I’m done with the whole cancer thing. Seriously.

Skip the post and get right to the donation!

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Today’s my birthday. And a lot of people have asked me what I’m doing, or what I want to do on my birthday.  My answer is short and sweet- I want to have a quiet day, where no news is good news.  I don’t care to have a party, or go out and get crazy.  I care to have a sweet day, with people I love, and no tears on cancer’s behalf.

I was reflecting on writing this post last night.  I want to some how tap into people’s benevolence in caring that I have a good day with doing something that is actually important to me- helping relieve the suffering of those with cancer.

Here’s the crux of it.  I was diagnosed in 2008, any regular reader or friend of mine will know that.  But what you may not know is my grandmother died of breast cancer.  My grandfather died of cancer.  My other grandmother died of cancer, and several aunts.  I worked in a school where after I got diagnosed, the secretary got diagnosed.  The other secretary.  The math teacher across the hall.  The science teacher next door.  The other math teacher across the hall.  Many other teachers and staff members in the building (literally, I think the count in that school is up to something like 14 in 3 years- mostly breast cancer).

In the middle of my divorce my lawyer leaned on me to help his wife with a possible diagnosis.  My aunt died of cancer, and while I was headed to her funeral I got a call that one of my friends I love most in the world had a recurrence.  Weeks later we buried my son’s 10-year old friend who died of…wait for it…cancer.

I’ve taken calls in the middle of the night from friends of friends who were panicking,

My former student called me one day to say her young brother had just been diagnosed with brain cancer.  Stage 4.  She innocently asked, “Is that bad?”.  I couldn’t bear to tell her.  I hung up the phone and cried my heart out at the pain I knew she was about to experience, and all I could do was hate this fucking thing called cancer.

As I sat to write this post I just kept remembering the phone calls of loved ones- the fear in their voices as they asked me to help them understand what the pathology reports said, what their treatment options might be, and if I could recommend a breast surgeon.  Memory after memory flooded back to me on all the people in my life who have been and are currently being affected by cancer and I’m sick of it.  I’ve carried my fair share of the burden of this pain, and I’m done with the whole cancer thing.  I want a cure.

I am supporting several organizations this year that are helping.  Today, I’m supporting The Roswell Institute for Cancer.  They are actively working for a cure and I am with them.

If maybe you’d have taken me out for dinner on my birthday, please consider a donation.  If maybe you’d have bought me flowers, a cake, a trinket, a gift for my bike, please consider a donation.  I’m not asking for them.  I’m asking for me, because cancer hurts me, my heart and spirit.  It’s hurting my family, my friends.  It’s an epidemic and I want to deliver a square punch in the throat to this awful disease.  I genuinely believe your donations can do that.

Many fundraising campaigns offer stuff for your generosity.  And so I offer you my stuff.  If it will help you to receive something for your kindness, name it and I will send it to you.  People seem to be interested in my book, so I’m auctioning a signed copy.  If you’d like something else, tell me.  I’ll make you some jewelry, I’ll send you a gift.  I’ll cut your grass, paint your kitchen, I’ll drive you to the airport.  How can I help you help me?

 

2014 here I come!

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What kind of nutball am I?  There’s a blizzard coming and I hurry to get even a short ride in before the snow and freezing temperatures start.  But I’m just the kind of nutball I want to be, and maybe that’s the theme of 2014.  I shall strive to fulfill all my nutball tendencies, not that I’ve been particularly adept at mitigating their existence in the first place.

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Gray and I started 2014 with our traditional midnight run- except this year we decided to avoid NYC and just move the tradition home.  Apologies for the blurriness, I am still teaching my photography-disinclined child how to take pictures.  Surprisingly, they can’t all be selfies.  Well they can mostly be selfies, but we’ve just finished working on him counting down to the picture actually being captured, so this one indicates some measure of progress.

So nutball move #1, we set out to run at midnight.  We had sparklers, we had a lighted tutu, we ran with bells and made lots of noise.  And nutball move #2, the traditional New Year’s Day ride.  This year, I rode alone, and it was one of those ceremonial super-short rides, but it’s officially on the books.  Today I rode again in the falling snow, and hopefully tomorrow, but I’m not quite sure how as there is literally a blizzard about to hit.  The goal this year is to strive for more miles than any other year. I’m going to take it month by month, and fortunately I usually start out slowly (and finish slowly too, apparently) so I’ve only got about 110 miles to cover in January.

In any case, I hope you had a wonderful start to your new year, and I’m glad you stopped by to read this, I’ve missed you!

 

Silent Auction is shaping up- the tentative list

 

 

 

 

 

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Edit:  to skip the reading and just donate, go here

Ok, nothing in that picture is for auction, but it could be if you decided to donate it!

While I enjoy the idea of a big reveal in the auction items, I think it may help to get your collective minds inspired on what you could possibly donate by seeing what’s already been donated.  So here is a tentative list of what I’ve got so far:

  • Sterling silver bike charm
  • Women’s new Tempo watch
  • Life coaching session
  • One-hour professional electrician time
  • One-hour professional massage
  • Hand-made custom hula hoop
  • In-home catering
  • 2-dozen chocolate covered strawberries
  • Buddha statue with candles
  • Waterskiing lesson and ski time
  • Bike cleaning/maintenance check
  • Gardening supplies
  • Coach-issued new Jets training jacket

And a few others that we’re still working out details on.  I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself.

FAQ’s

  • I live far away and I want to donate something, but how will your bidders access my donation?

I love this question.  In short, you’d be essentially marketing the item to people in your circle who are around you.  You’d promote the auction through your own Facebook wall (or circles, or client base), and they can bid on this site, then just collect by you.  I’ll put in the write up that it’s for locals only, unless someone will be traveling to say, Florida, and wants the item or service for themselves.

If it’s a physical item, it can just be shipped.

  • Can I specify how far I’m willing to drive or travel to fulfill my service donation?

Absolutely!  You can specify all details that you want.  It’s your donation, I’m happy to have it in any capacity you want to give it!

  • Great, I want to donate!  What do you need from me?

This is my favorite question.  Do a little write up of what you’re offering, send me a picture if you want (could be your business logo, or a picture of your item/service), your company name if you want it included, and an approximate value of the item.  When I donate, I give the fair market value, not the discounted rate I might hook someone up with for charity purposes.  Something to consider is adding an expiration date to your service offering, and to carefully consider your own terms and conditions.

What else can I tell you?  Oh I know- you guys blow me away with your generosity and kindness.  And each day you are making me days happier with what you come up with.  Thank you!

Silent Auction for Young Survival Coalition

Edit:  To skip all the reading and just donate, click here.

To see my video from last year: 

To see YSC’s video from last year: 

September 2 marks the 5-year anniversary I heard the words “breast cancer”.  I am looking forward (that’s a lie) to my mammogram in a week or so when I will have officially made it the full five years of being cancer free, and I want to swirl the positive karma.  So, I’m holding a silent auction for Young Survival Coalition.  Last year, I was fortunate to ride as Fat Cyclist’s   representative, and found such comfort in finally being around other young women who went through some of what I went through, and many (most, actually as I was in an impossibly/ ridiculously early stage at diagnosis) going through much more.

My goal is to raise at minimum, $2500.  Here’s the plan.

I ask you, my awesome network, to donate items, services, etc. to this silent auction.  I’ll do the write-ups and work, you do the giving and receive the positive awesomeness you create.

Donations can be anything at all that’s in your heart to give- maybe you’ve got a cool hook-up at work?  Maybe you create something, paint, have your own business, or will offer to rake someone’s leaves.  Maybe you’d offer to scan someone’s family photos to digital format, or shovel snow, maybe you’ve got a cool autographed something-or-other that you want to pass on.  Or, you’ve got a set of Ansel Adams framed prints you don’t want anymore.  What about a gift certificate to a local restaurant?  Help me promote how generous you are!  I’m willing to link to your business/site.

Some things I know already:

  • To people donating local stuff, I can mark your donation as local pick up/delivery.
  • If you are around the country, please consider donating the shipping fee with your donation, or we can somehow cover that in the checkout process, I don’t know how.
  •  I’ve never done this before and invite you to join in my learning process (read: patience and non-grumpiness)

I will be installing silent auction interface and holding the auction here on my site. I’m pretty sure it will all be Paypal based, unless we make other arrangements.

Thank you in advance!

Jenni

Silliness always in all ways

 

(and yes I know my subtitle placeholder text is still there…I’m too silly to bother fixing it…)

In the friend zone- my story of crewing at Leadville, CO


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To many (most?  all?) being in the “friend zone” is a bad thing.  It’s a sentiment of less-than or not-good-enough status.  I’d like to rewrite that history, it can be quite a nice thing to be in the friend zone.  Take a walk with me.

To be honest, I don’t remember when I met my friend Doug.  I could probably go back through my emails and posts and digital ramblings and figure out when it was and then pretend I always remembered (which by the way is how I do a lot of my pseudo-remembering), but I just don’t.  Doug just seems to have always been a friend I met through Team Fatty.  And so when he asked me to go to Leadville and crew for him, I eagerly said yes.  I wanted to do something awesome for a friend, and experience a real legendary event at the same time.

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In the build up to this race, I loved knowing how seriously Doug was taking it.  He hired a coach, he was riding an incredible amount, and seemed 100% dedicated to the task.  At times he did silly things or you know, crashed into trees, and needed to be reminded that the rubber side stays down and that he better do nothing to jeopardize my trip.  As we grew closer to Leadville, my admonishments grew increasingly fierce, and I can say without ruining any pre-denoument build, he took all my advice.  As a good friend, not only have I taken on the burden of crewing, I am trying to make as much of this story about myself so Doug doesn’t feel embarrassed or overwhelmed with attention.  It’s what I do.

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I arrived in Colorado completely bereft of any knowledge of altitude.  As a gal from the NYC area I can honestly say I have never once considered altitude.  So of course I’d take a plane to Colorado, ignore acclimatizing entirely, and drive another couple thousand feet closer to the sun, to arrive in Leadville on Thursday night, just in time to head to the screen of Single Track High.  We sat with Fatty and Lisa and got incredibly inspired watching the development of high school kids into mountain bike racers.  I approached Austin McInerny, NICA’s executive director.  Without going into too much detail, many of you (all both of my loyal readers) know I am a cycling instructor and training mentor.  Austin’s vision for NICA and my established skillset may be a perfect partnership we agreed to discuss.  I’m super excited for what may come of that conversation, but I digress…I need to get back to making Doug’s Leadville ride more about me.

Friday was filled with preparations and a tone of non-jinxation that I think I’ve never experienced.  I felt the gravity of Doug’s effort and his deep need to stay calm and focused.  I can be a bit of a chatterbox, it’s true.  And I became increasingly aware of trying desperately not to say anything that might become a self-doubt inducing brain worm.  I didn’t want to ask what-ifs, or make jokes about crashing/not finishing/anything even remotely bad.  So Friday I took some time away and decided to enjoy some of Colorado, I would only in actuality be there long enough to crew and head home.

Get with a geologist and feel the bedrock

I stole that off a tshirt while I was studying geology at UB.  Geology does in fact, rock.  On my drive from Denver to Leadville I almost ran off the road more than a dozen times as I took in my first views of the bumpy-everywhere terrain.  My geologist mind wandered to freeze/thaw cycles, geomorphology, and anticline and synclines as I tried to mentally predict where I’d start mining for gold.  Where the heck is this story going?  I really just wanted to say synclines.

On Friday my photography sojourn took me up a mountain, through some streams, and around part of the race course.  I started to feel a growing desire to attempt this ridiculous herculean task, and told Doug he should repeatedly punch me in the throat if I should ever consider actually racing it.  But in any case, the terrain was inspiring and unfairly beautiful.

IMG_3800Doug, his wife and two kids and I took a drive around to the crew stations, I tried desperately to remember where we were going, as my directionally-challenged oxygen-addled brain struggled with linking turns and landmarks en route to my responsibility for the day.  My task on race day would be to crew at the first feed/aid zone with Doug’s 15-year old son. We’d be prepped with food, water, clothing choices, bike repair supplies, and spirit.  Basically, Doug worked out his anticipated arrival time (I will never really understand how he was able to do this with such precision), and so Bailey and I would be there for him when he passed initially, and then 5 hours later when he came through on the out and back course.

Race morning was an exceptionally early endeavor.  We all got up at 4:30ish, Doug was in his mental zone, and made pancakes, as any good Fatty should.  With ice on my windshield, we headed to the start which was only 3 miles away from the cabin Doug rented.

The start area was buzzing with activity, preparations, and anxiety for some I’m sure.  Doug was set.  Mentally, physically, mechanically.  Everyone lined up, and before too long, they were off.  I could not believe how many riders there were, I had no idea it was 1500 people.  But the sea of multicolored spandex and plastic soon rolled out, and off we were to get to our crew station before the massive onslaught of vehicles vying for real estate.

Bailey and I set up our station and he promptly returned to the car for the first of his extended naps.  I loved the energy in the air- all of us standing around in the cold, set up with every accommodation needed for our Riders.  I came to start referring to Doug simply as My Rider, a moniker I know will stick with him.

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In an impossibly short amount of time, the first racers were upon us, strong, powerful, and seemingly physically huge.  Seriously, they were like Goliaths astride bikes.  Road racing seems to have some super skinny dudes, mountain biking the dudes can be so much substantially bigger.  But maybe that was just the hypoxia talking.  I’m relatively certain I saw a unicorn riding a Moots, so maybe my memories can’t be trusted.  Acute mountain sickness is no joke.

Well anyway, Doug came through ahead of schedule and within seconds we got him some fresh supplies and he was off.  I then spent the next 5 hours chatting, yay, chat o’clock!  I loved talking with Sabrina and Chad (did I get that right?), the guys from Ergon, and all the others around me as we cheered cheered cheered for riders.  I may have developed carpel tunnel from ringing my cowbell so long and screaming, “Let’s go RIDERS!”.  I alternated between that and, “You’re lookin’ good rider”, “You got this”, and towards the end, “You just survived a yeti attack, you can survive this”.  Because of course, there was an actual person dressed as a Yeti.

Time passed really quickly, and I became anxious to make sure Doug would have everything he needed when he returned, which would then be more than 70 miles into his 100-mile ride.  I mixed his requested drinks, even taking care to break up the chunks of powder with my fingers stuck in the bottle.  That stuff sure is cohesive!  Sorry, Doug, I stuck my fingers in your bottles.  Note to self, bring a spoon.

On the return trip, so many riders were hurting.  The initial influx showed groups of riders, passionate advancement into the day’s mileage.  The return trip was much more a trickle than a deluge and people’s faces were melty.  You know, that look of holding no muscular tension, so the cheeks sag a little?  All energy was in the effort, the legs, the determination.

At one point a female rider approached her crew next to me and she was delirious.  Literally.  She got off the bike declaring she needed to just sit, and I could see she was in trouble.  Her all-male crew started making preparations, and I left my post to see what I could do for her.  I started massaging her legs and helping her get out of her leg warmers, no longer needed in this near-perfect weather.  We got her a medicinal Coke, and at one point she stood and looked at me and I swear she said, “Jillette, you’re my favorite pastor”.  I swear.  That’s what she said.  We all looked at each other and realized she was in some form of altered mental state, we started pouring water down her back, I convinced her she needed ice down her bra (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it, this is how I survived RAGBRAI) and on the back of her neck.  She eventually got it together enough to ride, she was at sub 9 hour finishing time.

Doug eventually made it back through, we spent a little more time getting him situated.  He needed none of the extra clothes, just to lose some gloves and get more drinks.  And just like that, he was off again.  I reminded him that the rest of the mileage was just an ordinary ride. I find that helps me on long efforts- that at some point the mileage left is simply ordinary.  Not in terrain or skills, this certainly wasn’t the case.  But in duration.  Doug at this point must have done hundreds of 28 mile rides, he could do this.

As soon as he was out, Bailey and I quickly loaded the car and headed back to town.  Truth be told, I would have liked to stay and cheer for more people.  I have been on the empty end of the cheer section many many times, coming through late and slow, and everyone is already gone.  Those of us at the end need that cheering the most!  And I was happy to have given it to people coming through the first time.  You know the people who need it the most because when you cheer for them they will look you in the face and actually say “Thank you”.  I cheered and got the thank you from quite a number of riders, even at only 20-something miles in, let that alone speak to the effort of this race.

After getting back into town, Bailey decided to enjoy the town while I went to watch finishers.  It’s an incredibly magical place to be- the finish line of hopes and dreams.  It’s like this for absolutely every event, whether it’s a neighborhood 5K or the NYC marathon, or Leadville.  And unless you’ve competed or put your heart, soul, and existence into occupying those few inches of finishline you don’t realize how magical it is.  It is the dream, manifested.  Personified.  Tangible.  Those inches under the banner, in the ocean of cheering, is something.  SomeTHING.  That people cry, bleed, puke, and fight for.  And if you’re ever needing motivation in your life, or influence to achieve a dream, go to the finish line.  Of anything.

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On this day, I watched person after person grab their dream.  Especially at the 9 hour mark, the sought-after rarity of supreme fitness and training, I watched riders spill their emotional guts to achieve their dreams.  Summoning what energy they had, I watched these riders propel themselves across those inches and collect in the finishing corral, doubled over, heaving, crying, cursing and exalting.  Everyone faced the same direction, bikes at a standstill, while handlebars and frames kept pushed back against the physical needs of the riders.  To those experiencing that moment of accomplishment, of realization and success-manifested, there were few words.  Almost universally, they did not speak, but put forehead to forearm on the handlebars and just…stayed.  Still for the first time all day.  I could not get enough of that moment.  Or of the moments riders took to cross the finish line holding their children.  Or put their finishers medals around their children.  Or of hugging their loved ones and raising their fists in victory.  Lucky were the ones who had people to hug at the finish line. I watched some poor sap finish and stand around, blankly.  I almost offered him the hug of a stranger, it totally sucks to finish and have no one personally invested in you at that line.  It’s just sadly hallow, as if the recognition of others supplements your awesome.  And yes I know the victory is sweet regardless, but until you see it shining back to you in the eyes of those who love you, it’s somehow…diminished.  Those are only the opinions of the author, naturally.  You may be quite fine to finish alone, and I could just be projecting.  But anyway, the sad sap soon had teammates to high five and hug, so he finished well.

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Doug eventually made his way to the finish as I was growing anxious.  I don’t know why I was growing anxious, he was ahead of schedule.  But I just wanted My Rider back home.  I wanted his accomplishment for him as much as he wanted it for himself.  I truly did.  And so we finally saw him, thanks to Twin Six designing a wonderfully discernible FatCyclist jersey.  He was moving slowly.  And bizarrely.  And I started screaming for him.  He crossed the finish line, and trying to get off his bike, he collapsed.  Two men helped picked him up, and move him alone the finisher’s chute, to where his wife, kids and I could get to him.  We all ran through the crowd to snake our way to the exit, and in true crew fashion, we all tackled some aspect of helping him.  Kids ran to get stuff, Coreen his wife began assessing whatever else he needed, and I of course attacked him with hugs and pride, to his, “not now, not now” declaration.  Hey, pride is pride, and I was so incredibly proud of him!!

Ok, so here are my final ramblings:

  • Always always control your kids at an event, every second, every direction, every moment.  I saw too many near catastrophes as kids got too close to the course and riders.  Same applies to dogs!
  • Note to self:  never set up your crew station by the puddle.  Mountain bikers eat those things up like manna, and you will, hundreds of times over, be reminded to never set your crew station up by the puddle.
  • A team jersey stuck on a long stick is probably the easiest way to alert your rider of your location amongst the chaos.  In the faster influx of the beginning, visibility was much more important than the second pass through where essentially you could spot your rider from a hundred feet away and step into the empty course waving your hands.
  • A tent is essential if you’re staying in the crew station for the entire day.  The sun is strong, the weather finicky, and the elements intense.
  • If you park along the course to crew and yours is the stop with the big truck, riders all day will be peeing and crapping behind your truck.  A modesty tent or other visual obstruction would probably be the nicest thing you can do for those riders all day, they will absolutely NOT spend the time walking to the port-a-potties.

I am incredibly proud of My Rider, and filled with gratitude that I was asked for this favor, which turned out to the be a great gift for me.  And if you find yourself in the friend zone, pull up a folding chair, stick your fingers in some bottle of drink, and enjoy the ride.  Cowbells optional.

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Jersey Girl Triathlon 2013

In a nutshell, this beginner-friendly tri is called a sprint.  It’s 300 yard swim into the ocean, 10.5 mile bike ride and 3 mile run.

I have been running on and off for a while now so I knew how I’d perform on the run, of course I’m already a cyclist so the bike ride would be a no-brainer, but gah, the swim.  I’ve never swam competitively ever, certainly not out directly into the savage ocean.

I started swimming locally and found the distance to be completely manageable, a non-issue.  Then I took a trip to Long Branch and practiced the swim- the water was freezing, the surf was aggressive, and the current strong.  I’m a strong swimmer with no fear of open water, I figured my expectations were properly set with this test run.  Er, swim.

So, today was the day of the event.  My friend Lee decided to compete too, and we figured out that in order to get to the start comfortably I’d have to leave my house at 2:30 AM.  In pitch blackness I set out to Manhattan to scoop up Lee and head down to central Jersey.

We found free street parking and started the quirky process of setting up for an event neither of us was familiar with.  We got the joyful first-use of the porta potties, I changed into my powder-blue spandex unitard singlet and assumed my superhero persona, Bluetilicious.

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It seems we could never fuss enough.  We were careful not to bring too much, but also to bring enough to make transitions quick, but events comfortable.  I spent far too much time the night before fulfilling my solemn vow to myself, that I will never take racing seriously (though I might try to perform in a serious manner, I would never actually BE serious).  And so I prepared myself a transition stool.  At the time I was bringing it I didn’t think I’d actually use it, more just have a little transition flair, but darn if it didn’t make things easier and more pleasant.  This stool, which I made from a discarded old bike, may be a triathlon keeper.

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We got Sharpie’d up with our numbers on our arms and ages on our calf, and headed down to the beach to get the cold water shock out of our systems.  This was my biggest worry by far- that the shock of the cold water with my heart condition and adrenaline would doom me from the onset.  I was ridiculously happy to feel that the water was absolutely gorgeous!  I had already checked the swell report and found the surf was going to be nice and gentle, and suddenly, the swim became a non-issue.  Lee and I took a quick dip and headed to our heats to wait and be called.

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As each heat got ready to enter the water a race director asked how many first-timers were there and then directed us all to a waiting group of Swim Angels, amazing volunteers who would literally be your personal swim buddy.  I approached one and met David, a tall wonderful guy.  I told him I’d be fine but that I’d feel better with him staying with me, he joyfully obliged, and before I knew it we were off.

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This is my “holy crap what have I gotten myself into” face

The Swim

I was so incredibly surprised at how much I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the swim!  I had my ear plugs in, my goggles on under my swim cap, and the surreal experience of hearing my breath in my ears like Darth Vader.

I started with freestyle and was amazed at how quickly I covered distance, but then I was having trouble regulating my breathing, so I switched to backstroke, which enabled me to swallow a gallon or so of ocean water.  Regardless, I swam intentionally slowly, learning the process and not worrying about competition.  My Swim Angel stayed right next to me the whole time, encouraging me and guiding me.  What an absolute gem!

We quickly finished up and my hand in his, I ran out of the water onto the beach.

Fortunately from looking at about a thousand pictures from last year’s event, I learned that this was the place to start taking off my swim cap and goggles, which I did as I walk/ran to the transition areas.

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This is the transition between swim to bike.  My race number was affixed to a race belt, I changed quickly into my socks and shoes, tried to load my GoPro but gave up after a few seconds of annoyance (I didn’t want to leave it mounted in the bike unattended, so I had it tucked in my bag).  I got my Garmin on, my helmet and gloves, and headed out.  I had a Gu tucked into my onesie and started the quick jog to the mounting areas.  I could not wait to be on my bike, the ultimate comfort zone.

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Nothing much to say here- I rode a moderate pace of 18-20mph, noticing my heart rate was way too high, but not knowing exactly how high since I didn’t wear my heart rate strap. I passed a whole bunch of ladies and finished this part of the race feeling good about my effort, but knowing if my heart was behaving I could’ve done better.  I was really just managing to keep myself in control.  Not a good sign for the run.

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A super easy transition, I loaded my bike, changed shoes, put on my visor, sunglasses, took off my gloves, and added a run skirt, simply for modesty honestly.  I also grabbed my bottle of water, I know all too well that I should carry that at all times.  Oh, and I put on my Garmin run watch.

The Run

It was just horrible.  My heart rate was unacceptably high, and every time I took my pulse it was easily 180-190+ bpm.  Impossible.

So, I’d try to run.  I couldn’t sustain even the most moderate effort.  I’d walk.  I’d summon my energy and again, hoping I’d break the palpitation cycle.  I’d have to walk.  I’d take a deep breath, try to release myself of the burden, and run.  I’d have to walk.  I did this over and over and over again.  And over and over and over again.

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Each of these peaks on my speed graph represents my pitiful ability.  I could not go.  But I never gave up.  If the course was a hundred miles, I would’ve done this for a hundred miles.  Fortunately, it was only 3 miles of agony, embarrassment, and ridiculousness.

All in all, this was an amazing event.  I absolutely cannot wait until next year so I can try again.  Knowing what to expect, I know I can try to increase my effort (perhaps aided by some meds).

I was absolutely thrilled to finish feeling refreshed and ready for more.  My muscles don’t hurt, my energy wasn’t even remotely depleted, and I’m already thinking of the next triathlon, but longer distances.

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Highlights

Completing my first triathlon!

Great organization, great race director (and wife), great venue

No mechanicals, no crashes, absolutely no problems with gear/comfort

Perfect weather, perfect water, perfect people

Amazing friend to share the whole experience

Lowlight(s)

Some man hovering around the event smoking cigarettes, I don’t know if he was affiliated with the organization or someone’s husband or an onlooker, but it was disgusting and absolutely unwelcome pollution

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Ain’t it a friggen shame? I’m tired.

I spent my weekend working my butt off.  All day Saturday was doing stuff for my family, all day Sunday was an intensely exhausting craft fair.  I had a fabulous visit from a dear friend, who asked how I was.  He said he read my posts and I just seemed so melancholy.  Because I am melancholy lately.  I’m going through a sad transition, but the good news is I’m going through it.  I know I’ll soon be out of it, but in the meantime, it is what it is, and I am what I am.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and right now that sleeve is a ShamWow-worthy tear absorber.  I lost something I intensely loved, and so it goes.  But it gets better, and I’m getting better, I’m excited for the brightness of my days.  Emotional update: done.  My beautiful friends, you have brought me so much goodness and help and love and support, I am humbled.  The “you’re amazing and beautiful” check-ins have added so much to my world, I can’t begin to express my gratitude.  Other than to say I’m incredibly lucky to have people like you in my life.  I truly appreciate and love you.

Who got the title reference?  I know at least one of you will.  In a nutshell, I’m tired!  Sunday’s fair was one of the most tiring I’ve ever experienced, interestingly because it was mostly dead.  It was hard, hot, and ultimately probably not worth the effort.

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At least I was in a beautiful, shady spot, on grass.  The promoters always take such good care of me, giving me extra room to play with hoops where I won’t be bumping into anyone else.

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And one of the loves of my life came to visit and give me the best hugs, the best smiles.

 

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I got to help a woman fix her shoe.  Hoop tape, FTW!  Poor thing, the sole was falling off, I watched her son survey my supplies and then sheepishly ask if I could help fix her shoe.  She sat with me for a while, we chatted, we taped the heck out of her shoe.  She was grateful.

My mom will tell you she can see sadness in my eyes, but I’m smiling.  Always smiling.  Onward!!

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The usage of time

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Usually I prefer reading blogs that have a metered amount of reading and much more involvement with pictures or graphics or some other such thing.  In direct contrast to what I prefer, I think my reintroduction here will revolve more around all that pesky reading, until I’m back in the swing of things.  I guess any good writer will tell you it’s important to write every day, and at the risk of boring everyone to tears, I’m just going to write, hopefully every day and perhaps something cogent emerges.  

A good friend told me to write about my observations.  And just now I observed a woman, effortfully parking her massive Grand Cherokee.  Given that she was parking inches from people eating at an outdoor cafe, she took her time and dutifully avoided hitting them, though just barely.  Then I watched her get out and open the back, remove a baby stroller, spend sometime reassembling the stroller, retrieving the child, reassembling the child into the stroller, strolling literally the length of her vehicle to the coffeeshop where I’m writing, arduously open the door, and bring the everything in, where she took the child out of the stroller and he is now toddling adorably around the shop.  

My observations aren’t around the near lunacy of her process, hey, it’s her process.  It’s that in these (many) moments, I remembered the difficulty of traveling with the very young.  I remember feeling so grateful when I had someone at home to watch my son and I could just run (gasp!) out to Target or the grocery store, grab my purse, and get in and out of my car in seamless fashion.  I could be away from the car in as much time as it took to hear the door close and boop to lock, that time saved always seemed so precious, so fortifying (as conversely the effort of the baby, the stuff, the bag, the dropping and retrieving was energetically weakening).  

Lately so much of my over-thinking has been about time, and as I get older it seems this is the only currency worth spending.  Money comes and goes, time only goes.  What do we do with this time?  Do I spend it unwisely waiting for the stupid beach ball bouncy thing on my laptop while I contemplate what I will write about how others spend their time?  Do I recognize the incredible importance that these moments are all we have, here and now.  More and more I do.  Maybe it’s a lasting side-effect of having heard the “c” word four and a half years ago, maybe it’s my Buddhist mindset, maybe I’m just friggen impatient (guilty as charged).  

I have been asked, frequently, why I live so urgently.  What’s my rush?  I guess the simplest answer is that there are great parts to life, I want to be IN them.  I don’t want to be planning for them, bah, life is happening while I’m planning.  I want to cannonball into awesome with my shoes still on.  I want to wholly embody that this is all we have, here.  Now.  Tomorrow isn’t promised.  Next year isn’t promised.  The dynamic conditional nature of this entire life isn’t scripted (or is it?).  Awesome exists right here in this exact moment.    

I’ve started to see that how I spend time is a great (read: important) reflection of who I am, what I’m about.  What does how you spend your time say about you?  

p.s. Today I’m spending my time sitting in our spot at the coffee shop, feeling very Sarah Jessica  on my laptop as I check out the fabulous red leather no-back strap-heels paired with the too-short skirt of a gorgeous woman across from me.  And I begin work on my newest project, the JenniBrand™.  Essentially, with the help of a hired gun, I’m going to create a new reality spending my time doing exactly what I want to be doing.  But that’s a story for another day.  

The return of the ramblings

 

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All both of my regular readers have suggested I write more, so I’m gonna give it a go and write more.  Or whatever it is I do here on this blog.  

I’m sitting down this morning, coffee in hand (or rather next to hand as I type), nursing a broken heart and doing my best to fake optimism for the romantic future.  Nothing seems to inspire growth and self-development as much as pain dappled suffering, so to that end I’m grateful for my struggles, whatever they are or have been.  

I laid on my bed last night, face smushed into the soft tear-weary linens, and I thought of mind training- breaking the cyclic pattern of my thoughts which are only causing me to relive, rehash, rewonder, and rework everything I thought I did right, all the things I likely did wrong. And I felt grateful.  

I’ve been told I think too much.  It’s probably true.  How does one stop thinking?  Please share. Is it a calmer mindspace?  Or conversely perhaps a learned helplessness that things cannot be changed so why bother to ruminate?  I don’t know.  But I’m not going to think about it.  Until I do.    

I’m going to sit and make hula hoops. This weekend I’ll be craft fairing in Westwood, NJ in an all-too apropos location to nurse my heartache.  If you come by to visit, please excuse me that I don’t give you a hug, it’s going to be slap-yo-momma hot and I’ll be a sweaty disgusting mess.  Tell me I look nice anyway?