Sunday, August 31, 2008

We Have Arrived....Oh, Boy, Have We Ever

Greetings from Denver!

It is surreal, for sure. Every morning I wake up and there is a chill to the air. When I see the deer in the backyard that my Dad considers a nuisance. When I'm driving and know which way West is because the mountains are always there, larger than life. (OK, I had that in Orange County, too, but it's a little different....mountains were East and that really messed with me) Anyway, we arrived late on Wednesday night. My tires are a little bald and the cat was a little overly-rested, but we survived the journey.

Thursday morning was all about finding a home. My dear, brilliant husband decided that my time off would be best spent after our time in California was through.....that we would be able to find an apartment on our first day in Colorado, re-routing our belongings from storage to the new address.

What my brilliant husband did not take into account was that somehow, Denver's rental economy is not only robust, but it's a freaking NIGHTMARE for renters. Nightmare. On our first day, nobody had immediate vacancies. They were 100% pre-leased, with first units available after the end of September. And even if the units were ready to be leased, we weren't able to see them because they weren't "ready." Our fallback option was the community we had lived in four years ago before leaving Colorado. Much to my dismay, it was a bit of a nightmare. Broken garages everywhere, trash all over, landscaping overrun.....and not to mention cigarette butts everywhere. I left there and cried. It was not looking good.

Friday was much the same, although we were able to identify 3 possible apartments in the month of September that we would consider living in. On a whim, I contacted a Craigslist ad and arranged to tour a townhome on Saturday morning. I had a feeling this was the one, but it was pretty pricey and not going to provide the huge savings we thought we'd have over Orange County rent.

Thankfully, it had good bones. Saturday morning's tour was mostly okay......the current tenant is a single mother of 2 teenage boys, with 2 cats. She is a mess, and the carpet was pretty well thrashed. More dirty than destroyed, but pretty gross. Everything needed to be cleaned and lights needed to be replaced, but the "bones" of the townhome were good. 3 stories. Tandem garage on bottom floor with bonus room that is perfect for my trainer and triathlon crud. Full bath adjoining bonus room, for sweaty triathlon bodies to shower. 2nd floor is the living room with foyer, dining room, kitchen, and 1/2 bath. 3rd floor is the 2nd bedroom, linen closet, washer/dryer, master bedroom, and 2 full baths. Yes, you have read this correctly --- 3 1/2 baths. It is my dream come true, after having lived with DH in a 1-bathroom apartment for so many years. We figure the extra money is worth the extra space....we are more than doubling the square footage that we had in California, and now both of our cars can stay in the garage. Here are some pics for family and friends:

I am also pleased to say that I did a bangup job in negotiations. The landlords, who are a very cute younger couple, initially wanted an 18 month lease. I talked them down to 6 months, with a month-to-month tenancy thereafter with only a 30-day notice of intent to vacate. I figure this should give us enough time to settle, figure out where we want to live, and househunt before we commit to buying a home. The lease is far more friendly than a lease with an apartment management company, and I really, honestly feel like we are going to be happy here. I am literally 1 minute from *2* bike that is 12 miles one way, and another that goes all the way to the mountains and makes for an additional 50 miles from Denver to the West side. I mean, this is SWEET! (Except it's going to snow soon, I am sure, so I won't be able to partake until late spring)

On another note, I am positively disgusted with myself for not having done anything physical at all since I've arrived. Climbing stairs has left me winded, so I am really scared to see what has happened to my run fitness. It's almost been 2 weeks since I did anything, so tomorrow morning I am forcing myself to get dressed and out early. I'm going to try my best to run. ....and hope I don't get so frustrated that I cry.

Speaking of crying, even with family I feel awfully lonely out here. I guess it's because I've had the Divas for the past year. The same faces every weekend and after work. I'm group-motivated, so it feels like a part of me is missing. Perhaps that will ease up with time, but I'm struggling for sure.

My cat is finally settled. He has proven to be omega, the cat in the herd who is so chill that he's okay with backing away from any and every fight. His mother is proud of him and thinks him to be very smart. His father, on the other hand, thinks he's a wuss, especially considering he outweighs the other four cats by over half their weight! (His head is twice the size of theirs-- I am convinced he could sit on them and suffocate them) Nobody loves him quite yet, but the hissing is more or less over and done with. It makes me happy to see him like this, but would you believe he prefers the dog over the cats?

So, that is my news. We are moved in. I have 16 more days living with the parents until I can move into my new place. It's KILLING me, and the thought of being here for two more weeks is only slightly disturbing. I miss my bike.

How's that for an update? I promise, more goodies coming soon. Next entry: training at altitude and Weight Watchers Core.....oh, the things we do to get faster.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From the Road

Oh, I couldn't help it. Greetings from Washington City, Utah! We are in the lovely Holiday Inn Express, hunkered down for the evening with our superstar kitty watching "Chuck and Larry." What an emotional few days!

Movers came yesterday. When they came to the door, I inwardly felt a little disappointed....they were a combination of the Beverly Hillbillies meet the Golden Girls. A crew of 4 -- the driver and his wife, seventy somethings who wreaked of tobacco and spoke with a heavy Texas twang, and 2 fifty-somethings with toothless grins! I was thinking, "how in the heck are these people going to pack up our stuff, let alone MOVE my couch in under 24 hours?!" Really, it was shocking, but they were by far our best movers. You see, I'm on my 3rd cross country move now, so I feel like I'm becoming an expert on relocation. They were very invested in the job, and I fell in love with the driver's wife. She has had 2 surgeries for some type of abdominal cancer.....and her pain has returned, but she and her hubby have been on the road away from home for over 4 months now. It was sad-- she is a remarkabl person and I really wish she'd take the time to take care of herself instead of taking care of other peoples' belongings. Her husband said he is going to take the scenic route to Colorado so she can see Utah's red canyons for the first time. I told her it was like Mars and she will love it!

They arrived at 10am, and by 4pm, they were packed up and out. Bailey, my kitty, was locked up in the bathroom all day long and was very happy to be out and about. No furniture meant more room for him to run and slide all over the wood floors, so he was crazy!!! Of course, we hadn't washed the floors yet, so I had a buff and orange cat with BLACK paws.

We cleaned all through the night and early this morning, then pulled out around 11am for our drive. Today was the short day-- we knew we'd be tired from all the cleaning, so we backloaded our trip. I was exhausted today, as my air mattress deflated one hour after I fell asleep and I was pretty much on the floor the entire night. I couldn't wait for daylight so I could get up....all I wanted to do was hit my husband because he was all cuddled up in his sleeping bag with a fully inflated mattress. Argh. So unfair.

No exciting stories from our drive today. We are listening to Catherine Coulter's "Tailspin," and I am addicted. Hubby, on the other hand, is completely useless when it comes to fictional stories with more than 1 character and multiple story lines. (I spent an hour at dinner tonight trying to bring him up to speed!)

The big excitement is that Bailey is doing SO well with the drive and the hotel. Holiday Inn Express is fantastic for pets, and they were really accomodating. As we speak, Bailey is sitting in the window looking out at the parking lot, totally comfortable. The cat is like a dog, I swear. He sat in my lap for a few minutes of our drive (I know, bad me, but he was in my control) and behaved very well....only crying a few times. What a huge relief....he is definitely a big cause of my stress because I never know what will happen. But he always comes through.

Anyway, sorry to be so verbose, but it's cathartic! Moving is an adventure, and this is no exception.

Please pray that Hubby's "fried cheesecake" dessert doesn't come back to punish him this evening. On second thought, save them for yourself. He slept last night....he deserves some gastrointestinal distress for once. Welcome to MY world, lovey.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My First DNS

I had every intention of starting the race this morning. I got up at 4:30am with everyone else. I racked my bike in transition. I even got bodymarked.

But I had not had a substantial amount of solid food for 4 days, and I had spent the previous day and all evening doing something (not throwing up) that resulted in a significant loss of water. Random scents made me want to toss my cookies. I had cotton mouth. Walking the beach made me winded. I talked to my Coach. My husband. My mom. I cried. Man, I cried a lot.

Ultimately, I handed my chip over to Kelly, owner and founder of the Divas, and told her I was going to sit this one out. I have the movers coming tomorrow and have to drive to Colorado on Tuesday.....the last thing I need is to make myself worse. Or better yet, have major gastrointestinal issues in the swim or on the run. (Walking back to the car was difficult enough--- a bottle of Pepto and 3 Immodium were seriously not enough to get me through this race)

I'm really upset with myself. Really, really upset, but I know deep down I probably did the right thing. It just stinks, especially when I was all ready to go. To top it all off, my race time from last year would have placed me #5 in my age group, so I had a legitimate shot at the podium today.....IF I was on, and clearly, having not moved since Sunday, I am not.

Crap. SO, with that, I am done with racing in California. My bike is being packed by the Ladera guys as we speak, and I am less than 24 hours away from my life completely changing. I've parted ways with my Coach (just physically), who has changed me more than she will ever know, and it totally killed me. Not to mention my teammates. I swear, I am a blubbering mess.

But it will all work out. I'll get better. The move will move along. And we'll all have a wonderful reunion next May in Lake Las Vegas.

This computer is getting packed up tonight, so I'll probably be out for a few days. Have a good week!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

To race or not to race?

So, tomorrow morning is the Santa Barbara Super Sprint. It marks the anniversary of my first race as a Diva and serious triathlete. (more or less!) I did surprisingly well last year, so as you can imagine, the pressure is on to crush it this year as well.

Unfortunately, I have been at home for 3 whole days now with the crud. Fever and stomach aches. Nausea. Body Aches. I made it in for my last day of work, but all I managed to do was pack and then go home and sleep the rest of the day. I made it to my Diva going-away party, but I was practically catatonic on the car ride home and completely, tragically unable to eat my white-on-white celebratory cake. Truly, as you can see, this has been a tragic last week in paradise.

Hubby and I are leaving for Santa Barbara in an hour or so. I am hungry, yet I STILL cannot eat solid food yet. Chicken noodle didn't sit well last night. Ginger Ale is my lifesaver. The fever is managed with Tylenol. I just "sweat" a lot.

But in all honesty, if I get out of breath walking up the stairs, how am I going to swim, bike, and run, AND kick last year's time in the booty?

I'm very conflicted, but if had to make the call this morning, I'd have to pass. I'm hoping tomorrow it's a different story. This race just means so much-- I will be so angry if it doesn't work out.

Sorry for the vent.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Somehow I have caught the crud. In my last week in paradise, I've had to take 2 sick days from work and sit on my rear watching Jerry Springer and reruns of John & Kate Plus 8 whilst nursing a fever and upset stomach. Oh, the cruelty!

To top it off, I have a race on Sunday. My last race in California. The only race I did last year that I will re-do this year, to measure my improvements..... But how can I improve when I've lost days of training and STILL have a fever?? Woe is me!

Now, before you feel all bad for me, did I mention it's a super sprint? In all seriousness, I'm hoping, fever and all, to at least match my 54 minute time from last year....

Anyway, thought I'd post that I am alive. I am just unwell..... But a week from today, we will be in Colorado. Homeless, because my fantastic husband refused to pick out an apartment BEFORE moving. Yes, it's sunshine and happiness in my home as I sit here in agony while he spends my money at Ikea.....


Monday, August 11, 2008

The Wheels Fell Off My Bus

Camp Pendleton Sprint Tri Race Report

First, the good things. They were few and far between, but I'm working on becoming an optimist so I have to address them first:
#1-- A few of my teammates were all there. I was not alone, and the company on the beach was fantastic.
#2-- Michellie Jones showed up and racked one bike away from to our assistant coach, who even got to chat with her. I was a little jealous.
#3-- I didn't die.

Ok, that was about it for the positive list. So with that out of the way, the race kind of went something like this:

Pre-Race-- This was race #3 in a month for me. I've been altering the plan and only got one solid week of training in in between modified taper periods for each race. I thought I was all set to kick some booty, but the human body is a mysterious entity. Mine is just a pain in the butt.

Woke up at 4:30, grabbed my coffee and bagel, and headed out the door for an uneventful drive. Glad I hit the rest stop for the bathroom before I got on base, because it really did take a 1/2 hour to get to ACU-5, Home of the Swift Intruders. I parked on the runway, then went straight to the registration line where I got my chip, my cap, and my t-shirt. (I'm getting smart these days and getting them in sizes for my husband....Camp Pendleton t-shirts are in unwearable colors!) Transition was down a 1/4 mile ramp, completely inaccessible to spectators. So once I hurried down to transition and set up next to two other Divas, I called my husband to tell him about the situation and what to expect when he and the in-laws arrived.

My teammate wrote "Divas" in chalk next to our bikes--- I had totally made fun of her for it at the time, but after the race, I was really happy it was there! Saw Michellie and her blue and pink Felt. She rocks. Convinced my friend to take Sportlegs with me, then headed out to listen to the pre-race talk and then go to the beach.

The Swim -- I had done Santa Barbara and Pacific Coast last year, so I didn't think much of ocean swims, to tell you the truth. I thought I could handle everything. But something bizarre started happening with the waves before the men started their race.....they were hitting the shore at an angle, and it looked like they were continuing to break even as you approached the first buoy. Did I mention they started to get more frequent and slightly larger as well? At one point I looked at the girls, on the verge of tears, and said, "that's it. I'm moving, and I'm not going to do this race." They knew I was full of it, but really, didn't feel like I was that crazy at the time. I finally suited up and headed into the water because I had to pee. I dove under my first wave and decided that I could do this, so I headed up to shore and that's what I told everyone. No problem. This beeyotch is mine.
Oh, so wrong!

Apparently, I cannot read waves. I had no idea there was a rip current. For 47 minutes, I did not pay close enough attention to figure out where to swim to....I just chatted away talking about how scary it looked. How STUPID could I get??!!!

I decided to take the straightest line to the first buoy, and when they counted down to zero, I sprinted into the water determined to conquer this beast. I dove under the first wave that hit us and didn't even bother doing a freestyle stroke because the next wave was upon us. Dove under that one. Then I swam a few strokes and decided I could swim to the top of the next one....and then it threw me down into the trough and I had to continue swimming. I looked up, and there was a group of girls already to the first buoy....and then the rest of us stuck in this bizzarre and tumultuous limbo. I could not swim more than a few strokes before the next wave would come, and then I'd be paralyzed before I could decide what I was going to do with it. Swim? Dive under? Pray? I swallowed insane amounts of water.

When I realized the first buoy was not getting closer, I did start to panic a little bit. The rescue boat was in the water somewhere-- surely nobody would notice if I waived that cute little driver over to me and faked a cramp to get out of the water like the 7 other swimmers that were rescued that day?? Seriously, I'm moving....nobody will remember me..... I sucked it up and finished this swim, but it wasn't easy. I was out of breath for most of it because the sheer panic was difficult to handle, and I think I must have been swimming hard to fight whatever was sucking me back to shore as I tried to reach the first buoy.

(I know, the waves don't look like much, but trust me, it was torture from here on out!)
Once I was perpendicular to shore, I felt I had to swim harder....I passed quite a few girls here, then braced myself for the trip back to shore. I later learned that there was a rip current to the left of the yellow buoy, so the girls who started out swimming into the current had less waves to swim through and were actually sling-shotted around that first freaking buoy! So of course I was passing people at this point-- they were slower than you-know-what but WAY smarter than me.
On the return to shore, I think I just willed those waves to not hit me.....I was swimming in, looking over my shoulder and thinking, "please, I have been beaten up enough today. Please leave me alone!" It was sad and pathetic. I stood up as soon as I touched ground. I wanted out of that horrible ocean. I was cooked! To top it all off, I looked down at my watch and it said 13 minutes and change. I was devastated. I've never, ever swam that slow in my entire life, and it was so disheartening to think that now I had to make up all that time SOMEHOW. But I felt sick. As I ran into transition, I really just wanted to cry. Why do I have to continue on? I should quit now because I feel so crappy.

T1: Oh, but I sucked it up and continued on. I didn't fuss too much in transition, but I was sort of in slow-mo because I was still shaking from the adrenaline of the swim. Shock is more like it, I think. I got out of my wetsuit, then used the transition mantra I read about online, "sock sock shoe shoe helmet glasses GO." Grabbed my bike and off I went. I did notice that the man in front of me was wearing a construction helmet with no chin strap, pushing a mountain bike. The marines were totally flummoxed, but they allowed him to continue. Maybe not USAT approved, but he certainly got points for creativity. (See, I did not make this up--- here he is in his construction helmet-- I was so out of it I thought I'd made that up until I saw this photo!)

Bike: Started out by getting passed by Michellie Jones straight out of transition. She is allowed to pass me with no ill will.....but did she have to do it so quickly? I got on my bike and followed her up the ramp, but she was up and over the overpass before I could even kick it into gear. A-ma-zing. Totally. Anyway, this didn't even inspire me. My legs were tired and I kept spitting saltwater off my bike. I knew I had to get my speed up, but I found it very difficult. I was even more pissed because at the Pendleton Olympic, I LOVED the bike and really wanted to scream to everyone who would listen how much fun I was having. But this day, there was no fun. I was hot, sweaty, and salty.....and SLOW. Man, what was going on?! I hit the turnaround and was too slow, so I really put myself in a world of hurt on the way back.

My one happy moment was when a man on a Cervelo tri bike came zooming past me.....I hung in his draft for 10 seconds or so, since I had 15 seconds to back off, and I FELT it for the first time ever. See, I never bought the whole peloton drafting thing until this time. Now I'm a was pretty sweet and I could feel how he was pulling me. Anyway, I backed down and watched him draft off a woman in front of me. Dudes are dirty drafters, for sure.

I negative split the way back, salvaging my bike and averaging 19.1 mph despite the heavy headwind on the return. Should have been in the 20's, but I'm maxed out at this speed on this course and I don't know why. Clocked the course at roughly 19 miles as well, as opposed to the advertised 18.

T2: Faster than T1. Decided to skip water and sunscreen. Just racked my bike, changed my shoes, and then grabbed my number and hat. Too bad we didn't have transition times in this race. They were the only thing I was pleased with.

The run: We had to run UP that dang hill to get out of the transition area and onto the run course. The mother in law yelling "faster, faster!" really did nothing for the general morale. The run itself wasn't too bad, though. Plenty of water stations, and some shade to be found in between buildings. I was still feeling like I had an upset stomach, but fortunately didn't have any cramping and never threw up. I never had the need to walk, but mentally I was over it. I started the run at 1:18 total. This was 10 minutes off the time I was hoping for, and I was pretty much fed up with the day. I watched helplessly as faster runners in my age group passed me in the last mile. Happens every time. I tried to run one of them down in the finish chute, but she had more in the tank and I ended up crossing 7 seconds behind her. In retrospect, I am very, very angry with myself. If I'd just kept moving forward instead of walking the aid stations, 4 of the girls in front of me would never have caught me. I was 1 minute away from breaking the top 10. In a San Diego race, that's never a bad thing. But no, I walked and got what was coming to me.

(Hey, at least I chicked a few dudes!)

So, compared to the afterglow of Pendleton Olympic and the successes of Danskin and Solana, I'm left feeling cranky and defeated. I've never felt so scared or useless in a swim before, and it really does mess with your brain when you are only 1/3 of the way through your race. It's a good reminder that triathlon is almost as much a mental sport as it is a physical one.

To top it all off, I am sunburned, exhausted, and sore all over. Even my sinuses are killing me thanks to all the water in them! It was a nightmare of a race, and I'm just amazed that I even finished it. Now, I have 2 more weeks to redeem myself and make Santa Barbara a success. I've got a lot of work to do.

Lessons Learned:
1. I am mere mortal, and in San Diego, I am slow.
2. 3 races in 4 weeks is NOT going to give you 3 peak performances. Sometimes your body does not fire.
3. The ocean is evil and should never be underestimated.
4. My brain is a bigger obstacle than my lack of running skills.
5. Don't bring in-laws to races where you might get sick on seawater and lose all will to compete. They will think you are just fat and out of shape.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Rock Have I Been Hiding Under?

Seriously, I've been a very bad blogger. If it's not about a race, I don't even feel the slightest inclination to blog about it. What is up with this?

I've been terribly self-absorbed as of late. While I'm still "training," clearly my mind is on my impending move to Denver. D-Day is August 25th, and I am so caught up in emotions that I don't even know what to think about it! On one hand, my job in California is intolerable and totally winding down. I'm checked out, and I desperately want to get out of this caustic environment and start my new job. But then there's the triathlon side of things......where I've made so many friends over the past year, and I cannot imagine rebuilding this network in another state with another group of people. Perhaps it will happen, but it scares me to think I have to start all over again. Then there's the altitude. Seriously, people, I am probably going to have to get used to being a back of the packer again, because I don't know how I'm going to breathe! (Yes, I did grow up in Colorado....this gives me no comfort)

Why am I so obsessed with triathlon above all else? Is it because it is my escape from work? What happens when work takes priority and triathlon takes the back seat? Will I lose this base I've become so proud of? Will I let my new obsession slip away?

I'm scared. Really, truly, I am scared of losing it all. So while I'm excited for my new job, and to be home with my sisters and family and cousin, I'm freaking petrified that I will lose this new part of me.

Yes, I've already looked into clubs. Parker Tri Club. CWW, the all-women's group. C2E, the program run by Olympian triathlete Susan Williams. What do I chose? What do I want? Parker Tri would be great because it's co-ed and I could get hubby involved, but what if everyone is way older?? CWW is another all female team. Do they have the street cred? Do I even want to be in this environment again? I'm so catty as is -- does it bring out the best in me? And then C2E.....would be VERY expensive, but I'd be surrounded by people better than me and I could find out if I ever have any chance of improving in this sport. It's exciting.....but maybe more than I can handle?

So, I've done the research. Now I just have to make it all happen.

In other news, now that I've thoroughly depressed myself, the in-laws are back!!!! 4 days of fun in the sun. Hubby picked them up an hour and a half ago, as I sat here at work twiddling my thumbs. He has a full itinerary planned for them, as they will sit around bored to death if we don't do the legwork. I'm sending them on very long day trips in the hopes that I can continue to get a day or two of training in during their sneaky, huh?! Then on Saturday, I signed up for the Camp Pendleton Sprint Triathlon. Had SO much fun at the Olympic that I had to sign up for more. It's a joke that my coach and I are doing a rematch. Ha! Who are we kidding? She'll kill me for sure, and I want her to. No, there are only 2 people I want to crush on Sunday. One girl who shall not be named, and McTherapist. Watch out, Scottie.....I'm coming for you!
In-laws will come to the race......they are a military family, so I am sure they will enjoy Camp Pendleton. And I guess the finish line is through some sort of carrier? Who knows, but I am really amped up about it. I just hope they don't say something about how I'm doing a Mini Triathlon or how I looked like I was going to die on the run. Who cares?

Did I tell you all about the Mini Triathlon comment? It was the evening after the Olympic I finished a few weeks back, at a fundraiser with my boss' wife. I told her what I'd done earlier in the day and she said, "oh, you did a mini triathlon. It sounds like fun!" I just about drop kicked her. Um, since when did a mile swim, 24 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run become a MINI triathlon?!!! Hubby had to hold me back from strangling her. I was emotional. Quite frankly, every distance is equally difficult in its own's just the duration of the suffering that differs.

Mini Triathlon. I'll show you mini!
Or not.

I'm also signed up to do the Santa Barbara Super Sprint on Sunday the 24th. The day before I move. Talk about cramming them in under the wire!! It was my first race with the Divas last summer, so it's my only way of seeing if I have improved over the year. Since it's a super sprint, the improvements won't be all that impressive, but I'm still wanting to drop a few minutes off my time. We shall see! Hubby and I are going to head up there and I think it'll be a really good time. I love that race, and I love Santa Barbara.

And that's it. That's my scoop. Emotional about the move. Slightly annoyed by the in-laws visiting. Amped about upcoming races. Emotional about the move. Did I mention I'm emotional?

My poor husband. He probably wants to lace my water with a sedative or Prozac!