Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Re"cycle", Friends and Fun Events!

I've spent the past couple of days reflecting on the biggest and best part of 2011. Everyone out there is reflecting and then stating their goals for 2012 and I don't want to be left out. During 2011, I didn't get a new house or a new car or a new life. I just used the ones I already had. And that's good for me. I firmly believe in recycling and reusing and composting.

I looked back over the past year and the best thing about the entire year was the recycling of my marriage to Robert. Yeah, well, recycling maybe doesn't sound too wonderful, but it has been. We've been good for the past 25 years. You know, we fell in love, got married, had some fun, had kids and then whoosh, the years flew by as we raised them and paid bills and muddled through the days.
This is us when we fell in love. This is actually from the weekend in Ensenada, Mexico when Robert proposed to me. He was 22 and I was 25.
This was our wedding 4 months later. We got married on July 2. I turned 26 on July 3. Robert still gets the dates mixed up. But since July 4th is a special day, too, we just celebrate for 3 days straight and it all is a blur.

2011 was the year that we kind of stopped and looked at each other and recycled our relationship. And I like the word recycle because it has the word cycle in it. 2011 was the year Robert and I really started doing a lot of cycling together. A lot. We even celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary by going to Sonoma and cycling and wine tasting.

Not only did we spend a lot of time cycling together, but Robert and I did our first triathlon together.  Not his first and not my first, but OUR first. Robert competed in several triathlons back when I was raising kids and I guess I didn't have a clue what he was doing. Yeah, I knew he was riding a bike. I vaguely recall helping him buy aerobars on eBay and I kind of remember him telling me about a triathlon in Malibu he was going to do. My family all recalls the laughs we had when we saw the pictures from the Malibu Triathlon and in one overpriced picture Robert was running next to Will Farrell, but Robert doesn't remember running next to the movie star. So Robert was having a "Tri-ing" life and I was having a "Try-ing" life with 3 kids.

Fast forward a few years and I was talked into getting fit and exercising and hiking and backpacking and then doing a triathlon with some girlfriends. Okay. I can shuffle my feet along for 3.1 miles and I can ride a bike for a bit and I can breaststroke across a pool. Okay that's fun and exhilarating and when you add in a hotel room and room service and a couple of girlfriends and a wetsuit, then it is a flipping good time.
 This is the first time I ever wore a wetsuit in a triathlon. The Women's US Triathlon in San Diego with a 750 m. swim. Yikes, I saw fish while I was swimming, but all I could think of was go, go, go.  I did most of the swim on my back doing the backstroke while looking into the sky thinking, "Oh, that's a pretty cloud. I love clouds. Look at that bird.  That is an awesome bird." And then I would have to say out loud, "Oops, sorry," because I had whacked someone with my hand because I was after all, backstroking.

2011 changed all that. Yes, I have still done some triathlons with girlfriends and with my new triathlon club, Triathlon Connection. But the best part is that Robert and I have competed in Triathlons together this year. 

The first triathlon we did together was Race on the Base. I had done it the year before (it was my first ever triathlon in 2010) and some friends were supposed to do it with me in 2011, but everyone bailed at the last minute and I was left alone. My guy stepped up and said he would do it too. It was so much fun to get up early and load up the car and set up our spots, then check out the layout of the transition area, then just hang out together. He hadn't really been training so really for him it was a pity triathlon. He didn't want me to have to go all by myself and compete. He even walked me to the bathroom for the numerous times that I had to go that morning.

I killed him in the run. He killed me in the bike. We were about even in the swim. It was fabulous. He had fun.

We still have kids at home, but they are older now and can stay home by themselves so Robert and I can go away for the weekend to compete in a triathlon or an event. Hey, it's a great excuse to leave the real world behind and escape to a hotel room with my recycled guy. Robert and I went to San Diego together and competed in the Rock-n-Roll 1/2 Marathon in June. That may have been a pity run on his part. He spent A LOT of money signing up at the last minute because he didn't want me to have to run by myself, or maybe he just started enjoying the whole experience also. It was a wonderful get away weekend - hotel room, room service, triathlon and well, you know.

Then we went back to San Diego later on and did the Tri-Rock together. This time we had some Triathlon Connection friends and athlete with us. We had a wonderful dinner the night before the event with a TC couple and we had a fabulous time.

Robert, my 2011 Best Friend!!!

Triathlon Connection at San Diego Tri-Rock.

One of the best times of 2011 was spending the day with Robert and some Riverside Bicycle Club friends and some Triathlon Connection friends training with the U.S. Navy Seals. Yes, at the age of 51, I got to spend the day with Navy Seals at their training base in Coronado. Thanks to GOTRIbal a group of triathletes (I was in that group) were pushed to our mental and physical limits training on the SEAL obstacle course and in the sand and in the water.  It was AWESOME!

From left - Barbara, Erika, Edith, me. Back row from left - Enrique and Robert. HOOYAH!
The Navy Seals kicked our butts. HOOYAH! But it gave me a big dose of fearlessness of pushing the limits and pushing myself, even in the (gulp) deep water.

Well, the SEALS and Paulene and Enrique and Barbara and Anna and Sinta. My TC friends are still (will still) be helping me with deep water swimming in 2012. Friends are important.
Another top of the list 2011 event was the Cool Breeze Century Ride. The 100 mile ride was gorgeous, fun and challenging, but it was the company before, during and after the ride that made it over the top awesome.

Friends are important. Even when not in a pool, or on a run or on a bike.

Getting certified to ride the Velodrome in Carson....with FRIENDS!

Citrus Classic Ride....with Friends!

Okay, so my theme for 2011 is that the best of the best of it has been fun, athletic events and workouts with friends (the best being Robert).

I am going to add one more event that I did this year and it was a high highlight. It was not with anyone I have ever considered my friend because, well for the past 19 years he has been my son, and I have been his MOM...but now he is my buddy!
He is my buddy, thanks to a fun, athletic Muddy Buddy event!

Come on 2012...bring me more of the same and more!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What Happens in Vegas Gets Reported in Train-n-Tri

The Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll half Marathon is an EVENT....not a race.  People are commenting left and right on Facebook about all the problems - too hard to get to the bathrooms at the beginning (thank you Subway), no bathrooms to be seen along the run (thank you McDonalds), so many walkers that runners had to weave in and out and around making for more mileage and unsafe running conditions, thousands (yes, THOUSANDS) of wet paper cups littering the street at the watering stations where volunteers were using their hands to dip cups into buckets of water to fill them up (YUCK!)

And these were just MY complaints IF the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll is supposed to be considered a race. Go on Facebook and look at everyone elses' complaints.  In 5 minutes there were about 300 complaints.

But as an EVENT, well, I had a rocking great time. As an EVENT, mine started before we even got in the car to drive to Las Vegas.

I haven't been to Vegas in a while and really, I am not much of a gambler. To get ready, I took my change to Coin Star at Stater Brothers.

Plus, I had a little it of pocket change - so I had about $90 to gamble.

Robert and I left early Saturday morning and I drove. He slept. I played music really loud. He slept. I pulled into a Coco's in Barstow and woke him up for breakfast. I made him pay because no way was I dipping into my gambling money. When we got to Vegas, we parked the car in the hotel lot and called my friend E who was already there with her husband and son. Robert and I walked past HOOTERS and a few drunks lying in the bushes on our way to the Coco's where E and her family were eating breakfast and I remembered why I don't come to Vegas very often.

After Cocos, we headed to the Rock-n-Roll expo.  In the 3 hours we were there we picked up enough freebies and won enough prizes to fill up several tote bags.

Then back to the hotel to check in and unpack and GAMBLE. 

Here's how the gambling went. I would win, then Robert would win. Then I would lose and Robert would win. Then I would lose and Robert would win and give me money. Then I would win and Robert would win. And on and on and on.  My man is LUCKY in Vegas.

We spent the day gambling and watching all the cowboys that were in town for the rodeo. Cowboys had come in from all over the country to watch a rodeo that was being televised to Las Vegas.There were thousands of cowboys (okay, some may have been wearing cowboy boots, but they didn't look like they had ever ridden a horse) everywhere.

That night the though crossed my mind that maybe I sign Robert and I up for EVENTS so we get out of town and away from out kids and everyday lives and get to stay in a nice hotel room where no one calls me Mom or Robert Dad and wants us to do something for them or fix something.

The next morning we gambled and ate at The Peppermill.

Nerve Magazine called The Peppermill the "swankiest old-school lounge in Vegas". It was named one of "America's 10 Best Make-Out Bars." Just sitting in the plushy seats by the fire can get one's imagination going.......but, I have a run in a few hours.

So back to the Hotel for a few hours of napping (YES, napping).

 The alarm clock went off about 3:15 p.m. and we piled on our clothes. It was windy and cold outside - about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind chill factor it was just darn COLD.

We walked to the start and found our corral. We may be people, but when there are so many of us they put us in holding areas called corrals, just like they do for cattle waiting to go off to slaughter. We stood in our corral for a bit, then discovered we weren't just cold, we needed to pee. The worse combination. We left our corral and found a Subway to stand in a line 30 people deep to use the bathroom. Back in our corral we were just cold. We were entertained by the Blues Brothers, though they did not have any tattoos on their knuckles, so I am guessing they were impersonators.

The half marathon started and 5:30 p.m. and at 6:15 p.m. our corral was let loose to stampede down the streets of Vegas. But it is hard to stampede when you are hobbled. The road was curb to curb people and most of them were going SLOW. Maybe they were in a daze from the cold. We jogged, trotted, skipped and weaved our way in and out of people for about 3 miles. Then I cut out to hit McDonald's. Back in the pack I continued to jog, trot, skip and weave my way in and out of people for another 7 miles. At mile 10 I hit a watering station that was out of control. The two sides of the street were lined with tables, but no cups. All the cups and their contents littered the road for about 100 yards. As people ran along they kicked the cups left and right. Except for me. I slid on the cups and in an effort to right myself before I fell on my face, I wrenched my knee.

I still had a bit more than 3 miles to go. I walked about half a mile and the cold started getting to me. Everyone around me was being sucked into a cold, slow walking daze. I needed to break free and save myself so I started to

I disregarded all the rules and barged into the marathoner's lane and ran with them. I ran faster than some of them. I just wanted to get done. I ran for about 1 1/2 miles until my knee said "NO MORE!" and I was forced to stop running and start walking. For the last mile I went back and forth between being a fast walker and slow runner.

At the finish line I found Robert and E and we shivered our way back to the hotel. Later at dinner I said I would never run that race again. Then Robert and I both said we would do the EVENT again. Robert even suggested that next time we dress up in a costume. Uhm, I thought about all the Elvises I had seen, my favorite being the SpongeBob Elvis, and emphatically told Robert "NO!" to a costume.

But the Rock-n-Roll is a good excuse to go to Vegas and have a fun time! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Earn and Burn the Turkey

I have loved having this week off. It has been perfect. Started off last weekend having a garage sale with my mom, her cousin and her niece. I pocketed a little over $100, just enough "extra" cash to sign up for my first 1/2 Ironman. It's not until next October 2012 (SOMA), but I did sign up in 2011. I also got rid of a bunch of clothes that didn't fit me anymore. I may not have lost a lot of weight in the past year, but I have lost some inches. A lot of the clothes were my son's, and he hasn't lost weight or inches. Every time I turn around my baby is taller and more manly.

Sunday we went with our friends on their very first bike ride with the Riverside Bicycle Club. We rode from City Hall, around the base of Mt. Rubidoux, on the Santa Ana River Trail to Starbucks on Mt. Vernon and back by way of Fairmount Park. While it was a nice little spin for Robert and me, it was a 22-mile challenge for our friends. We had a big breakfast together afterward and assured them their butts would toughen up.

Monday was an errand day - son to see back doctor, dog to see vet for skin allergy - and clean house and do laundry day. I actually got the kids to do the cleaning house part, and I only do my own laundry now, so mostly I spent the day sitting around at doctor's offices and reading, and reading, and reading. Managed to get in a run before sitting in front of the fire and reading, and reading, and reading.

Tuesday Robert and I got up early and drove to Azusa to go on our First Annual Earn the Turkey Ride. We rode on the San Gabriel River Trail from Azusa to Seal Beach, where we took a short break and had breakfast at River's End Restaurant before heading back. 

I wore a new pair of bike Capri's and I was commiserating with my friend by the time I got back to the car. My butt cheeks were sore. Thank goodness I had started off the ride with Hoohaa Ride Glide. I wish I had had some at our halfway stop. When I got home I went online and ordered the little travel packs of Hoohaa because having a tender hoohaa is no laughing matter.

Wednesday was another hang around the house day. We got the backyard cleaned up and I got a lot of editing done on my book. Robert had to go to work. I lifted weights for an hour, then read the entire Janet Evanovich Explosive Eighteen.

Thanksgiving morning was quiet at my house. Danielle went to my mom's to help her get the food ready. Dion slept in until 10:30, then jumped up and took a shower to get to his girlfriend's Thanksgiving dinner on time. I made pumpkin muffins (2 ingredients - spice cake and a can of pumpkin) and wrote for several hours. It is way easier for me to write when everyone is gone or quiet or I have my headphones on and listen to music to block THEM out. I had to wake Darin up at 12:30 to get him going. Dinner at my mom's was nice and relaxed and I was Thankful that all 3 of my kids (and the girlfriend) were able to make it to my mom's. I was Thankful that I only had to make green beans and bring a vegetable tray and my muffins. I was so Thankful that I didn't have to cook a turkey, or mashed potatoes, or stuffing, etc.  My family usually goes to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner and this year was no different, except it was hard for us to agree on what to see. All the movies out either seemed like a big dud or someone had seen it. We ended up seeing Jack and Jill - Adam Sandler's movie. It was so stupid I actually laughed out loud a few times. The only bummer part of Thanksgiving was that Robert had to go to work.

No Black Friday for me. I rode with the Riverside Bicycle Club on the "Burn The Turkey" ride. It was about 39 miles, with lots of climbing. We all started out together, but as usual, the fast group was gone before we were out 5 miles. The rest of us were stretched out and then a hill cut us into two more groups. I ended being in the middle group with Sheri and Barry. The three of us rode together the entire rest of the way. Sometimes it is really nice to ride with people you don't really know. We just banded together to get the ride done and had sporadic conversation along the way while riding under blue skies and past horse ranches and citrus farms and lots of wide open spaces.

I have two more days off before I go back to work and they are pretty packed - 10k Turkey Trot, then swim clinic with Coach Tony Saturday morning and RBC bike ride on Sunday. I plan to get in some yard work and Christmas decorating before Monday rolls around.

Monday I start back to my routine - write, work, triathlon training.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Asked My Guy to Grocery Shop

It was a busy weekend. I didn't have time to grocery shop. I didn't have enough cash in my wallet to buy groceries and gas. I drive a Suburban people and every time I fill it up it's a good $100. When I grocery shop it is a good $200 to $300. I don't carry that much cash around at one time.

So I asked my guy to stop by the store and pick up groceries. When he asked what we needed I thought I had done a good job of answering the question succinctly - "You know, stuff to eat and COFFEE!"

I came home from work and yes, there was coffee, but the stuff to eat was not MY stuff to eat.  He had bought two bricks of cheese, two packages of cheese, sliced roast beef, sourdough bread, frozen burritos, frozen taquitos, frozen breaded chicken, yogurt, two bottles of wine, 3 bananas and coffee.

Okay, so I am good with the yogurt, 3 bananas, coffee and two bottles of wine. But where is the rest of MY food.  No veggies? No whole wheat bread? No veggies? (yes, I know I wrote that twice -  but I am a big veggie eater and we don't have any veggies).

So I have learned my lesson. Next time I ask my guy to grocery shop I will give him a list.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dirty Girl

Last weekend I competed in a Muddy Buddy with my 19-year-old son. It was a blast.

 We spent the entire weekend driving together, eating together and racing together. The togetherness ended the minute we drove into the driveway and I mentioned how dirty the mountain bike was and how many dirty clothes and towels we had in the back of the suburban. I didn't see him again for 3 days. That's about how long it took me to clean off the bike and wash all our dirty, muddy clothes (the clothes required two to three washes to get all the mud out).

It got me thinking about how much laundry I, as a triathlete, make in a day. So I decided to made a pictorial of my clothes (sorry if my undies are peeking out in the pics, but I just took the garments off and tossed them on the floor).

My pajamas consisted of bottoms, a top, underwear and socks. Not to bad. I would have this for laundry even if I wasn't a triathlete.

I changed into my running clothes. It was a little chilly so I wore running capris, underwear, sports bra, short sleeve running shirt with a long sleeve wicking shirt over it, and a running jacket and socks. I had a nice little 4-mile run. It warmed up and I had to take the jacket off and tie it around my waist. By the time I got home I had sweat trickling down my back and into my pants. Everything was wet and smelly. All of it had to go into the laundry.

I got dressed for work - jeans, tshirt, long-sleeve sweater, bra, underwear and socks.  After work I went straight to the gym where I swam about 1500 yards. After swimming I put on a pair of sweatpants, camisole and a long-sleeve wicking shirt. I put my underwear back on (trying to save myself some laundry). 

When I got home I dumped everything on the floor - my bathing suits (yes, suits - I sometimes wear two because I have lots of worn out suits and instead of buying new suits, I just double them up and hope no one can see through them), and my work clothes. I set aside my sweatpants, camisole and long-sleeve wicking shirt to put back on. Underwear and towel went in the pile.

After my shower I put on clean underwear and the sweatpants, cami and long-sleeve wicking shirt. I decided I could sleep in them and I would be good to go for the next morning because my plan was to get up and go out in our garage and lift some weights. All I would need to do the next morning is put on some sock and tennis shoes.

This is after weight-lifting.

I am thinking the name should be changed to quadathlon - swim, bike, run, laundry.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Muddy "Muddy Buddy" Buddy

Today after several years of keeping me at arms length, my 19-year-old son finally let me play with him. It was almost like years ago when he was 2, or 3 or 5 or 7, before he grew up and didn't want me to be his playmate. Or maybe it was I who had just forgotten how to play.

Times have changed. I know how to play.

Today my son and I got up early and drove together through Starbucks for breakfast and then to our event. I even let him play games on my phone while we drove. We laughed, and then we got to our destination and looked at people in silly costumes and laughed some more and then the real fun began.

Today, my son and I were participants in the 2011 Los Angeles Columbia Muddy Buddy. The "Buddy" part almost says it all. Almost.

The Muddy Buddy starts with one buddy riding a mountain bike and the other buddy running.  After a little more than a mile both buddies do an obstacle and switch places. Obstacles include throwing your body over varying heights of walls, climbing ropes and sliding down slides all the while keeping other people at arms length. (Yes, I did get whacked in the face with a flailing elbow from some girl and some guy nicely pushed my tush to get me over a BIG wall). It goes back and forth like this for the entire course until the buddies join up at the end and go through the mud pit together - hence the muddy part of it all.

My 19-year-old son was my first choice to join me for this event. I have been competing in triathlons for a couple of years and have tried to get him to join me. But, no. Too serious. Too much training involved. Not enough fun? But this Muddy Buddy would be different. I mean, really, how serious is an event where some people wear costumes and you have to slither through a mud pit at the end. Training? Jeez, I told him, "You ride mountain bikes for fun and you've been running and you're YOUNG. You don't need to train." And I kept telling him it was "JUST FOR FUN!"

He agreed to do it.

I think the shirt had something to do with it.

The shirt says T-N-T Train-n-Tri on the front and on the back it say "You can't have an explosion without me" with a piece of exploding dynamite and then "Muddy Buddy".  FYI - his is a muscle shirt and he wore the shirt so much before the event I thought it would be worn out before we even got to the start line.

After a few weeks of signing up, though, my son changed the rules. Fun turned into win. What? No, no, no, I told him. I don't do any of these competitions for win. I do them for FUN! I get great pleasure out of biking and running and swimming (yes, I am enjoying swimming) training. On race day I have a fabulous time and enjoy myself and the experience. I am the one laughing and encouraging others. I am celebrating being 51 (fifty-fun) and I rejoice that I am in good enough shape to swim, bike and run. Or in today's case what was planned to be bike, run, bike, run, bike, mud.

For the past several weeks he has been telling me we were going to be able to finish the 6-mile course in 45 minutes. For the same several weeks I have been afraid I would disappoint him.

As my son put more and more pressure on me to win, the more I wanted it for him, and the less fun it became for me. It was too serious. Not enough fun. the more he talked about coming in first, second, or third, the more I dreaded the event.

Saturday, my son and I had to drive for an hour to Arcadia to pick up our race packet.  He had to work at 4 p.m. and packet pick-up was from 1 to 5 p.m.  I told him we could go early and be the first ones there, get our free hat for the first 50 people, our mystery shopping card, eat lunch and be home in time for him to shower and shave to get to work. I don't know about him, but I had a fabulous time driving in the car with him, standing in the front of line and waiting for registration to open WITH HIM, getting our free hats, mystery cards, making our shopping selections, and then eating lunch. And I let him use my phone to play games on the way home. 

The event could have stopped right there....I was already a WINNER! I had just spent 4 hours with my son - all by myself. We hadn't even crossed the start line and I had already gotten my money's worth from the humongous entry fee I had paid for T-N-T to compete in the co-ed 66-75 division (and yes, most of that age is from me). I was having FUN. This was fabulous, I ignored the "pressure race knot" in my stomach.

Then the weather turned and it was cold, and it was raining and my son balked. He told me it was too cold, too wet, no way. I told him to suck it up. I wasn't paying big money for us not to have him whimp

But it was fair play, I guess, because I know I drove him crazy with "Do you have your race number pinned to your shirt?", "Do you have your clean clothes to change into?", "Do you have your helmet?", "Do you have your chip on your shoe?" God, I admit I can be a race nag.

Today's Race Day couldn't have been worse and today's Race Day couldn't have been better.

The weather was horrible. Rain. Cold. Rain. Cold.
But we had friends with us in the rain and they were also cold.

(from left: Lori, Carolyn, ME, my SON, two fabulous women, Kelli, Jamie, Dorothy and Gigi)

Horn blew and off we went. T-N-T, my son's and my team name, so rocked the Muddy Buddy. Not only did we come in 8th place in our age division, but I know that somewhere along the way we changed from son and nag to buddies. 

Maybe it was when I looked at him at the start and said, "Balls to the wall, buddy." Or when he told me not to walk the bike down the hills and just ride it through (and I listened) or when I first rode the bike past him and he yelled out, "Way to go Mom. You're doing great. Keep going." Or maybe it was when I was riding up the big hill (when other people were pushing their bikes) and he ran up and yelled at me to keep going and I yelled at him to push me and he did. At this point the entire run/bike trail was a muddy, slimy mess. And I did go Balls to the Wall and I rode down every "triple down arrow" as fast as I could without taking out any runners because of my son's earlier pep talk. Maybe we changed into buddies when I had to wait at one obstacle for him to show up with the bike so I could continue on and I yelled at him to "go, go, go" (his excuse was he had to stop and puke). Or maybe it was when I had to wait for him at the end so we could go through the maze and mud pit together and I saw him coming down the hill and I jumped and waved and yelled, "Dion, come on, run, run, run." And then again, maybe it was when we started to go through the mud pit and I grabbed his hand and said, "If I slip just drag me through."

We passed a lot of teams and some teams passed us. We finished in 1:05:20.4. I was the oldest female in our division and he was the youngest male.

Son, you made all my swim, bike, run training worthwhile today because I not only kept up with you, but made you challenge yourself. But you challenged me, too, so I balls it out on the mountain bike in the mud downhill. I am so glad that today I was able to get down in the mud and play with you, son. I am so glad that I have the physical ability and energy to go the distance with you and have a laughing good time.

Love you son! Love you buddy! By the way you are muddy!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Backpacking Adventure with Husband

We barely packed our backpacks and I became concerned about the outcome of this weekend trip. I have lived in the same house with my guy for 25 years and we have managed to co-exist in relative bliss. Sharing a small backpacking tent could prove to be too much.

While this will be my guy's and my first time backpacking trip together, I have been backpacking numerous times.  My first adventure was when I was 13 and went with my older cousin and her 3 guy friends, I think they were all about 17, up to the High Sierras. We drove up in my cousin's VW bus. I didn't tell my parents beforehand and we were gone for 4 days. In all fairness, I did try to call them from the little grocery store where we bought our supplies before hitting the trail.

I hiked in tennis shoes with a borrowed pack and sleeping bag. We lived on canned beans and warm beer and ??? Well it was the 70's. I don't even remember drinking any water. Gatorade and Accelerade weren't invented yet.

This time it is different - my guy and I have special platypus containers for expensive red wine we bought while cycling in Sonoma for our 25th Anniversary. Thinking a drought might occur while we are out in the wilderness, my guy not only has filled his regular platy bladder with water, but also an extra bladder, and at last count there were 6 water bottles shoved in various nooks and crannies in his pack.  My mistake was to laugh and remind him that we have a water purifier and there are streams along the way. Not a good way to start.

As I walked away from his mumbling, I thought about my second big backpacking adventure. It was with my BFF. She decided we needed to hike up Mt. Whitney to celebrate her 50th Birthday. All my efforts to talk her into jetting to NY to catch a Broadway show and do a little shopping were pushed aside.  Instead I laid down a ginormous amount of cash that could have gotten me all the way to Paris, just to outfit myself for our 7-day, 60-mile drudge up the biggest rock in the contiguous states. In preparation for that walk of pain, I backpacked with my BFF up San Gorgonio and only survived the cold by sticking my frozen hands in too hot water and then up San Jacinto. We didn't freeze anything on that hike and celebrated by drinking in the bar at the lodge before taking the tram down.

During our Mt. Whitney hike, we had fabulous ladies who cooked our breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Yes, we helped haul the food and utensils, but we didn't have to cook the stuff. We just relaxed and ate. We just sat in our tent when it rained, hailed and thundered, while those wonderful women stood out in the storm and made our gourmet dinner of crimini mushrooms with noodles, red and green peppers, shredded carrots and bok choy in a tangy sauce and then delivered it to our zippered tent. We were warm and toasty inside and loved being waited on. It wasn't Paris, or New York, but it was fun and adventurous.

It's going to be different this weekend. My guy and I bought beef jerky and bars and GU and almonds and crackers and bags of food.  That's right - BAGS.  You open the bag and pour in hot boiling water and then close the bag and wait and then eat it.  We are having BAGS of food for dinner Saturday night (Teriyaki Chicken and Rice and Pasta Primavera with Berries Cobbler for dessert) and for breakfast Sunday morning (Scrambled Eggs with diced ham and bell pepper). Don't tell, but I packed an oatmeal packet just in case the BAG stuff taste like s&(t.

Trying to get in a fun, make-it-feel-like-a-field-trip mood, I made my guy go to the local grinder place and pick up grinders to take for our lunch for Saturday. Mine is NOT packed in a BAG. Then we are having tuna salad with crackers for lunch on Sunday.  When I bought the kits it seemed like a good idea.  The kit had tuna, mayo and relish and yucky crackers. I tossed the crackers, along with all the plastic packaging, and packed my good crackers. Right now tuna does not sound like a very good choice. Good thing I also packed some Odwalla bars (thank you Odwalla sponsor of mine) because I may have to live on bars for part of our journey.

I have been packed for hours. My guy is just about done.  He keeps coming up to me and asking me questions about how to pack. I try to give him advice, but he doesn't really want it. 

I got the feeling this trip may be doomed when he asked me if he should bring (a) the Crocodile Dundee knife? blade? machete? whatever that big sharp thing is called or (b) the Paul Bunyan ax.

"Oh my God," came out of my mouth, "That is so stupid. You don't need either one of those? Did you pack your headlight? That's what you need. We can't even have a fire. Are you planning to amputate someone's limb while you are up there? You didn't pack a gun did you?"

He just walked away. Two hours later he announced he was done packing.

I couldn't help myself. I asked him if he packed the ax or the machete. He asked why. I said people who read my blog were going to vote on whether or not I will survive this FUN weekend backpacking trip with him. 

He glared at me and said, "Both."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Riverside Bike Club's Annual Smog to Surf Bike Ride

I almost quit today. Yep, I almost threw in the towel and turned around and went home.  I was very close to quitting. The Riverside Bicycle Club's Annual members only Smog to Surf Bike Ride was today and I signed up with Robert to ride the metric century, which should have been no big deal. I mean, after all, I have written two century rides and lots of upper mile rides.  But this ride didn't have Robert - he couldn't make it. And this one had hills. Again, that shouldn't make a difference as I have been really riding the hills - Mt. Rubidoux, those steep streets off of Hawarden, GMR.  I am not fast, but I have endurance.

That is why I was thrown for such a loop this morning when we started out.  Within 2 miles I was dropped. Not an inch by inch drop.  This was a big drop off a cliff.  Everyone just zoomed by me.  And I was huffing and pushing and pulling and sweating and I was dropped.  I pulled over and called the president of the bike club, and told her I was coming back because something was definitely wrong with my bike. Just then a couple of late starters came up and one of them checked out my bike and pronounced it "okay," then went on to reassure me that the hill we were going up was steep and it was hard. 

OKAY, then. I hopped back on my bike and started riding with the little group.  And in my mind I started coming up with reasons why, if my bike was "okay" I would be struggling so much. Did I not recover enough this week? Was I getting sick? Did I have too much lactate acid build-up in my legs.  Should I go to the hospital and get a blood test? Maybe I am anemic and that's why pedaling up these hills is so difficult?  Can you become anemic in one week? Because one week ago I was fine pedaling up hills. 

Half way up this REALLY big hill I pulled over and someone else checked my bike.  Please God, I was praying in my head, let them fix my bike so I can ride up this hill and enjoy this ride.  The guy checked it out and pronounced my bike "okay." What? Oh, crap! That means the problem IS me. I got back on my bike and just sucked it up and rode on.  It was torturous.  It was torture to my legs and to my ego.  My legs were screaming and so was my ego, especially when a newbie biker rode right by me. UUgghhhh! The only thing that saved my ego was that I was riding ahead of the first guy that deemed my bike in working order.

I suffered to stay up with the group!  Even on the downhills I suffered.  While others coasted, I had to pedal to stay up. SUFFER!

When the group made a stop at a little gas station/convenience store I was surprised to see my Coach, Tony Troccoli and fellow Triathlon Connection friend Sinta Tan ride up.  They were riding RBC's Century ride and just got a little off track. He asked how things were going and I told him I was having a hard time riding.  Today riding was HARD!  He took a look at my bike and prounounced it "NOT okay!" He said I was riding the brake and Sinta made an adjustment and then it was "okay!"

The rest of the ride was a breeze!

I am so glad I didn't give up.  I may have been one of the last riders up the hill, but I bet I got the best workout because I was riding with my back brake on.  And sometimes having our brakes on makes us better. Better athletes. Better spouses. Better parents. Better people.

Tomorrow I am going start using my brakes more.


Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11, 2011 TriRock San Diego

Triathlon is a great thing for my life and for my marriage.  It keeps me healthy and in shape and it gets Robert and I away for a weekend every once in a while. It's fabulous for me as I have my guy all to myself for a couple of days and we think about something other than our family life - the kids, the bills, all the stuff that needs to be done at home.  Believe me, all those things will still be there.  We have time to really think and talk about us - as people.  We relate to each other as male/female, athletes, supporters, friends....not as parents.

Triathlon is also great thing for me personally.  Every event is different, but usually someone comes along during the race and I am forced to step out of my little world and put my race aside for a bit and nudge someone else on. 

I have stopped questioning why.  Why did I have to slow down at Race on the Base and talk that teenager through the last of his race?  His smiles were priceless at the and it was well worth the few extra minutes it took me to run with him pushing him on.  I just knew he was going to give up, but the fantastic feeling at the finish line was just within his reach, so I talked him through it.  Hey, I am NEVER going to make it to the podium, so what's a few seconds or minutes?

9-11-11 turned out to be no different.

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.—Buddha

Thanks to a couple of swim angels that I have (Paulene and Anna), I felt pretty secure about the swim portion of the TriRock race. Even so, on the palm of my left hand in permanent sharpie I wrote "CONQUER SELF."  On the palm of my right hand - Love Swim.

The first time I showed my left palm was at 5:50 a.m. in the elevator.  Robert and I got in together with our bikes.  When we stopped at the main floor to get off, I guess I hadn't had enough coffee, because I could not for the life of me get out of the darn elevator and the door closed with my bike and I still in it the elevator. I pushed buttons to open the door, but no luck.  Next thing I know I am being lifted to the 21 floor, where two people get in - a guy in black carrying a guitar case and a young woman.  We chatted on the way down and he told me he is singing the National Anthem at the beginning of the event.  He asks if I am nervous.  I say no. Is he? Yeah.  I show him my palm..."CONQUER SELF."

A while later I hear him singing the National Anthem.  I can't see him.  Too many people. It isn't until I get home and look it up that I find out his name is Aaron Hendra (Aaron Hendra Project).  Hey, there is even a video of him on youtube singing at the beginning of TriRock.

Finally it is my time to jump in the water.  I am the first one in line in my wave and I am first one to jump in the water.  My swim angels would be proud of me.  All I can think of is - yippee- I get to get in the water.  Some women are really slow and scared to get in.  I swim around a bit waiting for everyone to get in. The blue cap swim buddies keeps telling me how many minutes until we start.  I don't want to be in the front.  I want to be in the back right hand side to start, but now behind the swim buddies with their swimmers.

Not once was I worried about the depth or how far out we were swimming.  All I could think of was go, go, go, go.  I was aware of the swim buddies in the blue caps.  About half way through the swim, one swim buddy was having a hard time with a swimmer. Yeah, well, you would think I would be well in front of anyone who needed a swim buddy, but this woman was a fine swimmer, just scared of the depth.  She about froze half way through the swim. I swam right up into her face and yelled at her - read my hand..."CONQUER SELF"..and then yelled - that means (and I pointed to my brain).  And then I showed her my other palm (LOVE SWIM).  "You are a great swimmer, so swim." She did and she stepped out of the water and up the stairs right in front of me.  She smiled and waved on her run into T1.

OMG...T1.  It took me forever to get my wetsuit off.  In a couple of places it was like it was glued to my body.  I could not understand it.  Then my right calf cramped up and made it doubly hard.  I had to laugh.  But I keep working at it and finally I was out of T1 and on the bike. 

I love to long as I have a nice smooth road that is flat. Okay, that was not the case at TriRock for about 2/3 of the race.  After the nice smooth road, there was junk - potholes, crevices, railroad tracks, gravel, unevenness, repair work - well, you get the idea. I just went as fast as I though was safe.  I passed a lot of people and had a lot of people pass me. On my second lap there was a women (with a 45 on her leg) who seemed to be having a hard time.  She was breathing hard and didn't know where to ride on the road.  I edged up next to her and asked her how she was doing.  She could barely breath, much less talk.  I asked what her goal was and she said to finish.  "Hooyah," I yelled, "That's exactly what you are going to do." Then I asked her what she was worried about.  She said falling on the railroad tracks. I showed her my "CONQUER SELF" palm and said, "Just follow me and I'll get you over the tracks."  We road side by side until the tracks and then she followed me over them.  I waved at her and went on.  I just know she went on to have a fabulous race.

T2 was much faster...though I did just walk through the transition area.  I don't really know why. I could have ran, but it was like I had a hand on my shoulder holding me back and making me walk.  Out of transition the run was great.  It was a beautiful run along the marina. The sky was clear and it was sunny.  The boats and ships sat in the shimmering water.  Who could think about how badly legs could be aching at this point because the view was so wonderful.  I passed a lot of people and was enjoying myself.  A few younger people passed me.  I didn't talk to anyone for quite a while.  I just ran along enjoying my feet hitting the boardwalk and watching the people sitting in the restaurants along the way.  Every once in a while I would shout out, "on your left" as I would pass a couple who were just strolling down the boardwalk oblivious to the fact that a race was going on right under them. 

Just before the turnpoint, where the Midway sits at dock, I came upon a guy in full firefighter turn-out gear carrying an American Flag.  Since my dad had been a firefighter I have a pretty good idea how freaking heavy turn-out gear can be. And damn, he was carrying a flag.  I jogged up next to him and just kind of kept pace with him.  He was sweating and suffering.  He was suffering.  I asked him if he wanted any of my water.  He just shook his head no.  I jogged next to him for a couple of minutes hoping some of my gratitude for firefighters, policemen and our military was rubbing off on him.  Then told him "YOU ROCK!" with tears on my face, I ran on.

I looked in front of me and two guys  - 40 on one guy's leg and 50 on the other guy's leg - were in front of me.   So I set my sights on them to pass.  I keep my pace and knew that I was going to easily overtake them.  As I jogged by I threw out the taunt, "You guys aren't going to let an old lady pass you, are you?" The 50-ager tried to keep up, but then stopped and walked.  The 40-ager sped up and kept my pace (and believe me, it is not a fast pace). We started talking. Well, I talked and he tried to breath between sentences. Turns out the guy had started having strokes at about 35 years old and the doctors couldn't figure it out.  At 38 he had brain surgery and the doctors still couldn't figure it out.  They put him on heavy duty steroids and since he hasn't had any strokes, but he had gained about 65 pounds.  So about a year ago he started training for a triathlon.  He was competing in the Clydsdale category.  He said this was his third sprint triathlon and training for each one had helped him lose a little weight. I told him how this was supposed to be my first Olympic Distance, but since they changed the bike mileage from 24 to 20 to 14  miles, I decided just to do the sprint distance as I want my first Olympic Distance to be a "REAL" Olympic Distance.  I said that was my next goal, to compete and finish an Olympic Distance.  He said his goal was to live until he was 50.

We ran along beside each other in silence for awhile and then we were at the 1 mile to finish mark.  I showed him my palm "CONQUER SELF" and told him, "You are totally going to make your goal and more, but you need to conquer your thinking." And slowly I started picking up my pace.  My legs started screaming and they really wanted to stop and walk.  But NO WAY was I going to stop and walk when I was pulling this guy along. So I kept running along and then we hit the final run in, probably 2 city blocks to go.  He wasn't going to let me get too far ahead of him, but he was hurting.  "You okay?" I asked him. "Yeah," he managed to breath out.  "Okay, so here we go," and I started sprinting down the boardwalk, around the turn.  "Come on, we are almost there," I yelled at him. He was about a stride behind me, but he was pushing on. I didn't slow for him. Around the corner and there it was.  "GO, GO, GO," I yelled at him as I kept running. I heard the announcer say, "And here comes Kandi and Chris." We ran over the finish line almost side by side.  But I never stopped. I just went on through the process and collected my finisher medal and had my ankle chip collected.

Robert was waiting right around the corner for me.  We went through the buffet line and had our banana, orange and pancakes. 

And I will never forget 9-11.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Run for PR or Run for Fun

Run for PR or Run for Fun? Well, I have thought a lot about this question the past couple of days.  I really want to run a half marathon in less than 2:30.  I almost did it at the Pasadena 1/2 Marathon a couple of weeks ago, but a UTI had me stopping at a few bathrooms along the way and I went over my time by a couple of minutes.

I'm feeling strong and in perfect shape to take a PR at this weekend's San Diego Rock-n-Roll 1/2 Marathon.  But I'm not going to.  The reason - LOVE.

Last year, I ran my first marathon at the Seattle Rock-n-Roll Marathon and my friend Carolyn went with me to help me usher in my 50th birthday.  My knee gave out at the halfway mark and I had to race-walk the rest of the way.  Carolyn race-walked the entire way with me.  I know in my heart that she could have run the rest of the way and set a decent time, but because of her love for me, she stayed with me and we finished together.  I am sure it was a hard sacrifice for her.  But a sacrifice that I greatly appreciate.  I can not imagine having to finish that race in pain and by myself.  

A couple of weeks ago I was all set to race San Diego by myself - just as I did in Pasadena.  Pasadena was great because I didn't have to talk to anyone or look at anyone or think of anyone but me.  How was I feeling? Did I want to run fast, or slow, or fast and then slow, or slow and then fast? I just went with what felt good for me.  And I was expecting to do that again this weekend.  But now, I'm not.  My fabulous husband said he wanted to do the race also.  The race was sold out and I told him not to worry about it.  But he went the extra distance and shelled out for the "premium" package so he could run with me.  He even made hotel reservations so we could make a weekend of it.

Now I was torn.  Now I had to think of someone else when I line up at the start line.  I told my husband, the guy that I have been married to for almost 25 years, the guy I have 3 children with, the guy that works really hard to support all of us, that I will run the entire way with him.  I was going to run with him because I felt like I had to, that I needed to, that I owed it to him.

"No, you don't have to," he said.  "I may have to walk part of the way.  So you run, and I'll just find you at the end"

I am not running San Diego for a PR.  This weekend I am running San Diego for Love.  And I want to thank my friend who sacrificed her run to help me finish.  I learned a lot from my friend that day. I haven't even started this weekend's race and already I know that the only way I want to finish it is holding my husband's hand, the way my friend Carolyn held mine when I hobbled over that finish line.  And not because I feel like I owe it to him, it's because when it all pans out, my PR (personal reasons) are way more important than my race PR (personal results).  I pick LOVE. 

Hey, and you never know, the way my guy has been training, I may have to run my butt off to stay up with him and he may have to forgo his PR to cross the line with me.  What could be better than combining Personal Reasons with Personal Results. 

This weekend, as we have in our entire married life, we are crossing the finish line together.

PS....Next weekend, at the Redondo Triathlon...well, Sweetie, you are on your own.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Swimming Makes Me Tired

I swam for a mile at the gym pool today.

Then I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep...but I didn't. I went to my Yoga class.  And while Yoga breathing is supposed to "drive away my thoughts" all it did today was bring thoughts to my brain - like the time Danielle first swam for the Riverside AQuettes and then fell asleep 3 seconds after being in the car.  Or the time I cheered for Dion as he swam the 500 for his high school team and at the time I thought how far that would be to swim. He could swim the 500 in less than 6 minutes. Now that I am a swimmer, it takes me at least 10 minutes to swim a 500.  Deep breathing aside, the thought of Darin swimming up and down the pool playing water polo invades my thoughts.

Tonight Yoga was thought-inducing, not thought-erasing.

I am tired.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ready to Run, Bike, Swim!

Just a reminder to anyone wanting to participate in endurance sports of any type:

  • If you haven't been active for a while, or haven't had a check-up in some time, seek the thumbs-up from your doctor.
  • Stick to a training plan which contains solid training principles.
  • Plan recovery time into your workout schedule.  Recovery time, rest and good nutrition are what makes athletes stronger and faster....not more training.
  • Include some high intensity sessions into your workouts.
  • Be consistent. Don't be a weekend warrior.  Have a plan and work it all year-long!
  • Strength Train. Men and WOMEN!!! It's important for bones and muscle mass.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Running the Hills

First thing this morning I took off into Sycamore Canyon to lay down some miles.  My legs were aching from trail running Mt. Rubidoux the day before.  I ran a big loop and only saw one other person, but lots of bunnies hopped across my path. Just being outside is a great way to start the day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12, 2011

Today my life was in hourly segments - train an hour, lift an hour, run Mt. Rubidoux with Robert an hour, write an hour, eat lunch at Back Street with my dad for about an hour, massage an hour, garden an hour, edit for an hour, train, read a book on the patio and have a glass of wine for about an hour, ebay and facebook...woosh, I am houred out.  I love days like this.  When I get stressed that I haven't been called for a job, all this is a sign that I am suppose to be doing something else.  I love spending time with my family, writing and being active. I am thankful that sometimes I am "forced" to have a day that I live by the hour.....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Redlands Classic

Redlands Classic - Sunday, April 3, 2011....Robert and I were joined by our great friends C and G on our bike ride to Redlands for a fabulous pancake breakfast and to watch some of the Redlands Classic bike races. We watched the races really up close at the last turn - so close that a couple of the cyclists decided to try to crash throught he barricades.  Another woman and I disengaged one rider who was mangled in the barricade and his bike.  One cyclist I was most worried about because he rolled 3 times, picked himself up and pedaled on before I could get to him. When a guy on the street asked why I wasn't racing, I pointed to the broken barricades and said, "That's why."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011

It was hot today.  Robert and I went on a bike ride - hot and windy! I love riding down Victoria Avenue, making a u-ey at Van Buren and riding right back up on the other side - a nice 12 mile ride.  I love how Robert rides in back of me, letting me set the pace. Today I needed a slow pace.  I am getting over a sore throat and a cold, though I think it may be allergies. But still I needed to do something today besides sit on my butt and write.  I have 252 pages written, edited, done. Tomorrow is my rest day before the Grape Stomp Tri on Saturday.  It will be a little strange competing without any of my "best" friends or Robert, who will be working.  But I will have my TRI club and my new bike/tri friend...and I thought about it and if no one I knew went, well, I would still go and have a great time.  This little sprint is just one more stepping stone toward a bigger goal.