Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Miles and Smiles :)


How is it that the more miles I am able to run, soar through time on my bike, and fly and drive to races in amazing place = joy, happiness, freedom and bliss? How is it that the more I help others live their dreams, feel good in their bodies, believe in their own amazing potential = happiness, satisfaction, and inspiration coming back to me?

I love this circle that never ends. It is spiraling upward all of the time. Even when things are difficult for me, or hardships hit, I live them, can feel them, react at times, but ultimately use them as platforms to jump even higher. That is what is happening. I love it. I am so in love with what I have learned over the first 3 decades of my life. I feel I have lived and died a thousand lives. Each time I learn so much but also learn that the depth of what is out there to live and learn is that much greater than I ever could have imagined before.

I still owe a lot of money in dental bills. I still live in a room with my son in my dear friend's basement, but I am so happy. I have a beautiful running company Newton Running out of Boulder Colorado who keeps me in shoes. I have the amazing Team Unlimited company Xterra who has always stood by me and believed in me even when I was sick. I know who my real friends are, I know what my body is capable of and what it will do very soon. I love that!

I love it that I am able to continue the circle again of me helping others live beautiful lives and they helping me to do the same.

What have I learned for certain among 1,000 other things? Dream big and live. Because those dreams will come true. Mine are coming true every day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Prep


Wow. I can't believe it is almost Christmas. This year has been super fun preparing for it as my four year old son, Canyon, finally gets it and is sooooo excited! I have never bought a tree before, but he really wanted one, so during a break from work I went out and got one. Tree, stand, lights, ornaments. Yikes! That was expensive. I wanted to have it up and ready for him to decorate when I took him home from daycare as a surprise. Trying to put the tree into the stand, and get it upright and straight was a big job for me. I finally got it in, stood back and it was still crooked. In the meantime I filled a huge gallon pitcher of water, came back to adjust it, and somehow managed to knock the entire thing over on top of me. I knocked over the water in the process. Ugh. By the time I got the tree back up, decided I loved it crooked, cleaned up water and pine needles from everywhere, I barely had time to make it back to work. Made me start to lament that I had to be the mom and the dad for him. Just for a moment though. It is okay. It made it all worth it though when I brought Canyon home later that evening and he told me it was the most beautiful tree in the world. Almost made me cry. He is so great!

Santa is another story. Which leads me to yet another example of how much I love and appreciate all of my incredible clients. Brent Lorimer whom I personal train and give massage, asked me if he could visit Canyon as Santa. Of course! What a surprise for him when Santa came bursting through the door yesterday along with an Irish elf. They were so funny. They told Canyon they lived in Ireland now as the North Pole was getting too cold for his old bones. He even spoke with an Irish accent. He was great. He teased Canyon and myself (especially on my inability to figure out my camera), laughed a great laugh and told Canyon exactly how he liked his cookies and milk. Canyon has been reminding me of that one ever since! I think he made both of our days. Thanks Brent!

Other than that, Christmas for me has come so fast. I am healed from my previous injury to my pubic bone with my bike, I have been through another root canal, raced a world Championship and placed 7th female overall! You can read about that on my New Age Athlete site. I didn't end up racing cyclocross nationals unfortunately as my time away from my son once I returned from Hawaii was growing too long for both of us. Now, I am working a lot, resting for next season, and dreaming and planning of all of the wonderful things to come in 2010. I just turned 30 on the 12th of this month. I made a promise to myself that my 30's were going to be the best ever. I am so excited for everything!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Down and Out

I have celebrated and cherished the last couple of months finally seeing health, fitness, and my inner light improve. Everything has been going up! This last Wednesday put another dent in my progress. I worked early in the morning from 5-9 AM, went on a fabulous 8 mile tempo run and then went home to hop on my road bike for a couple hours. The ride went well and I was on my way home when my bike malfunctioned.

I was at an intersection at a red light balancing in my pedals. The light turned green and I powered hard to get on top of my gears. A few strokes into it and all of a sudden my forward motion turned into a crazy propulsion clear across the busy intersection. How I didn't get hit or hit a car or go down all the way? Skills, or help or I don't know. When I came to a stop still upright, I noticed a severe pain in my pubic bone. I limped over to the side of the road to check out the bike damage.

Apparently my lock ring on my cassette cracked thus allowing the cassette to come loose. This in turn threw my chain (I thought it broke, but nope) at exactly the wrong time. Somehow even with searing pain in my groin, I rode my bike the last couple of miles home. When I took my bike shorts off, I was appalled to find they were soaked in blood. So I was off the the ER. Again. Hours later, with over two inches of stitches sewn into the flesh below my public bone, I went home.

The next morning I somehow worked, no workout though. Went to the miracle chiropractor Greg Freebairn (best I have ever been to by the way) where he put both of my SI joints, back, neck, femur, and pubic ramus back into place. Friday I worked a full day. By the end of the day I was hurting more than ever. In my efforts to massage and train and take care of my son and many of the people I love, it led to the muscles around my back and pelvis to completely lock. Friday night I decided it would definitely be a good idea to go to a weekend yoga seminar I had planned to attend. I made it through about 20 minutes of it before my body locked up so hard that I had to lay down the next two hours and could hardly get up to go home. Saturday I was flat on my back with ice packs all day. I started to worry that I had fractured my pelvis in my accident. I certainly hit my top tube hard enough. Ironically the pain I felt the most was not in my pubic area but in my low back and sacrum. Today I received some much needed body work. The back still really hurts and I can barely walk. But, I can stand up straight.

I have never had an injury where swimming, biking, running, yoga, walking, basically everything is out. I am beginning to panic. I have Xduro worlds in Hawaii Dec 6. I have cyclocross nationals in Bend, Oregon Dec 10-13. I am out of commission. I am doing my best to stay positive, breathe, put good nutrients into my body, sleep, and intention a miracle that I will be back running and biking with a completely healthy body in time to be ready for my races.

Breathe, focus on the highest good happening, appreciate what I do have, love and accept the help that is being offered by so many caring friends to me. Thoughts become things I believe. So I intention my body to come back soon ready to go fast and strong and light! Thank you everyone who has shown me encouragement and offered me help. It has helped me so very much!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And it Just Keeps Getting Better

Picture of Trey, the PR dude of XTERRA and a super awesome friend!Last Saturday I had the extreme pleasure of racing the XDURO half marathon trail run up Wheeler Canyon to Snowbasin Resort. This was in conjunction with the XTERRA triathlon nationals. Nationals moved to my home state of Utah from Tahoe this year. Even though my heart ached to be racing the championship, I had to put it in perspective and be pleased and excited to race the trail run and see many good friends.

Race morning was crazy as I promised a friend I would pick him up from his hotel in downtown Salt Lake City on my way up to Weber County for the race. Leave it to me, the girl who always gets lost while driving to go the wrong way (In my home town on a freeway I have driven hundreds of times. Ya.). I was so busy talking when I picked him up, that I took the wrong freeway (I-80) and didn't notice until I got to the airport! And of course I immediately got off that exit which I forgot also meant we were going to be taking a very early morning tour or the terminals! Yikes. Nice start.
My good and ever so patient friend Jeremy from Ketchum!
Finally 25 minutes delayed, we were back on I-15 heading to the race. First we had to drop my vehicle off at Snowbasin resort and then take the last shuttle down to Pineview reservoir for the start. We had only 30 minutes until race start to change, catch the shuttle, pick up race numbers and be on the line when we got to Snowbasin. Ahhh!!! Breathe Rachel, breathe! Is what I had to keep reminding myself. We will make it.

In the parking lot I was in such a hurry. I stripped down and threw on my race clothes (I found out later that was much to the surprise and utter speechlessness at the time of my poor friend--sorry again Jeremy!) and took off running to the bus barefoot and Newton shoes in hand. We made it to the race start thanks to our rock star bus driver with 3 minutes to spare. I picked up my number and ran to the start line blowing kisses to the XTERRA crew along the way. Ya. That was my warm-up other than the fact that my blood was pumping to the near bursting of my heart in anticipation.

It was one of those races that when I toed the line, I somehow knew was going to be awesome. Sometimes you just know. From the cannon and my first step, I knew this race was mine. I was so excited to be there running, feeling well, dancing forward and upward (2,600 ft elevation gain in the race!) through the dirt and rocks. Such a timeless feeling.
Me and Dmitri sporting our winning medals after the race. Closest I have to a podium shot as my camera malfunctioned at the wrong moment!
I was shocked and surprised when I saw the 11 mile mark. I still felt great. I could have run a lot longer. Was the race really almost over? I led the women's field from the start and traded places back and forth with a couple of the men. One in particular whom I will talk about in another post, Dimitri, is a 16 year old boy whom recognized me from Nationals in Bend. I effortlessly finished the last two miles and breaking the tape as the overall female winner (11th out of men and women) was such a sweet satisfaction. This was the first overall win I had since I became ill last July. It couldn't have come with any better company than my XTERRA family.
After the race is over a glance at the finish line and the beautiful scenery behind it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

National Xduro Trail Running Champion!

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to head to the fabulous Bend, OR on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Just as sweet was my reason to go. I packed up my running clothes and Newton running shoes and left for the airport. An hour later I had landed in one of the chillest towns I have ever visited.

First stop was to pick up registration in the Charming downtown Bend and meet up with my “XTERRA family” as they are the reason we have such a phenomenol world wide series to compete in. I love them. In the first five minutes, I had at least a dozen very welcome hugs and kisses.

The rest of the day was spent looking over the course, fueling, laughing with my friends and enjoying live music at the local Little Woody Beer Festival. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place and set of moments to further sweeten this race.

Race morning, I drank my green tea and a small protein shake for breakfast. Then I stretched and did 10 minutes of yoga sun salutations to energize my legs and lungs and focus on my goals for the race. Competition was stiff as the best runners from 25 states were there including NIKE championship athletes among others.

As the gun went off, it was one of those slow motion moments as I realized how much this race meant to me on so many levels. A year ago I had almost passed away due to massive parasites and the residual problems I’ve been working to overcome since. A year ago, I didn’t know if I would ever race again. Today as I toed the line in my hot pink Newtons, my heart sang with joy on a perfect sunny fall morning. I was excited to race, feel good, and inspire and be inspired by others.

The gun went off and everyone ran. I felt lucky that I had experience on my side as I set a pace slower than I wanted to, remembering this was a 13 mile race with hills and twists and switch backs. As we ran past the glistening Deschutes River and wound through the trails, my early pacing decision paid off as I started passing the female runners one by one. My much loved Newtons must have really stood out as several of the spectators started calling me “Pink Shoes!” I loved it. I smiled. As I crossed the finish line I realized I had met my goal. I won the national champion title for my age group and placed 5th overall female. Next up is worlds in Hawaii on December 6th!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Moving Forward :)

One thing I have learned in life is all things change. It is a universal law. Many things I gladly let go, while others I clung to with tears in my heart and a stinging to my eyes. I have watched my life change drastically over the last couple of years. My son's father left us, yet I had my greatest race season yet. The next year I thought I would have an even better season, but instead almost died from parasites and my own pushing of my body, mind, and soul until there was just nothing left.

This last year has been spent learning many more lessons of life. I tend to be fiercely independent. I got to a point though that I realized I was going to die if I didn't seek help. Some people told me I was courageous to battle so long alone. But what it really was and sometimes still remains are, my feelings of pride, cowardice, and of being unworthy of receiving from others no matter how much I give to them. To swallow this, allow my heart to soften and breakdown the chains by which I had bound it so tightly so I could find trust. Allowing people whom really wanted to help me have that opportunity. Wow. I never knew it could take so much.

This year I learned and remembered that everything has a place. I have received care from the western and eastern medical modalities. Countless forms of alternative care. The universe bringing me to races that there is no way I could have been able to afford to go to them, yet there I was. Inexpensive airplane tickets. Kind strangers allowing me to sleep on their floors and spare bedrooms. Generous race directors comping my entries on faith that my race would fare well. People I didn't even know inviting me to eat and speak and share each others stories. Wonderful new friends that I hold dear to my heart were met all along the way, sprinkled generously throughout it all.

One of the greatest helps I have received is from a kind dentist I had never met, but heard about the situation with my teeth. The extreme pain and infections from the decay, the tremendous amount of energy it took my body to deal with it ever since last fall, I don't know how I made it. He offered to help me with my teeth at his cost. The amount of work I needed and still need done is absolutely astounding to my mind, but he is beautiful and perfect and I will forever be grateful for his generosity. He lives in St. George so I typically leave on a Sunday, drive 4 hours to my parents' with my son. Stay overnight, in the morning get a wonderful southern Utah trail run in. Meet my sister to give her a swim lesson, which I love! Then she watches my son while I spend the remainder of the day with Dr. Jennings. He is a true artist and perfectionist in every way shape and form. If anyone has teeth that they think are beyond help or just want an incredible dentist and either live near St. George or don't mind traveling there for superb dentistry, let me know and I will put you in contact with him.

On top of all of this, little by little I am beginning to get to know my family again. It has been a long 10 years of misunderstandings on both parts. There were times when I didn't think I would ever seen them again, but now, partially because of my letting them in and them lightening their judgments, I feel closer to them than I have since I can remember.

Huge lessons learned, especially in trust of others, the universe, and my body. Sounds strange perhaps, but I know that for me to reach my greatest potentials in all aspects of life, trust is such a critical component. So what I have to look forward to the rest of the year are more awesome races (1 La Sportiva and 3 Xterra Xduro 1/2 trail marathons coming upon the horizon). The best thing about that, is I am finally coming into form. Other things are wonderful people and beautiful things in life as well as the possibly of achieving the best health I could ever imagine. 2nd chances (and for me 10th, and 20th, and on and on) in all aspects of life. Change is good!

More soon on new sponsors, a new team, and on and on. So excited!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jupiter Peak Weekend

Just like my beloved and very much missed triathlons, I am falling in love with the trail running scene. This year has been a very tough one with injuries, illness, etc. But, the contrast to the moments of joy and peace and excitement that are beginning to fill my life once again have so much more meaning.

Jupiter Peaks trail run in Park City, UT was just one of those moments. My body is still not in full form, I am 10 pounds over my typical race weight. How that happened? I'll just say it doesn't matter because it is all changing. My body is becoming healthier each day and with that, the weight will drop. On race morning, it was one of the most perfect days I can remember in a long time. Perfect weather, perfect everything.

Art drove me to my race (yay for me not having to drive!), when I got there, I saw so many familiar faces. Local friends who were there to race. Others working the scene. New racing friends I met from La Sportiva and other races I somehow found my way to through out the summer. I felt at home and excited. So excited that when I went out to do a warm-up, I ran about 10 steps, found friends, talked, turned my head, talked some more, found more friends, turned my head, saw a new face and made a new friend, and on and on until race start. Uh ya. So at least we know my voice and my spirit were warmed. I feel like when my energy is soaring, nothing else matters. I can do anything at that point.

So the race started. I focused on my breath, the moment and not worrying that super fast Megan Kimmel and Caitlin Smith were far up the road. I am not where they are. Someday soon, I know I will be back. In the meantime, I set out to remember why I love to run, adore nature, community, being in the moment. My uphill to Jupiter Peak went quite well. The down hill was a bit slow as I am still a little gun shy about my falls I took at Mt. Diablo and Barr Mtn. I am getting over it, though. I laughed at how I could run up a hill relatively fast, (3,000 ft. is that a hill or a mountain? Dunno, it was up!) and get smoked in the downhill by as much as 10 minutes by some of the runners who crested the top at the same time I did. I will be there soon. I know it.

I ended up third overall woman. Yay! It is my best finish since I raced at Diablo. I feel so lucky. I thought often about giving up on the season during the times when I would get sick again, or have to work through another injury. But there is no way I would do that. My heart would never let me. Running and biking and racing in general reminds me to live and love life with all of its ups and downs.

One of the coolest things of all about finally beginning to come into form 6 months later than usual? I still have lots of racing left to do this year and an eager mind and body to do it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Seattle Came to Visit....and Extended Her Stay....

Here in the 801, June is typically HOT with the occasional summer rain shower a welcome blessing (just so it is not on race day!) This year Mother Nature decided to mix things up a bit. So starting right around June first, it began to rain. Okay. This is cool. Then it kept raining, and raining, and raining. After the first week, most were saying, okay, sun? And it kept raining and raining, and then I get word from my friend in Seattle that it is sunny. Hmmm....getting worried. Way too many rides and runs in the rain and mud.

I am beginning to feel a bit Januaried. Not good. Each winter when it is dark and gray, I swear I am moving, but then the sun comes out. And I stay. But this year, I was beginning to think Seattle was looking pretty good. I thrive on sunshine. My entire aura and energy is maintained by sunshine and hugs. By week three, I was done. Bail out plan A, B, C, and D were in the works. I can't handle being injured and sick and dealing with gloomy gray skies. But then today happened.

The sun came out. The weather warmed, and I saw the valley so beautiful. More than ever. Lush and green and calm. Sweet. Seattle went home. My mind is clearing, my heart is dreaming, and I am remembering. I have been down before. When I came back, it was so beautiful and wonderful. I will be back soon. The sun is coming out. When it fully shines, it will be the greatest and most beautiful moment to infinity I have yet experienced!

Rise and Fall, Ebb and Tide. This is the way of it.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Believe

This is a picture of me last July right after the Downieville bike race in California. So dirty, so tired, so happy and full of life. I miss that strength. I miss that shining light. All I wanted to do was smile. It was my favorite part of me. Now pictures of me show no smile and my eyes are enveloped in a sadness I can't quite shake. I am embarassed about my teeth. What has happened to them. I look at my body and yearn for the funny tan lines and little tired muscles after a day of racing and enjoying sunshine. Tears fall every day along with feelings of vulnerability and grief for what once was. I used to think it was a no brainer to accept 'what is'. I'd been through a lot like many others.

This one has knocked me completely off my feet and sent me rolling and banging to the bottom of a cliff. I am working my way up. Pain. Physically I have never experienced so much pain in my life. Emotionally and mentally some days I struggle to keep going. I need to keep remembering to take one step at a time and that little falls back are there to help me keep the focus. Gratitude. For all I have. Acceptance. For what is at this moment. These are my tests emotionally. Ouch. Purpose? I want my little boy to have a strong beautiful mommy. There are lots of adventures, races, moments in our future and I want to be there with him to experience them. I just need to remember to keep believing in miracles. I need some.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Coming Back


Since last July, I have had a difficult time all of the way around. From being debilitated by parasites and injuries through the last half of 2008 to finally realizing I am not invincible in the first half of 2009. Wow. What do I have to go on? My immune system and my teeth seem to be the sad remaining reminders of the parasites. I have now lost 3 teeth. It is a daily battle mostly emotionally to rebuild my teeth. I truly believe I can and will. Some times I am losing and sometimes I am winning. All I know is I will not give up. In addition, any time I over do it, I pay for it. I get sick, I get another injury, I am too tired to do my day to day things of working, training, raising my awesome son. But then the sun comes out again and I find within my heart that spark that will never dim.

I have visited these feelings before about 10 years ago when I experienced a near fatal head injury donating blood. I knew in my heart that no matter what anyone else said, I would be back. I relearned to read, finished college, had a son whom I am raising as a single mom, and have a great career as a massage therapist, yoga and pilates teacher. Not to mention many beautiful memories racing triathlons and trail runs with the Xterra circuit. Better than ever. It took a while, but I got there.

Now the pulling of my heart to get out and live is much stronger than the physical ailments I am experiencing right now. Life is ever changing. This moment will not last forever. I have now run two races this year. One was the Salt Lake City half marathon. I ran a 1:27:44 and finished 8th overall female out of 2,544. Not bad for a sick girl with very little training. And now the diablo 25k. Again, minimal training, a really hard fall, and I still finished a solid 3rd place female over all. Then there is the road bike racing. I am climbing well, endurance is building, I am hanging with the big girls (yay!!!) and a deep inner strength is speaking louder each day that I am coming back. The voice will soon call so loud that it will drown out all of the tough things right now and make them seem small.

What have I learned? Appreciate always what you have right now. Love your health. Love beautiful days. Love the difficult days as they provide a contrast as to just how beautiful the good ones are. Find reasons to feel joy and relish in it. When you look in a mirror, look deep into your eyes. Fall in love with the soul you see. Remember that is the real you. The real me is not the one physically that is seen by most at the moment, with tired eyes, injured teeth, bruised body. The real me is light and perfect and anyone who can't see that isn't looking deeply. Soon, I will shine inside and out again. Right now I am gathering strength.

And when I come back, I will be stronger than I ever knew I could be.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

End of March?

Ok. Now this is getting crazy. My year is flying by and I seem to have missed the break. I am working on bridging back and getting on board. I am creating a cool website for athletes looking for healthy holistic alternatives to all of the disconnecting craziness out there and to bring one back into their body in order to reach their greatest potentials. It will give its humble debut in a few weeks. Working on taxes, hanging out with my cutest little boy in the whole world, giving massage,teaching yoga and pilates, running, and riding, and my own yoga practice.....and on and on.

Notice I didn't put swimming? Yep. That was not a mistake. I am switching gears this year for sure and putting a huge X on my tri's for a while. It has been a tough decision, but this little body of mine needs some more TLC. At this point I am planning to get back into them within a year or two, but in the mean time, I am giving trail running a real go. Plans are to race as many as I can of the La Sportiva mountain trail series as well as to hit some Xterra Xduros and end with nationals and worlds there. For biking, I am finally getting some sweet help with my skills and am going to have a great time mixing it up in the dirt this year all the way around. Sooooo........that is that. First race is coming soon. Super psyched to get it rolling.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Sabbatical?

Wow. I can't believe I haven't updated since November. To where did the time fly away? Anyway, hand is healed, shoulder from the crash is in the works. What else? Turned 29. Canyon is four. Still working on rebuilding my body and teeth from the parasites. I am also looking for my own little apartment or little house or whatever. I love my roommate, but both Canyon and I feel it is time to find our own space. If anyone has suggestions on something that is not too outrageous, puhlease let me know!!!!! But for now, training, working, dreaming.....of warm weather and a healthy (fast little) body!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last weekend's cross races...

So check out the Ladies on Wheels site for my take on the races from last weekend. I wrote the race report for them! Other than that, good things are coming back except for the fact it is snowy and sooooo very cold today. I am one who loves warm weather so much that if I had an opportunity to move to a warmer winter place, I would love it. Until then, I'll keep racing my crazy sports as my own form of coping!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Color Purple

I will spare the details, but this year has certainly turned into my year for physical pain. Last year was emotional. Which carried into this year and turned physical? I don't know. Saturday I crashed hard at the cyclocross race. Going from 25 mph out of a short steep hill and wiping out in a loose corner at that speed into gravel. OUCH. The good thing? I forgot about all of my other ailments and ow-ees for a while.

Pretty much my entire right side is still one big swollen purple bruise. Like I think I have said before. I love purple. Just not when it is on my body! By the way, thanks to Art, Bart, the nice guy who went and bought me a bag of ice (was I really that out of it not to figure out who that was?), Mike K, Terry, etc. who helped me out and dealt with little girl crying big alligator tears.

Here is the interesting thing. Physical pain is one thing. I've had a lot of it over the years and can deal with it. When you are told though that most likely you have a broken hand and that is what you use to make your living, emotions can over ride all else. I already have been struggling financially like many since I split up with my sons dad. When the thought entered my mind that I may not be able to work at all for a while, I panicked. I started wondering how I would pay my bills, take care of my little Canyon, and on and on.

The strange thing. I was sitting on the grass leaning against Art's car freaking out. At the same time, I was about 15 feet away from Terry McGuiness . T-Mac is so amazing. He was the commentator for the day. He is positive, kind, strong, beautiful, and living with cancer. Thinking about how incredibly he appears to handle it made me choke up even more. At least I can ride my bike. At least I am supposed to recover fully from my parasites, etc. etc. Watching him in his grace was such a reality check. Talk about a person who lives the big ring. I can only hope to someday become as strong as him.

Here is the lucky thing. I got my hand x-rayed that evening. By some miracle, I just had a deep bone bruise. So still a lot of pain, but I know it is going to feel better much sooner than a break would.

So what did I do? Monday back on the bike. On the road--tried the dirt, but the bumps didn't prove at all forgiving on my hand. Tuesday even dragged out my road bike and went on a nice beautiful ride to the top of Millcreek with my good friend Jamie. And, I gave a massage without a problem.

Thank goodness the sun always comes out after a storm. Looking forward to lots more sunshine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hoping I wouldn't be sad

In the ideal world within my head and heart, I would be boarding a plane tomorrow morning to continue my journey of love I have racing the Xterra off-road triathlon series. This is Worlds. I qualified in May and worked all summer and part of fall in an effort to go and show myself what I am capable of in this rigorous sport I have become so addicted to. Instead I am home trying to put my body and life back together. I know there will be other races. But still. Being real. I am very sad right now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reminder

One of the things I need to remember is that no matter how good I become at something, there is always a new level to aspire towards, something else I can learn. Or as I have experienced lately, setbacks. It is all part of the journey. Not just in sport. These peaks and valleys I keep thinking of. Universal law. To each and every thing, there is an equal and opposite pull. I know that well. But I forget. So very soon, I am going to rise above my hard times and enjoy yet the highest peak I have ever experienced. I am trying to be open to allow the universe its way of bringing it into fruition.

At the cross race (my first this year) I was reminded by many of the need to enjoy where I am. Again. Despite being sick, having no clue how to go over the barriers properly (thus falling all over the place and losing lots of time each of the 3 barriers), and of course it being my first cross race, I managed to pull off a third place finish in the women's A field.

After the race, I was excited, but immediately rewound to the race and criticized each point I could have done better. Good grief. Another lesson. Okay there were some who had a better race than I. There were some that it just wasn't their day. Just like for me, for whom this past year just wasn't mine for racing well in my triathlons. Thank goodness for Dayna, Mama T., and just about everyone else who watched me beat myself up, stop me and remind me to celebrate. There is always another race. There is always something to learn. But be happy for the opportunity to be out on a perfect fall day at an awesome race put on by Utah Cyclocross . Be happy I felt good energy wise which is the first time during a race I have felt good in a long time. Be happy I finished, kept the rubber side down, was in the company of good friends, wow. I am so very lucky.

I know what I need to work on. Barriers, yes. Faith and a good attitude. absolutely. I am learning to be okay with who and where I am. It is hard for me. But I am getting it. Thanks for everyone who helps me and lifts me to whatever is next.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reality Check

So when it comes to my athleticism, why do I seem to be the only one not to notice when my season is over? Now that I have officially been forced to end my season early and call off my Xterra Worlds race (don't want to admit how many tears that one took), I am finally looking back over the season to find out what happened. Hmmm.....Over the years when I have felt even half-way decent, I seem to find within myself the unbelievable ability to suffer. Squared. I have had several races where I literally force myself to race hard until pass out and wake up in an ambulence. I did learn to back off from those episodes, but I apparently still have a lot to learn.

So the last few seasons even with crazy chaos going on in my non-racing part of life, I seem to like to race week after week after week. At times I'll do 2-3 races in one weekend. The problem is when I notice I am not recovering. The logical person would back off and take a break. Being me, I tell body to keep going and we'll take a break soon, which turns into later and later. Finally my poor body rebels and forces me to stop.

Which leads me to my actual end of my season which was Scofield which I won by over 7 minutes. Tired. The next morning I woke up and couldn't walk. I had nearly ruptured my achilles tendon. My version of resting was doing lots and lots of Astanga and power yoga, swimming, and riding Super Crest. Not to mention racing more bike races to leave out the run and a few triathlons which I am certain didn't do my achilles any favor. Now looking back, I don't think that was such a good idea.

Subpar races were the least of my problems. My health is so scary right now, I am just that. Scared out of my mind. Between my inability to recover, an achilles injury, emergency room visit half-way through the Brianhead Epic, dicovery of massive parasites in my colon (main reason I got injured and sick in the first place), being chronically tired and losing teeth because of them. Now I also have my little heart completely broken looking at the pieces my body is in.

New mission: Try to put body back together. No wait. Rejuvinate body completely and give it the rest and the sleep and good things it needs so I can be healthy and happy and crazy (with hopefully better judgement of when to stop) again.

Why must I do this? Number one is I am a single mom with an adorable son I need to raise. One of the worst things I have ever experienced is my little boy asking his mommy why she can't get up. The next worst is him being afraid of me because I'm sick and can't take care of him how he needs to be cared for. Ya. I apparently can be THAT selfish.

Number two is being a single mom, not working is not an option. So with that said, I want to feel good when I work. My line of work depends on it. By the way, for anyone living or visiting the 801, I now have many more openings available for massage sessions, personal training, yoga, and Pilates if you are interested. Yes, I was working out that much!

Wow. Thanks to everyone who saw what was happening. Warned me to back off, and when I didn't, loved me anyway.

So some hard lessons learned, a long road ahead, but I know I will become healthy again and be giving my share of ass kicking soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bitter Sweet

Race Morning at Beautiful Lake Tahoe
My 2008 Xterra Nationals weekend was one that taught me the toughest of lessons, yet showed me a very welcome breath of humanity. I will never forget it. First off, the fact I made it there is a complete miracle. Because of my health and fund shortage, I had pretty much written my Nationals weekend off. One of my dear brothers (not blood, but may as well be) Lance called me up and told me he couldn't imagine Nationals without me. With that said, he sent me a plane ticket he found "laying around the office". So, just a couple days before the race, all of a sudden I was back in. I called Xterra to make certain I still had my slot. Yep. Cool.

Delta is the airline I would be flying with. Uh oh. They typically had a $125 bike flying price tag each way. I double checked to make certain. Good hell. They now charge $175 plus a $50 dollar 'second' bag fee. And they wonder why they went bankrupt? You have got to be kidding me. There was no way I could pay the $450 total price tag they wanted for my 23 pound bicycle. I spent the entire afternoon calling anyone I knew and some I didn't know looking for a ride for my favorite Cannondale Scalpel to Tahoe. No luck. So with leap of faith I would find one to race when I got there, I took my measurements, pedals, and saddle off my bike and flew to Reno without her on Friday morning. Lances too cool girlfriend Gina picked me up from the airport (took the day off for me. Yes, people are so amazing) and dropped me off at Lance's. He didn't get home from work until late, so we didn't make it to the venue until Saturday.

I made a promise that this year I wouldn't race the trailruns the day before my big races. I get so excited about them that I sabotage my important races. I made true on my promise until this one. The reason being is that I checked the field and knew that I was capable of winning. The top woman in the 10k gets a free airplane ticket to Hawaii which would be my answer as to how I would get to my Worlds race at the end of this month. Surprisingly I felt really good. I finished the race aboout 30 seconds faster than last year when I raced it in the snow. I was so excited as I had won. That is until the second place girl decided that I certainly must have cut the course. She got a couple of her friends to second her opinion. Xterra policy is that if two people confirm a discrepancy, then whoever the accused is guilty? Wow. I am both sad and sickened. Poor Kahuna Dave whom I love so much disqualified me. That one stung. All I can go by is my own knowing that I ran an honest course. I would never cheat. Ever. The thing that hurt more is that I knew I only had one run like that in me for the weekend due to my health. Big breath. It's okay. It's just a race. I hope the girl who accused me is happy and that she can feel good about her win? There will be next year. I know. The other thing I feel bad about is imagining Dave in his position. What would I have done? I hope he knows I won't take it personally. He is a very amazing person and hugely responsible for putting Xterra series into motion. Because of him, I have many happy memories racing over the past few years. Still, I couldn't help but shed a few tears.Robert Larioza of Look Cycle USA Saved the Day and Let me Borrow One of Their Awesome Bikes! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!!!!

But after the race, I had another mission. Find a bicycle to race the next day. I had decided that no matter what, I was racing if I found a bike. I talked to a few people who had possibilities and even a sweet girl who raced on the Saturday sport race that offered hers if I found nothing else. Beautiful Colee (one of the announcers for the big races) said she would make an announcement for me. In the end, Robert from Look bicycles came to my rescue. His bikes are so light, carbon, beautiful. I almost didn't ask him if I could use one because, hey, I race for Cannondale. Somehow I got brave and went and asked him what could I pay him to allow me to ride one of his incredible bikes on Sunday morning. Without a question or a blink, he smiled and told me I could just take one as long as he got it back after my race. Wow. I was speechless. I was wearing my Monavie/Cannondale clothing. Clearly raced for another company and it didn't matter. He saw I needed help and stepped up to the plate. He had a perfect size small for me in both his hard tail and full suspension models. I decided to try the hard tail. I went and got my pedals and saddle and they put them on, helped me get fit to it and I rode it around. Shockingly, even though I have been on a completely different bike all year, I felt at home. Yes! Now I was excited! I was really meant to race this one.

Saturday was cold and rainy. They actually canceled the swim for that day's triathlon due to the swells raging through the lake. Sunday morning was different. I woke up to chilly, yet bright blue skies. I was so excited. I gathered my things and got into Lances 4-runner for the 45 minute drive to Incline Village. I had my breakfast with me but as I took a bite, something felt wrong. I had only bitten into bread, but I broke one of my molars completely in half. I have a long frustrating history concerning my teeth. The sad emotions instantly welled up and overflowed into sobs. Instead of putting on my race face and focusing on my performance, I cried as the blood seeped into my mouth from my injured tooth. The pain was the least of it. Fear that it would hurt so much that I couldn't race, or I would make it worse, or on and on and on my brain and heart wouldn't stop panicking. I forgot about eating. Forgot about drinking. I ran and found Janet (Xterra President) when we arrived at the venue and cried to her. I just couldn't stop. For a moment I decided I shouldn't race. She looked at me and said, "You came all this way and went through so much to do this race, you do it." That was all it took. Poor Lance came with me as I picked up the Look bike from the friendly company. I cried as I set up transition, donned my wetsuit and headed to the water just in time for a quick warm-up.Swim Start
Shocking what I wreck had I turned into. When the gun went off, I made a decision to finish. No matter what. I swam as best as I could. Slower than usual, but I did it. I ran up to transition got my bike and started riding. Here was the problem. I was so afraid about my tooth, that I didn't dare eat. I hardly drank either. Not good. I pedaled cautiously up Tunnel Creek road and onto the Flume trail. I took each leg of the bike moment by moment. I didn't dare push too hard in case I caused more bleeding or myself to bonk. While I rode, I enjoyed noticing how my bike for the day was so light and responsive. It literally did everything I could possibly want a bike to do for me. It tracked so well and went over every rock without a complaint. Climbing I took easy as well even though it is my forte'. Despite my minimum effort, it climbed like a dream. Wow! How lucky am I to have experienced that? I still love my Scalpel of course, but I was very happy on the Look as well! At the end of the bike, I got back to transition to realize my shoes, etc. were MIA. I looked frantically for almost 8 minutes. Crap. Tears streaming down my face. Again, I finally found my gear. Someone had dumped their wetsuit, etc. on my stuff and completely covered any sign of it. I pushed my feet quickly into my shoes and ran out of transition so very fast. My race the day before and my lack of hydration and nutrition came soon to haunt me. I decided with all things considered I needed to back off my usual pace and just make certain I finished in one piece. I confirmed in my heart as I finished the first of the two-lap course that I had indeed raced an honest race the day before as I knew exactly each twist and turn throughout. That is all I wanted for peace in that drama. I finally crossed the finish line with my mouth throbbing and tears again streaming down my face over 20 minutes slower than my time the year before.

Bitter sweet. That is all I can say. Physically and emotionally I have been on quite the rollercoaster. I have felt that no one cares. It made me wonder why I kept trying. Initially I thought that because I made it to the race, that maybe by some miracle I was to win. Nope. 6th place in my division despite everything is actually pretty darn amazing. I am learning it can't be about the win. That is nice, but it is not everything. I was brought to the race to remember that I have such an incredible family in the Xterra world. So many of them played a role in reminding me how loved I am. I saw familiar faces and met new faces. All of them hugged me, helped me, reminded me that there is so much to Xterra than just the racing. From Look who gave me a bike to ride to John who gave me Motrin so I could survive the race pain wise, to Dave and Trey and Tom and Janet, Gene, etc. etc. etc. I was reminded that I need to and can rise above my current challenges.
Me Almost Finished with the Run
I am home now. I am shocked and stunned about the entire weekend. Yet, for the first time in quite a while I am at peace. Nothing has changed in my health status. I can hardly eat with my broken tooth. Finances are still a concern, but I know I will be taken care of. I always am. I simply forgot. It took an insane weekend to remind me. Being stubborn certainly has its pros and cons. I am back on track and determined to come back healthier and stronger than ever. It feels good to know it.

Been a While

Geez. I didn't realize it had been so long since I'd written a post. I've received a flood of emails asking me for updates! So sorry everyone for not writing. Okay, so here goes! First my health. It is strange that in some ways I am feeling better. I found out what the main thing was that was wrong. Parasites. I don't recommend them. I had four kinds that had essentially filled up my entire colon. Where did I get them, I don't know. I don't eat meat, but I have been to some 3rd world countires, swam in many different lakes of which I am certain I ended up drinking some of the water while I swam, etc. Stress weakens the immune system. I have had a lot of it lately. My doctor thinks that because my immune system was down, that the parasites took full advantage.

With those buggers feeding off everything I ate and robbing me of my nutrients from the inside out, one of the things that were largely effected were my teeth. I've had many problems with them over the years. 11 months ago they were stable. With everything health wise I have gone through over the last few months, they took a big hit. Currently, I can hardly chew. I lost one of my molars which broke off at the root. Yesterday, on my way to race, I broke another molar in half. Being me, I still raced. Nerve pain is hard anyway. Racing an Xterra with that and being an emotional wreck because of it did me in. I cried the entire hour before my race, I cried the entire bike leg, and once the race was over, I cried for another hour. Needless to say, I didn't have a very fast race. What is wrong with me? The thing I am really frustrated about is the cost of dentists. I already can barely pay rent and take care of my son. If I didn't have some very dear amazing friends in my life, I also wouldn't be racing. I will talk of them soon. So if anyone has a dentist solution for me, let me know! I can't believe how nervous I am about this whole thing. My body isn't recovering very well either. I am taking many herbs, etc, etc and working with a very good natural doctor to get my body healthy. It takes time though. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have no patience. One of these days, I am going to learn!

The other thing? No matter what, I am going to come out on top. I am going to rebuild my body, fix my teeth, take really good care of my son, race faster than ever, and help other people as I have been helped by so many lately. One of the lessons I am relearning, is that there are many people who care. I am learning to accept help and love and find peace in knowing that I have many friends. So thank you all. Later today I am going to talk specifically about my weekend in Lake Tahoe for Xterra Nationals and the amazing things that happened.

For now, I've got to get ready to catch an airplane

Monday, September 8, 2008

Climbing Back Up

Okay, so I am having a difficult time. Again. Peaks and valleys. I love riding the peaks so much! When you hit the valley floor, and look up at the mountain you've got to climb, sometimes it seems impossible.

I put so much responsibility on myself. Be a great mom. Be a great racer. Be a fantastic massage therapist, personal trainer, healthy chef, etc. etc. It is a balancing act. You would think that knowing and trying to do all of the healthy things I know that I would never get sick. Unfortunately I am. The problem is I don't look sick. I am very good at acting and pretending everything is fine. Ending up in hospital again finally gave it away to a lot of people including myself.

It is a good thing I am a fighter. But this one is proving to be a tough battle. I really really like to win. Unfortunately I am losing this one. I have had to retreat for a while and make a new plan. The one I was following, race and pretend I'm not suffering isn't working anymore. One of the toughest things at the moment is backing down early in the season. I am injured (achilles is still bothering me) and I have some scary things going on with my abdominal region and my teeth that have taken a change for the worse. With a broken heart, I have had to back way down from training and it looks as though I am not going to be able to race my Xterra Nationals or Xduro trail run nationals.

I am keeping my Xterra Worlds slot hoping things will turn around by then. I am doing everything I can to get better. Hopefully if I get my health turned around I will finally be able to race again as I know I can. I have silently struggled for eight years thinking I could manage things by myself and fix myself. I am learning that sometimes instead of being the one who takes care of my world, I need to accept help too.

Lessons in letting go, pride, being a human (I keep hoping I'm invincible--nope), learning to embrace different emotions, facing fear. Wow. Just when I thought I was reaching a peak. I lost my footing and hit the valley hard. Luckily I have yoga. I have some friends who are trying to understand, I have sunshine, my son, I can still ride---just a little slower. I can still work. I can face each day one at a time and focus on healing.

Art, Ramon, and many others keep reminding me that I can either keep racing sick and continue to get weaker, perhaps never recover, or I can be brave and face everything and trust and prove I can be healthy. Then I can race like I used to years ago.

It is just so funny how I realize how much I love to compete in my triathlons, cycling, and running events. When I can't race, I feel like I've lost my best friend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tough Road Back

Hmmm....what do I say? I keep thinking that I'm Wonder Woman until proven otherwise. Again, and again. My Xterra last weekend was tough. Having done no real intensity for a month and then hitting a Regional Championship hurt a bit. I did finish, but at a cost. I had a really upset stomach the entire bike and had to soft pedal when I needed to go hard. Then on the run, first run in a month. A bit (ok, a lot) painful. But, I finished. Wasn't the time I hoped for. Wasn't the place I hoped for. Sometimes you just have to take finishing period as a victory.

Sorry, no pics from this one, but Xterra must not have noticed my limp as I ran. They put a picture of me running on the front page of their site! Sometimes I am so lucky!

So then my next brilliant idea was that I needed to go and race with my team at the American Classic in Brianhead. It was a four day mountain bike race with a 6 mile prologue on the first afternoon. This was followed by the next three days averaging over 50 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing per day up to 11,300 feet. I thought this would be a great way for me to get back into shape and ready for my national and world championships I have coming up.

The prologue was fine. Got the jitters out of me. Art won his and started the big days with the leaders jersey! Sweet!

The first big day was great for me. I finished and felt fine. I hydrated well and ate better than I am typically able to during a ride. Good. But that evening, I don't know if I had food poisoning or what, but I threw up all night. Being me, I still raced the second day. I don't remember feeling quite so horrible during a ride. Ever. I could hardly drink and couldn't eat the whole ride. After this race, I started to realize I was in trouble. I threw up constantly and was dizzy and had a massive headache that led me to seeing three of everything. Finally late afternoon, I made history in terms of my own personal self. I begged Art to take me to the ER. I thought maybe an IV and I'd be good to go. All better, right?

Well, eight hours and two saline IV bags and a potassium bag later, poor Art drove me back from the ER to our hotel. I passed out instantly. This was after midnight. My race was over obviously. Art had been holding on to a strong third at this point and was supposed to race the final leg at 8 AM. In the morning, I couldn't get up. Jeremiah whom I believe races for Trek was staying with us offered to take Art to the race start. I didn't argue. I fell asleep again until 9:30. For the record, my typical wake-up time is between 5 and 6 AM. Me sleeping in even past 7 is unheard of!

When I first got to town, I raced the prologue and then drove Canyon to my parent's new home in Toquerville. I decided that since I wasn't racing the final stage I would get a head start home and go pick him up early and then be back to the race for the finish. One problem. No keys. Crap! Art accidentally took them to the race. My parents were so nice though. I called them and told them what happened (leaving out most details of course!). They offered to drive Canyon to me to save me having to drive. Now thinking about it, me driving would not have been a good idea seeing as I still couldn't walk in a straight line. So thanks mom and dad!

Sadly, due to Art not getting the sleep and other things he needed since I apparently was completely helpless and out of sorts on Saturday, Art had to drop out of the race half-way through the final leg. I feel so bad and so responsible. This race was important and he was doing great. I am so sorry Art. But thank you so very much for helping me!

So anyway, here are some pics from the race.
Art and Canyon Ready to Start the Prologue (By the way thank you Bart and Roger for watching C while I rode).
Fellow teammate Sue Butler and Her awesome husband Tim!

Superman Matt Ohran did above and beyond the call of duty. He sacrificed his race for our team and instead turned his wheels in for a wrench. Ho took care of bikes, business, etc., etc., etc. Thank you so very much for everything!

Matt and Art working miracles on Art's wheel. Three flats in one race?!? They fixed that!Even little me managed to blow out my rear shock and completely finish off my front brake pads. I love my bike!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Game On!

Wow! I have been soooo incredibly busy lately, I hardly have had time to blink. So hopefully the miracle has happened and I will be healthy enough to race on Saturday for the Xterra Mountain Region Championship! I feel so out of shape! I haven't run a step for almost a month, haven't had time to swim for a week and last bike ride was Monday! Good Grief.

But, at this point I am going so stir crazy, I feel as though I could compete in a full Ironman and win just with the craziness in my head of wanting to go hard. Could be a perfect recipe for a great race! As long as my leg holds up and I play smart, oh ya and hopefully haven't added too much girth to my belly not being able to keep up with my usual late summer regime, I just might pull off a good one! I'll let you know how it goes. Oh ya, and I'll also update on what I have been doing the last few weeks. Of course it has been a 90 mile an hour whirlwind of craziness. Oh ya, and I'll also have a picture show to go with it....

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Day Just For Me

Sometimes I get so caught up in being the people pleaser. I find that when I get busy, the first thing to go is my own self care. For the past couple of months, I found myself in an extreme form of that scenario. I was getting less and less sleep. Eating lower quality foods, not taking vitamins, forgot about juicing vegetables, rarely got massages or even took time to breathe. So as with any other time this has happened, I ended up with an injury. It seems it is my body's only way of getting me to slow down.

YOU WOULD THINK I WOULD LEARN! I do, I really do, but I forget fast too.

I am so lucky. This injury which can take many months to heal really is on the accelerated program to wholeness. Each day is better and better. So the last few days, I have been able to ride my bike on the road. I was so scared, but again each time was better than the last. Just short trips. To yoga, to swimming, to my gym where I work.

Today I got brave. I had the whole day finally with no clients, no responsibility until the evening which I am spending with Canyon. So I went on my favorite ride in the whole wide world. I rode up Big Cottonwood Canyon on my mountain bike. I rode up Guardman's Pass, and then I rode the Crest. What a wonderful day to do it. There was very little wind. I saw two people total! I love Monday mornings! I had the wildflowers and the butterflies and the most beautiful blue sky all to myself. I rode from there into Millcreek Canyon. Here, there were a few more people, but of course that was okay. I rode and enjoyed with the thought always in the back of my mind to protect my achilles, but it was okay!!! I zipped down the Canyon and hooked onto pipeline and flowed all the way down. Back to the canyon road I pedaled back home. It been soooo long since I have done Super Crest. I felt as though I had come home to my joy. The real reason I love to ride. I love nature and serenity and pushing my body.

So my ankle is a bit stiff tonight. I iced, I made my juice, I read a little. Then I picked up my son.

I think I need to have a day just for me more often.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nervous

Well. It has been 11 days since the onset of my injury. Still no running. Still no biking. I have been swimming more which is good and practicing lots of yoga and some Pilates. But it's like a big piece of me has died. When I can't ride or run.......

Still icing every day. Still stretching and massaging. Lot's of good water. Lot's of veggie juice. I am determined get my body to heal what takes some 6 months in much less time. I know it's on it's way!

Yet a positive attitude is mixed in with tears of frustration. Whenever I can't do what I love the most and I miss it this much? To me that confirms, yet again, how much I love it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sidelined.

Sometimes things just don't go our way. So the morning after my Scofield triathlon, I rode my bike and did a really intense yoga session. Everything felt great. When I was riding my bike again after yoga, I felt some pain in my achilles tendon. Hmmm....? That's strange. Throughout the day, the pain worsened and by the end of the day, my usual hyperactive running and dancing around from place to place was reduced to a limp. BUMMER.

Monday I practiced yoga again and then went for a swim. Well this time it felt a little better for about the next hour after, but then hurt even worse than the day. before. Not good. So, went up my favorite canyon (for which I named my son after--even though it is just Canyon-most people don't know which one!). I iced as I do most days anyway up to my neck in the creek feed by snow run-off! Typically this feels awesome, er, once I warm up again. Didn't seem to help the inflammation in my lower leg.

Since then (seems like forever) I have not run or biked because it hurts to walk. I have done some very gentle yoga. I had to miss my cherished Tuesday yoga session I do with my friend Jeff Silverstein. I have iced in the creek every day. Iced with pack several times a day. Massaged the hell out of my calf and foot, juiced veggies everyday and tripled my vitamins.

It has been a while since I've had an injury, especially a overuse injury. But again. I start letting my little ego take over. I get sooooo cocky that I can just race every weekend for almost 4 months straight without a break?!?! Yikes! For the last 5 weeks I have been talking about backing off a little to recover. I've felt tired for about that long. But every weekend there is such a fun race that I can't imagine missing. So of course I race it. Well friends. Here is about the only way I seem to take breaks. One day soon I hope I'll learn otherwise--not necessarily the best thing to be known as the ADHD poster child!

So in the meantime, I know that achilles injuries can take a long time to heal. I decided I am on the accelerated healing plan and am going to be at least back on my bike next week. Yes I missed a 10k running race yesterday, yes I will miss one of my favorite local road races tomorrow, but I know that when I am healthy and in top form for my races coming up that won't really matter, I will be soooooo happy!

Plus I can still work out. Pilates, lots of swimming (which I desperately need anyway), gentle yoga, massage, icing, healthy food. I'll be back so very soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scofield Results

Scofield Resevoir in Central Utah
Wahoo! Finally another win. Perhaps anything after Downieville feels easy?!? The Scofield Olympic distance tri is one I tend to do quite well at. I think mostly because it is typically hot and the elevation is over 7000 ft with some good climbing on the bike. This equals good for me! Two years ago I won, last year I was second, and this year I won by over 7 minutes! It was a beautiful day and it was one of those that I knew I would win before it even began! Gotta love it!
Top end of the long transition zone with a peek of the swim

Closest to a podium shot I got. Ramon and Gene! I need your photography skills!

Unfortunately I do have a few gripes about the promoters. Typically they are great, but this year they cut a few too many corners. First, I had to pay more for my campsite which I wouldn't have minded, but when I got there, they gave me the run-around for an hour trying to find the ONE person who knew which was mine. Not what I necessarily want to deal with when I have a race early the next morning. The day before, I stopped by 15 minutes after the time started to pick up my registration. I was 3rd in line, yet it took me 45 minutes to pick up my packet because they weren't ready. Then, after I killed myself in the race, waited in the hot sun for the next 3 1/2 hours for the awards ceremony just to receive a medal?!? Last year and the year before they had a payout as well as a complimentary entry for the winner into next year's race. This year with lots of corners cut, more people racing at a higher entry fee, and no prize purse. As much as I like this course, I also don't like it when they don't appreciate the athletes who pay a lot of money and time to go to races. I feel as though next year I will be best off racing somewhere else.

This brings me to another series of races with a company who has NEVER let me down. Over the past couple of seasons, the XTERRA series put on by Team Unlimited out of Hawaii has become my new love affair in racing. I have raced everything from the local trail run series to the world championships held each year on Maui! Each race has been tough (you definitely find out what you're made of!), yet completely professionally put on and my loyalty to the promoters grows with each race! Anyone and everyone who can possibly make it, I highly encourage you to come out and join me to race at the Mountain Region Championships (yes! it is a World's qualifier) in beautiful Snowbasin above Ogden. If you don't swim, check this out! Xterra has launched the Xduro series and me being such a trail runner am just aching to race one. They are off-road half marathons! They even have a the inaugural national championship in Bend, Oregon and Worlds at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu in Hawaii! This is where Jurassic Park, Lost, etc. were filmed! You can't get much more beautiful a venue than that!!!! Because the trail run is the same time as the Xterra, I obviously can't do both, but I'll be at Nationals and Worlds for sure! Email me if you have questions. When there is a company, product, or anything out there that is that amazing
-just ask about my coconut fetish :) I just can't promote Team Unlimited enough. They take care of all of the athletes. Think FAMILY. That is how each person is treated. Perhaps it's their Aloha way?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Downieville

Wow. What a trip! I just got back from doing way more driving in four days than I prefer to do in a month. I don't even have to question whether it was worth it. When you put together an awesome travel companion, epic mountain biking and scenery, and catching up with many of my race friends, of course it's on my list of one of my best weekends ever!

On Thursday we left for Reno right on time, er 3 hours late!?! Luckily we didn't have to be anywhere at a particular time. Typically even an hour in the car drives me nuts, a 3 1/2 hour drive to St. George I'm driving eveyone else crazy. Poor Art, 6 hours to Reno, 3 more to Downieville, 1.5 to Tahoe, and then 10 back to the 801? I suppose you'll have to ask him how he faired with a ADHD girl who can hardly sit still for 5 minutes let alone hours on end. When I told my friend Lance (whom has been my companion on many roadtrips) we were driving out instead of flying, he told Art, "I'm sorry man, good luck!", the thought that came to mind was "Mean boys!".

Anyway, the trip was great! I found I knew many more people than I thought. Because I race for Monavie/Cannondale, many others knew me that I didn't even know. I know them now! My friend Nancy commented a couple of weeks ago that, "Rachel knows no strangers". I personally like it that way. Engon (works for Scott) who stays at my place en-route to events was there, many cool Xterra friends, Emma, Laura, Mario, and more. Lance and his new girl friend Gina, and the list goes on! Even Bob Kinsley (friend formerly of the 801) came to cheer us on and hang out a bit after the race.

So about the race? Well, lets just say I am getting better at downhill, but I still have a long way to go. The 3000 foot climb for me was no problem and I was one of the first women to the top in my field. After that I found out still that 5200 feet of descent if still a lot too much for my nerves to handle. I was much faster than last year and finished a respectable 8th place in the women's expert field, but I need to learn to trust more that I can go downhill at high speeds and keep the rubber side down. It's coming. I especially know I didn't ride to my potential considering the explosive amount of energy I still had after the race! Art also placed 8th in the men's expert field which is amazing considering he has only raced twice this year!
Dirty girl head to toe right after the race.
Mandatory post-race bicycle storage--slightly different than a tri scene?!?
So after the race I was my usual hyperactive self, laughing and running and dancing around non-stop for about 4 hours (while everyone else was barely moving) before I finally came back to Earth just in time to watch the bicycle jump contest into the river. This is soooo cool as a few of the competitors pretty much put on a full bmx trick show before landing bicycle and all into a swimming hole.

We didn't stay for the late night festivities and instead headed to Tahoe so we could ride the Xterra Nationals Course. The next morning I received a very welcome surprise call from Gene Murrieta who lives in Incline Village. He heard from Emma I was in town. It was great to catch up with him before and after the ride. Emma met up and rode with us. I was so excited to show Art my favorite places and views in Tahoe, but with all of the CA fires, there wasn't much to see. Next time! After the ride, I was adamant that we swim in Lake Tahoe and did so with a happiness I can hardly explain that I have when I get to be in such beautiful refreshing water and scenery.

We left Gene, Emma, Tahoe, and a weekend full of wild memories and headed home. Today. I am completely sore and bruised, tired, and happy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Delayed 4th Report....sigh......

My Perfect Little Angel
Time just runs away with me sometimes. Ok. Almost all of the time. I feel as though I wake up each morning. Run around like a crazy and before I know it it's night and I literally pass out the moment I lay down. Unless I start thinking to much.....

Anyway. The 4th was great. Spent the morning with my brother down in Happy Valley. They are moving to Hawaii in a few weeks and man am I jealous! I love Hawaii. One day maybe.... Anyway, it was great for Canyon to spend time with his cousins. He slept overnight there and got to watch the fireworks. This was great for me as I had a mountain bike race in Solitude in the morning and it was so nice not to be begging someone to watch him while I raced. I actually even got a bit of a warm-up!

Again I was opposite girl. I schooled the climb and then got waxed on the downhill sections. One of these days I am going to learn how to rally the downhill. I'm much better than last year, but if I want to win, I've got to get rid of my chickens! Anyway. I ended up fourth. Not too bad for a tri-geek!
Playing at the park after the Solitude Race
What's next? Downieville Classic Mtb Race in Northern California. If doing this race doesn't show my determination to master my downhill skills (or at least prove I'm nuts?) nothing will. I raced it last year and had a similar experience as I climbed like a pro and descended, I don't even want to admit how slow it was. Let's just say I was having fantasies of throwing my bike off the mountain and running to the finish. I swore I'd never go back. Man I forget fast! Stay tuned for this result. Hopefully it will be much better. If not, I suppose I could take the highest bidder in teaching me how to go downhill at least as fast as I ride up?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Swim

I need a good swim coach. Any ideas?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sitting on the Fence

Before I start, Canyon's first motorcycle ride = very happy boy. Yes that is one of my bicycle helmets and yes I do have to adjust it larger when Canyon uses it! Part of mommy having a tiny head and Canyon getting his dad's huge head!
I seem so often to feel as though I am stuck in the middle. I was the middle child of seven kids. I was too 'old' to do what my younger siblings were doing and too 'young' to hang with my older siblings. This was a blessing and a curse I suppose. On one hand, I often felt lonely and as though I didn't fit in to what was going on. But, on the other hand, I spent a lot of time by myself and found out what moves me and makes me shine. This is how I discovered my love of running and cycling and healthy eating (the way I like it) among numerous other things.

Besides being the middle child, there are many other times I have found myself in what appears to be stuck in the middle. Triathlons feel that way for me right now. I have been blessed in the short 2 and a half years I have been racing them, to rise quickly to the top of the age-group level. I excel there and love it that I can hit podium or win a very high percentage of the races I enter. So that leads to my frustration. I am qualified for a pro card, but I can't go pro (in my opinion) until I learn how to swim faster. In big races, that would put me as a mid pack pro and I am afraid I would be too frustrated.

Yesterday I raced the pro field at the Dino tri in Vernal. I had the choice of age group which I would have won first overall and won $1,000 which I could definitely use right now. Instead, giving in to Art and a few others accusing me of being a sand bagger, I raced in the Pro field. My swim was 10 minutes slower than the winner. My finishing time was 10 minutes slower than the winner. I have a good bike and a wicked run (even when as yesterday happened, I was sick and ended up throwing up half a dozen times during the race--ugh!). Yep still had a good run. Could have been faster without that, but at least I kept going. So the result, I ended up third and won $750. Frustrating! I swim and swim and feel as though I am getting no where. I need help! I have been through 5 coaches. This has mostly just left me confused.---Short side note: I am soooo happy to have won the prize money and I very thankful for Drew (the race promoter) and his family and friends for putting on such a great race and for making the trip to Vernal well worth it!
Only Picture I have so far of my tri this last weekend. Red Fleet State Park is where we swam.
So all this venting, what does it mean? I am sitting on the fence as I often have in my life. I'm looking to one side and then the other. Which side should I jump off to? Well, last week, taking out the swim, I won my off-road duathlon full out. Add in the swim? I feel as though unless I get the swim down, I either need to start racing straight trail runs (I do some, but I would miss the bike way too much), or perhaps I should start racing more mountain bike races. They sure are fun. Or find out if there is a good off-road duathlon series? Man there are so many choices! Lucky I'm pretty good at them all, yes? But, I can't figure out what I love the most! Or where I have the been opportunities? I don't like being too fast for amateur and not quite there for pro. I know I have the pro level inside me, but it just hasn't quite come out. I am either going to kill myself off learning how to swim better, or perhaps this is again life telling me I need a slight directional change to one of the above? I suppose until I get brave and make a jump, I'll keep sitting on the fence....

By the way, my roomie Ohran (who by the way is racing with Sager, Tinker, Bart, Sue, Mitchell and the gang in the BC 7 right now. Check out their progress!) came through again and hooked me up with his friends Troy and Nan in Vernal who own Altitude Cycles. They gave me a place to stay while I was in town. Two very cool very real people. I am so lucky to have people in my life who take such good care of me. Thanks guys so very much for treating me like family while I was there. I appreciate you so much!
This is actually a picture I just had to take at the BAM tri last week. It is my awesome cycling friend Jen Ward whom is transitioning into the tri world. I just loved the bikes, her cute dog with it's head reaching joyfully out the window, and two happy athletes sitting inside getting ready for a fantastic weekend!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Becoming the Sun

Years ago, pre-head trauma, I lived on my bike. No car, couldn't deal with bus schedules, especially when I knew I could ride to my destination faster than a bus could get me there. I may have been a very poor college student, but I was the happiest girl in the world. Good friends got me into racing. I didn't have a bike worthy of a race. I was even given my first race bike by a friend who said the beautiful bike was "out of date", meaning a year old!?! I was so free, so lucky, so happy.

I had amazing friends (my brothers, I still call them) who made sure I got to races, had a floor to sleep on, something to eat (I almost never ate anything--I think my engine ran on pure love of riding), they learned quickly that they also had to make sure I showed up with shorts and a jersey, water, my, bike, helmet (the necessities of racing), as I always seemed to forget something important. They never asked for gas money or money for the space I used on their floor. Something tells me they'd been there once upon a time.

I had everything going for me. Yep. I was even fast. I learned to thrive on racing. I loved it and began dreaming of becoming one of those amazing pros everyone loves/hates depending on whether or not they lined up next to me. Sometimes though, live has a way of moving you to another direction. Kicking and screaming, it will drag you there if you fight it. That is what I did. Even after my accident. Sick, weak, even more broke, you name it, I thought I could still race. I was told more times than I want to think about to hang up my wheels and I would never be there again. I chose not to believe that. I knew some day I would be back. I just kept believing and never gave up my knowing that I would be back.

Giving birth to my son somehow also gave me a new birth back into my life of racing. It is different now than before. I race triathlons, I run, and this year I have even found myself back on the line with the road racing women. Slower than I once was, but I am there. I love it. I love putting my body to the test and finding out what it is capable of. I love watching those who are faster than myself on the day being inspired by them. I love encouraging those who are slower than me on the day and love how they inspire me. I am so thankful to be back.

My good friend Burke gave me such a reminder today of just how fortunate I am to have my health back. He told me of a dear friend of his whom has been through so many tough times. Sadly she can't do all of the things she loves. She has been through hardship after hardship and unfortunately her health did not come back. He told me that she always has a smile on her face and she finds and focuses on the positive things about life.

I almost cried when he told me this. I am so spoiled. I have people who love and care about me. I am racing well again. I have a beautiful son who keeps me grounded. I live a ten minute bike ride away from my favorite canyon. Lately I have been whining and complaining about mean cops who write unfair tickets, not having my own space to live, money issues, scary processed food, my teeth having problems and not being able to afford to fix it, cold weather, not enough time, missing a bike ride, and on and on, and on.

I am such a spoiled girl. I have lost appreciation for all the the little things and I let the "small stuff" bother me which in turn hurts others and myself. I am determined to get my innocent college mindset back. I am so lucky. I am so thankful. I love my friends, my family, my racing, my sunshine. I am going to try so much harder to be like Burke's friend. When the sun won't shine, I'm going to become the sun and shine anyway. Thank you so much Burke for helping me remember. I've missed being the sunshine. I know my family and friends have as well. She's back.