Monday, August 31, 2009

We live for crazy

On August 16th, Trevor and I did the Lake Stevens 1/2 Ironman. Afterwards I asked Trevor what he thought about a FULL Ironman. His words, and this is an exact quote, "not interested". We talked about it just a little after that, but really not very much. I had said "maybe someday, I just can't imagine when".

Saturday, Trevor was on the computer, I looked over his shoulder and he was on the website looking to see what races were close enough to where we live that we could drive. He was looking at FULL Ironman races. Jesus. Are you kidding me? Its been two weeks and you have gone from "not interested" to ready to sign up?

We have a friend, a coach at our marathon training group, named Doug. Doug has done a full Ironman and had mentioned that he was thinking of doing Ironman Canada in 2010. Ironman races are difficult to register for. Usually, you have to be present at the current event to sign up for next year. That means, to sign up for Ironman Cananda 2010, you would need to be physically present at Ironman Cananda 2009 - not competing, just present. Ironman Cananda 2009 was yesterday. Doug was busy doing the Hood to Coast relay, so he couldn't be in Cananda.

Today, I was online, looking the IMC website, when I saw it.
"Online registeration for 2010 now open". Holy shit. I emailed Doug and Trevor and said "anyone interested". I was really hoping that by the time Doug got back to us, it would be sold out. Trevor and I had briefly discussed it and decided if Doug did it, we'd do it too - that way we'd have an awesome training partner.

I didn't hear back from Doug. I was on the phone with Trevor, joking about this whole Ironman thing, when his other line rang. He said he'd call me back. A minute later, he texted me - "Doug got in. Sign us up". WHAT???

I got online, well, tried to get online. Anytime you actually need to get to something quick, our computer practically shuts down. Trevor called me and he got onto the registration site. So did I. I put him on speaker phone and we registered together. Hit "complete" at the same time and had our registrations accepted together.

I called Doug and told him this was all his fault. I'll have plenty of opportunties to blame him over the next year. We'll need to huddle and figure out what the next 12 months will consist of as far as training.

I'm not sure I want to do it, but I know we'll do it eventually, so what better time that now. I remember a quote I saw somewhere that said, "if you are just making excuses, life's short, get in already". So we are in. Because, what the only live once, might as well live for crazy.

Here's a video/story that we watched this weekend that kind of sealed the deal for me. This is a father and a son - the son is disabled, in a wheel chair and they do races together. Dick and Rick Hoyt. They've done like 980 athletic events together. The triathlon they are doing in the video is an Ironman.

If this doesn't make you cry, you have no soul. When they get out of the water and head to the bike....It made me wonder, what's my excuse?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Feeling lost

Its been two weeks since our triathlon and I am feeling a little lost. We spent 20 weeks training for this event. I had a big dry erase board in my workout room that showed all my planned training for each month. It was really a no-brainer. I saw the schedule, I did what was on the schedule. There was no wiggle room. I didn't get up and say "I don't want to run today, maybe I'll bike instead". Honestly - I loved that. I don't usually like to be told what to do - but I really liked just knowing what I had to do.

These last two weeks, I haven't really known what to do. I came up with kind of a plan, but then I would change it based on how I felt. That's good, since I was recovering from a tough event. But that has to stop now because I am feeling lost and I don't like that.

This past week was better than the week before. I had a little more direction and focus. I am sure next week will be even better. We have a sprint triathlon in September and the marathon in October. So I'll keep up the pretty even mix of biking, running and some swimming until Sept 12th, then I'll focus a bit more on the running since the marathon is the next big event.

Over the winter, I'd like to continue working on my strength. The last two years I have really worked on that and I have seen a huge improvement in how I handle the stress of a longer event. It is amazing how much a strong core, upper body and legs can help hold you up after you've been moving for 6 hours! During the run portion of Lake Stevens, when my legs felt like they'd had enough, I felt like I carrying the weight of my body in my core. I felt strong and centered and I liked feeling that way. I think back to how I felt during my marathon 7 years ago. All I did during that training was run. My body was no where near as strong as it is now and I totally fell apart just after the mid point of that run. This year, I'll be stronger.

So, while I am feeling lost, I am getting back on track. I'm mapping out the next few weeks and that map will be my guide. Back to the no-brainer way of doing things. That's how I like it!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

3 years

August 19, 2006 - this was us....

It is so hard to believe that 3 years have passed since we stood in front of 200 of our friends and agreed to live our lives together. It was really just a formality, we had been living together for 6 years by then and most people thought we were already married.

It was a great day and sometimes I'll put the video in or look at the pictures and remember back to that day. I was so happy. I was marrying the only man I wanted to spend the rest of my days with. I was becoming Mrs. Trevor Bryant and I loved that.

It has been another great year for us. Another year of growing, changing, challenging. Last year on our anniversary we were just getting ready to open our first store. We were getting ready to take a risk and start on a new path. This year, we've got a second store open and have enjoyed many successes with our first store. Trevor achieved the goal of fighting in an amateur fight. We did our Half Ironman.

Seems like every year, we get just a little more crazy. The thing that keeps us together and strong is that we have changed together. We both look forward, to see what's next. We both look back to see who we have been and learn from what we've done. We always look to each other, and that is the key. This year, perhaps more than ever before. With so much going on, if we don't have each other, we won't make it through. When things are tough or hard and I look over and see Trevor there with me, it makes it all okay.

I can't wait to see what we do over this next year and I can't wait to have Trevor by my side every step of the way. Happy Anniversary Trevor, thank you for loving me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lake Stevens Video

This is kind of long - about 10 minutes - if you watch the first few minutes, you can see the swim start. That may be enough!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend recap Part 2

Back to life, back to reality. The weekend is over and we are home. We've had time to reflect upon our weekend. The best thing about doings these things with Trevor is that he gets it. Its awesome to be able to talk about it with him and have his completely understand. He was out there too. Its fun to compare our experiences, share our challenges and of course, our success. I cannot imagine doing any of this without him.

In our living room, there is an end table with pictures on it. Every year, on the anniversary of our first date, we've taken a picture. They are all framed on that table. This year, we did a triathlon on that day and last night I was framing that picture to put with the others. I picked up the picture of us on our first date and took both pictures over to Trevor. I said, "do you think these people (pointing to the first date) had any idea that these people (pointing to the most recent picture) even existed?" We laughed about how far we had come in the last 9 years.

Its hard to put all my thoughts into the race report, because at a point, it just becomes too much. Lots of things get left out. I'll try to capture some of those things here.

For example, going into this weekend, I had no idea how to change a tire on my bike. They say there is support on the bike route, but I know that if you get a flat, you are on your own. I wanted to know how to change it, so I wouldn't totally freak out if it happened. We never got around to practicing, so we practiced at 8 pm the night before the race - in the hotel room. Trevor showed me how to do it and then I did it two times on my own. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Luckily, I did not get a flat on the course, but that was one less thing I had to worry about. I knew if it happened, I'd be okay.

At the expo the day before the race, they were selling some cool "Lake Stevens 70.3" gear. I really wanted some of it - but I didn't want to buy it until I knew that I had finished. I wish they would have sold that stuff the day of the event. Its like wearing the finishers shirt during the event. Something about that feels like a jinx to me.

Owning our Max Muscle store was one of the biggest blessings during this adventure. We had unlimited access to nutrition information and products. We were able to use some trial and error and find the right mix that worked for us. Nutrition is a HUGE part of an event like this. You are out there for 7 hours. On a normal day, between the hours of 6:30 am and 2:30 pm, I eat at least 4 times. During this event, you aren't eating meals, but you need to be sure you are providing fuel for your body. The wrong plan can leave you without energy or even worse with serious stomach issues.

I spend about 50% of my life dealing with stomach issues, so it was important that I nail down something that works for me. I was fortunate enough to do that and have no problems during the race. About 45 miles into the ride, my stomach was a little crampy and I worried that it would turn into full on bloating. Luckily, it did not and once I stood up to run, I felt just fine. Some people will eat something on the bike - peanut butter sandwiches, crackers, etc. I only took in fluids.

Then, on the run, I had two Hammer Gels. One at the 4 mile mark, then again at 9 miles. Sometimes these upset my stomach and cause a side stitch. On Sunday, there were no problems at all. After about 5 and 1/2 hours of moving, that first Hammer Gel tasted better than anything I can ever remember. The second one tasted just as good!

About half way through the day, I started thinking about what I wanted for dinner. I knew that I really wanted an iced soy latte. We got that on the way back into town and it tasted great. Pizza was on my list, but then they had that at the finish. We decided on Mexican food. We asked at the hotel and then sent us to a little place around the corner. It was so good, but we had eaten too much pizza and couldn't fit as much into our bellies as we had hoped. At that point, we really just wanted to get back to the room so we could lay down.

As I've mentioned before, I always like to "de-brief" about things like this. So Trevor and I talked about our favorite parts of the day - for me, the swim and the feeling at the finish; for Trevor - the finish. We talked about our least favorite things - for me, waiting to start; for Trevor - the pain in his foot.

Then, Trevor proved he really does love me by playing my game and actually taking my game to the next level. The Rocky movies are my favorite movies. I use quotes all the time. Trevor asked me this: "what Rocky quote describes today".

Here was his: "- Remember when Mick said when he was fighting sometimes,he'd fight so hard that he was thinking that he broke something inside?" He felt like he broke something inside.

Here was mine: "this is the best day in the history of my life".

Two very different takes. Two very different experiences. The same result. We finished.

This event was a huge turning point for me - as far as what I believe I can do and how I manage my emotions. I have come to realize that this triathlon is for me what Trevor's fight was for him. It wasn't so emotional for him because he already knows what he is made of. He already knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to. I just learned that. It will be interesting to see how that serves us going forward.

It is that big of a deal, it really is. You may not understand that. Someday, I hope you will, in your own way, find out that really, there is nothing YOU can't do if you put your mind to it. Really.

I took Monday as a rest day. This morning I got up and did some stretching, an ab workout and a slow 3.5 mile run. It really helped loosen things up and I felt pretty good. I thought about the Full Ironman and how I don't have the desire to do it, how I can't imagine doing it. Then I realized - 10 years ago, completing a marathon was as possible to me as traveling to the moon. I've done that and even though I said I'd never do another one - I'm doing another one on October 4th. 15 years ago, running 6 miles seemed like running 1000, now I run 7 miles every Tuesday. So, while the full 140.6 miles seems impossible to me now, who knows how I'll feel about that in the future. Gulp.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report

The alarm went off at 4 am. That's even early for me! We got up, got all geared up, had some breakfast and headed out. In the elevator, we ran into our friend Rob. We knew he'd be up here, but had not heard from him all week. We had just been talking about him on the way out of our room. It was nice to see him, bright and early. Kind of like we were all in this together!!

We got to the Lake around 5:15. We had purchased a parking spot in a lot, so there was no messing with that. It really made a difference and took a lot of stress out of my morning. We parked and walked down the transition area.

Before we could go in, they marked our bodies with our numbers.

It was really cold and dark. Start time was 6:30. That's when the first wave was set to start. Trevor was supposed to start around 6:39 and then me at 6:55. We milled around for a while, went down and looked at the water - which was covered in fog and I started to feel a little sick to my stomach.

We got on our wetsuits and wandered down to the start area. We ran into another friend, Jan. Again, it just felt good to see some familiar faces. Something to look forward to out on the course.

They delayed the start 10 minutes because of the fog. I was really ready to go. Enough already!! Finally, they got going - there were about 5 waves between me and Trevor. I watched him go and before I knew it, it was my time.

It was a "in water" start. We all walked out onto a dock and jumped in the water. I was walking on the dock and they said "less than a minute so don't waste time, get in". I liked that - get in and go - no time to think! I did just that - got in, held onto the dock for about 15 seconds and then the gun went off. I waited a moment, did a few breast strokes, then put my head down and swam.

The course was an out and back and there was a long line of small buoys. The fog was still pretty thick, so I couldn't see very far ahead of me. I tried to stay to the outside of the group so that I wouldn't get caught up in the crowd. My swim really felt good - I settled in to a calm, relaxed stroke and pace. I held that the entire time.

About half way back I was thinking that I was ready to be done with the swim. Then I remembered what my friend Karen had said to me "be in the moment". So I stopped thinking about what came next and thought about what was happening now. And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the feel of the water, the strength of my stroke. I have come a long way with my swimming. To think that last year, I could barely make it one length of the pool. Today I swam 1.2 miles without stopping or panic. It was starting off to be a great day.

Swim Time: 49:33

I walked up the boat ramp to my bike. I took my time getting ready for the ride. What's the rush? I'm not going to win, so I put on my shoes, my glasses, some sunscreen and off I went.

T1: a blazing 6:15

Onto the bike. This was a two loop course. We went about 4 miles to get to the loop. By the time I got to the start of the loop - the Pros, who had started 25 minutes before me, were already on their second loop. I just laughed and started on my 1st loop. Wow. Talk about hills. This course had some serious hills. The first 18 miles were all uphill! Then down for a bit. Towards the end of the first loop were two enormous hills. All I could think about was how those hills would feel in another 25 miles.

At the end of the first loop, I took a break. I moved around my water bottles to be sure I had full ones within reach. I got back on and started my second loop. Those hills were a little harder the second time around. Those two enormous hills...people were walking their bikes. Not me - I powered up them as best I could and was really happy when I got to the turn to head back to the transition.

Again - I didn't want to wish it was over - because all that came next was 13.1 miles. So I felt the pedals under my feet and enjoyed the moment. You only get to do this for the first time once.

I had been worried about Trevor - he hurt his back two weeks ago and wasn't really sure he could do this today. He had a wart removed on his foot a few weeks ago and it was really hurting him this morning. I finally realized that I didn't need to worry about him. A few months ago, he got in a cage and was punched in the face and kicked until his leg broke. Why was I worried about him swimming, riding and running.

At that point, I focused all my energy on me. Heaven knows I was going to need it!

Bike: 3:38:06

In the transition, you'd think I had a party! I changed my socks, used the bathroom, reapplied by sunscreen. Then walked out of transition to the start of the run.

T2: 6:58

I was having a tough time wrapping my mind around the fact that I had 13.1 miles to run. I spent the first mile trying to convince myself that it was okay and that it was possible. I knew I needed to just keep moving.

The course was two loops. 6.5 miles each. It helped to break it down that way - I run 7 miles every Tuesday, so I just mentally pictured it like that. The first half of the loop was pretty flat, the second half was a big hill - up, then down, turn around and back up, then down.

At this point, I saw Trevor. I had about 7 more miles to go, he had about 3. He said he was hurting, but he looked pretty good. I felt great and knew I had 7 more miles in me. My pace was pretty steady and I felt strong.

I passed the finish line and made my way onto the second loop. I started to get excited because I was half way done! On the second loop, no one passed me - I passed a lot of people and almost all of them were walking. Some were totally falling apart. I tried to give encouragement to all of them. One guy said to me "its just so hard". I said "that's the point, isn't it?"

In every event, there is a point where I realize that I am going to do it. I am going to finish what I started. As I made the turn at the 10 mile point, I realized that I was going to do it. As much as I wanted to walk, I didn't. Walking only means longer until I'm finished. And I was ready to get to the finish.

I was shocked at how good I felt. I wasn't falling apart, I wasn't made. The F word didn't go through my mind even one time today - which is a total shocked. I was focused and calm and kept my wits about me.

About half a mile from the finish, I started to think of everything that led up to today. I thought about all the people who had supported me and helped me. I thought of all the mornings I got up a 4:30 am when I didn't want to, all the Saturdays that we spend riding the bike for 3 or 4 hours. The nights at the pond, the mornings in the pool. It was very emotional for me.

I made the turn to the finish line and it was all I could do to not totally break down and start bawling! I saw Trevor and as I crossed the finish line these words went through my head "you can do anything you set your mind to". Nothing is more empowering than that.

Run: 2:23:21
This is the same time that I ran the Helvetia Half Marathon two months ago. Not bad.

TOTAL TIME: 7:04:12

I figured I would take me 7 hours and I was right on. Trevor took 6:38. He didn't feel as great as I did, he was battling his injury and that foot. But he finished and we were proud.

I had the best time today. It was one of the best days of my life. I liked who I was today - the entire time. I was who I want to be. In my mind, that's a good day. There should be more of those, I think.

This was quite an adventure for us. I will totally do another on of these. As far as tackling a full Ironman - Trevor had this to say "not interested". Right now, I agree with that. I cannot imagine doing more than what we did today.

Here are some pictures. Nothing feels as good as being done!!!

Our friend Rob - only his second triathlon!

Trevor saw a pizza delivery truck while he was running and was thinking how he wanted to have pizza for dinner. Come to find out they were delivering it to the finish line!!

Lake Stevens 70.3 weekend recap part 1

Lake Stevens is about 3 hours away from home. We got all our gear together Friday night and were pretty much ready to hit the road on Saturday morning. We left around 10 and figured that would give us plenty of time. We had to attend a race briefing before we could pick up our packet and check in our bike. I planned on being there in enough time to make the 2 pm briefing.

On the way up there, we had some good time to talk. I love road trips with Trevor because he is a captive audience and I can ask him about all kinds of stuff. I have all kinds of thoughts and feelings about this adventure we are about to take on. I asked Trevor why he wanted to do it. His response "because it sounded like fun." I asked what would get him through when things were rough and he said "the fact that there is a finish line". So simple.

I don't know that I would have decided to do this event on my own. Last year, after our very first triathlon, Trevor said to me "I think we could do an Ironman." I said no way and then started to give it some tought. And now, here we are. He planted the seed. Funny thing is that he does not remember that conversation and said he would have never wanted to do it if I hadn't "made him". I was hoping he would forget that it was my idea tomorrow. Otherwise, he might end up hating me!!

Traffic was a bit heavier than I expected and we made it to the hotel at 1:55. Just in time to squeeze into the room for the briefing. The race director and head referee spoke for about half an hour about the course and the rules. It was started to sink in that we were really going to do that. Holy crap.

Anyway - we got through the briefing, picked up our packet and our shirts. We checked into our room and then headed out to the Lake to check in our bikes.

There were a ton of cars out by the Lake. We found a place to park right by the bike check in. We would go into the transition area and set up our bikes at their appointed spaces. They would stay there overnight. Nice to not have to mess with that in the morning. We made a final check of the bikes, pumped up the tires and took a quick spin around main street. Then we checked in our bikes and walked down to look at the Lake.

The Lake was very calm. There were some people in it, testing out the waters. You can see the markers for the course and they seemed to go on forever. The Lake was lined with houses and that seemed really cool to me.

On our way back through transition I saw a guy putting on a tshirt that said "Max Muscle Montana". Of course, we stopped and talked to them. That was really neat! Go Max Muscle.

After walking around for a bit, we headed back into town and had some dinner. We got back to the hotel around 7 and were asleep by 9.

I had bad dreams about being on a cruise ship that was sinking. Don't know what that was about. Other than that, I slept really well.

Tomorrow is the day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The last day.

Today was my last day of training for Lake Stevens. Sunday is the day. Tomorrow will be a day off. We'll sleep in, which means 7 am in our house. Then, we'll load up the car and head up to Seattle. It will be about a three hour drive. Once there, we'll check into our hotel, head to the race briefing, get our packet and go check in our bikes. Then we'll head to dinner and probably hit the sack early. I expect our alarm will go off around 4 am.

I have spent the last 20 weeks thinking about this Sunday. I have spent the last 20 weeks thinking about how it would feel to get to this week. Today, during my last training run, I spent some time thinking about the past 20 weeks. All the things that I have done to get to this point.

I've been keeping my blog, of course, and a notebook journal of my training days. Each day, I write down what I did, how I felt, what I was thinking. I looked back on all these things this week. Some days I felt great, some days I didn't...but every day, I kept pushing forward.

It is still hard to believe that I had weekends where I ran 15 miles on Sat and did a sprint triathlon on Sunday. Or weekends where I did an Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday and ran 12 miles on Sunday. The idea that my body has become this strong is really awesome to me.

I am nervous about Sunday. That's my make-up - I fret. I know I am ready, I know I can do it. I know it will be fun. The last two events we have done were just a blast and I enjoyed every minute of them. I plan to enjoy every minute on Sunday - no matter how many minutes it takes me. I will calm down once I get in the water and the gun sounds...until then I've got an upset stomach and heartburn.

I thought about the people I know who have been through hell - children sick, children dying, brothers passing away, cancer. I think of those people and realize - this is one day. Nothing I experience on Sunday will be even close to what those people have been through. I'll think of them and I'll draw on their strength. Annalee, Mark, Olivia, Krista, Tina, Alaina, Susan. Because when I look around me at the strongest people I know - they aren't the people who can run the furthest or lift the most at the gym. They are the people who can go through a crisis and never stop moving.

I feel blessed to be able to make it to the start line on Sunday. Its just one day - the 20 weeks leading up to it were the hard part. After Sunday, we'll move on to our next challenge. Because really, life is all about seeing what you're made of.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The clock keeps ticking....

We are in the final week before the 70.3 triathlon. I cannot believe we've been at this for 19 weeks. It seemed so far away and now here it is - right in front of us!

Trevor hurt his back last week. "Got a weak back, a week back" as my friend Todd would say. He's been seeing our chiropractor and physical therapist for that and seems to be almost back to normal.

We didn't do an open water swim last week and went last night to get in the water on last time before Sunday. I am starting to feel anxious about Sunday and so I wanted to swim in the lake for 3 laps, which is about 45 minutes. First of all, it was pouring rain and there was no one at the pond. As we were walking in the rain, Trevor said "we don't need to swim three laps, we are ready for Sunday. This is just a final equipment check". I realized he was right - we swam a fast loop and headed for home.

I keep reminding myself to trust my training. I've done what I needed to do, there isn't much more I could have done. Now its time to just coast to the weekend and enjoy every minute.

I have gotten some great advice and motivation from people. Here is some of the best:

- Fight for your position in the water. If you get hit, laugh it off. This is all part of the experience we brag about.
- Trust your training.
- Relax and enjoy it, you only get to do it for the first time once.
- It's a privilege that we can do things like this, that many can only dream of.
- Don't look at your watch when you cross the finish line - it will ruin your picture (I love that!)
- own it. take hold of it.
- You really have no choice but to do the Olympic (when I was trying to talk myself out of doing the longer triathlon in July)
- "I'm proud of you sister"

I have gotten most of my advice and motivation from our friend Doug. He is a coach at Vancouver Fit and the nicest man I have ever met. He is so kind. Every week since our marathon training began, he has been providing a "tip of the week". These tips have included changing a tire, setting up transition, working our watch efficiently. He's given logistical advice for that day of the event. And he always, always reminds us to have fun. We are so blessed to know him.

The training hasn't always been fun. There were certainly weeks when I was just exhausted. Even so, I never felt like I wanted to stop. I never thought it wasn't worth it and I really did enjoy it all. It felt like I was breaking myself down, only to build myself back up. I have found that I am so much stronger than I ever knew. I have so much more power than I realized.

I get SO nervous before these events. It is almost funny. I have had heartburn for a few days now, my stomach is in constant knots. The morning of the event I'll probably be sick to my stomach and wonder what the hell I am thinking - why I ever thought this was a good idea. Then, I'll get in the water, the horn will sound and I'll have 6 or 7 hours to bask in the glory of it all.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Max Muscle Outstanding Store of the Year

This past weekend was the Annual Franchisee convention for Max Muscle. It was two days of meetings and networking. We had a great time, got to meet a lot of other store owners, learned some new things and got some great motivation.

This last year has been a blur. Trevor and I work really hard to do what we think and feel is right for us and our business. There are many forces working around us and its easy to get caught up in the drama of it all. Trevor doesn't usually let this other stuff get to him, I get all worked up and worried about things.

On Sunday, at lunch, there was an awards ceremony. Our store was awarded "Outstanding Store of the Year". They gave out three of these awards, one for the East, one for the West and one for the Central. We were honored to have recieved this award.

This award was validation of all we've done thus far. It was very satisfying and reminded me what its all about. When you do what you believe, what you think is right, things usually turn out okay! No matter what everyone else thinks or says, you have to do what is right for you. In the end, it just might make you Outstanding.

19 down, 1 to go

I've spent lots of time thinking about being here - one week to go. And now, here we are. I think I say it every week, but I really can't believe how fast the time goes.

This week has been particularly rough - mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Our second store opened on Monday, there were two big announcements at work that really have caused some mayhem around the office. I'd find myself totally spent by the end of the day.

Trevor hurt his back last weekend. Between that and the store opening, we didn't get to the pond for an open water swim this week, but that's okay. At this point, we are either ready or we are not and I really feel ready. We'll get there at this once this week.

Here's what this week's totals were:
45 min of swimming
4 hrs and 15 min of cycling
3 hrs and 45 min of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 10 hours and 45 minutes

I spent some time this weekend, wondering what was up after the triathlon. Then I realized I can worry about that Sunday night - once we are finished with 70.3. One thing at a time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The definition of Irony

Here's a quote from a story published at on Wednesday:

"The Oregonian announced Wednesday that a long-standing and unusual job-security pledge for full-time employees against layoffs for economic and technological reasons will end in February of next year. Publisher Fred A. Stickel cited the need for flexibility in the future given the difficult economy and declining revenues the newspaper faces."

Not surprisingly, this was posted to at 4:35 pm, just about the time that most of the traffic to the site slows down - all the 8 to 5 people are shutting down for the day, wont' be back to the site until they are at work the next day and by then, the story will be buried.

There are a lot of changes going on at The O these days. Usually, there are many rumors for many weeks before a big announcement is made. This past week, there have been a lot of murmurs going on about an upcoming restructuring of our department. Everyone has their theory - no one really knows and we aren't even sure when we'll be told. So, we've been pretty busy focused on figuring that out.

When we got to work Wed morning and saw an email that said we had a meeting at 9:30 for the entire company, we didn't know what to make of it. We were so busy talking about it, we didn't have a chance to get online and do any checking. After the meeting I looked at and saw that posted at 9:10 pst was the announcement that we heard in our 9:30 meeting. The other blogs that I read regarding this stuff were also all abuzz with the same annoucement from other papers. I guess since we are on the west coast, we were the last to get the news.

Either way - it wasn't good. I can't say I was surprised. They made these changes in New Jersey (except for the loyalty pledge) about 6 months ago and we are usually that far behind them. I think the biggest shock with the discontinuation of the employee loyalty pledge.

To people who don't work for Advance, you can't understand this pledge. My family and friends always scoffed at it, but those of us who work there believed in it. It was one of the coolest things about our company - they would take care of us, no matter what. They didn't have to, they chose too - that is why it was cool. When I was hired 10 years ago, I sat through an orientation and the first thing they talked about was this pledge and how important it was. Last year, we got a letter in the mail clarifying the pledge. It is talked about often around the building.

For a while now, people have been saying they thought it would go away. I kept saying that it wouldn't. Because why have a pledge against layoffs due to economic hardships only to cancel it when the economy gets bad? That is the question I'm asking today. I can't say I am surprised by this announcement, but I am disappointed. For better or worse, until things get worse and then I'm out of here. I'll always love you, unless I change my mind. I'll be there when you need me, unless I have something better to do. There's no way I'd miss it, unless I have a better offer. You get my point.

After that was announced, none of the rest really mattered. Pay 25% of our health care - fine. 6 more days off without pay - whatever. We've had it good for a long time. The benefits allotted me have been beyond anything I would have anyplace else and I have always been thankful.

We're a business. That I understand. I just am confused about how it got to this point. I mean, we've had this loyalty pledge that said as long as you were "unrepresented" (non-union), full-time and did your job satisfactorily, you wouldn't be laid off. If you didn't do your job satisfactorily, you weren't protected. Although it would seem like you were. The culture has been such that people were not fired. I can count on one hand how many people I know who were fired over the last 10 years and I suspect they were all paid handsomely to just go away.

I have always wondered how different things would be if the ones who should have been fired, actually were. My bet is that we'd still have a loyalty pledge.

So what happens now? And really, does anyone care but us?

Monday, August 3, 2009

And so it begins again.

Last year at this time we were about 3 weeks away from opening our first Max Muscle store. Here it is, 12 months later, and we are opening our second location. What a difference a year makes.

The process this time around has been smoother. Of course, there have been bumps and issues, but the majority of things have just been easier. I have not been so scared or apprehensive about this store. We kind of already knew what we were getting into - we knew we could make a run at this. It isn't just hopes and dreams anymore, its been sweat and tears for the last year and we believe we know what it takes to make it.

I was looking back at my blog posts from this time last year. Here is the link to the post I wrote on our opening day. I think back to how we felt that day and think about how I feel today and it is very different. Today was kind of just business as usual.

Trevor went to the store and opened up. We advertised that we would be opening tomorrow. This gave us a day to work out the kinks and that was good planning because there were certainly some kinks. Trevor spent the entire day getting the computer up and running.

We spent the weekend getting things ready, stocking the shelves, pricing all the products, cleaning. Tomorrow will be our actual opening day. We hired Jason to run this store and are so excited to have him as a part of our team. He's been working at our Hazel Dell location for about a month now and is set to make the move to East Vancouver.

This store is a little smaller than our other location and we really love how it turned out. Here are some pictures of the inside and the outside.

Last year, we were taking in our last few moments of peace and quiet. It has been a blur. I can't only imagine what this next year will bring for us with our business. I cannot wait to see.

18 down, 2 to go

I cannot believe there are only two weeks until our 70.3. The last 18 weeks have really flown by - these last two will be easier than the last 6 or so. It should be a nice lead in to the big day.

It has been hotter than hell this past week. To make matters worse, our air conditioning is out of comission, so while its been 107 outside, its been 95 inside. Miserable. Not cooling down at night. That kind of heat wears on you and depletes your body of all its energy! Yet, I had to bust out the workouts anyway. Most mornings I was laying in bed sweating, so getting up didn't seem so bad.

Tuesday night we swam in the pond without our wetsuits and the water was so warm, it wasn't really even that refreshing. By the end of the week, the mornings were cooler and that helped.

Saturday morning we went for an ill-fated biker ride, after a nice 40 min swim in the pond. On our bike ride - I almost got hit by a car, Trevor's spoke broke on his bike and Trevor pulled his bck muscles. Ugh. I am okay, Trevor's bike is okay and hopefully after four appts with the chiropractor this week, Trevor will be okay too. He didn't run on Sunday morning, so I know he is hurting - he usually can power through things. If you've ever hurt your back, you know how badly it sucks. I feel so bad for him!

In addition to all of this, we have been doing the final prep for opening our 2nd store on Monday - that means a week of unloading freight, moving things around, stocking shelves. So things have been a little crazy!

Here are the totals for this week:
2 hrs of swimming
4 hrs and 50 min of cycling
4 hrs and 45 min of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 13 hours and 35 minutes

Two weeks left. Woohoo!