning I picked her up 14 years ago, I did so under the cover of darkness before rolling out on a 7 ½ hour drive to college. My parents didn't know I was cooking up a scheme to get my first dog, but once they met her, it wouldn't have mattered. I'll never forget the 3 hours of whimpers in the car until Blotches crawled beside me, laid her head on my leg and settled in for a life full of adventure.

Through the raucous college years, to the adventures of hiking and paddling in the eastern and southern U.S., Blotches was always a willing partner. Most times, I trekked out without anyone else... just Blotches. It's not that I disliked having the company of friends on the trails...it's just, with Blotches, I didn't need it.

Fast forward 14 years and the night before going to the vet we spent "camping" in the backyard. Just like we had for hundreds of times before it was just us, outside. Left to remember all of those times together and knowing her fate the next day — as hard as it was to stomach — I realized the price and value of our time and friendship far outweighed the greif and sadness I was about to experience. It doesn't make it any easier, just different.

Someone told me through this ordeal that alleviating the pain of your pet is a true act of love. I hope I find solace in that sentiment soon, but now I only feel a hollow sense of loss. As she slipped away, I did see a peace take away the pain. I will miss her greatly.

Monday, May 07, 2007

My First 'Real' Recovery Ride

Up until this weekend, the term "Recovery Ride" — in an organized setting — always translated to "Okay, I can hang with these guys without getting spit out the back of the pack after 10 miles." I'd been hearing about Jack and Adams Sunday "recovery ride" and this weekend I finally decided to take the plunge. There is always a bit of trepidation that comes with such decisions. Never knowing how "recovery" is going to be defined for the super-fit tri community here in Austin, there is always a bit of anxiety. I've been on other "recovery rides" that are pretty much a scaled down version of a group ride that starts slow and then ramps to paceline speed within an hour. That is the point at which I realize 'their' recovery is pretty much my training. But not this week.

I was stoked to feel like it was truly a recover ride for me — no problems keeping up and settled in for medium effort. I am quickly feeling the benefits of a higher level of fitness this season and less weight to motor up the hills (30lbs lost since last year.) Met some great folks, enjoyed the 32 miles and realized yet again why Jack and Adams is truly one of the greatest assets to our community.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ceiling Knocking

The monumental turn of events this morning was enough to make me think of giving up tris one minute, then suffer a complete whiplash-style turn into thinking I was finally "getting it". You know the days....days of pain and joy and fatigue and energy and success and doubt all mixed into one big ball.

Spin class at 5 a.m. was packed...man I love this town. I usually head to a different gym for spin class but since work would keep me closer to home I changed up a bit and was glad I did. The instructor was great and the class was killer. I was also stoked to see brand new spin bikes ... big bonus. After the hills class I rushed over to the pool to meet Spence... on the way I checked my email to find that it was D-Day for he and his wife. Kid number two was on its way and they were on their way to the hospital. Many prayers and wishes going their way today! Then at the pool...the barge was sinking into desperation. During intervals I had that acute sinking feeling and was stopped dead in the water. I came up for air and had one of those moments of severe doubt. I finished the 100, albeit very slowly and regrouped.

I then decided...forget distance, let's go for time. I was determined to swim for 10 minutes straight.... laughable for many of you, but I needed something. Fifty turned to 100, 100 to 200 and I was in a groove. When I needed to recover I slowed down, but to my surprise I kept going. Quickly the 10 mintues were over and I was still feeling good. Switching to going for distance, I was surprised to feel the laps ticking away. I did flip over for a few 25's of backstroke, but ended up with 1000yds non-stop...most ever. I wasn't burning up the pace...but it was all at once and I left energized that the Olympic tri was now within reach. It was a good day! For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was getting close to knocking on that glass ceiling.