I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mumblings of a Crazy Person-Ironman Boulder Training

hill-seekerSeven weeks out from Ironman Boulder.  Training is getting…fun? Enjoyable?  Entertaining?  Monotonous? Insane?  Yep…there it is!! I'm going to give you a little peek into my mind while out on my training ride today.  The ride was only 24-miles with a series of hill repeats thrown in on Fernan saddle, which is about a 6% grade, all timed so that my legs had just enough time to start to "turn on" before I'd turn to swoosh back down at 34mph.…nothing too crazy about.

Fernan was quiet….2 cars today.  I rode from town, and out around the lake taking in its gorgeous beauty.  I have to say, that view…never gets old.  I love the winding switch backs and the smooth pavement out to the gun range, where the hill starts.  It's serene.  Peaceful even.  I was nice and warmed up by the time I got there.  Ready to attack those hill repeats! 

First repeat….this is feeling pretty easy.  I look over the hill to the gun range and take a notice to who's out there…a dad with 2 young kids, an older, graying, gentleman and his wife.  He looks like he's teaching her to shoot.  "Keep it aimed out towards the target, Mama" I think….OK, I'm started to get warm with my jacket on..that will need to be peeled off when I turn around.  Hmmm…is that a bone?  Yep!  That looks like an ulna.  Cat?  Dog?  Coyote?  Oh…theres a pelvis.  WOW!  Yes there are wild animals out here! Check the time… 

Down…turn around….Kids and Dad still there.  Wife and husband still there.  She still hasn't taken a shot.  There are the bones. "That's gotta be a femur."  I continue to climb.  A Dairy Queen straw…and the cup.  A Blizzard.  man, why do people litter.  So rude!  On this climb, of course, I start my self-talk.  Last time I made it to point X..this time, I have to make it a little further.  I'm timing 7-minute hill repeats. I am BY FAR my own worst critic.  Not the self-hating, self-punishing type of critic…but the kind of critic that gives myself pep-talks that motivate, makes me work harder, makes me pick up my cadence, sweat a little harder.  I will never work harder than when I am racing myself.  There is something that boils up inside of me, that makes me want to go the extra mile, go a little harder.  It's me..against ME!  Last time I made it to the snag, this time I blew right by her.  Snagatha Christy! 

Down, turn around.  Dad and kids are loading up to go home….the older couple…she's ready to fire, gun held up..he's out fixing the target.  Oh man…that doesn't look good.  I say a prayer.  The bones…man, what's the story with those bones?  And why? are they in the road?  There's the DQ straw…oh man! a Blizzard sounds so good right now.  Does it though?  I haven't had a Blizzard in years!  Honestly 2001 was the last Blizzard I had.  But this little gem, laying on the side of the road….perfection!  Pink toothbrush..Oh that's new.  How does a toothbrush find its way to the side of the road?  Was it tossed from a car?  Fell out from someone's belongings on the way to a camping trip?  Hmmm that would make for a weekend of bad-breath.  Was that a couch cushion?  There's that big, beautiful snag…See Ya Later! Snag! 

Down, turn around.  It's like a slow dance.  Slow it down, turn around, repeat.  The older couple…granny is poppin' em off like lightning now.  Yeah!!  She's got it!  It quiets as I head up the hill.  Bones, check.  Blizzard straw, check. pink toothbrush, check.  Yes, that IS a couch cushion, check.  Snag….hmmm there you are you broken and gnarly piece of tree…."were you struck by lightning?"  I think my legs were just struck by lightning.  Dear Paula, you decided to sign up for yet another Ironman….this is part of the pain.  Hit it girl!  I giggle to myself.  It is so quiet now.  No cars, no fire arms, no bikes, no wind….silence.  Me and my breath.  My toosh hurts….(this is another blog-post that needs to be written)  Oh my BUTT!! "Do I have my pepper spray in my Bento box?  Sooo quiet.  And beautiful.  The mountain and trees are magnificent under the sunshine.  I am always so in awe of this place we call home.  I feel blessed. 
  Down.  And up.  Grams & Gramps have left the range now, seemingly satisfied with her firearm prowess.  It's just me.  Last repeat.  Last time to make it outstanding.  I am dying to stand up….coach says, "keep the climb in the saddle."  Make this strong and remarkable Paula….again, being my own worst judge.  Don't think about the fire starting to escape through your muscles, and burning through your shorts.  This makes me think of the Fantastic Four and the Human Torch…my legs could quite possibly catch fire!  Think of how you'll feel if you give up now.  Finish this last repeat like a boss.  Do not look for your distractions on the ground.  Look up.  See the snag?  She's waving you by.  She knows that she was a one-time deal and that you would never stop at her again.  The sound of my breathing is a great sound.  It reminds me how alive I am.  It reminds me that my lungs are strong and healthy.  Capable and competent.  My mind drifts…."your great grace.."  I am WAY past my first attempt of this climb.  Past my second and third attempt.  It feels GREAT to continue up.  Further than the last.  A silent prayer escapes my lips…."Thank you for this." 


 Look at that yellow mushroom!!! 

I am WAY further up the hill!!  Nice work Lady!!  Take a selfie!

 "Get your butt home before whatever drug those bones to the road, comes out for a visit."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Looking Up- Ironman Boulder Training

Picture taken on Fernan
Just LOOK what I may have missed…(Fernan Lake)
Trying my hardest at least once a month to catch up on here. It’s easy, when I’m not so busy, or when I’m willing to sit into the wee hours of the night (ahem morning) writing.
Ironman training is definitely in full swing now.  I shouldn't say <now> it has been.   It’s exciting and tiring, and time-consuming. It's also a reminder that I need to put into perspective that which is important.
It’s a constant challenge for anyone when training for a long endurance event. The demanding workouts; literally HOURS in the saddle, or pounding the pavement; added on top of an already full schedule of husband, kid, church, study time, reading, social time with friends, planning events…you name it. Oh, and a little down time thrown in there…
I have people ask me all the time, how it all seems to work. How do I squeeze it all in? HA… I have friends that train, have husbands and families AND a full-time job! HOW DO THEY DO THAT?
I can’t sweat the small stuff!  photo
It’s very simple for me...when I keep my priorities in check; God, husband, family …When things get out of whack…well, life gets “out of whack,” and  I am quickly reminded into which well I need to be dropping my bucket.
Last week, was a big week. First century ride (100 miles) for this training season, 4-miles of swimming, and 27 miles of running! Things are getting fun now! It all went well albeit my mind making a valiant attempt to sabotage me. Didn’t work! Thank you Jesus for my peace of mind. That long 100-mile ride and the long 15-mile run I did alone. The ride went excellent! I did a little (ok A LOT) of talking with God and myself.
Too much looking at this….
Too much looking at this….
Here I am, getting frustrated and God shows me how beautiful the mountains and lakes are, if I took a second to look up. Me: getting tired and God reminding me of the strong, capable, body He has given me. Me: sweating and hot, and God reminding me how much I had prayed for sunshine when it was cold and miserable. In the last 10 miles of that 100-mile ride…. I finally understood….it’s not about me! Life throws up all sorts of challenges.  Change your perspective.  …LOOK UP
….and not enough looking at this.
….and not enough looking at this.
I was nervous about the run.  Having done 13-miles the week prior that was a complete disaster, I was a little uneasy and unsure. A little caveat: this is why it’s SO important to work with your nutrition early on.
I poured over nutrition all week. Deciding to make a change to something new is SCARY! It is hit or miss and can cost you a great training day like last week and in some cases, it can cost you a race day. It’s hard to change a good thing. But, (BUT) things change. Our bodies change. Nutrition changes with new science and technology. So I went out again with the same nutrition I used the week prior. I understood that last weeks run needed to be let go of. It was a bad day. I was under calories for what I needed, and that’s that! A new day, a new start…. With music in my ears, giving me a new perspective and reminding me of WHO has given me my strength, the run… was quick, easy and flawless.
I am so grateful that there is a re-start button.  I am thankful for a God that allows that! -A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.  Luke 1:78
He gives me promises for my life that I need to worry over nothing.
photoWhat can I do with Him?  He doesn't promise a few things..He promises ALL THINGS.
I simply need to look up!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Enjoying the Journey

It has been months since I posted a blog. It’s always in the back of my mind, with the greatest intentions to do so, and then…life. Gets. Moving.
I have had so much going on and have a lot to catch up on.
I am about 2.5 months out from Ironman Boulder, and while I’m excited for this inaugural event, I have days of feeling like I wish it were over. I think oftentimes when I read training blogs, whether it be for running marathons, or triathlons, Fondos or 5k’s, all I see is the fun side of training, which is awesome. This is not going to be a blog about the happier, fun, excitable part of training. Not this week.
This week I rolled into a rest week, which I was looking forward to but ended up having one of the worst weeks since starting this training. I’m not sure if it’s BECAUSE it’s a rest week, and kind of like a taper that makes you a little “off” but wow!! This week I cannot wait to kiss goodbye.
I just got back from Vietnam a few weeks ago (which is a WHOLE other post) just mourned the loss of our beloved Golden Retriever, Tucker and spent this last week with my daughter visiting our son in Los Angeles. It was a blast. Not restful AT ALL, but exactly what this mama was hoping for; a lot of sunshine, shopping, eating, and laughter! My kids are seriously the greatest. It is so exciting and enjoyable to see your kids grow up, get out on their own, and really soar. Our son moved in January and this is the first time I’ve been able to visit. LA is always so fun! I think we slept 10 hours over the period from Thursday-Sunday. And because of the modern miracle of flight, I was able to actually spend Mother’s Day with ALL three of our kids; leaving LA that morning, to come home with our youngest daughter for the afternoon/evening. I can say one thing (well maybe not just one) of my trip; I am SO glad I am in shape!! This thought lingered in my head during this trip. No sleep, over-indulging in food, and literally hitting
Running in Runyon Canyon
Running in Runyon Canyon
the ground running…I kept thinking how grateful I was to be in shape. It’s something I will never take for granted, and never let slip. My kids who are in their early 20’s are…well…. in their early 20’s, which means, we WENT HARD!! I was so thankful that I could easily keep up, as we were up early, and going to bed LATE…as in, some nights, we could’ve just stayed up and went straight to breakfast! We also hiked/ran Runyon which was incredible! And again, I thought….I am so happy to be able to do this!! Moral: Keep it up at any age!! You won’t regret it, but will if you let it go.
My last day with Tucker
My last day with Tucker
These Kids!!
Days Like This…Zuma Beach/Malibu, CA
Onto this week. A rest week for training that I was looking forward to. It’s. Been. Hard. It’s interesting how bad workouts can affect you. I called my training partner bawling on Tuesday. I had just come off of a horrible run, and was feeling so defeated.  You know the kind of day you are looking forward to and within minutes, all goes south?  I felt heavy, and like I was a new runner just starting out.  It was an easy run, that was a disaster!  She talked me off of the ledge. Only for me to do the same for her that very evening. At one point I thought, “we shouldn’t be training together (kidding) and good thing we have our breakdowns at different parts of the day or we’d never make it to race day ” I literally said to her “what am I doing? I don’t want to do this Ironman!” Hours later she says, “OK, if you’re out I’m out” Thankfully, my sobbing had subsided and I was back in a normal frame of mind at that point.
And we continued on….
Great training partners are crucial. No matter what! I have days that I am fine doing workouts alone, and even look forward to them. The solitude of a nice long run is indescribable. But some days….you need a partner, or a few. Because some days…you’re gonna fall without them. You’re going to tail spin unless they are there to set you straight. You’re going to sob, and second-guess yourself, and feel inadequate. You’re going to want to throw in the towel and give up. Hang up the wetsuit and running shoes and sell the bike. But then….in steps these “angels” and all is right with the World.
Yesterdays ride made up for my week of sadness and defeat. I met my training partner for a ride. She comes over as I’m preparing my bike with a little gift…Enjoy The Journey. She looks at me and says, “this may suck some days, but darn it, we are going to enjoy the crap out of it!” Greatest words ever spoken after a week like this!
We took off and soon ran into another friend who was out training. We stopped and chatted briefly, and took off on a great ride together! The sun was shining, it was quiet, aside from our chatter, and the woods smelled amazing along our route. We laughed and rode and just had an amazing ride. There is something so magical about training girlfriends. They are invaluable. They are so real. So authentic and solid. They are the ones that know and understand your peril and insecurities. You can be so vulnerable with them, because they GET it! They’ve been there. There’s no judgment. And the frankness you can share is unparalleled. These friends understand your tiredness, moodiness, your aching crotch, your food addictions (eat all the food now!) your blistered feet, your saddle sores, you dilemma with on course nutrition, your fear of open water, your irritability and frustration and they still love you anyway. They help you “embrace the suck.” They make you laugh, hold you up, hold you accountable and hold your bike when you pee. They allow you to wallow…but only for a short time. They allow you to cry it out, then wipe your tears, give you a slap on the butt and get you moving again.
So out of a bad training week, comes the silver lining. Everyone has bad days/weeks. Chose your friends and training partners wisely and it makes all the difference in the world. Because trust me…. they’re going to need you as much as you need them, and for me, I feel like it’s an integral part of my training. Sometimes, you just need loved on and a little reminder to Enjoy the Journey.
Gift From My Training Partner….great reminder!
Gift From My Training Partner….great reminder!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Love….Every Day

I wanted to write this post-Valentines.  When all of the sugar and luscious, 
syrupy, candy-coated goodness of that day had passed.  I love Valentines Day as much as anyone (not really) but I can appreciate the 24 hours of outpouring some like to live in.  I believe that this should be an ongoing, and every day occurrence if you are in love.  To some degree.  And not designated to one day a year.  When you are with someone that you love and adore, every single day, there should be some sort of "Valentine" going on.  It doesn't have to be flowers, chocolates, lattes, cards, gifts, teddybears, butterflies, ladybugs…Oh wait, there I go dreaming about Spring…but...Some.  Sort.  Of.  Shower. Of.  Love.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Simple as it may be, it goes a million miles.  Something selfless.   Isn't that what we as Christians get every day?  A pouring out of love in our every day lives?
The week since Valentines has been hectic in every sense of the word for me.  Do you ever have "one of those days?"  Of course you do!  I think that cupid shot an arrow in me that was tied off on the other end of a rocket.  I have realized exactly whats been going on from a spiritual aspect, and that has helped tremendously.  I don't do "busy" and when things start to spin for me, I always have to sit down, take a step back and look at things through another lens.  I need to peel off another layer of me, and put on more armor.  
Training is going well, but I am still dealing with a tiny calf issue.  Deep water running….(it pains me to even write that) has helped, and I think between that and a slight bike adjustment, I am good to go!  I also feel that this itty-bitty injury, was just another aspect in this week that was trying to weigh me down.  Peel a layer, put on the armor.
I admit that I am grateful for days and times like this.  It makes me realize that I am not in control and Who truly is.  It reminds me of Who to cling to.  It makes me feel ok, about taking a day to sit.  And do absolutely nothing.  Sit and listen, only.  Especially when the enemy has me busy.  It makes me appreciate my husband who dries my tears and takes my hands in his and prays.  My kid, who never forgets to make me laugh.  And my friends who pray for me and with me.  It keeps me grounded and soaking in what's important.  It makes me aware of how broken I can be and how right in the midst of that brokeness, there is colossal growth.  An outpouring of love, a confirmation of advancement and improvement.  A challenge.  That…. is love, everyday.  That's where we should be living.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Roasted Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Almond Butter

After an absolutely amazing morning with some really extraordinary friends and a workout….ahem….deep water pool run…I decided to come home today and make a comfort food.  For me, this is always a favorite, and mixing in some sweet spices was just the icing on the cake.  This is a way to get a little sweet treat alongside a little protein.
photoRoasted Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Almond Butter
2 Cups of raw almonds roasted
1 Vanilla Bean, sliced and scraped
1 tsp of unrefined sugar  I used organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp course sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (you can add more to taste.  I like just a hint)
photo 2
Sweet vanilla bean mixed with course sea salt.
Preheat oven to 350 and spread almonds on cookie sheet making sure they aren't overlapping.  Roast them for 10-12 minutes.
Remove and allow nuts to cool.  They will heat up in the processor, so I allow them to cool about 30 minutes.
photo 2 copy
Look at that gorgeous roasted color
Place almonds into food processor and process until a smooth butter starts to form. (This could take 10-15 minutes depending on your processor)  photo 1 copy
Add in sugar (optional) vanilla bean, sea salt and cinnamon.  Process until butter is smooth and creamy.
*Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside

As a runner I am always looking for ways to hit the pavement EVEN when its cold outside.  Today…I woke up to temps that were negative 2 with a wind chill of negative 25.  Thats CHIILY!!  I can run in some pretty cold temps, but today…NO!  It's not going to happen!
Most of us runners L O A T H the treadmill.  It's only a necessary evil on the days that you just cannot be outside.  Safety first!
photoHere's some great tips for keeping warm on these bitter cold, winter days.
LAYER! Thin, wicking layers are a must.  DO NOT wear cotton.  Cotton holds in that sweat and will keep you cold and wet.  Try 3 layers, a base, middle and outer Gore-text to keep the wind and precip out.
With forty percent of your body heat being lost through your head, make sure you wear a nice warm hat.  If it's really cold, cover your face and mouth with a face mask or buff.  It warms the air you breathe as well as protecting your face.
Gloves. Protect your hands and feet.  Although nice wicking running gloves are great for most days, when it's this cold, mittens are a better choice.  They allow your fingers to share heat.  Hand warmers are a great choice to slip into mittens to avoid getting frost bitten fingers.  Add a wicking sock liner under a warm polar fleece or wool sock, but make sure you have enough room in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks.  Also Gore-tex shoes are a great idea if you will be running in slush or wet snow.
Two words:  YakTrax. images-1
Make sure you let someone know your route and a general idea of your start and finish time.
Run with a buddy if they are brave enough to head out with you.
Carry your cell phone.  This is a HUGE NO for me usually when I run…but for these temps, its in the Spi Belt.
Make sure that you are replacing fluids even if you don't feel like it.  When it's cold, I am never thirsty, however, you are still sweating, and not drinking can lead to dehydration.
Have a warm change of clothes and  a nice hot beverage to get you warmed up when you finish that bitter cold run.
Always be safe out there.  And remember there are a lot of fun ways to get in that exercise on these cold days if you decide against the run.  Skiing; cross country or down hill and snow shoeing are two of my favorites!
How do you stay warm on these bitter cold days when you're just itching for that outdoor run?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Reward of it All

What a week!  This has been one of those weeks that I want to hold onto but also let go of.  Like a tide sweeping the shore; giving and taking.
imagesOur son left and made his big move to Los Angeles, CA, which left me breathless and feeling like there was a hole in my chest.  I hold on to his excitement for this new adventure, his determination, the look in his eye knowing that something new is coming, and the elation of uncharted waters.  We are so proud and excited for him, but as parents, it's so bittersweet.  A friend of mine shared a story of when her kids starting leaving home; a dear friend of hers asked, "in raising your kids, what was your goal?"  All of us would respond, I'm sure.. that we want to raise, independent, well-adjusted, self-sufficient, kids, with goals, and dreams and extraordinary intensions.  That is how she answered.  That's exactly how I would answer….her friend then said, "that's exactly what you have done."  Such wise words, and something I have thought about for the past week.  My job <our job> is done….and this man is on his way to perusing life to the fullest.  This I'm holding on to.  And the letting go, well that's just what this week has been in it's entirety.  Letting go of a child, letting go of tears, letting go of feeling melancholy, letting go of some heartache…and letting God meet me right there.  I know as time passes that all of these feeling will be let go of…but maybe not.  I am quite sure as a parent, that there will always be that ache for your kids.  The hardest best thing I've ever done:  Parenting.
photo 2
John 15:13
photo 1
John 15:13
On an up-note…can I just raise a glass to my friends?  Texts, notes, messages, prayers, fun little "comfort packages" full of all things comfort (Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese gift card,  dark chocolate covered fortune cookies <seriously these things ROCK> even a little hooch in the form of hot, cinnamon-y liquor) <LOL> cards, calls, emails, even a pj's and wine slumber party/sleepover.  I have been blessed beyond measure with such incredible friends.  They are so giving and thoughtful.  Just the essence of true, unadulterated friendship.  ~Greater love has no one than this...
Unknown-1I have also started "officially" into Ironman Boulder training.  It has been nice to have a plan and a focus, especially this week.  My body has felt great, but I have been tired.  I'm sure the upswing in training matched with my emotions has gotten the better of me.  I am excited about training, and even about being back in the pool! <surprise> It's been fun to feel my gills responding to the water and meeting friends for training again.  I know how this works and that I will be tired. I know that my body will most certainly rebel.  I know my mind will wash in all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't do this.  I will be cranky, and starving and exhausted.  But my heart just gushes a big, YES!  Yes, you can!  And that's exactly what keeps me going.
Seeing our son leave, with such great anticipation, reminded me of this: that although parenting, and moving, and Ironman, and <fill in the blank> are hard at times….the end result and the reward of it all is so much better.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Starting To Goal-Dream

I do not do New Years resolutions.  I just don't and never have.  I guess maybe I have always missed the point, or have felt like I do not want to set myself up to fail.  Statistics are staggering on how many make resolutions and do not follow through.  The optimist in me, of course, is overjoyed at the ones that do their best at carrying them out and succeed.  I guess it seems silly to me to make these grand decisions instead of micro-decisions throughout the year.  I mean, we all change, everyday….so why not make mini decisions throughout your changing, daily life?  Why not adapt and learn as life carries you?
I do, however, set goals.  This happens year round, so I don't necessarily feel that it is a "resolution" and being that it is now January 13th, I've kind of missed the window of opportunity in making them resolutions.  My goals change.  They change often and they make up a myriad of different situations.  As I sit and assess this coming year race wise, I have no choice but to make goals.  Which races to enter, how to train, do I change running shoes (again) how do I become faster, eat cleaner, and manage my time well during the training season?  Do I get a new bike, or is the one I have going to carry me through this race season (she's a great bike)Unknown-2
Unknown-1Speaking of training….I am one week out from "officially" starting the training for my third Ironman.  Wow!  It's exciting!  It makes me get these butterflies in my stomach like I am about to jump off of a cliff.  That feeling of exhilaration and nausea.  The sweaty palms, the tingly fingers.  I will be doing a 27-week training plan for this race.  I am hopeful that the cross-training that a triathlon provides through varying swim, bike and run days, will keep me injury free and not have the situation I was in this summer that took me out of my Fall marathon.  I am happy that I have learned over the years, that less is really more as far as training goes for me.  I mean, I trained for my last Ironman in 9 weeks (not advised) but it worked out, and I have the PR to prove it.  I started a sort of "weening into" training last week.  My coach gave me a 2-week warm up…."OH hello triathlon body…time to wake up!!"  I have to say, it has been nice to be back on a plan.  Not that I have been sitting on the couch for months, but I have definitely been more, shall we say, lenient, in my training.
I am once again, looking forward to sweaty feet, tired muscles, stinky running shoes, helmet head, a chaffed bottom side (for a while…ok always)  visor hair, living in tri-gear, catching up on every movie on Netflix during trainer rides, napping, falling into bed completely used up physically from a hard training day, blisters, the squeeze of compression socks, a car that looks like I am living out of it, snaps on the head from my swim cap, goggle eyes, the foam roller (ok, that's a lie) the Stick (ok, that's an even bigger lie) and the fabulous perfume of chlorine!Unknown