Sunday, September 23, 2007

Police Escort & a Perfect Fall Day

The Irongirl Duathlon was in Bloomington today. I was a little grouchy when the alarm went off this morning as the P2 gang got together for a little end of year social last night. It was a great time and I actually got to see poeple in street clothes for once! While I am totally bummed I couldn't compete at the Irongirl - I had a GREAT time volunteering. I was in a remote spot out on the bike. While it's hard to see everyone you want - I think I did get to see and cheer for my friends & teammates at least once. Luke's wife competed in her first Irongirl and was ROCKIN' the course! Yeah Kari! My friend Santi was out there too and she saw me before I even saw her.
It was a perfect, perfect day. Did I mention it was perfect? It was a little chilly at the start and then the sun beamed and it was warm. As the day progressed, the pile of jackets and fleece pullovers began to pile at my feet as the day got warmer.
Once the last biker made her way past me - the police office I had been speaking to asked me if I needed any help. Well......I would LOVE to get into part (which was restricted) so I don't have to hobble my way a total of 1/2 mile from the parking ramp to the park...."Never fear - policeman on motorcycle at your service." So I got a police escort through restricted areas and into the park. It was sort of fun. hee hee While I obviously didn't get to see any of my friends finish - I at least got to catch some of the awards as well watching and cheering for the few final finishers. It was awesome.
When I arrived home I noticed some people putting up a huge poster - It's a Boy! on our next door neighbors garage door. How fun! I have been so excited for them. I have to admit I was a little bummed - 'cuz I was hoping he would arrive on MY special day (today) but oh well. Apparently he was on his own time schedule. So - noticing I was smelling as if I had just raced myself, I jumped in the shower and no more than I jumped out - but my mum called to wish me a Happy Birthday. Yes - it's the Big Day so it was nice to hear from her and catch up on her comings/goings. We also talked about how the trees are beginning to turn and how fall is simply the most beautiful time of year.(of course it's beautiful mom - it's my b-day! duh!) :-) We reminisced a little about past birthdays. It was customary to spend time on my birthday weekend at a local apple orchard. My grandmother & I were extremely close and we used to buy fresh apples & grapes etc and I would help her make applie pies, crisp, fresh berry pie, etc etc. I spent countless hours with her in the kitchen - and it was the time I most looked forward to every year. My birthday was just reason. My grandmother ALWAYS gave me the same basket to me every year and it was filled with tons of fresh, local fruit and gladiolas. They were/are one of my favorite flowers. I miss that - since I've moved to MN, I haven't made it to an orchard yet. I've been after Mark.....maybe one of these days.
Later - I met up with my friends Santi and Trimama for a little Big Ten Action. (No - I don't mean college sports my friend) - Big Ten has the best subs and the most awesome hot wings. I normally don't get excited or even eat hot wings - but these are the best! We sat on their patio and conversed about the race season - likes/dislikes, future or even distant races as well as past events.
When I got home - I noticed I had some emails - and recieved some wonderful birthday messages from really wonderful people. It was very nice & thoughtful - and it brought smiles to my face.
Tonight - I actually get to spend some time with Mark (he's been entertaining friends in from out of town) and celebrate my birthday. Chances are - a good movie and maybe some ice cream sounds perfect.
So - not only was this a perfect fall day - it was a perfect day filled with fun, activity, retrospect and looking ahead to the future.
Thanks to all who sent B-day wishes. It made my day. Hats off to all who completed the Irongirl duathlon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

First Week Down - Physical Therapy and Finishing a Chapter

This is the first week after my hip surgery - and it hasn't been all that bad. :-) I had the surgery last Thursday and headed back to work w/crutches on Monday. Since I had just given my notice at my place of employment, I really didn't want to miss any work. I have to say - I wasn't all that productive - not that I didn't want to be, the drugs made it hard to focus. There were also times I've spaced out (sometimes in mid-sentence) and couldn't remember what I was talking about. I'm assuming that is resulting from the pain killers. I've also had a few restless nights because of the pain medication, but other than that, I can't complain.
Well - I could, a little. It's hard to get around in those crutches! While I've mastered the art of maneuvering on the dang things - it simply gets tiring when you are on them for long periods of time. Take for instance yesterday. I decided that I needed to run a few errands after work but before meeting a few friends. I had an hour to do a couple of exchanges at Macy's. A shirt in the men's section for Mark and some lotion in the women's section. At Ridgedale the men's section however is in a completely different section of the mall from the women's. Providing I had at least another stop outside of the mall to make - I needed to haul ass. I had sweat pouring down my sides and back. Nice. Made my exchanges and then hurried over to my next stop - circled my way around the store, an item here - an item there - oh and yeah, I really need one of those too! Hmmm, do you need some help carrying those? No? Let's see you juggle those items to the counter. I'm sure someone got their humor for the day. I finally made it the car and was in need of a fresh shirt - literally. Luckily I had an extra one. Sweet! So I changed there in the parking lot. :-)

I had my first physical therapy appointment and am rather pleased. I got to ride on the bike for about 10 minutes. Not a great deal of pain - I classify it as discomfort. The RX is to bike at home (in my trainer) for at least a minimum of 10 minutes per day to assist with keeping the joint mobile. In a week I should be able to swim as much as I want - I just need to get clearance from Doc Larson who I see on Tuesday. Can't wait to get started down the road to recovery!

Today was my last day in my job - and next wed. I begin anew. I'm looking forward to learning a new place, meeting new people. Meeting new people is always a challenge for me though - not sure why. I try to push outside of my comfort zone. Perfect example was at Ironman Wisconsin. I inadvertently found myself meeting up with some of bloggers when I was trying to locate Tac Boy to wish him good luck. Since I was there - I got to meet Jumper but we had emailed each other a few times, so meeting him was somehow "safe." I mustered up enough courage to walk over and introduce myself to a couple whom I had just stumbled across their blogs. They were from one my old haunts, Janesville, Wisconsin. Velo Bela and BigMike are are also relatively new to the sport of multi sport, who from the sounds of it - might have just got bitten by the Ironman bug. :-) Anyway - we chatted a bit while Mark lingered and then I politely made my exit from the group. Big step for me. Not sure if it showed - but somehow I survived and maybe next time I can be a little better with the small talk. Baby steps though, baby steps.
Anyway - I left my old job behind me on Friday - which I thought would be much easier. Throughout the day people popped by and wished me good luck. I smiled and politely said thanks etc etc. Then however came the time when the team I sit the closest to began to leave - I broke down. These people are salt of the earth. Some of the nicest people I will ever meet. I had no time to fight the tears befor they hit surface. There they were - for everyone to see. Big hugs - more tears - and promises to keep in touch. Yeesh! When I thought it couldn't get any worse - my Director came out, with a balloon and gift in tow. (lucky for me - I was not empty handed - I had a flowering plant and card for her too!) At first it was awkward. There was a silence - and then we both locked eyes and our tears both hit us at the same time - we hugged and we cried. It was soooooo hard and as I sit here writing this - I'm in tears - and I know I'm going to miss her. She is a wonderful boss, and person. She whispered to me "anytime you want to come back - you pick up the phone and call me." I know I'm leaving on good terms - but it was time for me to make a move and put some bad stuff behind me, get some experience with a national corporation and broaden my horizens a little. I think I had become too complacent and that's never a good thing. So - on Wednesday of this coming week - so begins a new chapter.....

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hip Surgery? Can't wait!

Yesterday was my scheduled surgery for my hip scope. I have to say I was a little nervous just because they really couldn't find anything in my hip from my MRI's. They had done a set of normal xrays and found that my socket was tilted and that it was probably a hip impingement - but Dr. Chris Larson was confident he would find a labral tear. The other thing that made me nervous was Mark telling me that I would have a choice of either a spinal block anesthesia or general anesthesia. The thought of being awake while they were ripping my leg open sounded appealing and interesting - but on the other hand I was afraid I would feel them tugging and pulling on my leg and that made me a little squeemish. As luck would have it - they did NOT give me a choice and advised me that the Dr prefered to have general anesthesia. Whew - I didn't have to make any choices.
I don't even remember being wheeled into the surgery room. I was OUT! The surgery took a couple of hours and indicated that I did in fact have a labral tear of which they stitched up and then ground down part of my socket as well. They sent me home with 4 medications and crutches and I get to use the crutches for at least two weeks. Yikes! It looks as if I could be beginning my new job on crutches. Nice!
I can't say enough nice things about Tria, where I had my surgery. The people were extremely nice and very thorough. They even give the family members pagers so the dr's can locate them and talk to them after the surgery is complete.
Anyway - I've been home resting as much as possible, foot elevated, ice etc.
My pain has not as bad as what I had anticipated - so I guess I'm lucky that way. It just sucks not being able to run, bike, swim, in line skate or any other activity I'd like to do when the weather is so beautiful.

Funnest time EVER!

I'm quite positive "funnest" is not a word but that is the way I'm summing up my time back home for Ironman Wisconsin. While I did have my share of dorkiness, like accidentally shutting off my cell phone when I knew people would be trying to connect with me. Duh!
We did make it to early Saturday volunteer meeting and I saw one of my P2 buddies gathering information for the rest of the gang who would volunteering as wetsuit peelers (or strippers - whichever word you prefer!)
We sat around a talked to a few people like Chivalry Chris and I met a new friend from Iowa who has traveled a few times to Minnesota to race. She inquired about teams etc so I gave her as much information I could on the various Tri Groups in the twin cities however that I especially partial to Gear West & P2.
We traveled our way through the Athlete Village waiting for my fellow P2'r Luke. I was supposed to meet him for a quick swim after the meeting - but he wasn't calling! Then I thought maybe I'd just head to the water to find him. Nadda - pulled out the cell phone and guess what - the freaking think was off! Man - I was bummed. So I missed a call from Trimama and Luke. I felt like such a dork. We did end up seeing Luke when he was finished and chatted a bit. We were also admiring the bikes of pro triathletes Dave Harju and Marie Danais. I asked Dave if he needed me to "watch" his bike for him. We also ran into some local homies just turned pro, Dan Cohen and John Shelp of SCS Multisport John was my coach for my first Ironman in Wisconsin.
After saying our goodbyes and wishing Luke good luck - we made our way back up to the Athlete Village where we ran into Trimama, Tac and the Tribe. They were looking to meet up with some of the other bloggers. It was neat to meet all these people whose blogs you read. I met Triboomer, Bolder, Jumper, Velo Bela and her husband Big Mike.
Would have loved to stick around longer but we made arrangements to meet a friend of ours for lunch and headed over the Janesville, WI to tip a few back and watch football.
Our next stop was back in Madison where we picked up one of my friends, Stephanie as she would be staying with us.

When we arrived the following day we made a line to the transition area and then headed to the water to assume our positions as wet suite peelers. It was a blast! I somehow missed my friends Luke and TK from P2, but I was fortunate enough to see one of our friends John - I apologize for whomever I jumped in front of to strip him. After I stripped him of his suit I just kept screaming "go John!!"
After our duties were complete we hit the Ironman Store and the Inside out Sports for some shopping. I purchased a nice fleece and a couple of stickers but that was it. I was totally impressed with my ability to say "no" if really didn't need it.
After shopping we headed over to the Great Dane, which is by far my favorite joint in Mad City. I used to frequent the place when I lived in Madison and they always have great beer, great food and great prices - hence the name Great Dane. We sat outside in the patio area and the weather could not have been any better.
We watched the pro's head out onto the run course followed by some of the age groupers. We got a few pictures of some of the competitors and then made our way to our next volunteer duty which was at the Headhunters headquarters on State Street. That tent was rock'in! Mark and I both became security, preventing boneheads from stepping in front of the racers. Some people can really be clueless. After things died down a bit I was able to focus all my time and energy on the racers. I sreamed at the top of my lungs calling them either by name or by their number. I danced for them, I jumped up & down for them, I clapped as hard as I could for them and even gave them high-fives. If someone smiled because of my crazy ways - it was worth it.
We didn't get a ton of photos - but the memories are great. The greatest news of the day however is that our friend John who has been trying to qualify for Kona has finally done it! I'm so happy for him. Another one of our Gear West team and acquaintance, Jey also qualified - YEAH!! - so I'm going to planning a trip to Kona in 2008 to cheer on my fellow racers. I CANNOT WAIT!!!