Thank You

When I was younger, writing “thank you cards” after Birthday parties and Christmases was an annual ritual. Both Abby and I were told the importance of this gesture and certainly made aware if we ever forgot to write one in a timely manner. As much as it was a pain when we were younger, I am so happy that my mother was such a stickler back then. Now, I pride myself on my thank you cards. They are sincere and heartful. They get to the point, but include more than “thanks for the gift.” And now… they are homemade.

I spend the last few nights slaving away at my craft desk. I armed myself with glue, craft paper, stamps, decorative whole punches, alphabet stickers and of course, card stock. I cut, measured, stamped, drew and glued together tiny symbols of thanks.

Thanks for support in the Pan Mass. Thanks for hope that is given to cancer patients being treated at the Dana Farber Center. Thanks for the possibility of a cancer free future.

Over the next few days, my PMC supporters will receive these tiny envelops of thanks. I hope that they realize just how much their donations and support mean to me. The memories and emotions that the PMC creates are hard to put into words. I can only hope that people are able to gain a small sense of what I feel, through my emails, conversations and pictures.

 

So, I say again, thank you to all of my friends and family who have generously donated to the Pan Mass Challenge. I have raised over $2,000 in donations from 24 different people, and I am still counting! I can receive donations through October so it isn’t too late to make yours. [Click to Donate]

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

Hello. My name is Molly and I am addicted to the Olympics.

It doesn’t matter the season, the sport or what year. I love the thrill of the competition, the pride and spirit you feel for your country, and the Olympic creed:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
– Baron Pierre de Coubertin founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894

Every two years,  athletes more than 200 countries come together in celebration of a sport, their nation and our world. Spectators glue themselves to their tvs to see how many gold medals their country can win, or more simply, just to see if their country can win one medal.

Today marks the 2 year count down to the 2012 Olympics in London. It will be the first time that a country hosts the olympics three separate times since the modern games were started. The presence of the Olympics is already felt in London, with the construction of stadiums and various sports venues well underway. 

They celebrated this two-year milestone, with top athletes Sir Chris Hoy, Michael Johnson and John Amaechi, showcasing the latest progress on the Olympic Park. They will be joined by local school students to ride the first lap of the Velodrome; sprint on a temporary track in the Olympic Stadium; and shoot the first hoop in the Basketball Arena respectively.

So while the celebrations begin and the construction continues, the athletes continue to train for the biggest stage of their lives, the Olympics!

Pace Yourself

With two weeks to go until the Pan Mass Challenge I am starting to feel a mix of emotions: excitement, happiness and a small dose of nervousness. Although the PMC has been the best weekend of my life for the past two years, it is not a weekend that passes without a lot of effort. Biking 190 miles in two days is a challenge: mentally and physically. I have been trying to prepare myself with bike rides in Central Park and riding on my trainer while watching the Tour De France (yes, just call me Dupree, from the movie You Me and Dupree). Unfortunately, a lesson that I have been trying to learn for 27 years, is still posing problems for me; the lesson of pacing oneself.

The other day, I decided to ride 3 laps of the park (each lap is 6 miles). I started out strong averaging 18.5 miles per hour. By the second lap, my average dropped to 18.1 and by the third I was down to 17.4. I went out after it and crashed and burned.

One of my most memorable swims was in the 200 backstroke at the Ivy Championships in 2004. I went hard. I was more than 2 full seconds ahead of the field at the halfway point. Unfortunately, I crashed and burned.

Event 16 – Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke

Molly Brethauer       Harvard       JR

28.05        57.59 (29.54)      1:29.20 (31.61)           2:02.95 (33.75)

I finished the event in 5th place.

During my first half marathon, Boston’s Run To Remember, I ran my first mile in 7 minutes. I finished the race in 1 hour and 58 minutes, making my pace over 9 minutes per mile. Again, I crashed and burned.

Today went I rode 4 laps around the park, I tried to pace myself. I started off nice and easy; however it wasn’t long before another bike rode by me… a girl. Clearly my plan of pacing myself went out the window. I raced around for 2 more loops before complete crashing and burning. On my last loop, my average pace dropped significantly. Thankfully, I finished my ride ahead of the girl who caused me to forget my pace.

So while I am still learning to pace myself in many aspects of my life, I can go to sleep tonight, tired, but feeling victorious. I won. Who cares that no one else in the park knew there was a race going on.

 

House Hunter

Growing up, I lived in the same town from the time I was born right through high school. We moved from a small cape house into my parent’s current house when I was about 5 years old. I was young enough when we moved that I don’t remember much about that process, and I am certain, I wasn’t much help to my parents during it.

After graduating college, I moved to Boston and got to experience the fun of searching for an apartment. The process didn’t take too long and I liked adventuring to different areas of the city. I lived in the same apartment for two years before moving to NYC.

When I moved to the “big apple” I tried to convince Abby that would could find a better apartment than the one she had been living in. Boy was I wrong! After looking at 4-5 places that were smaller than the bathroom I had in Boston, I decided that her place, although old and very far north, was the best we could do on our limited budget. Obviously, we had a great time living together – it didn’t matter where the apartment was or what it looked like.

After moving out, Matt and I were lucky enough to find our current apartment right away. It was a newly constructed building and we got a great deal since construction wasn’t totally complete when we moved in. Although Matt was almost taken to small claims court because he refused to pay our broker the “fee” (yes, he is THAT stubborn), it was a great move. We have now been there for just over a year and just renewed our lease for another year. 

While I would love to buy our own place, and put some of skill to use that I have learned from watching hours and hours of HGTV, it isn’t very realistic since the average place of an apartment in New York City is more than 1.6 million dollars. so until that time I will watch House Hunters, My First Place and Property Virgins on HGTV. At least then, when the time comes for Matt and I to buy a place, I will be fully prepared!

I posted last week that Abby got a new job that will require her to move to Virgina. The area that she will be moving to doesn’t have a lot of places to rent, as it is fairly residential. This means the she will be in the market for a new house. We spend part of day looking online at places online. I found one that I immediately fell in love with: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, newly renovated, a back deck, multiple skylights, a fireplace, and a white picket fence!

Without even seeing the place in person, I was sold. I sent the link to Abby and she shared in my excitement. Unfortunately, after reading the fine print, she informed me that my dream house was in an “active living” community for adults 55+.

Hmmm, maybe I should spend more time watching HGTV to better hone my house hunting skills. Or maybe I should just stop having the same taste as senior citizens.

Psych Me Up!

On my swim team, we had a thing called “secret psych.” Before meets, we would randomly get assigned another one of our teammates, and we were their secret psych. We would put together goody bags that contained power bars, Gatorade, green and gold nail polish, and if you were a good secret psych, a mix tape. These tapes contained various “Jock Jams” tracks like We are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust, or Whoomp, There It Is!

One of my favorite presents was a mixed tape that Abby made me before my high school state meet sophomore year. This was the first year that Abby was away at college, and I missed having her around, particularly on the pool deck. Going to college in Ohio, Abby was introduced to a new genre of music: country. This tape was my first introduction to the Dixie Chicks and Tim McGraw. Weird for a psych up mix, but it worked.

In college, we progressed from mix tapes to mix CDs. Before the Ivy Championships, we would make a team CD that had one song from each of the girls (an idea I stole from Abby’s experience at Kenyon). It was always interesting to see the range of songs that girls considered “inspirational.” You were always guaranteed to be introduced to at least one new song. Now whenever I hear “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, I always think of my college swim team (I know, we were so ghetto!)

In college, because I was swimming 20+ hours a week already, I didn’t go to the gym, like many college students. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much though because the gym at school wasn’t very impressive. It was old and there weren’t any tvs to keep you occupied while you ran on the treadmill or used the elliptical. If I did hit up the gym, I would need an awesome iPod playlist or something to read. Needless to say, my workouts never lasted much longer than 30 minutes.

During my senior year, they opened a new gym at the law school, that had cardio machines, each with their own tvs. I am embarrassed to say that second semester senior year, I spent more time working out than going out. I hadn’t developed an obsession with working out, nor was I training for anything in particular. The reason for my two to three hour-long elliptical obsessions was MTV. I didn’t have cable in my dorm room, so I would spend hours working out just so that I could watch “The Real World” and “Road Rules.”

After college, I moved home for a little. During that time I got a job at a hospital and in the basement, there was a small workout room that had one small tv, that was cable ready. Again, my addiction to MTV fueled my working out. I would go down into the room every Monday at 8pm and run on the treadmill for 60 minutes… the entirety of Laguna Beach. I thank LC, Lo, Stephen and Kristin for my great physical fitness that year.

I am happy to say that I am nearly over my MTV obsession. Now when I work out, I mostly watch the food network. I am not sure that is much better though. Now when I come upstairs from the gym, I am starving and saying stupid Rachel Ray phrases like “Yummo” and “Delish.”

So whether it is Jock Jams or the Barefoot Contessa, I am happy to have some motivation in my life. Now I just need to find someone to be my secret psych and give me goody bags before I go to work!

Hitting the Refresh Button

I just spend my morning at work, sitting at my computer hitting the refresh button on my computer every 10 seconds. What is the cause of this obsessive compulsive action you ask? Lance Armstrong.

I have been a Lance fan from the beginning. But then again, who wasn’t. Anyone who has the ability to transform a sport, through complete domination automatically gains the curiosity, and most often, support from the public. Lance did just that with his historic 7 Tour De France wins. However, what makes Lance’s story so much more spectacular is the fact that he did this, after beating another opponent: cancer.

In October 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, with a tumor that had metastasized to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy, and his prognosis was originally poor. He went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, and is the only person to win seven times.

During his treatment, before his recovery, before he even knew his own fate, he created the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This marked the beginning of Lance’s life as an advocate for people living with cancer and a world representative for the cancer community. With their now infamous yellow wristbands, the Livestrong organization strives to ‘to inspire and empower’ cancer sufferers and their families. The foundation also aims to provide practical information and tools for cancer sufferers in a, public health and research. With over 70 million wristbands sold, the foundation is known around the world and it making a real difference in the lives of cancer patients.

Lance is an inspiration. While I don’t always support all of the decisions he makes, he is the type of person that you want to root for. He represents so much more than winning.

I hope that my commitment to the Pan Mass Challenge can help to make a difference, no matter how small, in the lives of cancer patients. While my fundraising is off to a slow start, I am confident that the support I have seen in the past, will return. For those of you who have already generously make your donation, I thank you. You will be in my thoughts as I ride across the state, and your actions will be felt at the Dana Farber Center.

To make a donation, please visit my profile here: DONATE HERE!

While Lance’s efforts today did not result in a stage win, in my mind, he is still the best rider in the Tour de France . LIVESTRONG!

Update: I Love My Crippled Triathlete!

 

Matt has been dealing with a minor injury that has limited his ability to run. He went to the doctors but they told him there wasn’t anything that he could do besides rest. Unfortunately, the race took a toll on his leg and he spent the day yesterday hobbling around our apartment.

After his “emergency” doctors appointment, Matt called to give me the good news. He has a stress fracture in his leg and is going to be on crutches for 6 weeks!

While some couples go to premarital counseling before the wedding, Matt and I will certainly be tested during these 6 weeks! Let’s hope we survive.

I Love My Triathlete!

Yesterday Matt completed in the NYC triathlon. While I would have loved  to participate, it was nice to support Matt 100%. We are normally competing the in the same races, and while at the end of the day we support each other, it is hard to ignore the competition that exists between the two of us. Some couples would hate it if there were any sort of competition between them, but I think that it makes our relationship even better. We met in a competitive environment and both swam at a fairly high level, so it makes sense that we would bring that attitude into our relationship.

The first triathlon that we did together was the Timberman. That year, Matt’s training was pretty much non-existant and I ended up crossing the finish line a few minutes ahead of him. The next year, Matt came back with vengeance, and while we both improved upon our times from the year before, he posted a time that was a few minutes better than me. While I see this as a tie since we both finished first once, Matt argues that since his time the second year was the best overall, he is the ultimate winner. I still think that we need to compete in that race one more year to really determine the winner.

Some of our friends, who know us well, love to fuel our competitive nature. They are always asking us who is a better swimmer, or who would win in a race of a give stroke and distance. So one day, we decided to settle this argument once and for all. Matt and I took to the pool to compete in a series of 4 x 50s, one of each stroke. Matt won 3 of the 4 and I was truly disappointed in my performance. However, the next day, I went home sick from work with swine flu… clearly that explains my weak performance the day before. Again, I think a re-match is in order.

So while I love Matt and support him in all that he does, I certainly don’t like losing to him. I hope that as our relationship continues, we never stop racing or challenging ourselves to be better as individuals and ultimately, to be better together.

So while I am extremely proud of Matt and the results he posted yesterday, I am also very excited for next year. Hopefully, we both get the opportunity to compete in the race and I end up on top ;)

Toast Worthy!

I went to 6 different bridal salons (one of them three times) and tried on approximately 60 different wedding dresses, and spend nearly 15 hours in total before I finally decided on one. All for a dress that I will wear one time, for 5 hours. It was a major sense of accomplishment when I finally picked “the one.” The best part is that it was one of the first dresses I tried on, and the one that Abby knew was going to be “the one” the minute I put it on. Once I made the decision to buy it, I felt excited, relief and a sense of accomplishment. After returning to my parents house, my mom and I busted out some champagne to celebrate. My whole family toasted to this monumental occasion. As we raised our glasses, “to the dress” it hit me… I was turning into one of those girls.

Earlier that weekend, Abby made a trip down to Virginia for a job interview. She rocked it out and left the University of Mary Washington with a good feeling. On Sunday, she was offered the position of Head Coach for both the Men and Women’s Teams at the school. After being an assistant coach for 7 years, she is certainly ready for this. While moving to a new state is scary and taking on the responsibility of her own team can seem daunting at times, I know she will be amazing. I am just so happy that someone finally sees in her what I have seen for years. Now that news, is certainly champagne toast worthy!

abby brethauer

A couple of months ago, I blogged about my FSIL (future sister-in-law for those of you not down with wedding lingo) graduating from Nursing School. Now unlike push over liberal arts degrees like Matt and I got, Courtney’s degree required her to pass her boards in order to put her hard-earned degree to use. For some reason, going to class, studying for countless hours and passing all of your finals, don’t mean anything unless you can pass the 6 hour medical boards. After committing herself to intense studying for weeks, Courtney finally took her boards on Tuesday. Her results were supposed to be posted 2 days later (meaning tomorrow). Thankfully, Courtney’s anxiousness got the best of her and she decided to look up her results online a day early… just in case.

Tonight, we are toasting (along with our tacos) to Courtney, RN !

Suddenly, my feat of buying a dress doesn’t seem so toast worthy. I promise, I will not become that girl. I even gave in and updated my checklist!

Checking off my Checklist

As I have previously written about, I love checklists. I think it is because, not only does it help keep me organized, but it also allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment when I cross things off the list. Sometimes I find myself adding things to my “to-do” lists even after I have completed them, just so that I can cross them off and document my progress.

In order to keep Matt and I organized for the wedding, I created a checklist of “things to do” and posted it on a bulletin board over my craft area. Even though we have 11 months until the big day still, we have made a lot of progress in the plans. Unfortunately, the checklist doesn’t show that.

While we have picked our venue, our band, and this weekend I bought a dress, all of these things have yet to be checked off our list. Matt has graciously offered to take a black sharpie and cross things off, but I have refused to let him do so.

Let me start my explanation by saying, I know, I am craz; I’m not even going to try to deny it. My rationale for not checking things off my list (a task that I typically LOVE to do) isn’t very reasonable. Basically, I haven’t figured out how I want to do it. I spent time putting the checklist together and think it looks “cute” (really, can a checklist look cute?) and I don’t want to just start drawing lines through things and ruin it (I KNOW, I am crazy). So until I figure that out, our checklist sits waiting for things to be checked off.

My Dad suggested that I add another item to my checklist: “Decide how to cross things off my checklist.” God, he really is so smart!