Tuesday, August 20, 2013

1461 and Hot Rubber

Long Beach Lighthouse from the Ferry from Catalina
If you've had a pulse this year, 2013 probably hasn't been 'your year'. At least, that's the way it often has felt.
I can't think of a single thing that has gone the way I anticipated. But then again, it hasn't been all bad either.

Sometimes surprises are good.

1461 - A Brief History  Shortly before BonBon made her cross country move from So Cal to the shores of Conneticut, she invited me to do one of Danskin's Women's Sprint Triathlons with her. I eventually agreed (somewhat reluctantly - the fact that it was at Disney's California Adventure was a huge bonus).
 It turned out to be a life changing surprise. I was completely out of my element. I LOVE swimming and have always been a bit of a fish when it comes to water. But I wasn't prepared for the combat -style swimming in tri's. I can finally understand how and why people drown! Within the first minute or two, I'd been dunked under and slammed up against a Disneyfied 'rock' (aka concrete beaten to look like a rock) and cut up my leg! And that was just the FIRST event! I was stable on a BIKE before, and I'd NEVER  ran a 5k as an adult before! Yet, here I was with all these competitors, riding my $60 Walmart special bike, singing "Come On Hear the Noise. Girls rock the boys!" at the top of my lungs as I talked myself up another hill. Out of the group of women I was competing with (other friends of BonBon's), I came in last by a good 10 minutes. Out of the entire group of women racing, I wasn't last - which was my only goal.
 That race completely changed my life.
Pre-race, getting my number at the Expo, June 2008

More Current fitness, August 2013
My number? 1461. That was all the way back in 2008, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I had recently gotten divorced and while I was dating someone, I was still healing. No, my then-boyfriend wasn't there to cheer me on, and BonBon and her friends didn't keep pace with me. I was on my own - with every reason to quit. But I didn't. It's amazing how far the simple act of not giving up can get you. Out there on the track, I realized that I wasn't doing it for anyone else but me. If I quit, everyone would have understood. I would have reasoned it out and it would have made sense to just get off the track and out of the way of the REAL competitors. (Sometimes the part of your brain that wants to quit gets VERY LOUD during new challenges. Mine was SCREAMING.) But all you have to do is keep doing what's in front of you, and it's amazing how things fall into place.

One more thing about that race... It was on Father's day.  The first person I called (after a tearful hug from my mom at the finish line) was Dad.
For the first time in I can't remember when, I felt like my parents were truly down deep proud of me. Maybe it's because I was proud of me too...

Anyway... let's fast forward to this month's 1461s, shall we?

My Sailor ended up coming home within days of me leaving town. (Gotta love a good irony, he was home for our anniversary - I was not. Oops!) See, my parent's wedding anniversary is within a few days of the wedding day anniversary My Sailor and I celebrate (though we celebrate our elopement day as well, just more privately). Since this is Mom's first year flying solo, we decided to make a 'girl's trip' out of it. Though we have somewhat different travel styles, we still both had a good time.

Up at 6:30am to ride on Radiator Springs Racers before it gets REALLY crowded for the day.
Princess Tiana Performing

First thing's first though. I had business in Disneyland meeting up with folks for the magazine I write for. That ment late night schmoozing and meeting one of my fellow Celebrations Magazine contributing author's, Jamie Hecker (shameless plug for magazine here), as well as some of my friends from Window To The Magic Podcast and Little Red's Writing Hood. I'm still a theme park commando when I tour parks. I'm up early, up late, with a possible nap in the middle of the day. If I don't log about 7 miles on my feet, I've done something wrong. But this trip was also about showing Mom a good time. I was really glad she got to glimpse the parks the way I do - without little ones in tow. While those trips have their own kind of magic, it's nice to be an adult and be able to marvel at the technology and artistry that makes it all possible, without having to think about diaper changes and height requirements.

But in some ways, my touring has changed as well. I no longer stop at every sweet smelling cart (seriously folks, I had 1/2 a churro the entire time I was there - I know MrsB is just shocked to read that, since we used to be spotted with a churro in each hand). I actually bought more overpriced fruit than junk. I didn't touch sodas. Instead, I refilled a water bottle. And, in addition to all the walking, I visited the Fitness Center at the Disneyland Hotel TWICE in as many nights!

The weight portion of the Fitness Room
Who knew Mickey knew so much about making muscles?

In the past, the walking would have been work out enough. I found myself scouring menus for the healthy options (which isn't as hard as it sounds anymore - Carthay Circle's Sashimi Grade Salmon was to die for...)
Sure, I still enjoyed some luxuries, but it's a far cry from how I toured the park just a few years ago. Usually, it would have left me a LOT more tired. Instead, I found myself somewhat energized to see what the next adventure had in store, despite the less-than-awesome occasion.

Catalina Island. See, Dad never cared for Catalina. The main town, named after the legendary home of the Round Table - Avalon- is VERY small. In fact, you can see it all in a weekend easily. But the island had so much to do, and was so beautiful, that it was hard to stand still and soak it all in.  The only way to get there is by ferry (which does not take cars - the entire town is completely walkable, and locals get around via golf carts) or by helicopter. There are some parts of the island where people love to camp that can only be reached by boat. It had many of the best parts of tropical islands (like Hawaii), only with less palm trees, no Luaus, and a much smaller price tag.
  Catalina was a play ground for the rich and famous of Hollywood's past (Natalie Wood, just to name one) and the Wrigley Family (you know, like Wrigley chewing gum, and the Cubs...). It's a unique landscape where you can see tropical fish under the waves, and buffalo roaming free over the interior of the island. It's a mountain biker's paradise and a nature lovers' dream...

Can't wait to explore the Casino building on the next trip!

Beach day at a Cabana - stroke of Genius.

Ready for our last day

The town of Avalon from the ferry dock

Ocean as far as the eye can see on the Ferry

Mom and I goofing off during our last meal on the island
 The crystal clear waters made for great snorkeling (which I attempted, but the mask either came pre-warped, or got warped in my luggage so it never sealed, besides nearby boats were spooking off the fish). I tried my first kayak ride and actually got a good solid 35-40 minutes out there on the water. It's given me the confidence to look into buying a kayak for the marina by our house... but I digress...

The water was so clear I could spot a few sting-rays and even a lobster doing their thing at the bottom of the big blue sea. Even with all the walking around, I still hit up the gym for a Fight Gone Bad style workout. The gym at this particular hotel was pretty awful, but with my trusty jump rope and a dumb bell, I can pretty much make anything work.
Now, it's REALLY easy to backslide without a trainer laying out a work out plan and telling you what to do. After all, it's great incentive to get to the gym when you're budgeting your funds to make it a financial priority. (It's astounding how fast things that are a financial priority become priorities in other ways too!) But seeking out ways to stay active really help. I got out of shape by making a lot of small, bad decisions. I'm getting into shape by making small good decisions. Every decision is one step closer.

 Once I came home, I had 1 day of 12 hours of work to cram in, because the next day was the Seattle Zombie 5k! I was able to register My Sailor and we ran it together. It was through a fantastic little park (Magnuson Park) and I'd like to get back out there sometime and ride some of the trails on a bike (which I'll be getting THIS WEEK! Yeah!) and explore their rock climbing wall (which is FREE, well - you know, 'free' aside from the ferry ride, gas mileage, and all that jazz). To my surprise, I set a new record on my 5k, shaving 4 minutes off the last 5k I did just a month or 2 ago! Instead of a 34 minute 5k, My Sailor and I finished at 30 minutes 31 seconds! I guess running from zombies is good incentive!
My sailor, Random Zombie, Me, and Brother in Law

Our time

The Whole Team... plus a couple zombies.

My Sailor losing the war
Pre-race giddiness.

Not quite flipping these yet...
This is the year of 'firsts' in so many ways. Oddly enough, it's in ways where were completely unpredictable a year ago, when we were neck deep in getting adoption stuff together, and just finished up the wedding halfway through Dad's Chemo treatments... a lot can change in a year. Now, instead of helping Dad with Chemo, I'm helping Mom go from 40 years of "we" to a new frontier of "me". I'm putting my fitness first (long overdue) and forging ahead in the writing world as well. I've discovered things I now love that I never thought to try before. So, as tough as this year has been, it's a 1461 year full of new horizons, new (sometimes unwanted) challenges, and a year where huge turns and growth is taking place.

If you've made it this far, you deserve to find out what the 2nd part of the title of this blog is all about too.

I can't WAIT for the Strongman Competition on Saturday! That alone is a little surprising. I never thought I'd look forward to things like races and competitions, but I feel prepared, excited, and looking foward to seeing how I pull my weight. I'm a little disappointed to hear they may be 'lightening the load' for the ladies - but it doesn't matter nearly as much to me anymore. I mean, yes, it's a 'Strongman' challenge, and the entire point is to push your limits (and sometimes discover them).

Either way, I've been practicing with a 400lb tire for the tire flip. To my surprise, I can flip that monster just fine.

And after today's massive Strongman prep work out, I made peace with that big old hot hunk... of rubber.

Today's highlights (aside from tire flipping) included 5 reps of 200lb dead lifts (remember when my max was 205lbs - just 1 rep not too long ago? So much for that!), and a couple messy awkward lifts (called Atlas Lifts) of 135lbs. I have burns on my upper arms from the logs we're lifting, but they feel kind of amazing.
I didn't get here overnight, but boy, does it feel good. I think it's safe to say, like that triathlon, this new way of life is another 1461.

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