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!