Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weeks 13 & 14

Week 13: Mon- 1,500yd swim, 30 mile bike
Tue- 2,500yd swim, Quality Run (sprint workout)
Wed- Quality bike (hill repeats)
Thu- 6 mile run
Fri-20 mile bike
Sat- 9 mile run
Sun- 50 mile bike 

Week 14: Mon- 1,500yd swim, 30 mile bike
Tue- 2,000yd swim, 5 mile run
Wed- Quality bike (hill repeats)
Thu- 6 mile run
Fri-20 mile bike
Sat- 9 mile run
Sun- 50 mile bike

Total: 234miles

Total mileage so far: 1,625. Equal to driving from Austin, to my second home, the Sunlight Basin near Cody, WY.

I made it with 100 miles to spare! These next few weeks, I'll have plenty of extra miles, so I'll take "trips" to the great places I got to explore up there, such as Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Mountains, Billings, MT, etc.

Please, like and share this post on Facebook and check out Handana's site. I still have a gift card to give away, and would love people to read about this journey, about the ALS Association, and about how their $1 donation could help someone like Chuck. I've still got races to run and training to go through, and I'm still $470 away from my goal! Only 4 more weeks to go!

         These past two weeks have been a roller coaster, and not in a training sense. Thankfully, the miles are reduced now, and it's all about building a stronger heart and more endurance in my muscles with "quality" days that consist of shorter, but faster and more targeted workouts such as sprints and hill repeats. 
        Bryce and I were on vacation last weekend to Florida to see my best friend in Ft. Meyers, so the schedule didn't work quite according to the plan, but that was fine. I did my short runs while I was there (running shoes fit in a carryon, while a bike does not), and just organized my bike riding to happen before we left. I had a nice time sweating it out in the salty air, trying to get my friend pumped enough to run an entire two mile bridge, but instead we ended up walking and talking a lot to catch up. That was fine- I can run any day, but I only get to see her once or twice a year. Our vacation was relaxing, refreshing, and a lot of fun- it even included getting to peak at some rescued baby sea turtles at Mote in Sarasota- so cute!  
Adorable rescued Loggerhead turtles!

I was making my best turtle face. Although Bryce looks like a Bond villain, this might be the most perfect plywood cut-out tourist picture ever. 

          I am so thankful for our chance at a vacation, because coming home was a complete 180. A few weeks ago, my dad found out he had a tumor in his lung. A smoker for decades, as soon as he told me he'd been coughing up blood, I knew deep down that was probably the case. Growing up in the DARE generation, I had hounded him since childhood to quit smoking, and a few years ago, he did. 

         That, unfortunately, was not enough. Just this week, he was informed by his doctor that he has Stage III lung cancer. This means that, while it has not spread to other organs, it has spread to lymph nodes at least on the same side of the body as his lung. My mom and dad were not able to tell me if it was 3A, 3B, non-small cell, small cell, or any other details I found I needed to know on my Google quest for answers, just that he had it. 

         I don't blame my parents for their lack of detail- what shocking, heavy news to absorb. I am definitely the pragmatic, detail-oriented over-thinker in the family, and my parents rely instead on faith and hope- two things no one hit with such news can begrudge them. Not knowing the exact details is killing me, because I am in a state of suspense. I hover daily- even hourly- between the need to break down in tears, and the strangely empty feeling of having no idea how to react. 

        My mom and dad took the news, set it aside, and said 'on to the next step' because he will be "fine." That is how they need to be, and I am OK with that, but my heart needs to prepare for the worst while always, always, hoping for the best. Therefore, I signed up for a cancer counselor through the Livestrong Foundation, which offers tons of free services. Through them, I was able to connect with the Navigate Cancer Foundation, a non-profit that links those affected by cancer with oncological nurses who are able to read over medical reports you share and offer clarification, as well as just give you encouraging, fact-based words. I have been making an effort to stay away from anecdotal advice and stories, because, just like with statistics, every person is different and every road through this journey has alternate turns. I am thankful for the resources I have found, because then I can take what I hear form his doctors and dissect them for what they mean as far as the next steps. 

          My dad still has weddings to dance in and grand babies to hold. He has no intention on leaving this earth just yet, and frankly, is one of those old men who is too mean to die- in a Clint Eastwood kind of way. He and I have not always gotten along, mostly because we are so much alike, but he has always done the best he could the only ways he knew how by his family. While that was definitely not always perfect, it was everything he had. He has been married to my mom for 27 years this December, and they are getting ready to build their dream retirement home on the property they purchased- free and clear, title in hand within months due to his hard work- in Louisiana. I don't know what I would do if I were him, and although I have his temper, his eyes, and his complete lack of patience with most things, I know I am not him and only he can decide how to handle the things thrown in his way. 

         He has decided to fight. His family and friends have decided to stand behind him. I just hope the cancer decides it is not a worthy opponent and lets him win, fair and square. 
Me and dad back home cleaning fish we caught my freshman year of college.

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