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