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>Guess what I just got!

It is my Brick Award, which they had run out of at the PS Half Marathon. The race director kept his promise and this little baby arrived in my mailbox today.

My mail was full of goodies today. I also recieved this:

Yes, I am a card carrying member of the Silver Bullet Club over at BobSeger.com.  I am a huge Bob Seger fan, have been since I was a teenager.  I mean, the man’s a poet, has a great, gravelly voice (my favorite kind), a perfect rock and roll beat, and, well, look at him:

Of course, we’ve both gotten a few years older since that album.

Anyway, he has a new album coming out and is just starting a tour. I’m waiting anxiously for dates to be announced here on the west coast, hopefully Los Angeles or San Diego. So anxious am I, that I joined the Silver Bullet club, which, in addition to a t-shirt, I will have the ability to order tickets before they go on sale to the general public. So, hopefully I’ll be able to score some good seats.

The first single from the new album is called Downtown Train, and it really is classic Seger.

I can’t wait!

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>This is my final view of the Tour de Palm Springs last Saturday. The song “Before the Parade Passes By” kept playing in my head (and yes, I know that dates me). But let’s back up a little, shall we?


As I mentioned in my last post, I had been gearing up for my Brick weekend:  The Tour de Palm Springs century on Saturday, followed by the Palm Springs Half Marathon on Sunday. The two events would equal 116.7 miles of hell fun, for which I was hoping to earn the “Brick Award.” I did both events last year and I wanted to add to my brick collection.

This year I was even more excited because I was going to host my good friend, Mary, visiting from the LA area and riding the century with me (I wasn’t able to convince her that running a half marathon the following day was a fun way to top off the weekend). I don’t get to ride with her very often, so I was thrilled that she would be with me on the ride. She has a great write up over on her blog, “My Dog Party.”

Mary drove over on Friday evening. After meeting and making friends with the family, she was nice enough to take Alan and me out to Native Foods for dinner. We ate like little piggies fueled well for the ride on their delicious vegan fare. We headed home for an early bedtime, knowing that we had a big day ahead of us.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early. The plan was to drive over to our friend Lori’s house, where we’d meet up with other “locals” anxious to avoid the cluster, um, mess that the mass start at 7:00 brings. We left my house about 5:15 (in two cars), made good time to Palm Springs (what a difference driving at that time of the morning!). We arrived at Lori’s house, said our hellos, got ready, then said goodbye to Lori and her friends. Just by looking at them, dressed in their team kits, we knew we’d probably not see them for the rest of the day.

It was pretty chilly, but we dressed fairly lightly, knowing that the day would warm up to about 80 degrees. We left about 6:30, with a goal of bypassing downtown Palm Springs, merging with the bike course at about 6:45, thereby missing the mass start. The traffic was light as we headed west. It was just Mary, Alan, and me excited about the day ahead.

Mary and I were riding together, with Alan a few feet behind us, when all of a sudden we heard a yell. I looked over my shoulder and there is my husband, lying sprawled out, face down on the asphalt, his bike lying next to him and a car pulled over to the side right by him. Even as I write this now, my heart jumps into my throat as I remember how those first seconds felt, not knowing…

I quickly turned around and rode back, Mary right behind me. I dropped my bike to kneel by Alan’s side. Thank God, he was breathing. Conscious, breathing, and extremely pissed off. Mary called 911 as I urged him to stay still. The fact that he listened to me and stayed down actually worried me even more.

Before Mary could even finish dialing, a police car pulled up and two officers got out. One went to the driver, who was yelling, “The sun was in my eyes!” She never even asked how Alan was, just made excuses. The officer took her aside to get her statement.

At about this time, Alan got up. Unbelievably, he got himself walking around, checked his bike, his helmet, the rest of his body. Something felt wrong in the shoulders, his right leg was sore. But he was alive and moving!

Alan’s story: He was riding behind us. The driver of the car pulled across the street right in front of him. He said that she just barely missed Mary and me (we had no idea). He had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the car, which threw him over the handlebars, full circle, to land flat on his back. At one point, he was perpendicular to the ground! He hit the asphalt so hard that he bounced over onto his front.

The driver’s story: The sun was in my eyes! Not much of an excuse there as far as I’m concerned, although you hear it way too often when there has been a car vs. bicycle accident.

Then, suddenly, she was driving away. I hadn’t yet got her insurance information, but I did snap a photo of her car and license plate. Plus, we have an event number so that we can follow up and get any pertinent information.

Although shaken up, Alan decided to try to ride his bike. Not comfortable, certainly not something he could do for 100 miles, but he did feel able to ride back to Lori’s house to our car. He insisted that we continue on, that he would be okay, that he wanted us to go. After a brief discussion, we decided to do so, but our hearts just weren’t in it anymore.

The time was now 7:10, the ride had officially started and masses of cyclists were out on the road. As Mary and I headed down Indian Ave. we passed and were passed by hundreds of cyclist. This continued on for miles, many riders passing too close, not calling “on your left,” and even passing on the right. One man came so close to hooking my handlebars that the bars actually touched.
As we approached the first sag stop, Alan called to let me know that he’d made it home okay. His shoulder was really hurting, but he was resting and icing.

The sag stop was a mess. Actually, they all are. So many people that you have to dismount and walk your bike. Slow walking. Some people even hoisted their bikes on their shoulders and took a short cut across the field. I’m sure there was food there, but all I needed was the porta-potty, then we were out of there. Finally, after miles up uphill climbing, we had a long, lovely downhill.

As we approached Desert Hot Springs, we had a left turn ahead. Police officers were directing traffic and they had the cyclists stopped while they allowed cross traffic to go by. I noticed to our right a large group of cyclists building up, the riders doing the 55 mile event. They held us stopped for several minutes, while the numbers of cyclist grew to about 200 from each directions. Then, amazingly, when they let us go, cyclists from both directions were sent at the same time! Hundreds of riders, merging together onto a narrow, one lane road that we were already sharing with automobile traffic. I kept one foot unclipped and had to put my foot down several times because we were moving so slow and there were so many bikes.

Here I will insert a quick comment about the Tour de Palm Springs. It is a charity ride which raises thousands of dollars for local charities (last year around $180,000). It attracts many new cyclists because of the wide offering of distances and the flat terrain. This year, there were around 9,000 riders out there. I’m sorry, but that is just too many for the roads, the traffic, and the logistics of the ride. We saw and heard so many ambulances out there! I heard stories of filled emergency rooms and urgent care clinics. I urge the promoters of this event to take a good look and make some changes. A staggered start, a cut off point, something needs to be done. Yes, it is wonderful that so much money is raised, but seriously, at what cost?

Mary and I continued riding, enjoying (mostly) the downhills, suffering (bitching) on the downhills.  We discussed whether we wanted to complete the whole century. Our hearts just weren’t in it, I felt guilty with my husband at home injured, it just wasn’t fun with the crazy riders and the overfull streets. I think neither of us wanted to be the first to say stop.

We had a couple of options. The 55 mile ride turn off was coming up. If we turned, that would make our ride around 65 miles. We like that option, 65 is a pretty good accomplishment. The other choice (besides riding the whole ride) was to stop when we got to my house. Yes, the Tour de Palm Springs passes within a block of my house in La Quinta! I usually stop there, check on the dogs, drop off unneeded clothing, refresh drinks with ice, etc. Today it could be our escape hatch. We couldn’t decide, and put off the decision.

We finally reached the 55 mile turn off. Mary and I pulled over and looked at each other. I think we both wanted to turn. My turning point: I called Alan and he didn’t answer. (He answered a little while later and was fine.)  Mary’s turning point? Check out the picture below:

It had to be a sign. We turned.

Finally, we had the ride we’d hoped for. The pressure was off, we felt good about heading back. The route, down 1000 Palms Canyon Road was not only beautiful, it was downhill. The multitudes of aggressive riders were continuing their century. It was wonderful. For another 10 miles or so.

Then my chain broke. And my day was done. I don’t know how to fix my chain, I don’t have the tools to do so, and there was no bike mechanic in sight. We discussed what to do and decided that Mary would ride back to the car, then come pick me up. My over-tired brain couldn’t figure out how far she had to go, I guessed 10 miles (it turned out closer to 15). I plopped my bottom on the grass, got comfortable, then prepared to wait. Watching the parade pass me by.

I called Alan after a bit to let him know what was going on. He wanted to come pick me up. I hated dragging him out of the house when I knew he was in pain, but appreciated the shorter wait. I let Mary know that when she got to the car, she could just head back to my house.

After Alan picked me up, we decided to head over to Urgent Care. His shoulder was hurting and he knew that it was “just not right.” We arrived and found that there was a two hour wait. No way. We headed home to ice, medicate and rest. Mary finished up the ride, came back to clean up (bringing me a delicious, vegan smoothie!). She headed off to meet friends for dinner and was planning to drive back to LA following her meal. We were invited, but made our excuses.

The weekend was half over.

As you know, it was my plan to run the Palm Springs Half Marathon on Sunday. Even though I didn’t complete the century, I still qualified to win the brick (distances don’t matter, you just have to participate in each event). Most importantly, Alan is the announcer for the race, something he has done for about the last 10 years. He intended to be there, providing, of course that he could get his beat up body out of bed.

Of course, he did get out of bed. Anyone listening to him would not have had a clue that he had almost been hit by a car the previous day. He was full of energy and humor. He worked it, from about six in the morning until almost noon (yes there are people who take almost five hours to complete a half marathon).

And I ran. Slowly, but I ran. My goal was 10 minute miles, something I would have hated to think about a few years ago, but now, older, iffy knees, under trained, and with bike legs, I wasn’t even sure I could sustain those 10 minute miles.

I’m happy to say that I finished the race, kept the pace I wanted finishing in 2:10, about a 9:58 average. One asthma “issue,” but overall a nice steady race.

I did find some inspiration along the way. This group ran the whole race in costume, singing the entire way. I passed them (in opposite directions) a couple time along the way, then waited to take a picture at the finish line. The man with the guitar actually played it the entire time!

When I complain that I’m tire or that my knees or hips hurt, I need to see this woman to make me count my blessings and to stop bitching.

This lady was one of the last finishers, pretty close to 4:20. She was 84 years old, the oldest woman to finish the half marathon. She proudly listed her half marathons that she has completed in the last two years. Then, when the race director handed her the 1st place age group award, and she posed for pictures, she said “And I don’t even have any mascara on.”

Oh, and my brick award? I went over after the race, after I’d recovered a little, taken a few photos, to pick up my prize. And I was told that they were all out, I could put my name on a list and they’d mail me my brick. Sigh. So for now, I am using my imagination:

A final note: After several days and several tries, Alan finally got in to see a doctor on Tuesday. He is feeling much better, but will be getting an MRI on his shoulder just to make sure. In the meantime, we are very thankful.


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>I haven’t been doing much blogging lately, but I have been cooking and baking quite a bit. Also getting ready for this weekend’s “double,” the Tour de Palm Springs century on Saturday, followed by the Palm Springs Half Marathon on Sunday. Another quest for the coveted “Brick Award.”

Anyway, I’ll report on my experience next week (when I recover!). In the meantime, here are some photos of what I’ve been cooking up lately.

One of my all-time favorite Native Foods dishes is the Greek Gyro Bowl, with it’s delicious seasoned seitan, veggies, quinoa all served with a lemony garlic sauce and hummus (ooh, my mouth is watering as I write this). Well, I’ve never met a restaurant dish that I wouldn’t (attempt) to copy, so the pictures below are my version. I use whatever veggies I have on hand, this time broccoli, zucchini, and yellow squash. I made a sauce using pre-made hummus, adding extra tahini and lemon. And I made my own seitan (that recipe from Viva Vegan). Yummy!

My version of Superbowl fare. We had already started chowing down before I hollered “Stop! I’ve got to take a picture!”  Pizza, potato skins, and my attempt at “wings,” using my own seitan. Not much healthy about this vegan junk food, but it sure tasted great.

I’ve been doing some baking too. Below are Pixies from the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. They were so good. They have a brownie-like texture (especially when still warm from the oven!). I’ll be making these again soon.

 I made these patty melts using black bean patties. The first time I made them, I was kind of winging it and used quinoa in addition to the beans and veggies. They were delicious, but didn’t hold together very well. This time I adapted a recipe from Meet the Shannons and used bread crumbs (a little less than in their recipe). I also added a little mushroom, corn, squash, Serrano chili, and just a bit of water. The patty melts were even better this time and the patties held together perfectly!
So that’s what I’ve been up to. Thank goodness I’ve been increasing my riding and running mileage in preparation for this weekend or I’d have put on a few pounds. 
By the way, referring to the title of this post. While I love to eat, food is not the reason that I ride (or run). It is a nice benefit, but I ride for the joy of it. I just love the way it makes me feel. I just needed a title 🙂

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>Two years ago, which was the year I rode 6,000 miles, nothing could stop me. Heat? Ha! Bring it on. At least up to about 105, I’d get out for a ride. Cold? Dark? No problem? I had lights. I had leg/arm/toe/head warmers. At least once during the work week, I’d head out before work for a two hour ride (I worked at 10, so it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds). I’d come home after work on another workday (when I got off early) and hit the road. Think about it. I managed to average 500 miles a month, work about 50 hours a week, and still prepare dinner most nights.

Now, as I sit here on January 9, I haven’t ridden my bike for at least three weeks (I’m not even sure of the date it’s been so long!) It’s been too cold (you’ll have to imagine the whine in my voice as I say that.)! More whining…it’s been too rainy, it gets dark too early, it gets light too late, it’s too windy…too, too, too. My knee, neck, back hurts! I’m so full of excuses I’m surprised I have room for dinner. Dumb analogy, but you get my drift.

She made it out on her ride in the cold!

 When the hell did I become such a wimp? I first noticed this trend last summer. I didn’t want to ride in the heat (a little tough here in the desert). I did ride, but early in the morning, cutting my rides short frequently when it started to get hot. It continued into the fall, I could always find some excuse (the too hot excuse works all the way through October here). Now that we’ve had some cold weather, I just don’t have the urge to get out and ride (I’d say ‘balls,’ but that would be crude).

It actually has been very cold at times here. Lows in the 30s definitely qualify. But today, for example, my plan was to run a few miles with my dogs, then head out for a short ride. I had to work yesterday, so I missed out on the Saturday ride with my husband. I managed the run (can’t disappoint the doggies!), but that was it. It was probably about 58 degrees when we finished running. The sun was out, there was no wind. But, I didn’t go.

I have been running a little. Two or three days a week I run between three and five miles with my dogs. That is all that has kept me from turning into a total sloth over the holidays.

So, when did I become a wimp? I don’t have an answer, but I hope I have a solution. I have two goal events that are coming up very quickly. The Tour de Palm Springs Century, which I will be riding with Merider from My Dog Party, is on February 12 (ack! That’s a month from now!). The Palm Springs Half Marathon is on the following day. Yes, I plan to do them both again, because I want to earn the coveted Brick Award.

That being said, I’d better get it in gear. Fortunately, the weather has warmed up a bit. I will make a training schedule and stick to it. I know that deep down inside of myself, I have an inner warrior. From today on, that warrior will be in charge.

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>With my new commitment to training, I decided that it would be a good idea if I started to report on each week of training. After all, who better than my followers to get on my ass call me out if I don’t keep up with my training.

Until recently, I always had a written training plan. Years ago, I used a calendar, then as technology advanced, started using the computer, then my old Palm, then finally my Windows mobile phone. That changed with my upgrade to an Android phone. I’ve been unable to find similar programs that I so loved in windows. I’m left to enter my plan on my calendar (or not at all), and reduced to recording my workouts on Daily Mile or Bike Journal. I’ve also started using Garmin Connect, but I haven’t got into the habit yet and forget to upload the data.  I really miss my running/biking log!

In any case, I’ve started training again, with my goals in sight:  The Borrego Springs Century on January 1 and the “brick” weekend, the Tour de Palm Springs on February 12, followed the next day by the Palm Springs Half Marathon on February 13.

With that in mind, I need to start increasing my mileage, both running and riding. Now that cross country is nearing the end of the season, I know I’ll have more training time (no more Saturdays dedicated to traveling to various invitational meets across So. Cal. Yeah!). This week was still a bit of a challenge, though. The rain during the first half of the week kept me off the bike (riding once a week is not a great way to get ready for a century!) The cooler weather brings the arrival of the snowbirds, which means I work longer hours, especially on Monday and Thursday, when I have private clients at another country club.

Enough of the excuses. Here is what I managed to accomplish, training-wise, this week.

Monday, October 18: I did NOT make it to the gym (in spite of working in not one, but two fitness centers). My snowbird clients returned, so I worked from 5:15 am and finished up at about 4:00 pm. I will adapt to this schedule and happily head off to the gym afterward, but this first day back I was pooped, so I went home (and cooked dinner, but that doesn’t count as exercise).

Tuesday, October 19:  I ran one mile with the dogs, then headed to cross country practice where I ran about 4 more with the team. Total for the day: 5.2 miles/51 minutes.

Wednesday, October 20: This is usually a bike day for me. I don’t go into work until 10:00, which gives me a couple hours to ride in the morning. Because of the rainy weather though, the streets were very wet, plus there was still a lightening storm going on to the southeast of us that I was a little leery about (that’s the direction I ride!). Instead, I decided to go for another run (it is so nice to have options!). There were just a few sprinkles coming down as I headed out with my dogs. They were so happy to run four miles (many times I’m in a hurry and they only get one mile or less). I brought them home, then headed out for another three. The sun was just coming up, which made for some beautiful scenery:

Total for the day: 7 miles/1:09

Thursday, October 21: Long day, no gym, wimp out.

Friday, October 22: Now that the weather has finally cooled down, Friday will be the day that I get a third ride during the week. I get off early (the one advantage of working at 5:30 am), so I’ll have time for a one or two hour ride most Fridays. Not this week though. Too much to do getting ready for the Mt. SAC Invitational which was on…

…Saturday, October 23: The cross country invitational at Mt. San Antonio College is the largest one in the country. Last year, over the course of several weeks, over 22,000 elementary, middle, and high school, not to mention college, athletes participated in this huge event at Mt. SAC. Celebrating its 63rd year, the course at Mt. SAC has changed little over its history, offering challenging terrain for all the different levels of runners.

This year our first race was scheduled at 7:10 am, meaning a 4:30 departure from Palm Desert for the 100 mile trip to Walnut. For yours truly, that meant a 2:45 wake up, even though the van was packed, the snacks were made, the coolers were loaded.

I’m getting off track a little, but the bottom line is, we didn’t get home until about 2:00 pm, exhausted and ready for a nap. (In the old days, we rode in a school bus. We could nap both before and after the races. Now, with financial cutbacks, we drive vans and they expect us to stay awake, since we’re driving those vans.) So, unless you count dashing back and forth to follow our team during their races, no exercise.

Here’s a picture of the Varsity girls team. They are the best posers!

Sunday, October 24:  Finally! I ran two miles with my dogs (I figure that makes up some for no running on Saturday). After that, Alan and I went for a 52 mile bike ride. Two points here: One, it sure is nice waiting for it to warm up, rather than trying to beat the heat. Two, it is hard to build up mileage when you are riding only one day a week.  Because of the rain this week and our home course cross country meet the week before, my riding time has been severely limited. I was, however, determined. By the time we finished, my quads burned, my neck ached and my back was sore, but, dammit, I did it. On the way to a century! A few photos from the ride:

It stayed cloudy and cool for the whole ride. In fact, I kept my arm warmers on until the final four miles. I was very tired by the end, feeling more like I’d ridden 100 than 50. So another nap. I’m not sure all these naps are necessary because of my early hours and hard work, or just because I’m getting older. Probably a little of both.

In any case, total for the day: 2 miles running/20:15, 52.1 miles cycling/3:42
Weekly mileage totals: 14.2 miles running/52.1 miles cycling
Plan for the upcoming week:
Monday: Gym-Done!
Tuesday: Run with the cross country team (about 5 miles)
Wednesday: Bike (25-30 miles)
Thursday: We are taking the team out to practice on the course we’ll be running for the league finals. I’ll bring my running gear and my good intentions.
Friday: Bike (20-25 miles)
Saturday: Bike (60 miles)
Sunday: Run (8 miles)
I’ll be sure to report back about my efforts.

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>Lots to talk about…

First of all, I say this every year, but it still amazes me how suddenly great I feel when the weather finally cools down. It happens every year, but after several months of training day after day in hot desert weather, you start to feel slow, sluggish, unmotivated, lazy. This morning when I rode my bike (wearing arm warmers!), it was cool for the entire two hour ride and I felt strong and wonderful. It has been abnormally hot in October (over 100 degrees just the day before yesterday), but finally, finally, it looks like it is going to finally cool down. Did I say finally?

Now that my attitude has done a 180, I can address some of the complaining I’ve done in recent posts.

Goals? I was whining a couple weeks ago about not having goals and therefore not feeling motivated to train. Almost immediately, two women spoke up and offered ideas, motivation, and shared goals. One is a very good friend, who suggested that I pick a century ride to train for and said that she would train and ride with me. We don’t live close, but hopefully we will also have an opportunity to ride a couple of training rides before the event. We’re thinking about the Borrego Springs Century, which is on January 1, 2011 (talk about ringing in the new year!). Depending on my friend’s holiday travel plans, we may ride the Stagecoach Century, which is on January 15 (checkout the link, there’s actually a picture of me on their homepage).

The other woman who offered motivation was Kate, whom I’ve never met before. She lives in San Diego and is the author of the blog “Run with Kate: Tales of a SoCal Veg Runner” (check it out!). She also read my whiny post and my speculation about the Carlsbad Half Marathon. Through blog comments, we discussed signing up and running the race, maybe working up a veggie blogger angle to get a few other runners involved. Unfortunately, since then, Kate has had to deal with some injury issues, which forced her to drop out of another race. Now Carlsbad is sold out, so it doesn’t look like that particular event is going to happen.

But, just the fact that these two women reached out to me was inspiration enough to pull me out of my dreary self pity. I’ve decided that in addition to the January Century, I’m going to sign up again for the Tour de Palm Springs and the Palm Springs Half Marathon and go after that Brick Award again. Yes, I know that I do this every year, but this time I’m going to train for them. No, really, I am.

So in the spirit of training, bolstered by the fact that we did not have a cross country meet this weekend, I made a simple plan: a moderate 45 mile bike ride on Saturday, followed by a medium run, five to six miles, with the cross country team on Sunday. I’ve lost a lot of my endurance over the last couple months, so I want to build back up without injuring myself.

So, goals, plans, and cool weather all combined to give me a positive attitude and the motivation to get back to training. My weekend training coming up in part two of this post.

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>That how many miles I covered over the weekend. On Saturday, the Tour de Palm Springs, 103.6 miles on my bike. The Palm Springs Half Marathon was Sunday, adding 13.1 miles on foot. Monday, I was one tired cookie (although I did make it to the gym). Today, I am writing this post instead of my usual afternoon ride (not because I am so dedicated–my knee hurt as I started the ride today, so I decided to be smart and cut the ride short).

Friday, February 12

I took a quick trip into Palm Springs on Friday (I work in Rancho Mirage which is pretty close), to pick up my wristband for the ride. I usually wouldn’t bother, since we start from a friend’s house and avoid the downtown area altogether, but as you know, I had a yen for the “Brick” award, and figured I’d need proof that I did the ride, so I dared the crowds at the Spa Casino, which was hosting the bike expo in its parking lot. There was a pretty good sized crowd, but it cleared pretty quickly when they finally got the registration going. I was picking up an armband for a friend and I was happy that her name also started with a “W” so I didn’t have to stand in another line. Amazingly, I didn’t spend any money, just took a quick look-see through the expo, then headed to my next destination, Running Wild, the running store where I could sign up for the half marathon.

I didn’t spend any money at the running store, either, except for the race registration. I did see a couple friends, so I stayed and chatted for a while. Next stop–lunch.

Since I was in Palm Springs, I figured I go by Native Foods for lunch. I love the Palm Desert restaurant, but had never been to the Palm Springs store. But, as I was getting back into my car after registration, I noticed a woman reading a paper menu placed in front of a restaurant directly in front of where I parked my car. The name was the Palm Greens Cafe, and a sign said “the natural alternative.” I though I’d better take a look at the menu. Sure enough, it was a vegetarian restaurant, with a lot of vegan choices. I was in! (Great food, by the way, I’ll be back!)

Saturday, February 13

As I mentioned in my previous post, the weather was beautiful from the start. Very little wind, cool, but not cold for most of the day, warming up as the day went on. We didn’t waste too much time at the aid stations, and ended up finishing the ride before 2:30. I felt really good about my ride, especially since I felt that I wasn’t in the greatest shape. I haven’t been getting a lot of time on the bike and I was afraid that the century would end up being very uncomfortable and downright hard. I’m not saying it was easy, but I felt really good through the whole ride, though I had a little knee pain toward the end.

One kind of interesting thing: I was riding along, somewhere around mile 40, chatting as one does with the various riders along the way. Brad was visiting from Colorado, but when I told him that I’d lived in the desert for about 30 years, he said that he had used to live here as well, but had moved in 2004. As we rode, I mentioned that I had resided in many places in the Coachella Valley and that I currently lived in La Quinta, in the “cove.” Brad said, “I used to live in La Quinta–on ****. Well, I almost fell off my bike, because that is the street that I live on. I asked if he remembered the house number, and it turns out he lived about a mile down the street from me for over 10 years! Yes, I’ll say it, “Small world.”

Other than that, the ride was uneventful and enjoyable. When we finally finished up, my Ironman husband went for a little three mile run. Ugh! I had a hard time freshening up, changing clothes and loading the bikes in the car. In fact, I moved so slowly, that I was just finishing all that up as Alan came back from his run.

The rest of the day was focused on recovery. Knowing that I was going to run the half marathon the next day, I worked hard on refueling, rehydrating and resting (yes, that’s a contradiction in terms, but you know what I mean). I made sure to ice my knees. If any part was going to fail me, it would be my knees, so I tried to take good care of them.

Sunday, February 14

We woke up early. Alan is the announcer for the race, and he needed to be there by about 5:30. I had picked up my number and chip on Friday, when I registered for the race, so when we got to Ruth Hardy park in Palm Springs I stayed warm in the car until time came to hit the porta-potties then head to the start line. I didn’t bother with a warm up. I figure 13.1 miles was plenty for the day and that I would probably be running slowly enough for it to count as a warm up.
And we were off! Sort of…my legs…oh, yeah, I rode 103 miles yesterday. To say I ran slow would be an understatement. Every mile seemed to take forever. I usually find in a long race such as a half marathon that the first five or six miles seem to fall away quickly. Not this time. At mile three I felt like I’d been out there forever. At mile four, I walked for a while to use my inhaler, then got going again. For the first 10 miles I somehow maintained a 10-minute per mile pace. I saw many friends (most of them ahead of me!), including quite a few who had been on the ride on Saturday. By the time I got to mile 10 though, I was beat. When another runner said “only 5k to go!” I felt like crying (or beating her up). I struggled, I walked, I ran. There was no way I was going to give up, even if I had to walk the whole way in. Other runners would shout encouragement as they ran by, which would get me going for a while. When I finally rounded the last corner, with only about a quarter of a mile to go, there was no stopping me. I ran the rest of the way in. My wonderful, announcer husband greeted me with, “Here comes my favorite person in the world, my best friend, my wife, who, by the way, rode the century yesterday.” I was home.

I finished with a time of 2:18:19, which is about a ten and a half minute per mile average. I think I managed to finish 18th in my age group, not bad, considering. And I did get this:
I am hoping that running back-to-back events like this is kind of like childbirth, where a woman, while knowing that it hurt like hell, really only recalls the joy of the moment. That way, I’ll be able to bring myself to do this all over again, next year.

As a final note, it was after all Valentine’s Day. After the wonderful V day gift from my husband (the cleaning of the bike, remember?), I felt the least I could do was whip up a special dinner for my love. After a nice nap, lots of fluids, and some fuel along the way, I prepared this for our Valentine’s dinner:

Fresh veggies and seasoned tofu in phyllo dough, with roasted asparagus. Yum. And I earned those extra large portions!

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