Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays

Hope you had a good holiday break!

Today I learned how hard running on ice is. I'm in Minnesota visiting my dad and fam and insisted that I wanted to run outside so I could have "oh yeah, well it was all snowy and icy and I went running!" bragging rights.

Running on ice is HARD.

We ran for like 40 minutes and I bet we only went like two miles. I was reduced to shuffling like an old lady so I wouldn't slip, and even then I still fell on my ass.

So we sat in the hot tub tonight.

I get to come home to regular weather and running tomorrow, so I'm pretty excited.

Have a good New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some day I will learn...maybe

I'm leaving my house at noon tomorrow to get on a plane to the North Pole (Minnesota) and still need to do laundry. As soon as I finish this very important blogging-about-nothing-while-listening-to-Harry-Potter-in-the-background business I will get right on it. Never mind that it is midnight. It won't wake anyone up (and besides, one of the roommies is currently passed out on the couch with the TV on). Yeah. I procrastinate.

On Saturday I went for a run after work. I was all excited to run which is like snow in Morocco. It just doesn't happen. So I loaded up my iPod with some new (terribly terrible but I still like it) music and headed out to do a little streetlight-assisted out and back from my house. I ran in the dirt because it was easier on my feet. I managed not to break my ankle on the uneven stuff. Very near my house, I was running on the smooth, neatly groomed tan bark next to the paved path and was suddenly on my face in the mud. WTF!?!?! Who did that?!!? I jumped up, checked that no cars were in the immediate vicinity, and found a loop of black sprinkler line sticking out of the ground. Tricky fuckers! I wiped the mud of my clothes and iPod and finished the run. Now I have a bruise on my ankle from the makeshift tripwire. Someone totally did that on purpose.

I was supposed to ride up Mt. Diablo yesterday but it rained so I drank tequila at lunch instead. I think that's a fair trade.

It's going to be really really cold in Minnesota.

Really really.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lopsided and Backwards

My computer is alive again!!!!! Hooray!!!!

It died about a week ago when I shifted it on my lap to answer a phone call at work the ended abruptly when the guy called me stupid and hung up on me. It's all his fault.

So I channeled the powers of the mighty Blackberry and had my emails sent to my phone. It worked out ok since people seem more than happy to resend files that are trapped in your computer if you tell them the computer ate the original. Everyone loves to hate on the computers. And I didn't really want to work on the 12,000 line Excel file I had going when it crashed, so really I just had a very handy excuse.

And I have Facebook on my phone which might be a little obsessive but Elliott constantly has his on his computer and he doesn't even have his own account so I think I'm ok. And it made me not feel like a hermit, so it's all good.

Today my ex bf set up a Facebook account and tried to add me as a friend. I hit "ignore". I feel a little bad because I am actually friends with him, but things are still a little sticky between us and I didn't want him to know all my stuff and see this blog and stuff so I think I made the right choice. It just felt weird to think of my Facebook page as being personal space, you know? (And yes, I am well aware that it is FAR from personal, which is why I keep the pictures of me stealing kittens from old people off my Facebook page. Or something.)

Also today I went to a PT-ish appointment where I think we figured out what's wrong with my leg (and by we I mean "he" because I pretty much just stood there). Basically I'm lopsided and my right side is doing way more work than the left and is noticeably bigger and is getting over use injuries. Because of my stupid lazy left side.

So I got a massage and foam rollered and he's making me a program of stretches and exercises to release the right side and strengthen the left side so I can be a normal girl and ride my bike without it hurting and not wear compression tights to bed all the time. And today my leg didn't hurt at the end of the day, which I think is progress, people.

I forgot to eat lunch today too. I had a yogurt in the morning (a Light one even) followed by a cookie (carb-loading), two tiny pieces of peppermint bark at work, a teeny handful of nuts at like 5:30, and dinner when I got home. This is very disturbing behavior. I'm well-known for eating 1500 calorie burritos with chips and guac literally every day. And being very grouchy and non-functional if I have to wait too long for my food. I might be dying.

When I got home from work I had a conversation with the annoying roommate. About relationships. And it wasn't even annoying. Plus he fixed my computer. Then the non-annoying roommate came home and proceeded to be incredibly annoying talking about his Nazi tri team. I found myself wishing for something sharp to stick in my eye so I could change the subject. And I started texting people to tell them how annoying he was being. Ugh.

My roommates are backwards. And I'm lopsided. WTF.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Climby Climb

Today we rode Mt. Hamilton again as a substitute for our usual Sunday ride. I think I beat my last climb time by like 45 minutes (think because I don't know exactly, but it was between 30 and 45 minutes faster. It was pretty sweet. I took off with one of our usuals, Casey. Elliott caught us pretty quickly, and Casey took off with him. I rode alone from mile 2-ish to the top. It was fine, I get along pretty well with me. I sang songs in my head. Sometimes out loud. Someone told me about seeing a mountain lion the other day, so I freaked myself out a little that one was following me. And the other day I had a dream that I was being hunted by coyotes. My boyfriend from high school was there too in his pjs. I threw a coffee mug at one of the coyotes and tried to walk briskly (so as not to elicit a chase) away, but there were more and they had us circled. It would suck. Didn't do much for my not-freaking-myself-out strategy to think about that. So I went back to the singing.

When we got to the top we went inside the observatory and the lady that works there gave us a tour of the big telescope. It was really big (57 feet I think she said). The floor lifts up so that people can get to the eyepiece. It was sweet. Mr. Lick (that the place is named after) is buried under the floor. We saw a bunch of space pictures and old construction pictures and stuff. Definitely the most interesting mid-ride break I have had lately.

I brought a dollar and got Skittles. They were kind of hard, but still delicious. I was going to get something more "healthy" like trail mix or something, but the Skittles won the mental debate. They were Tropical. I shared them while we were sitting on a heater inside the observatory.

On the way down I got passed by a silver BMW convertable that had been at the top. But I caught him again when the road went from crappy and slow to moderately crappy and swoopy. The two baby climbs on the way down hurt more than they should have. I ate the rest of the Skittles in the car while I talked about people doing a Deca-Ironman (IM distance x 10) with Elliott. He thinks it's stupid. I have no desire to do one, but I think I would want to crew for someone. You'd see some messed up stuff, and I'm weird like that.

When I got home I made food and my stupid roommate and his stupid kid came home. They are excessively loud. Yesterday when I got home the kid started whining about wanting to watch Harry Potter on tv and there was nothing on that I wanted to watch so I let him have the tv in the living room while I holed up in my room. Today I was finishing my food and watching CSI when they got home and the little shit came over and tried guilting me into giving him the tv. I said no, and that he should probably go in the other room because the show is too scary for him (he's 5). He gave up the guilt trip and straight up told me to go in my room. I told him to go in his. That kid sucks. I'm staying on the couch out of spite. Ha! He should go play outside anyway.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Things and Stuff

Someone just offered to loan me their 'Toughen the Fuck Up' bracelet. Some people are such givers!

There's not really anything exciting going on lately. On Monday I "officially" started training for Ironman. So really I have ridden my bike a couple times and gone running some. It's quite cold so swimming probably isn't that smart, even though I kind of want to.

I told my friend about a stalk-ish incident I had a couple weeks ago and she made me promise never to be in a room alone with said stalk-ish-er.

My leg is pretending to be better every once in a while, so I'm beginning to think amputation MIGHT not be necessary. I'm finding that electrocution helps, courtesy of my customer that likes to give me stuff like a Powertap and an e-stim dealy. And he wants to pay me to play with his kids, which I do for free already.

On Sunday we are riding Mt. Hamilton again, and I will bring dollar bills for the vending machine at the top. Hopefully the snacks in it aren't all old and gross.

My dad requested a Christmas list from me so I made him a Powerpoint slide show. I'm told it is quite funny, which is what I was going for. So that's good.

I ordered some picture books from Snapfish for Christmas presents for people who might want to see pictures of me. I paid for four. A few days later I got a package and was all excited and opened it to find someone else's book (singular) full of pictures of a baby. They live in Virginia. I emailed Snapfish and got a response a couple days later that I should wait longer as my order was in the mail. Only they were full of crap, so I called them at work the other day and sat on hold listening to an HP recording for like twenty minutes until an Indian lady that barely spoke English got on the line and I explained to her like three times what happened so she said she would resubmit my order and 2-Day Air my books to me. Hopefully it works.

But really, nothing exciting has been going on.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stuff and things

I just read Katy's race-day report (not race report) and am kind of inspired. I don't feel like I have ever gutted it out as much as she did. She rocks. I wanna rock.

On Thanksgiving I rode up Mount Hamilton with Vanessa. There was talk of doing the ride as part of our Sunday shop rides and that was stressing me out a little because I felt like I would have to go fast and hurt and stuff. When Vanessa told me she was going up with a bunch of the VeloGirls, I hopped right on that train and showed up. V and I ended up getting split up from the rest of the girls when they went to find the bathroom, so we ended up riding alone. It was quite nice to catch up on the girly talk. For a little while, we rode with Brook Miller, the current women's road race and crit (I think) National Champion and her boyfriend. She has ludicrisly large quads. But not just uniformly big quads - she has nice toned cyclist legs - with datschund- sized muscles stuck on top of the other muscles. It was quite impressive. And they were quite nice. But anywho, we climbed the 19-ish miles up to the Lick Observatory through the fog and past all the squished salamanders and met up with the rest of the girls when they got to the top. The climb wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the descent was pretty fun once we got past the first few crappy/sketchy miles. It was a good way to spend the morning.

For dinner I went to Alicia's parents' house. Tons of fun. I drank most of a bottle of wine to myself and ate so much that it hurt.

This morning I rode again with a customer (who is a flight nurse and invited me to go on a fly-along...awesome!) and my butt hurts. Which means I have been riding a lot. Which is good.

Apparently I start some version of my ironman training on Monday. So much better than doing nothing!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Congrats Katy!!!!!!

I'm SO proud of my friend and blog-follower Katy for finishing Ironman Arizona in 12:15 today! Can't wait to read your race report.

In other news, I ran the Santa Cruz Turkey Trot 10k yesterday and my legs hate me for it. Guess one should run more frequently than once a month. But I got to run with my very good friend Alicia and we chatted the whole time, so it was good times. Some random dude running back and forth on the path the race was using said hi to me three times. He was not part of the turkey-trotters. It was a little weird.

Today I went for a bike ride with my other blog-follower, Todd. It was nice to not ride the same roads as always, and to have a little different company. Plus he rode off the road (almost twice) while talking to me so I got to laugh at him. Apparently I forgot how to use clipless pedals, so I got to look like a newbie the whole time. Suh-weet.

Tomorrow I plan to swim (gasp!) in the morning. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bike Weekend

I have no more races for a little while so I'm not really sure what to post about.

This weekend I went to two cross races and rode my bike once, which brings my bike-riding total to twice in the last three weeks, which is not overly ambitious. We did ride 50 miles and I had that too-tired-to-focus-my-eyes thing going on while eating my post-ride bagel and chocolate milk though, so I think I got some bang for my buck.

The night time cross race was my favorite, but probably mostly because I was handed a beer AND a cup of rum-filled hot cider and got to double-fist my booze for a good part of the night. And I got to scream and take pictures and stuff. The guy racing with the suit and tie was cool.

The day-time cross race the next day was still fun but significantly less alcoholic. And it was hot and I was all salty from riding in the morning and wearing an outfit I pieced together from random workout clothes in my car. But the race director gave us a box of strawberries (after possibly asking if we were lesbians) that were very good but I ate too many and gave myself a stomach ache. And we sang Bon Jovi songs in the car and it felt like a road trip. There are worse things.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A little bit lost...

I'm not sure about this whole end-of-the-season thing. Not having an upcoming event is messing with my head.

So I made my blog pink. It could make all the difference.

Monday, November 10, 2008

At long last, my race report!

Sorry for the delay, I know you were all DYING for my race report! Ok, so....

The morning of the race I woke up at like 4:15 am (which is 7:15 California time, so not really that early) all jittery and nervous about racing. I tried to be quiet and not wake anyone else as I got up to pee a million times (from the nerves) and rolled around restlessly in bed, and managed to make it until the alarm went off at 6:00 or so before anyone said anything to me. I worked on choking down some food while my stepmom went to get me some goodies from the coffee shop in the lobby. I tried really hard not to hyperventilate since I had that really fun elephant-sitting-on-your-chest feeling. Damn nerves. I packed my Camelbak bladder with ice and CarboPro (more about that later) since I knew it would be hot and we headed down to the transition area around 7:00-ish.

My stepmom had asked one of her Ironman-racer friends what she should do for me to make things easier and her friend had told her to carry all my stuff around for me. I told her that it wasn't a big deal, I didn't have that much stuff, but she insisted. She carried my bags and my dad pushed my bike. My dad wondered if people would think the hot pink bike was his and was kind of disappointed when I told him they probably wouldn't. Halfway to transition my dad stopped and freaked out that I didn't have my stuff. Ann proudly showed him that she had it. I mentioned that I WAS in fact carrying something (a tiny bottle of sunscreen) and Ann threatened to karate chop it out of my hand. Once we got to the transition area I convinced them that they would have to give up my stuff since they weren't allowed in, and went to set up.

I was racked next to some pretty cool people. Everyone was laughing and joking around like we were old friends. The only amputee woman was racked right next to me (Megan from Montana) and she was cracking us all up about not stealing her leg. Awesome. I got all set up and went to body marking early enough that I didn't have to wait in line (score!) and went and hung out with my people. About 45 minutes before the race I got really excited. No more nerves, just really freaking happy to be there. Fun!

A few minutes before transition closed I grabbed my swim stuff and headed down to the water where I found Swimmy Timmy and his lovely wife. My people found us too, and we all talked while I donned my speedsuit (non-wetsuit wetsuit). I zipped it up and told them I would be back in a minute. They asked if I was going to zip it up. Crap. Broken zipper. A couple of them started to freak out a little and I told them to see if it would go back together. If not I planned to take it off and stash the Gu packets I had in my pockets back in transiton and just swim in my tri suit. Happily we got the zipper to stay. Eventually I made my way down the beach to the start area, and waited. Because we were so far down the beach we couldn't hear the announcers and (I at least) had no idea when we would actually start, so I spent a lot of time standing around in my goggles trying not to have them fog up.

Finally the cannon went off and we all got in the water. The swim was 1500 meters total, broken into two loops with a beach run inbetween loops, because they like to make it hard. The first loop was pretty standard (and I saw a turtle!) with some contact right at the start and rounding the first buoy, but nothing crazy. I felt good! The run on the beach was a bit longer than I expected and they made us run high on the beach in the loose sand, but it went well. I went back in for my second lap happy with how it was going. As I was coming up on the first buoy again a small pack of swimmers came up behind me and one girl started climbing all over me. As we rounded the buoy she grabbed my right shoulder (even though she was coming up my left side) and pulled hard enough that it spun me around on my back. I paused for a second, stunned, and then kicked her as I flipped myself over and got moving again. There was a person about three feet to the left of me and no one on my right, yet she still kept climbing over me. It pissed me off to the point that I yelled at her underwater. I have no idea if she heard me, but I think being pissed made me swim harder to get away from her and may have contributed to my fairly fast swim. I got out of the water at 24:46 (ish)! Sweet!

I trotted gasping up to transition and got all my bike crap on. It was only 9:30 in the morning but I was already fairly warm (since warm water swimming doesn't tend to cool anyone off) when we started rolling on the bike. The first part of the bike was a pretty steady fire road climb and I got passed by a crap load of guys and some pretty fast women. It was kind of cool hearing about the whole course at the pre-race meeting because when I came up on particularly hard sections (Heartbreak Hill, etc) I knew why people were getting off and knew how to handle it. I spent a lot of time pushing my bike up the really steep short hills, and just tried to keep moving the rest of the time. The first extended downhill scared the crap out of me so I got off and ran down that. It was not crazy steep and was about five feet wide, but it was entirely composed of fist-sized chunks of lava. There was no dirt, as I'm pretty sure the lava chunks were about ten inches deep. Technically it was little different than riding in sand, but watching people crash and thinking about the skin that would be lost to the lava didn't sound like fun so early on, so I played it safe.

By the time I got to the first aid station I was having daydreams about a cold bottle of water and was not at all happy to hear that they only had Gatorade. I was carrying fluid with me in my pack, but I wanted plain water to help with the sticky dry feeling in my mouth and to dump all over myself to cool down. Shitty.

I reluctantly kept rolling and was happy to find we were pretty much done with the constant climbing. The terrain was rolly with plenty of hidden lava chunks to make you pay attention and punish you if you didn't. At one point the clouds passed in front of the sun making it feel a million times cooler and everyone around me cheered. They stayed there for quite some time, making the heat bearable and taking my mind off the water situation for a while. Any time I saw someone pulled off the trail I asked if they needed help, because I have needed help before and am still grateful to those who have stopped for me. Most people said they were ok, but one guy didn't. I stopped and asked him what he needed and he shouted something in German. Ummmm...yeah...I had no idea. Another woman riding by asked if he was ok and he said no again. She stopped and he yelled in German again. We looked at eachother a little helplessly, and started pulling out flat repair stuff as that seemed to be the most likely problem. I happened to get my tube out first and he ran over and thanked me, making note of my race number. Once we were satisfied he was set, the girl and I continued on our way. As I was coming up on the second aid station we were all warned to be careful as someone was crashed out and waiting for medical right around the corner. Been there. Hate to see that.

The second aid station had water!!!!!!!!!!! Sort of. The actual aid station only had Gatorade, but there was a man and his kid handing out bottles of water from the back of their minivan not far from the aid station. A bunch of us pulled over and grabbed bottles. I dumped one over my head and torso, into my gloves, and chugged what was left. I grabbed another to bring with me, but it was a screw-top bottle which would be impossible to drink while riding. I dumped out a Gatorade bottle and filled it with water, thanked the man and his kid profusely, and went on my way. The section between aid stations two and three started with more rolling but also included "Ned's Hill", a mile-long hill that's not very steep, but is enough to break your spirit a little. Towards the top it is paved but gets steeper, and I ended up walking that section (with pretty much everyone else). I made sure to keep drinking my water and ice-cold (still! yay!) CarboPro to stay hydrated. After Ned's Hill we reached "The Plunge", a long descent that I was thinking would be good to recover a little on. Wrong. I was able to get up a considerable amount of speed, but there was so much loose or embedded lava that my arms were dying from all the arm pump, and the focus required was exhausting. At one point someone yelled something and I lost focus a little, getting off line into some really loose stuff. I over-corrected and ended up going down, landing on my left knee and my right elbow. As soon as I stopped sliding I looked back to see if I was in danger of getting hit, saw a guy about three feet away from running me over, and threw myself onto my bike to get out of his way. That would have sucked if it didn't work out.

I got back on and kept rolling, hoping to get a break since we were done with all the big climbs. There seemed to be more lava on this part of the course than the rest, making the descents challenging. Even the flats were hard, as the chunks of lava sucked up any momentum I had, making coasting even for a little bit ineffective. The third aid station had no water, only Gatorade. Miles 16-18 were the hardest for me mentally. I was hot, bleeding a little, tired, and thirsty. The course had doubled back on itself and we were headed down the sections we had come up early on. I checked my watch at 12:25 and had a little freakout. I wasn't moving very fast and the bike cut-off was at 1:00. I was afraid we would have to climb up the loose shitty lava-chunky section we had gone down early on. I pulled over under a tree and freaked out for about 25 seconds. Then I got back on my bike and kept going. Happily we didn't have to go up that section and the last couple miles were a fast gravelly descent. I came into transition with about 20 minutes to spare.

As I was getting my run stuff on one of the race volunteers asked if I was quitting or if I was going to keep going. Ummm HELLO! Totally not stopping! I asked for ice, he asked if I was hurt, I told him I was hot. There was an aid station inside transition so I dumped water all over me and grabbed a cup to drink. I left transition with a very talkative woman. We both had to pee, so we ran off the road (we weren't even in the dirt yet) and peed. She waved at people while she did, I was slightly more subtle about it. Once we got running I figured out why I didn't like CarboPro.

Aside from the whole I-really-want-water-not-sweet-sticky-sports-drink thing, I messed up my nutrition. I went with the CarboPro because I don't think I eat enough at races if I rely on Gu alone. From the keeping my blood sugar in check standpoint the stuff worked great. Unfortunately, I wasn't absorbing much by the time I got to the run, and had a big sloshy unhappy belly. Yuck. I ended up walking most of the first three miles (all climbing) because any time I ran I felt sick and unsure of whether I was going to puke or poop. Good times. I only drank at every other aid station (water only) because I didn't want to be more sloshy, and I dumped water over myself at every opportunity. One aid station had a big beautiful bucket of ice, so I took the opportunity to stuff my bra and hat full of ice. When I did run, the cubes clinking together was comically loud. My stomach was settled enough at the top of the climb that I started running down the descents, and managed to run more than walk from then on. I caught a few people and got caught by some too. Around mile 5 we had to run a half mile (?) on a beach. I ran low by the water because the sand was packed and ended up running in the water because I didn't feel like moving. I passed a handful of people here. After that we ran through the "Spooky Forest", a section through the trees (shade!!!) that included a bunch of stumps and logs to climb over and under. Then we ran on another much shorter beach, over a bunch of slippery lava, through some chunky sharp lava, and towards the finish. I continued to pick people off over the technical stuff and was incredibly relieved to be so close to the finish. Being that close was also the hardest part. I wanted to throw up and to cry and to walk, but wouldn't let myself. I crossed the line running.

And I ran straight to the food tent. It was shady and they had chairs there. A woman came up to me almost immediately. She was the wife of the guy I had given a tube to and she thanked my for saving his race. They had come from Austria and he had gotten three flats and didn't think he would finish. I told them it wasn't a big deal and tried to cool down. I had gotten fourth out of four in my age group which isn't particularly good, but i finished the hardest thing I had ever done. After getting settled down I meandered over to the med tent asking for Band Aids for my wounds and ended up getting my knee stitched up (only one, no big deal).

Shower, lots of phone calls and text messages, lounging on my bed.

Before they started the real awards I was called up on stage for giving the guy the tube. They were so grateful they bought me chocolate and had it given to me in front of everyone. Slightly embarrassing, but cool.

I lived. And I want to do it again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Apparently I lied...

My computer decided to crap out on me last week so I am currently computer-less (besides work computers that I probably shouldn't blog from...like I'm doing right now...shhh!) and so can not easily write my race report.

I PROMISE I will write it as soon as

a) My poor little laptop gets back on its feet

or

b) I con someone into using their computer for an extended period of time.

Thank goodness for my stupid crackberry, or I would feel totally cut off.

Fingers crossed I don't lose my data that is trapped on the laptop. I will be really really really sad if I lose all my pictures.

Really really.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last boring post before my race report, I swear

I kind of fell off the blogging bandwagon while in Maui because I had to pay for internet and kept coming up with more important things to do, like eat food and sleep and lounge.

On Saturday we got up early so my people could run the 10k trail run that was taking place. I saw them off at the start line and then found a comfy spot to read my book and discuss camera lenses (for like three seconds - I still know pretty much nothing) with the Brightroom guy that was there while I waited for the finishers to arrive. I quickly gave up on the reading once the runners started getting there because there were some hot boys and otherwise interesting individuals to people-watch.

My dad finished first so I got a bunch of pictures of him and met him at the finish line. The first thing he did was show me his bloody palm and tell me he was officially an XTERRA athlete since he was bleeding. Indeed! Apparently he tripped on the lava at the end of the run.

Ann finished a little while later and immediately told me she didn't envy what I was going to do tomorrow. Neither did I, actually.

They gave me the breakdown of the course (first three miles are all uphill, no shade, when on the beach run very close to or in the water to save your legs, etc) and we went back to the room for showers and food.

I don't really recall exactly what else I did that day, but I'm pretty sure it involved more napping and lounging. I was going to swim but some jellyfish had blown in and people got stung so I opted not to go. My people came back from hanging out at the beach and broke the news that my dad had gotten second in his age group in the 10k but had missed the award ceremony so he had to pick up his medal from the front desk. Go dad!

I finished putting my bike together and took it out for a three-ish minute spin to make sure it still rolled and stopped and stuff. It did.

We had the pre-race meeting where the race director guy went through all the sections of the bike and run and how much they were going to suck. Gulp. After the meeting they filed us out by country for the Parade of Nations thing and we went to dinner. The U.S. went first so we got to the buffet line first which is kind of appropriate. I found Dave and Meiling and my people and we all had dinner together and watched the Jamie Whitmore presentation again. Afterwards I packed up my race stuff and hit the pillow.

Race in the morning...

Friday, October 24, 2008

I heart vacation

Day two in Maui (or day one waking up in Maui).

Today was pretty quiet. I didn't sleep very well what with the time change and my dad's snoring, hopefully my new ear plugs will help that situation. Sleep is important. Breakfast today was awesome. We hit up the cafe buffet in the hotel and enjoyed such yummies as peach crepes with Tahitian vanilla bean custard sauce. I could probably eat a hundred of those. Good tea too (which is a little weird, but whatever).

After breakfast I met up with my swim coach Tim ("Swimmy Timmy") who happens to be vacationing on Maui at a rather convenient time, and went for a little swim. I have traditionally been a panicky retard when it comes to snorkeling and other open water situations where I can actually see things, and warned him of this. I had a tiny freak out when we started swimming over coral and the water looked dark, but got over it in a couple minutes. Yay me! We swam out to the TINY buoys and I was happy to note that the water was not that deep and I could always see the bottom so I wouldn't have any Oh-GOD-it's-super-deep! freakouts. On the way back towards shore we decided chasing fish was more fun than swimming so we floated around looking at stuff and I poked urchins down on the bottom. Pretty much the most fun ever. I added to my good Hawaii karma bank by picking up garbage from the bottom of the ocean (a Malibu wrapper). After we got out I practiced running and diving into the water for the start and got knocked down by an unfortunately timed embarrassingly small wave. I made friends with a girl from New Zealand who lived in Santa Clara for six years and some other guy (I don't remember the details) down at the beach too.

After hitting the beach I went and registered, bought some CO2 cartridges, got my dad and step mom ("my people") registered for the 10k run tomorrow and for the two dinners, and got lunch by the pool. Afterwards I built my bike, and found another bike box treasure in the form of a rubber bouncy ball.

I should have gone for a bike ride but decided I should head down to the pool with my book and work on my sunburn instead. So I did. I camped out with a group that included Whit the announcer, Holly from Gu (who crashed her brains out - not literally - in Cancun recently), Jamie Whitmore and her husband, and a few other XTERRA-ers. Had the pleasure of listening to a very loud and whiney gay guy whine about all the athletes that were here because he couldn't bum a cigarette off anyone. Lame. Once the clouds rolled in and the opportunity to bask diminished I packed it in and took a nap in my room.

This racing thing is hard work.

And it was pretty much the best nap ever. I woke up long enough to notice I was drooling on the comforter and not care. Then I went back to sleep. It was oddly satisfying, feeling similar to having a big meal when you are really really hungry. Quite excellent.

I woke up thinking about food again just in time to get invited to Maui Taco, which is apparently the Friday night before the race tradition to all in the know, so my people and I piled into a car and stuffed ourselves with Mexican food. I was offered the opportunity to sell wetsuits. Because that happens every day.

And now I'll leave you so I can go watch House and sleep in preparation of heckling my people as they run the 10k tomorrow morning. I expect them to tell me all the secrets of the course. They'd better get on it!

Initiate Blog Sequence!

I didn't post last night because I am cheap and didn't want to pay the $11 for internet access so I'm blogging about yesterday this morning after getting my dad to donate to my cause. Because I'm poor and stuff.

I'M TOTALLY IN MAUI!

So excited. I don't even care if the race sucks and my arm falls off or something. My arm will have fallen off in Maui at the World Championships, so I can still at least sound cool.

Now I will bore you with my travel stories because I wanna.

I got all packed up on Wednesday night, as is my habit (last minute packer here), and got a little derailed as I was planning to get a new battery for my easy-to-use camera at Target but they didn't have any and it was late so all the other places were closed. I couldn't find the charger for my big I-wanna-be-a-photog camera, but my dad called on Thursday morning and said he would pick one up before his flight. Score! I also left my laptop cord at the shop on Wednesday so I had to make a 6:30am bike shop stop, but no biggie. I took my bike and shoes and crap to Elliott's on Wednesday night too, and he demonstrated the proper way to pack a bike in his bike box. I was somewhat pre-occupied texting while I was there (who me? No way!) so he added some treats to the box while I wasn't looking. So far I have found a little kid's pink Barbie bike helmet and a rubber ducky. I'm unpacking my bike for reals today so we'll see what else he packed.

I had my friend Carla pick me up and drive me to the airport (thanks Carla!), which was a little bit of an adventure as neither of us is much over five feet tall and we had to get the bike box and my huge bag in the back of the truck and we didn't want to mess with the attached bike rack or tailgate. Much giggling ensued. Her mom decided to ride along, so we played "Did you have this teacher when you were in school? How about this one?" all the way to the airport. Her mom is a substitute teacher, so it wasn't completely random. Carla and I hoisted my crap out of the truck once again, and I stumbled my way into the airport.

Now, the bike box is pretty big and heavy. So much so that I can't drag it away from my body so it hits the back of my legs when I walk, making me walk like a weirdo. Add the big pink rolly bag that I have to hold pretty far away from my body so it clears the bike box that has a tendency to flip over if I hit a bump (similar to the alligator death-roll) and the 40 lb backpack I had on (I over pack), and I was kind of a mess. I took the elevator to the ticketing counter, and was laughing out loud at how retarded I was. I somehow made it through the hoards - possibly expedited by the "look how wretched and miserable I am" face I was trying to get people to move - and proceeded to get yelled at by the Hawaiian Airlines greeter lady. When she saw my bike box she gave me the dirtiest look EVER. Kinda bitchy, that one. Happily the actual ticketing lady was cool and told me how to word things so I didn't have to pay extra. Sweet.

My first flight from San Jose to Honalulu was quite nice. No one was sitting next to me (in an otherwise packed plane) so I got a whole row to myself. That never happens to me! I brought a bunch of work crap along, so I spent the whole flight listening to music and organizing invoices.

I had a couple-hour layover in Honalulu before I flew to Maui so I found an electrical outlet and fired up my laptop and was about to start working when my friend Whit, the race announcer for XTERRA and Ironman and a bunch of other races came and found me and gave me a lei. What the hell?? I turned beet red and was all embarrassed and sweaty and ridiculous. Good times. He was hopping a flight to Maui as well, only his was an hour and a half before mine, so he didn't have much time to hang around. I mentioned that I was stuck waiting for my dad to arrive since I can't rent a car (until next year) and he offered to wait around and give me a ride if I needed it. I said maybe.

On my second flight I realized I left my iPod on the first flight so I was a little upset. But then I mentally smacked myself since I still have all my music and I can buy another one, and spent the rest of the very short flight enjoying the beautiful scenery. Live in the moment, or something.

Once we landed in Maui I hit the bathroom and made my way to the baggage claim, where my bike box was hanging out with 8 or so other bike boxes like little soldiers. Mine was the first one. Right next to it was my bag. Apparently my stuff had flown earlier than I did, as it wasn't even on the carousel. I loaded up, made some old ladies hustle out of my way, and found Whit still hanging out in the airport. Apparently his bags had JUST got there, so he had had to wait around anyway. Score for me, I didn't have to wait four hours for my dad!

We got to the hotel, I spent a few minutes convincing the bellhop that I wasn't Swedish (he was insisting), convinced the check-in lady to let me get in my room even though it was under my dad's name, and worked on my invoices and relaxed on the balcony. My friend Ian (of Specialized Rider's Club fame) called me up and we went for a short run around the hotel and on the beach. The section on the beach is part of the course and it's going to be rough. Holy crap. Unstable footing at the end of the race? Ankles beware! I got a little taste of the heat and humidity on my run (my face was a little purple afterwards), and am making sure to be extra hydrated come race day.

Once my dad and stepmom got here we got dinner and passed out, and I got to listen to my dad snore all night. Today I'm buying earplugs.

Thank you all for your support, I'm loving all the "good lucks"! And don't worry, I will definitely have fun!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sort-of Race Report

On Sunday I did my first time trial that was not sandwiched in between a swim and a run!

The TT was part of the San Jose Bike Club's Winter Series, and was a 15-mile loop that included roads that I ride all the time. And it only cost me $8. No reason not to do it, right?

Elliott and I were planning on riding the TT and then hopping on our road bikes to cool down and meander up to Los Gatos and get some food. I got to bust out my skinsuit and aero helmet for the first time, and Elliott managed to come up with a matching set, so we got to be matchy aero geeks for the morning.

I was the 5th-ish person sent off in a group of about 90, and was followed by a bunch of women. Elliott was about 14 people behind me, so I was instructed (by him) that my goal was not to let him catch me. We were set off at 30 second intervals. I caught the "person" in front of me in the first minute, but this "person" was a 12 year-old(ish) kid and his dad, so not impressive. I caught the woman in front of them within the first couple miles. And then I was alone for a long time.

The route took us down the very flat Santa Teresa road where there is usually a tailwind, but I didn't have the benefit of one that morning. We turned right on Willow Springs and hit the climb (not my favorite), and that actually felt pretty good. We turned right again on Oak Glen toward Uvas Road, and this section went pretty smoothly and felt shorter than normal.

Once we turned onto Uvas a headwind materialized, and it pretty much sucked from then on. The first person to pass me did so a couple miles into the Uvas section (right about where it becomes McKean), and this person happened to be Elliott. Balls.

So much for that goal.

I was drooling enough at that point that it didn't click that it was him until he was well past me, even though we were wearing matching kits. He didn't say anything when he went by, and later told me it was because he was a little miserable. Glad I wasn't the only one.

Another guy passed me right before we turned onto Bailey. I cared for about four seconds. We turned up Bailey, I stood up for the little climb, and got a little time to recover on the descent (it's a fun one too!) I had the bright idea to hammer it from the bottom of the climb to the finish since it's pretty much flat, but figured out the hard way that it was a really looooooong section. Ouch!

I dragged myself to the finish, rode around for a bit to cool down, changed into my other riding clothes, and hopped on my rode bike. I was now freezing, and unable to form sentences. My attempts at conversation amounted to single-syllable words in no logical order. Ummmm....never had that happen before! The whole ride-to-Los-Gatos plan died pretty quickly so we improvised with breakfast food in Morgan Hill.

I kind of got my ass kicked.

So I'll be doing that again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nothing exciting to report

Work has been crazy busy so most of my stories are work-related and I already talked about those.

***

I went to a funeral on Thursday (a friend's dad) and it was actually kind of enjoyable considering what it was. More about celebrating and remembering fondly than being sad. Plus I met the fattest cat EVER.

***

My obnoxious pink kit came in and the shorts are REALLY see-through. Bummer. Looks like I'm improvising with some blue-gray Zoot shorts with hot pink stitching to avoid mooning the whole venue.

***

Tomorrow I'm doing the SJBC Winter Series individual TT. Elliott and I are wearing matching skinsuits and aero helmets. I'm most excited about the apparel, which is probably a little sad. I'm hoping to follow the "race" up with some chocolate crepes in Los Gatos. Mmmmmmm!

***

I'm going to Maui on Thursday!!!!! Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!!! So very excited! My dad and stepmom are planning on running the 10k the day before my race, which is awesome, and they are buying (expensive) tickets to the pre- and post-race dinners to hang out with me. My dad had to make sure I wouldn't be embarrassed if they tagged along before he bought tickets. Funny.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meh...

Today one of the firefighters from the other morning came in to have his bike worked on. Because he works nearby and he thought he'd come say hi. I should totally get paid extra for this after hours (or before in this case) customer-recruiting shit.

Then a police officer came in.

Later a flight nurse came in. He wants to go riding next week. I told him ok if he let me ride along in the helicopter. The sick part of me kind of wants to see some carnage. Partly because it would make my friend Monica really jealous.

Then the former Mayor came in to spend his gift certificate.

I guessed I missed the Civil Servant Day memo.

Later a couple fresh from Madrid came in and spent a shit-load of money. Only she spoke no English and he only spoke a little and none of us speak much Spanish. So we translated online and it was kind of cool. The whole transaction took like three hours because they wanted to tear down one bike and build it another way and get another bike but switch the saddles and tape and get matching pedals and we had to get it right in the computer. Ugh. It was exhausting. Then they wanted to ship the bikes to Spain but it costs a lot so I had to look up the prices for UPS, FedEx and DHL but we finally convinced them to take the bikes on the plane with them. But the translating online part was fun. And they were nice.

Now I'm at home watching Heroes with a dark room because the light bulbs burned out and I'm too short to reach them even with the ladder and the boys aren't home. Oh well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Get your ass out of bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had an interesting morning.

About 5:00 this lovely morning I awoke to every smoke alarm in the house going off. It was LOUD.

I ran around looking/sniffing for smoke and noticed nothing. I went up stairs to check with the roommates/make them fix it because they can actually reach the alarms if they stand on a ladder but neither one was home. Crap. I went outside and called the roomie that owns the house and got his voicemail. No answer. I called my mom in Maryland because I thought she might be up and got no answer again. I felt weird about calling 911 because I didn't actually think there was an emergency but I definitely would not be going to sleep any time soon and I wasn't sure how to fix it. I went back in the house and poked at the alarm in my room with a broomstick to see if it would stop. It didn't. Shit.

Outside again, I called 411 for the number to the fire department (the non-emergency one). Got connected to some City of Morgan Hill voice recording that was no help. Sucked it up and called 911 (I have a serious aversion to calling 911...I never feel like it's a big enough deal to call...even when I was younger and two guys were kind of trying to break into my house and I was home alone, I didn't call). I was told an engine would be sent out, and called my dad while I waited outside. It was a chilly morning and I was in a robe. Totally killed my warm-in-flannel-sheets vibe I had going.

I kept expecting a neighbor or two to come out and investigate but no one ever did. I live in a duplex. I can hear when they shut their bathroom door. No way they didn't hear anything. Nice to know they care if my house burns down.

After a few minutes an engine pulls up (lights going, no siren...it would have been a little satisfying to wake all the neighbors up) and three guys get off. As we are walking to the house my roommates dog who I assumed to be out with the missing roommate decided to start barking and sound all vicious so I have to convince the guys that the dog is chicken shit and won't actually eat them.

After walking around and determining that indeed ALL of the alarms in the house were going off, I was informed that my (loud) roommate's door was locked and they needed to get in there. My morbid mind went right to thinking he was dead inside. Nice. Having no other way to get in, we picked the lock with a coat hanger. Happily, no dead bodies were inside.

Once the lack of smoke/carbon monoxide was established I was told one of the alarms was probably low on batteries and connected to the others which set them all off. One of the firemen (the cute one...yay!) goes out the truck and comes back with a huge bag of batteries. He grabbed a ladder from my garage and pretended it was a surf board while he climbed the stairs. Obviously a morning person. They change the batteries in a couple alarms and they all keep going off. Eventually it is decided that two of the alarms upstairs are faulty, and they offer to come back and install new ones if we need them too.

While they were working I noticed the last name on one of their jackets and find out that he is the father of a girl I have known since junior high. I have totally been to his house. We talk about what she is doing (school, boyfriend, blah, blah, blah) and what I'm doing (no more school, bike shop). I mention that I race bikes, explaining all the bikes in my room. Apparently they didn't notice the bikes in my room so they all run in there to check them out. Three firefighters in uniform in my bedroom...

cue porno music.




Not really. They left, I went back to bed, then to work.


Good times.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

XTERRA Nats Day 2 Pictures

Sleepy pre-race Ensure-drinking face.
Waiting for paint to dry.

Bring it!


Swim little fishies!!!!



Beach run.




I like my pink bike.





Run "finish" #1






Actual run finish.







Icing my leg on a cold day.








Getting lei'd again.









20-24 podium










Hardware!











Post race car snacks!












Race Weekend Report #2 : The Race

When I last left you, dear reader(s?), I was being an old lady and yelling at drunk people because I needed to sleep.

Eventually I went to sleep, and woke up before the sun to pack up the car and head to the race. When we got up, it was COLD. I'm told 34 degrees. Yeesh. I donned my tri suit, pants, shoes, socks, three jackets, and a beanie and climbed in the car. I made Vanessa drive so I could choke down my bagel with peanut butter and an Ensure (because I'd rather drink my calories in the morning).

We got to the venue and I set up transition, and proceeded to do very little for the next couple hours. Body marking was extra fun as I had to strip down to my suit and stay that way until the paint dried. With about 20 minutes before we were due to start I climbed into my wetsuit, leaving my beanie on because I'm super cool, and headed down to the water.

The walk to the water was a long one, so most people brought shoes with them. I probably should have done that too. I was a little afraid my toes would crack and fall off from the cold. Happily, they survived.

The lake was perfect. No waves, crystal clear water, blue skies, and snow-capped mountains. The beach was sandy, making for easy running (versus the rocky beach at Tahoe City), and the lake got deep enough for swimming quickly (again, different from Tahoe City). I swam out a little way to make sure I still remembered how to swim, and lined up to start.

The swim: 1500 yards broken into two 750 meter laps with a short beach run between laps. I managed to have an AWESOME start. The cannon went off and I dove in and went for it. Everyone was spread out enough that I had clear water until the first buoy avoiding getting kicked, punched, or run over. I did a good job not freaking out about the random things under the water (big concrete blocks with chains in them mostly) or about the depth we were swimming in, and the first lap went almost perfectly. I kept swimming until my hand hit the bottom, stood up, ran along the beach, and dove back in. About halfway to the first buoy I was swimming behind a girl (I think...she/he was wearing hot pink goggles) who apparently decided I was too close. As I was getting ready to go by this person I took a breath at the same time they made a big kick (the "get the hell off my feet" kind) and I inhaled a ton of water. I had to stop swimming to hack and gag all the water out, almost throwing up, and got passed by a bunch of people. Boo. I was a little leery of getting close to feet again after that, but the rest of the swim was fine and I hauled myself out of the water and started the run back to transition.

T1: The perk of knowing the race announcer (if one were to look for perks) is that you definitely get announced at races. I entered transition to my name being called out and him telling people to "watch out" for me. Ha! Sweet. I'm not sure how long I took to get all my bike crap on, but I wasn't going slow on purpose so I guess that's ok.

The bike: Holy crap. Brutal but freaking gorgeous. The first 3.5-ish miles are climbing up a fire road, a feature my leg didn't really appreciate so I stopped a few times to stretch it out. The goal was to finish healthy for Maui after all. A girl in my age group went by me a couple miles in so I rode with her until I needed to stretch again, hoping she was moving into second place and not third (I knew who would come in first, so I just wanted to be on the podium at the end of the day). We climbed for what felt like forever then hit the amazing Flume Trail. I'm sure everyone has seen pictures of this trail at some point, and I was a little bummed I was racing because I kind of wanted to stop and enjoy the view. The trail runs along a cliff overlooking the lake and is maybe six feet across at its widest, but usually around four feet. If one happened to fall over the edge it would be ugly. It was spectacular. And mostly flat. After the Flume we climbed some more, came to a lake (not Tahoe), and climbed more. Lots of climbing. The beginning of the descent was great. We rode through rock gardens and off little drops, around switchbacks and between trees. I love mountain biking. Sketchy sections were easy to anticipate as there was usually a camera man or two waiting to catch some crash action. I managed to scare the crap out of one who didn't see me coming, which I found pretty amusing. After all the rocky fun was a long fast fire road descent back to transition. This part was the coldest part of the whole day. It was still cold, maybe in the 40s by then, and I was wearing wet lycra in the wind. I think I was blue.

T2: I think I managed another fast-ish transition. Yay!

The Run: 10k trail run, two laps. I could do runs like this one every day. Instead of long extended climbs we ran over rolling terrain, with tons of twists and turns, and several bridges. I settled in with a couple runners and was feeling pretty good until we ran off course, got yelled at, and turned back around to figure out where we were supposed to be. Once we got going again I paced myself with a guy in the 60-64 age group and ran the rest of the lap with him. I tried chatting with him and he didn't seem all that happy about it. Grump. We finished the lap and I kept following him expecting to be directed somewhere to start the second lap. Turns out he was done and no one saw me behind him so I ended up in the finishing chute. I frantically told the guy who tried to take my race number that I only did one lap as the announcers told everyone I was done. I got pointed in the right direction and ran out for my second lap listening to the announcers calling after me and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Oops. Just a little embarrassing. I saw Courtenay cheering for me on my second lap which was kind of cool. I settled in running with a girl named Jamie from Alaska, and she remained my running buddy for the rest of the lap. I managed to roll my ankle pretty early on in the lap. Sucked a little. I was feeling pretty crappy by the end, but finished relatively strong. The announcers called my name again for my actual finish.

I got third!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I packed up my gear, limped on my now-stiff and sore ankle to the med tent to get ice, and loaded up a plate of free BBQ. Excellent. The awards ceremony was fairly long with most of the winners giving little speeches. They announced that the fundraiser they had for Jamie Whitmore raised over $12,500. So cool. I got called up when it was my turn and got another lei, some Gu, some Paul Mitchell product, a medal, and a plaque. Not a bad haul! The girl who won my age group was the fastest amateur woman overall.

Overachiever.

Vanessa and I loaded the car up with my bike and gear, changed clothes in the casino, and hit the road. I bought my body weight in travel food at a gas station and we had car karaoke and snacks all the way home.

It was a very good weekend.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

XTERRA Nats Day 1 pictures

Shenanigans back in the cottage after the dinner with my new jersey.
Meiling and I sporting our jerseys. I have Botox-face apparently.

Car picture. Really excited about getting lei'd. Tee hee!


Angry lake and tiny Amy.



Amy and Vanessa taking pictures of ourselves.




Vanessa, Ryan and myself. They are tall.





Courtenay and I after her race.






Race Weekend Report #1

Last weekend was XTERRA Nationals, and I had the best weekend I have had in I don't know how long. Nothing crazy-spectacular, just great fun. I'm breaking up my weekend and race report into two segments because I have to get a massage eventually and it would be really long otherwise.

I left on Friday, after schlepping over to Aptos on Thursday night to dog-sit and not get much sleep. I finally got myself a travel buddy in my friend Vanessa, one of my customers and frequent ride buddies. I enjoy hanging out with Vanessa both because she rocks and because she is six feet tall and has a propensity for wearing heels and I think we make quite the spectacle. But then, I am easily amused.

A little bit before we reached Vacaville, I got an email from a friend (who is in Kona for Ironman) at Specialized who had an athlete racing at Nationals who was shipped a bike with no saddle or seatpost, wanting to know if I could find him one. Of course I said I would try, being the kiss-ass that I am. Oh and by the way, the "athlete" was Ryan Sutter, of "The Bachelorette" and "Ryan and Trista" fame. Vanessa and I quickly googled him on her phone, since neither of us actually watch the show. I made about a billion phone calls, emails, and text messages in search of a seatpost over dinner, and had made pretty good progress by the time we got on the road again.

Rain had started falling by the time we left the restaurant and continued for the rest of the night. Ideally, one would find out that her windshield wipers don't work well on a shorter drive, but whatever, it made for an adventure. Layer on the weird fog (dubbed "Rog") we encountered with the rain near Truckee, and it was interesting driving.

We got to our hotel, resplendant in its neon glory, had the longest check-in ever where I contemplated napping on the counter, and went to find the room. Now, we were staying in your standard hotel/casino in small town Nevada, but I had opted for the "Cottage" room because it was a little bit cheaper. It turns out that "Cottage" is code for something resembling cabins one would encounter at summer camp, minus the bunk beds. Not that bad really, but they were erratically numbered, so Vanessa and I spent a good 15 minutes running around in the 40 degree pouring rain in our flip flops giggling and shouting "142 over here!" "152 here!" before we found our room. That was chilly.

On Saturday we slept in a bit then made our way to the race venue. Because it was a big XTERRA race, there was a whole weekend's worth of events to behold, so we had plenty to check out. I got my race packet for Sunday (AND there were only four people in my age group...sweet), found my XTERRA buddies Dave (who was racing the Sport race) and Meiling (who was volunteering in the Sport race), hooked up with the fabulously talented Courtenay Brown who won the 10k trail run (and a trip to Hawaii!), and ran into old friends/customers from Fresno Scott and Leah, who won the 10k and got second in the 10k respectively. Apparently I know some fast runners! We walked around the expo drinking hot chocolate and checking out hot boys for a while until I determined that I would have no luck mooching a seatpost from anyone there, so we headed out for lunch and a trip to the bike shop. Burritos are delicious.

Rented a seatpost, put more clothes on (it was in the 40's and windy by the way), headed back to the expo, bought a jacket and arm warmers, met up with Ryan, got picture taken with Ryan, visited with Dave after his race, went to the lake to check it out, took pictures of the lake and went back to the room to nap before the evening's meetings and dinner. Naps are delicious too.

Post-nap we headed back to the host hotel/venue once again so that I could get to my race director meeting, which was basically "Good job guys, I know we cancelled the swim for the Sport race but you are champions so even if it's still bad you will still be swimming. K? K!"

The "Dinner of Champions" or whatever it was called was really cool. The people who did the most races were recognized, along with those with the best overall results, the people who put on the races, and the ones who were the most inspirational. Jamie Whitmore was the focus of the whole weekend, with good reason. Jamie is the winning-est athlete in XTERRA history. Period. She has 37 wins to her name in her career. The person with the second-most wins is Conrad Stoltz, the current world champion, with 22 wins to his name. Jamie not only raced, but coached (and still does, Meiling is one of her athletes), raised money and awareness for a disease (sorry, I totally can't remember what it was, but it affects people in her family and some friends), and was all-around awesome. Last year doctors found a baseball-sized tumor in her pelvic region. They removed it, and in doing so removed some of her sciatic nerve, and Jamie was told she would never walk again. Not one to give up a fight, Jamie got a prosthesis, and started walking again. Then they found another tumor. The second tumor grew to the size of the first in a period of about two and a half months. Jamie went in for surgery again to remove the tumor, and to make sure they got it all, her doctors removed one of her glute muscles and part of her tailbone. She is still fighting, still planning on racing again somehow, and still awesome. The whole room was in tears when she spoke, including myself. Awesome.

Once everyone got their composure back, all the regional champions were recognized, given their jerseys, and had their pictures taken. I was totally up there!!!!!!

Southwest Regional Points Leader Women 20-24 right here!!!!

Vanessa and I climbed back in the car, took some silly pictures, drove back to the "Cottage" and I pulled out all my stuff to race. Yikes!

I was hoping to get a good night's sleep before the race, but there was a concert at our hotel so we were graced with drunken fools until 2 am outside our window. I yelled at them once and called security twice. Kind of felt like an old lady about that....

Coming soon: actual race report!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Still in Suckville.

I had my second massage of the week yesterday. It was better than the first one in that I felt better for at least 12 hours afterward (rather than 1.5), but my leg is back to feeling shitty.

Ugh.

This I know: I am going to Tahoe. I want to go to the awards dinner thingy and get my Points Leader Jersey.

Uncertain: if I will actually race. I don't want to make it worse before Worlds, but it's still a big deal and I want to do it. Right now I am thinking I'll start, as the swim should be fine. If I feel terrible and like I'm making things worse I will quit. Otherwise I will just take it easy and enjoy the view.

Suck.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Unfortunate Timing

My leg is all messed up. Nationals is this weekend. I'm a little worried I won't get things figured out before then and they will get worse before Worlds. Suck.

Basically, my IT band is really tight and is pulling on my knee in one direction, and my internal rotators are tight and my calf is super tight and it hurts in that dull ache kind of way.

I had a girl come to my house to massage me yesterday and she kind of lectured me for having tight legs and not stretching enough and stuff. But it did feel a little better after she worked on it. She told me to take an Epsom salt bath (check) and ice it (check) and to stretch. I hope it goes away.

She did however compare me to some pro racer chicks. So that's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Questions

First of all, I totally feel cool right now. I logged in, and was informed I have a follower. Katy rocks!

Ok, so I have a question for my blog readers (otherwise known as Katy and sometimes Lorri...as far as I know you make up my readers).

As you may know, I qualified for XTERRA Worlds. And, I have a very pink bike (see picture at the top right of the page). Someone recently pointed out that 2XU makes a very pink tri kit. I was thinking it would be kind of fun to show up in Maui all Euro-trashy pink and white, but I'm conflicted. Should I?


I think essentially this makes me XTERRA Barbie. Except for the whole blonde thing. Normally I am anti-bike-matching-clothes, but I don't know that I'll get to go to Maui again so I figure I might as well be obnoxious. And it's an international field so there are bound to be some people rocking the neon or some such awesomeness. Plus it would look really good with a lei over the top of it.

What do you think?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ranting

I have the most annoying room mate EVER.

He's possibly the loudest person on the face of the earth.

Yuck.

I got back in the pool this morning after a little hiatus (coach was in Taho coaching some pros and I'm not a good swimming self-motivator) and felt kind of crappy. And slow. So it's back to getting up before the sun to swim before work.

I've been feeling all tight and uncomfortable for a little while and haven't had my regular massages that make me feel better (massage girl has been booked/taking days off) so I decided to go to a yoga class to see if I could work any of it out. I have never gone to yoga consistently (only went because I had a friend teaching classes, I prefer pilates), and have not been to any group classes at the MH Rec Center, but I figured it was included with my swim membership so what the hell. It wasn't bad. I felt a little better. I wasn't the least bendy person in the room, although my balance seemed to have gone to sleep for about ten minutes in the middle of the class. I was left wondering where all the Russian women came from. The instructor had a medium-heavy accent, there was a woman in the class with an accent, and I know of another instructor that immigrated at some point. It was a Monday afternoon class so it was full of the expected retired ladies and cosmetically enhanced trophy wives, but the international contingent was a surprise.

I went for a group ride (with boys! It's been a long time since I've done one of those) yesterday that started out sucking but was fun in the end. I take a long time to warm up. I know this. The guys wanted to beat each other at everything to prove how manly they are or something. This meant we were going fast and people were taking really long pulls and not holding their speed and I got mad. I told my friend/coach/boss ("E") I "didn't want to play this game anymore" and sat up and had a Gu.

Then it was better.

I was the first one over Bailey and was excited to have open road to go fast on the descent but one of the ego boys had to pass me lest he be beat by a girl. He had furry legs. We named him bushpig. We were playing paceline on Santa Teresa back toward Morgan Hill and I was getting annoyed with the other girl on the ride (which was only a matter of time) and my bike felt all bouncy-weird and I asked her if I had a flat as I drifted back in the line. She cut me off before I finished my sentence and said "I know me too!! Hee hee!!!" This made me more mad (because actually listening to people when they talk is usually pretty helpful). I had a flat. I yelled something to that effect and pulled over. One of the guys on the ride yelled to the others a bunch of times but the girl was the closest one and didn't have her listening hat on. He talked at me while I changed the flat and one of the other guys came and found us. We went up Willow Springs, where the boys decided they needed to have another ego-fest and I went slow and passed some of them before the top. At the other side two of them split off and then the ride became fun.

No-listen girl blew up and was left talking to herself because she was the last one up the climbs. I glued myself to E's wheel and he set the pace based on his powertap and we crushed any attacks by the other two. He remarked that the lake was low and stood up at the same time I looked at the lake so I ran into his back wheel. Miraculously, no one crashed, although my grabbing the brakes response reportedly caused No-listen to fishtail behind me. I finished the ride tired and sweaty but still with good legs. Good times.

I hope football is over in time for me to watch Heroes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

Racing and being athletic in general are still fairly new to me. I refused to do much more than hang out on the couch for my entire childhood (my mom still likes to talk about my refusing to swim at swim lessons) and teen years. My parents were runners, and I thought it bugged them that I was inactive, and bugging them seemed like a good idea. It wasn't until I was nearing 20 that I caught the sports bug. Happily, I caught it big time, and wanting to do a marathon before my 21st birthday snowballed into the athletic-spaz I am today.

Even after all this, I still don't usually think of myself as an athlete. I feel like the same lazy person I was before, and it's weird when friends or family tell me they are proud or that I inspire them in some way. It might be because I am fortunate enough to be around some incredible athletes, but I just feel regular. A newbie. Nothing special.

Lately I have found myself in the midst of some great people, who have been so incredibly supportive I am still surprised. A sponsor through work. A coach who seems to believe in me and is willing to work with me, train me, and let me hang out with his wife and kids. A swim coach who gets giddy at my workouts and keeps tabs on me and my races. An aquaintance who offered to provide financial assistance. A boss who pays for my races. A parent who is getting me (and him and others) to Hawaii to race. Relatives and strangers offering up their couches and floors if I need them. Customers who train with me, race with me, encourage me, and keep me honest. A burger and a beer from a new friend as she tells me I could do it all for a long time if I wanted.

I want.

Thank you all. You are amazing. I'm still new at this but I'll do my best to make you proud. And one day, I hope I can do for someone else what you have done for me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Kahuna Pictures






I have totally already posted these all over the place, but I like them so too bad!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Branded

I stuck a Gu in my shorts for safekeeping and it left a mark. Funny!

Big Kahuna'd

I now walk like an old lady. And I walked down the stairs backwards today. Sad.

Yesterday I did my first road tri of the year (and it's September!), the Big Kahuna 1/2 Iron in Santa Cruz. It was soooooo much fun!

I went into it with the mentality that it was just a long training day as I had not done anything even resembling distance in like two years. It's been at LEAST a year since I ran more than a 10k. On top of that, I was riding my TT bike for pretty much the second time ever (trainer sessions don't count), and had not ridden it at all since I had my fit re-vamped, a different saddle put on, and changed the tires so they didn't suck any more. How's that for being unprepared?

The swim was the part I was most prepared for, but I was still anxious because it was in the ocean and there are scary things that could eat me. Happily, I managed to avoid the scary thoughts and was fine as long as someone was swimming near me (so I didn't look like a lone little fishy begging to be picked on). Unfortunately I seem to have lost my ability to swim in a straight line. I swam all over the place. I kept wanting to sight off the pier, but the course had us swim away from it. I was all screwed up. I came out of the water at 38 min and change, which is way slow for me (five minutes slower than my last 1.2m open water swim). Based on conversations I heard/had/read, this happened to pretty much everyone. I also felt like I weighed 400 pounds when I stood up out of the water. That was fun.

Ran forever to transition, jumped in the little swimming pool for foot-washing, got all my bike crap on, and hit the road.

I got going and felt surprisingly good. The course was rolling, up Highway 1 heading north along the ocean, with gorgeous views. As I was coming up a hill I noticed a rhythmic bumping going on in the front end of my bike. I looked at the front tire as best I could, but didn't see anything amiss. As I was rolled down the hill it got worse, and at the bottom my tire blew off the rim. Awesome. I pulled over and got to work untaping my wad of tube/CO2 and accessories (I had taped them to the bike so I wouldn't lose them). Changed the flat, and mentally pleaded with the bike not to get another flat as I only had enough stuff to change one flat, and a second would make my day very bad. The spot I had stopped at was in between two hills, so I got to start riding again up a hill, with no momentum to help out. This was at approx mile 8. Suck.

I kept feeling good on the bike and at some point I realized that I might be able to hustle and break three hours, so I hustled. I didn't quite make it and finished with a bike split of 3:05, so if flatting is taken into consideration, I TOTALLY did it. Whatever, it's just a training race.

T2...same old shiz...

Started the run at a snail's pace, but I was actually running so I'm fine with it. Almost got hit by a pigeon. Kept running slow. Thought about making it to the next aid station instead of the miles because one mile-ish is shorter than 13 and a much happier number. Walked most of the aid stations, made one potty break (shhh! Don't tell Elliott!), chugged along like a sad little train. I actually felt good all things considering. The last part of the run where you are forced to run in the sand is the worst thing ever though! Running along the wet part wasn't too bad apart from being at an angle and having to dodge small children. The last 75 feet though: pure evil. Racers have just traveled 70 miles and change. Making them run in loose sand in front of a large crowd of people is not nice.

But they did have free burritos. So it was all good.

I ended up finishing in 6:11 and a few seconds. Which is about and hour and nine minutes faster than my previous 1/2 iron. Granted I was undertrained and kind of fat then, but still, I think that's pretty good. I've just been training for short stuff this year.

I got to see some people I used to race with from Fresno, so that was fun too. Good job Ben and Abby! It was fun seeing you in the porta potty line and transition (respectively)!

I was thinking about doing the Silverman 1/2 in November after XTERRA Worlds a while ago and changed my mind. I might have changed it back. I want to break six hours.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another day on the other coast

I'm totally failing in fulfilling my activity list. I have gotten in a TON of reading though...just finished book number 5. I should probably get out more.

I managed to stay up until 4:00 am again reading, and only got up because my mom was yelling at me. Just like old times. We hopped in the Miata (which I think is really funny, by the way), put the top down, and drove the hour and a half to Snake Guy's house. I fell asleep. Checked out his collection (which was awesome), my mom picked a new baby out that she will get in a couple weeks, I got bit by one of the babies, we played with his dog, and we got back in the car. Stopped to check out a pet store (it's kind of our thing, checking out new pet stores), got some lunch and sundaes at Dairy Queen, and hit the road back home. I fell asleep again, and now have a lovely crooked v-neck sunburn on my chest. With a big white spot in the middle where I must have gotten some lotion or something on it.

We got home and I jumped in the pool to try and get away from the heat and humidity and did some circle swimming because it was too short to swim laps and I have been sucking at turning around bouys in races. It was entertaining for a little while. Then I found another book, ate dinner, finished said book, and will probably go to bed soon.

It's wild times over here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Day 2" OR "The Excitement Continues"

All those things I said I was going to do today? Not so much. I started reading book number 3 last night, went to sleep at 5 am, and didn't get up out of bed until about 2 pm after I had finished said book. Whoops.

We are going to see snake guy tomorrow for sure.

Today we decided to drive to Penn to go to some pet store my mom wanted to check out but there was a car accident so we sat on a bridge for something over an hour waiting to see if the traffic might clear up. There were lots of birds to watch and we looked for bald eagles and it was kind of pretty so we didn't mind. Miatas are very small cars though. When she called to find out the store's hours we were told that particular store didn't exist in the town we were headed to. There was another store in that town, but they closed at 6:00 and it was 5:36 so I suggested we just turn around. We went and had dinner instead and I explained track racing and bikes (what little I know of both subjects) to my mom. People in Maryland eat an obscene amount of crab.

My best friend from junior high had a baby today. That seems weird to me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 1 in Maryland

Ordinarily I probably wouldn't bore anyone with my play-by-play that did not include racing, but the time difference means people here are sleeping and I'm awake and bored. Kinda sucks for you, huh?

My flights here were pretty uneventful. Flew from San Jose to Minneapolis and got stuck sitting next to a guy who ate about three pounds of candy, topped it off with a beer, and proceeded to burp a lot. Gross. Read most of book number one. Got told that I was "too pretty to be walking by myself and frowning" by some random guy. Too bad I was traveling alone and not feeling like smiling at nothing like a moron. Mind your own business random guy!

Two hour layover in Minneapolis, had greasy dinner, bought book number two. Flight was a little late taking off. Plane to Philly was pretty empty, but my reading light wouldn't stay on so I had to lean into the (empty) middle seat. Finished book number one, started on book number two. Got a phone call that my mom was stuck in traffic, so I hung out at the baggage claim waiting, and finished book number two. Got in bed somewhere in the 2 am hour.

Today I got to meet all the new horses (my favorites being the drafts and the pony - who are very good friends and funny to see together), play with the very new puppies, check out the 100 year-old barn that has bats in it, search for turtles in the marsh, find a turtle in the pond, go grocery shopping, and get introduced to random people. I saw my first fireflies too!

Apparently there is a big heroin problem here. The next door neighbors' son broke into their house and stole some jewelry this morning. Good times. My mom wants to introduce me to the guy who works at the liquor store because his girl requirements are "good teeth and no track marks". I'm totally in.

Tomorrow I'm going to go for a run in the woods behind my house with my Garmin so I know how far. I'm hoping to drag my mom out either running too, or on her bike to keep me company/from getting lost. We are going to try to go to the "snake guy"'s house to check out his collection. I have a strange desire to give some of the horses baths, so I might do that. There may also be an evening trail ride (on horses) because the fireflies in the woods should be good.

Big days here in Maryland!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Busy, busy, blistered

Some time in the last week I grew a schedule that included more activities than Olympic-watching.

On Thursday I "raced" a Splash and Dash in Livermore. It was supposed to be a 1500 meter swim and a 5k run, but my friend and I got there just as they were starting (and still had to change and register) so the race director told us to just jump in on the second loop of the swim. Since I wasn't really in contention for anything I decided to just fool around, test the duct-tape-as-blister-prevention theory, and generally be lazy. There was some giggling in the middle of the lake, I'm not gonna lie. We are intense racers. For the record, duct tape doesn't stay put when swimming. Once I got out I reapplied the tape (because I didn't have socks and didn't want to give my blisters blisters), waited for my friend, and ran with her because it was more fun to talk. I exerimented with holding my hands in different positions so as not to accrue more T-Rex-looking race pictures. More giggling. I made up some nicknames for us, but I was asked not to share hers. We finished the race together, partook of the free pizza (there was beer too but I wasn't feeling it), and drove our happy butts home. Good times.

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This morning I did the Mount Madonna Challenge, a 12k trail run up Mount Madonna (of all places!) The website said there was 1100 feet of climbing. If this number was accurate (I think there might have been more), it felt like we did 900 of it in the first mile and a half. It was STEEP. It was a fun run though, and the fact that it was all foggy and misty made it feel all jungle-y. I got second in my age group - I think there were three of us - so I was pretty happy with my first running-only race in like three years. And we'll just say my slow time was because of all the heinous climbing, k?

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I talked to my mom today. I have tickets to visit her at the end of what I thought was September. Turns out they are for August. So I'm going to Maryland on Wednesday. Good to know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Heart Ogden

The trip to Utah definitely paid off. While driving for 26 hours through the uh...classy state of Nevada over a weekend is not really my idea of fun, racing in Ogden was awesome.



I left home at 4:45 Friday morning and headed east, stopping for a power nap somewhere around Auburn (caffeine hadn't kicked in yet). Lots of gas/food/potty breaks later, I got to Ogden, picked up my race packet, and got body marked. Had dinner with my friends who flew in earlier in the day, and met up with my host and his girlfriend at their house. They went out so I was able to get settled and ready for my race...except that I lost their dog for about 15 minutes and managed to spray water all over their kitchen. Oops. I cleaned up and the neighbor brought the dog back so I didn't have any awkward explaining to do.




Salt flats on the drive to and from Utah.





Actually got a little bit of sleep, and left the house around 6:00 am to drive up to the race site. The drive up to the venue was gorgeous! A windy road through a tight little canyon took my up to the lake, with this little waterfall at one point.









There were separate transitions for this race, so I got my T1 set up, then drove to T2, set up, and took a shuttle back to T1. Forced down some food, went for a little ride to get warmed up (where I noticed my front wheel was not exactly round...probably should have had it checked out after the crashfest that was Snow Valley), squeezed into my wetsuit, and swam around a bit.



The swim was two 750 meter loops with a short run in the middle of the loops (first time I had done a run like that). I'm not sure if it was because it was a bigger race than usual or because I didn't stay on the outside of the group, but it was the most aggressive swim I have done in a long time. Before the first buoy I had people touching me on both sides, feet in my face, and people trying to climb between me and the people next to me all at the same time. I never got hit or kicked, but if I had been claustrophobic I would have had issues. Felt good on the first lap (didn't really even notice the altitude), did the little run, dove back in, swam some more. The whole horizontal-vertical-horizontal body position element of running between swims is weird...my heart race went crazy when I started the run and it took a bit to settle back in to swimming. My second lap was slower than my first lap, probably largely due to the fact that I swam waaayy off course at one point. Need to pay attention better!



Finished the swim, got ready to ride, packed up my transition into a big garbage bag to be transported to T2.



I LOVED this bike course!!!!!! It kicked my ass, but it was a total blast. Tons of climbing, about 90% singletrack, fun swoopy just-technical-enough descents, and spectacular scenery. I didn't have any crashes this time...must have gotten enough out of my system in Snow Valley! Most of the climbing was pretty enjoyable, with the exception of the jeep road from hell that they snuck in toward the end. The gradient of the hill would have been painful enough on it's own, but it was also covered in 2+ inches of cocoa-powder silty dirt, making maintaining traction near impossible. So I pushed my bike up it. Other people were too, so I feel justified. Eventually the traction got better and I got back on, but the hill just kept going so I found myself singing a rousing verse of "This is the hill that never ends...yes it goes on and on my friends..." a la Lambchop's Sing-along.

Anything to keep the entertainment level up there.

Happily the climb was followed by another awesome singletrack descent, where I managed to pass the people who had passed me on the climb. While I was riding the singletrack I noticed my bike being excessively loud. The trail was rocky and bumpy so a certain amount of bike noise is to be expected, but this was getting ridiculous. When I got into transition I was greeted with a bottle cage clinging to my bike by one bolt, swinging around in my frame. At least the bottle was still there....


The run was actually not that bad, when considered as a whole. The first part sucked because we had to run up the steep, silty, never-ending hill again. But when we got to the top, the course ducked into some singletrack and stayed there for a couple miles. We were in trees which I appreciated as I was getting a little burned. It was pretty rocky again which was nice because it was different than typical runs, but I was pretty beat at this point and paying attention to my footing took some effort. At one point I tripped on a rock and fell, landing on both knees and sliding a little on my side and arm. Got up, checked for injuries (mildly bloody knees, some scratches on my arm, and a scrape on one knuckle), kept trotting along. Tripped a couple more times, but managed to stay off the ground. Met up with one guy who declared the race "the hardest non-iron distance race" he had ever done. The last mile or so was downhill so I tried to catch a woman in front of me (who I think was actually doing the short course...oh well). I got within a few feet of her right before the finish, almost fell again, and she just beat me to the line.


Hit up medical to clean up my knees, took a wet paper towel bath in the (fancy) bathroom at the finish, and loaded all my crap in the car. I followed my friends/XTERRA "parents" to some fast food place where we proceeded to gorge on ice cream and fried foods (chicken tenders and fries for me!) Went home, showered, and took a nap before the awards ceremony.

The awards ceremony was held in the Ogden Outdoor Amphitheater and was really well done, with free food for all racers from an assortment of local restaurants. Medals were handed out ( a red one for me!!), a short video from the race was played, and a live band took over for the night.

I got up in the morning to breakfast courtesy of my hosts (SO nice!), got in the car, and drove the 13 hours home. Good times.


The best part of the whole weekend: this race qualified me for the XTERRA World Championship in Maui in October. So excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!