Friday, March 23, 2007

My Mimi

I started writing this entry a while ago but just didn't know what to say. I wanted to post this earlier but needed some time to reflect on the current events. On March 16, 2007, at the Maine General Medical Center, my dear grandmother, Mimi, passed away peacefully after a short illness. It hasn't been easy, to say the least, dealing with this loss. My grandfather, who is also pictured above, passed away earlier this fall. Not much time at all has passed since he died and now she has also. At least now they can be together again. We had a wake and a funeral service for her in Winthrop at the funeral home. A lot of good memories were shared by all. I learned a lot about her that I never new. She wasn't one to talk much about herself. There were many tears shed by all but there was also some laughs and smiles while we reflected on their lives. Some of my favorite memories were of all of us going down to their house on the lake and having family BBQ's, playing cards, swimming, and celebrating all of the yearly holidays. Christmas was definitely the biggest and most special. Ever since I was born my family has been going to their house on Christmas Eve to celebrate the holiday. We would have lots of food and treats, we would watch movies, and even some years did some really crazy games. For many years we would all stay over night and would wake up early in the morning to open up all the gifts that we all brought. We always had tons of presents since my whole family would come. My Aunt and Uncle with their two kids from Texas would make the trip every year. My other Aunt and her two kids from Augusta would stay over also. Plus there was my parents and my brother along with my grandparents. We would all cram into a small ranch and celebrate this Christmas holiday. These were some of my favorite memories that I will never forget. There are many others also. They both are going to be truly missed but will be with me forever.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

TD Banknorth Rangeley Lakes Loppet

A couple of weekends ago I attempted my first marathon ski event at the Rangeley Lakes Loppet. I have never done a 50K ski race before and didn't really know what to expect. I had been skiing up to this point every weekend for 2-3hrs at a time. I would usually ski a pretty good pace but never at race pace. I also have been battling with being exhausted all the time and don't really know why. I also didn't really know how that would affect my performance.
The fun began the night before when we were getting a nice big snow storm. I needed to wax my skies but didn't really feel like sitting out in the heavy wet snow putting on two layers of wax. I decided that I would get up early and do it in the morning before the race.
The drive to the race was more than interesting. Most of the roads were still very snow covered and made the trip very slow and slippery. The temps were climbing and the forecast was for mostly sunny with temps well above freezing.
Once there I passed on warming up and just sat in my truck and rested before the start. I wanted to save every bit of energy I had for the race. I was bringing with me 1 bottle of Gatorade and a few Hammer gel packs, plus there were aid stations with water and Hammer Heed at every 10k or so. I figured I should be set.
The mass start went off with near 100 entrants and I was smack in the middle of the pack. On the first downhill turn a skier took a tumble and took out everyone behind them. I had nowhere to go and fell on top of 3 other skiers. Then 4 other people happened to fall on top of me. Not much fun already and it's only been less than a minute of the 3+ hour race. I had to wait a while before getting going again and had to maneuver my way through a large field now with most of them slower than I was.
The conditions were not easy at all to say the least. Rangeley had gotten 2+ feet of snow the night before and it was just starting to warm up. That meant very soft, wet, slow snow. It made things very difficult indeed to ski on. As the race went on I managed to pass a lot of slower skiers and made my way back to mid pack. I had grabbed a few small cups of fluid at the aid stations while still skiing which was fun on the first attempt and ended up giving myself a bath. As I made my way back to the start which was the first of two laps I started to really wind down and getting really tired. I thought that I could either quit now and say I did the 25k in good time or I could continue on, punish my body and see how far I could go. Well of course I continued on. I hate quiting. I really slowed down on the next 5k and was passed by at least 10 skiers that I had initially passed in the beginning. When I hit the first aid station I was totally exhausted. I didn't think I could go on and I told them I need to rest for a while. I pulled off and stood there taking in some liquid and gel. I decided to continue on and make try to make it to the next aid station. It was then I realized the next one was a ways off and I had to climb a major hill. I knew I was going to be in trouble. The next 10k or so was a blur and I was passed by a lot of racers. I would ski for 2k or so and then stop and rest. Finally I was passed by, what I figured, was the last of the racers and I pretty much walked up the last hill before the aid station. When I got there I collapsed on my poles and told them I was done and couldn't take another step. They helped out of my skies and sat me down on a chair. I just sat there for a while trying to get the dizziness to go away. Finally one of the aides drove me back to the start and I was done for the day.
The rest of the day/night was a blur to me. I did have to drive myself home, which was very tough to do in my current state. I did stop in Farmington for some food and that helped some. That night I felt really sick and only slept a few small hours. I was just to exhausted and in too much pain.
So in all I skied somewhere between 35 and 40k. I liked the course a lot and I would probably attempt it again next year. I do hope though that next year I will feel a whole lot better and will actually be able to finish.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Training hasn't been easy lately

For the past month or so I've been battling health issues and it's really taking a toll on my cycling. I have still been doing some hard efforts but lately even those have had to cease. Currently I'm barely even able to get on the bike to ride easy. I was hoping for some early season racing but that looks out of the question at the present moment. Hopefully, I will get better soon and will be able to get my training back in check before the summer hits us and we are in full race season.

On another note, I've been a valid Battlestar Galactica watcher now since the beginning. Lately I have been totally disappointed with the shows content and it's been pretty boring. The episodes have been a lot of character development, which is fine once and a while, but man we need some excitement. I hope they have some soon or I will have to stop watching it. I can't wait till SG-1 and Atlantis start back up. Those shows never seem to be boring and have always kept my attention.