Monthly Archives: August 2014

Through all of it…

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In our ever changing world there are at least two things that continuously remain the same. 1) Despite our best efforts to slow it down, time continues to march on. And 2) Nothing ever goes the way we think it’s “supposed to”.

Today my kids started school. No matter how much I want them to stay as they are, they keep getting older. I have a 1st grader, a 3rd grader and a 6th grader. Yep, middle school. We are blazing forth into unknown territory, yet again.

This is a weird time of year. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. It brings the thrill, and anxiety, of the unknown. We look at our kids, our babies, we wonder about all that lies ahead for them and at the same time we are forced to acknowledge how far they have come.

In recent years, the first day of school has become a tough one for me. Due to the custody arrangement, my kids are always with their dad the night before school starts and for the dawning of a new academic year. Things I once took for granted as a mom’s “job”, like writing little notes to put in first day of school lunches and fighting the battle of lining everyone up on the front porch for a picture, are no longer a part of my reality. We have developed our own traditions, our “new normal”, which now includes me driving over to school on the morning of the first day to meet my kids out front for a picture.

This morning I was up before my alarm, threw on my Lake St. Louis Triathlon t-shirt that I earned over the weekend, and headed up to school. As soon as I started backing out of the garage, I heard a loud CRUNCH! As soon as I did it, I knew what it was. Last night, the little boy who lives next door had come over to borrow Ethan’s Ripstick. In the process he found a toad hopping into my garage, so he captured it and put it in a little cage that Ethan uses for all the critters he finds. I told Caden he was welcome to play with it, but to make sure and let the toad go before he went inside for the night. Later, he returned the Ripstick and informed me he had left the cage by the garage. I didn’t realize he meant right behind my car. Nor did I remember to look for it as I rushed out to greet my kiddos for a first day of school hug at 7:45 this morning.

After I assessed the minor explosion, I quickly ran inside and grabbed a plastic bag, then began picking up the shards of broken plastic that littered my driveway. I crouched near my tire and listened for the dreaded hiss of air escaping, but I seemed to be in the clear. I discarded the bag of trash, jumped in the car and was on my way. When I arrived at school, I parked and quickly walked to the drop off area where familiar teachers were all smiles welcoming new and returning students. As I reached Mrs. Hackman I asked, “You haven’t seen my kids yet, have you?” She hugged me and responded, “Yes, they’re already inside.”

What? I already miss the opportunity to see them before school on the first day, and now I’ve missed seeing them all together before they go inside? That’s not how it’s supposed to be!

But at that moment, I just kept rolling with the punches. I went and found them in their classrooms and took a picture of each one. Ethan was mortified that I showed up and tried to pretend he didn’t know me. But I managed to get a picture anyway. Silas was all smiles, gave me a big hug and then had me fix his shoelaces because he didn’t like how they were tied. Ally was upstairs, huddled with her girlfriends, organizing their lockers. She looked relieved to see me, as if she thought I had forgotten or overslept.

And then, as quickly as all that, I headed out the door and on my way into another very warm August day. That was that. It wasn’t what it was supposed to be, but I survived it.

Similarly, this past weekend was the Lake St. Louis Tri. It was literally about 95 degrees on Saturday during the peak of my race. That is definitely not what race day is supposed to be. I call “No fair!” Can I get a “do-over?”

As I drove over to LSL on Friday night, to spend the night at Farrell’s, since she and Ryan conveniently purchased a house just a block from the transition area, I was feeling reminiscent of how far I’ve come over the past couple years as well. I drove past Provence Road and I remembered parking there with Nick 2 years ago, the morning of my very first Triathlon. He teased me for not knowing how to check my bike tires, then he did it for me. After that race, I returned to the car and opened a card from Faith congratulating me on my race and a magnet that read ‘TRI’ which I promptly slapped on the back of my car. I drove past Cognac street, the big hill at the end of the bike course that leads back up to the transition. I thought about my pre-race course preview ride with Steve 2 years ago. As we headed up that hill, my chain started making a funny noise and I said, “Oh crap, I think my chain just fell off!” Steve immediately stopped to help me as I pedaled right on by saying “Oh, nope, I’m ok.” He called me a jerk as he started back up that hill from a dead standstill. I thought about that race day 2 years ago, how nervous I was. Having never done a triathlon, I was entering a totally foreign arena. I was completely unprepared for the swim. I was riding and antiquated Trek. And I had no idea how much that 10k would hurt more than any marathon I had ever run. But I took a leap of faith, with a lot of encouragement from Farrell, and I went out on that course. That was the hardest race I had ever done. But the sense of accomplishment when I finished was overwhelming.

As I stood on the beach at 7am Saturday morning with Katie and Brian and Kris and several others, we were already agonizing over the fact that we were sweating before we had even entered the water. We knew this was gonna be a hot one. Not what race day is supposed to be. But I decided to just treat it as a training day. Again, I didn’t feel prepared for the swim, but I knew I was in way better shape than 2 years ago. And I stood there, I thought again about how far I’ve come in the past 2 years. I’ve learned how to do things I never could have imagined. I’ve struggled and scraped by some times, other times I’ve been astounded by my own strength and abilities.

Finally, it was time for the pink wave to enter the water. I waded in and stayed to the side with the slower swimmers. I took it easy from the start and just tried to find a rhythm. At the first buoy I saw that I was still with the majority of the pack. By the halfway point, I was amazed at how comfortable I was and thrilled that I had actually figured out how to sight the buoys in the distance. Sometimes things just click. Finally I rounded the last buoy and headed back to the beach. As I reached the sand and looked down at my watch, I smiled to see that I had just gotten a PR on the swim. Progress!

The bike went fine. Since I knew Kris was just up ahead of me I had a rabbit to chase. I caught her around mile 19, but I knew she was right behind me. I said hi to her as I tried to go the wrong way out of the transition from the bike to the run. I was redirected, got back on course and headed out for the final leg. Wes and Kristen cheered. At the top of the hill, the Swim Bike Run crew was on one side cheering for me and the Westside Multi Sport crew was on the other side cheering for me. I felt like I had my own fan club. And to think, 2 years prior, I only knew about 4 people along the course.

The run was tough. It was hot and I had a hard time getting my heart rate under control. I slowed to walk up a hill and took some deep breaths. I realized I had forgotten my handheld water bottle in transition so I had to wait til I got to the first water station. I was thrilled to arrive there where I guzzled a cup of water, poured one over my head, and guzzled another cup. I ran through every sprinkler I saw. I drank whenever I could. I cheered for friends along the way.
And then finally I was coming back up the hill into the finish area. It was done. Finally and suddenly, at the same time. Once again, I had survived.

Luis greeted me with a sweaty hug at the finish and handed me a bottle of water. I said Hi to Adam and Sarah as I made my way over to Wes and Kristen. It was just a couple minutes later that Kris came into the finish. I cheered in my boss, Debby. And eventually, I began to gather up my gear and head back to Farrell’s. I stopped at the top of the hill to talk to Ronette and Kerstin for a minute. Ronette grabbed me a chocolate milk to help me recover. And Kerstin said the best thing that anyone could have said to me after that race. She said, “Ya know what I loved about seeing you out there today, Lindsey? Every time I saw you, you had a smile on your face.”

And that’s how I really know that I’ve learned how to roll with the punches. Because even when things are tough and they aren’t going the way they’re supposed to, you better believe that I’m gonna go out there and smile because no matter what the circumstances, I know without a doubt that I am doing the absolute best I can and I’m gonna come through ok in the end.

As I drove away from school this morning, which also marked the 2 year anniversary of my freedom, a song came on the radio and the chorus has been ringing in my head today. The song is called Through All of It and the lyrics were very apropos for all of the thoughts swirling through my head about how life sometimes takes us in a different direction than we think it’s supposed to. And so I will leave them with you now…

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

You were there when it all came down on me
And I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Through all of it

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy
I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

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I Propose A Truce

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Ok, I’ve been quiet about this long enough.  It’s time for me to speak.

No matter where on the planet you are reading this, you may have heard about an event that occurred last week in our small corner of the world here in St. Louis.

Last Tuesday, my friend Randy was out for a bike ride in Sunset Hills, Missouri, when he had an encounter with a driver.  I met Randy on my very first day at the new FLEET FEET inside of Swim Bike Run.  He was doing some electrical work right in my little corner of the store.  I remember thinking he was a good dude.  At that time, I had no idea that he is one of the best cyclists in the state.

By Randy’s account, he was cruising along when a man in a red convertible began shouting at him, “Get off my …. roads!” and eventually swerved his car into Randy, knocking him off his bike.  The driver then proceeded to drive away.  After being pursued by another driver who had witnessed the incident, the driver turned around and went back to my fallen friend, Randy.

The police were called to the scene and an accident report was filed, but nothing further was done.  Nothing.  The driver just walked away, or drove as the case may be.  Randy was left shaken, bruised, bleeding and with a broken bike.  Later, Randy returned to the police department with his attorney to seek some justice, seeing as he did sustain injuries and damage to his bike, but no information on the driver who needed to make restitution.  It was at this time that Randy learned the identity of the individual who had hit him.  The man in the red convertible was none other than the Mayor of Sunset Hills, so you can understand his possessiveness of his own roads.  However, you cannot excuse his demeanor and you might expect he would be slightly more familiar with the laws that are in place to protect cyclists on the roads.

Since the incident, the Mayor has denied that he intentionally swerved into Randy, saying that Randy grabbed onto the side of his car while yelling expletives at him.  Side note, could you blame Randy for dropping an F bomb or two?  I mean think about it…Randy’s trying to maintain balance on tires about an inch wide, on a road with no shoulder, and rather than the driver giving him “plenty of room” as is required by law, he is close enough for the Mayor to claim he grabbed onto his car.  Think on that for a sec.  And we wipe out all the time when there aren’t vehicles involved.  I’ve had so many friends crash this year it’s scary.  But I digress.

Eyewitnesses who were on the scene have come forward and corroborated every detail of Randy’s account.  And the 911 calls have been released.

As soon as I learned of Randy’s incident, I went to the Mayor’s facebook page and posted a comment to the most recent photo of the Mayor.  It has since been deleted but it went something like this…What happened to my friend Randy on Old Gravois Road today is a travesty!  When the leaders of our community are modeling complete intolerance as acceptable behavior, I fear where our society is headed.

Randy commented back to me on that post and was appreciative of my support.  By the next morning, our comments were gone.  But the comments from others continued and ultimately lead to the removal of the mayor’s Facebook account since it was becoming a breeding ground for hostility, from both sides.

Now there is an investigation that the Sunset Hills police have turned over to the county in an effort to maintain integrity.  While, in my personal opinion, the facts seem to be in Randy’s favor, there is a whole lot of “He said/He said” going on at the moment.

But, this is what I know.  This kind of stuff happens all the time!  I hear stories of friends who have been verbally attacked and even had things thrown at them (ie-cans of soda, a cup full of pennies, etc) while riding.  I’ve seen videos of cyclists riding single file on the white line while cars trail behind them laying on the horn for no other reason than to just be a jerk.  My friend Kerstin had a guy attempt to smack her butt one time as he cruised by in the passenger seat of a pickup.  Clearly he had no idea how dangerous that idea was.  This is assault!  Plain and simple.

Personally, I get “buzzed” by cars all the time.  And while the driver may not realize they are driving that close to me, the wind and the noise caused by the vehicle are enough to make me jumpy and throw me off balance.

I worry about going out on the road by myself, which makes getting my cycling miles for Ironman Arizona a challenge.  I try to go on group rides, or ride with friends, since I am still trying to learn road etiquette, but that isn’t always an option.  And sitting inside on a bike trainer got old after the winter we had, I want to be outside.  But there is a total lack of mutual respect between cyclists and drivers which makes riding alone scary.  I realize that not all cyclists respect the rules of the road and that ticks off the drivers.  But here’s a point I want the drivers to just be aware of…the other day I was out riding with my friend Karen and there were a few times we were riding side by side that we just couldn’t hear the approaching car so we didn’t switch to single file.  It wasn’t that we were being intentionally inconsiderate; we were just enjoying our ride.  We made a mistake, oops.  People do that. Regardless of why cyclists are using the road, or how they’re using it, let’s remember that no one has the right to use their vehicle as a weapon.  Ever!

My apologies if, on one of my cycling escapades, I have ridden too far into the lane, or I haven’t used my right arm to signal long enough (my balance isn’t great that way), or if I made you 30 seconds later to get where you were going.  Please forgive me.  But allow me to offer a truce.  I am a cyclist.  I am also a driver.  But we’re all people.  So what I propose is very simply, mutual respect and understanding.  Tolerance.  Acceptance.  And above all, Forgiveness.

On Saturday, Randy and several other folks I know rallied at a peaceful demonstration on bike safety in Sunset Hills.  I wanted to be there, but I knew Randy would understand that I needed to take advantage of my opportunity to train and get a lot of miles in.  I was there in spirit.  The theme was I AM HUMAN.  We are all people.  Like I said, I am a cyclist.  And a driver.  I’m also a mom.  And a daughter.  And a sister.  And a friend.  And an aunt.  And a cousin.  And the list continues.

All of this reminds me of a post that I wrote about a year ago when I got buzzed by a truck pulling a trailer on 109.  That experience left a lasting impression with me, so I feel the need to share that post again.  So, if you will indulge me, here it is once again…

A LETTER TO MY FRIENDS WITH CARS

Dear friends with cars:

I know you don’t like to wait for cyclists.  Believe me, I get it.  I’m not particularly fond of it either, especially when I’m running late to get somewhere.  Which is pretty much all the time with me.  But humor me, for a minute, if you will.

This morning I went out for a ride.  I only went about 16 miles because I didn’t have a whole lot of time before my doctor appointment that I ultimately missed because I had the time wrong. Duh.  But something occurred to me while I was out on the bike earlier when some guy in a red pickup truck pulling a trailer nearly scared the crap out of me as he sped past in very close proximity.  I’m not really sure what he was trying to prove, since it was pretty obvious that he and his means of transportation were way bigger and faster than me and mine.  If he was trying to prove that he’s a jackass, he succeeded.  Anyway, I think we all know I’m a pretty fearless chick, there’s not a lot that truly scares me.  However, this caused enough fear in me that I began shouting at the driver of said pick up.  It is entirely possible there were obscenities involved.

As I rode on I started thinking, if that guy was a friend of mine, he wouldn’t have been as likely to do that.  No, I’m not planning to use his license plate number to track him down and make friends (nor for any other reason, for that matter).  Actually, I have a favor to ask of all my driving friends.

My confidence on the bike has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple months, but I still consider myself a novice and I’m still figuring out the rules of sharing the road.  I typically try to ride with company, so I can learn from my more experienced cyclist friends, but that’s not always an option.    The runner girl in me is used to sidewalks and jogging paths, or being able to jump out of the way without the risk of too much damage, so trust me, I don’t love riding in your driving lane, but I also don’t love riding over all the gravel and potentially hazardous junk on the shoulder of the road.  If I had my way, I would ride strictly on bike paths or country roads where the only traffic is an occasional tractor, but I have to get to those venues somehow.  I’d rather not be scared or killed in my attempt to get there.

So, here’s my favor, you ready? Next time you are out and about in your car, and you happen upon a cyclist, pretend for a moment that it’s me, your friend.  I’d like to think that most, if not all of you care enough about me that you are concerned with my well-being.  I’d like to think that you wouldn’t want to cause me any harm, such as paralysis or death or at the very least the humiliation of soiling myself in public (although a few of you would probably enjoy that last one).  There is a reason we wear helmets, and it’s not about the fashion statement, I assure you.  It’s to protect ourselves, and I’m hoping you all like me enough that you would be willing to protect me too.  So, please, use the brakes, slow down, take the extra 30 seconds to let traffic clear before you give me plenty of room as you carefully go around me, and I promise we’ll both have a better day because of it.  Think about it, wouldn’t it mess up your day a whole lot more to have to make that call to my mom and my kids?  That’s what I thought.

So next time you see “me” on the road, instead of thinking that I’m some egocentric cyclist who is out there being a jerk with the sole intention of messing up your commute, please remember that I’m really just out there doing the best I can.

Thanks, Friends.  Now get out and enjoy this beautiful day!

XOXO…

Rambling Runner Girl

Note: If I have ever offended or harmed you in any way and you would in fact like to run over me, please disregard this message.

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