Ironman Countdown

Monday, August 24, 2015

40 Days to Go -- and a nod to my Three Big Brothers

Greetings from training camp!  I'm feeling pretty good overall, with a nice touch of anxiety and panic.  It has been a true test for me to balance everything these days:  long training sessions, the children, my home-life, my job, everything else.  But I'm making it work as best as I can... I am very lucky to have a husband who supports this whole crazy-train, and a job that allows me to primarily set my own schedule.  I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of leave built up, and the flexibility to take work home, so I can squeeze in some half days or days off as needed.  It is exhausting, however, keeping up all these schedules!  I'm ready for a nap... but it'll have to wait 40 days or so!

So I'm getting down to the wire here.  If you have been following along with my 10 Day Dedications blocks that coincide with training, you may have noticed I have only 4 left, including this one.  I remember when I first read Swim Bike Mom Meredith's blog, with her dedications prior to her first Ironman, I though: what a great way to stay focused and grateful.  When I asked her for permission to totally copy-cat that idea here, she was so supportive and said that it really does help with the focus of positive energy.  And so it has.  We are getting down to my core people here....

So this 10 Day Dedication is for my three brothers:
John, James, and Patrick.
James, John & Patrick (Easter modeling, 1984?)

(^^I know none of you three are on Facebook and think it's dumb, so I hope you don't hate me for writing all this!!!)

Being the youngest has many pluses and minuses.  Being the youngest and a girl with three older brothers is a pretty cool advantage, and I seemed to get a lot of "street cred" being the Markey boys' little sister.  I learned very early on the following:  boys never grow up; boys are gross; boys smell; bathroom humor, as my mom calls it, never gets old; boys are hysterically funny; boys are fiercely loyal.  My brothers were all basically wonderful to me.  I have some good stories of being messed with or teased, but nothing remotely tortuous.   I learned a little from each of them; and I like to think I share a few character traits with each of them too.
with my Dad, for his 75.5 Birthday party

Having three brothers is like having a "get out of jail free" card, so to speak.  When I was on various swim teams, or when I would meet guys in college, etc., it was deemed cool that I understood football, basketball, and baseball... like, really understood the game and also didn't seem to mind the general male obsession with watching sports ALL THE TIME.  It was appreciated that I could take teasing fairly well, that I was not mortified at their sense of humor.  I don't know, I guess growing up with brothers just thickened my skin a little bit.  When a teammate would hear I had three older brothers, they'd nod like it explained something about my ability to brush off whatever gross thing another one had done (swim team boys can be disgusting, mostly in a funny way.)
the boys with Dad, Easter modeling, 1989ish

Here's a little about each of them:

cheering for me at MCM
John:  He's the oldest.  When I was little, I called him "John-John."  He use to read "Mr. Quiet" (of the Mister Books) to me and do all the voices. We are about 10 years apart, so to him I was very much the baby.  He has never been mean to me.  He never called me names.  And he never ever yelled at me.  Seriously, never... just mutual adoration. We always had a very sweet relationship, given our age difference.  I cried when he went away to college (it was 45 minutes away, but that didn't matter to me at 8 years old).   John has a huge heart, a great sense of humor, and the kind of personality you just want to be around.  He can talk to anyone.

He is an amazing uncle to my kids; they just giggle when he is around.  I am so grateful to him for always loving me and looking out for me, no matter how old I get. It couldn't have been easy, being the oldest of so many, but he didn't seem to mind.  Probably helped that he was the tallest and strongest too, so the role just suited him.
John & me, 1987

James, me, and John at the Terps game, 2006

at my wedding, 2004

stylin' the LT jersey (1985?)
James:  He is the second in line, and just over 7 years older than me.  Growing up, James was just cool.  He knew all the good bands to like in the 80's; he had cool concert t-shirts.  He would buy albums (in cassette form!) from Kemp Mill record store when I begged him to, like Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" (though I'm sure his soul died a little doing so).  James like The Specials, the Cure, R.E.M., The Dead Milkmen, General Public, The Police, the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC... he was so into alternative rock and everything cool about music!!!  Just the coolest.  Plus, he was smart... IS smart.  I remember it being slightly infuriating to my parents that my brother, who was quite "social" (clearing throat) in high school could pull straight A's without batting an eye.  People say I look most like him, but I think its just becuase we both have dark hair and blue eyes.

I have loved watching him become a Dad, too.  His children are growing into such great kids... three boys and a girl. We both love the NY Giants... "all the good guys, play on the Gi's side..."  I don't remember when we made that up, but we did.   James has the same best friends he had as a teenager, which is a pretty neat thing.  We share the same sensitivity, and he loves to cook (like me!).  My favorite memories of him are all pretty goofy, because, despite how introverted he can be, he is also super funny. 
James & me, 1989

As a side note, and I have to mention this, one of the greatest things James ever did was marry my amazing sister-in-law Kathryn.
cheering for Mare & me at the Dewey Beach Tri
And while this is about my brothers, she gets included too.   Kathryn is kind, beautiful inside and out, a wonderful fun mom, and a great friend.  She is so supportive of me, and she's a terrific aunt to my kids.  Julia asks for her all the time, wanting to know when she will see "Aunt Kaf-rin" and have a sleepover.  Kathryn is a strong runner, too, and recently did her first triathlon, which is simply awesome!!!  Thank you Kathryn for marrying my brother... I hope he knows how lucky he is, haha!  I am so glad we are family.  Thank you for loving me and my family.

at my parents anniversary party

chillin' at Nags Head
Patrick:  He is the fourth child, just over 5 years older than me, and was the baby until I stole that from him when he was only in kindergarten.  Poor guy.  Of all of my siblings, Patrick played with me the most.  He was the perfect age when Star Wars came to be, and he had all the action figures and ships and the like.  We would set up "the guys" in the basement for hours... he was always Han Solo but would "let" me be Luke Skywalker (a raw deal, I learned later) and of course Princess Leia.  We would put Yoda in the plant... you know, to mimic the Degaba System.  We played a lot of football in the basement.  He knew exactly what to say to make me cry, and he also knew exactly what to say or do to make me laugh.  Sometimes when I watch my Jack and catch him teasing Julia, with simply a look, and I hear her whiny reaction, it's Patrick and me, 35 years ago.  Patrick could skateboard, and he could eat an entire sleeve of Oreo cookies in mere seconds.
when I came around, stealing the baby position

He does the best imitations of my father, both gestures and phrases so dearly familiar to us kids.  It helps that he looks so much like Dad too.   It's done with love, because I know how much he simply adores our Dad, but, man, IT IS FUNNY!   He is now a father of five himself:  4 girls and 1 boy.  His children are growing up into such great people, and I know he loves them more than anything.  I love watching him be silly with them, because it reminds me so much of what he was like as a kid.

the boys with Dad, Ireland 1990

Don't get me wrong, we are NOT a Norman Rockwell painting of a family.  I don't talk to my brothers on the daily; weeks can go by, sometimes months, before we may chat or text, let alone see each other.  All of us are busy with our own lives, and we just don't have that kind of relationship where we talk all the time about all the things we are doing... part of that is, well, they are boys and I am forever the baby sister.  But it's also just not how we are.  That being said, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of them.  They are part of the fabric that makes me who I am, even as a "grown up."  I haven't lived under the same roof with them in 20 years, but that matters little because they are with me everyday.  I look up to them, even now, more than they will ever know.  They are my big brothers.  Many people are lucky enough to get one big brother.  I got three.  Each of them love me and relate to me in a different way.  And I know that if I needed to, I could call each of them right now and they would be here.  And that's what counts.  We are there for each other when it matters.  Always.

And so, my Three Big Brothers, know that I love you... we don't say that enough but I do.  I am proud to be your little sister.  I am proud of the men you have become.  I am so lucky to have been raised with you and that parts of you make me who I am now.  I will think of you during these next 10 Days of training.  James and Patrick, I will pray for your families and for you both.  Johnny, I will pray for your happiness and joy, because you deserve that.  I love you guys.

During these next Ten Days, I have:
5 Miles of Swimming
185 Miles of Biking
35 Miles of Running

Friday, August 14, 2015

50 Days to Go

Only 50 days to go, people!   I find myself freaking out at various moments in the day already, mostly about what to pack or what I will need to bring.  I have a growing list of odds and ends on my "notes" app on my phone... things like "immodium" and "large ziploc bags."

I am also officially in the "peak phase" of IMMD training.  This encompasses some of the hardest and longest workouts I will have.  I can only look a week or two in advance, just so I can figure out the best days to fit in the longest sessions... if I look too far ahead, I start too get anxious.  So, while I didn't plan it this way, these 10 day blocks of time I've been using to dedicate to my peeps has actually worked well in keeping my panic to a minimum.

And that brings us to this 10 Day Dedication Block.  You know that saying, "blood is thicker than water..."  Well, while that is certainly true, there's also the phrase "Friends are the family you choose for yourself."

I dedicate this next 10 Days of IMMD training to my "other family," collectively known as The Frisbies.  
(Yes, that's an actual last name for most of these people, marriage notwithstanding.)

Those closest to me and my family have long known about the close relationship between my family, the Markeys, and my "other family," the Frisbies.  My parents head up my family, and my Aunt Betty and Uncle Frank (again not blood relations) head up the Frisbies.  Like my parents, Aunt Betty and Uncle Frank are New York ex-pats, sent to live in exile in the DC area in the 1960's.... like my parents, they had moved away from their own families to strike out alone, raising kids in a new place several hours away from their homes.  And, like my parents, they had five children:  Patty, Kathy, Terry, Suzy and Frank(ie).  They all met at some work picnic in the late 60's/early 70's and that was pretty much how it all began.  I think that my mom and Aunt Betty, given that they were use to have siblings around, sort of took to each other as sisters and formed that kind of relationship in this, their new home.  That is also probably why my parents chose Aunt Betty to be my godmother.
Aunt Betty, Uncle Frank, Dad & Mom (cutest. photo. ever)

my godmother with Julia & me
I don't remember a time when Aunt Betty, Uncle Frank, Patty, Kathy, Terry, Suzy or Frankie weren't in my life.  Every birthday, graduation, holidays, Turkey Bowl football games, First Communions, weddings, vacation... we were together in some shape or form.  And as we, the "kids," have gotten older, we have always stayed friends... all ten of us.  Some of us have moved away or have had other family obligations and things come into play, but in the end we love each other like we are actual family... I guess at this point we actually are family.
the 5 Frisbie kids, circa 1979 (?)
Frankie & me, 1982 (?)

From the ten children, there are now spouses in the mix, and there are 27 grandchildren from those marriages in the next generation.  And those kids, which include my Jack and Julia, are becoming friends.  It is amazing, really... how two couples can decide to be friends and end up bonding three generations of people together, forever.
members of the 3rd generation, a few years ago

Turkey Bowl 2014

When I decided to do IMMD, and when I first posted about raising money for my charity, Kathy and her husband Jim were the very first people to donate.  Their oldest son, TJ, and his girlfriend Jordan, who are both young kids in their 20's with loans and graduate school, also made it a point to donate.

When I broke my collar bone, Suzy got me a Wonder Woman doll and put her arm in a cast...
Aunt Betty sent me a lasagna...  Terry and Jeff's daughter Meagan sent me a card and an awesome t-shirt.

I caught the bouquet at Jim and Kathy's wedding... I was only 14 so thank god that "next one to get married" thing isn't actually true!  On the very day Julia was born, Kathy & Jim's daughter Kelly drove to the hospital to see me, and has babysat my children on numerous occasions. Kathy use to babysit me. 

I was in Patty and Bill's wedding when I was twelve years old; their son Ben and I have bonded over "The Walking Dead" and Chick-Fil-A. 

I have 101 inside jokes with Suzy.  I could write a few of them here, and they won't make sense to anyone but her (and maybe my sister):  "you are not damned;"  "sassy free form pool;"  "what's that, turtles?  turtle me?"  "my name is Suzy, and I have beach rash..."
Davey, Jack & Frankie... deja vu!

Frankie was my very first best friend.  When I watch his son Frankie IV and Jack play together at the beach, I can't help but feel a crazy amount of nostalgia. 
the 10 of us, at my Dad's 80th birthday party

It is understood by us, in this two-family dynamic, that we will be there for each other...  Maybe not all the time, literally, but I draw a great comfort from their presence in my world.  To others I may have some important roles in life, as a mother or lawyer, or even as this crazy person training for IMMD... but to this group of people, I am reduced to decades of hilarious jokes and stories, and a ton of special moments, that make up my history.  And I love them for it.   They are part of what makes me feel grounded, secure, and loved.
this is us, on the beach...

Circle of Trust at Happy Hour, Nags Head style
 And so, my wonderful other family, I will keep you in my heart over these next 10 Days; I will pray with gratitude for your part in my life; I will pray for your continued health and happiness; and I will likely grin from ear to ear remembering some story ('member?  Turner & Hooch?) that would be almost impossible to explain to anyone else.  Love you guys.

During these 10 Days, I have:
5 Miles of Swimming
160 Miles of Biking
25 Miles of Running

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Galena Lions Club Ride to See -- My First Century Ride

We interrupt the regularly scheduled shout outs and dedications....

Galena, MD, Lions Club

On Saturday, August 8th, I did my very first 100 Mile bike ride.  I had two scheduled (the next one is Labor Day Weekend) to help me get ready for IMMD.   I felt compelled to share a "race report" with you on this one, albeit this was not a race... just an organized ride.  And, as you have all probably figured out by now, biking it not my professed forte, so I am pretty proud of completing this event.

Let me start off by saying I was a bit nervous.   The longest ride I had done was 65 miles at this point.  It was not a question of finishing 100 Miles (my pride alone would have gotten me through it).  I was concerned I was not ready for it, that this ride would demolish me.  I have been doing the work and putting in the hours.  "But," the little voice in my head said, "maybe you haven't done enough. Maybe you'll finish this ride and want to die... and then you'll know IMMD, and the reality of sitting on a bike for well over 6 hours, may be the death of you."  So yes, I was nervous.

I was extremely grateful that my lovely friend, and Swim Bike Mom Ambassador Teammate, Sara agreed to drive up from North Carolina and do this ride with me.  That helped quell some nerves because I knew I'd have someone to ride with; and I know from previous long stretches of time spent with Sara that we can have a great time no matter what we are doing.  And we don't seem to annoy each other, even after hours on end.  It should be noted, too, that Sara is a really good biker.

Prior to Sara's arrival, I ran 14 miles before going to work on Friday.  I felt so much better than I had in my previous week's long run, but a lot of that had to do with the major break in humidity.

Sara arrived on Friday afternoon.  We spent the afternoon poking around the shops of Ellicott City near home, and she came with me to pick up Jack from camp and meet James and Julia at the pool.  We brought pizza and hung out, which was a nice way to relax.
the eggplant of Ellicott City

Saturday morning came early.  We were up around 5, shuffling around the kitchen making our coffee and tea, getting our water bottles ready, packing up our food, etc.  We loaded up our bikes, and off we went to Galena, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore.  It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there, where we parked and checked in.  Everyone with the Galena Lion Club, all the volunteers, were so friendly and nice.  The ride extended all the way down and around Kent County, going through several small towns, with food/rest stops every 20 miles or so.  I have lived in Maryland my whole life, and I had never been to many of these little towns!
Map of the ride; the roads were all very well marked!

wearing our SBMAT bracelets from Therese

obligatory pre-bike selfie

ready to head out

Sara heading off

Sara and I headed off around 7:30 a.m.  It was a gorgeous day; low humidity and bright blue skies.  The landscape was all farmlands and wooded areas.  There were some rolling hills and lots of stretches of flat road where we could really get up some speed.  The roads on The Shore all have very wide shoulders, free of debris and well paved... so there's a feeling of safety and visibility which I love.  I am still learning how best to shift gears going up hills and down, and I am getting better at that.  Sara, on the other hand, eats hills for breakfast.  Watching her fly up hills in front of me was cool to watch.  She's faster than me in general, but I felt like I kept up pretty well.  I did not ride up on her wheel, i.e. drafting, because you can't do that in triathlon... so I did not see the point in doing it for this practice ride. 

The century ride itself was sparse.  No packs or pelotons.   So for a vast majority of the time, it was Sara and me on our own.  At the rest stops we might see a few people, and then see them again later.  But generally, it was a solo ride.  Had Sara not been there, I would have been basically alone... so glad she was with me!

Our first food/water stop was about mile 18, with a gorgeous view of the Sassafras River.  I enjoy saying "Sassafras" and kept repeating it.
Sassafras River
My favorite spot we rode through was a town called Betterton.  I had never been here before or even heard of it.  It sits right on the mouth of the Sassafras River and the Chesapeake Bay.  It was just adorable, with gorgeous views of the Bay, and a really wide beach for playing and swimming.

We then wound our way down towards the halfway point just outside of Rock Hall.  As we got closer to our food/rest stop at Mile 55, in downtown, we started noticing some people dressed as pirates... and the Jolly Roger flag was hanging from flag poles at the local homes... then more pirates... and wenches.... and children dressed as pirates.  As it turned out, it was Rock Hall's annual Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend Convention.  It was fascinating, and made for great people watching as we re-fueled and filled up our water bottles.

an advertisement

selfies with the Celtic Pirate we met named Molly

At this point in the ride, we were doing quite well.  Morale was high.  It continued to be a gorgeous day.  We were able to ride side by side for portions of it and talk/laugh.  We saw lots of old plantations and other gorgeous stately mansions.  We felt good.  And then came Chestertown.  The stretch between Rock Hall and Chestertown marked the beginning of non-stop headwinds.  Instead of holding speeds of 18 to 22 mph (and sometimes as high as 24), we were struggling to hold 16 mph.  The wind was unrelenting... and that my friends is what makes biking on the Eastern Shore so hard.  And that is also why doing rides on the Shore, for me, is so important to prep for IMMD.

Chestertown was our last major stopping point.  We had 25-30 miles of headwinds to go.  We got off our bikes and stretched, re-upped the Gatorade, had a snack.  So far, I had eaten two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some peanut butter pretzel nuggets (thanks Therese!), and a Stinger waffle cookie.  I also had stashed my favorite peanut butter M&M's in my bento box (a small zippered pouch that straps to the bike in front of your saddle so you can access some food).  Periodically, I would have some of those to lift my spirits!

We headed back north from Chestertown for the longest 30 miles of our lives.  Mentally, it was hard to stay on task.  While I was not exhausted or to the point of physically wanting to quit or stop, I just was "done" and seriously tired of the wind.  We did see two other solo century riders, and, despite our own mental fatigue, we made it a priority to not just pass but stay far ahead of both of them.  At one point I was next to Sara, after we had passed these two riders... and I loved that, like me, her pride would never have let them catch back up, no matter how tired we were.  Have I mentioned Sara is awesome?
Sara, getting it done

And so it came to pass that 80 miles gave way to 90... then 95... then 98... and we entered back into Galena.  It was a welcome sight!
Welcome to Galena... indeed!

We finished back up at the school, and back with the amazing Galena Lions Club volunteers.  They had hamburgers and hotdogs, cold water and Gatorade, access to clean bathrooms to change clothes... and lots of chairs to just sit in for awhile.   Sara and I enjoyed sitting in a chair, versus sitting in a bike saddle, immensely.
so happy to be sitting in chairs!

We did it.  We rode 100 Miles... each of us for the first time.  I never thought that is something I would do!  And I am happy to say that when it was over, I knew two things:  (1) I still had 12 more miles in me, had I needed to like I will at IMMD; and (2) while I was happy I did not have to get off the bike and start running, I could have.  My legs did not feel trashed.  I did not feel low on blood sugar or any major fatigue.  So I guess all the training it working?  Or I was simply high on the feeling that I managed a 100 mile ride.  Either way, it was a great feeling.

We stopped for some good eats (and even better people watching) at the Jetty dock bar on Kent Island.  Then we headed home for showers and early bed times.  I think we were both asleep by 9 p.m. 
at the Jetty, watching old people drink and dance

I loved this ride for its beauty and lack of crowds.  I liked the terrain, how well marked the roads were, and how friendly all the riders and volunteers were.  Sara and I may even make this a tradition.  I am so very grateful to her for being with me; that was the very best part in my opinion!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

60 Days to Go -- 10 Day Dedication to My Girls

Here we are, 60 Days to go until IMMD.  I am getting super excited, and I also want to puke a little.  Seems pretty normal to me.

I covered a lot of ground the last ten days (literally), particularly on the bike. On Sunday, July 26, 2015, I did the Firefighter 50 Mile ride through parts of Western Maryland... or at least further west than where I live.  I got to ride with my brother-in-law Sean, which was the best part.   But we joined up with my friends Jerry, Chris and Jack (who form My HC Cycling... a great webpage, check it out here:  My HC Cycling), as well as my co-worker and newbie triathlete Liz, and another co-worker and seasoned triathlete, Amy.  Amy's fiance Tim, who is also taking on IMMD, was there too, and one or two others.  The ride is sponsored by the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Department.  For thirty bucks you get a well marked road, a rest stop with tons of food and drink, and a fantastic lunch afterwards.  Even a "pretend cyclist" like me had a good time, and it is definitely more fun to cover mileage like that with good friends than by myself.
The Group:  Chis, Amy, Tim, Jack, Liz, Me, Sean & Jerry

beautiful covered bridge at the rest stop, around mile 30

Liz, taking the bridge

kickass triathlete Amy -- we solved the world's problems on this ride

Sean & me

super proud of him
I also really got back to swimming.  I spent the last month sort of testing the waters (pun intended) and doing long easy uneventful swims.  But now it is time to start doing sets and intervals and such.  I had a long bike (65 miles) and a long run (13 miles) to do by myself, and I felt strong... so that's a good sign.

Which brings me to this next 10 Day Dedication Block, from August 4 through 14, 2015.  I have already highlighted several of my wonderful girlfriends, who also happen to be my co-workers (past and present).   I can't imagine life without them in it.  But I am also blessed with several girlfriends outside my office; they have been with me through so many different times and stages... some longer than others... but all significant and important to me.

I dedicate these 10 Days to My Girls... I don't know where I would be without you, and I don't want to ever find out.  

I have to highlight these 6 amazing women in particular.  Their impact on my life is immeasurable:

Carrie, me and our boys, 2011
Carrie:  aka Cazzie.  We are 3000 miles and 22 years apart from our glory days, when we saw each other on the daily at the pool.  I went through my teen years with you, and from you I learned the importance of having girlfriends.  I learned that girls who tear you down or try to compete with you by belittling you are not true friends.  I learned that boys really are just boys in the end, much as we love them.  And from you and in part because of you, I think I have become a reliable friend.  Time and distance matters little to us.  The fact that I have not laid eyes on you in almost 4 years bears no significance on how much I love you.   I wish all the time that your boys and my children could be friends, that we could talk each other through this whole motherhood thing.  But I know that when we are next together, we will pick right up where we were last, and our time apart will evaporate like it always does.  Thank you for being my cheerleader, from 3000 miles away.  Thank you for believing in me.

"Cheddar":  I am using your fake name.  You know who you are.   The moment we met in
Shamrock Half 2014
high school, we recognized the "old soul" in each other.  Our senses of humor were just a touch different; we can play "So Wat'cha Want" by the Beastie Boys on our backpack zippers.  We quote Ed McMahon... "YES!!!"  And while we both moved on from our sacred ESHS days, we always stayed in contact in one form or another.  Then running brought us officially back together.  I love running for that!  Our road trip to the Shamrock Half in 2014 was one of the best times ever.... and I think that was our first time discussing Ironman.  I am so proud of you and the marathoner you have become.  And I am so grateful that I have you to check in with, to send Ryan Gossling pictures to, and to know you always have my back.  Thank you for believing in me.

California trip, 1999
Jen McD:  We have our own coded language, i.e. GA & GC... ooh la lee.... MIA... budding reproduction...  I could go on forever with that.  When we first met at 18, I could never have predicted how close we would become.  You are such a huge part of what Villanova meant to me.  I love how I could text you one word or lyric right this second, and you would respond in kind, and I would be laughing and smiling for the rest of the day.  While both of our lives have taken major turns into busy-ness, we both always  know that the other is there.  Always.  You are beautiful inside and out, and watching you become the doctor, mother and wife you've always dreamed of makes me so very proud.  I was so happy to share in "Hello Dolly" last month, to be reminded of that gorgeous singing voice you have and that talent  inside you.  Thank you for always being there for me; thank you for always supporting me and loving me.  Thank you for believing in me.
40 year olds

Arbutus Firecracker 10K, 2014
Jen "Ski":  You are my sister-wife in every sense of the word.  I am so lucky to have met you, Brooke and Kristie, and all my other Catonsville Mommy friends; I was starting to think no body cool became a mother in The Ville.  Ha!   But you seem to be cut from the same "overly-sensitive-type-A-highly-scheduled" cloth as I am.  I love your family like my own.  I know I can call you at any time and ask you any favor:  from watching Julia so I can do a race; to helping get through the crazy month of June; to watching my children so James and I can catch a movie.  I can tell you about all my crazy worries, about my obsessive sensitivity, and you don't ever judge me for it.  I love getting to do spin class with you, our standing Tuesday date.  I love that you are running and can appreciate that aspect of me, too.  I am always amazed that our ages and our different backgrounds were a perfect match when we met a few short years ago.  Thank you for always looking out for me and my family.  Thank you for believing in me.
at Jen's first half marathon, Annapolis 2014
Kate & me, and our girls
Kate:  My room-mate forever, my partner in "crime."  You are a huge part of my very best memories (or lack of memory?) from our "roaring 20's."  I loved my Baltimore years so much!  Living with you was one of the best decisions I ever made.  And the fact that two girls as similar as we are managed to find each other in law school is incredible.  You are so smart and funny; you are beautiful and kind.  I have loved watching our friendship go from room-mates to mommies.  Emily Belle is so lucky to have you as her role model.  I am so very proud of you and everything you have accomplished.  40 looks good on us, girl.  Thank you for always making me laugh.  Thank you for believing in me.

Tricia, after my very first 20 miler
Tricia:  My BRF (best running friend) and newly annointed AAB (accountabilibuddy?).  While technically you are a girlfriend from work, I have to set you aside a little bit, especially in light of this being all about triathlon and Ironman.  You are the first Ironman that I have known personally.  Do you know this whole thing, this whole journey of mine, started with you?  I mean, I had the thoughts in my head, but you are the one who first said:  "DO IT!"  That applies to my first marathon, and now my first last Ironman.   You know how much I love our quote and how much it applies to our long run talks:  "With your eyes on the road, you can speak from the heart."  I am so grateful to running for creating in us the friendship that we have.  We work together and have kids the same age at the same daycare, which is great.  But running gave us THIS... someone I know I can tell anything to (including Mr. Hanky things), who I can tell my goals to, who will listen to my training thoughts and will encourage me.  I hope I do the same for you.  Thank you for being the voice to my goals.  Thank you for giving me pushes now and then.  Thank you for believing in me.
With Tricia, at her marathon PR in Philly, 2013

For all of the outstanding women I am lucky enough to call my friends, I have the following over the next 10 Days:

6 miles of Swimming
180 Miles of Biking (including my very first Century/100 Miler)
28 miles of Running

You will be in my heart, like you always are.  When I am struggling or getting tired, I will draw upon any number of hilarious memories I have from each of you, and I will smile.