Monday, August 30, 2010

Home(-stay), Sweet, Home(-stay)

Three weeks ago I discovered a new relative.  Or perhaps he discovered us.  Chris had called saying he was Pa Support Staff’s second cousin once removed or something and coming through town, could he visit for a few days?  And he came bearing genealogical documents! 

All I heard after that was he’s big into farming so loved our place and lives in Louisville so we had a place to stay for IMLOU...Welcome to the family, cousin!

My previous trips to Louisville had been hosted by Marcy and my Uncle Perry, who sadly passed away in February.  These instances were special as both quality time with family and an education for residents who knew only that something called Ironman was invading their town.  This year would prove to be no different.

“So my uncle is the son of your father’s father’s mother’s brother.  What does that make us?”

“How far is each piece?  And it’s swim, then bike, then run, right?” 

“What do you eat?  I’ve got chicken, beef, pork, fish, scallops, shrimp, yogurt, veggies, fruit….”

He needn’t have worried.  There was a bushel of fresh peaches under the kitchen table and bowls of hummus sitting out for continuous snacking with home-made croutons.  Plus Chris had gone to CostCo to stock up – which proves not only that he truly understands Ironman eating, but also that we are related by blood.

The first night I was there, before the rest of the Support Staff arrived, Chris made this:
He grilled lettuce.  And peaches.  And corn and peppers.  Plus quinoa and that’s a delicious meal.

Breakfast was peach lassis, trying to improve upon a recent Indian restaurant’s attempt.  Be warned: never add orange juice to your homemade lassi if you want it to taste like something other than orange.

Enough about the food. [wipes drool from my chin] Their house is beautiful and comfortable enough for two complete families plus me just trying to do my own thing.  The location was ideal, yet so totally removed from the race infrastructure that I would not be surprised if most of their neighbors are oblivious about the race.

Yet they chose to partake in the juggernaut, swinging by the expo and biking to the practice swim just to watch crazy people get into a body of water most locals wouldn’t touch with their pinky toe.  And cheering on race-day when I was oxygenated enough to notice!

Oh, and they’re fans of The Wire.  Who wouldn’t appreciate dissecting Omar’s “playing the game” speech to the jury in season 2 before a race?  Is Stringer Bell’s personality real with or without the glasses?

A HUGE thanks to Chris and Linda, for their hospitality, patience with a tapering athlete, and above all, infectious enthusiasm.  Now if only I could find long lost family in Cozumel or Australia… 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scene On The Trail - The Accident, Unfortunately

Part of the fun of training, traveling, and racing - besides being out in the world and not at a desk - is sharing the random, humorous, and occasionally enlightening occurrences I have the pleasure to witness out in that world or on particularly lucky days, be a part of.

I wish I could finish the introduction of this feature by segueing to a hilarious description of being chased by a poodle or something.  No such luck.

Less than two minutes into my first bike interval of the day I come across this scene: a taxi driver, out of his rear-windshield-less car, bending over a non-moving, crumpled-on-the-pavement cyclist.  Blood on the pavement and a bike whose entire front wheel and fork had been sheared off - with shockingly cleanness - at the bottom edge of the head tube.  I quickly learned he was not moving by decision, not inability, and among a cacophony of 911 calls, I was tasked with calling The Wife.  "Ma'am, my name is Kelzie Beebe, I'm going to ask you to remain calm, I'm calling from your husband's phone because he has been in accident..."

I have had to make three of these types of phone calls in my life, interrupting the normal flow of conversation to first tell the recipient to remain calm and then make assurances about what hasn't gone terribly awry (i.e he's not dead) because what has gone awry is coming next and will cause a serious course correction in the day, if not week/month/life.

Thirty minutes later, the bicyclist was in an ambulance, the taxi driver was in handcuffs (for a suspended license; he was not at fault since the biker hit the taxi), and Jill and I were planning her driving route to the hospital.  A brand-new bike was still in pieces, as was the bicyclist's face.  Among other things, he split his tongue...that gives me the heebie-jeebies and I have a tongue ring.

I'll stop now that I've likely given Ma Support Staff a heart attack and thus will never be allowed off my trainer again...but it was nice being in the right place at the right time and able to help.  I consider that a particularly lucky day.

I hope Jean-Cyril is ok.  Please be safe out there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

License To Thrill

What do we have here? A license to thrill. To thrill whom exactly? Me. You. Hopefully a few of my competitors and some spectators along the way.

A year ago the only thing I had a license to do was drive a car and race as an age-grouper. Then probably one of the best things that could have happened to me happened to me: I lost my job. Really, no tears, they did me a favor. The horizon suddenly became very broad - and very inviting. I hopped a flight with The Support Staff for my first real vacation in five years, signed up for my first Ironman and raced it 10 days later, and the rest...opened up more options than I could ever have imagined.

Realistically I'm not going to set the Earth on fire - yet. There are people named Chrissie, Mirinda, and Julie to do that for now. But if I have learned anything during my life, it is that I am capable of many things: to work, to wait, to dream. One of sport's many metaphors is that "training is money in the bank." To clarify, I'm the bank. And while there's money in there already, there's also room for plenty more. I hope existing followers and supporters - or investors to keep the metaphor alive; I'd say believers, but it's not like I'm setting up a new religion or anything...I hate Kool Aid - are excited to come along for the ride, 100% successful or not.  And that new ones can embrace the idea that a little potential, some good old-fashioned hard work, and a healthy dose of sarcasm and laughter can add up to something that is indeed thrilling

Thrill seeking begins August 29 in Louisville...
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