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Miles is TWO!

November 8, 2013 Fido No Comments

Miles is TWO! 

So far, he hasn’t forgotten his commands and still answers quickly (and correctly) when asked whosagoodboy? I realize it’s all suspect. Now that he’s a teenager, he should start to be more defiant.

But I have hope. Greg can be counted on to dish up a little ice cream after dinner every night and Miles really enjoys sharing that with him. So he’ll put up with our plebian commands to come/sit/stay just for that luxury.

With enough ice cream, he could rule the world. This one has big plans. You wait and see.

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.”

Daily sMiles

October 2, 2013 Fido, Friends 1 Comment

Miles and his brother Tater were reunited after 12+ months of not seeing each other.

Miles on the left

They seemed to remember each other and played as though they had never been separated. So many of the same likes/preferences and mannerisms, so many similar expressions. And they can both fit 2+ tennis balls in their mouths!

Miles in front

You can see that Tater’s hair is longer and he is a bit taller than Miles, though Miles is more “filled out” than Tater.

They are both smart dogs who have responded well to training. They are both very affectionate with humans and other animals, though Tater is more submissive than Miles is. He displayed typical submissive behavior of licking Miles’ mouth and ears and deferring to Miles initiating play.

It’s so hard to believe these ~75 pound dogs were 1/10th of that when we met them:

Miles on the left

Just for fun, here are a few more pictures of them playing. A couple of these include Caryn’s other dog, Rutzie. The way she was playing that day, no one would guess that sweet girl is going to be 11 next month!

Daily sMiles

August 20, 2013 Fido, Fitness 2 Comments

This past weekend was the final training weekend before the Santa Barbara Triathlon. I put together a “mock tri” for myself. Since I’ve been making it up as I go training-wise this year, I figured it might be good to put all three sports together again for the first time since my last race on June 16.

The family unit went over to Coyote Point for an open water swim early on Sunday morning. The skies were still cloudy and the temperature gauge registered 60*F outside. Even the water was warmer than that…

Miles likes to swim, and loves to swim with us. I went out for my swim while Greg stayed on the shore and threw the ball (actually, two balls) for him. I finished my 1 mile swim and then Greg went out for his. Miles was very vigilant, watching the splashing going on and keeping tabs on him at all times. I’d throw the balls and he would fetch them, only to come back to shore and look for Greg again. 

We finished our swims, then I went out for a 17-mile bike ride + 3 mile run. It went pretty well, all in all. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I guess that’s good. :)

We race on Saturday. It’s a 1 mile swim + 34 mile bike + 10 mile run. Between my knee and generally being a poor off-the-bike runner, I’m worried about the run. Regardless of my results, it’s going to be a great weekend with friends, racing in a beautiful location. I’ll be back with the details!

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.

70.3 in 11 Days

April 23, 2013 Fitness 1 Comment

I have my *A Race* in 11 days and I haven’t talked a bit about my training all Spring. You’re welcome and/or I’m sorry. 

So, Wildflower 70.3. Let’s break this down:

The outlook was pretty poor from the start. My knees were the main culprit, creaking all the time and causing pain doing simple things like standing up  from a seated position and descending stairs. Things were really looking bad as I considered running a ridiculously difficult half marathon after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 hilly miles. But my magical chiropractor evaluated me and said that it’s the scar tissue in my calves that is causing the issue. He gave me some homework that I have been good about and things are going much better. I did have a literal run-in with Miles’ 85-pound girlfriend Lola — straight to the side of my left knee — and that has me a bit concerned. I went to yoga over the weekend and it was sore in Warriors 1 and 2, but it was fine on my long run after that. I will keep icing everything and hope for the best on race day.

My swimming is going well. I am in the pool at least twice a week and everything there feels very consistent and good. I have to remind myself to focus on my form (rather than figuring out what I’m going to wear to work, for instance) and that helps my interval times tremendously. Go figure. I expect the swim will be my best event at the race. Update: my goggles and Ironman swim cap were never recovered. Karma’s a bitch, people. Watch out. Miles and I went for an open water swim on Friday to cool off and I went on my first real swim in the Bay yesterday. It wasn’t as fast as I maybe would have liked, but it wasn’t a disaster.

Cycling is what it is. And by that, I mean I don’t care. I’m just not driven this time around. I bike three times a week, two shorter mid-week rides and one long weekend ride. I force myself into incorporating punishment like hills and sprints. I know I will be glad I did when the time comes, but I’m not enjoying the process. I finally got on my tri bike on March 16 — the first time I had ridden it since Ironman on August 26. This expensive bike had collected a lot of dust in the garage in that time. The good news is that getting back on it was a treat. I am actually far more comfortable on this bike than my road bike. The bad news is that not even a fancy bike can make me fast like proper training does.

As for my running, I am 98% hill-centric. I have done the majority of my training on very hilly terrain that largely mimics the Wildflower course: hot, dusty, hilly terrain. I am doing almost no speed work. My average run pace is slow, but very consistent. I’m fine with that; I left this race last year saying I’d never do it again. I realize that everything is relative, and I want the suffer-fest to be relative as well. Slow and steady will win this race for me.

I don’t know what kind of race goals I’ll put together. I want to say something arbitrary like, “Just have fun!”, but who am I kidding? First of all, that’s not a measurable goal. Second, I’m competitive enough that I’m sure I’ll endure a fair amount of discomfort if I see a lot of people in my age group passing me. The best news of all is that I don’t have to train for a full Ironman once this race is over. It will be a blissful summer compared to 2012!

 

 

 

Bullet = Dodged

March 11, 2013 Fido No Comments

We dodged a bullet last week.

I woke up at 5:45 and was surprised to not find Miles wedged in between me and Greg. I found him on the couch, taking up as much space as possible and quite content. I laid down with him to say good morning and he greeted me with kisses. And then he began the unmistakable heaving that precedes vomiting.

I jumped up and said as quietly and convincingly as possible, “Let’s go! Let’s go! Outside! Outside! Outside!” He ran with me to the back yard and began the heaving again. Which produced this:

What, you don’t recognize it? It’s one of those mini tennis balls. It’s just that the felt material is coming off and the entire thing is beginning to disintegrate.

Labradors are notorious for swallowing things that get caught in the stomach or, worse, the intestines. Every vet loves to recount the cautionary tales of socks/underwear having to be  surgically removed. THIS IS A TENNIS BALL!! It clearly wasn’t going through the intestines, so we’re lucky that it came out the other way. The bullet we dodged has to be worth $5K and possibly our dog’s life.

Oh, did I mention that this ball has been bouncing around in his belly since February 16? Yeah, we went over to the beach in Half Moon Bay that day and he found this ball on the beach. Miles was prancing around with this ball + his two regular-size Chuck-It balls in his mouth. He “lost” this one and we figured/assumed/hoped he just discarded it somewhere along the beach because it wasn’t one of his favorites. Nope. He was carrying this tag-along for ~3 weeks before it came up.

I also am very grateful that what he vomited up was not cat poop or  some other vile matter, considering all the kissing that was going on immediately before it came up…

Unrelated: Doesn’t our fake lawn look so real? We love it!

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!

Daily sMiles

August 18, 2012 Fido No Comments

Begging me to give him the cardboard box, he promised he’d make a super cool fort we could play in all day.

 

The Elusive Podium

June 4, 2012 Fitness, Fun No Comments

Maybe The Elusive F-Spot is actually the P-Spot. THE PODIUM. Because I have come close to making it a few times now, yet it always eludes me.

*sigh*

It’s a good problem to have, I guess.  Making it into the top 5 athletes, even at a small(er) event, takes a little effort… So you can imagine that I was thrilled we screwed around long enough after the race to check the results as they were being released. I couldn’t find my name anywhere, until I looked at the Age Group Winners page and saw my name in the #4 slot. Yippeeeeee!!!

I didn’t even know what my final time was, so it was a real shock when it said 2:41. But let me back up…

PRE-RACE
I mentioned in my race goals that we were going to head to the race site and camp. We ended up not doing that. I got myself ready, but Greg couldn’t get himself organized and make it worth it to be down there. We went to bed early with the van packed and a very clear plan of what needed to happen on Sunday morning. The alarm went off at 5:17 and we were on the road by 5:30. I am certain this is a new record for us. We arrived at Uvas Reservoir at 6:40; our races started at 8:07 and 8:15.

We opted to do packet pick-up the morning of the race and that was the right call (rather than wasting more than an hour driving to Sunnyvale on Saturday afternoon). It was a small enough event that it was easy to get parking and do all of the body/equipment marking in enough time. The transition area was first come, first served and we found spots close to each other as we applied Body Glide and sunscreen before putting our wetsuits on.

As we were making our final preparations to head to the swim start, Greg realized that he had FORGOTTEN HIS GOGGLES! So, he hopped on his bike and rode the ~1/2 mile up the road to where the van was parked and made it back in plenty of time… But that’s kind of a panicky moment (especially when you wonder what else you’ve forgotten that you won’t realize until it’s too late).

SWIM
The water was warm (69* F) and calm. It was an in-water start and we swam from one entry point out to a buoy on the far side and then back to the boat ramp on the other side of the land mass. The land mass was the transition area. Let me assist with a visual of this…

The swim was fine. It was green murky water, but that doesn’t bother me and there were no panicky moments. I easily found an open “lane” and just kept swimming. I swim with my Garmin tucked into my swim cap and it works flawlessly. I have the device set to beep at me after 10 minutes so that I have some idea of how things are going. I am not very good at gauging my effort level/time/pace while I’m swimming, so I really become conditioned to hearing that beep to have an idea of how far I’ve gone. When I made it all the way out to the far buoy, I was thinking that I was either swimming like a professional or I had mistakenly hit the Lap button on my Garmin instead of the Start button.

When the beeping still didn’t happen, I knew I wasn’t tracking my data. Which is bad. I’m kind of addicted to the data. I knew I was swimming in a very straight line and sighting the buoys well. If I was going fast at all, this could be a really great swim for me. I had no way of knowing… I did know that I was passing men who had started 3 groups (12 minutes) in front of me, which is always a good sign. As predicted, I stood on the boat ramp and pulled my Garmin out of my swim cap to see it flashing all 00:00:00 at me. Dammit!

Official time: 28:43. Not my best, but not my worst. I must need to work harder in the water. As straight as I was going and not being winded, I’m kinda disappointed that this wasn’t better.

T1
I had a pretty quick transition at 2:09, considering I got to my bike and the athletes (ahem, MEN) who were on either side of me had knocked my helmet and sunglasses off my handlebars and I had to search around for them in the rush. No worries. Transition areas are always tight quarters.

BIKE
It was a nice bike ride with rolling terrain, not much car traffic, and a couple of short but decent climbs. The descents on these climbs were pretty technical and I was glad to not be around other cyclists for either of them. Greg said he saw a rider down (crashed) on one of them, and I saw a guy running who had visibly crashed on his bike.

Even though I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, I kept to my nutrition/hydration plan according to schedule. I drank ~1.5 bottles and ate an almond butter-filled date at 30 minutes and 60 minutes on the bike. I also kept my heart rate within range and didn’t go balls-out, even though there was the opportunity to do so on many of the flats. Even so, my average pace was good and I knew I’d finish ahead of where I thought I would. My average speed was 18.5 mph and I finished in 1:18. Even though I didn’t know my swim time, I knew I had bought myself a little time on finishing the bike early and went into the run with confidence.

T2
Nothing to report here. It was pretty quick in and out — 1:26.

RUN
The bike course went out on the same trajectory as the run course, so I was paying attention to the terrain. There were a couple of rollers near the turnaround, but I knew it would be a cinch compared to Wildflower. I had done calculations in my head to finish under 3 hours with a 9:00 minute/mile pace on the run. Again, working to fulfill my race plan, I set my Garmin to ONLY show me my heart rate and I did not worry about pace/speed/distance until the turnaround. When I got there and clicked over to the other screen, I was pleasantly surprised to see my average pace was 8:16. I wasn’t fatigued! I still had fire in my legs! In all of the races I’ve done, I have NEVER felt like that. Hooray for a plan!

I did pick up my pace on the return 5K, but again kept my Garmin set to my HR only and kept it above lactate threshold without going crazy. A gal that had passed me within 500 yards of starting the run was coming into view and I knew I’d pass her. I got to the 5-mile marker and picked it up a little more. I couldn’t believe I still had a “sprint” in me! I saw Greg with Miles about a half mile out, just as I passed that gal. I finished strong and felt good in 50:29 (8:07 pace), though I still had no idea what my overall time was.

POST-RACE
This race was pretty awesome in that the post-race food included Pizza My Heart along with fruit that was fresh-picked just up the road from the race site. It was really low-key and there were lots of dogs and kids around, everyone enjoying the beautiful weather. We took Miles down to the swim start to play around in the water. He loves swimming and we make it a fun game of racing him to the ball or stick that the other person has thrown. He seems to understand the idea of racing and that’s kinda fun, too…

We decided to pack it up after one last slice of pizza and I said I wanted to stop by the Results table to see how my swim had gone and what my final time was. Again, I was delighted to see that I was #4 in my age group! Unfortunately, the podium only has three spots so I was out of a bottle of wine and some other winner goodies again this time. And when we got home, my position had slipped to #5. I don’t know how or why, but I guess I’m still glad to be in the top 5 (out of 25 participants). It does seem somewhat fishy that the winner in my age group finished a 25-mile ride in 53 minutes (faster than the fastest man and overall winner) and her T2 time was 0:16… But whatever.

Greg came in 6th out of 47 participants with an overall time of 2:23.

We then trekked out to the coast and made a leisurely trip home, stopping at our favorite watering holes for a drink and a snack. It was a great afternoon! At 60 pounds, Miles still believes he’s a lap dog and chooses to nap on my lap. Sweet boy!

And it turns out I was right — racing an Olympic distance event is just so doable. It was a lot of fun and a feeling of accomplishment all at the same time.