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