Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Retiring Choir Robes for Spandex

Those of you who really know me, know that I spent pretty much 30 of my 33.8 years of my life in music. Whether it was dancing in my basement to a Zanadu record as a child, or deciphering budget line items for a performing arts grant - music was my life. Oh yeah, I ran too. But, mostly to stay in shape. It wasn't a life-long goal or anything. I just wanted to look/feel good.

I never felt like athletics were a viable career path. What was one to do with sports after college? I knew I wasn't going to be the next Flo Jo. (This is before I knew there was Kinesiology, Biology, and all of those science-y things. Science was never my strong suit.) So, I studied music. You can always teach, right? I had some talent, and was pretty studious. I had a dream, dammit. I was going to be awesome. I was able to combine my love of education with the arts and had a full time administrative job in the arts (pretty much) right out of college. I was on my way. I also sang in a choral group, was on a board, and spent every waking hour living and breathing the arts.

The arts world really burned me out. The passion I had for performing and being an administrator was thrashed by a series of unfortunately events that may or may not have been my fault. But, in general I was a very unhappy person for a few years. Every day my "career" seemed more and more like a thankless job, and that I was doing it for nothing. Very rarely did anyone ever thank me, or say, "Good job!" or give me a medal for participating. For many years, I thought I was above that, and that my day would come when people would recognize the hard work I put in. That day never came.

I was never one of those people who needed others to blow rainbows up my ass. But, you know, it's nice to hear a people calling your name as you cross the finish line, or have someone encourage you to run with the fast people at track workout. In athletics, people seem so in awe of what you are doing. In the arts, people think you want to be the next Brittany Spears, or wonder why you don't have a "real job."

A couple of years ago, I went crazy, cried myself to sleep every night, hated myself and wished I could have gone back to my life as an 18-year old. I distinctly remember someone sending me a congratulations card for my 5th place 100 meter dash Iowa High School State Track finish, but no one ever sent me crap when I went to State Honor Choir - 3 times. Why didn't I read the signs? Maybe I should have studied business, or medicine, or dang it, I should have taken that track scholarship to the tiny little liberal arts college in Iowa.

Instead of going to a therapist, I met some new people who were not in my arts world.

I started doing triathlons. And I started a career path that supported my triathlon habit.

Triathlon doesn't seem thankless to me. The harder I work, the better I get. Even when I don't do so well, people encourage me to try again. Note: Triathlon is not my "job" though. i.e I don't make any money doing it. Maybe that's where I went wrong with the arts.

I think non-profit arts organizations can learn something from amateur athletics. First, you have to encourage people to participate - despite their age or abilities. If they are 50 years old and want to learn to learn all of the songs of Burt Bacharach,  for the love of God, don't judge - just let them. If they want to bang on a drum, just let them do it, and maybe they will surprise you and want to try the violin too. Most importantly, you have to make it accessible. Shushing people because they sneezed during a Bach cantata isn't going to make anyone like Bach.

As races and  triathlons grow with more and more amateurs who are encouraged to participate, arts organizations are going out of business. Athletics has allowed anyone to get involved - despite age or talent - while the arts have shushed people out. Ironman is going strong, and Sherman Clay (they sell pianos) is going out of business after 121 YEARS. The art of playing an instrument seems a bit archaic, but people all over the place are being encouraged to stay fit, and jump over pits of fire (nod to the Spartan Race) - and people are doing it.

Also, do you know who gets jobs in the Silicon Valley - athletes. Former athletes are sought out by many companies because they are considered to be "team" oriented.

I think the music industry could learn something from the sports industry. You know, spread some endorphin around.

People ask me all the time if I will ever sing again:

Maybe. Only with really happy people. And not Tuesday through Sunday. I have to train.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Of Late: In Pictures

In no particular order:

I've decided I will try to be a fashion icon. Task #1: Bring back the fanny pack. I will not try to  hide the fact that it is a fanny pack by giving it another name like "belt" or "purse". It is a fanny pack. And it comes in handy when camping. 

This shit is delicious. It was started by two girls in their college dorm room. That's kind of gross, but they make it legit now. And like I said - f@#$ing delicious. It's also $6.99 a jar. So worth it.

This is a mannequin holding a sign that moves.  Pretty clever and also a little scary. Love that New Balance is right by Sunny Donuts.

Ran the Mermaid Half Marathon in Fremont recently. Not a bad time for not running 13 miles since January.  Here is a pose with Sass-stine.

When the gears get stuck on your bike, and your leg gets jammed into the chain ring - you not only get a greasy leg, but a Franken-scab. Yowsa! (Still getting used to new bike.)

My Trans Tahoe ladies will love this. My car matches my Sass-swimsuit. Looks sparkly in the sun.

Bananas ARE an Athlete's best friend. Except when you step on one and fall down. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fabulous Donations from Fabulous Friend

Lori and the Bosom Buddies are taking on San Francisco in June! 
Thank you, Lori for donating $100 to Barb's Race while you are fundraising for your own event! Here is one hundred miles and change just for you, lady!

April 23 - Ran 7.5 miles around the Stanford Dish (hills!)
April 24 - Swam 1.2 mile swim workout
April 25 - Rode 21 miles in Los Altos Hills (more hills!)
April 27 - Swam 1 mile in Redwood Shores, then ran 6.5 miles on the Bay Trail.
April 28 - Rode 34 miles from Highway 1 in Santa Cruz to Swanton Creek Road and back
April 29 - Swam 1.5 miles easy
April 30 - Rode 34 miles from Portola Valley to San Mateo and back.
May 2 - Splash and Dash at Steven's Creek Reservoir = 1 mile swim, 3.2 mile run.
May 5 - Wildflower Olympic Triathlon - .93 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run.

= 136.53 Miles

Lori is a fabulous friend, so I worked in some extra miles. Why not? She has always been muy supportive of everything I've done. Lori is also participating in her 2nd Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this year. I distinctly remember her telling me a few years ago that I was crazy for running half marathons and she preferred to stay home. Well, now she's walking 20 miles every weekend.

Addictive stuff.

If you'd like to donate to Lori or her team, the Bosom Buddies, please click here!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wildflower vs. State Fair

The beautiful people, the beautiful people. (Check out the time on the finish line clock - yep, over 9 hours of exercising in 90 degree heat!)

Massive transition area by Lake San Antonio. 
Wildflower is one of the craziest places I've ever been. I had no idea how huge it was until my tri buddy and I crossed the gate into Lake San Antonio and tried to navigate our car and gear through a dusty road full of tents, RVs, spectators, and of course - triathletes.  After finding the tri club's camping site, we headed down to the lake to find the finish line, transition areas, and packet pick up, and it hit me like a ton of Cytomax --

Wildflower is the State Fair of triathlons!

Sure, there were no square dancing tractors, or animal judging, but many things were reminiscent of going to the State Fair. First of all, it was hottern' blazes when we pulled into the campsites on Saturday afternoon. There were vendors, food, entertainment, etc. Of course the race is the main attraction. Main stage wasn't barns of cows, pigs, and horses, but a huge transition area the size of a football field. It was an amazing sight, and much less stinky.

Wildflower State Fair (Iowa)
Great people watching Great people watching
Ridiculously good-looking people People who's mothers love them very much
Butter Cow Chamois Butt'er
Big Turkey Legs and Burgers Big Turkey Legs and Burgers
Powerbars Fried Snickers and Oreos
Cycling gear Farm Implements
Herds of people Herds of animals
Smelly people Smelly people and animals
Dancing Volunteer Kids from Cal Poly The Nemaha Square Dancing Tractors
Finisher Medals Blue and Red Prize Ribbons
Hot weather Hot weather
Don't touch my ride. It's expensive. Carnival rides
T-shirt for sale: Sleep, Swim, Bike, Run T-shirt for sale: People for the Eating of Tasty Animals
Farmer John John Deer
Tail winds Tails
Swim caps Trucker hats
Camping Camping
Age categories Breeds
Wet suits Overalls
Running shoes Cowboy boots
Craft Crafts
Anthem Singer Iowa State Fair Singer
Transition Area Grand Stand
Hopefully not seeing what you eat Seeing what you eat
Bring your own ride Ride carnival rides
Competing Tri Clubs Competing 4H Clubs
Bacon Bacon
Clydesdales Clydesdales
Shuttles for sweaty and tired people Shuttles for sweaty and drunk people
Sierra Nevada Budweiser
Port-o-poties Port-o-poties
Orbea / Orca O'Riley
Go Team! Suey!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Only drive what you can handle

There are a lot of bad drivers out there - especially the busy Bay Area of California. There are too many people in general, too many people who come from different places and were taught to drive differently. Too many San-this and Santa-that. It gets confusing. Stop and go, construction, female drivers, Asian drivers (yes I went there). Need I go on? Whomever or whatever you want to blame driving conditions on. We got 'em here.

So, in the interest of safety: Only drive what you can handle.

Whether there is a soccer mom with a car full of kids doing a 10-point turn at a Safeway, or a new millionaire having trouble with the clutch on his new Porsche, there are just people who should not drive certain types of cars. It doesn't mean they are bad people, or even bad drivers necessarily - only that their driving skills and automobile choices are mismatched.

Interestingly enough, I was a bad driver recently when I smacked my 9-year-old Mazda 3 into the back of a Buick SUV a couple of weeks ago. It was stop and go traffic, I must have looked away, tried to break, and stopped on the bumper of Mr. Todd, who was very nice about the whole incident. It was my first big accident: tow trucks, insurance, the whole bit.

And... there goes my perfect driving record. If you heard of a crash pulled to the shoulder of 85 on the morning of April 15 - that was me. I was that person.

Lil' Red Ridin' In the Hood (aka Lil' Red) was totaled. Right after I got a bike rack installed. Super bummer. She was a good car. I bought her when I was living in a rather sketchy part of San Jose.

So, now I introduce to you: Big Red The Bike Carrier (aka Big Red). Yes, I am now a woman, living in the suburbs who drives in SUV. My children are bikes. I don't know if I can handle this. Being an SUV driver is a lot of pressure. I'm going to have to teach myself how to drive this beast. (Oh, and how to pay for the extra costs of owning a larger vehicle. Eee gawds.)

Big Red holds her own with two BMWs. 
Big Red and I will have many adventures together along with my children, Cervelo and Griffen.