Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just another adventure

Life is an adventure but when you are engaged to Brennan Cassidy not sure adventure does my life justice.  Everyday is something new and exciting.  A few weekends ago we went hiking in Elfin Forest.  We always bike through it on Saturday's.  I have mentioned maybe more than a few times that I would enjoying going hiking there..  Well two weekends ago we did just that and this is what I have to show for it.. At least he cut out the video of me running from this huge black bee.  However it was so funny on film I might just have to post that clip!

We had a great day!!! My life is an adventure and I have Brennan to thank for much of that!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

If there is a will there is a way!!!!

I managed to do it again. If there is a will there is a way. It would seem to be my matto lately.  Always find a way!!

It was no different last weekend.  I had known for weeks that Brennan would be racing his second ever half iron-man in Tempe Arizona on October 23rd. I was conflicted from the start not wanting to miss a friend's wedding. But not wanting to miss the race either. I had been home early in September one weekend and was talking about it with my mom. The voice of reason right. Haha. She told me to check one-way flights for late Saturday night. I could take one of the last flights and that way be able to attend all of the wedding and most of the reception and not miss the race.  I was getting my advice from the queen. I have a mother who misses nothing!! Who once again if there is a will there is a way. She was willing to fly back and forth from Oklahoma last year to watch Brooke swim in her last college meet and not miss any of KK's high school playoffs.  So I took her advice and started my search. After finding an incredibly cheap ticket. I then figured I better figure out some other logistics just in case. Brennan's dad was coming to this race. Originally since his dad would be going I was fine with not being able to make it. So I called and asked if he was all right if I came. I didn't want to take away from the father/son weekend. He was more than happy to hear I was coming especially when you think the race lasts about 6 hours. Nice to have company. He also helped me work out the logistics since I wanted it to be a surprise for Brennan. So it was decided I was headed to Arizona.  The hard part was keeping the secret for the next month or so.

As the race weekend approached Brennan's dad made a great a point. For a race this big, it takes a ton of planning. And a surprise probably would not go over so well. So about 4 days prior I casually asked some questions about the race and things. Saying better make sure to pack my heels and running shoes. Had mentioned I was taking the metro home Friday instead of driving. He asked why I didn't just drive. I told him I only needed to go one-way cause I was flying to Arizona Saturday night. He was so confused.  He then replied what time do you get in I said around 9:00pm.  He quickly replied I will not be picking you up at the airport.  All I could do was laugh and say that's why I have been coordinating with your dad.  He said he doesn't mind getting me.  He then responded that he was so glad I would be there! Not only cause I go with him to every race but also so his dad had company.

So the weekend would finally arrive. Rode the metro home even with all my fear it worked out great. Well except for when I got off in riverside. I just followed the crowd assuming they were headed to the exit. Well they were but there were more than once exit. So mom was on one side of the track and I was on the other standing in the dark. After figuring it out I headed back the other way at a quick pace. Saturday would fly by. An amazing wedding which you can read about in my previous blog.  It was extremely hard to leave the reception. But I had stayed as late as possible. My dad picked me up and dropped me off at the airport. After a quick flight I was in Phoenix.  Brennan's dad picked me up and we headed to the hotel. It was a good to see him. He was excited to see the race. I told him to prepared for a very long day!!!

The night would go quick seeing that we got up at 3:45!! But like always I rallied and was ready to go.  We headed over to the race location. Upon arrival like always Brennan headed into transition to get the last few things set up. Taking a bit longer than usual. Brennan's dad headed out in search of coffee.
We then do the dreaded waiting game.  We got the sun block on knowing that it was going to be a lovely 95 or so. The hottest race on record for Brennan.  Then like always helping him get into his wetsuit. Once in the wetsuit, I did one last check. We headed over to the swim start. This course was great because it would have a ton of options for us to see Brennan.  The swim would run parallel to the shore. The bike course would loop 3 times and the run would loop twice.

As we headed down to the shore my nerves like always starting to kick in. Seems weird since I am not competing at all. But when things are important they weigh on me as well. We would say our last few words and he would head for the start. This was an in the water start meaning I lost him before it even started. We positioned ourselves along the shore and watched the group head out. He was somewhere in the mayhem. As time went on I start to panic like every race. I also know that swimming is the worst part for him. I would finally spot him coming around the last buoy. He was out of the water. Not our best. I say our cause we are a team in this.  But he was out and still had a ton of racing to go.
Transition 1
We would see him run from the water into transition, he was quickly out of his wetsuit and on the bike.  Again we would wait. We walked to a spot in which we could see him come by 3 times per loop.  Making watching much easier. We always joke cause when the racing is over Brennan is exhausted. But so am I. For starters you spend all day standing, running to another spot, doing all kinds of math and just focusing on every person so that you don't miss the 10 seconds in which he will be in front of you.

The bike course was great for us spectators, about every 20 minutes we would see him. I managed to get in a lot of video and found a nice woman who took some great pictures for us. Brennan was always able to spot us and gave us a little point.  He was looking great on the bike. The bike is really his strongest leg. So he was shaving time and looking good! 

In most races I do a ton of running which this huge bag so that I can see the most of his race and be there for support.  So I had devised a plan with Brennan's dad that after the last bike loop. I would leave the bag with him and run the quarter of a mile to the transition area.  That way I could see him get off the bike into his run gear and out onto the run course.  Then meet back up with at the loop area of the run.  I got down in time. He was a bit slow transitioning but he was looking ok.  If I could only read his mind!! Turns out he was sick to his stomach and not excited to run a half marathon. First off who is excited to run a half marathon?! So away he went, for feeling badly he looked good to me for having already swam 1.5 miles and then biked 56.

Away he goes
I then headed over found Brennan's dad and we found some shade.  By this point it was very hot. Which had me worried Brennan trains in San Diego along the coast it is never Arizona hot. So I knew this would test him. As we stood in the shade we had a laugh when we got pooped on. Needless to say we moved. We also knew that he was running about 6 miles and would be back in about an hour. As we waited we chatted about all kinds of things.  I mentioned how great triathlon is cause its about just accomplishing it. More about competing against yourself.  You see families so excited cheering and parents who run some with their kids. Stop to give hugs.  His dad was noticing that as well.  To train for these events you have to have support cause training 100 miles on Saturday makes so that you might not do something else. As a supporter those training days stink but on race day it is all worth it. I feel like I just beam with pride of what he is doing.

It was soon time again that he was coming by. As he grew closer we started cheering and of course I was taking pictures and getting film.  I could tell he was hurting. I knew right away when he made a beeline for us.  He gave me a big hug and just stopped. Brennan always acknowledges me but this is when the fiancĂ© fear kicks in. Every possible thing started going through my head.  To try and keep myself from freaking out I turned into my coach mindset. Just said everything positive "your doing great, half way". Those types of things.  Then he started back up again, I was worried cause he never totally stops.  But he was headed off again and a wave of relief washed over me. As I watched him run off I contemplated catching up to him and giving more support.  I made a quick decision and I went running off.  It was not to long before I had caught back up to him jogging along.  Once I caught up I saw a look I had never seen from Brennan before.  A look that he needed me.  That I was making everything better. It was the second time in the weekend that I had a surreal feeling.  It was the feeling that I was with the perfect man. I had never felt closer to Brennan than in that mile. During the mile I just kept reminding him how proud I was. That he was doing amazing.  To just keep pumping his arms, that every step he was closer to the finish.  After about a mile I told him I loved him and would see him at the finish.  I then headed back to find his dad and head to the finish line. 

We would then do the waiting game. This time really unsure how long it would take him.  He stayed on his pace and soon he was headed up the hill to the finish.  He would raise both his hands as he crossed the finish.  It was another amazing feeling to watch him finish his second half-ironman race in less than a month. This time he would again finish looking amazing and in under 6 hours.  Yea 6 hours for all that. I again was overwhelmed with what Brennan is capable of. 

The finish is around the corner!!
Here is the race record

Once the race finished we then headed to find Brennan.  Once we found him he looked worse than I had ever seen.  I knew he had pushed himself to the edge.  He would later tell us that in every race you hit a dark moment in the race but it will eventually go away.  But the whole run was in that dark place.  As an athlete myself it is absolutely amazing that he was able to push that hard for that long in such a dark place!! We would take a while to allow Brennan to cool his core temperature and hydrate. 

By the time we left it was about 1 in the afternoon. It felt like it had been a few days already since we were up at 3:30.  We would head over to visit Brennan's grandpa for a few hours then hit the road.  Turns out it was a good thing I was with the Cassidy men on the way home because they got very lost on the way to Arizona so I helped make the trip a bit quicker on the way home.  We would stop in Yuma for dinner then have to push the rest of the drive back to San Diego.  Arriving at about 12:00pm.  Being up almost 24 hours!! What a day..  It was another great weekend backed full.  

I tell you if there is a will there is a way!!!