Thursday, December 29, 2011

The throb routine.

The throb is back. That steady, dull leg ache that remains throughout the day and into the night. Once I lay down to go to bed, they really start barking at me and it puts a smile on my face. Why a smile instead of a grimace? Because I know that the throb means I did my work for the day. I battled the inner demons, put on the spandex and got out for a ride.  Three and a half hours later, lunch and then into the gym for some lifting and dinner - and I was out cold by 8:30. I tried to watch Lost, I really tried. But my eyes were just too heavy and the couch was just too comfy...

Admittedly, it is hard to get back out there. It's hard to get back into the routine of riding when it's cold and windy. It's hard to get back in the swing of things after moving, the holidays, the steady interruptions. And it's hard to get back after such a relaxing Christmas. Benjamin and I headed up to Beaver Creek and although they only have a 18" snow base, we skied as many turns as possible in a short amount of time. We also spent a lot of time on the couch playing Mario Kart Wii. Somebody was a good girl this Christmas and got a video game or two. Yes, we are big kids.

It was almost 60 degrees outside today. Perfect riding weather. Except the mountain bike trails were filled with snow slog slush. The kind that requires big power output, determination, balance and down right grit. Sometimes I'd bog down, make a bbbbbbaaaaaaapppppp, bbbbbaaaaaapppppp, bbbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaaaapppppppp noise and power through. Other times I'd dab the foot down in 8" of snow that left my feet cold and wet by the end of the ride. Was it worth it? Absolutely. For the throb is back, again.

Time to fall asleep to another episode of Lost...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pikes Peak

It's been snowing off and on all day today, a perfect way to bring in the winter solstice. I love how the snow blankets everything in a quiet stillness. As we start to get to know this house, its 106 years of character and charm, we notice how quiet it is. There's no freeway noise from highway 24, like on Lovers Lane. It stands strong and sturdy, not built on stilts like the old house. No rascals breaking an entry into the pantry (yet!). It is so incredibly warm - so inviting. We even caught Moonli howling in his sleep last night while eating dinner. And Makiah is using the dog door! Just goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks.

I'm sitting in my new periwinkle office with boxes everywhere and a faint smell of baby diapers. The previous owners bought this house 10 years ago and completely rennovated it and remodeled the kitchen. Then they had 4 children. The dragonflies on the walls means those little ones slept in this room - and it's no wonder the room has such good energy.

On a clear day and in the winter, you can see the surrounding mountains when you look out the window to the South. Yep, it's still snowing.

Our new kitchen is nothing short of amazing. The only hick up is that my big plates won't fit in the dishwasher. That's it though! It is a dream. Last night we toasted our first meal and know this home will bring years and years of happiness. 

I have so much to be thankful for right now. This is a winter solstice I will never forget.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Updates coming soon, I promise!

Just put the keys to the new house on my key chain this morning!

Benjamin and I start moving tomorrow and are super duper excited but also swamped, leaving zero time for blog updates. But they are coming, I promise! Along with photos.

If you would have told me a year ago I'd be moving from Lovers Lane to Old Colorado City I would have thought you were insane. Yet it's really happening. Wow.

So much to celebrate! Winter solstice, 30 years of debt, amazing new neighborhood, a kitchen that puts my old one in Seattle to shame, 2012 just around the corner, a happy home - yeah, I'm pretty lucky.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life is long.

Group rides rule.

As a true Seattle native, I never understood what the hype was all about. For the past seven years, my weekend group ride existence was composed entirely of team rides. We'd meet at said designated point donned with buddy fenders (to keep the rain spray at a minimum) and do the same routes week in, week out. Occasionally we might have a guest rider join us, but only after the group was first asked if so and so could join.

You'd pass other team rides out on the road, all in matching kits. Not once do I recall a giant group of people with various kits riding together, especially around the south end of Lake Washington. Oh wait, yes I do! The Seattle to Portland ride and the Chilly Hilly. Apparently cross contaminating kits may result in labeling riders as clubers, not racers. And there will be none of that.

The only ride close to a group ride that goes on in the rest of the country is David Richter's Rocket ride. But even still, if the weather is that crappy out the ride is canceled and the battle of who can hang on the longest resumes the next weekend. And seeing someone show up to the Rocket Ride in a non-recognizable team kit means only one thing: stir clear of the Fred.

I had to move half way across the country to really understand why group rides rule.

Don't get me wrong, I love riding with teammates. But we know each others strengths and weaknesses a little too well. You can't exactly apply team tactics to your own team. You can't test your strengths against other competitors and judge fitness levels. Sure you bond with your teammates and I absolutely believe in team rides but group rides are different. They are open to everyone. They add a couple layers of mystery to the ride. Similar to racing, you need to be able to figure out on a whim who is riding strong right now, whose wheel to be on, who is a dark horse that will pull you up to the break.

Group rides provide not only a killer workout sprinting for the top of hills, street signs and other random macho marks through out the ride, but you also gain a sense of camaraderie of belonging to a pack. You latch onto a group of people who like you are out to get a good workout equipped with spandex, power bars, sheer grit and two wheels. The fact that you go beyond your normal comfort zone and into the red multiple times is without a doubt. You suffer, you breath hard, you occasionally win a sprint, you go cross eyed. And yes, often times the pros come out to play.

Here in the Springs there are two options for group rides, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. They both leave at 10am from the Starbucks on the corner of Tejon and Bijou and are open to anyone who shows up. The difference between the two rides is simple: flat vs. hilly. Saturday's ride goes into Kansas. (You know - the Kansas that runs directly east of the front range?) The relatively flat, slightly rolling terrain and wind provide their own set of challenges. Sunday's ride does a loop through the Air Force Academy and then through the west hills of the front range.

This week was my first time making the Sunday ride and it provided everything I needed: lung bleeding, foaming mouth, determination check, sprint points, etc. Except today I got an extra bonus: I received affirmation that what I'm doing is right on.

On the return trip from the Academy, I rode next to Todd. Unassuming as Todd was in his black tights, wind jacket, steel frame and larger than average cyclist body type, his handling was pretty remarkable. I could tell he had been riding a while. Turns out he was a racer in the 70's and 80's. He followed his heart which was set on riding in the outdoors, not with his nose stuck in law books at Stanford. He quit law school to race his bike. I liked him immediately.

"Life is too short!"

"On the contrary, at 22 I thought quite the opposite. Life is too long! I want to be doing something I love because I have a really long life to live. Call me a forever optimist but that's the world as I see it."

Todd had a great perspective. It was refreshing and inspiring. And it proved to me two things: one, group rides rule. And two, life is long. If you're not following your heart and doing the things you enjoy then it's time to start. Quit your law school and race a bike. Follow your dreams and push your limits. And make sure what ever it is that you're doing puts a big fat grin on your face and make those smile lines permanent.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sometimes feeling blue is okay.

Today was a cold, blue day. I didn't wake up that way, in fact, far from it. But as I got out on my mountain bike and soared through the cold, crisp air, I could feel the blues arriving. Trying to prevent them from settling on my consciousness, I rode and rode. Up and up I went, through cold canyons and icy deserted trails. Slipping here and there in deep sand, breathing heavy and trying to ride away from them.

But the harder I rode, the deeper the blues sank. Every song I listened to ushered in memories.

Some days it's best to let those feelings fly. It's best to let them come in waves. It's best not to deny them and just to acknowledge them, to feel them. To let them come and then go. And if they decide to stay for a little while, invite them in, find out what they want and then ask them to leave.

I came across this old post from another online journal and thought I'd share it. It definitely goes along with the blues....

I will say that after some time has passed, and several moons have circumnavigated the earth, you start to forget that you are swimming. Or at least you start to take treading water for granted.

The frequency of the sobbing subsides, your emotions become more even and steady and time starts to heal your open wound a little bit more.

And just when you think, hey, I’ve got the hang of this – something will whisk you back. I know that drudging up my journals, going back through them and putting those feelings up is a sure fire way to wade through that sorrow again. But I’m also doing it as a way to accept they happened. That I’m recognizing the strength I’ve gained from going through them and that rather then ignoring them or filing them away, I’m putting them out there to chalk up to experience. 

Sometimes feeling blue is okay.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

All is right in the world.

Today was incredible. I mean seriously. I got 8 hours of solid sleep last night. I woke up for an hour, read my book and then fell asleep for another 2 hours. Then I got to go mountain biking instead of riding the trainer for three hours. Shawnee and Joey were game to join me despite the 20 degree high forecast. We avoided any snow showers or crazy blowing wind and I got home just before the snow did hit.

Then I went back to their house for some chicken, lime and tortilla soup followed by tree decorating with their two year old, Eve. And I am happy to report I am in Eve's inner circle. How do I know? She called for me from the toilet to help her. I am so in.

Wait, wait. It gets better! (How can it possibly, right?)

I stopped by King Soopers on the way home to buy some mint M&M's only to discover Cadbury has a Christmas version of their Easter milk chocolate mini-eggs. Do you know what this means? I don't have to wait till Easter to eat my favorite candy in the whole wide world!!!!

I scored a 111 point word on Words with Friends! Somebody stop me!!!

My friend Laura sent me a picture of my old VW bus, Maggie decorated for the holidays. I heart Maggie.

AND THEN! I read a post on Facebook tonight that my friends Ben and Danielle were reunited with their dog Pepe, who has been missing since July! Truly a miracle. Check out my profile page for the remarkable full story in Danielle's words.

And the real topper? The icing on the cake?!?! The cherry topper on my ice cream sundae?!?!?!?!? Benjamin gets home tonight after being gone for three weeks!

I just hope I'm not all cracked out on chocolate mini-eggs when his flight gets in. ;)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Snow cooler anyone?

It's snowing!!! And not just a little, a lot! I was trying to think of what people do with snow if they don't ski and came across this photo.


Friday, December 02, 2011

The Art of Happiness

1. Live your passion. 2. Dare to dream. 3. Write your dreams down and post them somewhere you can see it everyday. 4. Tell your dreams to a friend. 5. Surround yourself with positive people. 6. Get outside. 7. Listen to what others have to say. 8. Send letters to your grandparents. 9. Tell your parents you love them. 10. Eat whole foods. 11. Climb a mountain. 12. Ski downhill. 13. Challenge yourself by trying something new. 14. Go somewhere new on vacation. 15. Watch Muppet movies. 16. Have potlucks with friends. 17. Ride bikes. 18. Laugh often, especially at yourself. 19. Do something adventurous every week. 20. Bake cookies. 21. Play ping pong. 22. Read books. 23. Cook! 24. Play with dogs. 25. Be creative. 26. Be scientific. 27. Drink water. 28. Sleep well. 29. Go see plays. 30. Eat desert first. 31. Brush your teeth. 32. Go skinny dipping. 33. Giggle. 34. Get into flow. 35. Forgive quickly and often. 36. Become an expert. 37. Go to Hawaii and stick your toes in the sand and swim in the Pacific Ocean. 38. Love fearlessly. 39. Send friends birthday cards. 40.  Be kind. 41. Open doors for others. 42. Smile. 43. Let those in your life know how much you love them. 44. Suck on chocolate. 45. Listen to jazz. 46. Share your story. 47. Exercise frequently. 48. Live life to the fullest. 49. Be optimistic. 50. Express gratitude. 51. Smile at strangers. 52. Ride your bike! 53. Listen to music and sing out loud. 54. Walk or run or ride in the rain. 55. Give and share. 56. read JT's Blog! 57. Color "out side" of the lines or doodle. 58. Just say "doodle" repeatedly. 59.
Watch birds. 60. Read a frivolous book under a tree with a drink that contains an umbrella. 61. Share your "signature dance" move as frequently as possible.

What would you add?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Todays motivation courtesy of that white fluffy stuff falling from the sky.

It started slowly at first. A few flakes here, a few flakes there.

As they start to come down with regular frequency, I snuggled deeper into bed, pulling the blanket up to my chin. My hand would creep out from this warm cocoon to turn the page every 60 seconds or so.

Makiah heard me rustle, attempted to get me out of bed to feed her. This is our morning ritual. She starts pawing the side of the bed at 6am, like a child crying in the morning for comfort. Thankfully she’s a dog and sort of listens when I tell her to go lie down. I turn on my iPad and start reading – blog posts, random entries from strangers and friends, morning news. When I tire of short entries, I turn on my kindle and start turning pages. Every half hour Makiah gets up and scratches at the side of the bed, ever hopeful that I’ll get up right then and feed her.

But not this morning. Like the snow, I’m starting slowly at first.

For with the snow comes riding the trainer. And today’s scheduled 3 hour can be put off until I’m good and ready. More like good and motivated. Trainer rides. A sure sign winter is here. A true test of dedication, determination and stamina. I used to be able to count on two hands the number of trainer rides I did in Seattle in the past 7 years. Regardless of how wet or cold it was outside, I’d always gear up. I’d always brave the inclement weather, always be the lone wolf out hunting watts and heart rate zones. Unless of course it was icy.

Since I prefer keeping my fingers and toes, I happily opt to ride the trainer, despite its boring nature. Three hour endurance rides. Those are barely fun when you have to do them outside, let alone perched in one spot, strapped down to a torture device. But my affliction is slightly different this year – Benjamin set up a Tacx system for me. Similar to a CompuTrainer, it simulates real riding. I’ve already logged time on the Amstel Gold race course, San Sebastian and Milan-San Remo. And it makes 3 hours of endurance riding possible. Dare I say I’m starting to enjoy them?

The snow is starting to fall faster, whitening out views of Pikes Peak and Red Mountain. I make a mental note to make some butternut squash soup. Maybe I should go grab some boxes out of storage to start packing. Maybe I’ll have my biggest day of writing yet – nailing down three chapters in one day. How many chores can I do before I succumb to my inevitable three hour crucifixion?

And then I pull out a mantra from memory: A champion is made a day at a time.

7 Foods So Unsafe Even Farmers Won't Eat Them - Planet Green

7 Foods So Unsafe Even Farmers Won't Eat Them - Planet Green