Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Croom Fools Run 50 Miler

April 17th, 2011 by

coming through the start/finish after the 5mi loop - with Jen (pink shirt), Micah (yellow and green), as well as Tracy and Larry (not really visible)

At the start, and ready to go, and then we were off! We’d begin with a short jaunt down the road to a fire road and then onto some single track trails for a 5 mile loop. Part way through this loop I found myself with a group running comfortably, and 4 of the 5 of us were first time 50 milers. So we chatted and just hung together. Starting in the dark, and often running single file, the game of running with and talking to people for hours, without having seen their faces, was on.

As I went through my awesome husband pit crew was ready with nuun and Okole Stuff! And Charles had showed up for support. Lubed and bottle filled, my new found friends and I were on our way, back in our train. Now it was the first of three trips around a 15 mile loop. Use to much more defined trails, the terrain was a bit more open, and I had to pay a bit more attention to make sure I was really on a trail, and the right trail. But the orange markings of the trail system, and the tons of pink ribbons near turns, made it pretty straight forward. During this loop I got to see the course and aid stations and layout for the first time, and definitely agreed with what Andrea had told be about the second part of the loop being hillier. But there were some nice cool sections I thought would feel great on the later loops. It was also awesome to find Andrea helping at aid station #2! It really made the course feel friendly knowing there would be friendly faces so often on the loop.

coming in at 20mi

About 15-18 miles into the race, our train broke apart a bit, and I met some new friends (like Sara) and just went with how I was feeling. And I was feeling pretty good. I came back through and my crew was still there. And then I saw it… pineapple… a snacksize little tube of juicy pineapple, sitting on the cooler. And I had to have it. Thank you Charles that was some of the best pineapple I have ever tasted! I thought about it for miles. And also while there, more nuun.

pineapple and more Okole Stuff @ 20 miles

Since it had definitely started getting warm, I also stripped off my vest and shirt, just going with a hand bottle. The aid stations were close enough together that I didn’t feel the need to carry more. And the couple gels in my handbottle would be fine. I also tied my buff to the handle so that I could still wipe my face. I had decided to lose the layers around when the train broke apart, and since I almost never run in a sports bra I was glad Willem had mentioned that might be a good approach (when I ran into him at Running Center before the trip). It had me mentally prepared to just go with it, and I was glad I had.

at about 27.5 miles

A couple miles down the trail I realized I had forgotten to do the sunscreen part of my pit crew plan. And figured I would see Andrea at AS#2 again and ask her. And I did see her, and luckily she asked me if I needed sunscreen because my brain, although it regularly reminded me on the trail, didn’t while I was there. She took the 27.5-ish mile picture… but I have no idea what I was saying or doing!

ice chest

The next section was tough. Not only was it getting really warm, but I was alone, and my guts were hurting. This might be a bit TMI, but what would a race report be without it? I started to get that horrible feeling of a bladder infection. Having only had one other (during Vineman’s run, of course) I wasn’t positive yet, but had a bad feeling about it. I am not sure if there is something I do with some of the hotter longer races that increases the pain or speeds those up (with both races I felt a bit off before hand, but not nearly as bad as I did during either race. I was relieved to come up that final rooty section that brought me to my crew, and finishing mile 35.

For this loop through the start/finish area, I mostly remember the grape gatorade. It was awesome. I took a bit more time getting in some extra fluid this time, and feeling the heat, I made good use of having packed baggies and made my own personal “ice chest.” And needing to walk for a minute, Mike joined me. And then was sent back for Okole Stuff since I needed a bit more. He is awesome – and I loved not having to worry about him catching up with it. I chatted with him a bit, loving the company but also knowing I needed to really get moving again as best as I could, so soon said goodbye and looked forward to Andrea at AS#2.

getting to AS#2 with Andrea

little red room

But before I got that far I had great support from Mark at AS#1 (and it turned out he is Sara’s husband). The Boston Red Sox shirt made me smile, and feeling fairly bad at this point he did a great job of just making sure I was ok and helping me just keep moving. And I knew soon I would see Andrea, and I just focused on that. Well, when I wasn’t being mad at myself. It was really tough to have my legs and lungs feel awesome, have the loop actually feel a bit cooler than the previous loop, and still just not be able to run due to the lower gut pain. I got passed by a couple people during this, and I just wanted to run, and my legs wanted to run. Soooo mentally tough — I was getting so frustrated. But soon I saw Andrea! She came toward me down the trail, and with that grape gatorade in hand! I didn’t need/want the liquid, but was so happy for the company, and the chatter to help keep me off my grumpiness was very welcome. Soon we made it to AS#2 and a little red room I was happy to visit while my bottles got filled. And as a bonus surprise, Mike and Charles and Armando were there! And soon (ok or not so soon, but eventually) they sent Andrea on for the final stretch. 7ish miles to go!

heading out again with Andrea

And we were off again! 3 miles to the next aid station, thinking in little chunks. Some running here, but not a ton. And then Mark from AS#1 appeared at AS#3 and it kinda blew my mind. So I just kept on going, and Andrea chatted a second while filling bottles and then catching up to me. And we got into a good rhythm of running downhills and some parts of flats, and hiking up the uphills. And of course every now and then just stopping and groaning. Andrea was awesome to put up with me for the bad parts, and encouraging me and telling me stories. I’m lucky to have such awesome friends who were there to get me through this experience.

almost at the finish cones

And then… finally… it was the rooty section. And that meant close to the end. And the camera guy on the uphill that made me have to run some. Tasting the finish line, my brain started working a bit, and I remembered Mike’s favorite picture of me from the Calico race: downhill with a crazy face and “I love you” gang-sign hands. So I turned around, had him get a shot like that (which I don’t have yet, so can’t put here), and then continued on my way to run it the rest of the way in.

And then I was done! I had been thinking about a towel on the ground for a number of miles, and I got it! And no, I didn’t notice that there was poison ivy right next to my arm. And no, when I was told what it was I still didn’t care. And then I stole Mike’s run shorts and it was time for food. Shortly I found myself chatting and holding a hug bag of chips. They were awesome.

done

and done!

post-race toes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some bonus pictures from the day:

running at some point

into AS#2 for the last time

Sasha-pup (Andy's) gave me kisses at the end. She reminded me of my Annie 🙂

part of the trail -- the area had tons of scrawny but tall trees, and almost open space around the trail

Trifuelers and RD Andy post-race (Andrea, Andy, Mike, Kylie, Charles)

Getting to Croom Fools Run 50 Miler

April 14th, 2011 by

Happy rainbow toes

After running all night with Andy at his Rocky Roads 100, I was inspired and thought I could do my first 50 miler. On the way home, I called and told Mike, and soon we had plane tickets and it was on. I was excited for not only the race, but also the chance to visit Florida, and meet my long-time Trifueler (online tri/ultra website) friend Andrea, along with her husband, as well as seeing Trifueler Charles and his wife Mindy, both of whom I met a few years ago but hadn’t seen since.

Fast forward about a month and it was time. Like I did for my first Ironman back in 2005, I painted my toenails rainbow. Heidi was going to stay with the pups, and Mike and I were ready to go. It would be a short but fun trip: arriving on Friday and heading home Sunday afternoon.

mmm Okole Stuff for the toes!

After a happily uneventful flight we met Armando at the airport. He and Andrea welcomed us to their home and were pretty much awesome and took great care of us. Including setting up a dinner with Charles and his wife. The adventure started as the restaurant we planned on had a fire and closed for the night right as we arrived. But no worries, we just picked a nearby place. And the chatter (yes, even about all the bugs and snakes and creatures you find on trails in Florida) was great.

And suddenly it was race day. I packed up my gear and food (and way more than I’d need) and Andrea drove us to the start. It felt a bit early since California time had me thinking it was about 1am. But my excitement kept me awake for the drive! Once there, I checked in and got my number – 1817 – and said hi to Andy (aka A1, who I feel I’ve known for so long… and there is little quiet when we are around).

Kylie, Andrea, and Andy pre-race

Then it was time to set up my area at the start/finish. It was a loop course: one 5 mile loop and then 3 loops of 15 miles each. So Mike was going to be my crew and see me each time I passed the start/finish. We found a great spot right along the route by the fence and got set up. Having had a bit of shin pain leading up to the race, Mike taped it for me, using green to match my Aroyo Trail Blazers shirt, and cow to make me smile. And I loved seeing the paws on my new gaiters as they made me think of my awesome training partner pups.

Shoes on, it was time to get to the start line! There I got to meet some of the other runners. A couple were speedypantz that I would not see for long, like “the other Andy”, aka A2. Others I would see on and off over the course of the day. Having shared my story of pacing Andy, many knew my name, which was fun. And moments later the cheers sent us down the road and onto the trails for the 5 mile loop.

 

Kylie and Mike at the start area

A2 pointing out the course and Kylie ready to go

waiting for the start (or maybe doing a robot dance)

waiting to start in my magic running vest and puppy pawprint gaiters

AndyMan giving the race briefing

Mindy and Charles at dinner the night before the race, at the place not on fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Roads 100 – pacing & my future

April 8th, 2011 by

runners waiting to start

My friend Justin is a bit crazy. He was going to do a 100 mile run! So… well, I figured I’d go cheer for him. And at that distance, they have this thing called pacers. Pacers are people who can run with the racer after mile 45 (and while a runner can have multiple pacers, they have just one at a time) and their job is to keep the person moving forward, spirits up, reminded to eat and drink, and just to generally watch out for their runner.

Well, if I’m going to go cheer, I might as well see if anyone wants some company! Figuring it would be a great way to meet some new friends and really experience what it’s like out there in the dirt, I posted on the race website that if anyone needed a pacer to let me know. And I soon got a message from Jose. After chatting a few times, we had a plan. The only catch was how much I’d be able to run. I knew I’d be good for at least one of the 15 mile out/back sections. But I wasn’t sure how much more. And really he needed people from miles 45 – 90 (having the last 10 taken care of). So I showed up bright and early on Saturday (maybe a bit too early… beating most of the racers), ready for pretty much anything (and with a good selection of pretty much everything in my car/home for the weekend).

One of my favorite stories of the spirit of the trail: the lady in the bright shorts had knee pain, and thought her tights were contributing. Guy in the green gave her the pants off his... rear... and helped her back into camp.

I must say, the weather had been a bit wet (or a lot wet) the day before. Some crazy rain! But it had at least slowed a bit, although there was constant drizzle. And many runners opted to stay warm & dry in their cars until the start. Hoping I’d be able to meet my new friend Jose, I hung out at registration. And soon found that they were short tents to cover the drop bags! Having an EZUp in the car, I offered its services and helped it get set up. I felt a bit better, as it gave me a role. Oh, the girl with the EZUp… Thanks, I wanted dry shoes/clothes/food out of my dropbag after running 80 miles.

No longer feeling as out of place, I started chatting with various runners. And Justin soon arrived (having an RV that had to be parked no so close to the start due to the lot hitting RV capacity, he was on his own and his lovely wife didn’t get to be at the start). While hanging out with Justin, one friendly looking guy asked the time, and it was again something I could help with. The friendly face appeared to be alone, so I asked where he was from, expecting maybe the Bay Area, or some other close-enough California answer.

“Florida”

Ok, that wasn’t expected. What, I had to ask, brought him out here. Well, it turns out he is a race director, and as a friend of this director, they try to support each others races. And I got a feeling. And I had to ask him what race he directs. “Oh, it’s called Croom Fools Run.”

To which I replied “And it’s on April 9th this year.”

Doubleshot of Espresso, Andy, and Kylie -- before the pacing began

That got a surprised look. And I mentioned how I want to do my first 50 mile race this year, and a friend recommended that one and tried to talk me into it.  And he asked the name of this persuasive friend. “Andrea Risi,” I replied, knowing very well that there are a lot of people in Florida, and I know two (and really, I haven’t even met Andrea in person yet!).

And the gentleman laughed. “She’s my training partner.”

And a friendship was born, based on the common knowledge of a really awesome Florida runner chick, and Andy had entered my life.

Back to Jose for a minute, my other new friend. Turns out, since I wasn’t sure how many miles I’d be good for, he brought a couple other pacers as well. So miles 45-60 were all mine, and I had a rough idea when to expect him for those miles.

Justin and faithful pacer Willem

Soon the race was off, and I did my best to cheer for people. I try my best to learn names, because it helps feel like you matter, and is really just a matter of focusing. So I often used names. I of course got some, and maybe quite a few, just wrong. But I hope it helped someone! And it kept me a bit entertained watching and following along the race.

I met up with Candace, Justin’s wife, and we cheered from various vantage points. And I hung out at the start/finish area some more, and my friend Ted (from training for my first ultra back in 2008) arrived, and was hoping to do some pacing as well. Hearing who I’d be pacing, he said he knew Jose. Such a small world 🙂

Soon Andy was back in, 45 miles done. 55 left. And it was not an easy day, as I was soon to experience. Seeing his face, I looked at Ted. Hey Ted, could you run with Jose? Sure. So I went over to Andy.

“Need some company?” I tentatively asked, not wanting to force myself in where not wanted. And he said it would be wonderful, and I changed as quick as I could, grabbed some water, and was ready to head out and see what it was like.

a quick picture on the trail

Muddy, and a bit of rolly hills, but great company, was the answer. I had an experienced guide, and I don’t remember all we chatted about but it was a great run. 15 miles later, and we were back in camp. I felt great. Do you want me to join you again, Andy? And again he agreed to let me join him, and we were soon off again.

We talked ultras, and soon mile 27 rolled around, and I let Andy know it was now officially my second longest run ever, having only done one 50k (31 miles) and a handful of marathons. I also let him know that I thought I might still be feeling pretty good… and that if he could give me a break I might even be up for joining him for his final shorter 10 mile out and back. So back in camp, I gave him a hug and sent him on his way.

At which point I realized I had eaten almost nothing, and had been running for around 7 hours. So food focus it was!! And then it was cold, so it was into the car, heat on, and read a bit. I also had about a 15 minute nap before I got up and tested out my legs.

Andy is done! 22:21

Pleasantly surprised, I put on another run outfit and got ready for my hero of the day to return. Soon I saw Andy coming up the trail, and I let him know I was ready… if he wanted company. And he did! And I was thrilled, and went out with him again.

At some point in here, Andy told me he thought I could do a 50 miler. And that April 9th wouldn’t be too soon. And the seed was planted. I could meet Andrea, and see Charles & Mindy, my other Florida Trifueler friends. And the seed took root, and it grew. I started getting what stories and info about Croom Fools Run from Andy. And I asked if I could be an honorary FL Ultra Runner. And I got to run in with him as he hit 100 miles, and under 24 hours! Not just under, but a good strong 22:21! Awesome 🙂

And we were exhausted, so I hoped back in the car for a nap, and to cheer Justin in later. And he headed off. Soon it was morning, and I got up and Justin finished, and then I got packed up and headed out. Well, started to head out. Because the girl with the EZUp might be in trouble if she really left without her husband’s EZUp…

Kylie and Andy: Done

On the road for real, I told Mike we might have to head out to Florida. And that is the story of why I’m flying to Florida in the morning, and how it came to be that on Saturday I’ll be running in my first 50 mile race. I love these crazy adventures!

 

* all material presented here is fact and in no way distorted… at least to me. It’s fun to see the different views, so if you want to see Andy’s story of the event, check out his blog race report.

A year at the races

April 7th, 2011 by

Ok so I have been slacking, and even race reports aren’t all here! Since I can’t just let it go and move on, here are probably the shortest race reports I ever have or ever will again write…

8/1/09 Barbs
The fun part of this race was that Mike was doing the Full Vineman, which starts just before and does two loops on the course. So I got to help Mike on his way, leaving me no time to stress about me. I was of course a bit stressed for him, being that this is the same course where he got hit by a car back in 2007. But thankfully there was no repeat!

Mike was out of the water before I even had to get ready (letting me fold up his wetsuit for him since it is a pack-it-yourself race). Knowing it is a popular half for beginners, I moved to the front of the swim, dealt with the contact, and just went for it. Out and onto the bike through the course near my hometown, and soon onto the run. I felt pretty good, and had a goal of not getting passed by Mike on the run (he’d start running while I was already out there). And I made it, crossed the line and was wiped! A PR of just over 20 minutes! 5:33:43.

9/2/09 Run with the Cops 5k (Gracie’s first race)
I was scheduled to drive some kids to this race, and decided I could get in a decently long run while they all ran and chatted and got awards, so I loaded Gracie and Mike into the car and headed out. Little did I know the kids’ group had signed me up! So I apologized to the race director, said my dog was with me, and learned Gracie was welcome there! So the bib was pinned onto her collar and my little girl dog got to do her first race. Since we weren’t sure how it would all go, Mike joined us for much of the run. And she was a strong little girl dog, winning the female dog division overall! And was 2nd dog overall.

12/13/09 Tinsel Tri
Another local, reverse order sprint. It is a favorite of the kids, but while it is always fun, and some of the costumes people wear are awesome, there was nothing too special for us this year.

1/31/10 Highland DU
Take one of the toughest 5k/10k/half marathon courses in the area, and turn it into a duathlon! Two tough runs with a deceptive (false flat uphill on the way out) bike course. And then add some fun by having the duathletes go by the runners of the other races… letting us cheer them on!

2/14/10 Redlands Tri
Back in 2004 the Redlands Tri was my first tri ever! It was at a different site that year, but the same basic reverse order distance. That year, I was scared because the bike was borrowed, and I dropped my water bottle. This year, I was second overall female. Yeah, consistency and training do pay off 🙂

3/7/10 Desert Tri
It is always a tough day… I’m not sure why. It’s just a hard one for me. This year was no real exception, and I didn’t feel I had the training in me that I would like to have. But got ‘er done.

4/25/10 PossAbilities
The theme of not feeling the race mojo continued at PossAbilities (another local reverse order sprint). And to top it off, I was sick leading up to it, and Mike was sick on the day. It being the 5th year we both did the race, and it being the race we met at, we still got out there and gave it a go. Mike was feeling so badly that about 200 yards into the run he knew it was a day to stick with me, and make it special by racing together. It was fun to have him by my side… and fun to have him blocking people trying to draft on the technical hill bike course (yes, hill… up and down it 3 times… with a uturn at the bottom… ugg!) Heidi, a good friend and awesome runner new to tris finally beat me, which of course was a bit bitter sweet. As proud as I am of my mentee, and as much fun as I have helping her and watching her grow in the new disciplines, it is always a bit tough to really accept that some people have crazy talent. But at the end of the day, she is such a great friend that of course the pride in her accomplishment is the main feeling.

5/21-23/10 Triple T

Ok for this one I actually have bullet points on paper from the day after the race… I’ll post them shortly (for real this time!) — OK I did it, but I cheated and dated it earlier, so find it back in May 2010 😉

10/10/10 Trek Women’s Tri
Having a free entry, there was no reason not to do this race. At registration the day before (yes, it sucked to have to go out to register), I ended up switching into the elite wave. It’s another very beginner friendly race, which is awesome, but I still wanted to race my best, and I didn’t want to be the mean one who swam too aggressively for some of the newer swimmers. Since I was supposed to be in the forth wave, but had placed in the top 5ish the year before, they just moved my start. It was cool because there was only one other elite, and it was an excuse to chat with another strong tri woman and make a friend. My swim felt solid, the bike fine (well… once I got on the bike… I was in totally the wrong gear, and then completely missed the seat and bounced off the front of it, and then weaved onto the wrong side of the road… you’d think after the number of races I’ve done on that same course I’d remember to go in an easy gear! The smile in the bike pic is because I was finally on it!), and the run was tough. But I held on for 2nd elite! 😉 And I was also 4th overall.

10/14/10 Race for Rescues 10k (with Mike, Gracie, and Annie)
A race that supports animal rescue? And that encourages four-legged participation? What could be better? Oh one that is near Halloween and has a costume contest? I’m in! So Mike, Gracie, Annie and I headed out to Pasadena for a fun couple laps of the Rose Bowl. And yes, we had the most awesome costumes.

Ok, so it turns out we were misinformed and there was no costume contest. But we still looked awesome, and hey, then our Halloween costumes were ready to go! Oh and Gracie was first dog overall, and Annie second dog overall (even though Annie crossed the line first… it was a technicality). And there were medals! Or at least they got to share Mike’s and my medals. And it was a really fun family day. There were definitely plenty of doggy distractions and Gracie and Annie were such focused, good little racer girls.

12/4/10 Gladiator Rock ‘n Run 5k

Hey Karen, what are you doing this weekend?

She didn’t have a good answer, so a plot was born… I had a free entry to a pretty crazy sounding race: 5k of mud and obstacles. So we split the cost of a second entry since I wasn’t sure the trip was worth it alone (and Mike was out of town).

It was a chilly morning, and the mud wasn’t much warmer. But it was a blast to race it together! And we were in the first of many waves, and the first women in that wave, so in the eyes of the crowds we were the first women! Which made for some fun cheering and good support. Oh, and always pick the first wave because the shower line by the end was crazy, and all the obstacles got more backed up. But our experience was a great one!

Ironman Canada 2010

September 3rd, 2010 by
Note: I wrote this Sept 3rd 2010 but was a slacker and didn’t make it public until April 4th 2011. I guess I wanted to build suspense or something 😉 And yes, I know it is long. Short version: I swam, biked, and ran, pretty far, and had a pretty good day at it.

This race was my 4th IM, and although I had grand plans for it when I signed up, I readjusted my goals and hopes after enjoying life more and training a bit less — over the year, we got a second dog and bought a house, so while I was excited for the race, I was also ready for it to be done, freeing weekends for taking down wallpaper, painting, and family hikes. Looking at my training log, I actually did do a decent job of getting in the key workouts (long bikes and runs, mainly) and my work with MarkyV over the previous year definitely helped me all around, and especially in showing me how to train in the swim. So while I didn’t expect my original goal, I was hoping I could do the race in around 12

Gracie, Annie, and Razi

As I worried about my little girl dogs, Yaron (one of their sitters) sent me this picture of them and his daughter. And I knew they would be just fine.

hours. I was ready for a tough bike course, and expected a fairly flat run, with just a couple small rollers, but a danger of heat, after hearing about the course from Mike. That heat had me a bit worried: while most years there is plenty of heat to train in here in Southern CA, this summer had been a pretty mild one, and we didn’t have the same heat training that we did other years.

My biggest worries as we left for the race were that my puppies would be ok with their support crew waiting on them, and that we’d make it to Seattle in time to get our rental car as the office closed soon after our flight was scheduled to arrive. In the airport waiting for leg two of our trip, we got a text that calmed me for our four-paws.

And then we arrived in Seattle and got the car with about 10 minutes to spare. Thankful that Britt had a place for us to crash for the night, we headed to her house and to bed. After some good sleep, and cute puppies (already missing my own) we were off on the drive to Penticton… in a car without cruise control, the rental place being out of what we had reserved (although they compensated us fToni heading into Canadaor the inconvenience). We made it to the border, and saw lots of triathletes in line to cross into Canada. Mike and I passed time guessing who in each car was racing, when in the car beside us Toni turned and I was able to guess right on that car!

Safely into Penticton, we got our bikes from Tri Bike Transport (happy to have been free off them at the airport), and relaxed through the days. We drove the bike course, and we did our best not to wait in lines: any time there was one, like for registration, we just left and came back later. We got to do a morning ride with Marky out of the Bike Barn, and generally felt ready to go. My heat worries were calmed when it was actually COLD the day before the race, and soon instead of heat it became a question of what to add on the bike! Getting our transition bags ready, I added a vest, gloves, and arm warmers to the Swim-to-Bike bag. Other than that, it was the basics: helmet, shoes, sunglasses, blocs (just as a bonus since our main nutrition is all liquid), and a bit of Okole Stuff. The Bike-to-Run bag was also easy to fill: Trifuel visor, run shoes & socks, some more blocs, another mini Okole, and some Tums. The bags were soon ready and dropped off, along with our bikes.

That night we prepped our nutrition (a single bottle of carbo pro in high concentration, along with some nuun for flavor) and started our sunscreen. For some reason we’ve found that the sunscreen works even better if we do an application of it the night before, as well as in the morning. Then we got to bed early with our things already laid out for race day. Around 2 or 3 am, we woke and had a Boost-type shake to get in some cals. Back to sleep easily, and it was morning.

Into our race clothes, Okole Stuff applied, nutrition and water bottles packed, some breakfast (english muffin with PB&Honey for me) and we walked ~1mi to the start. It was a cool morning, and we both decided that for the bike we’d put on arm warmers, and Mike, who gets cold easily, also planned to grab his gloves. Neither of us uses special needs, so that part of check-in went quickly, and we got body marked and to our bikes. We each put a nutrition bottle onto our bike, along with water in the aerobottle, and into our wetsuits (with more Okole), and we were ready to race!

The wait

Into the water, and a quick warm up done. The pros were off, and Mike and I kissed good-bye and good luck as we each found our place for the start, him on the line and me a bit behind and to the left.

I wandered a bit, trying to figure out where I wanted to be. Not too far to the side, as that was crazy busy the previous year, and not too far to the middle, since I didn’t want to get complete swam over. I found a spot that looked about right, chatted to a few people, and found their goal was similar to what I thought I could do. So I tried not to stress while waiting for the start. The water felt great!

Finally the national anthem played, and I teared up, and shared hugs with a few racers around me. We all wished each other the best, and it was go time.

The swim

My goal here was a 1:15 (Mike saying 1:12-1:15). But I don’t swim with a watch so couldn’t really adjust or really have any idea how it was going. So I just swam.

Now I know the swim can be crowded… but it was by far the most contact I’ve ever had in a swim! And not just at the start. The entire course I found myself relating to a sardine. I wasn’t near people on and off, but had constant people on all sides. To the one guy who pushed past me and then took a breast kick stroke right as he got to my ear, thanks, it made me stubborn and not really care who touched me instead of being jumpy. I just went with it. “Oh look, we are swimming a great line, ” and then later “huh looks like we are going off-course now. Hope the pack doesn’t go too far.” There wasn’t much choice since I was wedged in from the sides, front, and back. But I felt strong. Comfortable and strong, and just stroke stroke stroke. Focus on holding water. Hear Marky in my head, talking about the pressures on my arm. And taste the clear water. Live it up: it’s not that nice back home!

And then the rocky bottom was at my fingertips, and I got to stand and make my way up the ramp. Jogged around a few people because although it will be a long day, I want the best of myself and I know I can handle it. It was quite a change from IMAZ, my first, where I was slow and didn’t have too much company coming out of the water. Also rather different from IMKY, where it was a time trial start and being near someone didn’t mean you were at all near each other in ability. I missed the clock, and wondered how I had done, but just focused on the transition at hand.

T1

Got my bag, into the tent, and a wonderful volunteer (I’m sorry to say I now forget her name) helped me get set for a ride. She laughed at my baggies. “Oh I won’t need that. And that can go right back in. Armwarmers would be great! Oh thanks for helping get those on, my fingers are a bit useless.” The day was definitely a bit on the cool side. But I smiled right through, out to my bike, and on at the mount line. Oh yeah, and passed almost 200 people during that transition! I really did come out with the masses and get right on throw without distraction! 

The bike

Nice and easy to refocus as the ride started, glacing at the power numbers on a sticker on my top-tube. They became my main companions for the hours to come. Part way through town, I glanced at the time of day and was shocked to see it was 8:17! 1:17 into the race, and not only was I done swimming, I was through T1 and settled onto my bike! My goal was about a 6:30 here, but I hoped I’d be under. I knew it was hope though, as I didn’t feel I’d quite done the biking I would have liked. I knew I had done enough in comparison to other years, but I was staying realistic.

It was chilly, and I was glad for the arm warmers as I waited (and waited… as you will see) for the day to warm up. Over the steep initial climb, watching those numbers. Getting passed by a couple packs on the way to Ricter, but reminding myself that I have to be proud of who I am and just let it go. No energy to waste on them today. Got some gaterade at an aid station, trying to stick to my plan of alternating water and gatorade, only to find that the seal was still on under the sport top. I tossed the bottle, hoping it wouldn’t get too warm before the next station. I had my regular mix of 1 million calories of carbopro in a single bottle,and some water, but Gatorade was going to be important for electrolytes for me.

Up Ricter pass telling myself easy-cheesey and watching rider after rider pass me by. Another difference with having a much stronger swim was more getting passed on the bike! Hopefully I’d see at least some of them later! Climbing Ricter brought down the arm warmers, but I was too lazy to actually take them all the way off.

On the descent following Ricter there was a good amount of cat and mouse. I’d stay steady on climbs, and just relax the downhills. I guess the hills around here help my handling, because I flew by so many people using their brakes! One even told me on a later climb that I descend like a devil. It became a mantra on later descents.

With the ending of the rollers came some wind of Doom! And a bit of rain. And I was just tired of pedaling. Done with the bike. Wanted my running shoes to come play. But had a few more miles to get in… so I whined to myself while continuing to move forward. I felt like getting to Twin Lakes took forever! It was windy, and wet, and cold, and I was fairly miserable. But there were some awesome aid stations, so I made myself smile through them to help me get over it. There was even a bit of hail! And the arm warmers came back up some point before that final climb, and I realized my fears of a hot day might be able to relax.

Finally I was heading back into town, and my running shoes were calling my name.

T2

Off the bike! Off the bike! I think T2 is one of the best parts of triathlon! I was done pedaling, and into run shoes. I loved seeing the “Gracie” on the left heel, and “Annie” on the right, complete with a little paw print for each, as I pulled on my shoes. Visor on, extra Okole Stuff into a pocket, new blocks, and time to go.

The run

I felt pretty good coming out the arch and onto the course. Well, a bit tired, sure. And a bit cold. And for some reason my foot had started hurting near the end of the bike. Really I wanted an ankle adjustment (but as Scotty, one of my tri-heros, went by me when he had about 3 miles to go, I contained myself and just cheered instead of begging him to help me). But I thought I could hit my target of 4 – 4:15ish. A bit before this point, I, for some reason I don’t understand, decided I should try to run the whole thing. No walking. Just get it done. I knew I could: training was there, nothing major was going wrong, just suck it up. It’s easier to keep going than to try to get started again!

So I distracted myself with the racers coming toward me. I didn’t get passed by any finishing pros, which was cool (with the short out and back to both begin and end the race, a goal had been being through that before the leader was on it). But I enjoyed the fact that with an out and back course I could see how their races were unfolding. I was sad not to see Tereza, but proud of Scott. And then I started the Mike-watch, while also keeping myself from getting too excited and going too fast. Since in my brain, he should be right with Scott. Forget the different pro start time, and that their days of racing side by side were many years back… I was expecting to see him any minute. Really, I knew it would be closer to miles 6-8 that I saw him heading in for his finish.

And soon I did see him! And I was glad, because I really had to pee and I knew if I jumped into a porta-potty that would be when he went by, and I’d worry the whole rest of the race that he was in a ditch somewhere. But there was that whole “no walking” thing… and this was still pretty early in the day. My stubborn side wouldn’t give in yet, because it would break the seal. So… yes… he got a kiss as we passed. But it was a jogging kiss. He looked to be having a bit of a tough day, and sorry sweetie, but all the more reason for me to hurry and move on — his mood rubs off on my way more than mind does on him. So will love and a drive-by-kissing, we continued our days.

But nothing could slow me down! Mike had warned me about the heat, and the lack of shade, but hey, it was actually a great temperature for running. My foot hurt a bit, sure, but if there wasn’t something that wasn’t perfect it might not count as an Ironman. And then I came around a turn, and saw some hills. Now normally I wouldn’t care, but it was just a surprise. Although we’d driven most (if not all) of the course, I had listened when Mike talked about heat, heat, and more heat. And nothing about hills. In fact, he told me it was fairly flat. HA! Turns out, when it is crazy hot, the hills don’t matter. So his brain had completely forgotten them (and when he hit them, his first thought was “uh oh I’m gonna be in trouble…”). But I was able to just keep going. “Just don’t walk.” The turn around was in sight, and all the cheering crowds made me a bit lonely, since I didn’t have family on the course this time. “GOOOO KYLIEEEEEE!” Oh my gosh am I hallucinating? Is there actually anther Kylie right by me? “YAY! LOOKIN’ STRONG KYLIE!” I look around, and almost still miss her. Andy, thank you. I so needed that. Right then, and you were there. I almost teared up it felt so good! But I had to keep running, and that wouldn’t help my ability to run straight.

On the way back, the wind picked up. And as I was running near another guy for a while, I ended up tucking in behind him, glad there were no drafting rules for the run. Soon he peaked back, almost as if he’d like a turn behind. But his 6′ or more frame had to glance down to find the source of the footsteps behind him, and he laughed. “Yeah, I guess just stay back there… you won’t do me much good.” But we had some chat, and supported eachother for a couple miles, so hopefully it did help him some! And along the way, we picked up a group. I think there were about 5 of us, just keeping in stride, breathing and getting through together. A later aid station broke us apart though, and soon I was off on my own again, still not willing to break into a walk.

And a couple horrible inclines later, I was almost back in town. I could hear the announcer, and see the finish line. I was heading right at it! And then got to go left, and complete the final 1km out and back. It’s just cruel. It was also cruel to see the clock, and that I would just miss my “everything went pretty much right” goal. But there were crowds along here, and I knew Mike would cheer me in, and then I would be done! And my foot thought it would rather like that. I made it to the line, crossed happy, and smiled my way into my catcher’s arms.

The aftermath

Then it was food, and sitting, and an awesome massage. But a lot of it was a blur… did pass into the medical tent since my foot no longer wanted to take weight at all (it missed that friend adrenaline). The next couple days I was rather sore, but I was proud of how I did. A bit disappointed, as this was one of the first times I was very realistic of my abilities instead of underestimating myself. And as a result, I was pretty much right at my goals, instead of blowing them away how I had in the past. The final score:

Swim: 1:10:20(goal: 1:15)
T1: 3:53
Bike: 6:34:46 (goal: sub-6:30)
T2: 3:12
Run: 4:10:41 (goal: 4ish)
Total: 12:02:49 (goal: sub-12)

Yes, I know, so close to the goals. But there were so many little milestones I was so close to! Almost sub-1:10 swim, almost sub-4:10 run, almost sub-12 hour finish). But looking back, I am proud. I had a good race for my day, and played to my strengths.

And then there are the “way too many stats to even think about” numbers… I passed 179 people in T1, was passed by 580 people on the bike, and then passed another 399 people on the run. My combined transition times were ranked 252nd. I was 952 overall, 25/77 in my division. 608th fastest run.

Oh, and Mike wasn’t excluded from the “so close” list… his Ironman Canada time in 1998, with a bit of a back injury? And that he considered a tough day? 10:08:55. So he had his good things goal, ok day goal, and then the “I just have to beat the 1998 time” goal. And his time? 10:09:03. Yup, just 8 seconds off. But I’m still more than proud of him. In fact, this was one  of his toughest races. He doesn’t do well with cold, and he had lost an arm warmer near Ricter. He had to use more mental strength than some of his amazing performances of the past, and to me, that says more about the strength of his person. Great job sweetie!!

Mike, Scott, and me

Mike, Scott, and me

And congrats to Scott, who had a great race in the pro division and took a slot for Kona!! Have a great time in Hawaii 🙂

 

And now to recover… and then see what is next.

Tinman 2010

July 9th, 2010 by

Tinman is often a bit of a crazy race for us, as we have a business booth, both race, and drive some Exceeding Expectations kids, which makes for a number of trips to race site and plenty of things going on before and after the race. Saturday we got our gear together, including everything for both a tri club booth and an office booth, and dropping some of that off at the site.

Sunday Mike and I got up dark and early, needing to be out the door by 4:30 at the very latest, and pulled on our awesome Redlands Tri Club kits for their first race 🙂 Oh, and we were out of our normal breakfast food. So with an emergency batch of oatmeal on the stove, Mike packed the bikes into the car as I got the puppies ready for a long morning alone. “Mike, something is wrong with Gracie… she doesn’t want to eat!” Annie, on the other hand, ate her food, although less enthusiastically than usual. Chalking it up to G being a moody bitch, the time of day, and that she knew we were leaving her, we let it go and blew the puppies kisses as we were out the door at 4:25 — before our final cutoff for maybe the first time ever.

It was weird to actually be ahead of schedule, and I wasn’t sure what to do when I had Mike and all the booth items dropped off at the race site before 5am. I was picking up some Exceeding Expectations kids who were racing, but not until 5:30 and they were only about 10 minutes away. Finally I left to get them early, and it must have been something in the air: the kids were actually ready early, too. So we were all back at the race site by about 5:35, and had plenty of time to do the very little transition prep we needed.

This race is a reverse order sprint: 5k run, 9mi bike, 100yd pool swim. Fast, but not so flat (at least on the bike). Still, transition just needs a bike, a helmet, bike shoes (for Mike attached to his pedals) and a pair of goggles lying on a towel. I had an aerobottle of water on the bike, and that was about it. My run shoes and sunglasses were already on. The nice thing about being there before any one else was our choice of transition spots. And knowing this race doesn’t really have a dismount line, we got a rack spot that we ran straight to as the end of the run course, and that we could basically coast right up to after the bike leg. Although it did mean that some times random things happen… like a bike appearing between ours as the race was starting, and still being there as Mike finished the bike. And the random bike someone placed on top of Mike’s after the bike leg of the race. But I’m not at that part of the race yet! First we need to start…

So the run was soon off, and the course last year was missing the turn around marking on an out and back, so fast folks (aka Mike) ran about an extra half mile. This year it was marked, but oddly the out part was in the close lane of traffic, and the back in the far lane, which meant the lines of runners had to cross. Luckily for me there weren’t that many people still on the way out, and I didn’t have a problem getting through.

This run course always feels so long to me, I just seem to lose the motivation to run by about when we are going past the backside of the pool. But I kept going, although definitely not as strong as the first part. And then there is my tendency to slow down for the final straightaway. But this year, Gus came up beside me right then, so I had to keep running. Thanks Gus 🙂

Straight into transition and to my rack spot, and my “T1-reverse-order-tri” mantra was going through my head: helmet shoes bike helmet shoes bike helmet shoes bike. So I put on my helmet, swapped shoes, grabbed my bike and was off. The first part of the course is through the campus on the walkway, with cobblestone and narrow sections. I just like that part to be over as fast as I can get through it. But then comes the climbs.. one that is steep and short, and then one that is loooong and less steep. But there is a turnaround at the top of it, and it’s a chance to see where I stand. This time I saw Mike in 4th, and then thought I counted that I was 5th woman, or 4th. Right at the turn around another lady who kicked butt climbing that beast passed me, but on the descent I passed her right back and didn’t see her again til after the finish line. And soon I passed another girl as well. Counting myself now in 4th place, I WORKED. I was 4th at this race last year, and juuust off the podium sucks. Soon I made the turn back onto the campus and onto their sidewalks, and I don’t like that part, either. But fortunately I made it through safely. So I pedaled and pushed, through another out and back and soon made the turn for home. Undid my bike shoes, but forgot we were getting back into the campus, and had to slow as speed bumps without shoes on are trickier.

But I coasted right to my rack spot, with my “T2-reverse-order-tri” mantra going: rack bike helmet goggles rack bike helmet goggles. Goggles in hand, I ran off toward the pool. At this race, the run to the pool, and then the run from the pool to the finish, are each longer than the swim itself. At the pool I realized I forgot to take off my racebelt, so it was left on the deck and I jumped in. Right as I started swimming I saw the lady I thought of as 3rd heading to the 50yd turn. But she did a breaststroke kick, so I though I could get her. Swim swim swim and on the final turn at 75 yards I saw her beside me, and I went hard for a final 25yds. Then a run, although careful since slippery, down to the finish line, where my arrival surprised Mike and he informed me I was 2nd woman!

Although this race uses chips, they don’t do splits, and I didn’t wear a watch. So I know I was 28 or 29 minutes on the bike, and 55:45 total time. I went 55:04 last year, so I was slower this time, but still moved up in places. I felt like I raced strong, but I could also tell that I’m just busy right now and my mind wasn’t all in the race. The Tri Club and office boothes went well, and then I rode home (about 16 miles) since I just needed bike time. And those 16 miles were painful. I guess I did work hard in the race, and in the 50 miler the day before 😉

Got home, and then more fun: Gracie was sick… yay for carpet cleaning! And Annie soon added a couple pukes of her own to the fun. Ahh well, still a successful day.

Long weekend, longer bike rides

July 5th, 2010 by

Well it was a long weekend, so Mike and I decided to take advantage of it and get in some longer rides. We are prepping for Ironman Canada at the end of August, but life has been hectic for this one and we are definitely not feeling as ready as we have for other Ironman races. For starters, we bought a house in March, and opened a business last year! Then we raced TTT in Ohio (4 races, 3 days — sprint, 2 olys, and a half) and had some family gatherings while out there. So nothing I would change, but just giving some background to how we are feeling a bit behind this year, and that brings me to this weekend…

Living in Southern CA we have tons of great cycling routes we love, and so this weekend I did 3 of the ones that challenge me. Turns out, we had much cooler weather than we’ve been having lately and it was pretty much perfect for cycling.

I started off Saturday with an 82 mile loop that takes me over some rolling hills, around a lake, and more rolling hills to home. But the best laid plans… at mile 3, the road was closed. It is a small back road, and we later learned it was a fatal crash much earlier in the morning. So we got to extend our route up and over one of the ridges in town, adding 7 miles and all climbing/descending/rolling — nothing flat. But what makes me climb will make me stronger, so I just went with it. Besides, it added one of my very favorite stretches of road to the loop 🙂 However, on the way home, the road was still closed (Mike had already reached that point) so I took a new road home. Wow it was steeper than I expected! Miles 75-79 were tough, but not in a way I felt was too much. And I made it over, and a couple smaller climbs later I was home: 91.5 miles (see the route map here).

Got up Sunday and headed to our tri club ride. Mike and I had let the group know that we planned to ride the Oak Glenn loop — which is a bit over 40 miles and goes from 1000 to 4900 feet, and then I was going to add on another 40. The main part of the climb is a stretch about 7 miles long from 2500ft to 4900. I just took it easy — well, as easy as my gears would let me — knowing it was going to be a long day. At the usual “5 miles from home” point (right after that favorite stretch of road again) I headed out for more, telling my self that it was just a little 18 mile out and back, nothing to it. Well, it was 14 miles of slight and not-so-slight uphill, followed by 4 miles of down… and then back up and I couldn’t wait for that down. Unfortunately, the wind was not on my side, and even the fun down parts were times to pedal. I was glad it was such a solid ride: I didn’t fight the wind, but just worked the effort I wanted and just got home slower 🙂 The route was similar to the route map available here. Mike and the dogs were already at his office, so I put on running shoes and ran just over 2 miles to meet them. Why not?

Monday was going to be tough no matter what with all the miles in my legs, so I saved the vertically easiest, but sometimes windier, ride for that day. One main series of climbs, and the rest was as close to flat as our rides get, adding another 85.5 miles. It was still a tough day though, but I made it! And I guess I got wind karma on Sunday: for once the wind helped me home. And I thanked it!

So 3 days, 257.5 miles on the bike. Not a bad weekend!

Oh and for those of you waiting, I do have TTT and also Tinman Sprint race reports to post. I’ll do it, I promise!

Triple T 2010

May 30th, 2010 by

Ahh yes, the famed Triple T: 4 races, 3 days, 2 teammates, 1 crazy experience (and yes, for this race, very appropriate to start with a Finish Line picture as we just seemed to keep seeing it!). Plenty of hills and unique challenges. Back in May 2010 Mike and I traveled to Ohio (me via New York and my sister’s graduation) and left through Canada, passing through his family’s area.

Day 1: registration and a sprint tri — over in under 30 minutes

Day 2: morning olympic, afternoon olympic where not only did only the slower teammates time count, but drafting was allowed in teams, and it was bike swim run! Yes, putting on your wetsuit was part of the race.

Day 3: half iron — again with your teammate as only the slower time counted and drafting was allowed. Looking back, I’m not sure drafting mattered, as I think all of it was up or down.

And we extended Day 3 by driving a million hours to Canada. But it was a great trip! Here are some race highlights:

Day 1: Sprint

  • I found the perfect spot to stop and take off my wetsuit. It was just a long run to transition since the suit is so hard to get off once it is emptied of water! However, although a short swim and fairly warm water, it was worth wearing the suit.
  • Boy was that lawn muddy.

Day 2: Morning Olympic

  • Crazy wind/rain/hurricane weather kept us up a bit, and made for some course changes. So we did the afternoon oly course twice, instead of two different routes.
  • The water went from pretty warm, and wetsuit not so necessary, to OMG Cold! It also rose a couple feet.
  • I felt really pukey for a bit, but never got to get it out of my guts.
  • Bike had some decent hills, as did the run. We’d get to know the run course well, using it not only in the afternoon race but twice during the half the next day.
  • The dumb part? The transition was closed for an hour between the morning and afternoon races… so you had to haul everything back up a hill to the hotel and then back down again.
  • Finish, sit in the river, and then go try to eat and rest because before you know it, it is time to do it all again.

Day 2: Afternoon Olympic

  • Bike, Swim, Run! Time trial format start.
  • Race numbers were based off your best half-iron time ever… so Mike’s 4:12 had him #11, while I was #280… a full 269 numbers apart. This became fun since teams started together, at the highest ranking person’s spot. So I was the lead woman for a bit 😉
  • I stared at Mike’s butt for the bike ride. Made me glad I’d already seen the course in the AM.
  • I descend well… I passed a lot of people here, and they were a blast. However, plenty of people passed me back on the climbing part.
  • I did get on my wetsuit fairly well! And it was awesome having Mike around to help strip it off me! A spectator was heard to say “Now that’s teamwork… someone should get this on tape” as we executed our well-discussed move.
  • The run seemed less hilly. I wonder if it was the swim right before since it was basically icing my legs. I heard that the next day it would feel twice as steep to make up for it…

Day 3: Half-iron

  • The swim course got longer for the second loop, as one of the bouys was floating away.
  • Again starting in the #11 spot, I think I was passed by about 1 million people during the swim.
  • But again Mike helped me strip and the crowd went wild (wetsuit strip… where is your mind?)
  • Time for the bike course from hell! Rolly, CLIMB, down, CLIMB, rolly, steeeeep hill, and one last climb…. and repeat that loop!
  • I thought of my Trifuel buddies and the TGGW (Tri Girls Gone Wild) when I had a chocolate gu encounter. A flask of it had fallen from another competitor, and Mike hit it juuuuust right — sent it spiraling through the air and striped me (no, not stripped this time) like a candy cane! But with sticky chocolate gu. When we got home and looked at the bike you could even tell where my hands had been based on the lack of gu in spots on the aerobars.
  • The run was beautiful again, but tough! I walked some of the steep hills, and loved having Mike’s hand on my back to help me up some of them. But we ran much of it. The mile 4 sign became the dark at the start of the tunnel as that lead into a big climb. But the mile 6 sign was then the light at the end of it (and again for loop 2!)
  • There were TUMs delivered on the run, as my guts still were a bit unsettled, and my head and ears felt stuffy. It was nice having a mid-race sherpa! And Mike of course could always catch up to me.
  • During the run, I kept hearing Marky tell me to have Gracie feet, and it helped keep my feet light and turnover good for the downhills. And it made me smile 🙂
  • And then…. what was that in the distance?? Could it be??? Ahhhh yes… a real finish line! And we were done… for good this time. Time to pack up the bikes and drive to Canada!

back in the saddle

September 17th, 2009 by

After a bit of a break after Barb’s, it is GAME ON for The Next Big Thing. Obviously my biggest focus is my swim, and then the bike. But don’t worry, I’m running, too 🙂 I love this stuff. I’ve had some awesome rides. Like hanging on through more of the speedy Saturday ride than almost ever before! And completely exploding and crawling my way home the last 20 or 25 miles — with my sweet husband tootling along next to me just because he likes me that much! And now I have a new goal on Saturday rides: Blow up. Last as long as you can, but don’t just get dropped, blow up or hang on. All or nothing, none of this “making sure you have enough left for the rest of the ride”. That isn’t the goal on Saturday. The goal is pain, and going harder than I thought possible. And trusting that I can do it.

The bike has also had some new toys: like an upgraded hub for my PowerTap so that it is ANT+, and a fun new Garmin GPS (for the bike and run, actually) that is just damn sexy! Thanks Wheelbuilder for your help!

Garmin 310xt

Garmin 310xt

The pool hasn’t been such a happy story. Two swims back and I’m begging the pool’s forgiveness for my lack of attention. Nothing drastically wrong with the swims, except the reminder that to feel good swimming I have to swim regularly! Got it, will do. I’m prepared to make my world have a faint smell of chlorine again.

And running, well, that is always awesome. But lately my legs just feel good, and I’ll take it.

Of course, there are little issues. My achielles is still a bit sore sometimes, and I think it is the bike. I have lowered my seat on the road bike a bit, and I think that has helped. I will need to check the setting on the tri bike once I get back on it.

One happy year

September 7th, 2009 by

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary for Mike and I. It was a good year. Some good races, fun travels, and starting to build our own life. We started his business, and we really started to get to know the Redlands community we now live in. So it was time to celebrate, and although both of us had a lot of work to do we took the day to ourselves. Well, somewhat 😉

We started the day with a family run

Anniversary run

Anniversary run

Yes, wearing matching Muskoka 70.3 finisher shirts (from our honeymoon race) and our “Just married” visors. And red shorts, me because it was one of the first gifts Mike gave me, and him because it was one of the first pairs of runners he got with me. Yes, we are dorks. But happy ones!

After that we relaxed at home for a bit and then went for an easy ride together. And then… the pet shop!

New baby girl

New baby girl

And now Gracie has a little sister! She is so cute, and curious. And it was just meant to be. We had talked about a playmate for Gracie, often debating waiting until she is much older, so we always have a dog in running years around, and getting one sooner so that she has a playmate. Well after her recent visit to Walter and Misty May’s house it felt like she missed the company of dogs. And I’ve never done the puppy training part of the dog experience, and am a bit sad that I never got to see Gracie as a tiny curious large-pawed baby. So this time, it was a baby we chose. She was born July 5th this year (a day off from my birthday) and was found just like Gracie: the first dog to catch my eye on Petfinder. We went to the pet shop, and we looked at the dogs there for an adoption day. And none stole my heart. But then we bumped into a lady from the Redlands Humane Society, and she said she had some puppies that would grow to be G’s size. And it was the two I had looked at online. So she called their foster home, and they were free and brought the puppies right down. Online it was Beauty who’s picture and description really caught my eye, but at the store it was the other girl. Then we figured out the names were switched online, and the one that caught my eye in both places was in fact the same little girl. And since Mike said I had to pick one, she said in my arms the rest of the shopping trip. And we added another crate, and some littlier toys, and a purple blanket (since G’s color is pink). And now the new baby is sleeping beside me, and in need of a name. We are playing with a couple and should decide soonish 🙂

Life is definitely good!