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

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