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Living it up with the Lee’s « Jocelyn Wong's Blog


Living it up with the Lee’s

I can’t believe that 6 weeks in Spokane just came and went like that and now I am hanging out in Lake Placid as it is race week once again.

chillin out in our PJs

chillin' out in our PJ's

I am really thankful to the Lee family for taking me in as their house guest for June and July. I met Mike and Susan when I was 19 years old and going through my “awkward years” in college. Some people look back at their time in high school and cringe; for me, that’s how college was. As top nerd and overachiever in high school, I could go anywhere I wanted, and I chose a tiny place that was full of even more overachieving nerds. I ran track and cross country but never got faster, not realizing how staying up to do the massive homework assignments and thus only getting 3 hours of sleep a night (plus gaining the freshman 15+ from the dining halls) made such a negative impact on my running performance. Academically, everyone was just as smart or much smarter, so I felt stupid and inadequate, got injured and depressed, and then kicked off the track team to boot. (I had taken up road cycling so I could fuel my desire to compete and actually be good at something again.) The nerd boys all went after the girly-girls at Scripps College (the all-women’s school across the street), who actually had time to care about what they looked like.

I was never smart enough, pretty enough, or fast enough. :(

The summer after my freshman year, I biked 100 miles down the coast to Oceanside, and volunteered at the inaugural Ironman California. Something sparked inside of me. “I want to do that…I’m going to sign up for next year.” Suddenly I became that triathlete girl on campus–because back then, at a tiny engineering and computer science school where the ratio of boys to girls was proudly “pi” (you know, 3.14159…), triathlon (or even working out on a regular basis) was not very mainstream at all. Half the school were pasty computer programmers who stayed in the basement coding; the other half were engineers who were too busy to exercise.

When I signed up for Ironman, miraculously I became even more of a freak in this school of freaks. I went to some local triathlon club meetings, but everyone there was 20-30 years older than I was. I never felt like I belonged. Then I met Mike and Susan. Susan worked across the street at Scripps and Mike was “living the dream” of chasing triathlon excellence. They were only 5 years older than me, which is nothing, but when you are 19 years old, people who are 24 seem so much older and wiser! Mike had also got into Ironmans when he was about my age and ended up coaching me successfully through my first two Ironman races. I took over as president of the tiny Claremont Colleges triathlon club and Mike became our coach.

Maddies favorite nickname is Rat-faced Bastard

Maddie's favorite nickname is "Rat-faced Bastard"

I would visit the Lee’s often to get a break from the stress of college. They were always grilling on the BBQ and adopted the cutest dalmatian puppy my senior year. I was Maddie’s first babysitter! I always felt better after hanging out with the three of them.

Grillin like a villain.  HAHAHA

Grillin' like a villain. HAHAHA

In 2003, we all left Claremont. I graduated, and the Lee’s moved back to Spokane where Mike ended up being a high school teacher and coach, and Susan is admissions director at Gonzaga’s law school. They’d been bugging me to come up and do IM CDA for the longest time, and newly armed with my pro card, I could now get in without signing up a year in advance and forking over $550 (or is it $600 now?).

White Tiger is a pedal bike.  The Harley is just a bike.

White Tiger is a "pedal bike." The Harley is just a "bike."

These days Mike doesn’t ride his “pedal bike” much any more. Instead he got a Harley, supposedly so he could do motorpacing workouts with me. ;) and yes, we had to differentiate between “pedal bikes” and his Harley, which he just referred to as his “bike” and kept confusing me.

Susans first ride.  Her helmet is way cooler.

Susan's first ride. Her helmet is way cooler.

They said I could stay as long as I wanted, and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, so I made sure to be a very good house guest and offered to help with as many chores as I could. Because you must know:

How to Become an International Triathlon Superstar, Step #13: Barter for Rent.

we call this active recovery

we call this "active recovery"

Yup, I scrubbed the floors, gave the dirty dog a bath, did some random home repairs, cooked dinner at least every Thursday (stir-fry and wine girls’ night with Susan!), and helped with the massive summer backyard project: putting up a new fence.

3 generations of Lees digging holes for fence posts

3 generations of Lee's digging holes for fence posts

concrete mixing, those bags were heavy!

concrete mixing, those bags were heavy!

As token Asian girl with the mad math skills, I had the very important job of calculating the distances between fence posts to make everything line up perfect and pretty.  Not too bad huh?

See kids, you really do use math in real life!

See kids, you really do use math in real life!

Here’s how the Wongstar’s special grilled sea bass turned out:

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

if you ever want to host me, I will cook for you too!

if you ever want to host me, I will cook for you too!

So thank you, Mike and Susan, for everything. Meeting you in college was one of the highlights of my time there and spending 6 weeks with you guys in Spokane was incredible! I will be back for sure! Next summer we are putting in a new deck. :)

And of course little Miss “Bad-to-the-Bone” Maddie. :D Until next time!

Maddie supervising the bedazzling of the seat post

Maddie supervising the bedazzling of the seat post

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