Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ironman KY - spectating from afar

So I'm avoiding all of the cleaning I MUST do by sitting here looking for IM Kentucky updates. But I could be even less productive and playing Wordscraper (Scrabble) on Facebook instead, so at least I'm rooting friends on and doing something that's worthwhile, right?

I'm keeping tabs on Eileen, Kate, Bree, and Todd (Mel's husband)...a little worried about Bree because she was leading the run for awhile and then something happened and I don't know what! It is apparently heating up quickly out there so I don't envy them at all. I am so proud of all you guys. Keep it up! Stay strong! Believe in yourself!

Sending good thoughts and a cool breeze to KY...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh and don't forget to save the bees

I know it's been a somber week but I still had a Fun Friday post to put up.

This comes courtesy of my friend Jefferson, who now likes to say "WHERE MY BEES AT?"

It's actually a pretty cool way to raise awareness about this bee population problem we're having.

You can

You can find this video below at:

While we're talking about cool dance videos, I couldn't resist this one because it is one of my all-time favs: "The Evolution of Dance"

Okay, that's it for today!

What a week

Me at the Marin Century a few weeks ago ->>>>>

So, it's Friday again, huh? I try to always post on Friday because usually I'm so happy that the fun-filled weekend is about to begin that I just HAVE to share it with everybody!

However, it's been a bit of a somber week. Barbara's tragedy has really had me thinking a lot about life in general and how we choose to live it. I consider that every time I get on my bike there's a chance something could happen, but I feel most alive on my bike, so it's a risk I'm willing to take. Life is full of risks and you just have to navigate them as best you can.

It's been crazy on my end, as well. I just don't know where these weeks have gone since Vineman. It's so odd that it was already well over a month ago...

I have decided not to do the LA Triathlon. I simply cannot handle another drive down there after just last weekend (not to mention the drive home ended up being 9 hours because we had some car problems, etc), and then we are going BACK down to Santa Barbara the weekend AFTER LA for some camping. That would make 3 weekends of long road trips with only one weekend in between. Ugh.

I looked for cheap plane flights, and thought "oh, well if I could find a flight out of Santa Rosa like the day before and then fly back the next afternoon..." but it just doesn't work. This is another 2-transition race and there's all these logistics involved and I have to think about cars and bike shipping and I just can't HANDLE it all right now. August has been too crazy to really even try planning anything.

So, I will eat the loss of the race cost. It sucks. But I would spend a lot more going down there. The biggest reason I was really going is because it's Courtenay's 30th birthday and I wanted to join the party with her and Kelly and go have a great time and when I signed up it all sounded SO PERFECT and SO MUCH FUN! But now, given my lack of energy dealing with anything logistically difficult, it sounds tough. And as much as I thought I loved road trips, I realized that I like them when they are spaced apart. By like, months.

Instead, I'm going to do the Folsom Triathlon. I can drive up that morning. I don't have to think about places to stay. I can carpool from Sacramento up to Folsom with my friend Carmen, who is just getting into tris and I have been wanting to race with her. I can visit my grandparents in Sacramento post-race. I just really want to do one last Olympic race and I don't want to think about any logistics! I just want to RACE!

As for my weekend, I'm planning to do a lot of cycling, running and eating. Oh and sleeping. And cleaning.

I am so excited - by not going to LA, I am also now able to participate in my first Cross Country race next weekend! Not sure at all what to expect but it should be fun.

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend full of great adventures, luscious sleep and for all of you racing IM KY this weekend - GOOD LUCK AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Remebering Barbara Warren

In keeping with my updates, I wanted to post this article from that my friend Carmen sent me. I think it's a great way to pay a tribute to an incredible woman. (Thanks for passing it on, Carmen!)

This article appears at

Barbara Warren: A reminiscence

Lee Gruenfeld remembers the amazing Barbara Warren

Published Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ed. Note: Barbara Warren, 65, legendary endurance athlete, many-time Ironman finisher and twin sister of Angelika Drake, passed away Tuesday night as the result of injuries suffered in a bike accident during the Santa Barbara Triathlon last Saturday.

I'm not going to tick down a list of Barbara Warren's accomplishments or virtues. First of all there's not enough room, and many other people who knew her much better than Cherie or I did will see that it gets done properly. So just a little story.

We first met Barbara and her sister Angelika at Mike & Rob's "Most Excellent Triathlon" in 1992. They finished first and second, but both had already qualified for Kona so the slot rolled down to Cherie, leading to her very first Ironman. You couldn't miss Barbara and Angelika: From half a mile away either one of those strikingly beautiful ladies, their athletic physiques as trim as their haircuts, could turn heads, but the two of them in combination made you blink hard and look again.

We ran into them many times at races but it wasn't until 1995 that we really got to know them well, and not in a way that was fully planned. Cherie and the twins, along with Mary Ann Buxton, got together to compete as the first all-female masters relay team in the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile bicycle race across Death Valley. The plan was for four men, including Mary Ann's husband Bart and me, to provide support using two vehicles: our Ford Explorer and a motor home provided by the twins. Two women at a time would trade 20-minute bike sprints while the other two slept in the RV, and every four hours the teams would trade places. It was a great plan.

Two hours into the race the motor home broke down.

End of race, right? Not as far as Barbara was concerned. Matter of fact, I don't even remember any decision process taking place. We were all kind of standing around scratching ourselves, and after about three minutes of that Barbara jumped on her bike and began pedaling away. "You guys figure it out," she called back over her shoulder with a wave. "We have a race to ride."

Just like that, the question was no longer "Do we continue?" but "How?" While Bart and I strapped two bikes to the roof of the Explorer, the other two guys hauled as much food and water out of the RV as they could stuff into the cargo area and still leave room to throw one more bike on top. Then Cherie, Angelika and Mary Ann piled into the back seat and tried to get comfortable while Bart, the team coach and navigator, took the right front seat and I got behind the wheel. We said a quick goodbye to the remaining two guys who were tasked with getting the RV back in the game and took off after Barbara.

Owing to very steep hills, stiff winds and a noon start, the race took us through the night, the next day, and on until the wee hours of the second night. Five of us at a time were crammed into a small and uncomfortable space overflowing with coolers, clothes for both hot and cold conditions, cycling shoes, maps, spare parts and Lord knows what else. We didn't see a bathroom the entire time, sleep was fitful and short if it happened at all, there was no way to cook or even do simple food prep, and we had to follow close behind the cyclist-of-the-moment, a nerve-wracking task even in daylight when you're fresh, and all the time trying to remember that this was a competitive event, not a training ride.

As it happened, we had a blast. The tougher it got (like the two-way radio system going on the fritz), the more fun we had. And a large part of the reason for that was Barbara, whose unrelenting optimism and sunny disposition made it virtually impossible to let a negative thought intrude on the experience. There was nothing conscious or artificial about it, either, no speeches about overcoming obstacles or giving it the old college try or character building. Stuff came up; she handled it quietly and moved on. So the rest of us did, too.

Once when were wrestling with some balky brakes during a changeover and trying to stretch our aching backs at the same time, Barbara slapped on a pair of running shoes and headed off into the inky night. We finally picked her up about five miles down the road. Even when she stood up from behind the car during a roadside potty break to find me standing there with a video camera pointed at her, her immediate reaction was to laugh it off.

There was one episode that was ironic in retrospect. Coming out of Death Valley toward the town of Baker at about 3:00 am, Angelika was on the bike during a steep descent. The more daring of the twins, she was not only down on her aerobars but pedaling furiously. When I had her speed matched at a safe following distance I glanced at the speedometer. It read 55 mph. That's when I noticed Barbara leaning forward in the back seat, hands clasped tightly together in front of her face, anxious eyes glued on her sister. "I can't stand it when she does that," she said softly. I don't think she breathed again until Angelika was safely off the mountain.

We never got the motor home back. About two hours before the four girls rode side-by-side across the finish line, the radio crackled and the two other support guys finally showed up…in a rented, two-door Honda. It was Barbara who laughed the loudest at the sight and suggested that we finish the race using only the Explorer, which is just what we did.

I never would have believed that I could have enjoyed that experience. I'm ready to open a vein if the line at the grocery store is too long. But there was something about Barbara, as well as her sister, that would have made any sort of complaint wildly out of place and inappropriate. Once I figured that out and settled into just handling the situation, two things happened. The first is that I had an experience I'll never forget while learning some very important lessons about life. And the second is that I fell in love with both of those amazing women.

Thank you, Barbara.

To read Fran Arfaras' profile of Barbara Warren from 2003, click here


Thanks to everybody who sent your thoughts and prayers Barbara's way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rest Peacefully, Barbara

I am saddened to say that Barbara passed away last night. Here is an update I received from a friend:

"To my God
Your love echoes the call of all creation.
In my soul I worship your manifestation.
From God
"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you
And when you pass through the rivers,
They will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
You will not be burned,
The flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God."
Isaiah 43:2 "

excerpt from Barbara's book, Become Exceptional.

It is with such a heavy, heavy heart that I share with you of the passing of Barbara Warren, last night, Tuesday, August 26th, 2008. She was at peace, and she was beautiful. She will be so missed but she is with God now and her spirit will be with us all stronger than ever, guiding us.

You will feel the spirit of Barbara profoundly today, in this moment she is in our hearts and our thoughts. When the moments, and days, and months pass, and we are living our lives, she will be watching us. When you need strength, tap into the spirit of Barbara, she has an abundance to share and she shares generously and lovingly. She is a gift, she is a blessing, and it has been such a true honor to have known Barbara.

The family would appreciate 24 hours of solitude. We all want to be there for Angelika, Tom, Ingrid, and Katrin, but for now, please, lets give them the time and space that they need.

Additionally, BelovedMaMa posted this comment to my last post:

Barbara is one of the most amazing women I have ever known. There are few people who have touched this world in the way that she has. She left no stone unturned and she loved like no other. If only the world had more Barbaras. On August 26th, 2008, Barbara Warren, beautiful wife, beloved twin, amazing mother, and friend to all, stepped into the presence of her Lord. She will be dearly missed and she was so very loved. Please keep her family in your prayers. And in honor of Barbara, may we all strive to leave a legacy like hers! Blessings, my friends.

It appears it was the pneumonia that was related to her passing.

I am so at a loss. I did not know Barbara but just simply felt so impacted as I passed her I kept thinking about her all weekend until I found out who she was and how she was doing. We have lost a beautiful individual who was truly a pioneer in so many different ways.

Barbara, rest in peace. You have created a legacy that will live on and an example for all of us on what it means to be a motivated, strong and incredible person.

Barbara Warren: Update

***Note on 8/28/08: Barbara passed away on Tuesday, August 26, 2008. I have those updates here and here. May she rest in peace.***

This was on the Slowtwitch Forum, so I thought I would post it here, as the woman who posted it said the family was glad she was sending out an update. Given that a lot of people have been looking for info on Barbara and been finding my blog, I thought I would put an update here, too.

This is from Peggy on Slowtwitch:

i've just now returned from seeing barbara and others in santa barbara. .
the situation with barbara is this: she is paralyzed from the neck down, and now has pneumonia. if she should survive the latter, she'll have a tracheotomy (she's already indicated that she wants that), and if that goes well, then a feeding tube lower than her neck, thereby freeing her face.
she was woozy/sleepy while i was there, but is apparently alert now when she's fully awake. she can't talk or move. her twin, angelika, and her husband preston drake were there, but barbara's husband tom was out during my visit. barbara may well not survive the pneumonia. if she does, there are no firm guesses as to what life will look like. right now nobody knows. i guess the neurosurgeon described the best case as being akin to christopher reeve's life, post-accident, pre death.
the accident happened saturday, and it was just yesterday that angelika and preston told barbara what had happened, and the surgeon told her the awful truth of her condition. when she was brought in her heart stopped temporarily, so they put in an emergency pacemaker. sunday they operated--3-4 hours, i think--and put a screw in her vertebra to hold it in place and stabilize her head so they could put a halo on. then monday/yesterday, they did the short, but intricate procedure of putting in a permanent pacemaker. yesterday, also, they discovered that she had pneumonia.
barbara's two girls are up there, and some san diego friends came while i was there.
nobody knows exactly why barbara went over. not a bike failure---bike's fine. she went over on a downhill on a bad went to the right, her body to the left. massive injuries all over.
that's it. i'm sort of wiped out....a big emotional toll, and then a crazy trip. i'd taken running clothes, so ran for an hour at the SB beach before i felt ready to tackle the 100 miles back home.
the family was glad that this was on slowtwitch, and asked me to post this update. they're undersatandably pretty overwhelmed.

So...that's that. I really am so sad about this. I don't really have anything else to say.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Post Script: Barbara Warren

***Note on 8/28/08: Barbara passed away on Tuesday, August 26, 2008. I have those updates here and here. May she rest in peace.***

I was going to put this at the end of my race report but I believe it deserves its own post.

All day after my race I couldn't stop thinking about the woman who crashed. And on Sunday, I kept thinking about her. My triumph this weekend seemed to have this cast of shadow over it because I was so saddened by what I'd seen.

I wanted to post here what's currently known about Barbara Warren of San Diego.

I found this article on

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported today that endurance athlete Barbara Warren of San Diego suffered a broken neck Saturday while competing in the Santa Barbara triathlon. The 65-year old Warren crashed during the bike segment of the race and had no movement below the neck since then. She is currently in the Intensive Care Unit at The Cottage hospital in Santa Barbara.

Warren broke the ondontoid bone and the C2 cervical vertebrae according to Mac Larsen, an Alvarado Hospital emergency physician, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Warren's husband, Tom Warren was quoted to have said that his wife was conscious and alert but could not talk because she was on a ventilator to assist her breathing.

"Barbara and Tommy are two of my favorite people on the planet. They live and breathe the endurance sports lifestyle and like nothing better than accomplishing something no one thought they could do. If this is true and Barbara is indeed seriously injured, please take a few moments out of your day to pray for Barbara’s recovery," said a stunned Bob Babbitt in an e-mail to the San Diego triathlon community.

Barbara Warren, a psychologist, is a several-time participant and an age-group winner in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii. She has also participated in a multitude of other endurance events including a triple Ironman, the 2,983-mile Race Across America bike race, the 135-mile Badwater footrace across Death Valley and the Marathon des Sables, a seven day run across the Sahara Desert.

Tom Warren won the 1979 Ironman Hawaii.

So there we go. I'm really so deeply saddened by this. It shows you that even the most experienced people are not immune to crazy things happening. Nobody seems to know how it happened - whether the crappy road was involved (I have to believe it was, that road is shit, excuse my foul language, but it IS) or another person or what.

I just ask that everybody please send your thoughts her way and let's keep hoping for the best for her.


I Won the Day.

I raced the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course in 2005 for the first time. With a time of 3:49:04, I placed 3rd in my age group. I was in utter disbelief! I knew my times were decent, but amazed that they were enough to earn an age group award.

Last year's time doesn't really count for me because of the bike mechanical I had (though I did have a kick-ass run - prob due to the rest I had on the bike!).

Cut to 2008. It hasn't exactly been 'my' year. Race times have been alright, but I suppose I kept thinking I had something better in me. Like I was supposed to continue to dramatically improve somehow. I don't really know. I kept saying 2008 was the year of triathlon for me. But 2008 has been a year of change for me, to put it simply.

With Vineman over with, I decided to take a different approach to the Santa Barbara Triathlon. No expectations. No time goals. No fantasies of age group podium spots. I decided I simply didn't care. About any of it.

My real goal was to bring back that attitude from last year that no matter what happened, I would enjoy myself, I would give it my all and I could walk away knowing that I could be proud because I did my best. That if I did all of that, I would win the day regardless of the results.

My breakdowns were this:

Swim: 28:24 (1 mile; 1:37 pace)
T1: 2:30
Bike: 1:46:43 (34 miles; 19.12 mph)
T2: 3:17 (um...there was a mandatory bathroom stop for me...let's just say the timing of this race didn't really seem to coincide well with my female cycle timing...GRRRR!)
Run: 1:24:58 (10 miles; 8:30 min/mile)

Overall time: 3:45:35

I bettered my time from 2 years ago by 3 minutes and 40 seconds...and I placed 17TH!!!!!!

Which goes to show...this race got WAAAY more competitive. I remember last year looking at the times and noticing that if I had done the same time as the year prior, I wouldn't have placed, either. But it wasn't quite as competitive as this year. The women who won my age group came in at 3:18, 3:23 and 3:24. Insane.

Instead of being disappointed, though, I was ecstatic. I had a fantastic race. The run was a bit slower than I'd hoped, but overall, I walked away thinking "I really did win my day. I REALLY DID have the best time at a race than I've had all year long. That was so awesome and I can't wait to do it again!"

So the race itself - how was it?
Pre-Race Tri Ladies:
Michelle, Mary Lou, Elise, Heather, Me

Pre-race I was a little nervous. Couldn't figure out why, but nevertheless was itching to get going. I always wonder what will happen on the swim, how I'll feel once on the bike, etc.

But before I knew it, it was time to go! Into the water we went. I concentrated really hard on 3 things: 1) Keeping my 'ribs back,' as my coach says; 2) Keeping my elbows up as I pulled; 3) Keeping my head nice and low as I breathed. Additionally, I wanted to push a little harder than I usually do. It was only a mile and I knew that I needed to simply increase my stroke rate a little.

As I leapt onto the beach, my watch was showing 28:00 - WHOA!!! This was awesome! I do think we had some tides working with us because everybody seemed to have faster times than last year, but I'll take it. One of the advantages of ocean swims - always different one year to the next.

Grabbing my bike, I suddenly realized something - my timing chip was sitting on my bike - NOT my ankle! HA!! I grabbed the chip and wrapped it around my ankle. Maybe I had taken this 'chill out' attitude a little too far.

Onto the bike. I was smiling from the inside out. I was so excited. Then about 5 minutes in, the quads began to burn. I thought "ooohh, come on bike legs! Hurry up and get here! I need you now!" I knew it would be especially fierce here because the beginning of this bike ride has a good amount of climbing. But I pushed through and tried to be patient for my bike legs to arrive, enduring the pain that came with every little incline.

After about 30 minutes, the bike legs decided to come out and play. I began to consider that maybe that century last weekend wasn't so smart and I probably should've ridden the 65 miles instead. In any case, I pushed on and it was good. I just love cycling and today was no different. I was passed early on by a few women from my age group who looked visibly...well...STRONG!! They were zooming by going UP a hill and I was just like " go, girls!!"

At one point we were stopped for a good 20-30 seconds due to the oncoming bike traffic (the course crosses itself). I was like "oh, what's 20 seconds?" [Later I realized that those 20 seconds, plus my bathroom break in T2 probably added up to about a minute...and looking at the results...a minute makes a difference!]

The one horrible part of the race came about halfway through. We were coming down a pretty sketchy descent - the road has always been torn up, and I'd heard this year it was even worse. I knew I'd have to take it a little slower than usual.

I saw the usual person telling people to take it easy on the descent. But I knew something was wrong when cyclists began to REALLY slow down, almost to a stop. Coming around the corner, I was shocked to see a woman lying on the ground. I really hoped it was just a scraped knee or something but my eyes were telling me otherwise.

As I slowly moved past, I heard a man saying to her "come on, stay with me. Don't leave us, stay with us!"

My mind raced and I began to be overcome with emotion. Damn this road!! I remembered people crashing on it last year or the year before, but thankfully nothing serious. Now this. As I turned the corner and made an effort to clear my mind, a fire truck began to rush toward me. I sent my thoughts the woman's way, gulped down my sadness and pushed on.

After that, I just made my best effort to get back to T2! I pushed hard. The quads were burning but I didn't care. I knew there was a big climb coming up but after that I could really zoom back to the beach. Zoom, I did - before I knew it, I was back on the home stretch! I smiled and as I came in with a guy next to me, I said "ready to RUN?!" He said "if you would've asked me that on the long downhill, I would've said sure." I said "well at least we have great scenery to inspire us! Good luck!"

T2 sucked. I felt all out of sorts because I was trying to be faster than usual because I knew I had to make a quick bathroom stop before I left so I wanted to make up time, but I ended up half-tripping over my bike and ugh! I cursed the timing of aunt flo, made my bathroom stop and ran out of T2 - THREE EFFING MINUTES! I knew that was a good 40 seconds right there.

Still, I put the smile back on and zoomed onto the course. It was still overcast with fog but I knew the sun would be out soon. I felt so grateful to be out there, running with the ocean to my left, spirits high and not a care in the world except to go hard and not have anything left by the end!

First mile was about 8:00. Cool. Second mile was 7:00. Whoa, slow it down, woman! Quads really burning again. As in, wow, I've got another 8 miles of burning quads, nice. Third mile came in about 8:40, but that had an uphill so I was okay with that. Fourth mile was around 8:30. Fatigue setting in, sun coming out. I knew I was going to have to work for this!

Between miles 4-5, my friends Heather and Elise caught me. I tried to keep Heather in sight for as long as I could, but she was running a good pace. Mile 5 clocked in around 8:17. I knew that if I could just get to mile 6 (there's about a 0.25 mile uphill at the beginning of mile 5) with an 8:30 and do the rest between 8-8:10, I'd be happy with that, and it shouldn't be bad since it would be all flat or downhill. Easy, right?

Well, my power seemed to be vanishing with every step. I knew that I could push a little harder breath-wise, but my quads just didn't have it in them to go any faster. I thought "wow, instead of compression socks, maybe I could use some compression shorts." It's always my quads, not my calves, that get tired first.

In any case, I vowed to just remain as strong as possible and give it my all without wussing out. Even if I slowed a little, as long as I was pushing as hard as I could, and feeling a small amount of pain, I would still be proud of myself.

So, I did. And I was. I ran through that finish line like a superstar and exalted in that amazing feeling we all know and love that is BEING DONE!

And that was it. It was a great day. I had an awesome time, I pushed hard, I beat the mind game, I enjoyed my surroundings and I really just had fun. It seemed to be over before I knew it and I was sort of perplexed at how it sort of just 'flew' by.

I really believe this was my most successful race so far this year. THANK YOU everybody for all the support!

Tri-Ladies of the weekend:
Heather, Me, Mary Lou, Elise and Michelle

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shortest Post Ever (for me)

My bike at the Tour d'Organics :)

It has been a really awesomely crazy week. Too crazy that I haven't had time to blog. But crazy in a good way because I'm having fun!

So, real quick:

Last weekend: I did the Winters Road Race. I flatted 25 minutes in. I was in too big a hurry to change my tube so I pinched my spare tube. I went through three CO2 cartridges because I thought I just sucked at using CO2 and then I realized it wasn't me, it was the tube. Sigh.

So I got to tour the course in the van. And I thought well, my two goals were: 1) Get a good workout and 2) Not crash. If I had to pick which goal I didn't get to succeed at, I'd rather pick #1 than #2. So it was all good. I loved the bike racing scene. Sooooo laid back and chill! I loved it!

That's that for now. Maybe more later.

Then on Sunday, since I didn't get the workout I wanted on Saturday, I opted for the 100 miles in the Tour D'Organics instead of the 65. I started out with my awesome friend Megan and her cool co-worker Julian. Megan, you kicked butt! Megan had two flats on the way out the lunch stop - it just wasn't a good weekend for flats. :(

It was more of a workout than I thought it would be. But it was fun. Though I don't know I'll do it again. It seemed kind of dumb to pay to do a century in my own backyard (seriously...I could've ridden it any day). But on the other hand, I ran into friends I might not normally have run into (just like at the Marin Century!) - friends from Berkeley and locally in Santa Rosa. And I made new friends again! Hooray!

It was like 7300 feet of climbing and by the end I was definitely feeling it. Sooooo gorgeous though. Really an awesome ride. That's all I have to say about that.

Also, I want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Christine for her tomatoes from her family's garden, to Carmen for all the fruit and veggies from HER garden, to a friend at the pool who brought lots of pears from her tree, and to my mom for bringing me eggplant from her neighbor's garden!!

I now have a bounty of fresh home-grown veggies for another week or two, not to mention my weekly box of CSA veggies. :) THANK YOU EVERYBODY!!!

And now...I'm off to go pack for the Santa Barbara Triathlon this weekend. :)

Race report to come on Monday. I promise.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Friday already?

I wanted to blog yesterday. I really did. But my stupid internet at home wasn't working!

And NOW I'm writing this on Friday instead of Thursday - I wrote that first sentence on Thursday. Geez!

THANK YOU THANK YOU to everybody's nice comments about my tomato disaster! I really appreciate the offers for more tomatoes, the ideas about trading (Chris, I will look into that...). The funny thing is that after I wrote that, one of the horrid-looking plants is somehow still producing some tomatoes. It's like the little plant that could.

Thankfully I DID join a CSA last week. It's with Tierra Vegetables here in Santa Rosa. Last week I got eggplant, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, onion and some carrots. It was GREAT! I can't wait to get my pickup today and see what's in store for the weekend and what might result from cooking.

Speaking of cooking...I have a few recipes to get down here. Two weeks ago I made this Salade Nicoise from the SF Chronicle. Here's how it turned out:

Yes, it really was as good as it looks. Mmmmmmm!!!! With the warm weather, I HIGHLY recommend this salad. It's super easy, doesn't take too much work, and if you can get a really high quality canned tuna (NO CHICKEN OF THE SEA, OKAY?), it will simply be delectable.

I found the most difficult part is getting hard boiled eggs just right. I'm always worried about over-boiling them so I end up under-boiling just a tad. I think that's better than over-boiling, personally. I don't like how dried up the yolk gets. And if you can get some fresh heirloom tomatoes, fresh green beans, and some super tasty bell peppers - it's that much better. I skipped the beets, btw. I just can't do beets. I try, but I can't. Blech.

Next up: Curried Egg Salad from 101
My picture isn't nearly as pretty as the one on the website. In fact, my creation looks downright, um...well not very good. BUT IT IS GOOD! Again, my eggs were slightly underdone so I think it got a little mushier than it's supposed to be. Still, the flavor was awesome and it went really well on some pita bread. A great protein snack!

Besides being in the kitchen, I've been exploring the area a little bit more. Tuesday evening we went on a hike with LandPaths, a neat organization that does a lot of different things in the community - "LandPaths is dedicated to fostering a love of the land in Sonoma County. LandPaths creates ways for people to experience the beauty, understand the value, and assist in healing the land in their local communities."

So anyway, they were leading a full moon hike up this big 'mountain', which is an open space that is accessible by permit only. So it was our group up there, hiking up this big hill just before sunset, having a picnic dinner at the top, and then hiking back down under the glow of the nearly full moon. HOW COOL IS THAT?! It was very cool.

Awww, baby cow and mama cow!!

Here the moon had just risen and you could just start to see Jupiter off to the left of it. Not visible in my picture, though.
Almost to the top!


Yes, the cows were getting annoyed that I was trying to take pictures of them in the dark. No moos though. I'm sure they were wondering what we were doing...

So that was fun. I've also enjoyed getting to the pool more - 3x times this week! Yeah! My coach videotaped me and said "I really like your stroke and there's not a lot I'd pick apart. But you pick your head up - look at that - SEE THAT? WOW!" I was like um, yeah, wow. So, apparently that is really affecting my speed a lot. The other major thing she said was that I had to 'get my ribs back.'

She said that if you watch Michael Phelps when he does fly, he looks like a humpback whale, his ribs are SO BACK THERE. Hm. Ribs back. Okay...

Now I'm thinking about ribs, breathing and keeping my elbow up every time I swim, which is both good and bad. Sometimes it's nice just to swim. But, I also love that challenge and that you're always working on something.

I went to the Airport Club this morning to meet my class - I'll officially start teaching on Friday, Sep 5, so I went to get introduced to everybody and get a feel for the class and what the current instructor's style is - he's been there for 4.5 years, so I have some pretty big shoes to fill!! Yipes!

Phew! Busy and fun week with lots of exercise and activity. The one thing I haven't been doing as much of is running, which isn't great. I realized that it's pretty clear I favor swimming and biking, but I'm going to make a more intentional effort to get my miles in over the next few weeks so that I can really be ready for XC!

That's it for now. I should have plenty to blog about after this weekend. Tomorrow is the Winters Road Race and Sunday is the Tour d'Organics, which I'm doing with my friends Megan and Carmen and who knows who else I might bump into? I signed up for the 100M ride but I think there's a good chance we'll end up doing the 100K (65 miles) instead. Afterward the Tour d'Organics serves a vegan meal, which is great for Megan, but yours truly is going to need something much more substantial than a vegan meal by the end of this weekend!

Therefore, Carmen and I are planning on going to HopMonk after the ride. I'm almost as excited about that as the race and the ride! Ha!!!

Before I forget - it IS Friday, and I always put a few fun links up, so this is no different. My picks for the week:

1) Song I recently 'refound' - Out of My Head - Fastball

2) Song I recently downloaded - Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield

3) Because MSNBC doesn't have anything better to report on, they've brought up the issue of preteen girls getting bikini waxes. Um...okay, when I was 12, my mom wouldn't even let me SHAVE MY LEGS (but then somehow when I was 13 she ok'd it so I could stop hiding it!)! I can't even respond to this, it's so stupid. Don't we grow up fast enough as it is? WHY DO PRETEEN GIRLS NEED TO BE IN BIKINIS? Let's start with that one...

Have a fabulous weekend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Great Tomato Disaster

My first foray as a gardener has wholeheartedly FAILED!!!!!

I may be a pretty good triathlete, a fairly decent cook who continues to learn, a semi-computer geek who likes databases, and a wine and cheese connoisseur, but as a gardener, it's plain and simple: I sucked this year.

The only thing that has been bright and plentiful is my basil.

The green, full tomato plants I so excitedly took pictures of a couple months ago have, um...well..I won't take a picture because it's just sad. I've pulled out 3 out of the 6 plants and laid them to rest. I'm considering yanking the other 3 as well.

Basically I learned the following:
  • When using half wine barrels as planters, it is wise to drill holes in the bottom. Particularly before your plants start dying.
  • Organic pest spray (for white flies and aphids, which I had BOTH of) is crap. Use the real stuff. You're going to wash your tomatoes anyway.
  • When using half wine barrels, it may be wise to consider lining them, as it is possible acid from the wine can leach into the soil (this is a guess on my part).
  • Consider using high quality soil and not stuff from Ace Hardware. I believe in addition to poor drainage and pests, my poor plants didn't have enough nutrients in the soil and lacked nitrogen.
  • Don't over water tomatoes. Just don't.
Sigh. Oh and I yielded ONE cucumber out of TWO cucumber plants! WTF?!? They produced tons of flowers, but no cucs. I yanked those, too. My pepper plant has one and a half peppers and it has suddenly stopped growing. However, the mystery here lies in the fact that the pepper plant is in its own pot, not in the wine barrels. So again, I come back to soil and nutrients.

Now I have all this basil and no tomatoes and I'll have to go to the farmer's market to buy somebody ELSE'S home-grown tomatoes. Or go visit my mom and pick some off her plants.

Live and learn!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hooray for change!

I am not an individual who likes things static. I crave change. In spite of the fact that I enjoy schedules, regimens and being very organized, I still love to change those routines around and try on new routines.

I believe that is why, by the time Vineman rolled around, I was so done with what I was doing. Done having my workouts be the same time every day. I know that it usually has to be that way when you're training for something, but I had been doing THAT for the last 6 months and I was just so over the sameness.

I have to say that I had the realization during Vineman that I am not somebody who likes doing the same race over and over and over. Third time was indeed a charm and I will not be doing that race for awhile. What fun is there in knowing every turn, every bump in the road, every piece of scenery you'll be passing? For me, none. I can't comprehend the people who claim their fame in racing Wildflower every year since it began. To each their own.

Seeking out new adventures is what really gets me excited and motivated.

So here I am, in my 3rd week post Vineman, and HAVING A BALL! I am so completely thrilled about the fall that I can hardly contain my excitement.

New Thing #1: I SIGNED UP FOR CROSS COUNTRY! Yes indeed, Sarah Trejo joined a running club. I love to savor the thought that if you would've said 10 years ago to a young Ms. Trejo at the age of 17, "at 27 you will join a running club" she would've laughed in your face and been like "yeah right. And I'm sure I'll be doing triathlon, too. Pssshhh."

Actually, in 10th grade, I thought I would try out cross country. So I went out and ran after school and I was sore for 3 days and during the whole run I hated life and each step I took was murderous. I tried it again the next day. It wasn't any better. That's when I joined the volleyball team (and in the spring I found my REAL high school sport, badminton. DO NOT CLOWN IT! YOU WATCH THOSE BADMINTON OLYMPIANS AND BE AFRAID OF THAT BIRDIE!).

So I'm excited. I have to miss the first two meets for my last two tris of the year but that's okay. Maybe I will finally fall in love with running. If I don't, at least I know I tried!

New thing #2: I'm doing a bike race next weekend! Wooo!!! My first one ever. In Winters. I'm doing it with Courtenay and Kelly and Christine. I think it's going to be a rockin' good time, regardless of how I do. I hope I don't crash, that's really all I care about.

New thing #3: I just got hired to teach spinning on Friday mornings at the Airport Club! I won't be leaving the YMCA, just adding on to my teaching. The Airport Club has some pretty sweet digs. I 'auditioned' yesterday for the noon time spinning class and realized that I really do love teaching spinning, SO much. This will be exc
iting because their bikes have cadence monitors (the YMCA does not) which will really add some value to the class. It also means I can't totally just work off Monday's Y class since I will be using cadence a little bit more than I currently do (sans monitors), so I'll have to modify my workout a tad. I'm SO excited!

Yep, been a busy time over here in Sarah's Tri Land. I'm so behind on blog reading and general reading but oh well.

I'm currently trying to stay on top of last week's New Yorker and I just started Ruth Reichl's Garlic & Sapphires. I love her. For anybody
who loves food, she is a definite read.

I also am so loving Tawny's blog. Oh my god she is so funny and she almost makes you want to be an open water swimmer because she has SO MUCH FUN WITH IT. She's getting close to her big day!

So that's all I got for this week. Have a FANTASTIC weekend everybody!

My two Fun Fabulous Friday extras inc
lude today's Pearls Before Swine comic b/c I think it's funny (for once...) and a link that Tawny sent me which is just awesome. Enjoy!

1. The Big Lebowski Random Quote Generator

2. Pearls Before Swine

Monday, August 04, 2008

Marin Century 2008: Total Success

Saturday rocked. I could just leave it at that and say that it was one of the best days I've had all year long.

Kelly and I!

My ride started with Kelly. We pushed off from the start around 7:45 a.m. Those first 35 miles flew - we just chatted and rode strong the whole way, and I was really sad when she had to leave to go home.

Climbing the Marshall Wall I thought "ohhh, now I remember what climbing big hills feels like on this bike." A lot of grinding, less spinning. The closer I got to the top, the harder the wind blew. A few times I really was concerned I was going to be knocked over! But, I made it, with some rewardingly gorgeous views.

After our great descent, it was time to ride solo. I was really uncertain how the rest of my ride would go. I like having people around to push me and I enjoy the social aspect of it. Still, I kept an open mind and looked forward to having the alone time with my own thoughts.

There were 15 more miles until the next rest stop - the 50 mile mark at Valley Ford. Along the way, I encountered some MIGHTY winds - which COMPLETELY ruined my descent at Dillon Beach because I wanted to just fly but the winds were so strong and they seemed to be pushing from both sides - I figured this was the only reason I was staying upright.

After Valley Ford, the wind continued and I wondered if I would ever have a tailwind on this ride - so far I'd only encountered cross winds and head winds!

I met up with a guy with a Triple Crown jersey - this is awarded to people who have completed at least 3 qualifying double centuries in one year. Wow!! We rode along for awhile, enjoying the open land that was leading in from the coast. The ad really seems true - the cows in (this part of) California sure do look happy!!

Another cyclist joined us at some point. My Triple Crown friend had tried to back off once already, saying "oh, I'm gonna let you go now - I don't think I can keep up," and I willed him to stay with me. But not long after we had found another buddy, I looked back and he was gone!

My new cyclist friend, Jeremy, became my riding partner for the last 40 miles of this ride. It was absolutely perfect because we were the same speed (well, up until probably the last 10 miles, when he was still feeling stellar and I was less than...) and had great conversations about anything and everything. At one point he said “this is so beautiful – I had no idea there was so much open land out here.” It made me remember to take in all of the space we were riding through and enjoy the beauty of it all.

I was good about this up until my epic moment of the ride, which was on Petaluma-Pt.Reyes road. At mile 87, after you’ve already done 5,000 feet of climbing – it’s a pretty mean climb.

I nearly cracked on that hill. I felt tears welling up, the strength in my legs was quickly vanishing and I honestly didn’t know how I’d get to the top. But then I remembered that I’d be there before. Last September, on mile 90 of my 130 mile ride, on Graton Road, I had been in the same spot: feeling defeated, upset, angry, tired, nauseated, hot, and simply finished. But I had taken a deep breath, regained my composure, and pressed on.

So I did it again. And Jeremy was patiently waiting at the top. I knew from then on, we only had one small climb on Lucas Valley and about 20 more miles to go. The wind was still pretty heavy, but we simply rode with it and didn’t try to push too hard.

In the last 10 miles, we were FINALLY rewarded with our tailwind. We ate it up and stormed back to the finish as fast as possible, savoring the fact that we could push some hard gears and feel like we were flying.

The awesome thing about this ride was that I didn’t have to worry about holding pace with anybody but myself. I was able to simply enjoy it for me and not be concerned with holding anybody up or going too fast. It allowed me to simply savor the ride itself, and ride a pace that I felt up to.

I felt so PROUD of myself. Then I had the realization that in spite of being proud of my ride time, I didn’t even care as much because at the end of the day, I was simply reveling in how much fun I’d had. I loved riding my road bike and remembered that it was on this bike that I fell in love with cycling. I fell in love with cycling all over again on Saturday.

I think I might do more organized rides solo!

Friday, August 01, 2008

August Adventure #1: Marin Century

I knew after Vineman things were going to get a little nutty around here. August is going to be rather exciting/crazy, so I won't promise much blogging, but I should have plenty to blog about when I finally DO get to writing!

I went to Rainmaker's blog yesterday and realized I'm 3 4 (I just of today, it's 4...sigh) posts behind...and his posts are often rather, um, lengthy (but so chock-full of GREAT STUFF!), so then I was like "oh wow I am sooooooo behind" and I instantly kind of felt bad and realized that not only was I behind on his blog, but a few other folks' as well. Maybe I'll catch up on Sunday - before I get any FURTHER behind!

So this weekend's adventure is the Marin Century on Saturday. It's 100 miles and 6,250 feet of climbing, and covers some of the most beautiful area through Marin & Sonoma County along the coast and just inland. The weather should be awesome - some morning fog that should burn off as we climb the Marshall Wall and (hopefully) get some stellar views of the coast.

(This is a poster from last year - but it's the same route every year)

I did this ride two years ago with my friend Megan from Berkeley and Michael M. from Lombardi Tri. What a ride that was! First Michael's bike broke...I think he broke a spoke, but I honestly can't remember what happened. Basically he was out of commission, so Megan and I rode on.

Then, very tragically, we came upon a scene of cyclists gathered on the side of the road trying to administer first aid to another cyclist who had apparently had a seizure and then a heart attack (I think, if I remember correctly). We continued to ride because paramedics had been called and we didn't want to add to any mayhem. But we later found out the young woman (she was about 29) had died. It was so sad!

THEN about 3 miles down the road, another cyclist had hit a pothole and was on the side of the road, thankfully not hurt too badly.

This was all in the first 40 miles or so. UGH! Megan and I were pretty spooked at that point, but we pressed on and ended up enjoying the day. Still, I was pretty shocked and saddened by everything and knew that I wanted to do the ride again and hopefully create some new memories on the course.

Last year I was gone during the Marin Century.

And here we are, 2008! So at 7 a.m. tomorrow, I'm meeting up with Megan and her friend Brian from Berkeley, and Kelly is going to ride with us for like, 35 miles or something until she has to go home. I'll be bringing my camera and hopefully will catch some great shots! I've promised myself that I am NOT going for time, that I will stop at the top of climbs and take pictures, and that I just want to go out and have a great day and enjoy the climbs and the scenery.

Oh yes, I'm pretty sure by mile 80 my legs are going to be killing me, but it will be worth it. :)

Finally, I thought I'd announce 3 new blogs to my blog roll and 3 new songs of the week!!!

As for blogs:

1: You've GOT to check out Tawny's blog, She is a super fab swimmer, SUPER funny woman, and if you met her in person, you couldn't help but smile because she is cute as a button and just radiates so much GREAT energy! So Tawny is not a tri geek - she's an open water swimming person who is doing the Catalina Channel swim (from Catalina to San Pedro - 21 miles). GO TAWNY!

2: Beth's Blog - California Training. I met Beth at Vineman in person finally. I had found her & James' food blog (Vo2 maxxed) awhile back and their recipes are always so good. It turns out Beth's blog is pretty cool, too. Just like Beth! But watch out, she's going to be a force in the field, I'm pretty sure - she can run like WIND (she passed me at mile 7 at Vineman and pulled off an AMAZING time WHILE being SICK!).

3: Tri-Geek's Pursuit of an Ironman. Tri Geek is on Fitness Journal, and we met on the discussion boards there. Yay, he started a blog! Everybody welcome him to tri-blog world!

Songs of the Week
(not 'new' songs by any means, but newly added to my spinning song collection)

1. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - MONTY PYTHON! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! This will be next week's cool down song at the end. Ha. ;) (This is from Life of Brian...god i love monty python)

2. That's All - Genesis (I know, so old school but a good climbing song! I heard it the other day and was like OMG! I HAVEN'T HEARD THIS IN FOREVER!) (btw the video is super dumb.)

3. The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News (btw, I put the video with all the clips from Back to the Future because that is one of my most favorite movies of all time and I get all happy watching this video. GO MARTY MCFLY!)

Okay, so there was a serious dispute about the movie "Dark City". I just need to know who liked it and who didn't. I, personally think it's an AWESOME movie. That's all I have to say about that.