Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Even more words to live by...

"When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it."

"Don't Complain; JUST WORK HARDER!"

"Be good at something. It makes you valuable."

All by Randy Pausch

Monday, September 24, 2007

Last Lecture

Randy Pausch delivered his last lecture... Let the words inspire you:

He said that Jon Snoddy said, "Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you. When you are pissed off and angry at them, you just haven't given them enough time. Just give them a little time and they will almost always surprise and impress you."

"The Brick Walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop those who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the 'other' people."

And then the narrator said that Pausch ended on the topic of "more of us should think about what we would say if it was out last chance to say it; as he sees it, it is a gift you give not just other people but also yourself:

It is not about how to achieve your dreams. It is about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way. the karma will take care of itself...the dreams will come to you."

Words to live by!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Track Day!

One of my favorite things to do during the week! Luisa and I meet every Wednesday morning for a track workout and to let the dogs play. While it is Daisy's highlight to run the track workout with us, literally at some points, Scotch and Nick run and play with each other.

But today an incredible thing happened, as Luisa and I were running our active recovery we looked over and saw Daisy about to pounce in with Scotch and Nick. We were so shocked that we both screamed. Daisy, then, realized we saw her and ran over to us. It was the greatest.

Summer is still in the air and we had a great sweatfest this morning. I will be so sad when it is cold, but for now I will enjoy the heat!!

Yeah for Track Day!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today is Gina's funeral. Yesterday I found out what brought an end to her life. It was heart-breaking to hear that the positive environment that we had once created for her slowly deteriorated. All the love that Jordan tried to give her was not enough to help her, and all the help he offered could not save her. Either of the two possibilities that lead to her death are just so terrible. She was a very good person!

Paul gave some good perspective yesterday when he said, in my abbreviated form, that people who are happy and create a happy environment will leave even those having a hard time feeling better.

I will strive to do that and create that environment for my friends. I would love to be a ray of sunshine for my friends...


PS...I PROMISE pics of the dogs from the track tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I get all kinds of emails: catching-up with friends, chatting (with maybe just a little gossip), work, training and race reports, pictures, and yes the ever dreaded spam. Last night I received an email that was very difficult to read:

I am so sorry, but because I don't have phone numbers with which to contact you with, e-mail will have to suffice as the means through which I have to share the sad news that Gina passed away Thursday evening.

Along with the email were details about her funeral from her husband of less than 3 years.

I have not seen her since I moved, and have only been in contact with her via email, but shocked me to hear this. She was 28 years old. We worked together until I moved. She was so intelligent, and actually worked on a grant with my mother. It was fun to share a common person with my mom. My mother who is terribly judgemental was actually able to get over Gina's jet black hair, pale white skin, bright red lipstick, and long pointed fingernails to appreciate her genius. Gina and I couldn't be more different, but what we shared always kept us friends:
- a love of animals. Her dog Casper came to the only birthday party I have had for Daisy. She and I always shared an appreciation for the joy a pet can bring to your life!
- she is the only person who ever picked at her cuticles more than I do...random thing to share, but one year we both tried to quit and failed miserably.
- Halloween is her favorite holiday, not so much mine, but we both LOVE candy corn. We shared the theory of one heavy dose of candy corn rids you of the desire for needing to eat them throughout the year. (Clea I guess I will have to eat my dose of candy corn this year for both Gina and I...crazy that you and I were just talking about it)
- desire to have our men well-put-together. She had Paul try on many many pair of eyeglasses to put him in a trendier pair. I won't even mention what he wore before. She took such pride in making sure her boyfriend, now husband, was as handsome as possible...must make engineers not look like engineers.

Anyway, update with a more cheerful note later, but for now I just wanted to take a moment to remember a lost friend...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Changing Gears

Things have been incredibly busy as Paul and I get into our new fall semester routine. Those first few weeks always seem a bit overwhelming, but things calm and a change of venue sometimes helps.

On Labor Day, I had the joy of watching Paul have one of his best racing days to date. It wasn't so much that it was his fastest day ever it what just what he was able to do given his schedule and how busy his life is. Melissa put it perfectly: "That's AWESOME that Paul did so well at the race! It's almost unbelievable that he can balance a full time job, full time school (and be doing so well, Mike told me about his grades), a marriage, AND still somehow manage to keep in race shape. Wow. I'd say it was unbelievable instead of almostunbelievable (in that it can't be true, something must be giving), except that it's Paul we're talking about so I buy it. What a great guy you found, Mer!" He swam fair, but given that he had only done about 5 swims it was excellent, he biked great, and he ran incredible. He has this switch, which many don't, that he can drive through and almost relish in the suffering his body might be enduring to push and be so strong. It is always just incredible for me to see. Those that have seen him race hard, know what I am saying.

Paul Terranova 26:22.2, 2:06.2, 34:44.2 (swim 1500m, bike 40K, run 10K)

At the race, I saw Cam who is the race director of the Dilloman tri. She told me that this year they were going to have any XTerra race on Saturday and a sprint tri on Sunday. She put a bug in my ear to head out and do the races. She then even sent me an email to increase the peer pressure. I wasn't sure...I hadn't had my mountain bike on the trails in years, my road bike was very comfortably on my trainer, and my only swimming had been for recovery in the pool. What combo of this had me prepared for the events this past weekend??

Again, life has been very busy so honestly as the end of the week was rolling around the prospect of an adventure was sounding better and better. Friday afternoon, off I went to sign-up. It had been so long since I had done a triathlon that my USAT card was expired...scary, scary stuff. I came home, packed up my mountain bike for day one and my gear. It felt so odd because it certainly did not seem like much gear was needed. I am so used to packing for ultras, this was quite simple. I woke up Saturday morning and headed to Pace Bend Park for race number #1. The race consisted of an 800 meter swim, a 14 mile mountain bike, and a 5k trail run with some fun inserted in. Fortunately, it was a small race so it was a good start back into triathlon. The swim was uneventful, I was 3rd woman out of the water, but the mountain bike was another story. It was hard. Not impossible hard, but not super easy for not having been on my mountain bike in years. The flats and downhills were great, but the climbs with ledges were major off my bike walkers...I was so not brave. At one point I missed a turn or intersection and had to bushwhack my way back onto the course. I have marks to prove that wasn't easy. Anyway, I got back on course and saw where I had gone wrong on the second loop. Unfortunately, I think I cut off about 2 miles...not for sure but that is what it seemed like on the second loop. Anyway, I headed back into transition thrilled to be on the run and figured I would at least finish the course and let them know that I had made my own course at one point. The run was AWESOME. We had to swim through a cove twice and climb up some ropes on the ridge by the water. It was the most fun 5k I have ever done! I came into the finish having had the best time. Just what I needed!! On a side note, because the race was small the race director was nice enough to give us who had creative bike courses (there were a number of us) race times. I think this was because it was a small race. Trust me, I put the full race distance in effort out there :)

Race number #2 was a sprint triathlon at the same venue on Sunday. I woke up not terribly sore from the day before, but had pretty bad blisters from biking with my mountain bike shoes without socks, major rookie mistake!! I put lube in my shoes and on my ankles and just figured I would suck it up. I got to the race, and realized that this was a great low-key event. I saw some people I know, but really just kind of did my own thing. I went for a swim warm-up with a friend and then headed over to the swim start. Pre-race I had taken two Succeeds and ate 2 packages of Sport Beans. Honestly, hadn't really planned much on the nutrition front for the event. I had looked at some times of similar races, and decided I would be happy to go under 1:20....pretty interesting to have a time goal when I hadn't put the three events together in 2 and 1/2 years. Again, the swim was uneventful, I was 4th woman in my group out of the water. Transition was funny because you had to run carrying your bike out of transition and on this dirt path to the road...not so easy in bike shoes. At the mount line, I jumped on my bike to the cheers of the guys from the bike shop. They were pretty shocked to see me on my bike racing. They know that I haven't raced in sometime and I take pride that I do all of my bike riding on the trainer in the house. I headed out on the bike actually feeling pretty darn good. The course was hilly, but fine. I passed people constantly. I got passed by two people, one lady that is about to do Ironman Hawaii and another lady that got out of the swim with her. I figured if I could keep them in my sights I could get them on the run, hopeful thinking. I kept riding hard and cheered for all of those I passed. I don't know that they were used to being cheered for during a triathlon, but seemed a bit receptive. I passed one guy who actually ended up staying with me on the last miles of the course. As we were about to dismount he came up to my side and said thanks for the push on the bike, and I told him to stay with me on the run for my favorite part of the race. We dismounted and I followed his lead through transition, no longer carrying my bike by rolling on the rocks and prickled grass of transition...not so worried about the flat after ride!! I saw the two ladies head out on the run as I was putting my running shoes on. Off I went...now mind you that I haven't done a brick workout in years, so this was going to be interesting. I passed the first lady right aways and at the first turn I came up to Jen. She had been 5 minutes behind me from the swim wave so she needed to stay less than 5 minutes away from me to beat me. I ran passed her and went for the only woman in front of me. Unfortunately I ran out of property. I went from 1 minute down to 12 seconds... I ended up 6th woman because the woman from the waves behind me got me on the bike. Not bad for my second triathlon of the weekend and first weekend of tris in a long time.

This weekend gave me more than just good placement. It brought about a great change of pace, sense of adventure, and excitement for all things possible. I can swim in open water well, although much better if I actually trained; I can get on my mountain bike and not break or injure anything, and I can run strong off the bike mostly because I am trying to learn to run like Paul. I am working to tap into that wonderful place he can go...still cheering for those around and pushing as hard as I can. I think so often I have this fear of the unknown. I like to do what I know I can do well. But it was just like me letting go at Headlands...when I let my body do what it wants to instinctively do I have a great time doing it.

I have to take a moment to thank Cam, Maggie, Jamie, and everyone who created awesome races this weekend and were so positive and so great cheering for everyone all over the courses. They also really recruited some great volunteers...so that is always fun. Thank you for encouraging me to do something different this past weekend. It has renewed my spirit and sense of adventure. It's all possible; you just have to show up!!

Oh and a bit more great news...I found out Nicole and Dan got engaged AND Jim, one of my swimmers, shaved 4 minutes off of his swim time!! How's that for showing up to practice and working hard. I am very proud! And, thanks Jan for the cheers :)

Have a great week! mer