Tag Archives: running

Monday Flashback: Gravity and Ice Packs

22 Mar

The last time I remember falling this hard was at a high school track and field competition, I mean I’ve fallen before, plenty of times in my adulthood and parenthood parts of my life, but you know there are those times that you remember, reeeeeeeeally remember. The ones that stick with you when you can picture what you were wearing, the time of day, who was there, the street you were on, if anyone saw you, and maybe the sting of the dirt or pebbles that broke your flesh open.

Yeah those stick with you. High-school track meet. 400-metter hurdles. Yeah that was a big one.

I added to that epic list this weekend and ice packs were necessary.

I didn’t break anything, I’m fine. But I was reminded that gravity is still a very powerful force. I find that potholes and long laces often contribute to these stumbles as well, but I can’t tell you how this actually happened. I had double knotted my shoes, but the laces were still pretty long, and I hadn’t tucked them, so can’t be sure what caused it but it happened.

I found it interesting that while my right knee and both hands were bleeding, I didn’t stop. I got up. Jogged for a bit to make sure the potential cars passing by had not witnessed this epic crash, which in fact no one did, unless they had video recording doorbell ringers that captured it for their amusement. But I doubt it, a lot of tall bushes and gates.

After a couple minutes of jogging, I walked for a bit. I pressed my shirt against the palms of my hand to try and stop the bleeding, and squeeze my hand to try and stop the throbbing painful sensation but it didn’t stop.

Then I had a flashback of my son at one of his first triathlons. Right after my race the kids race had begun and during the race he had take a tumble during the excitable and crowded field of SpongeBob-watching population. He winced a bit, got up, and kept going before I got a chance to ask him if he was OK. I had gone into mom mode immediately, but he waved me off and kept going. When he got to the finish line I was so proud of him for finishing the race. It was hard, an unexpected obstacle. But he persevered. Big smiles, big hugs, and high-fives at the finish line.

I remember taking our picture after the race, smiling with our medals and the pride he felt in himself. In getting up after that fall, not giving up, and the smile on his face when I saw him at the finish line. I remembered all this as I walked along my running route with my hands still bleeding. The marks of The Stumbler. The one who falls, and stumbles, but continues to get back up.

I smiled thinking of my son. I squeezed my hand, tried to make a fist, and finished the 3-mile run. Sometimes kids give you that extra push you need, even when they’re not there. And ice packs still feel good after Band-aids and Neosporin.

Beware … gravity is still very powerful.

Buen Camino my friends …

Words on Wednesday … Stuck in an Elevator and Driver Licenses

14 Oct

Remember when you got your driver’s license for the first time? Remember that? You walked out of the DMV like Rocky Balboa feeling like I GOT thisssssssssssssssssss!

Granted I didn’t get mine until I got out of college, but I was living with a driving permit for years. Not because I didn’t want to take the test, but I actually didn’t need a car in school as the subway was the way to do, and walking. So I didn’t have a need for one really. But once I got out into the real world and started working, that license was imperative. Not just for work but for the independence that came with it. The driver’s license was much more than permission to get behind the wheel.

Now, driving doesn’t feel like an accomplishment at all, just an extension of the everyday. Parallel parking in a tight spot while random strangers are watching you from their porch? Now THAT still puts an extra spring in my step! I strut like George Jefferson when I pull that off.

But thinking about my license and traveling back in time, that was an epic day. One I looked forward to most definitely. And so during my little time traveling escapade I realized that I’ve been missing the “looking forward to” aspect.

There are little things here and there to be grateful for, can’t deny that. Parallel parking as I mentioned, rocks. Under current circumstances, gratitude makes this adventure we’re all going through better. But feeling the feels, like that driver’s license vibe … that’s missing. The assuredness that you’ve planned or prepared for something and it’s about to go down.

That’s been missing a long time.

I was reminded of that this week, though, as I couldn’t go to any of my kids’ soccer, hockey, or baseball games seeing how there was no season. Looking forward to seeing them play, their hard work and skills learned during the week tested out there, the smiles on their faces when things went right and the sighs when improvement was still needed. Or the feel of the big league stadium when you’re at the ballpark and it’s playoffs, the cheer of the collective crowd. I miss that. I don’t miss the damn beach balls that always seem to bounce in your line of vision when someone has an epic play at home plate.

The “looking forward to,” part was missing and it feels like I’ve been stuck in an elevator between the 7th and 8th floors telling everyone else stuck in there with me, ‘well when I get out, what I’m going to do is this …’ ‘

We’re all making plans, we’re all plotting out what’s gonna happen first. I mean I know Disneyland will probably be packed. No doubt.

But this elevator sucks and those doors are going to be closed for a long time. So I have to find moments until the doors open, even if they’re not driver-license worthy, they still give me something to look forward to beyond the everyday routine.

The race, for instance.

Most of the time my obstacle races and runs present both physical and mental challenges that make me laugh and feel good. Give me those Gatorade worthy moments. But this year it’s done with a virtual twist. I did my dad’s race that way and even though it wasn’t the same it did give me the looking-forward-to-it vibe. I had purpose. I felt that pitter-pat. So when a friend of mine sent me a link to a virtual race for our old school, I thought cool shirt. I’m in. I want a little something different.

It broke up the regular of this irregularity. So I had something to look forward to, something out of the ordinary. A little excitement bubbled as I joined others feeling the same way, participating, being part of a community even if we weren’t at the finish line at the same time. It was good to do a little something different, to reach a goal and to reach it with my kid. It was a good break from the stuck elevator.

🙂

And so my life remains in chunks, and even though I’ve been grateful for the wake up in the morning without Coronavirus chunk, I wish, like everyone else, that there were more driver’s license moments.

Buen camino my friends …

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Feel Good Friday on a Saturday … 5 Before 45

25 Jul

I made an appointment with myself this morning.

I mean, I make doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, coach’s meetings, practice sessions, camping arrangements. That was all prior to Covid-19. Now I make virtual meetings, virtual campouts, virtual summer camps, virtual book club, virtual everything. I make the everything appointments.

Everything but myself.

Haven’t done too many of those when we’re all supposed to be hunkered down. There’s little room here.

But needed a moment to think.

So I found some space. Something big was happening and I needed to clear my head. I needed a moment with myself to do something without the kids. So I woke up just at the same time the sun did, laced up my Saucony running shoes for the last time as a 44-year old.

I try to make time stop, slow it down on the last day. I try to get just one moment that day, do something fun, something Zen, something that makes me laugh, something that makes me feel good, like waking-up-early-to-watch-Saturday-morning-cartoons-when-I-was-a-kid good. Something with that vibe. Gives me perspective on the day before I turn one year older. I like to pause.

Early is the way to go when you’re trying to avoid people. Not too many feel the need to rise on up on Saturday morning. Not even myself. But today I did. And it was a good thing.

After I sprinted the last 200 yards with my heart pounding, trying to catch my breath, I felt it. I crossed my imaginary finish line marked by the parking sign and the sweat falling underneath my Cal Bears cap.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. And there it was, between the heartbeats. Brief. But it was there for me, a moment to be present, a moment of gratitude, a moment of pause. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and feeling the sun. 44 was leaving. But the mixed tape that went with it was worth it.

I don’t know what year 45 around the sun looks like, I know it will include Ben & Jerry’s that’s for sure. I’m celebrating the ending of year 44 with pint. But if year 45 is better than year 44, then I’m doing a good job. Moment by moment. Step by step.

 

Katrina and the Waves — Walking on Sunshine

 

La Sonora Dinamita — Se Me Perdio La Cadenita

UB40 — The Way You do The Things You Do

 

Los Tucanes de Tijuana — La Chona

 

Phil Collins — That’s All

 

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Buen Camino my friends!

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My Andy Dufresne Moment

26 Dec

I didn’t think someone from Shawshank Prison would help me turn the corner, but he did.

Andy Dufresne.

“… who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side …”

Usually a moment triggers a memory and the sadness of missing him becomes so strong that I need a couple of minutes to get myself together. But this time it was different. The emotion was so overwhelming that I stopped in the middle of the track and began to cry.

It came with no warning and I just missed him. Right there on the bridge, after the big hill. I hadn’t sobbed like that since the year he passed away. But it happened and there I was … I couldn’t get a hold of it.

The feeling lasted a while … all month long. Usually sadness hits during Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday I remember my Dad the most. But this episode cast a shadow on the entire month of November, even December. I couldn’t shake it.

Life felt heavier. Things were slipping. The bottom was coming up and I was trying to hang on by looking for gratitude in moments where it was hard to find.

Family life was stressful as people kept revealing who they really were in times of normalcy and crises. But I always knew who they were, I just kept giving them chances. I was all out. Rejections felt uglier, the it’s-not-you-it’s-me letters were no longer coming in, it was just silence, like they weren’t even going to be bothered with notices. I had been moved over to the don’t-even-bother pile, and I was feeling the strain in every capacity, which incidentally increased my stress levels and decreased my tolerance and patience. Parenthood was kicking my ass and the weight of it effecting me. The year was in the homestretch and I was running out of gas.

While a lot of people I knew were busy getting projects, or writing thousands of words for NaNoWriMo, I stopped. It been the longest writing dry spell in 10 years. There were things happening, life was happening. But I stood there thinking about a future that wasn’t here and wondering whether it would ever show up.

And then I had my Andy Dufresne moment and I found my way back …

I had continued going to the track throughout all this, it was my one constant, if anything I’d at least walk in my hidden forest within the city. But that morning for the first time in a while, I picked up the pace. The storm clouds were hanging over head, and I wanted to beat the rain.

It didn’t work. The light mist turned into drizzle, then fat heavy rain drops found their way through the giant pine trees.

The few people walking through the park ran to their cars. But I didn’t.

I kept going, sloshing through mud puddles in the making, keeping pace while my baseball cap dripped with rain and sweatshirt drenched. I ran about three miles, and when I sprinted to my imaginary finish line I looked up to the sky and let the raindrops hit my face. I closed my eyes took a deep breath.

I found my moment.

I used to loathe running when I was a younger, but it’s become necessary to help me move passed all the crap and come out clean on the other side.

Buen Camino, my friends …

Running and Writing

28 Feb

In truth I’m pretty impressed with myself for finishing the second novel in my 12 of 12 literary quest  this year.

As you all know I’m the slowest reader, who’s a writer, on Earth, and I put this challenge forward as a way to expand my reading beyond my kid’s reading list and discover some new and exciting stories.  I enjoy the a-ha moments, or just the little tid-bits of advice that come to me throughout the chapters, something that helps me shift something inside me and keep me on the yellow-brick road, no matter how rocky the path.

Harukami.jpg

Now I hadn’t heard much about Murakami so I don’t know what that says about my literary chops, but I’m trying. I mean the cover alone made me think I was about to go on an epic journey.  I was really looking forward to reading this as it came highly recommended by a writer I’ve recently discovered through the awesome world of Podcasts. When he mentioned it the book centering on writing and running, I was like … yes. Someone else gets it! Someone can see how these two are intertwined and I embarked on this can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens enlightenment session.

However, it wasn’t a life-altering experience, which was disappointing. I was thinking it would hit me like a bolt of lightning, but it was more nuanced than that. It did have its moments though.

The narrative seemed to pick up around chapter six for me, when I felt he got a little deeper with meaning behind his running and writing, and what happens when we get older and the facts of life we have to accept. I enjoyed the parallels he made between both passions, and the goals and life lessons he learned along the way.  I especially enjoyed the last paragraph of the book, as it captured the essence of the journey. He championed himself as a runner, someone who was always determined to finish, and never give up, someone who never walked during a marathon, and I found that quality admirable. That metaphor applied not only to running, but to his his life.

I feel the only reason I was able to make this connection was because I was a writer and runner myself. If you are not a runner or a writer, this book may not be for you, you might not enjoy the details of his marathon training, long runs, or writing process. I had never heard of Haruki Murakami before this recommendation, but considering he had some bright spots in this novel I might give another book a chance. It’s always interesting to read something, even if it’s not mind-blowing, that adjusts something inside of you, no matter how small. You’re just a little bit different from the day you started the story.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Got An Extra High-Five For That One

5 Dec

I remembered no one being on that track other than myself. I remembered that breath I took when it happened. I remembered my face catching the sun as I looked up and smiled.

You know, I know I didn’t need the validation. In fact I knew I had done more … a lot more. I had reached the milestone way before the ticker clocked it in. But for some reason recording it made it more official … made the moment feel more like a-haaaaaaaaaaaaa!

 

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And the thing is I wasn’t even planning it, the 100 just sort of snuck up on me.

I knew I had already run 100 miles in my lifetime, probably multiple times before discovering the app, but the fact that I had done it and done it in such a short amount of time felt empowering. And the weird thing was that I always hated running but as I’ve gotten older I appreciate the quiet moments on the track and feeling like I’m in my own Gatorade-Nike commercial.

I enjoy the pool even more, I know my knees do, but the weather hasn’t been conducive to a dip in the pool, plus I don’t have one. So there’s that too. Driving out to the non-heated pool in the early hours wasn’t something my body was looking forward to, but putting on sweatpants (I think I may be the only one on Earth to still own a pair of those as everyone else has those yoga pants or tight pants, it’s a tight pants nation) sweatshirt, a beanie, and hitting the track, that seemed doable. And free.

Starting off slow saying to myself I’ll just walk, I’m not in the mood really. I’m tired. My mind is tired. My body is tired, the kind of tired that all parents know very well. But as  I walk the loop on the track, I hear the crunching sound my shoes  make as the gravel meets the treads.

I like that gravely sound. It makes me walk faster and then I rethink the whole walking thing. I think maybe I’ll just run a mile and then it turns into two, sometimes three.

And at the end of the run as I’m pumping my arms, out of breath, racing to the imaginary finish line I feel good. I catch a second wind and feel invigorated when I stop. It isn’t about the calories burned it’s the way I feel at the end. It’s the gravely sound I hear, the peace that comes over me as my breath slows down, the quiet that I needed in my heart to start the day right.

It’s an awesome feeling. The bottle-me up kind. And the fact that I clocked in 100 miles during this process … just makes it even better. Felt like I accomplished a little bit more. I gave myself an extra high-five for that one.

 

Feeling Like Rainbow Brite … But A Badass Rainbow Brite

23 Jun

Every time I check one off the list, I feel grateful for the Kodak moments that didn’t kill me.

You see no one ever tells you that when planning a Bucket List Adventure or a Sandbox List Adventure sometimes the stress of the entire mission leads to moments of anxiety, fatigue and eventually gray hair. But in the end the awesomeness of it all outweighs the little setbacks you encountered along the way.

And this is what happened … the crankiness of being woken up at the crack of dawn, the traffic along the way, the crowds at the parking lot, and the delays of the starting line all melted away when they heard the music and our New Balance shoes started moving. This weekend The Guats took on The Happiest 5K on the planet … The Color Run.

 

 

We picked up our gear early and ready to let our awesome out ... even got stickers for my Little Guats.

We picked up our gear early and were ready to let our awesome out … even got stickers for my Little Guats.

 

The only race that I know where the warm up is a Zumba Fest with prizes.

Once we got there we began warming up  … The Color Run is the only race I know where the warm up is a Zumba Fest with prizes.

 

The Little Guat decided to join the warm-up festivities and was a hit with the crowd. She definitely had the music in her.

The Little Guat decided to join the warm-up festivities and was a hit with the crowd. She definitely had the music in her.

 

They decided to jam a little in order to get pumped up for the race.

The warm-up was followed up with a jam session. They wanted to get pumped up for the race.

 

The countdown begins ...

And then the countdown began …

 

BOOM! They saw the sign and the adrenaline pushed them up the hill. They completely forgot about the incline as soon as they saw colors.

BOOM! They saw the sign and the adrenaline pushed them up the hill. They completely forgot about the incline as soon as they saw colors.

 

Ready to get splashed ...

Ready to get splashed …

 

Once we were soaked in blue, my son got the hang of it and decided to lead the way through all the colors. His sister didn't seem to need the stroller any more.

Once we were soaked in blue, my son got the hang of it and decided to lead the way through all the colors. His sister didn’t seem to need the stroller any more.

 

Feeling pretty good after our final color splash and ready to hit the finish line.

In the end, yellow was our last stop and the kids felt proud to be covered with all the colors of the rainbow.

 

When we finally crossed the finish line my kids were ecstatic about the confetti ... and all the high-fives they were getting.

We finally crossed the finish line and my kids were ecstatic about the confetti … and all the high-fives they were getting.

 

My son showing off his colors at the end.

My son showing off his victory colors at the end.

 

Hanging out at the end of the race and getting our paint packets ready for the celebration.

My daughter couldn’t get enough color. Here she is getting her paint packets ready for the finish line celebration.

 

This was one of their favorite parts of the race.

This was one of their favorite parts of the race.  In the end I felt like Rainbow Brite … but a badass Rainbow Brite … the kind who was able to check off a Bucket List Adventure with her family and celebrate it in Guat style.

 

 

 

I Wasn’t About to Be Defeated This Morning

18 Dec

All I wanted to do was go running. And I hate running. It’s bad for my knees, my joints, and just all around bad for my Icy-Hot loving body.

But I do it because it’s the only high-impact crazy aerobic exercise I can do in half an hour where I can feel my muscles working their ass off, and apparently I need my body to be working properly for at least another twenty-thirty years. Dying is not something I look forward to, I would hate to die and leave my kids motherless at such a young age. It’d be heartbreaking, and sure I imagine some people would try to step up to the plate and help raise them, but in truth … there’s no one like me and no one that loves my kids the way I do. I feel I bring out the best in them or at least I try to.

I’m pretty sure every parent feels that way. So in an effort to live longer I do a little running during the week. Apparently exercise prolongs your life so I’m all for that. But it also helps keep me in shape for my triathlon experiences, and it’s the only exercise I can do with my toddler. She sits in the stroller eating her Cheerios, checking out the scene, and reading books. If I had a pool I’d totally be swimming in it no doubt. If I had one of those kiddie ride along seats for my bike, we’d be cruising away. But I don’t. I’m broke-ass. So I do the poor-man’s exercise and run … surrounded by nature. It’s free.

This is not what I usually look like, but I imagine I would look this cool.

This is not what I usually look like, but I imagine I would look this cool.

But I really don’t look forward to it. Crazy enough I’d probably enjoy it more if it was attached to a triathlon. I’d be running toward something, not just running for running’s sake. I’m not a fan of that, but you do what you gotta do.

However this morning … it appeared that the odds were against me.

As a mom you try to be on schedule. Everything is on a schedule. If something goes awry in the schedule it creates a ripple effect for all the events the rest of the day. So your job as a mom is to try to keep to the schedule, try to avoid meltdowns, try to keep the dominoes in line. The schedule is your friend and when you betray your friend in any way it comes back to you. So in an effort to stay on schedule I had a small window available for my you-need-to-exercise activity. But like anything with schedules you need to go with the flow, otherwise your crazy will just get the best of you.

9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

That’s the window.

9 a.m. Changed my kid’s diaper before leaving

9:05 a.m. Packing the Cheerios for our outing.

9:06 a.m.  My kid apparently needing the Cheerios immediately and can’t wait ’till we’re outside in the stroller.

9:07 a.m. Cheerios all over the floor.

9:15 a.m. Cleaned up and finished re-packing Cheerios.

9:17 a.m. Found iPod, missing headphones.

9:25 a.m. Still missing headphones, but found a mini-speaker.

9:30 a.m. Phone rings. I don’t want to get it. I know I can’t get it. The schedule. If it’s important they’ll leave a message.

9:31 a.m. I get a message saying my mom needs me to look something up on the computer.

Dude.

9:32  a.m. I decide it can wait twenty minutes.

9:33 a.m. Grab my keys, turn to look for my kid, ready to go … unexpected potty situation that went beyond wipes. It called for soap and water.

9:40 a.m. Put my newly diapered kid in the stroller, wiggled the stroller over a couple of rocks, and then Bam! The handle bar broke.

It just broke off. Plastic screwed in by metal shouldn’t break off this easily, especially if it’s a Chicco Stroller. Not a fancy jogging stroller, just a regular one the kind you need at places like the mall. But considering I’ve had it since my first kid, I figure it had a little wear and tear that might have contributed to it’s demise.

So I stood there with the handle bar in my hand debating what to do next. My window of opportunity was closing, the universe seemed to be against the whole running outdoors idea. I wondered whether or not I could steer the stroller without it. Could I just hold it from the cup holder/key area? Did I have any duct tape?

No.

Could I still do this somehow?

I don’t know. Maybe.

9:41 a.m. Determined to go for a run, I popped the handlebar back in on one side. It was still clinging for life on the other side, desperately wanting me to put it out of its misery. However I ignored its pleas and tied it with some rope and forged ahead, holding onto the cup holder area the best I could, because apparently I suck at tying knots.

It was sad sight, but necessary. I made up my mind that I was going running and even though I don’t like running I wasn’t about to be defeated this morning. Not by anything. I’m stubborn that way.

It Was a Team Effort

22 Oct

This race wasn’t about making it to the finish line. It was one of my slowest times ever, but I didn’t care. This one was about the people running and walking alongside of me and the reason why we were there.

This one was for my Dad.

Most of the time my competitive edge gets me and I nearly kill myself trying to keep up with the AARP Triathlon chick zooming passed me. But this time I was all right hanging back. In fact I actually walked some of it and for the first time walking didn’t seem to be an athletic failure in my jock-minded head. In fact, walking was supposed to be part of the race. It was in the title. But regardless of whether we were walking or running, I was glad to have shared this with my kids. I was glad they knew what we were doing and why. I was glad they took part in raising money for the American Lung Association.  I was glad they were doing it for my dad and for other people who were in my father’s shoes.

 

We started off with a little stretching

I wanted to hang back at the end, but The Little Guats decided to move to the front and join the warm-up party.

 

Then apparently some stretching.

Then apparently some stretching.

 

We said a little something about why we were doing it.

We said a little something about why we were doing it.

 

And then we were off ... after checking out the crowd I was happy that The Little Guats decided to move to the front of the line.

And then we were off … after checking out the crowd I was happy that The Little Guats decided to move to the front of the line.

 

A few participants needed a quick little break.

A few participants needed a quick little break.

 

As the race progressed my son developed a competitive edge. He saw a few boys ahead of us and decided to speed up our development.

As the race progressed my son developed a competitive edge. He saw a few boys ahead of us and decided to quicken the pace. 

 

In the end, my kids were happy to see the volunteers' signs and receive their high-fives on a job well-done.

In the end, my kids were happy to see the volunteers’ signs and receive their high-fives on a job well-done.

 

 

 

I’d Like to Thank the Creators of Icy Hot for Making This Possible …

22 Oct

Icy Hot … it rocks. This awesome combination of menthol and methyl salicylate allowed my 37-year-old ass to successfully complete my sprint triathlon this weekend.

I would’ve used Ben-Gay on my tweaked knee, but that really didn’t sound athletic enough. It just sounded like I was old and weary. And even though I may feel like that at times there’s no need to perpetuate that train of thought. I’m an athlete damn it — a triathlete. And it was this bad-ass athlete mentality that helped push me through the race — even through the water, which, as predicted, kicked my ass. But I pushed through.

People making their way to the starting line.

The fact that I had a couple of friends in the race made it even more enjoyable. Camaraderie always makes for a better race.

So after a quick morning drive to the coast we unloaded our bikes and made our way to registration and the starting line. Now as I mentioned in my last triathlon piece the starting line is where you get to see everyone’s pre-warm-up routine and athletic attire.

A little too athletic for me.

Sometimes people go too far. But it becomes a good distraction because you’re full of nervous adrenaline.

A little laughter helps. But why was I still a little nervous? Why? The clouds. I was so hoping it wouldn’t rain during the biking leg of the race because I knew I’d probably eat it and need some paramedic assistance. Asphalt is pretty hard stuff. But as I was praying for the rain gods to take a nap, I noticed the starter of the race.

Sugar Ray saying what up, Guat!

Dude.

Sugar Ray Leonard.

I smiled and did my most enthusiastic, what’s-up-hello-holy-crap-you’re-Sugar-Ray-how-you-doing greeting, you know, like we were friends, like if we had brunch the other day, like if he knew me. I held my camera up and he did his what’s-up-hello-I-am-Sugar-Ray good-morning greeting.

I was pumped. I was ready to go. Legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, who won an Olympic Gold Medal and world boxing titles in five weight divisions gave me a thumbs up. Rain or shine. Paramedic or no paramedic it was on.

Three-two-one … Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

We’re off!

Now everything seemed to be going well during the race. The typical fast pace at the beginning where everyone sprints out like they’re Jamaican runners, whizzing right passed me only to die out after the first mile. As I passed most of these sprinters, I couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of elementary-age kids that were chugging along — keeping pace.

The Hill that slowed many down.

I mean when I was in elementary school I was playing green light-red light and watching Thunder Cats or Looney Tunes. I wasn’t racing in triathlons. I mean they didn’t even look tired. Even when we went up the hill, you saw their little legs speeding along. Don’t know what they feed these kids by the beach, but I’m sure when they hit 37 they’re probably not going to need Icy Hot.

Apparently there was this one kid, Jack, who was getting cheers from spectators all around the course. I didn’t see him or hear the chants. I’d like to think it was because he was behind me, but you never know.

One of the nice surprises that I found between mile one and mile two.

In any case, the running and biking portions of the race were not as grueling as I had thought. I felt bionic. A combination of Jamie Sommers and the Six Million Dollar Man: Colonel Steve Austin. A superhero even. I think I even passed Jack. I was zooming it, thanks to the Icy-Hot and my son’s playlist. However, the transition period sucked. It should take you like a minute. Run. Get your helmet. Get the bike. Go.

No, not for the Guat. For some reason it took me over five minutes to get situated. It wasn’t like I changed shoes or anything. I had a mini iPod and there were headphone wires everywhere. At that point I missed my lucky shirt, but I got over it and moved on.

Here’s my friend, Gonzalez passing me.

And when I got to the pool, it was just as I had expected … Kryptonite. Everyone I had passed during the run and bike phase not only caught up to me, but swam right passed me.

No bionic powers at all, just basic Guat tendencies, like pretending I can freestyle swim.

You know, I don’t know why I even try to freestyle swim. I mean who am I kidding? Who am I trying to impress? Michael Phelps wasn’t there. It’s just not my stoke. Freestyle is a stroke for people whose dots in life are connected. Me … I’m an ass-backwards dots-are-no-where-near-each-other kind of person. I’m a backstroke chick. I actually go faster doing the backstroke, so why the hell did I start of with the freestyle? Who knows. Maybe I went with the fake-it-until-you-make-it mentality.

My reward.

Note to self … that does not work in the pool. You just go slow, with the possibility of cramping and drowning. Stick to the backstroke.

However, regardless of my freestyle attempts and doggie paddles, I backstroked the last two legs of the race and powered through to the finish line.

An hour and twenty minutes. WOO-HOO! An awesome hour and twenty minutes, the kind that makes you feel bad-ass all day.

And for this bad-ass feeling, I’d like to thank the makers of Icy Hot, my son’s playlist, and my stubborn Guatemalan blood for making this possible.