Ramblings, musings and generally boring stuff. Mostly about bikes...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peeps have all the fun! Halloween 5k and Boo Ba cx Race

I started off this lovely crisp fall day by costuming up as my favorite marshmallow sugary goodness - PEEPS! I grabbed a bagelfull for breakfast and walked, in costume to the start of the Hermann-London 5k in Maplewood (it was less than a mile and would've been a shame to drive over there).

I got a few thumbs up but mostly strange looks on my way over. As I reached the corner of Marshall and Marietta, I started to feel "normal" as other runners were getting out of their cars in some pretty fabulous costumes. I noticed the peacock right away. She had a multicolored tule tutu and about 8 gorgeous peacock feathers on her back, stopping just over her head like a crown or a show girl. I made my way to registration and my first Woo Hoo of the morning was getting a "free" tshirt instead of having to pay another $10 as the flyer indicated. YAY. I already had to fork over $30 due to my procrastination/late registration and I missed the groupon! (booooo)
As soon as I was done registering, I noticed how much I felt like a fish out of water. I so admire runners but I am clearly not part of this crowd. I fumbled with my number, pinning to the front of my Peeps costume, but had to ask someone if it was correct, as I noticed numbers on fronts, backs, sides of people. The group of "angry birds" helped me out and I thanked them by snapping a few pictures for them.
I stood around for a few more minutes before I saw my friend and former co-worker Margaret. Margaret is a fellow cyclist but has also been running regularly with her sister. We chatted a bit and then it was time to get started. As we moved to the start line, I felt the same prerace jitters I get in crits. I was worried about where to start, so as not to get in the way of the faster people. Before we had reached the end of the block, a woman to my right stumbled and fell to the ground, sliding her hand along the pavement. I paused to make sure she was ok as the gentleman with her helped her up and we all were off again. Weird, crashing even happens in running races!
I settled into a groove quickly but was moving slower than normal. Maybe it was the marshmallow filling slowing me down? The hamburglar passed me but then I noticed she had stopped to walk. Soon she passed me again and would do this 5-6 times throughout the race - running fast then walking. I chased a white rabbit for a while, then a devil and angel couple. Along the way I saw some witches and a rally squirrel. The course went north up Bellevue and then back into the neighborhood to Sutton. It was hilly and I was running slow overall but even slower on the hills. As the road leveled off after we crossed manchester, I checked my time/speed, thinking I was running in the 9 min/mile range. Nope! It was more like 10:45 and that felt FAST. As I climbed the last hill on Marshall and rounded the corner on Marietta, The White Stripes Conquest came on my ipod. I crossed the finish at 36:01. I was 83 overall (out of 147) and 39 in my division out of 73 (under 40). YAY! The female winner ran a 22:42. The peacock won the costume contest.

(When I got home, I was helping Nicole pick out a costume from my "costume closet" and noticed my water from the run had spilled into my bag. I moved my ipod out and noticed that it had just a little water on it. Soon, I discovered that little water was in the right place and just enough to ruin my dear ipod. Rest in peace pretty pink ipod. You were so good to me!

I finished the day at Bubba Cx "Boo-Ba" night race. I arrived early to help Cindi get stick-figured up and registered. I handed out some really stale peeps for my friends who were spectating to "toss" at us while we raced. At the start line there were 18 women in the B race and 12 or so in the A race. We had 4 bunnies, two bike cops, two dorothys, 1 alice in wonderland, a stick figure, a nun, Smurfette, an operation game, a gogo dancer, Steve Jobs, a punk girl,a fat bastard and Me as the Peep! (I hope I didn't forget anyone!)

I had purchased some "stuffing" to help fill out the peep costume (a tissue tablecloth with plastic backing) but as soon as we started racing, my stuffing was coming out the bottom of the costume. DRAT! I made it almost 1 lap around and stopped at the barriers to pull the rest of it out and leave it behind. Due to the stuffing issue (or my cx suckage), I was at the back right away, chasing the Fat Bastard. Cristel was having a rough time cornering in that costume, so I caught up to her a few times, only to get dropped again in the straight sections. This course featured a good deal of climbing and some hard to see turns. We'd get pelted by peeps on each lap. About 1/2 way through, I was able to get around the Fat Bastard. I then moved up to Dorothy #1 and struggled to stay with her. She seemed a little gassed on one lap and I was able to move around her (She'd completed a duathalon in the morning! WOW!!!) I gained some space between us and was feeling good (and tired). I got pelted again by peeps and then passed by Sunny (GoGo dancer and cx racer extraordinare) and was glad to know I was now racing 1 lap less. I picked up some speed at a down hill section (into the lights) only to realize all too late that it was a u turn/switchback and CRAP, I was headed right for the tape. The rule follower I am, I didn't want to bust through the tape (I wasn't sure I could... anyone remember that old deodorant comercial with the cyclists and the big stretchy band???) I skimmed the tape/stakes and somehow turned left but too severely and BAM! PEEP DOWN!!!
I fell hard on my left hip and shoulder. I was still clipped in on the right side and couldn't get my foot out for a second. I was worried the 2nd place A racer was going to crash into me because she wasn't too far behind Sunny. I hurried to get up, sore and ego bruised. I wasn't crying so I guessed nothing was broken or too severely injured. I was able to slowly get on my bike just as the 2nd place - bunny - passed by. I kind of limped through the last lap, nursing both pride and very sore shoulder. I finished the lap and the race. I think I told everyone I saw that I crashed. This was my first cx crash, something I knew would happen eventually and I did it right in the middle of the course under the lights. I was sure someone saw it. It was kind of validating to hear that Vickie had seen it. (Thanks Vickie!)
I spent some time visiting with friends, delivering brownies to friends and friends officiating and then ran into Lisa Dattilo, who stretched my arm/shoulder for what seemed like forever. She really helped me feel tons better and even moved around with me so I could visit with Ashley and be close to the fire. Lisa is trained in Ki-Hara and wonderful at fixing imbalances, strains, pulls, tightness, whatever ails you. (She's at Sante at the Chase Park Plaza).
Overall, this Peep finished 16/18 and then had a great night hanging with her Peeps. My Friend Kelly-bunny won the B race! Sunny won the A race, but I was proud of everyone for being out there and having fun! (Especially Cristel who hung in for the WHOLE race as the Fat Bastard (large inflatable costume!!), after saying she'd just do one lap! She was sooo funny! Thanks Cristel!!)
Boo-ba was another night of success, despite a little crashing.

Thank you to all of my friends who raced and cheered for us! You guys are what makes this stuff so much fun to take part in! See you all at Cranksgiving!?!?

Monday, September 5, 2011

We all need to read this .... And DO this!

Reblogged from Bike-O-Latte (Thanks Justin!)

It can be like this...

Lost art of the group ride
Written by Peter Wilborn on September 1, 2011 - 1 Comment
Categories: Advocacy, Blog

Every so often, I’ll ride a recreational group ride. I love the comraderie of cyclists, the talk, the last minute pumps of air, the clicking in, and the easy drifting out as a peloton. “I miss riding in group,” I’ll think to myself.
The magic ends by mile 10. The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every stop sign. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection. And then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PR for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the yellow line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway?!
I curse under my breath, remembering why I always ride with only a few friends. Doesn’t anyone else realize how dangerous this ride is? How bad it is for our reputation on the road? There are clear rules of ride etiquette, safety, and common sense. Does anyone here know the rules? Who is in charge?
But no one is in charge, and the chaotic group has no idea of how to ride together. As a bike lawyer, I get the complaints from irritated drivers, concerned police, controversy-seeking journalists, and injured cyclists. It needs to get better, but the obstacles are real:
First, everyone is an expert these days. The internet and a power meter do not replace 50,000 miles of experience, but try telling that to a fit forty year-old, new to cycling, on a $5000 bike. Or, god forbid, a triathlete. No one wants to be told what to do.
Second, the more experienced riders just want to drop the others and not be bothered. It is all about the workout, the ego boost, or riding with a subset of friends. But a group ride is neither a race nor cycling Darwinism. As riders get better, they seek to distinguish themselves by riding faster on more trendy bikes; but as riders get better they need to realize two things: 1) there is always someone faster, and 2) they have obligations as leaders. Cycling is not a never ending ladder, each step aspiring upwards, casting aspersions down. It is a club, and we should want to expand and improve our membership.

Third, different rides are advertised by average speed, but speed is only one part of the equation. This approach makes speed the sole metric for judging a cyclist, and creates the false impression that a fit rider is a good one. Almost anyone can be somewhat fast on a bike, but few learn to be elegant, graceful cyclists.
Fourth, riding a bike well requires technique training. Good swimmers, for example, constantly work on form and drills; so should cyclists. Anyone remember the C.O.N.I. Manual or Eddie Borysewich’s book? They are out-of-print, but their traditional approach to bike technique and should not be lost. More emphasis was given on fluid pedaling and bike handling.
Before the internet, before custom bikes, and before Lance, it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point, not to be the local Cat. 5 champ. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills from directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides (and not next to his friends, like better riders do today). Here is some of what you learned:
To ride for months each year in the small ring.
To take your cycling shorts off immediately after a ride.
To start with a humble bike, probably used.
To pull without surging.
To run rotating pace line drills and flick others through.
To form an echelon.
To ride through the top of a climb.
To hold your line in a corner.
To stand up smoothly and not throw your bike back.
To give the person ahead of you on a climb a little more room to stand up.
To respect the yellow line rule.
To point out significant road problems.
To brake less, especially in a pace line.
To follow the wheel in front and not overlap.
The ride leader and his lieutentants were serious about their roles, because the safety of the group depended on you, the weakest link. If you did not follow the rules, you were chastised. Harshly. If you did, you became a member of something spectacular. The Peloton.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Goldenberg Heller Wednesday Night Time Trial Series

aka the WNTT

I started out on the first night just going along because Phil was doing it. He has all the TT stuff: helmet, bike, shoe covers (no skins suit..... yet!)
I have none of that stuff. Just me and Zeus!

The first few weeks I didn't let Ron hold me at the start.
My first night time was 25:06. I hovered in the low 25s for a few weeks, with slow nights up to 26 and change. When I hit 25:00:07, I agreed to start having Ron hold me.

Ron is the steadiest holder in all the land! He is awesome. He can hold me any time. He can hold my husband any time. My husband is great with both. He could probably hold BOTH of us at the same time!! Anyway, I digress....

My goals was to finish in under 25 minutes. For Merckx category, this is still slow for most, but great for me! On June 1, I did it! 24:52
I had been "blood doping" the week before in Colorado. By blood doping, I mean "altitude training". By Altitude training, I mean I drug my sea level butt up a couple of mountain passes in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. (I finished 24th in the Pro123 field! :)

I managed to do it again (barely) with 24:59 (June 15) & 24:58 (July 13). Then, on the last night of the series, I had my best time ever! Bettering my previous best by 10 seconds with a 24:42!!! Woo Hoo!

To top it off, my consistency/good attendance paid off. I won the Womens 123 series points. Earning a beautiful medal and some cash! Despite my 2 year streak of racing suckage, I have been collecting some money at the last three events (GEO, Edw and now the WNTT!!)Woo Hoo again!

The quote of the series: On the last night, Justin Maciekowicz: "1 to Go!" , to which Kate Hrubes replies: "So sad. I am really gonna miss Wed nights!" Which prompts Phil to say: "It's O.K. Kate. We'll still have Wednesday nights, there just won't be any TT's"

I'll definitely be back next year. Maybe I'll even add some clip on aero bars! :)

Huge thank yous are in order to Mark & Nola Ewers, Ron Blanton, Liz Heller/Goldenberg Heller!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hometown (Edwardsville) Criterium!

I grew up in Edwardsville/Glen Carbon. I graduated from Edwardsville High School (I still refer to that old building as the high school although it's been the middle school for a long time now!) & completed undergrad at SIUE.

I heard great things about this race from last year, including the massive payout to 20 places! We NEVER get payout that far and good. I was sad to have missed the race last year.

I wish I was a better racer and stood a chance at winning in my home town. My massive suckage didn't prevent me from signing up, and praying that we had 20 or fewer women (Sorry E'Ville Crit promoters! I wanted pay out!)
Thankfully my wishes came true when I learned that we had 18 women in the open race. WOOO HOOO! Finish this race and get some cash.

As I got ready to race, I was excited to see lots of familiar faces, including my Aunt J'Deana and Uncle Jack. They have both lived in Edwardsville for a long time and know EVERYONE! I didn't have my usual pre-race jitters as I watched the races before ours and chatted with a couple of wonderful volunteers and some new Edwardsville residents. I even convinced one of the volunteers to throw water on me during the race! (THANK YOU GABBIE!!)

The Cannonball Hub Women's Team, complete with new kits and now affectinoately called "Peas and Carrots", consisted of me, Ashley,Soli and Molly! (Kate and Alice are still on the mend). I was happy to see those girls there to go in circles with me. Ashley and I warmed up on the trails and chatted.

1:45 arrived and we gathered at the start line. It was hot, as usual and I had tucked some ice here/there to keep cool but just couldn't settle on a comfortable place. Buddy gave pre-race instructions, for what seemed like forever, as we tried not to melt. A venerable whos-who of women's cycling was there at the line, including (but not limited to) Susan Kubinak (Kube!), The afore mentioned Soli/Molly/Ashley, Suzanne J., Teresa, Jamie, Aubree, Emilie, Cat, Natalie, Britta, Trish Work, Pam Hinton, Catherine Walberg, and a couple of unfamiliar faces.
John Merli poured water on Natalie, Kube and Emilie to keep them cool. Then we were off! We rounded the first corner and I waited for the pace to pick up, but it didn't. We were together going into the first left/right/chicane section and slowing WAY down to navigate the turn, with a little quickening of pace in between, but it wasn't exactly break-neck speeds. Once the road straightened out a bit again, I expected it to pick up. It did, a little, but seemed more subtle, gradual.
Somehow I still managed to fall off the back (I moved to the back almost immediately from the start). I'm not sure why or how because I was feeling good/strong. The next thing I know I am chasing to catch back on.

There must've been an attack or several at that point because a few more got shed and the gap from me to pack was increased. I was comfortable with my pace and had the corners all to myself without the slighest braking required. I was working hard and gaining ground. It took me a couple of laps to catch up to the girl in front of me, thinking we could work together but I came around her and she was only on my wheel for 1/4 of a lap and then out of sight. I saw Kube ahead of me and started to close the gap to her. As I was about to catch her, headed into the chicane, the pack lapped me. It was tricky to navigate that chicane with everyone around me again and the pack seemed to slow WAY down after catching me. I moved to the back again but could still see Kube ahead. I wanted to catch her and was worried for a second that the pack would prevent that from occuring, they were going sooo slow. Still, I stayed at the back to have a nice clean line through the turns. Someone attacked in the start/finish stretch and the pace jumped. I used that momentum to catch Kube but was dropped from the pack again.

Next thing I notice is Suzanne falling off the pack and I set my sights on catching up to her. I gain some ground only to be pulled from the race. Suzanne had also been pulled just a head of me and Kube and the other girl behind me. We were scored but done about 4 laps early.

I was a little worried about Suzanne overheating. She looked a little worse for wear after we pulled off the course but perked up pretty quickly after getting a little cold water on her head/neck.

Suzanne, Kube and I watched the rest of the girls finish the race. Emilie nabbed the WIN with Catherine Walberg just behind and Jamie bringing up 3rd. The rest of the ladies were close behind. Ashley was in 10th and Soli 12, Molly 15. Suzanne was in 14, I was 16th and Kube 17th. Initially they had Kube placed in 16th but Larry Pirtle commented that he couldn't tell what was going on right after the field had lapped us... had she stayed ahead or had I come around her. We sorted it out, but without her honesty, I would have gotten the 17th place payout (only $2 less) because the correction hadn't made it to registration (Thanks Kube!). I worked hard to chase you down, girl! Although you were gassed a bit from the heat and um.... welll.. DOING ANOTHER RACE just a few hours earlier and GETTING 3rd. WAY TO GO KUBE!!!! Super proud of you!

I'll be back to the Edwardsville Rotary Criterium next year for sure! Maybe I can train a little harder and make my little home town more proud! :)

Here I am having fun all by myself! (photo credit: Mike Dawson)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

If (Rudyard Kipling)

As a child, my favorite books were by Rudyard Kipling: Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Just So Stories. I found this on the internets and liked it enough I thought I'd share it with the few who stumble upon my little blog. I hope you like it too.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

~Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good racing may not be evident in the results!

What is Good racing? Some may say catching that Win or even a prime. Others might consider it good to just stay with the pack. For me, Good racing involves what my face and mind are doing before, during and after. You can tell if I am having a good race because I smile, joke and say silly things.

Today was a good race! I gained confidence in my ability to corner with each lap. It even started to sprinkle a little.
From an outsider's perspective, I got dropped. From the start line.
There were only 7 of us to begin with (Thank God the Pit guys were able to get Alice a quick flat change or there would have been 6! She flatted on the warm up lap!! We tried to stall with the official until she got to the start line!)

Of the 7, 3 were my friends (Alice, Jamie, Britta). One of the girls I didn't know attacked at the start line. And we were off! I wasn't even in my pedal yet!

Off tearing toward the first of 10 turns. Off tearing down the bumpy, pitted, uneven, pot hole filled course. At turn 1, I somehow managed to put myself in front of 2 other ladies. With mixed thoughts, I braked and tentatively negotiated that turn, worried that I was hosing the girls behind me but wanting to remain upright.

To my relief, I soon found myself behind one of the girls and found that she was similar in her approach to the turns. We were still dropped. We could see Alice up ahead but no one else. We chased and worked together. After about 1/2 a lap, I realized the other girl wasn't behind us. Joan, the girl I was working with, let me know it was her team mate, Margie, who had just returned to racing after a fractured collar bone. (Oh, not a fun course for the first race back!)

Joan and I worked in vain to catch Alice. We'd get closer, often with Joan's efforts in the straight aways (She is STRONG!) but never caught up. BUT, I realized, I was having fun!
Soon I was able to dive into the turns, without my fingers even hovering near by brakes! I can't remember the last time I was able to race around a crit course, let a lone a technical one, with such confidence. And you could see it all from the smile on my face!!!

I also carried a smile on my face from hearing Kube yell words of encouragement out to me. At one point she even told me I looked pretty! :)

At some point we lapped Margie and she joined in the chase and then Joan powered away and I powered away from Margie and we were all split up. Alice stayed steadily in 4th position on the course with Joan feverishly trying to close the gap. It looked like Joan got close at one point but held her off.

I finished 6th. One place out of the money but with a solid smile on my face. I felt strong and confident. And very happy for my friends (old and new!) who raced well too.

Judging from the results, you may not have concluded this was a good race for me. The smile on my face and confidence in my heart make me feel like a winner!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Aloha Beautiful Girl!

Today I said goodbye to my baby girl. She will live on in my heart and memories forever.
I am sad for those of you who did not get a chance to meet her, for she was truly a special kitty.
She was a genius kitty, freely giving bumps and eager to purr.

In her final moments, she curled up on my lap and turned on her side. She reached her little paw out to Phil and held on to his hand and before it was time for final breaths and a world free from pain, she crawled onto Phil's lap for a final goodbye.

My heart aches because I will not get to see her anymore but I trust that she is in a place where she is perfect again. The only being I trust to take care of her and love her more than Phil and I have is God.

Dear God,
Please remember that our Kiki likes "Yays" in the morning. She gets really excited and will sometimes cause "fumbles."
If she goes outside, she likes you to chase her around the yard. She'll eat a little grass and then throw it up, but that's ok. She likes her chin rubbed and sometimes her feet, but she'll give you a gentle bite if you pet her in that one spot on her back. She loves to have the window open so she can look out. She'll greet you at the door and she's great at bumps and toe rubs. She has the best cooing purr. She has too many nicknames to mention, but some of the most popular are Boots, Keeks, Keekers, Squeekers, Bee Keeper.
Please tell her how much her mommy and daddy love her each and every day. Kiss her on her soft little head and touch that little white tip of her right ear.
We will see you soon!

Love, Steph and Phil

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Roller Coaster. More intervals

Life continues to have it's ups and downs.
On the good side, our Kiki is still with us.
The tumor is bigger now and she's having trouble eating again. Her face is a little disfigured and holds her mouth open most of the time, but she's still as adorable as ever. We have learned how to spoon feed and progressed to using a cheese spreader to pile the food as high as it can get as she has limited tongue usage.
She eats about once per day. The times that used to occupy feeding have now been taken over by wiping drool, wiping her off with some "Pet Head" wipes - only for cool cats! and brushing/polishing her. We are on round 3 of antibiotics and keep picking up little tips and strategies that hopefully make it better for her every day.

Yet I still feel as if we are trying to outrun a freight train.

The Syringe medications are going much better these days but wouldn't you know we get bumped up to IM injections of B12 and anti-inflammatory. I am a needle-phobe and Phil hasn't exactly had load of time to practice giving IM meds on other people's cats in the last 25 years. Add on the fact that giving painful shots to your own furry baby is rough. Needless to say, those shots have not gone well, save for our gracious friend "Kube" who has come to our rescue twice already. We desperately want to do them ourselves but tonight's try ended up treating more fur and less in the body...

In other news... There is NO other news.
I can't manage to get on the trainer for more than 20 minutes. Time is ticking away and now I am completely on the fence about my A race, the Iron Horse Classic, which is just 1 month from now.
At this race, I will literally try to outrun a train. I guess I'll have lots of metaphorical practice.

I have been going to the Weds Night TT's with Phil and strangely enough, perfect attendance (my strength) has paid off again, as I am currently the series points leader by 1 point! (Despite the fact that my times have gotten progressively slower since the first week).

I should be doing some sort of sprint intervals right now. Instead I'll just write my coach a check and do some more drool catching intervals around the house.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Still fighting!

I've spent the whole day in tears and full of dread. Kiki had stopped eating over the last two days. Her energy declined and we began to prepare ourselves for the worst. We made an appt this morning with the Vet with the idea that we'd be ready for the worst but with a glimmer of hope, that he'd be able to give us the final say and would be honest and objective above all.

The first available with Dr Irwin was 4:30 pm so we spent the day sitting near Keeks. Petting her, brushing her, snuggling her. She's drooling quite a bit now. Eat time we offered food, she's sniff and retreat, hiding under the table or take a few licks then retreat, with her little jaw clacking. We'd take turns crying, comforting one another and talking softly to her.

When 4 pm arrived, we got in the car to head to the Vet. She fought to get out of my arms in the car (I refused to put her in the carrier) and eventually sat under Phil's seat for a bit. By the time we were in the exam room, she had no drool on her chin (all of it was all over my shirt :)
and she was kneading my arms and clinging to me.
The tech weigh her and asked us what we thought. We told him we had prepared ourselves for the worst, concerned about her suffering and not eating but wanted to see what Dr Irwin thought. He then consulted the chart and noted that she actually was 1 oz heavier than on 3/8!

Dr Irwin came in and noticed right away that her coat and eyes look good and clear. he palpated her jaw and commented that she appears to have mended the bone that was broken, infested by the cancer (he had removed most of the tumor on 3/8). He added that the tumor was only about 60% of the original size and looked pretty good.
After a shot of B12 and a strong anti inflammatory, we got some more pain meds (with advisement that we can always get more), some antibiotic and some food. Her quality of life at this time was judged to be more positive than negative, even with her food refusals over the last several days!

We left that office WITH our Kiki Boots in my arms and a renewed sense of hope. She is an amazing kitty and she's still in this fight, so we are in it with her.

Still a little worried about how we were going to get her to eat, we headed home (she rode the whole way under Phil's seat). As soon as we got home, she was doing a perimeter check. I readied the food, thinking we'd need to start out with the syringe (hopefully giving her some and me and the walls very little food) but decided to start with a plate and spoon. To my amazement and gratitude, she ate some off the spoon, then the plate, then the spoon then the floor! She ate about 1/4 of the can!
She's an amazing little girl. We feel so bad now for even thinking about giving up on her too soon!

Aloha Kiki. (Aloha means soo much more than hello! It also means affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy!!)

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ~ That was Sasha writing. I think he wanted to say how much he loves his little sister.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Yesterday while on the bike I was thinking about intervals.
I have been using intervals to (hopefully) make me stronger on the bike.
VO2 max intervals, LT intervals, Heater climb intervals, sprint intervals, etc.
PUSH, recover, DIG, Recover, PAIN, recover....

Physical intervals were consistent in my life. Ride/Suffer, Eat, Sleep, Work, repeat....
Singularly focused on having a better racing season that last year. Hopefully repeating some of the success I had on the bike two/three years ago.

Then in a moment.... My life is upside down.

Now my intervals are emotional.

I question everything's purpose. Does anything else really matter?
Cry/Suffer, Sleep, Work, repeat. (fortunately, I've managed to add eating back in in the last couple of days)

The pain is still there with each interval, but I question if I am really getting stronger.
Recovery between intervals has made me more guarded, wary.

I've heard it said, the hills don't get easier, you just go faster.

But where is it that I am going?

I'm on a hill I never want to crest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Yesterday we were told our youngest kitty, Kiki, has cancer in her jaw, likely squamous cell carcinoma. It has ravaged her little jaw. The doctor did surgery to remove as much of the cancer as he could and we brought her home today, prepared to make life as comfortable as we can for what little time she has left.

So far tonight, I have snuggled, pet, brushed her. She ate some soft food, some treats and some boiled chicken. She has purred and "marched" (kneaded) and rubbed on me and Phil. She seems to be doing ok....

We just keep hoping our little genius kitty will make a miraculous recovery. I am cautiously optimistic. If any cat could do it, it would be her. She's amazing....
She's the only cat in our house to figure out the cat door to "her" room. She knows the wild ways of the outdoors (much to our disdain and once the cause of a sprained ankle for Phil). She's never met a visitor she didn't like and if you sit in a special spot on the sofa, she'd be happy to oblige you with a massage.

I wasn't able to walk through PetsMart without crying several times. Car rides are awful... quiet alone time to think about all the ways I already miss her.

I can't imagine this world without her.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I Believe...
that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe…
that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I believe…
that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I believe…
that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe…
that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I believe…
that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I believe…
that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I believe…
that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe…
that no matter how bad your heart is broken that the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I believe…
that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe…
that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I believe…
that you shouldn’t be eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe…
that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. And I haven't even reached the halfway point yet.

I believe…
that you should always leave loved ones with loving well wishes. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe…
that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I believe…
that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe…
that we don’t have to change friends, if we understand that friends change.

I believe…
that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe…
that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe…
that you either control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe…
that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, that passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I believe…
that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe…
that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe…
that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe…
that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe…
that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones who help you get back up.


because this spoke to my heart in many ways......

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I am so very full of good intentions.

While it may be excellent to some, I see it as a pitfall.
I consider myself to be a woman of my word. If I say I will do x, I do x. I try very hard not to portray myself as something I am not. I work very hard to avoid hipocracy.

Here's where the problem with good intentions lie. I view them as nothing. Without action, they are just words. Too easy to throw around, too easy to inflate someone or something without any substance to back it up. Actions speak louder than words.

So, my fullness of good intention is just hot air. Meaningless.

It doesn't matter that I thought of you on your birthday if I didn't call you, or email or at least post a comment on Facebook. I didn't go through the motions to get you that awesome, perfect gift and meet up with you to give it to you. It doesn't matter that I know where to get it and how perfect it would be for you.

It doesn't matter that I thought about eating better. That I thought over and over how hard I am working to let myself grow pudgy from sweets and junk, as I lifted the fork of chocolate cake to my lips.

It doesn't matter that at the start of this new year, I set out with an intention to write more. I can't change that it's been three weeks since my last blog.

I intend to start anew. Now lets see if I can back that up with some action.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The effect of people you don't even know

I don't have to know you personally to be positively impacted by your life.

You never know how far your spirit reaches, until it is lost.

My first thought is how much hurt the pain of you loss will be on those we have in common.

My second thought is how great the loss will be, without the possibility of more people getting to know you, including me.

Still, I can honor the life you left and the indellible impact you made on those I care dearly about. It is my hope that they will continue to honor the spirit that burned so brightly within you.

Goodbye Carla. Goodbye Far Too soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


In my carelessness, and/or tiredness last night I stumbled into a radio on the floor next to my bed.

After rolling around, writhing in pain for several minutes, I assessed the situation.

While it felt like my nail had been ripped clean off, it was actually still firmly attached.

While it felt like searing hot pain, the little toe was still attached firmly to my foot.

I wiggled it around and was able to do so without going through the ceiling.

"It might be broken" I both thought and said aloud. Phil replied, "do I need to take you to the ER?"

I quickly explained that there is little they could do for me, even if it were broken, except make me wait, "buddy wrap" it and send me home.

So I did the next best thing.

I went to bed.

Throughout the night I woke due to the pain from it touching the sheet.

Not a good sign.

I woke at 5am, thinking about my having to ride at Frostbike in a few hours.

I willed myself back to sleep and resolved to at least try to 1) walk 2) put on a cycling shoe 3) attach said shoe to my pedal 4) ride.

By 7:30 am, I was able to do #s 1 and 2.

My sad little toe was decidedly swollen and a little discolored.

I hobbled around and decided it would be a more wise idea to just do the Frostbike Ride, and NOT attempt to ride to and from Cafe Ventana.

I called Suzanne to give her the heads up in time for her to make the other Pre-Frostbike ride with Kate and crew.

I then set about getting ready....

Uggs were roomy enough to allow me to walk and keep my tootsies warm.

I headed over to Cafe Ventana.

At this point, the pain is constant but not as acute. (or Cute for that matter)

I was able to walk, with a little limp. And about 45 minutes later, I clipped in and off we went.

I skipped the toe warmers. Out of fear that they would be just enough pressure to send me over the edge.

I soon realized, err rationalized, that the frozen toes from the 20 something temps might have the same effect that icing my swelling little piglet would get... reduction in Inflammation!

With Suzanne's company, along with 30 some other Frostbikers, I completed 11.5 miles with a maybe broken toe!

Afterward, during social and eating time, my littlest piggie thawed. It didn't hurt that bad.

Until I forgot to be careful of it and gave a little hop off the step while leaving Ventana.

Yow! Yep, still angry

So, I've never broken a bone before... (knock on wood) and I'm not entirely sure this little guy is broken.

Still hurts and is an ugly shade of red/purple on the side and underneath, but I can still walk.

And more importantly, I CAN STILL RIDE!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Knowing my place?

The other day I was at the gym running on a treadmill. The gym was busy but not yet crowded. I was about 10 minutes into my 45 minute run when one of the many teenage girls there got on the contraption to my left (not sure what this machine is called but it's kind of like an elliptical that simulates running more... I digress.....)
She instantly began to yell across me to the treadmill two down from me, where her friend had been perched since prior to my arrival. "Oh, you were supposed to be on this treadmill (pointing to the one I am on)." She continues, loudly, for the next 15-20 minutes to whine about her friend being too far away from her, how difficult her workout is, how especially difficult is is without her friend right next to her. and on and on....
Despite my own Ipod making valiant efforts to block this noise, I hear her very clearly. The entire time.

During this time, I had opportunity to think about this situation. Initially, I was very very annoyed. Ok, even a little angry. But as she continued, with no apparent awareness of anyone else being in the room, being impacted by her comments, behaviors, I began to think about my own behavior... or rather what behavior I might react with. I thought through the many things I could have said, or done which would have made me seem just as young as this girl. Pretty quickly, I came to the conclusion that it is not my place to say or do anything.

Over the next few days, I've thought about this more. It is rarely my place to say something to "correct" some action another has done. I think too often people falsely assume that it's their role. Anger, hurt feelings, drama, and a whole host of other non-reinforcing behaviors usually ensue. Rarely does the offending behavior change.

My friend recently loaned me a book called "How full is your bucket." The basic premise of this book is to shape all interactions with others in attempts to "fill" their buckets. You do this with positive interactions (strengths based positive psychology approach), especially those that play to the strengths, desires, and talents of the recipient. Conversely, negative interaction dips into the person's bucket. One of the challenges issued in this book is to work to continually be a bucket filler rather than a bucket dipper.

The above situation was one were I could easily have been a bucket dipper. But I know that is not my place. What I failed to realize in that moment was that I also neglected to be a bucket filler. I could have easily moved to the treadmill to the right and allowed the girl's friend to move closer. Instead I did nothing.

At one time, I was accused of being a bucket dipper. While I am sure I have focused on the negative or said something less than kind, I do not believe myself to be a chronic bucket dipper. Rather, I am more a chronic bystander. I react the same way I did at the gym, ignoring the behavior, hoping it or she, in this case, will eventually go away.

I am issuing myself a challenge. This will become my place. Instead of continuing to be a bystander, saying or doing nothing, I will actively work to increase positive interactions with those I come in contact with.

By the way, that color looks really lovely on you!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Soo cold

Preparing to ride Frostbike 2011. photo credit: Tom Fleming

FrostBike 2011 started yesterday. I rode today with temps around 20 degrees but a beautiful Sunshine. We had over 30 people join us and then 6 of us rode more afterward. It's amazing that I felt comfortable for most of the ride and could even feel how warm the sun was on my face at one point. It was a beautiful ride. We had some coffee and a little food at Cafe Ventana and then headed back out for more riding (about another hour). I stayed comfortable the whole time. Not too cold, not too sweaty.

Now, I am at home in my snuggly fleece PJ's and I can't get warm. I've even been sitting on the "cat warmers" (heating vents) and it's not sinking into my bones.
I am, as Dessa put it today, "Cold on the inside."


But I want it now!

I know I'm obsessive and black and white about things. When I get my mind set, I want to take off in that direction, often zooming along until I come to a screeching halt. I don't realize along the way that things are amiss. I fail to see the warning signs. Some of them are subtle. Some are glaringly blatant.
I do consider myself to be pretty self aware in general. I recognize my faults, character flaws and I am very introspective. But change is a whole different story. Patience is something I really like, but don't really have. When faced with a path, I do a little churning in the brain, some verbal processing with Phil or a friend and then BOOM, I want to take action NOW.
I am whole hearted with most of what I do. I am passionate, dedicated, but these are often to my detriment. I get caught up in unhealthy situations too easily. I fail to see those cautions signs, As the road gets more curvy, I continue with the same determination from when I started, rather than reducing my intensity to safely navigate the tricky terrain.
I wish that I could be a better judge of character. I like to think that I see the strengths of a person greater than their flaws, but the truth is, my vision is cloudy.
I want soo much for things to be different. I am aware of these challenges, flaws, but I haven't yet found the solution. I am sure when I do, I will fall head first, fast and furious into that change. I want to be better and I want it now!