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!