Friday, November 1, 2013


The first weekend in November brought one more trip.  My Uncle Ron had recently turned 70 and we were going to a party for him on the West side.  We stayed Chris and Carolyn. The highlight for me might have been getting to run. Pete, Chris, Carolyn and I braved the crazy wind and rain to run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute for 36 minutes.  That’s the kind of running I’d progressed to.  Chris and Carolyn are on-and-off again runner who are currently off so the run/walk method worked well and they thought they might even continue it. It was cool to think that I might have encouraged them to get out an exercise more often. 


Even though we were celebrating Ron’s birthday, it was actually my birthday and it was fun to get to celebrate it with family.  We stayed with my cousin Andrea and her family after the party.  The next morning Andrea went on a real run and Pete and I and Andrea’s husband Tim and their three boys all walked to the local coffee shop to meet Andrea for coffee after her run.  It gave me an idea of what it’s like to have kids. The jury is still out.


We met up with Chris, Carolyn, my mom and my sister Kelly at Portage Bay for brunch for my birthday before leaving town.  I went there with my friends Rachel and Michelle over the summer and I’ve been perseverating over it since.  It’s the best breakfast ever.  They have amazing gluten free French toast.  You wouldn’t know it’s gluten free; it’s so light and fluffy.  The best part is that they have a huge fruit buffet.  After your meal arrives you can go pile it high with berries.  It was a great way to celebrate my birthday. 


Portage Bay kicked off my month of Sunday morning breakfasts.  I’ve never really gotten into going out to breakfast.  I don’t like being full all day after a heavy meal.  Usually I have a couple workouts to do and I don’t want to have to do a long ride after a big breakfast.  But I have to admit, it’s starting to grow on me.  I can see how, if you really don’t have anything else to do, it’s a nice activity.  Unfortunately, that’s how my fall has felt, like I really don’t have anything to do.  So I eat.  Just kidding, I’m trying not to get out of shape as I rehab my hip, but I’m learning to enjoy simple pleasures like going out for Sunday brunch.


My running progressed in November to five minutes of running/one minute of walking for an hour.  With some changes to my gait I’m running faster than I used to and I don’t have any hip pain, so I’m hopeful that this long period of rehab is paying off.  I got to do ten minutes of one legged drills on the bike this week but it made my hip pretty sore, so it might have been too soon for that.  My swimming is back up to the volume it was before I broke my back and because my left side isn’t as tight from riding my bike, my stroke is improving.  So there are some encouraging things happening and I try to focus on those instead of the fact that I’m not training as I would like to be.  Hopefully December will bring more running and riding.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Hiking Little Mt. Si Hiking Little Mt. Si
Lots of murals in Philly Lots of murals in Philly
Interesting menu in Chinatown Interesting menu in Chinatown

fter my walking in Philly I came home and continued to walk, which started to cause me plantar fascia pain so I had to back off.  It was disappointing to have something as basic as walking taken away.  I was feeling like there wasn’t anything I could do.  I realized that if I walked with friends my feet were okay but when I walked on my own I walked too fast and they hurt.  It was a good reason to get together with friends so I started making walking and hiking dates.  My friend Haley and I hadn’t seen each other in a while so walk were a good way to catch up.  She’s been injured can’t run either so we can commiserate.


My cousin Andrea had planned months ago to do the Leavenworth half marathon in October; she invited any interested cousins to come along.  Pete and I met three of my cousins and their significant others there.  Since this is the year of injuries, nobody was actually running the race.  We went to Octoberfest, hiked and climbed.  It was probably more fun than planning the weekend around the race anyway. We decided to make it an annual event.


The following weekend Pete, Rachel, Michelle and I watched the Spokane Marathon on our cruisers.  My cousin Josie was doing her first marathon so we made a sign and cheered for her in several places.  We saw her at the beginning of Doomsday hill and she was looking pretty good.  But halfway up we saw that she stopped to walk.  It may have just been an excuse to run, but I decided to catch up to her and encourage her.  I had to run almost all the way up, in my jeans and bike helmet, to catch her.  It was fun!  Once I got up to her, I channeled my dad’s encouraging spirit and got her running again. I ran back down the hill happy that she was smiling and that I’d run.  Then I stopped and gasped.  I don’t think I’ll start my running with hill repeats.


After all that spectating, I went to Flagstaff, AZ for an alumni swim meet later in the month.  It was very low key, nobody timed the events and you just raised your hand if you wanted to swim.  Of course, I wanted to know my times. The pool was 25 meters, not yards and it was at 7000 feet, so times wouldn’t have meant much anyway.  The first event was 100 Freestyle.  At about 28 meters, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to the 50, let along the full 100.  I was trying to figure out how to get my friend Leia to dive in at the 50 and make it a relay.  My arms hurt so bad, I was out of breath, even my teeth hurt.  I’d forgotten what 7000 feet felt like.  I managed to finish, but only by sheer willpower.  I’m glad nobody was timing me. After that I stuck with 50s where I could out sprint the lack of oxygen at 7000 feet.


After the meet there was a fun reunion social and I saw swimmers and divers that I hadn’t seen in ten years.  I hiked through aspen groves in the San Francisco Peaks and through the red rocks of Sedona.  At this point I was just starting to run so I got to do a few one minute runs during my hikes.After seeing friends and sun in Arizona I wasn’t looking forward to going back home to rain and too much time spent at home without much to do.  


When my friend Jerry said I should stay another week and help put on his Terrain Mud Run race in Phoenix, I only hesitated long enough to call Pete and see if he minded.  He thought I should stay so I did.  We spent Tuesday through Friday setting up for the race.  I had no idea how much work went into a mud run.  We had to unload a semi full of obstacles, lumber and supplies.  Once we sorted out all of the different supplies we set up all of the obstacles including 20 foot climbing walls, 50 foot long traverse walls with giant cargo nets that weighed 400 pounds and had to be set up with a fork lift.  This isn’t work I’m really accustomed to, especially when it was 93 degrees out! But it was fun, I loved working with others and seeing the race come together.  I spend one day with Jerry’s mom marking the course.  That was actually more tiring than the manual labor the guys were doing to set up the obstacles.  It involved a lot of walking and re-walking the course and a lot less standing around thinking about how to set something up.  I still managed to get my swims in either at 5am or 7pm.  Swimming outdoors was nice because it was still so warm in October but I didn’t bring home a tan since I was always swimming in the dark.


On Saturday the race started at 9am and waves continued to start until 11:15.  There were almost 1500 participants and they all looked like they were having a great time.  From the fastest runners doing the 12 mile race to the girl in flip-flops holding a 64 oz. Big Gulp, everyone seemed to like getting muddy.  All the participants were gone by 1:00.  We stayed until 6:3

Monday, September 9, 2013


Swimming around Bartoo Island Swimming around Bartoo Island

I was anxious to start running again but instead the physical therapists decided I shouldn’t run OR ride.  That was disappointing, especially since I was just starting to have some strength again on the bike after riding so long without clipless pedals. Apparently, it’s my bike, not my running that has been causing my hip pain.  Without riding, my hip did begin to feel much better.  I thought that not riding was a compromise that would bring me to running sooner, but I never did get to run in September.


Instead I swam.  I swam around Baratoo islands, the last of the islands at Priest Lake.   Pete and I drove up to Priest Lake on a Wednesday early in September.  It was a perfect day, there wasn’t a boat on the lake and it was 90 degrees.  The water was warm and I didn’t even need my wetsuit.  It was a great way to end summer.


My friend Jayne and I drove to Seattle one weekend to take a couch over to my brother Chris and his wife Carolyn.  I hadn’t spent much time with Jayne but she seemed like she would be good company on the trip and someone that could handle my brother’s crazy dogs.  She was!  We went to a Seattle Sounders game and hiked Little Mount Si with Carolyn.  Chris was out of town touring with his band The Maldives.  They got back on Sunday and played a show in Auburn so we all went to watch.  It was a fun weekend and I got a chance to form a good friendship with Jayne.


From new friends to old, I went to Philadelphia to visit Erin, my best friend from growing up.  She showed me all of Philly, on foot.  The first day she said we could walk downtown.  After an hour of walking she said we were almost there, another half hour later, we FINALLY arrived.  My feet were sore.  And we still had to walk home!  I’m not cut out for that kind of exercise.  After a couple of days of walking, I adapted, and started to enjoy our four hour walking days.  Philly was a fun city with lots of art and sights to see.  It’s always fun to catch up with Erin and her husband Zolton.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hip Update

Dedication Dedication


My exercises are progressing and my pain is decreasing.  Actually, until the latest progression of exercises, I wasn’t really feeling any pain.  I was to the point where I would normally just start running again.  But since I’m trying to make my hip stronger, I’m sticking to the plan continuing with my exercises instead of running.  I notice now that when I hike or go upstairs my legs feel much stronger, my hips are level and my knees don’t fall in.  So I think I’m on the right track.  I got the OK to put clipless pedals back on my bike last week so that means it’s ok for me to use my hip flexors again.  In a couple weeks I think I get to start running a little!  I can’t wait!  I keep thinking that I should sign up for a fall race then I remember that I’ll be starting with 1 minute of running and that it will probably be a while before I’m ready for a half marathon or even a 10k, but that’s ok, I’ll just be happy to be running again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Island swimming update

Ready - Go! Ready - Go!
Island Swimming Island Swimming


Over Labor Day weekend Pete and I went to my aunt and uncle’s cabin at Priest Lake.  This meant I could use their boat to reach some islands to swim around.  On Sunday I swam around two little guys, Papoose and Four Mile Island.  Pete, Rachel and Michelle dropped me off and took bets on how long it would take to swim around them.  We were all surprised when it only took 4:28 to get around Papoose. Four Mile Island was a little bigger and took 12:48.


On Monday I planned to swim around Baratoo Island, the biggest of the islands.  But it was rainy and cold.  I decided instead to swim around the Twin Islands since they were smaller.  I didn’t want Pete to have to sit freeze in the boat for an hour and a half while I swam around Baritoo.  And, I didn’t really want to swim in the rough water and the rain.  When we got to the Eastern most Twin Island I was thinking how it seemed a lot less fun than it had the day before.  But once I dove in, it was great, the water was warmer than the air and I quickly became absorbed in the task at hand.  Not that it was a big task, these islands only took about 6 minutes each, so no real accomplishment but I was that I’d made myself do it instead of using one of the many excuses I came up with.  I was just getting back in the boat at 10:55 when Diana Nyad finished her historic swim from Havana to Florida.  I’ll remember that I was doing something for less impressive or taxing but that I was accomplishing a goal just to prove to myself that I could do it too.


I only have one island left and I think I can talk Pete or my mom into one more trip to the lake to kayak out to Baratoo with me and then escort me by kayak as I swim it.  


Pete suggested that next summer I try to swim all of the islands in one day.  That already sounds more exciting than just swimming all of them over the course of the summer.  I can’t wait for next year!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The critters have taken over

Holy Moly! Holy Moly!


Pete bent down to turn on the sprinklers this morning and found a furry little mole staring him in the face with a, “Who me?  No, I didn’t eat through your sprinkler pipes” look on his face.  Pete called me over to see him, he was really cute, kind of like a chubby mouse without the ears.  I assume he had ears but I think they were tucked away for better sprinkler crawling.  Pete wanted to turn the sprinklers on and drown the poor little guy.  He doesn’t critters who destroy his sprinklers.  I chased him out so he wouldn’t meet a wet demise.


Later I went out to change the sprinkler and the hole where the mole had been hanging out was full of water.  I saw bubbles and was afraid that the mole would soon bob to the surface, dead. I used a stick to stir the water up a little and suddenly a big frog jumped out!  Luckily the mole must have moved out and a frog moved in.  Phew!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Almost home

Oil change here I come! Oil change here I come!


We thought we would climb at Rattle Snake Gulch in the morning but Missoula and breakfast was calling so we packed up and headed to town.  Turns out, it wasn’t actually calling.  We couldn’t find anything open in Missoula.  We finally ended up in a truck stop diner East of West of Missoula.  I think I would have rather eaten my oatmeal out of the back of the car week but maybe it was a good way to work ourselves back into civilization.


One of the best parts of the trip is that I will need an oil change as soon as I get back.  When we bought my Subaru in 2011 we bought the Lifetime Oil Change for $500.  I’m keeping track of how much each oil change costs me.  I got an oil change on the Tuesday before we left and we will have driven almost exactly 3000 miles since then.  So, two weeks later, I get to take my car in for another oil change.  Subaru of Spokane will be so happy to see me.  This oil change will cost me less than $32 and that includes a car wash, which I really need and next time it will cost me even less!  Time to log some more miles.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Headed for home


We took a detour through the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.  Our dinner stop was a nice little grassy pull off alongside a creek.  We really wished we could camp there but the no camping signs were quite prevalent so we continued on.  There were lots of forest roads so we quickly found a forest service road to camp on.  I was starting to get a migraine when we went to bed.  I’m not sure if it was being at 8,000 feet or what but luckily it was gone when I woke. 


Saturday was spent mostly in the car with a few roadside distractions and a stop in Bozeman for a bike ride.  We found a trail to ride but it ended up being very rocky and steep, too steep for me to ride.  I rode on the nearby roads instead and got back just before a big wind and rain storm started.  We made dinner in Butte and drove through town to see if anything interesting happens in Butte on a Saturday night.  It does not.  We drove to Rattle Snake Gulch, about 50 miles East of Missoula to camp. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Needles

Climbing at the Needles Climbing at the Needles


After our trip to the big city we went back to climbing.  We drove the Needles Highway through Custer State Park and stopped to check out some climbs that were very run out with only one bolt for protection in 40 feet.  We didn’t want to risk falling off of them so we continued on to another climbing area.  There were some amazing rock formations and the Needles Highway was very scenic with a couple of 8.5 foot wide rock tunnels to drive through, definitely worth the drive.


Bands of crystals ran through the granite rock at the South Seas climbing area we did a few.  It was sharp on the fingers but made great holds.  On the last climb I started to feel my hip so we called it a day and headed to Sylvan Lake to swim then into Custer for lunch.  We enjoyed tacos from the taco truck in town then said goodbye to South Dakota and started driving home.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mental Tricks

Pete at Rushmore Pete at Rushmore


Back to Deadwood so I could swim again at the rec center.  You can’t beat a pool for $2.75 where they always have two lanes reserved for lap swimmers and never have any lap swimmers.  While I swam Pete washed our clothes at the laundry mat in Lead.  He didn’t know that the dryers were industrial strength and dried at about 100 degrees in 14 minutes, all for just 8 quarters.  Our clothes are all a little smaller than they used to be but they’re clean and that’s priceless.


We squeezed into our clean clothes and climbed near Mt Rushmore in the afternoon.  These climbs weren’t nearly as daunting as Devil’s Tower.  Pete led a few 5.7 and 5.8 climbs.  Once he had a rope set up on the easier climbs then we could try harder ones from the same anchors.  This way he didn’t have to risk leading them, it’s much easier on a top rope because you know the rope will protect you since you are hanging from it.  I came down off one of the 5.7’s that Pete climbed and he suggested I try the one next to it.  I hopped on it and did pretty well until I got half way and my foot slipped and I fell off.  Since Pete was belaying me I only slid an inch or two, not a problem.  But I wondered why I was struggling so much on the 5.8.  That’s when Pete mentioned that it was a 5.10.  Well no wonder.  I don’t know how I missed that.  But I made it up and was pleasantly surprised that I did.  It just shows you how much of climbing is mental.  Had I known it was a 5.10 I wouldn’t have tried it or if I had I wouldn’t have expected to be able to climb it.  Since I thought it was 5.8 I knew I should be able to so I kept trying.