Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Archive for September, 2008

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I have been working on a new website, and it is ready to be shared! Please check out

And please let me know what you think. The blog is not yet moved over there, but will be soon. It’s not a super interesting site, but I’m having fun with pictures and my completely own blog and such. But I’m also not really a web developer, so I know some things in it might be odd or not work (so if you find one let me know).

he’s going to be ok

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I have a super-tall uncle. He was the uncle we used to argue over who got to ride on his shoulders: at 6’8″ish it was fun to try not to get knocked off at doorways. He always tried to duck 🙂 He is also super-active, and always has been: baseball, basketball, all of those team sports. He’s now in his 50s but still active.

The day after my wedding, my uncle had a stroke. His 10 year old daughter was smart and called her mom, and then 911, and he was taken to the hospital. He was in ICU for a while, but was eventually moved, and soon ended up in the ARU (acute rehabilitation unit, I think). Since he lives in Orange County, Mike and I are the (geographically) closest family outside his immediate family, and so when my mom came into town to see him and we went took her. And we were amazed: we were ready for the worst, but he actually was looking pretty good. He was talking, swallowing, feeding himself, and just looked so much better than we had feared. I kept waiting for him to get up, as I’d forget there was anything wrong. It was just my uncle, and I was so relieved to see that.

This last weekend we saw him again. Since he won’t be able to live on his own any more, he is moving in with his fiancee. Mike and I were hoping to help him get moved, but his friends had it all done before we arrived. And we were given a couch and some coffee tables. So we now have a “grownup” living room, as I call it. So thanks Uncle Kelly.

He is doing so well that each time they evaluate him, they move up his release date. He surprised everyone in each therapy session and with each of their markers of progress. And now it is set for tomorrow. He will get to go home tomorrow. I’m so glad my uncle is ok!

While we have both lived in southern California for years, I haven’t seen him or the kids as often as I would like. I think this was a reminder: don’t take advantage of being so close that you can see them whenever. Each day can bring a surprise. I’m glad I will get to visit him another time, and I am going to try to not wait so long this time!

Muskoka 70.3: Racing as a Donia

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Muskoka 70.3 was the focus race for the year. Mike and I signed up long long ago — in fact, I don’t even remember signing up! It was before we even got engaged. Once we were engaged, we started planning a wedding. And the question of when to have it came up. We knew we didn’t want a bazillion year long engagement, and we like outdoors, so we settled on Fall 2008. We also knew we’d like to have the wedding in California, and then a reception in Canada for the members of Mike’s family that couldn’t make it to California. Well, with the race near his family and in September, it was the perfect timing for a reception — and we didn’t want a reception that far after the wedding, so our race date was set as the weekend before the race. Yes, you do have to sign up for some races farther in advance than you need to plan a wedding…

I was SOOOO GLAD I had Marky helping me get ready for this one. It was definitely a crazy summer. Yes, a wedding to plan. And school to attend, and work to do, and a new city to move to, and a dog to welcome to our family. Plus the training, and I am glad I didn’t have to also think through and plan out each workout! I just had to “get ’em done”. I knew the training and prep was all in place, and with his help, I got to the race confident and excited. Tapered as well, at least from workouts, thanks to a couple weeks of family and wedding and travel and more family 🙂

My goal on arrival was to PR, as it almost always is when I race (now that I train smart). I was thinking I would PR for sure, having had such better prep. My goal was about 7s: swim 37, bike 3:07, and run 1:57. But what I was forgetting was that the race was 4km long on the bike, and that they found the most “fun” (ie fun looking rollercoaster profile) they could for the bike, run, and yes, transitions! So after driving the course, I was no longer sure what would happen (esp on the bike, where I was really hoping to see one), and I was again glad to be racing with power. I knew where I should stay to have a successful race, and I just didn’t worry about it.

The race was taking up all the parking at the resort hosting it. So we had to park on the airstrip about 2 miles away. However, there were shuttles regularly, and we just ran it once just to get a quick leg-shaker in. It was something we were curious to see how it would go, but the race directors did a great job with it.

Registration was easy. The expo disappointing. I mean, it was my honeymoon race. You think I would by *something*. But they had decided to only make men’s jerseys, and the smallest size was a medium that was about right for Mike. When we asked if they had any women’s jerseys, we were told no, and that there were plenty of other clothes to buy and to go pick one. Umm sorry, but a cotton fitted baby shirt and a bike jersey are different. So my credit cards got a break there.

We headed to Mike’s brothers, got the bikes all set up (it’s easy when all you need to do is stick on a couple stickers!) and put our race stuff together. I was really excited about our outfits: bride and groom jerseys, bike shorts with “just married” on the butt, and for the run “just married” visors thanks to Tribabe (mine enhanced with a veil thanks to my sis and Holly). The next day we checked in our bikes and got in a practice swim. We were ready to go. Off to our wedding reception, and then bed time!

I woke up part way into the night to some rain. Ok, not some rain, but sheets and sheets of downpour. I love the sound of rain, so apologised to my bike for leaving it out in that and went back to sleep. Still not sure how the whole shuttles from parking would work on the big day, we arrived at the race nice and early. And it was still raining. Not pouring now, but more a constant drizzle. Other than the electrical tape on our wheelcovers the bikes were just fine. And the tape was just to stop the sound of it rattling on some bumps, so it was no big deal. We set up our bike shoes and helmets, deciding to place glasses nearby but forgo them if it was still that wet when climbing on. Our run shoes and socks were placed in a plastic bag beside the bike stuff. A bottle of carbopro/nuun (600 cal in the bottle) were placed on each bike, and the aerobottles filled with water. We were done, and just had to chat while waiting for the start.

We had met another couple while at the practice swim – he was in Mike’s AG, and she was in mine. They got married at Kona last year. So we chatted a bit with them, maybe too long — or we all forgot how long it took to walk to the swim start. So Mike and Scott got down to the water as their wave was ready to go. Leanne and I had a bit more of a wait, but soon we were also off!

I started to the outside on the swim as our wave had a number of the older and sometimes big and rough guy age groups in it. It was a smart choice, as I had a somewhat clear swim. There were always people right around me, but never much of a washing machine. I even caught a draft for a while, thinking about how Marky had told me to try it and given me some tips. Out of the water in 38:40 for a 2:00/100m pace (as I learned later – I don’t keep race time during races). Good enough for 11 in my AG, which I believe is my best AG swim placing ever.

The run to transition was not short, and not easy. It was a crazy-ass climb, and about 300m long!! An a fairly serious climb. So I took advantage of the wetsuit strippers and just cruised on up, already chanting my T1 mantra. Shoes, helmet, inhaler, blocks. Shoes, helmet, inhaler blocks. At my bike I dropped the wetsuit. The inhaler and blocks in my helmet were put into my pocket, helmet on my head, shoes on my feet and I was off. I had a great rack spot with an easy exit route! T1: 4:21.

(photo by Paul Graham)

I was looking forward to the bike. I knew I could do it, the hills weren’t scaring me, and I had my lovely yellow PowerTap friend smiling up at me. Until one of the many rough spots in the first couple miles, when the back of the craddle broke and my poor little PT CPU went flying. Shit shit shit… do I stop? Go? For a race this distance, and not having another watch to know timing and nutrition, not to mention the cost of that computer, I stopped and grabbed it. Back on the bike, with the PT now in my pocket, all I could think was how Marky said I should ride on feel 🙂 And then wondered if he somehow caused this.

I enjoyed the bike course. Up, down, around, up, up, down, up, over, around, up again… Never a dull moment, and beautiful scenery. But I was good, and only glanced at it out of the corner of my eyes. I felt good on the bike. It was still raining, and then it started raining more seriously. It was like needles on my arms and legs, but it wasn’t cold, so it was actually kind of comfortable. Every now and then I’d pull the PT CPU from my pocket and check what I was at — was about where I wanted in effort, nutrition was on, it was just a slow day for what I had hoped for. But that’s racing: it’s not a course you know, an a know scenario. It’s an experience.

There were a couple pairs of drafters, and people who would try to draft anyone near them and then get dropped. I just don’t get it — especially when you are at a place in the race where it’s not about podium spots. It just gave me a desire to ride clean: I made sure I dropped back before repassing (dudes who pass and then quit pedaling: it’s ok to ride your own race. Please ignore me and let me do the same to you). And to the guy who (I think) made a snarky comment about using a wheel cover: it worked just fine and I had fun, thanks for asking.

Then a big descent, and a guy passing me goes down, HARD. Starts sliding across the pavement, right in front of me, rollling into a ball. I somehow manage to barely miss him and keep on the edge of the road. Hoping Steve is ok (we’d been near each other for a while) I thanked my lucky stars my day wasn’t over and kept going. A right turn, and I was on a fairly rough stretch of road. It was almost like it wasn’t paved, but it was just bumpy and not really pot-holey. About on the home stretch now, and ready to get running. I like biking, but I was tired of being on a bike in the rain, and I love running. Plus the attention-whore in me was ready to have my visor and to run like a bride 😉 Off the bike: 3:26:34 (58.4mi, 16.98mph).

T2 mantra was going: Helmet and shoes off, watch, socks, shoes, visor. Helmet and shoes off, the watchband of my Garmin into my mouth, socks and shoes on, and visor in hand I ran on out. 1:51.

One thing I love is seeing Mike on the course. At IMKY last year, I happened to be right where the loop joins itself as he started his second loop and that was just amazing. We knew it would be close, so for the first mile I focused on not running to hard and watching for him. I never saw him, but we found out later we had just missed. And no matter how easy I made myself go, I was flying! 8:17 for the first mile! And I thought I was going nice and easy. I guess I was more excited than I thought to be off the bike 😉 Like the bike, and T1, there wasn’t much flat about the run.

But I was having fun. I ran with a girl from the area for a while, I ran with a girl in my age group for a bit. Through it all I felt I was going just maybe too hard, but I felt maybe just maybe I could hold it. Along the way many people told me they had seen the groom, and lots loved the outfit. Some asked if I was running to the alter, and I asked if they thought I should turn back. I focused on maintaining on uphills, and cadence on the down. I cursed and thanked Marky both ways as his words on turnover and effort and such rolled through my head. It was again pouring at times, and I just enjoyed the drops on me keeping me nice and cool.

(photo by Paul Graham)

I reached the final 5k and thought I had stepped into an Escher poster. It was on golf course paths, and there were runners everywhere, but you couldn’t tell where they were from or going or how much farther it was. I kept going, knowing it was only a 5k — I can hold this pace that far! I kept telling myself. So I did. I saw Mike, and he encouraged me, and I knew it was only about 3k left. Oh. My. God. Longest 3k ever. I thought my Garmin might have started going backwards. It was hilly and hard and I hurt and just had to keep going. Marky said to neg split, just barely. So I couldn’t slow now — that would be the same as admitting I had gone too hard on the bike! So I didn’t. And somehow my legs listened. And we just kept on going. And going. And finally it was the last turn. Nope, I was wrong. Maybe now? Nope… at least one more… But then it was the last uphill, and the finall slight down right into the finish chute! I relaxed, let the person by me go on and through, and had my own moment at the line. My watch read 1:56:00 (and sportstats matched it) but I’m going with 1:55:59 like the tracking had :). A half marathon PR. And on <a href=”″>that course</a>, and that weather. 4th fastest in my AG.

Total: 06:07:24, and 8/37 in my AG. I think that’s my best placing in a big race so far. Not the sub-6 I was hoping to repeat, but a tougher course and day, and I had a blast and felt I executed really really well. So I’m happy with it. But as Marky said of his last race, it is only going to get better. 🙂

A post-race massage, and then a hunt for warm food and to the awards. And then — a warm shower and REAL FOOD. Ahh it was good 🙂

I will let Mike post his race report in full later — but I’m so proud of him that I’m going to give some of it away! 4th out of the water in his AG, and then he led the AG race through the end of the bike! He ended up in 3rd in his age group and looked stylish doing it 😉


Monday, September 29th, 2008

The wedding finally done with, and the site cleaned up, Mike and I got the car packed up again. In between our packing my mom did some more decorating.

Finally ready, we headed back down the coast toward Montery (much later than we had hoped to be leaving) for 2 nights before finishing our drive back. We arrived at our hotel about 11:30 at night. We came in, and the night desk staff told us they had no rooms, and no record of our reservation (and no computer access). Not what we wanted to hear, and he had to call in a manager. When he arrived, he did find our reservation — it was only in their online reservation system and somehow they didn’t get it into their main system. To make up for it, we were upgraded to an ocean view room and given the first night free. This view was pretty relaxing:

The first day we de-stressed: we were in bed until about 4:30pm! Ok, we were up for a bit at 9 when they brought us breakfast 😉 Once up, we went for a walk on the beach and then out to dinner.

The next day we kayaked for a bit before driving home.

Back in LA, we had one day to get our bikes packed and our bags for our trip to Canada for our reception and honeymoon race.

In Canada we took some more wedding pictures in the Gut (a conservation area by where Mike grew up):

And more at his dad’s house (yup, that shirt I have on was a surprise from me to him as we got ready to leave my mom’s after the wedding – he got the I <3 KY one when we did IMLou last year):

Then it was off to his brother’s house and to register for the race (but all the race stuff will be in a later post). To get there we drove through Algonquin Park… this is how close we got to a moose!

And then back to his dad’s for our Canadian reception. It was more friends and family, chat, and good food. I finally got to meet a bunch of his college buddies, too.

The reception done, it was back to his brother’s house and to race the next day!

After the race, we spent a night in Toronto seeing some sights (like the CN Tower) and going for a walk. And then it was time to head home and get back to regular life.

Wedding day!

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I woke up, relaxed, and got out for a run. Yes, a run. About 8 miles on trails all around my mom’s house. Trails where Mike and I spent many hours of each visit to my mom’s, and where we have a number of pictures. Some of the bends, where I could remember the pictures we took (like this one and this one) made me tear up. I was getting married in a couple hours!

I’d of course dreamed of a pretty wedding, a perfect wedding, when growing up. And mine was. Seriously, nothing could have been better. I never actually went up ahead of time and met any of the caterers, florist, cake people, etc. but I trust my mom and she helped us make great decisions.

The site for the wedding, which then also had the reception, and the photo shoots, was gorgeous — a wonderful beach park right on the San Francisco bay, and another place that Mike and I have ran when visiting my mom.

I had a beautiful dress (and my cousin’s son was sooo excited to get to “meet a princess”).

and the bridesmaids looked amazing

the flower/ring dudes were too cute

and the groom — took my breath away! (here he’s in the tree, and with his brother, the best man)

The flowers were exactly what I’d pictured.

The ceremony was perfect: our words, and read by my big brother.

And it was a wonderful kiss!

The food was delicious

And so many friends and family were there to share the day with us.

I danced in his arms

The cake was the perfect ice cream cake (with a layer of strawberry and angel food, a layer of mint chip and chocolate cake, and a saved top layer of cookies and cream and choc cake).

After a quick change in the park

we left in just the style we were hoping to have.

Some happy tears, and so many hugs. Definitely a day filled with love.

If you want to see more pictures, there are more 🙂

I posted some (ok many), as did Mike. My sister and maid of honor, Becca, did, too.

Trip to the alter

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Mike’s mom Shirley, brother Rich, and Rich’s girlfriend Maria flew into LA the Tuesday before the wedding and then made the trip to the Bay Area for the wedding with us. They landed at LAX, and we picked them up and did a whirlwind single day tour of LA. We saw Santa Monica, and Venice beach. A close up look at the ocean in Venice…

So it was a long, and fairly sandy and wet, drive home. But it was some good body surfing 🙂
We left at 4 am the next day to drive up north (it was 7am for them since they were still on Toronto time) – with no rear visibility in the car thanks to the massive amount of material in my wedding dress. We had a full day planned: not only the 10 hours of travel time (too extra long since we went the coastal route), but also stopping to see Elephant seals, trees in Big Sur, Monterey and the aquarium there.

While in Monterey we got a call from our dog sitter, who was picking up Gracie that afternoon. “Everything is fine…” Uh oh… good conversations never start that way… “… but she ate your couch.” I told her not to worry, that it was already ripped, but “no… there was fluff EVERYWHERE!!”. Guess the little girl knew we weren’t coming home so soon.

We reached our destination around 10pm, exhausted. Off to bed, ready to get up and have another big day: this time touring part of Sonoma (where I grew up).

And then off to the east bay for dinner with my dad and my brother’s family. We saw a metal gorilla on the side of the road on the way.

Friday we went over to San Francisco, and for that trip Mike’s dad Bert and stepmom Gisela joined us (for part).

After that it was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and then Mike left to the hotel with his mom and it was the final night single! It would be wedding day when we woke up.

Alive and married

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I’m alive and married 🙂 Just haven’t posted in a while. But going to try to get a bit caught up now. So a number of posts are coming… stay tuned for