Monday, September 22, 2008

Reality Check - Warning you might need tissue!

This weekend my friends Missey and Rick raced in the Athletes for a Cure Triathlon at Fort Wilderness on Walt Disney World Property. Rick set a new PR by 20 minutes and Missey had a great training race. She had specific Heart Rates and zones she had to maintain and did so with flying colors! It was awesome to see my friends race and for a moment I had another pity party for myself while walking over to the race start. However it only lasted a moment.

The Athletes for a Cure Triathlon was the innaugral event to raise money for the fight against prostate cancer. Athletes from all over the world competed while raising money to fight cancer. As you all know I coach for Team in Training and have been either a participant or a coach with TNT for over 10 years. Fighting cancer is near and dear to my heart.

So at any rate, as I was standing at the starting line with my friends and feeling just a little sorry for myself, I saw this child, a nine year old named Winter Vinecki, walk up to the swim start. She was with her mom and as she walked to the start I wondered what was going on. They were in front of wave 1. Wave 1 is the wave where all of the elite and professionals athletes start. The announcer asked us all to sing the national anthem, the horn sounded and mother and daughter started to swim.

I need to interject here that it was just after 7am, the sun had barely risen and there was fog over the lake, watching them swim out into the foggy water was just mind boggling. As I watched them swim, I noticed a man with three boys standing inside the start area as well, watching these two swim off. While I tried to figure out what as going on, I saw that the man had a urostomy bag on his leg. Suddenly the lights came on. This man was somehow related to this child and he had prostate cancer. Just as the fog was lifting from my head, the announcer started to explain the story. Here is what he said.

In May of this year Michael Vinecki, husband and father of 4 was diagnosed with a very agressive form of prostate cancer. His nine year old daughter, Winter, decided she wanted to help and decided to contact the AFACTri to register. Team Winter was formed. Her goal was to raise $10,000 in for cancer research. In the end she raised $31,000. What an amazing feat! And now she was competing in a Olympic Distance Triathlon.

For everyone that is not a Tri-geek like me, the distances are a .9mile swim, followed by a 24 mile bike ride finshed up with a 6.2 mile run. It was incomprehensible to me that a 9 year old would finish the race much less even want to start. Just amazing. I saw Winter and her mother finish the swim in just over 50 minutes. Then I saw them leave on their bikes. I did not see them again until the were running to the finish line. Winter was running with a past Ironman World Champion, Karen Smeyers, past Olympic Distance World Champion, Simon Lessing and her mother.

Winter crossed the finish line in 3:59. I was crying, my daughters were crying. Everyone was screaming and cheering. In my life I have never seen anything so amazing!!! Michael and the boys were waiting just across the finish line where they were handing out medals!

Shortly after this, Winter was signing autographs with two world champion triathletes, Simon Lessing and Karen Smeyers. My daughters and I went over to meet her. What an inspiration to our family! We all have racing hats signed by this amazing child! If you would like to read more about her story, please review this article. You can also keep up with the family by reading their blog or signing the guestbook.

My daughters are ready to start training to battle cancer. They have even promised to be nicer to each other and quit fighting. Wow! We will see how long that lasts. Even if they fight with each other tonight, I know that seeing Winter and her family has made a lasting impression on me and my family.

God Bless you Winter to sharing your family's story with my family. Good luck. My prayers are with your father and your entire family as they continue on this difficult journey. Thank you for doing what you are doing to raise awareness and fight this terrible disease called Cancer.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Well folks, I just returned from the doctor's office. Would you like the good news or the bad news first? Personally I want to hear the bad news first and the good news second so I can focus on the good news. It is interesting to me that the title of my blog is "The Journey Has Just Begun." No truer words have been spoken to me lately.

Bad News: I have a nondisplaced fracture of my humerus bone (Translation: broken arm) and I won't be doing Ironman Florida with Missey this year.

Good News: I don't have to have surgery and this is nothing that time and some physical therapy can't heel. Also, I can be in Panama City cheering Missey on and supporting her on November 1st! This will also give me more time to design my custom Ironman tattoo.

How do I feel? Well of course I am not happy. Completing the Ironman is a life goal of mine. I am very disappointed and honestly a bit depressed. I know this is a relatively minor problem. I am not dying, I will get better and I can try again next year. I know all of these things and I believe them. I just need my five minutes to cry and get over it. My friend Missey says that everyone gets 24 hours after an upset to have a pity party for themselves. After 24hours, you have to shut up and move on. So my 24 hours started at 4pm today. I know after a good night's rest, I will feel better, I will be able to face this disappointment with a smile on my face and set my goals for moving forward.

I think this quote by Robert Kiyosaki sums everything up nicely:

I will move forward. I will complete the Ironman. It won't be on November 1st, 2008 but I will complete it. Ironman Florida 2009 watch out! Here I come......


My Shoulder

As I write this post, I realize that in the grand scheme of things, a shoulder injury is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. But right now for me, I am devastated.

During my half marathon in Va Beach, somewhere between mile 1 and 2, I tripped and fell. I am not sure if someone stepped in front of me or if I tripped over an invisible crack but I crash landed. I knew as I was falling to get my arms out of the way so I would not break my wrists. However I never thought I would land literally in my arm pit. When I got up after falling I did not realize that my shoulder was injured. It was not until a few minutes later, trying to re-attach all of my water bottles and watch, that I realized I had done something to my shoulder. I could no longer move my left arm. Now I was freaked out.

I decided to continue running as the nearest first aid tent was mile 3. I stuck my hand in my running bra, sorry folks no pictures of that although they would be funny, and pushed on. YES, YES, I know I should have stopped and been transported to the finish line but you guys know me I am stubborn. So I kept going. My sister and I had started the race but I had sent her on. I knew this would slow me down and I did not want to ruin her race. Good thing I did as she set a PR!

I made it to mile 3 and went to the first aid tent. Of course the paramedics wanted me to stop. Of course I said NO! So they put my arm in a sling, made me sign a paper saying I refused transport and off I went. Let me tell you this was not any fast race. I was moving in a forward direction. I called my coach and left him a voice mail. I was very glad he did not pick up because I knew he would say stop and I was not going to do that.

I ran/walked until mile 5 where I had to stop at the medical tent again. The way my arm was wrapped, was not helping and I was getting chaffed around my neck. They re-wrapped my arm, tied some gauze around my shoulder, put an ice-pack on as well and after signing the refusal of transport again, off I went. This time I made it to mile 8 before I needed the first aid again. The paramedics at this stop helped adjust my arm and at this stop I did not need to sign another form. Thank goodness.

At this point it had been about 2.5 hours since I started the race and I knew that I was not going to set a pr, so I just did the best I could. Thanks to the help of my friends Missey, Debbie and Joy, I made it to the finish line in 3:29 and some change. Definitely not my best race but I finished. The whole crew running for my birthday finished as well. Kimberly set a new PR by 45 minutes! AWESOME.

Now I just have to find out what my injury is and what it means for the Ironman.

Wish me luck!


Virginia Beach 1/2 Marathon

For my 40th birthday, some friends and I decided to head up to Virginia Beach to run the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon on Labor Day weekend.

Talk about an embarrassing weekend! Enjoy the photos.

Dinner at Aldo's the night before the race! YUMMY!

Dinner after the race. Notice the sling on my arm?

Yes Ms Coordinated fell at mile 1. Not sure what I tripped over but my shoulder is all messed up. More in a later post.

I just wanted to post some pictures and say thank you to all of my AMAZING friends.

Missey - Thank you so much for organizing this trip!
Debbie - Thanks for helping and decorating and running the last mile with me.
Joy - Thanks for everything the night before the flight and for the totally embarrassing crown of peanuts on the flight.
Aimee - Thanks, Sis!
Jackie - Thank you so much for being part of my "crew"
Sandi - Thanks for drying my back
Alan and Kim - Thanks for coming and taking such lovely pictures on the flight.
Kelly and Bob - Thank you for coming, thank you for packing my clothes for me.

I love you all!