Sunday, June 1, 2008

Where in the World is Bush, LA?

Happy June 1!

Can you believe that we’ve hit the month of June?? Wow, how time flies.

What did YOU do today???

Guess what I did???

(You probably already know…but I’ll fill in a few of the blanks anyway)

I RACED MY VERY FIRST OPEN WATER SWIM!!!! HOORAY!

Not only am I trying NEW things, but I completed and competed in my very first race since the crash. And that’s reason enough to celebrate (as I stood in our local grocery store examining sheet cakes, I though about ELF… Briefly, I considered calling her and asking her opinion on Chocolate with Chocolate frosting or Chocolate with White frosting. And then – as people were giving me weird looks as I had 7 different pieces of individual sheet cake of varying flavors and frosting combinations, arranged on a table with my new camera phone ready to take pictures, I realized how utterly ridiculous I looked. The crazy lady with 3 trays of sushi, 2 grapefruits, taking pictures of sheet cake. Yeah. You would steer your cart clear – trust me.)

But celebrate I did – by calling Nathaniel.

He advised on the Chocolate with White frosting. And then asked that I pick one up for him as well.

So I did!

Brief summary: Donna and I left Pensacola at the ungodly hour of 3:38 am. Which meant that I woke up around 3, and poor Donna (as she was driving) was awake – chipper and raring to go – at 2:30.

Arg.

So please forgive me if this is short. A real race report will be posted shortly. I am very tired – 6 hours in the car…and around 2 miles of swimming. How odd that sounds – I spent 360 minutes of driving for less than 60 minutes of swimming. Somewhere there’s a lesson in that, but I’m too tired to figure out the math. You do it – while you’re looking up Bush, LA)

So race report to come soon.

(Can you BELIEVE that I get to write that? A REAL Race Report! I got to do a race today!!!!)

After a record breaking drive to Bush, La (good luck finding it – if you dare!), we arrived at the race site in plenty of time. After registration, watching the aquathon (800 m swim + 5K run), assisting with the Youth 800 meter race (we were two of 5 “chaperones”, who swam the race with the kids, prepared to assist or help if any of them ran/swam into trouble. By the look of some of these kids, I was worried that I wouldn’t keep up. Thankfully – I remained at the back, freestyling, breaststroking, kicking, joking with the guys on the paddle board, and drilling my way down the course. It was so wonderful just to be in the water!)

And no, I didn’t rip out my 800 meter butterfly. This surely wouldn’t have been appropriate. (I didn’t even swim 1 single stroke of fly. As in doing so, I look like some weird bucking bronco marooned in 18 inches of water. Do you have the image? Good)

Moving on…

And then, after a quick change of swim caps – PINK for the chaperone swim and BLUE for the 1600 meter Master’s swim – I was back into the water, ready and waiting for everyone else to hop in.

After finally getting instructions and assembling all the racers at the swim start, we were quickly on our way.

It was all I could do to keep from grinning during the first 400 meters.

I won’t go into the details – because 1) I’ll be up too late and 2) It’ll be in the race report.

But honestly, it was weird – I went into the race with different emotions. I wanted to do well, YES. But this was much more about the celebration – the JOY of being ABLE to race in the first place.

Hence: the chocolate cake (thanks for the inspiration Liz!)

Overall, after a solid effort, I came out of the water 4th or 5th, and won the overall women’s event. Before you get too excited – remember this is Bush, La… Have you found it on the map yet? Good luck – keep trying.

But really – the race was beautiful, the lake was fantastic, the other athletes SO INSPIRATIONAL, and the entire day was one big celebration.

After awards (Donna finished 2nd! Yea!!!) and much talking with participants, we made a quick stop off in New Orleans, discovered the good-part and not-so-good part of the French Quarter (SO NEAT – a place that I intend to return to with Nathaniel and spend a long weekend together. There is SO MUCH history, interesting architecture, beauty, really nice people – and a great time).

And finally, after Shrimp Gumbo, Pecan Pralines, Johnny Eggs with seasoning and ripe tomatoes, biscuits, and strong coffee (no booze, for all you inquisitive persons out there…), Donna and I were flew (not literally, but we made great time. No potty stops for these well-hydrated athletes!) home.

So here I am!

Alive, well, happy, filled with sushi and sheet cake, and exuberant about my wonderful opportunity and race today – I sit here, unable to fully dictate onto the pages feelings that are filtering through my mind. This will take some time.

Until then, I strongly recommend that you grab yourself some sheet cake, visit Bush, LA (have you found it yet??), and try something new for the first time. Because you may just surprise yourself.

13 comments:

Audrey said...

HIiiiiiii!

Congratulations! What a combeback!! I'm glad you had fun on your adventure (and i cannot believe you drove all night!)

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Yay! That's great! Welcome back! Can't wait for the full report!:)

rr said...

Yea!! Back to the racing world. Congrats, so glad you loved it.. and the win is a nice welcome back bonus!

Come do your next one in the ocean with us!

RR

Pedergraham said...

The chaperone swim is a GREAT idea. I'm glad that you had a good time. I know I am biased but to me there is something so renewing about an open water swim race--the beauty of the water, the silence during the swim, and then you get out kinda clean--no sweaty armpits, no stinky pee in your shoes, etc. And a good kind of hungry follows...
Have a good Monday!
-Danielle

Beth said...

How refreshing this post was Marit! Thank you!! You reminded me what a priveledge it is to race and how we should be so thankful each time we get to the line.

AND GREAT JOB!! I have a great picture in my mind of just how big your smile was... It won't be long before there is a bike and run too!

Anonymous said...

Maritka,
You have done your family proud - not for your win, but for all the effort, for all the discipline, for all the belief in the healing powers of your mind and body, for never giving up when everyone said it couldn't be done, for your unsinkable spirit, and wonderful heart.
Yippee Yay, Yippee Yay, Yippee Yay!


AND, how apt is it that before your first race after the crash, you done a pink cap and mentor a young girl! I hope she knows that a very special swimmer took her under wing!

Love,
Mom

Bob Mitera said...

Way to go Marit!

I am getting excited to race with you at the Chicago triathlon.

Say hi to Nate. We saw Lorrie's uncle from Milwaukee this weekend and talked Packers/Bears - thought of Nate.

TriGirl Kate O said...

YEY!!!!!! Can't wait to read the whole report. Many congratulations and hugs,
ko

Trigirlpink said...

All this talk of food.. I'm STARVING now.. geesh..

Yeah for you! Congrats on on swim race ! :-) :-) :-)

Anonymous said...

Great job Maritka! I wish I could have been there so see you win!

I'm so proud of you!
Love,
NTL

Wes said...

Yea, Gmaps went right to it, first try :-) Nicely done!! Welcome back to racing... Woot!!

Brooke Myers said...

Congrats and welcome back Marit...

Alili said...

Awesome-congratulations Marit!