Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I've been up to...

It's been a while.  I finished finals on the 10th and have been enjoying a little time off.  I made the honor roll again and I'm anticipating my special certificate in the mail so I can sit, look at it ,and giggle.  So, this is what I've been up to lately:

Jed Conklin photographed me recently.  Here are just a few of the photos:

Wetsuit, fins, and goggles by Aqua Sphere.  Photo concept: completely Jed's idea.

Watch by Timex. Helmet and glasses by Rudy Project

Swimsuit and cap by TYR.  Goggles by Aqua Sphere.

Christmas came and went.  My boys say they still believe in Santa Claus although I'm suspicious; Tabor is almost 12 and Hayden just turned 8.  This was our first Christmas with separate households, and I have to say, it was delightful.  I no longer have double ovens and a 6 burner gas cooktop, but I made a mean prime rib and was surrounded by great company.  It was a gift to have my whole family here, crammed in this little house with leaking pipes and creaky floors.  The boys were wonderful and excited as always--kids just make Christmas cool. My family spoiled them with gifts and smoochie kisses, and my dad made his traditional soup on Christmas eve. Good friends joined us for dinner and somehow we ended up dancing and singing Fleetwood Mac in the kitchen; the only casualties being burnt popovers and a melted spatula.  It was a good ol' Peterson Christmas with a splash of Nelsons. 


 The day after Christmas, I got up at 6am and went skate skiing.  I watched the sunrise as I drove up the mountain, and when I got there, there wasn't a soul in site.  I was able to break in the trails that crisp cold morning, all by myself.  If you haven't tried skate skiing, you really should.  It's challenging but it's great cross training for the bike and a fantastic way to enjoy winter here in Spokane.  If you're interested in just trying it, you can rent skis at Fitness Fanatics for a reasonable fee. 

Tomorrow, I'm off to San Diego to visit Shelby for a week and get some mild-weather training in. It'll be a nice little vacation before school starts back up.  Stay tuned, I hope to post some photo documentation of our adventures.  At the very least, it'll be entertaining.

Happy Holidays!! 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shoulda Been a Water Ballerina

The week started out with Masters swim and the coach telling me I missed my calling as a water ballerina.  Huh.  Not really what one wants to hear when hoping to get faster in the pool, as a Triathlete!  However, there seems to be hope.  I will continue waking at 4:30am to swim alongside (as in the lane next to) the fast boys who make swimming look like a relaxing activity.  On Friday, I was able to put my fins and paddles on to do a few sets with the guys at their cruising pace.  Humbling experience but a fun one indeed.  I'm grateful for their willingness to take me under their wing, in the hopes that surely, I can get faster than I am now.

I also went to yoga on Wednesday night.  I needed to find something "relaxing" to do because my body is all jacked up from throwing myself full-steam back into training without considering I'm totally out of shape and lacking the  strength/flexibility in many muscle groups that I once possessed.  I didn't know what "Mysore" meant but wow, still today, my sore. 

I showed up at Yoga Shala and was greeted by my English teacher in the lobby (the woman who is responsible for getting me to come in the first place) and was informed that Mysore is "work on your own" yoga.  This gave me the giggles considering I didn't have any tricks up my sleeve to bust out while everyone else  folds themselves neatly into pretzels.  As people started showing up, my giggles turned to panic as it became clear by looking at them and the way they laid their mats out and sprayed them "just so", that I was most definitely the reject of the group.  Shocker.  Not like I haven't been HERE before.  Usually, I laugh my way through my inadequacies--an inappropriate survival tick.  Problem #1: you are NOT allowed to laugh in yoga or talk for that matter.  Considering the previous statement, suppressing my urge to giggle proved to be more challenging than originally thought.

However, I did it.  I only had a few, very short, well recovered, snorts.  There was this woman in front of me who was doing things that made her body look unrecognizable; is that her foot or her arm? Who else is in there with her?  Our instructor would go around to different people and give them tips to help them achieve their poses.  She would give me a few poses to do in succession (as to not overwhelm me) and then she'd come back and check with me.  As I sat patiently waiting for my next set of "tricks", I observed everyone.  More often than not, I forgot the steps in my poses and I'd just sit there and look like I was meditating--duh, I didn't forget, I'm just getting in touch with my Chakra.  At one point, there was a woman getting help with a handstand and I had once again forgotten what I was supposed to be doing.  So, I pulled out my only trick:  A headstand.  However, I quickly realized that my poorly crafted headstand was child's play compared to the kind of things they were doing.  As people all around me put Gumby to shame, I just stayed in my headstand, preferring the feeling of blood rushing to my head over the grunting and grimacing that accompanied trying to calmly hold a pose without shaking uncontrollably.  The lesser of two evils.  What an incredibly humbling experience.

For all of you who think Yoga is an activity you can't get your a$$ kicked in, I'm here to tell you you're wrong.  What I took away from this experience was, I need to go back many, many times.  I obviously need to work on or at least locate,  my flexibility and strength.  I'm grateful for the folks at Yoga Shala who welcomed that runner girl who can't even touch her toes...Yet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Climb

How has my life been reduced to a Miley Cyrus song?  I'm embarrassed to admit, the lyrics of this Disney prodigy's song actually have had an emotional affect on me (and more than once...sigh).  I take comfort in the hope that she didn't actually write it.  Moving on now...

The past couple of weeks have offered a few "climbs" but not without reward.  I'll just say this: I'm grateful for the undying support of family, friends and the inimitable love of my boys.  My youngest had his first slumber party at a friends house last night so I took my oldest (11) on a "date".  What strikes me, and never ceases to amaze me, is the love and admiration children innately have for their parents.  What a treasure.  They don't care how much money you have, what kind of clothes you wear or what your job is (or if you even have one! LOL).  They don't need you to be perfect in any way, except in your love for them (and sadly, even that's negotiable).  I am grateful that the one thing I have an endless amount of, just happens to be all they truly need from addition to the essentials, of course.

I've been plugging along in the training department and have made some gains in the pool (hallelujah!).  I'm looking forward to the snow and the opportunity to get back out on the skate skis.  This is an activity I have yet to master, but it is (by far) one of my favorite Winter activities.

My parents came out for a visit, and my dad took the below photo of me running (yes, I'm running!) through Manito park.   Check out his website if you have the time.  While you're at it, you should look at my mom's blog as well.  I'm very proud of my parents.  They are talented, smart and fun to be around but more than  anything, just really exceptional human beings.  I don't think I've ever appreciated them more than I do now.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall". Confucious

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A 5k, Chic Time and a Monster Dash

The school week ended with a math and a physics test and the weekend began with my first cross country 5k with the team.  It was time.  We left the campus at 7am, Saturday morning, and I was able to watch the sunrise on the way.  Have I mentioned what a beautiful place we live in?  A huge grin found comfort on my face early in the drive and I couldn't help but let it stay. 

We got to the race, and before I knew it, it was time to start. We got a pep talk from the coaches, had a huddle, and then the gun went off.

My lungs were really angry with me most of the race. More than anything, that's where I notice the biggest deficit; my cardiovascular fitness.  My body can go faster but my lungs are screaming, "STOP!" As I ran, I sounded like a poorly tuned musical instrument that needed to be put out of it's misery: a trumpet being played by someone with emphysema.  The girls around me were probably wondering what was wrong with me.  "It's okay ladies, just leap over me if I crumple to the ground!"  However, I achieved my goal of improving my time from last week, and took 1:10 off.   I feel like I've discovered a new side to running that is really FUN! I like playing this game.  My official time was 21:48.  The number is getting smaller, and it's feeling, I'm just going to continue to focus on that.  Here's a super picture of our team.  I was going to crop it, but I just couldn't do it.  Some things just need to be left the way they are. Good stuff.

I finished off the day with a long overdue dinner in the company of good friends.  A double feature and a sleepover followed...sans the lingerie pillow fights.  We woke up early this morning for the Spokane Swifts Monster Dash 5k (for adults and kids alike with a Halloween theme).  There's something powerful about being amongst a bunch of badass women in tutus.  We arrived at Manito park at 6:45am to set up, and continued to freeze our a$$es off for the rest of the day but it was worth every shiver.  Amazing day.  Stay tuned for photos on the Swifts website

Adrianne and I ended up being the "sweepers" on the course which worked out well, since I'm quite familiar with pulling up the rear these days.  Here we are out on the course, we asked some spice girls (as in salt, pepper and paprika) who didn't seem to be in a hurry, to take our picture. And for the record, we returned the favor to our photographers by taking their picture as well.

I was struck today by how many remarkable, strong, encouraging, positive women I have in my life.  I just want to acknowledge the women I spent the day with today, and all the supportive friends I've been fortunate enough to have in my life along the way.  I'm aware of what a gift it is, and I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I didn't die

Today I ran my first 5k since February.  I am finally back and running!  Considering my current state of fitness with my cross country coach this week, we decided it'd be better for me to run a random, local 5k before doing a team race.  And today was the day.

Let me start by saying, it's really nice to be racing again.  Regardless of how much fitness and speed I've lost or how much work is ahead of me, I loved getting up this morning, knowing there was a race on the docket. Racing is my passion and it brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and motivation, in all aspects of my life.  And I've missed having the physical ability to go out and just much so, that I haven't really felt like myself in these past months.  I am incredibly grateful that I got to go give it what I had today, and especially excited to say, my knee felt PERFECT!!

There's not much to say about a 5k, other than, "ouch".  Because this was my first race in a while, I decided that although I was going to wear my watch, I was not going to look at my time or heart rate and just go on feel.  This was a great idea, although it's particularly sad when you come around for your second lap, thinking it's time to finish.  I came around the corner looking towards the finish line and saw the clock. I quickly realized, no matter how convinced I was that I had only one working lung and was seeing the light of God calling me home,  I hadn't run a 13 minute 5k.  So, I headed out on my third and final lap a bit discouraged and a touch slower.  There's always an upside though...I could have come screaming through the finish line, not looking at the clock--throwing my hands in the air screaming "ya baby!!".  I like to point out that things could always be worse.  Yes, I am grateful for these little things.

Now, I'll talk about my time.  Well folks, I ran this cross country course in a whopping 22:58 today.  Yes, that's right.  The fun little detail about this particular pace (7:23/mi) is that I actually ran my last half marathon (on a hilly course) at a pace of 7:22/mile, one year ago, after my Lupus diagnosis.  Shelby tells me I should not, and cannot, compare where I was then, to where I am now.  She's little, but she's wise, and she knows some things about me...well, maybe a lot of things. So, I'm listening.

There it is in print.  My baseline, my starting point.  I am grateful for a healthy, working body that allows me to run pain free.  I've been patient but now it's time.  And what I'll focus on, is that it only gets better from here.  At this point, all I've got is a working body and a motivated mind. The slate has been wiped clean and I've got some goals, not based on the past but based on what I want in the future.  And I have no doubt that I'll get there.  It's just going to take some time, hard work and a heaping dose of patience.  Game on.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Introducing: Miss Shelby Madden

So, ya'all have seen Shelby all over my blog.  As embarrassed as she'll be, I felt it necessary for a somewhat formal introduction.

I met Shelby when I was about 18.  She loaned me the money to do my first skydive.  From there, we became room mates and spent a couple of years jumping out of airplanes together and working at the drop zone out in Perris Valley, California.  Since then, we've encouraged each other to do ALL kinds of things.  I just happened to rope her into participating in triathlon.  But with Shelby, it doesn't take much to get her going on something.

Now for the reason I'm writing this little blurb.  Shelby has taken on a huge challenge and she has started blogging about it. Read it.  At the very least, you will be entertained.  But I'm going to bet, you'll be inspired.  There's so much I want to write about regarding how, where and when she started, what she has faced and the incredible strength and perseverance she possesses.  But, it's her story.  So, I'll let her tell it...for now.   But I might just pipe in if she forgets to mention something....

Monday, October 5, 2009

There's always an upside to change

Well, Fall is here and the Cross Country season is far underway.  I have missed the first 2 races because on the second day of school I seem to have contracted a nasty flu bug that I'm still recovering from 2 weeks later.  On the upside, I am starting to feel human again, I didn't miss one day of school and my boys didn't get sick.  I am surely grateful for that.  Below is our team.  I am second from the right.  I giggle every time I look at it.  We were supposed to look like we were on the starting line, ready for the gun to go off but I think we just ended up looking like we're all holding kitchen utensils.  However dorky our team photo is, this is a very talented group of young ladies and I am honored to call them my teammates.

I woke up early this morning to ride on the trainer before school and  I watched the sun rise out my window as I did so.  Often, I have these moments in life when I'm completely overwhelmed by the greatness of life.  This morning, while watching the sunrise as I sweat my rear off while riding my beautiful, orange Trek inside a cozy home, I had one of those moments.  I love my life! I was able to run today as well and tomorrow I'll get my butt back in the pool. I may have a different kind of "feeling" about my swim workout but I'll give it a good Tinkerbell try.  At least the folks at the Y will be entertained.  Moving onward!!

I'll leave you with a few great quotes:

 "The trick is in what one emphasizes, we can make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong, the work is the same" Carlos Castoneda.

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing to do.  But to hold it together when everyone would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength" Author Unknown.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, it is the one most responsive to change".  Author unknown (often misquoted as Darwin).

If you can roll with the punches, find that "nugget of gold" in even the most dire of situations, and have gratitude for the journey no matter what it brings, I believe you can't help but be truly happy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What it looks like to get dropped by...

I'm considering temporarily changing the name of this blog to "What it looks like to get dropped by _____".  Here's what it looks like to get dropped by Sam:

But let's start from the beginning.  Sam told me he had an easy 2 hour ride to do in Coeur D'Alene.  When my friends who are in stellar shape tell me they have an "easy day", what that translates to for me is "maybe I can hang on for dear life to keep up".  And I'm always game for that.

I awoke Thursday morning to rain pouring outside.  It was such a cozy feeling to be in my big, warm bed while hearing the rain falling outside.  Then it occurred to me that I was meeting Sam in Coeur D'Alene to ride.  Crap.  I texted Sam and said "it's raining".  His response included calling me a pussy and that I should "nut up".  Being so confused by the references to body parts, some of which I don't actually possess, I figured I'd better just "nut up".  When I arrived in Coeur D'Alene, this is what it looked like:

Then I really started to feel like a wimp or the small feline he referenced when I saw Sam was out there in the lake swimming.  I took a picture but it's hard to see him.  He's the small spec off-center in the picture below.

He got ready and as we were heading out on our ride, he said "I have some intervals to do".  Oh great.  So much for hanging on for dear life.  He dropped me at the first hill we hit and that was during the warm up. Here he is, waiting for me again.

I had some nice quality time with myself as Sam shot off like a rocket for his intervals.  I actually laughed out loud at how quickly he was out of sight.  But Turbo always came back around to get me and it actually ended up being a beautiful day and a really fun ride.  After his intervals, Sam slowed the pace so I could hop on his wheel and I did hang on for dear life!  I got that giddy feeling in my stomach, a reminder of one of the many reasons I love to ride.  I've still got a long way to go, but I feel like I am slowly but surely pulling away from that cloud hanging over my head and coming into the warm sunshine, promising me more warmth if I just keep on going.

I am grateful for the journey, the reminder that health and fitness are gifts to be coddled and savored.  And I'm grateful for what lay ahead.  I've had a small taste of what lies on the other side of commitment, hard work, early mornings and humiliating, vomit inducing training sessions...and that is what drives me, keeps me focused even when it seems like I'll never get there.  A friend shared a quote with me today by Tim Timmons, "celebration is empty without desperation".  I like it and I believe it to be true.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Big Weekend of Summer

I started out this post writing down all kinds of details about the weekend.  There was a visit from Shelby, lots of riding, a wedding and a race.  I realized, sometimes pictures just speak for themselves...
Shelby would not stop talking during the above photo session. 
 Shelby just climbed a huge hill but she's always ready for a photo op!
 She just licked me!
Amazing feats of strength and balance....not achieved.
 Our last minute team.  "Gulliver's girls of Lilliput". Alternate name was "All downhill from Rick" I thought that was more fitting.  No one is standing in a ditch or on a crate. Rick swam, Shelby biked and I actually "ran".  Highlight of the weekend was getting to be on a team with Shelby for the first time.  Gotta do that again.

Shelby's shoes with Ricks, they could have fit right inside.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keep on movin'

It's been a busy week of training and playing. Last Monday, Laura and I reunited on the trail for our first run together in quite some time. I've resumed using a hydration belt while running. I gave those up for a while, trying to adjust to running with little or no water like the young pups I run with. Not a good idea. I'm old and I require constant hydration. Nathan makes the one I'm wearing in the below photo. It's called 'Speed 2' and I will not run without it now. Even on a 30 minute run, I take it. It carries my Blackberry in the front pouch with room for an ipod and even a few gels. It doesn't slip around or ride up on me, it doesn't get hot on my back and I can get the bottles in and out with one hand. Nothing compares. Check em out. Now, back to my story...

I told Laura she didn't look like she was running in this picture but she does look hot. I love running with Laura. I can honestly say, some of my most memorable training runs have been done with her by my side.

It was a chilly yet beautiful morning. Not to mention, Laura had chocolate milk to share when we were done, a to-go bag of home grown tomatoes, plus some honey just for me. Score!

The next day, I went for a bike ride with Annie. Annie always seems to have these crazy interval rides. Maybe that's why she's so fast. I figured in my current state of fitness, I'd just hang on to her wheel for dear life during these efforts and hope for the best. The first 10 minute interval, I hung on and didn't die! YA BABY! 5 more to go, this is fun. Um, so the second one didn't go as well. As we came around a bend, a head wind hit me and girth-challenged-Annie didn't do her job of blocking the wind. As she pulled away, I quickly realized there was no chance of catching back up. As the all-too-familiar feeling of dropping a lung overcame me, I looked up and noticed what a beautiful sight lay ahead. So I got real, slowed down, and pulled my phone out to snap a couple of shots. Might as well get a good picture in the midst of my humiliation to share the beautiful sight of just what it looks like to get dropped by Annie.

I made it through the rest of the ride, watching Annie out in the distance and checking in between intervals. But once again, it was a beautiful day with great company. I am grateful for my friends who have been generous with their training time to pull me along when it'd be easier to leave me at home. I'll get it back, I know I will. In the meantime, it's nice to play with my friends, who I miss, on the big-kids' playground. Even if I can't reach the monkey bars, catch a ball to save my life or dodge even the smallest, slowest ball, I'm out there! And this is only temporary. Patience. Patience. Patience.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Just Going for a Ride

Haley and I went for a little bike ride today. We hit the western plains and headed towards Cheney. This was her first ride since Ironman Canada. It was pretty windy out so I decided to allow her to be out in front for some Kona practice. I mean, I wouldn't be doing her any favors by letting her suck on my wheel ya know. So, this was my view a lot of the time on the way out. Sister has got some calves, she might as well put them to use. Just sayin'.

Once we made it through the wind, we pretty much screwed around and acted like complete dorks for the rest of the time. Not much different than when we're not riding. Case in point, below photos:

And my personal favorite:
I can't stand this photo of me but it's the only one I have of both of us today. The depressing part is, we took two other photos that were worse. Probably had to do with the fact that I was eating during our photo session. Shocker.

I snapped this while riding. It doesn't even capture how beautiful the sky was. I don't think it ever even hit 70 degrees. I feel so lucky to train in such a beautiful place.

There was a moment today when we were on our way back, that I got just a small glimpse of how it feels to be "back". Granted, I was riding on a slight decent with a wicked tailwind. Ha! But, it was still a gift, a familiar taste of something I've had before that I really liked. Not to mention, it was great to get out there with my friend. No pressure, no pace to keep, no getting dropped, just going for a ride.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back in the Saddle with Eve

Eve and I headed out at 9am last week for a ride. She's training for Kona and I'm training my ass to shrink. Not to mention, I used to do this thing called triathlon and I'd like to get back to it. In addition to that, my cross country season has officially begun and I just recently started training again after a longer than expected, post-surgery hiatus. No time like the present! Eve had a 6 hour ride and talked me into riding 3 with her although it had been almost a year since I'd ridden that long. But I figured if I can't keep pace for 3 hours with Eve when she has to ride 6, it's my problem. er, it became her problem pretty early on.

We headed out the side streets of the South Hill and ran into Haley coming back in from sending Katya out on a "pre-Canada spin". Haley seemed to think Eve and I could catch up with her. We could see her disk out in the distance. I told Eve we should catch her! Um, ya. Eve could have, she galloped with every push of her pedal while I felt like I was riding a big wheel with warn out plastic wheels. I was seeing stars two minutes into putting the "hammer down". Eve looked back at me at some point (probably wondering what that loud wheezing sound was) and had mercy on me. We didn't want to catch her anyway, duh. Stupid, really dumb idea.

Twenty minutes after the Katya chase, Eve dropped her chain which turned into a major mechanical and the two of us proceeded to take apart Eve's bike in the middle of a country road.

My trusty El Torito kept Eve company while I tamed the hunger beast and spat out suggestions on what she should try next.

Eve decided it was time to call "the man". After getting some technical assistance over the phone, Troy was on his way. Yes folks, the one and only Troy Nelson.

By the time he arrived with another bike, we were already riding again but Troy showed up with a back up bike and took the ailing machine to the bike doctor.

Eve tuned in to the fact that her riding partner not only was a little plumper since the last time we road together but quite a bit slower. We stopped at the chapel to pee and fill up our water bottles with the hose. As Eve was pulling a swift mount on the very steady pavement after riding her road bike through grass and gravel, she went down. As in, she was completely upright and just tipped over and hit the pavement. Now, THAT was the coolest thing I'd seen all day! She cut her elbow and sliced her leg, all with no forward speed. Eve, you are such a badass.

We made it to the next stop for cold water and a real bathroom so we could finally wash our faces and hands. We split off and Eve went on to ride a few more hours as I slowly pushed my wounded self home. Funny, considering Eve was the one who fell.

Since then, I have a ridden a few more times by myself. While riding with others in my state of fitness is humiliating and discouraging, it is WAY more entertaining and fun.

Anyone want to go for a ride?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life Happens

Summer is almost over. I haven't competed in one race or been able to get any consistent training under my belt. I don't have any stellar results to share or epic training sessions to brag about. But I can say that I have had some very meaningful time with my boys, I've embraced imperfection like never before and feel more like "myself" than I have in years.

As August comes to a close, I have completed my first "real" week of training. I have run numerous times for more than 20 minutes with minimal pain. My knee is stiff and not perfect but I think it's coming around. I went for a bike ride today and was grateful that my magnet slipped down so I could not monitor what my average speed was. It felt good, my power was consistent and I didn't get passed by any old ladies on cruisers (I didn't see any either so I'm not bragging). Usually, I start training for the following season in late January/early February. So this year, September is my February. The way I look at it, I'm getting an early start!

In the past 12 months (in order) I was diagnosed with Lupus, had my first DNF (Las Vegas Marathon), got divorced, became a member of the Timex Multisport Team, went back to college, ran on the track team, lost my coach in a tragic accident, dealt with my first injury and had knee surgery, moved out into my very own place for the first time in my life and experienced (on numerous occasions) what "I can't afford it" REALLY means.

As the above paragraph shows, life is messy, unpredictable and rich. What my words may not show is that I have learned something from each and every one of those experiences (good and bad). In my quest for perfection and strength, I have been humbled by the realization that life with challenge and not-so-immediate gratification is not always predictable or glamorous but incredibly rewarding!

I don't know how the next 12 months are going to go. I start school in a few weeks. I don't know how my health is going to hold up or if my knee is really on the mend or I'm just willing it to be. My cross country season has started. I went for a "warm up" with the team in the 90 degree weather the other day and it felt like a tempo run to me. I was a tad discouraged but more than that, I was motivated. In my "grab-bag-of-a-life", I seem to be right on course even if I don't know which way is up.

Stay tuned. I'm slowly getting back in the groove, using some excellent training tools (I will share about those along the way) which are helping a great deal. I'm experiencing triathlon training as a "newby" with a few grand challenges thrown in there to boot. If you are trying to get motivated to work towards a goal, come along with me. I'm starting from ground zero. It's painful at times, discouraging and humbling but it's nice to have company and we all could use a little help.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Looking for recipes?

Hey all! I have posted a couple of recipes on our Team Timex blog. I thought I'd share with you while I'm in the process of updating my blog. Here's the link: Check it out!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What I've been up to

I know, I know, I've fallen off the blogging. I hope there's still a reader out there. It's been a roller coaster ride since my coach passed away. This is going to be a long one so pull up a comfy chair and something to eat. I finally moved out of the house into a cute little place by a giant park and the boys love it. It's the first time in my life I've had my "own" place. I don't even get scared at night and I sleep like a rock. Who knew? Here is a picture my dad took of me and the boys on our new front porch. Tabor on the left, Hayden on the right. These boys take good care of their mom.

March and April were tremendously stressful and I ended up with a whopper Lupus flair up. I had finals, moving and a knee injury all come together in a perfect storm. But quite honestly, I love storms. I love the dark clouds rolling in, the drastic change in temperature, the cracking of thunder and wind that sounds like it will pull the roof off. All the while trusting I'll be just fine. I've always been like this. I think in life, I enjoy enduring storms to prove that I can make it through anything. It's a confirmation of survival. This is not to say I like drama, it's quite the opposite. But I believe there is beauty in challenge, in fear: not knowing but getting through all of that with my head high. I sometimes wonder if I do this purposely to test myself. Now, let's see much can I put on my plate before I explode? But I can honestly say, I love my life. I love that I'm struggling to pay the cable bill but keep cable for the kids (because I never watch it), I love that I often eat scrambled eggs for dinner because that's all I can afford and I love that my boys love me for who I am and how I love them. This is the life I want for myself and the journey is incredibly rewarding. And someday, I will be done with school and be a real-live grown up! Well, kind of.

I made the honor roll for the first time in my life and got a cheezy certificate in the mail the other day. I might just frame it. I actually laughed out loud when I opened it. Shocker, I know. It's an "honor" quite literally and I am grateful to be recognized for my efforts. But, for some reason, I found it humorous that an honor roll certificate actually had my name on it. I was never a good student growing up, making friends was way more important at the time. To add to the excitement, I have decided not to go into nursing. A friend told me that the average person changes their mind 7 times while in college. That made me feel better. I am really trying to be smart about what direction I go. I need to follow my passion. I have great interest in medicine but also have tremendous passion for health, activity and nutrition as well as the affect that has on others. But I also need to make enough money to support two kids and not be working all of the time. So, at this point, I'm clueless. All I know is that I want a Bachelors in something and not be in school for longer than 4 years. Please feel free to share any thoughts or suggestions. What am I going to be when I grow up???

I had to forfeit running track for the remainder of the season because of my knee injury. However, due to my change in school plans, I will be staying at the local community college next year and running cross country in the fall as well as track in the winter/spring. I'm especially excited to run cross country, that's my favorite type of running! I'll still be dropping lungs left and right while training with the wrinkle free, dewey-skinned, invincible girls with lungs the size of garbage bags and asses you can bounce quarters off of. And you wonder why I'm motivated?

The knee surgery has delayed the start of my triathlon season and I'm disappointed that all that speed I was gaining has now been lost due to a 6 week running hiatus. Once again, I am reminded of how grateful I am to have the ability to do the things I love; this is only temporary.

I plan to be up and racing by late June. More to come...

Timex Camp

I thought this topic deserved a separate post. Even though camp was over a month ago. I arrived on Thursday night and Shelby picked me up and Haley was already there. Rachel arrived later that night. The craziness began. Friday, we went over to the expo so the girls could pick up their packets. I was registered for this race (it's a half iron) but because I was focusing on speed and track through the winter I decided I wouldn't be ready for a half this early. Not to mention, I ended up injured anyway. Shelby and I went over to the Timex set up at the hotel and I picked up my HUGE gear bag full of all kinds of goodies. I also met my new, orange TREK equinox: his name is El Torito. Here's me being a total geek with as much gear as I could get on. Notice my "time pieces".

I have no words. The helmet says it all. This is Haley and Shelby...being themselves. This is after the ceremonial dance routine they performed for me which was choreographed before I got there. NICE.

Here's Rach wearing her Obama shirt and trying on her swimcap.

Saturday morning came quickly as Shelby and I were volunteer body markers for the race. It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. We had to arrive at the race at 4am. Brutal. Here I am placing Haley's "P" for pro on the wrong calf. woops. It was early, I was tired and Haley likes to be different. At least that's what I told myself.

Some other "spokanites" showed up to race. From left to right, Matt, Craig, me and Erika. I'm glad I got to send off some friends from home with some expertly placed digits.

Here's Trevor, getting ready to rock his first half ironman. And he did. woop woop! I know I look like I'm 300 lbs but it's just because I had about 4 layers on. Well, and I've been grounded from running as well.

This is after the race. Danielle, Ben, me, Shelby and Haley. Good times. The waitress thought Ben was THE Ben Harper when she saw his credit card (obviously she hasn't ever seen the real one) and she just kept bringing free sake. Bottle after bottle. hilarious. There was something else that happened which is a little foggy but I think one of us peed our pants in the parking lot. It wasn't me. Good times. Just trying to represent.

Once the race was over, it was time to check in at camp. Rachel and I roomed together which was good entertainment. The keebler and the 6ft bombshell. We stayed in a very nice hotel with a beautiful pool and the bar was the same one Shelby and I got everyone kicked out of last year. It was surely just a misunderstanding. It was a simple test of brute strength...just trying to seperate the men from the boys with a barstool swinging contest. For some reason, the management thought it was unsafe. They didn't understand that these were professional strong people. Albeit gullable show-offs...but strong. They let us back in this year with no mention. I think they realized the entertainment far outweighed the risk. Just for the record, the original incident was Shelby's idea (shocker) and I just encouraged them.

Below: Dan & Paul from Lifesport, Shelby, Andrew, me and Haley with the demon eyes. These photos are never good taken with a blackberry but they are necessary.

We spent the days meeting and learning good information about our sponsors. I was especially impressed with the benefits of Trigger Point. I lack patience and am horrible at stretching but this is right up my alley. It's important to hydrate your muscles but also "kneed" the muscles to keep them soft and supple and in good working shape. I'm in fo sho...and have my own little kit at home. LOVE IT.

A few of us were asked to do a photo shoot for Timex. What?? LOL. I just do what I'm told and love every minute. We had a blast and the below photos were taken after the photo shoot. They are my favorite. Here's Ian and I doing a ballerina lift. Well, he's doing the lifting and I'm faking the ballerina-ing. I was reminded once again why mom pulled me out of ballet in kindergarten.

Here's me and Alex going for a running high-5 although Alex got caught up in the moment and went for the finish line shot. I felt totally dissed.

This is my favorite shot though. This is me and Ian doing a running high-5 and he actually hit my hand. Good times.
Camp was a blast. We have an incredible team and I'm blown away by our sponsors. Here are just a few below:

Timex, Trek, Bontrager, Sram, Sugoi, Nathan, Training Peaks, Power Breathe, Trigger Point, PowerBar, GAIAM, Aqua Sphere, Rudy Project, Headsweats, CycleOps, Nuun

I am so grateful to be a part of Team Timex.


Gimpy on the mend

In the middle of March in the peak of my lupus flair up and finals, I ran a 5k in complete exhaustion which sent me over. I haven't run since then although I've made many attempts. Yesterday, I went in for knee surgery and I'm stuck on the couch with nothing to do but watch tv (depressing) or write. I have missed blogging so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The surgery was not horribly invasive. The Dr. performed a scope, cleaned out debris and inflammation and did a "fat pad" resection as well as removed the synovia plica due to thickening and inflammation. He did say I have a beautiful, healthy ACL and meniscus :). Haley dropped me off for surgery, Klaire picked me up and then Haley brought me dinner, totally pampered me and spent the night. She even rubbed my feet! I'm so grateful for my friends. Below is a picture of me, totally bored, waiting to get hawled into surgery. Shad made me take it. I'm such a dork.

I plan to recover quickly and be up and running in a few weeks. The doctor told me that's a realistic expectation if I take it easy in the next week. LOL. I have school and 2 kids and am taking a trip to California on Thursday. But I am glued to the couch all weekend and the boys are taking great care of me as well as ravaging the tulip beds to make sure I have fresh picked flowers, dying on the coffee table next to me as I lay and recover. Sweet little men. I guess those tulips wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway. LOL.

Friday, April 3, 2009

California slumber party

I was informed that I needed to update my blog. I'm here in California and the photographs we've taken so far, are not suitable for a family audience. I left the snow in Spokane this morning and connected through Vegas today, it smelled of smoke and there were people coughing everywhere. Good thing that was a temporary stop. Shelby picked me up and Coops was waiting at home. After a lovely dance routine by Shelby and Haley, we went to the bike shop, then dinner and then Rachel rolled in. Now it's time for bed. Actually, it was time for bed hours ago but it's a slumber party.

Tomorrow we are off to the expo so the girls can get their thing done. It's weird to be here and not be racing. I figured as long as I'm here, I might as well bodymark :) so Shelby and I have to be in transition at 4am on Saturday. That's the earliest I've ever shown up for a race. Ouch. Then off to Timex camp for the remainder of my trip. Can't wait to meet the rest of the team AND my new orange Trek. I'll be sure to get some pictures.

My head hurts from laughing. More later. So far so good.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Measure of a Man

My track coach, Erik Anderson, died in a tragic accident at school on Thursday, February 19th. He leaves behind a family he adored...wife Mariza and daughters Evelyn and Ripley. I thought I'd share just what a difference he made in my life in the brief time I knew him.

I first met Erik Anderson when I came to talk to Coach Beatty (head track coach) about running on the Spokane Community College track team. I am a 35 year old, single mother going back to school with only a few years of triathlon experience. I had never run track or cross country and had only been running for the past 3 years in conjuction with my triathlon training. But they took me on and for whatever reason, thought I had potential. Since I was going to be a distance runner, Larry took me into Erik's office to meet him. All three of us sat there, talking about running track and why they thought I'd be a good addition to the team. I literally could have sat there all day talking with them. It didn't take long for me to realize that the only thing small about this man was his physical size.

Immediately upon leaving, I called my best friend in San Diego (who is my other cheerleader ;) and told her that I'd just met my track coach and I really feel like he believes in me. I actually got choked up talking to her about him. I had never felt so much excitement and enthusiasm for my ability from someone else-it was inspiring to say the least.

School started a month or so later and I showed up for practice that first day. We had a team meeting and Erik spoke to us as a group. His passion for our team, for our ablity and his desire for our success was overwhelming. I knew I was a part of something great, something life changing, little did I know that this man would have such an effect on me in such a short period of time and then be gone. However painful the loss of him is, the richness of his brief presence in my life is such a gift that will stay with me always. I know that even though he is gone, he will continue to inspire and teach me.

As the weeks went on, I often found myself walking by Erik's office just to talk about running or to gather some enthusiasm for the day. His smile was welcoming and I always walked out of there, ready to take on whatever task was handed me.

We had an indoor meet coming up and Erik asked me how I was feeling and if I wanted to race. I wanted so badly to race, to show him that his belief in me was not wasted. And so, he signed me up for the 5k. Race day arrived and he stood on the track, yelling out splits to me along with encouraging words. I went out WAY too fast and ended up really blowing my first track race. He stood there, every lap I came around and yelled out to me and encouraged me to keep going. I remember one go-around he yelled "I'm still proud of you!" I wanted to yell back "WHY???" but that was him, no matter what-still believing in us no matter how bad we blew it. I found him after my event so we could talk about it. I wanted to talk to my coach, I loved that he was there to go to and I wanted to hear what he had to say. I wanted to hear that he shared my disappointment and that he believed as I did that I was capable of much more. And that is just what he did-just what he said. Not even two minutes into the conversation (shortly after I had just choked in a 5k) I wanted to get back on that track. Had he asked me, I would have run again that day without batting an eye. I wanted him to see that his belief in me was not wasted, that I would get there, that I would show him I could do it.

Two days after his death, we had another meet scheduled and I was going to run the 3k. We were working hard to get me feeling the pain in preparation for the meet. That was one thing he told me after the 5k, that he didn't think I was hurting as much as I thought and so we had been working on getting past that pain and finding the strength to push through it. One of the last things Erik said to me with a huge grin on his face was "you've had a really good week" in reference to how hard I was working and I could tell he was excited for Saturday. I am so sad that he won't be present to see me have the kind of success he envisioned for me-that I won't get to see that smile when I finish. And so I hang on to his vision, his undying enthusiasm and faith in me not only as an athlete but as a human being. I am making a promise to him that I will get there, I will make him proud, lacking only his physical presence but full of his encouragement, belief and inspiration.

A man is measured by many things. This man, who stood 5-foot-something, was larger than life. His smile was huge, his laugh enormous and his ability to encourage and inspire others was like no other. I remember last weekend, we were doing hill repeats. Really, really hard hill repeats. As I came up to the really steep part of the hill on repeat #7, he yelled out to me "there is a difference between good and great-anyone can be good, what are you going to do?". I busted my ass up that hill, realizing that I had so much more to give-and that is one of the many things he taught me, sometimes you've got to dig deep but it's there. Those words will stay with me always. Anyone lucky enough to have known him is a better person for it. Saying he will be missed is such an understatement. We have lost a giant of a man but his gifts are many and we all will continue to benefit from them-from him. His absence will always be felt-his presence never forgotten.