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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Retrospective

I feel obligated to do this, and I hate feeling obligated to do anything, so if this blogs reads a tad perfunctorily, that's why. You know I'm all about full disclosure. You've been warned.

Reader's Digest Version, in no particular order: Celebrated 30 years of wedded bliss with the man of my dreams. Insanely difficult to close deals and closed them anyway. Chris broke his collarbone. I got a time trial bike and set multiple PRs on local courses. Had a 1st place on a team time trial, and a 2nd in a solo TT, and shaved off minutes from previous times. Was elected and installed as my local Realtor(R) association's President Elect (and kissing goodbye the next 3 years, since I automatically ascend to President and Past President).  Trained for and ran a half-marathon. Deepened relationships with family and friends.  Experienced intangibles that will forever enrich my life. How could it get any better?

The year's been challenging, trying, repugnant, awesome, inspiring, amazing, maddening, transformative, unbelievable, fulfilling on so many levels.  I hope to stay open and available to what awaits me in 2012. Right now it looks like where I want to be.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Catching Up---Google Changes too

Less than 2 days before I'm installed as my local trade groups's VP.  Not concerned, no speech needed, just a tad preoccupied that my duties may begin a month before I had expected.  In that respect I'm a tad behind the 8 ball but can catch up.

Chris is doing fabulously well -- he runs the shorter weekday run alone (as do I), and we share the pain of the long Saturday rides.  Really, since we ran 12 mi. a couple wks. ago, it hasn't been bad. Compression tights and  leg-elevation make all the difference. We'll have a hot-tub/Jacuzzi post-run, so I expect our recovery will be just fine.

And if the weather permits we'll ride to Big Sur the next day, Chris's 58th birthday.  He's more stoked than I. Wish I had the words to express how proud I am of him...he could've dropped out of training and no one would have thought less of him for it...yet he HTFU and  embraced this goal as if he'd chosen it.  So what if he finishes with one arm in a sling and brace?  What counts is that his finishes.

And I cannot complain -- even it I had a valid complaint -- he's set the bar that high.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ir

So, after our run/jog, we cleaned up and headed to Vallejo and the hospital. I stayed with him until they wheeled him off to surgery (he was well-drugged at that point, with more to come).  I realized that he had warm-weather clothes only, and needed sweatshirt, so I drove back  home, got his sweatshirt, handled some calls, drove back to Vallejo in time to talk to the surgeon -- he said it was a very challenging repair -- and a while later they invited me into recovery.

The recovery nurse does some mountain biking, and has that gallows-humor that allows you to laugh at sad stuff.  He was pretty sanguine, and we played on Chris's being very drugged, although he was a trouper and was quite present.

So sweat-shirted and -pantsed we drove home. I'd put a squash in the oven and programmed it to be done by the time we got home, and it was.  I was getting him comfy on the couch and serving said squash when my phone rang.  Our daughter was calling.

So mid-serving I answered, thinking she's calling because the bus is late due to the rain. Noooo, it isn't that easy...she was entering the Interstate, hit something slick, spun out & hit a couple of cars.  Oh, no! \0/   CHP is involved, and they don't cite her. OMG.  I suddenly am overwhelmed and my adrenalin kicks in with no warm-up (wrong!) and I'm questioning the cop.  Kid is all  guilt-ridden; our 92 4Runner is toast, and 3 cars have superficial issues.  Things could be much worse.

So once home I administer wine to 2 of us; Chris is trying to be present but way out there, thanks to good drugs.

He doesn't have to deal with this until Wednesday, although my schedule suddenly goes to hell to accommodate them.   And just like that, I revert to Soccer Mom 3.0.  Not on my Bucket List, to be sure.

So what does one do when circumstances dictate their daily life? One rides/runs one's patooty off, or finds other expressions at working off stress.

On that note, yes, check.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Upheaval and Trauma and Good Fortune

With a title like this, you just gotta read it, right?

After Esparto my racing season was done, and our training for the Big Sur Half Marathon began. All our cycling was for fun, and in between easy, short runs, it was.

On Tues., Sept. 27th, we invited our friends M & B for a short, fast, let's-beat-civil-twilight ride. We rode to their house for a warm up, and headed north towards Winters, over the rollers and to the flats.

We were hammering at a decent pace north on Old Winters Rd., working a fast, smooth paceline. Chris pulled a while, then dropped back. B, a multiple Ironman medal-winner & steady wheel, was pulling about 24 mph. I was right on his wheel, M was behind me and Chris brought up the rear.

I heard the sickening sound of plastic and metal vs. asphalt, M screamed, "Stop! Stop!" I hit my brakes and thought she'd gone down. I turned around to see Chris lying in the lane, still.

I freaked out and called out to him to lay still. He's a well-trained 1st Responder at the refinery and knows to take time to self-assess. He moved before I could get back to him, sat up. We gathered around him; moved his bike off the road, turned down an offer of help by a motorist. Chris seemed dazed but at that point we thought he was OK.

M is a Captain in the Air Force, and an RN working on her Master's -- she noticed the odd gap between his acromion process (far end of the clavicle) and his shoulder -- we thought it might be dislocated. Chris stood up then had to sit right back down as he was immediately dizzy and nauseous. His helmet was crushed pretty badly, he had significant road rash on his shoulder, the buckle on his left shoe was shot, his left glove ripped -- and the bike was OK.

The consensus was that he wouldn't be able to ride home, so B elected to speed back to his place (about 10 mi.) to get his truck to drive us home. Shortly after B left, a guy in a huge SUV stopped and offered to help. Chris was feeling pretty bad at that point so we elected to take the Good Samaritan's offer.

Turns out this guy, G, is a retired Vacaville firefighter, and he loaded the bikes into his vehicle as I loaded Chris -- and G apologized several times for not having a sling. He offered to drive us to the ER but we declined, as we were on bikes. He drove us home, I gave him my card and told him to call if he ever needed anything, he hung up our bikes and left us with his good wishes.

We changed clothes and headed to the ER. Who'd expect the ER to be crowded beyond belief on a Tuesday night? Yes, indeed. It was over an hour before Chris got a shot of morphine. He doesn't complain and I could tell he was in pain.

Fast-forward to when the ER doc shows up: He'd looked at the X-ray and proclaimed the injury morphine-worthy. Clue #1. They dressed the wound, gave instructions and drugs (some of those instructions were directed to me, clue #2). We got home around 11, and although Chris went right to bed, I was wound up like a cheap watch.

At this point we didn't know the severity of the wound, but knew he had to be seen by our primary care doc to get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon -- even this untrained eye knew that fracture would need surgical correction -- and the pre-op, prescription filling, daughter-shuttling -- and just like that, I was in charge of everyone getting to where they needed to be regardless of my needs. I felt as though I was back in the early 90's, Taxi Mom redux.

Let me say here that I'm a trouper, I step up when the need arises, yet sometimes resent having to do so. I was having a tough time being the driver, cheerleader, support, do-it-all person for 1-1/2 people and having to still keep my business and responsibilities going.

That first weekend was awkward; I was still running and riding, and feeling quite guilty about leaving Chris behind...except that I needed my bike time to work off the stress of these abrupt changes.

Surgery was Mon. Oct. 3 -- we ran 3+ miles in the morning, Chris without benefit of coffee or food. He sustained other bruises and injuries besides the clavicle/shoulder, the worst of which was a strained groin/psoas muscle on the left side. He didn't run so much as shuffle. I jogged along with him, impressed that he was moving despite significant discomfort.

Stay tuned for part II...it gets better.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Esparto Time Trial

Usually Chris comes along when I race, but this weekend he's up in the Sierra, flying his hang glider and having multiple airgasms. So I was on my own for this event.

A bit of history: 5 years ago Velodiva (Her Bikeforums.net name) did this race as her first bike race, and invited me along. I didn't own the Diva then, I was on my Specialzed Dolce Comp, so I borrowed a Fuji Pro carbon bike from the LBS. I bested V by 1:01 minutes -- huge shock to both of us.

Since then she's gone on to win District, State and National track championships in her age group (60-64). Last year she and Hermes went to Portugal for the Worlds -- I believe she was 2nd or 3rd in her division. To say that she's fast is an understatement. I admire and envy her. Someday I'd like to be that fast.

My training this season, especially since we bought the TT bike (aka Slice), has focused on this race as my peak race. And despite the inevitable setbacks (missing the last 40K TT practice, etc.) my plan has yielded results.

I started planning earlier in the week for what I was going to take with me, and envisioning my race, from the warm up to the event. I decided this year I was going to podium. I know I'm fast, I'm focused, and full of that New Jersey scrappiness that defies defeat. I checked my time from 2 years ago (the last time I did this race): 53:41. My best time was from '08, with a borrowed TT bike: 51:03.

Wednesday evening, after TT practice, I calculated the time I'd need to finish Esparto at 23.9 mph, my avg. time from practice: 45:33. That seemed daunting but I embraced it anyway. I also had a kind of mantra to help me cancel the negative thoughts I often get preceding a race. I sang it over and over from Thursday (when it first found me) and during the race. "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better and better." It may seem corny; however, I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to psyching myself out. Just like a pointy helmet and a skinsuit give one an aerodynamic advantage, thus did my mantra give me a psychological advantage. So the negative thoughts were there but the mantra kept them from being in the forefront of my consciousness. That allowed me to recognize body stress and relax, and to stay fast and focused on my goal.

So last night I woke up a couple of times. OK, that's kind of normal. When I finally pulled myself out of bed I packed my stuff that I'd laid out the night before, ate my oatmeal, blueberries, chia & maple syrup (my regular breakfast), packed the extra bottles of water and Nuun and some dried figs and a Muscle Milk (light chocolate, my favorite) and actually left ahead of schedule.

Chris left his saddlebag and frame pump for me. But I couldn't find the skewer for the trainer. Crap. Not a good sign.

I got good parking, saw Hermes(Velodiva's husband) and Velodiva, got changed, pinned on my number (upside down), and started setting up the bike & trainer. Hermes, knowing I'm used to having a bike slave, came over to offer his services. He had a spare trainer skewer and saved my bacon. The guy who parked next to me fixed my number and loaned me his floor pump when my frame pump didn't cut it. Bacon saved again. Thanks, karma!


My warm up was full of distractions -- I wanted to log 10 mi. minimum before the race, and I had plenty of time to do that. I just couldn't stay focused. Those negative thoughts were creeping in...so I got busy with my mantra. It helped. I logged over 12 miles including riding the streets and showed up at the start with 2 minutes to spare.

And off I went, in a big gear, standing to get going fast. Into the wind for a couple miles, on rough, "slow" pavement, watching my speed be slower than I want, my cadence meter not showing rpms, my heart rate too high to maintain over 45+ minutes. My head is full of all this stuff as my legs go around and around and the wind blows and I'm thinking I should just give up because I won't be fast enough.

Then -- my mantra kicks in, I turn the corner to a quartering tailwind (wind from the NW, I'm headed east), I get my breathing right and work to maintain what speed I can. The pavement is rough, in aerobars it's teeth-chattering rough, and slow, and there are lots of repairs to ride around. It's wide open around me, the few prune and almond orchards are either below the road level or too far back to afford and windbreak.

My M.O. is to divide the TT into 3rds, and deliver negative splits. But when I hit 6 miles I can't really ramp up my effort as much as I want. The wind seems to have turned, my legs complain and feel heavy, my breathing is labored. I start to doubt my podium result. It's only 8 miles into an 18 mile ride and I'm whining like a baby. Why did I even bother to get out of bed?

Then -- mantra time, and rollers present. I speed up on the downhill parts. And I pass 4 of the 6 women who started ahead of me. Since we started at 1 min. intervals, and the woman in front of me no-showed, I had a 2-minute target out there. I zip around her and the others as though they were standing still, and because I hate being passed (very demoralizing, unless it's the district TT champ) I kept the pace high. I need the confidence-boost that passing people gives me to help me stay on target.

I slow too much for the turn-around but, dammit, there's gravel and dirt everywhere! Did no one think to sweep it? What's wrong with these people? Geez!

And hills, speed-sapping, pain-inducing, mantra-reciting hills -- 3 of 'em. Then drill, baby, drill, until I see the "5 miles to go!" sign. From there it's a countdown. My speed picks up, I feel like I own this course, made it my beeyotch, increasing speed as I go, a tenth of mile, then another and another, and when I see the "100 meters" sign I give the pedals everything I have. blowing like a racehorse across that line.

I rode on about 1/4 mi., then turned around. There was a small gathering of people just past the finish line, so I went back to see if I needed to be there. They were waiting for friends/spouses/SO's, so I had a conversation with a lady in my group before I turned and started my warm-down the couple miles back to the parking lot.

Velodiva passed me then, and her momentum carried her well past me, so I didn't catch up right away. When I finally caught her we chatted about the race. She passed everyone who started ahead of her but me. And she was worried that she wasn't fast enough to beat me. Even Hermes, who'd kept her apprised of my PCSD results, had reiterated, "She's scary fast."

As ego-gratifying as it was to hear those words, believe me, she'll eat my lunch any day. I held no illusions that I'd be faster than V -- in fact, my podium expectations were that she'd be first, I'd be 2nd or 3rd.

No results when I got back to the parking lot so I changed, drank a lot of water, the Muscle Milk, put Slice back into the car. It occurred to me again that normal people have no idea how much work it takes to be a mediocre bike racer. I stretched, talk to V & H some more, we agreed to meet at a Starbuck's in Vacaville for a caffeine infusion before their long drive back to the peninsula.

I walked over to the registration table as the results from the last few groups were posted. Holy crap! I crushed it in 49:11, good enough for second place! Of course V took first, a mere 59 sec. ahead of me. Third place was 1:00 behind me.

So we had a parking lot podium and showed off our T-shirt prizes (pics coming). I'm very pleased to have achieved my goal and end the season on such a high note. Life's great, mostly, and today it's especially sweet.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pre-Race Psyche-Out

It's Friday. I have to be low-key until Sunday. My way of dealing with stress is to ride my bike, usually fast and over long distances, and I can't do that now.

So...what are my options?

Spending Friday evening with Chris enjoying Django Walker and Jerry Jeff Walker singing.

Taking an easy spin of 16 miles.

??? for Saturday.  I'm going to ride, and clean house, but the ride is the issue.

This is why I should have a coach: All my workouts would be programmed and ready to go.

Note to self: You're awesome, but get a coach!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PCSD 40K Update

I completed 3 of the 4 scheduled TTs. The last one, #3, I finished in 65:05.  That's about 10 min. faster than the first one, and about 9 min. faster than the second.  The training is obvious, and that we have a TT bike also makes a huge difference.

I had planned to do the last one but confused the date, and scheduled a buyer signing that night.  Yes, I was very cranky! I had to take a couple moments to get my attitude adjusted.

Overall, I'm happy that I've shown improvement on this series.  I hope it pays off on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Racing Again (Finally)

Saturday was the Winters Road Race. 48.5 or so miles with 1990+ feet of climbing. It's flat, rollery, big hill, flat, repeat -- a 24 mi. loop. The 5s &4s did 2 loops, the 3s 3 loops, the P/1/2 4 loops.

During my warm up I identified my goal for the race (to bring honor and glory to the team as I was the only W4 racing), identified who I wanted to be ahead of, and at the very least to finish (two years ago I flatted).

I was comfortable in the pack from the start, and stuck with them, reeling in the few breaks that were attempted before the hill. When we were in the rollers before the serious climbing, where the road narrows, twists and turns, a moto neutralized us so the P/1/2s could pass. We went into single-file mode, and when I came around the corner found that a group had made a breakaway, and there was no way to catch them without killing myself.

So I hit the feed zone, grabbed a bottle from Chris, enjoyed the chalk messages & verbal shout-outs, and pressed on. I dropped more of my group on the steep parts and got pretty reckless on the downhill -- I ride these roads all the time and know them intimately. My thought was to take it faster than usual, since uphill traffic was controlled.  It was scary and thrilling to use the entire road for a change.

On the flats again I caught a couple women from my group, and the group of 4 of us worked well together, cheerleading, encouraging, taking strong pulls and keeping a steady wheel. One of my targets was in the group -- the other got off with the fast group.

Not surprisingly the rollers again separated us, and I rode about 5 miles on my own, including the feed zone and beyond and over the hill again. Screamed downhill again without holding back, emboldened by my desire to be ahead of everyone behind me.

I passed a lot of casual riders, some of whom didn't understand "on your left." So I hollered, "Don't move!" and that helped a lot to keep people in their places. One of the 3 of my previous group caught me and we worked together and she said she'd pull me for the sprint.

So suffering, speeding, feeling quad muscles trying to cramp, eating, drinking a 5-hr. energy drink, racing, we come to the 200 k sign, she does her best lead-out and I stand to sprint and voila! Legs got nothing! So I sat down and road across for I think 25th place of 50 riders. Still haven't seen official results.

I averaged over 19 mph for this ride, a PB for me. I knew I'd worked but wasn't so blown that I could ride 4 mi. for a warm-down and then attend a wedding and birthday party afterwards. Between events the compression tights and foam roller were my best friends.

I finished well ahead of my target, and 2 min. behind my other target (one of my TTT members), so I was pleased. That I finished ahead of some of the CAT 4 & 5 men was a bonus. *cheesy grin*

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unexpected Delights and Distractions

Friday night I came home to find Chris taking apart our television, and Meave telling him what to do via the Internet.

We had a party to attend in about 2 hrs., we didn't know what food we were taking, and as the tv was a mere 6 yrs. old, I wasn't prepared for it to die.

Evidently the heat-sync was going out, and as this tv is no longer made, there was no replacing it.  Good thing I won it and didn't pay for it -- I'd be pretty peeved about that.

So with the back off we watched the last 3 stages of the Tour de France. This morning the picture started to go -- indicating the heat sync's imminent demise -- we watched the end of the Tour (and what a fine ending it was) and decided not to try to keep it alive. We did some research, set a budget, and shopped.

If only it was as easy as unplugging the old and plugging in the new.

The roller stand needed to be cut down by nearly 3".  Chris figured it out and completed the task (with a little help from yours truly).  Then we tried several ways to connect it, all ending in a big fat fail.  We had to buy a special cord.  And voila!  It worked!

We still have to figure out how to hook up the stereo; in the meantime the tv stereo sound system works really well.  The picture is amazing.  I loved that we had that free tv for so long.  And I'm glad we upgraded.

That was the distraction.

The delight was having two challenging, fun rides with Chris this weekend.  Saturday we did a Gordon Valley loop on the tandem -- the headwind on the way out cut our speed down, but the tailwind on the way back made it worthwhile.  Our first tandem ride since July 4th; I'm out of practice -- that 42 mph downhill on new pavement on Gibson Cyn. Rd. reminded me of that.

Today we did the shop ride; 48+ miles in the small chainring, spinning and loving the company, the weather, the newly-resurfaced roads, all of it.

I chose to focus on the delights of the day, and use the distractions to reinforce why the delights are so vital to life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A promise unfufilled

A couple weeks ago we met with some bikeforums.net and Twitter friends at Hellyer Velodrome, to participate in a Livestrong fundraiser. For $30 we could ride our road bikes on the track. I rode the Diva for the 200 m, the 500m, the kilo, the 2K, and finished well.  Then I rode the TT Fuji for the 3K. There were some issues with the lap counters that confused me but I managed to finish in 2nd place on the last ride.

I never thought I'd enjoy riding an oval over and over again, but the concentration suited me. I had a blast. I loved going from 110 bpm to 160 bpm, loved the focus, loved the result, and cannot wait to do it again. I got a rush from the track unlike any other.

This week I was elected to be my local Association of Realtors (TM) President Elect for 2012.  And I totally feel as though I deserve it now.  I'm fit to be the leader.

As long as I can continue competing and stretching my boundaries I can lead this group into new greatness. I can only  hope this group is ready for me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello, Mojo, I've missed you

Thanks to the long weekend I had some amazing rides.

Friday I handled Internet -based real estate stuff early and squeezed in a ride, then wine-tasting at Nugget later/

Saturday I  drove to Auburn to ride with dauphin97, who had a challenging but not undoable ride in Auburn, Folsom, Auburn.  What a great ride!  I enjoyed the company and the climbing.  We rode to Folsom and experienced the holiday crowds w/o having to share the roads.

Sunday I rode with a couple relay team GFs as well as a couple non -running friends to the top of Cardiac Hill, a climb featured in the Amgen Tour of California. I got the QOM for the dam but not Cardiac.  I was happy feeling as though I had helium balloons attached to my bike (thanks for that, Jen!).

My problem was hanging on in the flats.  I need to work up to hanging on during the long, fast rides. Goal defined.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Speed Demon

Wednesday the 25th was the 2nd  40km Putah Creek Time Trial.  Most of them are 10 miles but this year they added 4-40kms for those of us who favor the longer distance.

The first 40km featured wicked wind and unusually cool weather.  Last night was very similar; the rain had come through earlier but by 4 pm the roads were dry.  I had no excuse.

I ride these TTs w/no aero equipment; I don't have a TT bike or aerobars, so I don't see the point in wearing the aero helmet.  Old School Eddy Merckxx, that's how I roll.

So legs 1 & 3 were into the wind with a couple short crosswind segments.  Legs 2&4 were downwind with a couple crosswind segments.  No matter which way I went there was pain to be found.

The last leg I kept gaining speed, esp. the last 3kms.  I crossed the line at 26 mph.  Once I stood up, like a jockey on a racehorse, I realized how much I hurt.

I met Chris Phipps (aka PizzaMan, aka@CPBike) who is even nicer in person than he is on the Internet.  He didn't even blink when I told him my time (a new PR for me BTW), although he was many minutes faster than I. Props to him for that.

I finished in 1:14:39, vs. 1:15:29 in April.  I'm happy for that time, happy to be stronger than a month ago (proof that I'm getting faster and training is paying off), and anticipate a new PR next month.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Catching Up

The week after the marathon relay I rested Mon.; TRX Tues., bike ride Wed.; TRX+run home after (3.5 uphill miles), rode Fri. and got a flat 3 mi. into it.  That hurt; I had only 2 tubes but nothing else with me.  I had to walk home. In my cycling shoes. The ego was bruised more than the feet.

Saturday I managed a 40 mi. solo ride with a headwind for 1/2 of it. Then things took a turn...

Via Facebook I discovered our newest favorite band, Dgiin, was playing at the Davis Whole Earth Festival on Saturday evening, from 8:30-10:00. We took the dogs and off we went.

We found the tent under which they were playing; it was sparsely populated and we went right up front; got recognition from the guitar player and started dancing...I called out "Porque le Vas" and 3 of the band smiled and nodded.  We danced between the leashes, and as the band heated up more people came in.  Oliver freaked out as he's not used to crowds+noise so we went to the back of the tent.

Ollie settled down on a hay bale and I stood in front of it.  Out of nowhere I felt a hand on my butt.  I turned around and  saw some people more than an arm's length away.  I turned back to enjoy the music and felt the hand again. Turned around, saw the same people, turned back.  The 3rd time I was groped I was ready for it and when I turned I saw a young lady tucking her hand away and looking aside. I'd seen her dancing; she was on something.  When she realized she'd been caught she blurted "I love you!  You're so sexy!  You're beautiful!"  I smiled and said thank you...it was the drugs talking. Hers, not mine.

Dgiin played a hot set and we left before they were done.

Sunday dawned and I made a mean pot of oatmeal; we got the tandem ready for the shop ride, with intentions of brunch in Davis, rather than Winters.

We were the only people to show up for the shop ride. Rob was not riding so we took the long route to Davis; enjoyed a tasty brunch at Cafe Bernardo (where our daughter took us for Mother's Day '01,'02,'03,'04) followed by the Whole Earth Festival (see previous parenthetical note).  Just like old times, but without the kids...a different kind of fun.

I bought a red cotton corduroy houndstooth cycling cap made of recycled cotton.  It matches my kit. My OCP rules.

We rode home without incident.  Chris cooked an amazing dinner.  He spoiled me rotten.  On past Mother's Days I've felt overwhelmed.  This year, despite our lack of kids (who checked in) I felt worthy of the indulgence. Like I told Chris, if it weren't for him I wouldn't be a mother.

So all was right for a moment.  I sucked it up like a milkshake through a straw.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Record Weekend

I tend to procrastinate, and so put off my first bicycle competition from Jan. until Saturday.  It's just as well; I needed some TT and hill repeat practice to find my lungs and legs.

At the Wente Road Race I lacked both lungs and legs.  Despite my lack, the wind screaming at 30+ mph, and a neutralization mid-2nd lap, I was very happy with my performance.  I placed 28 of 35 women who placed. My head told me to quit 85 times before we neutralized and I'm so glad I didn't listen.

Robin & Stacy arrived at the condo well before we do; texts confirmed that they'd have food for us and we'd go directly there.  So we did, and the Russian Salad by Robin was just what the doctor ordered...that, and the red wine.  We all turned in by 9-ish because we had a 3 a.m. wake up.

I had a fitful night's sleep.  My bedmate kept snoring, so I had to nudge her a couple of times to make her quit.  Then I had a very vivid dream of us waking an hour late, and Robin, Stacy, Kameo and Teri being extremely nonchalant about missing the bus.

When I finally awoke I was sleep-deprived and energy-deficient.  I got up, drank coffee, etc. by rote. The bus arrived at our start a little after 5 a.m.; the race started at 6:45.  Crap.  Can't even nap, so keyed up.

So I yakked with some of my wired busmates.  Fun.  About 7:15 I got off for a potty break, found my Leg 5 mate, and never got back on the bus.

So my Leg 5 mate scouted and found our Leg1 runner.  Slap goes the bracelet and off I go -- no warm up except for some stretching & running in place.

My leg had lots of hills, lot of music (inc. Japanese drums and a Yamaha Grand Piano, the pianist in tuxedo, on the edge of the Western World).  There were other bands but these two stood out.  I finished my leg, hugged Kameo (leg 5), got some food and water, and began running back to my start.  I stopped to take pics.

I found Teri, our last leg runner, and we cheered the marathon runners who passed us.  Kameo handed off to Teri, and then Kameo & I walked back to the music venue --- K had me take a pic of her and the front woman who was wearing a red feather boa -- then we found Robin (leg 3 runner) and we walked back to leg 2 start, got on the bus, and rode back to the Marathon Village, where we got our medals and food.

Eventually we caught up at the Marathon Village...got food, beer, pics, medals, and took the bus to the parking lot.  Went home...several went to the pool, the rest of us (me) napped.

We all cleaned up and left by 4:50 to go to the Jabberwok Inn.  John and Dawn, the innkeepers/owners, have shown us hospitality plus when we stayed with them.  I loved how they gave us the tour and shared hors'douerves and wine with us.  What fun that was.

So we went back to the condo, made dinner, played a card game I couldn't get behind, and slept. Ah, sleep!
And I'm not too sore today. So the training has paid off and I can point toward the next event...to follow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Content

Not con'tent but con-tent'.  Busy week, full weekend, got 2 offers accepted and a bike ride with Chris.  If life gets any better I can't imagine -- this is enough.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A New PB, and room for improvement

The local free time trial practice, casually known as the Putah Creek Smack Down (tongue in cheek), held their first of 4 40km TTs tonight.  I've done that distance about a dozen times on the tandem, and once as a 2-woman team, but never solo.

Tonight I rode it alone, with no aero equipment. I'm not sure aero equipment would have helped.  The wind was howling, flags flying straight out, with gusts up to 30 mph.  The 1st and 3rd legs were mostly into the wind, with lots of cross, including the 2nd and 4th legs.  The start required not just one guy holding my bike by the saddle, but the other on the upwind side of the front wheel, to keep me from blowing over.  Wow!

So I had some difficulty settling into a rhythm, given the gusty cross/headwinds.  I think it was 2 or 3 km before I  found some kind of rhythm.  Wasted energy there.  Oh, well...

Kept going and going and going.  I was passed by big guys on TT/tri bikes with TT gear.  I was buoyed by the fact that no one else riding a la Merckx; i.e., no aero gear) passed me.

I nearly bailed at the 20 km mark but decided since I was warmed up I might as well keep going.  The 3rd leg was again into the wind and I was definitely feeling the effort of the 1st half; legs tight, hip flexors burning, back aching.  I tried to ignore those distractions and kept ramping up my cadence and gears, esp. for the last leg.  My goal was to be totally spent at the end of the ride.

The last km I started accelerating and kept accelerating until I crossed the line.  I have to hand it to Joe and Cody, they are so positive and encouraging -- they made me feel as though I was the leader when I turned back into the wind, and cheered when I finished.

1:15:19 was slower than I had hoped but still a PB as a solo 40 km.  The wind was definitely a factor.  I hope to improve my time at the next  long TT.  Meanwhile, I'm happy with my results and wish I had more Tiger Balm for my sore muscles.  I'm glad I hung in for the whole thing -- and glad the rain stayed west of us.  I hate riding in the rain.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today I Saved the Day

...for a tiny hummingbird.

Sidebar:  Since I was very small my mother offered us opportunities to connect with nature, specifically birds.  New Jersey winters can be nasty, and we'd hang suet, pine cones coated in peanut butter and dipped in birdseed, and other goodies in the dogwood tree outside the back door for the birds.  Then we'd watch which birds came and ate.  My favorite were the cardinals; on the bleakest of days they brought brightness to my small window of the world.

When I was in 2nd grade I joined my elementary school's bird watcher's club, and became an Audubon Society member.  The leader was the mother of a kind of dorky boy who had a crush on me.  I liked going to places outside my little town to see "exotic" birds.

In the summer I took secret delight in how the mockingbirds would dive-bomb the local cats.  The seasons resonated with bird songs and migrations.  I still do that, recognize a season or month based on who's singing and how they're singing it.

So today I pulled into my driveway and walked next door to have my neighbors sign a counter offer.  (What kind of neighbor am I that I'm helping my neighbors buy a house and move away?)  After we chatted a bit she  mentioned that she had a hummingbird trapped in her sun room.  I asked to see it and there it was, the tiny thing all panicked and dragging some cobwebs on its feet and right wing.  My neighbor had tried to "guide" it to an open window or door with a broom, but managed to frighten it more instead. The young Anna's hummingbird would flutter ineffectually against the glass, then rest on a beam.  I kicked off my pumps, climbed onto a chair in the west corner of the room, and waited.

When the bird perched I'd reach up to pull cobweb off it; the first couple of times it panicked and flew around, but by the 4th time it  just held still.  I could tell it was weak and tired; it had been trapped since early in the morning so it was hungry.

After about 10 min. my ploy paid off: it rested, wings slightly spread, and I reached from under and behind it, gently close my fingers around it.  The right wing was between my first & middle fingers, and after a brief flutter, it played dead. It held so still that I thought at first the poor thing had had a heart attack.  I held it lightly, it weighted nothing, hardly more than a breath of air, as I dismounted the chair and watched it.  Then I saw the "plink, plink" of its eyelids and knew it would be okay. I walked to the door way and opened my hand.  Two of my neighbor's kids came close but didn't touch it. It stayed on my hand a long time...easily a minute.  I finished removing all traces of cobweb and stepped outside the sun room.  As I moved the bird launched.  Mission: Accomplished.

The first year I lived in Colorado I held my finger underneath a hummingbird as it fed at the feeder we'd hung on a line at our cabin at 8700' feet.  I believe it was May, the sun was warm and most of the snow was gone. The hummers came every day and I watched in fascination.  When the hummer perched on my finger that first time I had a sense of awe, of connection with a force older than I could imagine, more gentle than a baby's breath.  I was transfixed by the bird's metallic beauty and humbled by the momentary trust it gave me.

Those kinds of moments don't happen frequently. Today was a reminder of that time, an opportunity to share with a new generation, another chance to interconnect with humans and nature and give back to a world that has given me so much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Volunteer Much?

In a word, yes.  The question that begs to be answered is "Why?"
It's complicated.

Volunteer work is both an ego boost and a humbling experience.  The frustrations you have to suck up and deal with; the rewards are intense and short-lived.

As a REALTOR(R) I volunteer on a number of committees...and have done so since I got my license in '04.

And what's the point?  That's a multi-faceted answer.

I get to give back to the REALTOR(R) community...the one that lets me do my job.

I get to have a say in how a committee is run.  I get to give people the opportunity to share, connect, and market themselves.  I offer people a different forum in which to play.  And I get to share fun/frustrations/other experiences with those who are present, as well as those not present: Another way to connect.

My biggest reward is that the opportunity for connection is alive, available on many levels, accessible.  My serving on a fund-raising committee is, ultimately, an opportunity to serve a cause greater than my vision.  That helps the cause as well as my ego, because you can't give without learning a truth about yourself.  And isn't life all about personal growth?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Security Issues

The morning was productive, and since my first appointment wasn't until mid-afternoon I planned to fit in a training ride (my 1st race is in 2-1/2 wks.).  Sidebar: Ride was great; got a huge hit from climbing the big hill and wished I had time to repeat it.

Upon returning I fixed a sandwich (roast beef & horseradish cheddar on whole wheat bread w/Beaver Deli mustard, and an orange off the tree) and attempted to download my Garmin data.  Avast! antivirus called out "Threat detected" and I got to work, investigating what was up.

Every bookmark I hit resulted in the same verbal warning.  I closed out Chrome and tried IE, with the same result.  I closed IE and hit a Twitter link via Tweetdeck...same result.

I closed all the browsers and ran a scan.  I showered & when I came back I found no fewer than 1460 files infected, and a Trojan Horse to boot.  My jaw dropped...I have practiced safe surfing and run anti-virus programs since I first had Internet.  I was blown away.

So the antivirus program suggested I shut down/restart/run a full scan.  So I did.  I made my appointments, ran some errands, came home to find that the infected files could be cleaned up but the best I could do with the TH was to isolate it.

I'm seriously unhappy about this.  I've practiced safe surfing as though the Internet has AIDS, and yet here I am, infected.  No wonky emails have been sent, no accounts hacked, yet a TH is ready for action.

This might not be so noteworthy except that 2 months after the Health Net breach I received notice that my Health Net info was on one of the stolen hard drives (TWO MONTHS?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!), and then last week discovered that Epsilon (I think) had its security breached, and email addresses were compromised.  What's next?

Anyway, that's my rant...and probably a fact of the Internet.  If you surf, you take your chances. And no matter how hard you try, your security can be breached.

Moving forward, once I rid my sweet laptop of this threat, I'll increase security and see if that lets me sleep any better.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Imagine

So today I was shopping at Nugget, my 4th store of the day, and as the bagger filled the bags and loaded them into my cart, she said, "Let's go."  I replied, "Oh, I have this, nothing's too heavy."

Bagger: "Are you sure?  I really don't mind."

Me: "Thanks, I've got it."

Bagger: (crestfallen): "Oh, OK. I like helping you out.  You're so much fun."

Me, taken aback: "Really?  Gee, thanks!  OK, sure."

Bagger: "So what ride did you do today?"

I don't know if she rides, if she's in college, still in high school...I know little about her other than that she's efficient, cute, red-headed, and has paid attention to our shopping habits enough to know what we do. That sold it for me.

I got to thinking as I was leaving the parking lot, what I'd say if one of my clients/friends/acquaintances offered help and I refuse. Of what am I depriving them?  What opportunity am I missing by taking out my own groceries?

This young lady knew that I was capable of pushing out my cart and loading my 4 bags into the car. She wasn't looking for the work. She was looking for another opportunity to connect.  I almost deprived her of that.  I learned more about her in those few minutes than I could have imagined.

As one who has prided (maybe to a fault?) her independence I wondered while driving home what opportunities to connect, to be transparent, to share something some people never get to see but crave, I've missed in my life.  Probably more than I'd like to admit.  Today I let down the "I can do it myself" to accept help that I didn't need from someone who needed to help more than I needed to be helped. I know that young lady got something valuable from that...and so did I.

I'm going to look for more opportunities like this. They're subtle, they're unassuming, yet they have great potential to all involved...if we only open our eyes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Homeowner Hell

Sometime at the buttcrack of dawn on Friday Chris left for a week in Texas.  He's visiting family over the weekend and involved in work T-F.  

I went to Nugget to do the weekly wine tasting in the evening, then met 4 of my runningol mates for a 5-mile run.  Robin & I settled into a nice pace but I didn't get right, kept feeling like I was really working to keep the legs moving.  She has some shoulder issues, and a time constraint, so we cut the run short by about a mile. It's still the longest run I've done since '06.

This morning I tried to open the freezer door (it's a side-by-side unit) and it was stuck. I forced it open and found the ice cube holder half-empty, and a frozen blob at the bottom of the door.  Pried it off and turned fridge & freezer to the limit, then took the dogs for a walk.  When I got home there was no ice, and my cottage cheese was frozen.  Oh, I was so unhappy.

I texted Chris and consulted my home warranty.  For $60 I could've added the fridge but in my attempt to be frugal, I did not. Well, that cost me.  Dang.  

He did some research on his end, and I hit Best Buy (no delivery until Tuesday), a local appliance dealer (could deliver today but would cost $129 more), and a big box store.  BBS can deliver tomorrow between 8-10 (there goes my bike ride w/my friends) and no charge to deliver and haul away the old unit.  

Now I have 30 lbs. of ice in both the refrigerator and freezer sides, and all the magnets and stuff are cleared off the old unit.  What a PITA.

So after installing the ice I thought I'd be productive and mow the grass.  Guess whose lawnmower is waterlogged and won't work?

A glass of Chardonnay and a cigar instead. Gotta love winning.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

First Effort

The Putah Creek Smack Down started March 16. I didn't make it -- mostly because I was showing property, but if I wasn't a wee bit afraid I'd've had my partner fill in for me.

This week, however, I had a plan.  Sunday after our shop ride I got fitted to a time trial bike, an Argon. Then Monday I rode it about 15 miles, stopping whenever I needed to tweak the fit.  Chris brought his multi-tool and was Johnny-on-the-spot with fit tweaking.  At the end of the ride, although I felt kind of like a lawn dart, I was dialed in.

So Wednesday evening I was on my own and overcompensated by taking bike lights and pepper spray.  Yeah, I know. I got a power-nap, a 5 Hour energy drink, and an hour's head start to prepare.  Just what I needed.

The Argon didn't fit on my trunk-rack, so I ditched the rack, put the front wheel in the trunk and the rest of the bike in the back seat, and headed to Winters. In a month I'll be riding to the start and riding home, but there isn't enough daylight now.  I parked, put the bike together, registered (I was #29, like my mental age) and hit the road for a warm up. I did 9 mi. downwind and 9 mi. against the wind to the start.

I warmed up at high intensity and got to the start too far in advance -- easily 16 min. before my time.  My legs had enough time to accumulate lactate so when I started I was in pain for the first mile.  Nevertheless I hit a gear and bore down. I found myself slacking 3 times pushed back to my limit 3 times.

The Garmin told the story: 10 miles, avg. HR 159,  27:32 ride time.

Results yesterday showed 27:29, a personal best for me.  I rode this on my Orbea non-aero bike 2 yrs. ago in 27:32, in July, so to beat that time so early in the season is a big deal.  To say I'm pleased is an understatement.  I'm stoked!

Road race next week -- will I be crowing or eating crow?  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Gross Contest

The other day my Twitter friend @WashingtonTina commented that her blog, which featured this video

hadn't received the commentary she'd been expecting.  As a faithful blogger and reader of my friends' and followers' blogs I had to see what the fuss was about.

Watching the video dredged up a childhood memory that left a lifelong impression.  WTina and I tweeted about it and decided to leave it to you, our faithful readers, to decide which of the 3 stepping-in-it scenarios are the grossest.

Here's my entry, sadly without pictures -- I leave it to your fertile imaginations to conjure up pictures and odor.

I was a child of 6 or 7, playing barefoot in front of our Jersey row house at 402 Buttonwood Street.  It was early evening in late June or early July, after school was out for summer.  I was playing with my siblings, running up and down the street, dodging the Japanese barberry and uplifted blocks of sidewalk. The buttonwood trees between the sidewalk and street, huge in diameter and height, peeling bark always an amusement, had enormous roots that pushed up the sidewalks and made little rollers for our scooters.

No scooters were involved this balmy evening, however, as we played hide and seek.  My sister failed to find me (she was too lazy to look behind the biggest tree, just 3 trees up from our front porch).  I came out from behind the tree, all "nee-ner, nee-ner, you couldn't find me" in that childish sing-song voice, feeling full of myself for winning, when *squish*...I stepped in it.  Dog shit.  Fresh, soft, stinking to high heaven.  Ickily soft and rank between my toes.  I squealed like a pig and cried for help.  My mother offered the 1964 version of HTFU* and reminded me to be in before sunset or I'd be grounded.

I sobbed and sobbed, feeling abandoned and helpless to remove the offensive substance without touching it and make it feel worse than it already did.  I cried again piteously for help, to no avail. The gross feel and horrible stench overwhelmed me, and all I could do was cry.  The most awful thing imaginable!

 My neighbor, Grandpa Danitz, who'd escaped the Holocaust and was blunt yet endearingly sweet, hobbled onto his porch (he was our next-door neighbor) and asked in his thick Polish accent what was wrong.  I tried to put on a brave face as I told him of my quandary.  He told me to find a stick and scrape it off.

Ah, such a simple solution!  Grandpa Danitz became my hero in that moment.  I looked, saw dozens of small branches around me, and used 3 or 4 to scrape off as much crap as I could. Then I walked on my heel around Mrs. Woodward's house on the end of the row to the alley, then to the back yard, where I washed off my foot enough to go into the house just before it was completely dark.  My mother, preoccupied with my 3 younger siblings, was glad to see that I'd figured it out.  I scrubbed my foot until my toes looked like flesh-colored raisins.

I didn't go barefoot outdoors for a long time.

So, dear readers, which story grosses you out the most?  Post your thoughts, memories and votes in the comments below.  WashingTina and I are eager to know what you think.

*HTFU explanation here:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Focus Interruptus

The weather has turned for the worse if you're a cyclist -- unrelenting rain, heavy at times, with an urban flood advisory tonight & tomorrow as well as a wind advisory.  So long, pear tree blossoms -- the ground under you will look like snow by Monday.

My goal today was to clean the plantation shutters downstairs, hit the gym, find frames and order glasses and prescription sunglasses, work on my taxes.

Yesterday's mail featured a letter from HealthNet informing me that my information was on one of those stolen hard drives (in January. January!).  They offered my 2 years of free Debix -- never heard of it until I read this letter -- and what a glorious PITA that was to register online. They not only want typed info, they want voice recognition info as well. My challenge will be to remember my password and code if/when they call.

Had I voluntarily signed up for this service I suppose I'd be impressed with the levels of security.  However, since this is being foisted upon me I'm assuming my usual resistant stance and not embracing the technology at all.  How dare the prompt interrupt my breakfast with directions to voice-record!  Da noive!

After that I had to check my credit report.  Experian, Trans-Union & Exifax have their own unique verifications that I yam who I yam, taking more precious time that was to be spent doing my taxes. Grrrr.

Nothing unusual anywhere among them, so fine.  On to the next task.  Which apparently was cleaning. So I cleaned 2 of 5 plantation shutters that desperately need to be cleaned.

After grabbing a bite to eat we headed to the gym for a heavy weight work out.  Reminded me of the old days (15+ yrs. ago) when I was a personal trainer training for an amateur body building contest.  We'd lift weights until we were numb, pound down some protein drink, hobble about the house and wear clothes that didn't aggravate sore muscles...ah, the good old days. *roll eyes*

After a quick clothing change we headed to Costco to check out glasses. I ended up purchasing 2 pairs for $5 more than LensCrafters wanted for the sunglasses alone. Shock!  So my HealthNet optical "discount plan" officially sucks. That $419 at LensCrafters was *my* cost.  For one pair of glasses.  From Costco I'm getting sunglasses and glasses with multifocal +Transitions+anti-glare coating+indexing (the anti-Coke bottle effect) for the cost of one pair from LC. Buh-bye LC!  Oh, and surprise!  Costco charged no tax.  Yessss! *fist-pump*

We then headed to a motorcycle shop. Chris is convinced that he needs a motorcycle helmet, as opposed to a hang-gliding specific helmet, and has done some research. The nearby shop came up on his Internet searches for having a huge variety of helmets.

And indeed they did. He spent a lot of time in the motocross helmet area, as they provide greater peripheral vision. But oy!  The graphics on those helmets are fugly!

Once he enlisted the aid of the shop owner, Sean, he focused his attention toward road/race helmets, and eventually narrowed down his search to something very eye-catching -- and it matches one of his gliders, too. So the OCP factor is acknowledged and met.  Because it's last year's model it's $200 off list price.  And the shop owner, Sean, rides a bicycle, an Orbea (same make as mine) and knows some of the people with whom we ride.

It is indeed a small world.  I'll get my glasses, Chris gets his helmet, we make a new connection, and we wait out the rain for the sunny days to come.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Time

Kameo and the kids and dogs came over Sunday night for dinner.  She cooked and brought chicken breasts, asparagus, portobello mushrooms & fresh pineapple, and did a mixed greens salad.  Chris made crab-stuffed mushrooms. The evening was magic -- the food, the wine, the company, the antics of dogs and kids -- and no matter where it came from, magic was present.  It seemed that we all needed that kind of fix.

So Kameo called me out on promises to race without actually committing to anything.  We sat down and surfed the NCNCA website and picked out 10 races to do.  A couple of the road races work out to where she can be my neutral feed zone support and picture taker in my race, and I can reciprocate in hers.  In at least one race our categories are combined and we can help each other out (esp. if our fellow 3's and 4's race with us). Giddy with anticipation I promised to email the dates to her and sign up.

Now, 2 days later, I'm looking at SportsBaseOnline and wondering if I really want to do my first race in nearly a year in 3 weeks....

There's a reason why I wear a black wristband with a NSFW phrase on it...time to step up the fierce.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Zen on Two Wheels

I left the house with plenty of time and no expectations. I hadn't ridden in 8 days; meetings, out-of-town seminar, showing property, walking the dogs, sorting my receipts and shredding old papers -- the list goes on and on.

So I needed some peace of mind and an endorphin fix bad. After spending the morning orgazing the loft/office (loftice? Offloft?), shredding a couple reams of old documents, and a couple loads of laundry I decided it was time to ride. The sun was bright, the sky blue, with big puffy cumulus clouds floating overhead.

I gave the dogs a bone to chew and rode out shortly after 1, when it was about as warm as it was going to get.  I spun out the first couple of miles to warm up.  I noticed when I hit the small rollers how much stronger my legs felt.  Thanks, TRX!

There was little traffic, no wind, just sights, sounds and smells.  The shady parts of Cantelow, still smelling freshly wet.  The burbling of the seasonal creeks under the bridges.  The brilliant exuberance of mustard in still-dormant orchards, with the bright clean green of the hills in the background.

Uphill, downhill, rollers, smelling the sensual honey essence of almond trees in full bloom, then back to crisp clear air.  Fresh-cut grass in the face, then wet road in the shade, more gurgling small rapids of a creek alongside the road. Clean air in the face, sun on my back. Effortless pedaling over smooth road, rough road, avoiding gravel, dancing up the hills, standing and sprinting because that felt like the thing to do. I didn't anticipate anything but the next turn of the cranks.

35 miles later, having spent every moment in the moment, I arrived home.  Refreshed, renewed, energized, feeling like the world was right again. Grabbed a snack, cleaned up, downloaded the data from  my Garmin, and was pleasantly surprised to see a 2-mile increase in my avg. mph and  a decrease in my avg. heart rate.

There's magic in taking each pedal stroke as a gift, appreciating the open road and views to sate the senses, and enjoying a ride for just that -- a ride.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Momentous Month

Our daughter scored a job, teaching ESL in Georgia -- the country. She had 10 days from acceptance to liftoff, and she had plenty of obstacles to overcome:  Lack of diploma, Macbook misbehaving, etc. I shifted as much of my workload onto my partner as I could, reasonably, to have the car available to her.

In the end it all worked out, and we're all thankful. It could've been far worse.

Her copy of her diploma arrived 4 days after she left SFO.  Her county medical benefits card arrive 5 days after she left. Oh, the irony: Two months off the meds and she was more like the kid we remembered vs. the drugged kid who couldn't function much.  My belief is that had she still been on the meds she wouldn't be in Tbilisi, ready to launch to a small village.

And our son, after 4 months, 3 interviews, a 3rd-party background check, and innumerable phone calls, scored the job. I'm so proud of him for persevering in spite of the odds.

My loving husband got the promotion on which he's been working for over a year. And a pay grade bump.  He's one of 4 inspectors in the entire C-P  organization to be where he is now.

I'm so proud of them...they rock!  My investment as their support is paying off, and that gives me huge satisfaction.

It's a good life!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Already

By 1/30 I'd taken 5 TRX classes, logged nearly 500 miles on my bike for the month (not counting trainer days), and a dozen sessions with Chris on the ellipticals and weight machines. Down 4 lbs. and up to a power of 10 in enthusiasm.  


We did some gym-shopping because Chris will be gone when our 30-day trial at Gold's is up.  Sunday was rainy, left over from Saturday night, and we opted to pass on the shop ride.  But once we were up, we were UP.  


And after talking to Lisa at Gold's, we signed up.  Nobody else in town could match what they offered.  We paid a year in advance and received 2 mos. onto the contract, plus t-shirts, towels, and water bottles.  We left, worked out and happy.


I rode my bike on Monday and accumulated another 47-miler with intervals and a 5-mile time trial thrown in; bonked shortly after the TT and had nothing but water and guts to get  home.  Ugh and ugh.  


Son rolled into town Tues. night late. He went for a bike ride with my TRX instructor and fellow teammate. They didn't exactly tell me I couldn't go with them, but after I heard what they did, I realized they were better off without me. Sad. But true.

Meanwhile, I attended a funeral for a well-loved, well-respected man whose wife & daughter are agents in my office. I met him in '06 and had no idea of his impact or history until today. I found him charming, quiet, intelligent, and dedicated to his family. I haz much training to do to be race-shape.

The funeral was a full-on Catholic mass, and there were over 200 people in attendance. The opening hymn had me teary and lo, the weeping never really stopped. Dammit. And it was a lovely service.  

Then they had a fully-catered luncheon and over 150 attended that. Nice chance to meet the other daughters, hug the wife and daughter I know, share with some mutual friends his memory. He would have wanted that.

Still, for those 3 hours, the emotions were right on the surface and I found that draining. Had no "oomph" -- and my friends/colleagues were right there -- we all were feeling sapped -- and we used humor and anecdotes to bring us back to center. 

So coming home to a daughter cooking some tasty veggie soup, son still endorphin-filled over his bike ride, husband happy to be home, and dogs excited to see me was a fulfilling experience that made today worthwhile. 

The fine point: Daughter weighed all the ingredients for her soup so we could log it into the Livestrong.com software we use. As a recovering bulimic who has difficulty with our levels of detail re exercise and food, this was huge. After 14 months of living together as adults/family, she gets us (we figured her out a long time ago, but that's what parents do). And we get the dynamic.

As we ate the delicious dinner I had an epiphany: I don't need a damn thing. I have everything I need for a great life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How life has changed with a vegan in the house

Meave is off on a date, and Chris is in SLC on business.  I watched the SOTU and cleaned the kitchen, texted with Chris, did laundry.  Ho-hum, right?

Rewind to 4 a.m., when for no reason my eyes popped open. I tried to go back to sleep for the 30 min. before the alarm was set to go off.  So I had plenty of time to feed dogs, make bed, drink coffee, and get to the gym in time for TRX.

So another challenging workout on the heels of 36 bike miles of intervals and tempo = fried tonight.

I'm glad to be working on strengthening my weak areas, even though the process is painful.  It's like selling real estate; it hurts and then the reward (check) makes it all worthwhile.

Back on topic:  Chris and Meave are both gone and I'm having a rare night alone.

I was going to finish off the ahi steak Chris grilled the other night, and I went to the spice cupboard to find something to sprinkle on top.  I found Porcini Salt, Tequila & Lime, Cilantro &Chipotle spices.  Wait, what?  Who uses that stuff?

Then it occurred to me that I've been eating this for months, without knowing it.  The way Meave has cooked her dishes the spices weren't readily apparent.  I can identify smoked paprika, but these spices are much nore subtle.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how tasty vegan dishes can be.  I also don't have a problem having a vegan dish with a side of fish, chicken, etc. I'm impressed by the assortment of new spices in my cupboard, and how they make food so tasty.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Intentions

In November I was given a 30-day free pass to the local Gold's Gym.  Chris was away on remote inspections for much of December, and when he was home it was raining, so we got our tree and gift-shopped in the rain.  December was a rainy month.

We didn't put up outside lights, although a brief respite allowed us to get the door wreath up.

Our daughter, for her own reasons, didn't help with decorating or undecorating, although Christmas is her favorite holiday.

I was working right after Christmas, so Chris took down the tree 1-2 while I was writing an offer, cutting it up so it fit in the recycling bin.  That bin has never smelled so good.

We finally took advantage of Gold's 30-day free offering.  We joined 1-8 and have been 4 times.  I tried a TRX class today and really enjoyed it. I will hurt tomorrow but I expect as much.

And I have 2 deals in the pipeline, 3 new buyer leads, 3 new listing leads, so to me January is looking like a kick-butt month.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year, New Goals, Been There, Done That

A long time ago I viewed a year as a top-down journey:  NYD was the top, and NYE was the bottom.

So if I didn't achieve my goals in the top1/3rd of the year I'd just give up and beat myself up for not achieving those goals within  that timespan.

Fail.

Now I view time as a line, with no beginning or end.  It continues, and I choose to jump in and set time goals or not.

My goals this year are less specific and more global.  When I've set more specific goals I've failed, mostly, and am tired of the self-loathing associated with failure to reach one's goals.  I'm going to make my goals and
 then some.  Ride more, race more, enjoy more, loath less.

Let's see how that plays out.