Last week was my favorite so far in 2016.
This is why.
A few weeks ago my mom emailed me to let me know that one of the members of her book club, my 4th grade math teacher, Mrs. Hill, suggested my book, 35 by 35: A Runner’s Quest, as the reading for the month of May. Unfortunately, I was at work when I first read her message, so I had to restrain my glee and not let out the loud, confused, and excited scream, “WHAT?!!” that I yearned to so badly. Luckily, I think I just whispered it slightly above the acceptable “inside voices” decibel level, so no one came running down the hallway to my rescue. In any case, I was thrilled, surprised, and humbled that these women wanted to read my book, and even more so that my mom thought my writing was good enough to allow her friend’s to read it. I know my mom believes in me, she has always supported my writing, but she is an English teacher at heart, and her approval has always mattered most. Therefore, this invitation was the highest praise I could ever imagine as a writer.
The date was set for Sunday, June 5th. I thought that date would be fine for me, except I might be a little wary because I was planning to race in the OC triathlon that morning in Mission Viejo, and try to sell my book at the race expo the Saturday before, so I may have been haggard by Sunday night, but I knew I could rally and show up strong for these lovely ladies.
Next, I scrambled throughout the week or so before the race gathering all of the needful items for my big book sale: Copies of my book, banner of my cover art, a Square adapter to go into my phone for those who wanted to pay with plastic, so on and so forth. I also came up with a brilliant marketing idea of giving away a Picky Bar with each sale of my book. I love Picky Bars, and I thought the allure of their nutritious and delicious bars would act like cat nip to the athletic crowd that strolled by my booth. So, I had to secure a loot of those as well. In essence, there was a lot to do before the weekend. Moreover, I did accomplish all of the needful Ironman training planned for the week, but since it was race week, each work out was trimmed down to account for the smashing I would give myself on Sunday.
The day of book selling was terrific. I sat in the sunshine next to my best friend meeting new friends, and catching up with old ones, all while sharing my message of setting and going after goals. Did I sell many books? No. I sold one. It turns out, people don’t like to spend money. At least, not on books being sold at a triathlon race expo. Therefore, I gave many books away, because people do like free stuff. Did the day pan out like in thought it would? No, but my goal was to spread the word about my book, and I do feel that was accomplished.
The race on Sunday was extra special because I would be swimming, biking, and running in front of my sister Mary. She lives about an hour south of Mission Viejo and offered to drive up and cheer me on when she first heard about the race a few months ago. However, I was unaware that she was pregnant with her second bundle of joy back then, so I was a little nervous for her welfare in the days leading up to the race because it can be stressful navigating parking, etc., with road closures that come along with triathlons, and I didn’t want to cause her undue stress. Thankfully, she played the cool big sister card the night before assuring me she would find her way just fine, and was excited to see me in my element. Thank you, Mary!
On to the race! The swim was a spooky adventure. We had zero visibility because of the early morning fog, but the water was a toasty 75 degrees, so even though I couldn’t see where I was going, it was a pleasurable early morning soak in Lake Mission Viejo.
The 40K bike ride was a dashing combination of beauty and vigor. The first 5 miles were uphill, which I adore, and the last few miles twisted and turned around a narrow, dusty bike path that popped out on at the transition area quicker than I expected. Always a fun surprise. Then it was a slower than most, but fast for me transition into my running gear and off I went down the path toward the finish.
The first two miles of the course were a gentle, lovely downhill, but then it got interesting. We turned left into a park and then straight uphill through a bark-laden trail that slowed my paced to a determined trudge. I felt like I was back in high school running on a cross country course because of the constant change in terrain, but it was so much fun! I wish more triathlon run course were as respectful to runners. Thank you Scott and Kari!
The finish line waited around one final hard left turn, then on through lines of fans on either side of the pier yelling their guts out for us to finish strong. I was extra motivated to sprint hard to the end because I did not want to disappoint two of my favorite fans, Mary and Marion. It was so special to have their support, and I tried my best to make them proud.
After the awards ceremony, the drive to Claremont, and a quick cat nap, I was ready for the most prestigious event of my life. At least, I thought I was ready. On the drive over to the hostess’s house my stomach turned, and I lost my breath, because I was nervous about letting down my mom. Then as soon as the door flew open I realized I had no need to worry, because these ladies were exceptional human beings, and a wonderful audience. They were kind, energetic, and bursting with questions to ask me about running, nutrition, writing, my siblings, my mom, triathlon, Marion, you name it. They said my book was funny, inspiring, and flowed with ease. It was easily my two favorite hours all year. The best part of all was that I was able to share this special evening in my writing life with my mom.
As we were saying our good-byes, I watched my mom talking with her friends, and felt such genuine caring, and mutual respect among them; the signs of real friendship. I am so happy to know she has these remarkable women in her life, because I know they feel lucky to have her in theirs, too. What a great way to cap off the week.