Monday, December 14, 2009

Reflections for 2009

It's nearing the end of 2009 and I couldn't wait to reflect on my favorite events or moments of my year! Here are my top five:

ONE: I saw Oprah, y'all! I can't believe that in January, I attended an Oprah show with Anna, Molly and Shelz. Little did we know it would be one of her last seasons. Although the show was not our favorite, good things came out of our time with O. One of her challenges to us was the I'm In campaign where we pledged five hours of volunteer work in our community. My pledge turned into a promise. I pledged a little over five hours each week for the Girls on the Run program in a Wilmington school. More on that in a bit!

TWO: I was WICKED! There was a moment -- seconds before the last song of the first act of WICKED -- where I was defying gravity. Even in my seat, in a packed matinee show on a Sunday afternoon on Broadway, I was flying. The entire weekend was magic. We saw Tony-award winning actors. We shopped. We dined. We dodged wacka-doodle fans. We peer pressured Amy's brother to down a very blue martini. I have to thank Amy for the invite, C.A. for the hospitaliy, R.K. for sharing his mom and his last day at the show and J.B. for the laughter.

Number THREE belongs to TRIathlons, naturally. I completed two tris this year - the White Lake Sprint in May and the Wilmington YMCA sprint in September. Both of these triathlons were improvements over last year's time and effort. I am proud of my commitment to training and my results but, these made the list because in each event there was a moment in each race where I experienced joy. In the swim at White Lake and in the bike portion of the Wrightsville Beach race I remember thinking: this is FUN! Can you smile underwater? I think I did.

As part of my triathlon experience, I also joined the YDubTriClub this fall. I have found joy in training with others this year! I am loving the people I swim, bike and run with every day at the YWCA. The coaches and other athletes push me, encourage me and make me laugh. I've gotten faster and fitter. My mile time at our track workouts has improved by about five seconds and my 100-yard time in the pool has improved almost 10 seconds! Plus, I've gotten fitter. Which leads me to......

FOUR - As in a size four. I don't think I've seen a size four since I was, well, four. I've lost almost 15 pounds since May of 2008. I maintained the first ten for more than six months and then dropped five pounds in the first three weeks of the tri club! In October and November - miracle of miracles - I dropped inches. Sometime in October I went to my favorite shop in Mayfaire (WH/BM) and realized I had dropped two sizes (from a 10 to a 6). I stopped by another shop to justify my unscientific discovery and realized I fit into a size FOUR!! I think everyone in the store heard my squeal from the dressing room and might have understood when I came out doing a the joyful jumping dance. I danced right on outta there with that pair of corduroys! In fact, I'm wearing them right now and they're a little loose.

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FIVE - Thanks to Oprah and Suze Webster, I volunteered for Girls on the Run this fall. As previously mentioned, Oprah encouraged me (way back in January) to volunteer five hours for Starbucks' I'm In campaign. Suze, my niece, had been a participant a few years ago in Girls on the Run and I loved the concept - an after-school running program for third to fifth graders. The goals: train girls how to run a 5K and educate and prepare them for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Carol Kays (a true superwoman and mom of one of the girls) and I, coached 15 girls at Myrtle Grove Christian to their first (or best) 5K. We played games, we did relays, we made up cheers and we ran an ran and ran. Our chant was: Our word is FINISH. Our goal is FUN. We are the girls - GIRLS ON THE RUN!

The end of our season was marked by the PPD Ho Ho Holiday 5K in downtown Wilmington. It was rainy and cold. I ran with Cady Matoska - a fourth-grader who participated in 2008. She told me before the race that she wanted to beat her time from last year (42:00) and finish in under 40 minutes. We dodged pot-holes, street cones and huge puddles. We ran up hill - both ways. It was my slowest race, but one of my happiest. My heart was so full when I watched Cady pass me and cross that finish line - in 39:11. I had about 14 other great moments that day, knowing that Caitlyn, Carly, Lilly, Hannah Grace, Emma Grace, Avri, Savannah, Michaela, Channing, Alis, Loring, Susan, Olivia and Loring crossed that finish line and received their medals.

I found a great quote from Oprah: "Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." I found that was true of my experience in Girls on the Run.

There were other moments of gratitude, joy, peace, pride, and all out fun and laughter. I was able to hold and welcome Emery Elise Best and Alonzo Dumay Gorham, IV on their birthdays. I ran my third half marathon and got a PR in my umpteenth 5K. I wiied and skiied and celebrated Frozen Dead Guy Days with Jennifer and Troy in Colorado. I rocked out to Ratdog, the DEAD, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Widespread Panic, Muse and U2!!! I visited Chris and Annie in Hendersonville and I celebrated my 20th high school reunion. Heck, I even visited IKEA for the first time! It's been a fun year and I am looking forward to 2010. I hope your new year is full of moments just like these!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Y Dub Tri Club

I made it through my first week of the YDubTriClub! Phew! What a great week. I joined to keep myself in shape until the next triathlon. The program is run through the YWCA and each practice is coached by a triathlete. We'll learn injury prevention, bike maintenance and swimming techniques that I have just powered through in the past. I have learned so much and feel so much better already. I can't believe I ever trained alone! Swimming, biking and running with others is so much fun. It pushes you just a little bit more to do even better.

Monday we biked on indoor trainers. It was an hour's worth of getting used to getting our bikes on the trainers and feeling them out. My favorite part: the music. I have never biked with music and our instructor just blared lots of favorites everything from Still of the Night [Whitesnake] to Touch of Grey [Grateful Dead]! Nice!

On Tuesday and Thursday we swam. Drills. Forever. We practiced all sorts of techniques to improve form, function and breathing. On Tuesday we took a baseline time for a 100. I finished in 1:45 [I think]. We'll see if it improves. On Thursday we did more drills: finger tip drags, the swordfish, kickboard, closed-fist freestyle, open-hand freestyle and something called a three-and-threes that helps with rolling your hips when you breathe. If my calculations are correct, we did close to 100 lengths of the pool that day.

Wednesday was our day at the track and Friday is our day for a long run. On Wednesday we did a mile warm-up (with skipping!) and a mile test run. My time for the mile was 7:42. We also did these crazy sprints where you do 20-seconds of mountain-climbers, sprint 50 yards, walk to the start, do 20 seconds of knee raises, sprint 50 yards, walk to start, 20 seconds of squats, sprint 50 yards and walk to the start. Then do it again. Zowie! Today was our long run and I'm thrilled to say that I ran from the YWCA to Pine Valley, around Robert E. Lee drive and back to the Y [about 5 miles]. As Valley girls growing up in that area of town, we lived to ride our bikes around Robert E. Lee drive. I can't believe I ran it!

Did I mention that our training starts at 5:45am? I stole these pictures because it's too dark to take my own. But, here are my top reasons of the week to get up so early to work out: you get to see the stars and the full moon, you get to eat a cream puff from sweet and savory without the guilt, you lose two pounds in one week, and you gain confidence that you stuck with it all week.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Megan's Baby Shower

Megan had her baby...........shower! This past Sunday we celebrated Megan G's mom-to-be-ness with a shower at Cape Fear Country Club. We had a brunch, played Baby Scattergories, created a scrapbook with advice and quotes and opened gifts for Baby Dumay.


Flowers & Favors


Megan & Meade

Virginia, Megan and Maria

Elizabeth, Megan, Alex

Megan & Aron

Megan and Tracy

Alex & Bear

Megan & Maria

Megan & Becka

Me & Megan

Lindsay & Megan


Measuring the Size of Mum's Tum
Elizabeth overestimated a little.

Heirloom Gifts

Baby Boy Bundles

Baby Booties & Caps Handmade by Mama K

Baby Swing from Amelia

Jennifer & Megan

Stephanie & Megan

Megan and Louise [LuLu] Gorham

Megan & Mama K

Amelia & Megan

Hostess Gifts

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wilmington YMCA Triathlon

I finished my third triathlon this past Saturday! What an amazing experience. Each tri experience has been awesome - but this one was unbelievable. The weather was fantastic and I reached all my goals. But, most important, I was surrounded by people who believed in me and helped me reach the finish line!

The race weekend started on Friday with packet pick-up at Two Wheeler Dealer and a participant meeting at Wrightsville Beach Park. We met Gail & Bob Crutchfield and Julie Stocks and were introduced to their relay team from Whiteville. We paced out the run from the end of the swim at Seapath Marina to the Transition Area. Plus, Neal and I scoped out my spot in the bike racks. Here is a before and after shot.
Above: Friday Night. Below: Saturday Morning
Neal and I arrived at 0-dark-thirty to pick up my timing chip, prep the bike and get to the swim start. The participants were bussed to the Blockade Runner. Neal rode his bike cruiser a mile or so to the swim start.

A little girl spelled out: Go Triathletes! in the sand.
Sunrise on the participants:

Participants crowd the shoreline waiting for their wave to start.

There were 16 waves of swimmers starting about 5 minutes apart. The open athletes are sent first and then most of the other waves are based on age-groups. I think this is the 35 - 40 year-old men. The announcer told them to behave: You are the troublemakers in the bunch, he said, so be careful out there!

Here I am pre-swim. The water was wonderful. It was clear and 76 degrees.
I wore my wetsuit top over my bike/run gear.

Here's what it looks like at the start of the swim!

My official swim for 1500 meters was 26:54! My goal was 28:00 minutes. Yay! I even passed some of the swimmers from the previous waves which was pretty cool. We had to climb up the ladder at Seapath and run from the Marina, through the parking lot and down the Causeway to the Transition entrance. Phew! I was so excited to hear Dad and Joyce and Neal yelling for me when I came down this stretch! The sun was shining and everybody was so excited.

Here I am in Transition 1 (T1). It felt like I took forever to don my helmet, shoes, gloves, watch, hairband, and race skirt, but my T1 time was 2:37. I actually cut my time by 1 minute from my last race at White Lake - which is huge! Here are a few shots and video:

Our 12 mile bike took us over the WB drawbridge, up Airlie Road, to Greenville Loop, back down Oleander to Eastwoood and back to the beach. Dottie Sauer [Neal's mom] cheered me on at mile 2 and mile 9 on the corner of Airlie and Oleander. Kathryn, Suzanna and Jacob Webster were cheering for me a the Lowe's Foods on Greenville Loop, and Anna and Parker had cowbells and pots and pans near the muni golf course! I finished in 43:03! [My goal was 45:00.]

I didn't feel so hot at the end of the bike - I had a stitch in my side and I was simply THIRSTY! [Um....that's what swimming in salt water does...hello!?]. My main goal was to run the entire way...and I did it! Megan and Alex gave me a BIG boost in downtown WB. Hearing Alex say: go Bessie! was awesome! Colin met me at mile 2.5 on the shady side of the course. He ran with me and for a few yards and pepped me up and then we passed Joyce, Dad, Dottie, Anna, Neal, Parker (who gave me a high five!), Amy, Connie, Caitlyn, Emilie and Finn!
Here I am in the home stretch in front of the police station!
Kickin' it in the end. I ended up passing that tall guy! I finished in 31:19 which wasn't my goal time BUT, I ran the whole thing and it's my best time in a Tri yet! My total time was 1:45:56!
After the post-race party, everyone came to our home for the real finish line party. We pigged out on all the stuff I try to avoid during training: chickfila, krispy kremes, gallons of sweet tea and homemade ice cream!

I want to thank everyone for helping me eat so much junk food, but especially for coming to show your support and to cheer me on. I know the other athletes loved seeing you and hearing you, too. I may not have won an award for my finish but I should have won an award for the most fans! You all deserve medals for your enthusiasm and time and interest!
Thank you to Cathy, Shelley (and Ella), Connie, Dottie, Ron, Megan, Dumay, Alex, Gail, Bob, Julie, Kat, Suze, Jake and Mary Jo - you all made this triathlon special. Thank you to Amy and Emilie who created my FIRST triathlon medal. It is now hanging with my other half marathon and 5k medals.
I want to say a special thank you to Dad and Joyce who arrived SUPER early at the race and probably ran as much as I did. They also presented me with beautiful mums and an post-race dinner with all my favorite foods! I so appreciate Anna and Colin and Parker making the trip from Raleigh and chasing me around the beach! You made the race super fun and it meant a lot to have you there. You all helped with logistics at the race and the party - awesome!
And, of course, I want to thank Neal. He is always a G-A-S (gear and support). Most importantly, he keeps me motivated and believing in myself during my training in the days leading up to the race and points out all my strengths and accomplishments in the days following the race. Thanks!