Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This morning, after our coffee, my parents, brother & I took a ride to our cabin. The road is not plowed all of the way, so we parked and walked the rest. Snow was probably at least 2' deep. The trees were frosty & beautiful and it was so serene; it was much so fun to be outside!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Happy Birthday to the coolest guy I know! :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

North Face Challenge Trail Marathon

Andrea after the race--4:58.38
Yesterday I ran the North Face Challenge Trail Marathon in Marin County, CA.  Essentially it's in my "backyard," (or maybe that's "front yard"...) just over the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. Over two days, there were a 50 miler, 50K, Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 10K and 5K races.  This is a series of races, taking place from May to December, that are run on trails in various parts of the country--Madison; Washington DC; Bear Mountain, NY; Atlanta; and SF. This one is the "championship" race of the series, attracting elite trail & ultra-distance runners from all over the world. The winners (man & woman) of the 50-miler each received $10,000!  Obviously, they let the "common" folks enter too.

Over the past months, I'd been slowly increasing my mileage, but had been doing my training runs on the road.  Since my last trail race was back in June, and my lack of preparation on trails, I was very nervous about the race. It's a very challenging course, with several intense climbs and descents. I made a promise to myself to keep my cool and not get caught up in the race excitement.  It's easy to feed into the other racers' adrenaline and start out too quickly.  I knew I'd never get through the day if I did.  So, I started very conservatively.  I'd run part of the course--one of my absolute favorite places to run--many times, so I knew kind of what to expect. And being the logistical mad-woman that I am, I studied the course map and elevation, almost to memory. The course was open for 8 hours, meaning runners were taken off if they did not finish within that time. I hoped it would not take me that long, but I mentally prepared myself for a long day.

Since it'd rained the night before and a bit before the race began, some parts of the trail (especially the single track sections) were extremely muddy.  Almost "icy."  I took my time on the slippery downhills; I didn't need a mud-covered bum.

To begin the last 6 miles, we were greeted with a 900', 2 mile climb.  Following a rolly up and down, the last 3 miles were pretty much downhill.  At the last aid station at just over 20 miles, I was right under 4 hours.  I really wanted to break 5 hours for my finish time.  Coming into the downhill section, I had just about 30 minutes left on my "clock." I recruited 3 other runners who were near me to pick it up, so we could all finish together, under 5 hours. It was definitely a race to the finish, and very painful. One racer, in particular, wasn't too happy with my "suggestion" and blamed me for his "internal bleeding."  In reality, it might have been the previous 23 miles, and not the final 3....that contributed.  Though, I do think he was exaggerating. But we all finished under 5 hours.  My "friend" even thanked me after the race for pushing him and we had a good laugh about his commentary. My official time was 4:58.38.

I had so much fun & I can't wait to do the next one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthday Weekend Report

My brother came to SF the beginning of November. He hadn't been since August 2009, so I had a lot to show him.  We rented him a bike from Sports Basement and we explored the city.  We met my friends for happy hour at a fun German restaurant/bar, Suppenkuche, and the next morning for a spin around Paradise Loop.  Last time Greg came, I think we ate every meal at a taquaria in the Mission; this time, we expanded our horizons and neighborhoods.  I ran a 1/2 marathon on Sunday morning in the rain, which, of course, meant Greg had to watch it in the rain.  He was a good sport, though. 

Afterward we rented a car and headed south to watch a cyclo-cross race.  Greg commutes on a "cross" bike and follows and frequently attends races in MN.  The race was awesome!  The bikes, which look like road bikes, are fitted with a less intense version of mountain bike tires. Depending on the race, the riders circle the dirt course for anywhere between 45-60 minutes, and the winner is determined by the most laps. There are "obstacles" the riders must dismount, jump over while carrying their bikes, or they can stay on their bike and jump (which, the spectators prefer!).  There are hills, 90-turns, roots, and a lot of dirt!  It was so fun to watch; I am sure it is even more fun to race! 

The weekend went so quickly and before I knew it Monday morning arrived and I had to drive GC to the airport

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Andrea & Maggie's Birthday Ride

Last weekend, it was my turn to plan the birthday ride. Lucky for me, Mags shares the same birthday month, so we had double the fun!  I thought it'd be funny for us to wear fake mustaches, which lasted for all of about 20 minutes due to sweat and hydration needs.  We tried to act "normal" when we saw other bikers, but the reactions we got were hilarious.  There is nothing "normal" about 6 women wearing mustaches.  My brother was out for the weekend, and being a good sport, participated in the fun.  His mustache was white, so it contrasted nicely with his reddish beard.

Pre-ride meeting spot:  No"Shave"ember

Monday, October 18, 2010

MC's Birthday Ride

Almost to Alpine Dam
I think our cycling crew has started a new tradition...Birthday kid gets to pick the ride.  MC decided she needed to keep all of us honest and suggested a killer route for her day.  She somehow "forgot" how hard it really was...I guess that is kind of like a lot of things, once you forget how painful it was, you're ready to do it again.  Kind of like marathons and having kids (that's what I'm told anyway). 

Anyway, from SF, we headed north through Mill Valley to Fairfax, a hippie town where we refueled and reapplied sunscreen, then up & down to Alpine Dam, a beautiful reservoir, that even has it's own "Yelp" review!  Onward to a killer climb, and then to 7 Sisters, named for the 7 "rolling" hills on this section of the ride.  Rolling is not how I would describe them...Then to the final "wicked step-mother," Mt. Tamalpais.  According to Wikipedia, which is always right, nicknamed Mt Tam, it's the highest peak in the Marin Hills.  The view from the top is amazing--San Francisco off in the distance, the Farallons, Marin County.  All in all, we traveled almost 60 miles with 2500' of climbing! 
At the top of Mt Tam

As motivation, we nicknamed our crew, Team Tacos & Beer...hey, we needed motivation to get through!  And it worked!  Afterward, we refueled at one of my favorite restaurants, Tacolicious...No beer after this ride though...I had to bike home.  With the "reserves" low, I figured it'd be in my best interest to abstain!

MG & I are already planning our shared Birthday Ride...coming soon!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wine Country with Ron & Betsey

Last Saturday, I went up to UC-Davis to visit with my grad advisor and his wife.  We took a brief drive through the beautiful Davis-campus and then headed to Napa.  Ron & Betsey are wine connoisseurs and both have taken wine tours and classes all over the country.  Ron now even teaches a wine course at NDSU!  So, of course, our trip to Napa was strictly "research!"

It was a perfect day--the weather was gorgeous, the vines were ripe with huge bunches of dark red grapes. After refueling with sandwiches and fruit at Dean & Deluca, we drove down Highway 29 and marveled at all of the beautiful wineries, and we wished we had a seat on the Wine Train!  We stopped at Peju, one of my favorite wineries, mostly because the folks leading the wine tours/tastings are animated and colorful.  The wine is pretty tasty too!  We stopped at Grgich Hills Winery to learn more about their biodynamic and organic wines.  Next, we headed to Robert Mondavi Winery.  The UC-Davis campus has several research plots devoted to wine growing, plus a beautiful event center on campus, named in honor Mr. Mondavi.

Betsey, Ron & I at Robert Mondavi

We had so much fun catching up on the happenings of ND and CA, trips, kids & grandkids (their's!), and adventures and trips!  It is the sign of true friendship when you can get together and never miss a beat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lake Lagunitas Crew

As you may have noticed by now, I love to bike.  I try to get out a few times each week--by myself or with friends.  It's great exercise, a stress reliever (usually--see Tourist post!), it's a quick way to get out of the city, and I get to hang out with friends--and meet new.  It's a party in 4 hours--only I feel good afterward!  I have met some of my closest friends in the city through bike rides and/or other cyclists. I have gotten pretty good at navigating through the North Bay, right across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Though, I still could get us lost! The sights are amazing--homes on cliff-sides, views up the coastline, wild turkeys & deer, prairie, redwoods, beach!  We join a few thousand other cyclists out on any given day.

Our "silly" pose

A few weeks ago we headed north to Lake Lagunitas, a reservoir in Marin. Here is the crew before we headed to Cibo, our favorite coffee shop, and back to the city!  You'll notice one "lucky" guy in the middle!  Yes, usually we let other guys join us (we aren't "girls-only"!), but this particular day, he was the only one.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Friends at the Garden

My garden next to my neighbor's...yes, pretty sad!
No, I am not including the "rat or mouse" as the new friend at the garden.  Yes, we have something/animal helping itself to our garden...rumor has it, it's the scurrying kind.  Though I have not seen it (and hope I never do), it did eat all of my lettuce!

Mojito mint and Chocolate mint joined my other friends, basil, rosemary, tomato, arugula at the Alioto Garden!  I can't wait until they grow!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Braving the Elements

Mustang Suit--a waterproof snowsuit
Yesterday, while out for a ride, I started thinking about the weather.  I know, how "Minnesotan" of me to think, talk, discuss, debate the weather.  Sorry, it's in my blood.  Anyway, the summer weather in SF is the opposite of the sunny, hot, dry climate associated with California.  It is windy, foggy, wet.  So the summer weather pattern is as follows (minus any technical weatherperson jargon/explanations)--the heat of the inland desert hits the weather & moisture from the Pacific and the Bay, creating fog that just sort of settles right over us.  Summer mornings are wet and foggy, the sun peaks out for a (usually) warm afternoon, followed by the fog rolling in again in the evenings.  The fall is generally the best weather in SF--warm and no fog.

Yesterday, as I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, out for a ride with friends to the North Bay, I got to thinking (pretty easy to get lost in thoughts when you sit on a bike for a few hours!) about how we adjust to the weather.  Really, we don't have a choice if we want to live where we do and in order to do the outdoor activities we love.  When I lived in MN last winter, I biked from my brother's to work each day--7 miles each way.  It was great!  I got to catch up on my NPR news & podcasts (though, I still have mixed feelings about riding and listening--a little dangerous!); catch the sunrise over the River; ride through UMN campus--around Mariucci Arena and through the Minneapolis/St Paul campus-connect-way (only law enforcement, buses, bikes can ride); over 2 footbridges, past the museums of the Warehouse District, over a cobble street (I pretended I was in the Paris Roubaix!).  There were mornings it was 17-degrees when I left Greg's, but I wanted to bike, so I dressed warm.  And really, I usually warmed up within the first 15-20 minutes.  There were a few miserable rides when I never warmed up, or during the year's first big snowstorm when I almost got hit by a cab skidding through a stop sign.  Those were the days I thought the bus sounded pretty good.

Braving the cold!
In thinking about other activities that people enjoy--skiing, motorcycling, rock climbing, hiking, fishing--all of these can be dependent on the weather (as well as the enjoyment of them).  But most people, if they want to get out badly enough, will put on the extra pair of long-underwear, rain coat, sunscreen in order to enjoy themselves.

Last winter, when I was home for the holidays, my friend and I ran outside when it was 5-below zero!  We really wanted to get out!  We were so bundled up, only our eyes (which turned into icicles) were showing.  Or a few winters ago, while working in DC, I went out on the water with co-workers.  We had to break the ice at the landing to get the boats in, but we did it.  We wanted to get out on the water and be adventurous!

So, dress appropriately to get out to "brave" the elements.  But get out.  Move, breathe, be.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Labor Day in SF!

Giants Game
My parents came out for a visit over Labor Day weekend.  They had not been for over 2 years.  I feel I know the city so much better than the last time!  I think I now know the reason they waited so long to come back...they were scared!  I made them walk so much!  I don't have a car, so I bike everywhere.  I take the bus, sparingly, and usually regret it every time! No, it's usually not that bad....usually.  My parents came at the perfect time of the year--the weather began to shift from the foggy, windy "summer," to the warm, sunny fall!

Dad & Mom in Sausalito
My parents stayed in Nob Hill, a very old, very hilly, somewhat touristy part of the city--right down the street from the famous Grace Cathedral, Tonga Room, and in their hotel, Top of the Mark, a bar at the 20th floor with an amazing view of the city. Going to and coming from their hotel was a nice hill-climb--it really was, as my dad reminds me, "uphill both ways!" But my parents, as always, were good sports. We watched the Giants beat the Rockies at AT&T Park. We took a drive down the coast to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, and not surprising, ate at an overpriced seafood restaurant on the Boardwalk.  In Napa, we walked all through the downtown and had lunch at the Oxbow Public Market.  Not to let them feel as though they ever left home, we hit up a dive bar called the Hyde-Out, a few blocks from their hotel!  Though, SF might rival Hibbing on the bar/people ratio! We stopped by the Ferry Building farmer's market on our way to catching a ferry to Sausalito, where we had lunch at one of my favorite, coffee-refueling-while-biking cafes, Cibo.

Giants Game
Santa Cruz

My dad even installed a new shower head in our bathroom. My parents let me cook them dinner the night they left, which they graciously claimed was the best meal they'd eaten in SF.  I think they were just delirious and hungry from walking so much!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alioto Garden Plot

Finally, I have a garden plot! It is a tiny, 3'x3' raised bed in the nearby Alioto Park garden. I have been on the waiting list for about 1.5 years! I had tried herbs in the window boxes at my apartment, but they became too wind-whipped, and the boxes dried out too quickly for me to keep up! So I replaced them with succulents.

When the window boxes didn't work out as I had hoped, I got myself on every list for a garden plot I could find and hoped for the best. Plots are hard to come by, and I had heard I might have to wait up to 5 years (for the popular gardens)! In my new plot, I planted tomatoes, peppers, arugula, lettuce, rosemary, and basil.

On my way, the night I planted, I almost got in the middle of 2 girls fighting on the sidewalk! Then, when I was planting, Sidney, a gardener's dog, started fighting with another dog at the park.

A few days later, I decided to finish my run at the garden, so I could water. I fell on my way. Tripped on what? I don't know. Just totally wiped out, right in front of a cafe too, of course. So, I hope all of the "incidents" are out of the way with my garden! Now, I just need nice warm weather for my little plants!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Early August in CO

Earlier this month, I headed to Colorado for friends' wedding. My first stop was in Denver, well because I landed there, but also to hang out with my aunt and cousin and her husband. My first day, we shopped along Pearl Street and ate yummy Indian food. My cousin and her husband recently bought a new house, which they have likened to the house in the movie Money Pit. The day I was there, we hung around the house waiting for the refrigerator-repair man, who never showed up or called!

I also got to run on the trail I love near my aunt's house, where every so often, I could catch a glimpse, through the trees and houses, of the mountains.

My other cousin lives in New Jersey and my aunt had heard all about the TV show, Jersey Shore. Wouldn't you know, lucky us, my aunt and I were able to catch the season premiere! Absolutely awful. Don't watch it! My aunt says her new grandson, Simon, will not marry a Jersey woman!

My friends' wedding was in Estes Park, CO. One of the pair had grown up in CO and had a family cabin in Estes, which sat up on a mountain and had an incredible view of the town and Rocky Mountain National Park. The rehearsal dinner was at the cabin and brought together friends and family. The wedding, at a beautiful resort in town, drew on the couple's backgrounds--and included Jewish prayers during the ceremony and dancing at the reception. Friends of the pair formed a quartet and played during the ceremony and before dinner. The couple's first dance was the tango. It was a fun, festive wedding.

It was great to get out of the city and breathe the clean mountain air, if only for a few days!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Bofax, Ridgecrest, 7 Sisters, Mill Valley & back to SF!

A few weeks ago, I rode with a group from Sports Basement, a sporting goods store where I used to work. It was my first ride with the crew, which goes out every Sunday morning. After gathering at the store, the ride organizers told us what to expect on the ride. It is difficult route, 65 miles, with one climb that is pretty intense--4 miles and 2,000' gain. After the "pep-talk" I was second guessing myself & if I could make it. In chatting afterward, I guess many of the others in the group had felt the same! The problem is that once you go out, you have to come back--some way, some how. I didn't really want to pay for a cab to haul me & my bike back from Stinson Beach, but I brought my credit card, just in case!

This ride, as with most organized rides, was a "no drop ride," meaning that the group won't leave anyone behind. So, after every large climb or every 30-40 minutes, we regrouped to make sure we still had everyone. The ride took place in Marin County, which is one of my favorite places. It is just north of SF, over the bridge ,and it's like a whole different state/country. There are mountains, the ocean, hiking & mountain biking trails, wildlife, and incredible road biking. Whenever I get tired of the city & crowds, I head up there. I ride up there 1-2 times a week (not that I get tired of the city that often--it just has incredible cycling routes!).

All of the riders in the group did really well on the ride. I was impressed with the caliber of the crew; I definitely had to push myself to keep up. We rode to Muir Woods, along the ocean to Stinson Beach, took Bolinas Fairfax Road to Ridgecrest to Pan Toll Rd over Mt Tam. We cruised down Panoramic Highway to Mill Valley, met up with the bike trail and then headed back to the city! Whew! It took most of the day & I got back after 3pm! I am so glad I didn't chicken out. It was really tough, but the more hills I do, the better I'll get at them!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Double Dipsea!

Yesterday morning, I ran the Double Dipsea, a crazy trail run that begins in Marin at Stinson Beach, goes to Mill Valley and back! It is 13.6 miles & 1400' elevation change of stairs, trail, roots, forest, prairie, & crazy hills. I absolutely loved every moment of it! Well, the last 2 miles were a little rough, but I think that was mostly because my legs had taken enough pounding and were close to exhaustion. I felt like I was "playing" the entire time, just running through the woods.

It is a handicap race, so depending upon age and gender, everyone started in a wave, based on a specified "handicap." I am still trying to figure out exactly what this means, but basically, while the waves help to spread the runners out, they also create gaps between the very old and very young runners and the speedy middle-agers. The winner of the race is the first person across the finish line. The clock begins when the last wave leaves the starting line, so essentially, the women's group that went out an hour prior had no "time" until that last group left Stinson Beach. Everyone tries to catch the runners from the waves in front, and if someone is really quick, he/she can try to catch the first wave, to win the race.

Anyway, all I know is I had a blast and I cannot wait to do it again. My legs definitely protested today and were quite sore! I used the foam roller at the gym this morning, which brought tears to my eyes, but I am convinced it works! I decided against my bike ride to Marin today, in order to recover both mentally and physically! Sometimes I just need a break!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I hit a tourist...

with my bike!

I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. She was walking toward me and totally not paying attention, and doing these spinny things in the middle of the sidewalk. She should know how to walk in a straight line--she was about 45--it wasn't like she was 13! I then ran into the railing, but stayed on my bike. By the way, I was on the correct (right) side. On weekdays before 3pm, all walkers and bikers use the east side of the Bridge (weekends and after 3pm weekdays, bikers use the west side, walkers use the east side). The tourists were especially bad today, completely in their own world and all over the walkway. This was the first ride I have been on in long time where I was more irritated when I got back then when I left! :) Usually it's the opposite. I bought a whistle especially for this reason, but I forgot it....

Oh dear!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

AC CPT, at your service!

Yes! I passed my Certified Personal Training test! Whew, such a relief. I am so happy to have it behind me. I had to memorize the body-assessment table in order to pass! This table helps assess muscle imbalances, weakness (underactive) and tightness (overactive) when doing basic assessment testing. I can tell you that if your feet turn out during an overhead-squat assessment, you may have overactive soleus, bicept femoris or TFL; and underactive medial hamstring and/or glute maximus (among others). TMI!?

So, now the fun begins. I got a job as a trainer at a gym downtown. This week I began training, and as with any new job, my head is swimming with new information, procedures, co-workers' names. I am going to work 2 jobs for a while to see how it goes. As time goes on, I will be more in control of my schedule at the gym. Right now it is just a little intense!

In the photo above, you'll see Ruth, Laura, and me at what looks like a "beach." Well, kind of. We rented a cabin in Truckee over Memorial Day weekend and behind us in the photo is Lake Tahoe. It was so great to get away for the weekend. The weather was amazing. We took a few rides--around Donner Lake and part way around Lake Tahoe. The elevation (I think it's 7000') made everything a little more difficult. Hill-climbing was incredibly hard on my lungs! I can see why people train at elevation--they come down to a city like SF and they can just fly!

Monday, May 24, 2010

According to Albert Einstein...

"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bay to Breakers

This past Saturday was Bay to Breakers (99th annual!), the crazy 12K run/walk that spans the entire width of the city (east to west), ending in Golden Gate Park. This was my first encounter with the race. I might add right here that while many people do treat this somewhat seriously and run or walk, the majority treat this as a 7.65-mile party. I liken it to Halloween in May. The costumes were clever, shocking, lacking :), themed, and even odd (to put it nicely). There are groups that dress as lifeguards, Tetris, 80's workout queens, guerrillas, Confederate soldiers--you name it, it was probably represented!

A good friend's Bachelorette party was the night before B2B, so in light of continuing the celebration, we appropriately got my friend a wedding "gown" from a local thrift store...I am sure it was quite lovely in the day. This gown was full-sleeve, scratchy, yellowed, and a little smelly, but absolutely perfect! Because misery loves company, we all decided to dress as "bridesmaids" and wear equally as horrible dresses. Trust me, there are plenty to choose from at the thrift store! Mine was yellow with a doily-overlay. Absolutely stunning! :) It was a little chilly, so we had to wear layers and jackets, making us quite the sight! While we did not partake in the "craziness" of the day, we had just as much fun people-watching and probably felt better Monday morning!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bike to Work Day

Thursday was Bike to Work Day in San Francisco. Funny thing is that since I don't have a car, everyday is "B2WD!" Now that I work from home, all I have to do is shuffle 2 feet to my desk! I made an extra effort to get out on my bike on Thursday, nonetheless.

The San Francisco Bike Coalition is an amazingly progressive, hard-working group of individuals who somehow have managed to work with the bikers, the politicians, and the city folks to find common ground. Their ability to organize the masses, provide feedback to City Hall, and create public awareness is astounding. On one particular intersection in the city, on The Wiggle, there is a "bike signal"-like an arrow or a "walk signal" that when green, allows bikers to proceed--so cool! Bike lanes and wide street lanes allow bikers to whiz through the city. Don't get me wrong, I know there are bikers who abuse the rules--zig-zagging through cars, running lights and signs--just like anything, I guess, and give other bikers a bad name. Likewise there are car drivers who are unaware of bikers either intentionally or unintentionally. Overall, I have to say, bikers and car drivers coexist pretty well in the city.

So back to Thursday...I held a bootcamp for a few of my friends in Golden Gate Park. Naturally, I rode my bike the 3 miles to get there (yes, on the Wiggle!). Along the way, I stopped at one of the many city-wide Energizer Stations set up specifically for Ride to Work Day. I paid my yearly membership dues to the SF Bike Coalition, got a juice and a canvas tote (not that I need another!) and I was on my way!

I challenge everyone to bike to work, the store, the park, to a friend's house. Just start small--once per week. Yes, sometimes, it take a little extra planning--logistically and materially! You'll save aggravation of fighting traffic and finding parking, which on a bike is relatively easy--any bike rack or street sign. Plus it is almost summer and there is more daylight and it is a great way to get outside.

Bike Gear suggestions:
Water bottle
Baby/body wipes and/or baby powder if you can't shower
Bike rack, basket, pannier saddle bags to carry gear

Friday, April 23, 2010

Running Errands

Ruth, Laura, & I crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge on our way back to the city.

One great thing, I have found with working at home is that I can take a few hours in the middle of the day to go for a bike ride or run. I met Ruth and Laura for a ride up the Headlands in Marin one afternoon last week. My mantra has always been that I need exercise--for my mental and physical health! I also argue, that for my co-workers, me exercising is really befitting them--I am much more productive and pleasant when I do! I got back from my ride to discover a 4-block radius around my apartment had been closed off & evacuated due to a gas line break (construction on the street in front of my apartment), so I went & grabbed a coffee. By the time I got back, I was able to get back inside. I sat at my desk & just worked away the rest of the afternoon, practically without even glancing at the clock!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In the Saddle

Mid-July, I am planning to do a 1/2 Ironman triathlon. This means a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, followed by a 13.1-mile run, all in one day, all right after each other! I admit, I get tired thinking about it & realize I still have a lot of training I need to do! I have 3 months, but I know it will go quickly!

I have been using every opportunity and every willing friend to get outside and schedule training rides, swims, and runs! I have actually been enjoying my training. When the rain is pelting me and the wind is blowing me sideways, I try not to curse. When it takes me an entire day to get my nerve up to swim in the Bay, I remind myself, "I get to.." ride, run, and swim!

I have learned, through numerous races and training sessions the humbling effects of training. The body is incredibly efficient and able to be pushed beyond limits. There are days when you toe the line your body will perform wonderfully, and there are other days, where the results are less than ideal. I have been at enough races and training sessions and had my share of ailments, stomach discomforts, regurgitation, loss of toe nails. I've seen body parts (those that should remain "unseen" by people who don't even know your middle name) and bodily fluids that I have become incredibly respectful and humbled by the body and not be surprised by anything I see, feel, hear. Either I can directly relate or I feel a pang of sympathy in my stomach for a person who is struggling.

Still, I do find myself surprised from time to time. In the past few months, I have seen a few things that raised my eyebrow. Though, I do know how incredibly difficult it is to fit training in to life, I think some people just learn how to be creative!

1. While biking, a man (whom I have seen several times), tucks his flip-cell phone into his turbine so that he can bike and chat, all the while keeping both hands free for steering. (He does break one of my bike rules of not wearing a helmet. No, the turbine does not count!) He can exercise and check in on his mom all at the same time.

2. Another biker, I saw, wore a shower cap over his helmet. It was raining that day. Whatever works, man!

3. I saw the "Easter Bunny" on a bike in the park. Hey, some days you have to work & you still need to get your training ride in!

4. The same morning as I saw the Easter Bunny, I also saw a man holding a huge boa constrictor, like the kind you see at the zoo...huge. I guess even boa constrictors like exercise!

5. And maybe the award for multi-tasking goes to the typical San Francisco woman, in the park, pushing her kid in a stroller, one hand holds her cell phone and the dog leash and the other hand pushes the stroller and holds a latte!

Still, I have learned not to judge. I guess, I could be any of the 5 above, with the exception of a being man wearing turbine and the fact that I think I would get a dog before a snake. I am sure I have looked ridiculous doing or wearing something( 25 pound backpack!) while training that have raised a few eyebrows.

So, here's to pushing your body to new limits and fitting training sessions into a crazy life--doing it with style and grace, and when you can't, just doing it anyway!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Fun!

My good friends Jessica & Chris invited the gang for New Year's Eve at their beautiful cabin up north. We chased kids, laughed, played games, and ate and drank yummy food & drinks. And being the hearty Minnesotans we are, we were able to enjoy ourselves outdoors too! :)

That is one near-perfectly executed Snow Angel, if you ask me!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolution

In no particular order...

Live. Keep. Give. Lead. Dance. Love. Snuggle. Kick. Drive. Listen. Watch. Cook. Walk. Laugh. Run. Dive. Breathe. Jump. Bike. Smell. Plant. Fly. Learn. Read. Reach. Decorate. Hug. Chat. Peddle. Sip. Grip. Appreciate. Jog. Touch. Serve. Create. Fall. Lock. Taste. Wash. See. Encourage. Sooth. Fix. Hear. Honor. Whisper. Swim. Write. Go. Cry. Flex. Notice. Experiment. Stop. Bounce. Light. Flip. Type. Race. Thank. Shrug. Tickle. Slide. Look. Do. Turn. Play. Enjoy. Wander. Sweat. Kiss. Chase. Leap. Sprint. Achieve. Gain. Trip. Skate. Leave. Jump. Yell. Explore. Ride. Hold. Celebrate. Sing. Sit. Clean. Understand. Roll. Support. Lift. Ask. Write. Remember. Imagine. Wait. Call. Accept. Slip. Challenge. Wonder. Move. Light. Lose. Help. Dig. Smile. Visit. Hope. Dream.