Thursday, July 31, 2008
The tree house vacation easily ranks as the top family vacation we've had in the almost 13 years of marriage! Essentially, it's like living on a hippie compound without the hallucinogens! We stayed in the Swiss Family treehouse which had a lower deck with a rope bridge over to the kid's bunk room. Above that was the "suite" where K and I slept. Waking up in the morning, looking out the open windows through the branches of this magnificent oak tree was incredible! During the days... we just hung out! It was one of those places where you could just let the kids go and explore... with minimal supervision... and they could just play... just be out in nature and play! Imagine. Be kids. There were other families staying in other treehouses so there was no shortage of other rug-rats for them to hang with. So amazing! In addition to a lot of "hangout" time... there were also activities like horseback riding and zip-lining to be done! You guys should have seen Tom on those zip-lines! TOTALLY fearless! Really fun to watch him just go for it. Jack on the other hand was scared out of his WITS! That was a good bonding moment for he and I... we got him through some really tough spots together... and he did the ENTIRE course despite his sometimes overwhelming fear of heights! That's my BOY! Lila and Kathryn opted for the horseback riding... which didn't float my boat but they had an incredible time! SO... to sum it up... that time with my family was invaluable... and won't soon be forgotten. We'll be going back... I guarantee it.
Training-wise? I think I'm fat. Ba Ha HA! Isn't that laughable? Not so much in body... but mentally... I'm totally fat. Its really weird. I have acne, I feel ugly and fat, and I'm a bit cranky at times... yes... just like PMS. It's perfect timing for me to feel like that... because I also feel like starting to train again. I'm hungry. I emaild Liz the other night and my heart was literally racing... I'm excited to get going! So. Essentially, starting next Tuesday, I'll be entering a 3 month build to the World Championships 70.3 in November! I'm thrilled! Speaking of that race... is there anyone out there that wants to travel with me? Sally! is coming with me for SURE... if anyone else is interested... lemme know!
Enjoy some pictures from out treehouse extrazaganza!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Every summer I take at least one of the kiddos on an overnight business trip with me! This was Tom's first time and I couldn't have asked for a better travel partner! Now, I say business trip VERY lightly. Yes... I actually DO get a little work done while we're away... but mostly, the trip is about a little one on one time with whichever kiddo gets to come along. With three in the house, time with just one is limited... so its a really really special thing to get almost a full 2 days alone with any of them!
Our very busy work schedule included: the consumption of massive amounts of gum, root beer, hamburgers, candy, and "junky cereal". A couple of trips to the community pool as WELL as the hotel pool, breakfast in bed while watching cartoons, dinner in a "fancy" restaurant, burping and farting REALLY loud, more gum, romping at the river park and more burping. That's what happens when you travel with a workaholic like myself... MASSIVE amounts of work! We had a great time and I'm sure both of us will remember it for year's to come!
Training continues as normal... which means light and easy. I'm a bit uh... BORED! But I know that this is exactly what my family and I need right now
In the spirit of light training and family time... we'll all be taking off today to go hug MORE trees! Literally. We'll be living in a treehouse for the next 4 days! Isn't that COOL!? I'm SO excited!
Hope you're all happy and healthy! Thanks for reading!<
p.s. Is it just me, or does everyone occationally want to take a long road trip in a convertible along the coast while singing REALLY loud and smoking cigarettes? I'm just askin...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
is off to camp! For a week! Ok ok... not an ENTIRE week... but 2 nights and 3 days worth! Ugh! How the HELL did this happen? Jesus Christo!
I blinked... no... not you Blink... but I blinked and then she's standing there saying, "Daddy? Can you not dance when you're doing dishes? It's kind of embarrassing." Am I being dramatic? Yes. Yes I am. I guess "active recovery" for an entire month gives one time to reflect. I just love that girl.
On an entirely different note! Looks like Moonpie and CindyJo both conquered IMLP! Great JOB you two! It was fun watching your splits throughout the day!
Erich got 2nd in his AG down at Vineman! Bryan got 2nd in HIS AG! Beth? Well... I dunno yet but James emailed and said that she "killed it" The athlete tracking was down for this race... which absolutely made me CRAZY! But oh well! I'm also wondering how Ironmomjenny did! I guess I'll just have to wait.
Yet another week of light training for me. I'm planning on getting on the bike this week, I've been doing zone 1 runs in the heat for between 30 to 45 minutes, and my swims have been mellow and around 2,000 meters. All good things keeping my body active but definitely keeping it meeeeeellllllllooooooowwwwww. I'll be ready when next month comes around.
Oh! Speaking of the bike. Yes. She has been neglected since Lake Stevens. I've washed her and rubbed her... but I haven't yet taken her out of the road. I was thinking about her the other day, and I realized... I don't have a NAME for her! Holy CRAP! How disrespectful is THAT!? I've been with her almost 2 years and I've failed to name her! SO, I'd like it to be known to everyone out there... that my bike's name... is SALLY! Yup. The exclamation point IS included in the name... so don't forget it when referring to her. She's very very VERY special to me. We have a unique, once in a lifetime connection. It's pure. It's real. It will ALWAYS be there... regardless. I love that girl. Oh... did I mention that I thoroughly enjoy riding her? Yeah. I do.
Thanks for reading! Hope you're all happy and healthy!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
... is the color blue. It is the favorite color of many people. But, in my opinion, very few can wear it successfully. I happen to know someone that can. So neener neener neener. Hm.
Ok! SO! I'm still in full recovery... mostly from that tragically LONG race report! Hee hee. I'm also taking the month of July completely OFF from structured training. Yup. That's right. NO SCHEDULE! I'm essentially swimming, biking, and running when and where and however long I feel like it. What I noticed after about a week of VERY little activity immediately following Lake Stevens, was that I turn into a bit MORE of a head-case. I know, I know... hard to believe but it's true. Kathryn actually said to me, "Can't you call Liz and tell her that you've made a mistake? That taking an unstructured month was a bad idea?" Hilarious... sort of.
July also happens to be a month FULL of family fun and festivities! We just got back from a little jaunt into the Oregon woods at Silver Falls. We hugged pretty much every tree we could and powered through what we like to refer to as, "The Batan Death Hike"... covering 10 miles of wooded trails and viewing no less than 7 of the 10 gorJESUS falls! Guess what? I only had to carry Tom, the 5 year old, for a mile and quarter of that hike! What an ANIMAL he is! Anywho... enjoy some pics from the trip.
Hope you're all happy, healthy, and learning something new!
Thanks for reading!
Friday, July 11, 2008
... part III... the run!
Do you ever just want to look pretty on the run? You know what I mean... good form, nice poetic stride, relaxed face. Let me tell ya... I looked PRETTY coming out of T2 and passing through the cheering crowd! I was pretty for a quarter mile. Then guess what? CRAMP! I'm not talking not about a little side-stitch... I'm talking about a full-blown seizure of my right hamstring! I went from beauty queen to troll in a fraction of a second! My mind was SCREAMING! "NO! NononononoNO! Not so early. Not yet. NO!". I changed my stride up and slowed way down. I closed my eyes for a second and concentrated on relaxing, breathing, rhythm. While my eyes were closed... I felt and heard people passing me. As I opened my eyes, I scanned left calves for ages... yep... TONS of people had made it past me. "Don't PANIC! This WILL resolve". Was I dehydrated? Was my bike fit THAT off? Did Coach Liz really do such a horrible job of preparing me? Do you notice a common theme surrounding Liz? I did a LOT of blaming! Its SO easy to point the finger isn't it?!
OH! Wait. ADD moment. Is anyone doing the LifeTime Fitness Series next year? In Minnesota perhaps? Lemme know. I'm considering it... seriously. Good times... ok... back to the race ramble.
OH! Wait. ADD moment. Is anyone doing the LifeTime Fitness Series next year? In Minnesota perhaps? Lemme know. I'm considering it... seriously. Good times... ok... back to the race ramble.
I reached the fist aid station and slowed to a walk. I took in 1 gel, 2 cups of gatorade, 1 cup of water and started to put together some semblance of a jog. Up ahead I saw a guy with an orange singlet and a big 36 on his left calf. "You're mine dude. Game ON." Despite my best efforts... he drifted away. I was completely dejected. I couldn't believe this was happening to me... on the RUN of all freakin things! I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and trying to find a pace and stride that would keep the cramp in my hammie at bay. The next aid station came up and I took in 1 gatorade and 1 water while trotting by. I was beginning to pick-up some speed but nowhere NEAR where I had planned to be. I lost track of my splits but I truly believe that the first 4 to 5 miles clicked by at an 8 min to 8:30/mile pace. I'm not joking. Around mile 5 1/2, I was desperate to lay blame on someone. I was in a LOT of pain. I was really suffering and I felt weak. Weak physically yes... but more mentally dejected. I was being passed consistently and I just couldn't hold on... to anyone.
In real-life, I'm pretty freakin good at self-analysis and I'm definitely less likely to point the finger at someone else than I am to point it back at myself. This was NOT the case at this point in the race. Here's a brief synopsis of the rant that was taking place in my head: (please excuse the language), "Are you fucking KIDDING me? I KNEW I wasn't prepared to do the race that I wanted to do! Liz didn't have me do enough! I have done EVERYTHING she's asked me to do and its NOT good enough! If she had trained me properly this wouldn't be happening! I wouldn't be in a TON of pain and making an ASS out of myself! FUCK! I'm totally firing her ass as soon as this race is over!" Now, just typing that was really hard for me. I'm actually quite embarrassed. That's a cheap, chicken-shit way out... blaming someone else... but I did it... and I did it with a vengeance.
The aid station came up at mile 6, I took in 1 cup of gatorade... and something clicked. My head cleared. I looked to my right and I saw the lake. I looked up ahead of me, and I saw and heard the tremendous crowd. I passed through the throng of cheering people and I heard, "He looks rough." I'm serious. I heard that... I looked over... and it was like someone had slapped me across the face. "Liz never said you would be comfortable. You're not supposed to be comfortable Rob. This is your race. Liz prepared you. She did an outstanding job. If you want it... it's YOUR FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY. Its your race. You have to make it your's." I headed out onto the second loop and I was a new guy. My pace came down... way down... I was running in the 6's. I saw two guys in my AG up ahead just approaching the one hill before mile 7... I caught them... I moved slightly in front of them to make sure they saw my calf... then I broke them. I kicked sand in their face. I was smiling again. I could hear their labored breathing... hear their cadence increase... and then they would fade. I did this at LEAST 8 more times before I saw him, 36 year old orange singlet guy. "There you are."
I smiled. I saw him immediately after passing through the crowd again and started heading up the steady incline out of town. I had my eyes on the back of his head... nothing else. Mile 9 approached and... my right hamstring seized up. I heard myself yell, "NOT NOW!!!!!" which got some odd looks from those around me. I dropped pace, lengthened my stride, kept my eyes on orange singlet guy. As I reached the top of the hill... the cramp subsided. I tentatively pushed the pace. It held. I reached the turn-around at the top of the hill, grabbed some gatorade, and hit it.
Form, slobber, loud-breathing, gutteral noises coming from my diaphram... I didn't give a flying fahooie! I was either going to blow up and blow up big or I was going to have a spectacular finish. Forget about time. Forget about place. Forget about holding yourself in check. Go. Freakin GO! I FLEW by 3 more guys and at mile 12... I caught and DESTROYED orange singlet guy. Nothing personal.
I don't remember the last mile. All I remember is turning the corner into the shoot... checking over my shoulder... and slowing to a slow jog. I saw the clock... and didn't care. I was smiling, laughing, yelling to the crowd, tearing up a bit... by far... in my short tenure in this sport... that was the most satisfying finish I've ever had. I broke a mental barrier out there... and that simple flip of the switch just after mile 6... made the entire day.
Let me just say something about my Coach, Elizabeth Fedofsky. I love that girl. She knows what she's doing. She knew exactly what I needed to put together a good race. She prepared me without injuring me, overtaxing me, and making things tough on my family. She is an OUTSTANDING coach... and if you're in the market... without thought or hesitation I would HIGHLY recommend her! I'm sorry I was being such a bitch during the race Liz... and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR HELP THIS SEASON SO FAR!
Here's the times:
Total Time: 4:57:55
Overall: 88 of 881 finishers
So this brings me to the World Championships 70.3. I struggled with this. There were 7 slots available. I had mixed feelings about taking a roll-down slot. Then I thought, when do you EVER get to go to the world champs of ANYTHING and compete??? I took it and I'm happy I did!
Thanks for taking the time to read through my blabber.... I really appreciate it.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
part II... the bike!
I know you all REALLY dislike the multiple-chapter race report... but too freakin bad! There is only so much rambling I can do in one day!
Coming out of T1 I knew I was in for it. Coach Liz and I had talked about my approach to the bike... and I knew I was in for pain. Not only is this a very challenging course, but Liz wanted me to go after it... take a risk... and accept whatever would come next. "Don't let people just blow by you... go with them." Uh. Ok. If you say so. I knew I could go hard on the bike... but what would that mean for my run? Have I mentioned that it's hard for me to let go and have faith in what those that know more than me tell me to do? Well it is... VERY hard for me... but that's exactly what I did... I surrendered to the plan.
The first 15 minutes I just settled in. I was passed by one of "those guys" with the bitchin bikes and mean face in transition... and went with him, holding on without much effort. I then started munching on half a Power Bar. Ok. Yes, they're yummy... but it took me a full 5 minutes to get the muther hubber down! Irritating! My power was holding steady and at the upper-end of my limit for the race. I felt strong so I just went with it. Then I was passed by, "clanky bike hairy leg sorta chubby guy", or "CBHLSCG". Yeah. Him. My ego SCREAMED! "HEY! What the HELL!? I shave my legs! He can't be stronger than ME!" Bah ha HA! Seriously... that's what I said in my head! I actually giggled... out loud... at myself. I'm a dork. Anyway, despite VERY hairy legs... he pulled away only to be seen again late in the 2nd loop.
A note on nutrition: I was planning on 1/2 a Power Bar at 15 min in plus one gel at :45, 1:15, 1:45, and 2:15 drinking one 24oz bottle of CarboPro + Nuun every hour. After the Power Bar... I began to hurp... yes, "hurp". I dunno what the technical term is... but I was burping up a LOT of whatever I took in. Not really puking... but burping up enough stuff that I had to spit it out. I just felt FULL! Not comfortable... but I knew that if I had a prayer at a decent run... I had to get the stuff in... so I did. I'd like to formally apologize to the dude with the fancy bike, wheels, n helmet that caught the majority of what came out of my nose during one particular hurp... sorry dude.
This course is HILLY. People say that about all sorts of courses... but when Luke Bell comes out and says that its perhaps the toughest bike course at this distance in the United States... that pretty much solidifies it for me. My bike and me... we do really well on flats and downhills. Uphill? Different story on this day. People would come around me... I'd try to hang... they'd pull away... I'd blow by them on the subsequent downhill and flats... giggle some and smile... then they'd come around me again on the next hill! Couldn't do anything about it... so I just rolled with it. The first loop came to an end and as I was heading out again... I thought, "Uh oh. I'm tired." Which is about the exact time I started to blame Coach Liz. More on that later.
The second loop began and I looked at my power. Despite my best efforts, I saw the average begin to drop... not by much... but just enough to make me concerned. "Hold ON Rob... don't be a fucking pussy!" (please excuse the expletives). Don't you just LOVE the mental games you play with yourself in these races? To make matters worse, I caught up to a 26 year old kid that would NOT stop talking smack and I could NOT shake him... for the rest of the bike! ARG! I wanted to punch that guy in the neck... but I didn't... and I just played leapfrog with him and tried to drop him every chance I got. In retrospect, I'm glad he was there. Without him I probably would have lost focus and actually listened to the voice in my head that was saying, "You suck Rob. What the hell are you doing out here? You think you're sooooooo cool! Now look... you're floundering on this bike and your run is going to suck ASS!" SO... thank you annoying, smack-talking young guy! I love you.
At mile 52 I was totally done with the stupid bike! There was a left turn with a sign that said, "To Transition"... and I was SO happy to see it! However... the next 4 miles were hellishly long and included a couple of fairly steep climbs. I also got to see and pass "CBHLSCG"... which was the only bright spot of the last 4 miles. I cursed a bit. I resented Coach Liz. I tried to stay positive and think about what was happening in that particular moment... rather than thinking too far forward. Within that particular moment, I was tired. My legs felt like jelly. My belly was so full of sports drink and gels that I felt like a bulemic ready to burst. I wasn't having fun... I was beginning to really suffer... which made me MORE mad at Liz. How DARE she not prepare me to do this bike course fast AND comfortable! The NERVE of that woman! The unmitigated GAUL!
Look at the picture. Do I look comfortable? Do I look like I'm having fun? Do I look like a happy boy? Nope. None of the above. Suffering... but that is what I was supposed to do right? That was the plan. Mission accomplished!
Finally, I begin to hear the crowd about a 1/2 mile out... what a relief! The crowd's energy completely snapped me out of my pitty pot! I felt good! I was ready to run my skinny chicken-shit bastard ass off! I slid my feet out of my shoes and came in hot to the dismount line... off the bike... sprint to my rack... NO BIKES THERE! YAY! Rack bike, helmet off, shoes on, grab visor and gels and I'm heading out through that amazing crowd on the hot corner!
Bike Split: 2:44;26
I was in the zone baby. The crowd disappeared. The only noise I heard was the "patpatpatpat" of my feet on the blacktop. Short, snappy strides, settle in, find your running legs... and...
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
... race report. Despite my best efforts... I'm sure this'll be long and drawn-out... so bear with me here while I ramble through pre-race and swim!
Scott, Erich and I got up to the host hotel in the early evening of the 4th and got to bed early! Sparing you the details... we got our packets the next morning and headed out to the race site for a quick preview of the swim, the bike, and the run courses.
The water was a balmy 72.5 degrees and was clean and clear. So clear in fact that you could see the buoy line for the entire length of the swim... more on that later. Swam for 15 min at the most and did a couple of race-pace efforts... felt delicious!
We hopped on our bikes and spun through the two loop run course. This was really helpful. I am just a whole heck of a lot more comfortable and confident if I know all the nooks n crannies of the course. We got some good perspective on the more challenging parts of the course.. specifically a rather long climb on the out and back section of the run. "I see you hill". Legs felt fresh and ready to go!
We then headed out in the car to drive the bike course. The odd thing is that the hills never really interpret well when you're in a car. You know what I mean? You're so out of touch with the road and the environment that you can't get the proper perspective on what the climbs are actually like. Better than having no perspective at all right? I had heard that this was a difficult/hilly bike course... and yeah... it was. Good enough! We dropped our bikes in transition, ate some dinner and headed back to the hotel.
I'm trying to think back to exactly what was going on in my head that day... and really... there wasn't a whole lot there. I can remember getting excited at points throughout the day... but I never felt nervous or anxious... not once. THAT is why I'm such a big freak the week before a race... so I don't have to deal with any of those feelings the day before. Works for me I guess.
As usual, I got up at the ass-crack of dawn. 3:15 am might seem ridiculous to you guys but to me... its perfect! I got up, showered, shaved, threw a bagel with peanut butter, some oatmeal, a banana, a Cliff Bar, and some sports drink down my gullet and was ready to go!
We got to transition at about 4:50... MORE than enough time to double check our bikes and get all our nutrition together. I don't like being rushed... so extra time is always a good thing. Plus, its fun to watch others come in to set up. There were some VERY serious faces there that morning... and what's really odd is that they really don't know how to respond when I smile and say a sincere, friendly "Hello". It REALLY throws most of them for a loop... particularly the guys. You know those guys... the one's with the perpetual glare that says, "I'm super fast and I'm going to kick your ass"... yeah... those guys. The one's with the fancy bikes that you pass and say "Hi" to on the second loop of the bike course. FUN!
Anywho, I donned my wetsuit and walked down to the water, hopped in, and warmed up. This was a wave start and my wave was set to go at 6:41 am. I felt good. Confident. Settled. Happy.
On a side note: You women out there... if you see a necklace or some earrings that you think would look good on ya... just freakin BUY the damn things ok? That's rock solid... and you deserve it!
<---- THIS is a GOOD look!
I sauntered out onto the dock then jumped in the water. I ended up talking to a guy that I had raced earlier in the season at the Duck Bill Thrill Olympic... small world. I lined up at the front left and had a surprising amount of room... why weren't these guys jockeying for position. Huh. OK. Whatever. Out of the blue, the horn blasted and we were off! Coach Liz and I had discussed the plan for the swim and I was going to do everything I could to stick to it. To sum it up... I was NOT to go balls-out. The plan was NOT to surge at the beginning but to ease into the swim, find some feet, and stick with them. I've NEVER been able to find feet... let alone stick with them but I was bound and determined to this time. Contrary to other people's experience with this swim start... I had ZERO issues! As a matter of fact... I remember thinking, "Hey! Why aren't I getting pummeled?" I immediately found feet just to the left of the buoy-line and hung on... I felt like they weren't moving quickly enough so I went around and found more feet. Then it donned on me: "This is a race. This is a 70.3! HEY! I'm racing in a 70.3! This is freakin COOL!" Isn't that odd? I was just so relaxed... maybe too relaxed? I dunno. I only sighted 5 times the entire swim. I was on the buoy line the entire time... concentrating on my pull and rotation... finding feet... leaving feet... passing people with different color caps. I never once felt taxed or overworked... even when I'd surge to get around someone... I was just comfortable. Not having to look up at ALL basically, didn't hurt a bit. At the water exit I waited until my hands dug into the bank before I stood up and then took off at a relative sprint. Looking around heading into T1 there were a TON of bikes left on my rack. Considering I was racked next to all the rest of my AG competitors I thought this was a good sign.
Swim Time: 32:45
Overall I'm happy-ish with this swim. The thing I'm MOST happy about is gaining experience in drafting as well as pacing. Everything was even-keel from beginning to end. I would like to see that time get down to 30 flat or below... and I know that's well within my reach.
Wetsuit off, number belt on, glasses on, helmet on GO! Shoes were clipped in already so I hit the mount line and started to go to work...
Before I ramble on and on and ON about myself and my race this last Sunday... I need to thank my family. That's them up above ... in case you couldn't guess.
I want to thank Jack for helping me keep some perspective and looking at things in a different way. For an 11 1/2 year old young man... he's incredibly insightful and wise. Thanks Jack.
I want to thank Lila for being the consummate cheerleader and smiley face on the sidelines, shouting louder than any 8 year old little girl should be able to! Thanks Lila.
I want to thank Tom for constantly asking, "Dad! Are you tria-fah-loning today?!", and "Did you win?". At 5 years old... he understands the need to compete. Thanks Tom.
I want to thank my wife Kathryn for picking up the slack at times on the household front and supporting me without question. Thanks Kathryn.
I want to thank my coach, Elizabeth. Without her help so far this year, I would have been completely lost. She was calm and patient with me... which is NOT easy. Thanks Liz.
Thanks to you guys too. All you creepy internet folks. Its unbelievable to me how much love and support I've felt from all of you. Thanks creepy internet folks.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
... who this dude is? His name is Franco Sarto... and if your a woman or have a woman in your life... or perhaps a PDW... that likes good shoes... you DEFINITELY need to check this dude's stuff out. SAUCEY!
Yeah. That was pretty random huh?
Anywho! Packin a bit today. Still eating clean. One last quick n snappy brick today... and then we're OFF! Total rest day tomorrow! Tomorrow afternoon I'll be traveling up to Olympia, WA with Scott and Eric... I think you guys know those names. We'll stay there overnight and then continue on up to Everett, WA for the race. Apparently there's a "mandatory" briefing that we'll attend, then we'll get checked in, drop off the bikes and drive the course. Can't WAIT!
Things have calmed considerably in my head. Like I said... its the normal process for me. Not really too much fun to be in the middle of it... but I'm glad it ends before the race!
Hope you're all happy and healthy and whole! Thanks for taking the time to read! If you're celebrating something... anything... maybe a birthday or something. Have a GREAT time! Appreciate what and who you have in your life... eat a cupcake or 4... go to a rodeo... and...
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
... I get a few days prior to a race. I guess that some of that can be expected... but gimme a break! Think think think THINK! It's like a hamster in one of those clear rolly-balls... going and going and going! Except that this particular hamster is on his 5th day of a good crack run. Seriously. Although I will say that the picture to the left assumes a still, pensive, calm reflection... that doesn't exactly sum me up the week before a race that MEANS something to me. Despite my best efforts to breathe... and relax and focus... I have to go through a period of chaos within my own head. That way, when race day comes... I AM calm. I CAN breathe.
So let me just say this... to those that I know and love and respect and adore. Both my family and the people that have come to be my most dear and closest friends... Bear with me. It'll be over soon.