Saturday, December 28, 2013

Year in Review 2013

I ride the Casa Grande Century bike ride with my Team Soul cyclists. The temperature starts at 32 degrees. It is so cold but worth it. It makes me feel tough. I probably won’t do that one again in 2014 but will do another GABA Century.

I run my first 50K at Pemberton (click to read race report post). I meet my friend Rosie in Sedona and run a half marathon with her. I don't PR. However, Rosie and I explore Sedona and we have a great time (link to post). I mountain bike with a team of three other women in the 24 hour race at the Old Pueblo. My first 24 hour race. I complete two loops. We are riding again this year and I want to complete four loops.

After trail running at White Tanks in January, (near Phoenix) I sign up for another trail run in these mountains. After running half the distance (race course was 13 miles) I fall three times. I am cut and bruised but continue on. I find out four days later I broke my toe. I am really surprised when the doctor says the Xrays show the big toe is broken. It hurt but broken - really?! - I cry a lot.

Not much running but I swim. After two weeks of not running, I can run again. I begin serious training for the Triple T in Ohio.

I travel to southern Ohio with my friend Joanne on a triathlon adventure. Columbus is confusing, Joanne’s plane is delayed, but we make to the venue on time and have a great race (link to post)

A short trip back to Colorado to get the rest of my personal things from my condo. It is amazing to feel so winded and have such a dry mouth the entire time at 8,000. I never felt that living there. Daisy-dog has a great time off leash and running around. I’m not sure she remembers the place. 

Winnie-dog comes into my life and wrecks havoc with my Ironman training, but I just love her. No more swimming at lunch. Lunch time consists of coming home to give her a crate break. I reconfigure my swimming, biking and running while caring for a puppy and trying to get enough sleep.

One month away from Ironman and my training isn’t going well. My longest bike ride is 55 miles and my feet and back are killing me. I buy new biking shoes and they are stiff. I like them but my feet hurt in a different way - mistake number 3 with my training. 

Ironman Wisconsin (link to race report)

Work, Dogs, and my book is published. The first printing has a lot of typos and errors. The second printing is better. I try to find a venue for a book launch without success. I’m proud of my book and can’t wait to talk about it to a group of people.

I finally start biking and running again but not consistently. I’m frustrated with weight gain and lack of mental clarity. I watch El Tour this year and will add it to my race calendar for 2014. It is fun to cheer on the cyclists in the rain, but I rather ride. I hike my first big peak in the Catalina Mountains Pusch Peak.

I join the YMCA and start swimming again. OMG – it takes three sessions to feel good in the water. I start trail running again in Catalina State Park. I’m afraid of the mountain lions that I know are in the park, but recruit my friend Kassandra to run with me. It’s so fun. I am mountain biking and road riding again with my friends. I join the Triple Threat Triathlon Team (link to post). It is fun to watch and cheer on Tucson Marathon runners, but I will do it next year.

This year has had its ups and downs: work, finances, training, dogs, friends. The one constantly good thing in my life: my family. I sure do love them.

Life is good. I feel fortunate. I pray a lot. I’m thankful for everything I have.

There is so much I want to do in 2014. I want to train and race. Take a graduate level writing class. I want to excel in my job. I want to write and publish. I want to be a better person than I was in 2013.

2014 Life and Athletic Goals:
  • PR on the Half Marathon 2:00 or lower
  • PR on 70.3 course 5:30
  • Hike Mount Lemmon
  • Publish 5 articles in Literary journals
  • Take a graduate writing class at UofA

Monday, December 23, 2013

Triple Threat Triathlon Team - I Am Their Newest Member

I recently joined a new triathlon team, Triple Threat Triathlon Team. 

I was interviewed by one of the founding members, Collin, and here is a link to the blog interview:

What’s your background, and how did you get into triathlon?
I have been an athlete all my life. I played softball and tennis growing up. In high school I played basketball and softball. It was only after high school that I started swimming, biking, and running in various degrees with no consistency and I never raced. I remember swimming laps in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire YMCA pool and thinking about triathlons. The problem was I never followed through with anything back then. When I was 34 I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Everyone was a runner or cyclist. Steamboat had a running series and I started running all the races; even winning 3rd place for the most points one year, mostly because I ran many of them to get points. I started meeting triathletes and the next thing I knew, I was one.

Read the rest of the interview here:

I'm so excited to be a member of this team with other members living all over the US. I hope to meet some of them at Ironman 70.3 St. George in May. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Alone on Fantasy Island in Tucson

Everyone bailed on the ride this morning so I decided to brave the trail alone.

I’ve ridden some of the trails starting from Valencia, but today was an Irvington start. There was another solo woman who started before me and knowing she was ahead of me made me a little less scared. I was nervous running into wildlife or crashing but I finished the 6+ mile Lone Cactus trail in just under an hour seeing one roadrunner and no other riders except at the start/finish.

I loved going through the Half Pipe and getting practice with my bike skills on all the twists and turns.
I am getting to know this trail by doing it over and over. I’m getting over my fear of being alone in the desert.

I stopped a lot and took some pictures, and tried to get familiar with my surrounding, which I rarely do when biking with a group. I love the Fantasy Island Trail system. I love the challenging downhill and the short steep uphill. A great way to start a Sunday morning.

Now that I have my mountain biking legs back, maybe I will get brave and join a mountain bike Meetup in Tucson. I’m getting braver…..

Monday, December 16, 2013

Writing About Place, Landscape, and Personal History

I had the pleasure of writing a guest post on Kathy Pooler's blog about Memoir Writing.

I wrote about writing memoir and the journey to find your people. 
My book is not only a memoir. It is a travelogue. It is about how a place can shape you. It is about reflecting on what is important. 

Here is an excerpt of the post and the entire post can be read on Kathy Pooler's website:

Writing memoir helps me to work out the troubled relationships, honor my family and most of all, reminds me what is important. The beauty of writing memoir is making the commonplace memorable through life’s catastrophes, love loss, job loss, money problems, anguish, and confusion. How to tell that story is the crux of every writer in the history of mankind.
I live now in Tucson, Arizona; farther west than I’ve ever been. I can see what happened more clearly with the time and distance perspective. I realize I have a lot of experience with not knowing where I’m going, vulnerability, and living with uncertainty.
I write the stories of getting hurt, finding amazing friends, moving on and finding new places.

What an amazing journey it has been.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fantasy Island Trails

This is my new favorite mountain biking trail in Tucson: Fantasy Island Trail.

Great riding despite several cholla in my leg that needed to be removed by my riding partners. Thanks for the save. 
This isn't my leg but this is what it looked like:

Here is the Garmin data:

Click to see larger photo

I can't wait to ride these trails again now that I have my mountain biking legs and am reading for the downhill. 

And a video about getting cholla off - never leave home without it - a 70s comb:

I Came To Bike

I moved to Tucson in 2012 to bike. Year Round.

The month of October I forgot that. 
And, most of September and November.  

Now that it is December and it warms up at lunch time, I bike. I bike on the weekends; every chance I get. 

I've been mountain biking:

Kentucky Camp near Tucson

Last year I biked the El Tour de Tucson. This year I didn’t. It was a rainy ride. I will do it again next year. 

Last year I ran the Tucson Marathon. This year I was a spectator and on the cheer squad.

In November I tried to plan my 2014 race calendar and while I had decided on a few races (triathlons and ultra races) I couldn’t click the submit button. I was really undecided – more than I’ve ever been. It used to be so easy to click submit on and then just train. I almost signed up for a 50 mile trail run in Phoenix and I tried to get in to Ironman Arizona.

I like going long, but maybe I truly need to work on speed and do the shorter races. 

As of today, I’m signed up for Ironman 70.3 St. George, 24 Hours at the Old Pueblo mountain bike race, Colossal Duathlon at Colossal Cave Mountain Park, and the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon

This is a good start. 
Old Pueblo 24 Hour Course, looking south to the Tucson Mountains

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Running From Moose: Sticking Close to Home

Running From Moose: Sticking Close to Home: Thanksgiving is coming up quick and it's got me thinking about the concept of home. We've packed up the gear, put the camper in st...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Writing about Place, An Interview

I was interviewed a few weeks ago by the Sonoran Arts Network editor, Shane. The Sonoran Arts Network is an art community in Tucson bringing together writers and artists.

Here is an excerpt from the interview;

SAN: What does the environmentalists’ phrase “sense of place” mean to you regarding the places you’ve lived?
KLodge: I believe there is a place on this earth that is perfect for everyone. When they find it, they will also find their voice. Whether it is becoming a writer or a community activist, in the right place you will find yourself. I think I found a part of my voice in each place I lived. I felt so alive walking the trails in Maine, Vermont and Colorado. I would hike these trails and think about my life and tell stories in my head.

View the entire interview here. 

Here is an excerpt from my book, Continental Quotient that helps explain my answer above. 
From the chapter: Women Writing the West – An author talk in Denver.

This day in Denver is perfect. The Colorado blue sky that we discuss during the symposium starts to fade to evening as I drive back to the mountains over Berthoud Pass and the Continental Divide. Just after I cross the divide and the highest point on the pass, I see a full moon rise to the east.
As I continue to drive north to Granby I think about what it means to be a western writer and writing about place. I love every part of rural mountain living, even the cold, the wind, and less people. I hike and bike out my front door, I could never do that in the city. As I drive the last few miles up the mountain access road, I think of all stories around me; stories about these mountains, rivers, and the people who choose to live here. I know there are good stories; funny stories, well lived stories. I want to write them all.
I feel connected to Pam Houston’s writing at this moment. When she writes about her ranch in Creed, she tells her readers how she finally has “earned the right to be here.” I feel like I might have, too.

Fraser, Colorado 8,550 feet

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Confessions of a Former Peak Bagger

One of my favorite chapters in my book, Continental Quotient is Confessions of a Former Peak Bagger.

I wrote this story while living in Colorado. 

One of the best aspects of being a writer is reliving all these stories as I write them. I was first introduced to hiking by my boyfriend in 1988. I had never hiked a mountain and I didn’t have hiking boots. I bought boots for the hike to Mount Lafayette.

I’ve always been goal driven and always had a need to look forward to something. When I started hiking in the White Mountains of NewHampshire I had a goal to finish all the 4,000 footers. When I moved to Colorado I only had two mountains left to hike to be a member of the club

I will hike these mountains. I will finish them by 2015. How’s that for a goal?! 

Here is an excerpt of one my favorite stories in my book, Continental Quotient:

That summer, I would read the White Mountain Guide, looked at the map, and planned my day or overnight trip, and bagged every peak I could. The best part was seeing all the checks next to the peaks in the back of the AMC Guide. I spent almost every weekend hiking and backpacking; it was my escape.

My high school friends were in college, and I climbed peaks on the weekend. Nothing in my life was going right, I checked of another peak. I took a college class and dropped out because I didn’t like the teacher or the subject matter and would drive north to climb Mount Jefferson and felt a sense of accomplishment. I spent almost every weekend in the mountains while living in southern New Hampshire; either going up for a day hike or overnight backpacking adventure. I hiked alone. I backpacked overnight alone. I wasn’t scared of anything I loved the solitude of being in the mountains.

Have a great day. Hope you are out hiking in the Whites.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Continental Quotient - Stories from both sides of the Divide

My book, Continental Quotient Stories from Both Sides of theDivide will be published next month. 

Have you ever dreamed of living at a ski resort, living in the mountains, and walking out your door to hike, ski, or mountain bike? This is exactly what happened when Kristen decided to take her first job working at a ski resort at 29. After a few years living in the best ski resorts in the east, she becomes the westerner she always wanted to be and moves to Colorado. 

This collection of stories takes place in mountain towns across the east and the west – both sides of the divide. Some stories are funny lift line stories about meeting interesting people and some serious about living in a tough, arid landscape. The stories are filled with poetry and love of place. Kristen finds forever friends in all these places, learns how to ski bumps in western powder, and becomes a triathlete.

I am fortunate to have four advance reviews from writers I respect.

My former editor at the Sky Hi News wrote this:

 “For all us East Coast refugees who spent countless nights poring over photographs and maps dreaming about moving West—the mythical West that is as much state of mind as place—Continental Quotient rekindles fond memories of envisioning our futures and retracing the trails that led us here. Lodge’s stories also bring into sharp focus a discovery that many of us who succumbed to our impulses and made the crossing may not have expected: a land populated by kindred spirits and steadfast friends far from the steamy confines of the East’s deciduous milieu, where the tug of family and childhood remains resolute and unassailable. Standing astride the Great Divide, Continental Quotient plants a foot in each world and dares us to follow. It’s well worth the journey.”  —Drew Munro, Longtime eastern transplant and rural western newspaper editor

This writing project is classified as a memoir; an inspirational memoir. I hope that readers will be reminded about their adventures in the mountains and all the great people they met. I hope they will also think they can truly do anything they dream about – climb mountains, run a marathon, move to a new place, - anything is possible. 

Pre-Race Poster
This book is my journey telling tales of the years searching for the best place. The stories take place in gorgeous mountain settings from northern Maine to western Colorado. As an outsider in these places I fell in love with them easily. But when it was time to go, nothing held me. I was able to move on, easily, maybe too easily while eager to find the next best place, to get to know another place. There are still so many great places I want to see. 

Catalina Highway Tucson, Arizona

Sunday River, Maine
I now live in Tucson. Much like the other places I moved to, I had never been to Tucson prior to the move; but had a sense that I would love it – and I do. I found mountains and trails here, and I found my people: the outdoor lovers, the runners, the bikers, and true friends. 
View Continental Quotient's Pinterest board with photos that accompany each chapter.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

I arrived in Madison on Thursday and met my friend Mark from Houston who will be racing, too. Sharing the experience with Mark made this weekend a “best day” kind of race day.
We swam in the lake Friday morning. Just before entering the water we were asked to be interviewed on camera about the race by a local news reporter. We were wearing our wetsuits and swim caps during the interview – not super attractive.

Later that day we picked up the support team: Than and Pat. We walked around Ironman Village and downtown Madison near the Capital. I really liked the city and all the shops, especially the coffee shops.

Saturday we drove the bike course. It was fun to be in the back seat as Than, a race car driver, took us around the 40 mile loop in Verona. Mark read the Bike Directions and I used my GPS to warn him of an upcoming turn. Sometimes the turns came up faster than anticipated and Than had to make a few quick turns – thanks goodness for his car racing skills. There were a few victims of this method: ice thrown around the truck and a destroyed Styrofoam cooler. Fun Times.

We got to transition at 5:00 and prepared our bikes and walked to the start. The lake looked calm – we were all deceived.
The waves threw us all around. Athletes were swimming off course and I have never been hit so hard in my face during the 1 hour 33 minute swim. My worse swim time ever despite feeling somewhat confident that I wasn't going to die after swallowing a lot of water.
After getting out of the water we had to run up the helix and into the conference center. I did a full change into tri shorts and bike jersey. Then out to the bike. I felt good and ready for the bike. After 20 miles my lower back and feet started hurting. The pain didn’t stop during the entire ride.

There were three hills on the loop that I looked forward to because they were towards the end of the loop, and I knew it would be over. Plus, it felt good to stand and climb up the hills. This race will be the closest I will ever come to knowing what it's like riding in the Tour de France. The fans lined the hills cheering and ringing their cow bells, which made for a great experience. 

Later, Than would remind me, "you can never have too much cowbell."
I couldn’t wait to get off the bike and was fast in T2. I wanted to run the marathon and walk the aid stations; this only worked on the first loop. During the second loop, I felt like I was retaining water and everything hurt with each foot striking the ground: my arms, my legs, and neck. I started to walk. I walked fast, but it didn’t help my time. A disappointing 5:12 marathon. My worst marathon time ever.

I know everything I did wrong with training and nutrition. I want a do-over.

I finished. I had a great time with my friends. I discovered a beautiful part of the country. It was a good day.

I don’t know when my do-over will be. It won’t be in 2014. I don’t know what the next year holds. I don’t have a long course race in mind. For the first time in decades, I don’t have a plan.
I don’t have a plan.

As scary and overwhelming these words are, I think it will be okay.

Here is the video from Ironman which reminded me of all the silly people out on the course cheering us on. Yes, it was a good day.