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Gardening for my honoree!

25 Aug

My friend Erika and I went over our guitar teacher’s house on Sunday to help him and his wife, A., with some things. After drinking some great homemade cappuccino courtesy of our teacher (banjo player, guitar player, barista, who knew?), eating some chocolate from Switzerland, and chatting a while, A. said she’d like us to help out with the garden: trim the irises to 6 inches, pull out the nasturtium in the front, and remove the seeds from the ends of the grasses she has planted in the front. No problem, we thought!

Three hours later, we had trimmed the irises, pulled out the nasturtium, and were about halfway done with the grasses. Erika filled four brown grocery bags of seeds, and I was pulling the seeds out of the mulch. It was pretty fun, actually, being out in the sun all day, doing something easy and slow. And I know how much A. cares about her garden, so I was so glad I could help out. I need to go back and finish, though…

Practice and practice tri

22 Aug

What a week! Actually, what a few weeks. Between getting ready for the benefit and flying to Rochester last weekend for Chad’s dad’s retirement party, my training completely fell by the wayside. Chad and I did manage to get a run in (I think we’re going to do the Treasure Island Tri in early November) when we were in Rochester, but it was impossible to bike or swim. Fortunately, I was spared the more greasy Rochester fare while I was there (no garbage plates, only one batch of Buffalo wings, and I could have drunk Genny Light at the party, but opted for Labatt’s Blue instead).

Then this week, preparing for the gig (oh, I love saying that) took up most of my time. Monday night, Chad and I went to see the Rowdies at their regular Monday night gig so I could support them a bit and also, admittedly, check out how they worked the mics. Tuesday morning was good–thank God for spinning class–and I got a little guitar practicing in that night. Wednesday night, the Nellies rehearsed at Cameron’s house, Thursday was the gig, Friday was recuperating (with our week #11 swim after work–after which I was EXHAUSTED). Which brings us to Saturday, the practice tri.

I ate my bagel and grabbed some coffee (thanks to Gillian’s visit to the nutritionist, I know I can safely drink it before a race. We triathletes need to stick together!), and headed up in Chad’s car to Paradise Park in Tiburon. The TNTers took over the parking lot. I had to bring our photo ID to the sign-up area, get “body-marked” with my race number onmy arms and legs and age on the back of my left calf, and get my paper race number for the run. Then we set up our transition areas behind our cars and Coaches April and Steve checked out our transition areas and awarded prizes for best, worst, biggest, smallest, etc. Here’s what I learned, since I missed the transition clinics:
1) Don’t bring a scrunchie, hair brush, or hair products unless you want the other triathletes–or just Coaches April and Steve–to mock you.
2) Keep it small, the size of a towel folded in half, unless you want the other triathletes to hate you.
3) Put everything in piles according to the order that you’ll be putting them on. So for T1, put your sunglasses (arms open) in your helmet, helmet with the strap undone and ready to be flipped onto your head, socks rolled slightly to make them go on faster, and shoes last.

We started off with a really short swim (not even a quarter mile–maybe .1 mile), then to the shore and up the stairs to the transition area. Here’s where I learned my most crucial (and painful) lesson of the day.

Don’t try taking your arms out of your wetsuit while climbing stairs.

I was so dizzy from the swim that my balance was already off. But feeling the pressure of reducing my transition time, I thought I’d be clever and start getting my arms out of my wetsuit as I went up the stairs. My arms got caught, I lost balance, and fell pretty hard, landing on my left thigh on the corner of a stair.

It felt sore for the rest of the race, but it didn’t inhibit me until that night. Chad and I went shopping and I was limping all over Union Square. Fortunately today and tomorrow are supposed to be rest days.

All in all, I finished the practice tri in about 1:15. The distances were .1? mile swim, 8 mile bike, 3 mile run. I think I could have even pushed myself harder.

Another good thing about the run was that Holly, who I ran with on the 1 mile intervals, was starting her run at exactly the same time as me. We ran together the whole way, which was great for helping me pace myself.

Today, Erika and I are going to help my honoree, A., with some grocery shopping and housecleaning. She and her husband, our guitar teacher, have been so busy lately. And, her doctor put her on this nonfat diet to try to clear up the problem of the fluid gathering around her lungs, so they’ve been struggling to find foods she can safely eat. Jen sent me recipes for two nonfat desserts. I was going to try to make one this morning, but I think I might make one tonight and drop it off before the vocals workshop Erika arranged with Kathy Kallick tomorrow night.

Bluegrass Benefit for Leukemia!

7 Aug

Thursday, August 19
8 pm
Amnesia (Valencia, between 19th and 20th)
Homespun Rowdy with the Barefoot Nellies and a special appearance by the High Holy Rollers (John Norwood’s gospel quartet–should be interesting)
Cover: $10 suggested donation (All proceeds from the cover charge go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society)

Good news and bad news

7 Aug

First the good news:

  • The gig is on! I’ll make a separate post about that, though.
  • At Wednesday’s workout, I ran 1 mile in 8 minutes and, after a short break, a second mile in 7:50! Thanks for running with me, Holly!
  • Patti’s white blood cell count is even and has stayed even through her past few checkups! Hooray for Patti!

Now the bad news:
As of Tuesday, A. was still in the hospital. I mentioned before about how A. had lymphoma a few years ago, went through chemo and a bone marrow transplant, and was in remission. Well, a few months ago, she started having problems with her lungs; fluid was collecting around her lungs, making it really difficult for her to breathe. They thought that once they discovered that the lymphoma came back, the treatment for that would help stop the fluid from collecting. It slowed it, but didn’t stop it, so she went into the hospital the day of my guitar lesson last week.

My teacher was really hopeful that this process they were going to be doing (inserting a chest tube, draining the liquid from around her lungs, then inserting something that would make her lungs stick to the lining around them) would solve the problem and that A. would only be in the hospital a few days. When Erika had her lesson last week, A. was still in the hospital, and the process hadn’t completely solved the problem. They were going to try the whole procedure again.

So please keep A. in your thoughts and if you pray, your prayers. She’s someone who’s very near and dear to many of our hearts, and I really hope she gets better. She’s been through so much, medically speaking, these past few years.

Benefit Concert!

3 Aug

Hey, for all my millions of readers, come to my benefit concert!

Thursday, August 19
8 pm (?)
Amnesia
Valencia at 19th
Suggested donation: $7-20
All proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

With Homespun Rowdy, the Barefoot Nellies, and a special appearance by the High Holy Rollers gospel quartet (no, I don’t know what that is, either).

Drink specials until 8 pm!

(The Barefoot Nellies is my band, by the way.)

Swimming in the Bay stinks

31 Jul

I mean literally, not figuratively. I just washed out my wetsuit and bathing suit from our 1 mile open water swim, and boy, did they smell bad.

The swim, on the other hand, wasn’t bad at all. In fact, compared to last time, it was an absolute breeze. Coach April told us to get in the water and warm up for 5 minutes beforehand, so I swam around a little bit. We were going to do a race start–running into the water off of the beach–but the tide was low and April decided it was too rocky. So we started from the water, which gave me a taste of what swimming in a big ol’ pack is going to be like. Legs, arms, wetsuits, red and yellow caps everywhere… Sighting was almost impossible until we got a little ways into the swim and people started to go at their own pace. This time I tried sighting for the next buoy, rather than the end of the lap, to prevent me from adding on an extra mile or so with my zigzag swimming. It helped, although I definitely wasn’t going straight.

Breathing was a lot easier, too. I resolved myself to the fact that I was going to be drinking some salt water and just dealt with that. Heading toward the Dolphin Club, I tried to focus on my form and got some good stretches in, rolling nicely side to side. By the time I rounded the buoy for the final 1/4 of my last lap, I couldn’t believe it! I did it!

My friend Miller (she has the coolest name) placed second (of the wetsuit-wearers) in the 1/2-mile Lake Del Valle swim last weekend. That competition was our practice for last Sat., but I missed it since I was in Nashville. Go Miller!

Tomorrow, Chad and I are going on a 50-mile (!) bike ride with our hard core friends Ben and Tiffany. I hope I’m ambulatory for the jam at my house afterwards.

I love biking!

27 Jul

I do! I just did an hour bike ride after not having touched my bike for about a week. Between getting ready to go to NAMM and then actually being at NAMM, my workouts definitely fell by the wayside. It felt so awesome riding again. I went up through the Presidio, just riding up and down hills, doing little loops for an hour, pretty much just trying to use up the time in my workout. I did one loop, first downhill, then uphill three times. Each time I got a little better, a little faster, a little more savvy about when to change gears. And I successfully stood up on my pedals–multiple times!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite figure out how to get back to the easy way back up, so I had to go up Arguello. That wasn’t so bad (although it’s a fairly grueling climb for someone of my biking ability), but it meant that I missed my favorite part about riding back out of the Presidio. Once we get towards the top of this one road, it evens out and I really start picking up speed. Coming around the last part, where Arguello turns off to the left, I feel like I’m racing. I push myself as hard as I can, come around the golf course, and end up at Arguello Gate, ready to head back down to home. I got some speed going, but cutting off that first bit made it much harder to get my momentum going.

I also ran twice on the treadmill in Nashville, going for pace. I ran 40 minutes the first day (plus a 5 min. cooldown) and 30 minutes the other day (again, with a 5 min. cooldown), averaging about a 10.5-min. mile pace! WOO HOO! Now if I can just translate that to actual road.