Where is Waldo, anyway?

It’s no joke that my last triathlon was far from fun. It was a combination of many things, mostly within my control for prevention, but by the time I realized they were compounding on top of one another, I was already buried under a heap of despair.

I cried as I extreme-slogged through the 10k run course.

For my next triathlon, I have to make changes in order to keep it fun. I need more cheers from the crowd to keep me smiling. And I need to knock the pressure down so “fun” stays in the perimeters of my race throughout.

I thought about this. Fortunately for me, I never have to dig deep to access creativity. Creative is my middle name. Or at least it should be.

I have decided to race Portland Tri in a Where’s Waldo theme. Hopefully it will garnish more cheers from the crowd. Smiles, waves, who knows.. Maybe it won’t make a difference. It will at least be fun to try.

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Found this top at Old Navy for $4. Not tech material and not meant for racing, but who cares? I won’t swim in it anyway – the swim will be the only non-Waldo-esque leg. Wetsuit and race-issued cap are limiting.

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Found the UV Half Buff in King of the Mountain print which will serve perfectly as my Waldo “hat” on the run without causing me to overheat.

Next up is tri shorts that are blue.. Or have more blue than my pink & black ones.

I am already having more fun with this than I anticipated! Love being creative and this was the perfect solution to keeping my race day light and carefree.

Would you cheer louder if you saw Where’s Waldo: Triathlete Edition go by?

And Here Goes

A quick update on several fronts:

Andi had a vet appointment on Sunday and sure enough fleas, but what’s worse – she had a staph infection from the bites. Yesterday Oscar also came home from a two-month vacation and both he and Bella were treated for fleas & ticks tonight, and Andi was released from solitary confinement. Her belly is still sore buy she is on yet again another new food which she gobbled right up and followed it with her antibiotic like a champ. We are on our way to recovery.

I am feeling much better following a new NetiPot and a nasal spray from Natural Grocers. I am on my bike trainer in the backyard as I type this, working up a sweat.

I’m even locked inside a dog crate to keep them away from me!

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And yes, it is necessary.

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The bike trainer seems dumb when the weather is nice but I need to get in mileage and I feel bad leaving Andi alone all day and then again at night. So at least she knows I haven’t abandoned her.

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Or something like that.

My sunflower is huge. I just noticed it today. I mean, the size.

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My garden is just okay. Here are a couple shots from my place on the bike. Sorry if they are a little shaky. Not used to taking pictures while biking. I kind of like this!

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I have sweet potato fries cooking on the grill and a chicken breast ready to heat up. Back to some good eats.

Portland Tri is around the corner. But first is the Swim Accross Suttle which I haven’t prepared for. Must do that.

I need a coach if for nothing else – the swim. I have no direction.

Well, that’s all for now. Still pedaling..

enjoy!

I’m Alive

Here I am on a quiet Saturday morning. It’s been a week since I have exercised. I am irritated by the sound of a tennis ball being de-fuzzed by my dog who is sad that I won’t throw ball for her at this very moment.

This week I realized the imperative nature of my desire to find a new job. I had been waiting to find that perfect career move, my actions stalled from either fear or good intentions gone bad.

It became clear to me that my struggles to lose weight are not related to my diet or my activity level, but more likely due to the stress that I carry with me as I feel more and more disdain for my current work environment.

If I had a client who was eating as cleanly as I am, and exercising as regularly (this week aside), without seeing a budge in the scale, I would ask them some more personal questions. And so the same goes for me.

I am done beating myself up over weight. I am done trying to force myself to like a job that is so inherently a horrible fit for who I am. Call me superficial if you must, but I need purpose in my life. I am a goal-oriented, intrinsically motivated person with a serious passion for health and wellness. I am done living a life of struggle, frustration, boredom, staleness. Just done.

That being said.. though I am still sick or whatever is going on in my sinuses and throat, it’s time to get back at it. Portland Tri is only 4 or 5 weeks away!

I am putting much more energy into job searching and much less energy into creating a positive attitude about my situation and making it work. Holy F%#£, am I done doing that to myself. Prison sentence coming to an end; I’m up for parole. Happiness has been waiting just on the outside.

Meantime, I have learned to appreciate the things and the people that exist in my life who are encouraging, supportive, understanding and kind about my situation. And most of all, the one thing that has gotten me through the thick of it all this week is the little four-legged fur ball who — shhhhhh! don’t let her hear you say “b-a-l-l!—has been there for me every day, my little love bug, Andi.

There have been many nights this week that I really needed a snuggle at bedtime and boy, did she step up.

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Sometimes Life

Last night when I got home from dinner at Spork with my new friend, my throat felt a little sore. I hoped it was from breathing smoke on our 30-mile bike ride earlier that day, but I knew the smoke was in the distance and only affected the view.

After Andi drove me bonkers scratching and rubbing against things like a cat, I decided to take a look. Yup. Two big red bites on her belly and there it was: a flea walking through the forest that is her long black hair.

So this morning at 530 AM I woke up and started brainstorming and researching. Causes of fleas. Home remedies. Immediate actions. It was not a complete infestation. I only saw the one but the one probably meant hundreds of eggs somewhere.

So I started vacuuming. Every inch of my room. Under the bed. Along the cracks of the baseboards. I washed down everything. All bedding went into the laundry. Toys. Rugs. Curtains that Andi runs up against every time she goes in or out the sliding door into the back yard.

After a trip to PetSmart we endured a flea bath. Andi doesn’t like baths. And knowledge is power. This shampoo required 3-5 minutes of soaking in a deep lather. And then rinse. It was torture for both of us but at least I didn’t have the fear of death in my eyes. We survived.

Andi stayed in quarantine while I vacuumed the rest of the house and pushed more laundry through. She eventually ate her breakfast around noon, and then I went out to give my car’s interior a thorough wipe down. Vacuumed, bleached, shook out carpets and I laid down my purple yoga blanket and my car looks and smells nice. (I also sprayed with pet Febreze).

I am not feeling well at all. My throat is incredibly sore and my sinuses grow more and more congested by the hour. Pounding headache..

I still have to spray the lawn tonight before I go to bed and after Brandon’s dog goes hot for the last time. Andi can use the front yard for the time being.

Apparently fleas can come from yard debris. And not-so-coincidentally I had a few piles of yard debris from last weekend’s edging and garden cleaning events. So I took care of those and mowed the lawns, preparing for the onslaught of pesticides that’s coming at the backyard tonight. I wish I didn’t have to use a pesticide but I washed my dog in a pesticide today.

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I will keep clear of my garden when I spray. But I will be sure to capture all of Andi’s favorite spots.
Anyway.. It was all worth it when Andi laid down next to me on the bed and let me spoon her for about a half hour. I think she finally realized that the torture bath was out of love and that it has really helped.

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Good Puppy | Bad Mommy

Andi has been trying to tell me that she has fleas, but she can’t exactly talk so the message was somehow lost in translation. Tonight I found a few bites on her belly and then found a little bugger crawling in the depths of her dark hair. I feel like such a bad puppy mommy. Bah.

Then tonight she asked to go out, as she usually does before bed. So I let her out to roam in the backyard. About an hour later I decided it was time for bed and so I went out to call her in. No answer. I shook the cookie bag and whistled. No answer. So I flipped on the light and there she was. Curled up in a ball, sleeping under the tree in a pile of dirt.

I had to go get her and carry her in.

And suddenly I realized fleas are part of being a dog and my dog would rather sleep in a pile of dirt than take a flea bath.

But. On tomorrow’s agenda .. you guessed it – a flea bath.

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Andi and her new Kong stick toy.

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Hot dog found the A/C vent!

T-3 Tri Camp: A Dream Business

It’s interesting how life works. How one idea can come to mind several times, through a handful of different people or experiences. One day a couple months ago, I was camping at Sparks Lake with Andi and started to think about how I want to spend my life. If I could do anything at all (for a career) tomorrow, what would it be? The answer was closer to the top of my brain than I ever knew.

I’d own a camp. I grew up going to camp, and continued working at camp through college summers, and eventually directed the Adventure Team at a weight loss camp as a graduate student. Camp defined summers for me most of my life. But the types of camps I worked at were always lacking something.. two somethings: healthy nutrition and focused exercise.

I sat there in my camping chair, overlooking Sparks Lake and I dreamed up the camp I would own and direct. I wrote it all out, and I will share it with you. But first I want to share that randomly, I received an email from a woman who belongs to a business called Kabbage, who provides business loans for small businesses. She was requesting that I participate in a blogging initiative and describe my Dream Business Venture.

It is so interesting how life works, isn’t it?

Two nights ago, I had a dream and I was working at my camp. Details of the dream are brief, but the two that stood out are that in my dream I was working in the camp garden, and I named the camp.

The camp was named T-3 Tri Camp. Any triathlete knows that there are only two transitions in a triathlon, and they are referred to as T-1 (Swim-to-Bike) and T-2 (Bike-to-Run). So what was T-3? I believe someone in my dream even asked me this. T-3 was the third transition, much broader and grander than T-1 and T-2. T-3 was the transition that would occur while you attended this camp. A transition in your life, a transition in your goals, your fitness, your skills, your ability, your visions of yourself as a triathlete.

T-3 Tri Camp is a year-round triathlon camp for youth and adults. Sessions will vary from short clinics all the way to 4-week and 8-week sessions. Depending upon the session attended, athletes will have educational components, training sessions, personal coaching, nutrition classes, skills clinics, etc. The camp will employ Sports Nutritionists, Exercise Physiologists, Triathlon Coaches, Exercise Psychologists, Professional Chefs, massage therapists, etc.. We will have representation from all of the major brands of bicycles, hydration systems, footwear, socks, clothing, helmets, wetsuits, swimsuits, goggles, nutrition, etc.

I want this camp to take on the feel of a traditional residential camp, so campers will stay in cabins, and outside electronics will be limited to certain times (accommodating adults who may have outside work or family obligations). I want the focus to be on the components of fitness, training and education that will be provided by top professionals in the industry.

Because sessions will range from brief to all-inclusive, intensive longer-term commitments, the prospective camper will have many options to explore and choose from.

A camp like this will not be inexpensive to attend, as I plan to employ the best of the best I can find. Because I would not have been able to afford to attend a camp like this as a youth, and would have really enjoyed it, I have decided that I would like to offer scholarships at every session and for every age group. Scholarships will be competitive and will involve a detailed application and will be subsidized by sponsorship from some of the major brands in the industry mentioned above.

My love for gardening and the natural foods and the nutrients they provide have woven their way into this dream business venture. I see a lot of endurance athletes relying on supplements, all the way from jellied sugar cubes (Shot Blox) for race day, to protein supplements, electrolyte drink mixes, “meal bars”, etc. I want to bring nutrition and food back together again. So part of the camp will be working in the garden and learning how to grow some of our own foods, how to prepare these foods into healthy meals and race supplements. I want the triathletes who go through my camp to understand their nutritional and hydration needs perfectly.

This is my dream. T-3 Tri Camp. How will your life transition after a session at T-3?

Elbow Grease

Tonight I skipped my volunteer duties to take care of my own needs. Running has been on the back burner for too long and I will no longer stand for it. Sometimes the best way out of a rut is to use a little (or a lot of) elbow grease.

Someone recently asked why I thought I was struggling to love running in the past year. What an interesting question. Here are my answers, which apply only to the past year (these are not typical for me):

1. I feel intolerant of heat when I’m running.
2. I feel extremely slow.
3. My clothes are constantly annoying me.
4. I don’t like out & back runs and don’t know any good loops where I live.

So I thought about things and started putting them to action after the Deschutes Dash. I bought a new running hat to get the sun off my face.

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I have been hydrating like crazy at work, staying on top of my electrolytes and tonight I purposefully waited for it to cool off before I went out. I mapped out a lollipop loop on a new (to me) trail that would be a challenge but not over the top. I wore my favorite running shorts with a cotton t-shirt. Yes, a tech shirt would have been more efficient but I don’t like the way they feel right now. I found a way to carry my iPhone without it being super annoying (still not perfect) and I tuned to the Xavier Rudd station on Pandora, which was awesome running music.

I ran down to Pilot Butte and around the base, and back. It was such an awesome run. Off the sidewalk, kind of off the beaten path. Nothing too strenuous but by no means boring or super easy. Lots of terrain changes.

I felt like a runner tonight. It wasn’t my fastest and it wasn’t my slowest. But it was a respectable distance and I set out with a purpose and met it.

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Much of my focus over the next month will have to be on running. I can’t finish another triathlon the way I finished Deschutes Dash – in tears.

But.. Also on the agenda this week is a long bike ride around Crater Lake on Saturday. Really?! I can’t believe it.. And I am so excited!! My new friend Sarah invited me. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday!

Today I also signed up for a 1.3-mile swim across Suttle Lake in Sisters, OR on August 24th. It will be very nice to focus on the swim without the stress and anxiety of the other two thirds of the triathlon. Very triathlete and beginner-swimmer friendly. I am doing it with my friend Lindsey and so excited for this new adventure!

Good things on the horizon!