Saturday, September 7, 2013

One more sleep...

Wow, this year has been a bit of a blur...

Sunday is IRONMAN race day.  Maybe "event" day is a better term!   The cannon will go off at 7am central to start my third trek around the IMWI course.  I must be riding the waves of experience, perspective, and age because this is the first time I'm excited about the race. I'm not crawling out of my skin with anxiety, obsessing about a trillion things out of my control, and Susan's not threatening to take away my phone/internet access. BONUS! 

For Susan's entertainment, each year I have plugged in some time estimates of where I may be on the course:

"Perfect" day...SPEEDY!
Target day...YeahBuddy!!
Day I loose a little focus....SQUIRREL!

Yep, that's not a typo!  This year, I'm expecting to have a bit of a longer morning in the swim (thanks to the summer round of bronchitis and some shoulder stuff), but I'm hoping the extra trips up to Madison for the long rides and the running will make it a little shorter day from the past two years.

Regardless of time, I'm going to enjoy the day tomorrow, do the best I can, and soak it all in. I never take for granted that participating in an IRONMAN event is a choice.  It is truly a gift to have the health and fitness to get to the start line. 

One of the greatest things about IRONMAN is for the majority of us racing tomorrow, it is the individual against the clock. Fifty incredibly speedy athletes will get Kona slots and a bunch more will stand on a podium. 

But for ALL of us triathletes out there tomorrow, it took a "village" to get us there. 

I am so incredibly grateful and inspired by my "village".  

My coaches and training partners....Over the past couple of years, I've been fortunate to be coached by awesome coaches and train with great triathletes. Past and present...I am glad this sport has opened the doors to meeting incredible people and valued friendships. For those I will see on the course, I'm cheering for you!  For those cheering, THANK YOU!

My friends...well, you guys are just rock stars!  Your journeys keep me inspired, grounded, and on the right path!

My play off a quote dad said this morning....

After giving me my mom, dad, Lisa, Susan, and extended family...God doesn't owe me anything!

With that said, I'm going to take my grateful body on a long day of excersise tomorrow - 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run.  

If your interested in following along with my day (or curious on how long Susan is spectating!):

The swim starts at 7a central. 

On the bike and run (if I remember) I'll have on a little GPS unit. The website is   Of course, there's an app for that!

The website has a link to the Wisconsin race - athlete tracking and live coverage of the finish line. My bib # is 648

If you have an extra second on Sunday, please double my "wish" for all of the amazing volunteers, tireless spectators, and athletes to have a safe race day up in Madison. 

See you at the finish line...before midnight! :-) 

Monday, October 22, 2012

IRONMAN and FALL recap...

It's been over a month since Ironman Wisconsin.  Unlike last year when I felt high as a kite from finishing my first Ironman, this year has been quite different.  It took a couple of days to get perspective - knock the ego out of the way, breathe in a sense of accomplishment, and feel a sincere sense of gratitude for the weeks leading up to and after race day.  And a couple more weeks to wanting and having a little time to jot down some thoughts on the experience! 

Training had been going well over the summer and I was really feeling good about seeing some results in September.  For someone like me who's not chasing a Kona slot or place on the podium, I know I can't "judge" my Ironman on timing alone. Each Ironman I sign up for, has been, will be, and needs to be about the challenge myself a little more, dig a little deeper, and have some fun.

Even with all of that said, every time someone asked, “So, how much BETTER did you do?” it stung a bit to admit that this year was longer.  For all of the time and compromises made to prepare for the Ironman distance, there’s no guarantee to hitting the finish line. Race day did not match up to how training was progressing all summer.  I can't say "it doesn't matter", because if I didn't care, I surely wouldn't have any desire to continue to train for this distance. The issue for me is sometimes a finish has to be good enough...and this is one of those races.

I think back on this race and I can still feel two emotions: incredible sadness and an overwhelming amount of love.

The race was 10 days after Bixby, my 14.5 year old pup went up to the big ol' puppy heaven. Swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running (or covering by foot!) 26.2 miles with a heavy heart....seems like it would be normal reaction. Anyone who knows me knows that that pup just filled my heart and soul - she had been the only physical presence day in and out for some of the most challenging days of my life.  So how did I show up and go the 140.6 mile distance with a broken heart?  Like most truly awesome gifts in my life, it had nothing to do with me.  I just soaked up the love and support from my truly amazing family and friends.  I trusted my coach that my training prepared me to cover the 140.6 miles. I was ready to start, and one of the lucky ones to get to cross that amazing Ironman Finish line.

Right now I can’t even recall without Google-ing up what any of my times were. I know I reviewed the day from that perspective with my coach and know what I want (and need) to improve for next year.  What really sticks with me about this race is SO much bigger than any heart rate zone I was or wasn't in - or any "time" captured by a clock that day. I know what truly fueled me to accomplish finishing that day was simply LOVE. All of the support of my family and friends who walked me through last couple of weeks of Bixby's life (and after) and offered such kind words to me...thank YOU.  All of the kind words, hugs, calls, texts, encouragement, and support helped me finish what I set out to do - cross that finish line! I respect the distance and I know it's truly a gift to be able to train and complete these endurance races.  I hope my ego never edges the big man upstairs out for too long for me to lose that perspective.

A couple weeks after Ironman, I added another wrist tattoo. Last year, I added tagging IRONMAN onto my swim, (recovery) bike, and run tattoo. I know it's a corporate logo...and I don't care. It is my reminder of my accomplishment and motivation that ANY dream I set my mind to can be achieved. This year I added "Bixby" with a heart and the Ironman distance. The heart is to remind me of the unconditional love I woke up to and came home to everyday. She kept me going to get me to the happy place I am now - I know I have so much in my life today that I am so incredibly grateful to get to trudge the Road of Happy Destiny!

The fall has been quite a transition time getting adjusted to life without my best buddy. I miss her so incredibly much and I know in time, there will be another pup in my life to be incredibly loved, spoiled, and put a huge smile on my face!

Needless to say, Susan surely had her hands full this fall!  I can't even begin to describe her amazing support with Ironman and walking me though the Bixby stuff. She trained for Chicago marathon again and showed up at the start line a bit banged up, but pushed through to the finish. It was another lesson to me that we can't always expect the "perfect" time we are shooting for, but doing our best that day is really all we can ask. I'm proud of her for pulling out a finish and can't wait until we can get some of our runs synced up again!

This past weekend we headed to NJ to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday! It was a  BLAST!  Saturday we spent at the pumpkin farm doing a lot of fun fall things and Sunday we had a surprise family brunch down the shore. Such a gift to be able to spend time with the family ...and a bonus with great weather!

Next for the Philly marathon Nov 18th. I'm finally feeling like I'm going to be ready physically and mentally. A short little off season recovery and then start up training for TWO Ironman races next year. I'm so excited!!!

My "baby Bix" through the years...

"School" picture - Obedience Training

The Early days in Cincinnati
Our favorite park in Evanston along the lake
If Bixby wasn't on the couch, I was on the floor with her driving her crazy!

One of the rare moments we braved getting Winnie and Bixby together.
Bixby posing with my first 1/2 Ironman medal.
Bixby always walking in the cold with my hat or gloves!
If Bixby wasn't next to my front wheel when I was on the bike trainer, she was on one of her many Bixby-pads.

Monday, August 6, 2012


This summer is F-L-Y-I-N-G by...and finally in a good way.  Work has changed from "psychotic, stressful, busy" to "busy", training has been productively ramping up, and I've been able to squeeze in a couple of races with some positive results.  Heading into the final weeks of IM training...things are looking and feeling good!

Why the picture of the duck?  Why not?  :-) 

I'm going to jam a couple of race reports in, so when I'm REALLY old and decide that reading will be my new hobby...I'll have something fun to read to kill a couple of minutes to remind me of "the good ol' days"!

Wrapping up June, Susan and I headed to the Lake Front for the Chicago Pride Run.  I'm not the biggest fan of this race.  With an 8:04am start, there is plenty of time for the "crazy" to get on the lake front path and the race merges on with the cyclists, roller bladers, dog walkers, marathon training groups, and strollers.  Enough said on that issue.  But Susan had an awesome run and took second in her division and I had a decent run.

Mid July was time to head north for the third time around the Racine 70.3 course.  Overall, it was my best time for a 70.3 race.  I think I'm capable of getting to the finish line faster, but most importantly, the biggest problems I had at High Cliff a couple of weeks prior didn't carry over into this race.   
Swim:  40:46
The past two years on this course I swam 46:xx, so taking off 6 minutes was pretty significant.  At High Cliff, my swim felt like a disaster because right from the start I was having some issue with anxiety - I've dealt with it since my first race in 2006 so it seems to be just part of the swim for me.  For this race, my goal was to stay relaxed, and limit those little moments were I need to "re-group".  For this race I figured I would try something new and spent a lot of time the week before the race visualizing a relaxing swim and self talk - "it's the same water 26.7 miles north that I always swim in".  Those "smartypants" are onto something!  This was the first swim I stayed relaxed the whole time.  I'm starting now visualizing swimming in Lake Monona @ IMWI with the algea eating snakes.  (Yes, I saw 3 M.O.W.S. day / 0 race day last year...that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)  Now if I can mix swimming relaxed and move slightly to a brisker "race mode", I'll be able to take a couple of more minutes off the clock!

Transition 1:  6:59
A LOT longer than past years, but bright sunny day, Irish skin, and a course with no shade do not mix well.  Well worth the extra time putting on the sun block and not dealing with sunburn. 

Bike:  3:11:07
In the High Cliff race, I LOVED riding my bike.  This race, not so much.  When I started the bike, the course was super crowded, people riding three across chatting up a storm, the roads are horrible....I'll stop complaining there.  

After seeing a bike crash on the side of the road fairly quickly into the route, I just decided to ride it out and play it safe.  The men's swim waves from behind me were flying by and I was running into slower people.  I had some good sections of the bike, and others where I just wasn't focused.  I pulled over because I thought I had a flat two times and really just tried to focus on getting the nutrition and hydration in to have a shot at a decent run.   

Transition 2: 5:06 T1.

Run:  2:38:20
I was happy with my first loop on the course.  The second loop obviously wasn't as good, and I have a lot more "things to work on" then "positives" on this run, but since it wasn't the disaster like High Cliff - I'll take it.  I am still working on consistency in the second half of the long runs and that has been especially true with the hot weather. 
Sitting down after 6:42:18 

For a 70.3 race, this was my best time by 12 minutes.  I still think I'm capable of getting into that 6:15 range or year!Hopefully there will be less hurdles in the spring to get over and I'll be were I want to be...or better.  I know I still have a lot of areas to improve on, but that's half the fun.  The good news is, as long as I'm aware of the issues, I can work to fix it!  I'm still learning a TON and feel good to hit the next block of training.  Trusting my coach and the's going to be a good year! 

(Note: I would post more pictures of the race, but Susan kept thinking I was other people...I might have to have a little chat with her!  HA!)

San Francisco 1/2 Marathon
To wrap up July, Susan and I headed out to San Francisco to visit some of her relatives and run the 1/2 marathon.  The weekend was such a blast with her cousins!  Although it's another weekend, I don't know how I missed taking pictures.  Susan, her cousin Matt, and I ran the 1/2 marathon and Susan's cousin's son, Peter, ran his first full marathon with a smokin' 3:45 time! 

My couple of minute PR for a half may not compare to a crushing time on a 1st marathon run, but going into the race, I was just looking to have a steady run knowing I still had to run more after.  It definitely was the hardest 1/2 marathon course I've run - running with a change in the elevation actually makes me want to move.  I can't imagine how different and stronger my training would be if I wasn't running in the Chicago flatland.  I'm still shooting to break 2 hours in a 1/2 marathon, but after a training week that included a solo 100+ mile ride + run in 100 degrees, I'll take the 2:08 PR at the race that I wasn't trying to PR.  Things are moving in the right direction!  Slowly but surely...

And one of the bigger highlights of the weekend was I managed to paddle board for the first time...Thank you Monica!  Susan lost some money on that bet!

Next up
...more meetings, work, training, eating, sleeping, and repeat!  Awesome time - I LOVE this time of year!!!   Next week, we'll be crashing with the family down at the Jersey shore.  I can't wait to run the nephews ragged!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Perspective – High Cliff 70.3 Race Report

My first triathlon race of the season was on Saturday up at High Cliff State Park.  Heading into this race, the pace of life has been a little faster than my comfort zone.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to bail on the Kansas 70.3 race last weekend to squeeze another week of training and to get excited about racing.

For this race, it's hard not to talk about the end before the beginning. In the car ride home, Susan told me how she saw a guy getting pulled out of the swim. Later that night, I read the news the triathlete didn't survive.  A married father of two, my heart has been terribly heavy for the Witmer family. 

Considering what that family is going through post-race, reflecting on my race day seems trivial.  Arriving at the start line and crossing the finish line healthy are really the only factors that matter in this race and every race.  I’m pretty sure I’ll never hit a podium spot and (thank God!) I’m not dependent on this sport for putting a roof over my head and food on the table.  I do it for the fun, to challenge myself, and to live a healthy life style.  The only real reason I take a moment to write a race report is so I can learn from my experience.  

The goal for this race was to go in with no expectations, have a fun race, stick to my nutrition plan, and see how the times pan out...and move forward from there.

After setting up transition, we walked down to the water and the lake looked smooth as glass. The buoys for the sprint race looked really, really short and the course marked for the 1/2 distance looked really, really long, but I was hoping it was an optical illusion!  I was counting the buoys out, over, and back and was a little concerned that the ones on the way back were very tiny.  

I was in Wave 11 which the waves were grouped with about 50 athletes based on when you signed up.  I thought wave 11 was the last wave, but I was happy there were a couple of more ½ iron waves behind me before the sprint waves went off.

When my wave went off, it wasn't too bad. The water was extremely shallow at the start, so there was some water jogging...then we started swimming. It doesn't matter how many open water swims I do, first race of the season I always have a problem with anxiety and getting settled into the swim. Had I known I was going to bail on Kansas, I probably would have squeezed in one of the sprint/Olympic races in the past couple of weeks just to get the race jitters out of the system, but I didn’t, so I had to deal with it. After cornering the far end I felt like I was finally getting into a rhythm the lake started to get choppy. I’ve swam in tougher conditions, but when a chop comes up like that, it took a little more focus to stay relaxed and get the swim done.  If the buoys on the way back in had been the same as the way out, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but spotting on little tiny balloons in the water was a challenge.  I seem to have stayed on course and my Garmin says a 1.4 swim.  Based on the first race and the conditions, my time being a couple minutes more than I was expecting is an ok starting point.

Right out of the T1, there is huge 3/4 mile hill.  Some say it's a cat 5, I'll believe whatever they say.  Overall, I loved the bike course. It doesn't have killer hills that pop up like the IM Madison course, but it's not boring flat like riding around Chicago.  The wind that caused the chop on the swim was out on the bike course and made it interesting.  Nutrition wise, I practiced what I planned.  I was happy with my bike split until I looked at the Garmin data.  This was as probably the most fun I've had on the bike in a while, but I still have a lot of work to do on my cadence to get myself set up for a great run. 

The course kindly integrated running up the same hill that started the bike route.  Fun stuff.  Then it led into a 6 mile trail loop to complete twice.  Besides the thunderstorm and torrential downpour in the middle of the woods, it was a pretty nice course through the park. 

In triathlon, the phrase gets tossed around often: "There's no such thing as a good bike followed by a bad run."  Without a doubt, I’m 100% on board with the theory.  In the case of the run in this race, it was pretty much a disaster, but wasn’t caused by anything that happened or could have been controlled on the bike.  Essentially, it was about a 13.1 mile walk.  I would rather have a slow jog over having to walk as much as I was forced to do on that segment of the race, but some days it’s just about getting to the finish line, not quitting, and not giving a $@#* what people think about your time.

My official results: 
Swim - 47:00
T1 - 3:39.1
Bike - 3:10
T2 - 5:10
"Run" - 2:57
Time: 7:04

I’ve completed 5 half iron distance races now, and even with having the challenge I had which turned the run into a walk to get to the finish, it was still better than three other 1/2 iron races.  I know it doesn’t speak a lot to those times, but I'll take care of my run issue and I head into my next training block for Racine 70.3 with the confidence that I’m going to have a great race.  This race wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t a PR, it wasn’t one I really wanted to “write home about”, but I’m still here to do it again.  The gift of life…I’ll take it.

Once again, a HUGE shout out to my incredible supporter, SusieQ!  Just when I think it’s a long day for me, I think of how long of a day it was for her…and I’m so incredibly grateful for her encouraging words and all of the support she gives.  Not to mention, if I had to pay someone for all of the car loading, unloading, driving, food preparing, answering the random stupid questions I ask (often repetitively) with the patience of a saint…I would be broke!  :-)

There are not any good pictures from the run or finish, so I'm going to end with two pictures I took of Bixby on my trainer in the past couple of weeks.  She's my indoor cheer leader and no matter how the race turns out, coming home to her I always have a smile on my face.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


4.5 weeks ago kicked off a bit of a crazy time with a car accident, rolling into some unpleasant dental stuff, fighting off a cold, and topped out with some long, hectic hours at work for a project deployment. It's been a challenge to plug through and "think" positive and I am so ready to get back to my regular routine!

This weekend was the break I needed - it was AWESOME! Besides falling asleep at the dinner table Friday night (and everyone left me there to sleep) was a nice, relaxing weekend!

We had a couple reasons to go out to NJ:
1. Celebrate my Dad's 70th birthday
2. Spend some time with my adorable nephews (and family!)
3. Support my sister running a 5k

Celebrating my Dad's birthday was a blast! Some family came over Saturday night for some great food. We had given my dad an iPad which he was so excited about all weekend - it was so cute hearing him tell us the new things he was figuring out!

I'm not quite sure I would have the energy chasing these guys around, but my two nephews crack me up. When Susan picked up our packets for the Shamrock Shuffle, she was given pineapple hats and sunglasses. So in order for the guys to get their Easter stuff from "Chicago" we made them be pineapples:

Saturday morning, SusieQ and I headed out Johnson Park to support and join Lisa running a 5k.  It was her 2nd 5k and she's been following a training plan so it was a blast to run along with her.

We tried to get Lisa to wear a super hero t-shirt with us, but she said she "forgot" so we called her the NIKE-Just-Do-It-Hero.  Most of the 5k's in Chicago start really early because streets are closed, but since this one was small and on the park road, it started at 10am. It was nice because my parents were able to head up with my nephews to watch.

It was Lisa's 2nd 5k and she ran the whole time! I'm so proud of her! There's a fitness group on Facebook with some of her friends and several are in the process of training for their first 5k or for other distances for the first time. It's so motivating to hear people setting goals and going after them - I just love it.

As Lisa was leaving the house Saturday morning, her 5 year old asked her "So can you tell me why you are in the running?". My parents are retired now and they are in a routine and go to the gym several days a week and look forward to it. I think it's awesome my nephews get to see you can still have fun playing as an adult. Well, at least that's the way I look at my workout/training time. It's my time to play and have fun!

Now back in Chicago, I'm rested, feeling healthy, and ready to get back to the routine and get training 100% back on track! Kansas 70.3 kicks off my triathlon season in 8 weeks. I'm going to be ready to rock in Lawrence!

Congrats Lisa on your 5k! Happy Birthday Dad!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gratitude...Keep it Simple

One day I was in a tough patch and a wonderful woman named Meri came to visit me.  Before she left she gave me a suggestion "Why don't you try making a gratitude list?  I think it might make you feel better."  I  had been instructed to do that many, many times before that.  But since she had taken the effort to come visit me, I thought the least I could do was TRY to write a gratitude list.  And she was right.  It worked - it made me feel slightly better.  And under the circumstances I was in at the time, "slightly better" was a huge jump.

It's been several years and during that time Meri has passed to go do work with the angels...or whatever good things happen after this life.  When I hit the little speed bumps or don't understand the "life on life's terms" stuff, I can still hear her voice "Why don't you try making a gratitude list?  I think it might make you feel better." When I shrug off the action of making the list and just sit in the thought "Things are fine.  Things will be ok.  Things could be worse." I feel stuck.  When I make the gratitude list, the magic happens - I feel better.

Most times, the "magic" doesn't make me understand the why and how, somethings aren't meant to be understood, but it gives me enough to get out of myself and know things pass - for better or worse.  In the past couple of weeks, I've ridden over more than my desired share of the little speed bumps and making the gratitude list has helped me keep a lot in perspective.     
What does all of this have to do with my current Ironman training?  A LOT! 

Ever since I started training for triathlons, it's given me a healthy escape and a great way to help focus and balance my time.  I absolutely love "gym rat" time in the strength room, zoning out chasing the black line in the pool, covering "miles" on a run, and hitting the bike either on the trainer...or preferably on the road!  After a rough start to the week last week, I had one of the best (and longest) training weeks since peak week for IM training in August and was feeing AWESOME. Then Wednesday driving home from work, I was rear-ended and slammed into the stopped car infront of me.  The first day was pretty easy to write the gratitude list, but not being able to get my normal routine and training in seems to throw me off.  I'm taking it easy and taking directions of when to ease back into things...and loud and clear I can hear my head say "Why don't you try making a gratitude list?  I think it might make you feel better."  So I thank all the little angels that look over me and now it's time to again write that Gratitude List....

Happy Training...I can't wait to be back at it NEXT week!  In the meantime, I'll be busting out the cheerleader outfit for Sunday to cheer Susan at the March Madness 1/2 Marathon Race.  Goooooooooo SuuuuussieQQQQQQQQQQQQQ!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ready, Set, Race...

Last year at the Phoenix 1/2 marathon in January, a friend mentioned the Austin 1/2 marathon/marathon.  I always wanted to go to Austin, so without much thinking, I blindly signed up for the race that was a couple of weeks out.  About a week before the race, I took a look at the course map and realized the course was hilly.  Finishing the race last year in 2:19 was a little disappointing, but running in the pancake land of Chicago, the Austin hills were a shock.  I managed to stay away from the negatives and making excuses and focused on the positives: 
  • I had done a better job with nutrition than the previous race in Phoenix.
  • I learned about taking pacing more seriously.
  • I finally understood why understanding the course layout ahead of time was important.
The couple of issues pointed me in the right direction for getting ready for Ironman training.

My race schedule for 2012 is essentially the same as last year.  I feel like I’m repeating kindergarten…in a good way!  Once again it’s taking on a couple of big challenges and having to stick to the basics and keep it simple. 

My first goal for the year was to break 2 hours for the first time for a ½ marathon.  Some people think trying to PR the first race of the year in February is ridiculous, and there may be some truth to that, but beyond their words, I still like to believe the quote:

"The more goals you set - the more goals you get."
- Mark Victor Hansen

I knew the course was hilly...

And I knew my typical Evanston/Chicago routes were extremely flat!

Heading into the race, I felt pretty confident with my race plan to get me to my goal, but once again, I under estimated hills.  Between the hills and working through a couple of mental issues, I finished in 2:10.

I wouldn't be an athlete if I didn't get a little upset with myself when I didn't reach my set goals.  But this is the first race of the season and I will let this disappointment "fuel" me to get a little more out of the upcoming weeks and months.

Avoiding excuses, I try to look at the truth of the situation, and this one was pretty simple:
  1. I could have integrated better “hill” training in prep for this race, but I have a hard time running on the treadmill.  I should have opted to run the Evanston parking garage more often during my training runs.  Driving out to the suburbs to find a hilly route would have tacked on an extra 2 hours to the training time.  In the past couple of months, that just didn't fit with all the balls I'm currently juggling.
  2. I improved 9 minutes on the course.  Maybe my goal of taking off 19+ minutes may have been a little too aggressive...for this course.
  3. After looking at my Garmin "statistics" it was a much more consistent and better effort than last year.  I am seeing improvement in some of the areas that I have been working on.  Some more hard work and a little patience, and I'll definitely be hitting those goals and writing new ones. 
My "take aways" from this race...

Don't underestimate packing for running events
Since running is only 1/3 of a triathlon, I seem to have put 1/3 of an effort into my packing for the weekend.  I didn't pack the shorts I intended to run in (a.k.a. my "Happy shorts") and forgot to pack my back-up shorts, so ended up running in my "lounging" shorts.  

Positive Thinking
By default, I'm not a "glass is half full" type of person.  So when I hit a speed bump in a race - or in this case 3 at one time - I really need to have some positive mantras ready to get my head shifted back and focused quickly.  On Sunday's race I did an ok job getting the thoughts switched, but the swing physically created quite a physical hurdle.

My Awesome Family!
There's nothing like being surrounded by the "LIVESTRONG" environment that helps me reset my perspective on what really is important.  Mile 9 of the course is covered with people dressed in yellow and cheering people on.  Heading up a hill to mile 10 a woman stood on the side of the road cheering with a sign “You are running for ME!”  It made me think of the true race heros - ones like my mom (a.k.a. “Muzz!”) that have battled the marathon course of cancer and have come through as winners.  My mom and others that I've seen courageously fight the fight have shown me what it really takes to “suit up and show up”.  Love you Muzz!  And to my friend Anne who recently started the battle…I really want to see her kick cancer’s a$$.

Congrats to Susan for running an AWESOME race...and unfortunately being slowed down by me in her moments of encouragement and kindness!  We had such a great weekend in Austin and had fun catching up with one of our favorite running buddies! 

As Wayne Gretsky said  "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."  Whether it’s an athletic, career, or personal goal I set, I can guarantee you that I will not limit myself to where I have been!

“…I CAN do ANYTHING.”  - Lori B.  J