Saturday, July 16, 2011

55 miles of hills + Keith = FUN TIMES!!!

Since purchasing a very sweet Cervelo and taking up cycling, Keith has been a machine. Ride after ride he shows great improvement and really seems to be enjoying his time out on the road. We've had lots of laughs before, during & after rides and getting to share a hobby has been really fun. We share a few other hobbies of course (drinking good Italian wine, riding the Harley, cooking, watching Modern Family) but this is one that started as a passion of mine that he's taken to and not the other way around. It's pretty cool! One thing that has always been a little tough for me is that because Keith was married for 20+ years before getting divorced and finding ME, he's already experienced a lot of neat things with someone else first. Don't get me wrong, I've experienced my share of things too as I was married before but not for near as long. Sometimes we'll do something really special and then I realize it's a "been there, done that" type of thing for him. No, he doesn't look at it like that and he assures me that just b/c he's done something before doesn't diminish the importance with me but it's still tough. Anyway, I digress ever so slightly. All this is to say that this is something that we're getting to experience together as a first and I love it. It's so fitting that our firsts are more related to the sportier side of life as that's always been something that's been important to me. I don't know if this makes sense to those of you in cyber world. I think it's one of those things that you just don't understand unless you're in a similar situation. The important point here is that I finally got my FIRST after 6+ yrs of dating!!!! :)

Keith messaged me mid-week last week requesting a 50 mile ride for the weekend. I had put 45-50 on the schedule and was leaning towards 45 so I could have a brick workout but figured why not? I mean, I am without a coach for just a few more weeks so now is the time to live on the edge! I plotted a route leaving from the Wal-Mart on Walden Rd. and 105. Ugh. This was the site of a dismal ride for me last year. I ended up getting separated from the group, got lost and my 50 mile ride turned into closer to 80. It was terrible and I was morally defeated. At the time, I felt like I had been completely abandoned and was pissed off at myself. Well, this 50 miler would be different.

The route would take us back to familiar of the IMTX course and most of the Oil Man course. I was excited about this ride for so many reasons. (1) Keith would be riding 50 miles for the first time and I couldn't wait to see the look on his face when we finished. (2) I hadn't been on the IMTX course since IMTX and I was hopeful getting out there would remind me of that awesome day. (3) Keith is officialy signed up for Oil Man as part of a relay and this would be his first glimpse of what he's gotten himself in to.

The ride started out uneventful enough and if by uneventful you mean with a hill on 105, then yes. :) Before we knew it, we were on 149 and turning on Osborn Rd. At this point, I knew something was "off" with me. Keith ended up having to pull after the first few rollers and I wasn't feeling 100%. Once on Osborn Rd., it was clear to me that I might have a bigger issue. After a few minutes of wondering what was going on, I remembered I spent my Saturday in the sun at the beach and had 2 bottles of water and one pina colada all day. FAIL! What a dummy. No worries though. I packed plenty of fluids so I would just drink more and refill in Richards. I emptied all the fluids in my Aqua Cell before hitting 25 miles at the rest stop. Nick of time! We replenished our fluids and got back on the road. From 1486, we turned on 2819 where we were greeted by the most pleasant headwind. Thanks for nothing Mother Nature. I decided we would turn around a little before the Oil Man turn around b/c we didn't need the extra mileage. Once back on 1486, Keith cracked me up when he said, "Oh, I remember this hill". Well clearly he didn't remember well b/c then he would have said "hills". Holy hill Batman. I don't know if I was sleeping during this part of the IMTX ride but I don't remember 1486 having so many rollers. Maybe the time off since Ironman has made me soft. Either way, it was comical. We took turns pulling (Keith doing more than I thought he would) and decided to make a quick stop in Dacus. By this point, the temps were soaring and all my fluids were warm. Yes, I had just refilled in Richards and got extra ice but it made little difference. Keith bought more water and Advil in Dacus. In no time at all, we were on Johnson Rd. heading towards the car. We were at 40ish miles and I kept telling myself that last 10 miles would be a piece of cake. I tell you, I don't remember 1097 being that long. Granted, I haven't been on that road in awhile as it wasn't part of the Ironman course so I didn't visit it much. We finally hit 149 again! A quick glance at the Garmin confirmed we would indeed be going long (which I knew). My energy started to return to "normal" and I knew I had done a good job with my hydration and nutrition even though I started out kind of iffy. There was one big hill left before Walden Rd. and I pulled us over it and then Keith shot by me. Sure, let the chick do all the work! :) We pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot and couldn't be more happy to be done.

The ride was a complete success. We did not get lost, we stuck to our plan, we rode smart and we averaged 17.1mph....something I did not expect us to do in those conditions. We celebrated with a fountain Dr. Pepper from the gas station across from Wal-Mart and headed home. Go Keith!!!!!

It was so fun seeing the huge smile on Keith's face and hearing him say, "I can't believe I just rode 55 miles"! I so remember this feeling and I couldn't have been more thrilled to be there with him when he hit that milestone! We chatted about our upcoming races and training rides. As I've mentioned before, Keith will be participating in Try Andy's Tri & Oil Man Half Ironman as part of a relay team. His other goal is to ride 100 miles and we are well on our way there!

I've had lots of fun rides since I took up this crazy sport but I have to say that Sunday was the most fun I've had in awhile. I worried we might get lonely just the two of us out there but not at all. We are actually turning out to be great training partners. Keith is a strong cyclist and I think in no time is going to be spending his weekends pulling me over hills and I can't wait b/c it's really going to push me out of my comfort zone.

This weekend we'll ride for 3 hrs and dial back the effort a bit. A recovery ride if you will. I will be testing out my new wheels as my bike is now sporting race wheels!!!!! I am SOOOOO excited!!

Ode to the Ho Ho? Say WHAT?

What started out as what would be a witty diatribe about why you should avoid the Ho Ho at all costs has turned into an enlightening experience between me and this delectable, tubular snack.

So how did this start? My sister Stefanie is a huge Ho Ho fan. I kid you not, in college she would hide Ho Ho’s under her bed so her roommates (me & Woody) wouldn’t eat them. Umm, I’m a Twinkie & Suzy Q girl and couldn’t be tempted by her slutty little treat. Sharing this story w/ Maureen & Carolyn earlier in the week, it was determined I must blog about the tart known as Ho Ho and explain to you all why you should avoid and stick w/ something else. Little did I know that my research would lead me down another path.

I was curious about the origins of the Ho Ho. From where did she come? Is she French? Italian? I knew she couldn’t be English b/c there isn’t much good food out of England. Much to my surprise, it seems the Ho Ho got started in a bakery in San Francisco in the late 60’s. Hold on? You’re telling me one of my favorite cities EVER is responsible for this? Point 1 for the Ho Ho. San Francisco, home of my beloved Giants, 49’ers, sea lions, Lombard St. the Golden Gate, Alcatraz and everything else heavenly also invented the Ho Ho? Hmmm, my research must continue.

I stumbled across information about the first mascot for the Ho Ho and it was named Happy Ho Ho (wow, terribly clever). I sat scratching my head as I didn’t remember there ever being a mascot. So I Google searched and much to my surprise, I recognized the Robin Hood-esque mascot. I’m not going to lie, I totally don’t get the mascot. I expected it to be wearing red lipstick, clear high heels and Mardi Gras beads. Even though the mascot makes little sense, I’m diggin’ it all the same. Random, funky & unique. You go Happy Ho Ho. Point 2 for the Ho Ho.

Ho Ho’s are versatile. Not only are they a delicious stand-alone treat, there are recipes that utilize them. I am a huge fan of pudding. It makes me happy. It completes me. My internet search brought me to a recipe for Ho Ho Pudding. Heavenly. It pains me to say this but I am so tempted to go buy my first box of Ho Ho’s so I can make this chocolate treat. Point 3 for the Ho Ho.

Determined to find something derogatory about Ho Ho’s, I decided to expand my search to Urban Dictionary where I came across “Ho Ho The Clown”. Yes! This is what I’ve been looking for! As defined by Urban Dictionary, Ho Ho The Clown is “some clown, usually obese, who gorges himself/herself on Hostess Ho Ho’s, the individually wrapped, chocolate-covered, rolled cake-and-cream junk food, sorta like a swiss roll”. I was excited to see a link to purchase Ho Ho The Clown merchandise. Point 1 for JJ!

My main issue w/ the Ho Ho is the name. My research yielded nothing as to explain why Ho Ho. I mean, I figure they started with “Ho” and then thought, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound so good. Maybe we should add another Ho. I mean, Ho’s don’t really like to be alone do they? “. In my mind, I think that’s how it went down. Point 2 for JJ!

Finding myself exhausted from the extensive research, I needed a snack. Hmm, my pantry is still full of triathlete stuff (gels, PowerBar crap, trail mix, etc). I wonder if I should walk to the gas station to go buy a pack of Ho Ho’s? OMG, what’s wrong with me? I’m sorry but that is too white trash for me. Walking to the gas station for a Ho Ho and Icee. Umm, I’ll pass.

Friends, I leave you with these last thoughts. Don’t judge a book by it’s Ho Ho.

Thanks to Stefanie, Maureen & Carolyn for being the inspiration for this post.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Babies Galore!

It has been so fun shopping for babies the past few months! With the arrival of my niece, Avery and Keith's GRANDBABY, Addison, I'm sure to go broke! I love buying baby clothes but especially love buying girl baby clothes. Boy baby clothes are creepy and very Pee-Wee Herman like. I'm sorry, it's true! I was delighted to find triathlon onesies for both little girls prior to their birth. Avery sported hers at IMTX and I've been told Addie wore hers that same day (but I have yet to see pics!!!!!). :)

These little girls couldn't look more different and still be just as adorable. I love these little girls! Here are just a couple pics for you to adore. :)

Addison Irene w/ me! She likes me very much of course. :)

Avery Elizabeth hanging by the pool w/ me on July 4th. She LOVED the water!

And with all these other babies, I can't help but think of Leia when she was a baby! :)

Decisions! Decisions!

To be or not to be, that is the question. Should I stay or should I go? You can get with this or you can get with that. Do you ever feel like you are being faced with choice after choice, decision after decision? Do you just want to say "UNCLE" and be done with it already?

The past few months, it's felt like I've had one decision to make after another. NBD (no big deal for those of you not quite hip enough yet). I'm not a risk taker when it comes to certain parts of my life so I like to make pros/cons lists and really think about decisions I make. It's just who I am! I wouldn't say I get to the point where I'm paralyzed and can't make a decision normally but sort of feels that way.

So what are some of these big decisions? Well, I won't bore you with all the details but I'll share a few with you!

1. M-Dot tattoo? Yay or nay (and that's a rhetorical question)? Being tattoo free for nearly 37 years now, I'm really not in a big rush to deface my body. However, every time I see that oh-so-special M-Dot logo on calf, ankle or back, I become ever so slightly green with envy. I have gone back & forth & back again at least 900 times since before IMTX. Have I made a decision? Yes. Am I going to tell you? No! I've heard so many opinions on what I should/shouldn't do (and I truly value what you've all shared), I just want to sit with the decision I've made for awhile and see how I feel. So I guess you'll just have to wait & see (or not see). ;)

2. Race or not race this weekend? That's another one that really threw me for a loop the past few weeks. Like I've blogged before, I started out thinking I would absolutely race AND would put the pedal to the metal and race hard. As I got further & further from IMTX I wondered why the heck I thought it would be smart to race 8 weeks after the biggest race of my life. After deciding last week that I wouldn't race, I decided this week that I would. I've reevaluated my long term racing goals and thought about risk vs reward. I'm going to race Sunday but have fun and not push too hard. I'm going to test myself on the swim a bit and have fun going fast on the bike and then just see what happens on the run. I haven't raced in July before and it's going to be hot. No worries.

3. Butter or margarine? Who am I kidding, this is no choice at all....butter baby!

4. Upgrade my carpet to wood floors or build a backyard patio? Ugh. This decision is driving me crazy. There are a ton of things I want to do to my house but I can't do it all at once so I need to prioritize. It's time to price out the patio materials and see how that compares. I just had my carpets cleaned so I'm thinking wood floors will be on the horizon for next year and I can't wait!

5. IMFL 2012 or IMTX 2013? I have time to make this decision but it's weighed heavily on my mind. I desperately want to race another IM and am looking forward to having a time goal. Every day that passes with IMTX 2012 still open is a temptation for me. The sooner I can officially sign up for something else, the better! I really would love to do a race in a different location but at the same time, I REALLY want my support crew. The jury is still out but IMFL 2011 is right around the corner and therefore, so too is sign up for 2012!

So there you have it, a few of the things occupying my thoughts lately. Oh, there are others but I really don't think there's enough time before I go to bed to blog about them all.

Another post is quick to follow as I have some other, non-triathlon items on my brain!

Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where oh where has my free time gone?

Someone hasn't been a very good blogger! I thought I would have oodles of spare time on my hands with IM training being a thing of the past....boy was I wrong! I'm just filling my time with new things and I love it (for now). Let's see if I can't catch you up quickly.

For the time being, I'm without a coach. I go back & forth about what I want to do. I'm not signed up for an Ironman right now and all the races on my calendar are distances I've tackled before. Prior to Coach K's terrible tragedy, my plan was to go balls to the wall in all of my upcoming races and at least try to post one PR after another. I think I was riding the post-IMTX high and was on top of the world and believed I could do anything. As more time gets between me and IMTX, I see I really just want to have some fun with these races the next few months. Of course I want to PR but I realize a PR at EVERY race is not realistic and more importantly, not smart. Instead, I will focus on my "A" race, Oil Man Half Ironman. THAT will be my PR race. :) While I am signed up for a sprint in a little less than 2 weeks, I've decided I will likely skip it in order to focus on training. I have a half marathon in less than 8 weeks and I really need to get my long runs in the next 8 weeks. Ahh, I've grown up a lot over the past few years.

Keith & I had a 4-day weekend over the 4th and decided to head to Chicago to visit The Buttenobs (Heather, Mike & Addie). What a fun visit! It was a packed weekend but we were able to spend some quality time with them. June 19th was their 1 year wedding anniversary so we got to have a belated celebration with them. Addie is growing so fast and already looks so different than the last time we saw her. She's just a month younger than Avery and it's fun seeing the two of them grow up. Addie is a little eyes, blondish hair (what there is of it) and fair skinned. At first glance, she looks nothing like her mommy but she actually does share a lot of similarities. The blue eyes just throw you for a loop!

We got home on the 3rd (late) and had a cookout on the 4th of July at Keith's house following a 30 mile bike ride. Yes, Keith went 30 miles of hills with us!!! I'm so proud of the awesome progress he's making. While in Chicago, he got up and worked out with me twice! This is a side of Keith I've never seen and so you can understand my confusion regarding his new found fondness for exercise. I've asked him more than once if he's got himself a young girlfriend (besides me) on the side. He says no. :)

I've been a bit under the weather since returning from Chicago so took an unscheduled day off from training yesterday and did an easy 40 minute workout tonight. I'm hoping to be back to "normal" tomorrow and make it outside for a ride or a run...or both! Tonight I worked on Keith's Harley scrapbook, a project I set out on about a year ago. Ooops. I made great progress tonight and have about 3 more Harley trips to document. I thought triathlon was expensive...nobody told me how much I would spend on scrapbooking supplies. I kid you not, I have no less than 8 pairs of scissors. Why you ask? Well, they all cut different shapes. Duh. I have glue sticks coming out of my rear end and enough colored paper to cover every wall in my house. I searched high and low for a craft box to hold my loot and haven't found one yet so my next trip will be to Hobby Lobby to find something to store all this crap in. I must admit, I'm digging this scrapbooking thing as it's a great outlet for the creative side of me.

So with that, I've got you caught up and will close this post with pictures galore. Enjoy!

Heather, Addie & Mike on our way to Taste of Chicago

Above: Jenny, Papa & Addie

Below: Avery w/ Auntie Jenny