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Archive for April, 2009

This hasn’t been my year so far!…Or has it?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

This past Sunday, I started my day with a solid swim workout (with a hard main set of pulling) and headed over to the coffee shop to take care of some Internet business (i.e., check out Team TBB and our forum). It was looking to be a standard great day. After the ‘Net gains I decided I’d take the time to stop by the market, and pick up a few items for a stellar apple salad recipe my mom gave me. She made the salad while I was home and boy did I dive into it! I love it: nuts, apples, and celery – similar to a Warldolf Salad. After putting the truck in park, I dashed into the grocery store for a mere five minutes.

When I limped back to the car (because of the cast still stuck on my right leg), I saw that the driver’s side door to Chuckie’s truck was slightly ajar. My first thought was “oh, no, I messed up.” My second thought, “I really screwed up.”

This wasn’t the first time something was stolen from me this year (my video camera and my iPod were stolen in the Philippines when the perpetrator broke into our apartment), but this time it was more than just a few pictures on a camera. It was my laptop computer, my training notes, and my newly purchased Celtic sea salt (I looked high and low for this stuff!). But the worst of it, all the information on the computer was not saved on my memory stick; I get lazy in remembering to back things up. My training diary with all Doc’s secret Jedi training was gone!

After a very big rampage that included me screaming, jumping up and down, and throwing everything I could out of the truck (maybe someone was playing a trick on me and hid my computer bag), I sat myself down and gained control. I’ve been mad at myself before but not like this. I lost a lot of information and felt totally exposed to the world. I looked everywhere in the truck, around the truck, under the truck, in the parking lot and even back in the store (maybe I was stupid enough not to remember I wore the pack in the store). No luck. It was gone. My cell phone, my iPOD charger and a few other items were also in the same bag. The thief got a good grab!

It was a lost cause to report my computer stolen from an unlocked vehicle, so I didn’t take the time to do so. There was no way they were going to catch this guy. I hung my head low and preceded to the local library so I could get some Internet access and try to save all the minutes I just purchased on my pre-paid cell phone. I managed to deactivate the old phone and get a new one for only 10 bucks. At least that was fixed. At home, I started writing everything I remembered from the TBB camp in the Philippines—my training notes and whatever else I could think of that I know I’ll need in the future. I wrote a number of pages.

Chuckie came home shortly thereafter and boy was I in for the lecture of my life. He hates disorganization and disarray, and when it’s as important as what I lost, I couldn’t imagine what I was in for. Mind you, I already gave myself more than just a lecture but a severe personal beating. So when I faced the music, I could only cry and get even angrier with myself.

After one very restless night, I rolled over with more determination than ever to be organized. I realized I needed to make some big changes in my life. This is a prime example of how not to be a champion. As Doc would say, you’re only kidding yourself.

That morning, I went to check my email at the library again. I had two emails: one spam and one from a name I didn’t recognize. I was just about to delete but thought I’d at least glance at it. The guy wrote, “I recently purchased an item on Craigslist and I believe it may be yours. If you’ve had something stolen recently please describe it.”

What the?!

I quickly emailed him back and explained to him that my computer was stolen yesterday. I described it and gave him my new phone number. Less than five minutes later, the phone rang. Mr. Good Samaritan had my computer! I couldn’t believe it! Chuckie told me to slow down; here’s some random guy emailing you, only a day after your computer is stolen. I did a trusty Google search and quickly found out that our Mr. GS was 19 years of age, fresh out of the local high school, and now attending college in Santa Maria. I was sure I had the same guy on the line because he sounded young and he lived in Santa Maria.

I called the sheriffs department next, and reported my stolen items. The officer said that Mr. GS and I could do an “exchange of property”. We met at the sheriff’s substation in Santa Maria the following day. Mr. GS paid $300 dollars for the computer. Technically, I didn’t have to pay him anything, since he was in possession of stolen property (so said the deputy), but how could I not? It’s not everyday you meet such an honest and sincere human being! He basically thought the deal was “too good to be true” and then searched the computer for my email address! I felt more than obligated to give him the money he paid for it. I tried to offer him a financial reward as well but he wouldn’t take it. Who raised this kid?!

I’ve never met someone so honest, sincere and young. It still astounds me! It makes me question myself: “If I found a wallet with $300 bucks in it, would I keep it or try to find the owner?” I couldn’t thank Mr. GS enough.

So, this brings me back to the title of this blog, “This hasn’t been my year so far! Or has it?”

I’ve had a lot of things happen to me in a mere three months: good, bad and ugly. But through all of this, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Doc showed me how weak I was, the camp showed me how strong elite Ironman athletes are. I’ve been taught that I wasn’t giving it 100%, that my mind was scattered and I’d never achieve my dreams the way I was going. The stolen camera, iPod, computer and phone all happened because I didn’t make sure doors were locked. I’m grateful to have my computer back but I have to ask myself, “why do I have all these gadgets anyway?” I need to simplify my life. More importantly, I need to quit being so mentally scattered.

Three months ago I was a naïve, happy-go-lucky 26-year old. I thought I was ready to be a World Champion in one year! Now I’m injured (but on the mend!) and continue to make mistakes left and right. I either need to step up to the plate of being a champion or realize that yes, I am only kidding myself.

I’m trying to change my mindset and my ways. Being reprimanded a few times by both Doc and Chuckie will do this. I need to be disciplined, smart, thorough and quit making dumb mistakes. Chuckie was ready to give up on me; I was ready to give up on myself. He yelled at me, “BE IN THE MOMENT WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO, NO MATTER HOW TRIVIAL IT SEEMS!” I’m realizing from both of these great coaches that my mind is too wishy-washy and lacks focus. I’m never going to be a champion like this.

A few more wallops to the head and I think I’ll have it. When I eat, I eat. When I drink, I drink. When I swim, I swim! Chuckie says I need to go alpine climbing, where a simple mistake could cost you your life…“this way maybe you’ll learn.”

I’ll focus on one day at a time, one task at a time, one moment at a time. I know more mistakes will be made but I’m determined to make fewer and fewer. I’m not going to live a life of forgetfulness and mediocrity. Ironman is for athletes made of iron. When I get in the ring to fight again I hope to be as hard as nails. The song, Get in the Ring by Guns N Roses is blasting away in my head right now, but only because I’m through writing this. One thing at a time.

Swimming in busy lanes.

Friday, April 24th, 2009

For the last few weeks I’ve been swimming…a lot! With this, I’ve learned a few tips when swimming with a handful of lane swimmers and non-lane swimmers alike!

Tip #1: If you want to feel like you’re going fast, swim in the recreational lane and weave in/out of the bobbers (aka breast-stroke swimmers with a belt on)!

Tip #2: If your lane is right beside the ‘play’ area for kids and you find kids swimming/playing with your lane rope, grab one of those dangling legs as you swim pass. You’ll go much faster, even for just an instant! And your next lap will be free of obstacles!

Tip #3: Don’t pull on your swim cap too much…it splits in two!

Tip #4: If you’re swimming with 6-8 swimmers in one lane and you’re all swimming at different speeds, pick your time to start your intervals. Give yourself a whole lane length between the next swimmer. If this isn’t possible, try Tip #2.

Tip #5: Swimming HURTS. Remember this for every stroke.

Life choices.

Friday, April 17th, 2009

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For the last week I’ve been staying with my older sister (3 years older), Miranda. She’s a mom, a great one, with two kids. The oldest is the cutest little girl, Avery, who is turning three next week. Her younger brother, Reagan is a mere 5 months old. Miranda is on maternity leave until November. Yes, that’s November! Here in Canada maternity leave is 1 full year (unlike America where it’s 6 weeks)!

I get to be the great Auntie Angie who lets Avery run around the grocery store with no control, and leave a mess of toys in each room we play. For Reagan, I’ve stayed my distance after his ‘feedings.’ He has learned to projectile vomit with pleasure. Uuugh!

So my reason in writing this post is the whole idea of life choices.
I want to compare how two totally different lives can make two people happy.

Miranda vs. Angela

She gets up at the crack of dawn to two feet pounding down the hallway and a baby laughing in his crib. In order to keep up with the energy, a full pot of coffee so strong a spoon can stand in it, is required. After asking Avery what she wants for breakfast and making the complete opposit, Miranda finally eats the left-overs of bread crusts and eggs.

It’s then time to get dressed. This may sound easy but dressing a three-year-old who wants to play, “you can’t catch me,” is a challenge. All the while, Reagan has preceded to poop his pants, and drool all down his jammies.

Most days, Avery enjoys her mid-mornings either painting outside, playing with her toys or doing crafts. Miranda cleans the house, gets dressed, packs bags, makes lunch, attempts to shower, do the laundry, and naps the baby (if he is able to nap). It’s amazing how such mundane things can make a person happy. Miranda does this to see the drooling baby smile, and the high energy three-year-old make a painting of scary monsters with a smile so big one can only smile back.

Now seeing Miranda as a mom is surprising to me. Miranda is highly educated and has a full-time position as a chartered accountant that she will continue after her maternity leave. If you compared her and I four years ago, one would say she was the most selfish person you’ve met. She is very ‘stylish’ and enjoys her Starbuck’s coffee not just daily, but 5x daily. But now you see her changing poopy diapers and still in her pajamas at 10 am!

Anyway, back to her day. Miranda is forever in the kitchen making snacks and preparing meals. She does about a load of laundry a day. When they do get out of the house, it’s a 30-minute process of chasing Avery, packing bags and changing, yet another diaper. This goes on ALL day! I’ve yet to see Miranda read a book, let alone have 10 minutes to herself. Her husband comes home in mid-afternoon. The family then enjoys some time outside, they go for a walk or do some ‘errands’ in town.

Now, my life. I try to keep it simple. My life revolves around me! I like it this way. As an athlete, I make meals for me, when I want and what I want (except when Chuckie is around…he eats a lot of my meals too). I train throughout the day, and takes naps/rests as needed. I won’t get into the details, as I think everyone knows who is reading this, that an athlete’s day consists of training, eating and sleeping! And I wouldn’t want in any other way.

Being with Miranda and the kids has made me realize a few things about myself:
1. I’m definitely not mom material.
2. I’m not ready to have children, maybe not at all!
3. I’m 100% an athlete.
4. I define who I am through my sport. AND I LOVE IT!

Miranda has left me with Reagan while she drops off Avery at pre-school. I told her not to be too long! He’s just puked, he’s crying and yes, just pooped his pants! Double uuugh! I’m off to be a mom until the real mom gets back. I’m not ready for this responsibility! Will I ever? Hmmm, not for at least a decade! Maybe two!

This is all in good cheer as I know Miranda is happy with her life. I never thought one could be happy doing what she does. Being a mom takes work! I’d rather put the energy in busting out a swim set in the pool!

Two different people, two different lives. :)

Canadians

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

“This weather is crazy eh?”
“Oh yeah, look at all the snow eh?”
“We haven’t had this much snow in April since the 80s!”
“Oh, I know eh!”

Northern Canadians’ in a nut shell.

Swimming is going well. I could hardly swim today because my arms were burning. I love the paddles!

TV at its best!

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

At home, my parent’s home that is, I have full reign of the television. I turned it on, the Sports Channel of course, and couldn’t believe it! The 2008 70.3 World Championships were on! I was stoked! Maybe I would get to see myself finish!

After thirty seconds of preview, a commercial brought my excitement to a screeching halt. I hate commercials. It’s why I don’t watch television. Five minutes later, it was on again. I was like a kid watching a home video for the first time. I was going to be on TV! Unfortunately, only the top 5 in the pro men and women were featured. At least I got to see Reinaldo. He looked HOT HOT HOT out there!

I also saw the packs that formed during the bike. As a participant, I never saw the top 4 ladies the whole race! I hate packs that form. My fire is blazing! NO ONE will ever suck on my wheel!

I’m sending strong vibes to my leg right now to heal faster! :) I think it’s working…

Home to Canada for 3 weeks

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I’m back at home in Prince George, BC, where the weather is anything but nice! Coming from sunny California to dense fog, snow on the ground, and rain during the day, doesn’t seem like a worthwhile trip! However, Canada has its positives: free medical and my family. Best of all though, is the 50-metre 10-lane pool I get to swim in daily!

With no running or cycling for a while longer, my skin is turning scaly and dry as bark. I made the mistake these last few days after showering, putting on skin body wash rather than lotion! No wonder the white film I plastered on my legs and arms never soaked in!

I’m learning about patience more than ever now. Twiddling your thumbs is now a task I’m proud to say I’ve mastered!

I’m learning to walk and jump with crutches as well. There are a number of puddles, snow banks and pot-holes that one must meanuaveur through if they want to get anywhere in Prince George. The pot-holes are the worst I’ve seen. The roads here get extremely cracked after a long winter from the expansion of the ice, in and under the pavement. I have no idea how I managed a road bike when I did live here full-time. I won’t be complaining about the bumby roads in California anytime soon! As a matter of fact, I won’t be complaining about riding my bike, EVER! :) …Except, if it involves getting those flats day after day (5 in one week) that I had while in PI! I still blame it on the monkeys!