Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tis the season continued....




We had an ugly sweater party and bar crawl


Went back to New Mexico for Christmas. I have the best in-laws ever. I feel so lucky that my sister-in-laws are some of my best friends...here I am with some of the Haney girls!



Drank some beers with my brothers and celebrated my Dad's 60th B-day!

Good times, Good times!

As 2008 comes to a close, it's crazy to think of all that's happened this year. 2008 has been GREAT! There have been some bumps along the way but they've made me a stronger person. This best parts of this year: I've made some amazing triathlon friends (Beth, Tina, Mere, Jess, Elaine, Kevin, Don, Lorenzo, Chris...to name just a few...), I've achieved my lifelong goal of completing an Ironman, I'm healthy, and I've got a job (something to be thankful for in this economy). Pat's also had a great year...finishing his navy career, graduating law school and some incredible job offers.

Looking forward to bringing in 2009!
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Tis the Season to be Mary....

Okay, So I've been REALLY bad about blogging this past month! So I'm providing a photo update on what I've been up to post-Ironman. The off season has been a blast. Lots of friend time, family time and traveling.



Thanksgiving was awesome! We stayed in SD and enjoyed lots of food, wine, board games and great friends!




Post-Ironman night out downtown...great night...the next morning, not so much!



Pat and I took a weekend trip to Sonoma!



And Sarah, one of my best friends, who now lives in Dallas came in town!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm an IRONMAN!



I'm back in SD an Ironman. I finished the race in 11 hours 32 minutes. The day was a long one both mentally and physically but an AMAZING one just the same. This is on the list of favorite lifetime moments…ever! I'll give a brief recap of the good, the bad and the ugly. A full race report will be in the future....

The Good: the energy out there on the course, the volunteers (they were awesome), seeing my friends on the course, meeting new friends along the course, thinking of all my friends back at home cheering me along, realizing at the 13 mile mark of the run that I was going to do this and do it much faster than I ever imagined, the pretzels they passed out during the marathon (best food I had ever tasted), seeing my family and Pat out there on various parts of the course! And of course…the best – heading into the finish shoot and hearing the words "From San Diego, California, Mary Haney you are an Ironman"

The Bad: the flat tire I had right out of transition (seriously, I had not even gone a ¼ mile – no idea how that happened), the moment I realized that the volunteers had taken out all my gels (food source) from my jersey before I left on the bike and replaced the pocket with sunscreen and a leg warmer???, the second loop where my chain dropped and I spent five more minutes on the side of the road trying to get it back on with shaky hands, the taste of bananas at mile 90 on the bike (note to self: five bananas is a bit much to process), the hill, heat and headwind on the last leg of the bike.

The Ugly: what I saw running down other athletes legs (I'll leave it at that), the blisters on my feet, the last 8 miles of the run (I went out a bit too fast for a marathon), the mixture of sports drinks, bars, gels, bananas and other "fake" food in my stomach (this leads to the really ugly below)

The Really Ugly: Mile 20-22, acid reflux kicks in, Mile 23 = Mary on the side of the road throwing up. (sorry folks, but I did feel better after that).

Anyway, I owe a HUGE thanks to Pat and my family. They stood out there for hours cheering me on and it truly meant the world to me. Also, thanks to The Haney's and other friends that tracked me all day online from afar…you guys were the best cheerleaders ever. Some of the messages on my voicemail were a riot! And to ALL my friends and family (those who get it and those who don't :) ). I felt so loved and supported (and still do). It truly means the world to me. I also raised over $1,000 (my goal) for my sister's foundation (vasculitis).
So what's next? Well, right now I plan to take a few days off and recover (the soreness is one-of-a-kind), eat some turkey (perfect timing) drink some wine, chill with friends. I'm looking forward to a full race season in 2009. I've only done a handful of triathlons so I'm excited to try to take it to the next level next year.






Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Counting Down...

Well, two more days until I hit the road for IM AZ. I can't believe it's this weekend! My head is full of so many emotions right now! I'm totally scared and excited all at the same time. I know I've done everything I could to prepare for this but I also know that anything can happen (i.e. unexpected pain, flats, nutrition issues, etc.) and this really scares me. On the other hand, I'm so excited to get out there and truly experience the day. To do an ironman has been one of my lifelong dreams.

Time has flown since I first signed up for this race nearly a year ago. I can't really even remember what made me push the button and sign-up. What I do know is why I'm doing this (www.vasculitisfoundation.org/ironmanarizona - lists one of the many reasons) and what I've gained since that moment: an AMAZING group of new friends, more mental strength and courage and a whole slew of new tri gear and random knowledge.

I'm going out there Sunday and laying it all on the line. I'll fight with everything I have to get through the day. No matter what I'm not giving up.

That said, I want to thank all my old friends, new friends and my family. I couldn't have gotten where I am without you all and I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. Most importantly, I owe a huge thanks to Pat. He's put up with a lot over the past year. It's not always easy when only one spouse is involved in a hobby as time consuming as long-distance triathlon but he's been so encouraging and supportive through this all. I think he may make me take a brief distance training break post-ironman...but I can handle that :)

I've been asked numerous times over the past week what time I want to go. Truly, I don't know...don't have a clue. I guess that's the beauty of it being my first ironman. I have no time goals and my only expectation is to finish in the 17 hours required...anything better than that is icing on the cake and a PR :). I received this quote from a friend today when I was telling her about all the expectations I was feeling from my coach and others. I love this:

"Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... play for her. "- Mia Hamm

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

TAPER TIME

So, it's taper time this week and this means I have much more down time. I've decided I'm not very good at this whole rest/cutting back thing. I keep thinking I need to train more and I'm super hungry. I have no idea if the increased hunger comes with the taper or if it's just me (might have to research this one)? I'm just hoping I can control the eating and not pack on too many lbs before next weekend. Anyway, I am very productive around the house right now. I better stop while I'm ahead though...I don't want Pat to like tapering Mary too much. Here's what it's making me do:
Laundry - tons of it
Cook - this has always been Pat's role..I know, I have a great husband, he loves to cook but I think he's enjoying the change...
Organize drawers and closets - I sort of got bored with this though so everything is partially organized.

Okay, off to bed. I need to start getting more sleep too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wind and Rain...not a fan!

My ride today was awful (sorry, I realize that's a very negative way to start a post). I had to get in four hours at "race pace" so I opted for the Coronado strand--very boring but pretty solid riding...normally. I say this because normally there is a pretty mild headwind but it's a great place to just go and not worry about too much traffic or navigating. For me, it's perfect when I am riding solo. If I get in trouble out there my husband (or someone) can get there quickly (and find me easily).

Well, today was quite the experience. The headwind had been transformed to a "Wizard Of Oz" type wind. It was followed by an awesome tailwind going the opposite direction, but the speed and ease heading north was nothing compared to the pain going south. I think I was being pushed backwards, every few minutes I literally swayed from side to side (hello crosswind). This was all followed by rocks and sand that kept hitting my face. Just when I thought it was calming down, the rain came. Normally, the rain doesn't bother me so much, but today, it hurt. Mixed with the wind it created even more pain on my face, legs and arms.

The WORST part of the day was a toss up between dealing with the creepy guy that kept riding up next to me and talking about leg veins (he would not go away, I slowed down, he slowed down, I sped up, he sped up...and seriously...all he had to talk about were how he loved leg veins that popped out...GROSS). Also equally as bad was the song I had in my head for 2 hours...."And I would walk 500 miles..."

Okay, I feel much better, just needed to vent. I know it was good for me to deal with these "challenges" today. Makes me tougher, right? I'm ready for AZ...bring on the wind, bring on the rain--I'm secretly hoping for neither--but PLEASE someone give me another song to sing should this happen to come back to the brain on race day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Laura


I just received the best news! My best friend Laura is flying out for IMAZ!
Laura and I met in high school and quickly became best friends. Over a decade later, we still talk almost every day. In many ways we're as different as night and day (this comes in handy when I need fashion advice, great make-up and a good laugh from her teacher stories) but, despite our differences, she seems to get me...and my crazy hobbies better than most.

Her friendship means the world to me. Laura has always been the one person who can make me laugh so hard I cry, who knows just what to say when life is good and when life is bad, and my biggest supporter through every work, life and athletic endeavor.

She called me to tell me the exciting news: that she's flying out from Kansas on Sat. morning (11/22). I started crying when she told me (yes, I realize Ironman training is making me crazy emotional). I just feel so lucky that not only am I getting to go out there and try to achieve one of my life goals (completing an Ironman) but I'm getting to share it with my AMAZING husband, my entire family AND my best friend. I can't wait!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

October in San Diego


Sidenote to post: Yesterday, as I rode up the coast, I looked around at all that surrounded me and couldn't help but smile! The weather was amazing--in the high 70s--the sky was bright blue, the beaches were crowded and the water an incredible shade of blue. I'm so fortunate to live in such an awesome city!
Anyway, this was my last weekend of the very long Sat. ride and very long Sun. run until IM AZ. The next few weeks still include lots of training time, but a lot more brick workouts (for those non-tri readers this means swim then bike or bike then run). I guess this means I'm getting close (27 days close) YIKES!
Today was great. I woke up and did the Del Mar swim, which I haven't been to in awhile. It was so nice to get out in the ocean and just swim for an hour. With all the Ironman training, I've let my swimming slip a bit since I needed to focus more on the other two sports. Today I was reminded of how much I love to swim. It's so relaxing. I did realize that I need a better wetsuit before IM AZ. My current one is old, not very comfortable and gives my gnarly burns on my neck.
I followed the swim with a run and then spent the afternoon on the phone catching up with some friends. I normally hate talking on the phone but it was so nice to catch up with some of my girlfriends and talk about something other than triathlon for a bit :). Off to eat some fro yo and watch my shows that I missed this week!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beat Up

Yep, that's me! Offically BEAT UP. This weekend the 100 mile ride felt like 200 and my 18 mile run...well, let's just say my mental toughness was put to the test. Crazy how much better I felt after nearly the same exact schedule last weekend.

P.S. I'm stopping here for tonight--my blog is totally boring and lacking any substance tonight (my personality is trending in the same direction). I NEED SLEEP...BIG TIME!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Last weekend was CRAZY...and FUN! Crazy because I swam, biked and ran more miles than ever before, and fun because I have the best training partners EVER!

Friday, swam 5,000 yards...haven't done that in one practice since the college days!

Saturday, I biked 100 miles...wind, hills and all. Great for the training progress...hard on the body! The best part was that I was able to hang out with Tina and Elaine all day. We had a great time!

Sunday, I ran 17 miles with Beth--wait, let me back up....I ran about 13 with Beth until I forced her to leave me...yes, my slow ass just couldn't hang with the superstar for the last few miles! We had a blast though...the best part of all this training is the great training buddies!

So I've gathered some of my favorite recent quotes from family and friends (that don't do triathlons) regarding Ironman and Ironman training...the remarks have been priceless and I had to write them down...

My husband "This is it, right? You go after this one and the Ironman bug is out????"

My best friend from high school Laura "What do you think about when you are out on a bike for that long? Don't you get bored? Oh my gosh, that's so fun. I'll start thinking of things for you to think about!"

My co-worker Bryan "I just thought about it and I don't think I drive as far as you run on any given weekend."

My co-worker Nicole "I love that you eat more than Tara" (FYI, Tara is 8 months pregnant)

My Mom "We're getting so excited for your marathon thing"

My Brother "Do you ever think that something might be messed up in your head?"

My best friend from college Ann "Seriously, when can we forget Ironman and do some Irish Car Bombs again!"

Gotta love them all! They are my bigget supporters and deep down they all just think I am crazy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reliving The College Days

Or TRYING to relive the good old days is more like it!

I had my college alumni swim meet this weekend (and numerous activities surrounding it). About 20 alumni came back for the weekend. Seeing the girls brought back so many fun memories. The actual swim meet part of the weekend was a riot. Let's just say competitiveness is an innate biological trait and surprisingly, this allowed us to fare well next to the current team. The most impressive moment of the day...my alumni relay team beat the current team. Okay, so we only had to do a 50 each (it was the 200 medley) and I'm pretty sure we had some false starts and we seriously looked like death upon finishing, but heck, a win is a win, right? WRONG... I must admit that my win was overshadowed by an incredible groin strain. However, I have no one to blame but myself. When you haven't full-on SPRINTED breaststroke in six years (even if it's just a 50) pain is inevitable. I'm still having trouble walking and it's Tuesday.

So besides the fact that I can't swim like I used to, the "old girls" and I picked up a few other harsh realities this weekend:
  • Now that we've graduated the team is in a better conference (WAC) and has better team sponsors which equals better suits and better gear.
  • You only get that college swim body for four years of your life. Once it's gone...it's gone and you'll start to develop "desk butt" and "back fat". Wish I would have appreciated it more :)
  • Swimming (especially swimming fast) is MUCH harder than it used to be.
  • Finally (not swimming related), you'll never have the party skills or alcohol tolerance you had in college--yes, my recovery weekend was in full effect...last one I get until I taper for AZ.

Off to bed, I'm back in crazy training mode (and already missing my short recovery weekend).

P.S. I realize this blog would be WAY better with photos but unfortunately my camera has disappeared from my life! Time for a new one I guess. Pat are you reading this, hint, hint....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Months To Go...

Yes, I deleted a few blog entries...(non-tri related) as I got a little nervous on the content and who may be reading. Anyway, on to a recent update...
Yikes! Two months until race day! This weekend was Crazy training (138 miles worth) I think my brain and body are still recovering.

I rode 100 miles on Saturday--up and down the strand in Coronado to help raise money for my friend Don's IM AZ cause (cardiovascular foundation). With the exception of a few laps where I chatted it up, a huge portion was spent riding alone and let's just say I was VERY bored with myself (I need to plan some things to think about at IM AZ). I followed the ride with a 40 minute fast run.

Sunday, I met one of my good friends who is learning to ride for the Tri Club beginner ride. We did an easy 18 miles and then I was off the bike (THANK GOD) and onto my long run...

Anyway....very strange things have been going on since my intense weekend ended.... I've fallen asleep sitting up reading a magazine, had multiple laughing attacks for no real reason (better than tears though), and have experienced some very new and random food addictions: an intense cravings for burgers and red meat and 7-11 Crystal Light slurpees (I've had four of these since Saturday).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back to Tri...

My last few blogs have been a bit non-triathlon related so I decided it was time for a training update!

Training is going well...a bit scary to think I'm only two months away now. I'm following a plan (provided by Coach Robert) . This calls for increasing my weekday training hours a.ka. waking up at 4:30 am. I'm also putting in some solid and VERY LONG weekend rides/runs.

The best parts: I'm having a blast! I'm meeting great new friends, gaining strength, and I'm finally able to hold 8 minute miles for up to 14 miles. Well, ok, the last few miles on my long runs have been more like 8:30, but that's still a huge improvement for me since I'm horrible at running (my feet turn out, my stride is out of control and it's truly mentally painful for me).

The worst parts: I am ALWAYS hungry and nothing fills me up. Seriously, I'm eating more than the pregnant girl in my office. My sweating has gotten out of control when I'm working out (I read that this is normal but seriously...gross).

Finally, I could not decide if this was good or bad, but my life officially revolves around my training. I guess it's a mix--good for preparation, but for my social life and friendships.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 years later....

Never Forget...those words were so prevalent seven years ago. We lost so much. I'll never forget where I was or the feelings I experienced on that day. However, my experience watching the towers fall on TV while interning at a radio station in San Diego was nothing compared to the experience of September 11 for others. Today, my blog has nothing to do with triathlon...it's just remembering a date in history that changed life as we know it.

Today, I pray for and remember all those that are no longer with us...heroes. I also thank those that are fighting for our freedom and protection.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Committed to Ironman

"There are only two options regarding commitment, You're either in or your out. There's no such thing as life in between." Anonymous

Obviously, I'm in....however, part of the reason for starting this blog was to keep everyone updated on my "road to Arizona". That said, the road is a bit bumpy right now. I hate complaining, whining, etc., so I'll spare the majority of the details. I'll just say that I think the hours of training I'm putting my body through, outside work and other stresses and lack of sleep have left me feeling very BLAH (for lack of a better word)--I'm sore, I'm tired and worst of all, I'm moody (poor Pat)

I knew signing up for this that the training was going to be a major part of the journey. That there would be great times, as well as tough times...

Right now, the times are tough....but as my mom always reminded me "when the going tough, the tough get going"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Exploring New Land


So my runs have been getting a bit boring. I know having a running partner can help this, but often I prefer to run alone. I like to keep my own pace, listen to music, relax and think about whatever goes through my mind. That said, I've been in need of a scenery change. Lately, I've been running around my neighborhood (nothing too exciting except some interesting characters) or running around my work (same situation). I LOVE running by the water but sometimes with traffic, etc. it's a challenge after work. So, today I decided to try Mission Trails Regional Park.
It's only a 10 minute drive from my work. I LOVED IT! 5,800 acres of hills, valleys and open areas. It's beautiful and very relaxing...a terrific escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With the exception of a few hikers, the place was pretty desolate.It was also the perfect place for my very slow run....my legs are still shot from my 70-mile bike ride Sat. and 14 mile run Sunday.

Speaking of the weekend, it was basically the exact opposite of last weekend. I rode with two Girls (Tina and Jess). We rode up the coast. Definitely pushed it, but it was nice to get in some girl talk and not get dropped :) I love mixing it up with different friends and rides on the weekends...always an adventure.

On Saturday late afternoon, Pat and I went to a pool party at one of my triathlon friend's house. Yes, I finally convinced him to come meet my "tri-geek" friends....best part: he actually had a good time. As we left he said, "That was fun, they're are nice group" Did he actually think I would surround myself with people that weren't fun or nice???? My tri friends are the best, glad he finally got to meet some of the crew!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Boys Drop Mary

Well, my headline says it all. This weekend I got dropped. Big time. My self-esteem is still recovering.... Looking back, it's my own fault. I knew it would happen riding with Trevor (a.k.a. endless ball of energy, who SLOWLY walked the last 13 miles at IM Placid due to a knee injury and still finished in 14 hours) and Lorenzo (a.k.a speedy lorenzo--I just gave him that name because he's just plain fast).

So, I guess I can't feel too bad about myself. At least they didn't "lose" me completely - they were always in eyesight (except when we went down a 9-grade hill and I literally thought I would die as my back tire wobbled and my breaks didn't seem to work. I white-knuckled it down at about 2mph (note: I really need to work on my fear of downhills.).

Anyway, 70 miles later of totally pounding it and dripping sweat, I made it back to the car....
proud of myself for just surviving.

I got home, took a quick nap (and I never nap), woke up, took a shot of espresso, and got dressed for my "girls night out" = great food and wine with some girlfriends.

Sunday I managed to crawl out of bed for my long run (these are the mornings I am jealous of my non-tri friends). I then spent most of the afternoon catching up on work (it's way too busy for my liking right now).

Anyway, now it's Monday evening and I think a mix of a tough day at work (is this a trend) and the tough training weekend have left me feeling sorry for myself and wishing I could take a vacation from my crazy life right now. I'm so jealous of Pat who is visiting friends on the east coast before he starts his final semester of school (I wanted to go with him so bad...dang work commitments ).

So, I am sitting here watching all the Olympic swim races I have on TIVO and missing my college swim days. The large frozen yogurt that I'm consuming is helping my mood though (If Pat was here I would get the THAT'S NOT DINNER comment...ha, ha...he's not).

That's all folks...nothing else to say!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's A Great Day To Be Alive....


Ummm, so yes, the title of my blog is a country song, but it's one of my favorites and I had to use it, since seriously....it's a great day (note my happy dance on the right..okay, yes, I am a dork).
WHY? Well, for a few reasons...

1. Pat got a job offer with the law firm he's been "summering" for. He's so thrilled and it's a huge weight off his shoulders. I'm so proud of the guy. He also got his class rankings back and is #1 in his law school class (again). Keep in mind that he was working full-time for the Navy and going to school at night--impressive--let's just hope our kids get his genes. One more semester left for him...piece of cake :)

2. Joe, my youngest brother, will officially be a marine officer after tomorrow. What a tough road he's been on. After finishing film school at Chapman, he decided to join the Marines (much to my mother's displeasure...she's turning around though). His first run at the 10-week intensive OCS school didn't go as planned. He was sent home mid-way--minor setback--but he didn't give up. They offered him the opportunity to come back and give it another shot (they rarely do this) and he did (after killing himself running, studying, etc. for a few months). Well, without getting into too much detail, tomorrow he will lead his platoon at graduation. Not only did he succeed but he's finishing with a bang...now that's dedication.

3. Nick, my other brother, just found out he passed his EMT class and is officially on his way to becoming a fireman...he's going to be a rock star at that job.

I can't tell you how excited I am to see all my favorite boys succeed in life. All three of them have been through a tough few years for various reasons and it's finally all working out for them...couldn't be happier.

My weekend is looking full of good food, lots of wine and great friends....oh, and yes, some serious training...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Am I crazy...

So I met my friend Jamie at the cove today after work for a swim. As we approached the sand I noticed the yellow caution sign "bacteria levels exceed state standards" So what did I do? I got in and swam...okay thinking back...gross...but I had an awful day at work (see note) and swimming is my release. It always makes me feel better no matter what's going on in life. Note: i realize the economy isn't great and people are sensitive, but do they need to take out their anger on their PR person...REALLY? All we're tring to do is help here...

The swim was great, warm ocean water (no wetsuit for me today), sun reflecting off the water, great visibility (all the fishes were out :). That said, I swam in an area with high bacteria...is this Ironman training causing me to lose my mind?


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Time Management

I've always considered myself pretty decent at time management. It's something I was constantly challenged with in college with school, swimming and the social life :) It's a skill that has helped me juggle work, volunteer commitments, training, taking classes and still having time for fun! That said, Ironman training is really testing me...and I'm learning there is a difference between time management and over committed, and it seems my life is trending towards the latter at the moment. So an upcoming goal of mine is to figure out where I can cut back because I'm not sure 16 more weeks of life as below is going to work. We'll start with Wednesday...

Wednesday - up at 4:45am, in the water at 5:30 for some extra yardage before my class gets started. Teach the master's class at 6:00 (in the pool with them lately because I need the extra yards). At work by 8:00, leave work at 5:30pm with still way too much to do but have to get in a 45 minute run before my board meeting at 7 (this was interesting I showered in 5 minutes, got dressed and made it across town to the meeting wet hair and all by 7 on the dot). Home at 8:45pm - finish writing a news release for work that's due first thing in the morning. In bed by 11....

Thursday - up at 5:00, spin and weights before work. Work at 8:00 (work is CRAZY right now, boss is out of town=more on my plate). Rush out of work at 5 and head downtown for the YPC's annual Wine and Chocolate fundraiser (I'm the PR/Marketing Chair). After getting to hand out with some friends I haven't seen in awhile and of course, great wine and chocolate (not sure if this is all still allowed in the typical Ironman regiment but in my training plan it is--at least for now :). Home and in bed by 11...

Friday - up at 6:30 (slept in a bit..yikes, did I really just say that? 45 minute run before work. After work head to the cove and do a 2ish mile swim. Pat and I went to our local hotspot for a great dinner and in bed early by 10.

Saturday - up at 6 met some friends for a four-hour ride from Solana Beach--the ride was a blast. It's so beautiful here in San Diego this time of year, well always, but especially now. After the ride, showered at the beach (don't ask) and changed in the car and drove to my friend Diana's wedding shower. Ate a quick lunch, stayed for about an hour and had to rush out to head back down to Del Mar to meet Pat...his law firm was having Day at the Races....

Sunday - up at 7:30 - met some IM AZ friends for a 9 mile run (turned into a 12.5 mile run). Now I am home and blogging instead of doing some work that needs to get done. I am also EXHAUSTED....and supposed to meet some friends for dinner later.

Just writing this all down (sorry to bore you all) has reiterated that I need to slowdown at bit...

I'll keep ya'll updated on how that works out... :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

So...


I've taken the plunge...entered the blog world...I guess it's about time (given that I work in marketing and am surrounded by a world of bloggers :)

Anyway...the real reason for starting this was because of a few requests from friends and my family (family photo above) that for whatever crazy reason are interested in following my progress as I train for Ironman Arizona in November. Something tells me that as I approach the next few months--full of training, working, spending time with Pat and some socializing in an effort to not lose all my non-tri friends (they keep me sane)--that it just might be easier to direct people here rather than continuing the "Crazy Mary email updates" as my college friends (especially those that live away) have coined them. Note: for those that are confused...these are short and they ramble..not really making sense but all end with xoxo - have to run, but let's chat soon.

That said, I guess my first official blog entry should begin with my reason for deciding to do Ironman Arizona - I'll fill in my triathlon history/blanks later on...

Anyhow...below is as serious and real as it gets....promise to lighten up this blog moving forward...:)

On November 23, 2008 I will take on Ironman Arizona. Swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 and then running 26.2 miles is nothing compared to the challenges those battling any type of vasculitis must endure. My little sister Alison was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis (see http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org/ for more info) in December 1997. We were told the outlook was grim. However, due to a relatively early diagnosis and the funding our family was provided, Ally was able to receive leading-edge treatment at the NIH. Today, Ally is in remission and is about to enter her final year of college. Others are not always as fortunate… I’ve never attempted an athletic endeavor of this magnitude before, but I am ready to see what I’m capable of. I enter this journey with the knowledge that it will not be easy; there will be pain and there will be struggle, but the challenge of an Ironman pales in comparison to the suffering those with vasculitis must endure—this I know for sure. When the pain is getting the best of me and I just want to quit, I’ll remember that I am racing ONE DAY for all those just like Ally with vasculitis disorders that are racing for LIFE. I look forward to racing in November in support of the foundation and ultimately finding a cure. To get what we've never had, we must do what we've never done! People with vasculitis don’t get to stop fighting so I won’t stop either …Ironman Arizona…here I come.