I biked in my second Pelotonia ride today.  Last year I biked 102 miles.  This year I wimped out and only did the 43 mile route.  With everything going on with the house showings, Maria’s recent back to school tirade, and the lack of free weekends we have over the next four weeks, I thought it was best to call it a day at 11:30 versus 3:00 (43 miles versus 102).  I woke up this morning officially at 5:25 am but I had been tossing and turning with Jon all night because of two little monsters that kept getting in bed with us.  And then, if that wasn’t bad enough, Mario coughed in my ear half the night.  By 5:25 am, I was ready to hop out of bed.  I threw on my running gear and headed out listening to BBC.  I haven’t gone out in the pitch black like that since the Winter time when it stays dark late until 8 am.  It was a little freaky.  At one point, a truck pulled up behind me on a side street and followed me two blocks until he finally pulled in a driveway.  I kept picturing myself getting jumped and thrown in the back of the truck and killed with M&M never seeing their mama again (way too many horror flicks when I was 10 years old).  I ran about 5 miles and came back to throw on my biking gear and to head to the Pelotonia event.  The madhouse was in full effect when I arrived – over 4000 riders ready to take off down Olentangy River Road.

My gal colleagues

The event is for a worthy cause – the fight to end cancer.  It is a sight to behold the thousands of people gathered together with bike helmets on and bikes a tow.  I am used to runners.  Runners are less glossy and more rugged.  They are out on the road striking the pavement for hours in a pair of shorts and tank top and running shoes.  Bikers are more polished and tidy.  They are decked out in their shiny lycra and spandex shirts and shorts with five pockets all over them for water bottles and bananas and fruit bars.  They wear their tiny clip-in shoes and sparkling helmets.  Now, I admit to some generalization because I have met some high rolling runners in my time (still remember the one with matching asics tank top and running shorts (not even long enough to cover his entire buttocks) and bright-colored running shoes and waist belt with gel shots).  But bikers seem to be overall a little bit more glamorous and high-maintenance than runners.  You could tell the hard-core bikers; they had scuffed up bikes and used water bottles.  Helmets that had been scraped up and tight calves.  You could tell the newbies; they had their shiny new bikes with bright-colored water bottles.  Helmets that beamed at you and clipped shoes they were trying to force into the clips without falling.  But no matter expert or novice, everyone came together on this day to ride for one cause – to beat cancer – and that makes the event so inspiring.  You don’t bike for more than a mile or two without bystanders cheering for you and thanking you for riding in the event.  Signs hang everywhere thanking you for riding for someone’s mom or brother or friend.  It is humbling. 

What was even more of a treat this year was that I had my babes waiting for me at the finish line cheering me on as I rounded the corner from the side road.  Jon was standing over them waving at me (my ultimate cheerleader who roots me on for these events all the time) and they jumped up and down yelling “Go Mom!”  When I got off my bike to hug them, Maria immediately asked “Are you sweaty?”  When I told her yes, she let me know she would hug me later.  I took them to the food and drink tent and we ate chips and oranges.  Maria wanted a pb&j sandwich so bad but I refused to allow her to tak a sandwich from one of the bikers who would need it.  “But mom, I am starving!”  This is after a burrito and a donut an hour earlier.  She is my girl. 

We drove back home and decided to hit the library and Maggie’s new apartment for a tour.  Mario thought we would definitely take the car since I rode 43 miles.  Maria knew better: “Mario, you know mom is not going to waste energy; besides she is not even tired.”  Mario looked at me and nodded knowing his fate would be the stroller and not the car watching movies.  I made it up to him at the library though.  He got three DVDs of Spiderman, Looney Tunes, and Tom & Jerry.

Bike rides, Kindergarten, and temper tantrums

Jon and I shipped Maria and Mario up to Mama Ionno’s house on Friday last week in order for us to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated with Mitchell’s steak and lobster and a trip to the bike store to gather some last-minute items for my bike race on Saturday morning.  We got home at 7:30 pm and I was in bed by 9.  Poor Jon – he is such a trooper with these escapades. 

I woke up at 5:45 and got ready for the 100 mile bike race called the Pelotonia ( 

Feeling good on the mountain bike!

The Pelotonia is an annual bike race wherein riders can ride 23 miles, 43 miles, 100 miles, or 180 miles in support of cancer research.  There are respective cash goals you have to meet based on the number of miles you ride.   The 100 mile route runs from Columbus to Athens.  I got to the starting location at 6:15 am and we were off and riding at 7:30 am.  I made the crazy choice to ride my mountain bike (with at least smaller tires than the big ol’ mountain bike tires but still nowhere near the small width of road tires)  but I really didn’t hurt throughout the ride except in one ten-mile stretch from miles 82 to 92.  I had not stopped at the 75 mile rest stop because I was feeling good and I thought there was a rest stop at mile 87.  Unfortunately, there was no rest stop there 87 – it was moved to 92.  Now, you’d think that 5 miles on a bike is nothing to overcome but when you are going up and down rolling hills, have not eaten any breakfast, and have the sun beaming on you, it feels like 1000 miles.  I felt like I have felt when running a race – like time was at a complete standstill.  I finally reached the rest stop at 92 and it was like walking through the gates of heaven.  I chowed on a granola bars, fruit and pretzels.  My body rebounded and pushed me through the last 15 miles with no aches and pains.  I rode through the finish line to see Jon standing toward the side sopping wet (there was a massive downpour for my last 12 miles).  It felt great to have my supporter so close.   

When we got home, Jon pampered me (as all good hubbies should do).  We laid around and fell asleep early.  We were so excited about getting to sleep in since M&M were still with Mama Ionno.  Yet, to my demise, I twisted and turned all night.  It was as if someone kept shooting electrical waves through my body.  I was restless.  Finally, at 7:30 am, I got out of bed and decided to go for a run.  Yeah, a run.  I felt like Atalanta.  I was one with the wind – unstoppable.  It was unreal.  I could have run for 100 miles that morning.  My legs felt strong.  My lungs felt awesome.  Indescribable.

When I got home, I could have cleaned the entire house in 20 minutes.  My body was just charged up ready for the next feat.  Jon’s sole reaction consisted of these words: “You are a freak.”  This “high” lasted until Tuesday when I completely crashed and could not keep my eyes open past 9 pm.  And Wednesday and Thursday and Friday.  It was wonderful while it lasted.

Thumbs Up for K!

Fortunately, I was still on the high on Tuesday morning when Maria had her first day of Kindergarten.  We woke up at 7 am and as soon as she woke up, she popped up out of bed and exclaimed “We go to get ready, mom – NOW!” She got dressed in record time and even brushed her hair after I asked her the very first time.  I planned a big breakfast for her – waffles, cereal, eggs but her excitement would not allow her to sit down so she opted for a cereal bar instead.  We sat on the porch for what was “forever” to Ri (ten minutes) waiting for Aunt Sarah to arrive and we all walked down to K together.  

What mixed emotions that day.  Walking into her classroom and seeing all the kids at the tables, eyes glued down at their desk or up at the new teacher.  Worried, excited, scared.  Some talking with others; some keeping to themselves.  I found myself continuously asking kids that passed us what their names were and pushing Maria towards them stating “Maria, this is Joey. Maria, her name is Hailey.”  I think back to it now and I see how obnoxious that is!  Just let her move into it at her pace.  But there is that pesky mama gene that just wants it all to at least “look” easy and simple and warm and friendly.  Maria twirling around the wildflowers, laughing and loving life.  Yeah, that ain’t what school was always like for me so it will not be for her either.  She will come home sobbing one day and sad that some girl would not talk to her or some boy said something incredibly rude to her.  I did the same to my mom and stepmom and dad when I was in school.  Somehow they pulled me through and I will do the same with Ri.  But, man, it is hard to think about.  She has been sheltered for five years from all of this crazy stuff. 

He just seeps mischievousness!

Mario, on the other hand, will likely have to be peeled off the walls once he hits Kindergarten.  He is so hyper.  He climbs anything.  He runs everywhere.  He screeches.  His teacher is going to say his name way too many times during the day.  IN seriousness, he is a hyper son-of-a-gun but he also can sit still when he wants to (or is required to) and can listen.  It is just if he has the choice he would rather jump, climb, and run all around.  He turns three in a week and he has been exhibiting those lovely age three temper tantrums for the last few months.  They make you want to pack up a small bag and just go far away for a long time.  He kicks and screams and yells at the top of his lungs.  And will not stop.  I left the other morning for a run and when he awoke and I was not there, Jon said he sat on the steps screaming hysterically for 20 minutes.  Maria used to get mad by going to her room and not talking to us.  Mario will never go that route.  He knows that screaming is much more irritating and hard to ignore.  I hope when he turns three next Saturday that there will be a miraculous shift in that behavior and when he does not get his way he will look up at me and whisper “Mom, that upsets me, may we talk about it?”  Someday.