Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Bride's Wedding Day Forecast

The wedding day weather forecast is finally here, after what seemed like an eternity. will try to predict the weather 10 days out, so they've finally got something up for March 29th and...drum roll please...the forecast is:

Sunny with a high of 77 degrees!

Happy Sun

Should either Phoenix or back out on this glorious decision to have perfect weather on my wedding day, I'm going to lay the smackdown on the Sonoran Desert, and the meteorologists. Let this be a warning, Mother Nature and predictors of Mother Nature--don't rain on my parade down the aisle!

Thank you,



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Catalina Island Marathon - Puke, Pain & Perservereance

Catalina Island Marathon

Runner's World named the Catalina Island Marathon the best off-road marathon in the world, sighting pristine wilderness, wide dirt trails, ocean views, and buffalo crossings as reasons for the pick. I think it's the best in the world because it happens to be where coachancé proposed to me last year, after running his little marathoner bum off and placing 7th overall. This is what prompted me and coachancé to get in on the action in 2008. Three of our friends decided to punish themselves last Saturday as well. Happily, we all made it out alive. This is our story.

Crossing the 26 miles of Pacific ocean to get to Catalina was supposed to be the beginning of our weekend get-away destination event vacation. With 5-6 foot ocean swells tossing the boat to and fro, the boat ride quickly became an opportunity to drop some weight before the big event. One of our friends was hugging the toilet the entire time.

And the next morning, during jam-packed 5am boat ride from Avalon to the race start in Two Harbors, our same wussy-stomached pal dropped some more water weight, and his pre-race meal, into the Pacific. He was light as a feather and ready to go, he said.

While the wind made for a queasy ride, it also made for the best tail-wind in the history of the 31-year old race, according to race officials. After hanging out in a little café in Two Harbors for 45 minutes, it was time to strip, make a final bathroom run, and make our way to the start line. For the first time in co-ed racing history, the female bathroom line was non-existent, the male bathroom line was out the door, and some cheating men crept over to the women's side. It was beautiful.

The race started just as the sun was coming up, and all 603 runners made their way up the first climb, gaining breathtaking views of the ocean and Catalina's mountains with each step. While Runner's World compared the marathon's elevation map to the Dow Jones, I'd say it's pretty equivalent to the emotional roller coaster/stress levels of a bride 2 weeks out from her wedding, with the wedding occurring at mile 23, and the stress plunging into the sea soon thereafter.

The only goal I had entering the race was for me and my girlfriend, R, to beat our two dude friends. However, seeing as they both got queasy--and one puked--on the ride over, it wasn't much of a fair race. We creamed them. (Coachancé was not included in Operation Girls Rule, because he is a scary fast freak of nature runner, so there wasn't even a race to be had.)

The course map looks something like this: spiky at miles 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, then gradually uphill from miles 13-18, steep uphill from 18-20.5, 5 rollers that you can count off in your head from 20.5-23, then straight down for the rest of the race. If anything, the elevation changes give competitors something to constantly focus on. And fiery quads.

At about mile 2, some self-professed Catalina Marathon veteran decided to strike up a conversation. "What's your best marathon time?" He asked. "This is my first marathon that wasn't at the end of an Ironman," I responded. "Oh. So what do you want to finish in?" I had no idea. I just run how I feel. "4 hours," I said. Now go away. "4 hours! That's a pretty lofty goal for your first one. This course is pretty tough, you know," says Mr. Know-it-all. "Yep," says I. "You should probably take it a little easier on these first 6 miles," says Mr. KIA. "Ha!" says I. I step it up. He takes off on a downhill, my non forté.

At about mile 11, I heard, "Hey, baby! Nice ass!" Who the heck would be so forward, I wondered. It was R. She had completely broken away from the boys, and we were headed to victory.

At about mile 19, something terrible happened. My foot seized up and my big left toe curled under and wouldn't go back to normal. No no no! This can't be happening! Must...beat...boys...I tried to run in a way that I wouldn't have to flex my foot, as that seemed to induce the psycho cramping. And then I ate almost all of my salt pills within a 20 minute time frame. Must finish! No evil cramps!

At about mile 24, I couldn't remember why I ever thought running downhill was all that fabulous. Each step felt like an elephant was kicking me in my soles. Visions of hip replacements in my 20s floated in my head. And visions of walking down the isle with a walker.

Finally, the finish banner appeared. People were cheering. Coachancé was cheering. I gave it all I had. And you know what? I wasn't too far off of the random goal I had picked at mile 2 to make Mr. KIA go away.

Catalina Marathon R & I get hardware! Go girls!

Post race festivities included: standing in the freezing cold ocean until we couldn't feel our bodies, rubbing in the fact that R and I kicked the boys' arses, lots of pizza, awards, and lying horizontally until it was time to bust out the karaoke.

In fact, we were even forced to spend the night! Because of the wind, no boats were leaving the island, including the 6:30pm ferry we were scheduled on.

The Catalina Island Marathon is absolutely gorgeous, super fun, and a perfect challenge. As one of my buddies noted, it seems like the people there value how many times you've done it far over how fast you run--little year pins that stream down the veteran marathoners' hats like tails denote their seniority. And as far as I can tell, the buffalo seem to be an urban myth. I never saw one, despite the claim that 200 of them are hanging out on the island. Maybe they're shy of runners.

Happy marathoning!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

10 Things to Think About 2.5 Weeks from Wedding Day

There are only 18 days until the marriage of two triathletes. Here are some thoughts from the bride:

  1. Coachancé is a far more fun word than hoach.

  2. Wearing long sleeves for a marathon to avoid dreaded tan line issues is gonna be hot. Bride with farmer's tan

  3. Dad has never seen the dress in person. Will he cry? At least he would if he knew how much it cost...

  4. Is this the point when chocolate cake is supposed to be banned from my diet? chocolate cake

  5. How are we going to fit two tri bikes, all the tri gear, all of my wedding week wardrobe, and my dress in the car?

  6. How do I thank my mom for being the wedding planner and thus bearing most of the stress?

  7. If I run the morning of the wedding, am I supposed to wash my hair, or is the sweat good for styling?

  8. Will the make-up artist cover the new giant oven burn on my forearm?

  9. Will I get all of my workouts in during the week of the wedding? Without getting fried by the Arizona sun?

  10. What will the coachancé think of my dress? At least it's not spandex, so that should be different.

happy guy

It's almost time!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Save California's State Parks

Save Topanga State Park

Governor Ahhnold Schwartipants obviously doesn't venture outdoors to workout, or else he wouldn't have tried to pass a 2008 budget proposal to close 48 California state parks and slash lifeguard jobs on 16 state beaches. If he were a triathlete and not a gym rat/beefcake, he'd know that the only way to stay sane as a triathlete in Los Angeles is to venture into the many state parks within the city limits. It's like getting away from it all without having to drive forever (except on the 405...sometimes that does take forever) or plan an entire freaking vacation just to get out of the city.

He'd also know that those of us who swim in the ocean a lot are secretly terrified of getting masticated by a ginormous animal and/or caught in a wave. Therefore, we find comfort in the fact that someone's out there looking out for us, especially if we do stupid things like accidentally swim into a rip tide or get hit by a surfboard.

Among the parks on the kill list: Topanga State Park and Will Rodgers State Park--two of the most accessible and most visited parks in the Los Angeles area. And two of the reasons that I and every other local triathlete have been able to improve our uphill and downhill running abilities, bike power, as well as sculpt bottoms that art students around the world would love to sketch.

Topanga saw 455,461 visitors in the 06/07 fiscal year, according to the CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation. And if those numbers are only comprised of paying individuals, the park probably actually saw 4x that amount of people, since everyone parks their cars on the street, then walks in for free. Which may be part of the problem here (and I can't say I'm not culpable).

Save State Parks

So what can we do to reverse this psychotic, masochistic ruling from the beefcake gouvernator who apparently needs only a Gold's Gym and concrete surroundings to survive?

Visit the California State Parks Foundation to whip off an email to your local state representative. Inundate them with emails. Camp out on Schwarzenegger's lawn. Protest.

Also, check out this rad website: Save Topanga State Park. They've got tons of ideas about how you can take action.

We will not stand for this, Gov. Schwartzenegghead! Get the money you need to fix your freakin' budget from people who drive Hummers!



Monday, March 3, 2008

Triathlete Bride vs. Average Bride

Being a triathlete means many things to many different people. To a soon to be bride, it means she's guaranteed, by virtue of her Ironman training, to never have to worry about how she's going to look in her wedding dress. Let us compare the average bride-to-be to the triathlete bride-to-be.

The average bride-to-be will go on a diet to look her best come wedding day.

The triathlete bride-to-be can't stuff her face with enough carbs to keep her weight from dropping.

bubblegum Bride

The average bride-to-be will begin a weight-lifting regimen to get toned arms to complement her strapless gown.

The triathlete bride-to-be will reconsider upping the amount of weight she's lifting each week in order to avoid looking like a female Ahhhnold in her strapless gown.

The average bride-to-be might choose a gown that hugs her body all the way down to her knees to play up her newly toned curves.

The triathlete bride-to-be will praise her tailor for somehow inserting enough padding into her dress to make it appear like she has cleavage. She will also not wear a bun-hugging dress, as the several centuries she has ridden in the months leading up to her wedding have left her without a bum, and she would like to be able to dance without restriction.

Embarassed Bride

The average bride-to-be will always wonder exactly how the food and cake tasted at her wedding.

The triathlete bride-to-be will have her new husband remind her that there are guests at her wedding who would like to eat to, so she should leave something for them.

The average bride-to-be will work hard to get a tan before her wedding, whether she lays out by the pool, jumps into a tanning bed, or enlists the help of a spray-tanner.

The triathlete bride-to-be will try her best to wear long sleeves for all of her training, even when it gets hot, to avoid strange jersey-induced farmer's tans. She will swim early in the morning before sunrise to avoid the dreaded Speedo tan. And should she end up with either of these ailments, of which she usually is quite proud, from a day-of-wedding work out, she will pray that her town's tanning guru will have a spot for her hours before the ceremony.

And both brides-to-be will probably get all giddy about the Style network's new "I Do Tuesday" evening programming. Even if the triathlete won't admit it.

Style Network

Here's to triatlete brides-to-be, whose weekends of 20-mile runs followed by 100-mile bike rides leave them ready to conquer anything, including their decadent wedding cake!