Good Natured Mom

We are all just walking each other home. -Ram Dass


Sacred Running

I woke up to some sad news Saturday morning. One of the members of my triathlon community suffered the most unthinkable loss this week. Her teenage son committed suicide. We learned this through our facebook group – an uplifting, positive sort of virtual community of (mostly) women (moms) who share triathlon tips, advice and support. This mom shared her gut wrenching news and said she felt selfish about her own training – that maybe she should have been more present for her son. I hurt for her to have this thought in her head. God only knows the kind of suffering her son endured and why this sad ending occurred.

Our facebook community, a group of strangers to this woman and in many ways, to each other, embraced her and sent their prayers and healing thoughts. They facebook hugged, comforted with messages and prayers and sent all sorts of healing love. Many in this community dedicated their workouts  and races this weekend to her in a show of unity and support. One rode 100 miles on her bike  trainer (indoors) and others ran in the oppressive heat. They did triathlons with #hugsforCara tattooed on their arms in permanent marker as a constant reminder to pray and channel love toward her. All of this as a form of communal prayer for our hurting sister.

This kind of communal caring lifted her up. We turned our runs, or swims, or bike rides into prayer and focused on “other” and not “self”. The love generated from these sacred workouts came as we transferred our personal physical pain and discomfort and sent healing thoughts to another. We ached for our friend and tried in the only way we could to ease her pain.

Our community comes together as a forum to discuss triathlon and all its facets, plus family, work and everything else that happens along the way and how we manage to keep it all together. We accomplish that and we learn so much from each other. And when one of our group sends out an SOS, we answer in the most meaningful way….through our sacrificial sweat and pain and miles and miles of triathlon.


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Reconnecting with the kids

This summer isn’t officially over, but for me it took a sharp turn this weekend. Kiddos number 3 and 4 return from their summer jobs by way of a trip to Boston. Tim and I have enjoyed our gloriously empty nest and yet there is nothing like the joy I experience when my babies return home.

In early June we dropped number 4 off at his summer camp job in Maine. On the way home we camped a few nights in Maine and New Hampshire, ate some of the best fresh seafood on the planet, rode our bikes along the seashore and then through mountain notches. It was quiet and peaceful when we returned to our CNY homestead. Just the dog and us for two and 1/2 months.

In the summer the kids are fairly remote and have limited cell service, so we don’t hear from them on a regular basis. Each time we do, it is a moment to treasure. Well, usually. Sometimes number 3 will have a stressful work situation that needs to be discussed and managed, or number 4 will drop a life changing bombshell on us (I’m quitting school to be an organic farmer), but mostly our conversations are about the daily goings on and the weather and what they did on their days off. In the past Tim and I have taken vacations near their work so we can visit each one for an afternoon and have some precious face time. Not this summer. And its been a long spell to go without seeing these guys.

Over the weekend we drove to Boston for number 1’s finance’s bridal shower; a rare opportunity for all 4 kids and parents to be together, and to bring the young’uns home. The reunion was like salve to my soul. I missed all four terribly and needed to lay eyes on them to see that they were healthy and whole. The kids have their own special, crazy dynamic. They share inside jokes and laugh together. There is no better way for me to relax and let down then by having them near and listening to them reconnect. Pure joy.

In two days we deliver the younger two to their respective colleges. Two more days to have my youngest babies near. To feed them well and love them up and grab as many hugs as I possibly can before they are gone. Another chance to fill them up with unsolicited mother wisdom… to make sure they have what they need before I am too far away to save them from the evils that lurk.

Two of the kids are home for now and I am a happy with melissa and eddie 2013

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Cazenovia Triathlon Race Report

Caz Lake 08102014I have so many thoughts swirling in my head about last Sunday’s  Caz Tri that its best if I spill them all out here before I forget the moments that made this race such a great Type 2 Fun  experience.

Race Preview
Cazenovia is an easy venue for me to get to. Its about 40 minutes from my house which means I can ride the notoriously hilly bike course before the big day. Figuring out which gears to climb with helps settle some pre race nerves. So, the week before the race,  I biked the long course with my buddies KR (super biker and runner) and  JB (the ever optimistic Iron(Wo)man).  We headed out and hit one big hill, turned onto a nice fast stretch of road and the clouds opened up with rain, thunder and lightening. Game over – we bagged the ride for another day. JB and I  made out second attempt later that week on a glorious afternoon and this time hit both big uphills…the second one – a category 5 climb! And…I managed the descents without crashing.  Success all around! Gears and confidence intact, we headed toward the lake for our second preview of the day – the swim.

We battled headwinds on the bike, but the winds at the lake were even stronger, which gave us some monster waves to swim through. The first 10 minutes, swimming with the current was no problem. But JB and  I knew swimming back against the whitecaps  would be  rough and exhausting. We bobbled our way back through the waves and were relieved to be done for the day. I could only hope for a calm day on Sunday or I’d be hanging on each and every kayak and marker in my path.

Race Day

No worries, though. Come Sunday, the weather was calm and slightly cool…perfect conditions for me on race day. Tim and I arrived in town sufficiently early for him to run with his friend while I set up my stuff, got my chip and got body marked.

Coach Matt set some goals for me, which is really good because I tend to have a “I’m just happy to be here” attitude. He told me to win my age group and to have fun doing it. Sigh… pressure. This race has a small field, especially in my age group, so placing was a sure thing. But first place? Not such a sure thing…I almost always get passed on the run. Still  I wanted to see if I could pull it off; to see if Coach Matt knew more about the triathlete in me than I did; and to make my own goal of finishing in under 3 hours.

The Swim – Water was calm, chilly and there were about 30 people in my wave. There was plenty of room for us to spread out and not blast each other with flailing arms and legs. I started out in the second row and got sucked up into the fast swimmer vortex. My breathing was off and for the first time ever I started to have a mini panic attack. After pulling back a little, my rhythm returned and I swam strong and relaxed. Swim time 33:28 (.9 mile).

swim start

T1 – Transition is a loooong way from the water and I think the swim time includes my run from the swim out. Decent transition time considering the time spent picking grass off my feet before putting on my bike shoes. Helmet on, sunglasses on, run to the road and I’ moff.  T1 time 1:29.

The Bike – I knew enough to hold back on the first loop so I could fly on the second, but I may have held back more than I needed to. The hill on Hoffman Road was painless, and I didn’t fall on the Ridge Road descent… but I forgot about that nasty, long climb on East Lake Road. Thank you to the Fleet Feet gang for chalking up the roads with encouragement!

The second loop includes the Chard Road monster hill. After climbing that bad boy I let out a whoop! Thank you Matt for those horrible work outs, and thank you me for doing them. What an awesome moment! I hate hills and that one did NOT get the best of me. Bike time: 1:20 (24 miles)

T2 – Sailed through easily and headed out on the run. T2 time: 1:13

The Run – I never previewed the run and heard this out and back course was uphill on the way out and down hill toward the finish. After holding  back on the first 5k, maybe more than I should have, I picked it up on the second half and finished strong. I was worried about having the legs to run 10k after a tough bike ride and I should have had more confidence in my training. I finished under 3 hours and was happy about that…but I wondered if I could have been stronger… Run time 57:49

My overall time was 2:54. I’m happy with that as a first attempt at a  hilly intermediate distance.

Take A ways

Consistent training pays off. Especially when coupled with proper nutrition and rest. Have faith.

Don’t let the demons beat you down. The negative voices are not real…they mess with your confidence and are not your friend.

Enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something difficult.

Be brave.

Go for it – always… and never give up.


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Bolder Inspiration 5 miler – Race Report

Trenton Falls

So I ran this little race yesterday. Hosted by good friend, Rich Karaz of The Sneaker Store, this gem of a race is run on the tree lined, dirt roads in Trenton Falls. Rich tops the entries out at 250, and the event is as intimate as a backyard party. Stunningly beautiful, quiet, lush…streams, meadows, blue sky and deep dark shade…its all there to immerse yourself in.

The course  starts off with a long, steep climb and then levels out to some gentle rolling hills with a nice downhill finish. I ran this race in 2012 and recall some serious huffing and puffing, side holding and maybe even a little walking.  It’s a tough course. I ran it with a friend that year and she left me at the downhill because I was moving so slowly. It took me almost an hour to run 5 miles, and I suffered the whole way. My “training” was geared toward the three sprint triathlons I was doing that summer and there wasn’t much running in my program. But I love Trenton Falls and wanted to run farther than I had in my other races so I gave it a whirl. And I promised I’d come back and do run it again.

Yesterday was redemption day for me at the Bolder Inspiration. Since the fall of 2013 my training has been thorough and consistent and it paid off. No huffing or puffing on the big hill. Rather, a steady tempo up, up, up and a push at the top. And I felt strong…really strong.  I could feel the difference in legs from before… maybe not be much faster – I wasn’t sure about pace…but the hills took less out of me than they did in 2012. Redemption… that was all I wanted out of BI this year. To prove to myself that I can get stronger and more fit as I age… that it’s not over after 40 (or 50!)… that there are new thresholds to reach and goals to attain.