We’re Going to Live Like Kings!

We closed escrow on Friday and have started moving boxes over to our 3-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath house. The kitchen and bathrooms have been cleaned, and now we’ve moved on to painting. Painting, by the way, is a full-body workout. Climbing up and down the stepladder is better than Stairmaster, and wiping down walls and using rollers and brushes does a lot for the arm, shoulders, and back.

Now I just need a core workout.

The house, garage, and yard give us so much more space, and so much more space of our own. The neighbors on either side seem very nice, and the neighborhood is a delight. I’m told that at Halloween, I’ll need six bags of candy. Hopefully the trick-or-treaters will eat all of it, because otherwise I’ll undo all of my painting workout.

But as it stands now, we’re going to live like kings. Very fit kings.

Well, That Was Exhausting

Yesterday afternoon, J and I drove down to Redondo Beach. The day before a race, we like to do a practice swim and practice bike ride, to get more familiar with the course. I suppose we could do a practice run, too, but that way lies madness.

So we got to the beach and I decided very quickly that if the surf didn’t go down by morning, I was going to skip the race. It wasn’t stormy, but the water was pretty choppy. I really didn’t think I could cover 1/2 mile under those conditions.

And I was probably right. The water was much calmer this morning–the waves were breaking fairly close to the beach, with rolling surges beyond that. It turned out, though that the rolling surges were much more rolling than I thought. In spite of the short distances, this was the toughest of the triathlons I’ve done, and that’s all due to the swim. The ocean was cold, murky, and dynamic (and it tasted bad–I don’t know what’s in the water in Redondo Beach, but it can’t be good).

When I finally emerged from the water, it was with the slowest time I’ve gotten (30 minutes in the water, and my official time will be longer than that)–and a charley horse. My calf muscle loosened up over the bike portion, but then I developed a stitch in my side. Everything evened out a bit during the run (which I walked all of, except for the finish chute), but on the whole I’m amazed that the right half of me was able to finish the race.

Of course it helped that I had a lot of support. My dad and stepmom and J’s parents came out in the wee hours of the morning to cheer us on, and after he finished his race, J walked the run with me. Interestingly, the run may have been my favorite portion. The company, of course, was excellent, but the course was fun too. It wound through the Redondo Beach pier and by the neighboring lagoon, which has been turned into a saltwater pool with slides.

After the race, we all adjourned to the Redondo Beach Cafe for brunch. The service was really slow, but everyone seemed happy with their various entrees. I was quite happy with the Kitchen Sink Omelet, which had cheese, avocado, ham, and onions; other dishes at our table included French toast, multigrain pancakes, a tuna melt, a chicken-salad croissant sandwich, and a French dip. The whole wheat orange pancakes and the crepes sounded good, but what I wanted most of all was protein.

In the end, I finished dead last with a time of 1:52:35–but I finished.

Not bad for someone who, after waking up this morning, was so tired that she couldn’t focus her eyes.

Contentment

The meatball sub was delicious.

I may be a bit too content, however. My goal for the evening was to pick out clothes to wear to my luncheon tomorrow, pack swim and bike gear for our test runs tomorrow, an outfit to wear to dinner with my dad and stepmom, all of the race gear for Sunday, and another change of clothes for after that.

But what am I doing instead? Blogging.

I Should Be Working Out

But I’m not. However, that still is one of my goals for this afternoon, while J is off on a road bike ride in Malibu.

It’s been a busy weekend, and it’s barely Sunday afternoon. Yesterday we decided to see Iron Man, so we headed over to the theater to buy tickets. However, we soon found that between us and the theater was a huge traffic jam, due to a nearby car show. We decided to continue with our errands and go to a different theater once we were done. The next stop was at the Goodwill donation point, where I gave away the first item for the 29-Day Giving Challenge–a lawn bag full of clothes. Now, there were probably more than 29 items in the bag, so I suppose I could have doled them out over the course of the Challenge. But that doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of much of anything, so I’m counting the bag as one item.

Next, we went to the pool, where I swam 900 meters and J swam 1100. I’m hoping to be swimming twice a week, and doing 1000 on one of those swims for at least a few weeks before the triathlon. We also need to do some ocean swimming, and I still need to get on the bike. Well, not this weekend.

After the pool, we ate at The Stand. This is probably the fanciest hot dog stand you’ll ever eat at. J had the Chili Dog and I had the Kraut Dog. The sauerkraut didn’t have the tang I was hoping for, but the hot dog and bun were quite good. This is a little splurgy for hot dogs, but I’d come back. Oh, and they have Thomas Kemper cream soda on tap, which is very nice.

We made a brief stop at home, where we learned that the car show was over, and headed out for Iron Man. The movie was a lot of fun, and Robert Downey, Jr., did a great job as Tony Stark. I’m still not all that taken with Gwyneth Paltrow, but I think the problems I had with Pepper Potts had more to do with the writing than with Paltrow’s performance.

Back home again, I said, “How do we not own Raiders of the Lost Ark on DVD? Check TiVo and see if it’s showing tonight.” J did and said, “Believe it or not, it’s starting in 10 minutes.” So we watched Raiders (as edited for television) for the umpteen-millionth time. It’s always good.

Today has been a little slower, although of course there was plenty of laundry to do. When J left on the bike, I headed out with a grocery bag full of movies on VHS. We’ve been replacing our VHS tapes with DVDs wherever possible, and the stack of outbound tapes was getting pretty high. This seemed like a worthy second day of giving for the Challenge, so I dropped them off at one of the local libraries.

I’m not sure how I’m going to fulfill the Challenge during the work week, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out. I do know that I need to get up off the couch and work out!

A new year for snowshoeing

Mt. Waterman is one of our favorite place to snowshoe in L.A. Next weekend, the GM told us, the ski lifts should be fully operational. That will mean that we can buy a ticket to the top, rather than hike up the fire road. Mind you, the fire road is a perfectly good hike, particularly on snowshoes, but I’m looking forward to being at the top with energy to explore up there. I guess now I’ll have to pay more attention to the skiers, though, to make sure I’m not in their way. That wasn’t really an issue when the lift didn’t work.

Belated Triathlon News

The training paid off! I still have a bad knee, which limits my running, and I’m still afraid of biking down hill, which limits my cycling. But I rocked the swim, if I do say so myself. I expected to cover the 1/4-mile distance in about 20 minutes, and came out of the water in just under 13. The entire experience was fantastic, and I decided to follow it up with a relay at the Catalina Triathlon.

This race featured a 1/2-mile swim, which made up my portion of the event. I was so excited at not having to prepare for the bike and run that I completely forgot to prepare for the swim. I was late to the transition area, and as I was laying out my towel, I realized that I couldn’t find my official swim cap (color: yellow) or my ear plugs. Fortunately my husband was able to provide extra ear plugs, and I did have my regular swim cap (color: blue). Naturally, in between the discovery and the solution, there was freaking out and shrieking.

So I made my way over to the start, where I waited for my wave (relays go last). I couldn’t see anything, because I had torn a contact and therefore decided that it would be better not to wear them. In retrospect, that might have been half right.

Soon it was time for my wave to begin. I gave myself a quick pep talk (I am a strong swimmer! I am going to swim very fast!) and ran into the water. Within 50 yards, I was shocked to realize that (a) I was already dead last, and (b) I felt like I was going to drown. What kept me going at first was the realization that I was part of a team, and that I couldn’t let my friends down because the swim was too hard. After that, what kept me going was the people on surfboards. The support crew was absolutely fantastic, providing moral support and directions to the buoys. After I rounded the second one, I could see the shore, and somehow things got easier. One woman paddled the entire way in with me, cheering me on the whole way.

At this point, I was clearly the last person out of the water. Apparently the race photographer didn’t see me, and left to take pictures somewhere else. (Harumph! I was only 40 seconds behind the person who finished immediately ahead of me!)

However, in spite of being incredibly slow compared to the other racers, I improved on my previous pace. This time I finished in just under 22 minutes, which means that my pace was faster over the longer distance.

So on a personal level, my training paid off. On a team level, it’s a good thing that I was on a team with people who were faster on the bike and in the run in comparison to other racers–my friends and their speed are the reason that the team didn’t come in last, even though I did!

That’s it for this year. I don’t know what next year will hold.

Hiking

Not me, but my husband. His father is coming by in 40-45 minutes (yes, it’s 1:16 a.m., according to the computer) and they’re driving up to Lone Pine or Big Pine or Some Pine to hike a mountain trail. Meanwhile, I’ll be at Starbucks.

Today I finally transferred songs to my mp3 player. Vacuuming is much more fun now.

Reading: The House at Old Vine, by Norah Lofts