Thursday, July 28, 2011

Journey to my 20 yr The Dalles High School Reunion!

The Dalles High School Graduation 1991

As I reflect on my 20 yr high school reunion and 38th birthday this weekend I'm reminded about the special people and place I grew up.  Growing up in the small Columbia Gorge town of The Dalles, OR. created an ideal opportunity for me to develop into the person I am today.  The interesting thing about TD is that no matter where I've traveled or lived since 1991 someone always knows someone from TD.  I think that says a lot about the character of the people that live there.  The Dalles is the kind of place where  almost everyone knows everyone, which sometimes I dreaded growing up as mom worked for the school district and coached swimming. 

I can honestly say all my lifelong best friends and many special people that have positively impacted my life are from The Dalles.  Growing up we complained about the fact there wasn't much to do, however we always had tons of fun.  I wasn't able to attend my 10 yr reunion due to the fact we were living in Hawaii, so this will be the first time in 20 yrs I've seen some of these special characters.  I know over last 20 yrs some of these special friends have been there for me through the highs and bumps in the road we call life.  I appreciate your friendship more than you know and look for celebrating our lives 20 yrs later.  Cheers to the weekend ahead!

TDHS 1991 (Mark, John, Jess, Scott, me, Eric, Todd, Brett & Brian)
TDHS Senior class of 1991

In life I feel there are times in our life where we reach a crossroads. I can recall as a young kid feeling that I could physically accomplish almost anything and I was born with the competitive fire to always do my best. It was great to learn at young age if I trained hard, set goals and gave it my all I could be successful. I can remember the joys and how proud I felt to help others succeed at a young age too. I'll admit it, as youngster I struggled with losing as I took it personally. If my team lost I felt I should have done more. I feel so fortunate to have had super supportive parents that always encouraged and never tried to relive their lives through me.

My parent and I after my first Portland Marathon in 1998.

My parents both helped me to understand that success shouldn't be defined by wins and instead  it should be about the process knowing at the end of the day you gave your best. My mom taught me to swim at young which was clearly a turning point as I developed a lifelong passion for swimming and helping others. My dad was always there to patiently play catch or take hard bounces to the shins and support all my athletic endeavors without ever pressuring me. He taught me so much about hard work without saying a word. The turning point moment I remember from dad was to finish what you start, which I feel has helped me through many tough situations throughout life. He would say, "if you don't want to play next year I support you, however you're going to finish out the season."

My mom Carlene and I after winning another high school district swim championship! 

I remember one defining turning point when I was in 1st grade as I was one of the biggest/most athletic kids at my age, however I couldn't read. For all the success I experienced in physical activities, school was a huge challenge for me. The turning point moment was the end of my first grade year of school when my teacher felt I should probably repeat 1st grade due to the fact I was way behind learning to read. My mom at that point took it upon herself to inform the teacher that she would work with me all summer to help me to catch up. I give mom all the credit for encouraging me through my frustrations with school and helping me to learn to read. I remained in special reading classes through 8th when I finally felt confident with school. I truly feel everything happens for a reason and my academic success in high school came through my struggles at an early age. School never came easy for me, however I learned to persevere and apply the same approach I took with sports. If I studied hard I could overcome the challenges.

My dad Joe Roy & I rafting in the summer!

The next huge turning point in my life was going to college. I never imagined after not swimming from age 13-16 yrs, due to pursuing other sports that I could swim in college. So, my senior year when I experience some success and I was recruited to swim at Linfield College it was a blessing. I was able to attend a small college and play a sport which was the best of both worlds for me. I learned so much about myself as a student athlete in college. I have so many positive memories from this experience.

I was always very fit growing up and maintained this positive approach to my health while swimming in college. After graduating from college in 1995, I returned to finish my student teaching and experienced one the most important turning points in my life. I spent the year drinking too much beer and eating out waaaay too much fast food and before I knew it I had gained over 40 lbs in one year.

John Coats on the left and me on the right in Europe.  I was living large as I weighed 205 lbs!

As I prepared to leave for my trip to Europe my mom, said "how much do you weigh". I think I jokingly said how much do you weigh? She then pressed me to get the scale and to my amazement I was 205lbs. I thought to myself that can't be right, how did that happen?

I recall going to Europe to visit one of my lifelong friends John Coats and getting off the airplane in Spain to hear him, say "wow, man you've put on some weight". This was a defining moment as I realized I had become a lazy person and I needed to make some life changes. This started by traveling through Europe and living on bread, water, fruit and beer for 3 weeks. I lost 15 lbs in 3 weeks and then when I got home and developed my pictures only to see the person I didn't want to be. So, I decide to set a goal to lose the weight and run my first marathon. I was able to lose about half the weight and I survived the super hilly Columbia Gorge Marathon in 4:55. I lost both big toe nails, finished 45 min. behind my dad’s uncle Dave who was 62 at the time and the one that credit for getting me into run marathons, yet the experience changed my life. He was a total inspiration to me without even realizing it. I hope to be able to have his passion for lifelong fitness at 62 and beyond. 

Tristin & I after the Portland Marathon

The next turning point for me also occurred on a run when a friend invited me over to Tristin's (my wife) house for pizza and movies. I had been single for the longest time in probably 10 yrs and honestly feeling sorry for myself due to the way my previous relationship ended. Tristin and I immediately hit it off! As it turned out were both training for the Portland Marathon in 1998! She was recently divorced and I think we were both really drawn to each other as support. We both shared a passion for exercise, teaching and life.

Tristin & I following Ironman CDA 2004

After dating for about 7 months I decided it was time to take the big step and propose! I first needed to get ring and I had no clue what to get??? So, I started be asking her about rings in a joking way as I was trying to get feedback. Soon I had been looking for weeks online and finally found a ring that I thought she would like and I could afford on my modest teacher/coach salary. Now the next question was how do I ask her to marry me?? Then one day while running I had an awesome thought, I could take the tulips that we had planted together, write "will you marry me?" on a trail of pedals that lead to the pink tulip in the middle of the vase that held the ring inside! Thank you god for giving me a creative and unique approach. She said, YES!

Tristin & I married in Maui, Hawaii 10-10-2000

In 1999, I was finally able to go from substitute teacher/coach status to full time teacher/coach status. I was hired at my The Dalles Middle School which was my old school in 8th grade; although it was strange teaching with my old teachers I was really excited about the opportunity. Soon the school library was condemned and I rolling a portable classroom from room to room, I taught in the lunch room, gym and random small rooms. Eventually I got my own portable classroom which was less than ideal. I learned many lessons that year while teaching 7-8th grade Life Skills and coaching swimming/tennis, however I wasn't really happy.

1st day of my first job!

We now started the crazy discussion of when, where, how, who etc. to get married. We both also were looking for a change to start our lives together, so we discussed going in the Peace Corp, however we couldn't get placed together so we decided to move to Hawaii. We also decided to get married in Maui, HI on the Kaanapali Beach, which was a great idea! Small wedding with family and close friends.

Tristin & I married in Maui, Hawaii 10-10-2000

After the wedding we spent the next couple weeks in Hawaii and started planning to move there! When we returned to The Dalles we had our large reception with about 400 family and friends! Good times!

In 2000, now it was time to sell the house, pack the house, sell our cars and take the leap of faith to move to Honolulu, Hawaii! We put some of our belongings that we didn't sell in storage, loading the rest in a container for Hawaii, however it would take 30 days for it to arrive. We flew to Hawaii on the November 13th with only a suit case each, no jobs and no car for 4 months. Yeah, some would say crazy, however it was an awesome adventure which brought us closer together.

Eventually we got teaching jobs and bought our first house in Mililani. We met our good friend Chet “The Jet” Blanton and joined/coached Team Jet Hawaii Triathlon Club. I remember when we moved into our house we had 10 friends with trucks, vans etc. come to our condo and move everything to our new garage in 2hrs, now that’s how to move!

My 30th birthday with Hawaii friends!


Chet, Rie, Tristin & I in Hawaii 2003

Our time in Hawaii was an amazing experience. It was during these 3 years that the people of Hawaii taught me a very valuable lesson about ohana or family, friends and giving to others. The people of Hawaii embraced us and made us feel welcome.  I can see us living back in Hawaii again in the future.

Diving off the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui,Hawaii

Top 50 Highlights/Life Changing Experiences

1) The Dalles High School friendships, sports and graduation in 1991

2) Swimming scholarship to Linfield College 1991-1995

3) Linfield College graduation ~First in my family to graduate 4yrs of college in 1995!

4) Traveling to Europe with my good friend John “Woodsy” Coats in 1996.

5) Listening to Pope speak in Europe in 1996.

6) Gaining and losing 40lbs in one year! Never doing that again as it was tough to run at 205lbs.

7) Getting my teaching license 1996.

8) Coaching high school swimming with my mom1997

9) Traveling in Europe with Dr. Danica Clark ~way different traveling with an ex-girlfriend. Do I ever want to get married?

10) Bungee jumping 500 ft in the Swiss Alps! Wow, what a rush!

11) Running my first marathon the Columbia Gorge Marathon 1997

12) Summer 1998 going to Tristin’s house for pizza.

13) My first real job 1998-1999 ~teaching middle school & coaching swimming/tennis

14) Proposing to Tristin 1999

15) Getting married in Maui, HI. Oct. 10, 2000 & wedding reception in The Dalles, OR.

16) Wedding reception in The Dalles, OR.

17) Moving to Oahu, HI. November 2000

18) Coaching Team Jet Hawaii and Chet “The Jet” Blanton ~ Thanks bro for inspiration & good times!

19) Qualifying & participating in Xterra World Championships on Maui 2002

20) Tristin & I coaching and racing Hawaii Half Ironman 2003

21) In 2003, I got a job and we moved to Spokane, bought a house, next came our first two children “Scooby & Barkley” cairn terrier/poodle mix.

22) Participating/completing the Ironman Coeur d’Alene with Tristin in 2004.

23) Starting Team Blaze Spokane Triathlon Club in 2004

24) Completing the Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2005 with 10:25!

25) Birth of Reece Olson Roy on July 12th, 2005.

26) Reece being born pre-mature 6.5 weeks early and spending 4 weeks NICU. Thank you god for our little buddy.

27) Qualifying for the Boston Marathon in Chicago Marathon in 2006 after running a 2:59 marathon!

28) Reece learns to walk at 13 months! Life has never been the same. =)

29) Tristin overcame near death experience due to complication from a miscarriage developing toxic shock, acute respiratory distress and emergency hysterectomy in 2007. Thank you god.

30) Dealing with the fact Tristin could never have any more children 2007 to present.

31) Running the Boston Marathon in 3:04 in 2007.

32) Completing Alcatraz Tri and IM Canada with my friend Brett Peterson in 2008

33) Traveling back to Hawaii each year 2004-2011

34) Moving back to the Columbia Gorge in 2008. Beautiful area, however we missed Spokane.

35) In 2009, our home didn’t sell after 15 months, so we moved back to Spokane.

36) Finding jobs again in Spokane was a test in patience.

37) Boise 70.3 Triathlon in June 2010 and passing a kidney stone on the run. Wow, I can’t even begin to describe the pain associated with that nightmare.

38) Coughing up blood in June 2010 while running and realizing something was seriously wrong.

39) Spending 3 days in Sacred Heart Medical Center trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

40) Learning in July 2010 that I may possibly have HCM, fortunately not the case.

41) Summer of 2010, I was given every heart test available to determine what was wrong. This was probably one of toughest times in my life.

42) Diagnosed with severe mitral valve prolapsed/regurge which meant blood was pooling in my lungs.

43) Fall of 2010, reality of heart surgery.

44) November 15, 2010 heart surgery to replace my mitral valve.

45) December through February 2011 was all about recovery and staying positive. Joining Ironheart Racing Team was just the inspiration I needed.

46) March 2011, I began my long road back to health & fitness.

47) Trip to Hawaii with friends in April 2011

48) In June 2011, completing my 4th Ironman with Norma Myers, age 64 and 31 other Team Blaze members only 6.5 months after heart surgery! Anything is Possible!

49) “Lulu” the mini-schnauzer our 4th child arrives.

50) Reece turns 6yrs old.

Reece's 4th Kids Triathlon 2011!

Reece's first bike race 2009!

Reece & his brothers Scooby & Barkley 2008!

Reece loves Santa & Thomas the Train!

Reece & Tristin riding on the Harvest Train!

Family picture August 2005 right after Reece got out of the NICU!

Reece & I hiking Manoa Falls in Hawaii 2006!

My dad (Joe), sister (Brandi) & I rafting on the Deschutes 2004!

Reece & I at the Honolulu Zoo by the Rainbow Tree in 2005!

Over the last 20 yrs since high school I've learned many great training tips, completed endless workouts, gained/lost 40 lbs and undergone heart surgery. The key training principles that have been my stability point are focusing on consistency and keeping it fun!  The birth of our son Reece has taught me to be more patient, understanding and learning to laugh at the simple things in life.  Thank you buddy for teaching mommy and I the daily lessons that only children can teach their parents about loving each other while not taking life for granted.


Reece & I in Hawaii 2005

Racing in Hawaii!

As I approach my 38th birthday this Saturday, I’m once again reminded that life truly is a journey with unexpected twists and turns.  It's how we respond to these bumps in the road that define the us. My life over the last 38 yrs has been an amazing ride and I feel truly blessed. The picture below describes how I look at the next 20 yrs and beyond with endless possibility! I have big plans, endurance challenges, professional goals, places to travel and people to inspire! I feel that it is important for me to remember all the time to enjoy the journey and give back more than I take!

Thanks for reading and supporting!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Swim, Bike, Run and Family Fun

Reece, Tristin, Lulu & I in Chelan

Summer of 2011 has been super busy as usual for the Roy family with triathlons, sun, bike rides, camping trips and arrival of your 4th child "Lulu".  Some of you are probably thinking, wait a minute you only have one child?  Well, that is somewhat true as Reece just turned 6!  He decided for his birthday he wanted a dog, so he and mommy wore me down by introducing me to our cute little mini-schnauzer. We decided to bring Lulu home to join Scooby & Barkley our other two dogs.  So, now we have 3 dogs and 20 fish in our backyard pond. 

Our dogs are big part of our family especially considering we can't have any more children of our own.  Recently one of my friends, said "how did Tristin get you to go for another dog? "  Basically it was either another dog or another child.  I honestly feel everything happens for a reason and I really like our family dynamics now.  So, we have 4 children in the non-traditional sense.

Tobin, Suzanne, Me, Reece, Tristin, Lulu & Becky
Chelan Multisport Weekend 7/16-7/17

We headed to Lake Chelan, WA. for a weekend of camping and racing. This is an area we really enjoy with the usually great weather and beautiful clear lake! We decided this year to once again camp and really enjoyed the clean Bebee Bridge park campground right along the Columbia River with it’s nice warm showers, bike/walking paths, huge grass fields and kids play area.

Reece & our new tent!
It was fun to camp with other Team Blaze athletes/friends Tobin, Suzanne and Becky. Thanks Becky for getting the camp site!

The Chelan Multisport weekend begins on Saturday with a Half Ironman Tri, Olympic Distance Tri, Half Marathon and 10K. Team Blaze was represented by Becky (70.3), Tobin, Tammy, Greg and Kris in Olympic Tri. It was fun to see everyone out on the course pushing through to the finish. Everyone did great with several new PR results!

Reece & Lulu playing tug-o-war
 On Sunday, Team Blaze had Inga (1st tri), Tristin, Suzanne (3rd relay), and Reece racing the sprint and kids tri. The weather was perfect as the lake was flat and perfect temp, which was refreshing after last year with 2 ft chop and IM CDA’s freezing water.

Once again we really enjoyed the weekend of camping and racing at Lake Chelan! Each year we've gone to this race and built a life long memories! This year we had a smaller group from the club, however it was still a fun weekend. Saturday Becky raced the 70.3 in a PR 6:30, Tobin got a PR in the Olympic Tri and Greg, Kris and Tammy raced the Olympic too. Yesterday Tristin & Suzanne finished 3rd in Sprint Tri relay. Reece did his 4th tri and once again had a blast finishing with a big smile!

Fast looking bike, but still need work on the engine!

This was the first triathlon since heart surgery where I've really pushed it on the bike & run which felt great! I ended up finishing 3rd overall and 1st age group, so I was thrilled with the result, although I realized my running at higher HR is still not quite back yet. I forgot how tough it is running really hard after biking and running hard first. Wow, my first half mile felt slow, but as my support wife reminds me daily I need to be patient and thankful to be healthy.  This race was another step for me in realizing I'm going to beat this bump in the road and return to life long health!

Reece & I Chelan Awards!
Chelan post race awards!

Tristin & Reece Chelan Tri

Chelan Multisport weekend provides an opportunity for all ages to participate in some healthy fun, so Reece was up for some swim (run in the water), bike, run and fun.  This was his 4th triathlon and he did great!  It is really important to me that he learn that exercise can be fun.  He loves to bike, his swim is improving and although running isn't really his favorite I was so proud of him as he ran the whole way including the big hill at the finish!  He kept, saying "I will never quit, I will never quit", which warms my heart. 

Reece biking at Chelan Tri!

Reece & I doing the run together!

Reece Chelan Kids Tri

Another cool feature of this race is free finisher photos!  Reece got another medal, which really fuels his fire and plenty of yummy snacks at the finish!  He had a blast and proceeded to crash out in the car for the next 2 hrs drinving home.

Tired little triathlete!

He rallied up for some fun play time in Coulee City.  I feel it's so important for kids and adults to have the balance of healthy fun!

I highly recommend the Chelan Multisport weekend as it provides the perfect healthy balance camping, racing and run!  This weekend further reinforces some of the lessons I've learned over the last year regarding importance of life experiences, frendship and family.  Ultimately, we remember our relationships with ours and experiences/memories along the way!

Medical Lake Practice Tri 7/20
 Another big part of our lives is Team Blaze Spokane Triathlon Club which has now grown to over 160 members!  The club really has become like a big family and provided us with an avenue to share our passion for health and fitness with others.  The Team Blaze spirit is truly contagous as the members of the club truly know how enjoy the journey! 

Race the River Sprint Tri 7/24

This has now become the one of the largest sprint triathlon in the Pacific NW with +800 athletes. It isn't a race I had planned to do, however when one of the club members couldn't race after signing up and Tristin hurt her heel, I decided why not do another sprint tri!  It was fun to see +25 Team Blaze members participating as everyone did great!

I knew this race was unique with a river current swim and 3 loop bike, however I didn't know the run had a nasty little hill in the middle, but the pancake flat course is hard to find.  Ever since heart surgery running the hills has been more challenging than I remember, but I not complaining as at least I get to participate again.

My race started off in the 3rd wave which meant I starting +33' behind the speedy elite athletes and 3' behind the 29 and under group.  I started the swim off great and soon found myself out in front weaving through the masses of beginner swimmers as I exited the water and looked at my watch it read 9:20!  I felt great and decided to take my wetsuit off  and slip on my Crocs down by the water as we had a long run to our bikes.  Once I arrived at my bike I had a smooth transition of 45"!

On the first loop of the bike I realized the road was rough coming back, however I was riding steady and most importantly I felt good.  As I finished loop #1 I noticed the road was now crowded with people in the later waves.  Even though they tell people ride to the right, when you have so many beginners they were riding 4 wide and saying on your left was getting no response.  After loop #2 when the 2 guys drafting behind me the whole way decide to pass (ride your race people) I noticed the road was now really crowded especially on the turns.  As I came back on the bike I was starting to get tired as I'm just not use to riding that hard, so I backed off a bit to spin the legs and bring the HR down before the run.

As I came into transition I was pleased to again get in and out of there quickly (25")!  I always figure transitions are "free speed", so I need to use my race experience to my advantage!  As I started the run my legs were feeling OK, but I just couldn't find the next gear with my turnover I've been seeing on the track lately.  My goal going into the run was to run faster than last week.  When reached the turn around on the run I was just trying to keep it steady when a guy in my age group passed me.  My initial thought was to gowith this guy, however my body told my mind not today.  As I made the turn and headed up the short steep hill I was just trying to keep steady and seeing Mason's awesome sails sculpture provided a nice distraction!  I tried to run fast back down the hill and I soon saw Team Blazers Bill, Rob and John which provided a nice lift for the last 1/2 mile.  When I ran around the pond toward the finish I was thinking I hope no one else passes me as I'm tired!  I was pleased to run 20" faster than last week!

I ended up finishing in 1:02, which was faster than I expect! I finished 5th in my age group and 23rd overall! This race was competitive and once again provided the perspective that I need, which relates to chasing new PR's and enjoying the journey.

Tristin, Reece & Lulu

I honestly feel blessed to be able to participate again! Although as much as I try I'm just wired to be competitive and especially with myself.  (= It's hard to detach from old times.  My loving and supportive wife told me yesterday, "you just had heart surgery 7.5 months ago and I bet you were the only athlete there that can say that." She's right as much as I don't like to say it.  I need to focus on celebrating my health, inspiring others and not old times/pace.

Enjoy the journey!

This picture was taken on the way to Chelan and reminds me of how blessed I feel to be healthy, enjoy quality time with great friends and loving/supportive family.  In my mind this photo reflects the endless road and sky filled possibilities that are before all of us.  I have so many things I want to see and do!  I also I have so many people I want to inspire to want more from their journey and enjoy living a healthy life!

Thanks for reading and supporting!