Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome to the year of NOW!

"It has happened before and will happen again, I'm going to react differently this time."

Someone I respect sent that message out in a tweet today and it really resonated with me. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I guess the lesson I need to learn is that the path I am walking over and over again isn't getting me to the destination that I desire. I'm getting close but not quite all the way. I need to find a different path. I think many people use New Year's resolutions to force themselves onto a correct path, but many times they are just setting off on the same old path to the same old destination once again.

This year I'm starting fresh. I hope that I've found the trailhead that will lead me to a healthier, slimmer, stronger me. The new year brings a clean slate they say and you can do anything you want with a clean slate. So why do we think that January 1st is the day that gives us a clean slate? Don't we have a clean slate every minute, every second of our lives? Why wait till January 1st, till Monday, till I get that raise, promotion, fall in love? Why not give ourselves the gift of forgiving anything we think we have done "wrong", and start anew at this moment? I am moving forward with my journey NOW.

My next year, next month, week, day, hour, minute, second is going to be the best one of my life. It's also going to be the only one I can experience NOW. I can anticipate the future, and remember the past, but the only time I can live in in this minute, this second, right NOW. NOW is when I will decide to eat the food that enhances my life, and not the food I know is not as nutritious as it could be. NOW is when I will decided to move my body instead of sitting an additional hour in my chair. NOW is when I will get outside, breathe the fresh air, and look at the beauty of all that is around me. NOW is when I will tell the people that I love how much they mean to me. NOW is when I will find love, if not from a lover or mate, then from my family, my animals, my friends, even myself. NOW is when I will come to peace with who I am, and respect myself for what I've accomplished.

The past year was my year of living exuberantly and it was amazing! I'm going to take that exuberance and carry it forward into next year, and make it the year of taking care of myself "NOW"!

Peace, and Happy New Year!

Love, Robin

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not exactly a failure, but...

I think I fell into a pothole along the way somewhere. What I'm going to do is pick myself up, dust off, and continue on my merry way.

I had all kinds of things I wanted to blog about the past six months, but none of them made it here. I will attempt to rectify that in a paragraph or two... 

What didn't make it into my blog in June about the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon was my injury. I ended up with a nagging hip injury that has taken months to heal. It was probably caused by the race route going up and over that hill on the freeway. Freeways are made for cars, and cars go around corners better if the road is banked. However, people walk much better when both feet land on a level surface. I think the combination of the incline (both up and down) and the "yaw" of the road caused my illiopsoas strain. I even went to physical therapy for two months to try to repair myself. In the end, massage and stretching were what did the trick, but I was out of commission for a while.

I did have fun though... My friend Patricia moved to Atlanta, and I decided to drive across country with her over the fourth of July weekend. It was a blast and I got to see parts of the country that I had never seen. I now have an awesome collection of shot glasses from each state we drove through. Nine states in three days, and Kansas was a whole day of it!

August brought a trip to Santa Cruz for the Santa Cruz High School All-Class reunion. My friend Kevin flew in from Denver to make the drive with me, and it was so much fun to catch up with all my old buddies. Neither one of us had seen Paul in over 20 years... we hung out quite a bit and had a nice time. I really miss my friends in Santa Cruz, but I've made some great ones here in Vegas.

In September I started training for the Ragnar Relay with some of those friends. The event was held in October, and was an amazing experience. We didn't do as well as we'd hoped, but it was so much fun... in a torturous kind of way. Imaging running (or walking) three 5-10K races, riding in a car, and going sleepless for 36 hours *all at the same time* and you'll know what kind of fun we had. Actually, it *was* kind of fun, cheering each other on, supporting each other, and acting as a giant team was a real learning experience. And yes, I would do it again, but I'd rather be a runner when I did it.

November was the month for Silverman. My good friend Christy had been training all summer to finish it... I decided to volunteer during the event so that I could cheer her on. She did so well and was such an inspiration to me that my new goal is to enter the 2012 Silverman 1/2. It's going to take a lot of dedication, but I need to do it!

My greatest accomplishment in December was that I rode my bike 50 miles... in one day... actually in 4 and a half hours. I am so proud of myself!! I learned a lot about endurance thinking, about not stopping for stupid stuff, and about the value of butt butter. As my wise friend Cyn says "If you're not hurt or puking, keep pedaling!"

I think I have to take that saying more literally. I can't do this halfway anymore, I have to keep on, keep moving, keep making the better choices in food, men, friends, everything. I have to learn that not doing my absolute best isn't hurting anyone but me, and that I deserve better than I've been giving myself. I have to stop shortchanging myself. I need to put myself first. That's hard for me to do. Ouch.

Wow... I did a lot this year! I didn't mention all the hikes, bike rides, and other fun stuff I did. I'll save those for another day. In the end, I'm pretty satisfied with what I've accomplished this year, and next year will be AMAZING!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On being cautious...

I talked a while ago about being cautiously optimistic. I now consider that to be an oxymoron... you can NOT be optimistic while being cautious. You have to just jump in to what ever it is with both feet and let things fall as they may. If things don't turn out the way you hoped, you have to accept them the way that they are, however they are.

Embrace life fully. Live life for what it is, a journey.

Be joyous.
Be impulsive.
Be honest.
Be good to yourself!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Making Major Milestones!

Wow, what a weekend of accomplishments!

Friday we went on a hike to Mary Jane Falls. This hike starts at 7800' elevation up on Mt. Charleston and is a climb of about 1000' over a mile and a half of trail. Earlier this year I attempted to climb about 600' over 3 miles and had to stop about a mile and a half in...


Cynthia, Sarah, Elijah, and I took Summit for a birthday hike up to the falls. We packed a picnic (including a bottle of vino) and started out. In my excitement I inadvertently missed a few speed limit signs and was pulled over by Metro. Luckily he was impressed by Summit's incredible blue eyes and decided to cite me for considerably fewer MPHs over the limit than I was actually doing.

He's an amazing dog...

Anyhow, we drove up to Mt. Charleston and hiked up to Mary Jane Falls. Sarah was hiking on a badly strained ankle and Elijah is four years old, so the pace was just right for me! There are a series of twelve switchbacks up the side of the mountain. I had to stop often, mostly to catch my breath from the elevation, so the switchbacks were a nice place to stop. Summit also helped me by pulling me up the trail... he likes to lead, and wasn't happy unless he was in front! Once we arrived at the falls we rested, had some lunch and a glass (or two) of wine to toast my first successful hike in many, many years.

Yes, the wine was delicious!

Saturday was a perfect day for a bike ride. I met Christy and Kathi at Albertson's for another attempt at riding all the way to Blue Diamond. I was feeling strong, and they were a great support team. Ok, they had a great method to keep me going... they made me ride in front so I couldn't stop!

We stopped for a bit at the Overlook, and then headed out for Blue Diamond. Again, I led the charge down the hill. Near the bottom I noticed two women yelling and waving, but I didn't know them so I kept on. I flew down the hill and up the next, never having to shift out of my big ring. I was feeling fine and flying along, so it took me a few miles to notice that I was alone.

"Wow!" I thought, "I'm going so fast that I've lost them!" I'm still a little shaky on my bike, so looking behind me is sketchy. When they didn't catch me after a bit, I decided that I should stop and let them catch up. Um... yeah. Kathi caught me before I came to a complete stop and yelled for me to keep going. This is when my inflated ego crashed... I found out that they had both stopped to talk for a bit, that's why I was on my own!

Me in Blue Diamond.

We rode on and into the town of Blue Diamond, which has been a goal of mine for many months. Getting there was just half of it, though the ride back to town seemed easier than I remembered. Perhaps it was the lure of Starbucks at the end of the ride!

In the end, I conquered two of the things I considered obstacles. Now on to the next "challenge"!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Walking a half marathon...

At some point in the last few months it became a normal activity to get up in the morning and take a 13.1 mile walk.

I'm not quite sure how that happened, or if it's a natural by-product of training that makes the event feel kind of commonplace. But that's how the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon felt on Sunday. Ok, not commonplace, but normal. Like Sheri and I just pack up the families and drive for hours just to go for a long walk. Just like that.
Ok, not just like that, but kinda. I guess we could do our own 13.1 mile walks here in town, except for one thing... Boredom. Yep, walking around neighborhoods that you've already seen is boring. Oh, and another thing, support. Yes, there are Starbucks on every street corner with cold drinks and clean bathrooms, but they don't bring them out to the curb and cheer you on as you go by. Oh, and a third thing... IT'S FREAKING HOT HERE IN LAS VEGAS!!!
So, you see, the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon was a stroke of brilliance. We were able to combine a short family vacation with a fully supported and entertaining event in a beautiful and cool location. We are so smart! There were enthusiastic fans lining the streets, happy and helpful volunteers, cross-dressing cheerleaders, and oh yes, then there was the bling. BLING!! Yes, that is still our main inspiration for completing the 1/2 marathons.
Not only did we complete the marathon, but we completed it in record (ok, our personal record) time. The course was beautiful, but hillier than our previous races, and we hadn't really trained as we should, but we set new PRs. Hmmm... Could this be our new training motto? Or do you think if we had trained better we could have gone under the four hour mark? We'll have to see for the next event. I think I'll train still. Just sayin.
And the bling is still pretty inspirational too...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Changes in attitude...

Life is fun!

I think I forgot that somewhere along the way, and it's taken me a really long time to remember.

I went on a long bike ride on the River Mountain Trail on Saturday. I rode harder and farther then I had before and had a blast doing it! Along the way I fell off my bike (OK, we're calling it a "tip over") and had a classic "Bonk"... and it was so much fun! Hills, sweat, pain, exhaustion... and the most incredible turkey sandwich from Capriotti's when I was done!

Sunday was our last training walk before the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon on June 6th. It was 7.5 miles long, but felt easy. I'm finding that I'm able to use my body in ways that I couldn't have imagined two years ago. I'm finding my body, and I'm finding myself along the way.

I'm also finding that I have more confidence... I took a chance and emailed someone whom I had seen online. I was lucky, and he emailed me back. I don't want to jinx it, but let me just say that so far things are really going well, and I'm feeling optimistic!

Did I say life is fun? Life is GOOD too!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Isn't it the truth?

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.” ~ Neil Gaiman

I read this quote tonight by accident. I wasn't looking for it, but it popped up on the screen while I was surfing around being nosy on Facebook and slapped me in the face. And it wasn't a gentle slap, it was one of those sharp stinging slaps that leave a stinging palm print and giant red mark long after you think you should have recuperated from the insult of it.

I've been a bit on the restless side for the last few days. Ok, that's an understatement. I've been in what I used to call a "Froggy's" mood... ready to go out, drink, dance, get wild, and be slightly reckless with my emotions. I've pondered going out on the town, but going out here in Vegas has it's own complications. Anyhow, when I read this quote I started to understand just a bit of what I'm going through.

I've gone out on a few dates recently. A couple of them were with a man who I really felt a connection to. That protective armor that I had built up around me started to come apart at the seams as I got to know him. That scared me, and with good reason, because after a couple of dates he stopped calling. I wasn't expecting "happily ever after", but I was expecting to be treated differently. My reaction to the rejection? Food and this nagging feeling of emptiness which is SO unfounded!! Eating, drinking, and carrying on in a reckless manner hasn't worked for me before, why would I think it would make me feel any better now??

Time for a long bike ride... I hope it's not very windy tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

12 Kilometers of Mass Insanity!

That would be the annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. I've been a participant on the sidelines of the race before, usually with a band playing along the route, but this year I wanted to actually enter the race, so I did!

I was joined by Sarah and Kim, along with Kim's friend Kim who lives in San Francisco and graciously allowed us to stay at her house the night before the race. San Francisco is a wonderful town, with so much vibrant energy that it just hums. It's always really fun to be there!

The race was full of tradition. Costumed runners, rolling beer kegs, drunk coeds, naked guys, and more naked guys, along with just regular people having fun. The starting corrals were crammed from building to building, with corn tortillas flying around and excitement in the air!

The gun went off, and so did we... setting a pretty good pace as we knew that we had Hayes Street hill to deal with. The first two miles were a nice warm up, and then there was The Hill. Hayes Street hill scared me from the first time I saw it on the run-through video. Five blocks of an 11.5% grade. VERY intimidating! In reality, it wasn't so bad. The first three blocks were an easier grade, but the last two took some work. We paused to reflect on our accomplishment at the top, and then were on our way downhill to the coast! A little less than two hours later we were looking at the Pacific Ocean, and trying to figure out how to get back to the car. That ended up being an adventure in itself. After two busses and two trains, we were finally home!

It was a really nice weekend in California, with the added bonus of having the AMGEN Tour of California going on all around us. There were lots of cyclists in town and a party attitude everywhere we went... Oh, maybe that was just me!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm in love...

But what a way to start a relationship!!

I didn't think that it would happen this way, falling so hard and so fast, but what can I say? I was introduced to my new love by Cynthia. At first I was apprehensive, not knowing if he was strong enough for me. He is so light and agile that I thought I would weigh him down. Little did I know that after just a few sessions how comfortable I would become!

Wait! What are you thinking??? Of course I'm talking about my new BIKE!

Like I said, Cyn brought us together and other than a couple of short jaunts, I hadn't really gotten to know how to handle the Madone at all. That is, until this past weekend when I joined Kathi and Christy on their annual 100 Miles of Nowhere ride.

What is the 100 Miles of Nowhere, you ask? Good question. Long ago, Elden Nelson, of fame, rode 100 miles on his rollers in a single sitting, just to be bullheaded. Other people thought it sounded like something they ought to do as a group, so last year they did. Many people rode on their rollers or trainers, others rode a very small loop near their house. The idea, basically, is to ride an infuriatingly small course for 100 miles, to fight cancer and to show you have no sense at all. People did it, and sent in awesome race reports. Our edition of the 100MoN was to complete 33 1/3 loops of a small three mile course.

The three of us set out on Saturday morning with the intention of getting in as many miles as we could before 11 am. High winds were forcasted for later in the day and all day Sunday, but due to prior commitments we had to stop at 11. I began with high hopes to complete 50 miles on my new ride, that proved to be slightly over optimistic. After the first lap I realized that the new saddle was harder than rock and had to stop and add some padding in the form of a gel seat cover!

With that obstacle behind (hahaha!) me, I began to enjoy the course a little bit more. We started out with one mile on a relatively flat street, turned onto the street with the "hill" for a mile, then turned again on to a short downhill for another mile. Lap after lap we went around and around. Almost like NASCAR but not so fast and all right turns. Oh, yeah, and lots of pit stops for me. I did a lap, stopped for a minute, did another lap, stopped for a minute. Eventually I worked myself up to two laps at a time... Woo Hoo!

Here's the "Hill". Yes, it's definitely going up!

Here's the recovery road. Yes, that is a down hill ride...

Kathi and Christy on the flat road which later became the very windy road as the winds picked up later in the day.

In the end my 100 Miles of Nowhere ended up as 25 Miles of Nowhere, but I became intimately familiar with my new bike, and now feel much more confident on it. I'm actually kind of sad that I won't be bringing it with me to California this week... Can my new love live without me till next week? We'll have to see!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

March Madness???

I'm beginning to think that I've lost my mind because I can't seem to remember what I've done over the last two months. There were a few remarkable items, but they all kind of run together. I've had fun, that I do know. And I accomplished a couple of things that I thought I couldn't.

When I last blogged about riding my bike I could only make it out Highway 159 toward Red Rock Canyon about 2.5 miles. The next week I decided to try it again by myself so I headed out early. I was determined to make it all the way to the overlook this time. As I rode along in my granny gear I had to keep telling myself that if I just made it to the next sign, rock, mile marker, or whatever, that I could turn around. Of course, because I'm stubborn, I also couldn't turn around. I really needed to make it farther than I had gone before.

I was so happy and excited to crest the first hill!! Yes, I was elated until I realized that the recovery downhill that I had counted on was practically non-existant and that the road immediately started climbing again. I passed the point where I had turned around previously and kept pedalling. I *AM* stubborn so I continued on from road marker to road marker with my hip flexors aching, my lungs heaving, and the tears flowing. It was so frustrating to be struggling up this miniscule incline and having tons of cyclists fly by like it was nothing. I want to be like them. I want to be in shape already. I want to be able to ride fast and well. I want, I want, I want!! ARGH!

This is how I ended up off of the bike, standing on the side of the road, crying, sniveling, and feeling sorry for myself. Thanks have to go out to the one cycling adonis who slowed as he passed me to ask if I was ok. I of course said I was fine and thank god that he didn't stop to see me crying! That one bit of human contact brought me back to my senses and I was back on the bike and pedaling away in minutes. I made it as far as the turn off for Calico Basin, which was at least a mile further than I had gone previously. Then I turned around and headed for home.

A week or two later Christine challenged me to complete my mission. This time she rode slowly with me, stopping often, and encouraging me up all the "hills" until we made it to the Red Rock Overlook. What an accomplishment! I was so happy with myself and so thankful for her support I was almost giddy! We were going to rest there, before riding back to town, but we learned that Sharon was on her way out, so we decided to wait for her. When she arrived I convinced both she and Christine to ride on to Blue Diamond and to pick me up on the way back.

I had time to take some photos from the Overlook... Waiting for them to return from Blue Diamond turned out to be a good move because while I was waiting for them my front tube exploded, thankfully I wasn't riding when it blew! I quickly removed the blown tube following the excellent instructions Cynthia had given to Sarah and I, and would have had it repaired if my CO2 fitting had been the right one for my valve stems. As it ended, Christine rode back into town, got my car, picked me and the Tank up, and we went off to coffee to rehash the day. What an adventure!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two months of adventure...

March and April have sped past me in kind of a blur! All of a sudden I find myself in May and I haven't posted any of the fun things I've done. Bad Girl!

I ended February by hopping on a flight to Maui to meet my friend Kim. She was so nice to let me stay with her in her beautiful condo. Getting off the plane the air was soft, warm, and moist. Quite a change from winter in the Mojave desert! Whale season is in full force at that time of year and first thing the next morning I was able to see whales breaching right off the coast from our lanai. It's the most incredible thing to see these bus-sized creatures fling themselves out of the water!

I spent most of my time in Hawai'i relaxing, whale watching, snorkeling, and generally having a great time. However, Saturday February 27th was just a tad different. Because of my time living in California, and my friends and family are still there, I get email notifications sent to me of earthquakes. Friday night I noticed that there was a big earthquake in Chile, but didn't think much of it until later when my son called to tell me that there was a tsunami watch for Hawai'i! Luckily he had warned us, so when the sirens went off at 6 am we didn't run screaming from the condo. We watched the news and found out that the waves would start hitting us about 11:20. There was an evacuation order, so Kim and I packed up some supplies and headed out. We, along with the rest of the tourists on the island, went to McDonald's for breakfast, then tried to get some coffee at Starbucks. Unfortunately they were closed.

We wasted a bit of time, then went to our strategically placed park and ride, where we could see Ma'alaea Bay, but were high enough to be safe. Hours passed and the zero hour passed without any noticable change to the bay. By this time we were in dire need of a bathroom, so we hiked into a sugar cane field and found ourselves a suitable restroom. By around 2pm we were given the all clear and headed back to the condo. It was a really long day!

Emergency Tsunami Restroom

The rest of the trip was less eventfull, which was wonderful. We explored the Upcountry, went out on a snorkeling trip, and had many, many cocktails. All too soon it was time to go home. I hated to leave the beauty of the island, and want to go back right away!

Maui No Ka 'Oi (Maui is the best!)

More March and April to follow... Mahalo!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Susan G. Komen Results!

Saturday, May 1st, dawned clear and cool... the perfect morning for a race!

Sarah and I met with Sheri and Christine and we all headed downtown to the event. It was PACKED and so wonderful to see everyone out to support a good cause! We tried to gather some goodies, but the expo was really crowded. I never did find the Comprehensive Cancer Center table... I really liked the lip stuff they gave out last year and hoped that they had them again. Instead we saved our toes from being stepped on and went out to the race start.

While we were waiting we took a picture or two, and I continue to be amazed at the difference exercise has made in me. I haven't lost that much weight, but have toned up significantly.

Once the race started and the crowds thinned a bit we were able to set a pretty good pace, even breaking into a little jog now and then!! I held on to my Starbucks cup until around mile 2.5, then gave it up for the big finish. We ended the race at 1:03, which was more than 10 minutes faster than last year. Given the crowds at the start, we could have knocked another 10 minutes off of that time if we had started on the runners side. Ah well... next year we'll know!

End of the race photo... I love these chicas!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What a difference a year makes!

Last year at this time I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. I had a great time, and raised quite a bit of money to support this noble cause.

What you may not know is what participating in this event did for me. As a result of my successfully walking the 3.1 miles, I became enthralled with the idea that I could do more. I trained and trained during the long hot Las Vegas summer, and in October completed my first Half Marathon. I've lost over 50 pounds since last May, and continue to lose as I train for more and bigger events!

This is me last year at the three mile mark. I was HOT, sweaty, exhausted, my legs were cramping, my feet hurt, and I was so glad that the end was in sight!

This event sparked something in me that is turning my life around. I've become an "active" person. I completed 1/2 marathons in October, December, and January, and have signed up for four more this year. I also started riding a bike, and with the friends I have made doing that, am going to ride in an event dubbed "100 Miles of Nowhere" on May 9th to benefit Livestrong. I feel like walking this event last year gave me back my life, not only physically, but emotionally as well.

I've become connected with a strong, healthy community of women here in Las Vegas, and have finally started to make some friends! I am truely blessed! That being said, I have decided that I will participate in the Susan G. Komen event, and have this be my only charitable fundraiser every year. My goal is to raise $500.00.
If you can, please help me reach that goal with your financial support. Online donations are simple, and the site is secure. Please go to my fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the link below. If you prefer, mail your donation today to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Southern Nevada Affiliate, 4850 W. Flamingo Rd., Suite 25, Las Vegas, NV 89103. Please make your check payable to: Susan G. Komen for the Cure and add my name in the memo. Thank you in advance for your support. Please contact me if you have any questions about the Komen Race for the Cure®.

Click here to visit my personal page:

Sunday, February 28, 2010


"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
- T. Roosevelt 1910

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Overcoming Limitations...

It's painful to admit, but there are some things that I just can't do... at least not yet.

For instance, I can't just jump off the couch and climb a mountain. I proved that this weekend. I also can't attempt to climb a mountain to the point where I hurt, and then expect to be able to ride distances I've never ridden the next day. This was my lesson for the weekend.

Saturday Cynthia led a group of us on a hike up the River Mountain Trail on the east side of Bootleg Canyon, just outside of Boulder City. This is a three mile hike up a canyon, then up some switchbacks to the first summit, across a ridge, then to a second summit. I've walked a 1/2 marathon three times, I should be able to do a stinking three mile hike, right?

This is the elevation map for the hike... Notice the purple at about 1.5 miles in.

Haha! No... I got about halfway up the canyon and couldn't go any farther. My hips hurt, I could feel my glutes tightening with every step, and I wimped out. I felt like a failure, but I justified stopping while the rest of the group continued on with the thought that I'd be saving myself for the big ride I had planned for Sunday. After mapping the hike I found that I did better than I thought. I climbed about 450 feet in elevation over a mile and a half, averaging between 5% and 10% grade.

I was very proud that Sarah managed to hike up to the first summit. There she got too cold and headed back down to meet me in the canyon while the rest of the crew hiked up to the second summit. The sun finally came out and warmed us all up for the fun downhill back to the car!

Sunday I had planned to ride all the way to Blue Diamond. Hmmm. That might have been optimistic on a day when I was rested and didn't hurt. What I didn't realize is that the road out past Red Rock Canyon to Blue Diamond happens to be an uphill grade for the first 6.5 miles.

Have I mentioned how much I love hills??? I made it a little over two miles before I couldn't go any further, and really enjoyed the downhill cruise back to the car. I drove out to the Red Rock Overlook, which was the designated turnaround and met the rest of gang, then headed back to Starbucks for some good conversation, coffee, and to drool over the beautiful bikes (and riders) congregating there.

I have some serious bike envy. I really need to get a road bike. I love the Tank because I feel secure on it, but it is very heavy. The prize for the best story of the day has to go to Kathi's tale of riding the Tank to Whole Foods for some milk... I laughed so hard I thought I'd start crying! It was nice to hear that even a seasoned cyclist could have a hard time riding the Tank. On the other hand, I consider it a great training tool. If I can get both myself and the Tank up these hills, imagine how it will feel when I lose some more weight and get a "real" bike! I'll be flying! :)

Yes, I overdid my training this weekend, and I'm really looking forward to my week in Hawaii starting tomorrow. When I get back I'm going to ride to the Red Rock Overlook, healed and rested. I know I can do it this time!

Thanks again to all my friends who are leading me down this path to fitness, and encouraging me to keep trying all the time... You are all truely saving my life by helping me to create a new me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Becoming an "Active" person

I tried to remember a time in my life where being active was the norm and I had to go back a long way. So long ago and in a galaxy so far from where I've gotten myself to now, that I almost didn't know it existed anymore. Truthfully, the last time I can remember being active on a regular basis was when I was nine years old. We lived a block from the beach and spent all day, every day there. I rode my bike. I body surfed. I ran around. I was active.

Even then though, I didn't like running. My best friend Heidi would run down the beach to the Harbor and back (without being chased by wolves) and I thought she was crazy. Is it any wonder that she stayed slim during her teenage years and is a slender, athletic adult to this day? My dislike of running stayed with me, and as I got older, I got less active. I was the only second string player during my one season on the girls softball team in high school, and I was a catcher at that! I cut classes during physical education, or didn't dress down. I avoided physical activity at all costs. Hmmmm... is it any wonder that for the next 40 years I did nothing but gain weight?

However, I do have to admit that at least one activity during high school was relatively active. I was a Banner Girl for the marching band, and I *did* do a lot of marching. Maybe this one activity prepared me for the 1/2 marathons that I've managed to accomplish. I found it really easy to go for long distance walks when you are accompanied by music. Perhaps that was my precursor to the Walkman or iPod, just take along a whole band with you on your walks!

But I digress...

I was lucky enough to have a four day weekend this past week. The weather couldn't have been better, so I planned my weekend to have different activities each day. I am lucky to have friends who like to do active things. Friday Mary and I went swimming, and she gave me some great tips on my freestyle stroke, what to expect in an open water swim, and equipment that I might find useful for the Sprint Tri in August. It's so wonderful to have someone who has been there and done that share their experiences and knowledge!

Saturday was a good workout with Laura at 24Hour, and Sunday I got to ride with Christine again! She mapped out a ride for us that somehow managed to be more descent than ascent... I'm still not quite sure how that's possible, but I love it. We rode out Charleston to Red Rock Country Club and went south (downhill, wheee!) all the way to Russell, then up Hualapai to Flamingo, to Town Center, and back to Charleston. 15.5 miles, my longest ride ever! Yeah, I had to stop a lot on the inclines (yeah, I tried to call them hills, but no, they were inclines) but I kept pedalling and finally made it to the top.

Through the ride my biggest problem was my brain. Yeah, my hip pointers acted up, and my saddle area got a little sore, but my head was the biggest problem. I figured that out during one of my rest stops on Flamingo when I found myself getting weepy and wanting to quit. I didn't want to cry in front of Christine though, and somehow managed to start pedaling again. As we turned the corner on to Town Center I could see the top of the hill and talked myself into climbing just a little further. I hate that my brain doesn't believe in my ability as much as my body does. I also think it's interesting that mile 12 is where I start having these conversations with myself, not only on a bike, but during the 1/2 marathons mile 12 is my toughest spot as well. Perhaps if my distance was farther, mile 12 wouldn't seem so bad...

Monday I did nothing. Ok, well I did do things, but they didn't involve any more activity than running a vacuum cleaner and driving the car. I hated it. I wanted to be outside, walking, hiking, swimming... anything! And that's how I know that I've turned the corner and am on my way to becoming an "Active Person". Perhaps I don't have to check the "sedentary" box on the caloric needs calculator anymore! Yay!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adventures in the land of Kokopelli.

Well, better late than never is what they say, and as I am currently the Queen of Procrastination it's a motto I love to live by...

The Arizona Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon was held on January 17th, 2010. Sheri and I flew down together early Saturday morning (thanks to Kelly for getting up early to drive us!). We met up with Bob (who flew in from San Jose) at the airport and proceeded with our adventure.

Our adventures started right there at the airport, where we picked up the car from the rental agency which was the smallest "Full Size" car I've ever seen, and was definitely not meant for a 6'3" driver. Bob could barely see out the windshield. Also, Bob had brought his golf clubs in a hard case and well, that hard case would not fit in the trunk of the car at all! I wish that I'd had a video of the three of us trying to figure out a way to fit it in, but in the end poor Sheri ended up in the back seat with the case going all the way across the car and resting in her lap. Let's just say that she didn't need a seat belt or air bag. If we'd have gotten into a wreck she would have been safely wedged back there for good.

After depositing said golf case at the hotel, we went to the Expo to pick up our race numbers. It was one of the busiest Expos I've been to so far. Perhaps going on the Friday before the race is a really good idea. We grabbed our race bibs and shirts, made a cursory check of the booths, and hot footed it out of there. Meanwhile, Bob had found a sports bar called Coach and Willie's where we were able to grab something to eat and watch the Arizona - New Orleans game, however we decided to leave at halftime so that we didn't have to watch all the Arizona fans cry in their beers!

After checking into our rooms we went out and went to meet a friend of mine who lives in Phoenix for some Mexican food and to watch the Ravens - Colts game. Yeah, it seems we spent a lot of time going from meal to meal...

Sunday morning the weather was perfect. A little chilly at the start, with a high overcast, but it ended it up being the perfect temperature for the duration of the race. Sheri and I weren't in the last corral this time, but it still took us 45 minutes from the time the race started until we actually crossed the start line. John McCain was there to personally give us the "thumbs up" and we were on our way. I set a PR for the 5K split at 57:50. Considering that my first 5K (last May) time was 1:13:00, I was very happy with that.

The course was pretty ugly for the first 10 miles... For those of you familiar with Las Vegas, think 10 miles of walking down Bonanza or Lake Mead between say Decatur and Nellis. Not much to look at, so it was great to have lots of entertainment along the way. The bands were much better than the ones had been in Las Vegas, and the cheerleaders were VERY peppy. However, it was mostly flat for the first 10 too, so we managed to maintain a pretty good pace, even with our potty break...

Mile ten brought not only some prettier scenery, but the start of some rolling hills. I don't mind hills, but I prefer down to up. By mile 11 I had developed a headache (note to self: wear brimmed hat next time!) and was ready to quit. Luckily, I had my pal Sheri with me, so although I thought of many, many reasons to quit, I didn't. There was a reason that we did this, and I knew that if I just pushed through it I would be pleased with myself at the end. Besides, we did it for the BLING! If I didn't cross the finish, I wouldn't get the medal, and that was too much to bear!

Mile 12 took us over the bridge across the Tempe Town Lake... I love water, and it was really a great way to end a desert race. After the bridge it was a long walk to the finish, but we were done! The only bummer of the day were that they ran out of medals for the 1/2 Marathon before we finished. Yeah, they'll send them to us, but it's not the same. We wanted our bling NOW!!

But, the important thing is that the race went really well, and Sheri and I beat our San Jose time by eight minutes! Our finish time was 4:10:58. My goal was 4:10 or less, and since the clock didn't tick over to 4:11 I'd say we did it!!

Sheri flew out that night, and although Bob had intended to take me out to dinner as payment for our bet on the Raiders - Steelers game, our dinner ended up being pizza in the hotel room because we were too exhausted to go out... We bought some supplies to make cocktails and just relaxed and watched 24, then had dinner delivered! It was fun, and it is so nice that we are still such good friends, even though I haven't lived in Santa Cruz for so long...

Monday brought an end to the adventure. A storm was moving in and there were a lot of delayed flights, but hanging out at the airport was fun, and I was sad that it was time to go home. All in all, I had a great time and can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Downhill... Both Ways!!

I had a glimpse of what it was like to be a kid again. Amazing! Even now, three days later, I can still close my eyes and feel that rush again. Let me tell you what happened...

I started out Sunday doing a nice 5 1/2 mile training walk with Sheri. It was our first walk of the new year, and the first somewhat long walk either one of us had done since before Christmas, maybe even since the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon. It was cold at the start, but clear and the sunshine felt wonderful. Both of us noticed how the time seemed to fly by. Neither of us had a lot of pain, and I didn't grouse about my calf, knees, or ankles at all! We chatted and dissected as we normally do, and talked about all the things we'd like to see happen this year.

When the walk was over I drove up to the northern edge of the Las Vegas valley to meet Christine. Christi is one of the group of women whom I have lovingly dubbed the "Cycle Divas". I was lucky to be introduced to this group by my friend Cynthia, who is an amazing cyclist herself. Anyhow, this group of women convinced me over cocktails last year that I should start cycling myself. They shot down every obstacle and fear that I could raise, and in the end I became excited to try to ride again. Christi has become my "sponsor", she has graciously loaned me her very first bike and a helmet, and started me on my way by coaxing me to use them.

I started out by seeing if I even knew how to ride. A quick loop down her street and back and I felt like I had never stopped riding. I guess that saying about "just like riding a bike" is true. The only part that was scary was stopping, I think I can get over that! We headed out for our goal, the Starbucks a little over three miles from Christi's house. My legs were already tired from the walk, but pedaling wasn't too bad. Learning the gears and getting into a rhythm didn't take long. Did you know that they NUMBER the gears now? No more fumbling little levers up and down to find the right spot for the right gear. Oh man... It's so easy now!

Christi chose a nice route, no traffic to speak of, and pretty much downhill all the way. It was there on that downhill that my childhood came back to me. All of a sudden I remembered riding my bike when I was about 10. I had a pink Schwinn with a banana seat and on that bike I had POWER! I could go anywhere and do anything. I could go fast, and no one could catch me. I could travel to adventures outside of my neighborhood and do and see things as I pleased. Did I mention that I could go fast??? Oh my god. I love speed. I love the wind pushing the hair away from my face, I love seeing the ground rush past, I love... oh heck, I just love it!

I also love coffee, so our stop at Starbucks was a nice interlude, but I wanted back on that bike. We finished up and hopped back on for the ride back. Hmm... yep, it was downhill on our way out, but uphill on the way back. Not much of a grade, maybe 1% if that, but my poor legs noticed. After about a mile, I hit the "endurance" part of the ride. Yeah, for me the endurance part is when my brain notices that I'm working. My legs were tired, my hips a little achy, but my crotch is what was clamoring for my attention the most. Yeah, bike seats aren't like sitting on the couch, but cyclists don't look like your average couch potato either. The seat on this bike is fairly large and cushioned, but I'm just not used to it. This is where I started whining, and this is why having a partner around is a godsend! For the last two miles of the ride Christi told me stories about some of her long distance rides, and distracted that brain of mine till we made it to her driveway.

Hooray! We made it! Ok, well, I made it... for Christi this wasn't even a warm up. But I felt accomplished that I rode 7.5 miles without dying. I didn't fall over when I had to stop, I didn't fall over from riding too slow, I didn't break the bike, I didn't crash, I didn't look like an idiot (ok, Christi had to verify that one for me), and I lived. What more could I ask for??

This is a very proud me with Christi's Hot Soviet Tank, which she has now loaned me so that I can ride more often. She's also loaned me the helmet, which I am grateful for since I have this fear of falling over! My next ride will be Friday, and I've got it all mapped out... I'm even pretending it's downhill... both ways!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

New Year - New Goals...

It's traditional for folks to start the new year with resolutions. Resolving to lose weight, to quit smoking, to get in shape... I'm all for it! But it seems to me that making a resolution doesn't really DO anything. It's the action item that counts. So this year, I'm not making any resolutions, I'm setting goals.

Goals are tangible, goals are achievable, goals are within reach. Yeah, we can make unrealistic goals for ourselves, but when we make unrealistic goals we know from the start that they aren't going to happen. It's lying. To yourself. Do we think we can kid ourselves? Um, No.

Me... I'm going to do a Triathlon! Ok, just a Sprint distance Triathlon, but I'm going to complete it! Yep, me! The one I have in mind is in Santa Cruz, in August. What a great opportunity for me to get out of the flaming hot heat of Las Vegas! Of course, the tri is a great goal, and it will be attainable, but I also have other goals for the year. And so, with only a small fanfare, here they are:

1. Get on a bike and start riding. Just like when I started walking, I've just got to start. Same with swimming. Do it, get in the pool.

2. Train for and complete Arizona Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 Marathon on January 17th in 4:10 or less.

3. Train for, fund raise, and participate in the Susan G. Komen 5K as a Run/Walk entrant on May 1st, beat last years time of 1:13. This means starting the "Couch to 5K" program in February. This will be my only 'fund raising' race of the year, so make it count!

4. Participate in the Bay to Breakers, Wharf to Wharf, and other shorter distance races as a run/walk entrant.

5. Ride. Ride. Ride. Swim. Swim. Swim. Do this while following the "Couch to Sprint" program.

6. Finish the Santa Cruz Sprint Tri and then keep it up...

7. Complete the San Jose, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas 1/2 Marathons. Run/Walk? Walk? It's completely up to me... I'm aiming for run/walk. Heck, I'll be a triathlete by then, why not? Oh, and remember, it's all about the BLING!! When I complete these I'll earn the Fourtitude Medal. Woo!

8. Lose 100 pounds before January 27, 2011. This means lose two pounds a week. I can do it, here's how: a.) actually do the training workouts as outlined in my plan, and b.) manage calorie intake and calorie burn. I have the knowledge and the tools. I just have to put them into action.

There it is. A GOAL (or three), and a plan for achieving them. It's January 1, 2010. Let's do this! :)