Tuesday, June 17, 2014

And Mostly, Here's a Toast to You and Me

 On the third day of our trip, we found ourselves in Phoenix, AZ. One of the places I lived as a child. We didn't  have a lot of time there, so I was trying to find a place where we could play, in a central location, for just a few hours. I decided on Papago Park. One of my favorite places when I was younger.

While we were there, we did a little running...

...And a little riding.

 They  had a great trail that went from Scottsdale, to Phoenix, to Tempe.

 After we played for a while, we met some of my cousins for a nice lunch. When my dad disappeared, we stayed with these cousins because we got evicted from our house and couldn't find any affordable housing back in 1969. So, we were pretty close to these cousins when we were younger, but I hadn't seen them in years. Thankfully, they still have a healthy sense of humor.

We finally made it to Tucson and settled in to our hotel room. We got a suite, so we could cook if we wanted and have a little room to move around, since we were staying for 5 days. It was actually perfect for us. Best of all? I talked John into having dinner at the Tiki Bar and drinking fruity rum drinks from giant coconuts. It was almost kitschy enough for me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Warm Water Breathing, She Helps Me Here.

Photo credit Dawn Gibson

 So, I did the Pigman Spritn Triathlon on the first day of June this year. Before I did one, I always thought that triathlons would be the perfect race for me. I'm strong on the bike and the run, and everyone says the time in the water doesn't hurt you too badly. Plus, I grew up swimming in open water, so I didn't think I would have the panic issues other people had, who were only used to swimming in pools. Boy, was I wrong.
Photo credit Joanne McKillip.

I had no idea what it would be like. I'm a sloppy swimmer at best and then when I try to go faster, I pick up my breathing and, then when the water gets all choppy from people swimming around me and swimming into me, and after I lift my head and take a face full of water at least twice in a row, I start to freak. And once I swim with my head out of the water, I can't get to a better place, where I am able to get it back. So, I start rolling over on my back and kicking, or doing the side stroke or just dog paddling - all things that slow me way down and take up WAY too much energy.

This year, I made an even bigger mistake of forgetting my wetsuit. Many people think triathletes wear wetsuits to keep them warm in colder water, but really it helps us to stay buoyant, especially our legs, especially for us sloppy swimmers. In other words, without the wetsuit, I was at least 2 minutes slower than I was the year before. Oops!

I am checking into some things and think I will have people help me train in open water. I think the stronger I am at swimming, the less I will panic. I'll let you know how that works in September when I do my next triathlon...

The good news, is that after the swim, the rest of the triathlon is pretty great (in that, kicking my own ass kind of way). I have the fancy aero bike with the aero helmet. I don't wear clipless pedals, so I throw my running shoes on after the swim and have very little to do to get ready after I finish the bike portion.

This year, I was definitely strongest on my bike. I was over 3 minutes slower on the running section than I was the first time I did it, because my knee has still been bothering me, and I'm not getting to run much. As it was, I got 5th in my age group and John got 2nd in his. Nothing to sneeze at, but plenty to work on.

Thanks to Greta Songe for the photos.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I'm a Wild Seed Again. Let the Wind Carry Me.

So, day two in our alternate universe vacation started out so well. Our continental breakfast at our casita was amazing. They had a beautiful seating area all arranged with a kiva and organic homemade food that was prepared right in front of us. So good and got us perfectly fueled for our next endeavor.

Since John had never really been to the Southwest before, I wanted to make sure he saw more than just Tucson, so on our way to Arizona, I wanted to find a fun place to do a trail run.

I wanted a place that wouldn't take us too far out off our route and what I came up with was Tent Rocks. 

I couldn't imagine a more gorgeous place. At first we really did try to do a trail run, but after every turn, we had to stop while our jaws dropped to the ground and we got our camera phones out to take photos. It was overwhelmingly beautiful.

Of course, because it's me and I am much like Lucille Ball, our little run wasn't without its mishaps. While trying to take a shot of the rock formations above me, I got low enough to the ground to accidentally sit on a Prickly Pear Cactus. You'd think I'd never lived in a desert before, but it did give us a running joke for the week. Lord knows, I love to be the butt of any joke. Har har.

While we were there, we ran into a woman who rented a house on the nearby reservation and she said she hikes at Tent Rocks every morning. Lucky lady. She also asked us if we wanted her to take a photo of us against this amazing backdrop. Yeah. I suppose...

John was a very good sport about posing for dorky photos and I really, really do appreciate that about him.

Sadly, we finally had to take off. We still had about 7 hours of driving to get to Phoenix that evening.

Luckily, that driving was also jaw droppingly beautiful. New Mexico and Northern Arizona can cause an accident, the scenery is so amazing.

We made to Phoenix, met with our teammate and had dinner and drinks at a pizza and brew pub. Another perfect day in alternate universe vacation world...