Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart. -Helen Keller

Pictures are the sign of a lazy blogger. The girls I graduated with in 1996 held a 10 year reunion this summer that unfortunately I missed. But I just got some picures and they included one from a poster that's hung in the hall of the new children's school at the Central Institute for the Deaf. It's from the day we graduated, in front of the old building and the memory made me smile.
(I'm in the back row under the NS)
The quote is from Helen Keller who visited the school in the early 1900's.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived. -Anna Quindlen

Just had to share this picture. I take notoriously bad photos. Usually, for some reason, if I'm posing, my eyes are half closed like I'm stoned. But, hey! Before the girls sang happy birthday to me, I took a halfway decent picture...or so it appeared on the tiny little digital camera screen. Imagine my delight,upon receiving the 4x6 print, at seeing my perfectly FINE, perfectly SIGHTED daughter posing with her eyes crossed. Little turd. I'm sure her guardian angel got a HUGE kick out of that one.

Can't go wrong with chocolate cake and diet coke. I was thinking that since I had such a good race Sunday, I should make that my carbo-loading pre-race meal on a regular basis. Or not.

One more race this weekend. Lake St. Louis triathlon short course ( web). Field of 750. Practice day was last sunday, and boy was it a good thing I dragged myself out of bed that morning. Hopefully got all the kinks out. 1/4 mile swim in the lake was great for about 200 yards. Then, for some reason I couldn't put my face in the water. I KNEW it was nerves but it's a little more of a mental challenge to get over that fact when you're alone in a large body of dark water. After about a minute I was able to continue and ended up doing fine...just glad it wasn't during a race! Everyone talks about that happening....but I didn't expect it to happen to me! Found Tori, chatted, and got ready to ride the course...but I had a flat AGAIN. I have never flatted on a course. I DO manage to cause a flat while pumping up my tubes on a disturbingly regular basis. Drat! Good news is I can now change a flat in less than 15 minutes. But I'm so covered in black grease that it looks like I got run over by a truck. Ride went fine. Since Tori ran 17 miles the day before she wasn't going to run (whatever...slacker) so off I went. Kinda fun, lots of people out there without the pressure of race day. Run went well, out and back, out is up hill and back is downhill (woohoo). Goals again are to finish in the top half of my age group. And obviously not drown myself in the lake.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Blaze with the fire that is never extinguished. -Luisa Sigea

Gratuitous photos of my blazing beauties! As a parent, I think there is nothing better than watching your children do something that makes them feel strong and capable and proud of themselves. They ROCK!
The top two are Morgan and the bottom two are Kate.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -Dr. Suess

I realized yesterday after leaving the Walrus a comment about being a slacker that there's a saying about a pot and a kettle and whatnot so here I am.

I survived my 35th (!!!!) birthday. How did I get to be a 35 year old person! I remember helping my mom get ready for her 20th class reunion (which is only 3 years away people) and thinking she was SO OLD. Gah! Woe is me. I had a fabulous chocolate cake, chased by diet coke of course, had a great race and watched my girls fly through their first true triathlons. They did great and more importantly they were smiling the whole time. (I believe they were both the first girls to finish in their age groups but in keeping with the spirit of PARTICIPATION they didn't rank the finish....whatever.) Hopefully I'll get some pictures posted in the next few days. My race report is down below...

I have to tell you all about a book I'm reading and the corresponding website. As a wannabe writer/photojournalist I love that some people are getting published as a result of their blogs. There are some really good writers out there (1989 blog is a perfect example) that would have likely gone unnoticed 10 years ago. The book is called "Bitter is the New Black" written by Jen Lancaster and is basically a memoir of the worst 2 years of her life while living in Chicago. But she is SO funny and like she says....don't mess with the funny. The funny in her book is largely in the footnotes. I've laughed at just about every page and it's been a challenge to find something to laugh at in my life lately. Check out her website:

Alligator Creek Race Report:
Overcast skys, foggy, humid but only in the 80s. Bike racked and set up by 6:20am. 300 or so racers milling about and a fair number of STL tri club jerseys. It's fun to know people at these things. Ran into Tori who I expect to push me today...she beat me by 30 seconds last race. But she starts 30 seconds behind me today (our swim is the same pace) so if I can just stay in front of her for the race I'm good! I had an hour before the start so I laced up and ran for about 15 min to get my legs loosened up and then warmed up in the pool. Listened to last minute announcements and lined up in numerical order according to our swim times. I was # 030. started the swim exactly on time and didn't pass anyone in the pool but didn't get passed either. Run from the pool to the bike racks, shoes, helmet, race number and sunglasses and off I go...right next to Tori. She always transitions faster than me and I even skipped socks this time! My bike is stronger so I left her behind pretty quick but at about mile 2 we got stopped by a TRAIN! So she caught me again and we lost about 1 min. I shot out ahead again after Tori reminded me I jinxed us by saying I didn't get stuck by a train last year so I wasn't worried about it. Ack. Bike went well.... ADHD Stu done good. My race is never without a bizarre moment though...I rode past a pack...a gaggle...of wild turkeys!!! There were about 8 of them all clumped together in the middle of the road. My glasses were so fogged up from the humidity that I wasn't sure what they were at first. I could have stuck my foot out and kicked them. I thought they were scared of people so I was sort of worried I'd startle them and they'd fly at me or get stuck in my bike! THAT would have been an interesting story! Feathers everywhere!!! Here's how I picture the exchange:

Tri club member: Heard you took a spill on the bike...get run off the road by ignorant drivers? Blow a tire?
Me: attacked by wild turkeys!!!

As expected I got lots of encouragement from all who passed me. And overall there were at least 75. :) But I did pass a few myself. Back into T2, socks and shoes on, sunglasses OFF (I can SEE!) and helmet off. I'm running out of transition!!! Last year I couldn't start running right away (and it was downhill!!!) I was so toast from the hills. I run past Tori coming in about 2 minutes behind me. No walking for me or she'll catch me!! Such a hilly course tho. First two miles are basically straight uphill. Finished strong....7 minutes faster than last year! (Not counting the lost time due to LONG train) Finishing time: 1:44 and change. 12th in my age group, 32nd out of 88 women. And Tori didn't catch me on the run. So I know she'll be after me next time!

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

Yup, I'm still here. My girls started school today! The hillbillies are going to have to get used to wearing shoes. My training log was pretty full the last 10 days or so but I'll spare the details. I did ride the LSL course twice on sunday...38 min and change on the first loop 42min on the second. Not too bad. Considering I had to pull over to free some sort of flying beetle that found it's way into my helmet the second time around. Eww.

It's race weekend for me and the girls. Morgan and Kate toe the line at the Crestwood Kids Tri in Crestwood MO. 25m swim, 1mile bike, 1/2 mile run. (kate's will be a death march but she might suprise me with a competitive streak).
I'm set up to hit the pool at 7:07:15am on Sunday. That means I'm about the 29th person in the water. Sounds good right? Well that also means over the next hour and a half I will probably be passed by about 75 people. And that's conservative I'm thinking. Goal #1: finish...despite losing alot of conditioning to illness and vacation. Goal #2: finish faster than last years 1:51. Barring any mechanical issues I should do okay. My transitions will be faster for sure and so should my bike leg.
Alligator's Creek Triathlon

Ever think you had a bad day? Last week I tested a young guy who had a little hearing loss from getting shot above his right ear at point blank range. He apparently got robbed getting off a bus in north St. Louis during the power outages. Not a great place to be even with the street lights ON. He's actually going to be fine save for setting of metal detectors at the airport and never being able to have an MRI. Ironically, the hearing loss he has is not from the bullet, it's from the noise of the gun going off.

My best girls are still rock'in the pavement....up to 18 milers. How about some ideas for some tunes that have a good/funky beat to mix up the music on those almost 3 hour runs. Any ideas?
I tend to gravitate towards country (I know, I know) Rob Thomas and Ludacris (sp?). How's that for a mix?

Happy Weekend!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Soar, eat ether, see what has never been seen; depart, be lost, but climb. -Edna St. Vincent Millay

Everyone should put Colorado on their lists of places to see. I got to see many beautiful places in the span of 9 days. It makes you realize that something bigger than man is at work. I associate many places with the way they smell. Powerful memories are evoked for me with just a scent floating in the air. Maybe everyone is like that. Colorado smells like cool, fresh water, pine trees and wildflowers. It's a very clean smell. Where I spent most of my time, outside that is, in the rare moments I got to myself it was blessedly quiet. Save for the sounds of the Snake River. I was lucky enough to get away for about an hour and half and ran and hiked along the river. Was amazing.

The pictures above are actually from my cell phone as I was driving from Glenwood Springs back to the Dillon area.

If anyone wants to see me and the girls (in my sexy plastic helmet which I should have worn on my knee) (and Dan and my sis-in law Mary and her daughter Caitlyn) follow this path:
Click on AVDI if you get that choice,
Trip was Aug. 1
Our Trip was on the Arkansas River
With Breckenridge Wilderness Rafting
Skip the trip name and choose the full day option
YOu should get about 106 photos (we're in 10)....we are on Pages 4-5 #223834-223844

You'll notice Mr. Hotbody Brandon and I are still wearing our sunglasses. This is before we got dumped.

I forgot to tell the Brandon story. You just have to fall a little bit in love with a guy who walked away from (s0 he says) a lucrative landscaping business in Cinncinati and a mechanical engineering degree to scrape together a life living in a cramped apt and often sleeping in his truck so he can play on the river every day. And he definitely drove my 13 yr old niece to distraction! :)

All in all it was a good trip. The girls loved it. The Colorado lifestyle (minus the snow of course) fits into my "less is more" theory. I just wish I would have brought my bike.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. -george burns

Whew. I am not used to being around this many people. Runner girls? You know how hard it is to get the 5 or 6 of us going in the same direction, and make a decision and still keep everyone relatively happy? Multiply that times 5....and that's my world. There have been no casualities but the week is only half over.

Kate's favorite new phrase is "take a dump". She was able to use this in context alot yesterday on our horseback riding excursion. Horseback riding lessons are totally on Kate's wish list so that was what she picked to do. She loved it. I couldn't help but think that a horse is just another mammal that won't listen to me.

Today was the big whitewater rafting trip. Arkansas River in Brown Canyon. Class 1-3 rapids. This was supposed to be the "wimpy" trip because kids under 14 could go. 51 degrees at 8am. Excellent scenery over the continental divide as we drove the 90 minutes to the canyon. About 20 minutes of instruction on the van about what to expect. Some things I learned while on the river:
Morgan, Dan and I are members of the Arkansas river swim team.
Morgan continues to amaze me with her ability to push past her fears. she rocks!
You don't want "summer teeth". If your boatmates don't hold the "t" on the end of their paddle you could find yourself either receiving or delivering "summer teeth". Where some of your teeth are over there....some are in your mouth..etc.
I look FABULOUS in a blue plastic helmet.
Wear cheap sunglasses.
Back paddle is a fast move vs a slow paddle.
If you try to stand up in the middle of a river the guide will yell at you.
A trout is probably wearing my sunglasses.
Our raft performed a perfect "dump truck". this is better than a flip because with a dump truck the raft only dumps out some of the people in the boat...including our guide. The smug guides call this "swimming". (Water temp about 62 degrees)
We dumptrucked on "Hemmoroid Rocks". Probably called this because if you hit the largest one and your child (Me, Morgan, Dan and our buff guide Brandon) get tossed in the rapids you come very close to crapping your pants.
But all is well. Morgan is fine. I have a dinged up knee. And I have a good story to tell. And I spent the day on the water in the fresh air which is really my absolute favorite thing to do.

I'm sure there will be pictures of me in my sexy blue helmet.

Tomorrow is Glenwood Springs and a visit with my aunt and a dip in the Hot Springs.