Friday, February 26, 2010

Shopping + riding....

Seems Jen and I have a new gig. We ride, we shop! So it's Friday-hooray. Well yes and no. Yes, it's the weekend and no, well, I am tired and still have a big weekend of training. Yes, it's good!

Today was big swim, masters and then a 90 min ez ride. Well today is also Swim West's bi-annual sale. So we powered out the swim, gulp, biggest for me this year 4800 yards. I have to say I am pretty darn happy. 1- did the yardage without shoulder pain 2- it was sprint Friday and we did 50's and I pushed hard. On the last 50 I approached the wall and decided to make it 100 and see how my time shaped up. I was gasping for air but yes, the 100 was a good one. Now mind you, it was only 1, but I could do it and that is a good sign. On the right track for O'side and IMSG.

Shower, change and on the bikes up to Encinitas. We yammered the entire way so we were there before we knew it. 2 of my favorite suits, 50% off, but they are ugly. One has postage stamps and airplanes- please. But I am not picky. More concerned about the fit than the fashion. After all it is for need to be sporting a cute suit only to be trashed by the chlorine and spinner at the pool.

Love this sale as we are sure to run into other tri buddies and sure enough we see Diana and Darcy. Lots of chatting catching up and meanwhile I am stuffing my jersey pockets with suits and goggles. Jen over bought and had to use the backpack but she got suits, goggles and swim paddles that are guaranteed to move her up a lane at masters. We contemplated the speed suit for $170 and maybe she could move up 2 lanes. But opted out.

The ride back was not as cheery....the lactic acid we both expected after our respective days of training yesterday finally caught up with us. More complaining but we manged. We kept reminding ourselves, this is an ez spin, right? Right.

Whew...done and guess what. Hungry you got it! I had to boogie home for a work call so I drove along with hunger pangs, not wanting to raid the glove compartment for a power bar or shot blocks, I wanted real food. I arrived with 1 minute to spare before my call- grabbed a double shot out of the fridge and the phone rang. Well, the call should have been short. I am doing my part and then the topic drags onto a subject that does not concern me, but I need to stay on the call and I begin to realize how hungry I am. Now my office has many food options: gel's, gu's, shot blocks. No I am not going that route. Call ends 40 minutes later. I have not convinced myself I am on the brink of starvation, I am seeing starts, my body is eating itself. Okay, minor exaggeration. Totally satiated with ErinBakers Power Crunch granola, greek yogurt and dried blueberries (hopefully I did not overdo it with the berries)

And done for the day....well training and eating anyway. Work- yes have to get some done.

My dilemma for tonight is that Riley is going to a party from 7-11! Ah that is 2 hours past my bedtime. Have to be awake and present when she gets home. So I think I will set an alarm for 10:55 and come downstairs and wait. Why can't my kids like to go to bed at 8:30 as well???

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And the week rolls on....

Yes, another run on Tuesday and no pain! I am faithful to the foam roller twice a day and have kept up my intimate relationship with the ice pack as well. Not going to let this hip issue sneak back on me.

Last night John brought home a visiting worker from China. Fascinating guy...30 and his mind is always going. Very intelligent and inquisitive. Very child like in some ways with his questions and eagerness. Considering he lives in China his English is very good and he is willing to work and struggle with the language to keep the conversation going. John took him back to the hotel via Ranch 99 and REI (which he was amazed about) No REI in China, although very ironic that 90% of what is made in REI is made in China. Looking at some of the sleeping bags he noted they would cost over $1000 in China. Something about that just does not seem right.

In deciding what to cook for dinner I pondered....and went out on a limb and made chicken curry. He loved it, raved about it and had 3 helpings. Either it was that good or he has been living in a hotel for 2 weeks and home cooked meal would do the job. We loved it and there is something about a guest for dinner to break me out of my usual weekly dinners.

Wed was GWL day....and it was sunny and a bit chilly. Ian, N, E , B and I rolled around 8- a very sane hour and rode reverse. I was very happy to have all my gears today- only had to get out of the saddle on the steep part of Lyons Valley and when I was very tired coming up Stinker Hill. I, N and I opted for Descanso....well I and N turned around at I8, I just cannot do that. If I go that far, add the 6 miles of climbing, I have earned a trip to the store for a Starbucks Double Shot. So I went alone and filled my bottle with the coffee and was rolling soon. Popped in my iPod and had a nice ride back to the car.

Pondered a T run but decided not to push my running luck. After 3 days of running, just riding today seemed a good idea. Plenty of time to run tomorrow.

Day 3 of lacrosse tryouts for JD for high school.... 5:30-8pm tonight- what's up with that. I am ready for bed and he is just rolling in. So sad, increased training and all I can think about is going to bed at 8:30. Really, I need to get a life. I do have a life....husband, kids, swim/bike/run and eat - appetite is at it's peak again. Must be apparent as I write about food, think about food and well eat food.

Food highlights....latest favorite- toast with almond butter and honey, as soon as I wake up. Seems I wake up hungry most days now. Greek yogurt with honey, almonds and dried fruit. Absolutely delicious. Homemade pizza for dinner.....pepperoni/onion for the kids. Me...onions, broccoli, Greek olives, roasted peppers, cheese and then I eat all the kids crusts. Okay the blog is boring...discussing what Julie is eating.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Hard to beat the Saturday adventure....

Really what can top that....riding in the snow? been there, done that.

The good news is I am running.....yeah! Long run on Sunday 1:40- yes! Minimal hip pain while running but flared up when I finished. But thanks to ice (one of my dear friends), the foam roller and good stretching the pain was nearly gone by Sunday night. Awesome! Not sure how fast I am running...probably not real fast but I am running longer and longer. That is step one. Ran with some new cool girls and that is always fun. Big loop on the road ( prefer some trail but it was wicked muddy) so road was good. Lots of chatter about life, men, kids.... amazing how that helps the time pass.

These girls run early! 6am. So I was home by 8:15 and ready to Yes, the new family past time. Well JD's anyway. He asked if I would take him and I agreed. I jokingly asked if RM wanted to come and much to my surprise she said yes. So off we went at 8:30 to Lake Poway. JB joined us later and we had a happy family morning fishing and chatting. We brought Zen and he nearly killed himself with excitement over the geese. He was shaking and pulling at the leash.....let me at them, let me at them. He had to be leashed and was not allowed in the water or within 100 feet of the waters edge. His math is not all the good so he kept breaking the barrier and eventually the guy on the loudspeaker reprimanded us and ordered the dog away from the shoreline. Poor Zen had to hang out in the car. So we sat and fished and it was a day of fishing...not catching. No fish but some good family time. We had some good laughs and supported JD in his ongoing effort to feed the family.

Reward or consolation, depending on how you look at it, was a trip to Starbucks and a donut binge for the kids. Gotta love a good Sunday splurge sometimes. JD was off to play golf with Granny and Papa and we headed home.

Afternoon with the Tri Club and Riley joined as well- very cool kid she is. And then the vacation were out of school for a week so it was harsh reality this morning getting up for school. I was hoping to ride but it was rainy and windy. No thanks, had enough on Saturday. So I headed to the pool for a tough, tough, did I say tough, Masters workout. Oh my aching arms....times were respectable but I was wiped out, could hardly lift my arms to wash my hair (okay maybe a slight exaggeration) But I was tired and while the times are getting better the effort is very high.

After the swim and food....I mean I was starving. Eggs, brown rice and coffee....still hungry and had avocado and toast. Okay settled down and did some work, very productive in fact. Next was hitting the gym....ugh not my favorite but the last few times it has been on my schedule I have, well ignored it. Okay, coach puts it there for a reason so I go. It is cold and rainy and I am cold so I decide to warm up a bit on the treadmill before hitting the weights. I am running and feeling good so I crank out a nice 30 minute run while watching CNN. Nothing fast but a few extra miles without pain is a good thing!

And we are back in the school routine....lacrosse practice for Riley, lacrosse tryouts for HS for JD and homework, homework. Eggs for dinner- seemed like a good cold weather dinner, kids loved it. Yeah it's not chicken or pasta for a change.

Hoping for a bit warmer weather....I know I am the one who complains most about the heat but riding in the wind and rain is just not fun and I am riding tomorrow and Wed. So if I can request at least one day be nice, I will go with Wed. GWL in the rain and cold is tough.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Shopping with Jenny.....

Some chicks meet their girlfriends for coffee and shopping on Saturday....well I kind of did the same. Started out with the boys....JB and KP as well. We headed out for a ride, pending rain, but optimistically we hoped it would not rain until afternoon. We rolled out at 7:30 with intent of picking up KP along the way and heading to Dudley's for a 5 hour ride.

Started out great. Soon as we start climbing Scripps Poway Parkway it begins to rain a bit. No worries just a bit of mist. Looking ahead we see ominous clouds and serious fog. In fact we cannot even see the top of SPP. We move along. About 1/2 way up Braman says this is not what he signed up for and reminded me of my comment last night- I'm not riding if it rains. But it was not raining when we started and well now it was. But now we are on our way and we decided to at least climb SPP and then determine what to do. Braman turns around and we suffer the wet, windy climb.

As we roll to the top the rain clears and it is seems nice. Okay, lets ride to Poway RD and turn around. We hit Poway Rd, clear and nice and roads even seem dry. Looking East we see some blue sky and some massive black clouds. We choose to see the blue sky. Soon thereafter Jen flats- while it was not a 2 minute flat change it was respectable considering it was cold and wet and muddy. We are soon rolling and chilly and wet.

Not the quandary is how to get home....We do not want to descend Highland Valley Rd in the rain. The rain lets up and once again we are optimistic and rolling towards Dudley's. The next line of thinking is, lets stop at the bike shop and get a jacket and maybe dry socks and arm warmers and keep rolling. The bike shop does not open for 20 min. KP heads to Dudley's and recommends we head down, kind of felt like skiing and being up top and freezing. We decided to head back but pop in for coffee first.

Nothing like pulling up to a coffee house in pouring rain on bikes. We scramble inside and it is warm and smells good! We really want a delicious muffin or treat but we have only been riding 1:40 so we have not earned the big treat. We settle for delicious cappuccinos and debate what to do. Well our coffee stop gave the bike shop time to open so we rolled to Kirk's Bike Shop . We hustle in looking like drowned rats. Kirk looks at us with shock and pity.

The bright yellow jackets are a beacon for us. Women's sizes and there is 1 small, 1 medium and 1 large. Kind of like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Just the right size for each of us, well Jen and I. My arm warmers can be wrung out so I look for some and find very stylish polka dot pink ones. Tags off and one my arms. Jacket on and zipped up!

Life is getting better by the minute! Jen decides she needs dry socks and buys the ever popular socks with the sexy lady on them. Once she washes and dries them, they will make a nice gift for Tim.

We are feeling good now. Hanging out inside, warm and near the heater. Okay time to roll. We decide NOT to go to Dudley's but decide to ride down 78 and then home. The road is dry....we should have known better, every time we came upon dry roads it was soon raining. We are basking in the few rays of sunlight laughing and chatting and then it starts....small drops and then a downpour. Now riding downhill in pelting rain poses a huge problem- keeping your eyes open. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Putting your head down is the best option but well not all that safe while descending on a bike in the rain and watching out for flooded areas.

We are not laughing so much now. But we are loving, loving our jackets! And then it stops and we are rolling but the Wild Animal Park laughing again about our big adventure. Flat tire....muddy bike, good place to stop though and no rain. Rolling soon, more rain, we are definitely going home!

Finally as we hit RB the sun is out and it is nice....this is when the smart people are beginning their rides. We are, well finishing. Tempting to add an hour but then not so much. We have been out for 5+ hours yet have not been riding even 4 hours. So as we approach home we add on the 10 minute loop just so the computers say over 4 hours.

What an adventure....we are soaked, muddy and bikes are trashed. But we still rally for a transition run and Riley even joins us. All in all a good day and fun adventure!

Life of triathlon....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Zen will not be injured.....

If only us triathletes could or would listen to our body like Zen. He is jumping and eager to go at 5am or whenever he hears a russel from the covers. Tongue out, tail wagging "I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go"

And he takes off full sprint on the warming up, sometimes a quick stretch when I put his collar on. He is fully engaged and running for 20 minutes and then starts to bonk, die, slow down.....I would love to put a Garmin on him. Mile 1: 5:30 Mile 2: 7:30 Mile 3 9:30 Mile 4: garmin stops because he sits down.

Tried today to push him to 35 the point where we add on, he sits and waits. Not moving, not going that way, no thank you! He will sit for as long as it takes me to come back or even do a hill repeat. Now Rocky would have run , and did at time, himself into the ground just to stay with me.

Not Zen....the so call unconditional love, definitely has conditions with this dog!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ice bath.....

Here is John on the top of Mt Laguna taking a quick ice bath while waiting, yes waiting, for the girls to climb up Kitchen Creek. He hammered up only to tell us he decided to scream down Sunrise Hwy and be done for the day while we rode another 2 hours.

The girls who did the entire ride

Big weekend of riding.... Saturday we rolled out early and cold for Pine Valley for 80 for Haiti. Cool ride for a great cause. Adventure Corps, producers of Badwater and some other epic races put together a last minute charity ride for Haiti. 80 miles for $80. It was a fun ride...yes, no, well maybe. It was a good cause, good people and good training. The ride is actually a perfect IM training ride as you have over 6000 ft of elevation but no major hills so you can be aero most of the time. Which by the way caused a lot of pain! Have not been aero for 5 hours and the shoulders and back screamed with pain. Rode with some fun guys and we put in a good effort and worked together throughout the ride.

Rolling to the finish I was happy to get off my bike and who do I see but Trevor heading out on a transition run. Ugh.....peer pressure. So I put on my shoes and ran for 20, minutes that is, not miles. Hip felt pretty good- so glad I did it. More than the run it was fun to see the faces of all the roadies who were eating pizza and chilling and could not fathom running. Gotta love the triathletes :)

Sunday....really wanted to run San Dieguito but did not....hip is not 100% and a wicked hilly ride just would not have been a smart thing. So I only ran 45 minutes and am working to be healed.

We died...okay not died, but nearly melted at Riley's lacrosse tournament. We were in the RB High Stadium- all concrete and we had umbrellas and were still sweating buckets ( pleasant sight I know) It was amazing how much heat is generated in that place. 2 games and thank goodness we were done!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Made it past the one week anniversary of Rocky's death-phew! Was doing great until I receive a call while cooking dinner. Caller says, we have Rocky for you. What, what do you mean, he is reincarnated and running around? What kind of a joke is this? Ma'am, this is the crematorium and we have Rocky's remains. Gulp....uh, call my husband. That is one way to deal with it right!

My devoted husband agrees to be here to receive Rocky. I was suppose to be riding GWL but it was raining and we moved the ride by a day. So I was buys swimming and yogaing (I know, not a word but I like it) Delivery was 9-11am and I roll in around 11:15 and John is asleep in his car in our driveway. I startle him awake. Why are you in the car? House is freezing and it is warm out here. Of course....okay honey go back to work. I will wait for "him"

Close to noon, door bell rings and the man hands me a cedar box in a nice bag. He gives his condolences and when I take it from him I nearly drop it. It is heavier than a brick. So instead of crying I laugh, thinking of Rocky when he was his fattest, looking like a cow ready to give berth. I carry him in. Nice box closed with a dog tag that says Rocky and a plaster paw print (his I am assuming) We sit in the kitchen and I feel good to have him back. Where to put him...on the kitchen counter seemed appropriate as he spent a lot of time there in his younger days stealing food. Eventually we placed him on the mantle- seems that is where most ashes go. Right? It's not like we have a collection.

We were planning on scattering him on Dog Beach but we have decided we like him here for now. Somehow seems just right.

Okay the other milestone is my 3 week anniversary of giving up gum. Now I was not a closet gum chewer, most who know me, know I always had gum. But that was just the surface...I chewed packs upon packs daily in my office and car. Horrifying to see the trash when emptied, piled high with silver wrappers. I was addiced for years and to one brand only. IceBreakers. They use to sell it everywhere. I bought cases for years from Costco,. And then about a year ago it was only at Wall Mart- the store I hate became a weekly stop for me to buy as many 10 packs as they had. And then about 6 mos ago they quit carrying it. I was devastated and tried other brands to no avail. Quit? No I found it on Amazon and began ordering it monthly, auto ship in fact. It was out of control. I cannot imagine how much $$ I spent or the amount of trash I created single handily. I received a notice that even Amazon was no longer carrying the gum. In utter disbelief I wrote to Hershey and demanded an explanation....days went by and I was plotting how to escalate my request when it hit me. Julie, time to quit. I vistaed my stash and to my horror only had 2 10 packs. I debated, do I ration it out or just for for it. So I had one last binge and 2 days later it was gone. I told no one and woke up and quit, cold turkey. See there is not "patch" for gum.

So I did it.....3 weeks and no gum, no urges and I can be near people chewing gum and not want to rip it out of their mouth and have a chew. The bad news is I started smoking ;)

Training.....tired, hungry, tired, hungry. That sums it up. Swimming is coming along. Hard but making slow improvements. Running was rocking until Wed and the hip flared up - Damn! Walked home, pouted and am dealing with it. Saw KP for ART and went to PT. Feels much better but am giving it a few days before I test it again. Not panicking, okay I am but, pretending that I am not.

So I rode GWL + Descanso with Jen today to take my mind off the running set back. The sad thing is my legs are tired from the Mon/Tue runs and especially from the killer exercises at PT. 45 minutes of random torture exercises with bands of all colors. Strengthening muscles that support my hip and are most definitely underused, maybe never used but are necessary to ride as they were burning on our ride today. It was a double coffee ride- stopped in Descanso for a Double Shot and then hit Sbux when we got back to the car. Earned it indeed!

So PT is quite an experience. Most of the patients are older doing ROM exercises. My therapist is awesome but is tough as nails and funny. We cut it up and I complain like I am 2. Once she is done the assistant runs me through the drills. There are 10 PT's working around the room and it is relatively quiet. I am balancing on a wedge throwing a ball at a trampoline and catching it. Quite fun actually and suddenly my ass burning, the muscle that is. Suzy (my PT) who is helping an older many with his shoulder ROM (loudly) asks how I am doing and I (loudly) reply my ass is burning. Everyone looks at us and we cannot stop laughing. Okay, so maybe you had to be there but it was fun. Meanwhile I am asking, when do I get ice and stim? Anyway, back tomorrow and hoping for a cure ASAP.

Cheer's to Riley! A on her Algebra test- huge improvement and we are so proud of her. Instant reward and we jumped in the car and went to Cool Cravings for a delicious yogurt celebration!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tired legs takes over grieving process

I successfully finished my biggest week since pre-Kona last year....Interesting enough adding the run and swim to the week is uh tiring. All that riding was so blissful when all I was doing was riding and yogaing (is that a word? not really, but I like it)

So I swam 3x and 2 of the workouts were over and hour at Masters. Now I have moved down a lane and my interval is 5seconds slower, my arms are tired and I am starving when I finish, but I am working my way back. Thursday we had a few 300's, tempo effort and I was afraid to look at the clock but Sickie made me. I expected worse, hoped for better but all in all was okay with the times. 7 weeks to Oceanside and 13 weeks to IMSG. Plenty of time to get the swim fitness lifted.
Easy? No Doable? Yes.

Add 4 successful runs and well I am beat! So is Zen.....funny dog. When we started back running I wanted to be sure and ease Zen back into running vs his long walks. He has not been cross training on the bike so he is a bit out of shape. We started at 20 minutes and he adapted well. When we pushed to 30 he decided to sit down in protest around 25 minutes. As if he knows the 10% rule. I encourage him and he comes along. When we are adding on we often are near the house and he has not decided to turn and go home regardless of my intention. That or he sits down and waits for me to come back and make the right choice to go home. One spot I add on 5 minutes is up a short hill. Day 1 he was game, day 2 1/4 way up the hill he sits and watches me run up and turn around and run down. Almost shaking his head...what is the point? He has let me know 30 minutes is good for him. So I drop him off and finish my run.

Saturday I managed a 90 minute run! Not IM ready but getting there. Time? no clue, not interested in seeing the pace right now, just building the miles and hitting the hills. I am a hill seeker
Okay maybe not that big. But when I ran after swim I ran down Torry and back up. My big plan for Saturday was Black Mountain, but well, after all the rain - sounds like a hazard, especially for me. So I hit all the hills in the hood and some of them twice.

The riding was tough this week....legs are baked! Thanks to SRAM I am on my road bike so no power. But the way my legs are feeling, probably a good thing. Heart rate is fine for now.

Heading to another big week.....key for the week is lower intensity in order to get the work done. Considering my legs are tired that should not be a big issue.

Along with all the training we had a massive family weekend....Bro and family's last weekend here so we had a big Enchillada dinner here on Friday followed by a Chili feast on Saturday at their pad in LJ and finished with Superbowl on Sunday. All this socializeing is exhausting but very, very fun! Luckily my ride Sunday was a cruiser....Braman's ideal ride. We rode to the coast and up to meet my Sis in law and cruised along the coast to Solana and had coffee at Beach Grass Cafe and he snuck in some eggs. Continued on at a very social, chatty pace. Good recovery ride and what I needed but not what is going to get the job done for racing. All about balance (well sometimes anyway)

Huge weekend for pretty much tells the story.

2, 2+lb rainbow trout. The boy has been fishing for over a year....and as he replies when I ask how it usually goes. "fishing, not catching" He has not caught anything over 2 inches. Big day for him. He and John we up at 5:45 and on the lake by 6:15. Excited kid indeed and we all enjoyed the trout at U Scott's on Saturday. Braman taught him out to clean the fish and he cleaned the 2nd one and now that he knows how to cook them, he is on deck for grilling the other fish for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When do we run out of tears...

They appear to be self generating and mine are working overtime. I cried so many last night I woke up dehydrated....well maybe that was the wine too, but I prefer to think it was the tears. But I woke without the feeling of dread and worry for my pup. Each morning I would worry about his state of being, will he be in pain, will he be better.....but today I knew he was peaceful and pain free.

And Zen....bounding down the stairs eager for a walk. Thank goodness for Zen, so nice to keep the routine of a morning run. He seems a bit lost but all in all he is Zen and just lives his life.
I headed out for the best grief therapy one can think of.....GWL of course. Nothing like girlfriends (and Pat and Ian) and an awesome bike ride. Many tears at the onset and then onto more important topic...laughter, fun and of course the usual suffering.

I was feeling great and walked in the door and it hit me......tears welled up but there was Zen to dutifully lick away the tears and barge past me for a walk. He is sticking very close to me and that is okay. He went on some errands today, dog loves the car. I usually do not take him as I felt badly leaving poor Rocky at home.

I went to the bike shop..grrrr, SRAM RED :( Left shifter is having issues now- Love my Kestrel Airfoil Pro, DO NOT, get this DO NOT like SRAM RED! But that is what I have and hope to get this issue fixed. In any case I tied up Zen outside and returned to find him laying with a posse of people giving belly rubs. The dog is a slut for attention. Everybody loves Zen.

So the training is on.....looks like rain on Fri and Saturday so may sneak in another ride tomorrow after swim. Oh and a run too :) yeah- swim*bike*run all happening pain free!

And thank you, thank you for the outpouring of good love, wishes, sentiments, flowers and cards for our loving Rocky! All you dog lovers know.....this is not easy :) Thanks for being my friends.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Peaceful Passings

As diffucult and tumultous as it was.....we said goodbye to our beloved Rocky. He let us know that he was ready and we listened. We were hanging on for our sake. His life was not what it was... for a dog that relished in chasing rabbits and ruling the dog park, he was not meant to hobble and fall and not understand where he was.

We found a compassionate vet who started a wonderful business

Rocky was in his bed in his favorite spot, surrounded by his pack and we said goodbye and held him as he passed on. He was happy and snoring one minute and left us soon thereafter.

As a family we cried and held him and shared our favorite Rocky stories.....Zen was hyper and begging for attention and then he just laid down with us, he knew. Grieving is a process and we took the 1st step. Having family to hug and be hugged by helps.....

His dog tags are with me now and I plan to use them for support and encouragement from here on out. Riley has his old tag and will carry with her. JD has Rock's picture on his phone...he will be with us forever in spirit.

Thank S family for delivering the book Dog Heaven we cried, laughed and cried some more. They took the time to insert wonderful pictures of Rocky....the tale is what you hope is the truth. Dog treats and dog love...

We love you Rocky and thank you for all you gave to us!

Are you crazy....

says the women in the locker room this morning when I tell her I am signed up for Ironman St George. She says, "it seems Ironman decided to make a horrendous course and see what happens. No frickin way, not ever." she I begin to think- why, really as if an Ironman is not enough pain and suffering, why pick one with a tough ride and run??

Why not.....I am a climber on the bike! The bike is the longest part of an Ironman. Makes sense. As for the run...well, maybe I am just a glutton. Who knows, but the money is paid, injuries are in check and on the mend so let the hill repeats begin!

Riding is not the issue...GWL, Mt Laguna, Kitchen Creek and the like will prep me for the hilly course. The run is the issue....fortunately I live in a hilly hood so every run, yes, every run will be hilly. I have a relatively flat 40 minute run but that is off limits until after IMSG. Embrace the hills and this weekend it is back up Black Mountain!

Tough day around here with the pup....hard day for him. Seems the 3 hamburgers for dinner did not set so well. Poor Rocky he did not even want to go out to the park today. JD and Riley slept downstairs with him last night. He was surrounded by his pack. He rejected peanut butter this morning, one if his favorite things.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I have all kinds of fun training stories but really what is dominating my thoughts most days and nights is my favorite dog in the whole world - Rocky! (sorry Zen)

After my divorce I decided I wanted a dog and wrestled with the decision for some time- time committment., so much work etc... but finally decided it was time. I wanted a lab and then wrestled with the buying a dog when there are so many dogs abandoned and sitting in shelters. I perused all the shelters in hopes of finding a lab puppy only to learn that it is highly unlikely a purebred lab puppy will land in a shelter.

I made friends with Lab Rescue and also learned they rarely get puppies....its when the dogs are not so cute, destructive or old. I was on the list for a younger dog and we waited. I got a call about a chocolate lab named Brownie in Riverside who was 10 months old. The kids and I piled in the jeep and drove up to meet the "pup." He was 90 lbs and a ball of energy...he bounded out and licked the kids to death. He was cute and lovable and I ignored the little voice in my head. We piled him in the jeep and within minutes he was on my lap....90 lbs and I am on the 15 heading south. I pull over and settle him down and within a minute he is crushing me again. I finally had to secure his leash to the roll bar of the jeep to keep him in his spot.

We stop at Petco and I cannot control him in the store- he is pulling and leading us all over. It is all I can to to pull him off the buffet of dog treats. Mind you, I have a 5 and 7 year old with me as well. We finally get home and he walks me. After the walk he finds a new game and that is agressivly humping JD, who finds this hysterical. Time and time again...not so much what I imagined. When he leapt in bed with me, hunkered down and dragged off all the covers when I removed him realized we had a problem. It was a long night....and a short morning of agressive humping, him eating everthing in sight and me not able to control the dog.

That little voice is now screaming at the top of it's lungs.... BAD IDEA. I try to explain to the kids and they don't understand but I drop them at a friends and reharness Brownie to the roll bar and call Lab Rescue. Okay I had alreadly left her a message at 2am....I made a big mistake. So back to Riverside we go and Brownie is returned.

I tell the lady I reallly need to re-think this whole adoption idea and she understands but then says in a little voice..."see there is this one dog that just came in and I really, really think you should meet him." No, no, no.....she convinces me. Now the day before when we met Brownie he bowled us over and I am prepared for the same. Out she brings Rocky on a leash walking next to her and he is beatiful. I am sitting on the grass and he comes over and licks my face and mangges to sit in my lap and lean his head on my shoulder.
It was love at first sight for both of us. He looked at me with his big brown eyes....pleading to not be left at the shelter. Off we go and he jumps in and lays down and only wants to be close to me but not jumping on me. We stop for gas in a less than desirable spot and a "local" saunters over and starts chatting it up with me. I am uncomfortable and before I can look around Rocky is on his feet barking full boar at this guy. He apprears to be an attack dog. The guy takes off saying holy shit.....I get in the car and Rocky leans over and gives me a big lick.

That was the beginning.....The vet said he was anywhere from 1-4 years old and this was in Feb 2002. He did not leave my side for weeks, months, years....
He was so loyal and dependant that he went nuts when he was left alone. Barking, crying, destroying, breaking name it. He basically lived in my car where he felt safe. I remember going on business appointments and leaving 30 minutes early to ensure I found a parking space in the shade for him. Everyone knew Rocky. The most perfect dog as long as he was not alone.

When he was alone
- chewed the couch
- ate $400 worth of shoes
- raided every trash can in the house and dragged it all over the house
- scratched the door
- barked until neighbors complained
- escaped whenever possible
-and the list goes on

We built him a dog run...he broke out in 1 hour (after an entire weekend of working, nailing, pouring concrete, installing a gate. He was out in a flash.
We fixed all the holes and made the yard inescapable. Installed a wonderful dog door and he jumped the 5ft fence in 2 minutes.

We "invested" in an electronic fence. He tested it, got shocked, tested it, got shocked and the blasted through the shock zone and was free.

Finally we crate trained in and it worked.
1- I could leave the house and not come home to a disaster
2- no barking or whining
3- he no longer lived in my car

It was long as we remembered to lock him up. If not , he was up to his old destructive habits.
Eating....the dog lives to eat and binge. A few hightlights
- 2 cases of power bars + wrappers
- 1 lb butter on Thansgiving day ( we did a long, long trail run the next day with many stops)
- 1+ lb of uncooked rice...that was interesting
- case of Harry and David Christmas Pears- once he ate all he could he buried the rest in the back yard and about a week later cruises upstairs with a rotten, mud covered pear
- the day he got into the 20lb bag of food and ate at least 10...he had to lay down on his side, all legs outstrtched for a few days because he was so fat. Looked like a pregnant cow.
Running....he was the best running partner I ever had (sorry to all my other running buddies) He never complained about the route, he stayed by my side and was always ready to go. Even a year ago when he could no longer run, he would eagerly jump up and want to go, I would have to sneak out the back door with Zen, keep my running shoes out of sight and when we come home he looks dejected. When we would walk with Rocky and then drop him off he would sit in the street and refuse to go in the house...well until we offered a treat.
The Hunter...Rocky has caught birds, including a crow one time, a sparrow he lept in the air to snag and then charged up the stairs and woofed him down only to have a leg hanging on his lip, lizards- but spits them out, nasty taste, a large toad- rejected that as well, too many rabbits to count- John even brought one home and cooked it up for him, field rats, gopher. is no wonder at 11-14 (not sure of his actual age) that his body is shutting down, the dog has been hit by a car, bit by a rattlesnake, eaten rat poison, had 2 tumors removed, torn open his paw exposing a tendon.....and then all the random food he eats on the trails and on walks. At one point we called him $5K but in reality it is probably more like $10K. But for all he has given us.....well worth the money spent.

The stories could go on and on....when he escaped out of John's car (2 weeks after we met) and John nearly got arrested trying to find him. John was cruising the neighborhood in his van asking kids if they had seen his dog and someone called the cops. The many friends he made at dog beach...Rocky would fall in love every time he went- he was not picky, male or female and he was a magnet to the dog. He is a mama's dog indeed- at our unofficial dog park on our street if I was petting another dog his radar went up and he was by my side knocking the other dog away. Loyal indeed! And poor Zen...the motto is for Rocky "whats mine is mine and what's yours is mine" Zen does have is own beds, Rocky chooses and Zen takes what is left. Sometimes Rocky stares Zen down off the bed.

We love the guy but love is not enough... his spine is fused- 3 disks due to arthritis so he cannot bend the spine. So he has not been able to get in the car for over 6 months, the same car he used to live in. He has struggled on stairs and finally quit coming up after falling down too many times to count. So that leaves him sleeping downstairs alone- this from the dog that would follow me me everywhere all day...for fear of being alone. His vision was deteriorating and now is gone, he can see shadows in the daytime. He has lost control of his back legs, they give out and he falls. Until last week he could pull himself up but many times he now needs help or just lays there. There is more....but the reality is his body is shutting down and we are faced with the toughest decision we have ever had.

What a blessed life I lead...never lost a loved one (I was very young when my Grandparents went), the men in my life have always treated me well, never been harmed physically by anyone and the pets we had as a child died or went away when I was young with the exception of our golden retriever but he was not my dog and she ran away so many times that when she did not come back it was not devastating.

This is debilitating...I recognize he is a dog but he means the world to us. We have consulted with the vet, dog trainers, read online until 2am and now we know he is counting on us to help him. Everyone I talk to who has been faced with a similar situation says you will know when it is time. We discuss this every night as a family and through many tears and hugs we know it is his time. We owe it to Rocky....he deserves to have dignity and not be in pain.

Hamburgers for dinner! Rocky ate them with a bit of a struggle and Zen was thrilled.

We love you Rocky......we have made special arrangements for tomorrow night. Until then we are rallying around the pup we all love.

Julie Working hard at the Tri Expo

Dean Karnazes - Ultramarathon Man

I think he needs to lean up a bit....his legs are a little flabby

Darcy and I working hard