Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010: A Year In Review

If a year could be bipolar2010 would be that year.  For those of you that know me best, you know that this year was one of the most difficult and challenging years I've ever had, as well as holding some of the best, proudest moments of my life.  Somehow I can barely believe that all of this happened within 365 days.

Personally, there were about 4 months that quite literally brought me to my knees. The lowest of the low. Despair. I lost a dear friend to cancer, and Ted and I hit a wall. During those bleakest months, I am so grateful for the people that came into my life, and friends that stepped up to support me at a time when I didn't know if I could go on.  I feel so very blessed to have the support group of friends that I do - some new, some I've known for ages, some are literally "cyber-friends", who, even though we've not met IRL, I consider to be truly dear friends. Those people include: Katie, Elizabeth, Beth, Page, Joan, Kitty, Tom,Trent and Nikki, Wendie, Julie, Ben, Todd, Kim, Jen, Janet, Sara, Sarah, Andrea, Jenny, Vic, John, Peter, Michael, Jean, Michelle, Jon, Jodi, Veronica, Kristie, Christie, Trish, Diana, Mike, Herbee, Dennis, Susan, Paula, Laura, Dan and Kathleen.  I'm sure I left someone out ... and I worked on this list over quite some time to be sure to remember everyone! If you've been left off, send me a PM, then kill me - because I am truly grateful for everyone that was supportive during that difficult time! TRULY!

Katie ... Katie was my rock, my savior, and listened to me for HOURS - checked in on me, gave me sage advice, and helped me make some difficult decisions, put things into perspective. For being 25 yrs old, she is wise beyond her years!  She also proved out to be one of the most amazing friends I've been blessed to have in my life.  I've heard that people come into your life for a season, a reason, or a lifetime ... I believe in that, as I've experienced it time and again. Katie is a keeper!! <3

Elizabeth ... I met this cool chick at an indoor triathlon in January, and connected with her right away. I was impressed by her spirit, her huge heart, and her fun nature :)  I talked her into joining CTC that day, and we formed a friendship that I truly cherish! She was a wonderful training friend, confidant, and we got along wonderfully! We have done a few triathlons and runs and rides together, and I find her to be a perfect roommate! I definitely hope to continue to plan doing triathlons with her - it's a ball! From someone that typically goes it solo, I never thought I'd enjoy the company as much as I do!  Liz did her first 70.3 this year and ROCKED IT!! She got 2nd in her AG and I couldn't be more proud!  Fun times, and a great friend when I've needed one. Liz is a "lifetime" friend too!

Losing Sherry Meyers this year was so difficult. She had the most positive spirit and was a wonderful friend to me through many difficult times. I prayed she'd be the one to kick Cancer's ass, but alas, it took her from us in February.  I miss her dearly and think of her often. She was my inspiration during the darkest hours of my first Ironman ... just thinking of how courageous she was, gave me strength to push on. She is an angel in heaven now, and I see so much of her in your lovely daughter Marissa. I keep the Meyers family, Glenn, Christopher, Marissa and Stephen, in my thoughts and prayers, always.

My personal struggles in the spring were a terribly low point in my year, and in my life.  My children were what I tried to focus on, as I just put one foot in front of the other, step by step, day by day. Numb. Thoughts of pulling out of my ironman crossed my mind. There were days I couldn't find the strength to train ... then there were days when the training ... pushing until I was numb ... drowned out the pain.

I was offered the chance to be a Triabetes Captain during the middle of that hurricane ... and I seriously considered passing on the position, even though I wanted it desperately. I feared I would not have the strength, emotionally, to accept the obligations that accompany the position. KT helped me to decide that it would be passing up a chance of a lifetime, and one that likely wouldn't be an opportunity again for me. I chose to accept the position - as scary as that was!  It's been such an amazing experience that I get emotional just thinking that I might have missed out on all of it, had I chosen to pass on the invitation. I've met some AMAZING people that have inspired me to take better care of myself, and to help motivate and inspire others. These people have changed my life. And they live all across America! We are bonded through this experience and I am grateful to have it!  My fundraising commitment was another scary undertaking! But, I was touched, beyond words, at the support that I got from friends, close, and current, and friends from high school and beyond. From former clients, and current clients. From casual acquaintances, and people who share a connection to diabetes.  I thank everyone that has supported me, both financially, and by spreading the word, encouraging me, and hanging in there while I continue to ask for support so I can reach my goal! Not all could handle it!!  I have been de-friended by some who were too irritated by my recurring push to find donors for my charity. I'm okay with that! Representing this charity - Insulindependence - is the single most selfless thing I've done. I believe in them, and their mission. The funds I'm raising aren't for me - not one penny is paying for my Ironman journey, but is going to a young, non-profit charity <span>that will change the lives of many people living with diabetes</span>!  So, if my commitment to raise money for my charity is a deal-breaker for a "friend", well, then that speaks volumes, doesn't it?

This year I signed up for three 70.3 (half ironman) and two ironman distance triathlons. I am happy to report that I was successful in achieving all of those goals! This year, I became an IRONMAN~!!   Truly one of the proudest accomplishments I've ever had!!  I met new friends, got to know some CTC'ers better, and was touched to have a fantastic support group of triathletes, runners, cyclists, swimmers, and athletes of all levels, support me before, during and after my races. I feel so blessed!  I call it Church of the Triathlon because, when I'm racing and training, I have this attitude of gratitude, an my most important "conversations" with God.  I feel so blessed and fortunate to have good health and wonderful experiences, and people, in my life.  When I started all of this - for the second time - after having children, becoming sedentary, obese, depressed and ultimately diabetic - it was December of 2008, when Katie and I decided to train for a half marathon - our first!!  She was my inspiration to commit to it! We both motivated each other, and we tackled that race, and we did it!! It was a wonderful feeling, and it quickly became contagious! I wanted to do more! I wanted to be AMAZING!   That was my mantra for quite some time, when I'd pound out those hard, long miles: I want to be amazing!

In September I did my first Ironman triathlon - and I don't give a rat's ass that some of you may say it's not an IRONMAN  :)  It was 140.6 miles, produced by a fantastic race organizer, Revolution 3, or Rev3.  I'm thrilled that Rev3 was my first IM experience!! Many said to me,"it's just not the same as an Ironman". At the time, I couldn't comment on it, because, well, I hadn't done and IM brand race. Now I have, and, I say bullshit! My Rev3 experience was BETTER than my Ironman brand race!! Truly!  Maybe it just all comes down to it being your FIRST one, but I felt on top of the world as I was coming down that chute, those AMAZING moments when you are about to complete your HUGE journey, not JUST 140.6 miles, but a YEAR of training, planning, dreaming, all leading up to that glorious moment when you are finishing and they are calling your name! cheering you on, friends and family so proud of you - It didn't matter one bit that it was Rev3 or Ironman - it was MY Ironman moment!! And it didn't need to be IM brand to be just as amazing an experience for me. It truly was the fulfillment of a life-long dream.

In November I headed down to Florida for a week of diabetes camp with the other Triabetes captains. Ironically and incidentally, I would be doing IMFL with a buddy from high school, Tom Avellon, who would be flying in from Switzerland to do the race also. I had a wonderful time reconnecting with the other Captains, meeting their triabuddies, and watching my own triabuddy, Rachel, do her first kids' triathlon the day after IMFL.   My IMFL experience was simply amazing and, like all of these races, had me feeling a full spectrum of emotions as I took that journey, another 140.6 miles, plus all the work for the year leading up to the race! It was wonderful having such a huge support group of friends there cheering me on! My race reports are available, and I won't recap them here. All race reports, etc. can be found on my blog, I'm Just Gonna Tri, or over on my Mac website - both of which have links on my FB home page.  However, I do want to share a little epiphany moment I had when I was down in Florida:  One morning, I was running, alone, and reflecting on this year - this tumultuous, exhilarating, wonderful and terrible year.  I thought back to the first steps in this journey, way back to Dec. 2008.  Then I said to myself: "You know what? I am kind of amazing!"  I felt proud, and I know that I'm stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for. I'd been through a difficult time, with some wonderful friends to support me along the way, and I feel like I've learned a lot about myself this year.

Ted has had his own dynamic year, to say the least. Our journeys are paralleled in many ways. After breaking his foot in April, he kind of hit rock bottom himself. After the cast came off, he made some significant personal changes, and turned to golf, much like I turned to triathlon. Ted's golf successes have been very therapeutic, and, frankly, he's becoming quite a good golfer, winning a few tournaments and improving his handicap by a lot! He recently went to Florida to play in a tournament. He was called and told that because his handicap had improved so much, he'd be promoted to a more challenging flight. He played well both days and ended up placing second in the more challenging group! I'm very proud of him, and happy that he's "found his happy" as well.  A wise friend, Cheryl, once told me that we all need to "make our own happy. CHOOSE happy!"  And I believe that!  Ted's happy has returned, and we laugh quite a bit now. I cherish the renewed friendship, and value all of his positive qualities, and accept even the not-so-positive qualities! :)  He's a very wonderful man: smart, fun, funny, and generous. He's a good step-dad to my children. They love him very much!

My kids! Let's see ... Kevin! He's come A LONG WAY!!!  He's been diagnosed with ADHD and we pursued counseling and medication early and aggressively. WHAT A DIFFERENT KID! He's kind, and smart, and a good student! He's really such a wonderful boy! He's doing very well in school, after having a difficult start. His teacher is amazing, and he was fortunate to have the same teacher - totally committed to helping him be the best he can be - for both Kindergarten and 1st grade.  Kevin played flag football this year and seemed to enjoy it a lot.    Samantha is in 6th grade and started at middle school. We all know what a rough time that can be for kids, but she's doing very well, getting straight As and plays trumpet in the band. She, too, played flag football, and was QUITE the superstar on her team!! Touchdown after touchdown, interceptions galore. Their team went all the way to the championships and placed 2nd. Sam took it quite hard, and there were some tears along the way.     Jaime, in 4th grade, is smart beyond belief! She's been recommended for the gifted program, and she's also a straight A student. She's an amazing, sweet girl, and I love to watch her, and all of my kids, grow into the person they will become. I am proud beyond words, and lucky to have such wonderful kids in my life.

I wish I could tell you in all honesty that I'm not a materialistic person, but the TRUTH is: I am! I got three really exciting "things" this year - well, more than just three, but these three stand out! First, I got a Kindle! Ted got it from me for Christmas, and he gave it to me just before I went down to Florida, Oct. 31st.  I LOVE IT! It's allowed me to reconnect with my love for reading.  Secondly, I got a new bike! A carbon triathlon bike, a Felt B16!  I named her Felicity and she joined Esmeralda, my Cannondale road bike. I'm adjusting to her and very excited to try this new bike, after riding a 16 yr old Cannondale for the past 3 yrs.  BTW, Santa brought Felicity some Christmas gifts: a new saddle, a computer and a carbon cage. Felicity will be needing a few other new items, but those will need to wait a bit, as Felicity was a bit of a surprise arrival and financial adjustments had to be made accordingly! :) Finally, I got a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor).  This is an amazing tool in helping me manage my diabetes. I am a fan!

As the year closes out, my life has found a "good place" ... There has been a lot of hard work, a lot of soul searching, a lot of commitment to changing behavior, attitudes and to looking at things from a different perspective. I'm not sure that I would have chosen this specific course for the year, however, the end result will have been worth it, since it means being in a better place for now, and for the future. This year started out as my 'bucket list' year, and it was so much more than that. If this was the journey that had to be taken to end up with hopes for a wonderful future, well then, it was worth it. My family is stronger. My future looks bright, and I welcome in a smoother 2011, with fewer highs and lows, and hoping for a more steady-state equilibrium.  I look forward to tackling a challenging triathlon - Ironman St. George - in May with my Triabetes teammates.  I look forward to again, tackling the September Rev3 full at Cedar Point, where I plan to improve my course time. Sub 14 hours ... watch for it!  I look forward to many more good times with friends and family. I look forward to my strengthened family, to watching my children figure out who they are, and what they are capable of. I look forward to growing personally and professionally, so that I can feel better about who I am. I'm making progress! :)


Ted & Tiff


Dexcom CGM

Proudest. Moment. Ever. Hands down ... or up, as the case may be!
Kevin Michael

Felicity in the trainer

Tiff and Katie

Samantha Rae

Jaime Michaella

My Triabuddy Rachel
Tiff and Elizabeth

1 comment: