UPCOMING EVENTS for 2016: Puerto Rico Marathon (March), Virginia/Pennsylvania Marathon Double (April), Cedro Peak Ultra 45k (April), Quicksilver 50k (May) NUT 50k (June) Lake Tahoe Trail 50K (July), Cloudsplitter 55K (October)

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. In 2005, I declared war on my own bad tendencies: sloth, being fat, compacency, and being too old for adventure. This is the story of how I went from being someone who never stood when she could sit, to being an ultrarunner, marathoner, and triathlete. Along the way I've cried, laughed, fallen, gotten up, lost, won, hallucinated, been dehydrated, DNF'ed, and been DFL.
I also swear. Alot.
"You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Year, New Rules

Dear Diary,

Here's a picture of a sunrise taken Tuesday morning by a friend of mine.

Her comment was, "I want to run my fingers through the clouds."

Nine years ago I started on a journey to lose weight. I weighed nearly 200 lbs and could barely get up a flight of stairs. Since then I've made numerous goals and gotten burned out on goals. For 2014 I've put away notions of lofty goals and instead decided on a few rules to follow. The results of those rules will be what they are. I'm focused more on process, rather than product. On the journey. These are more qualitative, rather than quanitative.

1. No putting myself down. Other than the occasional self-depracating humor, that is. No more talking about how fat i am, how ugly i am, how pathetic, slow, ect. I'll work on appreciating myself, where i am, right now instead of constantly thinking to myself that I'll be happy with myself when I...

2. Learn more about play therapy as a modality. Okay, this is a work thing, but I'm reading what I can and I'm signed up for a seminar in the spring. In my profession we have to get comtinuing education to keep our licenses. My continuing education will be focused on working with younger children.

3. One in, one out. If i bring anything into the house, something else has to go. But the opposite is not true--if I divest myself of five belongings i don't get to run out and buy five more. I've digitized all our important papers and gotten rid of a few more books, getting a Kindle version here and there of books I find very useful.

4. be strong and fit. There's no minute-per-mile goal. I've written about how mich strength training has made me feel younger. My goal is strength, not speed. I want to finish my races strong. If that includes fast, so be it, but I want to have endurance and strength. That's what makes me feel good through the day.

In the drive to be strong I'm building a lifestyle that supports this. In addition to my standing workstation i put together, I've put aside my beloved heels and started collecting cute flats instead. I'm not saying that all my eating will be perfect or that I'll never miss a workout. I'm working on other changes. My happiness and health depends on supporting a healthy lifestyle. I've got access to a fitness room at work that has several cardio machines, including treadmills. Starting around the beginning of the year I punch out at work for an hour, walk down to the other end of the hospital, and run on the treadmill. It's pretty great--I come back an hour later all glowy and happy. There's a small shower there, too. I'm also using an app on my iphone called Couch to 10k Pro. It's a nice little workout that I do every day and it's getting me stronger. I highly recommend it if you have friends who want to do a 5k or 10k

Now having said this, i have afew races planned. I may, or may not, do well. I'm just wanting to finish them. Mostly, i want to enjoy being strong and fit, a statistical anomaly.

Warm water in December.

So here's my question:

if you had to distill your 2014 goals into following one simple rule, what would it be?

...

 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hawaii 5-0

Dear Diary,

I figured it was time to write a race report before my next race, in one week. So here it is: the Honolulu Marathon. It was December 8, and yes, i am that far behind.

Most of that is due, as it has been for quite some time, to Blogsy. It is a nightmare to use.

First off, Hawaii was a blast. An absolute awesome blast. If you have the means, I recommend you go there. The week that we were gone, two things were happening at home:

1) a new computer charting system went online the day after i left. It went online on Pearl harbor Day. Yes. I'm told there was mild chaos and daily meltdowns, among the staff, not patients.

2) The day before the marathon we went to th xpo, where, unbelievably, there was an entire bank of tshirts, size small. ALL OF THEM. SIZE SMALL. Fuckers.

After the expo, we drove to the windward part of the island and shopped for groceries at the Comissary at the Marine Corps base. We stopped at a scenic overlook, and met the feral chickens that roam the island.

They live in harmony with the feral cats.

I am not making this shit up.

I noticed a few odd things during the marathon. More than half of the participants were Japanese. Many, like most, of the Japanese women were running in tights and arm warmers. WTF? I was told that it had something to do with keeping skin light, but oh, the ambulances flew up and down the course. It was mid eighties, both in humidity and temperature. I was stripping down as far as i could, but i was toast before the sun came up.

I think this picture sums it up nicely:

Besides showing an oh, the humanity! moment, it highlights something else:

my running vest looks like big, saggy boobs.

Oh, what wonton hubris led me to say something like, humidity, schumidity. It's at sea level! The race started at 5 a.m., but I mentioned, I'd already suffered.

There's something particularly cruel about running a course alongside the ocean. You look, and you see people surfing in the cool, cool water. And then you trudge a few more steps on the hot, hard, black asphalt.

Secnd, there was a large number of people running for TeamDiabetes Japan. They were wearing these shirts:

What the fuck is that? Is it an insulin molecule? What is it?

But of course, I eventually finished. My slowest road marathon ever.

THE VERY NEXT DAY, my vacation started.

We decided to give our legs a rest, and went sea kayaking. We paddled 2.5 miles out to an island that's a nature preserve. Have I mentioned that i love the water? Love it. The swim on the triathlon is my favorite part...i drag myself reluctantly out of that cool water, and go ride a bike.

We paddled between Oahu and the barrier reef toward the islands.

We went to the one on the left.

We went snorkling. I've never done that before. I saw a few fish, but mostly, i enjoyed the floating and staring. Like DP says, it's fish TV.

On the way back, our guide had us stop again for "better" snorkling. Very cool.
I saw a little guy just like this, who didn't swim away. (This is not my picture.) He floated a couple feet in front of me, staring at me.
On the way back. The guide said something about the 2.5 miles of paddling. Sweet Baboo nodded towards me. She can swim that far.
I love him for saying that.
THE NEXT DAY WAS TUESDAY. We had private surfing lessons. I don't have any pictures because we were both standing on a reef trying to ride some waves. I actually rode a few, and then our time was up. After lunch, we went to the aquarium.
WEDNESDAY, we went to the Polynesian Cultural center. It was kitchy. We had fun. At night, there was a laua type meal, and a show. Very cool.
THURSDAY, we went trail running in the mountains on the windward side of the island
 

After we got home the only light rain of the week commenced. I had spent the week in our little apartment making casseroles, but then the electricity went out. We went down the six fights of steps to rescue our clothes from the lifeless washing machine, carrying all of them up the stairs WHICH, I MIGHT ADD, I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IF I WASN'T AT LEAST A LITTLE FIT, RIGHT?? Then we went out to eat, and then came back for another leisurely sleep.All week long we occasionally encounter other marathoners wearing the red finisher's shirt. Chin bump.

FRIDAY MORNING we got up at dawn and drove to Kanaluma Bay. Sweet Baboo promised me some bodacious snorkling and and i wasn't disappointed.

I felt like i was inside one of those tanks in a dentist's office. Except that the fish were huge. The fish didn't look alarmed--they seemed to scoot over a bit on the reef so that i could have some algae, too.

I paddled around the back side of the reef, and suddenly part of the reef seemed to move. I saw something broad, and flat, and briefly panicked that it was a ray. But it wasn't.
 
Sea turtles don't move away from you quickly, at least they didn't seem to be trying to escape from me. The one i saw glanced at me and slowly steered in another direction. It was huge. I followed it slowly, because you're not supposed to chase the wildlife, and encountered Sweet Baboo, paddling gently after another turtle. We watched them for a while, until they started swimming out to sea. I was pretty horrified when I was sharing this story with a local handiman, who told me that he grabbed one and hung onto it while it "carried" him. Well, of course it did. It was trying to get away, dipshit. I just watched, and it was the coolest thing. EVER.
Later that day we went for a drive and then watched the Hobit, part 2, in 3D. That night we boarded a plane and woke up in Phoenix. The temps were in the 30s.
I checked three items off my bucket list that week: snorkling with sea turtles, surfing, and sea kayaking. I am, for the record, a HUGE DAMNED FAN of the December tripical vacation.
Sweet Baboo has set the bar pretty high now.

 

Baby hermit crabs.

 

 

Gratuitous glam-sunglasses selfie.