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Lately (6 months of it)

Do you guys realize it’s May? Sorry I dropped off the earth for the first almost-half of the year. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Not Training for Anything! 
This is probably the most exciting thing I have going on: I’m NOT racing Wildflower this weekend! The crew that usually attends/races is not doing it this year and we were not gung-ho to go ourselves because the drought California is enduring has forced the race organizers to change the event. The water capacity is at a mere 5% of normal. While I do not miss the sufferfest, I definitely miss these people!

WILDFLOWER 2010

(PSA: look at your water consumption and cut back where possible! We put in a fake lawn several years ago, installed an on-demand water heater last year, saving greywater for plants, switched to a low-flow shower head, and installed a pee/poo flusher option on the toilet).

I don’t have any races on the calendar, though I *may* do Bay to Breakers for fun with friends next weekend. Greg might do Vineman Monte Rio, if there’s enough water in the Russian River… I just can’t be bothered to swim/bike/run all at once right now. I haven’t swum since the Santa Barbara Tri!

Still Staying Active
While I am not following a specific training plan, I’m not loafing either. My goal this year is different: look good and feel confident in a bathing suit/naked. You can shake your head all your want; I don’t care how trivial it sounds to anyone else. Body image is something I struggle with and I decided to make it a goal for myself. This goal requires an an entirely different approach to diet and exercise than training for endurance events. Most of my workouts are 30 minutes or less and involve high intensity intervals. My diet includes minimal carbs and much smaller portions than when I was training 20 hours per week. I have not given up wine, obviously.

I also find reasons to walk/run more places. I got the new Garmin Vivofit activity tracker and it is a great excuse to take a walk around the block after a couple of hours of computer work and walk downtown to pick up those last minute groceries. I find myself purposely pulling into the parking spot farthest away and incorporating walks into my social time with friends.

Daily sMiles
Now that I’m not training and/or exhausted all the time, I spend a lot of quality active time with Miles. We run/hike/swim at Water Dog Park in Belmont a couple of times a week, which is fantastic except for the poison oak he gets into. Greg and I are both very allergic and itchy spots pop up on us all the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tahoe

It was far from an epic winter in Tahoe, but we turned the few times there into fun times. We celebrated Keith’s 50th birthday in March and I learned time and again that working from The Van is very productive.

 

 

Girlfriend Getaways
My local girlfriends did our annual getaway to Murphys this year. We drank a bunch of wine, met new friends, excelled at Cards Against Humanity, and had a wonderful weekend in the Sierra Foothills.

My family and I successfully completed the 9th Annual Sisters Trip in March, this time with a beautifully-appointed rental home in Aptos. More laughter, drinking, walks on the beach, and life-changing conversations. I’m so glad we set aside the time and money for this trip each year.

Which one is not like the others?

We have some fun stuff planned as summer nears. I won’t let six months go by without posting again!

Best Weekend EVER

November 7, 2013 Fun No Comments

10 years ago today, I flew from Kansas City to San Francisco and spent a weekend with someone I only knew through a friend and a month of email exchanges.

That was the first of many weekends that changed my life.

Nice to meet you, Greg. I think this is the start of something good.

Mandatory Happy Hour

October 4, 2013 Fido, Fun No Comments

Greg sent an IM to me this afternoon, saying he would be attending a mandatory happy hour at work at 4 PM. I quipped that “mandatory happy” is an oxymoron. He agreed, adding that he would die in traffic on the way home.

“It has been nice knowing you. Thanks for The Van. Miles and I will think of you fondly while we live in it, down by the river.”

All Miles heard was “mandatory happy hour.”

Summer Fun!

August 5, 2013 Fashion, Fitness, Friends, Fun 1 Comment

Long time, no talk. It would take me ages to go into detail about all the stuff I’ve been doing, so I’ll be brief and show you a bunch of pictures. Then we’ll be caught up and hopefully I can get back to more regular posts.

After Vineman Monte Rio, I traveled to Milwaukee for work. That’s right: back to the scene of Rashconsin. Luckily, I did not contract syphilis or anything like it this year. Also, I have to tell you how enjoyable it was to get in a morning run each day without the pressure of Ironman hanging over my head!

I’ll say it again, if you haven’t been to Milwaukee, it is worth going there. The city is beautiful, the people are nice, and there is more to do there than I would have ever thought.

On June 16, Greg and I competed in the Reservoir Triathlon. They changed the date on this year, but it’s the same Olympic distance event we did in June last year. We went to the race site on Saturday evening to run the dog around before settling into The Van for the evening.

I signed up on race morning and didn’t really know what to expect out of my legs. I also tried to tell myself not to expect too much out of them… Having done this race last year (4th place finish, remember?), at least I knew what to expect of the course.

Below is a picture of the swim course on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, the entire thing was shrouded in fog. In fact, all the athletes had made our way down to the water’s edge for the race start and they delayed us by 15 minutes to give the fog more time to burn off. The race announcers kept saying, “Just swim out, following the people on paddleboards. You’ll eventually see a big buoy.”

I generally swim pretty straight and knew where I was going from last year, so this vague instruction didn’t cause me much anxiety. By the time I turned the buoy, the fog had burned off and it was a gorgeous day to race. I certainly felt my legs on the bike and wondered what I’d have left for the run. It turns out that doing Olympic distance events two weeks apart with one week of standing on a concrete floor working a trade show will actually cause fatigue. Lesson learned.

The run was a 2-loop out-and-back this year. You know how much I hate two loops. I saw Greg as I headed out on my first lap, he was about two miles out from the finish. He looked like he was suffering a bit, but still strong. It was a mental test to run past the finish line and head back out for my second loop…

Here are my splits:

Swim – 29:14
T1 – 2:12
Bike – 1:23:41
T2 – 1:23
Run – 0:53:54
TOTAL – 2:50:24

Good enough for — you guessed it — 4th place! My time from 2012 would have netted me 2nd place, but I certainly did not have that effort in me that day. This race is great because they bring in Pizza My Heart and craft beer for the after party. We took the coast route home, enjoying sunshine and beaches all afternoon.

June continued to be very busy, with a J.Hilburn conference in Las Vegas the following weekend. I learned so much and met some amazing people, which is really helping me build my business. Seeing other people be successful is a very good motivator! This conference was held at The Cosmopolitan. I am not a Vegas person, and this hotel is configured in such a way that I never had to walk through a smoke-filled casino to get to my room, the restaurants and bars, and the conference hall. For me, that’s about the only kind of win I’ll see in that city.

The Chandelier Bar is stunning

We hosted the Martz family for 4th of July, then headed to Tahoe to spend the weekend mountain biking and exploring hidden Alpine lakes. The Martz boys are 10 and 6 years old and had fun “surfing” in the lagoon.

Mountain biking is not usually my strong suit, but Jennifer talked us into a route that would be challenging enough for Greg and fun enough for her and me. She was right! The best part was that we parked at a trailhead by a lake and had the whole place to ourselves for booze & snacks after the ride.

The key to being happy was choosing to ride with platform pedals and regular shoes instead of clip-in pedals/shoes. I was able to put my foot down easily and often without the stress of being able to get it unclipped. This ride was 10 miles of challenging fun for me!

We began training again in July, this time for the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 24. We haven’t done this race in four years and it will be good to go after it again. It’s a 1 mile swim, 34 mile ride, and 10 mile run. In addition to the regular training, I have been doing long runs every week for a month now, hoping that 10 miles is what “a normal run” feels like on race day. I’m not holding my breath on that one, but it does feel good to go that distance week after week.

Oh, and just because the picture is too adorable, here are the little ones I take care of splashing around in the sprinkler a couple of weeks ago. Summer fun!

Okay, we’re all caught up! I need to do a Van-centric post with all the updates Greg has made. I promise I’ll get to that. And even when I can’t do a full post, I’ll at least put up some pictures so you don’t forget about me. Hope your summer is going well!

Vineman Monte Rio

Greg and I raced the inaugural Vineman Monte Rio olympic distance triathlon on June 2. We had visited the Russian River area of Sonoma County a couple of weeks prior to that and rode part of the bike and run courses, just to see what it was like. The roads were flat, newly paved, and shady. Sign me up!

The nice thing about competing in a difficult half Ironman race so early in the season is that then you’re basically ready for anything after that. In fact, we’re racing again this weekend! The olympic distance is so fun and relatively painless after the Wildflower Long Course.

Vineman Monte Rio makes the sixth multi-sport event these race organizers host each summer. Since this was the first running of the event, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect, but these folks know what they’re doing and it went very smoothly.

Packet pickup was quick and painless. There were just a handful of sponsors since it’s the first year of the event, so we were in and out of there quickly. Monte Rio is a small community with limited parking, so they were encouraging participants to park three miles away at the rodeo grounds and take shuttle buses in on race morning. This meant leaving bikes in the transition area overnight. Greg and I were staying at a campground adjacent to the rodeo grounds, so we chose to just ride our bikes the ~3 miles in. This worked very well for us.

RACE MORNING
The Van really does make things easy on race morning, the MVP being the in-house toilet. This was a low-pressure race for both of us, so I was able to take care of breakfast, getting dressed, and all necessary “business” before Greg was back from trotting Miles around the campground. I had built in the necessary time that would allow us to run behind schedule (as is always the case) and arrived at the race site with plenty of time to spare.

SWIM — 30:37 (2:03/100)
The water was warm (~72*F) compared to the outside temperature (~60*F), so it felt good getting in. I made the mistake of not being in the front of my age group and started behind 3-4 rows of women bobbing around in the river. It took several minutes to finally swim around everyone and get in a groove. While I am not swimming as strongly as I was last year, I start fast and finding “clean water” makes a big difference in getting into a rhythm.

The water was shallow and a lot of people were standing up to walk, especially in one section on the way back in. For anyone with open water anxiety, the Vineman races are very good for this reason. I was able to swim through it all, which was great. I’m much faster while swimming than while walking in knee-deep water. I assumed I’d end up somewhere around 30 minutes and was really pushing myself at the end. Just as I stood up in the water, my Garmin beeped at me that it had been 30 minutes (I keep it in my swim cap in a Ziploc bag and have it set to beep every 10 minutes, just to give me an idea of how I’m doing). I was disappointed that I couldn’t break the self-inflicted time barrier, but also feel better knowing that the race directors said the course ran ~150 meters long. At my 2:03/100m pace, I would have finished sub-30 if the course had been accurate.

I swam into three other age groups in my mile-long trip up and down the river and had no idea where I was in my own age group. There were no other orange caps around me at the time I exited the water and felt pretty good about things.

T1 — 4:18
I say this all the time – I am not fast in transition. This course made it difficult for everyone because of the long distance from the water’s edge up to the transition area and because that run was on small pebbles. We were all hobbling down to the race start, lamenting our transition times before it even began. Some people left their flip flops at the water’s edge and found theirs in a sea of other flip flops for the trip back up…but most gutted it out.

BIKE — 1:16:10 (19.5 mph)
This was a fantastic bike ride! Greg and I rode a section of the course a couple of weeks ago and then drove another section of it Saturday on our way to the campsite. The main road out to the coast was recently repaved and was pristine – perfect for racing! The course took us on a bit of a detour on a less-traveled road that had a little bit of elevation gain and was in poor condition. Other than that 7 mile section, this bike course was a dream.

I saw Greg just before I made the turn onto Highway 1 into Jenner; he was on his way back in. I had a race plan to eat my Larabar at the turnaround. I got it out of my bento box and promptly dropped it as I tried to open it. Now I know why people over-pack for short events… I tend to not eat very much while training/racing anyway, so I wasn’t totally concerned, but I knew I didn’t have much in my race belt for the run and I’d have to take advantage of the aid stations on the run.

This bike ride ends up being a PR for me in an olympic distance race. I passed 7 people in my age group on the course and was passed by one woman who was flying.

T2 — 2:27
I was in the run transition area with another woman from my age group. She was chatting with her husband, saying that this run was going to take her a long time. Of course, “a long time” is all relative to how fast someone’s normal running pace is, but I did feel a bit confident coming off a great bike ride and feeling good for the run.

Spoiler: that woman got the 3rd place podium spot.

RUN — 52:19 (8:27/mile)
I think I’ve mentioned that my running training has focused on hills and consistency rather than speed this year. That was all due to the sufferfest that the Wildflower run is. I signed up for this race kind of on a whim, just because it is a beautiful venue, the distance is [relatively] easy, and it would be a fun weekend getaway.

I hit the 1 mile marker and was delighted to see my pace at 8:17. That is fast for me! And yet, everything felt good. I kept on with it, not paying attention to my pace, only with feeling good while running. The run course is absolutely flat and 99% shaded. The only sun is between mile 3.0 and 3.1 at the turnaround. It was blissful!

I saw Greg at my Mile 2 and he looked good heading into his last two miles. I was chatting with people and otherwise feeling good about life. I had a half package of Clif Shot Bloks as I started the run and decided to take a gel from the aid station at Mile 4. I don’t usually use these for training because they upset my stomach, but I knew I needed an extra shot of energy because I’d lost my food on the bike. Despite everyone saying it’s “just like frosting,” I don’t often eat frosting (!!) and it was hard to suck it down. It did seem to work as prescribed and did not give me any stomach distress, so that was a win and I plan to employ that this weekend as well.

I felt good all through the run. I didn’t explode. I never had the desire to walk. No stomach/bathroom issues. I was passing a lot of people and not being passed by anyone in my age group, so that led me to speculate on where I was in the field. I rounded the last corner across the bridge and saw Greg cheering for me. I turned into the finish area, which included winding around the transition area and up a steep hill to the finish line. This bit of terrain led me to ask aloud,  ”Who puts a fucking hill at the finish line?!” and several spectators laughed.

I was so proud of my finish! I thought it was a PR for me, but it turns out the olympic distance I did last year (the one I am doing tomorrow, in fact!!) was a 2:41:32. I did better in the swim, run, and transitions at that race last year, causing a little bit of anxiety this afternoon…

FINISH — 2:45:51
Greg and I hung around for 30 minutes or so, waiting for them to post the final results. The post-race food was pancakes and sausage, so I made-do with drinking half a Dr. Pepper and waiting to eat until we got back to The Van. As proud as I am of my finish, I was totally bummed to get fourth place in my age group AGAIN. I think this is the fourth time I’ve missed the podium by one spot! Even so, it was a fun morning and I was glad to be part of the inaugural running of the race.

POST-RACE
We rode back to our campsite to rescue Miles and spend a couple of hours river-side before taking a leisurely trip down the coast. This delicious concoction includes Stoli Chocolate Coconut Vodka, chocolate almond milk, and coconut milk. The latter two items are known for their recovery properties, so I feel like it’s all good…

And almost nothing is better than watching our sweet boy fetch his ball up and down the river.

We’re headed to Morgan Hill this evening to camp somewhere (hopefully) and race the Reservoir Triathlon tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend!

Pics from Wildflower

I want to share a few Wildflower photos that were taken by friends of ours. First, an early morning shot of all the athletes racing:

The three guys on the left (Joe, Martz, and Kidder’s 14-YO son Kyle) were smart to do the Mountain Bike race. Their race didn’t start for two hours after this photo was taken and their smiles were just as big an hour after that. I’m totally doing that race next year!

Here’s a family shot from after the race. I was happy to be standing at this point. Greg finished about an hour before me and was feeling pretty good. Miles wondered when we were going back to the lake.

Our camping setup is pretty sweet, what with The Van and all. We arrived at our usual spot near Mile 12 and started nesting. Greg rolled out the new awning and carpet and we were ready to welcome visitors.

When the Martzes arrived, their older son Colin took great interest in the van. He has been researching an RV for himself, you see. He’s 10. The one he wants will arrive at his door in Santa Barbara for a mere $130,000. It was so fun to take him through our van and show him how everything works and why we did things a certain way. Apparently he took it to heart.

Two weeks after the race, we got a postcard in the mail, as shown below. It was from the Martzes. Colin had recreated all of Wildflower with Legos, including our van. Nancy took a picture and sent it to us, which will be a memento we keep forever. I love it so much!

As you can see, he built the van setup flawlessly, right down to the awning, bikes mounted to the back, and the sunroof. It even has the hitch on the back bumper! I love that he included me, Greg, and Miles. My favorite part? Greg is holding a bone for the dog and I am holding a bottle of wine. Ha!!

As we get ready to race again this weekend (Vineman Monte Rio), it is fun to look back on Wildflower through these photos. The beauty of Vineman is that it’s an Olympic distance race and we’ll both be done racing by 10:15 AM. Even with temps at 90*, we can enjoy the day on the river.

She’s Had Some Work Done

April 20, 2013 Fun No Comments

If you read my blog from a reader, you’re going to want to click over to the site to see the work I’ve had done. It’s worth it!

(P.S. Click on some ads while you’re there, would ya??)

I enlisted the help of my friend and Beaducation coworker Mindy Proscia to update the look and feel of the blog. I launched this site back in 2010 and it was long overdue for a change. Mindy is an extremely talented photographer and designer  that was able to capture the style of my writing, the topics I cover, and my personality with the new site. I love it!

You may see a few things that are new and that seem out of place. Wait for it…!

What do you think?

 

Hopeless Romantic

April 2, 2013 Fun No Comments

I don’t know who Alyssa is,

but I really want to believe that the question implied by this sign

was the teaser into a question that girls dream about.

Miles and I ran with a friend at Water Dog Park today and we came across these signs littering one of the upper trails. I glanced at them as I ran by… the “I’ve got a question” one first, and then the “Hey Alyssa” one. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I want to believe that someone was waiting for Alyssa at the end of the trail with a marriage proposal.

And not something like, “Can you gimme a ride home?”

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.