Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 Things you need to Know about the Hippest City in the USA!

Ok, Jen H. I am alive. Thanks for checking. You are too cute, that's the mom in you, right?!?!? :)

My blog took a breather. A few days to recuperate. To just chill. But it was a very good reason!!

I had a super weekend. So super that I needed a recovery day on Mon (travel) and another day to hit the snooze on Tue morning.

I have to agree with Amanda Lovato that you must "respect the travel." Travel takes the livin' life outta ya....the bounce out of your step....the fatigue that- HELLO!!!- was non existent as I bopped to the airport Fri, and mysteriously appeared at my doorstep Tue am- kickin my freakin ass.....wah wah...I am done bitching....this post is about my fab weekend in "Hippest City in the USA"

MADISON, WI, baby!!!

Home to IM WI, Univ of Wisc, known for cheese turds (er, curds), beautiful lakes (see below), a million bike paths that wind around the city, and just a damn gorgeous place to live. Ya, that's right. A cool place to inhabit.

I have lived North, East, Southwest....and visited many extraordinary towns that I would gladly relocate to at moment's notice. But none, my friends, are as cool and familiar and fantastic-o as the Mad City....

5 Things you need to know about Madison, WI

1) Rachel Ross, please brace yourself! Madison LOVES BARACK OBAMA..Its a liberal town full of academics, of course it likes him!!!
"OBAMARAMA" to the nth degree..... Obama schwag on 1) doorsteps, 2) windows, 3) lawns, or in this case 4) outside of a store

Exhibit A (as seen honor of Tue night's DNC speaker, the ever-holy William Jefferson Clinton)

2) Bike Paths

So, you fit little thing! You say you wanna bike? How about bike the whole city and never ever have to get on a single city street. That's right. My bro and I proved that Sunday afternoon by covering about 3 hrs of "cruiser" riding along the many paths that surround the lakes (Monona, Mendota, Wingra). Who would have known that I had a lactate threshold on a cruiser?! But I was kind of sore the next day! HA!

*Disclaimer- Advanced riders should seek out the many country roads within miles of the city limits, which offer wide bike lanes, and rolling hills

3) Beer on the Terrace

Can you tell me a school that is a) literally built on a lake b) has a bar on campus overlooking that lake, and c) has a terrace where you can buy beer and sit outside next to the lake?

*Disclaimer-For a good time, ride your cruiser bike to the bar, park outside, order a pitcher, share with your friends, and bike home. Great recovery workout after a hard 60 min effort interval run in the am. I should know, I did it. :)

4) Fried Cheese Turds (curds)

No, not typically on my diet. But after my bro and I had a little "fun" at the campus bar, we needed to bike the drunk out of us and hit up a local cheese turd joint. Yummy. I just had a taste, seriously.

5) Jo Jo lives there!

Probably one of the best reasons: My oldest, bestest homey in the whole wide world, JOANNA, lives there with her hubby. Makes the visit all the more special and meaningful!

Yay for Madison!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sport- what it means to me

Every 4 years, when the Summer Olympics roll around, I am again reminded of WHY I became an athlete. I have been moving, shaking, having fun, competing. Doing SOMETHING since the time I can remember, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

While I was never "Olympic" caliber, I never believed that I couldn't be either. I tell this story to people infrequently, but I will share with all of you how I became so in love with this thing called sport.

As a girl, I was always moving 100 mph. My mom told me I could never sit still. Not so much ADHD, but more that I couldn't find my true focus unless I was doing something physical. As a small child, that involved nothing structured--riding my bike all day, playing at the pool for hours on end til my hair was green, or late night games of kickball with the neighborhood kids in the summer (which unfortunately in this day in age, is pretty much out of the question!)

I fell in love with volleyball in the 4th grade. I lived, breathed, died volleyball. Pretty much until my sophomore year in college. But switch gears back to 6th grade--my parents were divorcing, my body was changing, things were just in transition. And I gained the proverbial "puberty" weight. And the boys were mean. They used to "moo" at me, call me "cow" until I cried. And you know what? It just never stopped me from proving all of them wrong.

That summer, I was determined to become a healthier preteen. I started running--very slowly, but I was doing it. With my older-than-dirt Nike gym shoes, I ran around the block once a day. One lap turned into 2 and 2 turned into a 1-2 miles per day. I did this everyday for the whole summer. And by the time I reached 7th grade, I was feeling like a million bucks.

This love affair with running continued, despite my equal interest in becoming a volleyball stud. A stud I certainly wasn't but a hard worker, yes indeed. I ran on the weekends during high school. Sometimes ran 1-3 miles after volleyball practice. I joined the gym and began strength training at age 13 and continued throughout high school. The one thing my coach always found impressive was my work ethic. While she attempted to make the team strength train, do plyometrics, etc, most never did anything but play volleyball. She knew I was dedicated enough to hit the gym after practice. Run on my off days. Do stadium steps just to get better agility. My volleyball affair continued for 2 years in college. By Junior year in high school, I had been proving my skills as a setter for some Division III program scouts. Freshman and sophomore years I would play for Illinois Wesleyan.

After choosing to attend a larger school my Junior year in college, I continued to dabble in the love of running; entering 5k,10k, half marathon, and marathon events. All of these races continued to give me a purpose, desire, and dedication to the sport. I found triathlon along the way as well, which changed my life.

There have been many races of which I've completed. Some with PRs, some barely finishing and dragging myself across the line. Many that have brought me tears of joy and tears of pain. But all of them, each one, has helped to carry me through the journey. Because after all that's what its about. And the journey continues--whether it be a cycling stage race, a local 10k, or a step back into the world of triathlon.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, those boys that called me fat. Well, let's just say at my five year high school reunion, I had completed countless triathlons, I was training for a 2nd Ironman.

had grown beer guts.

Revenge can be so very sweet.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This Bud's for you, Mary!!!

ya, you go girl! You win! I just give up.....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Phelps Phanatacism!

Sorry Mary! I stole your terminology...but we are still duking it out for the biggest fan award.

Rest assured, the world still turns. And things still happen. And yet, in the midst of it all, in the silence of the operating room today, Michael Phelps is getting yet another shout out.

As some of you know, I am gearing for a career as a Phys. Asst. Today, I was fortunate enough to scrub in for a a few surgeries with a fellow colleague, Kim, who is a PA for an orthopaedic practice here in Tucson. About 40 min into a rotator cuff redo, the surgeon randomly announced how excited he was about the Olympics. Up until that point, the only sound I heard was the grinding of gristly tendon, scar tissue, and fat as it was sucked out of the shoulder. Arggg!!!

MICHAEL freakin PHELPS....maybe he should run for president. I mean, he's got another 4 years to kill before he's gotta get ready for 2012. One term, that should be enough. One thing's for sure- He could help solve the ever-growing lazy ass/obesity epidemic that is plaguing the nation.

Food--or exercise--for thought.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hump Day + iShuffle Requests.....

"Mary, Mary, why ya buggin'.............." I think that is from some 80's song (which if you keep reading, goes with the post...ya Eggers, I am talking to you girl! nice post on the Phelps :)

Hola! it is Hump Day....a pretty splendid day of the week. Got in about 4500yd this am, followed by a Loooooooooooooooooong day of work. Blah. Its one of those weeks. The neverendingweek......I try, oh, how I try, to wake up without feeling even the least bit tired when alarm beeps and rings me out of sleep at 4:50am, but alas, no luck. Tired. Shuffle to the bathroom. Put on selected outfit to do selected training session. And go about it.

Actually, I had a most excellent speed session on the bike yesterday with my new badass training homey, Kathi. She's this hard-core gal who is almost 60yrs old (doesn't look a day over 45!!!) and is prepping for Duathlon Worlds in Italy (Jen H, are you in?).....I'm glad at half her age, I can at least still hang with her ;) We have bundles in common, which is how we met up actually!! She is a fellow Buckeye , and it turns out we have about 10 people + 1,000s of races (participated in) in common! Wonderful!

In an effort to get out of my slump with running, I think its time I shouted out some requests-er, suggestions- for new tunes to add to the iPod shufflemix.......I am taking all and any, and I will give you a mere smattering of what has currently found its place on my playlist, so you can make appropriate suggestions:

(RR: I am also listing my songs, just so I can prove to you what perfect matches our pods would be!!:)

Fascination-Human League
I'm Yours- Jason Mraz
Rainbow's Cadillac- Bruce Hornsby
I'll set you free- The Bangles
a few by Brandi Carlile
Hall and Oates- so classic, really, any of their tunes
Other side of the world- KT Tunstall
Extraordinary- Liz Phair
Smoothie Song- Nickel Creek
Conviction of the Heart- Kenny Loggins (don't laugh, I HEART LOGGINS! and its a fab song!)
Africa- Toto (need I say more!?)
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant- Billy Joel
Breathe- Michelle Branch
Mercy- Duffy
The Obvious Child- Paul Simon
America- Simon and garfunkel

Help! Great songs...but I need more...better...whatever

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Smoothies, something that people like to blog about:)

Yum. My most favorite treat after a long ride/swim/run whatever whatever. Heck, it doesn't even have to be that long for me to enjoy it, but definitely rewarding in flavor and quality calories after any of the above!

I crave cold, delicious, always-creamy smoothies in the summer, and hot, robust coffee (+ cream and some sprinkles--er, tbsp--of Sugar in the Raw!) post workout. Sugar, I know, bad. I have been trying to cut the 2 pack per day habit, its just so hard. Agave is just not the same!!! :(

Here's my recipe, altered almost daily, but you get the idea:

'Nana Berry Blast

*1 banana
*1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt or 1/2 cup unsweetened Almond milk or 1/4 each of both
(depends on desired creamy-ness. Usually I do the yog!!!!)
*1 scoop unsweetened unflavored Soy Protein Powder-also varied depending on length of ride
($4.99 at Trader Joe's for a HUGE tub-Best deal in the store!)
*Variable amount of Frozen Berries (blue, raz, black) and/or Pineapple bits (large handful)

here's where it gets tricky:) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS blend 'nana, milk/yog, and protein powder together. Perfection in terms of superb smoothness. Then add frozen fruits, and other delectables

Other things I throw in for mood enhancement/life energy:
*Agave syrup, just a dash
*Very Greens- delicious green supplement powder at TJ's also
*Bee Pollen
*Almonds (soaked in Water overnight, makes them blendable!)
*MMMMMM Peanut Butter, a scoop if I feel like a real treat!

While I am really trying to get others into the art of smoothie making, my famous "breakfast" treat has only been dubbed one hilarious nickname by my bro and sis : "The $hit Shake"
Need I really say more!?!?!?!

Happy Smoothie Making

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm all NBC

That's right, at least for the next few weeks:) Its OLY TIME!! and it only comes around every 4!

Some random thoughts:

1) Lacey Nymeyer, a Tucson chick, is swimming the 4x100 with abs-o-rockin steel DT. .

2) I have recently introduced some DT moves into my core workout. I think by 2010 I may come an inch closer to having 1/4 of her ab power!

3) Did you see the awful news of a 2004 Olympian's father being stabbed to death while sightseeing in Beijing? What's the deal with all of the crazy-f$cks in this world?

4) Did anyone catch Bob Costas' random slam at Venezuela last night during the Parade of Nations...oil prices, anyone?

5) Speaking of Costas, whats up with his hair!?! Toupe? or"Just for Men" ? take your pick:)

Happy viewing, I am settling into another evening of riding the couch and enjoying the competition!!!!:)
(and I muse at why I can't get a date....ehehhehehehehe)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Girls Gone Wheeld. Part deux

This is a more civil version of the crew getting our photo on for the belated 30th Bday party for yours truly, and Colleen (on my left, multi colored tank!) Both 30 hooray................

And well, this pretty much explains my utterly exuberant personality and excitement about being a year older. Notice the rockin' custom T my bro and Julie (his girlfriend/our adopted her!) made:

"Wheelz of Steel
"- retro, love it.....

When me and my girls get rowdy..........

Apparently (or, at least me!) we hug and try to kiss our little team brother Jake!! heheheheh....about as old as my baby cousin, but nonetheless a great kid!

In order from left to right: Kristen, with the ripped, bike tan arms; Becky, the crazy hiking chick that nearly killed me a few weekends back (see old blog!) ; Jake, the stud!!!; Me, robbing the cradle!!!!; Kendra, with her cute new blonde haircut; Colleen, the Cat 2 speedster; and the one and only hostess extraordinaire, Cindy!!!!

I love my homeys!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I went All The Way.

Ya, that's correct. All the way. First time ever. And it was all that I hoped it would be and more.

I climbed to the top of Mt. Lemmon. All estimated 9,000ft of it from Le Buzz parking lot. Can you believe that this self-proclaimed "competitive cyclist " has spent 3 years in the beautiful Tucson desert and never, not once, climbed to the very top!

I have pedaled 3, 85-100 mile days throughout the Gila forest of NM, on vertical switchbacks of 15-20% grades. Raced the never-ending State Hill Climb that is Mt. Graham---a climb that makes Lemmon look like a bump in the road. So what is the deal!??? I should be taking advantage of what is practically heaven in my backyard. (Shoot, Jen H was here for like, 1 min, and she was already on her TT bike climbing to the top! I have NO excuses)....

Well, maybe a few:

1) I am annal and enjoy my "warm up" before a climb. Translation: I generally start 20 miles from Mt Lemmon and climb once I get there (which is then, only about 10-15 miles up!)

2) My homey teammates and their damn coaches (hehehe! !!!!!
One of my many friends :"Oh well, you see I am only supposed to ride 36.7 mins of effort and then the other 53.12 minutes should be in Zone blah blah blah...."

3) Up until last Christmas, (thanks mom!) I did not own an iPod. There's only so much mental fatigue you can handly while being vertically destroyed on Lemmon monster!

4) I can't think of any other good excuse. So I just thought, hell, I'll climb it.

Without further adieu, August 3, 2008 (which, is nearly 3 years to the DATE that I first came to Tucson) will go down as the day when I was de-virginized on Lemmon.

HOW WAS IT, my first time?!?!?!? Ohh, ahhh.....oooooh!!!! I felt strong, got passed by lots of people, passed a few people myself, had no mechanicals, no errors in nutrition/hydration, and managed to feel pretty damn good when I pulled into the Visitors Center to fill bottles, drop trou, and be on my merry way back down with my crew who finally, much to the dismay of their coaches' orders, climbed with me to the top! Hooray!

I am tired, and feeling great all at the same time. 8hrs in the saddle this weekend + CORE. Coulda woulda shoulda snuck a run/swim in there, but you know my philosophy: QUALITY v. Quantity! And indeed, it was just that!

Was hoping for that "bikini" recovery swim (Bree!!) but its about to pour and frankly, I am just trashed. So instead, I am going for a nice rain walk to shake out the legs, and sit on my couch as the weekend fades into Monday.....

This week looks to be pretty fun for both training and social I am excited!!
Until next time.....: )

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blind Date....and getting my MO-JO back...

Its not what you think. Blind dates. Pretty disappointing in my 30-yrs young experience. Usually its all. "Oh Mere I know this nice guy," "Oh nice guy, I know this girl Mere.." yada the story goes.....two nice people. Nice. Yeah, that's important. But frankly, nothing else in common.

I've said it time and time again. I want an athletic guy. A guy who favors a long ride over marathon-sessions of SportsCenter....A man who can (Oi!!!!Love this one!!).......Fix my bike...:) :) clean my drivetrain, help me when something is "off"....because obviously if he rides, he'll be overly skilled in bike maintenance as well.

And he should be handsome. Not conventional. Not, "ohhhhmyyyygodddd he is soooooooooo hottttttttttttttt." In fact, a bit goofy. A lot goofy. And smart. Smart guys are good. And if they happen to be on the fit, trim, leaner side, that's just perfect. Michael Phelps has a nice bod. In case anyone is taking notes.

I love to laugh. If tears are flowing from my eyes, its usually just me laughing till my belly hurts from this funny guy. Because really, don't you just feel better when you laugh. And bonus: You smile, so that makes you feel good.

He's out there. Who knows where. But I'll meet him.


Oh, and the MO-JO, I got that back on my 3.5 hr ride this am. First time in months I am craving a stage race. A big, fat juicy hunk of stage race. .....with a side order of hot sexy cyclist man for dessert......TBC....:)