Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life

So why not "race" a sprint triathlon?! At the last minute working the expo today, I decided to toe the line tomorrow. Got my timing chip, bib number and swim cap {and all the other crap! you need for a triathlon} and I'm ready as I'll ever be to begin again.

{last year}
Excuses:
1) I'm 20lbs over weight
2) I've got maybe 15 run miles total since Superfrog last October. 
3) Kermit's odometer hasn't moved. {he did get a good bath the other week}
4) I've swam to the 1/4 mile buoy at the cove a handful of times. Slowly and for fun only. More like floating out there to clear my mind. 
5) I pulled my rib two weeks ago and it's been touch and go for taking deep breaths, swimming, living. {yes, dramatic}

Reasons:
1) Why not?
2) It's one of the perks of my job. {unpaid, but free}
3} I need to kickstart my body & heart:

It's been almost a year since I lost myself. Love is an odd and wonderful emotion. I feel like I only have so much to give. I know there are people out there with endless amounts. But most have a breaking point. I don't think I realized how hard Kyle's heart journey would be, and sometime after last July I stopped loving myself. I was {and still am} worried about him. His heart. His career. Our life together. And unfortunately, I lost sight of the present in looking towards an uncertain future. 

We listened to an interesting NPR podcast {TED radio hour, "Shifting Time"} on the way home from Phoenix about time. How there isn't a present, only a past and the future. What does being in the moment truly mean? 

I realized I've been looking towards an unknown future with a past that is empty. 

So it's time for a change. 

Ready or not, here I come, future. One stroke, revolution and step at a time.  

4am. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Count von Count

I've added another member to the family. Super Grover was sold to a nice OB fireman who had his bike stolen. The replacement is Parlee's new AltumR in Rivera blue. I was actually so impressed by the stock paint that I just ordered it!

super grover's very excited new owner
I opted for the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 build and stayed with the Rolf Élan wheelset. {Albeit a new pair, since I sold Grover with the old set.} Jim was pretty much nerding out over my build, and he did some custom work that even had the Japanese engineers for Shimano dura-ace perplexed. It was awesome to see the look on their faces. "Where do you charge it?"

The bike is finished with a Zipp SL70 aero internally routed bar, Zipp SCSL stem and the ever amazing Parlee seat post. Super comfortable and lighter than the Zipp; yet I'm just a big fan of the elegant lines. I use a Fizik Vesta saddle. 

I snapped a couple of photos on his maiden voyage. I've done a couple races. And sadly last month I took him down at Barrio Logan. My body took the brunt of it, as the Count came out with only a few scratches on the shifters and the edge of the saddle. Paint and frame survived unscathed! 

Here's to many more adventures aboard my favorite bike.










In-Limbo

It's no surprise that I've had a tough year and an even tougher time breaking free from that curse. Our current in-limbo situation is definitely not helping. It's hard to put anything on the calendar or even create goals, when I'm not sure what we'll be doing or where we'll be next week/month/year. Okay drastic much, I'll be right here next week.

Last month our landlord broke the news that she was moving her father into our unit and we had 60 days to vacate. Unnecessary drama added to the in-limbo period, and we were almost screwed out of a place we fell in love with. A last minute deal by all 3 parties, and we were in the new place by mid-May. We've sadly moved out of our beloved 92107, but the rental market is ridiculous there. We miss the convenience of OB, but are loving our new place in Point Loma. Bigger windows, breezy, and a back yard that we've already been able to entertain with. Oh, and a million dollar view of the San Diego Bay, downtown, Coronado, bridge skyline.

Kyle has been put through the ringer with finding new orders. I don't even want to talk about that.

I've been having a much harder time coming back from this crash than I anticipated. Both of my crashes on Cookie Monster left me itching to get back out there. To stay in shape as best I could and I had a fire to ride again. Maybe I'm too far removed, but this feels different. Darker and lonelier. It's not only my back that hurts. I wasn't in a good place before the crash, and I thought racing would bring me back to me. Sadly, it brought me to the ground.

Before Barrio I had a bit of déjà vu. I felt like I was just here. Bummed out by my own community. Disappointed by my peers, sad and angry at the attacks taken towards myself and others for standing up against something offensive to me. It was almost a year ago that Kyle and I were hurt via social media, but I feel the wound hasn't healed.

I took a stance against something I did not like. I did not attack a person, but I brought forward an issue with company who was providing a service that I paid for. I was dissatisfied with the marketing materials {not to mention, offended} and in return, I was attacked for my views non-related. I was also asked to not participate in an event I registered for. Personal attacks, and it hurt. I'm not trying to re-open that wound, but I never wrote about it. 

I can't keep questioning why I do something. Why do I ride? For fun, for competition, to enjoy as much of my time we have left in California? It's not so simple anymore and sometimes I wish I could be a beginner again. {minus the mis-matched kits}

even the after shoes match, now.
Today I rode Palomar at the urging of my co-worker. I'm in the worst shape I've been in since moving to San Diego, and that was made evident by Strava. I had no business attacking that hill and I let it attack me. But I made it up. Slowly but surely. Music cranked. I may have cracked a smile or two. I enjoyed a coke at the top and of course, the descent! The only reason I climb hills is so I can fly down them. And then Cole Grade road stood between me and the car. The artificial finish line, that I never crossed. I sat under a tree and waited for the sag wagon.

Cole Grade cop out.
Haven't done that since Big Bear. Tried to avoid a pity party,  becoming thankful my body made it as far as it did today.
The quitting spot at Big Bear training for IM Tahoe in 2013

Those dreaded words, "So, what's next?" come up so often, because aren't we all defined by what we've done and where we are going? 

Next? I suppose a happy post about my new bike. And an update from the #plr2015 with my college roomies. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hitting the Ground

Ah barrio. My favorite race is now tarnished with an avoidable crash. I'm glad it was my fault because now I don't have to feel angry at anyone besides myself. And I'm also glad I didn't take out anyone else, as I'm not sure how one can live with that guilt. I'm not quite sure how to stomach my error. It was a momentary lapse in judgement. A look I should not have taken. And a painful reminder to look through the corner even after the road straightens out. 

I've been racing since 2010 and have never crashed in a race. I've been in a lot of near misses, close calls, and have been extremely lucky. Sadly, my luck ran out yesterday, at my favorite race. 

Kyle and I had a good warmup, riding to the race from OB. Got my number, passed my donated BWR entry fee for prime $$ onto Ralph for the w3/4, and got some spin ups and mini sprints done on the roads around the area. Did the warmup lap and felt okay. Wind would be a factor and I knew sitting in would be my only plan of the day. 

It wasn't as fast from the gun as usual. Paraded around the first couple of corners and got to the bottom of the hill. After the turn up, in the straights, 2 Skyflash girls and a monster media girl went down. Not sure what happened but it was enough in front of me that I easily avoided it. Had to work a bit to catch back on, but nothing major. Monster media girl eventually got back in after a trip to the wheel pit, and I asked her if she was okay. A couple laps later and there was a $50 cash prime lap. Moved up after corner 1,2,3 and was sitting 3rd wheel going down the hill which I thought was too close to the front. The lead girl pulled for much longer than expected so I decided to make my move wide just before the final corner. Stood and sprinted about as hard as I would in a final sprint because gosh darnit I wanted that cash. Got it. And strung out the field. 

Paid for it in the next 3 laps. Deanna was encouraging as I was quickly moving backward, to hang on and that she wouldn't let me get gapped. I was breathing like a large exhausted dog, and I'm sure others around me were concerned, or pleased. Sadly, my prime set up the attacks groups of 2/3 girls kept jumping from our bunch. As soon as I saw Joy go I knew I had to go, but wasn't recovered enough and knew my race was over. 

Dislodged the most disgusting loogie in my life onto the entire left side of my face and sunglasses. That was seriously gross. 

More laps of "is this over yet?" And "not sure how much longer I can hang on" and "I guess this isn't too bad"

I think I crashed with what would have been 3 laps to go. Headed into the final corner between two girls, the one on my right was further back. Wasn't anything abnormal or sketchy at all. I think I looked over my right shoulder as the corner was ending, because I had decided I wanted to move up. When I looked forward again I was heading right into the middle of the girl next to me on my left. Shit. She was following the pack and taking the corner extra wide and I had already started to straighten out, up the hill. I was in my drops, yet lost control of my front wheel as I rammed her. Props to her for keeping it up. All I remember seeing was someone's bar end cap in slow mo, falling through the air. And then I was down with my bike going over top of me. 

Lots of internal swear words, or maybe I thought they were internal. JT and some random man scooped me onto the sidewalk as I was more concerned about being in the way of the lead pack. Head/neck felt fine, but my back/hips were in a lot of pain. 

A terrible ambulance experience, 2 botched IV tries, a worse experience in X-ray, an hour wait at the pharmacy, and 30 min in the McDonald's drive through downtown and I was at my worst by the time we got home after midnight. 

I have a very bruised low back/pelvis area, nothing broken. Got milk? 

Laying down hurts. Sitting hurts. Nothing is comfortable, but especially not a metal scoop basket, an X-ray plastic board, and a toilet seat. Fml. 

Thank you to JT who filled out the paperwork and took Kyle and my bike back home so Kyle could get the car. Thanks to Andrea for riding with me in the ambulance and listening to my craziness while on drugs. Thanks for the words of encouragement. 

Should've put this at the top, cause this is all that really matters, but apparently my bike is okay! 

Very sadly, they had to skin me of my skinsuit. The consolidation prizes? I got photographed by Danny Munson and I won a $50 prime. 



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Getting used to the unknown

I was always a planner, a goal maker, and an achiever. I had an uncanny ability to believe in myself and the certainty that every goal I had would be checked off. Living in northern Minnesota meant I still had room for fun and silliness. But I knew where I would be and had grand plans of the path needed to get there.

My husband is the exact opposite. He is spontaneous and free. That's probably why I was drawn to him after my collegiate career was finished. I had achieved all my goals and without anything on the horizon besides my upcoming employment at Wells Fargo, I realized I had the ability to be free too. He was different than any guy I had dated before and I loved the way he moved through life. 

We had a curvy road that eventually led us to where we are today. And as much as we try to influence each other, we still have the same personalities. We learn from each other and have a balance that works. Most of the time. :)

The planner in me was preparing for his next duty station. Craving every ounce of info I could get regarding the early release process, pcs'ing to the other side of the world, and the "what will I do?" unknown was exciting! I was planning our life in a foreign country and was excited by the prospect of the unknown. 

His heart, on the other hand, has taught me that not everything in life can be planned for. 

Two weeks ago I went to St. Louis to visit my best friend from high school, Annie, and meet her new bundle of joy, Aaron. I also snuck in a visit with Mr. Christopher Hanley, Moment's old mechanic. Had a great weekend even though it was fridged. I bought a new long down jacket just for the occasion. {It's currently 70 degrees in San Diego, the jacket is now useless.}



Back on the home front, Kyle was trying to ride his bike with some Brady-Cardia episodes. Unbeknownst to him, his heart rate was at 40 and not responding to effort. Not pumping blood to his extemedies thus his hand and feet were going numb. A DNF and back to the drawing board. Tuesday he tried to commute to work via his bike and made it 10 pedal strokes before turning back. I was on my own ride, so he drove himself to the ER. They admitted him and after a visit with his cardiologist, they decided the pacemaker was the only option. His EKG had totally flipped, going from his "normal" high heart rate svt with exercise and right bundle branch block, to this bradycardia episode with a left bundle block. Wtf. 

The first night they woke him for a scrub down and he passed out and his heart stopped for 9 seconds. His cardiologist was pissed when she found out the next morning and they hadn't moved him to the ICU or contacted her. After a long wait for the cath lab to open, he went down for the implantation. And came back a new boy. Kidding. 

He was released Thursday. He had a rough weekend and some odd palpitations but tried to trust in his new technology. Last Thursday was his pacer followup and wound check and he decided to throw some odd stuff at his docs. SVT, AVNRT, Brady. It all came while they had the monitor on. Unfortunately the cath lab is closed for maintenance so they put off his next ablation till tomorrow. He's had multiple "attacks" this weekend. So now he has to go back to the lab for hopefully his final (4th) ablation. To cut off his hearts ability to tick. And to fully rely on his pacemaker 100%. Because clearly his heart has demonstrated that it can't function properly. As he says, "Go home av node; you're drunk." 



Where are we at? In limbo. And it sucks. I promise I'll do a more positive post about my recent race experiences at VOS and the new San Diego Omnium. And my new bike! 


We are hanging in there. One day at a time. #willsdynasty

Friday, January 23, 2015

A slow start requires interaction

Slow and me aren't really friends. I'm a first born, type A, get shit done, fast and efficient, type of woman. I'm a swimmer, a triathlete and a bike racer. It's always been a race against the clock. And myself. Bigger, better, stronger. 

I think when I turned 30 I was in denial. There was no way I was going to slow down. I kept thinking I could pull off amazing without the work required. Or really, I wasn't aware of what 30 means to my body and mind. The work required was no longer the status quo, but so much more. Last summer was a harsh realization of "adult" issues. The health, marriage, waining fitness type of realities. I sometimes find my mind wandering to the past and find it hard to snap back to who I am now. Not dwell upon who I was. 

Yeah, I'm still "Rachee Gordon" as Kyle calls me. But I'm a bit more relaxed these days. Spazz and Ratchet the Hatchet {don't ask} are nicknames of the past. I'm still trying to get used to the slowed down version of me and sometimes it doesn't feel quite right.

I don't drink coffee. My coworkers know I drink too much soda. More out of habit and that 2:00 craving to crawl from my blood sugar crash that comes with with having a later lunch. I didn't used to require stimulants to keep me fast. I used to proclaim, "I'm high on life!"

Last night I went to yoga and used our new to us membership to the climbing gym/yoga studio. {Cross training is better than couch sitting.} The instructor was helpful with her body awareness cues and really spoke to me the entire session. Today I used that strength and length to really enjoy the ocean and each stroke that was given to me. There is something about a calm, crisp and clear ocean for a first light cove swim that forms clear, positive thoughts. And a bright smile. Jake can tell you, there is always a smile smeared on my face during those swims.  

I'm not sure why, but the struggle each morning to get out of bed is real and it's the worst it's ever been. It's a fight with my mind and excuses fly out like a newspaper hot off the press. But, I've never once regretted getting up. Upon experiencing and completing the morning activity, I'm always refreshed or trashed, but totally satisfied that I made the effort to move. So, why does the mind play games every morning, telling me my bed is much better? Stay. Be warm. Rest your eyes. 

Get up! Move! Love! Smile! Swim, bike, run, stretch...

**********

The activities that I've gravitated towards haven't necessarily been a team effort scenario. A race for the clock usually involves others, but not always towards a group effort. Individual performance is paramount. Here's where I think I've been going at it all wrong. Swimming is individual, but when did I have a solo practice? I laugh at my solo swims with great trepidation, knowing I don't have the drive to push myself. It's others who have always pushed me to be better {knowing or unknowing}. Triathlon is individual, and I mostly train alone.

And I wonder why motivation is lacking. 

I realize I need human interaction. The distractions of our daily lives have pulled me away from the things I love most. I find myself busier with back office stuff at work. Or ignoring my husband while I admire the 15th "like" on Instagram. 

That's not who I am, nor who I want to be. That's where I need your help. If you are still reading, you are either a) my mom, b) bored/distracted at work or in bed, or c) a friend who cares what the heck I've been up to. Either way, I need you to help me be accountable. Yell {or kindly remind me} to get off my phone. Invite me to ride! {currently not taking run invitations.} Lets climb, be yogis, drink wine, make a bonfire, enjoy the sunset {on my day off}. Let's race. 

The thing is, I don't want to slow down. I used to climb 3x a week in Minnesota, with friends who got me. I used to be more involved with the Tri Club of San Diego, volunteering and working out with others. I used to be the primary bike fitter at work. All of those experiences got me to who and where I am today. I don't necessarily need to try and recreate those activities and experiences, but I realize they all have human interaction as the common thread.

I chose not to have children so we can have the freedom to be fast. To be me. {Among MANY other reasons.} I promised my husband I wouldn't slow down. I just need others to push me harder, faster, longer, or to just get out of bed! I need that threat of getting dropped. Or the challenge to drop you. I need that date on the calendar. And maybe, those magnets in my bed will become a little less strong. 

So. If you want me to be your training partner, I'm here for the taking. I don't have a coach or a plan. I'm more than willing to join your route, your ride, your gym, your sunset view, your happy hour place. Please join my rides, our climbing gym, meet me at Pizza Port, Wonderland or the La Jolla Cove. All invites welcome, fast or slow. Anything is better than not moving. 

Interact. 

Email me for my phone number: rachel.anne.wills@gmail.com

Let's play. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014: A year to leave behind

I started writing our Christmas letter and I had to put it down. It was getting a bit depressing and the theme felt repetitive. Rode bikes. Went on vacation. Kyle went SVT, got shocked, got an ablation. Repeat. Vacation, deployment, foreign country ER, and return to be ablated again. "Looking forward to 2015" feels a little more real than most imply.

So I did things a bit differently this year. I wrote our "12 moments of 2014" which allows the repetitive nature of our year to come through. 

12 months of sunshine: yep. We're still in San Diego and loving it. Last winter was a sad state of affairs for the CA water table, but pretty awesome for cyclists. We've had a bit of rain this winter and I found it fun to be able to wear my rain boots! 


Over 11 podium winnings. This blog pretty much sums that up. Had a fun early season racing bikes fast. 

racked up a bunch of points at the 805 criterium weekend
10 days in Tahoe: I do love this place. We went in July and had an awesome trip to swim and ride. Followed with a not so awesome trip in Sept for my {cancelled} half ironman {wildfire smoke} and Kyle's overnight stay in Reno ICU after requiring 3x cardioverts. Not fun.
trans tahoe swim relay = fun.
 9 trips with family- went to Phoenix in Feb to visit my new nephew and got to race too. I went back in April to visit during my moms 2nd trip out. I also went to South Danota in May for Jax's baptism and got to visit the Tiedemans! I got some quality swim lesson time with the little guy. Meg and Jax came to visit over the 4th of July. Kyle and I went to Seattle in Sept for my cousins wedding which was a great Gordon family gathering.  We then ventured out to Phoenix again for Thanksgiving. I'm here now for a couple days before xmas and we are heading to Ohio next week to see his family and I get to meet his grandparents for the first time! Okay so that's 8, but he has 3 houses in Ohio we'll be shuttling between!

family reunion at Hannah's wedding
8 years in the Navy - so proud of my Sailor. It hasn't been the greatest year for him, yet he remains so positive. He started taking online classes to finish his degree. He earned a NAM this summer for his work leading up to deployment.

i've turned him into a hockey fan!
7 bikes in the household. Enough said.
Animal joined the family last Christmas

6 years at Moment Bikes. Still loving my job as the bike fit kingpin and guru at the shop. 

Going on 5 married years. In sickness and health was the theme of this year. Oct brought our 4th anniversary and we celebrated at a Kings hockey game in LA! 

4 cardioverts. One at work, 3 in tahoe. 2 were unsedated. He made me video the first one I saw. 

3 ablations. He's gone in for 3 electrical pathway studies to map and ablate the bad nodes. He's an anomaly. 

Category 2 upgrade. Successful racing builds points. Should be an interesting 2015 racing full time with the big girls. 

Ah yes, the willsdynasty. We gotten knocked down but we will be back.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twas the night before...

Kyle's third ablation.

***********
Finding a "starting" place, looking back to the past, is more difficult than I remember. I suppose it's harder to put challenging times to words, than the race report, podium shot posts of the "on season." It's okay. Everything will be okay.

In my previous post, I had mentioned the #willsdynasty work that would get me back this winter and that Kyle would be finding on his trainer throughout deployment. I didn't intend for that preview to be so literal;
"I'm looking forward. To training as "one of the guys" again, and racing as I have before, solo. I know this will be a challenge as a Cat 2. I know I have a lot of work to get my body where I want it to be. Strong and balanced. My sherpa is going on an extended "trip," yet he'll be back before I know it. Time for a winter of #willsdynasty." 
Well, he was back. And before I knew it.

I got the message at 4am on the Saturday of our team training camp. I had wished him a smooth day ahead {his first real day on deployment} before I went to bed and woke up to, "Yeah, about that..."


So Mr. Less than 1% Chance has defied all odds twice now and got sent home.

I had a lot of people reach out, and most were asking if I was relieved or glad to have him back. Which was interesting to answer. Of course I'm relieved he's back to be able to handle this issue here, in America, with his cardiologist who knows his heart better than anyone. But am I glad? No, not really.

Being a Navy wife is something I signed up for. I knew there would be times apart. Of course I was sad when he left. I cried like a baby in our monster truck. But I was mentally prepared for six months.   I was in shock when he came back. And it's not like his journey home was easy. Poor guy was stuck on C17 planes in a hammock, sitting on airfields, or in small airport terminals and customs rooms for 5+ days.
Scary foreign hospital, luckily w/Western trained docs
So he's back. We had a great meeting with his cardiologist two weeks ago and scheduled his third ablation for tomorrow. So another study and investigation to seek out those bad pathways, and his extra ticks will again be burned.

I think it's most disheartening for him and I by the lack of understanding of anyone else {including our parents, whom we love} of what is actually happening to him. We don't blame anyone, as we are bad at explaining it, but it's frustrating when people hear "heart" and instantly think about heart attacks, blockages, bypasses and stints. That's pulmonary medicine. His issue is strictly electrophysiological. His bad "pathways" are extra electrical nodes on his heart that fire incorrectly, and off beat from his AV node. They get into a bad circuit and cause his heart to beat at 250bpm. His heart is strong and can sustain that rhythm for a while, but eventually his blood pressure drops {his heart is beating on a different rhythm than it's pumping} and in those instances, he has to be cardioverted through many joules of electricity to his heart {getting shocked} to bring him back to a normal rhythm. This past time he was able to cardiovert himself through maneuvers he's tried in the past. He has a 50% success rate at skipping the shock.

He's had to work hard to be able to prove himself competent to complete his PRT today. His cardiologist said the best thing for him is exercise, yet explaining that to his workplace or my friends is challenging. She finds that most people who quit working out only gain other problems through lack of exercise {issues on the other side of the heart}. She just wants him to make sure he's relatively close to a hospital and that he has his pill in pocket {beta blocker} incase of an episode. But he was cleared for riding and physical activity. The funny thing is he's supposed to watch his caffeine intake, yet the Navy is fueled by 2 things, diesel and coffee.

If you want to read further, Wiki is pretty helpful. Supraventricular Tachycardia.

*******************


So what have we been up to? Riding! What else? It's been a gorgeous fall/winter here in So Cal. I feel so lucky to call this our home. His command is keeping him on shore/staff duty till we figure out what's happening with his heart, which is great news. Moment Racing had our team banquet at our sponsor, Stone Brewing, and we got a private room at their Liberty Station location. Yummy eats and great beer, paired with the awesome work {if I do say so myself} of Kyle and I on our hammer award project. We are off to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and here for the weekend of shopping madness. I do work retail and have to be at the shop for the craziness! Come visit me, we really do have great deals all weekend. Rides, food at the shop, and extended hours 8-8 from black Friday - Sunday.

GWL - an awesome time back out east.
riding with him to work. he gets a flat. sad face.
tide pool hill repeats on a crisp morning.
I've also been doing a little cove swimming here and there. This place still is my favorite in San Diego, and has been extra special lately, with clearer and warmer than usual conditions.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

tears & friends

I just cried for 8 min straight. I have the best of friends, near and mostly far, who created a little video. These nine ladies {and their babies} have impacted my life in a way that can't be made in a day, week, or year. These women have given me the strength, smiles and memories that have truly transcended time. I am forever thankful for their friendship, kind and beautiful words, and encouragement. To keep on keeping on.

Missy said it best with her song, and one of our favorite {on repeat WAY too many times} - Sway by Bic Runga from 1997!:
And there's no cure, and no way to be sure
Why everything's turned inside out
Instilling so much doubt
It makes me so tired - I feel so uninspired
My head is battling with my heart
My logic has been torn apart
And now it all turns sour
Come sweeten every afternoon
I can't remember the last time I heard this song. And now, actually listening to the lyrics, it's just all to perfect for the feelings I've had for the latter part of this year. I do feel so uninspired. Yet, with the words of these nine women, I've had a fire lit in my heart. So, to each of you, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

Seester Megan!
Ah my sister. There is no one like you and no one better to call my only sister. You've taught me way more in life than any little sister should have to, as you've had much of your life experiences before I. We may not always be on the same team, but we'll always be family. It's an odd experience to grow up with someone who is your greatest competitor but the only one I'd want in the lane next to me, because either way, we both win. You are a gorgeous woman and the mother I could never be.
GRHS buddies - Kelly, Brenna, Jaime and Heidi
You ladies gave me the drive and motivation to be a better, faster, stronger girl starting in elementary school when I met all of you on the YMCA swim team. You put up with my spazzy-ness, my OCD, my wishes at 11:11, and antics. You were my teammates, best friends, and girls who stood up for me. Kelly, you are determined and caring, strong and soft. I've never met anyone such an amazing switch from competitor to friend. Brenna, you were most like me, crazy, fun and different. We didn't fit into the regular box of normal high school and I had a blast being your sidekick. Jaime, you are too pretty to be our friend. I love that you and Brenna were discussing joining the lane 2 crew again, "what lane was it?" You were always someone I looked up to (literally as well) and I'm glad you showed me what college was like before college. :) Heidi, thank you for putting this together. I always tried to match your craftiness, and I know I never will. Your love and intensity for others is unmatched. Even though distance has separated us, you all hold a special place in my heart and to hear that back from each of you means the world to me.

The Pink Ladies
The ladies of 821 South 25th St. You entered my life in 2002 and will never leave. The memories we've shared only continue to grow, even as we move farther apart.
Missy {miss-e-poo}
From the day I met you in the summer of 2002, like the creepiness of internet dating for the first time {I think we overloaded either other's email inboxes every week that summer}, I knew it was meant to be. Destiny {or Mavi's alphabetical by first name roommate matching}. You were the college roommate everyone wishes they had. You were forced into our friendship and I'll forever be grateful. Your love and support through so many thick and thin times goes unmatched. You are amazing.
Katie (KT)
Katie you are my comic relief, yet you've always given it to me straight. You are bold, strong and amazing. Thanks for allowing me to invade your personal space with "puppy" - I know you miss it.
Kayley (KK)
Kayley, the wind beneath my wings (kidding, and I thought it'd make you laugh). I am a cyclops because of you. Also a Krachel, Krach, Grodo, Krach-e-pants and way too many other hilarious pet names. Your antics are well matched to mine. Your son's message was too cute. :)
Kari
Car. E. {ah, mavi is hilarious with his name pronunciations} You are my dancing queen, always willing to go out with me when everyone else wanted to study. You are a gorgeous women, inside and out, and bring light to anyone's day. I cried the hardest at your message. Your kindness and heartfelt words mean more than you know. 

Phew - that was a lot of memories packed into one small post in time. You all are amazing women and without you I wouldn't be the person I am today. Smiling. Grateful. Motivated. Inspired.