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!!