Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Last night, I laid in bed awake, thoughts racing through my head like sugar plum fairies, as usual. I'm unemployed and single (again, not that I'm advertising). Certainly this is not what I planned. Many friends and acquaintenances have offered their condolences. My mother even said I deserve a little good luck because I've had such bad luck the last 3 years. Each time, I'm taken back. Bad luck? Me? Funny, I'm the last to know.

On the contrary, I actually feel extremely fortunate. Maybe it's the massive doses of antidepressants talking but it could be so much worse. I have a wonderful family who supports me and lots of friends to turn to. I have amazing dogs and wonderful pets that keep me company. There are definitely pangs of loneliness that shoot through my chest, mostly late at night, but really, I'm never alone. I'm extremely lucky to have a family supporting me during this period of no income. I have food on the table and a roof over my head. I'm healthy and active and enjoy going out each and every day and getting my heart rate up, feeling the burn in my legs, and the sweat dripping down my forehead. I get to spend extra time romping through crests and canyons with my dogs. In addition, I get to use this time to invest in some of my other interests (which I have several), including volunteering at the animal shelter, painting, and writing. True, this isn't exactly what I want but I'm making the most of it. In no time at all, I will have that new dream job and enviously reflect on this downtime when free time was plentiful.

And when in doubt, I go for a run.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pick Me Up

Going through a lot of s*it right now. Needless to say, this was timely:

"Hello Rachel,

I'm writing this because I thought you and your readers might want to check out our article "Top 50 Inspiring Blogs by Athletes", wherein Diary of an amateur triathlete is listed at #28 ( Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any feedback. "


Finally, my massage therapist and friend, Jaclyn (, invited me to be one of the workout models for Channel 5 News' "Beach Body Abs" segment this morning. Look, Ma! I'm on TV!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Biking with Dad

A few weeks ago, I visited my family in NorCal. Even though my dad and I both bike, we had never actually biked together. I planned a fairly flat, 16-mile ride in Los Altos (difficult to find a flat ride in NorCal!). It was a trip down memory lane as we rode past stable upon stable where I used to ride as a kid. Can't wait to do it again soon!

Saddling up.

Getting started.


Go, Dad!

A very tame herd of deer grazing in a secluded valley.

Taking a break.

Get up that hill!

Perfect weather, gorgeous mountains, and great company.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Friggin' VD Day

Can I just say how much I hate Valentine's Day? For couples, there's pressure to be "romantic". There's nothing more un-romantic than a Hallmark holiday and marked up prices at crowded restaurants for luke-warm, mediocre food. Second, I hate roses. They've never brought me anything than bad luck (remind me to tell you the story of the day of the black roses). Anything laden with thorns sharp enough to draw blood should be warning enough to stay away. Has anyone ever tried to grow their own roses? They're pest magnets! Finally, chocolates are irresistable but they also make me fat. And I eat chocolate all the time. In fact, I'm trying to stay away from chocolate. Isn't it a little perverse to feed my addiction? In some circles, the romantic wooer might be labeled an enabler.

Needless to say, I have a lot of sh*t going on right now. As usual, this isn't the venue to discuss it (that's what my journal is for...and my memoir...check back in a year). Anwyay, as always, when the going gets tough, yadda, yadda, yadda, I go for a run. Last night was no different. I brought the dogs for company; we were all emotionally distraught (they feeding off me, of course). We all needed it. The cool, damp air smelled faintly of lilacs. Spring comes early in San Diego. The nighttime darkness encompassed me in a protective, hidden blanket. And so I rqan. I thought it would be more difficult. My head felt heavy and my mind was so clouded I couldn't see straight. But my feet remembered how to run so the rest of me went along for the ride. With each footstep, my thoughts slowed. Although my chest was burning and my legs pounding the pavement so hard, I had to pull on the dogs' leashes to encourage them to keep up, my mind went silent and still. Everything around me might be a whirlwind but at least I found a way to create stillness inside.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

2010 Year in Review

This year's analysis will be slightly different from previous years. No data crunching, no comparing total miles to previous years, no analyzing whether or not I've gotten faster. Sorry to disappoint. Why the change? To be honest, I just don't care. It's just not important to me. The thought of doing all that number crunching is no longer exciting. Just more busy work. Yes, I do still follow a training plan (albeit less structured), and I do keep track of my volume but becoming faster so I can move up a few slots in my age group just doesn't matter to me anymore.

I used to care about that stuff. I would say I didn't but inside I secretly craved faster times. What happened? Well, after a 6-month lay-off and serious burnout, all I care about right now is being involved in something active and healthy that I love. I still have a passion for swimming, biking, running but for me, it's more the act of doing those activities than winning a race. I still plan on racing, don't get me wrong (I just signed up for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon, btw). It's just that instead of training to race, I now race to train. I simply love the training more than racing. There's nothing better to me than a relaxed group ride through the San Diego's back country, a long, solo trail run, a swim in the ocean on a calm day when the water is smooth as glass. These experiences are what keep me going. And to top it all off, I get to blog about it afterwards!

But let's return to 2010. The year was pretty dismal. I had my heart broken and was stuck in a job I hated with a lay-off date looming in the not-so-distant future. To top it off, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find a new job (still can't, actually). All I can say is, thank God for triathlon! It got me through (as always). I did Ironman Utah (my 3rd) and had the best Ironman race of my life. In addition, I actually trained for this race less than previous years and did better. Groundbreaking. Sometimes less is actually more, especially for the chronically overtrained triathlete. (I also PR'ed at CA 70.3 so I got faster without training as much or trying as hard. Bonus!) In addition, I tried new things. I climbed Mt. Baldy (actually, Mt. San Antonio, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains at 10,000 feet), my first experience with mountaineering. And it was amazing! I did my first ultramarathon (Oriflamme 50K), and it was fantastic! These experiences were instrumental in healing my wounds. Not only that, I can look back on 2010 and realize there were a lot of good events, hiding in the shadows of the bad ones.

Unfortunately, instead of spreading out these events over the course of a year, I did them all within a few months. The perfect storm. I crashed and burned harder than I ever have before. I learned (yet again) that I'm not Superwoman (I'm not?). After Ironman Utah, I couldn't get off the couch due to severe burnout. This is the first time I've experienced burnout, and let me tell you, it SUCKED! I think I'd rather have an injury! After working out only a handful of times in 6 months, I finally sucked it up and began the long road back to fitness.

And now, it's 2011. I'm moving forward (slowly) after my 6-month stagnation. I'm slowly and tediously climbing back onto the wagon. My fitness isn't what it was but it is coming back. After completing a VERY hilly trail half-marathon 2 weeks ago (Buffalo Run in Catalina), I finally feel like I got my mojo back. I'm doing lots of trail running and setting my sights on an ultramarathon. With my confidence building and the realization that I'm not going to train if I don't have a race big enough to scare me into it, I signed up for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon ( Who's with me?

2009 Year in Review