Two east coast families, the Pepe's and the Flatley's were standing on the side of the Russian River at 6:30am in Sonoma, California, celebrating the engagement of Chris Pepe and Kim Flatley!
How is that life can take such dramatic turns? One year before, Chris was diagnosed with cancer. How did he feel then upon hearing that news? What lonely moments did he have? I can only imagine how some of those moments must have been.
But now, Chris, along with Kim, were surrounded by the closest family and friends to celebrate their new life together. Perfect.
I'll give a race report another day. What I want to say here is that sports and exercise in and of itself can be a lonely affair. Especially training for an Ironman or a Marathon. There are miles and miles of hard effort with no one around to witness the work you're doing.
But Sonoma was special. I didn't know what we were celebrating! One minute it was Chris' recovery, the next it was Kim and Chris' engagement and the next it was our race! There were so many toasts to be made for so many different reasons that an observer could only say, "well, they certainly have a lot to celebrate."
And that's why I won't forget Sonoma. Here are some of the moments I will remember for the rest of my life:
1. Watching Jen and 150 other swimmers wade into the Russian River and disappear into the misty marine fog.
2. My father-in-law, Vito, helping me put my bike together the day before the race.
3. Riding to the race course on my bike to see how my legs felt. Oh boy - my legs felt goooood.
4. The beginning of my race, when I past over 100 riders in the first 30 minutes fighting to catch up to the leaders. I was flying!
5. Calling my 4 year-old daughter, Mia, from the race course after I finished my 112 miles. It was so sweet to hear her voice.
6. Having dinner Sunday night at that fancy restaurant that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. Beautiful. A great night.
7. Having our wonder wonderful friend Kristen Conners not only show up, but sign up to be a race volunteer! It was like Jen, Kim and I had our own personal assistant in the transition zones! Kristen - how is it that we see each other like once a year - The last time was during a blizzard in the West Village of New York and this time in the transition zone of an Ironman race at 6am in Sonoma California?! Adventure.
8. Meeting Bob and Mary. Bob - I'm serious about the Vancouver to San Diego ride. I've got my bike in one hand and this Moby Dick novel I've been meaning to read in the other. I'm ready.
9. Laying on the blanket after my race. My mother-in-law, Sue had a pile of food for me. A rare moment of guilt-free eat-as-much-as-you-can-of-anything-you-want.
10. Meeting Kim in the transition zone after my ride. She high-fived me, called me a rock star and then sprung out of the gate like a gazelle to run her marathon.
- ► 2008 (10)
- ▼ 2007 (26)
- NY, New York, United States
- I'm 34 years old, the proud father of 2 beautiful children and husband to Jennifer, a beautiful, smart, and very caring woman. I'm an athlete - someone that was blessed with the ability to move fast and fluidly past, around, up and over my opponents. But, my body now reminds me that those days are numbered. I'm the Founder of Agile Fitness, a company dedicated to helping others achieve their fitness goals. Resume: - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist ('96). - Bachelor of Arts & Science, University of Delaware, ('95) - Masters in Business Administration, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business ('01)