half iron, full man


Tate Barrett and Joseph "Bill" Nicholson team up for an inspirational performance in the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. Some critics say it is "so exciting!" (Meredith Hall), while others claim it is "just nuts" (Megan Maxwell). Some viewers say "shoot me in the face, I am sore and sweaty just reading about it (Kelsey Carpenter), it "makes me tired" (Kelly Williams), while others are just "proud to say they know an Ironman (Matt&Elyse Derian). It's obvious "those boys are insane" (Shawn Boyd); however, it makes you yell, "kick [aspirin]" (Jimmy Smith). Church-goers everywhere rave "that was one long bike ride, I went to church and Sunday School before they were done" (Justin Stonher). In the end, one expert even said "the definition of 'Tateness' is what one reaches when he surpasses greatness" (Colby Thomas). Critics everywhere agree Ironman Branson is an 8 hour roller coaster; it will have you laughing and tearing up all at the same time. Here, see for yourself...


3:45 AM
Tate and Dad wake up to get ready for the big day. Eat a banana, pack up their gear, buckle the fanny pack and grab a Gatorade. Out the door to the transition area. 

5:50 AM
The support crew: Robby, LaVon, Lynley, Jan the Man, and me leave in time to see our triathletes before the race starts. It's a game of "Where's Waldo" out there. Everyone is barefoot, wearing a black wetsuit, swim cap and goggles. We finally find our Waldos and head over to wish them a quick, "good luck" before they're off. I don't know if they're nervous, but I am...and we all know LaVon is. As I glance over the sea of black wetsuits, I wonder how long these people have been training for this. Tate and Dad, 9 months, while I am sure others have been training most of their lives. Each racer has their age stamped on the back of their leg in black, permanent marker. Scanning the crowd, I spy a: 24, 57, 18, 72. There are people literally three times my age.

6:45 AM
Snap a few pics, and wish our boys a whole-hearted good luck. I give Tate a quick kiss and recite his motto with a little help: "swim smart, bike hard, run tough." We have recited this motto for the past few races, but I know it will never be needed more than in the next 7 hours. 

7:00 AM 
And they're off! The first wave is running bare-foot on the sand into the water. This wave consists of professional triathletes...the real crazies. They have a "P" on the back of their legs and will most likely finish the swim within 25 minutes or so. Although they are well-trained, they look like drunken ants in their black wetsuits climbing over each other. It is so exciting!  

7:15 AM
Five waves later, Dad's group is off and into the water! I watch the swimmers in a massive cluster take their first few strokes, knowing not everyone will finish. The swim is 1.2 miles, and someone has already grabbed onto the lifeguard's kayak merely 100 yards into the swim. This was the first athlete I saw stop the race due to physical limitations, but there would be many, many more throughout the day. I watch as Dad swims calmly, in the middle of the pack. Looking out, I strain to see the last buoy, a tiny green dot, marking the turn around point for the swim. It was a heckofaway out there to say the very least.

7:25 AM
It's my boo's turn. As the red swim caps are corralled through the "swim start" chute, the music starts:
"His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy...
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes one in a lifetime"

Now I am not usually a fan, but I would like to say, "thank you" to Eminem for capturing the moment perfectly.  The second to last wave lines up on the beach, pulling their goggles tight and listening for their cue. As they wait, they can see the P's finishing the swim and climbing out of the water. 

7:27 AM
And they're off! At this point Tate is waist-deep in the water and Dad is 1/3 of the way through is swim, both relying on their training and trusting their endurance. The support crew is busy snapping pictures and sending up prayers. 

7:39 AM
Dad is out of the water, peeling off his wetsuit as he jogs to the transition area. He slides in his shoes, tightens his helmet, clicks in his pedals and he's off to conquer the dreadful 56 miles of "small mountains." After the race, many triathletes said this was the hardest bike course they have ever experienced in their tri lives and that it should be the World Championship Half Iron. Yikes! He has no idea what he's in for...

7:56 AM
Tate is out of the water! As he passes Lynley, he strikes up a little convo asking how my dad is doing. So nonchalant. This is no time for politeness, boo, just keep running! He is out of the transition area and passes us on the bike. See you in 4 hours! Little did he know, as he was riding  the treacherous course, he would see triathletes laid out every 100 yards or so, giving up due to exhaustion. I can't imagine pushing yourself to a place where your body literally says "no more, I'm done." I mean my mind says that all the time, especially when washing dishes or walking around the block, but this is something completely different, a place only a very few have been.  

9:37 AM
To the race area...As we, support crew, are busy claiming our spectating/cheering spot along the run course, laying out our blankets setting up chairs and grabbing some breakfast, the first place runner comes through. You may not fully understand how crazy this is, but just know Tate, Dad and the other normal people are only halfway through the bike course! 

11:31 AM  
Dad finishes the "biotch" of a bike course. We found out later that his bike chain broke twice and he rode the last 6 miles with a faulty spoke. Now if that isn't hardcore determination, I don't know what is. At one point his legs were so tired/cramped he literally pumped his legs with his hands, pushing down on his thighs to pedal the bike. When he told me this I literally laughed out loud (lol, if you will) not because it was funny, but because I was so uncomfortable with how terribly difficult that sounds...kinda like when you laugh at a funeral. Just ridiculous. We try to high five him on his way out for the run, but he's too focused or something to reciprocate the high-fiveness. I guess that's a good sign.

11:59 AM
Tate enters the transition area, walking his bike to his #1185 designated spot. He exchanges his helmet for a hat and his bike shoes for his tennis shoes that from this point on will forever reek of sweat  determination. At this point it is miserably hot. Lynley and I are seeking shade under any tree that is relatively close by. I can't imagine running in this, but they can, because they are about to experience it first hand. Tate is off! I run beside him for a few steps and then he is on his own for the next 13 miles. They run 3 very long laps, which gives us 3 times the opportunities to cheer and high-five our ironmen-in-the-making. 

2:06 PM
7 hours 6 minutes later, Dad, #517 crosses the finish line!  It's hard to believe it was a little over a year ago he beat cancer, and now he's added Ironman Branson 70.3 to his list. He is awarded a finisher medal, making him an official Ironman.

2:54 PM
7 hours 39 minutes later, Tate, #1185, takes his first step as an Ironman! He is also awarded his coveted finisher medal. As he crossed the finish line we all became a little emotional. I thought about his training, about the discipline and heart it took to get to this point and the numerous people that were not able to cross that white line today. With that being said, success must make you thirsty because they both went straight for the chocolate milk and stood in the fountain. 

I got a hug from both of my Ironmen, drenching the side of my face with sweat, and had never been more proud (however, if I had to pick, a close second would be winning the national clogging championship in 2nd grade). I carried those nasty, sweaty shoes back to the car with smile on my face and my Ironman by my side.

MAY . 21 . 2011


pittman lake trip

The Barretts love us some lake! We've been a lot this summer, and this weekend was no different.  Luckily for us, our friends and fellow newly-weders, Brittan & Emily have a lake house a few hours from Houston. They were so gracious to invite 3 couples, including us, to their place for a weekend get-away. We had a blast! Saturday and Sunday were filled with boat rides, jet skis, games, an inflatable row boat, football, wake boarding and tubing.  I took a few impressive face plants on the wake board and got a nice chin strawberry from tubing. It was hardcore. But as Dewey Finn sings in School of Rock, "you're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore" and that we did. 


The boys attempted to fish for Gar, but in the end, the Gar won. That wasn't the only time they tasted defeat. I feel I should mention the girls beat the boys in Catchphrase thrice (that's right I just said thrice, it isn't used enough). After the second loss, the boys thought they would have better luck by changing the category to: Sports/Games. We not only won, but followed it up with a victory dance (seen below). Speaking of games, I learned how to play ladder golf and gave a lesson on how to play the best board game ever- Balderdash. Both were hits!

At the end of the weekend, Andrew made some new canine friends, and we all had a few too many of Brittan's choc chip cookies. I probably shouldn't admit I put a few in a baggy to take home for later. All in all, it was a great weekend!  Thanks Pittmans! 


labor day wkend

Labor Day weekend was filled will all sorts of festivities! We started the weekend off right by taking Friday off. I guess we work so darn much, merely one day off was not enough....or maybe we wanted to get to Waco in time to see Tye teach his class. We made it just in time! That's right people, Tye Barrett is molding young minds.

Saturday afternoon marked the first ever Barrett tailgate complete with hotdogs (I passed) and Arnold Palmers (I partook). This was my first official tailgate so I was pretty excited. Tye made sure we got there a whole 3 and a half hours early to see the team run in...a.k.a the 'Bear Walk.' It was his day, so I didn't complain...too much.

We got to sit in the box for the Baylor opener against SHSU. One of the many perks of being a Barrett...or being friends with the Sharps. Thanks! It was fun watching our Bears start the season off right.

We left the game early to drive up to Allen. Tate and my dad woke up Sunday, starting the day off with a 68 mile bike ride to Denison. Kels, Mom, Chloe and I made our way to Denison too, but in the car. We saw dad and Tate on the way there and had to snap a few pics! We met up at the lake for a fun day on the water with the Smith fam. 

We spent the day tubing, riding the boat and fishing. Logan caught 2 fish, Chloe licked Jimmy in the face and Katherine dominated the tube. It was a great day followed up with a cookout and dinner at the slip! 


night guard, night schmard

My dork-o-meter went up this week when I got a night guard. (Disclaimer: This is one of the monotonous details of my everyday life I promised not to blog about, but am doing it anyway, so read at your own risk...)

As I was at my dentist appointment about six months ago, the dentist looked around, analyzed my bite and said I might have TMJ. He was very careful not to tell me I actually had it, however, was sure to leave me hanging enough to be a little worried for the rest of the day. After handing me some brochures, he sent me on my way.

Later that night, as I was taking a bath, reading these brochures I had this realization: Oh.my.gosh.I have TMJ! As if the 'DDS' after his name and the dark blue scrubs didn't suffice, I needed to read if for myself to actually believe it.

Can this be cured? Uhhh yeah if you want to pay $5,000. No thanks we need that money for stuff like Steve Madden boots, new tires and bike jerseys (in that order). Fine, well then can it be temporarily "fixed" for a relatively reasonable price? Sure! Easy peasy, it's called a night guard. Ok fine, I'll take that.

I had to go in last week to have impressions of my teeth taken. By the way, don't even try calling them "molds." That's old-school. They will do the thing where they correct you without actually correcting you. You know, where you say, "Do I need to come in to get molds done?" Then they follow that up with, "Yes, you need to come in to have impressions done." Don't you love it when someone repeats your sentence, only changing one word to make it obvious? Ok, I got it.

Anyway, after I got the molds taken, they called me within a week or so to come get the night guard. As I went to pick it up, I was a little disappointed. I didn't get to go case shopping like I did post braces. Remember when you got to pick out your retainer case? Now that was exciting: sparkly cases, bold cases, school-color cases, and if you were really cool, glow-in-the-dark cases. To my dismay, I was just handed a big off-white box with a NIGHT GUARD sticker on the front. Borrrring. That's not cool at all, but then again neither is wearing a night guard. Point taken.

I got home and wore it pretty much all day. I didn't care what it was called, to me it was just a night guard. I wore it to watch tv, clean the apartment, "work" on the computer and to sleep, of course. 'Count me lucky stars, this thing was going to change me life' (funnier if said in an Irish accent). I could already see myself TMJ-less, if you will, changing the world. Besides looking like an oversized, married 12-year-old, it wasn't that bad. Or so I thought...

I woke up the next morning with every tooth feeling loose.  I was afraid if I touched them, they would crumble, falling out of my mouth. Really? This is not the "fix" I was looking for. You're telling me the solution to my pain is merely redirecting it from my jaw to my teeth? Well, that's just perf.

Tate said we didn't use 3-months-worth of our miscellaneous money for nothing. (That's why you don't budget) He talked me into wearing if for 2 weeks and seeing if I get used to it. I'll let you know how it goes...


it's private

It's private only for me this year. As you know, last year I was working 2 days in private schools and 3 days in public schools. Well, things have changed, as they often always do in the Houston Independent School District. This year, I am in private schools only! There is a group of 4 of us working on the SLP private school team, which is great! We divide up the caseload between ourselves, travel around to different private schools, and provide one-on-one speech therapy throughout the week.

Formerly, parents had to take their kids to their "home zoned schools" to receive therapy. Yuck. That meant parents had to drive and we SLPs had to work overtime. Now we come to you, compliments of HISD. This means a lot of driving for us. Silver-lining: it gives me time to finish my coffee, sing a few verses of "Cooler Than Me", and catch up on my non-work related phone calls.

Currently I have 8 kids at 4 different schools including 3 Catholic schools and 1 orthodox Jewish school. This is much different from the Islamic School and Autistic school I had last year. I went from hijabs to beards and yamakas. I had never seen a 3-year-old wearing a yamaka until last week, but I guess we will file that under "perks of the job." Other perks? Less paperwork, more holidays and reimbursement for gas. All in all, it's not bad. I get to do more quality therapy seeing the kids one-on-one, so everyone wins! This year, thanks to Mr. Obama and the stimulus cha-ching, our kids get an hour of therapy per week, which is double from last year. I now see my kids twice a week, which means double the preschool-yamaka-sightings!

I have all new kids, with the exception of A, this year.  A and I worked on his /s/ sound allllll year long last school year. A would say "stink" for "sink" and "stand" for "sand". As last summer approached, I made a homework packet for him to work on during the break. It included fun /s/ games and color sheets. But who really works on that stuff over the "stummer" anyway, right? As I went to pick A up from his Kindergarden this week, I was nervous. I knew he had made significant progress on his sounds, but I was anxious to see if he retained it over the summer or if we would be starting back at square one. As I walked with A to the library I said, "Hey buddy, did you have a good summer?" He said, "Yes." (Not "yet" or ye" but "YES!") Awesome! It was the feeling of pure accomplishment for me, and I'm sure for A as well, that made my day. We now have our /s/ down and are moving on to bigger and better things this year: /r/....dun dun duuuuuun.