Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Seven Stages of Deployment

I've heard a lot of comments from people about being a military spouse, what it's like to face separations from my husband and family, and many people have said things like "You are so strong", "How do you do it?", etc.  The truth of the matter is I'm not strong, I'd say I'm about average.  I'm not doing anything extraordinary here, I'm just getting by.  But I want everyone to understand a little more about what my feelings, anxieties, and emotions are all about-because then you'll be able to be of more help to me when I really need it! 

This is something that I found on a support website for military spouses.  It is fairly long, but definitely worth the time it takes to read it.  I think it was originally written for Navy spouses, which is why it refers to "cruises" and deployments.  :)  But it is all very relevant to every branch of the military! 

PRE-DEPLOYMENT 


Stage 1: Anticipation of Loss 

-6-8 weeks prior to deployment. 

-Some feelings: denial, fear, anger, resentment, hurt. 

-Activities: financial planning, car and home preventative maintenance, updating records of emergency data. 


This stage occurs four to six weeks before deployment. During this time it is hard for a woman to accept the fact that her husband is going to leave her. She may find herself crying unexpectedly at songs, TV shows, and other such Silly things that would not normally affect her. These incidents allow her to release some of her pent-up emotions. There is a lot of tension during this period as both husband and wife try to cram in a multitude of projects and activities: There are bikes and cars to fix, roofs to repair, deadbolts to install, garages to clean, family to visit, neighbors and friends to invite over, etc. 


The wife will have some unexpressed anger, and the couple may bicker even though they usually do not. This can be upsetting if it is viewed out of context. Although unenjoyable, these arguments can be functional. They provide one way for the couple to put some emotional distance between themselves in their preparation for living apart. It is hard for a wife to feel warm and loving toward her husband when she is mad at him, and as one woman said, Its easier to let him go. Other frequent symptoms of this stage include restlessness (productive), depression, and irritability. While women feel angry or resentful (Hes really going to leave me alone with all this), men tend to feel guilty (Theres no way I can get everything done that I should before I leave.) 


Stage 2: Emotional withdrawal

-1 week prior to deployment.

-Some feelings: confusion, ambivalence, anger, pulling away. 

-Activities: talking, sharing, fighting, setting goals to achieve during deployment. 


In many ways, this is the most difficult stage. It occurs sometime in the final days before departure. Such statements as, I know I should be enjoying these last few days together but all I want to do is cry indicates a sense of despair or hopelessness. The marriage is out of the couples control. Although they push ahead trying to complete the list that never gets any shorter, the wife often feels a lack of energy and is fatigued. Making decisions becomes increasingly difficult. 


During this time, the wife may experience some ambivalence about sexual relations. It is hard to be intimate when husband and wife are separating from each other emotionally. This can be especially difficult if it is seen as rejection rather than as a reaction to trying circumstances. The couple may find, too, that they stop sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other. This stage is most evident when departure is delayed for some reason. When asked if they enjoyed the extra time together, wives invariably respond, It was awful! The detachment and withdrawal stage is an uncomfortable time; Though both spouses are physically in the same house, emotionally they have separated. Wives think, If you have to go, go. And husbands think Lets get on with it!


DEPLOYMENT 


Stage 3: Emotional confusion/disorganization 

-1-6 weeks after departure.

-Some feelings: sense of abandonment, need, loss, emptiness, pain, disorganization. 

-Activities: crying, loss or abundance of sleep and appetite, busy, goal activation. 


No matter how prepared wives think they are, the actual deployment still comes as a shock. An initial sense of relief that the pain of saying good-bye is over may be followed by guilt. They worry, If I really love him, why am I relieved that he's gone? They may feel numb, aimless, and without purpose.  Old routines have been disrupted and new ones not yet established. Many women are depressed and withdraw from friends and neighbors, especially if the neighbors husbands are home. They often feel overwhelmed as they face total responsibility for family affairs. Many women have difficulty sleeping, suddenly aware that they are the security officer, others sleep excessively. A wife may feel some anger at her husband because he did not say, provide for her physical security by installing deadbolts. 


Wives often report feeling restless (though not productive), confused, disorganized, indecisive, and irritable. The unspoken question is, What am I going to do with this hole in my life? Whereas wives experience a sense of being overwhelmed, husbands report feeling lonely and frustrated. Unfortunately, a few women get stuck at this stage, either unable or unwilling to move on emotionally; they will both have and cause problems throughout the cruise.


Stage 4: Adjustment/Recovery 

-Most of the deployment.

-Some feelings: hope, confidence, calm, less anger, loneliness.

-Activities: establishing routine, establishing communications, self-growth. 


At some point, wives may realize, Hey, Im doing OK! They have established new family patterns and settled into a routine. They have begun to feel more comfortable with the reorganization of roles and responsibilities. Broken arms have been tended, mowers fixed, cars tuned up, and washing machines bought. Each successful experience adds to their self confidence. The wives have cultivated new sources of support through friends, church, work, wives groups, etc. They often give up real cooking for cruise food; they may run up higher long-distance phone bills and contact old friends. 


Dr. Alice Snyder of Family Services Center, Norfolk, calls the women single wives as they experience both worlds. Being alone brings freedom as well as responsibility. They often unconsciously find themselves referring to, my house, my car, my kids. As a group, they are more mature, and they are more outwardly independent. This stage is one of the benefits of being a wife: Each woman has the opportunity to initiate new activities, accept more responsibilities, and stretch herself and her abilities all while secure in being married. Nevertheless, all the responsibility can be stressful, and wives may find that they are sick more frequently. Many women continue to feel mildly depressed and anxious. Isolation from both their husbands and their own families can leave them feeling vulnerable. There is not much contact with men “ by choice or design “ and women may begin to feel asexual. On the whole, though, most women have a new sense of independence and freedom and take pride in their ability to cope alone.


Stage 5: Expectation of reunion 

-6-8 weeks prior to homecoming.

-Some feelings: apprehension, excitement, high expectations, worry, fear. 

-Activities: planning homecoming, cleaning, dieting, loss of sleep, completion of individual projects. 


Approximately four to six weeks before the ship is due back, wives often find themselves saying, Oh my gosh, hes coming home and Im not ready! That long list of things to do while hes gone is still unfinished. The pace picks up. There is a feeling of joy and excitement in anticipation of living together again. Feelings of apprehension surface as well, although they are usually left unexpressed.


This is a time to reevaluate the marriage. That hole that existed when their husbands left did get filled “ with tennis classes, church, a job, new friends, school, - and now they instinctively know that they must clean house in their lives in order to make room for the men. Most experience an unconscious process of evaluation, I want him back, but what am I going to have to give up? Therefore, they may feel nervous, tense, and apprehensive. 


The wives are concerned about the effect the husbands return will have on their lives and their childrens: Will he understand and accept the changes that have occurred in us? Will he approve of the decisions I made? Will he adjust to the fact that I cant go back to being dependent? The husbands are anxious, too, wondering, How have we changed? How will I be accepted? Will the kids know me? Does my family still need me?


Most women bury these concerns in busywork. Once more, there is a sense of restlessness (but productive) and confusion. Decisions become harder to make and may be postponed until the homecoming. Women become irritable again and may experience changes in appetite. At some point, a psychological decision is made. For most women, it is. Do I want him back? You bet! I cant wait to see him!


REUNION 

Stage 6: Honeymoon 

-Day 1 until the first argument.

-Some feelings: euphoria, blur of excitement.

-Activities: talking, re-establishing intimacy, readjusting. 


This stage, too, is one in which the husband and wife are together physically but not necessarily emotionally. They have to have some time together and share experiences and feelings before they feel like a couple again. They both need to be aware of the necessity to refocus on the marriage. For instance; After one of the wives husband had been home for a few days, she became aggravated with him when he would telephone his shipboard roommate every time something of importance came up within the family “ finally declaring, Im your wife. Talk to me! During this stage, the task is to stop being single spouses and start being married again. 


Most women sense a loss of freedom and independence while a minority is content to become dependent once more. Routines established during the cruise are disrupted: I have to cook a real dinner every night!? This causes the wives to feel disorganized and out of control.


Although most couples never write it down, there is a "Contract in every marriage “ a set of assumptions and expectations on which they base their actions. During this stage, the couple has to make major adjustments in roles and responsibilities; before that can happen, they must undertake an extensive renegotiation of that unwritten contract. The marriage cannot and will not be exactly the same as before the cruise: both spouses have had varied experiences and have grown in different ways, and these changes must be accommodated. 


Too much togetherness initially can cause friction after so many months of living apart. More than one wife has had to cope with the fleeting shock of wondering, Whos that man in my bedroom! Some resent their husbands making decisions that should be mine. Still others question, My husband wants me to give up all my activities while hes home. Should I? On the other hand, the husband may wonder. Why do I feel like a stranger in my own home? All of these concerns and pressures require that husband and wife communicate with each other. 


Assumptions will not work. Some find that talking as we go along works best, while others keep silent until, We had our first good fight, cleared the air, and everythings OK now. Sexual relations, ardently desired before the return, may initially seem frightening. Couples need sufficient time together to become reacquainted before they can expect true intimacy. 


This stage can be difficult as well as joyful. But it does provide an opportunity offered to few civilian couples; the chance to evaluate what changes have occurred within themselves, to determine what direction they want their growth to take, and to meld all this into a renewed and refreshed relationship.


Stage 7: Readjustment

-6-8 weeks following return. 

-Some feelings: uncomfortable, role confusion, satisfaction.

-Activities: re-negotiating relationships, redefining roles, settling in


Sometime within the four to six weeks after the homecoming, wives notice that they have stopped referring to my car, my house, my bedroom using instead our or we. New routines have been established for the family, and the wives feel relaxed and comfortable with their husbands. There is a sense of being a couple and a family. They are back on the same track emotionally and can enjoy the warmth and closeness of being married.


So if you made it this far then GREAT JOB!  I think it is funny (well, funny is not the word, but I can't think of the word....) that we were stuck in Stage 2 indefinitely for MONTHS- the stage that it says is "in many ways is the most difficult stage".  Now that we are finally at Stage 3 I'm really hoping that I can get our routine going again and get on to Stage 4.  Thanks for reading, and I hope that this gave you some insight into my life at the moment, and who knows- it may even give you some insight into your own that you didn't even know of.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Forgot to title this post! DRAT!

Marshall and Maddox had a lot of good play time before he left for the desert last Tuesday.  We have put pictures of him around the house, so Mdx sees him and tells him things I don't understand occasionally.  I'm not quite sure he'd understand either.

She is getting better about not grabbing the camera when she sees it.

We were trying to wear her out before bed time.
video

Reading Mdx's favorite book, which she reads every day.

She has learned to say MANY words from this book! Newest: Tractor
video

She only looks sweet and innocent....wait until you see the video!


video

The morning that Marshall left, they had one last coloring session before we dropped him off at the base.  We couldn't believe that he actually left this time REALLY!
We plan to stay very busy while Marshall is gone.  If anyone wants to come up and visit you are welcome (I just need some notice so I can clean frantically!), and I'm trying to make some traveling plans for the summer too.  My garden is growing well, I'll put some pictures up another time.  Until then, I'm off to bed!  One of my deployment "goals" (you know, things to keep me busy and give me something to focus on) is to get my butt in bed before 11:00pm.  I'm a night owl, but I know it's bad for me.  Sleeping is much healthier for my mind and body- so that's my goal.  

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maddox's 2nd Easter

This was the first Easter in a long, long time that I was not back in NC with my extended Pipan family.  Easter is normally "our" holiday, along with Christmas Eve- where everyone makes the effort to travel wherever we need to go to see everyone, catch up, and just feel the family love.  I originally thought that we (Maddox and I) were going to make it to SC to Aunt Susan's house, but then Marshall's deployment was changed again and we were left in limbo- not knowing whether he would leave a few days before Easter, ON Easter, right after Easter, etc.  So, I decided that I didn't want to drive all that way and be away from my husband when it could possibly be his last few days home.  I know people say they "understand", etc, etc...but I still missed my family.  I love all my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins, and all our holiday traditions.  It just doesn't seem like Easter without eating the blessed egg, Babka, Borscht, and the egg-cracking competition.  I view this as one of the greatest gifts that my parents gave to me: an appreciation and love for our family.  I hope we can continue the tradition.

Mdx's Easter basket: bunny ears, seeds, Spiderman and Frog eggs, a wind-up chick, and a wooden firetruck.  We DO let our child eat sweets, but she had so much candy before Easter that the Easter bunny decided that she didn't need any in her Easter basket!  She was completely happy.

Part of the reason I LOVE my school so much, are the people that I work with.  The librarian (we will call her Mrs. M) knew that Marshall was supposed to be deployed before Easter, and invited us to her house for an Easter dinner and egg hunt.  She has grandchildren close to Mdx's age, and said they would love to have us.  When Marshall's plans changed I called her and basically said "He's here, can we come?"....and I am so glad!  I made a turkey-couscous salad to take, and we all got dressed up in our Spring-y finery.  I'm starting to understand that part of being a military family means getting adopted by other caring people, and making some friends for the holidays.  Mrs. M's family has not had a baby girl born in decades...and they were delighted to love all over Mdx and watch her play with the boys, E, and C, and their friend P.
Here is where it gets funny...when we were walking in the door my hands were full with the food, bag, Mdx's sweater, etc.  Marshall and Mdx walked in the door right behind me and Mrs. M began introductions.  Her Daughter-in-law immediately said "I know Mdx, she goes to the CDC with C and P!".  It ends up that all of our kids go to the same Child Development Center (albeit different classes due to different ages), and all know each other and play together in the mornings, even though we did not know that coming into the Easter invitation.  What a small world, and what a welcoming karmic event.  The kids were happy, so the adults were happy...we all were happy to be there together.

Mdx and Mrs. M's grandson C eating Easter dinner together.  Notice the Dads were placed in the closest seats....therefore in charge of the eating kids!!  Little P is hidden behind the sofa.
Mrs. M's daughter-in-law with her son C and his friend P before the egg hunt.  The ears were NOT popular.
During the Easter Egg Hunt, Marshall helped Mdx find eggs so that I could take pictures, and they found one under the camper!  Being the good Daddy he is, he's blocking her from smashing her head when she stands up.  :)  Mrs. M was so proud of the pink pail that she got for Mdx to use!!
It was hard to get a family photo with everything going on.
P and his family (can't see P well at all!) are having a GIRL named Audrey in July!!
C with his baby brother E...and family.  

This Easter was like a wonderful reassurance that Mdx is at the right place during the day when I am at work, and that even when our own best plans don't work out...we will not be abandoned during life's important times.  I think all 3 of us left Easter dinner feeling very loved and appreciated.

The 3 fathers walked their children around the planter in the front yard.  E is an infant, and can't walk, but next year he'll be all about it.  Very cute!
Mdx and C decided to hold hands during dessert!  This was really cute!

We are extremely lucky to have family and adopted-family to share the holidays with.  I hope that all our holidays in the future will be just as happy, with just as much acceptance and activity as we experienced this year.  



Monday, April 13, 2009

fun things around our house

We have a few new things around the house that I think are pretty cool....

We got a new shelf in our kitchen, finally allowing me to get some things off the teeny-tiny Air Force excuse of a counter.  You can see our happy compost container in the background next to the Kitchen Aid.
We use cloth napkins here in the MacHouse (and so should you)...and here are our new ones.  I know they don't match, but nothing else in our house matches, so why start now?  I think they are beautiful.
Everyone who has a garden needs a recycled tin watering can.
Maddox's McIntyre grandparents saved many toys from Marshall's childhood.  They gave her a few of them when we were down visiting before Easter...and there are even more waiting for the future! She loves this picnic set complete with utensils, and school bus!
These Tupperware blocks were another big SCORE!!
They open up and snap together, which is a really cool feature.
They also make a beautiful necklace.
Maddox is so happy that her Daddy's parents saved all these toys for her.  We were just saying the other day that we think we need to get some more toys for Mdx to play with, it's just that toys are so expensive, so we try to buy them second-hand or at a yard sale.  Luckily Mdx loves books, which don't take up a lot of room, and she's attached to her stuffed animals and "Baby" that Santa brought her.

The last demonstration that we are at last a Mac-family...and my husband is a dork.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

trip to Raleigh

We took a quick trip to Raleigh to see the McIntyre side of the family before Marshall had to leave.  It ends up that we didn't have to make it such a quick trip, it could have been longer except we were expecting Marshall to fly out on Friday morning and we needed to get back so that he could outprocess, get ready to fly, etc....in typical fashion we did everything we were supposed to do, yet he is still sitting here...but I'm choosing not to dwell on things I can't control.  Grr...the AF are not my favorite people right now.

  Anyway...we drove down to Raleigh on a Sunday morning, and drove back Tuesday afternoon.  Maddox had a good visit with her grandparents.

Marshall and his Dad played cornhole in the gorgeous weather.  Macy was supervising.

Maddox enjoyed going up and down the stairs off the living room deck.  She told many stories to the bird that was waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
More cornhole.
Maddox was happy to show them how much she loves to eat fresh fruit.
We went to visit Taylor Anne and Anderson (and Emily and Mikey)  Mdx says "Tay-tay" and "An-son"..which is pretty awesome considering she isn't even 2 yet!  Taylor is a fabulous playmate, we'd love to borrow her to babysit next time we need a few minutes to do ANYTHING!  She even offered to find some clothes for Mdx's "Baby", who only has one outfit, but generally likes to be undressed.  Here you can see the naked baby...Mdx doesn't think that dressing is fun at all.
T.A. and Mdx music time.
T.A figured out how to fill the hole in her front teeth with a PEA!  Anderson has learned how to pose since the last time we visited.  :)
She loved sitting at a table and eating lunch with her cousins.
Back at her Grandparent's house, Mdx got an Easter Wheelbarrow full of goodies!
She learned how to push it all around, it was cute!  Amos and Auggie made sure to supervise. 
One of Mdx's favorite things is coloring...she loves pulling crayons out of the roll Aunt Em made her for Christmas!

Friday, April 10, 2009

We have to watch what we say

She's been doing this for a long time, but it has only recently become intelligible.  We are in trouble because she already HUSHes the dog and tells her to GO.  In the morning if she wakes before 7:30am I make her stay in her bed and play until 7:30...and I can hear her in there trying to convince me to come in and get her.  She says things like "Mama uh-oh!" and "Oh no", along with plenty of gibberish and throwing of stuffed frogs.  Daddy is much more of a softy than me, he has gotten her out of bed early a few times...but we'll get back onto schedule once the Air Force decides they are ready for him in the sandbox.

Marshall loves to egg her on...and what's really funny is when he says "Two..ah, ah, ah" and she says "THREE"....awesome.

video

Thursday, April 9, 2009

All-City Orchestra

The Newport News All-City Orchestra was a few weekends ago, and our students did a great job representing the school and themselves!  It made for a very long weekend for me (and for Marshall who had Mdx the whole time), but it was a great experience for the kids to get to play harder music and have the pressure of other students from other schools around them.  I hope the 9 students from my school will help convince more of our students to work hard and hopefully make it next year.

The schedule was pretty grueling:  We left our school at 9:30AM on Friday.  The students rehearsed from 10:30-12:00, and from 1:00-4:00pm, then rode the bus home.  We came back again on Saturday for morning rehearsals, then a quick lunch and changed into concert dress.  Then the concert was at 2pm on Saturday.  I taught sectionals and otherwise generally helped out when necessary during rehearsals.

The Middle School group rehearsing onstage at Warwick HS.
The High School group, in the band room...which smelled exactly like our HS band room.
At lunch, with a few of the other Directors, we were giving out the T-shirts.
Some of my Middle School girls.   :)  I'm so proud of them!  They are already talking about next year when they make it to the All-City Orchestra again!

Here is a great video that I took of the HS group:
video

I still don't know yet if my contract will be renewed for next school year.  I am apprehensive just because I know that there are big budget cuts in the works, some of which involve getting rid of programs that don't have large numbers.  The only thing that I can use to plead my case is that I am at such a special school, and we are a growing program.  These kids need the chance during their day to get away from the rigor of academics, and for some of them -to be totally honest- my class is the only thing they've ever been good at in their entire life.  At times I get so frustrated when I think of all the hard work I've done, all the attitudes I've changed, all the trust I've earned, all the kids who have learned to read music, all the nails I have trimmed (HA!), all the kids who want to join the Orchestra next year, but may not get the chance...and FOR WHAT?  What was all that hard work for if I just end up getting the axe after one measly year at the school?  I've been honest with the students and let them know that I WANT to be with them next year, but it is out of my hands.  My Administrators have told me that they are really happy with what I've done this year, and that they want me back....so now I just wait to hear from NNPS about their decision.  I hate not knowing!!

the Honey-do list

...is getting very short.  Which is great, because so is the time left that he will have to do anything that remains on the list!

Over the past week or so Marshall built some raised gardens for me to grow some vegetables and herbs this Spring and Summer.  It took a few phone calls to Em and Mikey to get their help figuring out the dimensions, and how much soil we would need.  However, once I gave Marshall the mission, he went to work!  I also used a lot of information found in the book "Square Foot Gardening", which was very helpful!

We used untreated pine boards, since we don't need these beds to last forever.  
The beds measure 6 x 4 ft, and are 10 inch boards.  He built 3 of them.
Once we filled them with our own homemade compost and topsoil, he attached this lattice around the top to discourage Macy from digging, and hopefully keep out the fattest rabbits.
The lattice on the end is removable in case I need to get into the bed, but I can reach the middle from each side, so it shouldn't be necessary.
Today I planted some Broccoli, Zucchini, Peppers, Sweet Onions, and Early Tomatoes.  We will see how much of it grows and produces, but it was exciting to plan it out and plant!  I'm still planning on adding Squash, Spinach, Peas and/or Carrots, but I'm not sure how much more will fit!
Our backyard is much more inviting now.  Here you can see the other planter that Marshall built at the corner of the patio.  I'm going to plant herbs in this planter.  This picture makes me laugh because you can see Mdx at the back door imitating me holding up the camera above my head.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Smithfield Sprint Triathlon

On April 4th I did the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon, in Smithfield, VA- which was only about 30 min from where we live.  I had participated in a beginner triathlon class at the YMCA close to our home, and this was the race we all were training for.  Training consisted of at least 5 workouts a week, working in intervals for speed and long workouts on the weekend.  We practiced doing transitions and  learned all about the gear.  I had to make quite an investment in biking gear since I didn't have any, and got all of my newbie moments (like falling off the bike after not being able to clip out) out of the way before race day.  

My friend Tamara and her kids Daylynn and Aaralyn were in town for a few days, and came to watch the race and cheer for me!  Tamara and Marshall took all these pics, and took care of the kids all day in the sun and wind.  Thank you both so much!

The race wasn't scheduled to start until 10:00AM, and we arrived right around 9:15.  Then I had to hurry to set up my transition area, stand around, and get more nervous until my start time of 10:57:45.  The race distances: 300 meter swim, 10 mile bike, 5K (3.1 miles) run.  My goal was to finish in under 1 hour and 30 minutes....well, really my goal was to finish without getting DQ'd.

Setting up my transition area- next time I'm bringing a bucket to sit on while I put on my shoes, those people were smart!  Yes, I plan on doing this again! 
It was a cool and very windy day.
Since it was an indoor swim, they had a swimmer start every 15 seconds.  This is not a very flattering photo, but shows how they had us lined up on deck watching all the swimmers before us.  You can see that they marked our numbers on us with permanent marker!  I have to point out that I passed the guy in front of me, and the guy in the yellow cap on the swim!  Yeah!  (It's okay, I'm fairly sure they passed me later on the bike).  We zigzagged our way through pool.
It was hard not to burn all my energy in the first 100m, the adrenaline was pumping!
SWIM TIME: 5:34

Here I am in Transition 1.  I tried to dry off, put on my jersey, bike shorts, socks (putting dry socks on wet dirty feet is hard to do quickly!), bike shoes, sunglasses, and bike helmet.
Then I had to grab my bike and run out of Transition to the bike course.  You couldn't get on the bike until you got to the mounting area.  My bike is a Raleigh Supercourse road bike.  It is carbon fiber, very light, and surprisingly easy to ride!  I got it at Bikes Unlimited in Williamsburg, and I highly recommend them.
TRANSITION 1 TIME: 2:39

This is me returning from the bike ride.  It was VERY windy, and not what I would call a "flat course" as they advertised on the race website.  There was a blind left turn that headed uphill, but I was warned by another rider about it and managed to downshift before I hit the hill.  Another teammate of mine dropped her chain during the ride and had to stop and fix it.  Luckily she figured it out and still finished the race.
In the dismount area, I got clipped out WAY ahead of time to make sure I didn't have any problems.  The volunteers and spectators were all so positive and were yelling things like "Looking great!" and "Keep it up!"
BIKE TIME: 37:10 (my fastest ever!)

In Transition 2, I got to my rack and people had put their bikes back sloppily, so I had to take the time to slide people's bikes out of the way and shove mine in there.  Then I changed shoes, took off the helmet and headed for the 5K run.
Already pretty tired.
Leaving transition for the last time.
TRANSITION 2 TIME: 2:05

Maddox waiting patiently while I ran.
At the finish!!  The beginning of the run was the hardest, by the end I actually felt really good!  We followed a painted path of pink pigs feet through Smithfield.
RUN TIME: 34:21
TOTAL TRIATHLON TIME: 1:21:48

Drinking water right after the finish.
I'm really happy that I took the YMCA class, I can't imagine doing anything like this without the help and coaching from other people!  I'm glad to be doing athletic things again after having the baby, and I am now training for the MS 150 bike ride in May!  I'll post more about that later (along with a plea for donations I'm sure).  :)  All of this will help me stay busy while Marshall is gone.