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Archive for July, 2007

July training (and life) update

Friday, July 27th, 2007

it’s been quiet on this blog as I have no races yet to report, but in a couple more weeks I shall don the hot pink outfit once again to race my first tri for the team. In the meantime, I’ve been–oh, what else?–training. really, just eating, sleeping, and training all the time. Maybe not as much training as the senior members of the team, as I’ve got to slowly accustom my body to the volume, but for me anyway, it’s the most I’ve done in a while, if not ever. I don’t start residency for another week, so it’s something of a vacation for me. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy:

1. Unpacking. I’ve decreased the number of boxes stacked in the living room from 22 to 9, so in my opinion the unpacking progress is going smoothly, though my mom would say otherwise. The problem is that my childhood bedroom is completely full of things from, well, my childhood. Grade school, and middle school, and high school, and then the remnants of college, say, it’s 15+ years worth of stuff that needs to be sorted and discarded before I unpack the “new” stuff. It has been kind of fun opening up old boxes full of photos from my years as a high school runner and my first couple seasons as a triathlete!

2. Cheryl’s wedding. My cousin, who is a year older, got married over the weekend here in San Francisco. Of significance, it was the first wedding in our generation on my mother’s side; there are 15 grandkids on this side (see first pic), so of course all the relatives started clamouring “who’s next? who’s next?!” and interrogating us all about our (nonexistent) love lives. Ha, nonexistent for me anyway. I managed to hide my silly tan lines with halter-style dresses, I think it worked. It was really fun seeing everyone so dressed up and kind of grown-up. My favorite part about big Chinese weddings is the wedding banquet at night. oh, besides the food, all 10 courses or so, the bride has a couple of wardrobe changes. First it’s the traditional white/American wedding gown, then she gets into a traditional Chinese style dress, usually red, then finally it’s an evening gown/prom dress. Needless to say, Cheryl looked absolutely gorgeous, she hardly ever wears makeup and even had on these fake eyelashes that she called her “tarantulas.” I almost felt bad about broadcasting that embarassing story about her and the Coit Tower elevator boy… :P The rest of us had to settle for just a single wardrobe change, from the ceremony and reception in the morning to the banquet at night. Check it out:

15grandkids

me-and-nat

me-mandy-nat

jig-carrin-nat

jellyfish

cheers

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. oh, yes, I waited in line at midnight and absolutely devoured the final book. I was actually a bit annoyed that I had a wedding to go to, otherwise the 759-page behemoth would’ve been done sometime Saturday instead of Sunday afternoon. ha! I loved it, absolutely loved it, and think it’s definitely the best of the whole series. and even though the movies aren’t nearly as good as the books, it was so exciting I kept thinking “ooh, can’t wait til the movie comes out!”

4. Wine country half marathon. I did an open half a couple weeks ago as a training race to see where my run fitness was at, but also (more so) to go along with a friend who is training for her first marathon in October. Suffice it to say, I still have a ways to go. i.e., Coach wants me to take 15 minutes off that by next year…in a half iron. But as he said “we have to start somewhere.”

5. Westmoor cross country kids. So though my goals seem so far right now, I’m slowly but surely working my way up the totem pole. During a run a couple weeks ago, I was at my old stomping grounds (Lake Merced in SF), which was where our high school summer cross country practices were always held. Lo and behold, who should I run into (literally) but my old high school squad and coach. They all looked so small and skinny, I couldn’t help but think “was I ever that small?” well, the students are predominantly Asian, and I am a pretty big Asian girl (5’9″), so I was always bigger than, well, everyone except 4 boys in my graduating class (of 400). I’ve been attending some of the practices recently as somewhat of a mentor. A few years back, I had coached a season of track for them, in between college and grad school, but by now everyone I’ve coached has already graduated. Still, it is fun being back in the mix, remembering that a quick 12 years ago, it was my scrawny teenage self’s very first summer training to become a cross country runner. No endurance whatsoever, couldn’t even run the 4.5 miles around the lake without stopping to walk a couple of times. I hadn’t even learned to swim yet, come to think of it, “Ironman” back then was just a simple logo on my wristwatch.

So the high schoolers remind me that I have already come such a long way; being on this team reminds me that there is so much farther I can go. Instead of getting intimidated, I’m taking things one workout at a time, baby steps, I tell myself. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” says the coach. and Harry Potter didn’t defeat Voldemort in one book. (haha. couldn’t help it. :) )

back in California at last

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

pacifica-map2

Me and Guinness finally returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area last Sunday, after some airline delays…there are temperature regulations for flying with your dog, and unsurprisingly it was quite hot in Dallas…glad I got out of there before the brunt of the summer heat! On our second attempt, there was “something wrong with the plane”–they literally told us this–and I don’t know about you, but I’m more than happy to delay my flight for a plane that is functioning properly!

so we made it unscathed, G-dog did not get sick or cooked or lost as many had feared, and we are both happy as clams to be back here in Pacifica. or rather, I’m “back” here, he is here for the first time! I just adopted him last September and the two of us were previously in a 1-bedroom apt in Dallas. Now that we are living with my parents in the house I grew up in, he is loving the backyard and all the attention from his new family members, but is having some trouble learning to stay downstairs and off the couches.

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be moving back in with the parentals at 25 years old, I wouldn’t have believed you. But you know, it’s really not so bad at all. After barely scraping by on student loans as a grad student in Atlanta for 2 years, and then a year on the measley resident’s stipend in Dallas, I’m quite enamored with not having to pay for rent or utilities or groceries, and on top of that, be living in one of the best places to be a triathlete in America! The weather is perfect year-round, there are plenty of roads to ride with minimal stoplights, trails to run, hills everywhere, open water swims in both the ocean and the bay…and topped off with a warm home-cooked meal after every workout! That’s right, my mom is a great cook and happily acts as my personal chef and fantastic race sherpa. I’ve really come to appreciate living back home again and seeing the family on a daily basis after being away and only visiting three times a year. And to be honest, I’m not sure I could’ve lived here on my own anyway, with the cost of living being so high here. It was actually very normal for my mom’s generation to all live at home until they got married and moved out. My original plan was to “live at home for as long as I can tolerate.” We are coming up on the end of the first week, let’s see how long this feeling lasts… :)

The next residency doesn’t start until August 1st, so in the meantime I am enjoying my quasi-pro triathlete situation and training to my heart’s content. Did I mention the clean fresh air and low traffic volume? Pacifica is just south of San Francisco (it is only 5-10mins from here) so I am out of the city and all the traffic that comes with it. After being in the trafficky messes of Atlanta and Dallas I’m very impressed with how quick it is to get everywhere (traffic in SF is still better than my previous two cities as we are an environmentally friendly lot and use more public transit).

I’ve been “shopping” for a swimming pool. Not literally buying one (haha wouldn’t that be nice), but scoping out the local pools for the one that has the best hours and cleanest locker rooms. Water temperature is also a factor. I prefer to swim in colder water and the “pool of the day” was a balmy 84F/29C (I realize the rest of the world uses Celsius, so I have found a use for my cell phone’s unit converter). Yuck. That was actually my high school swimming pool, the very place I first learned to swim during freshman P.E. Yes, I was a late bloomer swimmer. I learned the basics of swimming at age 14 and didn’t try refining my stroke until I got to college and wanted to be a triathlete. I’ve gotten progressively better since then, but it is still probably my weakest leg, and Coach Sutto is making me swim 5x/week for the first time in my life. so my upper body is feeling…how do we say…some new sensations :)

pacifica

Running has been great, I’m revisiting my old stomping grounds–all my favorite places to run when I first fell in love with running as a scrawny teenager. On the bike (and on the run too, actually) I am pleasantly surprised with how well my body has taken to all the hills here after training in the pancake-flatness of Dallas. On my training schedule, there is one day where I am supposed to do a “hilly run.” I had to laugh, because all the runs here are hilly! I figured he meant an extra-hilly run, and took myself to these trails that go up so steeply there are wooden stairs implanted on the sides of the hill. The views are incredible at the top!

so anyway, I am loving it here. It is not Switzerland, but it is way cheaper for me and the hills are just as big. In my mind, anyway. :) happy training and racing y’all! oh, I must refrain from using “y’all” after living in the South for 3 yrs. Guinness, we’re not in Texas any more…only fruits and nuts here, no rednecks…hehe!