I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for September, 2014

Seventy Point Free: Pre-Race Report, Part II

Like many active people, I wear a Road ID. You know, the “if I collapse before the finish line, call…” bracelet. On it, I have a line from one of my favorite Bible verses: “Run with perseverance.” It’s funny what can happen when you see something frequently. I can look down at the bracelet as I am training and think to myself, “that says run with perseverance.” Then I go back to hating what I am doing, or wishing I hadn’t committed to doing whatever race is coming so I can stop in the middle of my workout. As the weeks before my race turned into days, I started to reflect upon why I had chosen that phrase to be on my bracelet. I would go to the Bible and study the verses –

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ NIV) (emphasis mine)

The writer of Hebrews continues –

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭3-4‬ NIV) (emphasis mine)

When I arrived in Augusta, the hype was high. Because I am a head case, I cannot feel support from others without simultaneously feeling pressure. “Oh, man. All these people believe in me. If I don’t finish for some reason, I’m not just letting myself down. I’m letting all these people down, too!” Truth be told, I was already planning my next move if I didn’t finish. “Well, I’m signed up for an Olympic in November. I can just upgrade to the half-iron distance then.” Well, what if I don’t finish THAT? Oh, dear.

This pressure support was around to remind me to think positively. “You WILL do well. You WILL finish. You have trained enough. You’ve earned it.” While I think that focusing on the positive is absolutely necessary for sanity, I believe it’s also important to be real. Here is what is real:

1. While I have swum, biked, and run the full distances, I’ve never done them consecutively. I do not know what my body will do.

2. I do not know what the weather will do.

3. I do not know what Red Rocket will do. If she does anything other than move forward when I pedal, I won’t know what the hell to do with her.

There are a million things that could happen on race day. I have absolutely no control over the vast majority of them.

How liberating.

I stop to consider Jesus. Indeed, I have not resisted anything to the point of shedding blood. My charge is to run free – free from the things I cannot control. I cannot allow what may lie ahead to entangle what is immediately before me. This may sound strange, but knowing that there is no guarantee of my finishing helps me to race more freely. I am not guaranteed even one more stroke in the water, an additional hill, or one last step. My race is marked out before me, and it’s my job to get there because – while I don’t know that I can, I also don’t know that I cannot. God knows what lies ahead and is with me. I’m still living and therefore must press forward.

This medal would be pretty neat, but the most important battle is already won. Because of Him, I can run free.

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Seventy Point Whee: Pre-Race Report, Part I

In stark contrast with my previous experiences, the hours leading up to the race were super enjoyable. I understand why all you people insist that being around one another is wonderful. Quite frankly, it can be a helpful distraction from nerves. However – many of the same people were at St. Anthony’s and I remember purposely hiding behind a tree at one point trying to avoid people. Either I am getting more comfortable with racing in general, getting more comfortable with people in general, getting more comfortable with these people specifically, or a combination of all three.

And it is absolutely wonderful.

If you know me at all, it is very easy to tell when I’m uncomfortable. Where my comfort ends, my jokes end. Even inside my own head I cannot make myself laugh, which is absolutely tragic. While next to Red in transition, I found myself laughing, coming up with Facebook statuses and memes for later, and just being happy. Yes, I was focused on what I came there to do, but I didn’t feel the need to shut everyone out to do it.

I am pleased that I am now in a place where I feel I am not dead weight among my triathlete friends. I understand that I probably never was, but it is nice to feel that I am becoming grounded enough to share the smile, hug, or joke that a fellow athlete might need to help get them through the day. I suppose that’s usually how it works, though. My circumstances haven’t really changed. I’m only becoming slightly less hard-headed and realizing what amazing people I have around me.

Guess I’m not such a tribaby anymore.

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Seventy Point Tee Hee: Official Statement

I was wrong about something and I’d like to admit it in a public forum.

Racing for 70.3 miles IS harder than 45 minutes of teaching Kindergarten. Even harder than the class with the kid whose mom forgot to give him his medicine.

I may have more to say about the race later. No promises.

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Seventy Point DEEZ OVAREEZ!

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Deez. Right here.

I started my day by going for a quick run and spending a bit of time with Red Rocket, per Coachie’s instructions. As I was bringing RR back into my room, I saw a couple in the elevator. I greeted them cheerily.

“I’m resting my legs for tomorrow.”

Clearly, this is an appropriate response to “Good morning!” Dude. Ain’t nobody ask you about your legs. Unless your name is Coachie, I’m pretty sure I can do without your thoughts on what I’m doing with my legs. However, I just smiled and bid him good day.

This took ovaries.

You see, there were a lot of ways I could have responded. For one, I could have given him a myriad of options for alternatives with his legs, such as using them to walk off of a cliff. That’s restful, no? Blah. God don’t like ugly. Even when it’s witty or clever, apparently. It would have been more typical of me to hear what he said and start to go inside my own head.

Maybe this was a bad idea. What if he’s right? What if I’m doing too much? What if I need to go to sleep at 9:30 AM? What if because I was on my feet for 20 minutes I can’t finish the race? Why am I here? Where’s Chopin?

Poor joker. He said that because seeing me made him question whatever decision he had made for himself. I didn’t do anything except say good morning! I’s just a girl with mah bicycle and a grin, y’all. I doubt he was intentionally trying to make me go nuts in my head, but it could have happened.

It didn’t.

It takes ovaries to get here. It might take even more to believe that you should be here once you are here. It takes the most ovaries to be positive toward others, no matter what you are feeling.

Dude. I hope you have a good race tomorrow. That being said – you could use some ovaries.

Shoutout Series: Seventy Point Brie

I feel kinda cheesy writing this one. Heh. See what I did there?

I’m just going to come right out and say it. If you know me at all, make sure you’re sitting down before you read what you’re about to read. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

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I.
Am.
Glad.
I’m.
Not.
Doing.
This.
Race.
Alone.

Oh, Get a Grip Tri Team. If you don’t know already, I silently cursed your presence at St. Anthony’s. Nothing personal. You just served as a reminder that I’m “slow,” and I didn’t know you well enough to know that you most likely didn’t – and still don’t – see it that way. In the months leading up to this race, I have enjoyed getting to know you better as I have had to take what I see to be the scariest of all risks with you – being vulnerable.

I’m looking forward to seeing you, laughing with you, racing alongside/behind you. I don’t care anymore because I like you. I am stoked to support you and be…*clears throat.* Supported by you. In fact, I have been looking at your bib numbers and coming up with rhyming mantras you can chant to yourself as you go on Sunday. Because I’m the music nerd who cares.

To The Get A Grip Tri Team. Thanks for helping Lady J do it.

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Seventy Point It’s Just Me! Why y’all trippin?

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Tee hee. Hi!

I’ve gotta say, I am a *tad* overwhelmed by the amount and intensity of support and encouragement I am receiving regarding Sunday’s race. I wrote earlier this week about how I feel eerily unterrified about it. Among the other things that creep me out are the types of words being used to describe this undertaking. “Heroic. “Beyond Mortal.”

Now. This might be where you say, “Lady J. You know you have problems accepting praise.” To which I say, you’re absolutely right. However, I don’t think that’s what this is. Unless I am discussing food (I want to marry this sandwich. Joan Medianoche),I make a concerted effort to use my words conservatively. I want to say exactly what I mean in order for those with whom I communicate not to misunderstand. I want to convey my thoughts and thought process as accurately as possible. It is also a means of defense as offense, for I know that anything I say could be potentially held against me. I am a thinker – perhaps, to a fault. I understand and respect (mostly) that not everyone is like this and doesn’t necessarily put such thought into the words they use. A lot of people just – talk to say things.

That being said, the language utilized is coming from people I kinda care about. Could they know what they are saying and what I’m hearing? Let’s see what Oxford has to say about it, shall we?

hero
Syllabification: he·ro
Pronunciation: /ˈhirō /
NOUN (plural heroes)

1 A person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

mortal
Syllabification: mor·tal
Pronunciation: /ˈmôrdl /
ADJECTIVE

1 (Of a living human being, often in contrast to a divine being) subject to death.

In the past 6 months I have been reminded just how mortal I am. I’ve battled plantar fasciitis, Ben and Jerry, and plain old laziness. Hell, I grew so frustrated at one point that I removed full Ironman, marriage, and Ph.D. from my bucket list, forever cursing all that is endurance related. Go ahead and check. Notice how 8-11 are still missing. The only reason I didn’t remove half-Ironman is because I already registered and dammit, I’m going to get my money’s worth from World Triathlon Corporation. Nope, definitely extremely mortal.

I suppose that does make this endeavor heroic, then. Swimming in open water is scary, and I’m doing it anyway. Red Rocket has all kinds of parts I don’t understand and I’m spending 56 miles with her. From there, I’ll have to take about 27,000 steps to the finish line.

Still. I protest. I feel like people typically use the word “hero” when they are referring to someone doing something they wouldn’t do. When I ran my first race, I was courageous. I loathed running when I registered for it. I weighed 30 more pounds than I do now. I remember waking up with the same nervous energy in the days leading up to the race as I have been this week. I was on top of the world after running 5k in 40:49, a time I’m fairly positive someone could power-walk if s(he) tried. I admit that I didn’t have the same relationships I do now, so I can’t positively that I would have been any less praised at the time. I narrow my eyebrows, nonetheless.

I think of my babies when I ask them to do heroic things, like share music and feelings with one another. I hope that they understand that I genuinely respect and admire them for making the effort to play the three notes that it takes to produce “Hot Cross Buns.” If risk is relative to the risk-taker, perhaps the application of the word “hero” is relative as well.

Maybe it is the cumulative heroism of this distance that makes it such a big deal. On those days where I considered quitting but chose to press on. The days where I had not so private meltdowns and lived to blog about it. I’ve had to fight my mortality quite a bit to get here. That’s noble-ish, at the very least.

*grins* Go ahead, y’all. Keep trippin’. I’ve earned it.

Shoutout Series: Blonde Oprah

Here’s the thing – I’m a bit of a snob. If a lot of people like something or someone, I’m more likely to look upon it with suspicion than I am to check it out. Generally, I am of the opinion that people en masse aren’t too bright. “Popular opinion.” Gross.

Good thing God knows His cynical child Lady J and worked to order the events of the last two years of my life so I wouldn’t immediately balk and run in the other direction. The services of Blonde Oprah weren’t recommended to me by anyone; I just happened to stumble upon a Groupon for a 3 week belly blast. “Well.” I thought to myself. “It’s more than I’m doing now. How bad can it be? I can do something for 21 days.”

In January of 2013, my mother and I started this boot camp business. When we showed up at 6 in the morning, Blonde Oprah greeted us cheerily as we each stepped on the scale, then proceeded to take us through an hour of foolishness. Her smile, encouragement, and high-pitched voice unfailing, I noted how she seemed equally committed to everyone in the room. I lost 11 pounds in 3 weeks. Friggin sweet.

Of course, I left.

*insert facepalm*

No regrets. This was the time I tried Couch to 5k and fell in love with running. However, I get a call from Blonde Oprah in March, checking in. What is this about? What kind of gym owner checks in on clients? Unless it’s to get money, of course. She actually asked real questions that made it seem like she’s genuinely invested in Lady J. Personally. Whatever, she just wants money, but I can’t deny the progress I made with her. Plus, it’s the only time in my life I haven’t been bored with strength training. I returned to Blonde Oprah after a three month hiatus.

My 50 pound weight loss isn’t really the point here, even though that’s pretty neat. In the 20 months that I’ve known her, I’ve been more moved watching Blonde Oprah interact with others than her interaction with me. This is not to say that her impact on me personally hasn’t been significant. It’s simply that I’ve never seen ONE person do so much for so many people in such a personal way. I call her Blonde Oprah because this group damn near idolizes her. I even saw a cardboard cut-out of her on a trip she could not attend. Her support is kind of a big deal to a lot of people. She often says that she is assured that there is no point in time that she I’d not in at least one person’s thoughts, either cursing her for soreness or inspired by her words. You know what? I think she’s right.

Of all the shout outs I will write, Blonde Oprah’s is definitely the hardest. Not because I feel the least passionate about her, but because I feel like everyone is already on the “Praise Blonde Oprah” bandwagon and I. Loathe. Bandwagons. But that’s the thing about Blonde Oprah. She will read this without offense, shake her head and smile, and say something like, “That’s my Joan.” Stubborn as hell. Hard-headed. She knows me probably much better than she lets on because she is both disturbingly intuitive and knows that if she let me know how well she knows me, I might balk. Blonde Oprah meets people where they are – no matter where they are – and helps them to be brave. Sometimes without the person even realizing it until afterward. That’s something truly remarkable.

Dammit, Blonde Oprah. Thanks for helping Lady J do it.

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NB – bitstrip above stolen from some chick on Facebook. I don’t know you but clearly Blonde Oprah has touched your life as well. Thanks!

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