Monday, May 23, 2011

Back from IM Texas

Well, I just got back yesterday from Ironman Texas. I'll post a full report in the next week or so (as well as a long overdue Boston Marathon report) -> but here's a short version for now:

SWIM: Rough... there were just too many people in too small of a lake and then that narrow canal for the last 1000m. The fastest swimmers escaped the churn, but for the rest of us the canal became a washing machine; as the waves and churn from all the swimmers had nowhere to dissipate. It all just bounces off the concrete walls on each side and made things pretty choppy, and it was pretty crowded as well. Time: 1:22. Bit longer than I hoped for, but nothing I was going to worry about.

BIKE: We got lucky, and had cloud cover for most of the morning and into the first part of the afternoon; with even some light, misty precipitation. The sun came out around the last hour or so of my bike ride, and things started heating up very quickly. Time: 6:00; right on target and kept HR where I wanted it.

RUN: Brutal... that's the word I kept hearing on the run course. It got just over 90 degrees, and the humidity was high as well (welcome to Houston!). I basically just tried to maintain a steady pace, so I could avoid walking as much as possible. I did walk through the aid stations to make sure I hydrated and cooled down, but otherwise tried to keep slogging it out. Time: 4:25. Given the day, I'll take that...

So, finished with a time of 12:02 (including transitions); which was 49th out of 320 in my age group. Tough day, but I'm pleased with the end result and very happy to have IM #4 behind me! I had dedicated the race to the memory of my mother-in-law Marilyn, and that thought did help me a number of times to realize how lucky I was to be doing the race at all.

Next up will be a Boston Marathon report; then full IM TX report with (hopefully) a couple pics.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In memory of a wonderful lady

I can't go forward with my normal blog postings without taking the time to give a tribute to my wife's mother; Marilyn Skaggs; who passed away recently in a tragic auto-pedestrian incident at the young age of 64. I first met Marilyn 26 years ago when my wife and I started dating, and was lucky enough to always enjoy a great relationship with her. She loved to come and visit with us, and we always had a great time and lots of laughs. The suddenness with which she was taken was quite a shock to all of us, and in many ways it still does not seem real.

I knew that Marilyn was a kind and generous woman, and I also knew that she had become fairly involved at her local church in the last few years. I was still amazed at her memorial service, though; as person after person recounted stories of her kindness and compassion. Marilyn always helped others out, without any thought or regard of her own comfort. And she had been so busy! Walking to the YMCA once or twice a day to work out, volunteering at the church on an almost daily basis, taking the bus somewhere or another... she certainly kept active!

Marilyn leaves behind 4 daughters and a son, all of whom are married; 14 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter (her husband Lee had passed away in 2004). She had kept a diary, and in one of her last entries she had written that she wanted to be a Godly mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I hope she realized that she had already long since achieved that goal...

One final note related to Marilyn: This weekend I'll be participating in Ironman Texas. There was never much question that my wife Susie wanted me to still do the race, after all the months of training and preparation; which had been just as hard (or harder) on her than it was on me. I was a little surprised the other day, though; when Susie quietly told me that she wanted me to do the race "for her mom". She reminded me that Marilyn was always so excited and proud for me whenever I did a marathon or triathlon. So... this Saturday's race will be dedicated to her memory; my own small tribute to a wonderful lady.

Marilyn - you truly were a wonderful mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother; and our family is really going to miss you...