Triathlon at Pacific Grove - 2 week countdown

Two weeks from today is the Triathlon at Pacific Grove.  This will be my first Olympic distance triathlon.  Okay, my first triathlon period.  I’ve gone into countdown mode.  Making lists, ticking boxes, getting my ducks in a row.  Whatever, I’m excited as hell.  If hell had emotion and could be excited.  Let’s condense this post into three things, so my excitement doesn’t lead into completely impossible rambling. 

sketch - swim beach Pacific Grove - RLR, 1993 (ish)

My Grandpa, (who just celebrated his 92nd birthday!) painted the above… he let me borrow some of his sketchbooks about ten years ago to scan in some of his Carmel stuff.  He’s amazing, and is totally modest about it… you should see his non-“sketches”!  I’ll be swimming there in 2 weeks!

1 - Pacific Grove - I love this place.  If you have never been to Pacific Grove, Monterey, or Carmel, CA go.  Book your trip and go.  You will not regret it.  I picked this as my first triathlon as this is my favorite place to visit.  The beauty of this stretch of California coastline is unparalleled.  The kindness of the people who live in these towns is the same.  I grew up visiting family here on my spring breaks as a child.  I’m 31, and I’ve yet to visit a place I love more.  Come September 10th new memories will meld with old at what we always called “the swim beach” and on our “scenic route” from the aquarium and fisherman’s warf.  I still wish you could feed the sea lions sardines…

2 - Tri Training - I’ve been at it since January.  Building a base and then following a specific training plan.  I’ve been practicing each discipline 2-3 times a week.  Yup, that’s right 6-9 work outs/week.  Haven’t done that since high school sports!  Some weeks this didn’t happen on target as other priorities took over, but overall it went really well.  I feel confident that the training will pull me through on the day.  After tomorrow’s ocean swim and long run I begin my taper!  Finally!  My workouts will get shorter, and two-a-days will turn into brick sessions.  I got the grand idea to go for the tri after doing South End Rowing Club’s Escape from Alcatraz swim last year.  Us jailbreakers had so much fun, that we knew right away we’d make it an annual event.  However, I craved more.  I already liked to run and bike, and now that I got a very old ocean swimming fear whipped into submission the logical answer to “What’s next?” was a tri.  Having friends that already did tri’s helped!  I can’t thank A and J enough for the encouragement to pick one and sign up.  If I’ve had this much fun training, my mind just may be blown come race day! Much thanks to BB for unending daily support!  You’re simply amazing!

3 - Alzheimer’s Association - I’ve been encouraging others to donate to this wonderful organization while I’ve been training.  If you’re interested, please click on the widget to the right, or here.  I haven’t been too vocal about why I’ve picked Alzheimer’s Association, other than that they’re amazing in what they do for patients, loved ones and care givers in addition to research.  I’ve been so hesitant out of respect of my amazingly awesome family.  Privacy is a very big deal to me, so I’m even more careful about theirs.  So amazingly awesome family, I hope you understand that it’s helpful for me to finally say a bit more.  A grandparent on each side of my family has had Alzheimer’s.  I was probably in jr high when my grandmother started to exhibit symptoms.  At least ones that were obvious enough to children of that age for my parents to sit down explain what was happening.  There wouldn’t really have been a reason to explain it to children prior to that.  I’ll be honest, it was the most heart wrenching thing I witnessed a family go through together.  I vowed to myself back then to somehow find a way to help, any way, so nobody would ever have to go through that again.  She passed when I was 16.  I spent my first year of college taking core classes linked to sociology and psychology thinking there might be a career path in there that could lead me to helping.  However, I had to learn to trust my natural aptitudes and stick with other things.  I resolved to keep that vow, and to find another way.  My grandfather passed earlier this year.  It was two days after I started the FirstGiving site.  As ever, my timing was impeccable, of course I had no way of knowing, but that’s why there’s been so much hesitation on my part to talk about any of this personal stuff.  I love and respect my family more than anything and wanted to be sensitive to everyone.  It’s simply not an easy thing to talk about.  Sometimes it’s not even easy to think about.  But, I strongly believe shrinking away from those uncomfortable things you’re afraid of doesn’t help you or the people you love most.  I believe it was early on in college when I heard of my grandfather’s diagnosis.  All I could think was, not again, not him, not to this side of the family too.  Shit shit shit.  Balls balls balls.  And many other choice words.  But, there are always positives to take from any situation.  The biggest I’ve taken is that in the 15 years or so between my grandparents’ experience with Alzheimer’s patient care, avenues of support and knowledge within the medical field has grown in ways that befuddle me.  They continue to grow.  That’s why I’m supporting Alzheimer’s Association.  That’s why I will continue to support them individually and by telling others how great they are.  If you or anyone you know may want more information on Alzheimer’s disease check out their site.  It’s full of great things, and they update it with more daily.  I’m very lucky in that I’ve known all my grandparents, and two of my great-grandmothers, not to mention a host of uncles, aunts and cousins!  Both of these individuals I’ve been speaking of passed on to their kids, my parents, the value of sharing with others in their community, and they’ve passed that to the next generation.  Please care about others outside yourself, please donate if you can, or give in a way that is meaningful to you to a cause you care about.  To those of you that have given, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  You are my heroes, and I think about you all often as I train.  It’s like you’ve all become an invisible team behind me pushing when I’m out for a session on my own.  Grandma, I’ll be keeping my eye out for otters for you while up in Pac Grove.  Grandpa, I didn’t get into cycling until a few years ago, but they call the seats saddles.  Since I learned that, it always makes me smile and think of you and your Stetson and spurs  - I’ll be getting back in the saddle for you both.  I am always thankful for the endless happy memories you have given me.  I know our families feel the same way.  Family rocks!

OK, so I did ramble with 3.  But that one is important to me, so I ask for some human understanding.  As anyone who’s checked out this blog before may know, I normally post stuff related to triathlon, and the three sports therein.  Regularly scheduled programing will continue.  I love happy silly shit, it makes the world go round.

Tune in to the above on Sunday, and learn more about Alzheimer’s at www.alz.org.

Maria Shriver mentions the above HBO Films series in her article, A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s.  As I tend to get my television fixes through the interwebs and the air, I entered the title into my search engine hoping to find it available.  To my surprise, HBO has the entire series, including supplemental videos, up on their site for anyone to stream!  Way to go HBO in making this readily available to the masses!  Guess what I’ll be watching when I kick up my heels after a good training session?