Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thank God for the U.S.A.!

Remember the other day: Life is Simple? Well, life IS simple; and fabulous, and active, and loving, and filled with friends and family, and all of those things that we take for granted in the United States. So, yesterday morning - before the crack of dawn - my oldest son and I loaded the Odyssey (no pun intended...) and headed west. Mind you, we only went an hour west, but that is far enough to cross into a different time zone. Once in the booming Metropolis of Marianna, Florida (very similar to Montevallo, Alabama, I might add) we unloaded all of the earlier packed gear: Two road bikes, two bicycle helmets, two bike shoes, four running shoes, water bottles filled with diluted PowerAde, PowerBars and Gel, towels, sunglasses, and other things I am sure.

One of the best things about living in the USA on Independence Day is the ability one has to celebrate in unique AND healthy ways. Colin and I were out so early to participate in the Freedom Springs Triathlon for the second time. Last year it served as Colin's initiation into a true sprint distance Triathlon. We rode it on our mountain bikes because that is what we had, and we finished in very respectable times. This year the goal was to see how much better we could be with road bikes under us. Colin, as I fully expected, finished ahead of me again and dropped 11 minutes from his time last year to finish in 1:06.29 with a 24 minute (give or take) 5K at the end!!! Turns out that this time put him fourth in his age group behind three Southeastern Regional USAT Team triathletes. Well, he was crushed that he had not won or even placed, but when it was pointed out that these kids have coaches and really good gear AND that he had beaten EVERYONE (including those team guys) out of the water except 6 people, he was not so bummed anymore. But, his old and slow mom (who won't do the swim in order to be on the beach when Colin gets out of the water) finished in 10 minutes faster than last year.

For whatever reason, this year I wore my Team in Training singlet for the ride and the run. So, I did what any good "Purple People Eater" does, after I had finished, I grabbed some water and headed back out onto the run course. I knew at least two other people out there and one was TNT Alumnus Extraordinaire Erin Glover. I had figured that she was not too far behind me, and sure enough when I reached the first turn, there she was. I pepped her up and ran her in - her words to me were, "Thanks for coming back, I needed a kick." Erin finished in 1:19:47, more than 10 minutes faster than her goal AND placed 2nd in her age group. Then, knowing that my good friend and cycling mentor Karin Clausen was still out in the run, I turned around and went back for her. I picked her up in almost the same spot I had found Erin, and we headed down hill - gosh I like a down hill finish - to the finish line. It was a strong run into the chute for Karin, and we were done! Purple People Eaters (Team in Training folks) Rock!!!

I found Colin in the transition area gathering his things. We picked up our stuff to make room for the kids in the Youth Tri, and meandered back to the Odyssey. After loading the bikes, helmets, shoes, and wet running stuff, we found our dry and not-so-smelly clothes, had a short stint in the VERY COLD spring lake, rinsed off in the showers, dressed and got a quick snack. I went back to find Erin and help her get her things to her truck. Colin didn't want to wait for awards, and Aidan was being his wonderful charming, ebullient self at the Grandparents Abbey's house. We eased into the car, turned the A/C on high, and headed east. Mind you, only an hour east, but far enough east to cross back into our home time zone, and reenter life as we had left it before the morning's expression of Independence.

I've said it before: early morning runs during sunrise are awesome; fast bike rides with the wind in your face are supreme; and the glow of God' promise on the horizon puts all that to shame. Thank God for the U.S.A.

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Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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