A 38 year old triathlete and mother of two on a quest for Tokyo. Say what?

8 months since my last post… how did that happen? I could use the excuse that I had a baby and it's just been a tad busy. But I don't like making excuses so let's just move on shall we?

To avoid pages and pages of reading, I am going to do my best to summarize my life over the past 8 months with a 3 ½ year old, an 8 month old, a rock star husband and my days of speaking, travel, training and trying to figure out if I can maintain my elite level status in Paratriathlon. Oh, and Jake the dog, who can’t decide if he’s still mad at us for having kids or if he actually loves us still. Or maybe his hips are just hurting. Oh Jake, we love all 11 years of you.

When I last left you, we had just had the sweetest baby girl, Millie Lynn. That baby girl is now a thriving 8 months old and we just when we think our hearts are about to explode with love, we somehow wake up the next morning loving even more. She is a happy girl who smiles much of the day. Her dimples will make anyone melt and I swear they are going to help her change the world someday. At 7 months old she decided she wanted to sleep through the night and I’ve already forgotten what the sleep deprived 7 months felt like. Waking up 3-4x a night left me in such a haze it’s no wonder I’ve forgotten. Millie loves all type of music, she loves to watch us dance, she loves to eat and she adores her big brother. She tracks Dallas wherever he goes and the love they have for each other is beyond measure. My happiest moments and best days are sitting with my family, playing, walking, dancing or doing anything as long as we are together. Being a mom trumps anything else I have done in my life. I get a little teary eyed even thinking about it (pausing to get a tissue)

Dallas is 3 ½ and we love watching him grow. The things he says make us roll with laughter and I can’t wait to go back and read them to him when he is older. He has a huge heart for his family, his friends and of course, anything and everything dinosaurs. Yup, we still haven’t grown out of that phase… He thrives at ‘school’, loves to run ‘super duper’ fast and loves anything with wheels. This winter Brian built a homemade ice rink in our back yard and got Dallas on skates for the first time. He loves the water and is fearless both with and without a life jacket (not always a good thing) and enjoys a game of catch and hitting the T-ball. Brian is still holding out hopes he will be a hockey player but of course, I’m trying to steer him towards swimming, biking and running and seeing where that might lead….. Time shall tell.

We had a family trip to Disney with Brian’s family last month and it was amazing. We did all the parks and got in plenty of pool time in the sun. Dallas went on his first roller coaster and loved it. He was excited to meet all the characters until we got within 10 feet of them, and then he would go into hysterics and unable to move out of fear. The pictures are epic.

After the Disney trip, I was asked to speak in Cancun and Brian tagged along for a bonus vacation from our vacation. Three days in paradise. Thanks mom and dad for watching the kids!

When Brian isn’t in FL or Mexico, skiing with some buddies in Vail or playing pond hockey, he’s working hard at his job getting patients up on prosthetic legs walking or running or whatever it is they want to do. I mentioned he built a hockey rink in our backyard this winter and it was quite the labor of love. It was fun to see him out there skating around at night or skating with the neighborhood kids or his hockey buddies. His summer plans include making our yard look perfect, a few triathlons, hitting some golf balls and continuing to be the best dad in the world.

I have been keeping busy. My speaking started up again about 6 weeks after Millie. Some months busier than others and as I write this, I am on a plane headed out to Salt Lake City for a speech. I think my coolest speech lately was at the CIA. Like, the actual CIA. I still love speaking in hopes I can inspire others and don’t mind the travel especially if it can be a day trip or quick overnight.

My training is back in full swing and when I am home, that is what dictates my days. As a mom of two, I get in what I can, when I can and try not to stress about the workouts too much. Last summer, I often went on a run after the kids went to bed so I didn’t have to sacrifice any family time to get it in. That meant adding a headlamp and a reflector vest to my wardrobe but I quickly learned to enjoy my evening runs. With both kids in daycare now I am able to get my workouts done during the days and typically train 9-10 hours a week.

My swim and my bike fitness came back much faster than I expected and my run is slowly getting there. While I was out last year, my competitors got faster so I need to not only get back to where I was before I got pregnant, but I need to get even faster. I raced in my first triathlon only 2 months post baby in order to make a time standard so I could continue receiving some funding that helps offset my training costs. It was in Sarasota, FL and I was slow and I felt huge, but I did what I needed to do and I loved being back on the race course. 5 months later (so just last month) I was back down in Sarasota for my first ‘real’ race back on the same course as before. I went into the race just wanting to race my race and prove to myself that my training was working. Turns out it is. I swam a decent swim, I had a lifetime PR on my bike and my run wasn’t too far off where I was before Rio. To say I was thrilled with my race is quite the understatement. A lifetime PR on the bike, 7 months after having a baby. I still can’t believe it. Not to mention that I stayed true to myself and raced my own race, doing what I knew I could do.  I walked away from the race confident in myself, in my training, in my coach (thanks Chris!) and the thought that this 38 year old mother of two, might actually be able to make a comeback. My goal all along has been to race this year and see how I do against my competitors and then reevaluate at the end of the year on my quest for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. If this race was any indication, I’d say I’m giving it a go. Why not right?

Next for me on the racing circuit is trying to race in as many big point races as I can race this year and increase my world ranking. It’s a confusing process but basically the better you do at a race, the more points you get which add up to your world ranking. Some races are worth more points than others but the caveat is that you have to have points already to race in some of the big point races. And since I was off last year because I was pregnant, I don’t have many points. And then it’s this whole nomination process to get into each race and you don’t know if you are on the start list until a few weeks before the race. And all the races are international races. Blah blah blah. So yeah, it’s confusing. And with kids, it can often be a logistical challenge.

But… I’m dedicated to giving it a shot and I’m so fortunate to have Brian who supports me through it all. It really is all about teamwork.

I will find out in a week if I will get into the next big point race in Yokohama, Japan. Three weeks before the race. You know, no biggie…but keep your fingers crossed.

So there you have it. 8 months wrapped up right here.

I can’t close without the mention of Little Leg’s 14th birthday which is tomorrow. If you are wondering who Little Leg is, it’s what I named what was left of my leg after I lost it. Every year we celebrate the day and celebrate life and all that we have. It’s a day to reflect on how great life really is. And I suppose it’s become quite the party with family and friends coming in to celebrate. Think dancing, drinks, party favors, a cake, maybe drinking out of my leg (just maybe) and this year the addition of a party bus. Hard to believe it’s been 14 years since I lost my leg over in Iraq, how time flies. But join me tomorrow in celebrating your own life, wherever you are in the world.

Alrighty, I’m done. Until next time,

Peace Out!

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