Sunday, December 28, 2008


I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. My sis and I survived the first Christmas away from home, spending it at her home in Phoenix. I drove out Christmas eve, and thanks to the crazy no daylight savings time change in AZ, I made it to church at 10:24pm, just in time for the "midnight" mass at 10:30. The service was beautiful with a full choir and small orchestra. Got home and I opened the traditional 1 present. (Ironman, no my parent's didn't sign me up for a race; I got the movie). We called my brother and he relayed that santa had given him a new cell phone. Christmas morning we woke at 8 and started the carmel rolls which turned out super duper delicious! Santa brought me a Garmin Forerunner 305! It rained all Christmas day (sad I know) so I didn't take it out until Friday. After presents and food we took a long nap. The kitty seemed to like me. Or at least my flannel pj's. Woke up and started preparing dinner. My Grandma Viv and Grandpa Leroy made the journey from northern Arizona. Megan did a great job with dinner, and yes I helped. We had ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans with bacon, salad, rolls, cranberries, and jello. Yum. More lounging and tv watching. Star Trek. Gotta love your grandparents. It actually felt like home since that's my father's show of choice.
Friday we slept in but I was eager to test out the new garmin. I brought my bike along and took it out for a 34 mile ride from her house. It was super windy and I still have my Zipps on which make for an interesting ride. North/south traveling was tricky; there were a couple times I had to get out of my aero bars for fear of being blown over. Not to mention when I turned west into the head wind. Ahh! I can't remember the last time I went on a ride alone. It was alright. Surprisingly I wasn't bored. Hmm, garmin? A random man reading in the park took this picture of me. I ended up averaging 17.0mph which I was happy with. The tail wind on the way back helped. Garmin performed wonderfully. I love the heart rate function. (166bpm average) There is also a grade feature which was interesting. Hmm, I'm slowing, it seems like a hill, check the watch, yeah 5% grade. Climbing confirmed. lol.
Saturday, my birthday, was interesting to say the least. Throw in a little frustration. Add a little alcohol and bam, you're 25. Meg and I woke early and headed to Flagstaff, to the Arizona Snowbowl to go snowboarding. I brought my snowboard and extra warm stuff for her. It took about 3 hours to get there (including the slow driving up the mountain). I dropped her off at the rental shop while I found a place to park. I got my free lift ticket and headed out for 2 runs. An hour and a half later, after waiting in line, Meg calls to tell me they are out of snowboard boots in her size. In fact, 9.5 is the smallest. Great! We decided since the weather was beautiful and the snow was perfect, and it was in fact my birthday, that I should get a couple runs in while she sadly stayed in the chalet to drink. The lift lines were long, and the lifts were slow, but the runs weren't that crowded. Everyone was at the bottom waiting! The main lift tops out at 11,500' and the base is at 9,000' which makes for a pretty sweet run. After getting in about six runs in a matter of four hours I decided to call it quits. We headed down only to find traffic backed up. I had to put on my patient hat which I don't do very well. I will put this as hands down worst driving experience of my life. In 3 hours we moved 17 miles. You do the math, and it calculates to me only breaking for 17 miles. As if my calves weren't sore enough from boarding. We finally made it to the interstate with only 140 miles left. That part was fine. 2 hours. Got home...I need a drink. We went out to Salty's with meg's college friend, Jessi, and her mom and friend. Let's just say I don't have the tolerance of a 21 year old anymore. Today has been lazy. Time to fire up the Garmin. I'm heading out for a quick run before I head home to San Diego. (Where I hear a Dairy Queen ice cream cake awaits!!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weekend Contender

Back in August I had a post about the best weekend in California. This past weekend was a challenger. For now: the best winter weekend in California. Theme: Excessive craziness.
After last weeks big storm I checked the snow report: 41-55 inches of new snow?! Mt. High. Now.
Stephen and I had reduced tickets from Snow Jam and they were early/late season passes, expiring on Friday. Mt. High. Now. Closing 3 autos in a week at work: sick day required on Friday. Mt. High. Now.
As my co-worker put it:

Lift ticket: $13

Burger: $9

Gas: $10

Spending your day getting paid shredding on fresh powder when your boss thinks you are praying to the porcelain gods: priceless
So Friday Stephen, Anatoly, Vineet, John and I were out of Solana Beach by 7am heading up to the mountain. I think we were on the lift at 11am. Boarded till 7pm. It was pretty warm at the bottom, yet the lift rides up were a bit chilly. After the sun set we added another layer and were fine. Speaking of, the sunset was gorgeous! It was great to get back on the snow! The halfpipe was pretty powdery which for most wouldn’t be fun but was awesome for landings! None of that ice crap! Of course, I brought my camera, but the battery died as Im taking a picture of Joshua Trees covered in snow! Thankfully, Stephen got a couple on his phone.
After an exhausting day, the craziness inside woke us up at 6:10am on Saturday morning for Rachel’s ride. (not me)
Quick overview:
4 Starbucks hot chocolates: $18
3 Pieces of Pie: $9
1 Large Pizza Port pizza: $26
Spending 83 miles on your bike with a great friend: crazy
We rode to Vons by the 56 hwy. It was the wrong Vons. It was 41
°. F-it! Wheres the Starbucks?! Two stores down, two hours, and four hot chocolates later we were warm enough and on our way for our own ride. We ended up doing the Swamis loop. At mile 51 (close to home) Stephen mentioned pie. We both had this crazy thought about a PIES sign along the 101. So we kept riding north. Dropped this other couple (sweet!) and were blazing alongsearching out this darn PIES sign. Well, we made it to Carlsbad, no sign of the sign. Stopped to google pies on the phone, found one! (not on the 101) I had a delicious piece of cherry pie and pickles! Stephen had a piece of chocolate and Dutch apple. We decided to take it easy on the way backyeah right! I think the last 20 miles we averaged 20mph. It was insane. He wants me to remind him not to eat pie during his Ironman.

Total trip: 83.2 miles. 5 hours 12 min of actual biking time. Longest ride of my life. Remembering back to the first 80+ mile ride with bob I’m happy to say my body responded unexpectedly better. I didnt have the hip flexor pain. I wasnt about to collapse at the end. I felt surprisingly amazing. Sweet! Did someone say large Pizza Port veggie pizza with pepperoni and Canadian bacon on whole wheat crust? Yes. Enjoying the pizza while watching the sunset. Amazing. Only in California in December.

Sunday we let our bodies sleep in (after a late night of Bond watching). Made yummy pancakes and bacon and decided to enjoy the beautiful day. We went to Torrey Pines High School in search of tennis courts. Played for a couple hours and then "enjoyed" some Golden Spoon fro-yo. My least favorite by far. We went to the new Bond at the theater in Oceanside and then out for yummy sushi at Harney Sushi to complete the amazing weekend. It was weird to have all non-Asian white dudes behind the bar, but I would actually recommend this place.

Winter in San Diego has been great. However, the Christmas Spirit isn't as strong as it normally was back in MN, but I'll live. I've forced myself into "wintery" situations (skating, snowboarding, christmas shopping, present wrapping) but it still hasn't hit. Tonight we are going to look at the Garrison block Christmas light craziness. I have to say, the house lights don't sparkle quite as nice without the snow reflections. Christmas eve, my brother, sister and I typically sleep in the same room. We set our alarm for an undisclosed time to get up to see what Santa brought. (We got sabotaged one year by disclosing our wakeup time too loudly. Santa came after we went back to bed disapointed.) This year will be different. I will be spending Christmas eve with my sister (in her bed in Arizona). We decided we are calling Robby (unbenounced to him) at 3am and making him wake up to see what Santa brought. Also, Meg has been slaving away baking and grocery shopping for our amazing Christmas Dinner. Okay, I've typed Christmas now six times in this paragraph. I think I'm feeling the spirit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Year End

My year end thoughts have brought me to elaborate on my Christmas letter and summarize the majority of my 2008 blog. Most prominently on my mind…the amazingness of my bike. The greatness of the cove. The wonderful life I live in San Diego.
2008 has been a year of changes…
Before I left MN I became an AASI certified snowboard instructor after a season of coaching with Blizzard Ski and Snowboard School. Hurray for retro-pay. After the move I became a triathlete, finishing my first in the Mission Bay Spring Sprint. I joined the Triathlon Club of San Diego and my summer got busy with club races and more training. I was fed up with my year old bike (sad, I really liked Felty) so I dove in and waited seven weeks to become a custom Guru bike owner. It’s beautiful and every time I get off I can’t wait until the next time I can get back on. I would now consider myself a pseudo-runner (not quite all the way there yet). I never expected the day to come where I would enjoy a run (they still don’t come that often). It is a part of the sport, and my weak leg, thus the focus should turn, especially training for my next endeavor, The Superfrog half ironman at the end of March. Swim training has mainly come in the form of Ocean swimming after getting sick of masters swimming. I rave about the La Jolla Cove a lot, but it’s worth the text. I think I swam every Friday evening with TCSD besides the 4th of July (climbing trip) and my two MN trips. Sunday afternoons on non-race weekends as well as Buck’s August Moonlight Swim made for many cove swimming miles this summer. I won my age group in the Tour of the Buoys 5 mile swim race in August. I got the channel swimming itch and hope to swim the 26 miles from Catalina Island to California sometime in my life.

Alongside training I’ve managed to fit coaching into my schedule. Nikee volunteered me as a substitute for the TCSD JCC swims. After a week I became a permanent fixture in the Wednesday night technique lane. After seeing significant improvement with a couple of my regular “students” it really makes it worth it. Coaching adults has some challenges but the willingness to learn is there. Stephen, one of my students, picked me up, and now he’s a great boyfriend and training partner. It makes being lazy on the couch after seem okay. After helping him with my sport he introduced me to his, underwater hockey. I traveled to San Jose for my first tournament after playing only four games prior. Following the 10 losses in 11 games, I still had a smile on my face, and still enjoyed the sport.

I couldn’t completely let climbing slip away and I did get to take a couple trips this year. Red Rocks (twice), multiple Joshua Tree trips, the North Shore in MN, Idylwild and a couple local San Diego craigs filled random weekends throughout the year. I met Paul, a triathlete climber, and went on some pretty epic trips with him including a hiking trip up San Gorgonio. I think it was around 23 miles and almost 6,000 ft of elevation gain, hiking for 12 hours. We got rained out in the middle of a climb in j-tree and had to leave a Camelot, I dropped his camera off the side mission gorge, and made it through a lightening storm on Tahquitz. After all that, we finally had a “successful” day in Red Rock Canyon completing 7 pitches on Crimson Chrysalis a day after finishing my first olympic distance triathlon. He left the amazingness of San diego and moved back to New York (and he is missed). I became a traditional climbing leader earlier in the year, getting to play with some gear. My MN friend Amanda flew out for a Thanksgiving J-tree trip where she got on her first trad lead as well. I got to meet Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden at the Red Rock Rendezvous right after moving to San Diego. Even while drooling I managed to learn how to tie the bunny ears anchor figure 8 knot (I’m sure there’s a more precise name).

I headed back to Minnesota in May for my brother’s and sister’s graduation from High School and College respectively. Again, in September I went for Katie & Phil’s wedding, along with some climbing and family time. Yet another Pink Lady reunion/wedding; next up, Kayley and Nick. I had some visitors this summer. First, my brother and his girlfriend Paige came out and we saw Wiked in LA. Next, Mare, my college swimming buddy, came out for a quick summer weekend (and yes I brought her to the cove). My mom and sister came to visit in August and we took a trip to Catalina Island (on a ferry). I won’t be able to make it back for Christmas, so I’m spending it with my sister and grandparents in Arizona. The rest of my family will be missed. Other than that I’m officially a California driver’s license holder, and a resident of Point Loma in a house with three lovely ladies, one of which I met in the beginning of all this triathlon craziness. Bethany has been a great friend and now roommate. She's recovering from spinal fusion surgery from scoliosis and I can't believe her progression. She is also a great training buddy. I'll post my 2009 goals after the new year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

ice skating...

On the beach in San Diego!
I had been itching to go ice skating all "winter" and I actually missed the Minnesota rinks. It's been super hard to get in the Christmas spirit with all this nice weather. I wasn't even motivated to go shopping. I convinced Stephen into a fun date Friday night. I took my skates out of the attic (I knew there was a reason I moved them to San Diego!) and we were off. The Hotel Del Coronado has a small outdoor rink during the holidays on their front lawn looking out onto the beach and ocean. (I know, crazy, right?) It’s awesome! And it’s real ice! Simply amazing. The rink was a bit crowded with a bunch of teenagers, but I was still smiling the entire time. Ah, I love skating! I even found a little ice for a couple spins and my infamous waltz jump. I attempted to teach Stephen how to skate backwards, but with the traffic we decided that would have to wait for some indoor ice time on a bigger rink. Afterwards, we got some hot chocolate and a mini smores kit to roast marshmallows over a real fire. Skating and smores…so much fun.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Native American Navigational Skills

For those of you who don't know, I'm a registered member of a Native American tribe in northern Wisconsin. I am a card carrying member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians. This gives me rights such as spear fishing and wild rice harvesting on the reservation. Granted I have only been there twice, once for the ID card and the second for a family reunion a couple summers ago. No, I do not receive any monetary benefits. Check out the Casino, the website says something about the area. However, on a blood level (I'm a quarter Indian) I feel my navigational skills come more naturally than most. Yes, my mother has diluted me some, but overall I have found this sense to be useful.

This weekend wasn't an exception. Saturday morning Stephen drove me up to the TCSD Duathlon in Carlsbad. I was a little nervous to do a race without a swim. My starting strategy changed from insisting on being at the front of the line in the water, to the back of the pack on the road. The course was a 2.25 mile trail run, a 14 mile bike, and finished with the same 2.25 mile run. The first loop was alright, I just tried to stay with the people in front of me. Navigating downhill with my zoots was a bit challenging and I knew I'd have to really pay attention on the final run section when I know my legs will be tired. Up, down, around, the trail was winding around a lake and back to the transition area. Cammi was just ahead of me into transition and I was out before her. I also passed another girl about a mile into the bike. Other than that it was me and these three other men going back and fourth on the short downhills and the crazy long uphills. What?? Who said this was a "rolling hills" course! On the final large downhill I was in my aero bars and cranking hard...I look down and I'm going 39.8mph...freak out! I think it's time for the breaks. And don't get too excited; the bike finished with another long uphill. That smile is deceiving. I love my bike, I hate hills. Hmm, I wonder how my legs are going to feel after this?

I head into transition and someone sort of yelled 1st woman. I blew it off because I knew everyone should be ahead of me. I head out of transition and hear it again. wtf? I get onto the trail and Ann is directing traffic and she says "Yeah girl! First woman!" So finally I'm like "What happened to everyone else?" where she responds something about the leaders getting lost. Argh, now I have to try? Trucking along on the run feeling pretty slow, but trying to pick up my heels. I actually ended up getting off course with this man for a bit but quickly found my way back down. Almost done, wow I feel like crap. The finish was yet again up a hill. Number? 39. Congrats you won. What?
Sweet. I won by default. I won by navigational skills. I suppose it is a part of the race. Later I heard there was only 2 women in the lost pack. Still, it felt a bit awkward getting announced, receiving a medal and winning some swag. But I guess I can't complain. A 'W' is a 'W'.

I also won a squid lid from Osamu who was giving it to the person who reasoned why they would get the most use out of it. Of course it would be me, lover of the cove! He had received it as a gift from Jim McCann, the previous TCSD president who we lost suddenly before I moved to San Diego. I will wear it proudly! Thanks Osamu! (He also took the pictures posted above) Friday I swam in the cove...I wasn't frozen yet, but it would've helped then. Sunday I had more cold water exposure, surfing with Anatoly, Greg, and Vineet in a half suit!

I'll end with a little shout out to my directionally challenged friends. I'm here for you. As Annie would say during our first solo Minneapolis driving adventures, "Thanks for knowing, buddies."

Monday, December 1, 2008

giving thanks

dear blogger:
I'm thankful for:
my family, my friends, my life in san diego.

MN climbing friend Amanda flew into SD on Wednesday evening where I took her to experience the famous In and Out Burger. (thumbs up!) Thanksgiving was spent at hockey friend Mysti's in Poway. We had an amazing dinner and then headed out to Joshua Tree to get on some rock! Of course, the entire park camping was listed as full...but I had hope. We drove around the sites looking for a spot with only 1 car. Jackpot! Boys from Denver and Phoenix were hanging out by their fire, and as shy girls we argued who was going to ask. She did, and we were in. Enjoyed the fire but crashed pretty early. A cold evening led to sleeping in till 10am! There was no way we were climbing any earlier than that. Our first climb was The Bong which happens to be my first trad lead. Amanda geared up and "manned up" to dive into her first trad lead...with her shiny new gear. She did amazing! We did two more leads (one for me one for her) and got on a top rope problem. We had a pretty interesting (read: unhealthy) dinner in town. Burgers, onion rings, fried cucumber, and hot chocolate. Mmm...and then ugh! Saturday was a pretty lazy day, after having felt successful on Friday, we did Big Mo and the Aiquille de Joshua Tree. (pictures to come) We looked at another route but decided to head out after a large party had already set up. We arrived back in San Diego, had dinner at Phil's BBQ (delicious!) and went bowling (and cheap beer drinking) with a bunch of my triathlon friends. Sunday I went for a very hungover relaxed ride with Buck and Bethany. Ahh recovery. I took Amanda up the coast to show her my favorite place and then to Pizza Port for some much needed carbs before her plane departed.

So, after a great 4 day weekend I'm back to the grind. Trying to get serious about this whole half ironman training. I ran 30 min on Monday and an hour today up in Solana Beach with Stephen. Yesterday was JT's ride. I'm thinking about doing the tri club duathlon this weekend in Carlsbad. Hmm, what am I going to do without the swim?

Bethany and I are on this eating healthy kick; necessary after the binge of a weekend! It's nice to actually have a kitchen as well as a buddy to keep me in check. I'll end with some pictures of our delicious concoctions.