Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bucknell Hall of Fame

I'm not one to brag, but this past week was a pretty big deal and I think my Mom would be upset if I didn't write a little something about it. I found out back in June that I was going to be inducted into the Bucknell University Athletics Hall of Fame.  I spent 4 years of my life swimming and making great memories at Bucknell and it was an honor to get that phone call and be invited back to be inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame.
Instead of writing something myself, I'll share what was said at the dinner/induction and then my acceptance speech.  I think they sum it up pretty well, so here you go.

Long before the sun has risen or the people who deliver your morning newspaper have completed their rounds, millions of people are already wide-awake. Perhaps like you, they are relentlessly pursuing their dreams.

Some are corporate executives, well-known athletes, coaches, officials or leaders. But most are our neighbors, friends, relatives, employees or co-workers: The carpenter checking his tools; the sales manager packing her bags; the small business owner running spreadsheets on the kitchen computer; the teacher creating banners for the school assembly; the student athlete doing push-ups by his bed. The light is on in their windows, minds and hearts.

These are first-rate people in action—excellence, plain and simple. By doing whatever it takes to become the best they are capable of becoming, they lift our spirits. They stretch our boundaries. They energize our communities. And they bring new meaning to the terms, “job well-done” and “life well-led.”

This is an excerpt from a book called, “Whatever it takes” that I received from Jerry Foley upon completion of my senior year here at Bucknell and it has stuck with me ever since.

What We’ve Been Waiting For, Exceeding the Expected, Attitude to Achieve and Whatever it Takes. These are the beliefs that got us through winning 4 consecutive Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships during in my tenure at Bucknell.  Jerry Foley (and his staff: Craig Strong, Sandy Elion, Carl, Kathleen Mest, Judson, Sally, Sean and Errol Carter) built and took the Bucknell Women’s swimming and diving program from upstart to dynasty. Without them and all the women from 2002-2006 I would not be standing here today, so thank you.  

From my recruiting trip in 2001 to our final Patriot League Championship in 2006, in a sport that is so often considered individual, we were a team. Whether it was:
  • ·         our pre-meet pasta parties
  • ·         secret psycher locker buddies
  • ·         Craig running up and down the pool deck on training trip trying to sing “Hey ya,”
  • ·         back half-ing it in the nerd box
  • ·         Sandy’s Sunday Rainbow workouts
  • ·         test sets
  • ·         early morning wake up swims
  • ·         cafĂ© sits
  • ·         Wetheads
  • ·         Spring softball in the off season
  • ·         tying Navy in the 800-free relay at Patriots
  • ·         the trip to Colgate when we stayed in a hotel in the middle of the winter, with no heat, sleeping in our parkas the night before a swim meet
  •   a long road trip down to Florida for training trip, and on the way to BWI the bus broke down on Route 15 in the middle of a snow storm, resulting in half of the team missed our flight.
Through all of that we were ALWAYS a team.

I am beyond grateful and will always cherish the experiences had and friendships built during my time here. Committing to Bucknell was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made and now looking back 15 years later, it may have been one of my best. The moment I set foot on campus I felt at home. That family atmosphere, which Jerry created amongst the Women’s Swimming and Diving Program is what lead us to excellence. We didn’t want to let each other down, and therefore we always did “Whatever it took” to get the job done.

None of this would be possible without my parents taking the time to enroll me in swim lessons at 6 months old and most importantly instilling in me a never give up attitude. That perspective carried me through a successful age group, high school and collegiate swimming career. The confidence gained at Bucknell taught me that with a lot hard work, perseverance and tenacity I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. That confidence was really helpful when I found myself on an island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean trying to figure out the next phase of my life. What was that?  Taking up a new challenge in, triathlon, establishing a new career in Real Estate and ultimately finding my happy. Thank you, Jerry, Mom, Pop, Scott for knowing when to push me, when to encourage me and challenging me to become the athlete and person that I am. I wouldn’t be here today without you.

I’m here not because of me, but because the people around me believe in me and give me what I need to be successful, both today and 15 years ago. Thank you to everyone that traveled to be here today to support me, from Hawaii, to Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, thank you and to everyone that couldn’t be here today, thanks so much for your love and support, always.  

Let’s ‘Ray. (Thanks Trish for getting this going....that was ALMOST embarrassing!)

‘Ray Bucknell, ‘Ray Bucknell, ‘Ray for the orange and the blue, ‘Ray, ‘Ray, ‘Ray, ‘Ray, ‘Ray for the orange and the blue

I'm sure this is floating around on the internet somewhere, but I don't know where it is.  It was broadcasted live, so it does exist somewhere in case you want to see what a terrible public speaker I am, I wouldn't recommend's better to read and imagine me reading it. If you want to find it, I'm pretty sure Scott knows where it is.
It is an honor to be inducted into such an accomplished group of individuals and I am very excited to join this prestigious group.
I am very thankful that this ceremony gave me a reason to get back to the mainland to see family and friends.  I haven't been back home to see my parents in a while and that was long overdue.  I can't remember how long it's been since our entire Bucknell crew has all been together, none of us live in the same state and now babies are happening so it's tough to get all of us together in the same place at the same time....but this event made it possible!! Thanks to everyone for coming, now it's someone else's turn for a reason to get together.

Monday, October 30, 2017

10 months in photos

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I've last updated my blog (besides getting back on the bandwagon and talking a little bit about Kona.  Wow, a lot has happened since December and I'll try to recap in photos by month because pictures are more fun.











And now here we are in, almost November.  I'm off to NY, PA and DC with Scott here in a couple of days to go visit family and friends and take a trip back to Bucknell. Catch ya on the flip side!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Kona 2017

So it's October and I think the last time I opened this thing was almost a year ago, whoops.  New goal, start blogging again, and what better time now that the season is pretty much over, my bad.  I'll do a recap of what's been happening over here in Hawaii after I get to Kona (sorry Mom, I know you miss this).  What better time to start back on the blogosphere than to talk about Kona 2017.
I'm not quite sure where to begin as it's been a long time coming from winning the AG race and qualifying at IM Port Mac (Australia) in May, to Honu a few weeks later in June, a much needed break, some time off from running, ramping up the training and having a super awesome support team to help get me to Kona on October 14.
Let's just get down to the a nutshell for those that don't want to read a drawn out race report, which let's be honest, is probably most people. It typically goes like this....swim, ugh, wave start, clear water for about half the swim, having to swim through a million men and zig zag my way back to the pier and try to avoid getting kicked in the face. Bike, hot, windy, humid, many many girls drafting in packs hiding behind men, I won't name names or numbers, but there were a couple out there that were so blatant and ALLDAYLONG and thankfully they got the penalties they deserved (I digress), hot, windy, humid, hills, hot, windy, humid, that about covers it.  Run, hot, lots of people on course with encouraging words, hoses, sprinklers, chalk on the road (I finally saw my name!), hot, did I mention hot?
I was super happy with my swim, a little bit faster than last year 55:06, really though, 7 time! One of my big goals this race was to not get grumpy on the bike, not stop pushing when we hit the headwinds at Waikoloa and finish the ride happy, well mission accomplished and my fastest bike time in far. The run was a bit of a struggle for me, I'm not happy with the run in it's entirety, but I did spend a lot of time and energy on wanting to have a great last 10k and I did that, the first 32k notsomuch, but the last 10k was according to plan, albeit a bit slower than I wanted, but it was a lot faster and stronger than the first 32k. I wanted to start running "hard" after coming out of the energy lab and finish strong, and I did that, so mission sort of accomplished, my slowest run time in Kona.  I did have my fastest overall Kona time and placing, so that's a plus and a great accomplishment that I am happy about, but I'm not satisfied (that's a part of racing I think, always wanting to do more and better and that's what keeps me going), I'll be back!
 A few photos to recap the week...
Getting to finally meet my Coeur teamies IRL and the underpants run...first time!
Coffee boat Shenanigans
Pre Race race to go
The all important...starting things off "on the right foot" getting off the plane
Super supporters!