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Re-Sparked December 29, 2012

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It’s been a long time since I blogged. Whew. I was in the midst of the Health Blog A Day Challenge when I seriously fell off the bloggy wagon. It was a combination of suddenly getting a HUGE influx of work combined with having a few days of feeling stuck with the blog prompts. At some point I just threw in the towel and haven’t had a chance to look back since then.

The holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) really threw me, schedule wise. In the past, I’ve either been working super part time OR at a nonprofit OR in the academic world. All of which equalled a big break around the holiday times. I was able to shop, organize, cook and clean, wrap and mail. But I used to spend entire days dedicated to those activities. This year, for the first time ever, my schedule got super ramped up right around Thanksgiving. I was suddenly working many more hours, many more miles from home. I would come home exhausted, fall into bed and do paperwork in my pajamas, pass out and do it again. I knew, however, that this crazy schedule was limited. I just had to keep it up until Christmas Eve.

We spent most of Christmas day in our pajamas. We had no dinner guests so we got up late, opened stockings, made our traditional brunch (Mexican baked eggs and Juniorette’s to-die-for cinnamon rolls), opened presents, took a nap, slowly prepared for dinner (which included a no-work honeybaked ham), ate dinner, then went to see the Hobbit (yay).

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The next day we flew to Sundance to meet up with cousins and to take part in some epic, gorgeous snow. It was the first time in weeks (months) that I wasn’t scheduled up like crazy.

I spent two days snowshoeing (which I LOVE) in the most amazing, powdery, fluffy, gorgeous snow ever. Also heck of a workout.

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It was a good reminder for me. To do what I love. To move in a way that makes me happy. Always good to return to this.

Yesterday afternoon I had the biggest treat. I got to meet up with my dear dear friend Shannon, who was one of my very first blogging friends. Back in the day when I was still anonymous, she was always there encouraging me, supporting me and telling me I could do it, whatever It was. So many times she would Tweet or comment, “I just love you Foodie!” and I’d feel so cared about.

Soon I will be meeting up with one of my other oldest and dearest blogging friends – Carla, aka MizFitonline. When I started blogging four years ago, she was one of the only “superstars” who reached out with genuine interest and kindness, for which I will be eternally grateful. I am so excited to welcome her to my part of the world as a neighbor. Sorry Austin – your HUGE loss is my ecstatic gain.

(by the way, world – you can get your own fabulous piece of MizFit by checking out her BRAND SIZZLING NEW E-book “How to Build Muscle and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind” here – I can’t wait to read it! Maybe on the plane home!)

Today I pondered whether to go out for one more glorious snowshoe hike, or to stay snuggled under the down comforter to do what I haven’t in so long – reading, writing, contemplating the icicles.

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The latter won out and I am so glad. I’ve needed down time for so long, to return to my bloggy roots, to take some time to just lie around and contemplate all that is good.

 

Event Recap: Yosemite Snowshoe Hike! February 13, 2012

Junior and me under a Yosemite Falls rainbow

I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since returning from my TNT Yosemite event weekend, and this is the first chance I’ve had a minute to sit down and recap it. I have to do it today before the memories completely fade!

I have to say that this experience with TNT was completely unique from all of my other seasons. Instead of facing the Big Weekend with some degree of anxiety, dread, fear and adrenaline, I went into this one thrilled to be going on what felt like a weekend vacation. In beautiful Yosemite! Yay!

At sort of the last minute, Junior and her housemate F joined me for the weekend. Junior hadn’t been to Yosemite since she was about eight years old and she was very excited. We arrived just in time to get to the snowshoe fitting and then the Send-Off (pre-event) dinner.

honoree flags

The mood at the dinner was festive and relaxed. People had made flags with their honorees’ names on them and they were draped along the wall, a good reminder of Why We Were Doing This.

"Take a picture at 11:11 wherever you are"

Coach Carolyn gave us our instructions for meeting up, carpooling to the SNOW at Badger Pass, meeting up with our respective guides, and taking a picture at 11:11. We were divided into four groups based on exertion level. I was in the “Mighty Mo” or ‘moderate’ group which would later prove to be not-so-moderate, but still just right. I had just done that Tinkerbell Half, and was about to re-enter triathlon training, so I didn’t need to prove anything at this hike.

candle ceremony for honorees

We did a little candle lighting ceremony and then blew them out as a symbolic gesture to “snuff out cancer.” We were thinking about one of our honorees, my mentor’s husband, who had been planning to come to Yosemite, but was in the hospital back home following some complications. It was a reminder of Coach Carolyn’s words about life not always going as planned. Randy had grappled with deciding to come to the event weekend, but the doctors had reassured her that her husband would be safe and cared for in the hospital. This lady has been through so much.

When we woke up, these nice mats were outside of our hotel room doors:

put a little lump in my throat

my mentor Randy at breakfast

After breakfast we drove out to Badger Pass. Yosemite is so breathtakingly gorgeous, pictures can never really do it justice.

We got up to Badger Pass and there was SNOW! We put on our snowshoes… which took about half an hour of grunting, moaning and dealing with buckles and such. Finally… ta da!

Just call me BigFoot.

Then we split up into our respective groups and headed out with our guide. UPHILL. Going uphill on snowshoes at 7,000 feet elevation is… well, it’s no walk in the park. I was winded after about twenty yards.

It was also pretty darn cold, in spite of the sunny weather. Here’s teammate Dorothy holding a hand warmer packet up to her frozen nose. Nose warmer?

warming up the nose

Up hill!

At 11:11am we found ourselves near what looked like a giant flaming snow cupcake. You see how my mind works.

cupcake in the snow

Here’s our trusty guide Zach, who was infinitely patient with our sometimes high-maintenance (ahem) group of women.

poles in the shape of "11:11" Get it? LOL

We got to the top of the ridge and had us a nice lunch break on the sunny rocks. This is not something you get during marathons and triathlons!

rock sunning

It was so pristine and beautiful up there!

coyote tracks in the snow

On the way back down, we separated out to do solo meditations for a few minutes. I found a tree to lean on and just soak up the peace and quiet for a while. It was one of my favorite parts of the whole hike.

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We got back down to the lodge after about five and a half hours of snowshoeing. Which felt “just right” in terms of a damn good workout, a beautiful hike, but not horribly painful. I had gotten a good day’s work in there.

When we arrived down to the Valley we got the sad news that Randy’s husband had been transferred to the ICU and was in very grave condition. My buddy Jon volunteered to drive her down to the hospital, over 4 hours away, so she could be with him right away. This is what team spirit and our mission is about.

Jeannette, Randy and Jon

The rest of us celebrated the end of our season and our hikes, thinking of them and sharing a moment of silence.

The next morning we walked up to the beautiful Yosemite falls for some photo ops.

go team!

Then it was the amazing Ahwahnee Hotel for their insanely delicious brunch. What a way to wrap it all up.

so beautiful

mmm... dessert buffet!

With this event, I earned my Team in Training Triple Crown pin for participating in three different sports: marathon, triathlon and hike team. It felt good.

Badger Pass, Hike Team, Triple Crown!

Hike Team was very very different from other “endurance” events but it was a welcome change of pace and something I’d definitely do again at some point. They have incredible hikes to the Grand Canyon and other stunning locales.

In final news, I’m almost….. almost… almost... done with my fundraising. But not quite. If you’ve enjoyed reading about this very unique and different type of training, please consider dropping a few dollars into my Leukemia & Lymphoma fund. I’d be so very grateful.

I’m not fundraising for the Triathlon team this season because I’m mentoring the team and will be putting my efforts toward supporting my mentees. This is the last chance you’ll have to support me and my amazing team until… next time. ;-)

All in all, it was a beautiful, active, inspiring experience. I recommend for anyone who is interested in being part of an active team that’s working for a good cause. Thumbs up.

 

 

Getting Antsy November 18, 2011

Ants on a leaf by Aarthi
Ants on a leaf, a photo by Aarthi on Flickr.

So, last week I was feeling pretty much like a slug. I was sore and tired and emotionally wrung out. I did have one little swim session but other than that, I laid low and didn’t do a whole lot other than sit around with fake frozen peas on my foot.

This week I was feeling better! and ready to rejoin the world. It reminded me of times that I’d traveled to other countries for long trips. Re-entering my own country was often a disorienting and shaky experience. I’ve been off in triathlon country since July and coming back has been strange.

But this week I went back to work. I was feeling pretty good. I was excited to be back in the world again, using my brain and my body. I think maybe I was moving a little quickly because when I was calibrating my big machine, I dropped a 15 pound steel weight -yeah – on my LEFT FOOT. The bad one! The one I’ve been icing all week!

This time I dropped it right square on TOP of my foot. My other injuries are on the sides (ankles). It’s a good thing my foot has so many different surfaces to injure. Ay.

Yesterday I could barely even wear a shoe. Today it’s doing a little better. But I’m getting impatient, because after a week+ of really no working out to speak of, I am READY. I need to do something! Argh!

This weekend I’m going to join my new team (Hike/Snowshoe) for a nice long hike. I pray I can keep my feet intact until then. The forecast calls for rain but I don’t care. This is what I love about Team in Training -it’s that commitment, and we go out and “do the damn thing” regardless of weather or what. I’m ready to roll!

 

 
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