Ironman Countdown

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Last Ten Days, Brought to you by the Letter "J"

It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN!  Only Ten Days left.  I really can't quite believe it.

But let's back up for a second.  This past weekend, I did the Dewey Beach Sprint Tri in Delaware with my sister.  I believe it is the first triathlon I ever did, 14 years ago.  Its a beautiful setting, and I get to hang out with my sister at the beach which is always a great motivation.
before the race


The ocean was unusually flat for the half mile swim.  The bike was unusually wind-less for the 15 miles bike.  And the run was through the town of Dewey as usual, which I really love.  I did my best time by about 8 minutes, and that all came from the bike.  So no matter what happens at IMMD, I have at least met my goal for the year of becoming a better biker and being more in-tune with my bike itself.  I am so much more comfortable riding, and stronger too, simply from the act of doing it over and over and over.

And now here we are.  Only Ten Days to go, and my last dedication, if you haven't guessed, is for my 3 J's:  James, Jack, and Julia.  My little family.  My people.  The center of my world.  The reason I get up in the morning (literally and metaphorically).  My joy.  My life.
my 3 J's, 8/24/11

James is the best partner I could have ever hoped for.   I think I knew that when I met him, that he would be a great person to share a life with, and I think that was a big thing that drew me to him.  I have always been a pretty independent person, and I have a mind and heart of my own.  James has always accepted me for who I am; and he doesn't seem to mind my flaws too much.

For those who don't know the story, one of the first times I met James out was after he had taken the bar exam.  He had been, um, celebrating a lot with his buddies by the time I showed up... I believe Bushmills was involved.  At one point he looked at me and said, "You know, with your height and my width, we'd have blue-eyed line-backer children."  I laughed so hard, but apparently he was being serious.  Who knew?

He makes me laugh, like hysterically funny laugh.  Everyone is his friend.  He would do anything for anyone.  He knows I'm stubbornly strong and self-sufficient, but that I need him to take over sometimes.  He is also the warmest person I know, physically and emotionally.  Its like sleeping next to a furnace, something I greatly appreciate in the winter.  But he is warm in his interactions with people, just genuinely friendly and inviting.

James is a really great dad.  He loves our children so very much.  I love watching him play with them, read to them, wrestle them and tuck them into bed.  We are by no means perfect parents; I know we both struggle with that.  But I know James works very hard to be the best father he can be to them.  And I know my children have no doubts as how much he loves them.

OBX Splash & Dash 2015

Balancing marriage and children (and work, and life, and everything else) is so much harder than either of us ever thought.   We have ups and downs like everyone else, but in the end he's always there for me.  And I am always there for him.  When I go out on my long bike rides, or take a weekend to do a race with my sister, James just takes it in stride.  He understands my goals, and he supports them.  And he never acts like I "owe" him anything... like a tit for tat thing if I am away then he gets to go away.  It doesn't work like that.  We both get the importance of being together, of being a family, but also the importance of being individuals.
running a 5K
coaching soccer - go Bugs!

Druid Hill Sprint Tri 2014
I am so proud of James too.  He decided to change things around as far as his health and lifestyle is concerned just after Julia was born.  He goes to the Y every morning and lifts, swims or spins.  He looks better now that he did the day we married; he's healthier and more fit.  I love that our kids see this from both of us, and they know the importance of being healthy.  James is very goal-oriented too, and in 2014, he completed his goal of doing a 5K every month.  He has done a few sprint triathlons.  And of course, as most of you know, he did the swim portion of Eagleman 70.3 for me this year after I broke my collarbone, swimming 1.2 miles in the Choptank River.  Just awesome!
Eagleman 2015

My son Jack amazes me everyday.  He can be so like James one minute, and so like me the next.  Becoming his mother was the best thing I have ever accomplished.  When he was born, I had these strong polar opposite feelings of love and doubt.  I loved that baby so much, but I was totally questioning what the hell we had just done?  How do you even raise one of these?  How do you know what to do?  Where is the instruction manual?  I still have those feelings.  I love that boy so very much.  I am so proud of him.  He is funny, and sweet, and smart.  He is artistic, will try any food you put in front of him, loves to read, and loves playing sports.  But there are times when I still search for the instruction manual; and I worry incessantly that I have totally messed this whole mom thing up.  When he is acting up or mouthing off, especially on a really bad day, I think maybe I am raising a serial killer and I'll be that mom on the news that everyone blames for raising a horrible human.  Then I see his blue eyes looking at me, smiling, and I know we're doing o.k.   He has his moments, as we all do, but he is such a good person.  My heart is so full since becoming his mom.  He makes me try harder, do better, and love more. 
Jack's first morning home, Dec. 2007

soccer skillz

Julia rounded out motherhood and our family completely.  I can't imagine us without her.  She is ridiculously cute and funny.  She is strong willed and opinionated.  She will talk to anyone about anything.  She loves the Disney Princesses, but refuses to wear dresses herself.  She is a total love-bug, wanting to snuggle and hug all the time.  Her imagination is incredible, as lately she has taken to calling all of us by names of characters from the show "Wild Kratts."  Julia challenged me so much during her first three years.  She was a terrible sleeper, and her tantrums were epic.  And despite sleep deprivation and frayed nerves, I loved her so much.  That capacity in parents is astounding, how much we can love these little people who push us to our limits.  Julia is such a happy girl.  She is sweet and kind; she cracks me up.  She makes me so aware of being a girl, of making sure I show her she can be anything, do anything, that she sets her mind to.
my little "graceful" ballerina

running her first race, "like mommy."

Jack and Julia,
I hope you both are proud of me.  While Ironman is something I am doing for myself, I am also doing it for you.  I want you both to always know that if there's a will, there's a way.  You both can accomplish anything you set out to do, if you put in the work and never give up.  Thank you for always loving me and forgiving me when I am not being the best mom that I can be... for those times when I fail you or lose my patience with you.  I promise to always love and forgive you too.  Always.  You two are the best thing I have ever done.   I will be thinking of you my entire race, as you are always in my heart and mind.

And so my Three J's, these last Ten Days are for you.  Ironically, I will be tapering which will mean more time to spare and more jittery nerves.  You guys ground me.  You make me whole.  I love you more than I can ever say, and more than you will ever know.  I will think of you during these Ten Days, praying for us as a family.  I will be grateful for our health, for our happiness.  I will keep you in my heart, as always.  I can't wait to see you when I cross the finish line on October 3rd. 

During these final Ten Days, I have:
3 Miles of Swimming
100 Miles of Biking
20 Miles of Running

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