Monday, December 28, 2009

I said YES!

So, a new "race" is being added to my calendar for 2010 as my boyfriend proposed last Tuesday before Christmas! We had talked about it and had been making plans but he still managed to surprise me. I am very excited about our future together as he is my best friend, my love, and my biggest supporter all rolled into one great guy!

Just to prove what a perfect guy he is, in addition to getting me a beautiful ring, I also got an incredible bike trainer that is way nicer than I had asked for. As it has been snowing here, it is a perfect time to get going on it. It will be great to get a jump start on my cycling for the year as well as shaping up for the wedding. We are thinking of mid-July so that he will be off from work (teacher) and I can still get my favorite races in! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Goals

Whew, things get crazy around the holidays! Or at least, that is the excuse I am using for not having blogged recently. The truth is, there has not really been anything exercise blog worthy going on. While I am still swimming and playing tennis, all other training has gone out the window. I am not overly sad about it right now, but am starting to miss it which is a good sign!
Since I have not been doing a lot lately, I thought this would be a good time to talk about goals for 2010. More specifically, my goal races for 2010. There will be some smaller races thrown in here, but these are the most important ones.

1. First Half Marathon- Lamesa Great Hogg Race. March 27, 2010
2. DF Ranch Sprint Triathlon-July 24, 2009
3. Hotter N Hell 100-First 100 mile ride August 28, 2010

I am considering an Olympic length triathlon too, but I have not nailed down which one. I will probably do a few other sprint triathlons as well, but the three above are the ones I would really like to do well at.

I am really excited about 2010. I really feel like it is going to be my year to accomplish a lot. It is a big year age wise as I will be turning 30 so that is exciting too!

What are your goals for 2010?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This morning, I got up early and decided to make the most of my time by doing a yoga video at home instead of trying to get to the gym and then come home and get ready for work. I thought it would be a much better use of the time I had as I have been pretty stiff lately. My session went like this:

-Put DVD in and because it was freezing in the house, turn up the heater.
-Get started with the warm-up.
-The dog starts whimpering so I run over and let him out of his cage. Go back to warm up.
-Dog decides to help with my warm up by licking my arms while I am (ironically) in the downward dog postion. I ignore him.
-Realize that now I am moving, I am burning up and don’t need the heater on and go run and turn it down.
-Hear a giant crash in the kitchen and run in there to find the cat has knocked over the trash. Throw cat outside and resume video.
-Dog decides doing the plank is not hard enough and tries to play tug with my hair to make it more of a challenge for me.
-Finished video, guessing I actually “did” 30 out of 45 minutes.

If working out at home is this hard with pets, how on earth do you people with kids ever get anything done? I am in awe.

Turns out doing the yoga this morning was probably a very good decision as I got hit going through an intersection on the way to work. I would like to think being relaxed and loose probably helped me from getting hurt! I am ok, car will eventually be ok, and I am just thankful it was not worse….or that I was not on my bicycle!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water Torture

I felt like this was my expression the entire time I was swimming on Tuesday. I take a lesson once a week with a coach and lately I have just been dreading it every week lately. Why? Because of this:

It is the bane of my existence. You see, I hardly kick at all while I swim. I use almost all arm strength. Trying to kick constantly is a lot like trying to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time. I just suck at it. So, to work on this I get to work with the kickboard. The good news is that I can tell it is helping, but it sure is hard to get motivated to go.

I enjoyed reading the comments on my last post about the time limits my running club is putting on some of their longer races. I think there are several sides to this story but basically what I need to focus on is just getting faster and more consistent and it will not be a problem.

A big THANK YOU to Leah at BecauseITri She ran a picture caption contest and I won a runner up prize of a dozen gels that I know will come in handy soon! Thank Leah!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Slow Runnings

Yesterday in the mail, I received my runnings clubs latest newsletter. On the front page, there was an statement annoucing that the board members had voted to put time limits on several of the club races. Their reasoning was that if you could not run a 13 minute mile, you were undertrained and should not be running. The other reasoning is that if you were slow, it was not fair to make the volunteers wait around for you to finish. There are now going to be cut off times at certain mile markers and if you were not there at that point, your bib would be pulled.

I am of several minds about this. Yes, 13 minute miles are slow. Being slow myself though my first reaction was anger. Obviously, if I am mad about it, then I just need to faster and it will not be a problem. Fair enough. Then I think about all of the people out there (not a whole lot, but still there are some) who are slower than me. I think if I got pulled off the course of a small local race, I would not come back. Is that the message we want to be sending to people? "We welcome all runners, but by gawd, you had better MOVE!!".

I guess I can understand large races having cutoff times, but this is a smaller local club (300 members or so) and something about it just rubs me the wrong way. I don't want people to hurt themselves trying to do distances they are not ready for, but I think in this society, we need to encourage people to come out and get moving.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 Livestrong Austin

This post has taken several days to write just because there were so many thoughts swirling around in my head that I did not know where to begin. Livestrong was such an incredible event with so much emotion wrapped up into it. I guess I should have prepared myself for that but I was so worried about the hills and the bike riding part, that I never thought about how sentimental it would be.
There is so much I could write about the Livestrong weekend. I think the whole reason why I was doing this hit me in the beginning of the ride. It was one thing to pass someone in their 50's who had a "In Memory of Dad" sign on their back. It was a different thing all together to pass by two 8-10 year old boys with that kind of sign on their back. Sadly, they were not the only children I saw with "In Memory" signs on. That part was tough, but it made me really think and be grateful that everyone in my life who has had to fight cancer won.
In my head, this was going to be a one time event. I hate fund raising and asking people for money, but I will be back next year. It is too important not to go back.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


It has been a few weeks, but I did actually do the 5k I talked about awhile back. It was slow, cold, and miserable. My usual running partner, Julie, had some pathetic excuse like being sick and was not able to run, although she did show up and was an excellent sherpa as she lent me headphones when mine broke and had an extra pair of gloves when I realized my hands were going to freeze off.
The run itself was uneventful except my foot really felt like it was on fire the whole time. I ignored it and kept on, but kept having to walk more and more and was pretty frustrated by the whole thing. It was not until I got home and examined it that I found this:

I have never had a bruise on the bottom of my foot before. I remember stepping on something a day or two before that really hurt but had forgotten all about it until that moment. I felt a little better about my constant walking and miserable time after that. It is still a little sore, but I am going to attempt to redeem myself this weekend at Austin Livestrong.

I have signed up to do the 5K run on Saturday and the bike ride on Sunday. I am excited not about the running or the riding, but about maybe getting a chance to meet Fatty. Oh yeah, that Armstrong guy will be there too…..but FATTY! Seriously, this guy is a rock star and I am stupid excited about being at the same event he is at. I am even considering purchasing a new camera that is thin enough to go in my jersey pocket for picture opportunities. I have actually wanted one for awhile, but this may be the reason I get one!

If you have not donated to LIVESTRONG yet and would like to, there is still time. Please visit my page here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Princess Grace, I Am Not

I am not someone who is known for her gracefulness. I am constantly tripping over my own feet and hit the ground a lot. I am used to it. Last Sunday I was playing tennis and was actually thinking about writing this blog entry and talking about how when I play tennis, I actually do feel graceful. It was going to be a wonderful, flowery, feel good post about running and leaping and just feeling great.

I obviously tempted fate and gave the gods too much of a good reason to point and laugh.

You see, I was VERY focused on getting to the ball as we were down in the second set and I really wanted to win. Not to mention I was serving this game, and I refused to lose a game where I was serving. I was flying back and forth across the court like a champ and getting back things I never should have been able to reach. In other words, I was feeling fantastic about myself.

The cross court shot came fast and low. I ran hard, hit the ball….and then ran straight into a metal fence. More specifically the metal fence POST. The next few seconds were pretty black and then slowly changed to fuzzy as I staggered around. I now understood the term “punch drunk” a little better. I do think the first clear sentence out of my mouth was, “Did we win the point?”. Alas, no. I did get the ball back, however, my partner was a little more concerned about her idiot partner having brain damage than she was about the getting the ball back. She has really messed up priorities.

I was able to clear my head enough to resume play although we did lose that set. I was just achy enough that the blow was not that bad. All I could think about was a bath and ibuprofen. Two days later I am recovered, and just talked to my tennis partner about playing tomorrow. She suggested I get football pads first.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ready for the weekend!

First of all, I will apologize to Powerbar. They did send me a nice letter in the mail along with two coupons to try their new crap replacement for my cola gel blasts. Ok, I should be open minded about the raspberry flavor and since they are free, I will try them. Never the strawberry banana though. Yech.

I have started back on my swimming lessons and I can tell a huge difference from swimming on my own all summer to having someone sitting there with a stop watch. I need to figure out a way to keep that drive even when I don’t have a coach there telling me to speed it up. It was nice to report to her that since starting lessons with her, I took almost 6 minutes off of my swim time from my first triathlon to the same one a year later. That is kind of crazy, but you have to take into account that there was absolutely no swim training before my first tri. After that appalling first swim, I decided that would be one part that I would not be able to “wing-it” and needed help.

I am running ( I use that term VERY loosely) a 5K this weekend. My only goal is to do it faster than last year. I have no idea how long it took me, but I have a feeling it should not be too tough to beat it.

LIVESTRONG Austin is in a few weeks. I have been taking a few spinning classes to help get ready and I forgot how much I really love those classes. I love the pounding music and seeing how hard I can push myself without worrying about having to have the energy to ride back home. It is just fun and I feel like I grin like an idiot the whole time. It will be good to keep with those through the winter when I usually slack so hard on my biking because of the lack of light in the evenings.

Is anyone else having a week that is dragging??

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bike Report and Powerbar Complaint

I did end up doing the bike race last year although due to my cold, I brought my mileage WAY down and did 32 miles. Oddly enough, the longer I was on the bike, the better I could breath and by the end of it I was feeling so good I wished I had ridden the 48. Sort of.

This race was pretty cool because the swag bags were incredible. I realize this is not the reason one should attend events, but it is pretty high up there for me. That and the fact they gave free lunch afterwards. That totally had me sold. For a first year event, it was very well organized, tons of rest stops, and great volunteers. If they have it next year, I am there in a heart beat.

It was interesting because this race was very diverse as far as its participants and there were a lot of obvious beginners on mountain bikes and cruisers. While I am always glad to see new people at bicycling events, it is slightly terrifying because you just never know what newbies will do. Like riding three abreast on a highway and oblivious to my calls of "car back!!". Probably because they had their earphones in, a HUGE pet peeve of mine. Luckily, I did not see any accidents and was able to get around most of them pretty soon without incidents. I really wish headphones were banned for all cycling events. It is just too dangerous with that many people around.

In another gripe....Powerbar is now on my bad list. They have stopped making the Gel Blasts in the Cola flavor and replaced it with some strawberry banana crap. I have raved about these several times on this blog and they were just the greatest supplement in my mind. I wrote an email to Powerbar and as I figured they probably would, I got a very typical form letter that did not address anything I talked about. are dead to me. (although I did order a case from a supplier that still had some left) After those run out though....I am going back to Shot Blocks!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Triathlon pictures

Here are two pictures from last weekends triathlon. You can see Greg off in the back right hand side running in after me which was sweet. He said he could not figure out if that would offend me or not, but honestly at that point, I could not breath much in order to answer him. I look like I worked really hard because my shirt is all wet but a lot of that is left over from the swim and the constant rain/mist that continued through the whole race. I ended up in a long sleeve cotton shirt because it was cold that morning, but some sort of technical tee would have been wiser because of the water. That cotton shirt was very heavy by the end! You learn something every time though.

I am signed up to ride 62 miles this weekend at a race in Plainview. It should be a very flat course and a good ride however at this point I could care less due to that fact I have had a cold invade my body. I think it is getting better but my nose is about to drive me insane. I think no matter what, I will go but I might consider downgrading to the 48 mile ride if I am not feeling better. I am going for fun so no point in making myself more sick and miserable for a fun ride!

Here are some picture from the rehearsal and the wedding this weekend. It is kind of nice to have a picture where I am not in a race and soaked in sweat! And my hair is even fixed!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Triaversary!!!

This weekend was my 1st Tri-aversary and even though I really did not want to, I went back to go for my second go around of the Texas Tech Rec Triathlon. I had been working on my friend Julie’s wedding for the last several days and when Sunday morning came around, I had a HUGE case of “I don’t wanna”. I had a somewhat groggy conversation with Greg that went like this:

5:15 AM Sunday Morning
Me: “I am not going.”
Greg: “Snore”
Me: “Seriously, I don’t want to go”
Greg: “………………yeshyoudo”
Me: “I just don’t care. I am tired and too fat to race. And it is cold and wet outside. Did I mention I was tired and don’t care about this at all???”
Greg: “sigh…….I will go with you”
Me: “No, you don’t have to because I am not going”
Greg: (puts foot in my back in attempt to get me out of bed) “You already paid and told people you are going. Is this nerves?”
Me: (stubborn and defensive now) “This is not nerves. I am tired and DON’T CARE!”
Greg: “Then stay………snore”
I turn off the light and turn off the alarm.

6:15AM Sunday Morning (the time check in and body marking begins)
I jump out of bed and announce I am going after all and we need to leave in ten minutes.
Greg: “......muttered cursing…”

He did go and watched his first ever triathlon and was so sweet and supportive and even bought me breakfast and coffee afterwards. I was several minutes faster than last year, but managed to still come in second to last. I was not impressed because I had really felt like I was doing so much better, but sometimes that is just the way it goes. My swim itself was probably at least 4 minutes faster than last year which tells you just how much the lessons I have been taking have helped. I wish I had remembered my watch, but it just did not seem important at the time.

No matter how bummed I was about coming in last of the pack, I have now been a triathlete for a year and no matter how slow I am, I still get the title and can be proud of it. I just have to remind myself that I am doing this for me and for the fun of it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Touch Base

No real reason for the camel picture. I just like him. What could be better than a Thursday Camel Kiss?

-I am not doing a race report for the Hotter N Hell. I tried and failed. It was a great ride and my 5th time so that was exciting but honestly nothing that exciting happened. We went, rode, and drove back and had a great time.

-My dog is healthy and happy and try to destroy everything in sight. He has gained back all of the weight he lost plus a few. I guess not eating for 8 days will really make you appreciate food! He is now 6 months old and about 54 pounds. I am so thankful he is ok, but he is starting his teenage phase for sure!

-My old roommate and triathlon buddy is getting married this weekend. I am doing the flowers and helping my boyfriend do the video so it will be busy but I am sure a lot of fun!

-I wasn't going to do it, but I signed up for a super sprint Triathlon this weekend at Tech. It was my first ever triathlon a year ago so even with the wedding craziness, I wanted to go see if I could do it faster than I did last year. It is a 400 M swim, 12 mile bike, and 2.5 mile run so pretty easy and should be a bright spot in my otherwise hectic weekend. My boyfriend is even going to get up to go watch because he has never been to one!

-I have rediscovered my love for tennis in a big way. It is amazing how quickly I am willing to drop other things I need to be doing to go play a few sets. A friend from the barn and I have been playing about twice a week and have started playing doubles and I LOVE IT! I come home in a great mood even though I am tired and sweaty. It is just nice to be able to find such joy in a sport again.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Ok, after almost 8 days at the vet, my puppy is finally home to stay. We still have to be careful with him and he is awfully skinny, but he is HOME! I appreciate all of the kind comments! It is amazing how attached you can get to those pups in such a short amount of time.
We did make it to the Hotter N Hell 100, but I am going to wait on some pictures for the report. It was a blast and I am so glad I went!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Puppy Prayers

I am leaving today to go to the Hotter N Hell 100 in Wichita Falls TX. It has been a hell of a week and I have thought about not going. My sweet puppy came down with parvo and it has been a long drawn out ordeal with bad vet advice and I feel like we wasted three days when he could have been getting the right treatment. Luckily, he is now in very good hands, but it could still go either way. Since I am only going to be gone about 24 hours, I have decided to go ahead and go to the race and leave Sam in the capable hands of the vet and of his many friends and family. While I hate to ask for prayers for my puppy with so many other serious things going on, I am going to do it anyways. If you are of the praying sort, please say a few words for my courageous and kind puppy. I have told him numerous times since this began that he was the one that made me take him home and love him so he is not allowed to leave me now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pet Photo Friday

Ok, I could pretend I take pictures of things other than my pets, but even if I actually did, there is no way that anything else could be this cute.

One day, Greg was changing clothes so we could go out. I did not realize that Sam was in there with him until he came out wearing Greg's shirt. He was very proud of his shirt!

Sam has a very long tongue. This kind of reminds me of a scene from Beetlejuice.

My old roommate got this pillow specifically with Sally in mind. It fits her personality perfectly and she sleeps with it so often it really makes me believe that she can read.

We had two foals born at my parents farm recently and their German Shepard was so excited because she thought she finally had playmates her size.

The bengal kitty stare down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Blues

The only bad thing about having Monday off of work? Tuesday turns into Monday and now you are a day behind to boot!

The weight loss has been up and down. I hit my all time high weight a few days ago, but now am luckily down several pounds. I am sure it would have been down more, but I spent several days in the car traveling to meetings and that is the worst diet sabotage time for me. Now I am back home and eating more whole foods and lots of veggies and I am seeing a real difference in weight and overall feeling great. Grease has such a nasty way of being addicting but it just makes you feel like crap at the same time. I have started tracking with the Daily Plate at and I think that helps a lot too. I loved Weight Watchers, but this is free and the database is HUGE for foods.

I did get in some running miles this weekend and that was good. I had planned on doing a short out and back one day, but ended going further and doing a big loop because the dogs on the out and back path were really aggressive and not anything I wanted to face twice. Good motivation to go further! My pup was not quite so impressed and we walked the last mile partly because he was pooped and also because I had a huge nasty blister on the back of my heel.

I have the Hotter N Hell 100 coming up in less than two weeks that I am getting excited about. I am not trained for a ton of bike miles, but I am still going to do the 100K. I am in no hurry this year and just want to enjoy the race, the incredible rest stops, and the fantastic people. And maybe a little bit of shopping and/or drooling at the Expo. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hot Dam 2009

Last weekend I had my 16 year old niece visiting me. I am sure that she thought the weekend would be full of girly shopping and getting manicures and relaxing. Silly girl! I woke her up at 6:45 on Saturday morning to run a 2 miles race I had signed us both up for. My niece is adorable and skinny, but athletic? We would see.

We met up with a few of my friends and were amazed at the number of people there. I was pretty sure that the number had doubled since last year which was great for the running club that sponsored it. My friends and I started off very slowly because, well, we are slow. My niece looked our pace in utter horror and took off. I was impressed with her gazelle like stride, but was also wondering how long she could keep it up. I kept up a decent pace for me and just went on with my plan to just keep moving.

One cool thing about these two mile runs is that there are more and more children doing them. One little boy in particular was running close to me and he had me cracking up because everytime I would get close to him, he would sprint ahead and then walk. This went on for most of the first mile and then I finally passed him. I could hear him muttering something several times but had no idea what it was. He ended up close to my friends and was doing the same sprint and walk thing and was determined not to let two more girls pass him. I asked my friend if she heard was he was muttering and she said that he was chanting "This sucks. This really sucks" the whole time. I laughed pretty hard at that. We have all thought that so many times!

Even though my niece was not able to keep up her leggy run for long, she was still able to beat me by several minutes. She did admit that she nearly threw up and was fairly bitter and dramatic about the whole thing in the way only a teenager can pull off. The whinning tapered off until that evening when after sitting still at the movies for a few hours....she stood up. I felt much better about her beating me that night and the whole next day as she hobbled around. I also got an angry text when she got home saying, "My house has STAIRS!!!". Guess her quads were a little tight. :)

Even with the whinning, I know she was proud of herself because she carefully packed her race number away and wanted the pictures so she could frame it when she got home. Pretty cute!! Maybe one of these days I can talk her into another one, although I think I might have a better chance of talking her into a bike ride.

Talk about back of the packers! We started out in the very back of the race in order to not get run over by the speedsters!

I love this picture with my niece's hair flying in the wind! It makes her look like she is just flying on the course!

I am so not impressed by this picture. I HATE the glasses but my eyes have started to revolt against the contacts. I look like I am very confused here. I am only posting it because it did not seem fair to post my niece's picture and not mine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

POM Wonderful

Recently I was sent a case of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice to try out. I have seen this in stores for awhile but have never tried it until now. I love pomegranates, but they are kind of a pain to eat enough to get health benefits from so I was interested to try this out.

First of all, the little bottles are adorable. Not enough reason to buy it of course, but I think they are super cute. Second of all, and the most important…it tastes incredible. It is like a better tasting grape juice and it has a nice twang. I was afraid it would be a little bitter or sour, but it is really good, which is the first step to drinking anything that is supposed to be good for you! If it tastes gross, you are not going to want it to take it. To reaffirm my taste buds were not the only ones that liked this, I gave it to an 11 year old, my boyfriend, and my boss to try and they all were impressed.

After trying it, I started looking at the material they sent and also looking at the website. There are a lot of health benefits to drinking POM juice including prostate health, erectile function, and it is antioxidant powers. The one that impacts me the most is cardiovascular health though. In a family that has a history of heart disease and high cholesterol, I want ever advantage I can in order to prevent having problems later on. The information they have on the website is clear and is also very convincing and worth checking out.

One thing that I am going to post on here from the website is a recipe I found on there for an Athlete’s Post-Workout POM Smoothie. This just looks incredible and I can’t wait to
try it.

Athlete's Post-Workout POM Smoothie
• Ice (to taste or texture)
• POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
• Fresh blackberries
• Frozen cranberries
• Fresh bananas
• Fresh blueberries
• Fresh kiwi
• Fresh strawberries
• Spinach leaves
• Carrots
• Tomatoes
• Heaping tablespoon of ground flax seed
• Orange juice


Put all ingredients into a blender. Use the freshest fruit you can get for the season and you may need to adjust ice or other ingredients to taste.

Blend ingredients until smooth and enjoy.

There are other good recipes on the website that are worth taking a look at. If you are looking to try this, at my local stores I have found it in the refrigerated sections and not in the regular juice aisle.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Impatient Person's Foto Friday

I finally have some pictures to post and I am just too impatient to wait and do it on Friday.

My horse Czecher grazing and drying off while a friend from the barn and I have our "beer and bath day". We give our horses baths and drink beer while they dry! It is so pretty and green now and Czecher loves helping keep the mowing to a minimum!

Poor Sam gets so embarrassed when his mother flips his ears back so he looks like Princess Leia.

A much happier puppy who is very quickly outgrowing my lap! He is growing so fast that I am having a hard time getting enough food in him so he does not look skinny! The vet said he will probably end up weighing around 90lbs so he is going to be BIG!

They finally got the pictures up from the bike ride my brother and I did back in July. My brother is one to normally cover his face when people are trying to take pictures so I am glad to have these where he can't hide!

Friday, July 31, 2009

df Ranch Triathlon Race Report

Last weekend I raced in the First Annual df Ranch Triathlon. This race was cool for several reasons, the main reason being that it was held in my small hometown of 12,000 people. The other reason being that all of the profits went to Alzheimer’s research. As soon as I heard about it, I knew that if I did not accomplish anything else this summer, this was going to be the one race I did.

My friend Julie raced this with me and so went down the night before and picked up our packets and drove the bike course. I am very glad we did that because even though it was only 14 miles, it was pretty hilly compared to what we were used to and it was good to be mentally prepared for that.

We both crashed early that night and while I slept fitfully, I did not feel overly tired, just excited and nervous. I had half of a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, and water for breakfast and felt really good about that. I usually have stomach issues before a race, but I had been very careful about what I had been eating for the last few days and kept it all pretty bland which really made a difference. We made it to the race site at the perfect time and had just the right amount of time to get marked, chipped, and set up transition. I have a bad habit of being too early then just sitting there and having lots of time to get nervous.

The best part of the race happened right before the swim. My dad, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew all showed up to watch the race! I have never had anyone come to a race before and so I thought this was really neat that they got up early to come and watch. The only downside: my brother had a video camera. More on that later.
I was not very worried about this swim. The water was warm and I decided to go without the wetsuit because I figured the time I saved because of the buoyancy, I would lose getting out of it and I really wanted easy transitions. I think I made the right choice as I felt very free and easy in the water. Looking back, I did not push myself hard enough and played it a little too safe in the water although at the time, I thought I was doing pretty well. I came out with a time of 13:20 for 500 meters but WAY better than my last open water swim in May (15:31). While slow, making an improvement of 2:11 makes me very happy and I know the more open waters I do, the more comfortable I will be and faster I will get.

My T1 was 1:58. I am not sure why it was so slow because it seemed like I was fast, but there was a small matter of trying to get my right shoe on my left foot and that took some time. I was also worrying about Julie because we both knew that the swim would be her hardest part. I knew there were plenty of people there to take care of her and so I just tried to push on knowing that she could probably catch me in the ride or run.

The bike ride was pretty slow going. I could not get my rhythm and I really struggled the whole first half. Every hill felt like I was climbing a mountain and I was painfully slow. I was working my way through a bag of Powerbar Cola and by the time I reached the turn around, I got my second and wind and felt like I was flying. I had been riding alone for several miles, but about a mile after the turnaround, I saw several more people out on the course which made me realize I was not last which is a nice feeling. One of them was Julie and she really looked great and so I was relieved that she had not drowned! I yelled some encouragement to her and now really put tried to make up some time. Some of the hills on the way back really slowed me down again and I ended up with a time of 1:04:36. This was more than 15 minutes off of my goal of 45 minutes for the bike, but I am still going to be positive about it as I just have not done enough hill training.

T2 was :49 and I felt really good about that. I threw on my shoes, remembered to take off my helmet and grabbed my hat. On the video, I looked pretty strong as I ran out, but I remember gasping for breath and just thinking to myself “Just get past where they can’t see you anymore and you can walk”. And I did. I caught my breath and then started on my plan for running for 2 minutes and walking for 1. My run is horrible, but I was very comfortable with this plan and was soon able to push it to 3 or 4 minutes before walking. Now, this did not make me any faster, but my goal was just to keep going. And I did. One girl caught up to me at the very end and I fought, but I just could not keep my lead or catch back up with her. I finished strong though with lots of cheers from my family and other participants. As usual, my throat tightened and I could feel the tears starting to well as I crossed the finish line, but I was able to push them back because I did not want to explain to people that I was not upset, just proud and emotional. The race had just been great with really supportive people and a perfect course.

I met up with my family and circled back to the run course to cheer on Julie. I was pretty shocked that she had not caught up to me on the run course. My family told me that she had a really rough swim and tried to quit afterwards, but the volunteers made her keep going. I was so proud of her at that point, because keeping going after that must have been really tough. To put this in the proper perspective, she really just learned to swim and bike about 9 months ago so to go from very little knowledge to doing a triathlon in less than a year is incredible!! She is hard on herself and so I knew she would be beating herself up, but she did such a great job. She ran in strong and her first words to me were, “Never again!!”. I knew she did not mean it though.

Awards came next and this was a very small race so we both won awards! Julie won 3rd in her age group and I was 2nd place Athena. This is the point where I suppose I should bring up that there were only 3 people and 2 people in our groups respectively, but that part matters very little to me. To me, it was not placing that mattered or how many people we beat (or didn’t) but that we did it. There were lots of fears and insecurities that got left behind on that course that day and I don’t ever plan on picking them up again.

The only thing that brought me slightly down was seeing the video. I know I have gained weight over the last few years, even with my training. Seeing the video truth that I am at least 30 lbs overweight was hard. I wish I was talking about a few vanity pounds, but at this point, I have to be truthful with myself and that I really have a weight issue that needs to be addressed before it gets out of hand even more. Obviously, I exercise, but I know when I do, I over eat afterwards and take in way more calories than I burn. It is time to rein that habit in and be as dedicated to my nutrition as I am to training. Both need work, but I am not going to let this be an insecurity that stops me from trying in the first place! This probably will be something I talk about more in this blog from now on as a way to hold myself accountable. I think the motivating factor will not just be looks, but how much easier that stupid running will be!

I am hoping to have pictures soon for you guys! They did not have an official photographer, but I know there were pictures being taken by some people and I will try to find some of those. Oh and my first triathlon medal? It is now sitting comfortably in a shadowbox on the wall with my number and swim cap. I am putting it up in my room so every time I go through the door, I can see something that I achieved and am proud of doing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

100th Post, 100 Things About Me!

In honor of my 100th post, I am going to attempt to write 100 things about me. I honestly cannot believe I have found enough material over the last year to warrant 100 posts, but I guess I have! I have learned a lot and I honestly think this blog is the reason that I have kept going with the whole triathlon idea. Thank you to all of your for your help and inspiration!

1. I am one of 5 kids and the youngest child by 15 years. Only girl too!
2. I have been riding horses since the womb. One of my first baby pictures is a picture of my mother riding in a horse show in Scottsdale with a visible baby bump.
3. In high school, I really wanted to go to boarding school. I am sure I romanticized it from books and movies, but I really wanted to go. My parents were too cheap and used the excuse that they loved me too much to let me go. Hogwash.
4. I loved playing tennis in Junior High and High School. It was the best part of school for sure.
5. I have totaled two cars. I refuse to accept the blame for either one.
6. I could eat pickles and ranch all day.
7. I raised an orphaned axis deer named Howard a few years ago. In case you did not know, baby deer can in fact scream when they are hungry and want you to hurry up with their bottle.
8. I went skydiving on the 4th of July a few years ago. Ok, so I was really pushed out of a plane with a guy strapped to my back. I was really sure I was going to get out of the whole jumping out of a plane thing but turns out I was not the only resistant client this guy had ever had and out we went.
9. As a result of the above mentioned incident, I am now afraid of heights. Flyovers in big cities make my hands sweat. Just thinking about it right now has made my hands so slippery that it is hard to type.
10. I got to see my horse, Czecher, being born. He was a sickly fellow and he spent a lot of his first few days of life in my lap. This is probably why now he thinks he is more of a dog than a horse.
11. I am closer in age to my nieces than I am my brothers.
12. I rode my first 100K bike race riding a 50 lb touring bike that I was completely, obliviously, happy with.
13. I broke my leg when I was 4 and was so unhappy about being slowed down by the plaster that I banged the cast against the concrete until it broke off. They then put a REALLY heavy cast on me so there was not even the option of lifting my leg in order to bang it against the concrete.
14. My two favorite magazines are Women's Health and Runners World. I like the triathlon magazines, but they always seem more expensive.
15. At 29, I am for the first time living all by myself. It is different, but I really like it for now! I think everyone should get a chance to live by themselves, especially before getting married.
16. I have a huge crush on Colin Firth. I think it is his awkwardness that I like about him, but either way, he is drool-worthy to me.
17. I used to be a person who never turned on my cell unless I needed to use it and had no understanding of MP3’s. Now I never leave my house without my cell phone and iPod. If I don’t have them, I get very itchy.
18. I hate painting my toenails because the stupid stuff just comes halfway off and looks horrible, however sometimes before a triathlon, I paint my toes because I know I will be standing around looking at them.
19. I love red and pink. I am not sure where the pink fascination came in, but everything for my bike I have bought is now pink. I have to say that the bright pink handle bar tape makes it super easy to find in transition.
20. My horse is name Czecher because he was born right after a trip to the Czech Republic.
21. Between my boyfriend (Greg) and I, we have five pets: Sally, Simon, Sweeny, Sage, and Sam. It gets really hard to yell at a pet without stumbling over the name and using the wrong one at least once.
22. Due to the above mentioned naming, I am really afraid that if we have kids, we are going to be those obnoxious parents that get hooked on a letter or a pattern.
23. I nearly strangled myself as a six year old by going down a slide with a jump rope around my neck. The jump rope got hung on something on the way down and I hung there for a moment before someone freed me. Terrifying. That lack of oxygen could explain a few things though.
24. I got started doing triathlons through blogs. I think there was an article in Women’s Health a few years ago about great blogs. I think Rachel and Leah were two of them, but don’t quote me on that. It just snowballed from there. It is amazing to me how people you have never met could have such an influence on you.
25. Ever since mentioning the pickles and ranch, I cannot get them out of my head. What is even better is that since my garden started producing cucumbers, I started making my own and they are incredible!!
26. I am really bad about being a homebody. I just really like to stay home or hang out with just a few friends and keep it low key.
27. I love, love, love the Powerbar Gel blasts in Cola flavor. They don’t upset my tummy, they give me lots of energy and I feel like I am getting to eat candy. I really feel like Powerbar should sponsor me because I tell everyone how much I love them.
28. After going to her first triathlon with me, my friend gawked at the (very hot)spandex clad guys waling around and simply said to me, "I understand the pull to this sport now".
29. As a rule I hate running, however, having a dog along really makes a difference to me for the fun factor.
30. My bike collection is up to three now. I really feel like I need a tri bike to round out the harem. It will be awhile on that one though.
31. I am blind as a freaking bat. If I ever lose a contact during an open water swim, there is a good chance I will be fish bait as I doubt I could see shore from 10 feet off. And no, sadly, not a candidate for Lasik. It is a good thing I have a dog now because he could be my seeing eye dog one day. Greg would just lead me into poles all of the time for the fun of it.
32. At the barn I worked at before starting at the bank, we used to have to collect the stallions for artificial insemination. My friends knew those days as "horsey porn" days. It was.....interesting.
33. If I am eating candy like M&M's, I like to eat them in pairs by color.
34. I was a vegetarian for about a year, but I was constantly sick so I went back to meat. I am sure I could do it now that I am more nutritionally educated, however I think I like steak a little too much to do it.
35.I hate perfumes. I can handle a little light scent, but most perfumes give me a horrible headache.
36. I don't do snakes very well and tend to yelp a lot around them. Irony: My hometown host The Worlds Largest Rattlesnake Roundup.
37. I love to read, and while I can not stand harlequin bodice rippers, I do enjoy my fair share of stupid Chick Lit books. I have to read just a little bit before I can fall asleep.
38. My very first triathlon, I did not bother to check my bike over as I came running out of T1 to hop on it. The chain had fallen off and I went right over after two furious pedal strokes that got me nowhere but on the ground. Great transition!!
39. Now that I no longer have a roommate in residence that does the dishes, I have switched to paper plates. I balance the trash factor in favor of water being saved.
40. I love jewelry but I very seldom remember to put it on except for the staple pieces I never take off. (this does not mean I don't want more. hint hint)
41. I am a very lazy decorator and just don't care that much. I like the minimalist approach due to the fact it leaves me with less stuff to pick up and dust.
42. I would much rather work outside doing just about anything than doing housework.
43. My name is Renee and I am addicted to Craigslist.
44. And possibly MSNBC too.
45. I used to love to wear super high heels however I have now decided my feet are too important to wreck doing that.
46. In addition to raising the deer, I also had a baby bobcat. I still get to go visit him but he still has a lot of wild left in him so he is not like a housecat for sure!
47. I like most animals more than most people. They do things that usually make sense. People don't.
48. There has been more than one race where I have been dead last and having the cleanup car follow me in. There is nothing worse to me than having someone driving slowly behind me staring as my ass while I try to finish.
49. I am certified to SCUBA, however I have only been on one real dive trip. I have problems getting my ears to pop so I end up getting ear infections when I try. Given the chance though, I will go again for sure!
50. Most people can walk a mile faster than I can run it. I don't train it often enough though so it is typically my own fault.
51. I love scratch off lottery tickets. It is a good thing I hardly ever have cash on me!
52. My best friend and I were in love with the same guy in high school. You would think this would cause problems, but instead we stalked him together. He ignored us.
53. This same best friend and I were tennis doubles partners. We were once playing a match where a father decided to come cheer on his daughter while laying in a reclining chair, covered in oil, and only wearing a Speedo. Horrific enough, but he had to add to it by shouting "Stroke the ball girls!!".
54. My dog is very jealous that I have a belly button and he does not. He thinks that he should investigate it often.
55. My dad was a horse trainer before he became a doctor. When he first started applying to medical school, they all told him he was too old at 30. The Ostepathic school finally took him and he has been a big advocate of them ever since.
56. My mother probably married my father in part due to the fact he was a horse trainer. When he decided to go to medical school, she (with 4 sons) became a nurse in order to pay for it. She said her whole goal as a mother was only to keep them all alive and not a lot past that. I came much later.
57. I cannot watch an entire movie at home without getting up to do something else or falling asleep.
58. I love the Harry Potter and Twilight series. I think they are ageless.
59. I wear a lot of black not because I could be depressed or that I think it is slimming. I just hate having to worry about matching stuff up and black is easy.
60. My boyfriend, while not having any desire to do any of these things himself, always supports my crazy lifestyle by going to horse shows, bike races, etc and then tells his friends and family all about it. It is nice to have someone proud and supportive of you.
61. I am eating my first watermelon from my garden as I type!
62. I love the Disney Channel. I don't care how stupid it is, it makes me relax and laugh.
63. I have a Dilbert calendar on my desk and sometimes the comics hit a little close to home as far as office life is concerned.
64. I love and hate going to restaurants now where I can't use the discounts because it seems like a waste of money.
65. In general, I am a coupon and bargain freak. My new discovery....Talbots and Target both give new things to our goodwill so you can get brand new items for SUPER cheap. I wish triathlon stores did the same thing.
66. I want to whack people in the head that still wear their trucker hats off to the side.
67. Coffee is my friend. Maybe even one of my besties.
68. I have a day planner that I carry around in my purse and I love it. I love writing down everything I need to do and being able to open it and know exactly what I am doing on a certain date. That way, nothing sneaks up on me.
69. It is raining out right now and it makes me want to curl up in a chair and read all afternoon.
70. I am kind of thinking I would like to try from Ironman Kansas 70.3 next year. The only problem being that it is just 3 weeks before Buffalo Springs which is local so the more obvious of the two to do. Hmmmm...
71. I want “push past the pain” to be my new mantra. I can do it while swimming and biking and get into that great comfortable feeling, but not while running yet. Of course, it helps that if I stop swimming, I can drown and if I stop pedaling I fall over. Both good incentives to keep moving.
72. I like the word LIZARD. Just say it over and over again really fast. I love it.
73. I love wine glasses. I have a fairly extensive collection and have to really stop myself from acquiring more.
74. I am afraid I am going to start repeating myself soon, but am to the point where I am going so blank on new stuff, it does not really bother me.
75. When I was in elementary school, we had a 100 mile club. You would bring notes from your parents saying how far you had walked or ran on your own. Since we walked our 3 mile block every night, it did not take long before I finished and I was the first one to do it! The PE coach made me a trophy and I think I still have it somewhere.
76. Comics are the best part of the Sunday papers.
77. It amazes me how slow I run. I honestly think I can speed walk faster than I can run. It will just take time and work to get faster, but wow.
78. In the same breath as talking about how slow I am, I would also really like to try to do a half marathon next January or so.
79. I just got some POM Wonderful from the company to try and it is pretty incredible. More on this later.
80. They are tearing up all of the brick roads downtown and it makes me sad because I think brick roads are so neat. Not so fantastic on bike tires though.
81. I would love to live by the water someday or have a lake cabin to retreat to.
82. I would also like a big nice porch to relax and cook out on. A good sitting area to have friends come over and relax would be great!
83. My brother videotaped my triathlon this weekend and that was a little scary. Pictures are one thing to see, but hiding anything there! The diet is now in full force.
84. This will be covered in more detail in my race report, but I just won my first medal! I am thinking I will be a real dork and make a shadow box with my race number and swim cap.
85. It always amazes me how a few minutes after a race you will be swearing up and down that you will never do it again and then the next morning be signing up for the next one.
86. I have 6 nieces and one nephew. I have not been around very many little boys so my nephew is always an educational experience for me!
87. Greg gets almost more excited about the number of comments on my blog than I do. He also nags me when I don't post often enough. I think it is sweet.
88. With the number of emergency room trips I made as a child, I am surprised CPS did not investigate what was going on. I am sadly, still as un-graceful today.
89. I am currently obsessed with all thing vampire: books, movies, tv shows.
90. I was a thumbsucker until an embarrassingly late age.
91. I always wanted to be more artistic than I am. I can do crafts, but I wish I had more of a talent for drawing. I can do an incredible stick figure though.
92. I am a horrible speller and am always appreciative of spell check!
93. My father, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew all came out to watch the triathlon this last weekend and that was so cool having my own cheering squad!
94. I can sew and I remember being very young and making my cat a Super Cat costume complete with cape and sequins. She was a very good cat and tolerated it just about as well as any animal ever should.
95. It is possible that my dog has more play dates and friends than I do.
96. I have the worst time with passwords, especially now as more and more places require different and longer passwords.
97. I can not dance to save my life, but I would love to take lessons one of these days.
98. I love teaching young beginner horseback riders. They are so excited and just ready to go and learn. Adults are much more suspicious and scared.
99. I think I am perfecting the ability to take the puppy out to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without even waking up.
100. I am so impressed that I actually came up with 100 things! Thanks for reading! Lots more good posts to come!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Clothing Contortions

Even though I had reservations, I bought a one piece Zoot tri suit that was on an incredible sale. I thought I could use it for sprints and most importantly, it was pink. So I go to try on the suit and after I wriggle myself into it, I realize the back feels funny. So I wriggle (not a pretty picture) back out and realize it has a built in sports bra. Very clever idea……except how in the hell do I get in a one piece tri suit and also get my head through the sports bra? I am sure there is a reasonable way to do it because obviously people get in them all of time. I am apparently just stupid when it comes to putting on my clothes. I have only had 29 years of experience, but this is just beyond me. While I do not have actual pictures of the way I tried to contort myself in order to make this work, here are some examples. I had to use cats because when you type “body contortions” into google, you get more porn than anything else. (I know you are all going and searching it right now to see if I am telling the truth. Perverts.)

I have given up wearing it at this point unless someone has some great ideas. I guess I can always get the scissors out. Most likely, I will just wear my bike shorts for the tri this weekend and be happy with that. I will save the tri suit for a later date when I can practice more in it and be sure to be comfortable. In a positive light though, I was able to get some awesome stretching done while trying to get in and out of the suit. I have to say there was one very terrifying point when I thought I was really stuck in the stupid thing and I was going to have to call someone to come over and cut me out. No one ever told me that the hardest part of triathlon would be getting dressed.

EDIT: With help of a friend, I finally figured out how to get into the suit. I am still not wearing it until I do some modifications and take out the built in sports bra. I also discovered that the sides are all see through mesh and while not totally modest, I just can't do that quite yet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tour De Nowhere 2009

This weekend I did a small bike ride called the Tour De Nowhere. It was a 30 mile ride that benefitted the local girls’ home. It is run by a small, but enthusiastic crowd and is always a nice ride. This year my brother was in town and agreed to do it with me which was really fun because I have not had anybody ride with me in a long time.

The course is pretty flat but every year I have done this, there is a horrible headwind for the first 10 miles that makes it seem like so much harder and longer than it is. Usually after that, it is all smiles, however this year there was a point when I was sure we only had two or three miles left until we saw the sign that said it was 13 miles to town. Ouch. We had barely gone halfway at that point!

One great thing about having this brother with me was that he used to be a track coach so he really pushed me to go faster. I tend to take these rides not very seriously and just kind of float along, but I did not do that this weekend with him riding my back tire encouraging me to push it and catch the person in front of me. I remember last year that there was a pretty big guy ahead of me that I thought for sure would tire in the first 5 miles, but I was never able to catch him. This year, it was the same guy ahead of me, but again, I just knew he would get tired and I would pass him easily. I chased him for all 30 miles of the ride but never caught up with him. What was really depressing was that he stopped at both rest stops and I STILL could not catch up with him. That was frustrating, but then again it was really good training for me to actually try to catch someone instead of just trolling along. We ended up finishing in right at two hours which I figured we would be at due to the slow first ten miles!

Sadly though, another one bit the dust as my brother told me that it was fun, thank you very much, but I will not ever be doing this again. This is the third brother I have gone through that will no longer do rides with me and now I just have one untainted brother left. I have a feeling that he will not be doing a bike ride with me unless he can do it in his cowboy boots and hat which could actually be very entertaining!

I am officially signed up to do a sprint tri in two weeks in my hometown. I gave myself lots of time to back out, but now due to my family all knowing about it and being in town that weekend, I really can't back out now. I need to kick up my running some, but other than that I am not too worried. It might be slow, but I know I can do it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Several months ago I joined the LIVESTONG Team Fat Cyclist:Fighting for Susan. I am sure most people who read any kind of blogs have heard of and of Elden Nelson. He can write beautifully and can also be very funny.
I personally don’t like to do charity bike rides. I don’t think people should give money for me to do something I enjoy. If I really want them to donate money for something, I should have to eat bugs or touch snakes because that would be something you would really have to pay to see. I changed my mind about charity rides this year after reading Fatcyclist. You see, Elden has a wife named Susan whom he loves so much you can see it pouring from the words he writes. Susan is fighting so much cancer I cannot even start to write about all of it. Elden is fighting by trying to build the largest team ever for LIVESTONG and also raise the most money ever. It awes me to think of what both of these people are doing to fight cancer.
I am going to post what Elden wrote yesterday just in case you don’t want to click on a link to see it because I think it is that important. If you have not already donated to LIVESTRONG, or just want to donate more, please visit my page. If money is too tight to donate, then please says some prayers for this incredible family.

Fighting LIKE Susan
07.8.2009 | 7:39 am
You know you’re living a different sort of life than most people when you stop checking to see what bone your wife has just broken.
But that’s where we are.
Last week — just a couple of weeks since her left collarbone broke — when I was helping Susan sit up, planning to transfer her to the wheelchair, something gave. It was probably a rib (or might have been a vertebrae), but we don’t know which one.
We do know that this establishes a pattern: the narrow structural bones — the ones that get lots of stress on a daily basis — are the ones that are going first.
And since Susan’s right collarbone is starting to ache, I’m officially terrified to move her. Not that she’d let me anyway: any position but flat on her back triggers the pain that only a freshly-broken bone can bring.
Which means that I’m currently totally stymied. Every day, several times per day, I ask Susan, “Is there anything I can do for you?” And she knows I don’t mean get her something to eat, or read her a book, or massage her scalp. I mean, “Is there some way I can fix you? Or at least rig something together to make your life more comfortable or convenient?”
But nothing comes to mind.
The Story So Far
To understand my frustration, you need to see that doing something to help has been my coping mechanism through this whole process. Back in Christmastime of 2003, when Susan first found a lump in one of her breasts, my reaction — odd as it might seem — was to start looking in earnest for a better-paying job with better benefits. With better insurance, I’d be able to get Susan better treatment. I did what I could to fix what I could.
And that worked. I found a good job at a company with a great health plan. But we’d have to move.
Of course, that meant that while Susan was recovering from a mastectomy, we were also putting the house up for sale and packing and moving across the country…while taking care of twin toddler girls and two young boys who did not want to move.
Then there were a couple of temporary houses and the house we finally bought — all while Susan endured chemo.
The chemo, though, had a surprisingly common side effect afterward: depression. Think about it: your body’s weak from enduring weekly poison. You’ve been through a huge emotional and physical experience but will have to wait for resolution. You’re bald and probably puffy from steroids. Most oncologists, I understand, plan on depression as an after-effect of chemo.
So again, I tried to fix things. I found a new job, closer to friends and family, and in the sun. We moved again, back to Utah.
Susan loved the house, loved the neighborhood, and felt better in general. She started working out, getting her strength back.
And then her hip started hurting.
Neither of us wanted to even acknowledge the possibility of what that might mean, so for weeks she just treated it like a sports injury.
Finally though, she went to the family doctor, who did some X-rays. And then he immediately called the oncologist.
And that’s where the news got bad. Susan’s cancer had metastasized, and was in her bones, lungs, liver, lymph nodes, and spine.
Honestly, I now can’t even remember the order of some of the treatment from that point forward. Did we do radiation and then chemo? Or was it the other way around? It almost doesn’t matter, because before too long, Susan couldn’t walk any more without crippling, crushing pain in her hip.
A tumor had destroyed it.
An excellent surgeon at the Huntsman Cancer Institute did a partial hip replacement, while I scrambled, fixing things around the house as well as I could. A stair elevator. Rails in the bathroom and shower. Furniture rearrangement galore.
Then there was more chemo, and for a while things were looking pretty good. Susan could walk using nothing but a cane (and even short distances without the cane), and she even had the mental energy to start writing a novel.
And then, a little over a year ago, Susan lost the ability to sleep. Three nights went by, with her getting no sleep whatsoever. I tried to help with soothing music, back rubs, sleeping aids and reading obsolete technical documentation I had written years ago out loud to her.
And then she had an MRI. Brain tumors. Too many to count. We did the radiation, and then chemo for a while, and that’s been about as much as we can do.
So now, as Susan’s become weaker, I’ve been adapting and solving. When she couldn’t sit up, I learned to swing her into position and move her into a wheelchair.
When she was uncomfortable being in one position in a chair all day, I bought an easy chair that can change positions with the touch of a remote control.
When one of her collarbones broke, I learned to do everything I had done before, but without pulling on that arm or shoulder when I lifted her.
Which brings me back to where I started this post. Stuff’s breaking faster and worse than I know how to adapt to now. Susan’s on her back, and when I tried to lift her into a sitting position a couple of days ago, I may as well have jabbed her with a knife.
Susan doesn’t complain, at least not very much. Nowhere near as much as I would. I would complain all the time. I would find new ways to complain. I would make it my primary function.
Susan, on the other hand, just wishes she could make jewelry again. Or get back to work on writing her novel (she’s working on the final chapter). Or drawing with the twins, who seem to have inherited their mom’s creative ability, and go through reams of paper per week.
Susan is fighting, in other words, with grace, courage and strength I could never hope to match.
At the time I married her, I would never have suspected it of her, but Susan has inner reserves I can only call heroic.
Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting For Susan
At the beginning of this year, I put together Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan for the LiveStrong Challenge in all four event cities (Seattle, San Jose, Philly and Austin), because — as is my way — I wanted to feel like I was doing something. Helping somehow.
Most of you don’t know how much time and thought I put into the “Fighting for Susan” phrase, though. I considered it pretty carefully. “Fighting for Susan” could mean that we’re fighting to help Susan. Or that we’re fighting because Susan can’t. Or that we are fighting in her place. Or as a tribute to her. I meant — and mean — all of those things.
But when I look back at what Susan’s gone through and how she is — in spite of everything that has happened and is happening to her — the same wife, mother, friend, and creative force she has always been — I realize something.
We can all fight for Susan, but there are very few of us — not me, certainly — who could ever fight like Susan.
Still, it’s definitely worth fighting. And if enough of us fight with even a fraction of the tenacity my wife has shown, someday maybe we’ll get to pick a different battle. Hopefully, before our twins are old enough to worry about this disease.
Thanks for fighting with us. And for us.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My New Running Partner

As promised, here is my new running partner.

I should add that I did not want a dog. My roommate just moved out with her two dogs and I DID NOT want a dog. I liked the idea of being dog hair and bark free and just being with my cats. I do love dogs, I just did not want one of my own right now.

Then this puppy shows up outside my work and plops down in front of my car. And stays. All day. I tried to ignore him, but at the end of the day as he lay panting in the Texas sun, I could not do it anymore. Especially not after he crawled on his belly to me to get some water. He had a collar but no tags, but I was still certain that someone would claim him. Numerous calls, online posts, and newspapers ads over the last two weeks have turned up nothing so I guess he is mine.

We are not quite up to running yet, but we do go on long walks. A vet looked at him and while I thought by his size he must be at least 5 months, it turns out he is only about 10 weeks. This means that he is going to be roughly the same size as my horse, but we will deal with that when the time comes. I have a big yard and friends that have dogs so he has lots of puppies to play with. He is a lot of work, but I think in the long run, he will be worth it. Unless he goes after my tennis shoes again. :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Training...and Not Training

How to have a blast and train for a Triathlon:
We went to the lake this weekend where my next triathlon is going to be held and took my brothers new boat out. In between tubing and drinking beer, I would occasionally hop out and swim laps around the boat or if boat traffic allowed, try to swim to shore. In my mind, this has been the best swimming practice I have ever had. The water is warm and comfortable and I think this will be a really easy and fun swim.

How NOT to train for a Triathlon:
We also had a large trailer full of hay to unload this weekend. My job is to stand on top of the stack and throw down bales to people to stack inside the barn. I have always had a fear of falling off the top of stack, but in years of doing this, have never done so…until Sunday. I knew from the beginning it was not going to be a good day because I constantly kept falling in-between the bales because they were not stacked very tightly together. I recovered the first two times….the third time I was just too close to the edge and went tumbling off the side. Luckily, we had removed the first two layers so it was not nearly as tall as it could have been, however I did manage to fall on the bottom rail of a gate. I am bruised and sore, but very grateful it was not worse because it could have been very easily.

In other news, I have a new running partner. He is just getting into shape so we will work up to running, but it is going to be fun and really motivate me. Details to follow soon!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Picture Diary

Instead of whining about what I have not been doing lately (training) I decided to show you what else I have been doing.

My garden is growing and very happy! I have about a 2 a day zucchini habit so I am thrilled at how well my plants are producing!

I am so ready for these little guys to be done cooking! I am guessing that I have about 30 watermelons growing on the vines right now. There is a small chance I may have planted too many, but I can live on watermelon in the summer.

This is the bobcat formerly known as Robert Thomas. He was a bobkitten I rescued him from some idiots when he was about 2 days old. I bottled fed him every 3 hours for two weeks before my hometown vet agreed to take him as she already was raising one and had a special license to keep them. His name is now Butterball and he is close to 50 lbs. He has a huge enclosure and has three brothers and sisters to play with. I get to visit him every once in awhile but he is much more aloof and still has enough wild in him that he scares me just enough to be cautious around him.

I got to drive this!! My brother has gotten into collecting Army trucks and they are pretty cool. They are huge and loud and I have not figured out exactly what they are good for, but he loves them. He almost has enough that we could form our own militia.

More pictured to come. I am watching the 2008 Ironman championships and it is really getting me in the mood for triathlon. It is a good thing because I have one in THREE weeks! Yikes!

Monday, June 15, 2009


I am tired. I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off and not getting anything done or at least not anything done right. I had such big plans for this summer. I had races planned at least twice a month and this was going to THE summer for me. Life has interrupted those plans. Between the horses, teaching riding lessons, gardening, and trying to have a life; my training has fallen by the wayside. It has come to that point where it is just another thing on my checklist of things I have to get done. My house is a freaking disaster and I just try to stumble past the mess to get in my bed and forget about it all. This is me whining. Lots of people do a lot more each day and have kids and all sorts of things they get done...but I am not one of those people right now.

I started doing all of this because I wanted another hobby. One that was fun and that I enjoyed. Right now it is a chore. So, I am making the decision that I am going to go back to having fun. This means I am cutting back on the number of races I was planning on doing and only doing the ones that are really important to me. I am going to do them because I want to and not because I think I have to.

My midyear resolutions:

1)I am going to quit stressing about not running fast enough or often enough and just go. No times, no watches, no worries.

2)If I do a race and finish won't be the first time and it will not take away from the event itself.

3)I am going to recognize that a bike ride does not have to be 40 miles to be significant.

4)I am going to swim and not worry about how large my butt is, but instead pretend I am a seal and focus on how nice it feels to cut through the water after being at work all day.

I have a feeling changing my thinking is going end up moving my workouts higher on my priority list because they will be things I want to do instead of feeling like I have to do it. I just have to remember some times why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Friday, May 22, 2009

For the Love of a Bicycle

I started riding bikes about 5 years ago because of a boy. Not to chase after one, but to get one out of my head. I was 23, young, dumb, had been dumped by my first serious boyfriend in a move I never saw coming. I wandered in a haze of sadness for months before deciding it was time to find something to occupy my life. I had the horses of course, but as I was working at a barn at the time, there was still free time left I needed to fill.

On a whim, I loaded up my fathers Target Eddie Bauer bicycle in my car one weekend when visiting my parents. The bike was a touring bike that weighed about 800 lbs but at that point, I did not know any better. Actually, I really knew nothing except that riding my bike the 8 miles to the barn and back in the middle of a Texas summer made me feel tired but alive. I would be gasping for breath and sweating, but I was doing something.

Probably two weeks in, I decided I wanted to ride in the Hotter N Hell 100 in Wichita Falls. I had done this ride as a child with several of my family members and always viewed it as the absolute center of everything that was bicycle. I had a few months before the ride so I just kept pedaling and started building up some endurance.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I met another cyclist who was a “real” rider. I showed him my bike and looking back at it now, I have no idea how he kept a straight face as he looked at the monster I was riding. He did make some comment about how heavy it was but in my ignorance, I had no idea what the problem was with that. He also did not laugh at me when I made comments about how outrageously expensive bike shorts at Academy were for $30. I was shocked when he told me I could get a good entry level bike for about a grand. Seriously? Bikes were a hundred bucks at Wal-Mart. Silly boy.

Long story short, I ended up doing the 50 mile race with one of my brothers and was ignorantly blissful as I chugged along on my clunker and wished at the end I had signed up for the 100K. I was thrilled and could not wait for the next year.

What began because the ending of a love started a whole new one and in so many ways, a much healthier one. Horses will always come first as far as hobbies go, but I love the simplicity of bikes. They don’t get their feelings hurt if you don’t see them for a few days and they are always there for you when you need to blow off some steam, enjoy a beautiful day, or just be. In many ways, bicycles really saved my sanity and for that, I will always be grateful.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dear Editor

A letter I am considering sending to our local paper. It is doubtful they would publish it, so I am putting it here.

Dear Editor:

It is beautiful days like this that make me very grateful that I am able to make my short commute to work by bicycle. It is a wonderful way to wake up in the mornings and is very relaxing for me to pedal home after a long day at my desk.

What is not wonderful is how drivers in this town continue to make bicycling here terrifying. I understand that sometimes it is frustrating trying to get around a cyclist when you want to go much faster than they can pedal, but I assure you that that person is doing everything they can to get out of your way because they have no desire to by run over. There are limited bike lanes here which make it more difficult to get around town safely. A small amount of patience is appreciated when the person pedaling in front of you ifs trying to do something for their health, for the environment, and even their wallets as they try to save gas.

An issue I would really like to address is the constant honking at cyclists for whatever reason the driver finds necessary to do so. First of all, it is rude. Second of all, it scares us when you come roaring up behind us and blare your horn. I understand your hurry, but if you run over a cyclist because you startled them while they were riding; I assure you that you will be detained even longer by the mess you have created on the road and hopefully by the police as well.

I would also like to address the men who feel that they need to hang out their windows and yell when they pass me and other female cyclists. A few small points:

A) When you pass me and yell out your window, all I hear is “Hey……hfdisojhfkldsjioasyruihhjfnds” as you fade away and pass me. I am sure you are telling me something very clever and eloquent, but it is totally wasted on me.

B) Please, on the off chance that I understand you, please do not yell anything to me that you would not want yelled to your mother/sister/girlfriend/wife. If you don’t have any of these people in your life, take a step back and think about why that might be.

C) As you lean out of your truck window with your ears flapping in the wind, you resemble a dog hanging his head out of the window. Except, dogs are cuter and it is socially acceptable for them to drool and be the animals they are.

One last thought to leave you with, please remember as you rush somewhere, you most likely will not die if you do not get there in X number of minutes. However, I stand a decent chance of it if you do not slow down and pay attention. Just show cyclists the same courtesy that you would want someone to show you and we can all share the road and everyone will get where they need to be safely.


A Commuter Cyclist

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Drowning and a Year Older

I did my first lake swim in a triathlon and DID NOT DROWN!! Yay!!! So, I really think this whole team thing rocks! I did my swim, got my biker off and then got to chill for an hour! I was able to get dressed and go get coffee and wander around in plenty of time to come back and watch our runner take off! Ok, so maybe that is not how I always want to do triathlons, but it was pretty cool because once I got through the swim, I just got to relax. I think it was good just because I was so nervous about the swim so that is the only thing I had to concentrate on.

This was a small race (about 150) and so it was a mass swim start. A guy warned me that at the first buoy, it would be mass chaos but it would clear out after that so just to work my way through it. I did just that and even hung back a little at the start because I had no desire to get kicked trying to fight my way through. This was also my first wetsuit swim and I am going to have to work on that a lot more because I really felt uncomfortable having the collar around my neck while I tried to swim. I am not sure if it was the wetsuit or I was just panicking but I could not get my head down in the water and just swim and breathe like I needed to. I ended up forgetting everything I ever learned in my swimming lessons and had my head out of the water 90% of the time. I am a little frustrated about that, but there was never a time when I really thought I would not be able to make it. It was slow (15 minutes for 500 yards), but I did it and even better, I know I can swim better and much faster next time.
The coolest part of the whole thing? Actually getting to see the fast people come in and out of transition! I have never gotten to just watch before so that was way cool watching different people come in and out of transition. I think I learned a lot that way and am in serious awe at how freaking fast some people are. Our team finished 3rd out of 3, but I think we did awesome and had a blast! I would not mind doing another team triathlon, but I think next time I want to do the bike. The course has some wicked hills, but I think I would be stronger on the bike than in the swim!
After the tri, I got kidnapped and taken to Santa Fe, NM to celebrate my birthday. It was a total surprise and a very fun way to spend a and does not get a lot better than that. A good way to start the last year of my 20's! Or, as I refer to it, the first of many 29th Birthdays!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Various Freakouts

I am signed up this weekend to do a sprint triathlon as a team and I will be doing the swim portion. Now that I have my wetsuit, there is not reason to avoid it. I finally tried it on after eyeing the box suspiciously for a few weeks. The good news is that is does fit. The bad news is that I will never be a superhero because being encased in rubber is SO not the look for me. Anyways, it is my first lake swim and my palms get all itchy and sweaty just thinking about it. So, we are not going to discuss it anymore until afterwards to avoid possible panic attacks.

Monday is my 29th birthday. I will be doing a birthday challenge of some sort in the vicinity of that date. (how much more vague can I get?) This birthday is bothering me a little because in my mind I am entering the very last of my twenties. One of my friends suggests a "30 things before 30" list of stuff I would like to accomplish in the next year and so that way when I hit 30, I will not be freaked out but feel accomplished when I finally get there! It is a good idea and I will be working on that. I am sure there will be several small things on there, but I would like to come up with some really good creative things as well. Go outside the normal and all of that. I am thinking a 70.3 will be somewhere on the list. If I don't drown on Sunday of course. :)