Monday, May 9, 2016

High Tide in Tucson - Let Me Be a Good Animal Today

I wrote this article September 2011 while living in Grand County, Colorado. I was feeling sorry for myself after a tough break up and several life changes. I was wondering what the heck was going to happen next, and what was I going to do with my life, yet knowing how words and books can change/save/enrich lives - especially mine.
Who would ever have guessed that 10 months after writing this I would actually move to Tucson and understand the desert Kingsolver was writing about. Then to think that three years later I would move back to a place that I left because I was tired of the snow and cold.

Words are powerful. Whether they come from a blog, a newspaper or magazine. Words inspire. Words change lives and make this world a better place.

High Tide in Tucson - Let Me Be a Good Animal Today - September 2011, Sky-Hi News:

I am surrounded by books. I have a stack of books in my living room and next to my bed.


I am reading books about hiking in Glacier National Park and traveling to Chile. I am reading poetry from Pablo Neruda, The Art of Racing in the Rain and Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. I want to do everything, learn everything, and see everything; and reading is a prerequisite.

During this journey I am always pleasantly surprised when a book appears in my life when I need it; to teach me, again, what I need to remember.

Recently an old favorite reappeared: High Tide in Tucson, a collection of essays by Barbara Kingsolver. I have the book, or had it at one time. I hope whatever friend has it is enjoying the multicolored highlights, underlined words and dog eared pages of important passages.

You'll like this collection of stories if you're anything like me: bookish, adventurous, you don't live near your family (and sometimes wish you did), and are constantly romanticizing what you're life could have been like if different choices were made.

This collection of essays was published in 1995 after Kingsolver wrote several popular novels including The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, and Pigs in Heaven; all of which I read prior to discovering High Tide in Tucson. In 2007, she wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about a year her family fed themselves solely on products grown close to their home in rural Virginia.

The first essay, High Tide in Tucson, is about a hermit crab that finds its way into Kingsolver's luggage from a trip to the Bahamas. "It had fallen asleep to the sound of the Caribbean tide and awakened on a coffee table in Tucson, Arizona, where the nearest standing water source of any real account was the municipal sewage-treatment plant." She instantly gives the crab a name, Buster, and makes a home for it.

Kingsolver is a keen observer of life and animal behavior; she takes the smallest event such as a stowaway hermit crab from a beach vacation, and turns it into a universal truth. She does this through each essay and in the case of High Tide in Tucson, she talks about her own displacement, living in a desert thousands of miles from her family, and wonders - much like Buster - what the heck is going to happen next.

Kingsolver brings readers to her chosen home. She takes readers into the desert where she studies the rocks and watches hawks fly above her as a bighorn emerges from brush. She writes honestly about her life as she tries to understand the manic-depressive hermit crab in her home. She writes about a man who puts a knife in her stomach. She details the robbers who take over her home where she lives with her young daughter. She tries to make sense of the chaos.

In her despair I see my own more clearly; the personal becomes the universal. You survive, you don't think about how to respond, you just do: "What does it mean to be an animal in human clothing?" The answers: You follow internal rhythms, you walk upright, you protect your loved ones.

"Let me be a good animal today. Let me dance in the waves of my private tide, the habits of survival and love."

Kingsolver is joyous in her essays and that is what I want to remember: "What a stroke of luck. What a singular brute feat of outrageous fortune: to be born to a citizenship in the Animal Kingdom. We love, we lose, go back to the start and do it right over again. High Tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is."

What a stroke of luck that I am surrounded by books.

Ironman St. George Race Report, racing in adverse conditions

This 70.3 triathlon was the hardest race to date.

Tough swim, choppy!
Unlike the day before seen here:

Cold, windy, almost hypothermic on the bike. It rained 90% of the time. Hills were killer.
With so many hills, chip n seal and constant rain, I was in survival mode. The temperature never got above 55 degrees until late afternoon when the race was over.

I felt pretty good on the run (once my feet thawed), I walked minimally, which is good for me.  I think the altitude change and always running hills helped, a lot.
Until this weekend I don’t think I’ve ever raced in constant rain.

I was 4 minutes faster than 2014 but my teammate, Collin said that the run course in 2014 was only 12.1 miles according to his GPS. This year it was 13.1.

This race was a mental test throughout; training and racing in adverse conditions seems to be the theme of 2016.
2016 Results:
Swim: 46:27
Bike: 3:35
Run: 2:19
Time: 6:55
Division Rank: 40

2014 Results:
Swim: 49:00
Bike: 3:29
Run: 2:31
Time: 6:59
Division Rank: 65


Starting Sunday, I’m in full-time Ironman Lake Placid training mode.

A big thank you to my Ironman racing partner, Mark Nash:
Team Lodge and Nash after IM St. George
And to my awesome Triple Threat Triathlon teammate Collin:
Pre-Race photo

Here is the official video. The weather and hills didn't seem to bother the pros:


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Need motivation, watch this: Running In The Rain

So you look outside and the first thing you see through the window is the running conditions are terrible; far from ideal. Your first inclination is to go back to bed, wait until it warms up, maybe hang tight until the rain or snow stops, which the majority of us would find reasonable by the way.
But let me explain the scenario from a different angle because this is the exact situation when it's most important to get out of bed, to put on your running shoes on and head out the front door:


Monday, April 25, 2016

I love Park City and trail signs

I love taking pictures of trail signs. Maybe it is because I love to be guided in an adventurous direction. I like that most times they are made of wood and have arrows pointing in the right direction. Some signs welcome you to the playground behind it. But I believe all trail signs lead to a new place of fun.
Here is today's photo of the rails-to-trails sign in Park City. I ran for about 25 minutes today and it was great to be on a new trail, in a new place.

I get to spend the next few days here and learn all kinds of new skills. Nothing better than learning, traveling, and experiencing new things. That never gets old.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Wind, Hail, Rain, Music, Spinning, Swimming - not in that order

Saturday, April 23 - Grand County, Colo.
I don't always write in AP Style on my blog but I try, sometimes.

Today, someone who will remain nameless, came up to me and the first thing out of his mouth was NOT:  "Hi Kristen. How are you today? What's new?"
It was:
"Wow two typos on the front page."
Blah.
It's always good to know when I make mistakes but really? What happened to leading with a good comment to follow with "what the heck happened?"
Mistakes will always be made since we are human and not robots.
Every mistake I made is not repeated in future editions.

I went to Winter Park Resort to take photos of the participants in Springtopia (aka closing month of the resort). People love to dress up and laugh and dance.

As for me, I was happy to capture the happiness digitally.

Training Update:
Winter Training Spin class at Mountain Life Fitness. 75 hard minutes of spinning equivalent to three hours on the bike. 45 minutes swim at the Fraser Rec, 1500 yards. Five minute run in the rain with the dogs.

Favorite quote of the day, and I do believe.



And then blog about it, LOL.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Yeah, biking outside

Today I rode outside. Happy, Happy, Happy.

I rode with my friend George up to Lake Granby. Hills, Hills, Wind, Wind.

And now, back to work.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday, Monday

Today looks like this:


Work, work, work.
Next week I head to Park City for work so I have to get some biking and swimming in before I head out there. Running in Park City won't be a problem.

Training update:
I will try to swim as an active recovery plan. After running just over 11 miles yesterday my legs are dead. I've run 11 miles already but after spin/run on Saturday and a Sunday morning long swim (2700 yards) a long run like this was killer. Thank you Smartwool compression/recovery socks.

There is still snow in the forecast but not as much as this weekend - thank goodness. Maybe by Thursday I will be able to bike outside again.