Sunday, October 5, 2008

Going back home

I haven't had much Internet access since arriving in KY - well, I haven't had HIGH SPEED access often so I haven't been able to blog all my wonderful expeditions on my trip. I'm going to try and catch up here and hopefully I'll be able to remember all the fun times we have had.

The kids and I arrived in KY on the evening of Friday, Sept 19th. The next night I celebrated my 25th year high school class reunion with the Meade County High School class of 1983. It was a nice night of hanging out with old friends and getting reacquainted but it wasn't as highly attended as our 20th year reunion. It was fun to get reconnected again (and get cell phone and email addresses this time!) and then be able to stay in KY for a while and spend even more time with some of my good friends.

Throughout the following week we did a lot of fun things with the family. Although continuing to homeschool during the morning hours we found time in the afternoon and evening for Joshua to spend time at his first skate park and for both the kids to have fun walking around Brandenburg and playing at the various parks nearby. Joshua spent the night with his Uncle Randy (and kids) one night during that week and had a blast with them. Along the way Joshua made new friends with a boy named Devin who lives within walking distance of granny's house. Joshua and I spent three mornings that week driving to Ft. Knox and training at their indoor pool (the closest one to my mom's house).

It was nice to spend an evening at my old high school because the choir there was hosting the 4th district choir festival. My niece, Krista, was performing so that was really cool. I ran into some old college friends that night who I probably wouldn't have even noticed if it weren't for Facebook! How cool is that? That evening Krista came over to my mom's house with her boyfriend Ethan - what a great kid....and a swimmer! We had a fun time talking about swimming and triathlons!

One night we went to "Jailhouse Pizza." Now, this isn't just any pizza place. This restaurant used to be an actual jail house. Back in 1974, however, the F5 tornado that ripped through my hometown left the city rebuilding and the old jailhouse continued to stand even though it never held prisoners again. Now you can actually eat in a jail cell! It is quite a unique restaurant but I'd be afraid of what would happen if the health department ever set foot in this place!

On the opening day of the movie "Fireproof" I went to the movies alone, got a "movie theater Starbucks" and sat watching the movie with tears in my eyes. Although the quality wasn't quite up to Hollywood productions the theme of the movie was quite moving. I would highly suggest everyone - particularly couples in a crisis - to see it.

On Sept 27th I decided that I would crash my sister's 20th year high school class reunion...and I did! What a great time. Since these guys were in 8th grade when I was a senior in high school I didn't know many of them - only my sister's friends. It was really great reconnecting with them as well and I found one couple who I just adored and really enjoyed spending time with. They have since then invited the kids and I to make an overnight trip to Owensboro, KY and spend the night with them. If we can find time in our schedule we are going to try to do that!

The week following my reunion "crash" was really fun. One night I went out with two friends from high school for dinner and we reconnected like no time had passed. I just love friends like that. How amazing to just pick up where you left off.

We spent two days in Van Wert, OH visiting my maternal grandparents. It was nice to see them again and the kids were able to spend some time running around in their huge yard and near all the corn fields. Joshua has been really working out since we've been here and even decided to take the "long route" running instead of the short one and while visiting his great grandparents he ran 1.5 miles on a training run. We're going to work on that this winter so he can do well on his spring triathlons in 2009.

I'm really enjoying spending time taking photos. My sister asked me to take some candid photos of her family and we spent one late afternoon doing so. I have some great shots which I can't wait to download and share with the world - my sister has such a gorgeous family!

Speaking of my sister and her family - it has been wonderful spending time with them and getting to know my new nieces (my sister got married a year ago and I have three new nieces by marriage that I haven't spent much time with!). Not only has it been great getting to know them but also reconnecting with my "blood" niece and nephew (when he is home from college!).

Another highlight of the week was going to the high school football game. It wasn't much of a thrill for me but Celeste had a blast with her pom poms acting like a cheerleader while Joshua got to spend time with his cousins just hanging out at a game. He felt like a real public school kid! :) It was cute when a boy came up to him and asked him if the girl next to him was his girlfriend. He turned to the guy and said "dude, that is my cousin!" Yeah, yeah...we are in KY I know...but actually this is my sister's husband's daughter from a previous marriage so actually they aren't related at all! :) Joshua thinks it is super cool to have cute girl cousins, though!

On Oct 4th we headed out of town for Lexington, KY. We spent the morning driving there, picking up my race packet and then chilling out in the nice fall air while sitting outside of Starbucks drinking a coffee. Now, I must tell you that although I have had some Starbucks since arriving in KY (the real stuff while traveling and then the "Barnes & Noble Starbucks" and "movie theater Starbucks") this was actually the first time I felt like I was having the real thing! The kids and I just sat outside sipping our drinks while Celeste made friends with a lady and her dog. Come to find out this lady, although from KY had spent years working in Reston with a contractor for Lockheed Martin! She knew our neck of the woods VERY well! That evening and into the next day is blogged below in my race report. After the race, however, we headed to Maysville, KY to spend some time with my dad and grandmother. That pretty much brings me up-to-date on our time here. The kids have been wonderful. They have adjusted to all the changes very well. I haven't heard them complain about missing home or their stuff or anything like that - they've just been enjoying life to the fullest. What seems to be the best part of this trip for them is being able to spend time with their cousins.

It might be hardware but it sure was hard to get!!!

Wow! What a day...or rather...two days...

This weekend I raced Tri for Sight in Lexington, KY. This was my first out-of-town/out-of-state tri so my weekend was full of surprises I wasn't quite used to! First of all, I started out the weekend with a blister on each heel. I wasn't sure how that was going to mix with my somewhat new running shoes but I was hoping "moleskin" would help resolve my issues so I purchased some.

Saturday night I had a reunion with some college friends but I ate pasta and didn't stay our late so I thought everything would be fine. Little did I know what would happen once I reached the hotel room. First of all, the bed wasn't the most comfortable in the world and although we were in a non-smoking room there was smoke seeping through the walls from another room which made me gag most all night long! I had both my kids and mom with me for the weekend which was nice but that made for some crazy sleeping arrangements. My son slept in the hotel bed with me but I was getting punched and kicked all night long. Once he would stop moving and I would almost get to sleep I would hear freight-train snoring coming from the other bed and I wouldn't be able to sleep. Throughout the night I was lucky to have had two full hours of sleep. It was crazy.

5:00 a.m. I was up and getting myself and two kids ready to head out the door, checking out of the hotel and packing the car all by 5:30 a.m. The kids grabbed breakfast at the hotel and we were heading to the race by 5:28 a.m. About 15 minutes later we were at the race site and I was getting ready to race my last tri of the season.

The race site was at the location of the University of Kentucky's football stadium...well, what I should say is the transition area and finish line were located there. However, I found it quite odd that the pool was located about a 4-minute walk away! What? How was this going to work? I've always gone barefoot from the pool or lake to the transition area but with this distance that wasn't going to work - particularly since the temps were in the 50's. I knew my transition time was immediately going to be bad. So, I took my running shoes and placed them (with everyone elses shoes) just outside the pool area. I was fully prepared (or so I thought) to run from the pool to the transition area with minimal problems.

Time for the race to begin - Again, I seeded myself incorrectly for the swim. It was an 800 yard swim and for some reason I thought I could finish that in 15 minutes!! Wrong! My last few weeks before this race have been very hit and miss as far as my training goes and even at my best I don't think I could have finished in that time. I can't stand it when I keep getting passed in the pool so I've really got to figure out my pool times for my next race so I can estimate my seeding time a little more accurately. On top of that, I just couldn't get a rhythm going. My breathing wasn't too great either. But, I have to say I was very impressed by the pool facility - very nice! I finally finished the swim and was out the door on my way to the bike portion. I hurried up and put on my running shoes but could tell this was a mistake. Even though I would have frozen my feet off getting to the transition area I just wasted so much time - minutes - that I've not done in any of my previous races.

Into the transition area...I had so much to do!!! Take my running shoes off, put my cycling shoes on, put a shirt on (because it was so stinking cold!), helmet, sunglasses, get a gel, pop some gum in my mouth and grab my bandanna (because I knew my nose would be running today!). I didn't think I would ever get out of transition but I did and then I was off on the bike. My breathing was bad at the beginning and I just wanted to slow down my heart rate so I took it easy at first. Finally my breathing got under control and I took off fast. However, even though I was going fast I felt like I was standing still because I was so cold. On top of that, most of the race course was shaded so I just couldn't ever get warm. The entire 18 miles I was cold, my feet were feeling numb, I had to blow my nose about once a mile and I was wondering why I was out here doing this race! The race course was very well marked, the crowd support was amazing (gotta give props to Delta Gamma sorority at UK - they were out in full force...where were all the Chi Omegas????), and the volunteers were super! The bike course was very nice and although there were two pretty steep hills and many rolling hills it was nice to ride through Lexington's horse country! I'm not sure my exact time for the ride but I felt like I was going slower than normal. Seems I'm so much faster during training than I am during race day. I guess I'm going to have to practice some swim/bike bricks!

As I was going into transition two I got off my bike and immediately had a leg cramp in my right calf. YIKES! Never had that happen before. I got off the bike, headed to my bike rack, started changing my shoes and then got leg cramps in my LEFT calf! Uh oh...seems like the run is going to be a challenge! Again, I had a very slow transition but I couldn't push things too much.

I got out on the 4-mile run path and it took about a mile to be able to actually feel my feet because of the cold. Around that point we were running through the gorgeous Arboretum. I felt pretty good about the run. I wasn't very fast still but I felt pretty strong...and finally got warm for the first time!

As I was coming across the finish line it was so nice to see both my kids, my mom, and my dad. This was the first time my parents had seen me race a triathlon and the first time my dad had seen me race at all. He had driven in from Maysville, KY this morning and wasn't there at the start so I didn't even realize he was there until I crossed the finish line. What a great surprise!!

After the race I received my complimentary massage, changed my clothes and then hung out for the awards ceremony. It had been a very long day, an even longer night but it was all worth it when they announced second place in the Master Athena division as TRACY ENDO from STERLING, VA!!!

Official results:
800 yard swim: 22:08
Transition 1: 5:22
18 mile bike: 1:11:06 (15.2 mph)
Transition 2: 1:47
4 mile run: 46:02 (11:31 pace)
Final time: 2:26:23

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bringing home the hardware

FINALLY! IT HAPPENED!!! I finally brought home some hardware from a triathlon! I can't believe it!!! Well, want to know the story of how it all happened? Yeah, I figure since you're here I might as well tell you...

September 6th - forecast says it's going to be a clear day for the race tomorrow. Supposed to be in the high 80's but with my first Olympic-distance triathlon so early in the morning it may not get quite that high. However, hurricane Hanna has hit shore and we are anticipating getting a lot of rain tonight. Great, right? As long as race day is nice. Well, not so much. I went to packet pickup early that day in hopes to miss the major bands of rain coming through the area. Toward the end of the packet pickup times rumors began floating around with the TriRats (Reston Area Triathletes) and on that Hanna was going to dump a ton of rain on us and the lake we were to swim in might be too polluted/dangerous/e-coli filled for us to swim. Would the race be canceled? Nobody knew. Then the rumors came true - the lake WAS going to be too dangerous so the race directors had to make the incredibly hard decision to cancel the swim portion of the race and in it's place would add a 2.5 mile run. That would make the race a 2.5 mile run, 23 mile bike and 6.2 mile run with only one transition area. Okay, I guess I can handle this...for the past two weeks my pool has been closed for their yearly maintenance and I hadn't been able to do much swim training anyway. Although I have to admit my run training hadn't been very great all summer and I wasn't really looking forward to two runs.

September 7th - it was COLD out this morning. Wow, I'm kinda thankful now that we didn't have to swim because I would have been freezing coming out of that water. I figured I would just do the best I could and try really hard not to walk during the last run like I had been during much of my training during the summer. I was determined not to be sorry at the end of the race. I wanted to leave it all out there during the race and just hope I did enough.

The race began quite well. I was talking pre-race to a lady who said she was going to run a 10 minute mile and even though I started out a few people in front of her she never passed me. There was some question as to the actual length of the first run but to my knowledge it was 2.5 miles and I completed it in 21 minutes and some seconds which is less than a 9 minute mile (first transition was included with my official time which was 23:27). I felt pretty good about the first run and although my transition time was a little slower than I wanted I felt really good getting on the bike. The bike was a great experience for me. The course consisted of 3 loops so by the time I got to the second loop some of the guys (and a few girls) from the first few run waves had passed me. I tried to keep up with them (as long as I wasn't on an uphill section) and felt really good about the bike. During the last loop of the bike, though I started feeling my quads begin their slow, painful scream. I had never experienced quad pain during training so I wasn't quite sure what this was all about. Maybe the rolling hills, maybe the run before the bike - just don't know but I had to deal with it any way I could. Just as I was coming around the last corner to pull my bike into the transition area I dropped my chain - OH NO!!! Thankfully it was all down hill to the transition area so I just got on the bike and coasted. Looking back I should have pushed it a little, hopped on and then coasted because I lost some serious time. It wouldn't have changed the overall outcome but it would have changed my personal goal (more on that later). My final bike time was 1:24:14 which was a pace of 16.88 mph - a little slower than I had hoped but I'm blaming that on the hills and my quads. Transition #2 went quite well with a time of 1:19. Now I'm off to the final run. I will not walk, I will not walk, I will not walk...okay...maybe I'll walk just a quads were killing me and some of the hills on that run were painful. I'll remember to do more hill training next year! My final run time was 1:12:45 which was an 11.73 minute/mile pace.

I crossed the finish line completing my first duathlon - it's crazy to even say that since all my race paraphernalia says Reston TRIATHLON - but, hey, it was tons of fun. My goal for this race was to complete it in under 3 hours. Well, as I crossed the finish line the time clock read 3:01:43. I'm blaming it on the chain falling off and my quads killing me but I was happy to have completed it nonetheless. Little did I know what was ahead of me...

I went to the food tent and saw pizza there. I was thinking pizza would be good but after one bite I decided my stomach was nowhere near ready for that kind of food. Just give me some bread, a banana and some water! I walked around for a while, went back to the transition area and started cleaning up and then went to the bleachers to cheer on the remaining race participants and await the awards ceremony.

They announced the winners of the race and I commented to someone sitting beside me that they finished about an hour faster than I had. I still felt okay about my time because a) this is my first year racing triathlons b) this is my first Olympic distance race and c) I weigh more than the first two winners combined (probably!) hehe! THANKFULLY there is a wonderful category for me called "Athena." The Athena division is women who weigh over a certain amount. Typically that is somewhere in the 150 lb range and above. I had entered this race as an Athena and was very glad I had. They announced the first place winner of my group and she hadn't stuck around for the ceremony. Then they said - second place....from Sterling, VA (my eyes started opening up really wide) TRACY ENDO!!!! I jumped up from my seat and started running down the bleachers for my trophy. I was shocked and elated all at the same time. It was a wonderful feeling...I finally brought home some hardware...although this beautiful cheese platter w/wooden plaque is far from looking like hardware.

I'm so excited about winning this trophy that I've decided to add one more triathlon to my schedule this year - Oct 5th in Lexington, KY - Tri for Sight ( I hope all my Kentucky friends and family can come out and watch!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon

My day started out at 4:50 a.m. - and that probably wasn't early enough! I had prepared the night before to just wake up and basically run out the door. I only needed to grab my gatorade, my cell phone and a small breakfast and I was out the door. An hour later I arrived at the race site in Columbia, MD for the Aflac Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon. After parking in the back, back, back field I finally was able to grab my air pump and head into the transition area to get everything set up. It seemed I only had about 10 minutes before the announcers were telling us to leave the area because the first swim wave was getting ready to start. Wow - that seemed really fast! But, I was able to get all my items in the correct place and ready to go.

I headed toward the start line and when I got there I noticed other ladies with yellow swim caps like mine near the front of the line. I thought that was odd since the pre-race instructions mentioned my swim wave wouldn't start until an hour after the first wave. I asked a few ladies standing around how much longer we had and they told me only 15 minutes. WHAT? 15 minutes? Well, I thought I better go ahead and take my energy gel so I'll be prepared for a strong swim. As I was moving up to go into the water I mentioned something about the quick start and someone else said maybe I was in the SECOND yellow swim cap wave. Second wave? What was this all about? Then I realized the group I was with was the 30-39 year old ladies and I was in the group with the Athena & 20-25 year old ladies. I was standing in the wrong group but now what? I've already taken my gel! Well, it ended up that many people that were supposed to be in my swim wave actually went with the first group and my group of ladies was considerably smaller which made for an "easier" swim.

7:45 a.m. the Aflac duck yelled and my swim wave was off. This was my first time in an open water swim (at least with other people) and there is really only one way to describe this this video... . Feet kicking you, hands hitting you...that is what triathlon swim waves are all about! Even when you feel you are finally safe from it all you get a kick in the stomach just when you least expect it!

I tried to take it slow during the swim so I could conserve my energy for the bike (my strongest leg of the race) but I ended up coming in 10th place in my division with a time of 25:47 for 0.62 miles. I felt pretty good coming out of the lake but once I got on the bike my energy seemed to drain pretty quickly. Of course, this was a pretty hilly course but I had done a preview ride about a month ago so I was somewhat familiar with the course. Unfortunately I hadn't trained on enough hills to get me through the course in a good time. My typical speed during my training rides had been around 17 mph but my overall time for the 17.5 mile bike portion was 1:09 which put me 6th in my group and at a pace of 15.1 mph. My two transitions weren't too bad although I felt I could have gone faster in both of them. My first transition was 2:57 (3rd place in my group) and the second transition was 2:14 (5th place in my group). The final leg of the triathlon was what really killed me. My allergies had been acting up terribly during the bike ride but they really got to me during the run. Not only that but I was just wiped out from the other two legs and MY legs didn't want to run but walk! My training pace has been around 9:30 - 10 min/mile but the 3.4 mile run took me 40:30 to complete (still 5th place in my group) with an 11:55 min/mile pace. YUCK!

All in all I completed the race in 2:20 and 6th place in my category. Of course, they give trophies and cash to the 1-5th place ladies in each group! Darn!

The best part about the entire race was at the end...I had been following a woman during the entire run that I wanted to pass really bad and I just couldn't get up the energy to do so. About 1/2 mile before the end another lady helped push me to keep going and I told her I wanted to beat this particular woman across the finish line but I needed her to help me through it. She ran beside me and we pushed up the last hill together and about 2/10th of a mile from the finish line I kicked it into high gear and passed the lady. I don't typically sprint to the end but it felt so good and because I looked so strong the crowd was cheering like crazy and because my name was on my race bib I heard people all over the place yelling "GO TRACY!!!!" It was a great feeling! As I crossed the finish line the announcer said - Here is Tracy Endo from Sterling, VA - She is an Iron Girl!

I'm so thankful to have been able to complete this race - all with God's help. So many times throughout the race I thought of my friend Farah who was going to race today but couldn't because she found out she has breast cancer this year...and then our common friend, Kim who I have run with several times before who also found out she has breast cancer. I raced this one for you two!

I can't wait for my next tri in two weeks - an Olympic distance tri. Should be a lot of long as I don't come in last!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Secret Places

I read this devotion this morning and wanted to share it here in my blog. I was just speaking to some folks yesterday about this very issue of secrecy. It isn't until we share these things with a Godly friend or counselor that we are able to actually break free from our secret places.

"He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light." Job 28:11

Have you ever noticed how often Satan uses secret things to trip us up on our journey...those secret places that reside deep within our soul that we keep hidden from others and even try to hide from God?

Think about it... pornography is usually done in secret. Excessive shopping can be done over the Internet, with no one watching. Eating disorders develop in isolation when we binge by ourselves, then purge with no one around. Or when we publicly pretend to eat, but privately starve ourselves.

The things we watch, what we think and how we spend our time are the "secret places" Satan can and will use against us. Yet often we continue in our secrecy, afraid to reach for Truth. Why?

Secret places seem safe. Secret places are familiar. Secret places feel comfortable to us. So we cling to them.

It's not that we don't want to be honest and get real about the secret places in our soul. It's just sometimes easier to keep the truth hidden than it is to get real about things from the inside-out. Though most of us crave authenticity, our fears of being "found out" are what keep us living in secret, exactly where Satan wants us to stay. The crafty, conniving one knows that if he can get us to continue to bury our secret places deep within our heart, we can't be effective for God. He knows that thoughts of our private sins will eventually eat away at us, causing us to feel fraudulent and unworthy of the love and acceptance of others, and most of all, our Heavenly Father. But the truth is, we are the ones who don't love and accept ourselves. Not God.

Friends, the message of Jesus Christ is one of hope and restoration. It is one of freedom. It is one of unconditional love and acceptance. And it is one of Truth and spiritual exposure. What He is after from all of us is greater authenticity, greater genuineness, and the Truth, found in Him. In His sovereignty, He knows it is what we truly crave. "What you're after is truth, from the inside-out" Psalm 51:6 (MSG).

So, how do we combat those secret keeping habits we've developed over time?

1) Practice telling the truth. Telling the truth is a choice and needs to be a conviction. Healthy habits can and will be formed when practiced repeatedly, and truth telling is an important habit to get into.

2) Develop a genuinely authentic faith. Recognize the importance of authenticity, and begin making it of utmost priority. Do things to strengthen your walk (prayer, Bible study, etc.) and guard your mind.

3) Recognize that no one has it all together. See Satan's lie for what it is and determine not to get into the comparison trap with others. You cannot know what a person is all about by what they look like on the outside.

4) Stop trying to be perfect, act confident, appear happy, and seem super spiritual. These are some of the most common ways we, as women, pretend. It is only when we operate in a spirit of truth and openness that we will be able to live without pretense.

5) Determine to live your life with a genuineness that others will cling to and want to emulate. Honesty facilitates honesty. When you begin to get real and honest, hiding nothing in your relationship with God and others, people will begin to take notice and follow suit. This will strengthen all of your relationships and build up your self-esteem!

When we no longer hide in our "secret places," we can venture down a different path of greater authenticity and truth, bringing us to a place of ultimate and lasting freedom. And it is in freedom that we find no value in being a secret keeper any more.

By: Lisa Whittle

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Community

Today was a very special day for Ko and I. For several years we have been serving as leaders in a couples community group at our church ( called "Connections." Today was our last day to serve as the "main" leader couple for the group and we will be stepping into a new leadership position in the fall.

We knew today was going to be more of a social gathering than our typical Bible-teaching class but little did we know the plans the group had set out for us. We were blessed by two of our pastors - Mark Davis & Pete Lackey - who came and thanked us for our service. Pete is the current "Marriage & Family" minister and he presented us with a "service towel" which is somewhat of a tradition in the Marriage & Family ministry. The towel was placed nicely in a shadow box (they joked that it wasn't for Ko to wipe himself with after Tae Kwon Do!) and it had our names inscribed on it with the scripture reference:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Col 3:23-24
After the two pastors spoke there were several more people that stood in front of the class and spoke some amazing words to us and about us. Then the class presented us with a wonderful gift basket which included gift cards for !!! What an amazing gift.
The rest of the morning consisted of some amazing video/photography footage and some yummy treats.
Ko and I have been very humbled to be part of the leadership team in this community and as we look forward to what the future holds for this community we are excited beyond belief. With the great leadership stepping up next year and the strong pastors to lead us we will no doubt be able to serve not only our community but the greater DC area.
Thank you, Connections - we are so blessed to have been by your side in service.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

To Blog or Not To Blog...that is the question

For a long time I resigned myself to think that anyone would actually want to look at my personal thoughts in the form of a blog. C'mon people - this is just today's version of a diary. Why would anyone want to read my personal diary? But, the more I thought about it the more I thought I might as well give it a whirl.

Some of you reading this may still be wondering "WHAT IS A BLOG?" You hear people talk about blogging or reading someone's blog and you might have thought you were the only one in the world that didn't know what they were talking about. So, I decided to help you out a little.

Wikipedia (which I rarely have used - although some of my friends (Tammy) think I use it regularly) describes a blog in the following way: A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries (See - I told you so!). A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.With the advent of video blogging, the word blog has taken on an even looser meaning of any bit of media wherein the subject expresses his opinion or simply talks about something.

Okay, so is this more information than you ever wanted to know about blogs and blogging?

Now, go get busy creating your own blog!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Homeschool graduations

I have found a new favorite scripture. Micah 6:8 says "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (NIV). I also like the translation from The Message: "But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously—take God seriously."

Tonight I went to my first ever homeschool graduation ceremony and I saw my favorite scripture being played out first hand. Here stood four young adults who have acted justly, loved mercy and have walked humbly with their God for their entire lives. The little girl that used to babysit our children is now all grown up and headed to college. The young man that my son looks up to in martial arts class is now becoming the man his parents always dreamed he would be. I can't wait to see how God is going to use them in the future.

As I watched the ceremony I couldn't help but think what my childrens future will be like. In only 9 short years my "little baby" will be going out on his own. Will I have taught him all he needs to know about Math, English, Science, the Lord? Will he understand the intricate details of interviewing for a job? Will he know that sex is to be saved for marriage (he better - we've been going through "God's Design For Sex" series!!!)? What more do I need to teach him so he can go out on his own into this big, sometimes scary world? ...

...then God reminded me that I am here to teach my son HIS ways and that God will do all the rest.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My official race results

It's official - here are my race times:

6th place in age group (AG), 128th overall. Time: 36:37
Swim: 6th place in AG, 153rd overall. Time: 5:33 - much better than I thought!
Bike: 2nd place in AG, 81st overall. Time: 17:21 - includes Transition 1 (T1) time
Run: 16th place in AG, 170th overall. Time: 13:44 - includes Transition 2 (T2) time

It's obvious where I lost the race - THE RUN!!! I knew my legs were dead and my breathing was horrible but I guess it's something I'll be working on in training a little harder. Time for a BRICK (Bike/Run combo training) or two...or three...

Just for comparison sake I wanted to update the blog with my race times from my first triathlon back in March. Because it was March in VA they did the swim last so my times will be a little different because of that.

March Tune Up Tri results:
4th place in AG, 108th overall. Time: 37:02
Run: 8th place in AG, 138th overall. Time: 12:05
Bike: 5th place in AG, 82nd overall. Time: 17:04 - includes T1 time.
Swim: 6th place in AG, 131st overall. Time: 7:54 - includes T2 time.

Also, just to note:

March Tune Up Tri:
T1 consisted of putting on bike helmet & sunglasses
T2 consisted of taking off run/bike clothes, bike helmet, sunglasses, shoes and socks

Manassas Mini Tri:
T1 consisted of putting on run/bike clothes, bike helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes
T2 consisted of taking off bike shoes, putting on running shoes, taking off bike helmet & sunglasses, putting on running hat, drinking some water.

I really wish I had specific transition times for these two races so I could compare how I'm actually doing both in the transition area and on each sport. Maybe the next time I'll remember to actually use my watch!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Manassas Mini Tri

I was as prepared as I could be coming into this least I thought I was!

It was really cool to have friends join me in the race this time. Now I know I'm not the only nut case out there - Mike, Tracy, Roger & Antoine are just as crazy - not to mention the 300-400 other folks that were there today.

This was my first official "in the right order" triathlon. The mini tri I raced in March had the run first, bike second and swim last. I really like that order because I'm fresh for the run and can get a good time on it. Doing the swim first (the way about 99% of triathlons are raced) was very different. By the time I got to the run my legs were drained...but I'll save that conversation for a little later.

So, the race began and I waited in line for my turn into the pool. Right away I knew I had made a big mistake when the race director said the numbers began at 300 and I was 389. That meant I was the 89th person into the pool which meant that I must have lied BIG TIME when I estimated my swim time. Anyway, I knew I would be giving it my all so I just went ahead. Each person went into the pool in 5 second increments and after I hit the pool I was getting passed in about 10 seconds. YIKES! I knew the guy behind me looked fast but he was a little faster than expected and that put a real psycological damper on my swim. During the 250 yd swim I had about 5-10 people pass me but I knew once I got on the bike I would catch up. However, after looking at my final times I seem to have actually gotten stronger in the swim than my last time.

Out of the pool into the transition area. I was pretty quick in the transition area throwing on some shorts, a shirt, my sunglasses, helmet and cycling shoes (no socks just like the REAL triathletes!). Off I went. I was breathing really hard coming out of the pool and I could barely catch my breath on the bike. It'll be interesting to see my bike split times because I felt I was giving it my all but with the breathing issues you can never be too sure. During my entire ride only one (really fast) guy passed me so I felt pretty good about that.

On to T2 (second transtion) where I made the mistake of sitting down to change shoes. I felt I could have done a little better in T2 although it was still somewhat fast. Dropped the hat & glasses, took off the cycling shoes, put on the running shoes with quick pull laces, put on the running hat, grabbed a big sip of water and off I went. I was still breathing a lot harder than I wanted to but I had a goal in mind - at least third place in my age group.

Now I'm out for the run. I couldn't believe how little energy I had. I felt really drained. The run was only 1.4 miles and believe it or not I took about 3 short (about 10 second) walk breaks. THAT is how drained I was. I've run 22 miles before without taking a walk break but this little 1.4 miles just about killed me. When I came around toward the end I was super excited to see my family and friends waiting at the finish line (as well as several other places along the way...) cheering me on.

Although I wasn't able to place in my age group I really felt good about my first "in the right order" tri. Lord willing, my next tri will be in August and I'm hoping to get used to an open water swim before then because I hear that is another totally different feeling.

Overall I had my best tri time of 36:37 - that is 25 seconds better than the last time. However, I came in 6th place in my age group which was a little further back than the 14 seconds I missed 3rd place by back in March. I guess the real triathletes have come out hiding now! God has brought me through yet another success!

On to Iron Girl!!!

P.S. I didn't have the camera batteries charged so we didn't get as many good photos as we normally would have. Thanks to Amber for the few we did get!

Monday, June 2, 2008

What is a triathlon?

tri·ath·lon /trahy-ath-luhn/

A triathlon is an endurance sports event consisting of swimming, cycling and running over various distances. As a result, proficiency in swimming, cycling, and running alone is not sufficient to guarantee a triathlon athlete a competitive time; trained triathlon athletes have learned to race each stage in a way that preserves their energy and endurance for subsequent stages. In most modern triathlons, these events are placed back-to-back in immediate sequence and a competitor's official time includes the time required to "transition" between the individual legs of the race, including any time necessary for changing clothes and shoes.

Modern triathlon:

Early triathlons were held as off-beat training exercises for runners. The first known swim/bike/run triathlons were held at San Diego's Mission Bay in 1974. Organized by members of the San Diego Track Club, the events were held on summer evenings and were intended as no more than light-hearted breaks in the normal grind of training for marathons and 10Ks. Amongst them were runners, swimmers and cyclists and before long training sessions turned into informal races. Directed and conceived by Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan, the first Mission Bay Triathlon was held on September 25, 1974 and welcomed 46 athletes. This date is celebrated as the day modern triathlon began.

The first modern long-distance triathlon event (2.4-mile) swim, 112 mi bike ride, and a 26.2 mi run was the Hawaiian
Ironman Triathlon, which was conceived during the awards ceremony for the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay (a running race for 5-person teams). Among the participants were numerous representatives of both the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club, whose members had long been debating which athletes were more fit: runners or swimmers. On this occasion, U.S. Navy Commander John Collins pointed out that a recent article in Sports Illustrated had declared that Eddy Merckx, the great Belgian cyclist, had the highest recorded "maximum oxygen uptake" of any athlete ever measured, so perhaps cyclists were more fit than anyone. CDR Collins and his wife, Judy, had taken part in the triathlons staged in 1974 and 1975 by the San Diego Track Club in and around Mission Bay, California, as well as the Optimist Sports Fiesta Triathlon in Coronado, California in 1975. A number of the other military athletes in attendance were also familiar with the San Diego races, so they understood the concept when CDR Collins suggested that the debate should be settled through a race combining the three existing long-distance competitions already on the island: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 mi.), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.219 mi.). It is worth noting that no one present had ever done the bike race so did not realize it was a two-day, not one-day, event; CDR Collins calculated that, by shaving 3 miles off the course and riding counter-clockwise around the island, the bike leg could start at the finish of the Waikiki Rough Water and end at the Aloha Tower, the traditional start of the Honolulu Marathon. Prior to racing, each athlete received three sheets of paper listing a few rules and a course description. Handwritten on the last page was this exhortation:

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”
Commander Collins, (1978)

With a nod to a local runner who was notorious for his demanding workouts, Collins said, "Whoever finishes first, we'll call him the Ironman." Of the fifteen men to start off in the early morning on February 18, 2978, twelve completed the race and the world's first
Ironman, Gordon Haller, completed it in 11 hours, 46 minutes, and 58 seconds

Today, a number of triathlon events over varying distances are held around the world. The standard "Olympic Distance" of 1.5/40/10k was created by long time triathlon race director, Jim Curl in the mid-80's after he and partner Carl Thomas successfully produced the U.S. Triathlon Series between 1982 and 1997. USTS, as it was known, did more to bring accessible triathlons to the masses than any other group. The Hawaii Ironman Triathlon now serves as the Ironman world championship, but the entity that owns the race, the
World Triathlon Corporation, hosts other triathlons around the world that are also called Ironmans. Long-distance multi-sport events organized by groups other than the World Triathlon Corporation may not officially be called "Ironman" or "Iron" races. Such triathlons may be described as "Full distance" or "Half distance", but the "Ironman" and "Iron" labels are the official property of the World Triathlon Corporation.

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Joshua's First Triathlon

I couldn't have been more happy than if I was competing in the race myself but today my oldest son Joshua (9 yrs old) became the newest triathlete in our family. The feeling of completing a race is great but when your child completes a race you get this overwhelming sense of joy.

Joshua didn't train for this race but his pure athleticism got him through the course. He started with a 100 yard swim. He swam really hard but, like his mom, still needs to work a little harder on his stroke. His transition from swim to bike was amazing and FAST! We picked up some new shoe laces for him yesterday and he opted for the "no sock" race so he was super fast. Running through the transition area with his bike and into the bike course was smooth (much more so than mine!) and he was strong as could be during the 2 1/2 mile bike portion of the race. He passed just about every bike he came close to and finished the bike portion really strong. The transition from bike to run wasn't quite as smooth because his bike fell over and then he was turned around running the wrong way with his bike helmet still on to leave the transition area. Quickly he realized what he had done and took of his helmet and headed in the right direction. The 1/2 mile run wasn't as smooth as it could have been but he really pushed so hard in the bike portion that he felt the realization of never completing a BRICK workout (bike/run combo) during his training. It is a feel you really need to get used to before the day of the race.

Joshua finished his race in 22 minute and 11 seconds. FANTASTIC JOB, Joshua! Before long he'll be kickin' past me in an adult triathlon...not if I have anything to do with it. :)

To view photos from the race you can watch the slideshow below. If you would like to see larger photos you can either double click the photos below and then pick "slideshow" option or you can go to: .