Well, we are all (Mark, Annabelle and I... even Daisy the dog, too) back home and able to reflect on the last week--the last season.
Satisfaction. Relief. Happiness. Pride.
After Mark qualified for the Pan Pacific Games his job was far from complete. Mark went straight from the National Championships to training camp and then to the Pan Pacific Games. A total of 3 weeks and 2 days away from home, even though each leg of this trip was in California.
Annabelle and I, as you know, traveled to Irvine, CA to cheer for our everyday Olympian. Mark's swims at Nationals earned him a spot on the National team and on the Pan Pacific Games team, however Mark had to continue to swim fast at the Pan Pacific Games in order to secure a spot on the short course world championship team and the long course world championship team. He not only accomplished this, but his swims in the 100m breaststroke catapulted him to the top American spot (he was only the second fastest American after Nationals).
Mark looked strong and confident in each race as Annabelle and I (and all of our dear friends) were hot and tired in the stands. This picture epitomizes roughly 6 hours of each day of our trip to California.
Notice the great red, white and blue necklace courtesy of Tyler Clary's mother (see, I told you we were all family up in the stands). All of us were decked out each and every session. Annabelle, however, was the star of the stands. The Lochte Family was Annabelle's biggest fan club. Ryan's aunt made sure to see Annabelle and her outfits each session. Man, do I feel lucky that so many people are good to us.
Back to Mark... Mark raced three times (50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, and the 400 medley relay) and came home with three medals (silver, bronze, and gold respectively). Mark's performance not only sets him up great for the next two years, but should help with the sponsorship situation, too. He knew what he had to do... and did it (times 3!).
Annabelle and I also cheered for Eric with our dear friend Jeri and her family. Eric also swam well and earned a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke earning himself a spot on the world championship team.
When I look at this picture I think about my conversation with Annabelle in 20 years when I get to say, "Remember when Aunt Jeri and I took you to California to cheer for Dad and Uncle Eric..."
Did you miss Pan Pacs? You can catch up by watching races and interviews here.
Right now Mark and I are catching up on the Mad Men episodes that we missed out on due to our travels. Mark is taking a "break" from swimming now and is looking forward to not seeing the pool this week. This week does, however, begin his crazy clinic schedule. This, I am not looking forward to... but, this is part of the deal. Dream job=sacrifice (no rest, travel, crazy schedules, single parenthood on the weekends).
While Mark is pool hopping across the country, today marked my first day back as a crazy, busy, and exhausted PhD student. I'm not sure how we'll manage this fall, but I'm confident that we'll figure it out. Wish us luck this "season." Swimming fast and watching anxiously is tough... but, the working fall may come close to finishing off this tired swim family. Again, I remind myself: dream job=sacrifice. It's a good thing that both of us love what we do because if we didn't, I'm not sure if it would be worth all of this. Honestly, we wouldn't have it any other way...