Category Archives: Triathlon

Oh Right. The Race!

I’m back to the routine, meaning I’m running, swimming and biking up a storm. There’s that 1/2 Ironman (woman) that I’m tackling in October and oh lordie. I just looked at the calendar. That sucker is 20 weeks away. My tri program? 20 weeks, meaning this week I need to get my butt in gear and get going on some serious training.
I’ve got 70.3 miles to tackle, after all.
My hips are sore this week after my morning runs on the canal. And my goggles laughed at me when I finally found them at the bottom of my gym bag yesterday. It had been so long they punished me for neglect by leaking the entire workout. And Ruby? Well, she hasn’t thrown me off lately. I’m still recovering from a nasty spill pre-trip when she got into an argument with a train track and my right side had to lay down the law. As in fall off my bike into a train track on my right side, during rush hour traffic, in the heat. Did I mention the cop that put on his lights to steer traffic away from the spectacle that was my bike/train track crash? What can I say? Ruby’s got a gingery attitude and she’s feisty.

This summer I am dedicating myself to two things:
1. Getting the best shape of my life and completing my 1/2 Ironman with every ounce of spunk I’ve got; and
2. Rewriting and editing novel #1 and resubmitting it to my literary agent friend. He isn’t my agent yet, but I’m convinced he will be one day.

Now, I’m off to research heart rate monitors, cycling computers and tri teams that won’t kill me, but will make get me in smoking hot shape come October when coincidentally I will also be making an appearance at my 10 year high school reunion. Why yes, this race timing is a great coincidence.

Any advice on tri gear? Limiting soda and booze? Replacing my morning bagel habit with a healthier oatmeal option? I’ll take all the advice and encouragement you’re willing to provide. {Putting Ruby up for adoption isn’t an option.}

Sun Salutation


Taken in Oro Valley, Arizona. Whenever I see saguaros, I think of yoga — with their lengthy limbs bending every which way so gracefully.

My running buddies have been sick lately, so I’ve been tackling my dusty canal route with the company of my iPod. This morning, after a five-miler and some intervals, I stretched my hands above my head and greeted the day with arms outstretched, feeling the muscles in my torso and legs slowly loosen.
I love to run with others; the conversation usually keeps me going farther and faster than I would run by myself. Plus, the thought of someone waiting for me gets me up and out of bed at 4:30 am. However this week I’ve enjoyed running solo, thinking about my day ahead and going through my morning prayers. I’m guessing those who pass me on the canal walking their dogs think of me as the crazy mumbling girl.
My triathlon is in October and between now and then I’ve got 5 weeks of international travel scheduled. I’m getting stronger and loving watching my routine change as this race becomes more of a reality. My diet is getting better. I’m stacking workouts fairly regularly and am actually joining a tri team when I get home from Africa. But when I am actually in Africa (and Bolivia) I have to remember to get out and run. My routine usually gets confiscated at customs and I come home feeling gross and upset with myself that I haven’t made an hour of time for myself a priority. This trip, I have a great feeling, will be different. There is no reason not to run on the beaches in Moz or use the treadmill in Cape Town. I’ve got no excuse to be lazy.
I can’t wait to raise my arms above my head as I cross that finish line. In the meantime, back to the dusty canal. Oh — and the praying.


Take A Tray at the Blog Buffet

beautiful superstition mountains

Where I ran Sunday — the beautiful Superstition Mountains.

I’m thrilled so many people are excited about CAOK! Thank you for the fantastic feedback. I’m going to post ideas and photos of projects. I’ve also organized a flickr gallery if you are interested in showing others how you are participating. I’m trying to find the precarious balance here between congratulatory and motivational. The point of CAOK isn’t to pat yourself on the back; then again I am regularly inspired by other’s blogs to act — so there needs to be some sharing.

*-* Update *-*
A button for CAOK participants:


Created by lovely Colleen. Thank you!

Ideas for week one:
~Send your grandparents, parents, best friends a letter. You know the joy of receiving a piece of great mail. Why not stop to pick up a few postcards next time you are at the market? It will take you less than 30 minutes to write out 10 cards and imagine the joy you’ll spread.

~ Burn some great music and share CDs. Mail them out, leave them anonymously on your coworker’s desk, give one to your child’s teacher.

~ Bake. Everyone loves baked goods. You can make them healthy with a bit of applesauce vs. butter substitution. Wrap up your cupcakes, cookies, bread and tie them with a ribbon. Leave them on the doorstep with a note (who is going to eat something left anonymously?), take your goods to the local shelter, or hand them out to street folk you may see on your way to work.

This week is by far the busiest week of the year for me at work. I haven’t had two seconds to bake, write or craft — ahem, note to self, consider practicing what you preach — but hope to catch up with myself Sunday. I’ve got a bit of In Stitches sewing to do too. Gulp.

the state of my front seat

That said, I couldn’t help but laugh looking at my front seat this morning. Oy. This accurately describes the craziness of my life at the moment. Notice the coconut and chocolate from last week’s cupcake disaster. And my running shoes, socks, moleskin from the ill-fated trail run two weeks ago. Moleskin is fantastic, by the way. My feet didn’t hurt one bit during the race Sunday.

Maybe I should add “hand out moleskin to runners in your life” on the above list. Ha!


I ran the Lost Dutchman 1/2 Marathon this morning and thanks to a silly error, I ended up running an additional 2 miles. It was my first time running this race and I was just happy I made it to the start line in time. In the time crunch, didn’t look at the map for the course. I never do, actually. I just situate myself in middle of the pack and follow those in front of me until I see the sweet, sweet finish line. Typically this works without a problem. This morning, not so much.
I felt like a silly sheep after making a turn at mile 3 (following the runners ahead of me.) We ran for a mile before we noticed angry runners were streaming back past us. Quickly it was decided we’d made a wrong turn and more than 100 of us had to turn back to join the rest of the race.
I was running alone, although it was easy enough to hear the grumbles of those around me as we headed back to the pack. It seemed the excitement of the race immediately fell to the pavement, only to be trampled by 200 disappointed feet. I could feel myself being pulled into the cloud of discontent — so instead I forced a smile, turned up my iPod, and said to the woman running nearest to me, “Ha! Now we get a 15 mile run for the price of 13!” She looked at me like I was mad. I smiled wider.
Where the Lost Dutchman lacked in race management (seriously, no food on the course? Are you kidding me?), it won in the scenery department. The Superstition Mountains are stunning and even though I’m an East Valley native, they still catch me in awe. The sun rose over the dark purple mountains, surrounded by bright pink clouds. The sunrise was glorious. The saguaro cacti stretched their arms toward the morning sun. The quail were chirping and scattering about. Even the not-so-native snow birds were there in full plaid effect, cheering from their driveways.
I love the desert. This really is the prettiest race I’ve ever run, hands down.

Now, a wee bit of advice from a weary, exhausted runner. If you are planning on running or walking or being at a marathon or 1/2 marathon, please consider the following:

– It is proper race etiquette to be at the very, very back of the pack if you are walking, or planning to walk any portion of the race. If you situate yourself at the front of the start line and then start walking, be prepared for an angry onslaught of runners to mow you down and curse you. It is just rude!

– If you have to stop for whatever reason during the race and do so immediately, be prepared to be mowed down by the runner behind you. It is common sense to move the margins when you are slowing down. Don’t these people drive? You can’t just stop in the middle of the lane on a highway. Consider a race the same!

– Runners are not more important that walkers. We all pay the same amount to be there. That said, when runners have trained for months to compete and you’ve just plopped out of bed in your sweats and decide to go for a long walk? Be respectful of the difference in commitment and get out of the way. You absolutely do not for any reason need to walk in the middle of the raceway.

– You really shouldn’t have to carry your own water on a race like this. You are doing yourself a disservice to haul that extra weight when they provide water every mile. Now food? I covet your Cliffshots on mornings like today when no food is provided.

My brother was at the finish line to cheer for me. It made me laugh to see him, brutally hungover, yet standing at the finish waving. He gave me a hug and then quickly stepped back.
Cody: “I was going to invite you for lunch, but, uh, you smell.”
Brilliant observation. Funny how 15 miles will do that to you.
Me: “Eh, I’ve got a clean t-shirt in the car. Meet me at Einstein’s? I’ll pay.”
Cody: “Yep.”

Good race. Good lunch.

November 2006 1/2 marathon: 2:28
December 2006 1/2 marathon: 2:16
Today’s 1/2 marathon (taking extra 2 miles into consideration): 2:10
WOO HOO! All those 5 am canal runs are starting to pay off.

A Recipe for Weekend Happiness

I can’t believe it is Monday. I feel like I just left this desk, just got in my car, just took my first sip of Friday Happy Hour cider. When the weather is this great, the time seems to slip away so quickly. My perfect weekend included large doses of cooking, knitting, sewing, cycling and movies.

Lessons learned:

mini film festival

Renting foreign films to watch while knitting sounds like a good idea, until you realize you have to watch every. single. scene. Without paying much attention I rented five movies, only two of which were in English. Next weekend? Babel and Little Miss Sunshine.

hat and scarf ready for auction

I can cable! The hat wasn’t just a rare fluke. I finished the scarf this weekend while squinting at subtitles. The pair are off to auction.

spokes on the knees

It is always smart to take a cell phone when cycling. I took a long ride yesterday out to Fountain Hills and got a flat on my way home. I’d never had a flat before and wasn’t sure how to fix it, even though I have a repair kit under my seat. I called a friend’s husband to come and pick me up, but before he could get there another cyclist stopped and helped me. It was a beautiful example of pay it forward. Not only did he squirm when I tried to thank him (including giving me a spare tube because my kit’s spare had a broken valve) but he wouldn’t let me even buy him something to drink. He just said, “Now you know how to fix these. You stop for the next guy.” Deal. The grease on my legs is still there and I’m wearing a skirt today to flaunt the fact that, “Hey! I fixed a tire yesterday on my bike and finished the ride!”

eggplant tacos

Final lesson — grilled eggplant and squash with a bit of cilantro and cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla = veggie taco heaven. Sweet reward to a weekend well spent.


The Good, Bad and Bloody

chicken pot pie1
pastry star

Good: I made a beautiful pastry crust last night. I finally figured out the right consistency, temperature and the such to roll out a beautiful crust. I used my grandma’s recipe, a good bit of patience and a star cookie cutter to create two chicken pot pies for sick coworkers. Nothing says “get better soon and stop coughing all over the office” like one of these.


As in bad-ass. Check out what I snapped driving down the road. Oh I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener… Really, I don’t. But the idea of stealing this car for a joyride gave me the giggles.

why you should always run with socks
bloody shoes

Next time I go out for a long trail run and forget my socks, kick me if I decide to run anyway. It is going to take at least a week for my feet to heal from this stupid move and I’ve got a big race in two weeks. Lovely. On the bright side, this gave me the motivation to go buy new running shoes, which I happily broke in this morning.

And this post effectively sums up the random nature of my life. Yummy cooking, love for all things kitschy and odd and the journey of training for a triathlon.


Just Call Me Grace

The weather forecast in Phoenix today is like something out of Mary Poppins — practically perfect in every way. I decided to seize the opportunity and went for a 2-hour ride through the giant suburban stucco cul-de-sac, also known as Ahwatukee. Sufjan Stevens and Jay Z alternated on my iPod — pushing me with contrasting styles, the sun was keeping me warm but not hot, my legs felt strong and I was really enjoying the ride. Before I knew it, I was 20 miles or so from home without much other than a good attitude and water bottle. By the time I made my way back, I was beyond hungry, rather shaky and desperate for a warm shower.
I trekked over to Rubio’s — one of my favorite weekend haunts — for a fish burrito and some much needed ice tea, but before I could sit down to eat, I managed to spill two ambitiously full containers of green salsa on my table, book, wallet and keys. Just as I finished cleaning up the mess and laughing at myself, I shook my Nalgene full of ice tea a bit too much and the ice came clattering down, sending freezing cold refreshment down my shirt and pants. Nice.
A family sitting a few tables away didn’t bother to stifle their laughter. Their kids had laughed after my jalapeno jolting salsa mess. Now dripping in ice tea, I’m pretty sure their parents wondered if I was on drugs or just possibly the least coordinated human being they’d ever seen.
As my friend Homer J. Simpson would say, “I’m so smart. S-M-R-T.”


Splish Splash

I swam with my new team this morning and it is going to be worth every penny. While I loved my YMCA team, it hasn’t been the same since my parents moved to Texas more than a year ago. Swimming used to be something my dad and I would do together a couple mornings a week. Since they moved, the team has fallen apart, the coach quit and I’ve been swimming by myself most mornings, plodding along and cursing Texas. (I kid.)
In contrast, the new pool and facilities are superior. There were 40+ people in the water and two coaches. Motivation and energy were splashing into the gutters with each flip turn. Swimmers were overly friendly and complimented my workout after I pulled my exhausted heap out of the pool. I haven’t felt this excited about swimming in many years. The workout was brutal and I should be back to my high school swimming shape in no time. Sweet.


life is good hat

In other news, how cute is this hat? Mini has inspired me to learn how to cable. I watched a video yesterday on the technique and I think I get it. She’s going to help too. I’m adding this to a few other knitting projects I’ve got up my sleeve. (Never mind the hat is on clearance for $6 and the yarn I just ordered cost quite a bit more.)


Tonight I’m playing Ultimate. Woo hoo! Spring season registration is open for anyone interested. Even if you are clumsy, not so fast and don’t know the first thing about frisbee (ahem), it’s a great group of people who love to run around and drink a good bit of beer — sometimes during the game, which only adds to the entertainment. I’ve found they enjoy the occasional baked good as well.


Bruised, but Beaming

I ran a personal best 1/2 marathon this morning. It was a beautiful race. A creamy-peach moon hung heavily on the western horizon as we started in South Mountain Park. Slowly, the colors in the saguaros changed from olive to sage green as the sun climbed in the sky. I started toward the back of the pack and pushed myself to stay on pace for the first 7 miles and not get caught up in race excitement. More than once I’ve gotten carried away with the running crowd and found myself completely spent during the last half of the race.
Not this morning. The stars aligned and I sailed through the race, walking only briefly and finishing with my fists clenched above my head Rocky-style. Awesome.
The only thing that could have gone better? I tripped and fell. Apparenly I got a bit too into my music and wasn’t paying attention to the uneven concrete. Down I fell, sliding forward on my palms and leaving an impressive road rash gash on my hip. {Sidenote: You get impressive service from paramedics when there are no health issues other than one klutzy girl who fell over herself on the trail. Oy.}
Truly for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m getting stronger and faster. I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but this training and improved diet might actually be working.

Off to nap,

Not so Iron Afterall

I’ve kicked up my triathalon training a bit in the last two weeks and guess what? Today I cannot walk without limping. Yesterday I biked 25 miles and then went for a swim. When I got back on my bike after the swim I had shooting pains in that little muscle on the inside of your knee. You know, the one you’ve never noticed until it felt like a hot poker on your skin? Yeah, that one.
Like the true genius that I am, how did I treat such a woe? I rode home, had some breakfast, took a shower and sewed for about 6 hours. Once my leg was swollen and really pissed off, I decided to take an Aleve. And then some ice. This morning I seemed fine and even managed to get in a cool 4 mile run before my leg started threatening to detach itself from my body and hit me over the head.
Something (namely that stupid muscle) is telling me to take a break. Guess what? I am! I’m off to Mexico for vacation later this week and am going to aleve these woes with my friend Jose and the magical world of quesadillas and sopapillas. I even found me some darn cute new jeans this weekend (before said injury) at the Gap of all places.

wide leg happiness

Gap, I officially apologize. You do, in fact, have some cute, non-skinny leg choices. And you let me use a $10 coupon. So these wide-leg babies cost just $25. Love that. And I love that they are wider-legged than I’ve ever worn. I couldn’t be fighting these 80 trends with any more force if I were trying.

What else did I do this weekend? Why bake, dahling. Of course. It is my new past time. Any correlation to the bigger sized jeans purchased this weekend? Of course not. It must be from all that training and the muscle I’m gaining. Right?

Pumpkin loaves

More pumpkin polenta loaves. These are just so good. I’ve got everyone (grandparents, coworkers, guys at the gym, guys at the bagel shop) hooked. One catch — if you add extra pumpkin, the edges will burn and the centers will be a bit mushy. Just stick to the normal recipe.

woops with the burnt

Good news — there is a solution for burned edges and mushy centers. Leave the cupcakes in the pan until they are totally cool to the touch. This lets them cook a bit longer while in the heat of the pan without burning any more. Then, pull out your magic grater and get rid of that black.


Scratch, scratch scratch and voila — less burnt cupcakes. These were inhaled at my staff meeting today.

Pumpkin muffins, burned edges

Off to ice my leg,