Ya know your knee is better when...

...the worst thing about your morning 80min run was merely an almost-blister, and only because you just took brand new shoes outta the box.  Alas!!!   Hollah!!!  
(These Newtons rock!)

Still kickin...for the most part - Part II

As for me...lots of work but squeezed in some cool R&R here and there...

- tested out the knee at a race -- yep, XTERRA baby!;
- visited some great friends in NV/CA; MTB'd at Tahoe;
- ran  "Donkey" into the ground;
- hosted some cool family members in and around AZ & even discovered some things;
- was "bullied" into some shotty bungee/slingshot flying appartus (which was operated by teenagers...ugh);
- paddleboard'ed in the pacific;
- snorkeled about every day in the pacific until my face was purple and I was freezing my tata's off;
- tried (again) to partake in some yoga (ugh); 
- finally got my motorcycle license (during which I popped my first wheelie...oops);
- reconnected with some long-time friends, most of whom need to get their butts to AZ to visit! 
- watched in amazement when CB did all sorts of awe-inspiring stuff...willingly shuttled donkey up casner mountain, smiling, when I couldn't; built some gorgeous furniture; levitated up gnarly trails on his new 29'er, and more!
- returned to Cochise county...even got in some MTB;

I'll try to add some good stories over the next few days, but for now, here are some pics...

Still kickin...for the most part - Part I

Ok, well I'm not even sure where to start because I've been somewhat MIA from this site all summer. Lots going on and my head is still spinning...in a good way of course. I'll put together a few short posts to bring ya up to date....

First and foremost, our super cool Papa passed away a few weeks ago....after 92 solid years! While it's horrible for all of us, especially my grandmother (they were married for 68 years!!! wow!!), he was certainly ready to go and was tired of not being able to be more active as he was pretty active his entire life. He was such a great man, a cool buddy, and of course we will all miss him terribly. A great inspiration for all of us! :-)


Swam around the island from this remote spot.  The water was soooo clear...lotsa little fishies, starfish, etc.

Another beach.

Ran up (not down) this hill almost everyday...notice the little church at the top (for perspective).

(the same church)

Incredible...these famous ol' maidens!

And a modern-day ol' maiden  :-)
(...flanked by about a thousand other tourists.)

 (Sorry, couldn't resist!)


as much as i hate traveling/flying these days (as it seems that's all i do anymore), i made one of the best decisions ever earlier this week:

i chose to fly home to az to spend a mere 38 hours. but ya know what? it was so eff-ing worth it!!  i totally got my fix! :-)  later this week, i'm going on one of the 1st 'vacations' i've been on in a long time....the mediterranean!  actually, the thought of flying back across the atlantic yet again seems overwhelmingly daunting for this girl who can't stand sitting still for more than 5 minutes, but geeeez, i really really really needed to ride my bike, to try to run on a knee-in-mending, breathe the northern AZ air, smell the junipers, hear the quail, etc.. it's totally like a drug for me! (the good kind of course!)

so, is it crazy that i flew all the way from WDC to AZ (looong flights, crowded airports, coach seating, long drive home from the airport, etc.) JUST TO RIDE MY BIKE for less than two days??? absolutely not! here's what a gal can do in such a short amount of time...

* mtb!
...rode the mountain bike for 8-9 hours! lots of fun, twisty singletrack, uphill, downhills (which i handled quite smoothly this time, yay!!). thunder mountain, deadman pass, cockscomb, dawa, soldiers pass, up the ol' standby schnebly mountain, down munds wagon trail, templeton, ht, the jumps behind courthouse rock (woo hoo...caught some air...yes me!), some road in between.  i finally got to test out my new Team XTERRA shorts.  they were fantabulous and i'm hoping to be up for at least one xterra in the next month or two.  on that note, mtb state finals have come and gone, and despite the knee issues, i had a great time and got to learn a lot of new lines!  looks like i'm a cat-1 lifer!

* hike!
...nothing major, but got up at around 5am to sip on coffee and hit the trails behind the house in search of javelina and the perfect sunrise spot.   the perk of jetlag is that i always wake up so early in az....another yay!

* donkey! 
...took "donkey" out of his stall (garage) and straight to some ol jeep trails. he was so happy to be outside that he didn't even try to buck me off even once! also, i think i've finally gotten the whole kickstart ordeal worked out.

* splash!
...nope, i didn't suffer thru any boring laps. i simply went to the pool with my smoked MTB legs and jumped in the cold pool. soaked all my lactic acid away so the legs would be ready to play again asap!

* run!
...well, sorta.  the knee definitely is not 100% as it still sorta hurts (and it might forever), BUT BUT BUT it is much better since all those little bone shards were removed (from the surgery), and so i galloped a fun 6-miler on the trails behind the house. i jogged the downhills and blasted the uphills.

* critters!
...in the short span, i saw a fox, coyote, roadrunner, lots of rabbits, jackrabbits, tons of lizards/geckos, companies of quail, etc....but no javelina, no mountain lions...which is probably a good thing!

i'm gonna have to brush my teeth a zillion times just to get all the bugs and dirt out of my teeth, for i couldn't stop grinning and hanging my teeth out for the entire time i got to spend at home. yep, i'm a mtb-riding, juniper sniffing, crack-addict....totally fixed, totally reinvigorated, totally recharged, and ready for whatever comes next, which, sadly, is taking another red-eye tonight back to WDC, just to catch another red-eye tomorrow to the mediterranean (where i actually plan to sleep siesta sleep siesta; it's been a busy few months).

anyway, it was a lesson learned in squeezing what ya can outta life.

what's your fix???

absolutely smashed!! :-)

Things are looking up...

Of course, no running yet, although I did trudge/run up the stairwell in a 26-story building many many many times (opted for the elevator down :-).  And after weeks (seemed like years), I continued to spin spin spin away on my road bike/trainer...even "rode" on the back deck a few times.

Now that I'm back from the long "roadtrip" down south, and up north, and back home, I hope to venture out on the mountain bike to reunite with dirt, endorphins and sweat!  The Doc still says no running and no extra weight to carry around, but that I'm waaay ahead of the recovery 'norms'.  I had gained pretty much full range of motion by week-2.  The scar tissue is still built up pretty thick on one side of my knee cap, and they say that might take 6+ months or more to dissolve.  As far as whether or not I'll be able to run competitively or even for fun anymore, time will tell.  Not even being able to try it now is at least keeping me optimistic :-)

So, to recap the past few weeks, here're some highlights...

Nothing I want to experience again.  I had an outstanding ortho surgeon who I'd promptly recommend to anyone.  He's young and athletic and though he's pretty strict w/me, he "gets" me and is on board to get me back on the trail soon.  Also, I must mention, I was the worst patient ever ever ever.  Grouchy and a big cry baby.  I went off the painkillers on day #1 (sick) and in exchange, sadly, made it more painful for a certain dude trying to take care of me.  Whah whah whah.  (If I act like that again, just kick me! :-)  Dedicated physical therapy, movies and ipod scrabble kept me occupied for a while, and I lasted a few minutes on Call of Duty before I hurled the controller!  (Bring back donkey kong and the simple atari joystick!)

The day I was loading up the truck for my roadtrip back east, lo and behold a white angora rabbit hopped up to the truck and just sat there staring up at me looking all pathetic. Well, as you might imagine, a white rabbit doesn't llast long in the desert, for ravens, coyotes, etc. love to chow down on such pristine sad little bunnies such as this one. So, I made the mistake of seeing him and subsequently felt responsible to find his owner. It was a week before Easter so I didn't want some dumb kid crying because his rabbit ran off. I posted a listing on craigslist and signs around the neighborhood, and then let him stay in the spare bathroom overnight. (Note: he loved leftover Whole Foods organic salad.)  As no one had called and I had to hit the road, I took him the next day to the Humane Society. (A few days later, the "owners" noticed the signs and called me...I directed them to the HS...tbd.)

The US is big.   Really big.  I've driven x-country numerous times, but its size continues to impress me.  Other than stopping regularly to stretch my knee and do some physical therapy, I pushed straight thru to FLA.  The truck (the Buffalo) is well equipped for long excursions -- a memory-foam mattress and satellite radio have changed my world!!  :-)

And caffeine and compression-wear kept me truckin on down the road!!

--FLA -
I have the coolest grandparents!  Papa more freely speaks his mind, and Nanny more freely assigns me chores.  It was great to spend some time with them!  Even got to reunite w/one of my bestest childhood friends ever!!!  ("Hoots and Glutes!" :-)

--DC/VA...and even some NC -
Did some jobscouting and hung out w/my 'nurse'...the one and only CB.  Speaking of chores...he even had me knocking out drywall.  It was fun for the first few whacks of the hammer...an hour later, not so much.  I also got to hang out w/some friends and even my cool cousin, all whom I rarely get to see! 

Found a great pool/fitness center in Little Rock for a much needed swim and workout.  Even took the bike out for a light spin and saw some monkeys at the zoo.  Then, got to eat waaaay too many green chili's in the Sandia Mountains of NM w/my family.  Hunkered down there for a night and introduced my little cousin to the Nacirema essay.

What's next?  Well, other than weaning myself off 5x shots of espresso-a-day, I'm heading back to work for a few weeks and hopefully continue the rehab so I can knock out a few races this season.  Happy trails...


OL' LEFTY. . .
Ok, so yes, I finally found a doc who not only comes w/outstanding credentials/experience, he also seems to "get" that I really really really want to play for 70+ more years (ok, I'll take 60 too!).  He's going inside ol' lefty in about 2x weeks.  Perhaps I'm being a bit naive about this all, because I thought I'd actually be able to drive myself home for the 2-hour drive up the Mogollon Rim the same day as the operation.  (I mean, my truck is an automatic, for goodness sake, and I really don't NEED my left leg for driving do I??!!)    Errr, the doc said NOT!   Also, I had to go pick-up and get trained on these 2 devices that look pretty medieval and seem to require about 500 volts of electricity...but apparently combined they'll keep my knee cool (think ice, without the mess and frostbite) and free of scar tissue (think an automatic lazyboy designed just for a leg and keeps straightening/bending that leg nonstop for 8+ hours a day).  I've learned how to use the DVR and have already recorded a lot of movies to hopefully keep me from going stir crazy cooped up inside.  Any ideas??


Not sure how many triathlons/ excursions /grand canyon trips I'll be able to take over the next few months (??), but I'm optimistic for sure!  I've learned that I really like the routine of it all, even when sometimes there's absolutely no routine at all.  And of course, I LOVE getting that heartrate up on great western trails!!  Even if I can't race any XTERRAs this year, I still hope to at least go volunteer at some (Ive always wanted to try out the "other side" anyway.)  I have been dabbling in some mtb racing though.  Ol lefty doesn't particularly like it and I have to "peg-leg" a lot, especially on the technical downhills, stairsteps, etc..  BUT it's still so worth it to be outside, pushing limits, and avoiding being mountain lion dinner for even one more day! I even got in an inadvertent night-ride this week.

Did some camping this week.  Nothing crazy, but ended up in a pretty cool and very isolated area.  Saw no people for days...only a few coyotes, lots of jackrabbits and geckos, and a handful of cows.  Somehow cheap instant coffee on a desert morning in a remote site ALWAYS trumps the coveted starbucks 1-pump sugarfree vanilla soy latte extra hot :-)


What do Lake Tahoe summers & Northern Virginia blizzards have in common?

. . . they both require scuba socks! 

So, I'm on day 3 of being stuck in this "knickerbacher-part-II" blizzard here...they say over 2 feet of snow!  All flights remain cancelled.  Never a good place to spend time anyway, and certainly not during a crazy blizzard!  Fortunately, a great coffee and taco-loving amigo let me crash at his casa, and I watched more movies, played more ipod-scrabble and ate more junk carbs than I'd like to admit.  BUT I did spend about 4 hours outside anyway, tried some snowshoe'ing, shoveled some snow and even ran a few miles.  (The plowers must've thought I was nuts as I caught 2x taking my pic w/their phones??)     The trick for this desert rat was to wear my scuba/tri socks, which I've learned to always keep in my swim bag.  Voila!!

Am soooo ready to head back to AZ!!!

Never ceases to impress me...

I love coming home to this view...  (click it to zoom and appreciate!)

Of course, I'd hoped to ride, ride, ride, but we got pounded by one of the worst snow storms in recent recorded history...yep, in Arizona.  Here at the casa, we did get some snow, but it was a lot of rain too.  All the roads were closed (at least to the places I wanted to go).  Flagstaff airport was closed as was Phoenix for a while.  It was crazy.  It did afford me (alot) of time to ride the road bike, the gorgeous Edwin ; however, it was all indoors on the trainer.   I did manage to to swim OUTDOORS (heated pool) under falling rain/snow.  It definitely didn't help me and my already-lack-of-love for lap swimming, but at least I was able to do something. 

Now it's sunny again.  The trails are still soaked but they should be dried out and ready for me in the next few days!