Occoneechee Mountain, NC

It’s not exactly a mountain. Big hill, yes indeed. But it’s close to being a “mountain” for the middle part of NC, and definitely a really beautiful place! The weather was crazy perfect and there was still a lot of color left to see in the leaves.

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After losing Tina and feeling so sad it was nice to have 2 hours of being physical in nature and being in the ground. Little Frank had the best time. =) It was great having him out there and loving life with us.

Check out these pics…

I also started thinking about plans for 2018 and what goals I want to commit to. I want to nail that down soon so I can start thinking about what to do and how to make that happen. Stay tuned for a list of the dragons I’m gonna’ slay next year…

But for now, I can’t believe all of this beauty was only 40 minutes away. The kids thought it was about 7 hours away based on all the whining. : / WE ARE GONNA HAVE FUN DAMMIT!!

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Dog heaven must be amazing

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In my mind, I close my eyes and I see dog heaven. I see all the good dogs who have come and gone….the sick dogs aren’t sick anymore. The old dogs are young again. The broken dogs are whole. The abused dogs are loved. They are all friends in a dog utopia land with lakes and hiking trails, warm beds for all, tons of bacon, restaurants serving burgers and biscuits, and automatic ball/pinecone/stick throwing devices that never stop. It’s a beautiful place with perfect weather all the time. All dogs in dog heaven behave & love each other in their own way.

I guess she has fulfilled her purpose with us and it’s time for her to transition to move on. Her purpose in our family has been to teach our young boys how to treat animals. How to interact with a big dog. To respect dogs. To take care of them with food and water and exercise and biscuits. Lots of biscuits. How to snuggle. To understand nonverbal communication. To know the power of touch. To understand that nothing lasts forever.

I started writing this at one pm, November 7th. In 2 hours we will be saying bye to our 15 year old dog Tina…also known as Tina Turner. I’ve cried for the past 3 days. We know it’s time.

As painful as this is, I know that there are dogs that I can’t see right now that will be in my life in the future. And I’ll do this again. And again. And again.

Today is the next day…Nov 8th at lunchtime. She’s gone but her water dish, food bowl, food mat, bed, and collar are still here. The kids don’t really seem to care. Maybe it’s not real to them or maybe they just were never attached like we were. Maybe one day they will remember her and her lessons. I cried most of the day yesterday. Woke up at 4:30 crying, next to our other dog Frank. Have tried to occupy my time today with lots of things. One day it won’t feel as awful and I’ll have great memories. Right now I miss her so deeply. It’s like a stab to my heart that never stops dripping. One day it will close up and heal. And I’ll stop crying.

I really hope dog heaven is amazing.

The last race that almost didn’t happen!

My triathon season for 2017 is over. It’s been a long one (since April 2 and through Oct 8). Yesterday I did the Ramblin Rose in Chapel Hill…that’s where this whole journey started back in 2009. I’ve been talking about this particular race with some friends since the beginning of the year, literally since January. I had signed up for several events and just ASSumed that I had also signed up for this one since I was planning on being there. This pic shows that I finished, but this is how it started…

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Well, come 3:30pm on Saturday I go to check my bib # and it’s not there. All my friends have a bib #. But not me. So I start checking my emails to confirm my registration and there are none. Nothing. The time of 3:30 pm is important because packet pickup ends at 4pm and it’s in Chapel Hill, about 45 minutes away from me if I had left that second. They had said that you could still sign up at packet pickup. There was literally NO way for me to get there and sign up in person. There was also literally NO emergency contact info (name, email, phone, etc) to find anywhere. On Saturday afternoon, a few hours before the morning of the race, I did not know if I was going to be able to participate in my last race – and one of my favorites – of the season.

I was freaking out!! The only thing I could do was to send a message via social media on their FB page. I did. And I waited. I kept trying to formulate a Plan B in my head. IF I can’t race tomorrow, I’ll cheer for my friends. I’ll take pics. I’ll be the best cheerleader ever! But I’m super F pissed at myself. How could I NOT sign up for something I’ve talked about since January!? Just how crazy AM I!?

Somewhere later the people at Ramblin Rose message me that yes, I can sign up at 6:30am onsite. (No cost mention, just that I can.) So for the bargain price of $100, I’m back in the game! My friends meet me at 6am, we drive over, I sign up paying nearly double what I thought I was going to, all is good.

Swim? good. Bike? good.

WAIT – it was good until half way through and I get a flat. Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump thump. Damn. I have no tools, no tube, no nothing. Shit. It’s over. I just paid $100 to swim 5 laps today. Awesome. My first DNF.

I tell a rider passing me while I’m on the side of the road to let the next volunteer know that I have a flat. Maybe someone can help or at least give me a ride back so I don’t have to walk it 4-5 miles back. Then an athlete named Shelley stops & says she can help me fix it! …really?? Well, she could have – but the tube was totally gone. Neither of us had a tube even though she did have tools. She tried putting in air with the co2 cartridge, but it wouldn’t hold air. So, after some time, I thanked her profusely and told her to finish her race! Don’t waste any more time here, it’s over for me but go!! I call Jason from the side and, still cheering for others passing me, I tell him it’s over. I’m totally flat, no extra tube, no tools, no help. Lots of cussing. I’m so pissed. IMG_2274

And then, someone from the sag/helping crew shows up. Her name is Sophie & she has tools AND A TUBE. She was like an angel mechanic. While she’s working on it I call J back and tell him that I might be back in the game…if he doesn’t hear from me again then I’m back in! She magically fixes it like the badass that she is, and soon I’m on my way. I thank her as I’m riding away. The kindness of strangers at this event was really amazing. Such support and genuine concern for everyone on the course. I ride away. Come into the transition & see J with the boys! This is the first race they have been to so it was exciting and also very emotional given the way things have gone with this event.

rose 2I’m off on the run. About half way in, someone calls my name – it was Shelley, the one who helped me first on the bike. She recognized my TriMafia gear/shirt. She runs up to me & high-5s me, saying she was so glad to see me and that I made it back, got help, etc. Then, as I’m coming back I see Cathy starting the run. And then as I’m rounding the finish I see Parker and he wants to run me in through the finish line. I told him I needed his help & he was ready! So for the first time, I ran the finish chute with my youngest.

 

I know ONE thing I’m doing during the off season. I’m learning how to change a tire! For real this time. No messing around.

But here are some pics of my first 2009 Ramblin Rose. I printed everything out, making sure I knew everything and was prepared. I found this folder when I was looking for something else this summer and it made me smile. This is also my first little one, Ethan, at 11 months. This is how it all began!