A farewell to tri-camp

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Last night’s margaritas left us all a little sluggish this morning. Dawn was definitely feeling the worst of us, but no one was exactly chipper. Audrey, Sally & I headed for Devil’s Punchbowl for a last little run/hike before the long day of sitting ahead. The trail was empty and lovely:

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None of us felt like running, so we decided to to just hike as briskly as we could for an hour. It was nice to be outside and the fresh air made us all feel better. Then it was time to head back and get ready to hit the road. Audrey was nice enough to give me a ride to my friend Lisa’s for a quick visit before my plane left, so we said our good-byes and headed for L.A. It was a great weekend of training, and as always I met some great ladies. It was good to get back on the bike and in the pool and I feel ready to take on my training.

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Training in Margaritaville

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The weather was warmer this morning, which made everyone happier. A few of us wanted to do a second swim, but unfortunately the Palmdale pools were closed on Saturday (such a waste of a beautiful pool… ) so we decided to drive to Santa Clarita to use theirs. It was a long way, but the facilities turned out to be really nice. I must say, I’d swim a lot more often if our pools looked like this:

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Even with the clouds rolling in, it was still really lovely to swim here:

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After our swim, we headed back to camp for a quick lunch and then a bike ride. The winds had kicked up by then, so it was definitely challenging at times. Sally & I did a 90 minute ride, while Audrey did a longer, more challenging one. (She’s completely badass… )

After the ride, it was time to take the bike apart and start gathering up all my crap in preparation for leaving tomorrow. Kylie, who came to camp the first year that I did, had come up for the evening with her adorable dog Gracie. She chatted with Dawn & I while we took our bikes apart and packed them up, while her dog played with Nelson. Soon it was time for dinner and Monty’s fabulous margaritas.

Things started off well:

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But eventually things got a little silly, as the evening wore on. Here’s Audrey’s margarita dance:

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Sally telling us a story:

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Cathy & Dawn:

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Say Cheese!

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It was a good time, though perhaps a few too many margaritas were consumed. They were good though! But eventually the evening wound down and we all headed off to bed. Party on, ladies!

Adventures in training

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Today was actually cloudy when we woke up, a first for me here at training camp. We decided to start the day with a trail run at Jackson Lake. Audrey, Dawn, Sally & I set out with vague directions (or probably more accurately perfectly fine directions that we vaguely understood… ) It was definitely chilly when we got there, and none of us packed for chilly. So here we are freezing and the start of the run:

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Poor Audrey & Sally only had shorts, Dawn & I at least had a few warmer things. The lake was pretty though, even in the cold:

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We were told that the trail went uphill from the lake, so we tried a few possibilities, but they just seemed to deadend. Then we asked one of the fishermen and he wasn’t really sure how far the trail around the lake went, so we decided to check it out. That led us to the road, but across it was an intriguing foot bridge which led onto a trail. That trail disappeared, but we could see a fire road that looked promising. The problem was that it was across a treacherous little section that had a lot of downhill and then ended in a gully that had this lovely log to cross:

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I was last across, so I got my photo taken. Pretty bad-ass, right? (All right, maybe not so much… )

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After all of that, we finally made it to a really nice trail to run on. It was downhill for quite a long way, which we knew we would pay for later, especially given the altitude. But it was fun to run downhill and we were able to chat and joke around and enjoy ourselves. Dawn turned around a little early, so as not to irritate her knee that’s been bothering her and Sally, Audrey and I continued until the stream crossed the trail at the bottom. Here’s Audrey looking like an ad in Runners World:

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And me, looking a little less so:

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Then it was time to go back up. Audrey was running up it like a champ, but Sally & rapidly reached the conclusion that we were doing just as well walking briskly as running slowly, so we settled in to walking it as quickly as we could. It was still a decent workout and Audrey would come back to check on us and then run ahead again. Toward the end she wrote some little messages in the dirt for us:

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After our hour long run/hike, we were famished. So we headed back home for some food and a chance to regroup before we headed out for a ride. It was getting cloudy, so the original plan of 2 hours got shortened to “We’ll see how it goes… ” and we headed out. Dawn & I turned around a little earlier than Audrey & Sally, as both of us were a little worried about making it back up the hill home and it was just starting to sprinkle. (As it turned out there was snow at the top, so we were glad we did!)

Now, after a hot shower and a little stretching, I’m kicking back and waiting for dinner to be ready. I’m pretty pleased with how much residual fitness I have, given the lack of bike training I’ve been doing and I’m already feeling the excitement about training starting up. It’s been a good second day.

Opening day

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Day one of training camp began with a little bike assembly project. I needed to get this:

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to look like a functioning bicycle. After that we walked down to meet the new animals of the compound, two wild mustangs that they rescued.

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As you can see, they are very handsome boys. And while they are definitely a little shy, they are curious about people and will come over for some nose pets and to check us out. This is probably the only place where horses and tri-bikes live side by side:

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I forgot my camera for much of the days training, but I started the day with a short run just outside the house. Sally came with me and we only got a tiny bit lost finding the trail. (Last year I just followed Cathy & Dawn and didn’t have to really pay attention to where we were going… ) Then we headed out for a short bike ride, (well for those of us who wanted to swim it was short, the others did a 2 and half hour loop with Dan). Then a few of us headed to the glorious Palmdale pool for a sunny outdoor swim. I haven’t been swimming in a while, so it was good to get back in the water even if it was a little slower and a little harder than it should have been.

After the swim, Audrey, Sally and I headed home. We stopped to run what was supposed to be a quick errand to buy those red & white peppermint candies as treats for the horses. (Sally is a very experienced horse-woman) It turned into the Starlight Mint Quest:

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After Trader Joes (long shot), Target, Albertsons, we were finally successful at Super Target. Audrey & I got to stop at Starbucks, so we were happy. Plus, it was such a dumb thing not to be able to find. When we got back, the others were back from their ride and Dawn proposed a hike at Devils Punchbowl. I decided to tag along with her and Cathy joined us while Audrey and Sally headed out for a ride. Dawn & Cathy hiked and I did a little trail run/hike combo. It was a full day, but it was great. On our way back I noticed this sign that I hadn’t seen before at the base of their driveway. It’s caption should be “No kidding!”

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After all that training, it was time for some serious food and chilling out. Audrey wore this very awesome shirt, which I had to get a picture of, but she wouldn’t let me photograph her face:

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All in all, it was a great start to training camp.

Heading out

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It’s that time of year again. Time for what’s becoming an annual tradition for me, the trip down to training camp. This will be my third year going and I look forward to it for a whole host of reasons. First of all, I get to hang out with some fabulous female triathletes and usually meet a batch of new ones. We can geek out and talk about nutrition strategies and training and races and gossip about other folks we’ve met in the community, etc. Plus it gives me a huge motivational kick in the pants when I get home. But I also really look forward to getting to see one of my dearest friends, Heidi, while I’m in town.

But before any of that can happen, I needed to get all of this crap packed up:

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(not including the dogs, who kept trying to get themselves involved in the process.) It took a few hours to finesse the bike into it’s box and all of that crap into my triathlon backpack, but I was eventually successful.

The next morning T made bagels for me to bring to Heidi, since she was the first stop on the SoCal tour and my friend M was kind enough to drive me to the airport. The flight down was uneventful for the most part, there was an empty seat next to me, which hasn’t happened in forever and an overly chatty weird lady in the window seat but it worked out okay. Heidi & her husband Tom met me at the airport and after a bit of time spent getting my bike box loaded into the car we were on our way.

Heidi is pregnant with twins and is not having an easy time of it. She was in the hospital a few days ago and is on modified bed rest now, so we took it very easy. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, because no one likes being photographed when they feel like crap. It was great to hang out and catch up. We played Bananagrams and watched bad t.v. and laughed at silly things. I got to see the growing collection of ridiculously adorable baby clothes that she’s already accumulated. (So, so cute!) I really hope the pregnancy gets easier, because it was hard to see her so miserable.

The next day we headed over to Heidi’s mom’s house before I had to meet up with my ride to camp. Heidi’s mom has been babysitting the dogs while Heidi was in the hospital and will continue to watch their new puppy Rosco at least until the babies are born. I’d not gotten to meet little Rosco and he is adorable:

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Not to be outdone, there was also Heidi’s mom & step-dad’s dog Seamus, who is a handsome boy:

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I even got a picture of normally camera-shy Oatmeal, who was sitting between her mom & grandmother:

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And in a funny “only in Los Angeles” moment, they were filming a segment for Oprah next door. Apparently, the guy who used to be on TLC’s Clean Sweep now does an organizing segment on Oprah. While we were getting ready to leave, they had the tarps set out on the lawn and were bringing stuff outside:

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Apparently, the host showed up after I left but it was still really funny to see. Gotta love show business. It was so great seeing Heidi and it was sad to say good-bye. Her husband was nice enough to drive me to the airport and thanks to Heidi’s fabulous directions, we made it there without incident. I met my teammate Dawn at the car rental place and we spent a fair amount of time in traffic before making it to camp around 6:30. Tomorrow the training begins!

New toy

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I picked up a new toy this weekend, a new digital camera to replace the one that’s being held together by a rubber band. I’m always amazed by technology and how quickly it moves forward. The new camera is smaller, better and cheaper than the one we bought *cough* five *cough* years ago. I mean it’s literally half as thick, it’s crazy. The new one is also shockproof and waterproof, so hopefully it won’t break when I drop it and I’ll be able to take swim pictures (oh boy!)

The tricky thing is getting used to how the new one works. It also seems to hate T, here are the first three pictures it took:p4040001

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I mean really, what’s that about? It did take a very nice picture of Wally:

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And a cute one of M in her new shirt:

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I just need to get used to it’s timing. I’m sure there will be decent pictures of T in the future. (I mean, they’ve got to get better, right?)

Happy Birthday, Erin!

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My friend Erin was in town to celebrate the big 4-0. As you can see here, she looks fantastic:

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Her shindig was at Black Bottle, a very cool wine bar in Belltown. There was good wine, good food and some fabulous friends. Below, two Jennifers from our tri group:

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I was having a hard time getting my camera to take decent pics, but also in attendance were Erin’s boyfriend David, Jennifer’s husband Bryan, my husband T, Erin’s mom, her friends Sue + hubby and her friend Timmion. And perhaps most importantly there was cake, lots and lots of cake:

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We sang happy birthday and had the birthday girl blow out some candles:

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It was a lovely evening, as you can see by the group photo below:

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Happy birthday, Erin! Thanks for an awesome evening. I think you’re off to an excellent start…