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.