Podium Finish!!!

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The race was yesterday. Yes, I actually came in 3rd in my age group. It was a phenomenal experience to actually have my name called, step up to the podium, get a glass to commemorate the experience, and have a fireman help me up and down (because I needed it!)

The morning was cold – it was 44º when I left my house!  By the time I got to the lake, it was around 50º.  After I had set up my transition area, I found I wasn’t cold at all, and stripped off the jacket and yoga pants.  I really lucked out as far as the bike rack. I somehow chose the rack with the oldest person in the race!  My new friend Rachel is 76 years old, and absolutely wonderful.  I also met others in my age group and older.  What camaraderie we older women have!  I love having our ages in big bold black numbers on the back of our legs.

As I suspected, the swim was not the greatest.   I just didn’t train enough.  But my time was still quite good.  They grouped the Athenas with the women over 55 for my wave.  So you have a bunch of old ladies greatly outnumbered by a group of women who weigh over 165.  I have nothing against the weight – but these are mostly young women.  They were so much more aggressive than the over 55 crowd.  Several of us felt we just got mowed down.  And I wouldn’t really mind getting mowed down by someone who is truly faster than me, but when they run over you to pass you and then flip on their backs to rest after they have passed – it is annoying because it is a big effort to get around them.   That would be my only negative feedback about the race.  Otherwise it was just spectacular.

One of my fears was realized when I fell!  I actually fell in the transition area while trying to put my socks on.  I knocked down several bikes and almost took the whole rack down.  Thankfully, I did not get injured and I did not damage anything.  Yikes.  Next time I will bring a bucket to sit on as a few others did.

Then I got to hop on my new bike!  Oh, what fun I had on the bike ride!  My time was good for the ride.  I felt so happy and strong.

At the finish of the bike ride, I hopped off the bike and started running.  This is usually the most difficult portion of the race.  I think I actually did enough bricks while training to be able to do this without too much difficulty.   Within the first quarter mile, I ran into my 76 year old friend and we stayed together throughout the run.  She thanked me for keeping her on pace, and I thanked her right back because I KNOW I would never have kept it up without her.  She finished just ahead of me.  I felt super good about the run, and the race in general.

This was the nicest race I have ever participated in.  It was small, only three hundred some finished.  Everyone was so friendly and supportive.  All of the race staff, the volunteers, and even the other racers were encouraging, supportive, and helpful.

The race t-shirt is even nice!!!!!!  Very pretty and it actually fits!!!  There was a nice swag bag which included a pint glass.  The prize for placing in my age group was a pretty little glass, which I will treasure.

I’m still on cloud nine.  I hope it lasts more than a day.  I feel strong and healthy and goooood.  I also feel the sisterhood of older women.  It is so powerful.  With our ages marked on our legs, Rachel and I ran along.  People would pass by, or be passed by us, and say “76 and 66!  Wow!”  Yeah, wow.  I really feel, deep in my bones, how special this is.  How fortunate I am to have the good health to be able to do this.

I am so grateful.

Posted in Aging, Bicycle, Friends, Gratitude, Health, Race, Swimming, Triathlon | 7 Comments

Training Dementor

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That’s my dirty leg after stopping and talking to someone on my bike.  I guess I should try to steer clear of the chain…. who knew?

On Monday I had a date for a bike ride with a triathlon coach.  She turned out to be the “Training Dementor”.  She took all the joy and fun and confidence and left fear and dread in their place.  Oh dear God, how I wish I hadn’t done that.  I was feeling positive and confident, and then in less than 2 hours with her, I was wondering how much I could get for my bike if I sold it now…. if I could just go to the expo and pick up the shirt for the race and not do it…  Wondering what ever got into me as a 65 year old woman (with osteoporosis no less) to have the gall to even attempt a triathlon.

I’m not confident about my swim time.  I have spent too much time in open water – where I don’t know exactly what the distance is – and not enough time in the pool swimming exact lengths.  This is the opposite of what I usually do.

I thought I was fine on the bike, but now I am all nervous about drafting and not passing quick enough.  Two problems I have never had on any of my previous 10 triathlons.  I am nervous about how I will drink water while riding.  Another thing I have never had a problem with, by the way.

The run will be slow, but I know I can do it.

There is a pretty good likelihood that I will come in dead last.  Not only on paper, but in the chute.  The waves are set up so that the oldest people go last.  There are only 4 people in the 65-69 age group, and one person in the 70+ age group.  Usually the old folks are not doing tris unless they are very good.  It’s the ladies in their 30s and 40s who decide to do these races for “fun” and don’t train… and do miserably, if they even finish.

Oh! And the craziest thing ever!!!!!  We have record breaking heat all week.  But on Saturday, race day, the high is supposed to be 61º and it is supposed to be rainy and thunderstormy.  Hopping into a lake, without a wet suit, on a 50 degree morning is kind of hard, but the harder part is getting out of the water and hopping on a bike when you are soaked to the skin and cold.  Fun on a hot day, miserable on a cold day.  AND!  I bought the cutest sleeveless jersey for the race, which I may not even wear.

AND I don’t know what I am doing for race nutrition.  AND I don’t have a hat for the run.

OK, I will get over these things.  I will work on being grateful to even be able to participate, regardless of where I finish.  I will be grateful for a body that can fit into cute clothes, even if I can’t wear them on race day.  I will do what I usually do and pray to be of service on the course, if only with a smile and a word of encouragement.  I will thank all the volunteers.  I will be grateful for the day.  No matter what it brings.

This is the only way I can approach this right now.

Posted in Aging, Bicycle, Clothes, Fear, Gratitude, Race, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Weather | 14 Comments

Too Much Wonderfulness…

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Don Juan Rose that I moved two years ago… I thought it was dead.  Apparently not!

I have had the most wonderful weekend.  On Friday night I was invited to the Governor’s Mansion to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the program I worked in when I worked downtown.  I was the first analyst in the program, and they wanted me to be there.  It was so wonderful to see people I knew in that job as well as my 20+ year career at the hospital.  I saw old bosses who still love me, and old co-workers who were so happy to see me.   I really forget how I had a great career for a long time – until it wasn’t anymore. But I am still remembered fondly by many, and that is probably as good as it gets in the long run.  Oh, I did some important things, and I am glad of that, but after a while, all you leave are memories.  I am glad most of them are good.

Yesterday I got to see a dear old friend who moved away 20 years ago.  I have gone to various places, like San Francisco and Tucson, over the years to visit him.  He was here to visit his mom and was kind enough to let me know.  We spent yesterday together.  He once called me his “soul-mate,” and I still believe we are in many ways.  He also once had a dream that we were driving on I-70 through the mountains with our friends, but our vehicle had only 3 wheels.  I thought that was a perfect illustration of our relationship.   It was not “meant to be” romantically, but as far as friends go, he is one of my closest.  We can go years without seeing each other, and just pick up where we left off.  Yesterday we shared updates that people do.  “how are the kids?”  “where are they living?”  “how’s the job,” etc.  But mostly, we talked heart to heart about our lives, our deepest longings and disappointments.  We both shed tears over many things.

He sobered up a few months after me, and we have known each other all this time.  32 years.  He just celebrated 32 years of sobriety.  I usually pass my chip down to him, but I forgot to bring it yesterday.  That’s OK.  It’s all good.

I am left feeling so grateful for so many blessings and beautiful relationships in my life.  The Grace of God is amazing.  I don’t have millions of people calling and clamoring for my attention these days, but I have enough.   It is so good to be reminded of the love.

God has been so very good to me.

Posted in Aging, Friends, Gratitude, History, Sobriety, Work | Leave a comment

Tobit

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A rose called “Love”

Today is the first anniversary of my sister’s death.   That was the single most painful day of my life, and believe me, it had lots of competition.  That phone call.  My screaming “NO! NO! NO!” to my poor nephew.  My weeping and sobbing in my office, which caused a couple of social workers in the building (I worked at a mental health center) to come and knock on my door to see if I was OK.  God bless them.  It was so hard to imagine that my sister could be gone.  It is still so difficult.  I am hoping that the passage of the complete year will help to take some of the sharp edges off the grief.

This morning I had mass said for her.  It was very beautiful.  I only cried one Kleenex worth, and felt relief that I didn’t totally lose it.

The Old Testament readings for this week are from the book of Tobit.  Oh, how I love this book.  (It is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, and is not found in all bibles.)  This morning we read the passage where Tobit prays to be stricken dead after his wife has insulted him.

Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish; let me go to the everlasting abode; Lord, refuse me not.  For it is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life, and to hear these insults!  — Tobit 3:6

Then we read on about Sarah, who has lost seven husbands, each on the wedding night, before any marriages were consummated. She is insulted by one of her father’s maids and also prays for death.

With hands outstretched toward the window, she prayed and said “Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God, and blessed is your holy and honored name for ever.  May all your works praise you for ever.  And now, O Lord, I have turned my eyes toward you.  Command that I be released from the earth and that I hear reproach no more.” — Tobit 3:11-13

Now, honestly, I would expect that God would hear this as whining and self-centeredness. That the Lord would not be impressed by these dramatics! Instead, we hear:

At that very moment the prayer of both was heard in the presence of the glory of the great God.  And Raphael was sent to heal the two of them.  — Tobit 3:16-17

God had mercy on them both and sent his Angel to do a whole lot of work to get everything straightened out.  Read the rest of the book to find out how – it’s really a wonderful story.

I was struck today by this mercy. This love. This willingness of God to listen to us and answer us even when we are being a little bit nuts.  He doesn’t say “Oh, calm down!”  or “Stop overreacting!”  He listens and cares.

I am so grateful for this.  xoxo

Posted in Grief, Mass, Prayer, Roses | 6 Comments

Sunday Morning

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I went out for a hike and trail run on Friday.  It is so gorgeous at this time of the year and with the amount of precipitation we have had.  I actually ran for a mile, and walked for another 3.  It felt freaking awesome!   Yesterday I realized I am 3 weeks out from my triathlon and freaked out a little.  I looked at the training plan (for the first time) and went out and did what was on the plan.  A 75 minute bike ride, followed by a 10 minute run.  It was not even difficult.  I feel so much better having done it.   I will try to stick with the training plan for the next couple of weeks.

This morning I researched clothing for the race.  Yes, I do have triathlon gear from years past.  No, they mostly no longer fit me.  The shorts do.  The tops do not.  Nothing looks worse than an X-Large shirt on a body that needs to be in a Medium.  Yes, you heard that here.  Medium.  I own exactly 2 size Medium tops.  So most of the time I wear clothes that look downright sloppy.  It sounds like a good problem to have, and of course, I am grateful I am not suffering from the opposite problem.  But I don’t have tons of money for a new wardrobe!  I did however purchase a new bike jersey this morning and oh my goodness, it is so beautiful!  Can’t wait to get it in the mail.

I am so grateful to be training for another triathlon.  I am so grateful to be feeling fit and healthy.  Even if my bones are porous and thin, I still feel strong.

After having a couple of weeks to process the osteoporosis diagnosis, I realized that I am complaining about something that is not a big problem relative to the other diagnoses that come with frequency at my age.   I don’t know why I thought I was so special I wouldn’t get anything.  I am not that special.  So this is what I have for now.  And I can keep right on plugging along, doing my best day by day.

By the Grace of God…. only by the Grace of God.

 

Posted in Aging, Bicycle, Clothes, Gratitude, Health, Training, Triathlon | 2 Comments

First Rose of 2017

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A mere twelve days ago, this rose was encased in snow and ice.  I cannot believe it persevered and is now a beautiful rose.  It is a fragrant cloud and lives up to its name.  Very beautiful aroma.  It is difficult to photograph because it is a lovely bright shade of red/pink/orange and usually ends up looking like a glow in the dark blob.  Yesterday was cloudy which enabled me to take the best pic of it ever.

This morning I am going to plant a little pumpkin patch in a corner of my back yard.  I have wanted to do this forever, and now will give it a go.  I have all kinds of things going on in my garden – hoping they will live and bear fruit (and vegetables).  One of the cucumbers has actually latched a tiny tendril to the trellis I thought I would have to coach it onto.  So excited to see that!

A quiet life is a good life.  I am currently reading “The Power of Silence Against the Dictatorship of Noise” by Robert Cardinal Sarah.  It is very thought provoking and may cause me to make radical changes – like unplugging the cable.  I don’t get ANY television here without cable, so it would be a real unplugging.  Not sure I can get the guts to do it, but I know it would be beneficial for me if I did.

In retirement, it is very tempting to sit down in front of the TV in the daytime.  My default channel is CNN.  Righteous indignation is a drug that seems to need more and more time and energy.  I do not believe in burying my head in the sand, but I don’t have to be living in minute by minute “breaking news” as this debacle unfolds.  As it is, I have a rule that the TV doesn’t get turned on until 5 p.m.  But I really wonder how much more peaceful my home would be if I just skipped it altogether.

I want peace.  I want quiet.  I want to watch the roses bloom.  I want to see tomatoes and zucchini and eggplant and cucumbers and herbs growing in my garden.  I want to pray.

I better get out in that garden and plant those little pumpkin plants!

I hope you all have a beautiful day.

 

Posted in Garden, Roses | 2 Comments

Memorial Day 2017

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The flag is flying for Memorial Day.  This “holiday” has taken on a significantly different meaning for me after my son served and lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan.   A good percentage of the men in my family have served in the military.  When tracing my ancestry back on my mother’s side, I got as far back as the revolutionary war… my many times great grandfather.  I know this will make me sound 100 years old, but I actually lost a cousin in WWII.  Long before I was born.  But he was a silent presence at my aunt’s home.

My triathlon is less than 4 weeks away.  I am almost ashamed to say that even though I am retired and have all the time in the world, I haven’t been diligent about my training.  Most days I would just rather hop on my treadmill for 70 minutes.  It gets my heart rate up, it makes me breathe hard, and sweat.  And I don’t have to go anywhere.  Oh, yes, I could become a hermit if I allowed myself that!

Swimming is the most challenging to me.  Part of the problem is that I know I could jump in the water and swim half a mile without training at all.  And my time wouldn’t be bad.  It wouldn’t be great either.  So I need to actually train.  But all the dressing and undressing in public, jumping into cold water, and needing to shower and wash my hair at the gym – it is all a lot of trouble.  Technically I could be doing open water swims at this date, but it has been so cold here, the water is frigid.   Maybe another week or two?

Biking is fine.  I love my new bike, but I do not love the seat on it.  I either have to get a new seat or get this one adjusted.  I can only ride my bike once a week because of the seat.  It takes six days to heal from an hour on that seat!  I will address it this week.

About the osteoporosis, I have had another week to process.  I am OK.  I don’t know where I ever got the idea that somehow I would age without facing any of the things that happen as you age.  It’s ridiculous.  I will do my level best with this, its all I can do.  I saw my sponsor last week who has had a severe case of osteoporosis for over 20 years…. she is old and frail, but she isn’t hunched over and that gives me hope.

I will try to start back at yoga again this week.  Over the weekend, I saw one of our blogger friends from the olden days – over 10 years ago when blogging was new and fresh and super fun.  She is a yoga teacher and reminded me of why yoga is so good.

And this morning?  Off to the pool!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Posted in Bicycle, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Yoga | 10 Comments