Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

Whirlwind Start to 2014

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The past 2 months have been like one of Siri’s “super swims”.  My SELTS-mates know the type; the kind where Siri either skips or runs to the pool deck with excitement, recites the main set, which, to us, sounds like the teacher from "The Peanuts" cartoon, “Mwa, mwa, mwa, blah, blah, blah…..FLAT OUT, ALL OUT, SUPER FAST, mwa, mwa, mwa, BING BANG BONG, blah, blah, blah.”  It’s the kind of set you turn quietly, put your goggles on, and cry a little before pushing off.  And while you are going thru it, it’s not so much fun, but in the end?  It’s all worth it.

Yep; that’s what the last 2 months have been like.

First, you see, there was Piper.  My sweet, adorable, (nearly) perfect little Piper.  She’s added so much joy…..but as the saying goes, you don’t get something for nothing?  She’s also a lot of work, but a labor of love.

For those who have missed the 10,482 photos and videos of Piper on social media, here are a few more.

 

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So after Piper came the holidays.  My family was here for Christmas, which again, was fun….but also work.   Cooking, cleaning, entertaining, all while muttering “Piper, NO,” and, “Piper, DROP THAT.”

 

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After Christmas, we saw my family to the airport and welcomed our “like family” guest, Mithra.  Mithra, you see, is the Super "Ninga", Super Fan, Super Friend and came to ring in the New Year with us (we kicked last year’s ass and made it to 9:00 this year….WAY more rowdy than when we rang in 2013 at 7:36PM). 

 

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Then we warmed our house with our “Hair of the Dog Housewarming Party” on New Year’s Day.  Much to my surprise, I had to explain to a few of my SELTS mates what “Hair of the Dog” meant.  Most thought it was to welcome Piper.  Almost....but really?  No.

You see, “hair of the dog” is a phrase used to refer to alcohol that is consumed for purposes of lessening the effects of a hangover.  For those who may have been hung over on New Years Day (those who did not celebrate New Year’s with Bermuda…and who couldn’t manage to even make it to NY’s midnight), having a drink the following day would, according to “hair of the dog” be almost medicinal in nature.  The expression referred to a method of treading a rabid dog bite by placing the hair of the dog in the wound.  …..not sure how that would really work, but thank you Wikipedia for the explanation.

Anyway…so we had a party.  DaveyG made chili, and we all had some laughs.

Seemed like we’d no sooner closed the door behind our last guest, when I opened it again, this time, to head out to my first race of the 2014 season.  Seemed surreal insane to be packing for a race while simultaneously breaking down the Christmas tree, but Pucon is a race that has long been on my bucket list and as I’d finished my season pretty early in 2013, I decided I’d make myself “ready” in time for Pucon.

“Ready” is a relative word in January.  While Siri simultaneously mocked me for having to race in January, she promised I’d be “ready” (enough).  You know what?  She was right......usually is, when I choose to let it sink in!

Travel to Pucon was epic, but I arrived, and while very much in need of a shower, I was amazed by the beauty of the place.

 

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The race was an adventure all by itself!  Starting with the boys?  NOT fun.  Lesson learned?  Girls can be catty in the water, but boys are downright nasty.  They fight DIRTY, which brought about in me a whole new level of respect, and disrespect all that the same time. The bike?  A gradual uphill, gradual downhill 2 loop course; fairly uneventful, though eventful at the same time. I rode strong and felt mostly good.  And the run?  Sinister and stunning all at the same time.  It wasn’t until after the race, when the race director asked if I’d enjoyed the views on the run course.  Views???

 

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What views?  Guess I was cross-eyed from running up and down.  And up.  And down.  And up.  And down.  But the pictures were nice in the aftermath.

 

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I think what will stick most with me about my experience in Pucon will not be the race itself, but rather the experience.  My SELTS teammate, Chili (Valentina) is a homegrown hero in Chile.  To witness the pride her family, her club team, her sponsors and her country take in her?  Well, it was nothing short of inspiring.  I long for a day where triathletes will be looked on that way, universally.  We are far from there…..

 

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I will remember how well race organizers looked after the pros; always asking if there was anything we needed.  Always thanking us for coming.  ….imagine that.

Finally, I will remember one particular event outside the race.  Chili, Sarah P (my super-star "companion" for the week) and I were asked to visit a girls’ orphanage in Pucon.  It was simultaneously the most awkward and most amazing experience of my life.  Awkward because my high school Spanish did little to help me communicate with the 30 girls we got to meet.  But amazing because sometimes, words aren’t necessary.  The girls we met at the Foundation Maria de la Cruz needed no words at all.  Their smiles and giggles said it all.

Maria de la Cruz was a Chilean born political activist for women’s suffrage.  She was a journalist and a writer and was the first woman ever elected to the Chilean Senate. (thank you again, Wikipedia).

There is an orphanage in Pucon that bears her name.  Girls ranged in age from about 6 to 18.  They come from less than ideal circumstances; either abandoned, or beaten and come to live in this home.  They are educated and in time, sent off to University for further study.  From the look of it, these girls had may reasons to not be smiling, but that didn’t stop them.  The excitement and the smiles on these girls faces, despite the fact that we all just stood there, smiling at one another, since, after all “Hola, mi llamo Dede” will only get you so far, ….well, let’s just say these girls made an impact, even though Chili, Sarah and I were probably the ones who were supposed to be inspiring.

 

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So in a nutshell, Chile was rad.

 

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My trip home?  Less rad.  With a tight connection in Santiago, I was “that person”, running like a lunatic to catch my plane.  I joked with Siri that I may have run faster thru the Santiago airport than I did on the run course (let’s just say there is some meat left on that run bone!). I made my flight (whew), but discovered just after boarding that my seat partner was …..well, let’s just say that today’s blog service announcement is that you should NEVER under ANY circumstances, mix Ambien, or other such sleep aid, with copious amounts of alcohol.  I can only surmise that my seat partner’s head STILL hurts, 2 week later.  Thankfully, the kind crew at American Airlines removed said incapacitated man before takeoff and my flight became a lot more enjoyable that it might have otherwise been.

Back home, now and back to work to ready myself for the next adventure.  On the side, I am finalizing some partnerships for the 2014 season and will be back soon with a blog announcing some of my amazing sponsors for the year. 

So while the last to months have been a pant-inducing sprint, a juggling act, and an attempt to wallpaper a wall with one arm tied behind my back all rolled into one?  It’s been worth every minute of it.

2014 marches on, and I have the world greatest coach…….

 

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The world’s greatest husband………

 

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And while biased, the cutest freaking dog in the universe by my side every step of the way.

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Bring it on, 2014!

 

 

Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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