Wednesday, December 31, 2008

santa monica-venice christmas 10k

okay, so it's been a few weeks since i actually did this run, but better late than never, right? i love this race. i've done it every year since 2001 ... though usually in a post-flu fog. i've never "run to my potential" at this race. it's fairly flat with just a couple of rises at the end, but like i said, i've always been a little behind the eight-ball when running it. but, i still love it. it's local. i see lots of friends. it's christmas-y (as much as you can expect in l.a.) and it's pretty.

so this year registration time rolled around and lo and behold it was scheduled for 6 days after the city of angels half marathon i was scheduled to run. i told liz i still wanted to run the 10k. i've never run two races that close to one another, but city of angels wasn't going to be my best (but you know how that turned out!) and i was willing to just jog the 10k if need be. in fact, come race day, i was instructed to "shuffle".

my friend rebekah and her friend lori had signed up as well. rebekah and i decided to meet up at 6:15am and bike to the start as a little warm up. i love doing that for local races ... makes it feel like i live in a small town and it seems to help with my pre-race anxiety. there was a slight misting of rain, but it wasn't all that cold.

we all stood at the start line together and agreed that a) none of us were "racing" and that b) we'd start out together, but didn't have to stay together.

since i was planning to shuffle, i started out nice and easy and didn't get all agro about the slow folks and the very narrow road we start on. i just plodded along chatting with rebekah. i felt great. when we hit mile 1 i was surprised to see the lap time. i felt like i was barely moving, but the number staring back at me didn't say the same.

here we are rounding the corner somewhere between miles 1 and 2.

i picked it up a little and still felt great. i wasn't making a hard effort, i was just enjoying myself, chatting with my friend. somewhere just past mile 2 i noticed that rebekah and i were no longer together. i just went with how i was feeling, periodically checking in on my breathing and making sure i wasn't pushing. i had promised liz i wouldn't and i took that seriously.

around mile 3.5 i noticed my "effort" a little more, but it still wasn't one i would call hard or even close to it. at mile 4.5 there was a slight rise in the road. i noticed my breathing for the first time during the entire race. i made sure to just stay steady. i had nothing to prove, no goal to catch and for the first time in a race i felt like it was just flowing, dare i say ... easily.

i reached the venice boardwalk and cruised along knowing i had less than a mile to go. at mile 5.5 i even smiled for the camera and waved ... something i never do. i decided that photo was going to be my proof to liz and j. that i hadn't pushed too hard (despite what was looking like a very respectable finishing time).

of course the photo folks didn't publish that photo, just this one ... but still that's not what i usually look like with just a little over a 1/2 mile to go in a 10k.

i rounded the last corner and hit the finish line. i had finished just :39 off of my 10k PR time. crazeeee! by this time it was definitely raining so i did a brief cool down, went and changed out of my wet clothes and met up with rebekah and lori. we had each done better than we had expected!

at our post-race pedicures i ran through the laps on my watch. i had gone faster with each mile! that's not something i have ever done. i was consistent, strong and didn't struggle. man, if i could bottle that recipe.

i've always known that the stress and pressure i feel when going into a race is one of my biggest obstacles. well, it's a two-sided coin ... that stress and caring is what gets me up on days when i don't feel like training, but it's also a funny little animal that can turn on me come race day and not allow me to just be in the moment. i've been working on it and i have to say there have been a few glimmers of it getting better ... but doing a race that i didn't "care" about and having it go so well is huge proof to me.

i need to continue to care enough to be nervous, but to trust that i am no longer the 165 pound, pack-a-day cigarette smoker that i used to be. funny that i've been on the podium at duathlon worlds, i've finished ironman lake placid, won my age group at smaller races ... yet that's the image i still sometimes carry with me. it's an old tape and as danielle would say, it's time for me to drop my bag of shit.

thank you to a great 2008 and here's to an even better 2009, filled with new experiences ... both on and off the race course.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

cat and dogs

a few weeks ago j. gave me a great gift. not necessarily something all gals would wish for, but me? ... i've wanted this particular present for years. tickets to the eukanuba dog show. that's right, be jealous. i posted an excited announcement in my facebook status bar and let me tell you ... people were excited for me!

i can't tell you how many loser saturday nights i've spent in front of my television watching the "trail to the eukaneuba cup" and then finally the big daddy, "the eukanuba cup". i've learned more about dog breeds, handling and showing protocol than any self-respecting cat owner needs know.

so two weeks ago the day finally arrived. j. and i set out early in the morning for long beach. i was panting and drooling on the car window as we approached the convention center and saw the street lined with eukanuba cup banners!!

once inside it was dog show heaven! having never been to a show in person i wasn't exactly sure how it all unfolded, but i didn't care. i dove headlong into the first activity we stumbled upon "dancing with the dogs" (and you know my love for the other "dancing with the fill-in-the-blank" show.)
what i wasn't prepared for was the faaaabulous people watching that was to be had. here i am having my first dog-owner at dog show experience (sister sparkly heart velour track suit over there nearly took me out trying to capture the cha-hooah-hoooah that was "dancing" on stage). the amount of dog festooned sweatshirts, wood jewely and santa hats was worth its weight in gold!

we made our way out of the dance hall and into the preliminary show hall. there was no telling where to go. it was a 10-ring circus. if you stopped to watch the old english sheep dogs, you missed the newfies.

spend a little time watching the breeders prep their dogs, and miss the mop dogs prancing about. tough decisions were made. priorities were set (with a not so friendly nudge from the breeder-owner-showers who really didn't want us looking at their dogs while they got their game faces on anyway, thankyouverymuch!)

on our way out of the show rings area we witness quite the controversy. apparently the ring where the newfies were being shown was for breeder or owners only. NO handlers were allowed to show the newfies. well, let me tell you ... the newfie that came in 3rd was apparently being shown by a professional handler ... something that the man in the gorton's fisherman outfit made abundantly clear. after much finger pointing and general discomfort for all of us lookie-loos, 3rd place newfie was ousted and 4th place newfie declared the winner (well, 3rd place winner).

stressed out by the controversy, we made our way to the agility area where we settled for the next little while. now that's fun!
j. and i agreed that molly's muppet dog breed (bearded collies) were a lot of fun to watch because, if for nothing else, check out what their fur does when they jump!

exhausted from the pressure of performing we decided to make our way to the upper concourse to "meet the breed". holy dog show, batman! the booths went on forevvvver and each breed area tried to outdo the previous one with their "theme". the newfies were there again, on a big makeshift ship (which finally put the gorton's fellow in context!) and the cavalier king charles ... they had a sort of british tea room thing going on. this is about the sweetest 6 month old cavalier i've ever held. i have a soft spot for the little fellers because, well ... they look like j. to me. in a good way, of course.

as we noodled around, i am pretty sure i saw dr. fitzgerald from animal planet's "emergency vets" ... the tall one with the outdated mustache who works with all the exotics. love him! there were more breeds than i ever thought imaginable. j.'s turkey timer popped and he stepped outside for a little non-dog time, but i pressed on...

there were golden retrievers, every kind of terrier ... too many to mention and few i've never heard of, but the highlight was pearl. she's a lovable, gigantic great pyrenees who i swear, loved me as much as i loved her. yes, she actually hugged me.

finally we moved on to the "big show". we went to watch the best in breed, the preliminary to "best in show" which was a black tie event happening later that night. after the up close and personal experience of the "meet the breed", it was a bit of a disappointment, but fun nonetheless. j.and i had our money on this little fella to win the terrier group and he didn't disappoint.

we had plans that evening (a party called 'fat fest', but that's a whole 'nother oprah) so we couldn't stay for the "best in show", but for our first dog show, i'd say we covered a lot of ground and had a lot of fun.

next up ... a cat show? ... or is that just too humiliating to consider!?!?

Sunday, December 21, 2008



six. blocks. from. my. house.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

cuidad de angels

city of angels half marathon race report:

the past two years i have signed up for the city of angels half marathon. it was started in 2006 and i had visions of being a "legend" runner; never missing a year. my poor grandchildren would be dragged out there 30 years from now to see grandma hobble her way across the finish line ... but both years i've gotten sick right before it. this year i thought "forget it i won't sign up and that way i'll avoid the flu this year".

then i reconsidered, i told myself it was time to get the heck over my hypochondriacalsuperstitiousmumbojumbo. i asked my coach what she thought about running it, since there wasn't all that much time to prepare. she said "You can do it for fun - but I am guessing it would be slower than you are capable of and that might not be fun for you?" i think the question mark was her being nice ... she knows me ... not being my "best" is hard for me, but i decided to give it a whirl.

don't get me wrong, i trained ... just not the same as if i had been trying for a PR. i got to do a couple of my longer runs in novemeber ... one in NY when i went to cheer my brother on in the marathon and another with molly in tempe when we went to cheer for our friend chris at IMAZ.

dec. 7th rolled around and ... NO FLU! j. was the boyfriend-sherpa extraordinare as usual, waking up at some ungodly hour to get me to the start line (it's a point to point race) at the l.a. zoo by 6:30am and then heading downtown to see me finish.

i expected the morning to be a complete cluster ... all 6,200 runners were to pick up their bibs that morning! i sailed through my line. met my friend steven. waited in the requisite port-o-potty lines (why i bother, i'm not sure since i never actually "do" anything) and warmed up by running through part of griffith park's 'holiday of lights' ... it was cool since it was still kind of dark out.

my plan was to go out SUPER slow and then up my pace by about 15 seconds every 3 miles, the last 4.1 holding my fastest pace. i stood at the start line and giggled at myself. i am constitutionally incapable of not getting nervous before a race! it's better with a single sport race than a multisport ... but i still quake.

i set off. i felt really good. i kept checking in with my breathing to make sure i wasn't going too hard. no problem, i feel good. i got to mile one and i was almost a minute faster than the pace i had planned. SHIT! i held back a little more on the next mile (which had a decent hill involed) i was only 10 seconds slower than the first mile. HUH? third mile ... a 6:51! NOT POSSIBLE! i don't want to put myself down or anything ... but i'm no sub-7:00 miler without feelin' some serious hurt, and i was feeling great. it was then that there was a collective gasp around me and everyone yelled out "that mile was short!" no kidding, it was.

at this point my plan for gauging myself off of the first mile of each set of 3 wasn't lookin' so hot. it forced me to work even harder to go solely off of how i felt and to get comfy with the idea that if that turned out to be slower than what my goal was, that was okay. i decided to look at it as a learning experience, a chance to try to get more in touch with my internal pace clock ... something i felt i have lost.

i made myself look around more. i ran through a beautiful trail section, i giggled when i turned a sharp, steep corner and nearly took out a cheerleader who was screaming with her squad along the side of the road. i appreciated seeing my friends amy and angel who were volunteering at mile 7, along hyperion bridge AND being caught at that point by amy's 14 year old daughter, emily. okay, that's a lie ... i wasn't all that pleased that she caught me, but i was happy to see her and she soon fell behind to go use the loo.

i ran through silver lake and thought about my friend jason who lives there, ran past a coffee house where i once met my friend birgitta for lunch. then it was along sunset blvd. where there was the drum section of a marching band. i LOVE drums. if there had been steele drums and some bagpipes along the way, this would have been my new favorite race. it was cool to run a race through all these streets that i know so well.

at about mile 9 i was feeling it. i could tell i was slowing down, but i wasn't sure by how much. the mile markers had continued to be all out of whack. by mile 10 i could see downtown off in the distance...

i also saw that that last mile split on my watch was a 10:24. BULLLSHIT! i laughed at myself ... at mile 5 and 6 i was singing james browns' 'i feel good' and now i'm cursing the fact that i didn't come down with the flu and i'm figuring out just how i am going to tell my coach that i won't be competing in the 2009 season because, it's just not for me!

at that point we dropped down into echo park. i was going along feeling sorry for myself that i wasn't going to make my goal ... when suddenly the thought occurs to me, what if i pick it up? i remembered one of the workouts liz had given me, it had 4x6 min. HARD effort at the end of a long run. those 4 sets hurt, but they had also felt better than all of the miles i had run before them. what if the same happened today? i picked it up. i couldn't tell if i was actually going any faster, but ya know what ... it certainly didn't hurt any more than it had at a slower pace.

htfu, cat. just try. i stuck with it. i kept going. sure my low back was tight. it's aaaalways tight. it's tight at 10 min. miles and it's tight at 7 min. miles. just go! so i went. i caught a nice down hill. i was passing people. i hit mile 12 and it said 6:12. YEAH, RIGHT! i hadn't run a 6:12, but i let myself feel like i had and used it to push me forward. i can do anything for 1 mile! i went through the cool tunnel my friend chris told me aout. i knew the finish was close.

i came around the bend and saw the finish line. it was a lot closer than i had thought. i saw the clock above the finish ... what!?!? I WAS AHEAD OF MY GOAL!

i hit the line 45 seconds faster than my goal time. WOO HOO! i saw j. and he was beaming like he usually does when i race. i snarled when he wanted me to stop in order to take a picture ... but that's just because the effort had started to set in. i walked around. found emily, the 14 year old, who came in a mere 1 min. 15 secs. behind me and basked in the feeling of not being disappointed by my effort and knowing that i had worked for my finish and that more than the physical output, i had worked my way through the mental gymnastics that i go through on race day.

i don't think i've won that battle with myself just yet, but i sure did have a good day with it and just like most things in my life ... the lessons tend to come slowly, but they do seem to build off of themselves and as i result i continue to grow and evolve in to the woman and athlete i aspire to be. what more can i ask for?


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

warning: swim rant ahead!

this morning i got up at the crack o’ "i don’t want to be up this early" and headed over to the pool. our usual Y pool is still closed, so i am over at the college, which actually has a much nicer outdoor pool … but i have to pay every time i go and heck, i’m already paying for a gym membership … but this is a rant about my swim performance … not the price of admission.

for some ungodly reason, this year the glorious multi-lane LCM “fitness” pool is closed to the public (open to college employees) on monday and wednesday mornings. so the rest of us need to squeeze into the 25 yard “splash” pool … which is kept at umpteen degrees and is about waist deep. it’s still a beautiful pool. the water is clear and doesn’t reek of chlorine and swimming outside … well, that’s just the bomb no matter what. that being said … the past two times i have swum in the splash pool, my times have been s-l-o-w and my effort has been h-a-r-d! not a combo this already struggling swimmer is happy with.

i know a guy whose real science smart. one day i was telling him how much faster i felt in the deep end of the “fitness” pool at the college than i do at my Y. he explained something about deep water, the return of energy, blah, blah, blah is what i think he said … but basically he confirmed that i probably did feel faster (a relative term) in deeper water. ergo … it makes sense that i am dog-slow in the shallow, shallow water, no?

whether it’s science or lack of talent, them’s the facts. i was slow. and i was breathless. i’m not sure there was a discernible difference between my “easy” 25 and my “fast” 25. they all felt the same, like swimming in molasses.

it was frustrating, though not goggle ripping frustrating. you know THOSE swims … right? the ones where you rip off your goggles in frustration. ready to pull yourself out of the pool and storm off into the locker room muttering under your breath about 25’s on the :XX and how you prefer duathlon anyway, dagnabbit!

no, it wasn’t that bad. it was just slow. i don’t know if i am maturing as a woman and an athlete or if i’m just getting tired, but i decided to just not fight it. embrace my inner snail and swim my swim. the clock would continue to go round and round and eventually those laps would add up to 2400 and i would be done, i knew that.

i have those moments where i release myself from the struggle. they’re nice, though i always have that niggling question if that was the way to go or if I shoulda HTFU’d? but ya know, for me, sometimes loosening the grip on my expectation is HTFUing … it’s being strong enough to trust in the process.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

cmg + jim = pch

on friday i had a two hour bike ride on my schedule. i did olympic distance training all year so i didn't spend a ton of time in the saddle, at least compared to what i was used to. over the past five years i have traversed the pacific coast highway and all the canyons that branch off of it untold times. i have found everything on the p.c.h., from my cycling legs to my love.

with that in mind, j. and i set out on friday to spend a little time along the coast.

i first met j. when i was looking for a bike box to rent ... in order to visit a fella i was seeing in minneapolis. j. and a friend of his owned a bike box and would rent it out to members of our triathlon club. he and i exchanged a few emails about the specifics. a little witty banter was thrown in along the way and like the good internet sluether that i am, i googled and queried and found a few pictures of him. he was cute. the guy in minneapolis wasn't serious and what was a little harmless flirting?

i went to pick up the bike box (in my best cute outfit that was supposed to look like i wasn't trying to look cute ... that i just naturally looked like that all the time -- yeah right!) j. was as cute in real life as on the internet and in email, but alas as we chatted, he mentioned his girlfriend and where their place was and all i heard past that was blah, blah, blah.

i went on my way ... no harm no foul ... i've got a plane ticket to minneapolis.

fast forward a few months when j. and i run into each other on a club ride ... along the p.c.h. see where this is leading (painfully slowly) to?

we talk, i mention a coach i'm working with, this and that. we part ways. we run into each other on a couple more rides. he emails me about the coach i had metioned, etc., etc., etc. by this time i have a new l.a. boyfriend. j. and i start to ride together. i'll never forget one ride (again along the p.c.h.) where we played that game "friend, f*** or marry) where you pick three people and the other person has to designate if they are someone they'd want to be friends with, have sex with or marry (something like that). we named people in our triathlon club, celebrities ... anyone we could think of. the conversation somehow got on to kirsty ally and while i no longer remember what was so funny, suffice it to say i was laughing so hard i almost learned how to pee on the bike that day.

time passed, we continued to ride together. we were friends. we were training buddies.

i went to italy to race at duathlon worlds that spring and again, i used j.'s bike box, but by now he was my friend and he gave it to me gratis. what a guy! i did well at worlds and i swear my friend j. was more proud of me than i was!!!

fast forward, again, a few months when everyone (of the two of us) is now single and whamo! we weren't anymore. i'll spare you the details ... but will mention that there was a pivotal moment when j. impressed me with his mad craft skills by making me a rose out of a cocktail napkin.

two months later j. and i decide to train for ironman lake placid. fun, great, exciting ... what an adventure. new love, new challenges. okay, i don't know about you, but training for an ironman with your significant other ... while convenient ... is also like pouring miracle gro on any issues that may be between you. endless 7 hour rides in the cold, the heat, the hills and yes, along the p.c.h. is bound to bring out the best and worst in a person. just watch out when it brings out the worst in both of you ... at the same time!

in the end i was impressed with how we managed to navigate such uncharted waters for the two of us. neither of us had done an ironman before and we were so newly together. we experienced everything along the p.c.h. we endured heat, hail, bonks requiring immediate consumption of mountain dew, water buffalo (well, that was off of the p.c.h, but still), untold flats, numerous arguments about pace and heart rate. i was more immature about that stuff than i care to admit. i was scared out of my mind to be training for an ironman and i wanted j. beside me.

we trained and trained and trained. we had fun, we laughed, we were challenged. we made it through the training and finally to lake placid. our final bike splits we TWO SECONDS apart. i kid you not. clearly we were well suited ... on and off the bike.

so as we spun along the p.c.h. on friday, after a 7 month hiatus (j. raced another ironman last april and hasn't wanted to touch his ass to the saddle since) i relived all those times together. i looked at j., his helmet slightly askew, the curve of his back when he was in the aero bars, the back drop of the ocean. i remembered all the times i nearly ran him off the highway as i shouted "dolphins!", i remembered how many times we laughed heartily and cried pathetically. i remembered how he would tell me that he believed in me and that i was gonna do great at ironman.

as we rode along, the day after thanksgiving, i thought about how much we have shared and about how grateful i am for that day, 3+ years ago, when i inquired about a bike box for rent.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

twinkle toes

i admit it, i love 'dancing with the stars'. when i heard about it a few seasons ago, i thought l-a-m-e. then one day in the midst of it's third season i saw emmitt smith dancing and i was

i am a geezer and no longer stay up long enough in order to watch it real time so i tivo it for my next day's viewing pleasure. the season before this past one (triathlon, not DWTS) i was racing longer distances and tuesday mornings during the "winter" (i am in california) were spent on the trainer watching and cheering as apolo ohno sailed across the floor. i was smitten.

then it was helio castroneves ... remember that yellow zoot suit? come on now, who doesn't love a brazilian in a banana suit (liz)!?!?! but really (other than helio and apolo) it's been the football players that have captivated my attention. emmitt, jason, warren. they were all infectious. warren sapp makes me happy. happy, happy, happy.

yes, brooke burke was technically the best of them all this season and (surprisingly) i didn't feel the urge to kill her (hello, kim kardashian!) so i am fine with last night's results. my boyfriend, i am sure, has let out a huge sigh of relief that another DWTS season has passed.

i've made the poor man tolerate replays of more pasodobles than i care to admit (though wasn't that him peeking out from behind his laptop last night to catch a glimpse of lance and lacey's final dance???) there may be hope for him.

if you're anything like me you spent the better part of your teenage years (dare we admit later than that?) dancing in front of the mirror convinced that you had the moves of a solid gold dancer? as i drove to work this morning doing my best bootie shakin' car dance to kanye's latest single i wondered how far i could go on DWTS ... would i be a kristi yamaguchi or a rocco dispirito?

based on the looks from the guy in the audi next to me on wilshire blvd., it's probably best we don't find out. and based on the thunderous quiet across blogland as you remove me from your blog roll ... it's probably best we forget this post happened at all.

happy thanksgiving ... go dance your ass off as if no one was watching.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

everything's faster at ironman

just a quick blog post ... since everything, apparently, is faster at ironman.

we are about to leave for the race site. molly is all prepared to be a stripper and j. and i have our cowbells and good attitudes (well, almost ... we're not quite awake yet).

yesterday ... lunch with molly, chris, wendy and j.

paradise bakery & cafe.

sandwiches, salads, cookies and ...

aero helmet?

like i said, everything is faster at ironman ... even a stop for soda pop!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

shout out

just a quick shout out from arizona. molly and i went for a beautiful sunrise trail run this morning. no pictures, sorry!

there was a huskie dog rescue event going on and the trails were full of rabbits ... one a little reminiscent of the monty python killer rabbit ... i went a little faster after seeing him ... afraid he might hop on up and bite my face off.

last night we had a great dinner with molly, liz, chris and sherpathomas. the pita jungle restaurant was abuzz with triathletes wearing single leg compression socks. i gotta say, it's fun to be in the atmosphere without the pressure of racing.

molly, me and liz. the only two women on earth that can make me look tall (and between you and me, i got up on my tip toes ... just for a little extra bump).

off to the expo now! i sure hope to see this guy again tomorrow.

ironman, nacho libre!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


we’re going to arizona and i can’t wait! i’ve been up to my eyeballs in work, oh now hush up my facebook friends, i can multi-task! j. and i are leaving early friday morning and it’ll be great to have a few days away.

however, i’m not going with the expectation of rest. i will be, as my coach’s hat says, a spectathlete. and let me tell you, i’ve practiced. even on this very course. i spent 13+ hours out there by myself last april simultaneously screaming my lungs out as j. and the course tore each other up and lugging around a heavy heart. more on that later.

i have a long run on my schedule for saturday, but that will be done with muppetdog molly, which i am very excited about. we’ve been chit-chattin’ online and as far as never having met a person goes, i sure do like her.

j. has a ton of work to do so plans to be on his computer for the drive out. the horror. that means i have to “respect the silence” and can’t terrorize him with my hellacious singing while i play ipod deejay… bummer. he’ll miss it … even if he tells you he won’t. he will … i hope.

my coach, liz was going race too which made this trip even more fun. i was under strict instructions to keep her husband away from any kind of bicycle to avoid this happening, but she got sick and is doing the right thing and respecting her body for the long haul by opting out of the race. she is, however, still coming as is my grandcoach, jen. yahoo!!!

jen is affectionately referred to as “miss daisy”, due to her, ahem, advanced age. well, if she’s miss daisy, i fear that makes me jessica tandy’s other oscar worthy character, “alma
finley” from ‘cocoon’ … uhm, before they all got in the water! anyway, i cannot wait to meet jen and witness her live in all her pink splendor.

we’ve had plans to come back to arizona since last april and here’s why. last year j. and our friend chris set out to tackle the 140.6 at IMAZ. chris is a seasoned swimmer, former water polo player and crazy advanced SCUBA diver. needless to say swimming is his strongest leg (though the others are pretty dang good too). this was chris’ first IM. his wife, wendy, and i waited at the swim out. we were looking for chris. we knew he’d be out before j. (no offense, honey). we waited and waited. all of a sudden we’re screaming and cheering for j., but still no chris.

i call my sister in l.a. and ask her to track him online, maybe we missed him coming by? nothing, he hasn’t come out yet. we wait. we shift nervously. wendy’s cell phone rings and she heard just what you never want to here, “we have your husband in the med tent”. turns out a mile into the swim, and may i say up in the front of the pack, chris was struck by intense vertigo. suddenly down seemed like up, which is really not something you want to confuse in a body of water. he kept diving down further despite trying to surface. he started to vomit. he got to the surface, took a breather on the side of a boat then started again. same thing. he tried and tried, but just kept vomiting. he did the courageous thing, he trusted that voice that said “not today”. he got in a boat and sadly turned over his chip.

chris spent a miserable day in a dark hotel room continuing to be sick. but the next day he rallied and took his still woozy ass down to sign up for IMAZ 2009 (then later decided he didn’t want to wait and got a charity slot). he was beaten up, but he again showed his courage and trusted that this too would pass. and it did. now 7 months later he’s stronger, faster and ready to kick the shit out of IMAZ. he is, as the shirts we so proudly wore back on april 13, 2008 … IMAZing.

so when you log on to ironmanlive this sunday, join me in cheering louder than you thought possible for my friend chris, the courageous one who has taught me a couple of things about picking up the pieces and not letting circumstances rob you of the journey.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

don't grab the bumper

two days in and i’m wondering how to find my voice on my blog. or maybe it's what do i want my voice to be? yeah, yeah ...i tend to over think things. i think sometimes i’ll want to just sit down and chat and sometimes i’ll want to be anecdotal. ahhh ... it’s always the combo-platter in the end, ain't it?

i’m my harshest critic for sure … in everything i do. and ya know what i’ve learned? those criticisms, when i give them power, they become self-fulfilled prophecies. i stand in my own way.

there’s a guy i know, al sines, he talks about meditation and about how when thoughts come into his head, as he’s meditating, he just needs to let them float on by instead of judging the fact that he’s having thoughts. he equates it to standing on a street corner watching cars go by … if you grab on to the bumper you're going to get dragged and wind up down the road bloodied and bruised. but if you just stand there and let them woosh by … well you might just enjoy the process. brilliant, eh?

so, i’ll try not to grab on to the bumper as i blog … who knows maybe it’ll infiltrate into the other areas of my life [read: all] that could benefit from a looser grip. : )

Monday, November 17, 2008

swimming sisters

the Y is closed for the next three weeks. last year this created quite a problem. this year, however, the Y and the santa monica pool seem to have coordinated their closures so that they are not at the same time. HOWEVER, as you may have heard, we're in the middle of fire season out here. in fact, we're having california snow. similar to new york snow in its grey appearance and how it lightly falls from the sky, but this snow is the product of raging southern california wildfires -- ash. it's awful. it's everywhere. my car is coated with it. when i walked outside today you could see it, like snow flurries. the santa monica pool is an outdoor pool. it's glorious.

here it is. see what i mean? stunning. but i'm not dipping a toe in it today. when i swim there is, unfortunately, lots of huffing and puffing going on. i could just feel the ash particles embedding themselves in my lungs as i thought about swimming outside.

my sister is always talking about how great her gym is. it's one of the froofie kind. j. and i go to the local Y, where they keep it real (real funky!). my sister's big selling points to me about her gym are 1. you never have to wait to get a lane in the pool 2. even though it's in a busy section of town where you pay $2.50 for 12 minutes to park, they validate for two hours and 3. they have a TON of fun exercise classes.

okay, sister ... take me to your gym TODAY because otherwise i'm not getting my workout done.

she was only going to swim for 15-20 minutes because she just started physical therapy to deal with a shoulder injury. i've got 2600 to do. so we synchronize our watches and decide what time she ought to show up so that we can finish together and then sauna, steam or whatever sisters do at shooshie pooshie gyms in l.a.

that was the plan. we didn't account for the sales pitch i'd get from jimmy dean (he said his parents had a "good sense of humor") the ultra-runner whose "married to an ironman, thankyouverymuch", or the tour he'd insist i take. 25 minutes later, i finally get to the locker room and call my sister to tell her it's now well past the time i was supposed to be submerged. she tells me she just arrived. aces. i scurry down to the pool. and yup, murphy's law, of the two lanes (TWO LANES!?!?!) that accommodate only two people per lane (TWO PEOPLE PER LANE!?!?!?) are filled and one chica is on deck ahead of me. sigh.

i wait. i wait. i wait. sister arrives. we wait. we wait. we wait.

finally i get in. i'm claustrophobic from the get-go. the water tastes funny. the woman in the lane with me seems bitchy. the color scheme of the pool is green (which is just wrong). i hate this pool. but i swim. my stroke is off. the lane is so skinny, i'm certain i'm gonna bash the woman next to me in the head. why is it harder in this pool? is there a current? am i trying too hard to look like a good swimmer for my sister? are we done yet? oh, she's not even in yet. finally sister is in. commence laughing. we reverted to 8 and 10 years old, respectively. we immediately made underwater blowfish faces at each other. i started laughing, underwater. which meant i started choking. this is bullshit. we got out after her 15 min.

we decided to go to the steam room, which jimmy dean promised me i would loooove because of the eucalyptus. now, i like eucalyptus as much as the next gal, but let me just say ... someone got a little liberal with their dosage. practically burned my nose hairs out. there was a woman sleeping in the steam room ... or maybe she was practicing her hatha ... in any case it was loud and unnerving, but not nearly as startling as when the steam machine kicked on to refill the room.

i'm not generally the high-strung, jumpy type, but this thing starts up and i'm on the ceiling, certain we've just had an earthquake. it continued to steam and steam and steam. i looked at my sister. she smiled, but didn't look alarmed. i was starting to panic. is it going to stop? i couldn't see my sister anymore. at what point do we bolt for the door to avoid being steamed alive? no sooner did i actually tell my sister that i was gonna make a break for it, did it stop. thank god, let's leave. too many courtesy, white, fluffy towels later, we say our goodbyes in the parking lot.

i'm thinking i'm not gonna take jimmy dean up on his very generous payment plan membership options. i get to the parking kiosk and the man looks at my ticket. 2 hours and 24 minutes. $5.oo please. that sealed the deal.

i waited for a lane, i paid for parking and i'm the girl in the exercise classes who always goes to the left when the entire room goes to the right ... this is definitely not the gym for me. sis and i had better stick to getting pedicures together.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

why today?

why did i choose today to start my blog? for no good reason other than the workout, the laundry, and the grocery shopping are done. the boyfriend is working. i've caught up on celebrity rehab and i don't feel like cracking the bindings of either of the books i have waiting to be read. so, time to start a blog.

triathletes love them some blogging. my boyfriend, j. has blogged for the past two or three years. i've been lurking on too many sites to name. my recent facebook addiction has left me wanting more. really? more? egads, woman! i don't really want to throw more time to the virtual, but ... i want a bigger box than my status bar. i find myself having more to say than i can condense into one pithy line.

so here i am ... staring at the screen ... with no idea what to say. HA! of course.