Today is Lorrie's and my wedding anniversary.
Smiling at her, I asked Lorrie, "Why me?" She answered with some of what you might expect; "You're considerate of my feelings", "You do the shopping", "You clean the house", "You're a great cook" (probably too good), "You work hard to give me a good life and take me on trips", yada, yada, yada. The trips comment made us both laugh as we looked at a picture of us in Lubbock.
In support of my argument, that it takes two understanding people to make a marriage, I give you this.
Lorrie and I have traveled all over the Caribbean. We've gone on eight cruises together. We've gone to Hawaii once together (and there was a big athletic event in the middle of that trip, so it really doesn't count as a vacation). Lorrie has also been dragged (willingly) to Lubbock, TX where she learned to love fried pickels. Southerners please help explain it to the northerners please. Lubbock is where I punched my ticket to Kona in 2000 - also nine years ago.
To further explain, one month before we got married, I "won" the Ironman Hawaii lottery. This meant what I would call significant training on our honeymoon. My first 20+ mile run (21.9 miles) was on St. John in the USVI. On that run, I had a 400+ lbs., female taxi driver pull up next to me and say (rasta accent), "Hey, runnin' man. Git in me cab. This is a vacation and no reason to run anywhere." I was doing "track" workouts UP the mountain. Riding an indoor Lifecycle bike for 2 and 3 hours because the resort wasn't allowing mountain bikes off the resort. I swam Pillsbury Sound (Great Cruz Bay to Red Hook and back) with a Navy Seal on his wedding anniversary trip. That is over a six mile "free swim" while trying to avoid being run over by ferryboats. That was just the honeymoon.
Lorrie has endured trips to Lubbock, Springfield, IL, Indianapolis (too many to count), Clermont, FL, Lake Placid, St. Croix, Tucson, AZ, Cleveland, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconin, etc. People ask me why I do the FL 70.3 every year, simple really. Lorrie can wake up, eat a fancy breakfast, workout, read, hit an amusement park and meet me around lunch time. A great venue for her and should be a bigger trend in triathlon event development.
Lor has also had to deal with my crazy career. Upon returning to Chicago from our honeymoon, I was ordered to travel out to Bogota, Columbia for a week for business. We landed on Sunday. I flew out Tuesday morning. Gifts weren't even unwrapped. In Columbia, I had two personal body guards paid for by my company. Both had 9mm handguns to protect me and I traveled to the office in a bomb proof town car with tinted windows. Back then, kidnapping an American could yield big money. I didn't give her the details of my trip for several days after I returned. She would have been sick. She has dealt with lay offs for no reason, contracts, delays and politics. We joke that in our industry if you have been somewhere for more than 90 days you should get a gold watch, what they used to give to those who endured 40 years at one company.
In the months leading up to Ironman, I was the lead program manager for a 40 city implementation of a new customer relationship management system (CRM to those of you propeller heads and pocket protector types). This meant more travel. So, while training for my first Ironman and first marathon (at the Ironman World Championship by the way) I was traveling each week Sunday through Wednesday - often not working out in the same gym twice in a row, running on unknown streets in bad neighborhoods in strange cities. In Minneapolis, I worked out from 5 to 7 am and then from 10 pm to 1 am. That's what had to be done. So in the five months leading into Ironman I traveled across North America (Mexico, the Caribbean, US and Canada) implementing my solution to this project. Fighting off political attacks from jealous colleagues. Training for an Ironman and trying to see my wife.
At Ironman Hawaii, I was doing well. I came out of the water 3 seconds behind Lori Bowden. Not a bad place to be. I rode well in spite of being grossly out of position, uncomfortable due to my clothing choice, mechanical issues because of bad (brand new) wires, and grossly over geared. Think of doing Ironman Kona on a fixie - that's what it felt like - in 50 mph sustained winds, gusting to 75 mph. I also made nutritional mistakes, because back then nutrition was still being figured out. There were only two gel companies that I knew about. Two sports drinks. Well, here is where this gets interesting. You know my story if you read my blog, but you don't know Lorrie's. Lorrie took care of her mom and dad who came to see me "race". My brother and Lor took care of them and waited for me to arrive in Kona. I have video and should upload it. I ran the first 19 miles in roughly 2:20 and was doing very well. That's when my nutrition issues hit me hard. Here is the problem, I had crossed the final timing mat. So the information booth told my family that I'd be there in "somewhere between 45 and 55 minutes". Well, they waited, and waited. About 2 hours later, Lorrie starts getting worried and was so excited, didn't drink and was now getting heat exhaustion herself. My in-laws go to their hotel - exhausted. Lorrie is near puking in the King Kam hotel. My brother was running back and forth between the finish, the IronmanLive computer room, and the hotel - checking on Lorrie. Somewhere in there...I finished.
Somewhere in all that, we managed to stay together and support each other while quoting movies back and forth to each other.
Happy Anniversary Lorrie! "What are you lookin' at Popeye!?"