Sunday, February 26, 2012

If I Have to Have a Stepdaughter...

My mom is in her 84th year. I remember thinking this time last year that there's no way she would still be with us in a year from now or even six months for that matter. I'm guessing that most of my siblings felt the same given the weakness of her heart but she's still embracing life. She had an appointment last Thursday to meet with a woman to go over her living-will and finalize some other end of life details. Her green Ford Escort still doing the job of 'escorting' her around.

It's not an easy subject to bring up but I was curious about her thoughts of dying. I had the sense that she was comfortable talking about it and so we did recently. She said it's not something she dwells on but given the appointment she just had regarding her living-will, she's been thinking about it more than usual. She went on to say that she's not at all afraid to leave this life and I could tell from the way she said it that she wasn't trying to convince herself of that. Her bags are packed and she's ready to go whenever the time comes. I admire her for her calm and reasoned spirit at this phase in her life.

One thing that somewhat surprised me is that she's made arrangements to donate her body to science; I believe through the University of Minnesota. They'll likely use her remains with their medical students. She said they'll return her ashes to us some 18 months later. Honestly, I'm not sure what I think about hanging on to someone's ashes but should I decide to do that there's a friend of ours at Foci who blows the most beautiful urns for both human and pet remains. Or maybe by that time we'll be proficient enough to make our own.

I had my first hard effort on my CompuTrainer on Friday during a 3-hour ride. I can't say that time flew by because it didn't but I was so preoccupied with all the distractions the trainer provides that I wasn't at all focused on the time. No, I won't be out in the sun with the wind in my face this riding season (and I'll really miss that) but I think there's a good chance I'll find myself in even better riding shape because of the way I'll be pushing myself indoors. I can't say for sure but I think my lungs still have a little way to go before they're back to full capacity. I'm still being careful not to push them too hard for too long but I'm not always as good about that as I should be. I tend to get a little caught up in the moment sometimes.

I began using GPS to track my rides 6 years ago when I first bought a Garmin Edge 305 and then later an Edge 705. Since using GPS I've uploaded every ride I've ridden to Garmin's site where I can go back and look at them in all their detail. An aspect of the CompuTrainer that I'm appreciating more than ever is the ability to import previous rides from Garmin's site and after a quick conversion, input them into the database of my CompuTrainer to be ridden in my simulated riding world in the basement. I'm so impressed with everything about this trainer. I can't imagine a better indoor riding experience.

Here's a video I put together showing some of the cool functions of the CompuTrainer but read the next paragraph first.

In the video you'll see a 'metal man'. That's a pacer I can set out on the course at whatever predetermined wattage I want him to ride at. I can also speed him up or slow him down should I feel the need. I flipped through the various screens to show some of the options for viewing the data. The Spin Scan is a very cool feature that allows me to see how evenly (or in my case, how unevenly) I'm distributing force on the pedals throughout the stroke. You can also purchase actual video of rides and use them to train with. The last half of the video is me riding the Oceanside, CA triathlon course. Just as in the computer-generated courses, the video progresses at whatever speed I'm riding. If I stop, the video stops. The load generator that is the heart of the CompuTrainer does an amazing job of simulating the needed power to maintain whatever speed I'm trying to given the terrain. Notice the 11.5% grade hill toward the end of the video and what happens to my heart rate as I climb it. Very, very real!

The University of Minnesota at Rochester (where Rachel attends college) doesn't have any sports teams but they do have a ballroom dance team/club. Rachel came into town with Maddy and Lada for a few hours Friday night. Just enough time to have pizza and visit a little before heading off to bed. They had to be up at 4:30 to prepare for a ballroom dance competition in Wayzata held all day and evening yesterday and most of today. I'm so amazed at her and her friends. I think back to myself at their age and I see no comparisons to be made whatsoever. None. They're so motivated and so mature.

I spent the morning and afternoon yesterday watching the dances and filming Rachel and a few of her friends. Tammy was stuck in the office so at least she'll have the videos to see. Rachel danced with her instructor, Jeremy, four times and in each of those dances they took 1st place. I'm very proud of her but then anybody who's been reading here for just about any length of time already knows that.

If I have to have a stepdaughter in my life I think I got stuck with a pretty good one!

Edit...I just got a call from Rachel...she was so excited to tell me that she won 1st place in both the Jack and Jill (randomly selected couples) Cha cha and Waltz competitions. She figures there were at least 40 couples in each dance! This is really big. I watched this competition play out last year and it takes talent to make it to the end...and then to do it twice! I wish I had been there!!

Oh, and I just got a text from her "2nd in salsa :-)"


Rachel said...

There were a total of about 60 couples to begin with for each jack and jill. I was really fortunate to be randomly paired with some good leads. It a little luck of the draw but I had so much fun with it! One of my favorite parts of competition.

Thanks stepfather :)

Kevin said...

No, thank you, stepdaughter!