Monday, September 30, 2013

You Get What You Give

After my high from Saturday’s 100 mile ride, I wasn’t sure if the weekend could get better. And, then it did.


Yes I am wearing a t-shirt that shows how much I love Friday Night Lights

I told you last week that my century ride with Venus de Miles was cancelled due to the flood. Instead, Venus connected riders with ways to volunteer and help with the flood relief effort. Some of us were asked to go to a farm near Longmont, along one of my most favorite riding routes. Ironically, this weekend while doing loops for my long ride, I went by this farm many times and noticed the devastation.


In a weird way I felt a connection to this place, probably because I have passed it too many times to count on training runs and rides. I know you all get what I mean – you go by places a million times and briefly take note of them, but at the same time hardly notice…they are just part of your landscape.

When we got there, my friend Michelle and I grabbed masks, shovels, gloves and boots and headed towards a little 1800’s garden house that had not yet been cleaned out.


She and I went about removing 8” of mud from the floor of this structure, uncovering lawnmowers, rototillers etc. We would dump the mud outside the doors and other volunteers put it in wheelbarrows and dumped it. It’s a good thing I am not freaked out by earth worms as big as snakes. And, too bad this was a rest day because it was not a rest day. Shoveling mud was some serious upper body and core crap.

One funny thing we found in the shed – this sign:


There once was a man with a sick head

Who grew tired of bikers peeing in his shed

When he finally caught one

He loaded his gun and now that biker is dead

Like I said, this farm is along a popular cycling route. The story goes that cyclists were stopping and actually coming into the shed and peeing in the fountain the family had in there. Seriously? Who does that? I am not above taking a dump in the bushes on a trail run, but I wouldn’t dream of going into a shed that someone owned. I have standards after all.

And, no the homeowner did not really shoot a cyclist and pour him down the sink. And yes, I did ask them if I could post the sign.

We talked a lot to the homeowners. They have lived there for 8 years and live on about 7 acres. Their house has been totaled – it will take more to rebuild it than to just tear it down. The attitude of the owners, however, was amazing, despite FEMA’s less than stellar response. They said that it has been the generosity of people that has outweighed the trauma of losing so much.

You get what you give is what so many have told them. Apparently these people have been incredibly generous to those around them for years. When it came their turn to need help, the outpouring has been amazing.


Can you find me?


Have you ever done any disaster relief work or had someone do it for you? This was a first for me.

Ever pee/poop on someone’s property (would you admit it?). Believe it or not, I have not intentionally done this. I did poop inside a tree once in a moment of desperation, but I think it was on public property.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Haven’t Done This In 20 Years

Today I did something I haven’t done since I was 26 years old.

I rode 100 miles.


{Heidi always has to find a way to get in the picture even if it is just her tail. Photo bombing Golden Retrievers are the worst}

Who says you slow down with age? I felt a million times better on this century ride than I did on the one 20 years ago. I’m not going to say it was a piece of cake, but it also didn’t kick my butt (although it hurt my butt).

Just like doing your first 20 mile run in marathon training is a milestone, I think riding your first 100 miles in Ironman training is a milestone. Now, if I can just run 26.2 miles after, I’ll be good to go. No, I did not run after today’s ride, but I am sure that is coming.

I split this ride into three loops. When we started out it was a balmy 32 degrees. Throughout the day I would shed my tights, gloves and ear warmers.  Ken did the first one (31 miles) with me. My friends, Leigh and Barb, met me for the second loop (38 miles) and I did the last one by myself (same as the first loop – 31 miles). I needed to take in about 1,500 calories on this ride, and I did pretty well.

1 mint chocolate Clif Bar ~250 cals
1 peanut butter and jelly sandwich ~300 cals
1 almond/coconut Kind Bar ~ 200 cals
1 orange GU ~100 cals
1 blackberry GU ~100 cals
1 mint chocolate GU (ick) ~100 cals
48 ounces Power Bar Perform drink ~420 cals
24 ounces water

Total Calories: 1,470

I like to break up my solid food into small pieces and put into Ziploc bags in my Bento Box. Makes for easy feasting. After the ride, it looks like this, a mess of wrappers, coins and crumbs:


This ride made me a bit more confident for Ironman Florida. It took me about 5 hours and 56 minutes – but I also climbed 2,900 feet.


Florida will be more difficult due to heat, humidity and wind, but it is a very flat course and I’ll have sea level on my side.  Who knows what the hell will happen on race day.

The only let down for the day was my freaking Garmin. I was excited to see “100 miles” on my watch for the first time. Instead it looked like this. Not enough space for a damn 100!


{I know that says 6 hours, but moving time was 5:56. Hey, and that’s a shit load of calories
burned sister!}

I am pathetic because I thought I rode 100 miles and I only rode 00.01. I definitely need this sticker now:


I am showing you this picture of me and Sam because you can see that I should have re-applied sunscreen to my nose. I am Rudolph.



What has been a milestone in your training? The first time I ever ran double digits was HUGE for me.

Do you feel more fit than you did in your younger years? YES. I never was a runner and I was never consistent about working out. In fact, from age 29 to 40 I did very little for exercise.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Thing I Won’t Be Doing This Weekend Is..

Remember how I told you I was doing a century ride (that’s a decade ride time 10) with Venus de Miles this weekend? Well, now I’m not.

All events around here that require use of public roads have been cancelled for the next 30 days due to the flood.  If you can believe it, this road below was one of my most favorite roads to ride on, pre-flood. I would ride it at least once per week. It was also a recommended running route in Running Times last month.

colorado flood

The riding event this weekend was supposed to take us on this road. I know that many people have lost their possessions and their homes. We have been so very fortunate to not have experienced that. It pales in comparison, but I have lost quite a few of my favorite riding routes and running trails. They are like old friends to me, so it makes me sad. This one is still closed:


In lieu of the ride, participants are going to be volunteering in flood relief efforts. There were several choices regarding volunteering – I chose “Boulder Mudslingers” because it means digging out houses, helping the elderly pack up their belongings and load trucks. I like being dirty.

This was the first mud race Ken and I ever did – way back in 2004 before I even started running.


I still have a 100 miles to ride this weekend for training. I’m breaking it into three 2 hour loops and I’m begging anyone who knows how to ride a bike to join me because I am sick of myself. I spend millions of hours a week training, most of those hours by myself. I’m really starting to get on my nerves.

Everything has been massively switched around for me this week. Although today was supposed to be a rest day it was an anti-rest day with 4 hours of workouts (my new rest day will Sunday when I volunteer):

Bike 3 hours ~ 52 miles
Swim 1 hour – 3,000 yards

I hardly recognize myself anymore because there was a day in the not too distant past where 4 hours of training in one day would have fazed me quite a bit. I’m not bragging, I’m just saying it is astounding to me how the body and mind adapt.

I know I’m lucky to have a schedule that permits these kinds of days. I work from home, and only about 25 hours per week. When I do home visits with families, I schedule them around my family and my training. I can get up early and write or stay up late and write. I can write in my underwear, I can write by a tree, I can write in a tent, or in a house by the sea (that is me channeling my inner Dr. Seuss. I can still recite all of those books from when my kids were little. My favorite of all time is still Green Eggs and Ham).


I read it to Heidi now because my kids are too cool for this sort of thing.


How do you coordinate your training around your work/family schedule? Do you work from home? I’ve been doing my job (writing home studies for families who want to adopt or do foster care through social services) since Sam was born 15 years ago. It’s a great fit for our family.

Favorite kid’s book? I have so many. I always loved Bread and Jam for Francis, anything Richard Scarry and Love You Forever.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Let’s Go

Do you ever have a song on your iPod that speaks to you – that you think was written just for you and your situation? (For example, “Ring of Fire” when you’re giving birth perhaps?)

Today I decided my theme song for where I am in my training right now is (besides “Panama” of course):

LET’S GO by Calvin Harris feat Neyo
{Listen HERE}

I play it on repeat sometimes. Don’t tell Coach Sharpie because I am not supposed to be running with music since I can’t have it during my race. But, I do anyway sometimes. I never rebelled much as a teenager so I am doing it now as a 46 year old. (Okay Dad, I know what you are thinking about that one time you and mom were out of town and you came home early and Dave and I were having a big party, but those were his friends and it was his idea. I was in my room reading Shakespeare and drinking chamomile tea).


We were so innocent

Why do I like this song? Because Calvin Harris knows what I am going through and is speaking to me to not be afraid and to GO. In actuality, I am pretty certain this song was written about two people getting ready to have sex, but I like to pretend it’s about me pushing myself during Ironman training :

Let's go!
Make no excuses now
(even if I’m tired, bored, cold, congested, constipated..?)
I'm talking here and now
I'm talking here and now
Let's go!
Your time is running out
(only 7 weeks left)
I'm talking here and now
I'm talking here and now
It's not about what you've done
(but, I’ve done a shit load)
It’s about what you’re doing - (a shitload)
It’s all about where you’re going - (Panama City on Nov 2- IMFL)
No matter where you've been - (every porta potty and bush in Boulder County)

My time is in fact running out. But I’m not going to to harp on that. I’m going to make the most of the time I have left. See how mature I am?

I took a rest day yesterday and got my shit together mentally. I realized that one of the reasons I’ve been feeling so defeated is that I am a runner and I love to run, yet lately I have hated running. Why, you ask? Because it hurts and it is hard and it is no fun. It took me several months to figure out that this is because I am tired. This is because I never run on “fresh” legs anymore. I always run after being on the bike for 4 hours, or after doing a long swim, or the morning after a tough workout from the previous day.

So, my legs don’t want to go, but I make them go anyway. And on race day, somehow they will carry me 26.2 miles after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike.

Joie emailed me after reading my last post where I word-vomited all of my insecurities. I LOVE what she said,

“Just think about the training you have behind you.  The volume of training!  That makes you a bad ass right now.  I know you can do it...never a doubt or question in my mind - I simply know you can - because you are Beth.  That might sound cheesy, but it is true.” 

Calvin Harris should write a song called, “You Can Do It Because You are Beth”.


Joie helping me out at the Colfax Marathon in May


What’s your “theme” song or the one that you keep playing again and again while you train?

Off the subject, but were you a rebellious teen? What was the worst thing you ever did? One time I ran with scissors (what? I can’t tell the truth because my dad reads this blog).


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Crappy Mom Moment aka The Highs & Lows of Training a Million Hours a Week

Another training week DOWN, officially putting me one week closer to Ironman Florida.  Yes, it is exactly 7 weeks from yesterday. Mother eff’ing huge GULP.

Don’t tell anyone, but my confidence is in the toilet. I know with IM training, there are highs and lows. I don’t think my mental state has ever been this challenged while training. I am constantly having to assure myself I can do things when my body just really wants to stop. These long training weekends are kind of taking a toll. Wah, wah.

Yesterday I rode for 4 hours (~69 miles). I had to come home in the middle to change out my seat because my crotch hurt. There is no nice way to sugar coat it. SORE CROTCH!  This did give me a chance to eat a huge piece of my mom’s apple cake with cream cheese frosting. They should make a GU in that flavor.

I came in from my ride, in the zone, mentally preparing for a 7 mile run. It was hot, my legs were fried and I was in a bad mood about the whole thing.

Emma was practicing the piano and teaching herself to play “Imagine” by John Lennon.


She wanted me to hang out and listen. I told her I would for a minute but then just let me get this run done, then I will have all day to listen more. She kept pushing me to listen longer, and finally I blew - “Please don’t make this any harder for me than it already is! I said NO!” Nice mom moment. Does this child not understand what a “brick” is? There is no time for piano recitals in the transition between bike and run (although to my credit, I did come home and listen afterwards).

The run sucked because I was hot and tired and dehydrated. All I kept thinking was, “there is no way in hell I am going to be able to come off a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and then run a marathon.” I really psyched myself out on this one. Plus, I ate the worst gel ever (peanut butter GU) and it disgusted me.

I had to spend the rest of the day pumping myself back up from my pathetic mental state. I think I am going to buy something like this and wear it through November 2. When I am having a pity party I’ll just have to look at my wrist:

I am usually pretty mentally strong, so feeling this way is different. I’ve just never tackled anything this big. I don’t want to just suffer through 140.6 miles, I want to be strong, to push, to take it all in and enjoy the day.

After 5 hours and 10 minutes of training I went to Subway. I have never gotten a foot long sub in my life, mostly because I just can’t handle all those inches (TWSS). But yesterday I downed that Buffalo Chicken 12 incher like no one’s business. I looked at this website which calculates the calories in all Subway subs (depending on cheese, condiments, etc.). Really cool. I wanted to make sure I was making up for all of my burned calories: 930 calories – that should do it!


Take Two! This morning was a 2 hour ride (~34 miles), followed by a 4 mile run. More obstacles. First, two flat tires.


As Ken did the labor, I had a chance to take some pictures. What a gorgeous morning to be alive in Boulder County.


Tons of hot air balloons out today – I want to do that someday.


One of my dream houses:


A torso selfie:



Later we rode by one of our favorite places to run/walk Heidi. Totally destroyed by the flood. The shitter actually fell into the river bed (also one of my favorite shitters, has saved me many times). Very sad.


I was happy to have 14.5 hours of training done for the week. Doesn’t everyone just sit in the middle of their kitchen floor when they are tired?


Summary For the Week:

Swim: 6,400 yards (~3.7 miles)

Bike: 124.5 miles

Run: 27.3 miles

Total Miles: 155.5

Total # of workouts: 12


What’s your favorite Subway sub? Can you handle 12”? Lately I’m on a Buffalo Chicken kick, but usually it’s the Tuscan Chicken.

Ever been on a hot air balloon ride? Do you recommend it?

What’s the last “bad” mom moment you’ve had?


PS: Ironman Lake Tahoe is today. I heard it snowed there last night? Remind me to never complain about the warm weather in Florida.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Should Phones Be Banned During Races?

I wanted to share with you a tragedy in the world of marathons. If you happen to be traveling to Hong Kong to run the marathon in February, you had better put away your phone. That is because marathon officials have banned cell phones at the race (or are at least majorly discouraging their use). Why you ask? Because last year some woman stopped to take a selfie and everyone got backed up and started falling all over the place. True story (article HERE).

Yeah, it might be a tad crowded to stop and take a selfie

Maybe I am in the minority but I do not understand taking pictures during a race, particularly of oneself. Are you running a race or are you sightseeing? When I run a race it is all I can do to stay upright, not crap myself and not die. I cannot imagine pulling out my camera and documenting myself in this condition. Frankly, I just wouldn't have the energy.

There is a reason that there are photographers along the race course. So that you don’t have to bring your own camera!!

In all honesty, I can’t say I’ve ever been inconvenienced by someone taking pictures while running. I’ve never had someone stop right in front of me or get in my way. I also have not been in many races where I’ve seen people taking pictures. Usually everyone around me is doing what I am doing, which is trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible.

Now, I understand that logistically it makes a lot of sense to carry your phone with you during a race if you need to find someone after, etc. But to actually use the phone to take pictures or to tweet seems odd to me. Run your race, discuss it later. Not every life experience is meant to be lived via your smartphone.

You can disagree and you probably will.

Now, animals taking selfies, well that is just completely acceptable, any day, any time:


Heidi has some work to do in the selfie department. Good thing she has a lot of spare time between sleeping, sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating and pooping.

Do you think races should ban phones/cameras? No. Maybe there should just be a rule about stepping to the sidelines if you have to take a picture. In other words, get the f%ck out of the way.

Do you carry a phone while you run races? Do you use it for pictures/selfies?


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9 Benefits of Not Exercising

When you read blogs and are around people who train/work out many hours per week, you can get kind of skewed and think that’s what everyone does. Not the case.

I realize Ironman training is slightly extreme (okay, mother eff’ing crazy).  Yet, this has become my new norm. Don’t get me wrong – it took awhile to adjust to the high volume and to not roll my eyes, panic and flip off the computer each time I looked at my training plan for the week (or maybe I am just pissed at how messy my desk is).


Yes, that is a bobblehead of myself to the right

I’ve mostly adapted to the 15-18 hour weeks and might even be a bit lost when this goal is finally met (or in the words of my mom, “You are seriously not going to know what to do with yourself”).

The other day I was reminded that while this training might be my norm, many people think I am ridiculous.

I was in the locker room at the pool, post swim. I see a woman there, about my age, almost everyday. Today she introduced herself as Jane .

Jane: I see you wear an Iron Girl triathlon cap. Do you do triathlons?

Me: Yes.

Jane: Are you training for one now?

Me: Yes, I’m actually going to do my first Ironman in November

Jane. So what is the Ironman? Is that a triathlon?

Me: Yes, it’s a really long distance one.

Jane: Oh, so what are the distances?

Me: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and then a marathon.

Jane (pausing, looking confused): Uh..well, do you get breaks between or just do it all at once?

Me: No, you just do it all at once throughout the day and into the night.

Jane (looking kind of disgusted): Wow. That is seriously my idea of HELL. I like to quilt.

To each his own. Maybe I’ll take up quilting in November.

I wonder how much people really do exercise. So, I did a bit of research. A Gallup poll done in July showed that Americans are actually exercising less than before. These days only about 53% of people exercise at least 30 minutes per day, three days per week. Not a huge drop from 2012 (which was 55%), but slightly.


So, that means 47% of people are either not exercising at all or doing it less than 90 minutes per week.

Okay, so not everyone likes to exercise. I get it. I can definitely see the benefits of not exercising:

1.  Less laundry to do

2.  You get a cute muffin top for free (I know this because I kind of had one when I was 30 lbs. heavier)

3.  You don’t smell as bad as often

4.  You don’t have to spend extra money on new clothes because your old ones are too big  for you

5.   You won’t lose your spot on the couch to one of your kids or pets

6.   Treadmills are boring and dangerous.

7.  You don’t have to remember to charge your Garmin, iPod, etc.

8.  More time to watch Dolvett on the Biggest Loser while eating ice cream

9.   Finally, locker rooms at gyms are dangerous

This is what happens in gym showers, and it's horrifying.


How often do you work out/train/exercise? I do 6 days per week, with one complete rest day (no yoga, etc). These days it’s high volume, but when I’m not IM training, it’s more like 7-9 hours per week.

Got any other good reasons to not exercise?


PS: I never heard from the winner of the $50 jewelry giveaway, so the new winner is Kasey from Stitch, Bake, Run.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Best Word to Describe This Ironman Training Week Was…


Except that I hate that word (along with panty, ginormous, stoked and scrotum). So, maybe I could say this week has been soggy. Even that is an understatement. How about SOAKED? (In case you don’t watch the news, some of Colorado is under water experiencing our version of a 100 year flood).

Here is how this week panned out – I fell short of my 15.5 hour time goal due to logistics, closed roads, closed facilities and general moistness:

Monday: Rest day after my 70.3 race

Tuesday: Short bike ride with Coach Sharpie to work on technique. It was pouring rain. MOIST. We worked on hills and turning. My favorite quote from coach for the day: “When riding in aero position, point your anus to the back, like you are going to shit on the car behind you.” Priceless.

Wednesday: Swim 2,800 yards. Run 7 miles

As the week wore on and the sky continued to open up and spew rain upon Colorado, my workouts got a bit more challenging.

Thursday: 7.2 mile run – RAINY.

Friday: Was to be a long swim, but with all roads and pools closed, I just swam 5,000 yards in this.


Just kidding. Another favorite part of this day was that we smelled gas and had to have the gas people come out to make sure our house wasn’t going to explode. Turns out it was a sewage gas smell coming from all of the flooding on the golf course behind us. Reminds of me when Cousin Eddy’s sewage from his RV blew up in Christmas Vacation.


Thankfully the skies had cleared (at least for a few hours):


It is a good thing I am OCD about my training and HATE to miss a workout because this day was a freaking pain in the ass. It would have been very easy to not do it.

First of all, all pools in Longmont were closed. I had to drive 30 minutes to the YMCA. About 30 minutes into my swim, every screaming and hyper girl on the female swim team invaded the pool. I was out of there soon enough.

2,300 yard swim.

I grabbed some coffee on the way home, mentally gearing up for a 4 hour bike ride. I knew many roads would be closed due to flooding, so had no clue how this would go. Ken and I took one of our usual routes only to discover the bridge was totally washed away:


This is my best WTF-do-we-do-now? look.


We threw our bikes across the chasm and made a human bridge and kept going. Just kidding again. We turned around. We encountered two more road closures and wash outs before we decided to call it a day and head home. In total I rode for 3:50, or 66 miles.

I headed out for a 7 mile run and it was hot and I was tired and it kind of sucked but I did it.


Got up for an early morning 6 mile run. Nice and cool. Legs felt good.

Then I immediately headed out for a 2 hour bike ride. By this time it had started torrentially down pouring. The winds were crazy. I was freezing. About 40 minutes out, Ken said, “I think I’m done having fun for the day,” and we turned for home. Here I am looking like a drowned rat wearing science class goggles. Where’s the Bunsen burner?:


I had another hour run to do, but I got warm, took a nap and procrastinated. Finally at 4:30, the rain let up, so I headed out. Then of course it started pouring again. But I managed 6.2 more miles. Here is a professional video documenting the end of the run. I like how Ken didn’t turn off the video so it keeps recording stuff you won’t understand:


Swim: 5,100 yards
Bike: 96 miles
Run: 33.3 miles

Total time: 13 hours, 25 minutes
Total miles: ~132
Total workouts: 10

This Ironman training is teaching me to be flexible and creative. When things don’t go as planned, you come up with a new plan. There are no excuses not to get in the work outs. It’s just a Shut Up and Train mentality. Get out there, suffer through, get it done. Meet your goal. Feel good (and moist).


What words/expressions do you hate? I also don’t like “That said…” and “At the end of the day” and “phone tag.” Oh, and for some reason, “Game on!” bugs me too.

Tell me about one less than ideal workout you’ve had this week (were you tired? was the weather sucky or moist? did you have bad gas? WHAT??)


On a serious note: I want to say that although I appear to be making “light” of things, it’s not exactly the case – this has been a very tough time for our town and our state. We are doing what we can to help out others, to check on friends and to remain optimistic. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected – those displaced, those who have lost their homes or have tremendous clean up ahead of them, those worried about loved ones.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Yes, it sure as hell is Friday the 13th.

Here in Longmont, Colorado, we have not had our share of natural disasters. In the 15 years I’ve lived here, there has been nothing. Until yesterday.


A friend of my son’s crosses a main road a 1/2 mile from our house

When I got a call from the school district at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday saying schools were closed due to flooding, I knew that most of the flooding was located in areas close to the river that runs through the center of Longmont. This river is small, and not even something that most of us give any attention to in our town.

The kids were shocked and thrilled at no school. I headed out for a 7 mile run in the pouring rain – it doesn’t rain much here in Colorado – and loved every minute of my solitary run along one of the local lakes. I saw a coyote, then a bald eagle. I felt so happy and at peace.

When I got home, Emma and I headed out to pick up a couple of things at the grocery store. At this point, it seemed flooding was pretty localized. When we got on the main road that goes through town, we began to see what all the fuss was about. Emma took this picture while we were driving. This is one of the main roads in Longmont:IMAG1998

I called Ken to tell him the roads were getting flooded, and he said he was on his way home from work. I told him we were going to pick up a few things and head home. Why we didn’t just head home then I’m not sure. Because I’m an idiot, clearly. In my defense, many people were out just doing their shopping like it was life as normal. I don’t think most people realized how bad it was getting.

Driving home from the store, we soon realized all roads cutting across town and over the river had been closed due to flooding. Our city was essentially cut in half by the river, and if you were on the north side, there was no way to go south and vice versa. The roads were jammed with miles of cars going nowhere.


Like many others, we had no way to get home. Now I know that when they tell you to stay home, you should stay home. Duh.

We drove around for about an hour and finally decided to go to my mom and dad’s house.  We spent the day there watching the pouring rain and the news telling us of how things were going from bad to worse.

My dad loaded the police scanner onto is iPad so we could hear more about what was going on locally. People were being evacuated from our neighborhood, but not on our street. People were trapped on the second floors of homes and they were bringing in jet skis and boats to get them out. Our house sits slightly on a hill and the areas being evacuated are just down the block.

My dad and his control center:


I was glad to be with my parents, but also wished our whole family was together. Ken, Sam and Heidi were at home, and we were 3 miles across town with no way to cross the river and get home. I guess I could have just swam the 3 miles since that would be good Ironman training.

My mom invited some neighbors over and used what she had in her fridge to make a vegetable chicken soup and a cinnamon cake with chocolate frosting.  Comfort food. She is a good person to be stuck with.

One of the neighbors said that her husband who is a doctor was able to get to the hospital (across the river) by driving really far south, then cutting east and north. Emma and I decided to try this at about 8pm. My parents live five minutes from us, but it took us an hour to get home as we drove 50 miles out of our way.

It felt good to be home. This morning, we really have an idea about the devastation, especially in nearby Lyons where the National Guard is evacuating the entire town. You might remember that Lyons is where I do most of my trail running and a lot of my cycling. I know Boulder, about 10 miles away,  is also in very bad shape.

We live along a golf course and this morning the view from our deck looks like this. I guess now we live on a lake, not a golf course:


Ken just went out to check on the roads. This is about a half mile from our house. That person driving is more of an idiot than me:




The are still rescuing people by boats:


I guess my training is on hold for a few days. I know I should just not fret about that – there are bigger fish to fry right now.

It feels so surreal when something like this happens right on your door step. We are so fortunate to be safe and to not have any damage. Our thoughts are with all of the people who have lost their homes or are stuck and scared.

Have you ever been in a natural disaster? When we lived in Greece, we had a bad earthquake and also a forest fire that nearly burned down our home.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Two Things That Have Nothing To Do With Each Other

First, I want to know what you thought of this:



I can see the point they were trying to make, but IMHO, done in poor taste.

Moving on.

I first heard about a 96 year old man named Fred on the news last week. Fred entered a song writing contest with lyrics  he wrote for his wife, Lorraine, of 75 years who had recently died. He didn’t win, but his song was recorded for free and has made the top 10 on iTunes. I bet Lorraine didn’t see that one coming!

If you can’t make time to watch the full 10 minutes,
be sure to go to the 6 minute mark where the song begins.

Yeah, stuff like this keeps Kleenex in business.

In this age of technology, busy-ness and bad news, it was such a simple, innocent, and sweet sentiment.  I was reminded how precious it is to share a lengthy history with someone, be it a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend or a sibling. You don’t always know it and recognize it when it is happening, but when the time has gone by, you see the beauty and wish you could do it all over again.

I’d like to tie this to running or fitness, but I don’t really feel like it and there is no obvious connection to me at this moment.

I just liked the video and Fred.

I guess at the “end of the day” (an overused expression I kind of hate, but am using here anyway), all of the training, races, paces, goals and new shoes mean a hell of a lot more with people you love to share it all with. But, then again I was never much of a loner to begin with.

Sweet Lorraine really was fortunate. So am I.


The Pearl Izumi ad. Over the line or just fine?

When was the last time you teared up watching, reading or listening to something? I choked up while doing a moment of silence at 6:46 a.m. (MDT) today and thinking about where I was when it all happened 12 years ago.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Harvest Moon 70.3 Race Report (BTW, Socks Are Important)

Disclaimer: This report is long. But, what can I say? The race was long. If I can be out there for almost 6 hours, you can read this for 10 minutes (I’m bossy).

This picture was taken at the start when I am all neat and tidy, fresh as a daisy. Before the shit hit the fan.


The half ironman distance is nothing to sneeze at – yet, I know that in November at IM Florida I will be DOUBLING what I did in yesterday’s race. That is just slightly daunting, no? I bow down to you bad asses who do Ironmen (and I don’t mean sleep with Ironmen, but complete the 140.6 distance).

It all started innocently enough (does anyone not look like a dork in a wetsuit)?:


I’ve got to admit I was pretty calm, minimal nerves. However, no matter how you slice it, 70.3 miles is a long freaking distance and it intimidates me. Many people can’t even drive that far (ever heard that one before?)

To be smart and avoid hyperventilating, I did what all the other cool kids did and got in the water to warm up. I knew I’d be fine. Cool as a cucumber.

And, there we go. Right into the sun because that makes it very easy to see. It was 1.2 miles – swim out .6 mile, go back .6 mile. I wasn’t super speedy, but I was calm and steady.


Swim: 38 minutes


Here I am struggling to get my damn wet suit zipper down and run and breathe at the same time:


My transition #1 was pretty short considering how my wetsuit and I got into a raging fight. She did not want to leave my body. Slut.

T1: 1:44

I headed out for the 56 mile bike. I rode this course last weekend, so there would be no surprises. The bike is kind of a blur. I basically got down in my aero bars and and cruised. The hills on the backside were a bitch, but oh well.

Bike: 2:52, 19.4 mph average

Here I am coming into T2. This is right before I fell on top of my bike. Being a klutz and a triathlete don’t really mix.


Here’s me in transition #2 trying to get my sh*t together. For me the worst part of a triathlon is starting to run after the bike. Your legs want to fall off. Even though it looks like it, I am not praying. I probably should have been knowing now what I know about the upcoming run from hell.


T2: 1:26

Here I am starting the run and realizing what  a bad mood I am in because it is now over 90 degrees and I have to run 13.1 miles on concrete with no shade. For a race of this distance there will be many highs and lows (mostly because you are just out there so freaking long). This was a low.


You can tell how slow I am going because in the span of 10 seconds the guy in front of me is so much further ahead. I never saw him again. Show off.


So here is where it gets ugly. I don’t wear socks with my shoes during triathlons. I skip the extra step of putting on socks. That is all fine and good, but I forgot that the shoes I chose to wear yesterday I had never worn before without socks. Yes, that is right. I committed the ultimate sin and did something new on race day. Damn me!

Within the first mile I knew this was going to be a major, huge problem. The friction between my feet and shoes was causing blisters to form instantaneously. There are problems during races you can overcome and there are problems you know are MAJOR issues that might take you out of the race. Yes, I have never DNF’d any race. Yet, the thought was now crossing my mind. My feet were on fire. I kept stopping to loosen my laces, anything for more comfort. I was cussing myself out, “You mean to SAVE the 10 seconds it would have taken to put on socks, you are now looking at having to quit this race. Idiot.”

Time to problem solve. The way I saw it was I could:

  1. run 13.1 miles barefoot
  2. find a pair of socks.

I went with option 2.

I came up to the second aid station at mile #2. It was manned by 4 teenage boys. I asked the first two if they could puh-leez give me a pair of their socks. They said they didn’t have any. Liars. They did. On their feet.

I begged kid #3: “Please. If you don’t give me your socks I will have to quit the race. I will pay you money later. I will do anything.” And just like that, this heroic 16 year old, Tom,  took off his shoes and handed me the most disgusting pair of long, black, sweaty, old teenage socks. I told Tom I loved him. I threw on those socks like they were the best running socks I had ever owned and went on my way. Tom, if you are reading this (and I know you are not), I owe you my life.

The sock trauma behind me, I marched on. This was probably the most  un-fun run I’ve ever been on. I tried to keep a positive attitude and just go one mile at a time (13 times). The last two miles were the must brutal – but I kept telling myself that it was 2 miles out of 70.3 and I wasn’t going to stop. I thought of the famous words by Winston Churchill (and Rodney Atkins), “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

Coming into the finish. Finally!


Run: 2:18 (10:35 average). My slowest half marathon ever! Yay for me.


The very best most awesome part of this run was the slip ‘n slide at the end. I cruised through the finish chute and straight onto the slide. Normally I’m kind of grossed out by communal things full of sweat, grime, fecal matter and dirt, but I was so hot I couldn’t give a crap. I slid through and they sprayed me with the hose. Then this nice little girl came and pulled me into the cesspool. I think I got 45 infections.


Then I danced because I was happy.



Here I am giving that little girl a high five and trying to strike my best red carpet pose.


Post-race I got a huge plate of Wahoos food. I no longer look fresh as a daisy. More like an old hag.


And, what ever happened to the socks you are wondering?


I put them on the food I didn’t eat and threw them away. Sorry Tom (I love how the guy beside us is hiding the sock from his sight).


Total time: 5:53

9/20 AG, 35/140 female. I will say, this was a competitive race. Lots of very skilled and experienced athletes. I felt really crappy that I didn’t do a better run. Just didn’t have it in me, I suppose.

Many thanks to:

  • Ken for getting up at 4:30 a.m., spectating for almost 6 hours and being my personal photographer and biggest fan
  • Erika for cheering me on at the finish and being my friend
  • X2 Performance for the awesome race gear and pre-race fueling. And for my new mantra: “Dominate today, everyday”
  • Tom – for the socks
  • Without Limits for putting on a great race with tons of amazing volunteers.
  • Sharpie for making me train my ass off


Make me feel better. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a race?

What’s the toughest race you’ve ever done? I think the last few miles of the Boston Marathon in 2011 were my toughest because I was so undertrained. I actually cried during that race, and not out of joy.



PS: The winner of the Words to Sweat By giveaway is Beth -


Email me at to claim your prize!