Ironman Countdown

Saturday, July 25, 2015

70 Days to Go -- 10 Day Dedication to the McGuinns

Hello everyone.  I just finished up my week in Nags Head, NC with my family (including my parents, brothers, sister, and my "other family") and am loving life.  It has been fun, doing some training in a different (and beautiful) place.  This is my heaven.  This is where I want to live one day.
I'd take this scenery any day!

While in Nags Head, we even managed to find a fun race to do.  It was billed as a Dash & Splash... we ran a half mile, swam a quarter mile in the ocean, then ran a 5K.  Running on the sand was a challenge, but it was a good time, and a nice way to get in a workout.  My sister, brother-in-law, and James did the Dash & Run, too, and my sister-in-law Kathryn did the 5K.
Markey girls and their men

me with Marianne & Kathryn


I now have only 70 days until IMMD.  Just a little over 2 months.  Holy cannoli, how did that happen?

This 10 Day Dedication is for the McGuinns: John and Sunny, who are my parents-in-law; Sean and Erin, who are my brother/sister-in-law; and Grady and Elise, my nephew and niece.

James and I come from similar backgrounds:  we were both raised by parents who have been married forever, had siblings, and lived in the Maryland suburbs.  We went to the pool in the summer, rode our bikes everywhere, had great neighborhood friends, and basically an idyllic childhood.  We have both commented to each other on many occasions how fortunate we are to have had the life what we've had.  We both strive to provide that kind of stability for our own kids, and we have the benefit of outstanding examples of love with our own individual families.

That is not to say the McGuinns are the same as my family, the Markeys.  There are lots of differences too.  James is the oldest; I am the youngest.  My parents are older; his were coming of age in the 70's.  But the basic goal values were the same:  education; family; love; loyalty; athletics; laughter...
his parents & mine at Julia's baptism

And so in 2002, I met James's family for the first time.  John and Sunny had me over for dinner on Palm Sunday, and a few weeks after that there was a family birthday dinner for John's 50th.  They were both so very welcoming of me.  I have never felt awkward in their presence or in their home(s).  And I think that they love how much I genuinely like their son, how we work as a team, and enjoy each other.

John and Sunny are big on holidays (and they passed this "over the top" trait onto James!).  Even though they live over 10 hours away, my kids get packages for EVERYTHING:  Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and so on.  They always think of my kids, even though they can't be here every day.  John and Sunny, thanks for James and for the person he is.... it all started with you.  Thank you for all the things you do for me, for my children, for us.  I could never possibly keep up on all the thank-you cards I owe you at this point.  Thank you for loving me like your own daughter.  Thank you for being big cheerleaders and supporters of me while I take on this crazy adventure!
John, with his two snuggle-bugs

St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, 2007
Sean & Erin's wedding, 2009

Sean & Erin's wedding... um, the after party.

typical silly stuff
Sean is James's little brother.  He has become my little brother too.  He is funny and silly.  He is sweet and kind.  It has been such a joy watching him "grow up" from a 21 year old punk (ha!) to the husband and father he is now.   Sean, you truly are my brother in spirit.  I have such hysterical memories of when you lived with us.  And I truly love our relationship.  You have a beautiful heart, even if you are GG.  I am also so happy your taken up cycling... such a fun thing we can do together... looking forward to the Fire Fighter 50 with you tomorrow!
first ride together
Erin, I was so happy when Sean met you.  He deserves some one thoughtful and kind, who will reciprocate his loving nature.  You really balance him out (and that's saying something!) and bring such happiness to his life.  I am glad we are friends too!  One of my very favorite memories will always be pushing Grady and Julia around in strollers before the fireworks on 7/4/12.  Thank you for taking Sean off our hands into your life and giving him the family he always wanted.
Thanksgiving 2012 (look how little they were!)
Terps tailgate, circa 2008(?) I miss these days

Sean & Erin's wedding, the afterparty 2009

 To my nephew Grady and my niece/goddaughter Elise, I love you both very much.  I am so glad my kids get to grow up with cousins so close by!  Jack loves being the big cousin, and Julia is so happy to have both a playmate in Grady and a real live baby doll in Elise.  You both mean so much to Uncle James and to me. 
Jules, Jack & Ironman Grady with Elise

brothers & kids

Thank you, McGuinns, for all the love and support.  I know you will be rooting for me, and helping me get across the finish line with your thoughts and prayers.  I am so very lucky to have married into another great family.  For these next 10 Days, I will keep you in my heart and think of each of you.  I will pray for good health, and will be grateful that I have you in my life.

For these next 10 Days, I have:
4 miles of swimming
200 miles of biking (including the Fire Fighter 50 with Sean!)
34 miles of running

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Brief Look Back & My 3rd Dedication: My Tribe

Before I write about this 10 Day Dedication Block, I thought I'd recap a little of what I have been doing.  During those first four days of July alone, I ran 16 miles and biked 70... and swam a mile after that.  (Shoulder feels a little wonky still when I swim, but it hasn't impacted my form or speed... just feels weird so I'm taking that slowly)  That was my first large chunk of mileage like that, and it is only going to get longer and harder as these weeks go on.  My body was tired!  I am hungry ALL the time.

On July 3rd, I got in a nice 50 mile ride with some friends, including my brother-in-law Sean who has only recently taken up cycling.  It was my first time with the group since my accident, so it was fun to be with them.  We chose a fairly challenging and hilly loop that happens to be the route in a popular local triathlon.
the guys found my personal "post accident" road sign!

my awesome little brother Sean, changing flat #3 like a pro

On July 4th, I ran 4 miles over to my friend Jen's house, then we drove to the local 10K race.  It is a notoriously tough 10K, the Arbutus Firecracker.  Last year, I believe I ran it in 53 minutes and change.  This year?  Ooooh, it hurt.  I think I finished in 58 minutes and change... I was trudging up those long hills.  I had no spring in my step at all.  The name of the game was to push through the pain and keep going.  The race itself is fun with a huge local patriotic flare:  old ladies put out their sprinkles to cool off the runners, kids cheering on the corners, delicious watermelon slices at the finish.  So while I was happy that I did the race, my legs felt full of lead.
my BRF Tricia, and my SW Jen at the Arbutus Firecracker 10K

It is safe to say I am in full training mode at this point!

Over this last week, I have had a recovery/build week.   It basically means the mileage and time are cut back a little to allow your body some time to rest and gear up for the increase that is coming.  The rest of the month, however, is looking busy!

And so, here we are at 80 days until IMMD.  For those catching up, I have totally stolen Swim Bike Mom Meredith Atwood's idea of dedicating ten day blocks of training to various people in my life.  Still don't know who she is?  See the link to her page to the right of my blog... she's amazing.

For these 10 Days, from July 15th through 24th (which includes my OBX vacation!!), I will dedicate my training to:  My Tribe, the Swim Bike Mom Teammates.

I stumbled across Swim Bike Mom quite by accident.  I think I was looking to see if there were any cool racing shirts out there that had "mom" in them or something.  When I found Meredith, and started to read her blog about her own triathlon journey, I felt a connection.  Meanwhile, I don't like people (not you, dear reader... I don't like OTHER people) so for me to believe in a connection with someone I had never met is unlike me.  But I kept reading what she had to say, and was particularly inspired when Meredith, a lawyer and mother of two (sound familiar?), took on her first Ironman.  Wow!  Maybe I can do that!
our fearless leader:  Meredith

So when Swim Bike Mom announced an opportunity to be an Ambassador for her team, I thought I'd give it a try.  I had just mentally committed to IMMD, and was excited at the idea of meeting other women and moms like me.  It was also an opportunity to get other women involved in the sport, and to be a representative of a lifestyle I believe in strongly.  Somehow, I got selected, and through that I got to meet about 30 other women an awful lot like me.

Meredith, Ana, Sarah K., Ansley, Anne, Jillian, Teresa, Margi, Rebecca, Erin, Sarah F., Michelle, Holly, Therese, Sara, Leslie, Margaret, Kimberly, Karen, Angie, Reeb, Ellen, Abby, Allison, Sheri, Esther, Cara, Kate, Laura....  it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you.
my SBMAT bracelet that is part of race day requirements!

These ladies live in various parts of the country, so I feel like at any time, I can go cross country and have places to stay... and where I'll have training partners built-in.  (I have it mapped out, actually.  I was passing time in court one day and doodled out my SBMAT road trip)

We have shared a lot of our stories with each other during these last several months.  And while we are all very different (and crazy), we support each other and cheer for each other.  I certainly identify with some teammates more strongly than others, simply because their place in life or their particular goals at the moment more mirror my own (like my Texas twin Sheri), but I can honestly say that each of these strong-hearted women are part of my tribe.

And its more than just these women.  Swim Bike Mom introduced me to a whole slew of people who are like me:  working hard, raising a family, and committed to racing.  They see the joy in it.  They struggle like I do to find the balance, but they vocalize and normalize that for me.
at SBM Traincation in February, ready to head out on a bike ride

"How do you have time to train?"  "Who takes care of your kids?"  "What about your husband?"  "You're crazy."  "I could never do that."  Repeatedly, I hear these things, or versions of these things.  I have my ways and reasons for doing these races, as I have discussed in prior posts.  But honestly, it is such a morale booster to have my Teammates and other SBM folk out there, doing the same thing I am doing:  just trying to live a happy fulfilling life and understanding that sense of self is part of that.

To my SBMAT:  thank you.   To Meredith:  I can never thank you enough.  To the SBM Army at large and other Mommies out there:  keep on truckin' and thanks for making me feel normal... well, sorta.... as normal as I can be.

And a special thanks especially to Sara and Therese:  I am quite sure it was fate that brought us three to SBM Traincation this year to meet in person.  Maybe it is the ages of our kids; maybe its our approximate same age (I won't say who is the oldest, T!); maybe it's our similar stages in life; or maybe it's that I am sure to become a faster biker just being around you two speed demons via osmosis.  I don't know.  But I can't imagine life without knowing you exist in the world.  Much love... can't wait until we move in together.  

For these next 10 Days I have:
4 miles of Swimming
140 miles of Biking
27 miles of Running

SBMAT, I will carry you with me, as I always seem to do these days.  I will remember your various stories of strength; I will remember your losses and your sadness; I will remember your triumphs; I will think of your goals.  I will think of your accents (those videos still crack me up!), hilarious comments, our special hashtags... and I will carry on.  Love you Butches!

And now, just a sampling of photos of my amazing Teammates:
Sheri & Meredith at IMTX

Margaret, Sara, Therese, me, Sarah K.& Meredith at Traincation

Anne, getting it done at Ragnar Florida Keys



Allison & Meredith

Allison & Karen
Michelle with her SwimBikeKid

Teresa & Jillian

Jillian & Therese

Angie & Therese


Teresa & Sarah F.

Ana, Cara, Ansley, Kate & Laura at Tri Goddess Tri
Holly, my fellow Marylander


Margi & Ellen
Therese, Meredith, Karen, Angie, Allison & other SBM's
Reeb & Erin

Laura & Kate


Meredith & Kimberly
Sara & me -- if you ain't first, you're last

Sunday, July 5, 2015

10 Day Dedication -- My Law Enforcement Family (July 5 - 14, 2015)

I spend a fair amount of time thinking about work and my cases while I run.  (With biking, I can't think very clearly/concisely as I have to be paying attention to my surroundings a bit more)  If there's a situation that is bothering me, or I have not been able to find the words for an opening/closing, running usually gives me the answer.  It also provides release from the stress of the day, allows me to let go of any hard stuff that occurred, and get back to neutral so I can switch over to Mommy-mode.  Prosecuting and running/triathlon are inextricably linked in my endorphins! 

Due to recent events in the Baltimore area, and certainly other places, the roles of law enforcement officers, i.e. police and prosecutors, have been discussed ad nauseam... this mostly done by the un-informed public and very biased (one way or the other) media.  This post is not going to be about my opinions on these matters (I have several), but so much of who I am is shaped by the work that I do.   And I guess it is all these recent events that make me even more grateful for my work community.

And so, for this 10 day block of training, I will make my dedication to:
My Law Enforcement Family in Howard County

I have had the privilege to serve as a prosecutor for close to 15 years.

I work with an amazing police department whose officers put their lives on the line day in and day out.  So many of these officers, in particular the detectives I work with on a routine basis, have become my friends.  I have watched them handle the most egregious crimes:  holding the hands of children who have been victimized, speaking with victims and their families, smiling through tears in court when justice is finally granted, keeping their cool under pressure, and dealing with some of the worst examples of humans you can imagine.  I know about their kids, their spouses, their best days and their worst days.  I have watched them lose one of their own in the line of duty.  I have seen them come together when one lost his sweet little boy, or another lost his spouse to cancer.  And I know that in their hearts they are trying to do what is right each and every time they go to work.   They make me proud to do my job.  These men and women are heroes.  Everyday.  They are also humans, like the rest of us.

we even meet up at races:  Law & Order running team
In my own office, I serve along side many talented prosecutors and dedicated staff members who have become a family to me.   We spend so much time at our jobs, so it is such a blessing that I am spending it with people that I like and respect.  We deal with a lot of pressure, and we find ways to make each other laugh.  We tick each other off and drive one another crazy.  We hug and cry together.  We help each other.  I know their children and grandchildren, and they know mine.  We've been to each other's weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and the funerals of loved ones.  We've lost one of our own.

a baby shower, with our Vickie (in stripes)
It is a high stress job.  But it is a good job.  As a judge once said, the prosecutor is the only one in the courtroom whose job it is to seek justice.  Think about that:  the defense attorney is looking out for his/her client; the judge calls "balls and strikes," but the prosecutor decides what to charge, when to charge, what to dismiss, when to go forward, and on and on.  I take that responsibility very seriously, and so do my colleagues.  Most days are fairly ordinary or unremarkable.  But we have days when we are yelled out, threatened, or called upon to make tough decisions.  And we take those days as they come, because there are also days, rare as they are, where we see the difference that we have made.  We savor those times.

I have a boss, Dario, who allows us to put our families first.   The difference this makes in my life is huge.  I know I can be a mother and take care of sick children, or leave early to make the school play, and it is not held against me.  My boss knows that I, that we, have sat in the courthouse late at night waiting for verdicts, or that we come back to the office in the evening or on weekends to get things done.  He treats us like adults, and he gets the best from us because of that.
all class

The "boys" in the office are a hoot.  It is like when I was growing up with three brothers around.  And they crack me up routinely, and also provide sound advice.  While I do love each of my co-workers, attorneys and staff members alike, I am particularly lucky for "my girls."  I have met some of my best friends working here.  I don't know what I would do without them.   Thank you, my friends, for supporting me in this whole Ironman thing.  Thank you for being there during the tough cases when my heart gets broken, for reminding me everyday why this job is a privilege, and for making me laugh.
collapsed on my desk, holding my phone, as a defense attorney yells at me (photo credit: Det. TS)

some days we pretend we're in the Old West and drink

Special Victims Unit


"gang" members forever

not everyday one of your best friends becomes a judge

Over this next training block I have:
3 miles of swimming;
100 miles of biking
26 miles of running

These next ten days are dedicated to you, my law enforcement family.  I will be thankful for the work that you do.  I will be mindful of your dedication and commitment, and I will remember your toughness when things get difficult. 

And now, just some pictures of my work family.
Hills of Milltown 5K (2014)

we have alumni and honorary members

Police Pace 5K:  Team Vickie

Torch Run 10K for Special Olympics (2012)

Torch Run 10K for Special Olympics (2014)

Team Victory (2014) at Celtic 5 Miler