Thursday, June 24, 2010

Your Mother Should Know

Now I will be the first to admit I didn't have the best relationship with my mother. We weren't especially close, and we spent a good deal of my teen years butting heads.
But. . . there are some things my mother got right.
One of them has to do with what she would call building character. Whenever there was a chore I didn't especially like--sweeping the floor, making a salad--my mother would invariably have me do that chore. "It builds character," she would say.
Well, lo and behold, now I apply that principle to my everyday, and I am a stickler about clean floors!! As for salad? I eat one nearly every day, one that I have spent 30 minutes making.
But it goes beyond keeping a floor clean and getting my veggies.
Many of you know that I am a dedicated exerciser--triathlon training is like a part-time job to me, one that requires great rigor and dedication and planning.
At the same time I am training for the Syracuse Half-Ironman triathlon, Sept. 19, I am also working toward a marathon, Oct. 17. As part of the training, I have had to eliminate "junk" miles from my running. Every run has a purpose--building speed, endurance and the like.
So that's why I found myself at the Baldwinsville track, at 5:20 a.m., in the rain this morning to do speedwork, the dreaded speedwork. It's the one aspect of training I really don't enjoy but that I find pays nearly immediate dividends--to race fast you have to train fast. Reminding myself I would be glad to have done the work, I went through my paces.
And what went through my head? My mother's mantra about character building. Making myself do something I don't especially enjoy to reap great reward. In the case of tri and marathon training, I guess you could say I have built a lot of character!
I hate to admit it, but in this case my mother was right.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Transition Time

It's melancholy Monday, folks, after Saturday's graduation from high school of my youngest child. I guess I didn't know what to expect, emotionally, from this momentous occasion. When my daughter graduated three years ago, I didn't feel sad, I felt happy and proud and eager to help her on her adulthood journey. But this time, while I feel those things, they're tempered by a real sense of sadness. While I am thrilled I don't have to pay Catholic school tuition anymore, it's also jarring to realize you won't have the same relationship with the teachers and administrators as before. It's truly the end of an era.
Now, I am a stepmother, and have three at home still to see through this process, though I'm not really looking forward to those transitions either.
All I can do these next few days, weeks, months and years, is hope that my son makes the "right" choices--about a major, about friends, about drinking (it is college), about everything. While he will be living at home the first year of his community college career, that, too, will end, and I'll probably be as much of an emotional wreck when it happens.
Thank goodness for my supportive husband, my network of friends and family, my athletic "career"--if I didn't have those, I would truly be lost.
Like all grieving processes--and that's what this end of an era is--this will take time and I'll heal. That is, until my daughter graduates from college next year!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wow. It's been a while since my last post. Just goes to show how busy you can get.
I completed by very first Olympic distance triathlon last Sunday at Keuka Lake--1500M swim, 40K bike, 10K run--and while I didn't exactly blaze the field, I didn't finish last either. All I wanted to do was get through the swim (I finished 2 minutes ahead of my goal there), which I have been diligently working on. After brief panic at the start, I settled in and actually passed some people. There were five buoys to pass, and I counted them down as I went. That fifth buoy was like a Christmas present!
The bike was incredibly difficult--the first half challenging, but the second half near to impossible! So hilly! At one point I was worried about being the last on the course, until the turnaround when 6 or 7 bikers--some of them men--were still heading toward that point. The cloudburst and strong winds didn't help out there, but it cleared. . . and, onto the run.
My best and favorite part--I just know how to run!--and I passed women who had passed me on the bike. That's always a great feeling.
Fifty-five minutes later I had crossed the final finish line.
My time, 3:23, 13 minutes past my goal, but so what?! It was my first tri at that distance, and I did it. My youngest stepdaughters, who had stood in the rain and wind for those 3-plus hours, and got up at 4:30 a.m. for the drive to Keuka, asked if they could cross the finish line with me. Of course!
Triathlon requires a lot of an individual, but if you are the head of a family, it requires a lot of the family. They need to understand why you're gone for hours on end most days (I try to train early in the morning), they need to understand why you're tired at 8 p.m., and why you won't eat ice cream with them as much as they would like!
I am grateful for their support, as well as that of my husband, who is at every finish line, taking pictures. At home, he takes care of my bike, and he worries when I'm swimming in the open water.
I have a few weeks off until the next tri, the mini-Musselman in Geneva on July 10. Of course, I'm never not training.
I am trying to arrange for me and the hubster to stay overnight until July 11, just him and me, relaxing. Oh, and I think I'll ask him for a massage!