Sunday, August 5, 2012

More Hula Happenings

Just a quick post on some of the hula happenings...

Our class' title in our city's parks & recreation guide is "Hula for Fun & Fitness," but last weekend we were able to add "...and Service!"  A group from our hula class had the opportunity to perform at the VA hospital picnic in Palo Alto!  I felt honored to be able to do this and to say "mahalo" (thank you) to some of our servicemen and servicewomen and their families, all who made tremendous sacrifices for our country.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but it sure wasn't being loaded up with thank you notes, hugs, bouquets, and pineapples!  My goodness!  I was just happy with the good feeling of sharing our aloha and enjoyment of hula. I would love to be able to do something like this again.  (If you're local and will be at the Relay for Life, our group was invited to perform there this coming weekend!  Sadly, I won't be able to make that one.)

This weekend was the Bay Area Aloha Festival over in San Mateo.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I bought way too many hair accessories, cookies, and t-shirts.  But I also got to see some wonderful dancing, because one of my hula sisters was performing there, and she danced beautifully.  It was so fun to see the various groups; there's a wide variety of ages, ethnicity, and styles of dance.  I loved having the opportunity to go to the festival, to people-watch and listen to music and eat a little kalua pork, and even the weather (warm and slightly humid) cooperated to make it almost feel like being somewhere in Hawaii.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Big Summer Catch-up

It's been way too long since I popped a post over here, so I figured I ought to check in.  (Yes, I'm still reading everyone regularly and silently cheering you on.)  We made it to the end of the school year (yeay!) and Little League season (double-yeay!) and the kids' "Lion King" dance recital (so fun!).

"Hey, kids!  Stop behaving like a pack of wild hyenas!
...wait a minute...
You ARE a pack of wild hyenas!"

So it's now the middle of continues to be crazy-loco busy, but it's nice for us all to not have to juggle that and the pressures of school.  We've had lots of fun:  4th of July parade and picnic, visiting family with lots of cousin-time for the kids, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  That place is near & dear to my heart, and the kids hadn't been since Thing 2 was 2.  I loved seeing their faces alight with awe and wonder.  If you've never been and get the opportunity, jump on it. 

 Elsie the Wondercat turns 20! 

Summer adventure time: Monterey Bay Aquarium!

I also realize that I missed recapping the Q2 events! 

Q2 Events:  Hula Show!

Oh my goodness, was this fun!  Our performance for family and friends, with all the extra practices and setup, transformed our group from two parks & recreation classes to a true sisterhood of dancers.  (Sorry, I know the static pictures don't really do it justice.)  We enjoyed perfect weather for it, a rarity in our area, and the performance was capped off by a wonderful buffet and potluck desserts.  Later, during the cleanup, we had the music playing and everyone kept dashing up to dance together yet again.

Q2 Event: Cinc O' Day Mayo Run/Tri for Christie O'

My other event was the virtual one in honor of blogger Christie O' Sullivan.  I did a jog/hike on the bluffs above Maverick's, which isn't the beach you see there but about a half-mile off of the point.  It's one of my favorite places around here, and I spent a lot of time thinking about Christie and how bravely she faces the challenges life brings her.  SO glad "the Cansuh" (as she calls it) is gone, and also happy & grateful that blogger Biz's brother's treatment is done and was successful.  Hoping the same outcome for blogger Brooke's cousin - he and his family could use your good thoughts or prayers (or both!).

All of that puts my supposed "struggles" in perspective.  I'm struggling with reining in control over food and fitness, after WAY too long of letting myself be distracted.  Happily, enough good habits have stuck to not affect my diabetes management goals (last a1c=5.7%!  Woot!), but I've regained some weight and lots some of my strength and cardio fitness. Even in summer, it can be really hard to squeeze in a full-time outside-the-home job with ever-increasing demands, family time, and self-care.  So I'm trying to keep my focus more on the moment and with trying to make better choices every day.  I'm still here, and still in it with you all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Lei Day & Race Report: Pre-Season Burn Series #3

Just popping in for a quick news update...I'm fine, but feeling a bit zonked right now.  If I thought we were busy before, oh my gosh, between dance, baseball, school, and new & exciting work projects, it's been a whirlwind!

Happy Lei Day!

"May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii," you know!  But I seem to recall there being a custom of "May baskets" on the mainland; I remember making little paper baskets, putting garden flowers in them, and taking them to neighbors.  Does anyone still do that sort of thing?

This is on my mind because, well, I always seem to have Hawaii on the brain.  But especially so this month, because our hula class will be having its "hoike," or recital.  We're doing lots of practicing, and I think it will be lots of fun!  Not to mention some tasty food afterward!  

Pre-Season Burn Series #3

Race #3 was also at College of San Mateo.  I was *this* close to not going, because of the rain that was forecast - but I went anyway and the weather was great! I didn't see the woman from my first two races, but I met a scout leader who was doing his first triathlon. 

Race Standings (200 yard swim, 10K stationary spin, 1.5 mile run)

: 21/24 (2 places lower than February)

: 12/15 (1 place lower than February)

: 4/12 (well, that was better!)
Swim 00:07:08 (6:56 in January, 5:22 in February)

+ Transitions 00:19:33 (21:52 in January, 00:20:45 in February)

Run  20:12 (19:06 in January, 18:50 in February)
Total time: 00:46:53.207 (47:54 in January, 00:44:57.176 in February; 43:47 in 2011 at the same event)
Even though my preparations in March were downright pitiful and the race itself wasn't pretty, I got it done and did my 3 mini-tri's in 3 months!  Although I would like to have improved my times, the series did serve its main purpose:  keeping me on track for minimal fitness during the winter months. 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

March Madness!

It's not just for college basketball anymore...things are crazy for the Opposite Family this month!  But I needed to check in briefly.

My last mini-tri in February went well - it was a gorgeous day! Here are the results:

Pre-Season Burn Series #2

Race Standings (200 yard swim, 10K stationary spin, 1.5 mile run)

: 18/23
: 13/17
: 5/8
Swim 00:05:22 (6:56 in January)
+ Transitions 00:20:45 (21:52 in January)
Total time: 00:44:57.176 (47:54 in January; 43:47 in 2011 at the same event)
So, much better overall, and only 1:10 slower than last year's.  Of course, my fitness mojo was going strong in February.  I haven't been training at all this month, so this next race might be a huge flop, but oh well.

What was cool: I was pace-girl for the gal I noticed at the race last month.  Boy, did that feel weird!  I'm usually following other people.  We got to chatting during the run.  It turns out I was right:  she was trying triathlon and getting back her fitness mojo.  She's training for Wildflower in May, and she is going to rock it!

In other season has started, science fair projects are done, and work is going crazy.  And I need to get some sleep, so signing off for now...will write again after Pre-season Burn Series #3 this weekend!

Makin' cookies...for Science!
(Handy tip:  a spare yard stick cut in half makes for even thickness on your sugar cookies)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eeek! They're webcasting the race tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning is Pre-season Burn Series mini-tri #2! 

And wait a minute...they're webcasting it?!?!

Oh my.

I may kick myself, but here's the URL:

My wave is at 8:30, if you're up for a good laugh!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Event Report: Bloggers' Healthy Heart Weekend!

Hurrah!  It's finally Bloggers' Healthy Heart Weekend!

I'm ready!!! 
I think I'll go outside and do a nice...

...uh oh.  Looks like the Weather Fairies didn't get the memo. 


 Oh, *I* know...!  This is a job for...

...Stationary Bike @ Home!
I think I'll try for a new personal "distance" record: 25 miles!

Oooo, haven't watched one of my favorite movies ever in awhile!
This should make the ride much more fun.
Here's the plan:
Stage 1: P8, 30 minutes, moderately hilly
Stage 2: P16, 30 minutes, not super hilly, but high resistance setting on all stages
Stage 3: P9, 30 minutes, long low hill
Stage 4: P1, 20 minutes, easy finish

Stage 1, completed 6.88 miles

Stage 2, completed 6.53 miles
At this point, was feeling a little tired, so I sucked on a tangerine-flavored lollypop

Stage 3, completed 7.39 miles
My seat bones are really feeling it now!

Stage 4, completed 5.17 miles
And it's the end of the movie, what great timing!
Grand total: 25.97 miles in 1 hour, 50 minutes!
(Does this mean I'm ready for that ride to Pescadero?)
photo credits: Thing 2, who arrived home from baseball just in time.  
(Yes, they practice in light rain.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How It's All Going & a Race Report!

Well, here we are in February already!  My, how time flies!

"How's it all going?"  Well, despite my giddy New Year's post, the new year not been all sunshine and rainbows and canned unicorn meat.  But there was enough good stuff to keep me feeling positive overall.  It's birthday season, so I'm sticking with the good stuff here.  

The birthday season got off to an excellent start with a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit my BFF.  Oddly, it was weather in San Francisco that delayed my flights - I waited in that airport 6 hours for my flight, and my flight home was delayed by 2 hours.  (The PDX airport, though, had this great spa, with massages!  Oh yeah!!!)  The weather was kind of damp most of the weekend, but we had a great time walking places, shopping, and dining.  We saw "Midnight in Paris" (fun!) and a great blues show.  My BFF may not have walked my butt off - when I mapped everything, we walked about 3 miles per day on average - but she sure did try!

Yeaaaay!  I made it!
The birthday girl and I toast our respective birthdays!
(My cocktail featured muddled cucumber and drinking vinegar - oddly refreshing!)

We licked more than the windows at Alma Chocolates!

The cupcake on top was mine, a nice, moist carrot cake mini-cupcake.
The pink box?  
A "Can monopolize your mom/wife for the weekend?" bribe for BFF's family. 

Race Report:  Pre-season Burn Series #1

The "Pre-season Burn Series" is a series of three 1/2-sprint distance triathlons, scheduled for the last Sundays of January, February, and March.  These events are quite possibly the cushiest triathlon format ever:  lap swimming in which everyone gets their own lane, bike on a WattBike stationary bike, and your usual run format.  They are designed to help people prepare for the triathlon racing season or to ease newbies into the sport.  For me, they provide incentive to keep from living on the couch all winter.   Having felt the triathlon embers stirring again, after a year-long hiatus, I signed up for all three events.  I thought that they would all be at College of San Mateo like last year.


Luckily I paid attention to the pre-race emails, and realized that I'd be making the drive down to Valley Christian High School in San Jose for the one on Sunday the 29th.  Ugh, 1 hour vs. 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, we also picked the previous night to try and camp in our back yard.  The weather had been nice, and the kids dropped off to sleep beautifully.  But then we found out that our quiet village was not so quiet: sirens screeched up & down the highway between 11:30 and 12:30, followed by a dog barking between 12:30 and 1 a.m.  That, and we got really cold.  So we dragged everyone inside, but I didn't get to sleep until 2 a.m.  That made the 6:30 wake-up pretty unappealing.  Thank goodness I didn't have an earlier wave!  I needed to be there an hour and a half before my wave, which was at 10 a.m.

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and mild.  When I arrived at the school, I checked in and got my markings and time chip.  I then walked the run course, two loops with moderate hills (and one short staircase), totalling 1.5 miles.  While waiting to set up bikes, I people-watched, and I met a couple of gals who were trying triathlon for the first time - one of them ended up taking first in our wave!

A bit more waiting around, then it was time to swim!  The water felt great, though even after warming up a couple of laps, I sure didn't feel ready.  Then again, I never feel ready for the swim.  I finished 225 yards in 6:56, even after my swim cap popped off mid-length.  The swim is 200 yards, but the ladder was opposite the start, so I had an extra 25 yards. No biggie - I suppose it was faster than walking around the pool!

I really struggled with transition.  Because I don't have bike shoes, T1 is my main transition, and it took me about 4 minutes to get everything on.  Most of it went smoothly, but I had trouble with the running tights and socks on wet feet; I know I can do better next time, though.  (I'm thinking of bunching up each leg and then tying each with a string, so that I can quickly get my feet in, undo the strings, and quickly pull up both legs.)  I also forgot about how to adjust the resistance on the WattBike - it's the fan opening, not magnetic - and once I saw the gal next to me adjust hers, I glanced down and hey, no wonder I was struggling!  I puffed and pedaled and enjoyed the view and the music, and the 10K counted down to zero.  10K bike + transitions = 21:52.

The run felt weird after the bike.  I haven't done a brick in awhile, and I felt really slow.  But oddly, I didn't feel too discouraged.  I guess I was too caught up in the thought, "It's January...and a beautiful day...and I'm doing a triathlon!  In January!"  One gal had fallen behind me, and was clearly struggling, but eventually she overtook me, and I thought to myself, "You GO, girl!"  I noticed her family cheering her on, a man and two little bitty guys, and I couldn't help but wonder about her story.  She may have been a mom rediscovering her mojo, or a mom expanding her fitness horizon through triathlon, or...who knows?  Everyone out there has a story.  My story was that I need to work on the running; I finished the 1.5 mile in 19:06. 

Total time was 47:54, which was 4:10 slower than last year's. But I signed up for all three events in the series this time, so I get to try it again at the ends of February (at College of San Mateo - yeay, closer drive!) and March (location TBD). With hopefully a better night's sleep and more training under my belt, I'm hoping to at least match last year's time at #2 and beat it at #3. 

Before the race, at the bike January!

 "If this is Winter, I'll take 6 more weeks of it": The Birthday Report

The sun shone brightly on my birthday this year, and I saw my shadow, so we're in for 6 more weeks of "Winter."  I'm wondering, though, if the Earth flipped upside-down, because this is the most summery Winter I can remember.  6 more weeks?  Bring it!
My birthday was great:  french toast breakfast cooked by Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, lunch out with our friend "twriter," Chinese New Year party at work, cupcakes magically appearing on my desk, and a sweet birthday party at home after work!

 Kitties, horses, and Clone Troopers:  the perfect "Birthiday" banner decor!

 Here's how you know that life is good:
the candles nearly melt into the cake 
while you try to figure out 
your birthday wish...

Monday, January 2, 2012

There's something about 2012...

"A thrill of hope,
The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn."

That verse from the Christmas carol "O Holy Night" followed me around all season.  Although I might have sort of encouraged it by replaying Straight No Chaser's version of it over & over in my car....but no, even out of my car, I bumped into that song everywhere, maybe even more often than that stalker, "Oh Baby, It's Cold Outside."  Hearing it made me grin, because seriously?  There was just something about the approaching new year that had me kind of giddy.

And we don't even have a Hawaii trip on the horizon!

Sure, I usually like the idea of a new year.  I've learned that I'm just not a big, honkin', audacious goal or resolution for the new year type of person, and I'm okay with that.  (My most successful resolution ever?  To do a page-a-day origami calendar, and even that one, there were a lot of days I missed.  But it was fun!)  Some years it feels like New Year's happens too soon, though, that everything is bundled up and put away before I'm ready to move on. Like last year:  Looking back at last year's post, I was pretty "meh" about the whole thing, probably feeling kind of fatigued from post-Las Vegas rock & roll half marathon.

But this year?  Bring it!  Maybe it is a residual sugar high from the Christmas cookies or finally getting enough sleep or something, but this year has me feeling even more optimistic than usual, although I don't quite know why.  I'm feeling the complete opposite of last year. 

 "Well, heck, yeah!" you all are probably thinking. 
"Who wouldn't be giddy with weather like that in January?"

 Some things on tap for me and the Opposite Family this year, so far:
  • Hula class!  I took almost an entire year of hula in 2011, and seriously, I think it was key to my sanity during some really stressful times.  This year, our instructor is having an intermediate class, which should be good and challenging.  (And it will be later in the evening, so I can make it home before class.  Dinner is a GOOD thing before hula.  Unless there are beans involved.)
  • Pre-Season Burn Series!  I found myself longing for triathlon during the last part of 2011.  So I decided to jump-start the year fitness-wise and sign up for all three of the "Pre-Season Burn Series" mini-sprint triathlons at College of San Mateo. I did this in January of last year, and it was pretty fun.  I'll be doing a 200 yard swim, 10K bike on the poolside stationary bikes, and a 1.5 mile run around campus three times this winter.  I will not be as fast as last January during the first one, but that's why I wanted February and March in there.  It will be interesting to see how well I can ramp up.
  • Camping!  We're finally going to try camping with the kids. We have a test run close to home in May, and then a longer weekend trip by a lake in June.
  • Family visits!  Things 1 & 2 are sure looking forward to their Michigan cousins' visit in July, and we'll be spending time with grandparents this year. (Rumor has it Legoland may be on the agenda in there somewhere....)
  • Quarterly Events!  I'm not going to commit to any particular event or distance yet, but I think that having a quarterly event to reward my exercise habit (or to provide a noodge) works well for me.  So I'll be on the lookout for things in Qs 2, 3, and 4. (Although Pumpkin Run will probably be there in Q4.)
  • 2nd-days!  While I was on my walk today, I thought it would be cool to do something special on the 2nd day of each month.  It doesn't have to be big, as long as it's something enjoyable.  Today's was my walk on the coast trail.  I saw so many smiling people out there, it was as if they, too, could feel the awesomeness of the new year.  Next month's will be my birthday (and that of 2 of my co-workers, I discovered this past year - it will be fun to celebrate with some of my fellow groundhogs).  

Here's to a happy new year in 2012 to you all!  May you enjoy fitness & health, love & laughter...and maybe even a chocolate kale crunchie or two.

P.S. - And hey, if you're not quite ready for the New Year yet, the Year of the Dragon begins on January 23!