Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How Did You Almost Die?

My friend Julie came over last night to spend the night and drink wine with me. I love friends who will support me in my wine (and guacamole) addictions.  The avocados are so good and cheap right now I have been making guacamole several times per week. Sometimes I just cut an avocado in half and eat it with a spoon like yogurt or something. Not kidding. It tastes really good with Heidi’s slobber.

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Here is my guacamole recipe. It is very complex and you might not have the ingredients on hand:

2 avocados diced, then mashed
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Mix it up.

I call this minimalist guac. The reason I don’t season it any more than that is that I’m lazy and it actually tastes amazing just like this. The ONLY bad thing about guacamole is that the leftovers are hideous and resemble something you would not normally eat because it would be found in your Diaper Genie:

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I know, appetizing! That is a really good wine, by the way. I am a cheapskate when it comes to buying wine (well, when it comes to everything). This one is normally goes for about $16 (WAY expensive for me), but I found it for 40% off.

So, Julie and I took a 31 mile bike ride this morning. Julie is pretty much an animal who has become a very competitive duathlete. She really pushes me, which I hate and love at the same time. I hate it when I can’t breathe, but I love it when we are done.

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After our ride I was driving Sam to a friend’s house on some back roads. We saw a bunch of cyclists stopped in the road. As we got closer, we noticed there was a cyclist down in the middle of the road, and bystanders were holding a tarp over him. I don’t know what happened, but it looked awful. I said a little prayer.

Again I’m reminded of how risky life can be even when you are just out doing something you love. You forget sometimes. But, every single time I get on my bike, or go out for a run or drive my car, I suppose there is risk involved. But, you just have to keep living, right? Beyond taking standard precautions like wearing a helmet and riding well over into the shoulder and not being stupid, what else can you do?

This got me to thinking about times I almost died. I think we all have at least one memory of a time when we got lucky and didn’t perish.

Mine occurred when I was 25 years old and at the beach in North Carolina with a bunch of friends. Which one am I below? Hint: “mom” high-waisted shorts were in back then. Oh, and I don’t have a penis.

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There had a been a huge storm the night before, and the waves were angry. Regardless, that morning I wanted to take a swim in the ocean. Alone. Amongst the undertow and huge surf.

This is what I remember (and I’m not being dramatic): I quickly got carried out by the current. I was being pulled further and further away from the shore and was powerless to fight my way back. I remembered that if you got caught in an undertow you were not supposed to fight it because you would get too tired out and drown (or, maybe I made that up). So, I floated on my back, looking at the sky thinking THIS IS IT. If you’ve ever had that “this is it” feeling, you know what I mean. I was so tired I could hardly breathe and no one knew where I was.  Finally, I knew it was literally sink or swim, so I let the current carry me down the shore and it eventually pulled me into the crashing waves.  I washed up on the sand like a dead fish. I suppose it wasn’t my time.

This better not happen when I swim in the Gulf of Mexico for Ironman Florida. Maybe I’ll just get eaten by a shark instead. Are there sharks there, does anyone know?

Have you had a terrifying, possibly near death experience?

SUAR

53 comments:

  1. Dude, love guac! put a squeeze of lemon juice and it will prevent it from browning (plus it makes it taste even better)
    Today I ate an avocado like an apple. I do this often.

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    1. The skin too? You are hard core.

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    2. I always add a squeeze of lemon juice and even a tablespoon of salsa.. yummy!!!

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  2. Guacamole and wine! Sounds like a party to me :)

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  3. I'm glad you lived. I love avocado too. Yes, there are sharks there.

    How do you like THAT comment? Random & concise at the same time. :)

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  4. Sorry to get off-topic, but speaking of almost dying, I just want to let you know that avocados may be poisonous to dogs. I say "may" because many people feed their pets avocado without a problem, and some commercial pet foods contain avocado (although I don't know how it's processed), but the ASPCA includes it on its list of foods that are extremely toxic to dogs. Just a friendly public service announcement, because it's clear from that adorable photo that you're smitten with Heidi (and who wouldn't be?).

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    1. Thanks. I did not know that. Despite the picture, I haven't actually fed her any yet, but I probably would have. Glad you let me know!

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    2. FWIW - here is an article on that:
      http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health-toxins/Avocados-and-Pets.aspx

      I think it is just a rumor. My cat has been eating avocado for years. (he can actually smell it the minute it comes out of the fridge! who knew it smells?)

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    3. Chocolate is also "high toxic to dogs" but in it's usual, processed state, most dogs wouldn't even notice some accidental chocolate ingestion. My grandparents' dog at an entire bag of halloween candy with no adverse side effects.

      Of course, labs can eat rocks and not notice.

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  5. Same thing happened to me in rough water! Except...my darling husband was about 10 feet from me, and said very rationally, "But if I come to you, I'll get caught in it too." He was right, but it was scary as stink. I did what you did...made a conscious effort to stay calm (wasn't easy) and just remembered to swim parallel to shore. Took me at least a good 20-25 minutes to get in, and quite a few times I just kept getting pulled farther out. I love cheap wine too. You're gonna rock IMFL!

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  6. What a terrifying experience! I've always been a little nervous in water...with good reason, it sounds like.

    When I was 18, I had my tonsils out and had a pretty massive hemorrhage about a week after the operation (which I guess can happen as scabs come off...yuck). I just remember my brother running lots of red lights to get me to the hospital, and feeling surprised but oddly detached when I realized the huge mixing bowl my mom was holding up to my mouth was overflowing with blood...ugh. My doc. estimates that I lost about 40% of my blood volume and all was well after a transfusion, but it was very strange to be in a situation where I was utterly out of control. The strangest this is that I remember feeling really peaceful and calm - I guess the body has it's way of helping us through major traumas!

    Pretty sure there are sharks in the Gulf, but I'm sure they are really tiny, friendly ones :)

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  7. Drowning is my biggest fear; I'm glad you ended up being okay! My closest calls have all been car accidents, and luckily I was never seriously injured. Knock on wood!

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  8. Keep the avacado pit...and put it in the bowl with your guac. Will keep it from going brown!!! :-)

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  9. Wow...that's terrifying.

    Yes, there are sharks in the Gulf but it doesn't keep me from going in every time I go to the beach! (The FL panhandle is my beach-vacation-stomping ground)

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  10. The only thing I can think of is when I went over the side of a hill on my bike when I was little, fell down, and had my bike land on top of me. Nothing life threatening

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  11. Yikes! I'm glad you survived!!!!

    My husband just had something happen like you seeing the cyclist in the road, only it was a runner/walker that had been hit by a car. :( So sad.

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  12. October 17, 1989: Loma Prieta earthquake. I thought I was going to die. 63 people did.

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  13. Nope, you didn't make that up. That's what you're supposed to do when pulled out by the current. That's also how you're supposed to eat avocado- with a spoon. And I love your high-waisted shorts (from Forenza?). I might be a wee bit younger but I wore 'em. The cycling thing scares the shit out of me. Was it near 36 in Lyons? Or that suicide left turn onto Violet from 36 in NoBo? I won't ride my bike there EVER and not on HW 93 either.

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    1. 93 is better now that they have put some shoulders on it. At least until you get to the hill down into Boulder. But you won't see me out there! I'm a scaredy cat and I pretty much stick to the bike paths....my biking buddy was hit from behind by a car and spent months recuperating.

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  14. There are fewer sharks on the gulf side than there are on the Atlantic side!

    Are you planning on spending some time in florida?

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  15. Oh! Mine was when i was 12... hopped in my friend's gokart and my long hair got caught in the motor. All I remember is waking up on the road with the gokart on top of me and unable to move. I thought "I broke my neck! Mom is going to kill me!" Then i wiggled my toes! She always told me to braid my hair and tuck it in my shirt before riding! The one time I didn't do it and that's what happened!

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  16. Yesterday I thought I was being all innovative and brave, eating my avocado right out of the skin. Guess I was just being laz--er--smart!

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  17. As a firefighter I've almost been trapped by fires a few times. Also, I was in a helicopter crash. Still here, though. And I had the same type of shorts back in the day.

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  18. Yes, the one time I sassed my wife. Never again...

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  19. Dear Lord - be careful out there!!! I just starting really biking (I think I have to call it cycling now?) three years ago and compared to running it is SO dangerous!! I have almost been hit by cars countless times and I read awful stories about other cyclists getting hit or dying all the time. I just try to focus on the road, ride roads I know and pay attention to what drivers are doing because they sure as shit are NOT paying attention to me!

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  20. I live on the gulf in Florida. I heard a story once that goes-

    A couple years ago, they tried to count how many sharks of substantial size were around here, to get a general estimate. They flew up in the helicopter over the water, and then they gave up.
    Because there were so many sharks.

    But don't worry, with the amount of people doing the Ironman, they'll be scared. Probably. If not, DON"T PLAY DEAD. http://en.rian.ru/images/16166/97/161669758.jpg

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  21. I love avocados and just eat them plain with a spoon.

    I've had two near death experiences while running - both at intersections with stop signs. Once, a lady saw me, then accidentally stepped on the gas rather than the brake. Her car lunged forward, then stopped less than an inch from my leg. All she could do was yell "sorry" out the window while I continued running away in shock. Another time, somebody in a truck purposely gunned the engine and tried to run me over. I want to do some more biking on these same roads but the cars scare the piss out of me. I live on a county road and there are no shoulders. If I'm running, I can jump into a field or someone's lawn but if I'm on a bike, there's really no where to go.

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  22. I don't *think* I've ever almost died ... yet, but I do have a friend named Julie who comes over for pre-run sleepovers! We used to drink beer and eat cookie dough, but have learned that these aren't the best things to eat before a race or long run.

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  23. My son's science fair project this year was on how to keep guacamole from browning (I know--best science fair project EVER, we ate guac constantly). Liberal squeezes of lime or lemon will keep it from looking like diaper remnants.

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  24. I love guacamole. I always add small diced tomatoes and lime juice to mine.
    As for wine (be still my heart!), a really good less expensive wine which is my current "go to" Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson. It's perfect.

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  25. The cyclist incident is so scary--I have two friends who were hit by cars while riding their bikes to work, one seriously injured and another just a broken wrist, but just this weekend a young cyclist was killed on a charity ride in our area when he tried to pass, clipped another bike, and fell in front of a car. Nothing the driver could do, can't imagine how she must feel. I've had a few experiences where I could have (or maybe should have) died, more when I was a kid than as an adult.

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  26. I had the near drowning experience like yours when I was 10 or 12 while in Cancun. Long time ago, my Dad was close by and yelled for me to float on my back. He got to me and pulled me out. Gotta love the big strong dad! I recovered quickly and went parasailing later that day...

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  27. Mash the yolks of 3 hard boiled eggs with one smaller avocado and a splurt of Trader Joe's spicy brown mustard. Refill the egg whites with said concoction and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt. Delish!

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  28. mmmm guac. i've made hungrygirls recipe with 1/2 avacado, 1/2 canned peas before- it's actually good. despite running my metabolism sucks so i'm always trying to cut out fat and cals, ugh.

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    1. Ok, not sure about this canned peas thing, but you have me intrigued.

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  29. RIPTIDE, yikes!

    I must admit, though I hate thinking this way, I would not want to train on (busy) roads. So many cyclists get hit. I actually much prefer my city commute -- I'm amongst the cars, and there are lots of them but somehow I feel much safer than riding on a road with less traffic and higher speeds. I've never (to my knowledge) come close to death, but maybe just because I haven't seen what's happening behind my back?

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  30. heidi (not your dog)June 20, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    i had a horse fall on top of me once (long story) and 20 minutes later when i woke up there was a very handsome paramedic standing over me with a pair of scissors saying "I'm going to cut your pants off now" I said "normally i would think that was super sexy but you have no idea how expensive these are so yeah, dont do that" instead he and another paramedic picked me up and put me on a stretcher and into the ambulance. they told me i was very lucky to be alive.

    instead of dying i had a few broken ribs, severe concussion, and a bone bruise to my left leg. it was all sorts of pretty colors.

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    1. First of all, I LOVE your name. Second of all that's the best pick up line "I'm going to cut your pants off now." Hilarious.

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  31. 19 years ago, found out the hard way that I have orthostatic hypotension when I stood up near an open window, passed out, and fell 5 stories to the ground. Somebody up there was watching me, because all that happened to me was I broke a femur. Still have the metal plate in my leg, but it hasn't stopped me from running!

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  32. Yummy - love love love guac. Actually had half an avo for lunch today and yesterday too. Good fats are super yummy.
    Have been trying to post for 3 days now but keep getting booted off. Hmmm. Wanted to say that I am super excited for you with the upcoming tri - We watched a friend do last years CdA and it was a blast. Will be watching you all the way to the finish line.
    Any suggestions on training for the upcoming RnR in October? Worried that the altitude will get me.

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    1. Where do you live? I think you'll be fine - the course is not overly challenging (tho there are some hills). Are you doing the full or half?

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    2. NW Montana - elevation is about 2600-2700. Going to do the half. Have done 2 fulls - thinking I might stick with the 13.1 :-)

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    3. So you are already higher than sea level. You will do great. Temps will be cool, just be sure to bring throw away clothes for the beginning while you wait.

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  33. I just found your blog and I am totally addicted! I love your writing style and your sense of humor! My near death experience involved too many margaritas, a dare, and swimming out to a buoy at the lake. (I don't swim and only my back stroke saved me) All joking aside, life is so precious and we should all be so grateful for each breath we are allowed to take!! AND, I love avocado in any form as well!!

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  34. I eat avocados with a spoon too! Just add a little lemon pepper spice. So goooood after a run or hike! My near death experiences always have been with water and almost drowning. My most recent was a white water rafting trip on the Penobscot. Got caught in what they call the washing machine cycle? I was underwater for quite a while, even with a life vest on. First time.. last time. :)

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  35. I grew up 2 blocks from the beach as a kid in California and spent a lot of time in the ocean, but at 23, I almost drowned in the undertow in Mexico. Well, at least I thought I was going to drown! The undertow kept sucking me down and then swishing me around like I was in a washing machine. Somehow, I made it back to shore. Then, about 6 months later, I was in Bermuda with my boyfriend, and we took a catamaran out; it flipped over, and we couldn't get it flipped back, so we floated aimlessly in the water for a while. I was surprisingly calm (he was a wreck). We were rescued, but the people who rescued us told us very animatedly that if we had drifted a bit farther, we would have been out of their line of sight (we were in a cove), and we then might have been lost at sea. Needless to say, I am not a fan of the ocean. 23 was an unlucky year for me and water.

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  36. 2 things:
    1) Guacamole leftovers-all is not lost: use a piece of saran wrap placed down snugly over the mass of guac and then place the plastic lid on the glasslock or tuperware container, and voila! Fresh GREEN leftover guac the next day.
    2) Almost died twice-once at age ~25 when another driver ran a red light, t-boning me and forcing my car into a brick retaining wall on a freeway overpass, and another time more recently 4 years ago when I had an aggressive breast cancer.

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  37. Yes, there are sharks there and they've been getting braver and braver coming closer to the shoreline

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  38. My fiancé and I did IMFL in 2011, on the second loop he ran up the beach a bit to try and utilize the current, well he was the only one and once he started swimming and looked down and saw a shark. Moral of the story...stay with the crowd and you will be fine! Or be like me and close your eyes when your face is in the water...what you can't see won't hurt you right!?

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  39. Speaking of dying, I haven't had a near death experience, but Heidi might if you feed her avocados.... they are on the ASPCA "don't feed to your dogs" list!!

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  40. Unfortunately, I have not had a near death experience. Knock on wood. If being in a car accident counts then maybe yes! I do have a vague memory of being sucked under an undertow when I was very young. Probably why I am not buddy buddy with the water!

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