Swim Girl Swim

 

I have been a little weepy today, so bear with me. I woke up to this song in my head and sometimes I change the words for myself. Swim, girl. SWIM. Now, “weepy” to me is, sorry, but just: eyes welled up a couple times, chest got tight, you know. I’m not known for being a crybaby, and sometimes as a mom that’s hard. I need to be a little more empathetic sometimes. What I am good at, though, is urgency. Fight cancer now!! Save turtle now (see photo)!!! Let’s DO a FUNDRAISER! Wooohooo! I am especially like this when I have had a lot of coffee. So on my third cup today, and I really want to cure cancer. So just so you know, this is why I feel such urgency today. (Besides coffee.)

I tried. But I still feel bad, as a mom to a tortoise, I have a soft spot to hard-shelled creatures.

1. Work- my boss has been gone for over a week, and I am honestly feeling a little unfocused– I usually use this time to get caught up on the menial tasks, like reading-skimming HUNDREDS of articles that get sent to me that *may or may not* be sustainability-or-agriculture news, and picking out ones to tweet, or look for blog posts about. When I am scheduling tweets, I do 3-4 per hour. From now until eternity. I can get 3 days out before I go into total meltdown (“she was blinded by science!!”).

2. Zach Sobiech: Two weeks ago I found a link to his song, “Clouds,” on Facebook. This boy was so brave, and is doing a lot to bring attention to the mission of fighting cancer. And so since I cannot figure out how to share my music from iTunes, because I have 2 devices on 2 computers so only music I downloaded from iTunes works… so I had about 4.5 hours of music today while I was at work (see issue #1).

3. I saw the trailer for a movie coming out in July: Ways to Live Forever. As a mom, this killed me. But then I thought, this is what Jessica goes through, every day. The fear of losing your child– in her case, all three– at a stupid age. And that fear motivated me today, in a weird way. It motivated me to feel like getting up in the morning, jump in again, and feel the cold grip my chest, and Swim, Girl, SWIM.

Go TEAM!!

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Vista Point Swim and Sam Knob

This weekend there was a lot of activity on Facebook from Because Brothers! Saturday, on a cold and rainy day outside Asheville, the Rogers, Canfields, and Daughtrys all hiked up to Sam Knob, where in 2007 we all gathered for Wade’s memorial service. But the Duke Rogers family, who are in Raleigh 5+ hours away, decided to stay home that weekend since it would have been a hard trip to make for a weekend trip. So we kept in touch via Facebook and text, since there is no cell service up there.

We had an exciting weekend here in Raleigh– the first swim of the summer (Summer?!?! The water was in the 60s!!!!) was Saturday morning, and so Duke and the girls headed out to Jordan Lake and I donned my new wetsuit for the first time. Still cold! For the first 200-300 yards, my chest spasmed. Imagine shivering and holding your breath and running  at the same time. Woo! Brisk!! Taking my head out of the water helped, but then I couldn’t swim– obviously. So I toughed it out, and adjusted to the cold (did I mention I HATE COLD? Terribly? It’s May and I have a blanket up to my chin and wrapped around my feet as I type this). And as I usually do around 300 yards (lap 10-15 in the pool), I started to get in the groove. I had a song from Radio Disney stuck in my head, and so I hit a rhythm. Great breathing, good pacing, awesome. Then after the first turn, things got rough.

The Jordan Lake Vista Point Course

Literally– I guess the wind or boats or both stirred up some chop, like swimming to the pier in Duck. But I made it to the end of the first loop, and I started the second. I hadn’t been lapped by too many 1.2 milers (they start 10 minutes later), so I felt good. I’d made it through the hard part.

But that wasn’t the hard part– I had to do the same loop again, and more boats. A SPEED boat, too! Oh good lord. It was hard to keep going, but the rescue kayakers stayed with me, and this cut down some on the chop. This was hard, but if I kept moving I would eventually get to shore. But in the last 1/3 mile, I swear I thought I was getting farther from the buoy  I zigzagged the from halfway to the last sight buoy (between 3/6 & 2/3 of the loop), and pushed myself to finish. I can do this– even if I’m the slowest person out there. So I finished– 55 out of 58, at 1 hour 38 minutes and 6 seconds. A pace of 40:50 per mile. My 2 mile swim last summer was 38.5 minutes. I should feel discouraged, but I don’t. I am very active on social media, and although I didn’t post my time on Facebook, I did admit how hard it was. But I felt encouraged by friends. They helped me feel better about it. It was cold, but I had my wetsuit. I was discouraged, but the kayakers helped me keep going. As waves lapped in my nose, in my mouth, as I felt like vomiting from lake water, they were there. And as soon as I got to knee depth water, Duke and the girls came running to greet me. I was finished!

My in-laws, their cousins, and Chip’s girlfriend’s children were there in Sam Knob, because they had picked this weekend to spread Cricket’s ashes were they had spread Wade’s. Wade loved that dog so much, and when we told our girls Cricket had died last fall, we were sad to lose her, as she was a connection to him. But F&J were happy for her– she could go to see Wade and our dog Moon (but Cricket was not great friends with Moon– she was a people’s dog). They were right– She was stoic and kind, but you could see in that

Wade & Cricket

Wade & Cricket

dog’s eyes, that she was worried sometimes. I don’t blame her; she went through a fierce loss. Cricket was attached to Wade in a way you don’t often see in a dog. She was HIS dog, no one else’s. Since Wade’s death, she has lived with Happy, Wade’s mother, but she is shared by his family. We cling to her because we were not ready for Wade to go, this wasn’t fair and we needed more time, it was too early. It was too soon. But we had Cricket, we have Wade’s memo pads with his IT company’s name on it and we write notes on them to each other, the girls use them to color, and just remember Wade. Wade’s jacket, Cricket, his tools, his little foam frogs for arts & crafts (we found these on his computers, and he put them there to label his computers and differentiate from client computers. Wade was fun, cute, wildly creative and a little bit eccentric. We don’t want to forget that, or forget how he could work computers, his love of hiking, and especially Cricket. We need her—Duke says to just remember Wade, not cling to things and  a dog, because it was time for her to go, but we want to. We need it because we fear he might fade from our lives, he might be just a faint memory. That is a scary thought, because we loved him, and we can handle the grief if he’s not all gone. But Cricket is not Wade, and she was dying, and we love her because Wade loved her.  But now  they are together and we are coming to grips with the loss. “I miss my brother,” sometimes Duke will say. We do. We really do. We miss you, Wade. And we are happy Cricket is back with you, but we miss her too. I’m glad her pain is over and you guys can be together again. I posted the picture of Wade and Cricket that we love, and all sorts of friends and family responded. It’s hard, but with the support of our friends, we’re getting through it, and it’s so surprising how much support we are getting really helps. Thanks so much for everything, friends.

We have fought hard through all of this, in honor of Chip with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We really really have taken on the mission. It’s important to us to fight this disease because we cannot lose another brother, sister, mother, aunt, child, uncle– and we are determined to confront this challenge. And I want to be part of that. It’s going to take a lot– but the Rogers don’t mess around here. We want to fight for Chip, Jessica, and all of our friends and family, and other people’s friends and family. And my swimming around a lake is not enough. So as I see it, this is the least I could do– even though the swim was REALLY tough (2.4 miles, uphill, in the snow, both ways… no, not really, but very cold and very long). I have the rest of the summer to get to 3 miles. One swim down, then June 1st, July 21st, and one in August, then the big dance. I am excited! I never have felt so excited about something like this– I just came in almost last place, and I can’t wait to do it again! And part of that is because of the wonderful support I get. How do we always come together more, when it seems so difficult? There must be something about humanity where we just *know,* in our souls, when someone else needs our strength. You know how some people say, God doesn’t deal you out more than you can take? Well, maybe he doesn’t hand it out like that; maybe it’s just when your bucket is getting really low, someone comes along and gives you something to fill up your pail.

Cricket was something that helped fill our pail. Like I said earlier, we were just borrowing her, while we needed it. Our pails were pretty low when Chip was diagnosed, and when Wade died. Jessica’s pail is pretty low right now, too… so as her friend, I hope the efforts of all her friends (Team Machuga!) are helping fill that bucket.

Since I never seem to know when to quit talking, I’m just going to share some

photos here, and then go to bed. Good night!

 

Chip and Drake

Chip and Drake

Louise, Harriett and Happy

Louise, Happy and Harriet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vista Point Swim

Vista Point Swim

 

Team Machuga!

Team Machuga!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Knob

Sam Knob

 

 

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I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… I am not old… Ah, yes. I am a mere 32. I mean 33. But I am sitting here, thinking about next Saturday’s 2.4, and I am holding a heating pad on my shoulder and my thumb hurts. Boo. I thought exercising was supposed to make you feel BETTER? Don’t get me wrong, but geez. But you know what– I am going to have to man up and take it. I’m at 2 miles now, was swimming 1 mile this time last year, before my wrist surgery and I am really actually getting better.  The wrist is better, and I just got cleared to do full-on two-handed strokes. It’s getting better. And the awesome thing is I had a big breakthrough yesterday, and hopefully I have turned a corner now. I have known for a while now I had a bad stroke and it was slow, and I needed to re-train myself to do it so I wouldn’t wear out my rotator cuff. And so I worked on that yesterday, and it clicked. It totally clicked. I was so thrilled. It was awesome. Yeah, I hurt today. It has sucked feeling the pain of the bad shoulder, and so I don’t think I would be able to hit the 3 mile mark if I didn’t work at it. So it’s progress. I have the 2.4 mile Jordan Lake swim on Saturday. And even though I still have to work on this new stroke, I’ve finally got the hang of it, and so I’m going to have to keep at it. Looking forward to it– nervous, but really excited!

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I *feel* like I’m getting fitter, I just don’t know for sure… tonight I’m really wishing  I was one of those people who easily went off and worked out– I see on other people’s Facebook where they work out twice a day, and I don’t know how they do it! I have been working out at least once a week for a year now (some weeks lighter than others), but I had my wrist surgery at the end of February, and my doctor has really worked with me to get me back in the pool as quickly as possible, including a waterproof cast!

My mom and me in our casts this winter!

My mom and me in our casts this winter!

And some days I just want to sit. Sitting is one of my favorite hobbies, besides swimming. So I have to work harder I feel like to combat 1) my hours of sitting, at work or reading & browsing the web, 2) cookies and stuff. But a pool workout usually takes me 2 hours– yes! two!– because I get to the gym, set up, swim for 45-55 minutes, shower, blow-dry… sigh… walk to work or come home, and look at the clock and then my day is shot unless I went very early in the day. Whoa. But I biked today, and did the elliptical yesterday (a fast pace, for me, and only 30 minutes), and I want to swim Saturday. I was hoping to go to swim at the Lake Norman YMCA this weekend, and that has been cancelled. Sad!! Pool swimming, even just swimming outside, is so different from open-water swimming, so I really need to get back in the water. But luckily, I have several friends who have reached out, from local triathletes to Team in Training folks, and I can still work out in the pool. I can’t wait to get in the water!

So I am making it a priority. That’s the first step. Get back in shape. I am blessed with the encouragement I have been getting in that regards. Thank you.

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Getting back into the swing of things

I have been working on getting the site up and  working on my work blog, and so since I had to take some time off of training I haven’t had much to write, but now we are getting the season started, so I am picking up where I left off. Today is probably a good day to post on that, I think. I did my first “strength training” swim, and it almost feels like I’m cheating when I use flippers and paddles, but hopefully the extra resistance helps push me and give me a better core workout, too. I am still not cleared to use a paddle with the hand I had my cyst removed back in February, but today I did my full mile and practiced some flip turns, which I haven’t  done in 15 years or so.

It’s been hard trying to fit training into my busy schedule– taking care of the girls, work, hanging out with Duke, getting to the gym. So I signed up for an app on my iPhone that tracks my workouts and helps give me another little push. And so now my Facebook brags on me when I workout! I also got a used bike, and so instead of saying, Oh man, couldn’t make it to the gym today, I can jump on my bike and ride! Biking has never been my favorite, but Duke said the reason it always made my knees hurt was because I had the wrong size adjusted, and we would try this one for a little while and see how it goes. Biking helps work some of the same muscle groups, and so if I can’t get into the pool, it’s a good substitute. So my goal is to bring down my mile time, because I have the 2 mile swim in May. Still, I can’t wait until the outdoor pools are open, and I don’t have to swim inside every day.

This is a lot of effort, right? Well, today is seems like I’m not doing enough. Chip is doing great– his health is great, and he just made tenure at Macon State, where he was just starting when he was going through chemo. So this is a big milestone; it was almost 6 years ago he was originally diagnosed. Thanks to that move, he was able to get his treatments at Emory in Atlanta, a groundbreaking center for oncology with an amazing staff and brilliant doctors. We thank God often for the pure luck of this move, and here we are at another milestone in his new life in southern Georgia, with his girlfriend Liz, and her two wonderful children. It’s been a life-changing couple years.

On the other hand, I ache for Jessica. I wish they had a cure for lymphoma already. Jessica is so happy to be a mom, and she works so hard to make her kids and family happen, and I feel like (from what I see on Facebook!) she has a wonderful relationship with her sister, like I am with mine. They are so positive to each other all the time! I miss my sisters, who are both on the West Coast now, although my twin is coming back to NC this summer, and I will finally be able to see her all the time. I can’t imagine the fear of losing my sister, and although Jessica is ready to fight the big fight again, a year later, I worry. I pray for her. I hope God gives her the strength and gusto to get through this. I hope I can help her with that, pushing myself to swim, and fund-raise, and support the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If anyone can have an impact on finding a cure, I think this organization can do it. And I think they’ll have it in this generation.

 

The next part of our mission is to start our fundraising. The girls are hoping to do a lemonade stand– so we’ll be announcing a lemonade/locopops stand or something like that coming up soon. I’ll post more on our Facebook coming up, and then we’re hoping to raffle off a 4-pack of golf passes here in Raleigh, and I am looking for someone to donate dinner & beers to our winners for that at a local restaurant. So keep an eye out in the mail for a note from Because Brothers! If we don’t have your email and home address, please drop us an email at carrie@becausebrothers.com. Thank you!

Keep fighting, guys! I’m going to, one lap at a time!

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New Year’s Resolve

So I have been talking a lot of talk now, ever since I found out The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s White Plains Chapter does a Team in Training swim every September. I have done one (ONE!) 2.4 mile open-water swim. Currently,  I am at my lifetime-worst weight, and my best shape of my 30s. But I am not an endurance person by nature. All the LLS fundraisers I’ve done before were for the 2 mile WALK. So what do I do now?

I’ve gotta put my money where my mouth is, right? So here’s where I’m starting: One mile. Once a week. Gym in between. I’ve got to get to September. So remind me the next time you see me putting that extra piece of cake, or chocolate, or milkshake near my mouth: “Carrie, how’s that going to feel on mile 3?” And next time you see me sitting in front of the TV: “Are you going to make it to September on that couch?” I know it’s February, but I have a new resolution: Make it to September.

Three miles. The first 2.4 mile swim, and first wetsuit swim, is May 11th. Cheers to me!!

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