Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wrapping Up A Holiday Weekend

It's been a wonderful 4 days off of work. I should have worked this weekend but hmm, somehow I just never quite found the time!

I had a couple runs, a short bike ride, and a couple swims, including 2100 yds this morning (should have been 2400 but I am a moron and managed to miss 300 yds of fist drills on my workout). After the swim today, we took the dogs for a little hike at the Stile Ranch Trail.

The lovely scenery does not convey the cleanup work that such a hike entails. First, we had to remove the shrubbery that each dog had picked up in their coat - burs, stickers, twigs, branches, entire bushes, etc. Then I had to remove all the ticks from the dogs *shudder* And after all that it was obvious that baths were in order, so Max and Stan are currently drying in their crates. As tired as they were, the naptime should be a welcome break.

One week until Las Vegas! Hopefully the taper crazies don't hit too hard this week, hopefully I can stave off all of my dessert cravings for another week, and hopefully I am trained and READY to race!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Today I am thankful for...

Family. I am grateful that everyone is healthy and pursuing their dreams!

The little black dog. For being the catalyst that changed my life.

The little grey dog. For being a breath of fresh air in our house.

The big dog. For not eating us.

My husband. For not even blinking when I said I wanted to do Ironman.

My friends - Smofit friends, BDL friends, blogger friends, college friends, Facebook friends and more. So many of you have made the transition to IRL friends, training partners and confidantes. I couldn't do any of it without your jokes, support and shoulders to lean on.

My coach. For pushing me to new speeds already and for everything she will do next year to prepare me for the challenges ahead.

And for many other things that would take too long to list here.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogging From The Airport

As I wait to fly home, I thought I'd get a post up with pictures from the long day at Ironman Arizona!

Wetsuit stripping was hard but really fun. People appreciated the help and you get caught up in the rush. Everyone is so thrilled for every swimmer that made it in under the cutoff and eager to help them get moving. Quite a few swimmers we had to help to the med tent though, as they were close to hypothermia and needed to be warmed up before they could go on.

Great weather yesterday - MUCH better than the past April date of this race - sunny and 80ish with less wind than spring.

We screamed our heads off all afternoon/evening for Cat and J's friend in particular and the general masses as a rule. Ringing cowbells, talking to every runner that went a triathlete you know this makes a difference for those racing.

Let me just say it was the best weekend, being able to spend time with Cat and get to know her. It's not often you meet someone with whom you can fall into an instant friendship without much awkwardness. It was a treat to have her and J stay with me!

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

And then this morning...I was in this line at 5:30am.
From Ironman Arizona 2008

From Ironman Arizona 2008

And signed up!

BRING IT ON! It's going to be a long, hard year but I eagerly anticipate toeing the line on November 22, 2009.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Arizona, baby!!!

It's been a whirlwind trip so far. I got in Friday morning, rented a car, grocery shopped and checked into Casa McFun. First order of business, I drove the bike course just to see what it really looked like. For the most part, a whole lot of this with an occasional climb mixed in.
From 2008_IMAZBIke

At least there are some views! You really have to like the desert for this course though. And scrub brush. Lots of it.
From 2008_IMAZBIke

Then Cat and J got here! I think Cat and I talked for 5 hours straight. It's too bad we don't get along, eh? Finally we pulled it together and went to dinner with our coach. You've got to love a crowd where I look like a normal-sized human. And yet, still the shortest.
From Ironman Arizona 2008

At sunrise today, Cat and I did our 1:45 trail run around Papago Park and near the Botanical Gardens and Phoenix Zoo. I didn't take this photo but it'll help you imagine what it was like!

We dashed over to the IM AZ volunteer meeting so I could pick up my wristband and check in for my assignments, then headed back to the house to clean up. Then we were off to the race expo to check things out. Many people in compression socks running around town! Finally we braved mall traffic at Tempe Marketplace for lunch with Cat and J's friend Chris (and his wife) who is racing tomorrow. I am so looking forward to seeing him do well on that course tomorrow - you can tell he is ready. I will refer you to Cat's blog to see photos of the woman we spotted in Paradise Bakery, walking around IN her aero helmet.

Now it's just time to put my feet up and rest before the big day. I looked at the bike racks today - the scope of this event really is incredible. I can't wait to see the race go off tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

10 Random Update-lets

I have nothing useful to blog about, so here are 10 random tidbits of information about what's going on around here, in no particular order of interestingness.

1) I'm still working at 9+pm, but I feel like I'm finally making a little progress on the procedural revision that has been haunting me for months. If I'm lucky I will throw a new draft at the reviewers in the next week, which will buy me at least 7 days before they all make me cry again with their responses.

2) It's Day 13 of TriGirlPink's Fruit & Veggie Challenge and I'm still on target - in fact, I'm eating well over the target 5 fruits and veggies per day! Jeff might want me to sleep somewhere else, but I'm awfully healthy these days!

3) My important run of the week was on Sunday - 1-mile repeats at faster than race pace. I blew away any past speed records I might have ever had for running a mile. And did it repeatedly! Only 2.5 months with my new coach and look how much I've improved - think about where I'll be in a year!

4) Speaking of which...a year...well this weekend is Ironman Arizona. It's very exciting! I'm flying down on Friday. I get to meet Cat and J and my coach and Jen Harrison and go trail running with Cat on Saturday. I get to cheer for a bunch of fellow bloggers who will be racing. I get to volunteer for the race on Sunday - I'll be a stripper...of wetsuits *get your mind out of the gutter!* when the athletes get out of the swim and hand out food when they finish later in the day.

5) And then *gulp*

the morning after.

I will sign up for the race in 2009.


6) I'm a little nervous about this trip to be honest. It's safe to say I might have a bit of hero-worship for a few of the female triathletes out there who I've only interacted with online, especially my coach of course. So there's a lot of "what if she doesn't like me" and "what if I totally embarrass myself somehow" going around in my head right now.

7) That said, I'm constantly amazed at how open and welcoming people are in this triathlon community. On Facebook I've gotten to know an international group of athletes and have to shake myself regularly when they pay attention to me ("did she just post on my wall? OMG she sent me a message!"). I never really had idols as a teenager, so I guess I'm making up for it now. But really, how many other sports do you know where the pros interact and joke around with the amateurs on a daily basis?

8) My favorite quote from the beardie national, from Yvonne: "He [Stanley] moved beautifully every time the judge looked at him, and he acted like a complete arse when his back was turned."

9) The boys and I went to an agility trial in Santa Rosa on Saturday. Max got another double-Q! The dog that I've barely trialed since he got his MACH in March (5 trials, 3 of them only a single day, by my count) suddenly has 12 double-Qs and 100 points towards his MACH2. Too bad I am devoting next year to USDAA trials. We'll get back to AKC eventually.

10) Today I tried everything I could to not get up early to do my shorter swim on my own. Everyone conspired against me to get me awake and at the pool on time for what turned out to be a pretty good swim. I'm not only surviving without the nose clip, it's getting comfortable! Well now I need to go to bed, because I have to be up early again for masters swim in the morning (first day back after the pool has been closed for a week).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

5 years, 3 months, 4 days together

and this is how we amuse ourselves on a Friday night. Cruising the mall and blowing $3 at the photo booth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Case of the Mondays

On Sunday I had one of my last really long runs before Vegas and unlike the previous week I rocked it! I had a great run, my pace was fantastic, my legs felt good (if a bit tired) and all was well with the world.

After the run, Jeff and I hit the mall in my neverending quest for jeans that fit gnomes like me. I was finally successful and snagged a few pairs at the Levis store. And then, in the middle of a store, the morning run hit me all at once, my legs sent out a distress call and I was done with it all. We spent the rest of the day just relaxing at home, watching the Sharks game (hey, they had to lose eventually) and going to Mexico Lindo for dinner. I nearly fell asleep in the hot tub and was out within 5 minutes of getting into bed.

Today I'm feeling the full effects of yesterday's efforts. I'm flat-out pooped! Getting up at 5 tomorrow morning to swim is NOT going to be easy.

lolcats funny cat pictures

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beach Bums

This morning we woke before dawn to fulfill our role as guardians of the world's most spoiled dogs. We drove the Hairballs3 down to Santa Cruz to romp on the beach. I realized that Stanley hasn't been to the beach since he was about 5 months old, so this ought to be quite fun for him.

Bonny Doon Beach
From 2008_Nov08

From 2008_Nov08

Chasing the big dog. Between the both of them, these two have about 1 brain cell when it comes to water safety.
From 2008_Nov08

Leaping and bounding
From 2008_Nov08

That coat concealed 10 pounds of sand by the end of our visit.
From 2008_Nov08

Hey, Max? There's something on your nose.
From 2008_Nov08

Family photo
From 2008_Nov08

If I hide, maybe I can stay here instead of going home?
From 2008_Nov08

As should be no surprise, there is a price for all forms of fun. The beardie boys got thorough baths upon arriving home, and there is a mountain of sand in the bush where the Booster Bath drains. After baths (now you've got my day up to 10am), we headed out on a ride south with Nigel and my dad. I was only supposed to ride 1:15 so I turned back before the big climb, but the men went on and did Hicks up the Almaden side and down to Shannon before heading back.

I have a long run in the morning so nothing on the agenda but Sharks, rest, and eating healthy this evening.

Friday, November 7, 2008

An update on non-national things

It was back to work and working out this week.

The good news: masters swim didn't suck! I had a good time both days and didn't inhale half the pool. I'm still slow but I'm getting more comfortable. I had some great runs this week and am looking forward to my long ride and run this weekend.

The bad news: work, blech. I am at a point where I should walk away from work email and not look again till Monday, but there is so much to do. If I get one more email tonight that pushes my buttons...

Nothing exciting to report otherwise, hence the lack of blogging all week. Have a great weekend!

Next, agility videos!

Thanks to Silvina of Agility in Motion for being there to tape our National!

Here is Max on the Excellent FAST course. I really just use FAST as a warmup run for the others.

Next is Max in Excellent Jumpers. The old man had me a little worried with running slow...

but he picked it up and got a 3rd place in Excellent Standard!

Now, remember that Stanley isn't ready to trial yet and probably won't truly be for another year. He doesn't really know what weave poles are yet. That said, I was thrilled he stayed on course with me and had fun out there!

And now for some good laughs, the trigility relay runs! This is a for-fun-only kind of event. Both boys had a good time, Max (Chucky Cheeseballs team) got the gamble section, and Stan (Stan the Man & his Lady Cruisers)...well, Stan enjoyed the course as only a baby dog can.

Herding Photos from the National

First up, herding photos of Stanley, courtesy of Doghouse Arts!

Taking the leash off to walk to the sheep
From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

He's very focused...
From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

And he's off!
From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

From 2008_BCCANationalHerding

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday, Monday...

A random assortment of thoughts to start off the week:

* It's good to be back home, our own house, our own yard, my own bed (where I am finally catching up on SLEEP, that most precious of commodities). I wish the dogs weren't so fixated on Our Walk Schedule - can't they just run around the yard for a couple days before demanding a walk? We were home, I kid you not, less than 20minutes before they were standing at the door expecting to go somewhere.

* Speaking of dogs and schedules: Dear Dogs, Daylight Saving Time has ended. If you would go to bed when we do and wait until you hear us talking to wake up, then we could all be on the same schedule. Note to Cujo, 3:30am is NOT the same thing as 7:00am. Please stop trying to wake us up then. Your consideration is appreciated. Sincerely, The Management.

* We really had one amazing week at the beardie national when I stop and think about it. My first time out to trial in herding and we come home with 2 qualifying legs and a new title. 3 months of no agility trialing (other than that disastrous trip to Pleasanton the weekend before) and Max gets a double-Q with a 3rd in Standard - bear in mind, most of the dogs were so hyped up that they didn't qualify. Still just a baby dog in training and Stanley ran a fast jumpers course. And then...I still consider myself a very green handler in conformation. So to walk into the competitive national ring against handlers and breeders I've been in awe of with an immature 19-month-old and come out with a BOS in Sweeps and having made the cut in Breed? Huge. Just huge. We are not likely to make it to the 2009 National in Minneapolis, so 2010 in Fort Collins, look out!

* I had a long run to do on Sunday. 2 hours, the longest time I'd go in prep for Vegas - 90 minutes at a pretty easy pace and the last 30 at race pace. I guess my body decided to let me know how exhausting the week had been, as it hurt more than I had expected. I was depressed at first but I'm moving on now and focusing on recovery so that I can be stronger to tackle the next one.

* I'll be back at masters swim dark and early tomorrow morning. Ugh. I'm dreading it so much after a week away - not for any particular reason, but I feel a bit of a dark cloud hovering over my swimming right now. I know it's just something I need to get through and it will improve. I keep telling myself, my first 70.3 of the year is in JUNE. I have lots and lots of time.

* I spent the weekend firming up any remaining needed flight/hotel reservations for races in 2009. Yes, it might be early but I am anal-retentive that way and wanted to get the best fares and close hotels (especially in the cases where I am not renting a car) before things booked up. I also registered for the Vineman events on my schedule when they opened up on Saturday. Now I just need to figure out the best way to get my bicycle to Florida for Tri Blogger Chicks Camp in February and Georgia for the Augusta 70.3 in September. Everything else will be a drive-to race.

* Ironman Arizona is less than 3 weeks away! I will be flying down to volunteer at the race and sign up for next year. I also finally get to meet my coach who will be racing!

* 7 more weeks to survive until (a) our holiday shutdown and (b) Jeff and I spend half of December in Arizona. Work has been...trying lately. I love my boss and co-workers, but the culture of this organization has been quite frustrating recently and I know I will be spending the next 7 weeks trying to push through a procedural change that is, frankly, boring. Would I be crazy to think that taking the 2nd half of 2009 off from my job would serve me well in Ironman training?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

We're home!

I will have many more photos from other people coming over the next few days or weeks. In the meantime, here are just a few from BOB yesterday.

Best of Breed dog lineup - Stan in the middle
From 2008_Oct31

I love this shot and his expression. He is just an adolescent but he really is looking good here! I can't tell you how much he LOVES the show ring and how hard he will work for string cheese.
From 2008_Oct31

Beatrix looking clearly a bit more mature than her brother
From 2008_Oct31

From 2008_Oct31