Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our Kids

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." - Jane Howard

For use triathlon is a family-affair. We're sisters. Our husbands are our training partners, cheerleaders, and bike mechanics. Our parents send emotional support. Our multi-faceted tribe motivates us to keep going....and we race in celebration of our extended Genesis Home family -families who are working to move into lives of stability, instead of homelessness.
In that spirit of family, Kristen McClarin is one of our kids. Kristen is one of the 600 young people in North Carolina who will turn 18 this year, age of out of foster care, and be left on their own.
The statistics are grim. According to this week's paper:
" Most former foster children fare badly. They're more likely to end up living on the streets or having babies before they're ready. A quarter end up in jail within two years of leaving foster care, one study found. Another study found less than 3 percent attained degrees by age 25. That's compared with about a quarter of young adults who didn't come of age in foster homes."
These statistics and Kristen's story demonstrate for us how critical initiatives like Genesis Home's Independent Living Program are. ILP helps kids just like Kristen continue to find their way -- when a family isn't around to show them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

That's What We Want

"Press on- nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent. " - Calvin Coolidge

What a weekend!

On Saturday we joined our coach Sage, her husband Wes, Ray's husband Dave, and our tri/yoga buddy Ruffin for our longest training ride yet -- nearly 50 miles through beautiful Orange and Alamance counties. Reaching a road by bike that we usually only see off of the interstate by car puts the distance into a whole new perspective!

At the end of our 3 hour tour, we noted that our legs were definitely starting to feel a bit fatigued -- quads yelping, hips tight, toes a little numb. Sage wisely reminded us that "That's what we want!" We're training to be able to confidently complete 3 hours of racing and keep going when we start to feel tired.

Later that evening, Robyn and Ryan also had a "that's what we want" experience when they ran into a family that recently graduated from Genesis Home's Family Matters Program. The family - once homeless, but now successfully working and living in a home of their own -- was hanging out together and enjoying a street festival in downtown Durham. THAT IS what we want!

Friday, June 22, 2007


force /fɔrs, foʊrs/
1. physical power or strength possessed by a living being: He used all his force in opening the window.
2. strength or power exerted upon an object; physical coercion; violence: to use force to open the window; to use force on a person.
3. power to influence, affect, or control; efficacious power: the force of circumstances; a force for law and order.
5. unlawful violence threatened or committed against persons or property.
6. persuasive power; power to convince: They felt the force of his arguments.

It's Friday, we're nearing the end of a two-week block of force workouts, and all of the above definitions seem to apply to our recent training!

The weights have been heavier, the hills steeper, the intervals longer. Hopefully we're building more 'physical power' that will 'persuade' our bodies to do their very best as they 'exert' on the race course and 'influence' our finishing times! The difficulty of the workouts has only been mildly 'violent' and only infrequently 'unlawful'....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Remedy

Just like always, we have a "madness moment," and the universe responds with a remedy.

This morning we awoke to read this story about Duane, a fellow triathlete who has just completed his second race. Duane epitomizes gratitude for what our bodies are capable of. Thanks for the reminder, Duane!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Body Image Manifesto

We thought we were done with this. We thought we had learned, grown, evolved.


But...apparently not.

The Body Image Madness stops today.

We can run for 5 hours straight or power through a 5K faster than ever before. We can swim and swim and swim. We can power a machine up hill after hill using only the power of our legs and hearts and minds. And from this moment on, we will approach our bodies with gratitude for these things, for what they are and can do - instead of disdain for they are not.

We've been on this journey for many, many years and have come quite a long way. But still, even after all of this - the good feminist upbringing, the women's studies degree, the full multifaceted lives, the training, and the races - we still have those moments when it's our our stomachs that we're obsessing over and those times when we think our muscles should be more defined and those secret seconds when we wish the number on the scale or the dress tag was lower. And we hear our friends - athletes, cancer survivors, women of every size and shape who are changing the world every day in incredible ways - saying the same.

This year we've trained harder and with more focus and determination than ever before. We've approached food as both fun and fuel and our bodies have significantly changed as a result. And still....STILL, summer is once again here, we put on our bikinis, and see flaws.

It's insidious the way that the undulating self-worth that underlies this madness rots inside our otherwise confident core. It connects us to so many women - known and unknown -- and it connects us to the women living at Genesis Home.

We are all working to create lives of wholeness and meaning. For us, The Body Image Madness sneaks up and makes us think - just for a moment - that perhaps we are not already enough. For the women we know who are working to leave homelessness, it's a myriad of other issues that stops - just for a moment - the progress they have made in their own journeys.

We have had enough. And once again, it stops today.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Open Water Training

While on hanging out on Lake Glenville while on vacation, Robyn has been practicing some open water swimming. Now, she's all about training the way she races, but is all too happy to just have Ryan sit quietly on the dock...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Vacation Training

"In the mountains, we forget to count the days." - Japanese Proverb

Robyn has left her training partner, Ray, behind for six days of vacation in the North Carolina mountains. With free time abounding in such a beautiful setting, it feels like triathlon training camp! Being away from the normal training setting requires a bit of adaptation, but luckily that's our coach's forte. She's even created an open water swim workout for Robyn that incorporates kayaking!
So far, the vacation is a much appreciated respite and training is fun!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Guarded Optimism

Our hometown, Durham, NC, is part of a national movement to end homelessness in ten years. This weekend, our local paper highlighted the progress that the city has made to date. The story also included a quote from our favorite triathlon cheerleader and Genesis Home Executive Director. He and other housing advocates spoke of the "guarded optimism" they feel about the campaign work so far.

The story left us thinking that guarded optimism also sounds like a racing motto! We put in the training time, prepare our equipment, show up and hope for the best...knowing that anything can happen on race day.

One month to go until our next race -- and our optimism is high.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Follow-Up: Imminent Homelessness

Here's a follow-up on our neighbors from the Oak Hill Estates who are facing imminent homelessness. Unfortunately, for Teresa Price and others, life is not getting better.

We can help ensure that places like Oak Hill Estates never again exist if we stop doing the things that perpetuate homelessness and instead advocate for affordable housing in our communities.
Photo: Ted Richardson

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Life Maintenance

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed. - Corita Kent

God is in the details. - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Eat, sleep, train. Eat, sleep, train. Eat, sleep, talk to husband, train. Eat, sleep, go to work, train. Eat, sleep, actually focus on work, train. Eat, sleep, eake out time to see friends, train....

While the last several weeks haven't been completely like this, they've felt pretty darn close. We've just complete three weeks of higher volume training and are now in the middle of a rest week -- still training every day, just training only once per day with much easier workouts. With all of this "extra time" on our hands, we're actually excited about the list of "life maintenance" items that need to be attended to over the next several days. The list looks something like this:

  • Do laundry
  • Take bike to shop for tune-up
  • Take car to shop for tune-up (Fix rear windshield wiper that's on the fritz due to bike rack placement)
  • Return call from grandma from last month (Bad grandaughters....bad....)
  • Have dinner with girlfriends (Try to wear something other than workout clothes)
  • Put away laundry wonderful husband folded two weeks ago
  • Get grad school diplomas framed (Quick - before Ray goes back to school again!)
  • Mail heart rate monitor off for new battery
  • Attend second of seven weddings taking place this summer (It's our age and stage....)
  • Run / walk Race for the Cure 5K (Zone 1-2 only!) in honor of Sandy
  • Take clothes to tailor (Our bodies have changed a lot in the last few months and nothing fits the way it used to!)
  • Clean bathrooms (Finally....)
  • Tame front yard jungle (aka Robyn & Ryan's front yard)
  • Do more laundry

Saturday, June 2, 2007

If only....

“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” - Unknown

While the quote above is true, reading about local swim star Chip Peterson certainly makes us wish for a little extra natural swimming ability (especially newbie swimmer Robyn!). Chip, who trains in Chapel Hill and off the NC coast, recently won the 5K (yes, that's kilometers) and 10K races at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships. As we train for 1K in open water, all we can say is WOW.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Now Everyone Can Train Wisely

“Coaching is a conversation, a dialogue, whereby the coach and the individual interact in a dynamic exchange to achieve goals, enhance performance and move the individual forward to greater success.” - Zeus and Skiffington

Since February, we've been lucky enough to benefit from Sage's coaching expertise, sense of humor, and balanced approach to life. Now, everyone can benefit from her wisdom and enthusiasm!
Check out her new book: The Athlete's Guide to Yoga!