Friday, February 26, 2010

On the road again

Wow, it's been a while since I've driven in traffic.....and had more than one radio station available on the autoscan.  I have temporarily escaped my remote little mountain town and am trying to integrate myself back into actual society.  Its strange that what was once the norm, is now new again.  And is yet another reminder of how change is not only good, but an essential element of life.

Though, I use the term "actual society" loosely.  My little get-away started at Beaver Creek.  Not exactly the real world even if I did get to take the interstate to get there.  But for me, it was a booming metropolis, complete with Starbucks and strip malls -- oh the luxury.

A little fresh snow made for a fun day, but I have to admit I think I've been ruined by the mountain I currently call home.  I'm not sure anyplace can compete with the scenery of my backyard.  Certainly not Beaver Creek.  Sorry.  Its just a fact.  

Esthetics aside, a fun little mountain.  And it did feel "little."  I didn't even get butterflies on any of the lifts.  Wasn't worried at all about getting in over my head.  Felt confidant I could ski off any lift.  Which I'm not sure is more of a testament to the mellow (but still fun) terrain or my improving abilities on the K2's.  Either way, it was a welcome change and made for just a straight up fun time out playing in the snow.

I'm currently sitting in Aspen....I know, not really going balls-out on this re-introduction to the "real world," am I?  But sometimes change simply for the sake of change is what you really need.  I needed new mountains to see (including Mt. Sopris, my fave), new people to talk to, and new cafes to enjoy.  

Mission accomplished.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Friday

I realize that the calendar says Tuesday....but its Friday to me.  I celebrated accordingly.

I also wore a dress.  Never mind that it was -9 on my way to work this morning and we've had 33" of snow over the past few days.  I needed to wear a dress.

I should say that a dress at my place of employment, while not inappropriate, is grossly out of place.  But sometimes a girl just needs to remind herself that she's a girl, ya know?  Insulated boots and down parkas, while a requirement, get a little old.  I did still rock some fur lined boots and lycra tights with the dress.  But dammit, I had a dress on.

And I have to say, its amazing how little decisions can have an impact on your whole day.  That dress changed my whole disposition today in the best possible way.  

Happy Friday, indeed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tulsa Tough

Tulsa has a bike race.  Tulsa?  Land of pick-up trucks and oil wells?  I'm impressed.  Let's send them some love and give 'em some votes to get $50k to buy bikes for kids.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not ideal, but who can complain?

Admittedly, I've become a bit of a fair-weather skier.  When the mountain is in your backyard, and you can come and go as you please thanks to a season pass, the need for epic quad-busting days to maximize your economic return on the vacation days and lift ticket dollars invested becomes a thing of the past.  

Today's conditions were not ideal.  Especially considering low-light and/or low-visibility are my least favorite of all the mediocre skiing condition variables.  But I had to get out there anyway because THIRTEEN INCHES OF POWDER happened.  And while I still have no idea what I'm doing in powder (not gonna lie, my form gets downright ugly), the powder-fun meter has been gradually moving away from the "work" end of the spectrum and closer to "ok, I get it, this is kind-of enjoyable" side of things.

Today was no exception.  Super fun day bouncing around in the snow piles, decent little leg-workout, and all topped off with a stop at the crepe cart.  Nicely played, if I do say so.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Upon which she makes a triumphant return to the workout world

One hour and fifteen minutes.  That's how long I pushed my toochie around the nordic trails today.  And it felt amazing.  I guess I haven't lost as much fitness as I thought.  Mentally it felt like years since I'd had a decent workout, so its a huge relief to have pulled out a solid hour plus sweat-fest.

Came home and did some abs and stretching and even busted out the Vita-mix just to top it all off right.  Spinach, frozen banana, pineapple juice and water.....delicious.

And just like that.....she's back.  :)

I think the tunes really helped today.  I haven't tried music on the nordic trail yet, but its so similar to running that it makes total sense.  Except for the fact that I hate running, that is.  But I love the skiing.  I could have stayed out even longer but my hip flexors were saying, "um, hi....WHATareyoudoing? we don't normally work this hard....would you mind if we stopped now?"  So I obliged.

I normally struggle with workout music, but I managed to put together this decent little tunes list for today (I had to listen to it twice):

Need You Now (Live At the 52nd Grammy Awards), Lady Antebellum
I just love this song.....and its a great warm-up pace.

Even If It Breaks Your Heart, Will Hoge
Great pace for nordic skiing, but the lyrics make me love this one....
"....Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart

Some dreams stay with you forever
Drag you around and lead you back to where you were
Some dreams keep on getting better
Got to keep believing if you want to know for sure....."

Fugitive, David Gray
Also a great pace for the nordic skiing, and lyrics that don't suck.  I love David Gray and this is one of his faster paced songs I can get away with playing during a workout.  It was the first song on almost all of my training mixes leading up to the New York marathon, too.  Its kinda crazy to think about all that last year entailed.  Great way to pass time out on the trail.
"....gotta live, if only for a second, I see it twinkling in your eye, gotta try...."

Breathe (feat. Colbie Caillat), Taylor Swift
Admittedly, I'm not a huge Taylor Swift fan, but this one just kinda hits a nerve with some of the stuff floating around in my head these days.

Gypsy Woman,  Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights
I have no idea where I found this song, but I love it for workouts.

Sweet Somewhere Bound, Jackie Greene
Ok, I can only get away with this one on a nordic ski mix.  Its slow.  But it makes me think about gliding more.  And of fun times with visitors when Jackie Greene played this crazy little mountain town a few weeks ago (come back anytime, g).  And the lyrics don't suck on this one either.
"....I can’t tell you, no I can’t tell you
Which train I’m riding, which plane I’m on
But I can tell you, yes I can tell you
I’m standing right where I belong...."

Watch The Sunrise, Big Star
I got some Big Star from my brother-in-law and seeing how I'm a sucker for a nice little guitar tune, I like this one.  It feels like sitting around a campfire with good friends, drinking beers, rehashing the day's adventures, and maybe trying to solve a few of the worlds problems.  Smiles.

Idaho (Live), The BoDeans
Oh, the BoDeans.  To me the BoDeans will always be favorite local bands and summer beer tents with great friends -- who I am missing very much right now.  Great cool down vibe to this one.

So ya, it was a bit of a mental workout as well today.  I guess I didn't realize how much I missed the routine of getting out on a trail, or a road, with just me and my thoughts.  Funny how the simplest things can make all the difference.

I don't know if my head's back on straight yet....I didn't come up with any answers to life's questions out there....I still don't have a clue where my life is headed come April....but I can tell you I feel a lot better about all of it.

Ahhhh.....sweet trail therapy.  Gotta love it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another day in the life....

Today was a "get your life in order" day....that meant cleaning, paperwork (taxes!), laundry, library, post office, dog walk with a friend, a few stops on main street for odds and ends, grocery store.....  This is not to be confused with "figure out what the hell direction your life is headed" day.  That day has yet to be scheduled.

En route to the grocery store I did manage to try to sneak in a few sunset pictures.  I haven't quite mastered exposure with sunsets around here, but I'm more than willing to practice every chance I get.

Did I mention mountains make me smile?

They do...

You know what else makes me smile?  Chocolate chip cookies......that I made all by myself, from scratch, WITHOUT A HAND MIXER.  Apparently I wasn't thinking about baking when I packed the car for this western excursion.  Skis, yes.  Bike, yes.  Kitchen tools....notsomuch.

I earned those cookies.  

I'm also thinking I earned myself a two-workout day tomorrow thanks to those cookies.  Probably for the best, as tomorrow I'm hosting a hot tub dinner party!  :)  That's tub dinner party.  Yes, I know its a Thursday.  Welcome to my mountain life.  

Although I believe at any altitude, hot tub + dinner party = trytoburnasmanycaloriesaspossibleinthenext12hours

A Little R&R, Mountain-style

So needless to say, life's not all that stressful for me these days.  But when I had the chance to head up to a little five-star luxury hot springs resort for the day, I jumped on it anyway.

I had a cold.  Which totally justifies pampering if you ask me.

This place was wonderful.  Simply wonderful.  Not the swanky, modern style that comes to mind when one thinks "five-star luxury," but rather a peaceful, charming little restored mining town tucked up into the mountains.  I wanted to curl into a ball on a couch in the corner of the main house to nap, and read and stay forever.  Only to be interrupted by a call to the table for the amazing gourmet meals....and perhaps the occasional soak in the natural hot springs.

The remoteness of this place lent itself to some fun transportation too.  (though perhaps counter-productive to the relaxing?)

(No, that's not me....but I did my fair-share of enjoying some powder meadows on the way home too.)

Next time I want to complain about the crummy over-priced produce, or the tourists clogging up the parking garage....just remind me about days like this.  The perks of mountain living are certainly worth it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So I've pretty much got this off-season thing dialed in.  Ski, socialize, ski, repeat....

But there is an unanswered question that's hanging around in the thin mountain air,....will there be an on-season?

I don't belong to a gym.  (I can barely afford groceries in this town, a gym is a luxury I consider completely unjustifiable.  There is, after all, a mountain in my backyard.)  I have a bike on a trainer in my living room that I have ridden all of once.  Once.  All the hassle of getting it out here and getting it cleaned up and on the trainer and I have been on it once.  There is a running trail that I have yet to utilize because I'm terrified of slipping on the ice.

I do ski, but admittedly a ski day seems to typically involve a stop at some sort of drinking establishment on the mountain, which pretty much puts skiing as much in the "sport" category as bowling.  Yes, its recreation, but you can't really call it a workout.  Can you?

So what will come of The Slowest Triathlete when the snow melts?  Will there be more triathlons?  Or will off-season simply continue in perpetuity but transition from quad-burning downhills to calf-crunching, wind-sucking mountain climbs?

Good question.  Very good question.  If you come up with an answer, please let me know.  Right now, its anyone's guess.

I can tell you one thing....I miss training.  Life can get a little off-center in this crazy little mountain town and I think that getting back to a regular routine of training might be just what I need.  Whether that training is triathlon....well, time will tell.

Did I mention that road bike is worth at least two months rent?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cupid hits the tequila

Your Valentines' Day mountain town quote:

"Do you ski?  Because I just want to find a girl who is awesome.  And skis."

Oh, swoon.  What girl wouldn't want to live up to that expectation?
(I should state, for the record, he was a tourist.  A tourist who was unaccustomed to drinking at altitude.  Not very "awesome" tourist boy.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It Doesn't Have To Be Epic

I have a cold.  I was supposed to ski today.  I didn't.  Which should have sucked, really.  But instead it was an unexpectedly wonderful day.

A day spent piddling around home, then town -- this adorable little town -- in the sunshine.  Running errands.  The library, the post office.  Stopping for a favorite lunch treat.  Bumping into friends on the street.

What a fantastic day.

Days like this remind me of everything I love about mountain towns, and some of the forgotten reasons that I started this little adventure in the first place.

I took a minute to soak it all in from a bench in the sunshine.  This charmed little place, all with the backdrop of majestic peaks.  Turns out I don't need to be on the mountain to have a great day, I am perfectly content just to know that it is there.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Being restricted to the volume of my car when packing for my western adventure meant I didn't have the luxury of bringing non-essential items.  One of the few frivolous things that made the trek was a magnet that now hangs on the refrigerator in my new home in the mountains.  Its message more applicable every day as I live out this crazy dream and try to figure out where life's road is going to take me.

"happiness is a journey, not a destination.....
for a long time it seemed to me that
life was about to begin - real life.
but there was always some obstacle
in the way, something to be gotten
through first, some unfinished
business, time stil to be served,
a debt to be paid.  at last it dawned
on me that these obstacles were my
life.  this perspective has helped me
to see there is no way to happiness.
happiness is the way.  so treasure
every moment you have and
remember that time waits for no one."

Sometimes I have to remind myself -- hey, this is your life.  Today.  Not that thing that you're making plans for three months from now.  Its so easy to get caught up in the process and forget the everyday moments that end up being what life is really all about.  In my pre-mountain life, everything was temporary.  I never fully committed (at least mentally) to much of anything, because in the back of my mind I was always headed west.  Thing is, it took me 9 years to get here.  9 years is a lot of life to only half-live waiting for the next big thing.

Now that I'm here, living this supposed dream, it's easy to struggle with a similar problem....what's next? Is this what I wanted?  If it is, how am I going to make it permanent?  Because this dream is a time bomb, set to explode when the "just get there" job ends with the season.  And while this little squirrel made sure to stock up on nuts for the winter, that supply isn't infinite and you can only starve yourself for so long.

So I am trying to find balance, to enjoy this experience for what it is, to find the "happy" in everyday, while still making calculated moves toward the future.  Its not easy.

Conveniently, I was tagged by Laura to do just that -- find the "happy."  So this is one little chain-letter game I'll play along with.  What a great way to remember that there are so many little things in life to be thankful for.  Here goes, 10 things that make me happy, in no particular order:

* Mountains and everything about this crazy mountain life I'm living right now.  Even if it makes me want to rip out my hair at times.

* All the positive and supportive people in my life.  We make choices every day about how we spend our energy and who we share ourselves with.  I feel so lucky to have people in my life who are supportive in the best possible way, from brutal honesty to unconditional love. Talking or spending time with any of these people always makes me happy.

* Coffee.  Because, well, = all that is productive in my life before noon.  And productivity makes me happy.

* My bike.  And the fact that it is a prominent piece of furniture in my living room.  And that I could sell it to buy myself at least two more months in this town.  And yes, I have thought about that.

* My mac.  My lifeline to the world from this remote little mountain town and my TV-less condo.  I would be lost without it.

* Getting mail.  Real mail.  Like in an actual mailbox at the post office.  Bonus happiness if its in package form and contains goodies. 

* Skype.  Coolest. Invention. Ever.  I mean, besides the internet itself, of course.  And potatoes.

*New music, and people who send it to me.  :)  I'm too lazy to look for it myself. 

*Being able to say "ya, call me if you're up on the mountain tomorrow"....on a Wednesday.  Any Wednesday.  All winter.

*The fact that the grocery store has a parking lot.  Seriously.  This makes me very happy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Way too many Y chromosomes around here

Last night I witnessed a phenomenon I've not seen in quite some time.  Girls....a big group of them....out to dinner together.

I shed a little tear.

I did not realize until then how much I miss my girlfriends.  I miss Wednesday happy hours with my downtown work girls....I miss impromptu pot-luck nights with my runner girls.....the I've-known-you-forever comfort of girls nights/weekends with my high school girlfriends....and my workout-therapy girls (oh, how I could use some bike-therapy right now -- a solid 50-miler might not even be enough)....and don't even get me started about how much I miss my chips-and-salsa-solve-all-life's-problems girls.

I didn't realize how much I relied on these relationships until now.  The testosterone level in this town is exhausting.  I know that 7+ guys for every girl might seem like mountain town nirvana for a single adventure girl, but its not all its cracked up to be.

It would be so nice to have a group of girls to lean on right workout share wacky small mountain-town life stories with....and to generally over-analyze life with.  Girls that are here, in this town, living it with me.

But those relationships take time, and unique circumstances.  So while I'm waiting for the the perfect storm of friendship to develop, I thought I would take a minute to appreciate all those girls who've helped me along life's bumpy road to where I am now.

I miss all of you amazing, intelligent, and irreplaceable women I am lucky enough to call friends.  You know who you are.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chivalry dies without oxygen, apparently

(note: this one's been sitting for a was actually written a few weeks ago.)

I have dirty fingernails.  Dirty. Fingernails.

I am not the girl-iest of girlie-girls but, "ew."  I don't actually know how to get bike grease out from under my fingernails.  But sometimes a girls just gotta get it done, and if that means a little grease under the fingernails, well so be it.

And that is where this story should end.  Girl has dirty bike.  Girl lives very far from bike shops currently servicing bikes.  Girl takes matters into her own hands, gets a little dirty, but gets to feel all accomplished and independent and whatnot.

But no.  That's not exactly how it went.  You see, there was this boy.....this boy who offered up some garage space and assistance (or so I thought) in this bike cleaning fiasco that I found myself in.  So girl, loads up bike and drives to boy's house.  Boy makes space in garage.  Boy then sits on dirt bike and watches girl clean bike.

I'm pretty sure this is not the stuff that chick-flicks are made of.  Reese Witherspoon will not be playing the part of The Slowest Triathlete in a romantic comedy anytime soon.  I mean, what?  Is that they way things are done around these western states?  Girls fend for themselves?  Was I supposed to bring my own beer too?

Apparently.  Which seems odd to me considering that men outnumber the women in this town something like SEVEN to ONE.  You'd think they'd be all about helping out....even if it is under the ill-conceived premise of return favors.

I made some comment about chivalry and the response was "chivalry is not entirely dead, but it is your dirty bike."

Accurate statement?  Yes, but that attitude will certainly send a girl back to the well stocked pond when fishing for a mate.

In any case, point taken.  Suck it up mountain girl.  Its time you learn to fend for yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

When blog worlds collide

I have been reading both the j* blog and Stephanie Klein's blog for a while now.  So when Stephanie Klein guest posted on the j* blog -- well, it kinda rocked my world.  For a number of reasons.  The least of which is what she had to say about dreams, and risk, and how much I completely relate to that right now.

Please read and enjoy.

My little mountain B&B is closing up shop for February, so hopefully there will be a bit more blogging around here.  Because I assure you that the lack of blogging is not for lack of content.  But more the abundance of reasons not to sit down and write.