Thursday, June 26, 2008

When ye have done it unto one of the least of these thy brethren (or sisters)...

There's a reason that we are encouraged to serve in our church.  It makes us feel better.  

My day did not start out well.  I won't go into the endless details, but suffice it to say I was irritated, frustrated and mad.  

A good friend of mine's daughter is getting married tomorrow.  At her bridal shower earlier this week, I asked her if she needed help with anything for the wedding.  She said she'd let me know.

She called yesterday and asked if I'd help her make the base for the punch slushie.  No problem.  She showed up yesterday afternoon with 9 grocery bags, full of pineapple juice, orange juice, lemonade and 75 bananas.  Hmmm, I thought.  This ought to be interesting...

I got home this afternoon, and had a message on my machine asking if I might possibly be able to help her make some spice bars as well.  I hadn't started on the punch yet, and had a long list of other things that needed to be done.  But I could sense her need, and rather reluctantly (to myself, not to her...) agreed to help.  Again, she delivered the ingredients, pans and instructions.

I got started with the punch at about 3:00 this afternoon and mixed the last batch at 6:30.  My freezer is now packed full of the ziploc bags of punch. 

The 3rd of 4 batches of bars is now baking in the oven.  My house is filled with a yummy spice scent.  I still have to let them cool and make the glaze, but the end is in sight.

Miraculously enough, about halfway through the punch making, I noticed I wasn't feeling irritated anymore.  In fact, I felt joyful.  I wasn't irritated with my noisy, dirty kids.  I wasn't mad at my hubby.  I felt happy, and blessed to be able to help out a friend in a time of need.  

So next time I get mad or frustrated, rather than stew in it, I will find something I can do to help someone else, as it's the sure cure for the blues. 

Friday, June 20, 2008

The place where dreams come true!

This past weekend, I competed in the Danskin Women's Triathlon, held at Disneyland!  How fun is that?

We drove down Friday afternoon (school's!).  Saturday morning was spent getting registered, then relaxing by the pool at Steve's mom's house.  

Sunday morning, I was out of the house at 4:40 to get set up and ready by 5.  Steve, Joyce and the kids came 6am.  

I was in the 8th wave, starting at 6:21.  The swim was in the lagoon at California Adventure - a body of water that had never been swam in before!  It was 80 degrees wetsuit required!

There were 1600 women participating in the race.  The lagoon was not big.  We went out in waves of 100, 3 minutes apart.  It was a little like herding cattle.
I was surprised at how many beginner swimmers there were and I came across more than one who was just floating on their back, "resting".  
It was tough trying to swim over/under/around them.  I was competitive, and was not into a leisurely swim.  I was trying to kick butt.  

After the swim, I hopped on my bike for a quick 10 mile ride.  No problem.

Then the run started - I ran out of the transition area, snapping on my number as I went.  I didn't quite realize how quickly I was running, and kept up the pace as I ran through the streets of California Adventure.  It was so cool to see all the behind-the-scene stuff as the park was not yet open.

When the finish line came into view, I picked up the pace even more and crossed the finish line with a smile.  I stopped my watch and looked to see my time:  1 hour, 12 minutes and 37 seconds!  I couldn't believe it.  I had hoped to finish in an hour and a half...!  My ranking was a bit better than my race last weekend.  I placed 334 out of 1600!  And my run time was 19:37, which meant that I did 2.5 miles at a pace of just under an 8 minute mile.  An all time record for me.

As I was beaming at the finish line, proud of my time and accomplishment, I watched the women finishing after me.  Women of all shapes, sizes and ages.  I watched one very large woman running across the finish line, with a sign on her back that said "I'm running against my will".  Do you get the double meaning there?  I was touched.  I saw a woman with severely deformed legs, doing her best to run across the finish line.  I cried.  This race was really an opportunity for women to realize their biggest dreams.  It didn't matter what size they were.  Or whether or not they were athletic and fit.  What mattered was that they did it.  

My adversities in life may seem big at times.  But when compared with so many others, I have no reason to complain.   I have wonderful friends, wonderful kids, a husband I adore, a healthy & strong body...the list goes on and on.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On my way to Beijing...

Over the weekend, I competed in the San Jose International Triathlon - my first Olympic distance race.  It was so much fun!  

In training, I had done each event separately, but never the entire distance of all three together, so I was a little nervous for the actual event.   

Leaving the house at 4:35 am to pick up my friend Amber, who was also doing it with me, I thought I had to be out of my mind.  The whole drive down to San Jose, I was ready to throw up.  Squeezing into my wetsuit, I could barely breathe.  I had my transition area all set up and ready for quick changes.  I was terrified.

When the gun went off for us to start swimming, a new calm came over me and I took a deep breath and jumped in.  My swim strokes were smooth, my breathing was even and I flew threw the water.  I finished the mile swim in 28 minutes - a record for me.  My fastest training time in the pool was 34 minutes, and in a lake was 46 minutes.  I was shocked when I looked at my watch and saw how much I'd shaved off my time!

I jumped on the bike, dripping wet, and started pedaling.  About 2 miles in, my spedometer/odometer quit working, making the 26 mile bike ride impossible to track.  I knew there was one big hill, but I had no idea when to expect it because I didn't know how far I'd gone.  When I suspected it was coming, I shifted down, hunkered down and kept going.  I saved 2 more gears, for when it got really steep.  With each pedal rotation, I whispered a new adjective describing myself, to keep me going.  I never had to use those two bottom gears, and when I got to the top, I let out a giant "WOO HOO" and began flying down the backside of the hill.  

The run was a little tougher, as I had been going for 2 hours and 20 minutes by the time it started.  The sun was beating down pretty hot, and I was getting hungry too.  I downed a couple of energy shots, put on my headphones (against the rules, but the only thing to keep me going at that point) and started running.  

When the finish line was in sight, I picked up the pace a bit and did as close to sprinting as possible at that point!  When I crossed it, I actually felt great, and wasn't ready to die!!!

Now, a few days later, it seems a bit of a dream, and I still can't believe I did it.  Sure, I've got a long ways to go to make the US Olympic Team - but in my mind, I'm a member of an elite group of athletes, who can actually say they've completed an Olympic Distance Triathlon.

My finish time was 3:28:23 - I placed 7th in my wave!  I won't tell you how many were in my wave, because that ruins a bit of the impact.  I just like to say I finished 7th!!! 

This weekend's sprint distance race at Disneyland will be a piece of cake.  I can't wait!

I'll post pictures as soon as they're available.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Little Nacho Libre

The "potty-training" continues...and is a lot of work.  Grant is still in diapers most of the time, but we did buy him some special Elmo undies this week to wear around the house.  He LOVES them, and insists on wearing multiple pairs at a time.  

I'm still not convinced that he's really on the road to being diaper-free, but as long as the interest is there, I might as well go along with it.

Here he is, impersonating Jack Black in the movie Nacho Libre:

Do you see the resemblance?

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Olivia had her first swim meet yesterday (and to update you, Jack decided to wait until next year - good choice, I think).  It was FREEZING cold.  Steam was coming off the pool, which was only about 75 degrees warm.  

Olivia swam 4 events - Backstroke in the Medley relay, 25m Freestyle, 25m Butterfly and leg 3 of the Freestyle Relay.  

Last year, when Olivia swam butterfly, she looked a bit like an epileptic fish.  It's a tough stroke, and hard to make it look graceful.

Yesterday was another story.  Here's the video of Olivia, smoking the competition.

She spent the time between events curled up under as many towels as possible, trying to stay warm, with a giant smile on her face.  Four hours of waiting, for about 2 minutes of swim time.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.