FORE!

For about 5 weeks I have started to acquire a small collection of golf balls.  “Why in THE heck are you telling the three of us this” you ask?  This is why- I run a route from my house that I have run for years; it takes me through a golf course and over to a beautiful subdivision that has gorgeous homes, deer, a lake, a playground, geese, beautiful landscaping and-without fail for the last 5 weeks-the path I take to get to the beautiful subdivision has yielded these golf balls to me.  At least I ‘believe’ they are for me.

 

I have run this route for years, as part of my “long” run.  I have never much paid attention to the ‘ground’ or if I did, and happened to see a golf ball, I would just run by it and say, “well oops-someone made a goof with their driver or putter-FORE!” And keep running… until about 5 weeks ago.  You see, this is the heart of triathlon season; my friends and teammates are training and training hard for whatever their “A” race may be; whatever their “goal distance” race may be; or, whatever “this is my first half Ironman” race may be.  I have one friend, the impending Ironman Augusta 70.3 race (this coming September), will be her first half Ironman (Go MD!).  I have done that race twice; and was registered to participate this year-but I bought insurance when I registered for reasons I think all three of you know.

 

“Becky, you are rambling, can you get to your point, please”-you all say.  I am on a different “journey” this triathlon season; I am a Sherpa-helping and aiding my husband in the race of his lifetime.  It closely mimics triathlon in some ways; it starts out open ended-not quite sure how the ‘day’ is going to go, you have a ‘plan’ and a ‘race strategy’ and then you get kicked in the water; next thing you know you have a flat tire on the bike course; next thing you know you are out of fuel on the run, you have “bonked” and “hit the wall” and well, it isn’t going to be the race you had hoped for.

 

Because I don’t have my Razorback Turtle riding spouse and his friend boys to push me hard on the bike this year; because my journey is different this “season” than in years prior; because I choose to view this journey as something that we will persevere no matter what we happen to face with it that comes along – I choose to TRY to make the best out of what I can. I can’t run with my friends anymore; I can’t ride with my peoples; I can’t race much this year but I HAD to shift my focus.  I am not the one that is wheelchair bound, I am not the one who can’t move when they sleep, I am not the one who almost can’t wash their hair anymore, I am not the one that has to think constantly about breathing-just to be able to breathe. I am blessed, I remain grateful and I try to remain thoughtful of the different ‘race’ that Elkstone is enduring.  So, I saw a golf ball on my run 5 weeks ago, picked it up and brought it home to him and told him I had him something and I just KNEW he would love it.  He just looked at me and said, “um, why did you take a golf ball from the course and run with it all the way home?”  I declared, “well, I thought you would like it; I thought of you.”  And he said well thank you, but it is just a golf ball you know.  Materialistically, yes-it is.  Figuratively, when I picked up a bright yellow one on my solo 7-mile run this morning I thought, “if John doesn’t want it-and it IS just a golf ball-I will take it and add to my collection.”  As I journeyed home, about one mile after picking up the fluorescent golf ball, I thought “isn’t that something.  They were just ordinary golf balls until today, around mile 6 of my run.  There they lay, out of bounds, not in the ‘game’ that they want to be in or belong in. Hmmm…”

 

Do you suppose that the ousted golf balls should remain on the grounds close to the road so a car demolish them and render them no longer playable or do you suppose you could pick it up, take it with you, and allow it to start another journey – no telling where the golf ball’s journey will take it?

 

I chose to pick up the golf ball(s).  I choose to think that maybe, just maybe, that golf ball I grabbed and brought home with me today was just not where it belonged; it needed to be begun on a new journey.  I suppose that maybe Becky, since she can’t be on the journey she thought she would be on and ever so clearly is on the journey that HE (the man up above) wants her on, needed to be grabbed and started on a new journey?  Could you imagine what would happen if she was left on the side of the road for to possibly become no longer playable?  No; it’s GAME ON PEOPLES! #Grateful #Blessed #ToHimGoesTheGlory @ALSSucksImagennnnnnn.jpg

 

Imagine; Stupid Stickers; Enough Already

Sorry to disappoint you that I won’t be busting out the John Lennon song and dance of his ever so popular ‘Imagine’ even though it is amazing.  imagine

As I embark on finding a “new normal” as I am calling it, I find myself flooded with thoughts as I watch this part of my journey unravel and reveal itself to me, piece by piece. Thought processes can be scary, ESPECIALLY if you try to visit mine; Crazy Train!  <insert your singing of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne -you know you just did it; ha! ♪♪> It amazes me the tangent(s) my thoughts can take.  Today, the trajectory of my thoughts was pretty enlightening and I thought I would share. It started with, “wow, I am tired and it is only noon; usually I am on my A-game with plenty of energy all.day.long!  Well, Becky, ‘training’ can be tiring, duh!  No, you aren’t training for a race-well, uh, maybe you are (?) it just isn’t the ‘normal’ race(s) you are used to training for? Maybe, I kinda see what you are saying BUT STILL, I shouldn’t be this tired.  Could you imagine how hard this would be if I wasn’t in the ‘shape’ I am in?  Geez.  And for that matter, all the people that are ‘sticker on your vehicle haters’ what’s up with that?  Sorry they can’t relate but -don’t hate the player, hate the game.”   Just a brief snippet of a conversation and it’s tangents in my mind-this lasted all of about 2 minutes—I WARNED YOU (!!!) #scary

runningstickersoncars

^^okay, so maybe that is a bit much?  🙂

This brings me to the topic of endurance athletics and finding your strong.  I love my stickers.  I love my medals.  I love my bibs.  Hence why I have saved every.single.one.  Why?  Because it reminds of where I started and how far I have come; and, each time I look at one/them I instantly remember the good times, the bad times, and the just straight up ugly times.  So, for instance, take my 26.2 sticker on the back of my car.  Friends, at mile 22 I H.U.R.T. (!!!) and didn’t want to go any further; everything hurt; I just wanted to stop and then the internal dialogue starts and says, “just quit, why the hell are you doing this anyway?  And, you paid money to do this.  What made you think you could run 26.2 miles?  Idiot!  Now look at how you feel…UGH!  Just STOP already! It is hot; your stomach hurts; you need water; your feet hurt so bad you just want to take off your shoes and sit down; your stink to the high heavens, you have called your running partner every name in the book aside from her real name (Anne) and for the love of all that is Christmas related you have dried salt on your legs, arms, face and; well, you are a hot mess.  Dumbass.”  AND SO that’s the mental ‘wall’ that you inevitably hit in endurance athletics (at least I hit it-frequently).  The first time it occurs, it is uncharted territory. The second time it occurs, you recognize what it is, but still have to gather the mental fortitude to push through it. So forth and so on…you are ‘training.’

For me, pushing through it is not easy, it is challenging, and takes strength I didn’t know I had until having that strength was my only option/hope for finishing as unscathed as possible-or hell, just finishing period.  You see, you will be scathed-for sure, but the extent of the ‘fallout’ is up to you.  It is during these “dark side times” that I have become stronger than I ever thought I could be.  You have no other choice during the ‘dark side’ to examine your mind, examine your heart, find your ‘want to,’ pull yourself up by the bootstraps and just.take.another.step. This DIRECTLY correlates to how you handle certain situations in your “real life” outside of athletics and for those of you who don’t like my “stupid stickers” I am sorry you feel that way but the next time you see one-thank it for me, would you?  Because the ‘inspiring,’ ‘motivating,’ ‘caring,’ Becky we all know thanks them, immeasurably so.  When everything points to you needing to quit something, but you have the mental fortitude to check yourself, realize that the real reason you are doing this is for, say, ‘the children of St. Jude who don’t have a choice in the hand they are dealt, or the needles they are stuck with daily, or….or,'<insert charity of your choice>, or ‘I do this for me, because I deserve it, and I will finish this,’ (feel free to combine this and bundle this with reason #1 previously mentioned-it’s what I do) then my friends you win-and I’m not talking money.  You win strength.  You win the feeling of accomplishment.  You win the feeling of greatness that no one or nothing can take away from you.  And, you just put another rung on the ladder of your journey up to a better version of you and helped millions of St. Jude patients along the way-ShaZAM!

I’ll see your Stupid Stickers and raise you what I like to call ‘ENOUGH ALREADY!’ We all know I Facebook too much (what?  Me?  GASP!).  Well, this Finding a New Normal has disabled me from doing such; and, I believe this is a blessing. I do sign on these days and see posts like (exaggerating here, because I can) “Really?  Seriously? FML! (I have never and will never like the saying or acronym ‘FML’ by the way) I just had to pull over my car from the middle of the Watermelon 400 race on Sam Cooper Boulevard because a hot air balloon landed right in the middle of MY lane-I AM GOING TO BE LATE FOR WORK PEOPLE; UGH!”  Wow.  That’s all I got.

Imagine you have to be seated or lying down 24 hours a day; Imagine when seated you roll over (because you are in a motorized power wheelchair, now) to turn the light in the bathroom off but you-just now- while trying to do this, realize that your fingers won’t go up far enough to do so-but they did yesterday; Imagine you took a shower and now you can’t dry off half of your body because your arm just won’t let you and won’t go where you brain is telling it to go; Imagine you can’t reach the soup cans in the pantry anymore because they are too deep inside the pantry-so they need to be moved so you can just get out a can of soup; Imagine when you do finally get that can of soup, you can’t reach the bowls anymore-but you can’t stand up to reach those bowls, so…?; Imagine when you can’t drive your car anymore and have to depend on someone else or someTHING else for transportation; Imagine you WERE the athlete with the “Stupid Stickers” on your car and now you can’t swim, bike or run; walk; stand up for long; your mind is sharp as a tack but your body fails you; and, have to be on the ‘dark side’ every.single.day because #ALSsucks and you don’t even get a “Stupid Sticker.” Imagine facing this without God-doable?

Image

I thank my “Stupid Stickers;” I say “Enough Already;” And, I just CAN’T “Imagine.”  I can empathize.  I can sympathize.  I can be there every step of the way and give 100% of my effort and ability to support Razorback Turtle-there are going to be good days (good runs-yay I hit my pace!); there are going to be bad days (bad runs-I was tired, thirsty, couldn’t hold my pace, couldn’t breathe right, and my stomach hurt) and today was one of those ‘bad runs’ for me as a MNDCG (Motor Neuron Disease Caregiver -my new acronym; for those of you who know me are not shocked-Becky loves her acronyms-ha!). Thanks, “Stupid Stickers,” for allowing me the strength I NEED to meander through my ‘dark sides’ and realize that strength comes in many forms and I realize that it is never just physical-more importantly, it is 90% mental (for me anyway) and because I can meander through this gives me the mental strength to empathize, sympathize, give my best-and live to train another day.  Thanks “Enough Already” posts for keeping things in perspective for me. Thanks be to God for blessing me with another beautiful day on Earth and allowing me to be me.  Amen.

Capture

Can YOU Imagine?

 

 

Let It Ride

LetItRide

You can have a “Lily Pulitzer” day planner and write everything down; you can have 6 different colored highlighters and have the same number about of colored index cards; have them all color coded with a legend to follow so that everything is organized; and then (!!!) you can have a curve ball thrown at you.  Internal Dialogue (ID), “Well, there goes that appointment I made.”  “Well, let me get out my ‘White-Out’ and mark that out so I can replace it with the new ‘to-do’ item.”  You undergo a “re-rack” as I call it; you reevaluate, you adapt.  You get the picture.

life-throws-curveballs-at-you

So, what do you do when life throws you that curve ball?  Do you stand there with your glove on, bent over looking between your legs to see exactly where the heck that ball went since you didn’t catch it?  Do you have ‘cat like reflexes’ and catch it and stand up and throw it back to the pitcher and say, “Yeah, I just did that.  Don’t hate the player, hate the game?”  Do you ‘Let It Ride?’

My normal, ‘Ninja Turtle’ (NT) self would absolutely have cat-like reflexes and catch that ball, kiss it, throw it back to the pitcher and then tell the pitcher to keep ’em comin’-I got this.  I guess in the last few days I have had to realize that NT has a few other facets-and I have had to evoke NT’s attitude and apply it to ‘every day life’ outside of triathlon-within which Ninja Speedy Turtle was born.

There are times in life where you can’t be the typical “NT,” you can’t be the typical “Martha Stewart,” you can’t write it all down and color code it and expect it to pan out that way. Why?  Because. That’s all I got.  Because. Heck, I dunno; call 1-800-WHY-MENOW and ask. <yikes>

The three of you reading this know that I absolutely believe in a Higher Power; I absolutely believe in God, Jesus; and, I believe that He is my Savior and from Him all my blessings flow. I also am on the quest for Peace this year through Him.  Peace isn’t the absence of troubles in life; rather, Peace is the presence of God in your life in the midst of your troubles.

peaceisn'tthe

If you have read any of my past posts you know I have a 24-hour pity party rule, right?  I give myself 24 hours to ride that pity train, waller in the “woe is me” business and then it is time to grab myself by the boot straps (or big girl panties-whatever trips your trigger to say) and then put one foot in front of the other and move forward; doesn’t have to be at the speed of light-you JUST. HAVE. TO. GO. FORWARD.  What can you do for yourself or anyone else if you are staying in the back, in the past, in the dark and dreary place?  Answer?  NADA!  You are making withdrawals, not deposits-check yourself!

move forward

Life threw me a curve ball, I have 2 choices.  I can let it define me, OR (!!!) I can let it refine me.  I can play it conservative and write it all down and highlight it, color code it, and alphabetize it, or I can “Let It Ride.”

Friends, I have to “Let It Ride.”  I have put all my chips in with the big Man upstairs, I am confident that in Him I will receive out of my “bet” what I am supposed to receive and then some.  Rich-it’s a relative word, isn’t it?

I am “rich.”  I have a family that is wonderful; I have friends that I can’t even begin to thank or say enough about-they make my life so much more colorful than I ever imagined; I am employed and so grateful for this; and, I have an unshakable faith in Him. so, why not “Let It Ride?”  What do I have to lose? Nothing.  But I have everything to gain.

So, I put my “A” race goal on the gambling table-I am “Letting That Ride” this year.  I will support my friends and teammates that continue on the Ironman Augusta 70.3 race; I will swim; I will bike; I will run…and guess what?  I will “Let it Ride” and come out the winner time and time again.  Because, if He has me who can be against me?  I just won’t be there to “toe the start line” in person but I will be there in spirit!

ALS sucks.  I won’t sugarcoat it.  It is part of my journey in life?  Yes, x2, and I don’t know why.  Perhaps God thinks I am strong enough to handle being a ‘sherpa’ twice?  He has faith in me; I have faith in Him.  So, together, with Him, myself and the race participant with the most awesome bib number ever “Razorback Turtle” we will (run) this race with endurance; because, that’s how we roll.  And, without a doubt, we will “Let It Ride.”  Time to pull up a chair to the table at the casino and place your bets…

For all of my MTR teammates; my Turtles; and friends -I will see you in the pool, on the street riding bikes, and on the road running-let’s you get all trained to kick some Augusta ARSE!  GAME ON!

strength

 

 

 

Wait, What?

My ‘Mom’: “Who would have ever thought this would occur?”

Myself, “I know.”

‘Mom’: “It sounds as if you are following in our foot steps; after your parents died Gary and I kept asking ourselves, ‘what will happen next?’ and then something would happen.  And then Sam was born premature.  And then your grandfather got sick (Alzheimer’s) and then your grandmother got sick (bulbar palsy-the form of ALS that starts in your throat with slurred speech and then travels out to your extremities) and then…”

Me: “I know.”

So, wait; WHAT?

April 2014 around 6 a.m. John comes in my home office and says, “hey, tomorrow morning do you think you can go out and run with me and help me run faster?  I just went out and ran and I feel like I can’t run right; I feel like my brain isn’t talking to my foot.”

January 2016: I have purchased a rear-entry handicap accessible van, we have had extensive home renovations done, a power wheelchair has been obtained, ramps are at each exit/entry of our home and John no longer TRIs, runs, jogs, or walks.  John is currently no longer training; he is enduring ‘his’ “Ironman.”  I was able to get John out with ease (no hurling the manual wheelchair in the back of my Subaru, no difficulty with him transferring from said manual wheelchair to the passenger’s seat in the car), about two weeks ago, to go to the grocery store; the first time he had been to the grocery (freedom! Out of the house!) in about 5 months (EVEN IF if was the Thursday before Snowmagedon 2016 and we were there with the rest of the City of Memphis-ha!). Never mind the fact that I was busy closing up the new “transformer van” as our friends have started to call it and I went to turn to ask him if he was okay, was he had unloaded okay (?), and dude was GONE!  Pulled down EASILY some 8 minute miles in the parking lot of Kroger, and I was ill prepared, not loaded properly and shocked-and had quite a bit of ground to make up to beat him to the door of the store.  I lost.)

#hisfirstselfie

mejohngrocery

You see, the working diagnosis is motor neuron disease, unspecified.  Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a mystic disease of which there are approximately 4 types; ALS being one of them.  MND consists of your brain talking to your extremity, but your nerves can’t carry that signal.  So, your brain says “go go go!” And your muscle just sits there, alone, not working…and then creates its own language, and then just wastes away-as it has no leadership anymore.  Want to know more, ask him.  Please understand this is my post and I will not, in any way, minimize or take away from his ‘race.’   I am just the Sherpa.  🙂

So, wait; WHAT?  “They have to be having problems in their marriage, she doesn’t post on FB about him anymore; he doesn’t post on FB anymore.”  “I bet they are divorced.  If not divorced, they have split ways or are having trouble.”  Wait, WHAT?  Social Media and your ‘status’ is the prime indicator something is wrong!  You’re doing it wrong!  Ha!  Oh, and BTW, I am not sure ANYONE has the perfect marriage; I will just leave that right there.

So, wait; WHAT?  So, why are you writing about this, Becky?  Well, I will tell the three of you.  It is important to me to share, within reason, so that whatever I, or we, may be going through, it shows others that with His love, Grace, Mercy, and my Faith -it will always be well with my soul.  And, if one person can derive a feeling of, ‘if they can do this I can do it, too-I can believe, I can endure; no matter what the circumstance,’ then that just enhances the reason(s) I wanted to write about this.

Every one of us has ‘demons;’ trials and tribulations; ‘issues;’ life happenings; sadness; and each of us has their own unique story and history.  For me, I cannot afford to waste any time on the “why is this happening to (me) train.”  I have to put one foot in front of the other, thank God each and every day for the gift of just being here, and try to help those in need,  raise my Little Girl Child, nurture my family, be kind to anyone I meet, and laugh.  Laughing is so important to me.   If I choose to have a 24-7-365 pity party, what good am I to my family?  To my friends?  Toxic. I am toxic.   And that is not what He wants for me; nor what my family and friends deserve and guess what, I DON’T DESERVE IT.  So, I try so hard each and every day to smile and put my best foot forward; for there is Joy in the morning.

morning is gods way of saying

Warrior; when I hear the word ‘Warrior’ I think ‘strength;’ ‘perseverance;’ ‘ability to withstand great trials and tribulations;’ ‘ability to come out on the other side,’ whether Heavenly or Earthly, knowing you fought the good fight, kept the Faith, and you ran the race that God wanted you to run with endurance-for that is what we are called to do.  And, if you did cross the finish line into Heaven-can you IMAGINE the prize that awaits?  I sure can, I pray about it fervently; and await the day that I can be reunited with all of my loved ones.  For now, I will be a Warrior; a ‘Sherpa;’ and as kind and giving as I can be-in each facet of my life; be it ‘Sherpa’ duties, motherly duties, daughterly duties, friendly duties and my own personal training duties.  Fate should be afraid; I am the Storm and I am coming with the Thunder.  😉

fate whispers to the warrior-i am the storm

And on particularly bad days when it is hard; when I wake up at 4 a.m. to work job#1, to swim, to take child to school, to perform ‘Sherpa duties,’ to work job #2, to come home and start job #3 with cooking dinner, and then see to some volunteer things I do (love my TRI team! running community!) and laugh! I remind myself that on these particularly bad days I am still blessed; I am surrounded with some absolutely amazing people in my life and if I woke up able and willing, then BY GOD I am blessed; lucky; and going to give it my best shot for the day.  Will I cry?  Absolutely.  Will I be overwhelmed?  Frequently.  Will I survive?  Hands down.  Will I wake up rinse; and repeat?  Errrrrrday!

So wait; WHAT?  If you have ill will, bad intentions, ulterior motives and offer drama and ’emotional unnecessary roughness’-I can’t be a part to that.  I must keep it simple.  Are we not called to be the best version of us that we can be?  For me, my Joy is in the Lord, my family, my friends and my SENSE OF HUMOR!  Aside from the Big Man Upstairs, it is through laughter and my crazy family and friends where I find significant joy.

So, yeah; THAT’S WHAT.  🙂

Now, where did put my beer?  Cheers!

 

Lose? Win? Good Enough?

My friend, let’s call her “SB” says “hey, you want to go to Kohl’s?  I will come get you.”  My answer, reluctantly, “sure, I need to go; I need some actual clothes that aren’t workout clothes to wear and a friend of mine had a really cute skort on she got from there”

SB and I have been friends a LOOONNNNGGG time and SB KNOWS I hate to shop. I hated to shop when I was 81 pounds heavier.  I hate to shop now; probably even more so.  Lose weight, everything will be better, right?  WRONG.  New set of issues.

We arrive at Kohl’s, she leads me through the ladies’ clothes area saying “oh, this is CUTE, you need to get this” KNOWING it is out of my comfort zone and KNOWING I hate shopping and KNOWING I can’t pair together a pair of pants and a shirt to save my life.  Shopping is like; well, I would rather gouge my eyeballs out than go shopping.  New job says “hey you can wear scrubs!” And I am all, “HECK YES! Winning! I can ride my bike to work and wear scrubs and not have to wear real clothes to be a peoples?  Sign me up.”

Dressing room for Becky be like:

grinch

I digress; we go in to the dressing room, SB gets me situated in a dressing room and then it begins. (See the dressing room saga-earlier post if you need more vivid details on what this saga entails for me).  SB says to me, “do you have the nice black, dress Capri pants on yet?”  I reply; “yes *sigh* hold on a second.” I open the door and SB says to me “SUPER CUTE!” And I point out to SB that the waist is too big, but the inseam is not, and I have to have that size in order to make the proper fit with the inseam.  Therefore, leaving the waist way too big.  It is like this with every pair of pants I own; hard to find a pair that fits. SB says, “have you thought about having surgery to remove some of the excess skin?”  Have I?  Absolutely.  Would it make me 100% happy?  Well no.  The struggle is real.

SB says to me, “well, you are going to have to pay to have things altered now I guess.”  *double sigh* *eye roll* and whatever else I could muster up.

I HATE SHOPPING.  You lose weight; do you win?  Are you good enough?  Struggle.  And then-you remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  But does that help me right then and there in the dressing room?  It HAS to; or I will drive myself nuts.

fearfulwonderfulmade

I guess, through all of my struggles, I have won and come out stronger. I have finally realized that I could go have surgery, I could go have botox (approaching 40, stay outside a lot, have wrinkled skin on my face) or… I can choose to be okay with it.  You see, I have the choice.  Very simple; you choose to hate it, or you choose to love it; love YOU.  There is no amount of botox, designer clothes, surgery, shots, fad diets that will work.  It didn’t break overnight, it won’t get fixed over night. It is a daily progressive process; one step at a time. You will fall; and guess what?  You get back UP!  Every.  Single.  Time.  And, you realize that beauty is in the eyes of God and YOURSELF.

beautywithin

I started my journey to a better me 4 years ago-I have never regretted it not once.  What I didn’t account for was the journey my soul/heart would take on the inside.  I have found a closer relationship to Christ; a deep friendship wtih so many; acceptance by so many; the ability to finally be around like-minded individuals who make life easier, happier, and more blessed; the ability to give back and never forget where I have come from.  I could go on and on.  It is by His grace that I am who I am and where I am in life.  And, I have lost.  And I have won.  I will continue to do both; by His grace.

I am good enough.  Are you?  OF COURSE you are.

Don’t be a ‘grinch’, don’t be a ‘Becky in the dressing room,” be YOU.  And, never settle.  Just keep going forward and keep your eye on the prize.

Fear The Turtle

fearturtle

Speedy Turtle was created by Eling (Queen Speedy Turtle) who is a friend of mine and a Memphis Thunder Racing teammate.

meande

(Queen Speedy Turtle on the left; myself-Ninja Turtle on the right)

Speedy Turtle was created to document Eling’s triathlon journey.

Speedy Turtle is the epitome of perseverance, courage, strength, and positivism/optimism.

Speedy Turtle didn’t matter how fast she could swim a lap in; what MPH her bike was; or what her minute/mile pace was on the run-it mattered that she got out of the door and did these three disciplines.

Speedy Turtle in 2014 evolved.  I, Ninja Turtle, already knowing Eling of course and love(d) her and the concept, began to realize this needed to be a “thing” and Eling agree and was kind enough to share her concept.  More ‘turtles’ started to come around, all setting out to do the three (one or two was fine, too) disciplines surrounded by like-minded ‘turtles’, good athletes, caring peoples and the will and motivation to push themselves to a new personal achievement for themselves-what a GREAT 2014 we had!  There was/is no room for negativity.  There is ALWAYS room for encouragement.

Speedy Turtle according to myself, Ninja T.(get your popcorn ready):

I was a 40 pound overweight smoker in 2011.  I needed a change.  Triathlon/running and the athletic community I have surrounded myself with has been my key to success.  First goal? ‘Wog’ a 5K.  Second goal? “Wog a half marathon.” Third goal? “Run running races faster that I had previously; even if it was just by one second-push myself harder.” Fourth goal? “Triathlon; sprint.” FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT DAY Current Goal? “PR my upcoming half Ironman race with undeniable faith, courage, effort, strength and perseverance and to give God the Glory!”   You see-for me, there is always a goal.  That is how I stay motivated. Hit one goal; make another.  Rinse; repeat. I am competitive-but with myself.  Sometimes on a fun bike ride with other peoples I will ‘race them’; but I don’t let it consume me. What ‘consumes’ me is each time I step up to the start line I need and want to be the best version of the athlete I can be; and I want to beat the old version of me-even if by 0.01.  If I gave 100% then I set out to do what I needed to do; I hit my goal.  But Becky, you didn’t PR!!?  *eye roll*  Well, actually-each time you have the courage to start something and work hard toward something you ‘PR’ your internal well being; spiritually, emotionally and PHYSICALLY.  My friends, that is a PR. What would have happened if you didn’t even step to the start line?  And, when I finish; did I place?  Nope. Did I win something? Why yes, yes I did-I won the adoration from my fellow ‘turtles’, my family, friends, and MYSELF.  The last word is key; your self.  Did I learn something?  YOU BETCHA! I will train harder, push myself harder and the next time I toe the start line of an event I will try to beat the last version of Becky that toed the start line.  Bam!  I don’t know everything; I learn new things every day and love doing so-but I WILL share what I do know-always. Need help?  Just ask me, please.

Becoming very involved with Speedy Turtles has enabled me to give back, to help encourage, to lift up others and that is food for my soul.  The look on someone’s face when they “get” how to gear their bike up Mt. Monroe.  The look on their face when that gearing worked and they CLIMBED it!   I speak for Queen (Eling) Speedy Turtle when I say this as well-that is what it is all about.  When you can take yourself, and others, help them, push them, encourage them-THEN you are a ‘turtleworthy’ (and I totally just made that word up-don’t try to google it-ha!).

Speedy Turtle 2015-WOW!  We have some exciting things going on!  We have Queen signed up to do her First IRONMAN!!  We have several of us signed up to do a half Ironman; we have several doing their first ever triathlon; we have several just getting comfortable on their bikes; and we will have several that will be new and need help.  I love it when an Ironman can help a Newbie; and then the Newbie turns around and helps the Ironman (like helped the half ironman do Yoga in the parking lot-it’s a thing).  There are no boundaries.  To the person that is doing their first triathlon-that IS their Ironman!! They had the courage to sign up, have committed to this and they will do it. That is the same concept regardless if you are new, seasoned, triathlete, runner, dog walker, speed walker, walker, human being.  You get the picture. And, you ALWAYS help your fellow ‘turtle;’ no one gets left behind to journey alone (unless it is a tempo run and the person prefers to run alone and you don’t want to hear colorful sentence enhancers (ahem)-you are exempt).  And, for GOODNESS SAKE, it doesn’t matter how fast you go-what matters?  You started.  I won’t accept any argument.  You have to believe that for yourself-or fail.  Get consumed in what others think and/or are doing?  You can’t give 100% to yourself; and, ain’t nobody got time for that!

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In order to be the best version of ourselves, as ‘Turtles,’ athletes, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aliens, Felecias, we need to push ourselves.  This year, as we go forward, we will have some changes to our ride group paces-so that we can push one another and give 100%; we will have a “kick off” party (details coming soon) and we truly hope that you always exhibit the spirit of “The Turtle” in all you do.  Impossible?  No.  FEAR the Turtle.

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Speedy Turtle-2015 will be amazing; you just have to want it to be!

Thanks for listening; make sure to tip your bartenders and your waitresses-I’ll be here all night.  🙂

Ninja T.

Standing on the Side of the Road

The race entry had been paid; the training had been done; the reservations for a house to rent have been completed; I have gone over my race needs list at LEAST 5 times; May 8th arrives and my family (and friends) is packed, in the car, and ready to roll out.  We have 500 miles until we reach my race destination spot of Panama City Beach, FL.  YAY!  It is RACE time; it is BEACH time!  The road trip was was quite uneventful until, with only about 2 more hours to go, LGC decides the Subway sandwich she had eaten about 30 minutes prior didn’t agree with the motion of the car.  ICK.  GAK.  And, her backseat friend, Elyse, was mortified while LGC just sat there, after the fact (car still in motion) paralyzed in her Subway sandwich she was unfortunate enough to see again.  *oops*  

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The unloading commences, Stacey and I head to the grocery store to get the necessities and then we all head to the beach.  As I sat in my chair looking at the ocean I had a little concern, as it looked very “choppy” if you will, but I thought “hmm..tomorrow is a new day, all will be fine.”  All is well!  After all, we are in FLORIDA, right?!  WooHoo!  The next picture says it all; “Life was Good That Day” to quote Zac Brown Band… “toes in the water–“

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The next morning comes (Friday morning-day before the race) and we head to the beach after breakfast. HOLY WIND BATMAN! REALLY?  Upon walking over the bridge to the sand/ocean the FIRST thing I see is the ocean and its very mean breakers/waves at that point. Um, this didn’t change over night like I had thought it would/had prayed for.  We get our chairs situated, kids immediately get in the water; HOWEVER, very cautious as the rip current is carrying them down the beach at an amazing rate.

I had previously organized an “open water” ocean swim with some of my triathlon team friends and husband for this day.  After sitting in my chair for about 30-45 minutes, watching the ocean, the current, the kids entering the water and then exiting the water about 100 yards down the beach in a time span of a mere 2 minutes I commenced to enter FREAK OUT mode.  Ain’t nobody got time to go out and swim in that mess.  Susan, who had traveled from Memphis with her husband Scott and son Connor for a small vacation, said “yeah, I brought my wet suit but I am thinkin’ no on the swim.”  Eling finally arrives (so good to see her-she has to do this race with me tomorrow; finally someone who can relate with me!!) with her husband Don and she says the same thing.  THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS IN YOUR CRIB I do not have to do this today.  BUT-please little baby Jesus in your crib with the straw and the cows and the 3 men that brought you some presents-don’t let it be this way in the morning; race morning.  GAK! Then, the RED flag comes out and I want to grab a beer and put down the water that I had been religiously drinking to hydrate for the race tomorrow.  Beer makes everything better right?  No.  Just no. (I didn’t drink the beer).  I did, however, get to watch Susan help Connor build amazing sand dinosaurs.  🙂

Later this afternoon I make all my hydration, mixing everything in bottles JUST right; put this all in the fridge so I can easily grab it in the wee hours or the early morning.  Then it is EXPO time!  Eling and Don come pick John and I up and off we go to the Expo-lots of neat stuff there, even got a shirt that says “Swim, Bike, Run, Be Fabulous” on it with a tiara.  Because, well, I am.  🙂  The mandatory bike check-in was not for another hour so Eling and Don take John and I back home.  Eling and I had tossed around the idea of riding our bikes to the check in, because it really wasn’t that far, but decided against it.  John loaded up my bike, I took off my cateye, my bento box (so I could load it with nutrition when I got him later on) and takes me to bike check in.  I see Erin and Rachel there; check my bike, make sure it is in a smaller gear for easy take off, and say night-night and tell Becca (my bike) I will see her bright and early in the a.m.

Carbo loading has to commence and we get the kids and head to the Mellow Mushroom.  I had the same pizza I had, had last year before my first 70.3 I did (Ironman 70.3 Augusta GA) and I had 2 beers-per the normal regime. The Holy Shiitake Pie! We return home and I head to bed for the fighting of sleep that always happens the night before.  Hubster even slept on the couch to give me the entire bed thinking I would sleep more sound.  Sleep sound before the night of a race?  Ha!

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YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

4:30 a.m.- RISE and SHINE!  It is RACE DAY!  I take Baxter out for a walk, step out the door quietly as to not disturb all the others and the first thing I hear is the sound of the ocean-the SAME sound it has made for the last 2 days and I immediately got a sick feeling pit in my stomach. I don’t walk over and look-because I just can’t.  Baxter does his business and back to the house we go. I have my morning coffee, my normal pre-race breakfast meal, I load all of my nutrition in my transition bag, go over my transition bag items at least 3 times to make sure I haven’t left anything out, grab my Garmin (canNOT leave the house without it) and hit the road with my chauffeur, the hubster.  Roads are already blocked off so Hubster has to drop me off and I walk about 0.5 miles to transition.  I am somewhat nervous, but okay, and then I see that Eling has racked her bike right next to mine-YAY!  Speedy Turtles TOGETHER!  I start unloading, meticulously placing all items I need in all the correct places (OCD is pure hell I tell you) and here she comes-Queen Speedy Turtle (QST)!  We give big hugs to one another, go on about our business and then IT’S TIME-it is time to put on our wet suits, grab our goggles and go face the music.  LAWD have MERCY!

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To the beach we go; I am paying careful attention en route to the beach for the showers that they told us would be there to rinse the sand off of ourselves as well as taking in other details and then SHAZAM there is the ocean (like it was going to go away over night?!-I am dumbass).  I find some of my TRI team members, we smile for photo ops, each one of us say how crazy this is, one of us, Michelle, said “yeah, I lied, this sounded like a good idea months ago.”  Ha!

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Anyway, here I stand, shoulder to shoulder, with Eling.  Hubsters (both mine and Don, Eling’s husband) are right there with us, outside the chute.  The National Anthem is played, I pray (per my normal routine) and I turn again and face the water; still shoulder to shoulder with QST in my wet suit, swim cap; goggles are on and I am listening to the race director who is up on a ladder speaking. What was he saying?  I can’t remember. Why, why can’t you remember Becky?  WELL I WILL TELL YOU WHY-I am looking at Navy SEALS in kayaks who are there for swimmer support who can’t get past the breakers, I am looking at jet ski’s that are up on their ass end and can’t get past the breakers, I am looking at the last buoy (OHMYGAWDTHATISSOFARAWAY) but I can’t see it, in its entirety because it is BOBBING UP AND DOWN so dern much and this is where I summon Sweet Baby J, His Dad and all who are holy to guide me, help me, and let me get through this; myself and all other race participants.  Keep in my the race director is still talking (wha wha wha) and I am still praying, silently crying in my goggles (already fogging up-DAMMIT-and had just been treated with de-fog) and all of a sudden I see my Hubs make the sign like he is chopping his neck off.  WHAT?  What in the fresh hell?  WHAT?? GO. AWAY!  And then I hear it “After talking with the Bay County Sheriff’s office and rescue personnel, we have made the determination that we are going to cancel the swim this morning due to safety concerns. We apologize, but right now due to safety concerns with the Gulf of Mexico we are canceling the swim for everyone’s safety.  There will be a time trial start from the beach to transition.”  OHMYWORD -for that second I didn’t know whether to cry, be excited, pee on myself (I had to go-yes-HYDRATED) or be mad because the mileage of the race just went down 1.2 miles; the 70.3 was no longer true.

Okay-HERE WE GO!  Time trial start to transition (they will release one athlete every 3 seconds); 1/4 mile run from the water’s edge through the sand, to our bike in transition.  I get to transition, Hubster there rooting me on, QST is right behind me, get shoes on, helmet, glasses, the mandatory Hoo Ha Ride Glide (yes, true name, great product), and take my bike out to the “mount line.” Mounted and I’m off!  Man, it felt GREAT!  There was a little breeze, somewhat of a tailwind, and I am getting situated, opening my bento box so I can grab my fig newtons during my ride, getting into a good position with other riders and I am just past the mile 3 mark and I hear a noise-this noise sounds like my chain is hitting some metal (not a big deal; have heard it before).  I try to fix the issue with a simple gearing adjustment-um, that doesn’t work. In motion I look down and all I can see is my entire crank set shifting left to right with every revolution I am making.  So, I tell myself “SELF-it will be a long 51 miles to do this but just slow down, keep your legs as mid line as you can, and finish the bike portion.”  Right about the time I had digested my new game plan “BINK!!!” off pops my crank arm, attached to my bike shoe, and um…obviously I can’t pedal anymore.  HOW DO I STOP?  I am still clipped in with my right foot as well.  I was trying not to wreck, trying not to hurt the parts of my bike completely, knew I would have to scratch some things somehow and managed to come to a safe stop (thank you, Hayzeus) and there I am.  Standing on the Side of the Road.  Michelle, a team mate, passes me and says “I will go get help!”  Cyclists are whizzing by me one by one, some of them asking if I am okay, “well yes, I am-I am not hurt.”  What I am IS Angry, Pissed, Helpless (don’t have the right tool to fix this) and now MacGyver.  I am looking around for something the same dimensions as my crank to screw the bolt back in place.  I can do this!!  Um, no-no I can’t.  I realize this.  (Cyclists still whizzing by me).  Race Support motorcycle goes by and waves, and I wave and point to my bike..she smiles.  I think, “OKAY HELP IS ON THE WAY! YES!” Then, two ladies out for their morning wog pass by and I ask if I can borrow their phone. They oblige and I dial the Hubster’s number. He picks up “what’s wrong??”  I commence to vomit in a chaotic voice what has happened, that race support has passed me, the intersection I am at, what I am looking at and then hang up.”  And there I am, Standing on the Side of the Road.  I am near a convenience store and I watch people come and go; one man walks up to help me and I thank him-but there was no way he could.  A couple out for their morning walk ask me if I need anything, I tell them no.  I am thinking help is on the way-but thank you, nice people. Keep in mind, cyclists are whizzing by me-they have a RACE to do!  🙂   About that time a cyclist, who is out for a morning ride, cycles up and says to me “are you the lady with a crank issue?”  I reply to her that I am, and she states “you need to know your husband is working very hard for you right now back at the race site.”  She is an accomplished cyclist, looks at my problem, I tell her in need an Allen wrench, she doesn’t have one and she walks into the convenience store and comes out and says “um yeah, they don’t even know what an Allen wrench is.” I say thank you, and she pedals away.  And there I am, Standing on the Side of the Road.  I call Hubster again and he tells me there is no race support on the bike course and I am on my own and that he is trying his best to get to me.  WHAT?  WHAT THE HECK DID YOU JUST SAY? No RACE SUPPORT for the bike?  Um….

About this time a man riding a “fat tire” bike with a big ol’ basket on the front comes pedaling up.  “Ma’am, do you have a flat tire?”  I said “no sir, I sure don’t-I wish that was all that was wrong with my bike.”  He says, “well, I want to help you.”  I say “thank you, I appreciate the offer, but I am afraid he can’t.”  He inspects my bike from afar, is enamored with the fact that my shoes are attached the pedals, says “oh you are a PROFESSIONAL then!”  I laugh, tell him “no sir-not quite.”  And he paused, and then he looked at me and said “well, I do hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day tomorrow-if you are one.”  MELTED MY HEART!  He then told me his name was Xavier (had a foreign accent as well, I told him my name, and away he pedaled.  🙂  The silver lining to a VERY bleek, gray cloud. 

Here comes my CAR!!!!  My HUBSTER!  YES! Hubster gets out, flips this, does this, quick hold this, do this, jam this in there, this will get you going, here you go, wow, okay, yeah, OKAY–GO GO GO GO GO GO GO!!!!  I look at him and say “what if it happens again?!!!”  He says “HERE! TAKE YOUR PHONE!” And, about that time, the last cyclist of the entire race goes by, followed by the motorcycle who follows the last cyclist during the race. I told Hubster to rack my bike and then I just sat in the car and cried.  Hubster too, I believe; on my behalf.  He drives me to park by transition, he is going to go into transition and get my bag for me.  I call my mother and can’t manage to do anything on the phone but cry to her.  She tries to comfort me.  About this time Don, Eling’s husband, walks by where we are parked, he comes over, offers words of solace, and then Hubster returns telling me the Transition Nazi (TN) (we will call her) will not let him get my things.  He did turn in my timing chip, though.  I start immediately walking that way and in my head “let this TN tell ME I can’t get in there to get my things-JUST LET HER.  Obviously, in the angry phase. I walk in without incident, walk out, and ask Hubster to take me back to our house so that I can get out on the run course and cheer on my friends and teammates, and that is exactly what I did. 

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The race was over, we finished cheering on race participants, go back to the house we had rented, and I was mad, I was angry, I was sad, I was exhausted, I was frustrated, I was tired, I was just PISSED to be honest.  All very valid feelings.  We decided to shower and go out to dinner that night and ended up having a great time.

I received a late night visit from QST and her husband Don; we sat out back by the pool with an adult beverage and spoke about the incidences of the day and QST looks at me and tells me that God was looking out for me that day; there was a reason I wasn’t supposed to be out on that course.  And, I agreed.  It was silent for a few minutes and then Don looks at me and says “so, did you know that you got a 4-minute penalty for blocking?”  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  WHAT?  WHAT IS BLOCKING?? I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO BLOCK!!!  ARGHHHH!!!!!  Further validation that, that just wasn’t my day.  And, I finally laughed. 

Standing on the Side of the Road-watching every race participant go by (you see, I was in the first wave that went off so EVERYONE had to pass me-) will teach you some things.  It will teach you to be humble.  It will teach you that things are not in your control.  It will teach you to swallow some things that are hard to swallow.  It will teach you that it isn’t your way, it’s God’s way.  

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After all, I did get to spend Mother’s Day on the beach with my family, friends with most importantly with LGC:  🙂

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You see, there will always be another race entry fee to pay.  There will always be more training you can do.  There will NOT always be life lessons and hard times; it is through those hard times you grow, evolve, change, and become a better version of you.  Just. Take. Another. Step.