Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Okay, Halloween is almost over. But I'm sitting here, YEARNING for more trick-or-treaters and I guess I have ADD because I WAS washing dishes and before that I was reading this week's New Yorker (actually reading this week's during...THIS WEEK), and suddenly here I am writing on my blog.

Well anyway, I feel like the stepchild of Halloween right now. We live on this street that is adjacent to this major 'Halloween' street. Like, the kind of 'Halloween' street where the cars get blocked off and it's one big block party. But I'm around the corner. So you know, people are walking PAST my house to GET to where it's really happening. If I'm lucky, anyway. If they park on other side streets then they probably won't walk past my house.

But I thought I'd help the situation by playing scary music out my front window and getting the house all creepy looking, so at least they know to stop by.

Anyway, I just think it's the cutest thing to see these little people in costumes with their parents watching proudly from the sidewalk.

So, as I wait for more trick-or-treaters, I am proud to say that my soreness has FINALLY subsided. As Yes, really, it took until TODAY for me to finally feel like I have normal quads just like everybody else.

I can easily say I learned my lesson. I need to work up to that kind of downhill running. I was seriously sore up through the end of Wednesday, when finally Thursday I started to think I would still be able to run the XC race this Sat.

This Saturday's XC race isn't just ANY cross country race. It's the TAMALPA CHALLENGE! There's this little rivalry that goes on between the Empire Runners (Sonoma County) and the Tamalpa Runners (Marin County). So besides the championship XC race and the season opener which is held here in Santa Rosa, this is pretty much the other biggest XC event for our team. We've got 42 people committed to racing tomorrow, so we should have a strong showing. I can't wait!

Which is essentially why I was horrified as of Wednesday to think I _might_ not be able to run.


Besides that, I've got the little sister turning the big 1-8...should be a fun weekend.

Time to go now, have a great weekend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something neat to know

I rarely post twice in one day, but I thought this was so cool and touching that I had to share it, because you never know who would like to know about this.

So I was checking the weekly-updated PostSecret, and I found this secret:

And sometimes people send in a response to the secret and Frank (the PostSecret guy) will post the responses. These were the two responses he posted:

-----Email Message-----
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2008 5:46 PM
Subject: grandma's voicemail

I have three voicemails my 34 year old cousin left me on my cell phone before she died of ovarian cancer over three years ago. In 3 years I will be older than she was when she died and my goal is to keep those voicemails until then. Maybe I'll keep them forever.

-----Email Message-----
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2008 10:16 PM
Subject: grandma's voicemail

I work for a major cell phone carrier. About once a year we hear of a story where someone is desperately hanging on to a voicemail from a lost loved one. We will put a hard copy of a voicemail from a lost loved one in your hands if you ask. It could be the greeting on their phone or a message they left on yours. We want you to have those memories. Please ask.

Wow. That is really cool. I've been known to save a voicemail here or there that was really touching, but thankfully never had to hang on to one of somebody I lost.

I just wanted people to know about this.

Have a great week!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or DOMS)

"Having trouble getting out of bed?" - YES

"Having to walk backwards down the stairs because your legs feel as though they are on fire?" - OH GOD YES

"You are probably suffering from DOMS." - Oh.

"Exercises that involve many eccentric contractions, such as downhill running, will result in the most severe DOMS. This has been shown to be the result of more muscle cell damage than is seen with typical concentric contractions, in which a muscle successfully shortens during contraction against a load.[2]"

Oh, I see...downhill running...the most severe DOMS, huh?

In fact, there's even a journal article WRITTEN ON IT (actually, I found several academic articles written on the subject of the severity of DOMS from downhill running*):

"Eccentric activation and muscle damage: biomechanical and physiological considerations during downhill running." (Division of Health & Human Performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 1995 June; 29(2): 89–94.)

Here was their abstract:
An eccentric muscle activation is the controlled lengthening of the muscle under tension. Functionally, most leg muscles work eccentrically for some part of a normal gait cycle, to support the weight of the body against gravity and to absorb shock. During downhill running the role of eccentric work of the 'anti-gravity' muscles--knee extensors, muscles of the anterior and posterior tibial compartments and hip extensors--is accentuated. The purpose of this paper is to review the relationship between eccentric muscle activation and muscle damage, particularly as it relates to running, and specifically, downhill running.

And what did they find? Well, the majority of articles I found basically say that because downhill running is a much more functional activity that combines concentric and eccentric exercise, the physiological consequences of it are much greater.

Anyway, if you haven't guessed by now, I am so sore that I have to use my arm strength to pull myself out of a chair, I can't walk down stairs, my quads are randomly giving out when I'm standing (causing me to stumble), I didn't sleep well last night because every time my quads so much as touched it woke me up from the pain, and I'm feeling all sort of weird twitching going on. I wasn't even this sore after Vineman!

It's really fun.

And how does one reduce the damage and severity of DOMS in the future?
Do more of it. That's basically the answer. (Duh! I knew that...)

Except I think next time I won't pick one of the highest points in the county to run down from. That might be smart.

*Additional articles (for anybody who's interested):
-Delayed onset muscle soreness following repeated bouts of downhill running (
-Delayed onset muscle soreness (
-Eccentric activation and muscle damage: biomechanical and physiological considerations during downhill running (
-Delayed onset muscle soreness:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The View from the Top

This weekend is turning out to be pretty kick-ass. I'm excited for Sunday. But let's back up a little.

On a cooking note, it all started well with last night (Friday). I worked kind of late, and after people's comments from my last post, I decided taking it easy would be a good idea , so I bagged the swim workout.

I got home and decided to find a nice bottle of wine that deserved to be opened. I went through the racks and found this: a 2003 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc. Hmmm. "That should be definitely ready to drink now," I thought.

Well...I opened it up...let it sit for about 10 minutes...and tried it.


I sort of shook my head in disbelief. This was amazing. I sort of regretted opening it because I didn't think it would be *this* good. I had bought it a couple years ago wine tasting and my memory doesn't really go back that far, so I just kind of guess sometimes when it comes to wines like this.

I originally had planned to make some sort of veggie dinner, but after I tasted this I realized there was NO WAY I could eat anything but a STEAK with this wine.

I marched myself down to the store, bought a marinated steak that was locally raised, grass-fed and all that good stuff. I looked up a good recipe from 101 for a variation on mashed potatoes. I found this: Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes. Yum!

I had a TON of veggies from the farm box this week, so I thought I'd add some carrots and eggplant to the mix as well. I could get my veggies AND my meat in!

So I made the recipe and made a few adjustments (didn't have kale but I did have some other greens that worked nicely) and before I knew it, it was time to sit down and enjoy my meal!

Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes:

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
sea salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped
1/2+ cup warm milk or cream
freshly ground black pepper
5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (opt)
fried shallots, for garnish (optional)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, a big pinch of salt, and saute just until tender - about a minute. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Slowly stir in the milk a few big splashes at a time. You are after a thick, creamy texture, so if your potatoes are on the dry side keep adding milk until the texture is right. Season with salt and pepper.

Dump the kale on top of the potatoes and give a quick stir. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center of the potatoes and pour the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with the scallions, Parmesan cheese, and shallots.

Serves 6.

Things I added:
*Carrots: I cut up 4 carrots into slices, parboiled for about 3 minutes and then added to the stir-fry
*Eggplant: I cut up about 1/2 an eggplant into cubes. First I microwaved it for about 3 minutes, stirred, then microwaved for 1:30 more. After this I added it to the stir-fry
*Tomatoes: I had 3 roma tomatoes from the farm box so I cut those into slices and added them at the very end of the stir-fry

Also, instead of cutting everything up super fine and really mixing it in well with the mashed potatoes, I more or less laid it all on top of the potatoes and blended it in as I ate. It worked.

I sat down and had my meal with my wine...and the combination was just awesome. I savored every. single. bite (and sip). Oh yum I would SOOOOO make this again!! I can think of a number of other wines in the fridge that will go with this. :)

So it worked out that I had a nice protein-packed meal last night. My friend Brian from my bike group had put a post to the group that he was going to do a 7 mile hike - 3.5 miles out (with major climbing) and then run the 3.5 miles back. Kind of like what I did the other night, except MUCH MUCH MORE climbing. Then he would hop on the bike for a nice 90 minute spin. It sounded like something different and FUN! I was in!

We met at 8 a.m. at Sugarloaf State Park which was where the Goodspeed to Gunsight Rock trailhead was (but Courtenay it wasn't from the TOP of the big hill - it was just before the road starts to really climb).

WOW! What a CLIMB it was! Brian said it normally takes him about 1:20 to get to the top, but since Jim is a mountain goat we were moving quickly and made it in 1:09. Sweet! When we got to the top at Gunsight Rock we were rewarded with a KILLER view of the Sonoma Valley. It was INCREDIBLE!!!

Me at the top!!

Looking south over toward Sonoma

Looking to the south end of the valley

Mid valley

Directly below us - that small group of houses is the town of Kenwood

Beginning to look north - the big hilly area ahead is Anadel State Park, where I do a lot of running and a lot of people mtn bike...

Looking north to Santa Rosa

We made it back DOWN to the trailhead in about 32 minutes. Incredible! My heart rate was skyrocketing going down but it was SO MUCH FUN. I LOVED it!

Then we got our bikes out of the cars, put on the bike shoes and helmets and went out around Kenwood/Glen Ellen for a nice 90 min SLOW spin! My legs were pretty toast by the end, but it was SO awesome to do something different for a change. We talked about what a great winter alternative this is as the weather changes and how hiking really can be such a great strength-builder. Needless to say, this will DEFINITELY happen again.

Thanks, guys!

Tomorrow: our cycling group has our annual "Time Trial" - it's a TT we do for fun and try to kick each other's butts. We'll see what these legs have...right now it's not looking so good!

Friday, October 24, 2008

UPDATE: I picked the run

I can only say this to those who commented last night and were like "go for the beer!":


Sheeeeeeesh. I thought you people were HARD CORE. This is the off season: in other words, time to get ahead while everybody else is slacking and drinking beer, right?????

Um, yeah.

Anyway, I liked the beer idea myself but I had to go to the club meeting AND I didn't think it was very smart to go drink beer and then get in my car and have to drive 60 miles north. Especially because I get sleepy driving in the dark.

And Rachel, if I knew I'd be bumping into Andy P. at the pool...well then, I just very well MAY have gone swimming (oh what the heck, I'm not biased...if I had the slightest inkling I'd bump into ANY studly pro triathlete/pro cyclist/pro HOTTIE at the pool...well let's just say there'd be no contest as to where I'd have gone).

BUT in the end, I picked the trail run. It was such a nice warm evening and I knew I'd be running back to the parking lot at sunset. It promised to be a great workout.

And even though I didn't get my butt kicked in the pool, I certainly got it kicked on the trail! PHEEEEWWWW!!! Those Empire Runners are FAST! And maybe if I keep running with them, I'll get fast(er), too!

The plan was to run out on the trail 3.5 miles 'moderate' and then run back hard. Given that as I tried to keep up with everybody on the way out my HR was at like, 170, I decided to dial it back a little so I could go hard on the way back. When we regrouped at the turnaround, I was saying (in between breaths) "wow, if that's your 'easy' pace...I (gasp) hate (gasp) to see what your (gasp) FAST pace is (gasp)!"

So off we went. I ended up running back by myself since all the other rabbits in the group were tearing it up. I made a slight wrong turn which added a tiny bit of distance but since I still made it back in less time than on the way out, I was satisfied that I'd gone back faster. After Tuesday's track workout which nearly killed me, my legs were SCREAMING.

I thought of Devon and all her miles she runs and her fantastic marathon race report from last week. I thought of JP and Beth in their marathon training. I thought of JT and his ultra training and the peace he finds in his runs. I wondered how these people lay down such fast times and never seem to complain the way I do.

And I thought about how inspiring ALL of you runner people are. And as I did that...the pain began to dull. I dug a little deeper. I went a little harder.

It wasn't so bad. My heartrate was skyrocketing. I only had like 5 minutes to go. I found two guys on the trail up ahead to catch and pass. I passed them and thought they were long gone, then I could hear a set of footsteps getting louder. I looked only to the side to gaze out at Lake Ralphine to my right, the red sky above it, illuminating the calm and glassy water through the trees, and I was able to see that one of the guys was trying to catch me.

Oh, NO you don't!

I picked it up. It HURT. I didn't care, this was about finishing strong, nevermind the pain.

I pushed a little harder and before I knew it, I hit the main path and was seconds from the parking lot. There was the group, waiting, a few people gave me some "well done!" encouragement. And I beat that guy. :)

I went home, showered and rode my bike over to the club meeting (felt good to spin out my legs a bit) and got there just in time to order some pizza and beer.

It was a nice evening!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What to do?

So I'm down to two choices:

1) I can go join the Empire Runners at Howarth Park on this GORGEOUS BEAUTIFUL DAY and go do an awesome 7 mile trail run (with 4 miles at a hard pace), then shower and join the team meeting and have pizza and beer (yum).


2) I can join the master's group at the Airport Club (pool is outside, so I'd still be enjoying the nice evening) and get what will likely be a kick-my-@$$ workout in. I'd feel bad about missing a run so I'd probably try to squeeze in a quick treadmill workout in afterward for like 20 minutes and then rush to try to make the running team meeting (and have pizza and beer).


The problem is that I feel guilty either way. I am trying to seriously get more running in and I seem to come up short every week. If I do this and then I get another run/hike in on Saturday, I will feel awesome about my running miles this week.

But I will feel bad because I only got Monday's swim workout in and...maybe I will be able to squeeze a workout in tomorrow evening? So that will only be two days of swimming for the week. I might be able to get some pool time in on Sunday, also. That would be 3 days. That's my goal.

I felt so encouraged on Monday when I was actually MAKING the intervals that she set out. I thought "okay, this is good. Need to do more of this."

I just don't know how to balance all of this in the off-season. I want to do more if it. Of all of it. So I can improve. In all 3 sports. And do yoga 2x/week.

Oh but did I mention I don't want to train more than 10 hours/week in the off season so that I can take a mental break?

Yeah I know, this is stupid.

Oh and the bike part is no problem. I teach spin on Mon/Fri and have at least one ride over the weekend. That's built in. The problem lies in that I really enjoy training with my masters swim team but their practices are SO DAMN EARLY!

Anyway, I also had a THIRD option, which was to celebrate my friend Alice's birthday in the City at this really cool-sounding Belgian Ale place (and I am SOOO developing a desire for Belgian ales). But I also have to teach spin tomorrow morning and really need to go to the team meeting so going all the way down to the City for a couple hours to drink (and then an hour back home) doesn't really work too well.

So, what to do?

Still to be determined...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Something to laugh at

This is genius. Pure genius.

Not only does this take you BACK, but it also is just freaking HILARIOUS.

Plug those headphones into your work computer and hit play - you'll be glad you did.

While I'm here, I was especially proud of my ability to BRANCH OUT today with spin class music. Apparently, so was the class. They were ROCKIN. I mean...not only did they do especially well with the workout, but they were SERIOUSLY rocking out to my music and singing along (to which I chided "um, if you HAVE ENOUGH BREATH TO SING, YOU AREN'T WORKING HARD ENOUGH!"). It was a great day.

I always appreciate any song suggestions from folks, so if this list makes you think of something that you would add to my collection, please click that little button that says "post a comment" and add your $0.02.

Spin class for Tuesday, 10/21/08:

1. Last Dance - Donna Summer (pre class)
2. I Wanna Be Your Lover - Prince (warmup)
3. Touch the Sky - Kanye West
4. Into the Nightlife - Cyndi Lauper
5. You Should Be Dancing (Jason Bentley/Philip Steir Remix) - The Bee Gees
6. The Rockafeller Skank - Fat Boy Slim
7. Superstition - Stevie Wonder (I HEART STEVIE SO MUCH!)
8. Domino - Van Morrison
9. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting - Elton John
10. Don't Panic - Coldplay
11. Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
12. Bad Reputation - Joan Jett
13. For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder (cool down) (check out this old school video! aww!)
14. I Believe - Chris Isaak

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another post about the fall season

Everybody's doing it, so I should too, right?

It is an unbelievable time right now. The weather during the day is splendid, and it's still nice and cool at night. The colors are gorgeous and make any trip outside a nice adventure.

While I continue to debate with myself the merits of blogging (Chris's post last week gave me a lot to think about), and ponder taking a break from it, I'll continue posting.

Workout-wise, the weekend was a bust. But then again, my body needed the rest. Last Thursday I took a great run around town that was about 45 minutes and I felt pretty strong. But I also got the "oh crap I need new running shoes NOW" feeling. By the end the balls of my feet were killing me and I had the kind of pain in my legs that is not associated with tired legs but legs that are taking a beating different than what they're used to. I remember when I posted about this feeling earlier this summer and sure enough, by Friday my body just felt a different tired than it usually does. I knew that I could not run any longer in my shoes or I would really risk an injury at this point.

Which leaves swimming and biking.

But Friday evening my friend Kathy was like "hey we're going down to the Russian River Brewing Co after work" and all I could think of was their Defenestration beer, which is a Belgian-style IPA. Mmmmmm. So hoppy. So yummy. Originally I was planning to hit the Friday 7 p.m. masters workout that evening but when faced with this difficult decision I decided life was too short and I made up my mind to visit with friends.

Which was cool because I got to hang with friends, meet new friends, AND BEST OF ALL, as I was paying my bill, ran into an old sorority sister of mine from Cal! AWESOME! Katie and I got to talking and it turns out she works for DeLoach Vineyards as the enologist (aka winemaker person). How cool of a job is that?

I was left with the possibility of working out Sat morning. But I had housecleaning to do since I had some very dear friends from Berkeley as houseguests. And while I was cleaning, might as well do some SERIOUS cleaning, right? I spent the morning cleaning. It was nice.

Then David and Nancy showed up and we packed some sandwiches with David's delicious homemade bread and off we went to the wineries!

First we visited Lynmar...

David peeks out at the vineyards...

Looking out from the barn

Nancy takes a picture

Another shot of the barn in B&W

Sarah and David in the vineyards

Then we went to DeLoach and found Katie working! She gave us a great tour...

Katie and I - so great to see old friends!

So that's pretty much it for now. It was a very fun weekend. Oh, and I got new running shoes - I'm trying ASICS now, wooo!

I had a crazy swim workout tonight. I went to the Airport Club master's workout since the pool where evening workouts normally are is closed this week. Wow. It KICKED MY BUTT!

We did:
300 warmup
10x50 free on 1:00
4x: 200 (on 3:00), 100 (on 1:30) and 50 easy
4x: 6x25 stroke (on 0:30), 150 build by 50s (on 2:15)
50 easy
2x: 100 IM on 1:45, 75 free on 1:15, 50 stroke on 1:00, 25 free on 0:30

That is more swimming in one workout than I can remember. 3950 yards. My arms wanted to FALL OFF! But I loved it and the pace was challenging. I think going there on Mondays and doing my normal morning swims on Wed/Thurs would be good for me.

Now it's time for bed. I'm subbing a spin class tomorrow and it's already VERY late. Hopefully the next post will be a recipe...paired with some of the delicious wine I bought!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Fairy Tales for Thursday

I've got a lot to post on. But I just had something come through my email box that I felt inclined to share. In addition, I dug through the old email box and found another story that would pair nicely with the one I received today.

Everybody loves a good fairy tale, right?

The Worlds Shortest Fairytale (for women):

Once upon a time, a guy (a Prince) asked a girl (The Princess),

"Will you marry me?"

The girl said "No," and she lived happily ever after and went shopping, drank martinis with friends, always had a clean house, never had to cook, had a closet full of shoes and handbags, stayed skinny, and was never farted on.

The End.

A FAIRY TALE (for men)

One day, long, long ago....... there lived a woman who did not whine, nag or bitch.

But this was a long time ago....... and it was just that one day.

The End

Monday, October 13, 2008

A weekend of awesomeness

I got to:
  • Go on an awesome bike ride that pushed me but didn't kick my ass

  • Ride with a pro cyclist

  • Meet new cyclist friends that were cool

  • Watch the Ironman broadcast from Kona online, at least up to the start of the men's run and see Chrissie get her lead back on the bike!

  • Go to a harvest party at a vineyard and then spend the night and freeze my butt off as the night temps dropped to the low 40s (yes, I am a baby in cold temps)

  • Go to San Francisco for the most delicious, mouth-watering, incredible dim sum EVER.

  • Be in SF on a gorgeously clear day and take picture of the Golden Gate like a tourist

  • Visit my family in Napa, which included helping make an apple pie, go tourist-watching at the restaurant we went to, and watch my little sister practice her flag routine

  • Sleep very soundly Sunday night but wake up 3 times before 5 a.m. because I was worried about oversleeping for Spin Class.
WHEW!!!! Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I will post pictures tomorrow because they are on my other computer and my Crapintosh gets really slow when I load iPhoto.

But it was a pretty fun-filled weekend and I felt like Rachel did when she arrived in Kona and was running all over the place like a chicken with her head cut off!

Since I'm posting pics tomorrow I'll just write about the ride. Because I can post some pics from that.

Anyway, there was this ride that used to happen every month called the Risibisi Ride and it left from a restaurant down in Petaluma where lots of folks showed up, sometimes pros, mostly really fast people, and they would all ride and then have lunch at Risibisi afterward. But then the chef of Risibisi (who is also an avid cyclist), Fabio, left to head down to Mountain View (south bay area). So no more Risibisi Ride.

And thus the "Riviera Revolution" ride was born. This guy, GiamPaolo who runs/chefs? Riviera Restaurant in Santa Rosa decided to keep the tradition alive. Along with his friend Steve, who is part owner of West County Revolution, another very cool bike shop in Sebastopol. They organized the first "Viva La Revolution!" ride to start from West County Revolution and end at Riviera, then everybody would have a casual ride back to Sebastopol (about 8 miles away).

I wasn't able to do lunch because of the Harvest Party and stuff (and I had to save room!), but decided to join Lee and whoever else might be out there that day. Lee and I rode from my house out to the bike shop where we met up with our fellow cyclists for the day.

We had some pre-ride coffee and pastries (yum, thanks Steve!) and were about to shove off, when a guy rides up on his road bike and a mountain bike in tow, decked out a full BMC team kit. Looks like a pro guy decided to show up!

It turns out it was Scott Nydam, who won this year's KOM at the Tour of California, not to mention plenty of other accomplishments this season. Looks like he's had a good year! But then I was like "wait. Um. Pro guy is here and I'm sure all his buddies here are fast, too. Well SH**, WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?"

But then I thought "hey. Cool it. You know the route like the back of your hand so in the worst case scenario and you get dropped like the stocks everybody sold last week, you could still do this ride by yourself. So just chill."

We were going to be riding together for about 20 miles and then would split into the C/D group - C people (me and Lee, Jeff, Tim and Kenny) would do about 10 miles less than D and probably go about 3-4 mph slower.

So ultimately, it was AWESOME! We had a relaxed pace for the first 10 miles or so, as we rode on a bike path, which turned out not to be without incident. Steve and I were up front when all of a sudden we looked ahead and saw...a GIANT PUMPKIN!! So we started yelling back to the group "Pumpkin UP!!"

It was huge.

A few miles later, we came up on a young deer (but not Rupert-size, Kelly) that was heading our way and it FREAKED OUT and started running on this narrow path TOWARD US. I started yelling 'DEER! DEER!' Thankfully it ran to the side and avoided all of us.

That was in the first 10 miles!

After the bike path we hit the road and picked it up a notch. But again, not bad. It was the perfect pace because it was pushing it a bit for me but it wasn't a pace that made me think "oh god, how am I going to hang on for another 40 miles?"

And we all chatted and rode and before I knew it, it was time to split up. Boo. I was having such a good time because we were riding a nice swift pace but I could still have a conversation and nobody was trying to show off their manliness and how fast they could really go or push the pace and see who could get dropped first or any of the other STUPID THINGS THAT BOYS LIKE TO DO ON BIKES.

This is some of us at our splitting-off point ->>>>

Then we split up, and the five of us rode more, chatted more, had a few pace lines, stopped in Jimtown for some really good ginger-molasses cookies, rode more, chatted more, pushed the pace more, and all of a sudden, we were back in Santa Rosa cooling down and I was almost home, 60 miles later.

As usual, I was the only chick. But it was super fun!

And I can't wait to do it again next month. THANKS guys!! (and THANKS Steve, for organizing and for the photos, which have been taken from his site here)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Freaky Friday?

So we're officially in the worst market crash since the Great Depression. But you know it's not the Great Depression because people like my 18 year-old sister don't really understand what's going on. She's still living her carefree teenage lifestyle, working at Starbucks, getting speeding tickets, and being hit on by boys that are too old for her (e.g. some guy who had a crush on ME in high school...without knowing she is my sister...ASKED HER FOR HER PHONE NUMBER! HILARIOUS!!!!! Yes, there is a very strong resemblance between us...which makes it THAT much funnier).

Anyway, I'm just bummed about this economy right now. It just plain sucks.

The only thing we can do is to keep on keeping on. So that's what I'm doing.

I had an AWESOME run last night! I went to my usual track workout Tuesday evening where we did 12x300 at 5K pace with 100 recovery. It was hurting by the end but I made it. By yesterday evening I was still feeling that workout, on top of the morning swim where we had done 42x50 (not all in a row, but it would go 7 x50 fast, 2x50 easy; 6x50 fast, 2x50 easy, etc.).

Me (in the new super cute running skirt!), Mel (SUPER FAST!) and Tori ->

Still, I was determined to get out to the Thursday evening trail run. The legs felt a little crunchy at first, but kind of tired in a good way, if that makes sense. I ran the first section with the fast people and noticed that my heart rate wasn't even getting too high...awesome! But then the fast people were going to go longer and get 9 miles in and there was no way I was doing that. So I ran with Tori and Lisa around the lake at an easy pace for another 2 1/2 miles and it was awesome! 3.58 miles total. My legs feel great today, even after teaching spin this morning.

Funny story about teaching spin...I started having this dream about teaching this morning. The stereo was being fussy and I was getting annoyed. Suddenly I woke up and looked at the clock: 5:25!!! HOLY CRAP I NEED TO LEAVE IN 5 MINUTES!! My alarm had been set for 5:00 a.m. - and I KNOW I set it last night. I must've been so tired I shut it off in my sleep. Scary!

So yesterday I didn't feel like making a sandwich. I had some nice onion, apples, pecans, eggs and thought "I'm going to give that Curried Egg Salad another shot." I hardboiled the eggs perfectly this time and added a little more apple (because I love it!) and I enjoyed it a lot more this time.

Curried Egg Salad Recipe: (from 101

5 good quality eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (your favorite)
3 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 big pinches of salt

1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium apple, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 small bunch of chives, minced

First off, you need to boil the eggs properly (the key to good egg salad!). Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking and place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking.

While the eggs are boiling and cooling, combine the yogurt, curry powder and salt in a tiny bowl. Set aside.

Crack and peel each egg, and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the curried yogurt, onions, apple, pecans, and chives. Now mash with a fork. Don't overdo it, you want the egg mixture to have some texture. If you need to add a bit more plain yogurt to moisten up the mixture a bit, go for it a bit at a time. taste and add more salt if needed. Enjoy as-is, or served wrapped in lettuce or between two slices of good, toasted bread.

I didn't enjoy it in the lettuce as much as a piece of toasted pita bread, but since I didn't have pita, the lettuce sufficed. Pair with some falafel and tsatziki and MMMMM! Nice lunch!

Here was today's spin mix:

1. The Way - Fastball (pre-class)
2. Rapunzel - Dave Matthews
3. Stayin Alive - Bee Gees
4. Jerk It Out (remix) - The Casesars
5. Two Step - Dave Matthews
6. Black Irish - Devil Makes Three
7. Mercy - Duffy
8. Harder Better Faster Stronger - Daft Punk
9. Family Affair - Mary J. Blige
10. Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield
11. Senorita - Los Lonely Boys (cool down)
12. Outta My Head - Fastball (stretch)

And that's it. Hoping to get a nice fall ride in tomorrow morning and enjoy the colors of fall in Sonoma County, and headed to a vineyard tomorrow afternoon with some good friends for a Harvest Party where you drink, eat, drink more, and then camp in the vineyard so you don't have to drive anywhere. Perfect!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Not much time to write right now

But there are a whole bunch of things that have been popping up in the last few days where I've thought "ohhh, I need to write about this."

So I'm just going to make a list. For me, it's so I don't forget. For anybody reading, it's a preview of what's to come in the next week or so. It will also be an attempt for me to keep practicing word limits on what I write so that I can get through my list.

-PERSIMMONS ARE FINALLY IN SEASON! I found the best recipe for a fall salad last year that uses persimmons and it is one of the most amazing things I think I've ever made. Must post recipe (and make it so that I can have pictures!)

-Spinning victory - hour class has been granted, woo!!

-Other recipes from this week: Glazed pork/broccoli/Brussels sprout dinner, mmmm...and Orange-glazed pork chops with buttered noodles....mmm!

-Swimming. Frustrating. Feel SO slow. Not really that slow, but when I swim in the 'faster' lane with Tom and Laura and Susan I feel sooooo slow. How can this be all at once so satisfying and frustrating? Neither cycling nor running does this to me.

-Cross Country thoughts/race reviews. I think my running is improving?

-Positive vs. negative thoughts and outlooks and how it affects us every day.

-List of things I want to buy (but have no money for!).


I think that's it...for now. But I guess I'd better get writing if I'm going to get through all of this!

And to finish...some timely cards to lighten the mood about our fabulous economy...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

An inspiring read: 2008 XTERRA Nat'l Championship Race Report

I got this report in my email last night from a Lombardi Sports teammate. He joined our team a couple years ago as a little punk who kept winning races (I think he was 16 at the time...). Unfortunately I didn't have the pleasure of meeting him in person until this year at the Sacramento International Tri back in April.

What a sweet kid (he' 18 now, but he's still a kid to me)!!! And he has come such a long way.

Last weekend, Joshua Olmstead took 1st in the Amateur Division (and 17th overall!) at the XTERRA National Championships in Incline Village, Nevada. I am so proud of him, but was even prouder after I read his race report. It was an inspiring and fun read, and I decided I wanted to share it on my blog. So, with Josh's permission, here it is!

2008 Xterra Off-Road Triathlon National Championship
October 5, 2008 InclineVillage, Nevada
By Joshua Olmstead

Place: 1st Overall Amateur, 1st 15-19 Age Group, 17th Overall with Pro
Time: 2:51:32 Swim 27:19, Bike 1:40:47, Run 43:26
15 min and 45 sec faster then last year

“With Goals Set, My Dream Came True”

When I was 14 years old I heard that Taylor Tollesson (who was 19 at the time) had become the Amateur Xterra National Champion. I told myself “I could do that,” and today, 4 years later, I just did it! I have dreamed of this, and I repeated that shortly after I threw a slam dunk and roared with my arms in the air as I crossed the finish line. My dream had just come true.

It was an emotional weekend prior to the race. My mentor and dearest friend Jamie Whitmore, the most dominating female pro Xterra athlete, was not going to be racing due to 2 malignant tumors she has been battling all year. The night before the race, at the Dinner of Champions, Xterra put on a presentation for Jamie that brought tears to everyone in the audience that night. Last year I watched Jamie dominate the U.S. Xterra Series and that night I saw her push herself in her walker to get up on stage for the Xterra Warrior Award. I realized that life is so precious and beautiful. The next morning when I woke up I wanted to race for something more than just my dream – I wanted to race for Jamie.

It was a 9:00 race start and I rolled into transition around 8:15. I finished transition around 8:30 and made my way down to the water. After I had finished a few stride-outs on the beach, I got the wetsuit on and headed for the beautiful lake before me. Just before the start, I usually look dead on at that first buoy, but this time I looked beyond to the entire lake and the mountains above. I looked over to a pro woman and said, “Life is Good,” 10 seconds before the start. I asked God for his Strength and the cannon went off.

I was able to find a fast relaxed pace as I rounded the first buoy, staying within my limits. Out of the water and a short run after the first lap then back in for more. I found some feet the second lap and carried it all the way to the finish. I came out of the water like a bullet and quickly made it to transition.

No problems taking off my Profile Design/Aquaman wetsuit, I grabbed my Trek Top Fuel 9.8 with Manitou Suspension and Hayes Disc Brakes and was ready to crush the mountain bike course. After I hit a gel and downed some Cytomax, I began ticking away at the pedals. Just up the road I caught pro woman Melanie McQuaid and realized I was in a really good position. The next 20 min I climbed and grinded a big gear all the way up Tunnel Creek, picking off some of those fast swimmers. Half way up the mountain was the last time I saw an age number on the back of someone’s calf. One of the fastest mountain bikers, professional Brian Smith passed me. I stayed right with him for a bit, then slowly started to fade. Usually he blows past me.

At the top of the hill and onto the Flume Trail I was putting down the big ring, taking chances on those massive cliffs. A few minutes later, I noticed the lead helicopter just to my right. That loud roaring helicopter was definitely a first for me! As I made it up to Marlette Lake I worked with a pro as we rode around the lake. I refueled and was ready for more hills. I began crushing the course as I hit the hills and pushed that big gear again. Right then I knew that I was flying.

I looked down at my top tube where I had a big decal that said “Go Jamie,” and it just made me push harder. After the hill, I hit the downhill rocky switchbacks and just let it rip. I felt like I was crushing the rocks under my tires, riding right over everything. Pro male Will Kelsay passed me right before the long Tunnel Creek downhill. What he didn’t know is that downhill is my middle name. Once on the downhill, I let it rip once more. About a mile down I passed Will and was screaming after every jump I was hitting, I was on fire!

Once I got back on the road, I noticed my dad was heading up the road to go watch me up the mountain. A little late to start heading up, Dad. As I entered into transition I heard the announcer say, “Look at this kid 1st Amateur Overall and 15th off the bike, he’s coming in right with the Pros!” I just couldn’t believe it. I thought, “I actually have a shot at this.”

With the spectators cheering as I left transition, I knew I had to push myself. My legs were on fire. After the first lap, I knew 2nd place was running me down. I was really starting to feel it. I just kept telling myself, “You can do it, go for it, go now.” Coming down the last mile I realized that I was about to accomplish my dream. As I rounded the last corner I heard my dad say “You did it Josh!” I slapped the spectators’ hands down the finishing chute and saw the time board: 2:51:32. I was finished!

At the awards BBQ I dedicated my race to Jamie as I got on top of the podium. I saw her directly in the crowd as she pointed at me and smiled. I’ll never forget this day - it was a huge stepping stone for my life.

I would like to thank God, and everyone else who has supported me through the years. I would also like to thank my sponsors: Lombardi Sports, Cytosport, Manitou, Hayes Disc Brakes, Rudy Project, Louis Garneau and Profile Design Wetsuits

Thanks for reading, next up Xterra World Championships in Maui Hawaii October 26th.

Monday, October 06, 2008

America and the New Financial World

This is from this morning's Wall Street Journal.

Given the field I work in, I pay pretty close attention to the market these days. And it really sucks that the market has gone down over 600 points today. Clearly, last week didn't have as much an impact on the market as we'd hoped.

But this is NOT the next Great Depression. It is a major turning point for the US Economy. While there is a lot of bad stuff happening right now, my basic opinion is that all of this will hopefully help us to have a sounder, more structured and regulated system. I'm still struggling to develop my opinion further as I sift through numerous articles and speculation.

I thought I would share one particularly good article that's looking ahead at what all of this means for the future.

America and the New Financial World
By Zachary Karabell

Soon enough, America's financial crisis will wind down -- maybe in a month, maybe in a year. Yet regardless of when, this crisis marks the beginning of a new era for the U.S. For more than six decades, from the end of World War II in 1945 until now, the U.S. was the hub of global capital and capitalism. In the years to come, it will remain a vital center, but not the center.

In 1945, after an exhausting three decades of exertion against Germany, the United Kingdom emerged militarily victorious only to see itself economically exhausted. A year later, it was bankrupt, unable to find capital and on the verge of collapse. It had nowhere to turn but the U.S., which then dictated terms that amounted to a withdrawal of Great Britain from the world stage. The U.S. is not yet in the position of Great Britain, and our creditors in China are not yet as we were then. But absent a more humble and realistic attitude toward capital in Washington, that is the path we're headed down.

What is happening to finance today is similar to what happened to manufacturing beginning in the 1970s. Until then, U.S. manufacturing accounted for as much as half of all global output. By the 1970s, Germany and Japan began to exert themselves as manufacturing titans. So did Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and others that had benefited from American aid. The globalization of manufacturing continued, and was accelerated by the information technology revolution of the 1990s. While the U.S. today continues to produce a decent share of global manufactured goods, it is one among many and employs only 13 million people (10% of the workforce) in a sector that in the middle of the 20th century accounted for a third of all jobs. The same thing is now happening with finance.

In the past five years, there has been a transfer of wealth from the U.S. and Europe to Asia, the Middle East and Russia of trillions of dollars for oil and raw materials as well as inexpensive manufactured goods. Whether or not that transfer has been positive or negative for the U.S. economy writ large -- and there is considerable debate on that subject -- the outflow of wealth is a fact.

You can argue that the transfer of dollars to goods-producing countries, China above all, has provided American consumers with products that might otherwise be unaffordable but has had a negative effect on the U.S. labor force. The transfer of wealth to oil-producing states and countries rich in base metals has been an economic drain, especially as the price has spiked and the cost has risen.

That wealth transfer occurred just as the U.S. financial system began to expand its exposure to the housing market. The movement of capital away from the U.S. was one reason hungry banks turned to more absurd forms of leverage. That disguised the erosion of real capital.

Even as that was happening, however, American financial institutions still wore the mantle of global leadership. As China, the Gulf region, India, Brazil and other parts of the world have increased in affluence, they relied on the expertise, acumen and advice of Wall Street. Go to any region of the world and you will find central banks and investment banks staffed by people educated at U.S. business schools and graced with resumes that include time at the formerly premier institutions of Wall Street. Few major deals were brokered without involvement from a U.S. bank or access to Wall Street financing. That is now at an end.

It is at an end for two reasons. One is structural. There are now vibrant economies that don't depend on the U.S., are not heavily levered, and have a burgeoning, confident and ambitious middle class. But it is also at an end because those newly affluent regions of the world do not find the U.S. a welcoming home for capital.

There is no small irony in the fact that state-driven capitalism, which is the norm in the Persian Gulf and China, finds the U.S. too restrictive. Sovereign wealth funds, with enough cash on hand to bail out Wall Street and the U.S. housing market many times over, invested billions a year ago but are now saying no.

Uncertain growth for the United States is one reason. But the nature of the American regulatory regime is also to blame. Sarbanes-Oxley and the Patriot Act -- whose anti-money-laundering provisions had the unintended consequence of repelling legitimate investors -- combined with a tax code that places a heavy burden on corporations doing business in the U.S. has meant that, as the wealth transfer has happened, there is less and less inclination for global institutions to place that capital in the U.S.

This is a fact regardless of whether you believe that a high corporate tax rate is morally and fiscally correct. In truth, because of the differentials between high U.S. corporate taxes and the rates in Europe (lower) and Asia (in places nonexistent), even U.S.-listed companies that operate globally keep their profits outside the U.S., and thereby avoid those high taxes altogether.

In addition, the regulatory requirements of listing a company in the U.S. have led many companies to look to other markets and other exchanges for financing, hence the boom of financial centers such as Hong Kong, Dubai and even London.

This should not be a partisan argument. It is perfectly fair to argue that wealthy corporations should pay a greater share of the tax base than struggling middle-class Americans. Fair, but not realistic. The U.S. government can no longer dictate to global capital. Once, when the U.S. was the engine of global growth, when the world needed Wall Street for funding, capital could be taxed and controlled by the fiat of the U.S. government. No longer. The U.S. may have the will; it does not have the power.

The current debate in Washington gives no indication that this reality is understood. Both sides of the aisle are susceptible to a false sense of American economic sovereignty. Companies and countries flush with cash increasingly view U.S. laws, regulations and attitudes as undue burdens. As consumer activity accelerates outside the U.S. and Europe, and as financial centers spring up elsewhere, there is increasingly less inclination and less need for the world to go either to Wall Street or to Main Street.

For now, even with the breakdown of Wall Street, the U.S. remains vital to the global economy. It is the largest market, with a dynamic consumer culture, innovative companies, and is deeply enmeshed in the international system. But it is not the alpha and the omega; it is not the center; and the crisis hitting Wall Street is leading the rest of the world to form bonds that bypass the U.S.

Not all of this need be an absolute negative. In a truly interconnected world, more affluence and activity globally can be a universal benefit. U.S. companies operating outside the United States and Europe have already been reaping the rewards. But failure to accept the new reality will lead to the worst of all worlds.

As the U.S. government plunges into the markets, we must understand that this is the end of an era, and that attempts to unilaterally force capital to stay here will only lead to its continued flight. We are now one market among many, a huge and affluent one to be sure, but a wise nation recognizes both its strengths and its limitations. A more secure domestic capital base depends on the U.S. being seen as a desirable place for investment, and not as King Lear raging against the storm, alone, deluded and abandoned.

Mr. Karabell is president of River Twice Research. His latest book, "Chimerica: How the United States and China Became One," will be published next year by Simon & Schuster.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Yeeee hawwww a PR!!!

So I raced the YMCA Harvest Fair 10K this morning.

On a side note, I really think there must be something to what you choose to wear when you race. Like, when I went to Fleet Feet yesterday to pick up my race packet I found this skirt on the CLEARANCE rack.

Now granted, this looks purple. The skirt I got is this really nice blue (that they didn't have on their website) that matches my Team Aquaphor top quite nicely.

When I was all outfitted this morning a little squeal escaped my mouth as I looked in the mirror: I LOOKED SOOOOOO CUTE!!! I just thought "wow, for once I feel like I look girly and cute as opposed to wearing stuff that's strictly sporty-manly. NICE."

So, I felt cute and I think that helped.

Because I PR'd. And I won my age group! And I think I got like, 7th or 8th woman overall.

Early on I passed a woman that looked like she was in my age group. I had glanced back once mid-race and didn't see her. So imagine my surprise at mile 4 when I realized she was on my heels. Then at mile 4.75 she passed me. She said "Don't worry, I'm 50." I kind of laughed and I said "oh, I really did think you might be in my age group!" (later she said that she didn't have the breath to respond, but wanted to say "girl, you must need some sugar then because you're not seeing very well!"). So I sort of backed off just a little, slightly relieved.

But then at like, mile 5.5 I thought "well the HELL WITH THAT. I WANT TO BREAK 45:00. AND I DON'T CARE IF SHE'S NOT IN MY AGE GROUP, I AM GOING TO BEAT HER, DAMMIT!" So I picked it up as we went up this little incline and passed her at the top and began to round the corner toward the 6 mile mark. "Good job," she said. "THANKS, YOU TOO" I breathlessly yelled back.

I wanted to break 45:00 SOOOO BADLY. And as I was coming down the final line I was at 44:00 and thought "I don't think I'm gonna make it. I just don't" Then I told myself "SHUT UP YES YOU WILL. YES. YOU. WILL."

So I ran hard. Like, just as hard as I did last week during my XC race and it hurt SO BADLY. But I was going to do everything I could to break 45:00.

Sadly enough, it didn't happen. I did 45:05. But 5 seconds isn't too bad. It means it's possible for next time!!

Now I'm going to go eat lunch and drink wine.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stereos that don't work aren't very helpful

Yes, 'duh,' that is true.

But I don't like it when stereos don't work. Especially when I have a spin class to teach.

I STILL feel like screaming, 8 hours later!

I'm just so mad because I had this great playlist for my students.

And, sure enough, all my old friends came to play this morning at the SF YMCA and it was just like the good old days. I was so excited, giving hugs, catching up, and generally just very excited to be seeing my old class.

Jim brought me a special treat like he always did (he would always bring me some fruit he had picked up from the farmer's market, or a Luna bar, or some delicious dates), but this time it was a REALLY special treat - a bran muffin from ARIZMENDI!

(as a side note my friends, this is no ordinary bran muffin from NO ordinary bakery. No. Arizmendi was opened by people who came from the Cheeseboard in Berkeley. Which is, in my opinion, one of the most fantastic bakeries in the whole entire WORLD. Scones that put anything from Peet's or Starbucks to complete and utter shame, delicious bread, muffins that are soft and oozing with flavor...I mean, I'm taking a whole paragraph to wax poetically about this place, it's THAT good. And it lists in the top 4 things I miss about Berkeley/SF. So yes, I was absolutely thrilled about this.)

So, right about 6:20 a.m. (class begins at 6:30 a.m.) I plug in the old iPod and turn on the stereo and hit play.


Hm, everything is on...well...

I began to push buttons frantically, turn knobs all the way up, flip switches. Still no sound. 6:30 a.m. approaches. I'm trying to think quickly at what else it could be. I opened up the back of the box where wires and things are plugged in. Everything looks okay at first glance. DAMMIT.

Class has begun, my students are warming up, HERE WE GO!

Finally the guys from the front desk brought in a boom box for me. I threw in a CD that was sitting around and hoped for the best. That was all I could do. So, we went with it and I finished. Later it was determined that the stereo plugs were loose? But I opened up the back and pushed them in! I don't get it!!! GRRRRRRRR!! SO FRUSTRATING!

It was still a good workout, but it just wasn't the same. It throws me off a bit when I don't know what song is coming next. On the other hand, I'm sure builds character somehow, right?

I guess I have to just go back and do it again.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

More food

So in spite of my posting incessantly about food this week, I AM still training and racing and stuff. But I'm on a roll with the food thing and people seem to enjoy the ideas I float their way, so I'm just gonna keep on.

I'll finish the week with my XC Race report from last week, which was AWESOME. I think it's one of the hardest things I've ever done, actually. Like, I could honestly say it was just as hard as my half-IM. Except in this case I knew it would be over really quickly. Anyway, more on that later.

So last week when I picked up the CSA Veggies from Tierra Vegetables, we got LOTS of Roma tomatoes. What are Romas good for? TOMATO SAUCE!!!!!

This great recipe comes from the San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook: Perciatelli with Spicy Tomato Sauce

What I find amazing about this recipe is that you don't have to spend hours on the sauce. Usually, a really good tomato sauce comes from stewing for a couple of hours. But this one only took about 30 min to prepare/cook and it was soooooooooooooooooooooo YUMMY!!! I picked up some fresh pancetta from the market and it was a home run all the way.

The only substitution I made was the pasta - for some reason they didn't have Perciatelli (also known as Buccatini) so I used Fusilli. I like using this pasta with this sauce because the little nooks of the fusilli catch the sauce and pieces of pancetta.

We paired it with a 2006 Trentadue Sangiovese. Um...if the sauce itself was a homerun...then this pairing made it...well...a GRAND SLAM!!! OMG. I kept saying "wow...I have to just savor each bite because I never want this to end. This is sooooo good. So much happy in my MOUTH!" I know that's cheesy but when you find the right wine to go with some good food, the combination is just unbelievable. And that is why, as an athlete, I cannot give up wine. I just won't do it.

After dinner I thought "you know, I haven't made chocolate chip cookies in awhile..." so I decided to make those, too. And a full batch off the back of the chocolate chip bag is HUGE so I make it and then freeze the dough into little balls and once they're frozen I put them in a big Ziploc bag. Then I can take 2 or 3 out at a time, let them thaw and bake them - fresh chocolate chip cookies on demand!

As for training, I went to yoga last night and I was really glad I went. It meant that I had to forsake Tuesday Track workout, but I was okay with it. I love yoga. And for the last 3 weeks, I've managed to get it in twice a week. I'm beginning to see the results. My balance poses are better (Warrior 3 and Tree Pose, especially). I'm practicing on my arm balances a lot more often so those are improving (Therese says it's not an issue of strength for me, because, she swears, I HAVE the arm strength! It's my coordination...doesn't surprise me).

It's encouraging to see the difference, which is helping me stay motivated to keep getting it in every week.

Speaking of encouraging, I had the BEST swim workout yesterday morning, so I was so excited to get there this morning, too! I THOUGHT I had set my alarm, but then I woke up at 6:15...and practice was already 15 minutes underway. WTF? Either I shut the alarm off in my sleep (quite possible) or I set the time but forgot to turn the alarm on (also quite possible). Damn.

ANYWAY, that's it for now. I'm SO excited because I am going down to SF tonight for an appointment and then having dinner with my friends Jessica, Kristen and new friend Kathleen! THEN I'm staying at Jessie's and I'm going to teach spin at the Embarcadero (SF) YMCA tomorrow morning and SEE ALL MY OLD FRIENDS/STUDENTS! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!! I've been looking forward to doing something like this for awhile. I really miss the folks at the SF YMCA and it will be so awesome to see my old morning crew that I came to know and enjoy so much.

Happy Hump Day!