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Showing posts from 2012

"You can't fly if you don't believe in the strength of your wings."

You can't fly if you don't believe in the strength of your wings." -Stephanie Henshaw

Thoughts on the Eve of a New Year...

My wonderfully dear, inspiring friend and fellow Angel mom, Candy Granger-Underhill, posted this quote on her Facebook wall.  I couldn't help but think of how perfect the words were for our lives, she in the mountains of Colorado and me here in Georgia.  Candy, mom to angel Sam, a little Angel the same age as Hayden, ran her 1st 50K to raise money and awareness for Miles for Smiles in 2011. For 2013, she is steppimg up her challenge and is pushing herself to compete in a 50 mile endurance race, Little Big Horn 50 mile in Idaho, this coming June.
Candy is amazing.  Not only is she an incredible athlete, she is raising Sam, age 4, his beautiful big sister, Reece, and gave birth to a precious baby girl last May, just weeks before directing the Mountain to Valley 10 mile, F.A.S.T. 4 mile and Smiling Sam Kids Fun Run in Glenwood Springs, CO.  She also m…

Ironman 70.3 Worlds - oh happy day! (part 4)

The run course of Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Vegas is designed to physically and mentally break even the toughest athletes down, not to mention running it during the middle of the day when the air temperature is reporting 110 makes it practically ridiculous.  There is no telling how hot it is actually on the black asphalt on a course that has a total of about 10 feet of shade along it.  1/3 of the professional athletes racing ended up dropping out of the race by the time they encountered the run that day.

The course is 3 loops.  Racers come out of transition and run downhill for a little over a mile, around a cone, then uphill for over 2 miles, around a cone and back down.  To make it more fun, you get to pass, literally, about 10 feet from the finish line, see the croud, hear the announcer calling out finishers, vere to the left and climb a little nasty extra hill around a pavillion and start the trek over again.

I came out of transition flying, perhaps it was because I was going downhil…

Ironman 70.3 Worlds - Frustrating and Inspiring, all in the same bike leg (part 3)

I quickly made my way to my bike, passing a handful of people in transition (I am a firm believer that transition seconds are freebies.  Races are truly won and lost in transition).  I opted to run my bike out of transition, up a carpeted zig-zag hill and out on to the road where we were allowed to mount and begin riding with my bike shoes on my feet rather than strapping them to the pedals and running barefoot to the mounting line.  Before my start, I had watched a handful of pros attempt the bike run up that zig zag hill and because of the steepness of the grade, ended up kicking off a bike shoe that was attached to their pedal, causing them to have to stop and run after it.  It was not worth the risk to me, plus, at that distance event, I wanted to wear socks for the bike and run.

As I hopped on my bike and headed up the first half mile incline out of the resort, something was not sounding right on my bike.  It was like a metal rubbing sound was coming from either my crank or large…

Ironman 70.3 Worlds - fear stricken! (part 2)

I woke up race morning and headed down to transition to pump up my tires and make sure everything was good to go.  Borrowing a friend's pump, I attempted to add air to my tires unsuccessfully.  I don't know if it was his pump or the tubular tires, but I could not get more than 100psi in the tire before the connection piece flew off.  The girl whose bike was next to mine even tried to help with no luck.  I borrowed a second pump from a non-English speaking Swiss guy in the next row over, but still struggled unsuccessfully at getting any more air in the tires.  The announcer gave the call to close transition so I shrugged my shoulders and headed for the exit. 

Dave spotted me on the other side of the transition barrior and concern was written all over his face.  When I told him what I was struggling with, he and the guy standing next to him told me to run and get my bike and bring it over to them.  I am sure this is 100% illegal, but given how the build up to the race was going…

Ironman 70.3 Worlds... (part 1)

I have been reflecting on and reliving our trip to Las Vegas, NV for the past couple of weeks, wondering how I should summarize the experience of Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  Many words come to mind ranging from overwhelming, to fear stricken, frustrating, inspiring, happy, and of course, hot!  Because these words vary so much in their range of meaning and emotion, I decided to make this summary be broken down into a couple of chapters, describing the race from my eyes, thoughts and emotions.
We arrived in Vegas Friday morning.  It was easy to pick out people who came to town for the race rather than gambling and show seekers.  For one, many toted large bike boxes and aero helmets dangling from the carry-on bag.  Aside from their super-fit physique, the guys had smooth, shaved legs and very defined calves.  We hopped on the bus to take us to our rental car.  Another athlete sat down across from us.  We learned that she was here from Brazil, doing the 1/2 World Cham…


Why???  That is a question I have asked myself over and over this past year.  Why am I doing this?  Why am I trying to push myself through injury?  Why is my body not responding like I want it to?  I am a bit too excited to begin my taper leading up to the upcoming Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Vegas. - 2 weeks, I keep telling myself... I can make it 2 more weeks.  Of course for me, it seems that much of the summer training has been a bit of a taper in one discipline or another. 

1st, my calf starting tightening up in the Spring just before the Mountain Madness 1/2 Iron distance tri, then, my hip began giving me painful fits after a self-driven session of yoga (yoga, is a wonderfully good healer for the body if done correctly... apparently, I did not do it correctly and ended up straining my psoas and hip adductor).  Since running and biking aggravated those injuries, I focused on swimming in the pool and lake.  As luck would have it, something got in my ear and began "gro…

Tri the Mountains

"I'm going to go and just have fun with no expectations."  That is what I told my coach and friend, Anne Chrzanowski, the week before Tri the Mountains Sprint triathlon.  We had planned for this race months before, blocking out the weekend at our cabin up in Blue Ridge, GA, arranging Kaitlin Rassett, our sweet college-aged babysitter, to come with us and watch the girls during the race, and signing up before the early entry deadline (something we rarely do for fear of jinxing ourselves).  Jinxing myself might be exactly what happened leading up to the race.   I signed up as an Elite - a new division they offered this year for the race, now in its 3rd year.  Last year, the talent ran deep and this year was sure to bring in just as talented athletes, as the race directors dangled a bit of prize money out there to entice.  My excitement was that the elites got to start in the water 1st -the past two years of doing this race, I got tangled up in the 4th wave, mixed fre…

Learning to be the Light

“I don't get it,' Caroline said, bemused. 'She's the only one with wings. Why is that?'
There were so many questions in life. You couldn't ever have all the answers. But I knew this one.It's so she can fly,' I said.Then I started to run.”

― Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)

I have not read "The Truth About Forever" by Sarah Dessen, but I saw this quote and a warm understanding churned within me.  My sweet precious little girl, Hayden Grace, was born with a genetic disorder, Angelman Syndrome.  These children are called "angels", not only because the term can be derived from the condition, named after a Henry Angelman who labeled it back in the 1960's, but because these children possess such a sweet innocence about them.  Their smile can light up a room.  I truly believe they have a direct connection to God above and they see the world through His eyes.

I have asked God hundreds of times "Why did you do this to my …

Race Time... or should I say, Play Time

I have been in a racing funk for a few months now.  The results don't reflect it, lucky for me, but the passion in training has just not been there.  I think this year I have been coming down off the high of last year's 1/2 Ironman, in Augusta, GA.  I had such a big goal, not only to complete the race, but in doing it I was raising money and dedicating the race to my daughter.  Each workout and race leading up to the big day had a greater purpose than just my own self-centered/driven goals.

I have battled one nagging injury after another this season.  I knew it was coming (perhaps a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts).  Training at such intensity and no downtime was taking its toll -life as a mom doesn't stop when you walk in the door after a 4 hour workout in 90 degrees of Georgia heat week after week.  Last year my husband worked from home so I could dodge out for workouts while Hayden napped in the afternoon or get a good workout in the morning prior to his heading down…

The Bucket List

I think most people are born with dreams of goals they wish to accomplish.  As children, we don't think twice, we dive in without hesitation.  I remember watching my Hailey at 10 months decide she wanted the banana I was holding.  She stood up and took 3 steps towards me to get it.  She had not been cruizing around furniture to practice, she wasn't fearful, she just went for what she wanted and got it.  Hayden, although it took her until age 3 1/2, was the same way.  She didn't really have an interest in walking - why would she, the child could break records with how fast she could crawl and climb.  One hot August afternoon, we were playing in the backyard when the sprinklers on the golf course behind our house turned on.  With obsessive passion, Hayden had to get to the water -as most know, children with Angelman Syndrome have a bizarre fascination with water.  She started walking straight toward the golf course.  I, of course, started crying and squeeling with excitement…

And we're off...

  For most who know me, I have about a hundred ideas in my head, all flying around in different directions.  I don't sit still for very long, so taking the time to actually organize and write down my thoughts is going to be one of my toughest challenges.  I, however, feel compelled to share our story, the journey our family is undertaking into the world of raising a child with special needs, trying to live a "normal" life for our other child, and squeeze in training and racing in all of our "free" time.  Tune in often to learn more about our Hayden Grace, age 4, who has Angelman Syndrome and what we are doing to use our talents to the fullest to help give her as many opportunities as life has to offer.  This adventure is hard and oftentimes straight uphill, but I know in my heart one day, when we reach the top, we will look back and smile at the path we took to get here -giving it our all every step of the way.