Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Volunteering at Cottage Lake

In June and again in September, I was a swim volunteer at Mary Meyer's new triathlons at Cottage Lake. Called the "Get Out There and Tri Series", it offered a super-sprint distance (about 1/2 the distances of a regular sprint, so: 1/4 mile swim, 4.6 mile bike ride and 1.6 mile run).

There was an Elite Division - 2 times through the super-sprint: swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run, plus what? 5 transitions, one of them being the odd duck of a run-to-swim. I'm not sure if they are T1, T2, T3, T4, T5 or what. Imagine being tired and hot after the run and taking off the shoes and race belt, donning the cap and goggles, skipping the wet suit and plunging back into the water. I was out in the water watching when those racers came back for their second 1/4 mile swim. They did look fatigued and slower than their first lap around the buoys. I would have liked to try that, just to see what a double course might be like. But as you can see from the photos, I stuck with volunteering and I'm glad I did. It's another way to enjoy the sport.

The water volunteers were lifeguards on paddle boards, kayakers in kayaks and swimmers in wetsuits. We lined the course to provide safety and encouragement to the swimmers (and maybe chat amongst ourselves during the lulls between waves).

Mary's races also featured a kid's division at Cottage Lake and in mid-August, there was the Sammamish Splash JUST for kids with 3 distances for the various age groups to choose from. For the swim at Cottage Lake, I stood in waist-deep water and pretty much watch the hoard of kids go by. A few actually swim or dog-paddle, but most seem to end up "running" through the water (if they are big enough to touch bottom). It's kind of funny to watch. A few of the stragglers who have trouble may get a passed from volunteer to volunteer over the approximate 25 yard triangle course. Some kids like the support so much, they drag their personal swim volunteer along with them to the mat, like this kid here who had a death-grip on my thumb.

My 10-year old niece wants to try her first tri next summer and I've encouraged her parents to think about any of Mary's triathlons or Seafair in mid-July. Corinne has been doing "synchro" (synchronized swimming) for several years so is comfortable in the water and is quite competent pedaling all over hilly Port Townsend where she lives. I welcomed Corinne's entrance to the world when I attended her birth with parents Chris and Jamie a decade ago and hope ol' Aunt Karen can see her do her first triathlon.

Here are the cousins at the same spot in Kansas City, at age 10. Corinne is on the left (last summer) and my girl Camille on the right (about 3+ years ago).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009 Races

Nearly a year has elapsed since I last "blogged". A couple friends commented on this lapse, which made me feel kind of good to know that someone was occasionally checking my "Aging Up" site, despite my neglect. A stranger commented, too.

Before I continue with my story, here are some racing gal pals enjoying our post-race glow at the September Trek. Wendy J. is a regular at running, placing in AG regularly at everything from 5Ks to marathons (and she can wear a two-piece with confidence). Hillary is the hatless gal, "a monster on the bike" a co-worker of her's once commented, and a fast runner. I'm in the pink. On the right is Chris Kessler who recently wrote a book, "Fresh Off the Couch", a book about fitness, though I confess I have not read it. She fills in leading spin classes, rides and track workouts for Cheryl Marek, a local coach and athlete. We are all 50+ but pretty sure we all felt ageless here, thanks to that after-race euphoria.

Back to my blogging hiatus. It was August, the morning of the '09 Danskin triathlon, minutes before the start of the race and I was standing in the holding pen with the other women in my wave. We had not yet been herded into the corral which precedes actual admittance onto the beach where swim start occurs. It was the last few moments of idle time before you approach the start line and realize that you are totally committed to seeing this race through to the end. Everyone is nervous, there are last minute "Good Luck" comments to friends and familiar faces, some idle chat to try and relax, last minute positive mantras spoken silently to self, a lot of fidgeting, adjusting of neoprene, deep breaths, stretching and so on. A woman said "Hi Karen" to me and added that she was Judy. I racked my brain wondering where she knew me from and who she was. It's not unusual for people who have attend Mary Meyer's tri clinics to say hi after they've been in my group (I volunteer coach), or was she that Judy who I knew 20 years ago? She did seem vaguely familiar. She let me squirm for a couple of beats, leaving me at a small social disadvantage and potentially messing with my pre-race mojo. She finally said "You haven't written in your blog for awhile". I laughed and made up some excuse and felt strangely flattered that someone unknown to me would be noticing my absence from this pastime. Well, Judy, if you are reading this, thanks for influencing me to resurrect this blog in some way, and for saying "Hi". I hope you had a good race that day.

This is Mary M. and me before the start of the Danskin in '09. She has been the swim coordinator for the Seattle Danskin for many years. This year she started her own local triathlon series, the Tri and Tri Again at Cottage Lake in June and September. At those races, I was a volunteer rather than a participant. More about that later.

Back in February, I wrote an inspired entry explaining my several-month break from blogging and racing. Having done a couple 5K's in winter '09, I felt a renewed enthusiasm brewing and a desire to create some new goals around running, training, triathlons, etc. Alas! That entry was lost before I could post it and I couldn't summon the inspiration to write again. Nor did I follow through on establishing specific goals for the upcoming season. So my lack of writing coincides with a general lack of news around racing. Sure, I did a few races, did alright and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but it wasn't the same as in past years.

Earlier blog entries were mostly about my first 4 seasons of triathlon, 2004-2007. They were good ones, with each being an improvement over the previous season. My '07 season was great, with many races, PR's all around, competitive age-group finishes at the races and all my goals met or exceeded. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do race-wise after that. Thinking it was time for some balance and a more relaxed approach that would allow time and energy for other things in life, "training" morphed into just "working out" or "exercising". I stayed active but allowed for I-just-don't-feel-like-it-today excuses, or other recreational things like camping or gardening (is gardening recreational?). I continued to volunteer coach for Mary M. in the summer and competed in 4 triathlons in '08 and just 2 in '09.

In November '08 I had surgery followed by a quick and easy recovery. I was doing light-duty spinning in 5 days, running in 10 days and swimming in 15 days after a hysterectomy - and yes, I cheated a little on the medical advice here and there. The saying is "listen to your body" and mine told me "MOVE!", " GO!", "DO SOMETHING!", so that's what I did. Still, a week of no exercise, several weeks of light exercise, many monoths of unstructured exercise preceeding my surgery plus lack of motivation and goals contributed to some fairly lackluster performances.

I ran the 5K Valentines reace in Feb '09, then teh St. Patrick's Day Dash on a snowy, slushy March morning. No goals other than to test the waters on what my current pace was, what it felt like to get out there again and see if I'd get excited about running again. Tri-wise, I did Danskin in August '09 and the new Trek triathlon in September '09.

Seafair and the Fat Salmon Open Water Swim have been regular races for me for 5 years, but this year the annual Deep Lake open water swim and car camping trip in Eastern Washington was planned for the same weekend. I opted to go the leisure route, drag my kid and her friend out camping and spend some time with friends. Those races should be there in '10 for me to revisit.

Most recently, in October, I ran the Dawg Dash (5K) and the Pumpkin Push (5K). The Dawg felt hard, with all that uphill and me not having raced in awhile, but I kept the pace just under 8 min/mile (just barely) which was my goal. I didn't know if I'd be able to place, but managed a 3rd in AG finish which was nice (I tried keeping Val. R. in sight as long as possible, and that lasted until about mile 2 when I started to lag. Val took 1st in our division. My friend Lori was looking forward to competing in her new age group, having just turned 55 this summer, but the AG was in 10 year increments. I think she was happier about being 4th in our shared AG than 1st, as she would have been, in the 55-59 AG.

The Pumpkin Push sparked my enthusism since my pace improved to a 7:47 min/mile, finally nudging away from the 8 min/mile realm where I had been stuck for over a year.

Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5K
(A flat 5K around Green Lake)
5th in AG
24:54 (8:02 pace)

St. Patrick's Day Dash
(3.75 mile run, this year a new route: north/uphill on Aurora/99, turning on the Aurora Bridge for a downhill return to Seattle Center)
6th in AG
31:32 (8:25 pace)

Danskin Triathlon
1st in AG/10th OA
Swim 13:36
T1 2:05
Bike 37:27 (19.2 mph)
T2 1:02
Run 24:52 (8:01 pace)
Total 1:19:05

Trek Triathlon
2nd in AG/19th OA
Swim 14:07
T1 1:32
Bike 37:48 (19.0 mph)
T2 1:06
Run 24:31 (7:54 pace)
Total 1:19:06

There was an actual podium for the top 3 in each division at the Danskin triathlon, which was kind of cool. Here I am with Hillary. I wish Val had stuck around to take her spot in this picture. There was no podium at the Trek a month later (just the table with result print-outs for everyone to crowd around), but Hillary would have been the one standing on the top tier that day, since she took 1st in our AG.

Dawg Dash 5K
3rd in AG
24:45 (7:58 pace)

Pumpkin Push 5K
2nd in AG
24:09 (7:47 pace)

Sunny day for the P.P. and plenty of interesting costumes to enjoy, including dancing zombies (you had to be there).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Camille's Summer '08

Here's a bit more on Summer 2008, featuring some of Camille's adventures.

There she is, a blur of speed in the water at one of her swim meets.

This is Carolyn, who joined us on our Fort Flagler camping trip. Maybe we should have explained that we sleep the long way in a tent, not sideways.

... Carolyn and Camille on the ferry ride, wearing those fashionable, but goofy looking over-sized sunglasses.

What's a trip to the beach without burying someone in the sand?

On a gravel pile in Kansas City, Camille strikes a pose that somehow captures the spirit of her personality. I call her my "Tough Customer". She's a strong-willed kid, persistent but with a compassionate heart and a sensible head.

A trip to Hawaii in July? Sure, can I bring a friend? That would be Camille's pal Hannah who joined her and her dad Mike, who was there for a business trip. The girls had free run of the resort, took a catamaran cruise and a helicopter tour over the volcano there.

This is a mom-cat and her 7 kittens that we fostered over the summer. We have fostered cats and kittens since 2000 with the Seattle Animal Shelter (in fact, I was the team leader of that busy program for about 4 years and I can wax eloquent about cat care). These kittens were born at the shelter on July 2, we took them into foster care when they were 2 weeks old, cared for them until big enough for adoption - at 2 lbs. or about 9 weeks old - got them spayed, neutered, vaccinated, wormed, healthy, friendly and then found good homes for them through one of the shelter's adoption events. The mom kitty, remains in my home as a foster guest for now, until she finds an adopter for herself (interested in a nice cat???? Just reply to this post and we can talk! : )

Here is Camille's friend Alina at Sheep Lake. I've known Alina since before she could walk. She's always been a little reserved, careful and conscientious about things, wore clean, tasteful outfits and sometimes was a little bit timid about rough and tumble stuff. Well, we took her hiking and she declared "I LIKE getting dirty!", she leapt up the trail ahead of me, plunged into the alpine lake and stayed in that cold mountain water for 1/2 hour and scrambled rock walls that made me nervous to climb. Oh, and she petted her first dog EVER when we visited my brother and his dog. It was fun to see this new, bold Alina emerge and I look forward to taking her back-packing again next summer.

Camille experiments with her cameras a lot and has started posting some stuff on You Tube. Here are a couple video snippets from our road trip to Fort Flagler:

Yes, that's me enjoying Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Summer 2008: My Races

Age Group Worlds was previously reported on, but can I really consider that a "summer" race? It was in early June and weather was not friendly.

Here is a picture of me, in my Wonder Woman Team USA uniform, actually RUNNING (ok jogging) at Worlds, not walking (I walked a lot during that race).

I did 2 back-to-back open water swims and triathlons: the Fat Salmon 1 mile Open Water race on July 16 was followed by the Seafair Sprint Triathlon the next day. Later in August, I swam the Emerald City 1/2 mile Open Water race on Saturday and then did the Danskin Tri the next morning, August 17th.

Fat Salmon Open Water Swim - 1 mile/wetsuit
1st in AG/9th OA women

Seafair Sprint Triathlon
1st in AG
Total 1:21:08 (about 5 minutes SLOWER that last year's time on the same course)

Swim 13:26
T1 1:36
Bike 37:59
T2 1:07
Run 27:00

As expected, all legs of the race were a bit slower that last year, but it was mainly the run that deteriorated the most. The good news is I felt pretty good, enjoyed the anticipation of competing. I did stop to walk a bit on the hill in Seward Park nearly 2 miles into the 5K run. A racing pal Lisa S. passed me and urged me to run with her which helped a lot to keep me from giving in to walking longer than I really needed to (or thought I needed to). THANKS, LISA for the encouragement!

A few weeks of recreational bike riding, the occasional run and a couple days of easy backpacking filled the month until my next set of races:

Emerald City Open Water Swim - 1/2 mile/wetsuit
1st in Division (wetsuit)/3rd in AG (though technically I'm not compared to the non-wetsuit division)

After the Emerald City swim that morning, I plunged into the Packet Pick-Up Experience for the Danskin by driving into the black heart of the Eastside: downtown Bellevue and then back to south Seattle for the Bike Racking Experience. All this day-before activity has always felt like a lot of fatiguing busy-work before the Danskin, but with 3500+ women racing on Sunday, it's a necessary task.

Here is the Elite wave swim start at the Danskin.

Danskin Triathlon
10th/13 in Elite Division/12th Overall
Overall time 1:13:55
Swim 14:02
T1 1:47
Bike 31:48
T2 1:32
Run 24:45 (7:59 pace)

Wow! I had a pretty good race actually. It's hard to compare splits/times with previous years. The swim was longer by 200 yards this year, not to mention the somewhat choppy water due to wind. The bike was certainly shorter as everyone I know posted faster times/paces than is typical. I knew the run would be a lot slower for me but I hoped to keep it under an 8 min/mile pace (which I barely did: 7:59 pace). The race felt pretty fine. I worked hard on the swim and bike. I maintained for the run. I hoped to enjoy a little kick at the end, but alas! about 300 yards from the finish, before increasing my effort, I felt that funny acceleration/palpitation of my heart that I occasionally get. I SLOWED down to try and keep my heart rate in the low 180's (if it gets to the mid-upper 180's, I'm done for) and managed a little bit of a kick for the last 25 yards (just in time for the photo op : )

Afterwards, I saw my racing pals Hillary (1st in her AG of 45-49), Val (1st in AG 50-54) and Sandy (2nd for 50-54). Congrats to all of them! I am very pleased that my time was within seconds or a minute or so of theirs as they are all strong racers worthy of respect. I'm proud that we are the 4 oldest women (we're 49 - 53) who placed in the top 20. Not only am I in their ranks, but I enjoy their friendships, even if it's only the occasional, supportive, curious email a few times a year and some chat at the races.

Here I am with a fellow "Magnolia mom" acquaintance Kathy S., who is a 40-something mom of 3. She joined the Elite wave this year (and I hope I can take some credit for encouraging her to do so). She is a tough competitor who has placed in her age group in past races. I keep trying to catch her in the swim, but haven't been able to yet.

Subaru Women’s Sprint Tri
2nd in AG/10th Overall
Total 1:32:28
Swim 14:28
T1 2:40
Bike 41:12
T2 1:32
Run 32:38

I did this race in ’04 and’05 and finally came back to race it again this year. My wave was made up of all women 45 years and older. The swim felt good and as far as I could tell, I was 2nd throughout the swim to one other “green cap” about 10 yards ahead of me. But when we exited the water, she stopped to peel off her wetsuit before crossing the timing mat, so my swim split shows me as the fastest in my wave. I huffed and snorted my weary way through T1’s longish run to the transition area and was soon out on the bike course.

Though I had checked the bike map prior to the race, I’m afraid I was on auto-pilot from the last time I did this race. I missed the proper turn-around point for the 2nd lap of the bike leg, found myself facing head-on bike traffic and was quickly shouted back onto the correct course by a race volunteer. Val R. was one of the potential head-on crashes I dodged during that maybe 20 second error. I knew she would be gaining and passing me on the bike leg and there she was!

On to T2, I was happy that no others from my wave had caught me yet, but since my run has been weak this season, I thought I might see someone with a “5” on their calf (our wave number) passing me soon. With Val ahead of me and Debbie G. behind me (another strong competitor in our AG), I wondered what would happen on this very hilly 4 mile run. Well, I felt pretty good. No stopping to walk, no unusual tachycardia… There was Val staying about 30 yards ahead of me for most of 30 minutes or so… By the 3rd mile it seemed I was getting a little closer. I didn’t really expect to overtake her, though I hoped to close the gap (maybe that was overly ambitious since her pace was 10 seconds per mile faster than mine at the Danskin 3 weeks ago). I did close the gap quite a bit, but not enough! I finished 4 seconds behind her for 2nd in our age group. But no regrets! It was a fun race and I’m happy to have finished so close to her.

Debbie G. placed third and I finally met and chatted with her. As I mentioned, she is a strong racer in my AG who has competed in several of my past races, including AG Worlds in Vancouver (where she finished around 35 minutes or so ahead of me), but I had never had met her before. I’m glad to have a new racing acquaintance. She will age up to the 55 -59 group next season.

The Subaru Tri is nice in that it has drawings for STUFF during the awards ceremony and I was a lucky winner of a basket full of goodies. In addition to the random giveaways, the podium finishers get prizes along with a plaque of some sort (I scored a Speedo swim bag). But my favorite thing was the award they give for 1st, 2nd and 3rd fastest overall for T1 and T2. And though I know I usually post a decent T1, according to them, mine was the fastest of the day earning me some plastic trophy trinket saying so (alas! when I got home to view the results, I see that the 1st place overall finisher actually had a faster T1, so I’m not sure why I got the award, but I was excited about it at the time anyway).

Well, this was the fun race of the season and my last. So for a slack season of training with no firm goals and a shaky start at Worlds, I’m happy with my 4 tri’s and 2 OW races and the gradual improvement as I make some progress with my running again. And I did achieve my goal of having fun with this!

Here's a really unflattering picture of me exiting the swim at the Danskin. But I like to imagine a whip in my upraised hand, instead of the goggles that just got yanked off my head, and maybe in my right hand a long spear impaling some enemy. Visualize long blond braids and a helmet with horns instead of the blue cap, a breastplate instead of wet lycra.... Or maybe my right hand is holding a bow, my upraised left hand is pulling an arrow out of the quiver on my back and I am slaying Orcs...or better yet, I am Eowyn about to slay the Lord of the Nazgul! Yeah!

One of my favorite parts of the Lord of the Rings: the Battle of the Pelennor Fields is raging, it's a bloodbath out there, orcs, trolls, wargs and bad dudes threaten our Heroes and the future of Middle Earth. Disguised as a man, Theoden King's neice Eowyn reveals herself, fulfills prophecy and becomes one of the great heroes of the War of the Rings doing something no man can do: slay the Lord of the Nazgul, the chief Ringwraith:

"A cold voice answered:'Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.'

A sword rang as it was drawn. 'Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.'

'Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!'
..."'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you are not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.'

The winged creature screamed at her, but the Ringwraith made no answer, and was silent, as if in sudden doubt. ....Suddenly the great beast beat its hideous wings, and the wind of them was foul. Again it leaped into the air, and then swiftly fell down upon Eowyn, shrieking, striking with beak and claw.

She she did not blench: maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings, slender but as a steel-blade, fair yet terrible. A swift stroke she dealt, skilled and deadly. The outstretched neck she clove asunder, and the hewn head fell like a stone. Backward she sprang as the huge shape crashed to ruin, vast wings outspread, crumpled on the earth; and with its fall the shadow passed away. A light fell about her, and her hair shone in the sunrise.

Out of the wreck rose the Black Rider, tall and threatening, towering above her. With a cry of hatred that stung the very ears like venom he let fall his mace. Her shield was shivered in many pieces, and her arm was broken; she stumbled to her knees. He bent over her like a cloud, and his eyes glittered; he raised his mace to kill.

But suddenly he too stumbled...Merry's sword had stabbed him from behind....

Then tottering, struggling up, with her last strength she drove her sword between crown and mantle, as the great shoulders bowed before her. The sword broke sparkling into many shards. The crown rolled away with a clang. Eowyn fell forward upon her fallen foe. But lo! the mantle and hauberk were empty. Shapeless they lay now on the ground, torn and tumbled; and a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up and was never heard again in that age of this world."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Summer 2008 Continued...

II. Backpacking

Warm, sunny days! Mosquitoes! Rain, wind, fog, snow and cold! A clear, full moon night in a snowfield! A black bear, a lone coyote, whistling marmots, deer! A fantastic sunrise from Camp Muir! Glissading! Trudging up steep trails carrying a 42 lb. pack! The little flask of Grand Marnier!

I remember saying sometime in the past year that I wanted this summer to be more recreational, to get back to some camping and take the triathlon thing a bit more casually. So with 3 car camping trips, 3 day-hikes and 4 backpacking trips, I guess I achieved that!

Backpack to Sheep lake in mid-August:

I took Camille and her friend Alina on this easy 2-miler that is part of the Pacific Crest Trail on the eastern boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park. Sure, I had to carry most of the gear for 3 people on MY back, but it still felt harder than it should have…and these 2 girls went leaping up the trail like mountain goats, faster than I could keep up with. We had planned for 2 nights/3 days out, but after a full day of side hiking, exploring and swatting at the dratted mosquitoes, we agreed to hike out before sundown on day 2. The girls swam in that cold mountain lake and scrambled a few rock faces, so it felt like we'd done enough. We headed for Enumclaw, arrived unannounced at my brother Tommy’s great home: a lodge-like cabin that he and his wife Stina built – and enjoyed a clean, comfortable, bug-free night.
(yep, I have some photos of the girls at Sheep Lake, but I'll post them later...)

Three backpacking trips to Mt. Rainier National Park:

August 22: My friend and I hiked from Sunrise to Granite Creek then to Glacier Basin for 2 nights/3 days and around 15 miles of hiking. Perfect weather and big vistas made up for some hard climbs and descents.

August 29: An out of state visitor wanted a Mt. Rainier experience while visiting here over Labor Day weekend. So we car camped a couple nights and day hiked around the Paradise area. On the second day, we included a start up to Camp Muir, one of the base camps for climbers summiting Mt. Rainier. Well, we got a late start, fog surrounded us and snow started falling which made route-finding potentially difficult or impossible since we had no GPS or experience on the climb. So we were satisfied with hiking part of the way up, throwing some snowballs, glissading a little on the way down and returning safely for hot chocolate. The final 2 days of that weekend, we backpacked part of the Wonderland Trail (a 93 mile loop around Mt. Rainier) to Indian Bar, for a 15 mile round trip. The scenery was beautiful despite the cold, wind and on-and-off rain.

September 13: We returned to Paradise to backpack up to Camp Muir. The weather was perfect! Clear and warm, it was shorts-and-tank-top-hiking in the snowfields and there were no challenges finding the route this time. There was a highway of climbers and day-hikers going up and down the route. But the hiking was tough! It was all uphill with that overnight pack and increasing altitude and it took about 5.5 hours to hike the 4.5 miles and 4600 feet of elevation gain. I definitely felt the lack of oxygen in the last ½ mile or so. And jumping crevasses kind of spooked me.

Once at Camp Muir, relaxing at sunset, cooking a meal and enjoying hot chocolate was quite rewarding There was no wind, a full moon rose and there we were with a commanding view of mountain peaks to the south, the horizon to the east, and this big, hulking beast of a mountain at our backs. Pitched the tent in a snowfield by moonlight and in silence (except for the regular rumbling and crashing of rockslides on the other side of this basin or the crunch of icy snow under our feet) and it was quite surreal! Not being used to 10,000 ft elevation, I had some shortness of breath, headache and restlessness making sleep a little difficult.

The basin faced east and so did my tent door making for a big bright view of the sunrise. Hiking down was much easier. After experimenting with various ways to glissade (or slide on your butt through the snow in some fashion), I settled on using my folded Thermarest (to pad the bumps and keep my rear from freezing!) covered by a heavy duty garbage bag (more slippery than the Thermarest surface allowing a faster ride). I don’t think it helped me get down the slopes much faster than if I just kept hiking, but it was a ton of fun!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Summer Recap '08

Yikes! It's officially autumn and I haven't blogged since late June! And since my audience, my blog-followers, all 3 of you, have recently mentioned the lack of new blog material, I feel it's my duty to bring you up to date.

I'll start a Summer '08 recap here and continue with details and photos in separate blog posts to follow.

I. Fun Stuff Having Nothing To Do With Triathlons, Training or Racing

- School was out June 17, and a return to an old tradition was needed: Car Camping! I took my Camille and her friend Carolyn, a couple of 12 year olds, out to one of our favorite places, Fort Flagler, for 2 nights of car camping on the beach. We were met by Camille’s cousin Corinne, Uncle Chris and Aunt Jamie who live across the water in Port Townsend. The weather was clear, but the stiff wind all day allowed only a few warm hours during midday. Otherwise, it was a chilly few days of camping. Evenings we huddled around the campfire with smoke stinging our eyes as the wind shifted constantly. Marshmallows and chocolate kept us happy enough though.

- I went to the Fremont Fair and saw some of the Solstice Parade. Love the naked bike riders! Maybe I'll join them some day? I would need excellent disguise (best to avoid: "Oh look, isn't that Camille's mom?" or "Gee, I think that's my home care nurse there on that bike"). I would love to post some of the great photos that a photographer acquaintance of mine emailed to me, but who knows what kind of trouble I could get into for that. If you would like to see some of those creative, humorous, bold, nude cyclists and know me well enough to have my email address, just ask and I'll provide the link.

-Camille joined me at the University Street Fair on what felt like one of the hottest mornings of the summer and convinced me to purchase a "Sky Chair", a sort of hanging, hammock-like chair that is oh-so-comfortable when you try it out after walking around at the fair for a couple hours. I have enjoyed it many times on my back porch this summer!

There is Camille in that "Sky Chair:"

-I joined some old swimming pals and met some new ones on the Fourth of July Road Trip to Deep Lake in Eastern Washington for some car camping and an open water swim. Check out my blog entry from last year for more about Deep Lake: http://agingup.blogspot.com/2007/12/more-deep-lake.html and http://agingup.blogspot.com/2007/11/deep-lake.html

My friend Patty joined us for some camping and relaxing. When we were returning from our 2.7 mile out and back swim, the lake was eerily empty of other people - they had been evacuated while we were out on the swim. There was a fire burning in the narrow canyon leading up to the lake and you could hear the crackling and see the smoke and flames approaching. There was no real danger, but it seemed exciting enough to snap a picture on the way out.

Next up:

II. Backpacking