Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Week 6: DIYS Summer 100 Challenge

Day 36. Monday, July 1st
Deb and I got to spend the entire day together. We put our bikes on my car and headed for Canada. I had brought my passport just for this ~ a new stamp!!! As we headed off it started raining. The temps dropped to 70. But we are troopers. We stopped at the Detroit Riverfront, pulled our bikes off the car and headed out on the US side of the Detroit River looking across to Canada. It was such a trip. And wet and freezing. We didn't last long at all. We only logged 1.4 miles before we ran out of the bike path. We headed back and stopped for ice cream. As we sat eating our ice cream, shivering, we decided to abort our bike riding expedition and head to Canada for lunch (yes, we had ice cream first).

Ambassador Bridge heading into Canada.
Back in the car, I actually turned on the heater. The temps had now dropped to 61 degrees. This weather is just crazy. In the rain we headed over the Ambassador Bridge, a suspension bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan in the USA to Windsor, Ontario in Canada. Much to my disappointment, after handing over our passports, being questioned, and paying the fee to cross the bridge, I was handed back my passport with no new stamp. SUCKOLA. However, the Chineese food we had in Canada (I know, strange, huh?) was very good and seeing speed limit signs posted in kilometers instead of miles made the jaunt well worth it.

So that marked the third country I have been in: Mexico, Greece and now Canada. Hoping Scotland is next.

Day 37. Tuesday, July 2nd
I started my day out with a run down Sayers and through the cemetery again. This run is always a challenge, but I am really happy with my time. Somewhere around Taylor's birthday I started doing something different. On my last mile, as I counted my breath, I would run as hard as I could to the count of 24 (how old Taylor would be) and then continued counting to 50, my current age, trying to recover my breath. I was really happy with the time of my last mile today.
10:51 Mile 1
10:44 Mile 2
11:17 Mile 3
09:56 Mile 4 fastest mile ever
01:21 Mile 0.12
44:10/4.12 miles

When Deb got home from work we got on our bikes a did a quick 5 mile ride. Life is good.


Day 38. Wednesday, July 3rd
Denise and I headed into Ann Arbor for lunch and then over to Crazy Wisdom. Ann Arbor is a trip ~ kinda like a smaller version of Westwood, but more friendly and much older. I love the architecture. There are also a lot of one way streets which always seem to throw me off a bit.

Once back home it started to rain again. It's a good thing Denise and I do nothing and everything well together. It is easy to be here. We watched more Merlin, had another great dinner and more ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Day 39. Thursday, July 4th
Fourth of July and a really nice day. Deb and I headed over to the lake for a swim and guess who shows up on her bicycle???? Yay, Denise. We all swam in the warm water, enjoying the lake to ourselves. I managed to swim about a 1/2 mile.

We went over to Cris and Janet's. They have added llamas
since I was here last summer. I was set to help pick cherries until the mosquitoes decided they were gonna feast on the California girl. Maria and Kate came over and we taught Maria how to shoot the bow. She was very good. We had some great food and left in time to save Nico and Tilly from the fireworks. I think we were all in bed pretty early.

Day 40. Friday, July 5th
Another rest day. Deb and I have the Manistee Firecracker 5k race tomorrow, my very first 5k. The three of us were going to drive up north today and stay up at their property for a few days, but it just seemed too much. So instead, we are staying home and eating and watching Merlin.

Day 41. Saturday, July 6th
Deb and I got up at 3:30 and headed to Manistee. We watched the sun rise. I was feeling pretty good about this race until I saw the hills. Then the conversation in my head just went like this: just don't walk, keep your feet moving, you can do this. Deb, the exact opposite of me, doesn't care a bit about time or placing. She is just there to have fun and enjoy the experience. Something I really need to get better at. My head always goes to win! win! win!

We checked in and got our bibs and t-shirts. Turns out there were no finishers medals, only plaques for 1st place and medals for 2nd and 3rd. That sucked. Oh well, it's my first 5k, at least I'll have a time to beat next one, right?  I got up to the front of the line and the crazy coach of Manistee High School lit the firecracker (hence, Manistee Firecracker 5k) and off we went.

I had my music on and my first mile was the best I ever ran, 9m:16s! Wow. This must be adreneline. Or downhill. Or both. Second mile was 9m:53s. Hot damn. Third mile. Fuck. Uphill. There was no way I could keep going at this pace. In fact, I was about to heave. So I walked. For about 30 seconds and took off again. But had to walk again. Twice. Damn Damn Damn. Mile three was 10m:45s. In all honesty, that wasn't terrible, but no record setter in this group of runners. I was being passed up all over the place. I crossed the finish line at 30:26.6. I had no idea what my placing was. Seemed to take forever for them to post them.

And then they were up. I took 3rd place in my age division. I could not believe it! I was so excited.

By the time I had my medal around my neck it was nearly eleven and Deb and I were starving. Like desperate for food starving and this tiny town has nothing open except fast food. After driving through the town twice (and seeing my first draw bridge lifted up) we actually had to stop at Burger King. I hadn't eaten fast food in so long (Inn & Out doesn't count) I was almost panicked until I realized I could just have a breakfast sandwich and convince myself I was eating real eggs and bacon.

Once we had food in our stomachs we headed to Onekama to hang out at the beach. Now it has taken me a while to call Lake Michigan a beach, but a beach it is. And the most beautiful beach ever. I love, love, love the fresh water although it was just too cold to go in past my thighs. The cold, cold water felt good on my sore legs though.

Then to top the day off, on our way out of town, we stopped at  the House of Flavors Ice Cream Parlor on the way out of Manistee for the BEST ice cream in the world. Unfortunately, my waffle cone has a hole in the bottom and I had to eat it as fast as I could as it was dripping all over me and the car.

Such a good day with Deb. xoxoxo


Day 42. Sunday, July 7th
Rest day.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week 5: DIYS Summer 100 Challenge

Day 29. Monday, June 24th
I love it here in Michigan and the mosquito's love that I am here too. Denise and I took the pups for a nice walk in the woods and then took another one later in the day by ourselves. After dinner, Deb and I went back to Portage Lake for a swim. I think I swam about 100 meters, or 4 laps. Was a nice post-race active rest day. Did 10 pushups before bed. I need to consider throwing burpees back into the mix. ugg.
Tilly. Keeping an eye out between storms.

Day 30. Tuesday, June 25th
THUNDER STORMS!!!! I love them. Luff, luff, luff. Now Nico and Tilly disagree and run and hide, but I love them. Back in California we are lucky to get one, maybe two thunder storms a year. But it has been storming on and off almost all day long. I am in heaven. It has been really hot here and Denise says these storms should break the heat. That would be a bonus too, but just for today I am one happy girl!

I am pretty sure we got more rain in the last 24 hours here than we get in Southern California in a year.

Day 31. Wednesday, June 26th
Today is Taylor's 24th Birthday. The profound loss is still more than I can articulate. I am grateful that I am no longer in that moment-by-moment, every day agony that I was in for so long. There are times that despair tears at my heart, but not nearly as often. I have not gotten to that place where people say her memory will makes me smile. Not sure that is reality. Missing her is still just too intense.

< Insert: Song for Zula. Phosphorescent >

In any case, I have never been away from home for her birthday. Never in 23 years. This was a first. I was worried that it would be too hard on Hayley for me to be gone this year, but she said she was fine, or rather, would be fine. So here I am, 2,000 miles from home, a sobbing mess, learning to be ok, no matter where I am. Two things that I find very healing are: surrounding yourself with love (check) and exercising....

So.... I ran up Sayers to Plum Orchard again and made it all the way back to the house this time. The hills are a killer. I was soaked in humid sweat, but so happy that I made the entire run this time, pushing, pushing, pushing. I was a tad bit shocked that the total ascent was only 69ft and the total decent was 66 feet. What the hell?
  • Distance 3.88 mi
  • Duration 44m:15s
Happy Birthday TeeToe. With every breath I take, I think of you.  No hills will ever tear me down.

Day 32. Thursday, June 27th
Dear Grand Pooba of the Michigan Alliance of Mosquito's, please call off your attack of the California Girl. I come in peace and admiration of your fine land...

No one answered my call. I am being eaten alive. No deet, no cutters, no wristband are saving me. I can either be outside where I love and be eaten up, or I can stay inside. I am starting to like inside.... however, the Spartan Beast will have no mercy, so running gear on, shoes laced up, hydration pack filled, music ready, Endomondo on.

As I headed down Sayers I decided to hang a left and run by the cemetery. Knowing that it was only a three mile round trip, I pushed past it and went up to where the street began to turn the other way and which point I turned around. This time, as I approached the cemetery, I darted in and ran the perimeter. Cemeteries are always about remembering for me. Honoring. You are not forgotten. As I came out of there I was exhausted but pushed on home. I am always floored when I am able to push on.
  • Distance 4.12 mi
  • Duration 45m:26s
Have I mentioned ice cream? We have had ice cream a few times now and I am loving it. Vanilla with chocolate sauce. Such indulgence. And the thunderstorms? We are still getting them. There is just no other way to go to sleep than to listen to the sky rumble and the water pouring from the sky.

Day 33. Friday, June 28th
Nico is supervising.
It has been raining every night. But it doesn't just rain, it thunders and lightnings. This rain is wonderful, however it increases the humidity and brings out the mosquitoes. Deb goes to work each morning and Denise and I try to figure out what we can do between the rain drops. Today we tackled the fire pit. We laid down the sandstones and will sweep the polymeric sand in as soon as we can get 24-hours of no rain. I am bringing home these stones and am going to do a fire pit here in my circle.

Day 34. Saturday, June 29th
Dirty Girl Challenge

Something new for me, the Dirty Girl Challenge. I head into this just for fun. There is no timer, no time to beat and both Deb and Denise's first OCR. I am so excited to be doing this with them. Ann, Jeff's fiancee is also doing this with us. Her first OCR as well. Deb has managed to recruit a lot of the women she works with to do this also, so we really do have a "team."

The rain let up and we had a great time. The obstacles were a lot of fun and very doable. I love the net cargo climbs. They seem to consistently be my favorite. There was a big slide at the end and the final mud pit. It was a lot of fun to kick up the mud and play like children. Denise seemed to have the most fun playing in the mud.  She definitely laughed the most.

Day 35. Sunday, June 30th
Denise and Deb hosted a small get together so I could spend some time with people I don't get a chance to see much. Deb and I worked on getting the yard ready (been raining so much we weren't able to do it before today) and Denise began cooking up a feast. We had a great time with Cris and Janet, Maria and Kate, Suzanne, Jeff, Lori and Rob, Deb's friend Ruth's husband. Ruth was not feeling well and he came without her. That guy was a riot. I still laugh when thinking of him. The party was great fun.

When everyone left, the unexpected happened.... the sun was starting to set and I realized it was late, like really late. Yes, we had been going to bed early, but for me that is nothing new. And yes, I guess the sun was still up, kinda, when I was going to bed, but here it was, definitely sunset and it was 10:15 p.m. Never have I seen the sun set at 10:15. And then it got better. I looked out at the sunset and I saw something. Then I saw another something. Then I realized what I was seeing. FIREFLIES. oh my gawd! Fireflies! I have been here over a week, and I was here last summer too, but somehow I never realized the sun set so late and there were fireflies. What a treat. Icing on the cake of a great day.