Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Good Bye and Good Riddance to 2006

Ayear ago today I posted pictures from my trip to Honolulu for the ITU Age Group World Championships. I was full of hope and optimism for 2006. I was looking forward to another successful triathlon season starting with another good result at Saint Anthony's in April, and taking off from there. I was also looking forward to trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up, and where I might want to do so. So here it is a year later, and nothing has changed except I'm a year older and the body isn't so forgiving after three straight hardcore racing seasons. Two words describes 2006; shit happens.

Here is my 2006 triathlon season in a nutshell;

Saint Anthony's (Olympic) 3:07:51 21/49 age group

Capitol of Texas (Olympic) 2:58:59 9/17 age group

Pawling Triathlon (Sprint) 1:24:39 3/9 age group

Even though I had the fastest bike split in my age group at Cap Tex I pretty much decided there and then that a return trip to Kansas City was not realistic. As much as I wanted to actually wanted to race the course in KC, it seemed like a waste of time and money. Saint Petersburg, FL and Austin, TX gave me my fill of triathlon travel for the season. Anything else had to be within driving distance. I also decided the only triathlon I was committed to do was Westchester. My focus would be on training to walk the Nike Women's marathon with Team in Training. If nothing else I was determined to complete the TNT "Triple Crown". From June to September I wasn't going to enter anything in advance. If I got a hankering to race, I'd find a race and enter late.

It's funny how one can make decisions like these for whatever reason, and discover down the road the wisdom of these decisions. Little did I know deciding to skip Nationals and not to enter anymore races ahead of time would save me money and heart aches.

On June 27th I was on a training ride with friends. We were going hard and fast, and the rider in front of me went down. When one is going 25-30 mph and 2 inches away from wheel of the guy in front there is no time to react. One can just hope that the body and bike don't sustain too much damage from the impact. My bike was fine. My helmet gave its life to save mine. My ribs weren't so lucky, and I broke three of them.

Like I said earlier, shit happens. But I suppose if I was going to have a season ending bike accident 2006 was a good year to have it. After all I had come to the decision to scrap all big time competitive ambitions for the year, and just concentrate on the very non-competitive goal of walking a marathon. I could still walk even with broken ribs. It would have been very frustrating to have to cancel out of the nationals, and any other race I had scheduled. Though it was difficult to opt out of doing Westchester, I knew it was the right thing to do. There was a waiting list for people to join TNT for Westchester. By opting out I freed up a spot for someone else, and I could still contribute to the team effort as a non-competing mentor.

No matter how old one is there is the need to let her dad know she had a "boo-boo." My father witnessed my first bike accident when teaching me how to ride a two wheeler. I had not quite mastered the art of braking, and managed to stop myself by crashing into a brick wall. I was fine, but I did snap a pedal off the bike. He also was riding with me when I didn't take a corner very well. Another pedal mishap. (Inside foot up when cornering!)

I was spaced out on pain killers so my husband left a message on my dad's answering machine to the effect that his 52 year old daughter was being "Mrs. Evil Knevil" again. I received that nick name from an ER doctor who had treated me in 1989 after another spectacular bike accident. He came out to the waiting room and asked my husband if he was the spouse of Mrs. Evil Knevil. I guess he wasn't too accustomed to having a 35 year old women arriving in his ER at 8:30 PM on a Tuesday evening needing stitches in her hip from a bike crash.

Dad called me back on Thursday June 30th. We talked about my accident, and his upcoming long weekend at the Jersey shore for the 4th of July. I didn't realize at the time that it would be the last time I'd hear his voice, and that I'd end out joining him at the Jersey shore for all the wrong reasons. Wednesday July 5th he drove him self to the ER complaining of stomach pains. On Thursday July 6th I rushed down to Stone Harbor, NJ to be by his side. Friday July 7th he was gone.

Dad was 87 going on 57. He played 18 holes of golf on the Monday before he died. He was in the process of planning his next trip, a cruise around Norway. This was a man that I thought would live well into his 90s. But what do I know?

What I did know was, shit happens, but it seems to happen for a reason. The injuries, the lack of competitive fire and focus made it so that I wasn't flying to Kansas City on July 6th to compete in the nationals on July 8th. Instead I was flying down the Garden State Parkway be with my dad. I can be thankful that I did not have to deal with the angst of being alone in hotel 1/2 way across the country while my dad died, and facing the decision of leaving or staying, racing or not racing.

I saw a sign in someone's office that said something like"If God brought me to it, He will get me through it." That's how I felt about 2006. My finish line photo from the Nike Women's Marathon summarizes how I felt about getting through the marathon. It also summarizes how I feel about 2006 being over.

Woo hoo!!!! I made it!!

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