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3×5 – summer edition

September 25, 2014 Family, Friends, Fun 1 Comment

It was a summer full of sun and fun and friends and booze and snacks and work and play and everything that is good in the world. If only it would rain here in California, life would be perfect.

I’m a bad blogger in that I don’t update very often and I do not take a picture of every moment/meal/highlight/lowlight of my life. There’s a song on John Mayer’s first album called 3×5 and I often find myself singing that song to myself when I should have/could have/would have taken a picture of something…but just couldn’t be bothered to. It not only helps me not feel guilty about what I could be sharing, but it helps me to become more present in the moment myself.

didn’t have a camera by my side this time
hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
maybe I’ll tell you all about it when I’m
in the mood to lose my way with words

I’m not so much in the mood to lose my way with words, but I’ll give you a glimpse of the fantastic summer we’ve had in the few pics that were captured. People elsewhere look at summer as ending on Labor Day. September is when the weather gets really nice here (admittedly, it has been 75 and sunny every day for months…). More adventures to come!

We spent Memorial Weekend in Tahoe. The highlight of the weekend was hooking up with Sarah and her family. I got to meet baby London for the first time! I also got to ride my first motorized cooler, which was as awesome as both my and Sterling’s expressions indicate. (pardon the quality of these pics, they were obviously impromptu snapshots)

We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary with a pub crawl down B Street in San Mateo. Walking distance from home, THANK GOODNESS.

We spent the long 4th of July weekend in Tahoe and the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Mountain biking, hiking/running, swimming, drinking, and disconnecting from technology. It was fantastic.

A week later, I was off to Dallas for the J.Hilburn Annual Conference.

We completed a Midwest tour that involved a lot of driving, a lot of Tank 7, and seeing a lot of important people. Lake Okoboji was a highlight.

Once again, we spent Labor Day in Tahoe and the Lakes Basin, where I mountain biked 4 out of 5 days. I can honestly say I’m getting better at this sport!

The fifth day of the trip included a hilly 6 mile run with a beautiful reward at the top:

And a reward at the bottom:

A fun summer indeed!



Road Less Traveled

December 2, 2011 Fun No Comments

Greg and I explored the area on bikes yesterday. We followed a shopkeeper’s advice to La Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead) and kept going, just to see where the road would take us.

It took us to an almost-dead-end bit of single track trail.

Which led us to a spectacular, seemingly private, beach.

It was a little bit of work to get there (I had to walk my bike down the single track path and hike it back up), but so worth it. It’s things like this that remind me how grateful I am to have a body that will take me to the places I want to go. I get to enjoy things that some people can’t or won’t, simply because I choose to go a little farther and take a road less traveled.


Peer Pressure (and WWW: January 23)

January 30, 2011 Fear, Fitness No Comments

Ah, peer pressure. When you’re coming of age, it’s something that you are warned about continually:

“If your best friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it?”

“You’ll get busted if you are at a party where a bunch of people are drinking — even if you don’t have a sip.”

“Premarital sex will ensure you a spot in Hell.”

Okay, that last one might be a bit dramatic… But peer pressure as an adult — in a controlled environment — is a much different beast. Dare I say it’s a good thing?? I’ll stop being coy and get to my examples. I have two of them related to this week’s workouts.

First, mountain biking. I’ve talked briefly about my mountain biking exploits before. The fact of the matter is that I’m terrified of it. Mountain biking is like learning a foreign language for me: I have an aptitude for it, but if I don’t use it regularly, I lose my abilities. I haven’t been on a mountain bike in about 18 months, and that trip was less-than-stellar because it had been about 18 months since the previous time.

So, when I planned my trip to El Dorado Hills and CK mentioned we’d be helping “coach” the Junior Trojans mountain biking club, my hackles came up. It’s one thing for me to say among a group of my friends (and husband) who are mountain biking experts, “I’m not very good.” By this point, they all get it and my ego is only slightly bruised because they are all so good and so fearless. But in this case, keeping up with the experts was not what I feared. Riding (and potentially wrecking) CK’s sweet Ibis Mojo was not what I feared.

I didn’t want to be shown-up by a bunch of 8-12 year olds.

It has been a long time since I have been “peers” with this age group (!!), but I took it seriously. Knowing I’d be getting on a trail with these kids on Tuesday, I took my mountain bike out on Sunday afternoon to get used to the feel of it again. When we rode down to the start of practice on Tuesday afternoon, I was nervous. I was trying to play it off like I was cool… but it was clear that these kids were so much cooler than I was.

Case in point: “If your friends ride over a sizable log that’s laying across the trail, would you do it?”

Well, I would if I could. But I knew I couldn’t, and I was panicked. I got lucky on this one because the kid in front of me botched his attempt and I got to walk my bike over it. WHEW! I knew I had been saved by a narrow margin on that one, and I had my game face on. I rode up and down things that were harder than things I had normally ridden over. I got behind these kids and followed their every line, and just went with it. I let my fear of being bested by these kids be the pressure I needed to not wimp out. It worked! Plus, they don’t have a lot of fitness, so I was able to consistently beat them up a climb… but then they’d smoke me on the descent. I burned a lot of “fear calories” in that hour-long workout and Greg has even said he’ll identify some intermediate trails for me to try on my own during the week. Use it or lose it!

The second example of peer pressure was the following day. I joined CK and our tri coach for Masters swim class. I’ve never been to a Masters class, but knew I’d be in a pool with a bunch of good swimmers. I’m not exactly a slouch when I go do my swim workouts, but I also have no one swimming beside me to have any idea how fast or slow I’m going.

We got into the water and Kari put up the day’s workout: warm-up + 15*200 yards + cool down. Yeah… 3000+ yards in 60 minutes. Areyoufuckingkiddingme?

Like I said, I’m no slouch… but the longest swim workout I’ve done on my own in the pool was 2350 yards. And that was during my Half Ironman peak training week. But again, I wouldn’t let the coach — or myself — down. I swam my little heart (and legs, and arms) out! I was exhausted by the time we finished, but it felt great to know I did it!

Moral of the stories: Make peer pressure work for you!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: Tracy Anderson + 10 45-second planks + 12-mile bike ride

Monday: 90 minute yoga + 17-mile bike ride

Tuesday: 60 minute mountain bike ride + 75 minute stretching

Wednesday: 3000+ yards swim + 14.5-mile bike ride

Thursday: Hill repeats on bike + 2 mile run

Friday: 20 minutes sauna + 1650 yards swim

Saturday: 20-mile bike ride (forgot my Garmin -grrrrr!)


Something To Believe In

September 13, 2010 Fear, Fitness, Friends, Fun 1 Comment

Greg has been off mountain biking for the last four days while I’ve been home with Argus. He and his buddies go on an annual trip, usually somewhere epic like Moab, UT. This year, they are staying closer to home and went to Mammoth, CA.

In 2006, the trip was in Whistler, BC and the girls got to go. Woo hoo! It was my first time visiting that area and I was excited to be along for what promised to be a fun trip. While mountain biking has never been my first passion, I knew the trails there would be fantastic and that I would be riding with a couple of girls who had been to “Dirt Camp” and could give me a few pointers without judging my less-than-stellar abilities.

It was slow-going at first as we warmed up to the terrain and each other’s riding styles. I started out riding reasonably tame single track through the forests with three other relative novices while a helicopter dropped the expert group on top of some mountain. In the end, I think we novices had a much better day (as you can see from that section of Pete’s photojournal.) By mid-afternoon on the first day, I was actually starting to feel more comfortable on my bike and I surprised myself by taking more risks – going faster, riding over short ladders without bailing out, and getting some air (approximately 2 inches, probably) when navigating a drop. It helped that I wasn’t intimidated by my fellow riders, as is often the case when I am when I ride with Greg. We were all in the same boat, working on our individual skills and cheering each other on along the way. I was really enjoying myself!

Even four years later as I write this, I can picture where I was standing at the top of a long ladder with a sharp turn at the bottom. This one, to be exact:

Now, I know this isn’t difficult to someone who is a mountain biking veteran. It even looks tame as I look down (or up, as the case may be) it now. But perspective is everything.

“V” flew down it with no trouble at all (he probably could have done the expert ride that day). “A” came down next and she made it look easy. “J” had a few false starts at the top, but she eventually made it without incident.

And then it was my turn.

I stood up at the top of that ladder for two hours. It was probably more like fifteen minutes, but it felt like an eternity and my fears were piling up. I was nearly paralyzed thinking about all the things that could and probably would go wrong. Meanwhile, my friends were encouraging me that I could do it. “Just look ahead!” “You’ve got this!” “Don’t look down!” “This isn’t the hardest thing you’ve done today!”

As my mind continued to wander to far-off places like hospitals and assisted living centers for the young, I began to feel even worse about the situation. Here we were in a beautiful setting, among friends, getting great exercise. WAIT! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE EXERCISE! And I had stopped the whole show over my silly fears of crashing, hurting myself, and looking like a fool.

Even though I hadn’t moved in probably 30 minutes by then (including the time it took the others to go down and my panic attack), my heart was racing. I was sweating. It sure felt like exercise.  Aha! I’ve found the silver lining! With this in mind, I hollered down to my friends,

“How many calories does fear burn?”

And with that, I had created a filter through which I could measure the hard decisions in my life.  Because what is more important than burning calories, even if they’re metaphorical?

I eventually made it down that ladder and didn’t crash. Even if I had, it would have been worth it. TRYING made it worth it. I even did a bunch of other, even scarier stunts over the course of that weekend. Like thisthis, and even this (but nothing like this). And, while I have not been mountain biking on any trails that resemble these, I know I’m good enough to do it if I really want to.

Most people don’t like being afraid. Or they like being afraid of things that aren’t real – like scary movies and haunted houses at Halloween. This idea that I’m burning calories when I do scary things gives me one more reason to go for it. That, and finding out time and again that what’s on the other side of the scary thing is so much bigger than the fear itself and better than where I was.

It’s kinda fun (in a masochistic way, of course) to apply this idea into all aspects of my life, not just physical things like mountain biking and triathlon. You know, life-changing things like moving cross-country or deciding to get up every day and be positive even though your body is broken into a million pieces from a bike wreck. Or hey, what about getting married? There’s a big one that people do every day and don’t realize how scary it is.

Wait… Marriage? Scary?

How many of you said “forever” in your vows? Start counting!


Dog Days of Summer

July 27, 2009 Fido, Fitness, Friends No Comments

We just got back from a weekend at the Utica Reservoir, our annual camping trip with Jeff Barker & Gang. It’s generally the first weekend in August, but this year it had to be moved up a week because of family obligations. It was at this trip last year that we became concerned about Argus’ guarding problem and decided to do something about it. We hired a personal trainer, Matt Hibbard, to help us. We knew that this year’s trip to Utica would be a good test.

I was looking forward to the trip for several reasons. I got to take Friday off of work, I wanted to get in a long open water swim for triathlon training, I enjoy the peace and quiet that our granite island provides, and it’s always a good chance for me and G to reconnect.

Greg made the kayaking part of the trip more enjoyable this year by buying two inflatable kayaks. These are not some flimsy plastic things. Everything goes right on top and there isn’t a bunch of stuffing and hiding and otherwise piece-mealing everything into nooks and crannies. Plus, Argus is very stable in the back of one.

It was a small crowd this year — Jeff and Caryn, Ron and Jen, Rob, and us. Jeff and Caryn brought their respective dogs, Buddy and Rutzie. Jen and Ron also have a mutt named Sponge. It was clear from the start that Argus was going to have to let Sponge know he is boss. Luckily, he didn’t have a problem with Buddy and Rutzie this year (note – he has had issues with them in the past and has apparently gotten over it).

We got camp set up and joined the group around the campfire. Sponge came over to say hello to me, which had Argus on high alert. I was kind of instigating this behavior, knowing that we had the shock collar on Argus and it would be a goodopportunity to “teach him a lesson.” Well, things happened a little too quickly. Argus made his aggressive lunge toward Sponge and Iinstinctively put my leg out to create a barrier. My placement was a little high and my leg ended up in Argus’ mouth. CHOMP! Lots of adults screaming, dogs barking, and spilled wine. I came away with two deep puncture wounds and some scratches. I even had pants on!

Argus was forced to wear his muzzle, I medicated with wine, and the crowd recovered. Nothing like a little drama to shake up a peaceful evening in the mountains…

Saturday included a mountain bike ride that all of us participated in. It’s rare to get three women who mountain bike — and Caryn and Jen are much better at it than I am! I had intended to take the day off from working out, knowing that I was going to do a triathlon training course on Sunday. With everyone going, I opted to tag along. The trails were much harder than I had anticipated and it was a lot of hike-a-bike. I was pretty frustrated by the end, though trying not to let it show too much. Greg was very accommodating of me and held back with me for the most part. While this is very sweet, it makes me feel bad for him. Again, trying not to “scar” him from riding with me, I opted to keep my mouth shut.

I was happy to get back to camp, where we played in the water awhile and enjoyed happy hour. We then fixed our dinners (ours was veggie jambalaya from TJ’s, supplemented with cooked shrimp) and packed a cooler to watch the sunset atop the mountain. We retired by the campfire for more beverages and story telling. By this time, Argus and Sponge had made friends and there was no more drama to fear. Such a different story than what we experienced last year!

Sunday, I got up early for my biathlon workout. I swam ~40 minutes, which I hope equaled a little over a mile in distance. After yesterday’s difficult biking excursion, I opted to skip the bike leg today. I quickly changed my clothes at the car and went for a 6 mile run. This was a very hard run!! It was hilly and at altitude. I was TIRED by the time I got back to the car. After paddling across the reservoir back to camp, I sunbathed and read my book while waiting for Greg to return from his bike ride.

We packed it up for the day around 3:30 and headed home. Greg and I remarked that it was a much better experience with Argus this time, and the professional training really seemed to help. Last year, he would not listen to our commands and never backed down from any of the other dogs (including old Buddy). This year, he listened to and obeyed commands and was able to “make friends” with Sponge. In short, he wasn’t a complete pain in the ass. We realize that there will always be some hot-button situations for him, but we know how to better handle them and be prepared.

My leg is sore and quite possibly infected. I think it would have been fine if we had gotten it properly cleaned up right after it happened, and were able to keep it clean. All the dirt, granite dust, and lake water probably did not help my situation… I’ll keep an eye on it for the next couple of days and go to the doctor if it doesn’t start to heal. You can look at our pictures here.