Monday, February 06, 2012

Revisiting Priorities

Sometimes wanting something so much makes you gain a new perspective on how much you actually want something else. For instance, wanting to get cast in a new show about an ultra-adventure race has made me realize that other goals which I previously felt were quite pressing are actually doing just fine sitting on a back burner for now. Of course, this new dream hasn't disrupted ALL of my ambitions - I still feel just as strongly as ever about world peace, preventing childhood obesity, and stronger consequences for those who continue to text while driving. 
So to clarify, here are the lists:

Things I Really Want, But Have Accepted I Will Never Get
  1. My name on the Stanley Cup
  2. An Olympic Medal, preferably in "Bacon Eating" but any sport will do
  3. A jet pack
  4. A delicious non-fat, calorie-free cupcake that continually regenerates itself
Things I Really Want, But Would Feel An Enormous Burden Of Guilt If I Actually Got
  1. The new Acura NSX
  2. A maid
  3. A personal assistant
  4. An entire new wardrobe
Things I Really Want To Do or Achieve, And Might Actually Accomplish
  1. A 3:15 marathon
  2. Make more charitable contributions
  3. Save the life of a human or animal
  4. Get cast in "Unbreakable"
  5. Participate in more "epic" events
  6. Finish reading a book, any book

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 things from 2011

1. First place age division in the following events: Buffalo Run Half Marathon (Catalina trails, 1/22/11); Bandit 30K Trail Run (Simi Valley, 2/20/11); LA Kings 5K (3/5/11); Catalina Marathon (3/12/11); Bishop High Sierra 20 Mile Trail Run (5/21/11); Malibu Canyon Dirt Dash 10K (9/24/11).

Bishop High Sierra, with Lisa

Bishop High Sierra 20 mile trail run

Catalina Marathon

Malibu Dirt Dash

Los Angeles Kings 5K
2. Second place age division in the following events: Malibu Dirt Dash Mud Run 5K (9/24/11); Gladiator Rock 'n Run 10K (10/1/11).

5K and 10K awards at Malibu Dirt Dash
Gladiator Rock 'n Run

3. Third place age division in the following events: Race on the Base 5K (2/26/11); Race on the Base 10K (2/26/11); Kona Marathon (6/26/11); California Wine Country Marathon (10/16/11).

Ready for the heat (and humidity) of battle in Kona!

There was no whining after we all received age division awards at Wine Country Marathon! Bottles of wine, of course!
4. Coach John Medina. Designing training plans, showing up at races, holding the stopwatch in all types of weather conditions during weekly track workouts, handing out cheerful high-fives, repeatedly correcting our running form, understanding when a runner simply isn't having a good day, gently reminding us of our often overlooked improvements, encouraging us to push it just a little faster, and his words of praise after a successful event.

An unexpected appearance by Coach John armed with a camera at the Malibu Dirt Dash!
Coach John and his "angels" in Kona, Hawaii
5. Goats. In October, I began my reign as Queen of the Santa Monica Mountain Goats. For about 30 years, this group has met at a different trail every Saturday morning. Unlike other running groups, this one is free, and there are no pace or distance requirements. Everyone starts together at any pace they want, then after 60 minutes, we all turn around. No one is too fast or too slow to be a part of the group, and everyone is welcome. Being asked to be the "shepherd" of this "herd" was quite an honor. I can't describe how happy it makes me to share the beauty of the trails with others, seeing the joy on someone's face after a successful trail run, and the sense of "family" I've experienced now thanks to being the "mother" of about 40 "kids!" Baaaah!

A little "tough love" for the herd!

6. Arkady (there are six letters in his name, that's why he's number 6, but he really belongs in the top 3 because most of my accomplishments would not have been possible without him.) Best training partner ever. There's a fine line that separates being too "talky" from so much silence that I might as well just run by myself, and he gets that. He doesn't smell, he doesn't ask dumb questions and he respects the "no discussions while running uphill" rule. These may seem like little things, but if you've ever trained with someone who didn't possess these qualifications, you'd realize they are indeed critical. He's much faster than me, but he also has the patience of molasses. Before we met, he transformed himself from having a body composed of 40% fat, to completing multiple marathons (in under 3 hours) and triathlons and Ironmans, so he's an inspiration. (Sorry ladies, he's taken!)

7. Lorenzo is the biggest part of the algorithm which composes my life (okay, my life is really struggling with basic arithmetic, but algorithm is a word better suited to describe him). He completed his first half marathon in June at Kona and his second half marathon in northern California a few months later in October. In every single race photo, he is smiling and/or dancing.

8. I joined Crossfit Hollywood. (Crossfit has 8 letters, that's why it's number 8 on this list). It's a gym with group workouts that are timed. Every day, the workout is different. Every day, the workout is very very challenging. Since joining, I have noticed that I've not only become physically stronger, but mentally tougher.

9. The Paleo Diet - but I don't like to think of it as a "diet" because I'm not trying to lose weight. It's a way of eating (no grains, no dairy - just meat and fruit and vegetables). I was introduced to it in April during a "30 Days in the Cave Challenge" at Crossfit Hollywood. Since I embraced it, my energy level has not only gone up, but more importantly, it has remained at a nice even constant level throughout the day. No lethargy after meals, no sugar spike hyperactivity.
10. An entire year of no alcohol (almost). One of my resolutions was to avoid drinking alcohol for the year. This wasn't brought on due to concerns about my level of drinking, because I'm really not a drinker. Rather, I realized that as I grow older, the need to preserve the few remaining brain cells that weren't obliterated during my "terrible twenties" became more of a necessity. Knowing that this was the year that included a significant milestone birthday right in July, I stated this "No Alcohol" rule with a very clear and unambiguous disclaimer: "EXCEPT DURING MY BIRTHDAY." Keep in mind that the birthday location would also be my first trip to Hawaii, and a trip to Hawaii isn't officially a trip to Hawaii without at least one Mai Tai on the beach. So other than three days of what could best be described as "pressing the boundaries of what is normally considered socially acceptable levels of alcohol consumption," I did remain alcohol free for 362 days of 2011.

11. Everything. All of the above. A year of placing either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in my age group in EVERY event in which I participated is a pretty nice way to soften the blow of turning 40. More importantly, having a new sense of energy based upon my food choices allowed me to train, sleep, and live more efficiently. And more than that, creating physical strength I didn't think I would ever have boosted my confidence. And even beyond that, avoiding alcohol will now allow me to fully cherish each of the many magnificent memories that were created this year...   
I can't wait to see what 2012 will bring.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10/10/10 Melbourne Australia!

One of the BEST vacations we have had thus far! It had absolutely everything! Motorcycle riding along scenic ocean views, running a marathon, seeing the Twelve Apostles, petting a Koala, feeding kangaroos, watching a great Moto GP motorcycle race at Phillip Island, climbing a bridge in Sydney, and enjoying the company of the friendliest people in the world!

This is the "before we rode 3,000 kilometers" photo.
You really don't want to see the "after" photo.
 Once we landed in Melbourne and crammed two weeks worth of necessities into the rented motorcycle, we drove down to the Phillip Island motorcycle race track to stock up on souvenirs and gifts for friends before the Moto GP race. Along the way, we saw a sign for a wildlife preserve so we had to stop and visit.
Even though Mr. Koala was not quite as excited to see me, this was still quite a thrill!

I heart wallabies!

This is the "magic spot" on a kangaroo because they can't reach it themselves.

More please!!

They are all so adorable, and hungry!

The Nobbies at Phillip Island Nature Park.

Practicing our podium positions.
 Then we got settled into our Melbourne hotel, thanks to a generous gift from our friends Sean & Sheena. We wanted to take just a quick nap and then see some sights, but woke up eight hours later! Oh well, at least I had plenty of rest before the marathon!

Three super heros in front of Rod Lever tennis arena. 

Perfect running weather, 12.78 degrees Celsius! (55F)

Marathon finish at MCG - Melbourne Cricket Garden.

Final few yards to the finish line!

On the road from Melbourne to Sydney.

Our Couchsurfing buddy Wally and his place of employment, the Sydney Opera House!

Once we were in Sydney, we took a quick ferry ride to Watsons Bay. Crystal clear water and great view looking back at the city!

Lorenzo & Wally hike at park in Watsons Bay.

Opera House and Sydney Bridge in the background.

We didn't just admire the Sydney Bridge, we CLIMBED it! (the blue route)
View from the top!
After our time in Sydney, it took two days of riding to return back to Phillip Island for the Moto GP. Unfortunately, we encountered some rain... Both days.
Keeping the driver's hands waterproof AND ready to wash dishes or perform surgery too!

Drying out the gear.

10/17/10 Great racing weather at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit!

Watching the racers!

Turn 1 - like watching people fight with knives inside a phone booth, on motos!

The track was right next to the ocean!

Now for some exciting riding of our own on a world famous road!

Very useful reminder sign!

Passenger's perspective.

Here's your chance to experience without going to Australia or even getting on a motorcycle.

Stayed at a terrific bed and breakfast - with a pony!

The Twelve Apostles - how come this isn't one of the 7 Wonders of the World?

Another useful reminder.
Another friendly Aussie!

The Otway Treetop Walk was really cool!

On our last ride before leaving, it was a special treat to see wild Koalas!

Stop bugging me!

Our silhouette.