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>I started the month off with a dog post and I’m finishing it (and the year) with another. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in between. I’m not one for resolutions (although I do make plans and goals), but I will get back to regular blogging after the first of 2011. It’s been a busy month, and although that is not an excuse (I know it’s a busy month for everyone, even those bloggers who keep up with their daily/weekly posts), it is what it is. I’ll try to do better.

For now, I will leave you and 2010 with a video of my Dalmatian, Penny. We used to call her Perfect Penny, because she takes care of the other dogs, and is always trying to please us. In recent months, though, she has become Trash Penny, digging through our garbage whenever we leave the house. I’m sure there is some deep psychological reason for this and that we are failing her in some way, but short of hiring a doggy therapist our solution is a (covered) mousetrap taped to the top of the trashcan.

Now, the idea of this is not to hurt the dog (that’s why it is covered), but to scare them enough so that, like good little canines, they decide that it is in their best interest not to mess around with forbidden fruit.

We have had mixed success with this. We came home the other day to a wonderful mess left by Miss FPP. She had somehow ignored the snapping of the trap and managed to tip over the trash. She acts so guilty when we get home, you’d think she’d just “get it” and not do this thing that pisses us off makes us so unhappy. Maybe it is a cry for help, or a call for attention, but so far, nothing seems to work.

The mousetrap has been the closest thing to a solution, though. Which brings me to the point of this post. The other day I was in the kitchen, when I heard a dog growling. When I looked over at Penny, she was baring her teeth and snarling. As you will see, the mousetrap had already been snapped (be sure to turn up your volume):

I hope this helps you finish 2010 with a smile on your face.  Happy New Year to everyone!

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I have both good and bad to report for this training week.  The good: I finally made it to the gym. The bad (let’s just call it the not-so-good): I missed my long ride due to some heavy duty winds on Saturday. My report:

Monday, October 25: Scheduled to hit the gym, which is exactly what I did. Quick workout, but managed three sets of all the major muscle groups (upper body).

Tuesday, October 26: Scheduled to run five to six miles. I ran one mile with the dogs, then followed that up with four more with the cross country team. I also taught my Super Ball Class. Total: 5.1 miles/49 minutes.

Wednesday, October 27: Scheduled 25-30 mile bike ride. I got out really early (it was still dark) and rode 26 miles. I got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and was home by 8:00. Total: 26 miles/2:01 (pretty slow, but it was really windy out there!)

Thursday, October 28: Scheduled to run with the team in the afternoon, but I didn’t do it. I really hate running in the latter part of the day and I just couldn’t get up the motivation. I did teach another Super Ball class though.
Friday, October 29: Scheduled to ride for an hour or so after work. Again, I didn’t do it. I’m definitely a morning exerciser and it takes me a while, once the weather has cooled down, to get back in the habit of afternoon bike rides. I’ll get there, though.
Saturday, October 30:  I was supposed to ride 60 miles on Saturday. I first got up and ran two miles with my dogs. Then, I changed into my bike clothes, watching (and hearing) the wind outside get stronger and stronger. Still dressed to ride, I did some chores around the house, hopeful until it was close to noon. We finally gave it up after that. I’ve ridden in the wind before, but it isn’t fun and I didn’t feel too guilty about skipping the ride. Total: 2 miles running/20 minutes.
Sunday, October 31: (Happy Halloween, by the way) Scheduled 6-8 miles. I ran two miles with the dogs before we met the team at 7:00 this morning. They were running to the cross, I followed behind, did not go to the cross, but did run 7 miles. Counting the two with the dogs, this was the longest I’ve run for a while. I felt pretty good! Total: 9 miles/1:35

Weekly mileage totals: 16.1 miles running/26 miles cycling

Plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: Gym
Tuesday: Last run with the cross country team! Season will be over after Wednesday’s finals. 5 miles
Wednesday: I’m taking the day off for the cross country meet, but should have time to ride at least 30 miles.
Thursday: Gym
Friday: Riding after work, at least one hour.
Saturday: Cycling, 60 miles
Sunday: Running, may as well go for 10 miles!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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>Just a Quickie

>Man, I love how a naughty name gets your attention.

But that’s good because I want to let you know about a chance to win free stuff!  On the line is a $35 to CSN Stores. You need to head on over to the Queer Vegan Runner blog to find out how to enter.

Go. Now!

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>Dear Sarah,

I was thrilled when you told me that you were interested in participating in San Diego Veg Week, October 2-9. As you know, I feel very strongly about this topic and I am so happy that you are going to give it a try for a week. Of course, it is my hope that once you’ve discovered how delicious, healthy and easy it is and how good you will feel morally about a cruelty free diet, you will continue on this path.  The website has tons of useful information, so I hope that you have fully checked out the recipes, restaurants (a lot of the are offering discounts for veg week!), and other tips available.  I decided that I would add a little advice of my own (I am going to be your mother-in-law, after all!).

I’ve written about my reasons for becoming a vegetarian, and also why I made the decision to remove all animal products from my diet. You can link to those posts so I won’t go into details here. I will suggest a little reading, though. Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer, is a good place to start your education about the food that you eat. I just so happen to have a copy that you can borrow (I have a couple, so if anyone else who reads this would like to borrow, let me know). Or you can follow the link and purchase a copy for yourself:

Eating Animals 
Of course, I’m hoping that my son will be joining you on this endeavor. One way to encourage him is to show him how delicious the food options can be. One of the most helpful resources when looking for a vegetarian restaurant is Happy Cow. In addition to restaurants, you will find supermarkets and health stores, and they are all described and rated by the Happy Cow users. (I know you use a Droid, so you’ll be interested to know that there is also a Happy Cow app in the Android Market.) I took the initiative and put in your address for a search and here are a couple of the Vegetarian/Vegan options that came up:
Loving Hut (4 miles)
Evolution Fast Food (Yum, vegan burgers and fries!) (5 miles)
There are quite a few more, including Pokez, which I’ve been to and enjoyed. It’s is not vegetarian, but it is defintely veg-friendly, plus it is funky, fun, and cheap! It’s downtown, only about six miles from your home.
Aside from Pokez, I’ve not been to any of these restaurants. They are reviewed on the Happy Cow site, but the best vegan restaurant reviews ever can be found at Quarrygirl.com. She mostly covers the Los Angeles area, but there are many San Diego area restaurants listed on her website. She tells it exactly like it is. Whenever I travel, I use Happy Cow to find a potential restaurant and Quarrygirl to check the review.

Remember there are many mainstream restaurants that have vegetarian options. Z Pizza has the Berkeley Vegan Pizza,  but they can make almost any of their pizzas vegan. Even Denny’s, believe it or not, just introduced a veggie burger!  I’d suggest staying away from the fried cheese melt that they show on their home page, though. And I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that the Yardhouse has introduced a vegan meat replacement at many, if not all, of their California restaurants.

One thing about mainstream restaurants, though. While Z Pizza will stand by their vegan options, many restaurants will cook your vegetarian food right alongside the other meat on their grills. If you’re going veggie, even for a week, you don’t want your veggie burger soaking up all the juices from another guy’s Angus burger.

If you plan on cooking during veg week, you have a lot of options. With an array of tasty “mock meats,” you can take almost any recipe that you enjoy and make it vegetarian. Best of all, they are available at most supermarkets.  Of course, you are lucky enough to be close to a Whole Foods, which has a wide variety of prepared vegetarian and vegan options in addition to their grocery items.

If you’d like to go a little farther and explore true vegetarian cooking, my blog list has some of my favorites, including:
Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Healthy. Happy. Life.
Vegan Dad
Almost Vegan
Meet the Shannons (they’re veganizing the entire Betty Crocker Cookbook!)

And there are many, many more, yours for the tasting.

So there you go, dear Sarah, my motherly advice to help you fully enjoy San Diego Veg Week. I hope you enjoy both the food and the experience of eating cruelty free.



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Last weekend, Alan and I headed south for the 26th Annual San Diego International Triathlon. Now, as you know, I am not a triathlete and did not participate, but Alan competed for his third year in a row.

The San Diego International Triathlon is one of the oldest triathlons in the country, held in the city that hosted the very first such race back in 1974. The race starts with a 1000 meter swim, followed by a 30k (about 18 mile) bike ride, and finishes with a 10k (6.2 mile) run. They also have a Sprint race, which is about half the distance in each segment. The swim starts at Spanish Landing at the San Diego Bay. The ride heads out through Point Loma to the Cabrillo National Monument, and the run starts at Spanish Landing Park, runs through Harbor Island, finishing up at Seaport Village.

We drove into town on Saturday, stopping by the race expo to pick up Alan’s race numbers, goody bag, etc. You are supposed to drop off your bike as well, but Alan wanted to change the tires before the event, so he decided to bring it in the morning. We got his stuff, bumped into a few friends and chatted a while, then headed up the coast to Encinitas.

We always stay in Encinitas when we are in the San Diego area. As my husband would say, we like the ‘vibe’ there. It is more laid back. There are certainly plenty of people, but it seems a little quieter than farther south. We like it. We had lunch at one of our favorite spots, St. Tropez Bistro, then stopped by Nytro and Movin’ Shoes. Didn’t buy anything, just said hi to the folks that run those shops.

Early dinner, early to bed, early to wake up. Alan likes to get to the venue early, giving himself plenty of time to prepare before the race. We were out the door by 5 am, heading south again.
I dropped Alan off at Spanish Landing Park, then went to park the car. My plan was to get into my running clothes, run over to the race start, making sure my husband had everything that he needed. Then I planned to take off for my run, more or less along the race course, hoping to run about six miles. I got in a few photo ops, then took off.

I got back to the park shortly before Alan’s 7:05 start. I found him chatting with Bill Bell, who is a legend in the Ironman Triathlon world. Back in 1974, his doctor told him to start running for his health. Well, he hasn’t stopped since. After completing about 62 marathons over the next seven years, he figured, “well, let’s just try an Ironman.” Now 87 years young, after completing 32 full Ironman races, 26 Half Ironman and 158 marathons, he has retired from long distance competition, but still competes at shorter distances.

Soon after, Alan was off on his race. I waited at the water’s edge for him to finish the swim. He wasn’t very happy with his performance, but he made it out of the water in pretty good time, then it was off on his bike. He had a good ride, then it was time for the run. It is always a challenge to start running after you get off your bicycle, but he ran very well. As soon as he took off, I did as well, back to the car so that I could drive to Seaport Village–the finish line.

Alan had a good run and was able to pass many runners along the way. One of the great things about triathlon, as a participant, is the body marking. Right there on the back of each athlete’s calf, is his/her age. You know right away if it is worthwhile to make the effort to pass the person in front of you. This happened to Alan in the last part of the race. He saw that the man in front of him was in the same age division. So he pushed. He passed him. As a result, Alan finished third in his division, good enough for a medal. The man he passed finished fourth. Good enough for…well, fourth. One second behind!

As we waited for the award ceremony, we saw a few friends from La Quinta and elsewhere around the desert. Jeremiah, who recently had knee surgery and is just getting ready to race again. (He’ll be up at Vineman 70.3 in Santa Rosa with us.) We saw Tim, an excellent athlete, who will be joining Alan at the St. George Ironman next year. Christa, an old friend, getting back into racing. Betty, fairly new to the sport in her first International distance race.

Finally, the award ceremony, and Alan was able to pick up his first medal as a triathlete. He has earned hundreds in running events, but after three years doing triathlons he has finally climbed the learning curve. Congratulations to my husband!

They also had a special award for Bill Bell, for his accomplishments and longevity in the sport of triathlon. Bill didn’t stick around. He’d picked it up and left, skipping the accolades. Guess you can do that when you’re 87.

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>Last weekend, during my June century ride in Malibu, there were at least 16 flat tires during the ride. I was fortunate that I did not join that particular group. Until the next day, that is, when I noticed a flat as I wheeled my bike out to my car.

Well, this morning, as I was trying to get ready for an early “beat the heat” start, I found that I had another flat tire. The back tire, this time. As I checked it, I found a little thorn that did not even poke out on the outside of the tire. It must have worked itself all the way in. I feel sure that it was a left over from the ride last week.

So, changing the tire kept me from starting quite as early as I had planned. I headed out about 6:15 am, but I was fortunate. In spite of our weather heating up out here in the desert (high of about 101 today), we had beautiful, cool temperatures throughout the morning. I was able to finish my 50 mile ride before it got too hot. In fact, it was pleasantly cool during my whole ride. Lucky me!

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>I had an interesting experience on Thursday. Although I’ve been a personal trainer for over 10 years, I had never been ‘trained.’ Oh, when I’ve interview trainers I’ve had them do an audition session, where I basically look at how they cue, how they work with people, and safety factors. But I had never had a real personal training session.

Until now. When I joined World Gym, they promise a free session with a trainer (basically, it’s an opportunity for the trainer to sell their services). I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but since one of my employees also trains at World Gym, she offered to do my “orientation.”

It took us a couple weeks to find a time when both of us had free time, but we finally settled on Thursday at 2:00. She had a meeting, which kept her busy until 2:15 (I knew in advance that might happen), so I started my workout on my own. When Brenda finally arrived, she showed me several exercises that I can use for my legs to strengthen my bad knee. Plus, she instructed me on a new Nautilus machine, similar to a cable machine, which really works your core, balance, and stability. I really enjoyed the experience, and I took away a lot of information that I can use when I work out on my own.

On Friday, I had hoped to get out of work early (to us up some comp time), get to the gym and maybe ride my bike. Well, best laid plans, and all that. My assistant called in sick, and for a while, it looked like I’d be working a 12 hour day. Fortunately, I was able to get someone to come in and work for a few hours. I still got out late, though, so I decided to forgo the gym.

I met the hubby for lunch after I finally left work, but I was determined to take a ride. It would be my first really hot ride of the summer. The weather has been so pleasant, and my schedule so full, that I haven’t ridden in temperatures over 85 or so. That would change on Friday, when the thermometer in my car read 102 as I arrived home after lunch. As soon as I walked in the door, I headed back to change into riding clothes. I knew if I sat down it would be way too easy to back out of the ride.

I only rode for about an hour, 15 miles. Yes, it was hot. Look at the picture; it looks hot, doesn’t it? But I did it. I drank both bottles of fluid (one water, one Cytomax). I was kind of proud of myself for getting out there. Last year, after my surgery, I never did adapt to the hot afternoon riding weather like I did the year before. I want to do so this year, and Friday’s ride was the first step.
I had to work Saturday. I had planned it this way, in order to give my assistant a weekend off, so when she called in sick on Friday, with Bronchitis, I didn’t have to make any changes, because I was already scheduled to work. I do feel kind of bad, though, that she ended up sick on her three day weekend.

Instead of riding, then, I decided to go for a run before work. I hauled all my stuff into work and did my run around the perimeter of the country club. About 4.5 miles, then I showered and ate breakfast before I opened up the gym. I actually had time to hit Starbucks for a latte!

I prepared a salad for dinner tonight. I sometimes feel like the salad queen, I do so many variations. When the weather is hot, a salad just seems cooler somehow. Tonight’s salad had mixed greens, grape tomatoes, mini peppers, avocado, raisins, roasted sunflower/pumpkin seeds, radishes. No meat substitute tonight.

Tomorrow I will ride my bike. Hoping to get out very early, because the weather is finally heating up and the humidity is pretty high. If I can get going by 5:30, I can ride for three or four hours before it gets too hot. Hopefully, a long time before it hits 102.

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