Branching out

Not only did I watch my daughter graduate this past weekend, have a small party for her, run 6 miles, watch a parade, walk some more, and sail a couple hours…I also spent a whole day up north getting the cabin ready for the season. And I wonder why I am tired!?!

This typically isn’t a terribly daunting task. It usually involves sweeping and vacuuming up tons of dead ladybugs. Big whoop! But this year was different. This past year several of our big trees had to be cut down because of oak wilt. That left the yard full of dead logs, branches, and brush. Unfortunately, due to a bit of a miscommunication and a broken axle on an old wagon that caused the wheel to fly off into someone’s yard, my brother Mark was unable to join us in the clean up while we were there.

That left my brother Luke, my husband Paul, my son Alex, and I to do the heavy lifting and yard work. Now I have complained in the past about not being able to help the guys. This year they needed me and I complained about how heavy everything was. Nevertheless, they hear me complain every year about how strong I am when there is no work for me to do and about how weak I am when there is a lot of heavy lifting. Lol.

We spent the day raking brush, picking up sticks, and stacking wood through brief sporadic rain showers. We were filthy. Then we put the dock in. I helped carry the dock to the water. The hardest part all day was putting the large raft into the water. We couldn’t move the huge logs without Mark and his chain saw. So we had to tilt the raft on its side and push it in through a narrow treeless gap. Alex and I had to use our arms to hold up the raft making sure it did not tip over. After awhile my arms started shaking. There were a couple rough patches where I jolted my back. Whine, whine, whine. We weren’t even sure that we would be able to get it in the water with all of the wood in the way, but we did. Paul urged us to keep working. What a work horse! That is one of the things that I like most about Paul, he has an incredible work ethic. Not a lazy bone in his body. 

This weekend I am planning on going up north and swimming despite a forecast of stormy cool weather. Yesterday I signed up for my first triathlon. I felt fearful when I had to sign the waiver that promised we wouldn’t sue if this activity causes injury or death. Oh my, now what did I get myself into?? If I can run a marathon, I can do a small triathlon. Right???

I practiced the bike to running transition and this weekend I want to work on swimming. Then my plan is to put it all together. I sure hope that I am giving myself enough time since the triathlon is in a month. It has been really cold this year to go out swimming in open water. 

Today I biked 12 miles followed by a 3 mile run. I haven’t biked that far since I was a teenager without transportation. I found it to be very tri-ing. Lol.

I had to keep repeating the same mantra over and over. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner! Imba maraphonn rrrumber…. 

The grass is greener here

This past week I heard some great news. Of course, it was preceded by a brief bit of bad news.

Almost a year ago, my best friend Lisa moved to Florida with her family. In the couple of months before she moved, she completely withdrew from her friends. I think she was trying to prepare herself for the separation. Or maybe it was just that she was going to school full-time and has 3 kids at home. Her husband was transferred to Florida for his job which ended up falling through. They ended up renting a house in Florida while making payments for a house here that they were having a hard time selling.

Lisa contacted us last week to tell us that they finally sold their house. We were happy for them that they didn’t have to make double payments, but were disappointed because it seemed like they were cutting their ties for good. Lisa also said that she wouldn’t be able to come back next month to run the marathon with me either. What a bummer!

Then something completely unexpected happened. Lisa told me that they decided to move back home in the beginning of June. I guess the grass is not greener in Florida after all! LOL

Life was pretty dreary without Lisa here last summer. All I did was train for the marathon. She was always the one that would get the girls together to go out. She liked to have girls nights at her house that included cooking, movies, camp fires, and games. We would have theme nights making sushi or Italian dishes. She was a very good cook. Now I will look forward to getting together with her.

She was also my running partner. My mom is happy that she is moving back because she said she worries about me running on the back roads by myself.  Lisa always motivates me to be a better runner. C’mon, we can run faster. We can run further. Don’t slow down. Don’t give up. Lisa also has just as many demons to outrun as I do. We can relate to each other on a deeper level because we have lived successfully through hard times. I told her about getting a new bike and she is already talking about doing a 50 mile bike ride. We will probably do our first tri side by side. It will be great to have her in my life again.  I was afraid I was going to have to let her go.

My 1st transition from biking to running

It was a warm spring like day. You know the kind. It was mostly cloudy with temps in the 40’s with a light breeze. The warmest day predicted for this week. Perfect day to try out my new bike and learn a few lessons.

The first thing that I did was find an old helmet. Then I dressed like I was going to go for a run. That was mistake number one! I put on a hat underneath my helmet. I sure looked like a clown. I didn’t notice that any neighbors took off of work for the occasion. So, who cares?

I decided to go for a 6 mile bike ride to break in my bike. Everything went great, except that I was absolutely freezing. I had forgotten how much of a wind biking creates. I felt like I was running against a 25 mph wind on a cool day. The faster I went, the colder I got. My hands became red and swollen. Was that a little frost bite coming on? Even though I budgeted an hour and a half lunch break, I was off on that. I had to stop indoors for a few minutes to warm up. My ears were cold and my fingers were tingling.

After the 6 mile bike ride, I decided to transition over to a 5 mile run. Running was rather interesting. After getting off of the bike, I felt like I couldn’t walk straight. Almost like I spent the day sailing. My equilibrium felt slightly off. Watch out, dizzy blonde runner! I felt like I had a couple shots of whiskey after roller skating for a couple of hours. It took about a mile to retrain my body to run like normal. I had to tell myself several times that I know what I am doing since I have been running for years. I was able to complete my run like normal, but it was a slow start.

I probably won’t be doing too much biking in the next couple of weeks. My main focus right now is getting ready to run a marathon in May.

***Note to self***So far on my first transition I learned a few very important lessons. First, dress a lot warmer than I would if I was running. Second, it make take longer then an hour and a half especially if I do not dress right. Third, I have to retrain myself mentally to run.




Cabin chaos, part 1


Back in 1950, my great-grandparents bought a double lot on a quiet lake. The lake has been built up quite a bit since then and is not as quiet as it once was. But it is still beautiful. They built a cabin on the lake. When I was growing up, the only running water in the cabin was two sinks in the kitchen. We had an outhouse with a garage located between the cabin and the outhouse. There was also a boat house, a fish cleaning shack, and a screened in cook house with a long redwood table.

My family originally built a concrete retaining wall with stairs going down to the water in the center. It has since crumbled and shifted over time. The boat house was in bad shape and was torn down when I was a kid. The garage was the next building to go. The roof caved in and it housed bats. Every time that I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, the bats would swoop down at me. I turned on the lights outside in an attempt to keep them away. When I had the lights on, the guys across the road would see me running to the outhouse and whistle at me. It probably didn’t help that I was screaming and flailing about while in little summer nightgowns. If I could make it past the bats and creepy guys, my next fear was always the wasps. How did people survive having to use an outhouse all the time??

Eventually the garage was torn down as well. There was a lot of junk inside. There also was an antique car from the early 1900’s that was in rough shape. A lot of times my family was too cheap to buy new stuff for the cabin, so they took up mismatching plates, silverware, etc..

This summer I am planning on swimming across the lake to prepare for the tri. I will probably not be biking or running up north though because at this time we do not have an easy way to bathe. I am afraid that stinking would be frowned upon and my family would no longer support my crazy fitness habits.

This is going to be a very short series telling some of the funniest stories.