Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Boy Is Nine

My sweet Lance is nine years old today. He got a birthday walk thismorning, and a trip to the dog park this afternoon...

and a dozen "pupcakes" to share with his friends, doggie ice-cream, and a week long sleep-over party with a foster dog named Bodie who will be here for a week (more on him later).

This dog is the love of my life. I have not had the heart to write much about it, but Lance was diagnosed with lymphoma last November. He went through one course of chemo and has been in remission until since about April. Upon his recheck this past week, his oncologist told me it looks like he is coming out of remission. We started another round of chemo last week and Lance is doing well. Ever since he started the first round, you would never know he was sick. But the future looks uncertain and I am readying to have my heart broken into a million pieces. But in the meantime, we will make is every day count. Happy Birthday Lance! Remembering when we found out you were born, and the day we picked you up and you were a fuzzy little 15 pounds.

On an oddly related triathlon note, Lance was born on July 26, 2002...the same weekend the Mister and I were in Lake Placid, NY, doing the only Ironman we have done together (and his one and only IM). With the thought that I'd do Lake Placid 2012, almost ten years to the day of Lance's birthday, as a bit of a tribute and way to grieve when we eventually lose him, I signed up when registration opened at 9am yesterday. The mister super-surprised me....he signed up too. Now, I hardly EVER bring this up (ok, not), but I beat him 10 years ago (I did wait so we could cross the line together!). This next endeavor ought to finish the marriage right off. But Lake Placid, here we come!

I had a fun post-Vineman rest week and actually did some of the "wild and crazy normal person things" I promised myself as a reward. Tuesday I went to (ready for this?) a movie! in the middle of the day! by myself! I went to see Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris --loved it. And I made it on my little adventure to find "Annie's Annuals and Perennials" the nursery I hear everyone talking about--worth it!--and to Scrapbook Territory and Castles in the Air, 2 stores on 4t St. in Berkeley! All these things so close to home, but it is just so rare to have a block of time to ever go. I had to scramble and didn't have a lot of time at any one place, but I did it!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vineman Half Race Report OR At Least I Didn't Walk

Well, it's over. And a mixed bag it was.

The week leading up to the race was unusually cool, and luckily that trend continued into yesterday. Taper week was great, workouts good, some down-time, and miracle of miracles, that diet finally paid off and the scale on Friday showed me a number in the 130's (albeit 139.8) for the first time in a long time. That was a nice confidence booster as I finished all my animal chores and left for check-in on Saturday. Navigated the check in process, including the mandatory athlete meeting and expo, and headed to my usual Motel 6 to set up the bike, knit and contemplate my "big goal". I wanted dearly to finish this race in under 6 hours. Over a decade ago, I once did a 5.58, and that goal has been elusive ever since! It torments me. The past few years I've done a 6.12, and last year was a 6.05. SO so close. Totally do-able.

The swim is always a deja-vu; oh, are we already here again? Looking up the canyon of the Russian River, unable to see the turnaround bouy. I read on swimsmooth.com recently how it pays to start the swim a little harder than you might. So I tried it. Usually I let myself ease in and warm-up so to speak. Stayed in a pretty straight line, which was good. I do love this swim; it's pretty and straight. Came out in 43.09, roughly 3 minutes faster than last year. Not much, considering I've been swimming 5 days a week as of late, including 2 masters workouts each week. But I'll take it. I would have been ticked it it was slower.

The bike: the lesson to be gleaned from this painful sub-3 hour 56 mile ride is probably not to use too big of gears or you will pay (hear me? PAY) for it later. I think I was lured in by that seductress known as strength, and simply stopped using my head. It's been awihle since I haven't had my own personal gear-mashing warning, the residual pain from my broken leg. So, without that, I think I got a little giddy in search of my goal and really should have been geared one easier MOST of that ride. The moral? Just because you can use them doesn't mean you should. 2.53.46. Yes, people, that was an average speed of 19.3 mph, and about fifteen minutes faster than last year.

But that's when the payment plan began to kick in...The Run: or Why Won't My Legs Work? It was just a sufferfest. Ugly shuffling for 13.1 miles. Mile 5 I seriously started to wonder if I could even finish. I just did NOT want to walk! And technically I didn't, but the speed was hardly discernable from a walk. Why I have come to the conclusion that my major mistake was the bike gear mashing, is that my heart rate wasn't even that high! I just couldn't turn my legs over. I had to actually talk myself into pushing hard enough to keep my heart rate in the target zone. But it hurt! Almost 15 minutes slower than last year. So, between my bike and my run, it was pretty much a wash.


I will now spend the next 364 days trying to figure out how to shave off this 8 minutes and 39 seconds.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Weekend In The Mountains....Finally!

Our summer has been so busy so far! We haven't been able to make it up to our Arnold house for at least 2 months. So we were so thrilled to get up there this past weekend. My goals were simple.
#1: To train. The picture above is of Lake Alpine. This amazing place is a 30 mile, uphill bike ride from our front door and 30 miles back down the mountain to get back. It is one of my favorite rides of all times. Sunday I got in a three hour trail run just south of the house, and was happy, again, not to have to answer the question, "How fast can a bear run?". The weather was gorgeous both days.

#2: To knit. I got started on a baby blanket for my friend's new baby. But all I have to show you is this ball of yarn. My love-hate relationship with knitting continues. I got 17 rows in before having to rip the whole thing apart due to an irreparable mistake. I started another go at it yesterday and am 3 rows safely in.

#3: To read. My guilty pleasure of the summer--going back to re-read the second half of the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series (I'm on book 5, above), in order to get to this:

The new one! I read this series about ten years ago and was honestly surprised at how much I liked it, knowing my usual taste in fiction. This series is about a woman who travels back in time, to Scotland 200 years ago, where she falls in love. Part historical fiction, part romance, it is history made fun as you get to know the main characters Claire and Jamie in every 1000-plus page volume. Fun, fun summer reading.

Animal update:

Little black bunny from the previous post made a visit to the vet that same day and unfortunately it was a one-way trip. Poor little bunny was very sick and diagnosed with probable kidney failure. She is buried in our yard under a large oak tree.

Daisy the goat has had quite the week! The first 2 days she was here, she sat by the gate and was rather subdued. That first Monday I gave her a medicated bath for her dirty, flaky skin, and she seemed to immediately perk up! I knew she still had some sort of serious medical issues most likely, but she sure seemed to feel better. And she sure did eat a lot! I'm not sure how well she was fed where she came from. This week the goat vet came out to the house. I doubt she had ever seen one of those--let alone one as nice as Dr. Dana Conley. She brought her mobile ultrasound unit and we took a peek. It appears her lopsidedness comes from hernias, so parts of her insided are less protected by a body cavity wall. This is something she can live with and even if they could be repaired surgically, her advanced age (she is indeed ancient) would probably preclude it. She was wormed, de-flead, had blood drawn, put on some arthritis medication, and had her hooves trimmed. She is like a girl who just got new shoes. She is all OVER the couple-acres-hill! But her true nirvana seemed to arrive this week in the form of a whole bale of alfalfa hay! I put out the first flake and she spent the next 12 hours sitting there, chewing and chewing. When I brought her down to the driveway for the vet yesterday, the she got so excited and the look on her face said one thing: "The Mother Ship!!". This week she has even started talking to me when I approach the gate to bring food or come pet her. I'm so glad she has come here for her retirement and hope we can make her time left the best it can be.

And alas, this week is the Vineman taper week! It is so nice to have some time and energy for some other things. Saw a friend yesterday, took Sporty to the library, pulled some weeds. And the great short workouts where I come home convinced someone has swapped my legs out for Chrissie Wellington's....taper week indeed!

Vineman or Bust.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Never a dull moment

So. My neighbor does dog-rescue and runs a "traditional" rescue group (fostering/adopting out) out of our local animal shelter. We have become friends in the symbiotically dysfunctional way that animal rescue people form most relationships (I'm joking...sort of). So, she calls me on Friday before the holiday weekend with the "euthanasia list" in her hand. Not many people know, but around the country in shelters everywhere, the staff gears up for fireworks and 4th festivities by clearing out space for all the animals who will become spooked, run away, and end up in the shelter by the end of the long weekend. And they do this in the most logical way, of course. They kill everything. Problem solved. So, there are 76 healthy adoptable cats on this list she is reading to me. It took everything I had to remain in my right mind and stick to the fact that I'm at my unofficial "cat-limit" and say no. But I did definitely have room for 2 rabbits. So, she dropped off the two above. Eunice is the black and white bunny and is doing well with the resident bunnies here. The little black one has a vet appointment this afternoon as she has some definite "issues" and she may or may not be coming back home today, depending on the prognosis for quality of life.
But oh, no, I didn't stop there! I said bring me one of THESE....

Meet Daisy. Daisy arrived in my rescue friend's mini-van. Daisy has been seriously neglected. She is so thin you can feel all of her bones. And her hooves are so grown out she can hardly walk. She has some sort of growths all over her "saddlebags", and her skin is a mess.

But she is sweet as can be and loves to be loved. And our other little lonely goat has been doing a goat happy dance (seriously...it's hilarious) all over the pasture all weekend. She is SO happy to have a friend since she has been alone since Thunder died last year. Daisy has been eating and drinking like a champ and let me subject her to grooming and a medicated bath yesterday. Thismorning, all though she still looks lumpy and lopsided, and the farrier has yet to fix her feet, she was so full of herself she was up at the top of the hill munching away on grass. I don't know what her prognosis will be once the vet comes, but at least we will provide her with some dignity at this end of her life.

I got in an itty bitty bit of crafting this weekend between Sporty's race and sorting out animals. I finished this 9 X 9 scrapbook for my friend's new baby girl. I won't post all 20 pages, but it came out really really cute. I had a boatload of girl-baby scrapbook stuff.

sorry, this last one is sideways.

Monday, July 4, 2011

And The World Contains Another Triathlete

Setting up Transition.


The start.

Bike Out.

The finish!

Sporty Spice did it! He finished is very first triathlon! This race was part of the Jenny's Light Kids Triathlon series. It was held at the College of San Mateo, which was a beautiful campus. We were all up and in the car by 6:30. It was going to be a really hot day and Sporty's wave was last. We got there, set up his transition area, checked in and got body marked (what a proud moment!). Then we had almost a two hour wait by the pool, for the older kids to start. There were maybe 80 kids in all, ages five to twelve. Lots of parents, some with M-dot tatoos, and at least a couple of recognizable pro-women with their kids. The announcer was very funny, making comments on the p.a. system like, "ok, kids you've trained for years for this, and you're almost ready to live your parents' dream."

Sporty had a mini-crisis at the start and there was a little crying. I had a feeling there was going to be, only because the pool at his swim school is an indoor wading-type pool, and this one was a big, bright, deep, Olympic sized pool. It had to look intimidating. Luckily for us, they were allowed to use kickboards for the 50 yards! And still, my kid was last out of the pool--takes after his mother. And like me, he was pretty happy to get that swim behind him and get on that bike. Sixteen inch wheels rolling as fast as they could, off he went for the mile loop (2 laps!), powered up the little hill and back down without wiping out (whew!). And on to the run--half a mile--he took off running as fast as he possibly could--and through the finish chute! Professional Becky LaVelle gave him his medal and took his timing chip. He was so proud! It was absolutely one of the cutest things I've ever seen and I couldn't be prouder. When we got back to the car he asked if his race was going to be on tv.