Home » Family » Recent Articles:

Labor Day Revisited

September 2, 2013 Family No Comments

It was three short years ago that Greg and I turned our eyesore of a backyard into something beautiful and sustainable. Remember this?

BEFORE

We turned it into this:

AFTER

I am happy to report that this lawn has lived up to all of its promises and looks as beautiful today as it did three years ago. We spent a little time this weekend filling in around the flagstone and re-mulching everything. We got the sprinklers working again so that the plants don’t die when we leave on long weekends. I love my low-maintenance yard!

What did you do this weekend?

Wildflower Long Course 2013

May 23, 2013 Family, Fitness 3 Comments

The Wildflower Long Course triathlon happened nearly two weeks ago. I think I’m still in denial and still trying to forgive myself for signing up again. The aftertaste that lingers in my mouth is quite bittersweet. I don’t have a lot of pictures to share and I’ll keep this brief.

SWIM: 1.2 miles = 38:09 (2012 = 33:02)
As well as my swimming had been going in the pool, my  one open water swim prior to the race proved to be slower than expected. I wanted to be optimistic going into this, but chose to be realistic. When I was sighting every ~10th breath or so and the buoys kept moving farther away, I knew I was right to be realistic.

I did try to stay “in the moment” during the swim and remind myself that this would be the most pleasant part of my day. I was in cold water, which was a welcome environment compared to the 95 degree day we all endured.

BIKE: 56 miles = 3:24:49 (2012 = 3:14)
Last year, it seemed like the bike was “no big deal.” It was harder this year. That’s either a function of me being less trained, the heat, or a combination of both.

I was again surprised at how hard the Mile 2 climb was, and saw many people walking it. My left foot started charlie-horsing at Mile 7 of the bike and finally let up around Mile 20. Right then, I knew it was a whole new ball game. As hot as it was, I told myself to drink at least two bottles of water between every aid station (which were ~45 mins apart). I did this and more, and still had no urge to pee at any point. I had no Nuun or salt tablets with me.

By the time I got to Nasty Grade (Mile 40), I was done. I wanted to quit. By the time I finished Nasty Grade, I had talked myself out of running. Seriously. I had nothing to prove — I had already done this course and had done a full Ironman. No need to prolong the misery. Right? RIGHT???

As I was riding back into the festival area, I was looking for Greg on the run course. There’s a spot where the runners travel on a trail that is adjacent to the road. Miracle of miracles, I saw him! I hollered, “G!!!! I haaaaate this!” He saw me and hollered back, “You look great, baby! I hate it, too!” He said that the runners near him laughed at our exchange, everyone hating ourselves for doing this. It was so good to see him; he was running and looked so strong.

There were only a couple of miles left back into the transition area and I thought about what I would do. If there was one aspect of training that I had actually focused on, it was the running. I had not focused on speed. I had focused solely on running hills. For the last ~30 miles, I had been talking myself out of and back into doing the run. I really really really just wanted to be done.

I thought of what I would say to Greg and Kidder, to our friends we were camping with, to YOU GUYS who read this blog. “Yeah, I quit. I just didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t even try.” That didn’t feel very good.

I pulled into the transition area and had a Really Big Decision to make: to run or not to run.

I am not a quitter. I would run.

RUN: 2:27:24 (2012 = 2:18:06)
I left the transition area with all kinds of caveats:

If I puke, I can stop.
If I cramp, I can stop.
If the apocalypse happens, I can stop.

I wanted any/all of these things to happen. I don’t pray, so I was employing every other possible tactic to give me a reason that I could forfeit (read: not quit). Last year, I walked within the first mile and adopted a run 3 minutes/walk 30 seconds plan (that did not work). This year, I RAN the first four miles. This was a huge mental boost for me!

Mile 4 is the Death March that everyone walks. It truly isn’t worth it to run it. I got to the top at Mile 5 and started running again. There had been ambulances all over the bike course and now there were rescue crews in the trails. I’m sure the heat was taking its toll and people were succumbing to heat exhaustion and dehydration.

At every aid station, I kept repeating all of the above caveats, assessing my physical self all the while. Do I feel like puking? Am I cramping? Do I see Jesus? The answer to all of these was no. Keep going…

At Mile 7 or so, there was Team Bourbon & Bacon. They were serving both. It was 95 degrees and they were frying bacon in a frying pan on a grill on one side of the trail while a teammate was holding a bottle of bourbon on the other side. I thought to myself,

“If I take a shot of bourbon, I’ll probably puke. Then I can be done.”

But alas, I was still running at this point. You might call it shuffling… but not walking. Not cramping. Not barfing. I kindly declined their offer and kept going. The next “out” was at Mile 8. Our camp was right on the other side of those bathrooms, you see. I could retire to The Van

But I was still running/shuffling. Someone was offering Coke and Twizzlers. I had both. They were delicious and sugary; I kept running. The nice lady at Mile 8.75 had orange wedges. They tasted like heaven and I thanked her profusely, as I did last year.

Another decision point that I had been contemplating came at Mile 9. I could choose to do the mentally torturous out-and-back from Mile 9-11…or I could just go back now. This becomes Mile 11. I could just be done in 2 miles. Now. Just be done. Now. But… I’d made it this far. I couldn’t QUIT now. I wasn’t cramping. I wasn’t barfing. I must keep going. What would I tell the people? How would I feel about myself? I trudged along. Walked the hills, ran the downhills and flats. I saw stars when I was “running,” knowing that it was going to be a real race to the end to not black out.

As usual, our friends were at the top of the hill at Mile 12. Martz offered me a margarita shot. I wanted to partake and laugh, but I had been near tears since Mile 10 and had no extra moisture to spare, so I took a shot of apple juice instead. I hoped I would not lose it on the mile to the finish.

FINAL: 6:44:44  (2012 = 6:15:20)

I’m really proud of myself for finishing. I had talked myself out of even starting the run halfway through the bike. That said, I’m really dejected because I actually ran more of this race than I did last year. I walked far more of the course last year, and last year’s split was faster (my average pace was almost 1 minute/mile faster last year).

I know the heat was a factor. I remarked in last year’s race report that it was 81 degrees. It was 95 degrees this year, and that absolutely makes a difference. I peed at 7:30 AM and not again until 11:30 PM — after over 400 ounces of non-alcoholic fluids taken in.

Within seconds of sitting down after finishing, every muscle in my lower body started cramping — quads, hamstrings, calves, feet. Greg got me a Nuun drink and I tried to keep moving. Putting my legs in the cold water before picking everything up from the transition area helped.

As at Ironman Canada, the Kidder family was so wonderful in spectating and keeping Miles (14-YO Kyle Kidder did the Sprint Course!). It was so delightful to finish and see so many familiar faces. All of us dreaded making the famed trip back up the hill to our campsite.

After a couple of V8s, some chocolate milk, and a lukewarm shower, I finally enjoyed a glass of well-earned wine. Let the fun really begin!

 

 

 

Weekend Pics

March 31, 2013 Family, Fido, Fitness, Friends, Fun No Comments

We went to Tahoe this weekend, likely making it the last winter trip of the season. I *finally* broke even on my Squaw Valley Season Pass and otherwise engaged in a bunch of debauchery with friends. Oh, and there was some triathlon training thrown in for good measure.

We got home at 11 PM Saturday night so we could complete our long ride/run today. Clouds looming, both of us looked at numerous weather sites for hour-by-hour forecasts and set out on our respective rides. The forecasts varied from “sprinkles in the afternoon” to “0% chance precipitation.” Both of us got caught in a cold and windy down-pour. The afternoon ended with a co-ed trip to the hot tub, so all’s well that ends well…

Here are some pics I snapped with my crappy camera phone this weekend, the only ones we have to document our Tahoe 2012-13 season.

Greg and Miles had fun playing on the jungle gym outside Le Chamois.

Off-duty Snow Makers

Jen stopped by the van for 1000 CCs of red wine after working customer service all day.

This entire mountain is usually covered in snow.

One of the three creeks Miles found to play in this weekend.

Spring skiing = flare!

I went for a run around Donner Lake Saturday morning. 8 miles of solitary bliss (at altitude)!

Ironman Canada 2012 Photobook

March 14, 2013 Family, Favorites, Fitness, Fun No Comments

I created a Shutterfly photobook that chronicled our Ironman Canada adventure as a gift for Greg’s birthday in January. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift because I thought it was a project that would take a few hours to complete. Uhhh, more like a few weeks… Shutterfly has so many (too many?) idea pages, embellishments, and layouts to choose from. My project really came to life as I was building it and I got more excited about it with every page. This required hunting down more pictures, telling more stories, and finding more of their awesome embellishments! It was a little overwhelming, but I am very happy with the results.

Now that training for Wildflower has come into full swing (two-a-day workouts, unlimited laundry, unlimited hunger and fatigue), I have been referring back to the photobook for some race day inspiration. It’s maybe working.

 

NOTE: I have friends at Shutterfly (it’s a Bay Area company), but this project was my own doing. In other words, I’m not being paid to say any of these nice things about the company.

 

Insignificant Kindnesses (Revisited)

February 20, 2013 Family, Food No Comments

Remember that whole Insignificant Kindness thing? I had forgotten, too… But today I was the recipient of a kindness and it smacked me over the head. A very small gesture, but it was so thoughtful.

Every evening after dinner, I pack my lunch for the following day. It’s usually leftovers from dinner, which was the case last night — Thai Chicken Enchiladas. DELICIOUS. Seriously. Make these.

I fixed dinner, ate dinner, packed my lunch, and cleaned everything up before retiring to the couch with my glass of wine and dark chocolate peanut butter cup. Life was good. The alarm went off at 5:28 this morning and I dutifully rose and got myself to the gym for a 6 AM boot camp class. I got to work by 7:45 and got an IM from Greg at 8:45, asking if I had gotten his text message. I had not; my phone was still buried in my gym bag.

I checked my messages and my sweet husband had texted me at 7:07 AM to let me know that I had forgotten my lunch and he had dropped it off on the picnic table outside my office on his way to work. At this point, I was still working on breakfast and had no idea that I had forgotten my lunch. But I can’t tell you how pleased I was that he had taken this detour to deliver my lunch to me! I was especially pleased when lunchtime rolled around and I heated up these delicious enchiladas instead of going to the corner deli for a cold turkey sandwich.

This was a timely reminder to look for the good. Celebrate the good. Reciprocate the good.

Go forth and be kind to one another, my friends!

A Year as Ours

December 30, 2012 Family, Fido No Comments

It was a year ago that we brought Miles home. At ~6 pounds, this red ball was a formidable competitor.

Now, at 72 pounds, he’s barely interested.

He took immediately to clicker training and was sitting on command before he even had a name.

Miles is still a sucker for a treat and knows that good things happen to boys who sit politely.

He’s has proven to be a very good and smart boy. I am happy to report that he hasn’t rolled in single pile of poo or dead animal in the year we’ve had him! He travels well and loves to be included in all our adventures. He is a good runner, loves swimming, and chases us on mountain bikes on the trails. A true tri-dog! He loves his Chuck-It balls and can fit three balls in his mouth now, which he shows off by prancing around the dog park. A favorite game is for him to drop a ball down the basement stairs while I’m down there. I toss it back up to him and he catches it in his mouth and sends it down again.

We feed him mostly a raw diet, which he loves. It’s good for his coat and teeth, too. He loves carrots and apples as snacks, something Argus wouldn’t even touch. I think the only thing I’ve found he doesn’t like is strawberries. He has the UPS man trained to bring him treats along with our packages. He likes his crate, but we wake up most mornings with Miles wedged between us at a 90* angle. He is very affectionate and welcomes hugs and kisses without fuss. He insists on sitting on my lap in the driver’s seat wherever we go.

It has been a wonderful year with Miles as our companion. Time flies when you’re having fun!

38

December 4, 2012 Family, Fear, Friends No Comments

the number gets bigger. older.

it’s better than the alternative.

i’m so grateful for all that i have — my health, my family, my friends, my work, my accomplishments.

what matters? what doesn’t matter?

these are not rhetorical questions.

GO.

How’d He Do That?

November 25, 2012 Family, Fido No Comments

I woke to the sound of a frantic dog barking yesterday morning. Greg had just returned from taking Lola and Miles to the dog park. He let Miles off the leash first while he wrangled with the harness he had put on Lola. He heard a bit of a scuffle in the backyard, and assumed it was Miles chasing the squirrels off the deck.

He was right. When he came around the corner, this is what he saw:

Our dog is on the neighbor’s garage roof. No big deal.

Apparently he followed the squirrels up there. How? We can only guess… One thing was for sure — getting down would be much more difficult.

When I got outside, prepared to admonish Greg for allowing Lola to bark so incessantly, this is what I saw:

Greg had crawled up there (using a ladder, obviously) and put a harness on Miles. There was a lot of contemplation going on as to how we could get this 73-pound dog off the roof without injuring him or ourselves in the process.

Finally, we decided to move the ladder to the neighbor’s side of the fence. I went over there (in my pajamas and slippers), where I found my sweet neighbor in her pajamas. Greg was able to carefully lower the dog down and I collected him, only getting slightly clobbered by his gangly limbs.

It was quite an adventure for 8 AM on a Saturday! The question now is whether we’ll find him up there again…

Latent Fatigue

October 29, 2012 Family, Fitness, Food, Friends, Fun No Comments

It’s two months post-Ironman. Welcome to the new normal.

Upon arriving home, I was incredibly busy. I was anxious to see friends to relive the event with them while they ooohed and aaahed over my medal and race day anecdotes. I had turned down so many social functions during training that I felt compelled to say yes to everything now that it was over. I also took on a couple of standing babysitting jobs, adding to my busy weeknights.

Medal + Anecdotes + Babies = Happy Molly

During September, I was pretty good about workouts. I was working out ~5 days a week and enjoying it. I was doing things because I wanted to, not because I had to. Bike rides went from 9-hour SufferFests to 1-hour cruises. The weather was still nice and the mornings were still light. I began commuting to/from work on my bike and my coworkers started a TRX regime during lunch, so I was keeping up on my strength workouts as well. But by the end of September, it all caught up with me.

The mornings kept getting darker, and I became more and more disenchanted. I’d set my alarm to work out in the morning and turn it off without getting up 4 mornings out of 5. I spent two gorgeous weekends lazily on the couch because I couldn’t be bothered to do the things I told myself I’d do; I was too tired. Those who know me know that I never even sit down on the weekends, let alone nap on the couch.

I ate copious amounts of carbs. I read 3 books in one month, including Fifty Shades of Grey. (<– I’m not proud of it.) I cut my hair. I flew to Iowa to be a part of my little brother’s wedding, which was an endurance event all on its own.

I am suffering from what I’m calling “latent fatigue.” I’ve basically been running (not literally) on adrenaline and necessity and obligation for the last two months and it’s finally catching up. I want to sleep more, eat more, and move less. I even want to drink less, if you can imagine that. This situation is not doing wonders for my body image, which adds to the general Debbie Downer feeling. Thankfully, I am not a person prone to depression, but I can see where someone who is would really be in trouble.

What I am choosing to do is honor my body and give it what it needs. I’m not beating myself up for choosing to sleep instead of workout. I’m allowing myself small portions of the treats I crave. I say no to a second glass bottle of wine. I am thanking my body for the unwavering service it provided during the last 10 months of Ironman training and recovery.

This, too, shall pass.

 

Sayulita Souvenir

January 22, 2012 Family, Fun No Comments

Let me go back in time for a minute.

In my year-end recap, I mentioned a certain “souvenir” that I picked up on our Sayulita vacation.

Despite there being world-class surfing where I live, I’m not good a good surfer. I’m a fair-weather friend to surfing: I do it on warm weather vacations only. Greg and I decided to use the boards that were available to us through our lodging accommodations and just get out there at the end of our second day there. I wasn’t having the “luck” to just pop up on my board (as I had in Costa Rica a few years ago), so I was a little discouraged. Also, I wanted to get out of the way of the good surfers. So, I paddled my board up a bit, just to stay out of the way.

I tried to catch a wave and gleefully fell into the warm water. I put my feet down and immediately knew I’d hit a sharp rock (or something). Got back on my board. Paddled back out. Same thing happened the next wave. And the next. At one point, I did look at my feet to see they were bleeding. I gotta admit, there was a certain satisfaction in this. That I was somehow “taking one for the sake of fun and adventure.” I also gotta admit, there’s probably something wrong with me…

We got in that evening and my feet HURT. It felt like I had a bunch of splinters in my feet — all along the outer edge of my right foot, and on the ball of my left foot. And basically, that’s exactly what I had.

I speculated that it was sea urchin spines, which Greg promptly scoffed at. All I knew was that it hurt. I said that if it didn’t get better by morning, I was going to the doctor.

Obviously, our first stop after breakfast was the doc. The non-English-speaking assistant at the desk took one look at my foot, said “urchin!” and pointed me into the doc’s office. He looked at my feet and said, “There are so many. This is going to take awhile. And it’s going to hurt.”

Awesome. Greg left to explore the town while my torture ensued.

The doc proceeded to dig them out for about a half an hour, one in my pinky toe requiring a needle of numbing action. Voila! For the equivalent of $58 USD and 30 minutes of my time, I was good as new!!

It hurt. It swelled up a bit. But it was all in the name of Fun, so it was worth it.

Everything was fine after that. It was a bit tender, but nothing I couldn’t deal with. Even after a couple of weeks, though, there was a nagging jab of pain, so I wondered if one of those sea urchin spines had really lodged itself in there…

Fast-forward to December 17. I had flown to Kansas City for Christmas and got my foot out to show my battle wounds to Sarah, only to see that there was a “stowaway!” He was making his way out — just like a huge zit coming to a head.

WARNING: If you don’t like shit like this, stop reading. If you live for this shit (like I do), keep going.

I saw this black dot trying to poke it’s head out of my foot, with a big blob of white underneath it and I knew it would be good. I had to let my sister get it.

SHUT UP. WE’RE A VERY CLOSE FAMILY.

The next day, I gave my sister her best Christmas gift — I let her squeeze at my foot. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves at this point (compliments of our mother):


Yeah. It was one helluva spine that had been lodged in there for more than two weeks. Also of note: the look of pure satisfaction on my sister’s face and my dad’s piqued interest through the extraction. The ties that bind…

I still have some swelling and discoloration along the side of my foot, but I don’t think there are any more spines taking up residence. At least I hope not. There isn’t pain (as there was when the spines were still in there), so I think I’m in the clear.