This is going to be an "all over the place" long blog post since I've been horrible at posting lately.
1. Ironman Florida: I got to Florida on Thursday morning. I flew into Pensacola, got a car, and drove to Panama City Beach. It was a nice and scenic drive--so much more green than where I am. I got to condo complex where I was staying with a friend of mine who was racing. She had been at a press conference with the pros because she had raised some significant money for Janus Charity Challenge for cancer research. We linked up, grabbed some lunch, went down to the Ironman Expo...I could feel the excitement of it all. That evening we went to a get together/dinner with several of the BT.com folks, and that was enjoyable. The sunset was just awesome and beautiful. It was much cooler than I had expected Florida to be, though. Friday morning we got up and headed down to the Gatorade practice swim and I swam about 1000 meters of the swim course. The water was SO CLEAR compared to the BROWN and GREEN waters of Texas lakes! It was fairly choppy compared to the previous day and how race day would end up. But, I was glad it was choppy as that gave me a good taste of what it can be like out there. Was not disconcerted at all, and it was one less unknown for next year out of the way. I went to a little tri talk with another friend of mine and gleaned some decent information. My friend who was racing got registered for next year and later we got her bike and transition bags checked in and we met up with some friends again. I went to the volunteer meeting that evening and it was unorganized at best. But, I knew when I needed to be the next day, and that's what mattered. Then it was off to bed before race day. On race Saturday I got up with Sue (my friend) to help her take her gear down to transition and get bodymarked. The condo was close enough that we walked back afterwards so she could get her wetsuit on, and then it was back down to the swim start. Once she headed into the corral for the racers I found a spot to watch and saw the pros head out, observed the National Anthem, and then the racers were OFF for their first loop of the two-loop swim. It was awesome to watch the mass start, and the entire time you could see this big massive "school" of swimmers heading out and around the buoys. The excitement in the air was incredible and I cheered for friends of mine as I saw them come out of the first lap and then I made my way to the bike out location so I could cheer on everyone starting the bike. I stayed there till the last racers made it off on the bike. Myself and two of my other friends then linked up to make it out to the out and back part of the course where, with cowbells in hand, we cheered on a great majority of the racers. Throughout all of this I was imagining myself doing it next year! By the time we made it back Sue had already started the run, she was doing great!! I caught some of my other friends coming in off the bike and starting the run as well, it was awesome to cheer for them. We then had a little bit of a break before we would cheer for runners coming into the last lap of the marathon. Sue was doing awesome and then it was time for our volunteer shifts. I got my volunteer wrist band and t-shirt and got directed to the finish line tape where every racer came through. Four of us manned the spot so we had two finish line tapes available to try and have one for every runner. It was amazing to see the smiles, the tears, the elation, the managed pain, and the utter joy as competitors raced across the finish line. Some ran, some walked, some limped, some came with a kid in tow, some where husband and wife racers, and it was awesome. I got to hold the tape for many of my friends, and that was fun!! In fact, the last one to come through at 13:59 for me was my friend Sue! Couldn't have planned it better!! She was elated and had a great time, cutting 2 hours off the first time she did it. A group of us that were her cheering section helped her back. It was a great great day! Too much to capture, but so inspiring and exciting for next year! Great job racers!! The next day was up and early to get registered, and I did it without any second thought!! In fact, today was when I could finalize my registration and it is DONE!
2. Elections. I'm an American Politics major, I can't avoid discussing this issue, though I don't feel like spending entirely too much time on it. Here are my thoughts: I personally am not a fan of the President-Elect. I didn't vote for him and I disagree with his positions. I was an educated voter, not an emotional voter. In the same light, despite my pretty significant disagreements, I will acknowledge the historical significance of it. Race has never been an influence on my voting preferences. It should not be the motivator for any voting preference, against or for a candidate. So, now America is going to get something new. I will not wish failure upon the new administration. That goes against the core of who I am as a patriotic American. The administration fails, we fail. I wish and pray for a prosperous and successful America. To wish failure to make a point that someone was a wrong choice does not benefit. Now, that doesn't mean that when I see what I feel are wrong policy choices that do not benefit America that I won't say something and criticize. But, hate can't be part of it. It irritates me to all get out that some would wish evil and perpetuate hate because their choice didn't win. That is not the way to do it. As a Christian I will pray for the President; I will hold my leaders at all levels accountable and continue to do my civic duty and communicate with both the executive and legislative branches as are my rights as a citizen. Forward momentum is necessary. Forward thinking, forward preparation, and the pursuit of preserving the values and foundation that make us free Americans, that's what I want to do. So, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, don't think you're done with your civic duty. It's only just begun. Continue to raise your voice, continue to demand accountability of our leaders, and continue to educate yourself on the issues that are vital to the nations forward progress, national security, and continued preservation of American freedom.
3. Vet's Day weekend: Phew has it been a busy one!! Friday and Saturday I was in Houston for the Army/Rice football game. Unfortunately Army lost, but they kept it interesting and it was only a one touchdown lost. Sunday was church and dinner with a friend at McCormick and Schmicks in Austin--the restaurant has a generous free meal for veterans, so that was enjoyable. Today has been some recovery from the busy days, but I did get some housecleaning and workouts in the mix!
I will try to be better at posting, but just seem to be quite busy. Next weekend is the San Antonio 1/2 Marathon and I'm looking forward to that being a fun race and time with some good friends!