Monday, July 16, 2007

What a weekend

We headed back to Minneapolis last week for a stretch from Wednesday night, returning home last night. We were extremely busy - I had business meetings all day Thursday and a concert Thursday night (Alison Krauss & Union Station, which was ridiculous it was so good), we had Dr. appointments on Friday (we decided not to move our existing baby appointment away from our Minneapolis doctor, since we were coming back [at that time, anyway] for Lifetime, anyway. Now, though, we'll be getting a new baby doctor out here), then the triathlon - which Todd was racing, so I went to watch - on Saturday, as well as lunch with mother, and finally home yesterday morning. It was the least restful "vacation" ever, but it was great to be back and see our friends and family, and while I'm tired, we had a great time. Wanted to share some highlights with you:

First off - there are, in life, few times when you hear words that literally change your life. Where before those vibrations met the air your life was one way, and afterwards it is irrevocably changed. I've had a few, not all of them good. This year has been pretty well full of them, though. "You are an Ironman". "We're pregnant", and now this...

Utrasound Lady (U.S.L): ...okay, let me just angle in here... (with intentional pause for suspenseful pause for dramatic effect) ...okay. See these 3 lines?"

She pointed her cursor to three lines, nearly parallel, but all slightly pointing towards a centerpoint just to the left of the lines. The lines were on either side, and in the middle, of baby's legs.

Me (in my head): Is that the pork and beans, then? The cash and prizes? Looking at testicle testicle penis? Just what am I seeing, here????

U.S.L: "These lines indicate have a baby girl."

You have a baby girl.

You. Have. A baby. Girl.

And I put my hand on Amy's leg, and put my head down, and just quietly wept. As, to my surprise, I do just now.

Somehow I've known she was a girl forever. And not just since we were pregnant, but I think maybe my whole life - that my first (or maybe only, we have no plans here past tomorrow) child would be a girl. I certainly didn't have any kind of preference, and as I've been telling people, I don't care if it's a Gila Monster in there as long as it's healthy. And that is the God's honest truth. But in my heart, I've known baby was a girl. It wasn't just a feeling, or a suspicion. It's so that every image I've had of Amy and I parenting a child has been parenting a little girl. And that if it were a boy, I'd have had to revise all of those images. Which, I would have been happy to do. Only saying, I've just known all along. Which is weird. But to hear the words is still profound, and alters one's life significantly. Pretty huge, amazing stuff. Now, is there a chance the U.S.L is wrong? Yes - as she told us, and she has to, they can't be 100% sure until baby is actually out of there. But she said she's 99% sure, as sure as any of the information can give her, and that there was nothing confusing about what she was seeing. And, she told us, if she wasn't sure, she wouldn't have told us.

Baby is a riot. She was in there the whole time flopping all around. She started the ultrasound breech, and by the end was in some crazy acrobatic position. She was moving her little hands and arms and legs around. It was so surreal, to see a little person, which you are responsible for, in the act of becoming. To actually see her. In fact, you feel a little like you're invading her privacy in there - she's beyond, at this point at week 23, being just a dynamic hunk of cells - she actually has intentions, and actions, and some basic ideas in there, however rudimentary.

Anyway, she posed perfectly for us, and the U.S.L. lady was able to get some great shots. A few I'm happy to share - first, her profile (I swear she looks a little like me already...), and second, her crazy acrobatics, where if you adjust to the image you'll see she's almost touching her nose with her knee, her feet are way over her head, and she's reaching out to touch her toes. Crazy baby.

The whole experience just made baby so much more personal to us (not that she wasn't before, but you get it), and it's very exciting.

Saturday, then, Mike, Patrick and I banded together as Team 'Zilla and headed over to Lake Nokomis to watch Todd (ToddZilla, or TZ, as I like to call him) rip up the Lifetime Triathlon. This is Todd's A race, his first year at the Olympic distance, and he was in full form heading into the race. First we three parked clear on the other side of where we wanted to be on the lake - I have no idea how to park for these things when I'm not racing - and so after we first walked forever to the lake, realized we should be somewhere else, headed forever back to the car, drove around misc. roadblocks, found a parking spot forever away, we finally made it to the beach. Thus, we missed the start of the race, but we were there to see him exit the water. It was a perfect day for racing - I've never had such a perfect day, thanks very much - with a bit of a breeze, but temps in the 70's and enough clouds to keep the sun from screaming down. Todd looked great coming out of the water, and I screamed my head off for him and ran down the chute until he headed into transition where, as a non-athlete, I was not allowed. Sigh. Anyway, I watched him head off out of T1, and figured a window for how long it would take him on the bike - he came in right at the near end of that window, so that we almost missed him! But, the way the approach to T2 works at Lifetime, he has to make a sharp left turn and go around a point in the park, so I was able to run from one location down to another and see him making his final pedals into T2, screaming for him as obnoxiously as possible the whole way. A short jaunt across another part of the park and I was able to meet him on his first of two laps around the lake on the run. As soon as I saw him coming I'd shout "TeeeeeZillaaaaaaa!", and the people around me would laugh and Todd would throw up his fist with pointer and pinky extended, universal sign for kicking-ass and taking-names.

He got up to me, smiling and looking great, and I ran with him for a few strides. "How 'you feeling?"
"Good - my goggles broke right before the swim!"
"What?! - you looked good on the bike!"
"Yeah, feeling good."
"Kick ass baby, we'll see you next time around!"
Then I'd slow to a stop while he kept on, and I'd shout after him "Goooo TeeeeZillaaaaa!" and he'd throw up his ass-kicking fist again.

Then we three went to find a new spot for his second lap, and we tried to go somewhere a little more isolated, because as an athlete I like when there are people cheering in some of the quieter spots. We saw him again, and I screamed as obnoxiously as possible as soon as I saw him, and he erupted into a grin again, and again I ran with him. He said he was feeling good, "All day, baby!". I told him negative splits from here on out baby, pick it up and set it down! We watched him go, then, and headed to the finish line to see him. Patrick and Mike stayed in the finish chute, and I made my way up further, so that I met him just at the turn-off before the finish chute is in sight. I screamed again, and told him to throw down whatever he had left. He looked great, all day - smiling and looking easy breezy. He finished in something around 2:32, which as you know is pretty damn dope.

I guess his goggles broke, like, literally 3 seconds before he was to jump in the water. To hear him tell it, he turned around and looked at the world like, "what the hell do I do now?", and luckily some lifeguard or volunteer showed up out of nowhere and provided him with a pair. This is all to his credit - I think I would've thought - shit! what?! - and just jumped in the water and swam blind the whole time. He did great to not let that kind of thing discourage him, and to enjoy the day and race hard instead of letting those things, out of your control, into your head and your race day. And, he doesn't know it yet, but that's a big part of becoming Ironman. :)

How was it for me? Well, I'll be honest. The part watching Todd was incredible, and really fun, and awesome. But the part not out there racing with him...It totally blew. To feel on the outside, it made me sad and a little cranky. Volunteers were telling me where I could and couldn't go. I was blocked off from where I was and wasn't allowed to be. I was not, by rights, a part of it. I saw the newbies on their mountain bikes, and the pros on their rocket ships, and I knew how it felt to be wet on the bike, a little chilled, but not uncomfortable. I could feel the sand on my bare feet as I ran up to transition, in my zone of race-day brilliance, hearing friends and family cheering. I missed it terribly, and I'll tell you that I cried just a little. But, like the rest of it, I learned from it, too. As I told Todd later that day, I don't want to make too much of it - it's not like I've lost a limb or something, I haven't totally lost perspective here - but to not be able to race and have to watch a race, it makes one realize that even a "bad day" racing is better than no day at all. And so to that, there is no "bad day" racing. Just be grateful for the opportunties we have to be out there. It's a great, great game, and it's hallowed ground in some ways, and to be a triathlete - to be among those that just step up to the line - is to be blessed, and among the best there are. Here's hoping that's the last race I ever watch, at least unless by my choosing.

But - while I expected to mostly feel like shit about it all morning, I actually really enjoyed myself. I was mostly focused on Todd's race, and on where and when to go next to get to where we needed to be. I again have deepest respect for the spectators, particularly Team Bintliff whenever I race, because it's a lot of work for a combined 45 seconds of interaction with somebody important to you, and it says a lot about how loved and respected all of these people are that so many people come out to watch them. More than anything, I'm just stupid proud of Todd. He's worked really hard for this, and he's continuing to work hard, and he's not just a hack out there to try it on - he's a bonafide triathlete now. Kid's got mad speed on the run, too. I'm excited to do 70.3 together next year. So big shout out, much love, and deep respect to my man T.Zilla. Well done, dude. Here's to the next chapter together.

Last year at Lifetime, where next year we'll kick ass and take names

Knee update: I have an appointment at 3:30 today, thanks to Erin for the info and recommendations on where she's had success. I have no idea how it'll go - like I said, it might be a little difficult explaining this whole thing to a doctor, but we have to start somewhere. I'll let you know what I know when I know it.


Bill said...

Great to hear the concert was so good. We've got tix for the Nashville show at the end of August and absolutely cannot wait.

Wonderful news on the Baby Girl! Congratulations.

JB07 said...


Congratulation on the news about your baby girl. It gave me chills reading about you hearing the news. I (my wife) have 2 boys and a girl and each one was the best gift we have ever been blessed with.

I have enjoyed reading your blog and following your Ironman progress for the past year. I entered Wisconsin as my first Ironman this year so have been absorbing as much info as I can online.

Take some time to get healthy and enjoy the changes in life. You have plenty of time to jump back in later.

Good Luck


Todd said...

Congrats again on the baby girl, you are going to make a fine father.

Thanks for the showing me the way and blazing the trail, I could NOT have done it without you partner. I can't find the right words to describe what it felt like to see you out there Saturday cheering me on to no end but it was phenomenal. Livin the dream baby!

It's been an incredible ride and is only going to get crazier and better from here on out, see yah soon bud.

Triteacher said...

Baby Girl looks gorgeous. Congratulations, X!

Yes, no "bad day" racing. All those goofy endorphins/excitement/ competitive spirit that only racing can bring out. You shall have it - Sept. 15th I hear. :)