Category: my tribe

My Dad

Me & my dadFor years I believed that my dad was the strongest man in the universe. And if not the strongest, at least invincible.

Right now he’s in a hospital treating a very dangerous infection. He’s exhausted. He’s got crazy fevers. He’s got a good prognosis and he’s got a long road ahead of him. His physically depleted state is hard to see and the past several days have been really rough.

We were talking this morning about his night and his new hospital room. There was another fever spike, there were new nurses, and breakfast was on it’s way. There were lots of details to report, but he also had a story to share.

Because of all the testing, blood work, scans, and the bouts of fever spikes, he’d barely slept for days. He was exhausted. And in the middle of the night, at midnight, after he had finally fallen asleep, they woke him to bring him to a different section of the hospital for a CT Scan.  They woke him. At midnight. It was ridiculous.

He wasn’t happy. He was frustrated and pissed that they couldn’t just let him sleep and do it another time. He felt bad for himself, rightly so. They wheeled him down to the basement and through the hallways to the CT scan area where he was met by a polite young technician. He was still frustrated. The man was very pleasant. But he wasn’t up for making a new friend.

But he saw this young guy. Doing his job. Being polite. Awake at midnight to do CT scans.

And suddenly he had this realization. his attitude wasn’t going to do anything. He wasn’t a victim. This man wasn’t a bad guy. And on the spot, he shifted and reengaged with the young man and got on with the business of having the best CT Scan experience possible. (and making another new friend)

I’ve thought about this story all day. I’m back to being pretty sure about my dad’s invincibility…his invincible spirit. Somehow he’s learned to look at how he engages in his own life – even in really awful, stressful moments. He’s practiced a lot. And he still enjoys how much he learns from his experiences. Even a miserable midnight wake-up can’t keep my dad from making a new friend with the next stranger he meets.

I love this about my dad.

best friends & hopscotch

Katie & me at the beachEvery March 7, I step into a time machine and remember the adventures of my childhood with my best friend, Katie. Let me be more specific, she was my best friend in the whole wide world.

We met when we were six and seven and grew up across the street from each other until I went to college. We were fast friends. We were part of one another’s families and our presence at either of the two houses was considered being home.

We had limitless imaginations and such conviction in our ideas, that never occurred to us we couldn’t pull off even the craziest of our schemes. My 9 and 11 year old are impressed with our adventures, but these are some of their favorites:

We were daring! My grandparents were very fancy…they had a garage door opener for their condo garage. And it was less than a half mile from our house. Katie and I, being extreme hooligans, hopped on our bikes and rode with the borrowed garage door opener to the condo. We opened the garage and pedaled away! (giggling with excitement and the fear of being busted) Oh yeah, and then we did it again!

We were Makers! The lemonade stand on the corner on Cottage and Grove was a staple of our summer plans. We were shrewd with our marketing. I’m certain that pretending to be customer and pretending to buy lemonade created buzz and demand for our Country Time sugary treat. We had only one failed venture. Our expansion into individual packets of condiments was a rare and dismal failure. It turns out people don’t want to buy relish or mustard on their drive home.

We were constructive! We could build a fort anywhere and out of just about anything. And we did. We had forts in our backyards, in other people’s backyards, under porches, and in people’s backyard sheds. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I saw neighborhood kids bringing a rolled up carpet through my yard and moving into my tent. I suppose it would be one thing if my kids were with them, but by themselves? And the fort / wall which we constructed out of snow across the entire street raises the most questions at my house. ” You stopped cars? You tried to charge tolls? You lied down in the fort on the road?” and “Your parents let you do that?”

These are just small bits of our adventures. There were roof tops and attics, trees climbed and holes dug, potions and plays made. And there was a lot of hopscotch.

For happy go lucky sorts of kids, Katie and I would transform into intensely competitive rivals in hopscotch. It would be all fun and good when we were in the easy stuff – the onsies, twosies, but but 7’s and 8’s – forget it. No mercy. If you were near the chalk line, you were done. By the end of a heated hopscotch match our friendship would dissolve. We’d stomp off to our own homes with screaming declarations of officially being enemies and “never, ever, being friends ever again!”

The next day, all would be forgiven or actually forgotten. We’d be best friends in the whole wide world like there was never a doubt. There were more adventures. There was a lot more hopscotch.

March 7 is Katie’s (aka sister Kate) birthday. And every year on this day I think about how lucky I am to have these amazing memories and stories and how joyful we were. I also think about all the other things that happened in our lives along the way in each of our childhoods. Having my best friend in the whole world right across the street always made me feel okay and normal – even when things weren’t.

Happy Birthday, Katie! Love you like a sister! Katie & me w dad

My coach is this awesome!

Kelsey Abbott wins Rev3 Venice OlympicI posted about starting with a new coach last week, or so.

I wanted to clarify her awesomeness.  Not only is my coach, Kelsey, awesome – she is this awesome! 

This is Kelsey. Overall female finisher for the 2013 Rev3 Olympic Distance Triathlon. She is amazing and I am completely honored that she’s coaching me this season.

My coach – preview

whistle“There is hardly anything you can’t do if you have, and you nurture, the proper support systems.  Don’t lower the goal, increase your support.” ~Jim Hayhurst Sr

I have my new, big goal – competing strongly at the 2014 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships – Olympic Distance. Now I need to increase my support and hire the right coach to help me achieve my goal. I’ve connected with Kelsey Abbot and finally returned my Athlete History form to her (after stalling for weeks). I sent her my goals, yesterday, and here’s her awesome response:

“I think top 25/worlds’ qualifier at nationals is awesomely outrageous–a challenge obviously, but if a human being can go from a couple cells to a human-like clump of cells to cells that function to cells that function on their own in 9 months and 1 week, then dammit, you can drop a chunk of time for an olympic in the same amount of time. I can work with you if you can accept the following: 1.) every race is different so times may or may not be comparable and 2) we can’t control where you end up placing because we can’t control how other people do, but we can turn you into a superhero.”

“1.) every race is different so times may or may not be comparable” – Yes, I’m flexible in my mindset to allow for the surprise uphill swim, random summer blizzard, or sneaky ninja ambushes. These races may not give me a PR, but they certainly make for great stories.
“2) we can’t control where you end up placing because we can’t control how other people do, but we can turn you into a superhero.”- YES!  This is a VERY important to me – because I’m not really motivated by besting other people. I am VERY good at focusing on my own goals and running my own race. It makes me feel smarter on race day to follow my plan. If I meet my time goal and don’t wind up placing well, I rarely care. (OK, If it’s close, then I do replay the day over & over and second guess everything for a few days.)

I don’t know if you watched the World Series, but here’s my analogy…In game 1, David Ortiz hit a grand slam home run.  Carlos Beltran reached over the wall and into the bullpen and caught the ball outside of the park. So, the result wasn’t a home run and David Ortiz still hit a home run.  My goal is to hit the home run.

Yup, I found the right coach for me.

updated: my coach is this awesome! Click here to see a picture of Kelsey winning 2013 Rev3 Venice Olympic Distance.