September 2013 Archives

Iron Man Weekend Part 4: Closing Thoughts

The Iron Man was life changing, and not just for Fuzzy. We spent so much time planning and thinking and waiting and dreaming and Fuzzy spent so much time working and working and working and training and working so hard to reach this goal. And it really brought to light for me so many amazing and important things. Here's some of them in no particular order.

Life is incredible. Humans are incredible. We can do anything we set our minds to. I am sure Fuzzy was terrified when he clicked that registration button over a year ago, and now the event is only a memory. Hard work and dedication and commitment to a project is everything--everything is doable.

Time keeps on going, no matter what. We often are so goal oriented. "If I can get through this week, then..." Well, guess what, you can, and you will get through this week, that week, anything. As long as you don't give up, you will get through anything. Scary events in the future will turn out to be just one of hopefully many days in your life.

What is important in life? We have existential crises all the time. What are we doing? What is the point? What is important? But you know what is important? Life! And the things you do in it. Work/your job isn't everything, especially if you are doing work that you don't love and that doesn't nourish your heart and soul. The people you surround yourself with are important, the family you are given and the "family" you choose to surround yourself with are important. The things you experience are important. Finding joy in daily life is important. Laughing is important.  Doing things out of your comfort zone is important. Challenging yourself to embrace each day as a gift and to do things you are afraid of is golden. Striving for something more is incredible.

Life is a gift. It is what we have. We can't ever give up.

The Reid family has had a lot of sadness over the years. It feels like it has all been death and sickness all the time, and for the most part, that is what is has been. But beautiful things have happened. Major life changes, major discoveries, major developments. I am so blessed by the inspiration that I have in my husband and in my brother and sister-in-law, who each took major leaps of faith. Fuzzy challenged himself to do one of the world's hardest athletic events. Christopher and Katie moved across the world to live in an impoverished country. They each took a major risk, and in seeing their actions, I am inspired to do the same.

We often live in fear. But that is so unneccessary. Why are we so afraid? And of what? Anything unknown is scary until it becomes known. How does it become known? You do it. I am choosing to not be afraid of anything. Of sickness, of my own success, of my own limitations, of the potential of failure, of others. I am going to live in the moment and love who I am. It is all I can do, and it is awesome.

The Iron Man brought all of this to light for me. On the surface, yes, I was just the wife of a guy who decided to do a big triathlon. But the whole event meant so much more. It is a symbol of living life to the fullest. It is going to be hard, but it is worth it. 

Life is worth it.

Fuzzy and I are forever changed. And the exciting thing now is the question, "What's next?" The possibilities are endless.

Iron Man Weekend Part 3: Run

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After we saw Fuzzy bike through Verona, we headed back to Madison to catch the start of the marathon. We stopped by the room to pick some things up, then headed to the "Run Out." There was a couple across the chute that were cheering on all the runners. They were clapping and saying "Good job, runners! No more hills! It's all flat from this point out!" I realized that they were wearing "finishers" jackets, so I congratulated them. A little later on, Jan commented on the fact that we were at the 10 hour mark, and they were already finished and showered and changed--they were pros! I thought the fact that they stuck around and cheered was super cool.

We were expecting an appearance from Fuzzy at about 5:30pm for the start of the marathon, but at right about 5:00pm, I saw this beautiful vision in the distance:

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Yay Fuzzy!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

We had a quick chat, learned that he was feeling great, and then he took off!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Goodbye, Fuzzy!

Since Jan and Jeremy had to head back to California, we decided to celebrate with a delicious cocktail from Merchant, which is where Fuzzy took me for our anniversary this year. Super yum!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

After we parted ways Kristen and I went to go pick up Fuzzy and Shaun's bikes and race bags. There was a check-out system for friends and family of the athletes, which was brilliant, because it saved a lot of time at the end of the night. We were able to get things quickly--those Iron Man organizers had a GREAT system in place. I got a nice grease temporary tattoo out of it:

Iron Man Madison Weekend

From there, Kristen and I got a much-needed meal. It was great catching up with her, and also, our food was amazing. When we finished, I estimated that Fuzzy was most likely at about the halfway point, so we walked directly out of the restaurant and waited for a few minutes. And then, there he was!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Smiling and looking adorable, I might add! He even told me that he expected it to be about another 3 hours (it was about 8:00pm) and he told me to go get a beer. So sweet! He was worried about me! I told him that I was fine, and to have a great second half. He took off yet again!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

From then, we waited for Shaun to finish, which he did!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Two-time Iron Man!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Kristen and Shaun

Then, was the waiting game! I was a nervous wreck! But then, right before 11:00pm, I saw my amazing husband! 

Fuzzy Gerdes at Ironman Wisconsin 2013

And then, I heard this!

Fuzzy, YOU are an Iron Man!

Fuzzy Gerdes at Ironman Wisconsin 2013

He did it He did it He did it!! I was (and am) the world's proudest wife! His time was 15 hours, 53 minutes and 50 seconds. INCREDIBLE.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Proud Iron Man Wife!

He ate some food, and we headed back to the room to soak in the whirlpool that was waiting for us in our room, and we shared stories of the day. Then, we (well, I) got a nice night's sleep. Fuzzy was keyed up and then kinda achy. We still had activities to do in the morning, such as go shopping for a "Finisher's Jacket of his own. :)

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Best Friends and Finishers.

(Still more to come soon.)

Sweetie Maude

SweetieMaude.jpg

The Satanist Stylist of State Street is going to be at Studio Be Thursday nights at 7:30pm from September 26th to Halloween night.  That means we open this week!

There are a million reasons to see this show. It is hilarious. The music is gorgeous. It is written by the lovely Sabrina Harper and the darling Margaret Hicks. The costumes are stunning (thank you, Jean, for the help!), and the set and props are to die for (pun intended). The actors are amazing, including the wonderful and talented and beautiful Rebecca Hanson in the title role. I guarantee you with laugh and get chills and maybe even cry if you are the type to do that. And if you like Sweeney Todd, something tells me you will like this, too...

Tickets are $15. Show time is 7:30pm. Buy tickets online here!

See you there!

Feeling the Love

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It's been an awesome week of confidence building around the Reid Gerdes household lately. Here's a brief wrap up of why:

Today I am the featured Interviewee on the awesome blog of my awesome friend Claire Zulkey! Check it out, won't you? I love it! Thanks, Claire!

Also this week, Claire interviewed Fuzzy about his experience in the Iron Man!

Also also on Zulkey.com, last month she interviewed Steve Gadlin, who gave me a very lovely shout-out. Thank you, Steve!

Over on Margaret's blog, she talks about Sweetie Maude, and also says some very kind words about yours truly. Thank you, Margaret! You are amazing, too!

Gee whiz, guys! Thank you so much!

Iron Man Weekend Part 2: Bike

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After we saw Fuzzy exit the swim, we headed to the other side of Monona Terrace so that we could see Fuzzy start the bike. We stopped for a second to pet a pup, and when we got to the exit, we only had to wait a moment before we saw him coming down the ramp!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Then the adventure truly began. The event organized a shuttle service to take people to the town of Verona, where there would be a festival set up for the bike course. Jeremy and Jan, however, offered to drive over there so we could try to find him as much as we could. I am SO grateful to the two of them, cause they took on all the driving, navigating, and math of Fuzzy's pace time to try to maximize the amount of times we saw him, while I focused on updating friends and family and also figuring out the course. There were cars parked all over the sides of the roads in the country rolling hills, so it would be easy to pick a spot, pull over and cheer. The first time we stopped, we realized that he had already passed us, but we knew he wasn't far. We drove along the road until we spotted his blue jersey. Jeremy advised that we not call his name so as not to startle him, so we drove a bit past him and popped out the window. Fuzzy graciously acknowledged the spectators in the car, then saw it was us and got a huge grin. Lucky for us, the course was about to go to a place where the road was closed, so we saw him just in time. The volunteer there told us we couldn't continue, and I said "That's ok, we just found who we were looking for." and he said "yes, go Fuzzy." Hilarious. We decided that it was time for some lunch, so we headed to the festival for a delicious lunch of brats and chips and sodas.

From there, we decided to track him at about mile 75. Traffic was nutty cause the bikers had the right-of-way on every intersection and so many roads were closed, but the race volunteers let us drive the route. Jeremy was a rockstar in giving the athletes some distance and being very careful on the narrow, curvy, hilly roads. Finally, we found a spot atop a hill with corn on either side, and got out of the car to cheer on the people who needed a boost. After a few minutes, there was Fuzzy!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

He was tired, but doing great.

We chatted for a second, I gave him a few kisses, and he was off yet again!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

We headed back to Verona to catch him one last time on the bike. Jeremy and Jan had an unsuccessful experience with some chewable fruit-flavored fish oil.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

But then, after a little bit, he zoomed on through!

Then we headed back to the city to prepare for the start of the marathon.

Iron Man Weekend Part 1: Swim

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Oh man. Iron Man weekend. I am going to tell the story as best I can here on the ole blog.

We arrived in Madison Friday afternoon so that Fuzzy could check in and listen to a course talk. The course talk was also fascinating for me, because it gave me an idea of what the athletes' days would be like. Since I have completed a number of triathlons at this point (though none come close to Iron Man level), it was easy for me to visualize what it would be like. But also, impossible to imagine what it would be like.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

We ate an early dinner with Kristen and Shaun, and then hung out in our hotel room with my friends Kelly and Jon while Fuzzy packed all of his gear bags. He had to check everything in Saturday morning.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Saturday, Fuzzy and Shaun checked in their bikes and bags and we headed off to the farmer's market by the Capitol Building. We got all sorts of yummy treats and a cool poster, but got overheated and needed to get off our feet. We went back to hang out in our awesome hotel room at the Hotel Ruby Marie, which was right near all the IM action, was giant, and had a hot tub. Not too shabby.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Bikes

All the bikes racked and ready to go.

Fuzzy

Fuzzy, racked and ready to go.

The added bonus to all the Iron Man events of the weekend is that we were joined by Jeremy and Jan! You might remember them from the Paris wedding earlier this summer! When we were all in Paris, we discovered that Jan went to the University of Wisconsin, so they took advantage of the event to have a visit. We met up with them for a nice pasta dinner (full of cocktails and wine for all but Fuzzy.) It was so awesome getting to spend so much time with them over the weekend.

Jeremy and Jan

Jeremy's tank top may or may not be a women's tank top.*

The next morning came bright and early, and we headed down to Monona Terrace for morning-of events: body marking, last minute bike checks, special needs bag check-ins, etc. There is a weird mix of anxiety and eerie stillness on the morning of a triathlon, and this was no exception. There were tons of spectators everywhere, and I was all weepy for what the day was about to bring.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Ready for action.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

In the chute and ready to go!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Well, almost ready.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Future Iron Men.

The swim is in Lake Monona, and it is a water start (as opposed to a beach start. We've done both.) All 2500 athletes lined up and waited to go.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Then they fired a cannon, and they were off!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Iron Man Madison Weekend

There was a jumbotron so you could see your peeps exit the water.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

There were 2 lines of strippers peelers whose job it was to peel your wetsuit off of you. It looked really fun. Also, where I was standing, there was a lot of water splashing and some folks got hit with wetsuit legs.

Fuzzy emerged from the water after 1 hour and 50 minutes (8:50am). It was so exciting.

Then this happened.

Amazing. So sweet. He totally turned around just to give me a kiss. Thanks go to Jeremy for taping the moment. A girl standing nearby also taped it, saying that when he turned around she "knew he was going back for someone." So I have this video of it, too.

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Looking Good!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

Swim done!

Iron Man Madison Weekend

On to transition.

*It is a women's tank top.

Round-Up of Sweetness

It isn't just me that is amazed by Fuzzy's recent completion of the Iron Man. Here are some other blog posts about his incredible accomplishment:

Required Reiding
Waldie's World
A Girl and Her Hund

Thanks, guys! You are so sweet!

Iron Man Wisconsin 2013 Video

I will be posting videos, photos and stories of my own soon about Sunday's Iron Man, but I wanted to post this official race video so that you can get a feel of what the day was like. I mean, how amazing.

My Song of the Year

I can't stop listening to this on repeat. It makes me so happy. Enjoy.

Fuzzy Gerdes, You are an Iron Man!

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Iron Man Madison Weekend

Sunday was absolutely incredible. I have never been more amazed by anyone than I am by Fuzzy. He is my hero. He is an Iron Man!

Read Fuzzy's write-up here!

Iron Man Tracking

If you want to follow Fuzzy & Shaun's progress tomorrow, you can do so here or download this on your smartphone!

Fuzzy is #1914
Shaun is #1588

Go Fuzzy and Shaun!

Go, Fuzzy, Go!

My amazing brother and sister-in-law in Africa sent us this photo today. It totally makes me cry.

Go fuzzy.jpg

Go, Fuzzy, Go!

The Big Weekend is Here

A year ago, I received a phonecall from Fuzzy saying that there were registrations available for the 2013 Madison, Wisconsin Iron Man. He had filled everything out, but was waiting to click the button that was going to seal the deal. We talked about what it would mean for us--it was a conversation we were having a lot at the time--and I gave my standard advice about how if he was going to do it, that was all he was going to do (no shows, no stand-up), our diet was going to have to change, and we he was going to have to be super dedicated to the training. I then told him that he was NOT crazy and that he could, in fact, do it. And if he wanted to and was inspired to, then that's what he needed and HAD to do. He clicked the button, making it official.

A lot has happened in that year. I left my job, he lost his. We adjusted to the double freelance life. We traveled to a foreign country.  We had the most amazing summer we've probably ever had together. We've supported each other every step of the way.

It was devastating when Fuzzy lost his job. He loved that job and was so happy there. But when he accepted the job, I was nervous about his schedule of maintaining a 9-5 life and an Iron Man life. I really do feel like we were handed a gift when the company shut down print production. Suddenly, Fuzzy was gifted the time that he needed for all of his training. Which he handled beautifully. I am so impressed with his training dedication.

We had to make a lot of adjustments in our lives. He had to go to bed early so that he could get enough sleep for the next day's workout. I tried to stay up later to support my rehearsals for my shows. We worked from home in the days, and had afternoons together. We started eating a bit smarter (just a bit) and being smarter with our purchases. We got better at living in the moment and enjoying things. We had a lot of fun. We were tired all the time. We leaned on each other when we needed to. I tried to encourage and support Fuzzy when things were tough and when he needed it most. He did the same for me when I needed it, and was my biggest cheerleader for my triathlon endeavors this year.

I hear that an Iron Man can be straining on a relationship when one member is training and the other is not. I am happy to say that Fuzzy and I were never strained. We are a really good and functional couple anyways, but I feel especially more so now. We've previously made it through tragic family times together, so this, this was cake! This was a fun thing that he chose to embark on, so of course it's not going to be hard! The toughest part for me was that I always want more time with Fuzzy, and a lot of his time was spent out biking, swimming or running. But we got through it.

We've been talking a lot lately about the event and what it means. Analyzing it and talking about Fuzzy's experience with it. A funny thing happens when we talk about him finishing and the event being over: we cry. I'm not really sure why it is, but an event like this is a really emotional thing. Think about what a feeling it is going to be when Fuzzy crosses that finish line. He set a goal, spent a year training for it, and now, here it is.  It's a lot to comprehend.  And I wonder what our lives are going to be like withOUT this event on the horizon. Will we be relieved? Sad? Will there be a hole there? One thing's for sure, it will be a considerable change in our lives. And what will be the NEXT thing?  The possibilities for the future will be endless.

I've always been proud of Fuzzy and I love him with all of my heart. But this. This. I have never been more amazed by or proud of anyone. I am so inspired by him.

So here we are. We head to Madison tomorrow. The event starts Sunday at 7am. It finishes when it finishes, but sometime before midnight.

I will be there crying.


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If anyone would like to follow along with his progress, his bib # is 1914. The results page on the website is here. If you would like email or text updates, just let me know. And if you are able, please send some good thoughts and prayers to Fuzzy on Sunday! Positivity and good vibes are most definitely welcome.  Or leave him an encouraging comment here. Thank you!

Stress Free Life

I have made the conscious decision to not be stressed out.

I feel like I bring a lot of my stress upon myself. I made mountains out of molehills and complain about this that and the other. I worry about problems and constantly daydream solutions. I make things bigger than they are.

The truth of the matter is, the things in my life (for the most part) are things I have chosen to bring into my life. And just because something is hard doesn't mean that it is stressful. Things can be just hard.

Some things will always be hard.

So I am practicing active stresslessness. I have a big couple days ahead of me, and then Fuzzy has a huge couple of days ahead of him, but you know what? We will get through them!  Things will be great! The getting through them will be great!  And say my big deadlines don't go beautifully or under my control, what's the worst that can happen? Someone will be upset with me, or someone will think less of me? Well, that's on them.  I'll be fine.  I will still be alive and I will still be me. So there's nothing to stress over.

Stress? None for me, thanks!