The Biggest Loser

The last time I was home my mom had lots of homemade treats for us to indulge in. With Ironman training in full swing I could appreciate and indulge. However, as loose as Ironman training makes a California girls skinny jeans is as tight as a midwesterners jeans become in the winter. Gone are the long days of summer with daylight until 9:00 p.m. Gone are the calories burned from weeding the garden and taking long after dinner walks. Yes, winter in the U.P. is a time for hot cocoa and warm fires. A good time to curl up with a book.
However, Tom my ironwill brother decided to go against the grain this winter setting a goal to loose some weight. My Dad, never to pass a challenge and not about to get a bigger size belt than the one he entered the Michigan State Police with decided to join in the fun. The two of them decided to see who could loose 15 pounds by April 25th. The wager $15. At the time (note the celery in hand) the two of them seemed to take this committment very seroiusly. Each attempted to trick the other into a second helping of dessert while choosing a stalk of celery for himself.

Now that it's been a month I wonder how they are weighing in?

Please note if this blog becomes inactive it is because U.P. Tech support A.K.A. my Dad kiboshed it. I was threatened with legal persuit for posting this blog.

Club Race: I drop boys

Prerace Grin

Postrace grin. Even Bigger

Just a blurb of excitement before I depart for my 40 mile after race ride.

This morning was the TCSD duathlon at Black Mtn. A two mile trail run Xterra style with a long rutted downhill, a mile straight up, and a fence to climb before entering transition. Followed by a 12 mile hilly bike and a repeat of the two mile run. The reward for finishing TCSD free breakfast.
It was a beautiful day and the race course was gorgeous. I live close to the start so I rode my bike to the race as a warm up. Tim had prepped and pimped my bike, Sweet Thunder. She looked beautiful and was ready to race even if I admittedly wanted to hit the snooze.
I went fast this morning. Really fast. I tried not to go out too stupid fast in the first run. I also didn't want to trip and fall. I finished the first run fourth for the ladies. Tim was right behind me , so much for the broken leg. Tri club diva Elizabeth Daubner a little ways ahead, I couldn't believe she was in my sight. I quickly passed the other two girls and didn't think any other females were ahead of Elizabeth so I worked on keeping her in my sight. I didn't think I could go any faster but Sweet Thunder refused to give up. She just kept galloping faster and faster and I just held on. I could tell I was getting closer and felt like I could push harder and pass her but I thought that might be really stupid. I closed the gap and went back and forth with her until the end of the bike. We caught a bunch of guys (Steve Talley, JT, Corey, and Matt Sparks) I dinged my pink bell at them and Elizabeth and I talked some smack to them to stir them up. They were sitting in a pack like a bunch of roadies. I think they even had a rotating pace line:) Part of me was thinking what am I doing hanging with the likes of these people. I should be way farther back in the pack. The other part of me had the urge to jump and go faster on the bike and ditch everybody (but I knew the run would be a killer) . I also thought I might puke if I pushed it any harder. I also had a sneaking suspicion Elizabeth was going as fast as she needed to. "Where's Tim?" Matt asked me. "Probably finished" I retorted. Tim passed me as we started the bike and was absolutely flying. It took him about two seconds to ride out of my sight.
Somehow I was faster than Elizabeth on the downhill of the run and stayed ahead of her for the first 3/4 mile. As we started to go up she easily dropped me. I knew it would happen; it was just a matter of time. She made it look so easy. I struggled up the hill. Seeing the "fast" guys walking ahead of me was making things hard. I yelled at JT for slowing me down by walking. Told him he should be a better rabbit. I had to dig really deep to not give in, but I persevered up Black Mtn and soon the finish line came. I'm sure I was well out of my zone. I didn't wear a heart rate monitor for this reason. What would I do, slow down? Yeah right. Not in a race this short. I am so thrilled to go this fast. When I was in high school I was the slowest girl on the cross country team. I only ran to cross train for alpine ski racing (which is why I like speed and have quads).
As I crossed the finish in second place Tim said he couldn't believe it. I was so fast. I caught my breath and said"I DROP BOYS and you're next!"

UP North visit: Winter Has Arrived

Tim Breaks The Trail

January 25

We arrived into Pellston last night. You know your in the yeti north when the airport you fly in to looks like a ski lodge or a hunting cabin. I was quite looking forword to this visit. This would be the ultimate test of Tim. He faired well in the yeti north just fine during our summer visit but we shall see how the snow and cold will treat him.

As the plane prepared to touch down I slipped on my hat, mittens, and winter jacket. Tim laughed at me as if he didn't know how cold it would. He said his jacket was in his bag. I thought to myself he's going to be a cold boy while waiting for the luggage to be unloaded. It soon became appartent that all the bags had been unloaded and collected except Tim's. With some research it was determined the bag had missed the connection in Salt Lake City and would arrive the next day. Brrr. Tim was going to be a cold boy. Good the the car wasn't far and the Big Systems Buick has heated seats. The car was parked right in front of the airport. Everybody gets rockstar VIP parking in Pellston.
We headed north across the Mackinac Bridge and soon arrived home. My mom was happy to warm us up with some home made and home grown chili. Mmm we were getting spoiled already.

The next morning I woke up early and headed out for a run. The temp read 16 degrees F. In addition to running tights I wore duofold dual layer long john's, and three moisture wicking tops under a fleece, accompanied my my ski hat , gloves , and wool ski socks. I managed to stay warm but felt a little weighted down with all the gear. For some reason running in the morning, and running in the cold give me a certain kind of "I've beaten mother nature smuggness." Gros Cap road was really pretty with the snow on lake Michingan and shades of pink and orange in the early morning sky. I ran down memory lane as I passed Gros Cap school the k-8 I attended. I ran by the old steeple church where we used to sing Christmas carols, and down the windy road past the Mercer's house where I used to babysit. When I arrived home Tim was still sleeping. Perfect ....If I've ran 6 miles while Tim slept he'll have to at least snowshoe.

My mom went to work preparing breakfast and I brewed some Illy Espresso before waking Tim. I can't wait to ask him to go snowshoeing. If only his bag would arrive with his boots.
Afternoon arrives and after a few calls to the airport so does Tim's bag. No excuses now. We head out towards Emil's property and begin our snowshoeing adventure.

The Banquet Table

U.P. Tech support

January 26 th

Today I hit the snooze a few times as the alarm goes off. It’s nice to be in my warm bed while the snow falls outside. I plan to use my usual manipulation tactics to get Tim to pack the trail for me. When we snowshoe Tim goes first and packs down the trails. This way I can walk effortlessly in his tracks. I know, I know readers ….the broken fibula. You are thinking I could at least break trail for the wounded (especially since I pushed him off the chair) not in this blog. I have my reasons. Tim’s snowshoes are twice the size of mine. So in front he will trudge without complaint. When I finally do get up I don my running attire and pad into the kitchen for some pre run coffee. My mom and I whisper in hushed tones as I inform her I’m trying to let Tim sleep. Yesterday I ran 6 miles while Tim slept. Upon my return I woke him up and begged him to go snowshoeing. We whisper mostly of how great Tim is and what a good match we are (minus the chairlift incident). I stretch in preparation for my run. I plan to complete another 6 miles before Tim awakens.

“Boom, Boom, Boom” my brother Tom thunders up the stairs with cheerful morning greetings. I know Tim will be awakened in mere seconds.

Tim shuffles out in his recently arrived sheepskin slippers. My manipulation tactics of guilt and smug are destroyed. I haven’t run one step. No runners smug to cast upon Tim. Oh well maybe I can find some other way to sucker Tim into snowshoeing around Emil’s property. My mom spoils us with a breakfast. She presents an assortment of fruits, jams, toast, and offers of anything else a tummy could desire. I decide to concentrate my efforts on finding someway to contribute to the banquet table we have at each meal. Hmm, I ponder “What I can bring to the table?” My best skills consist of baking a variety of cookies. This has been well covered by my mother. Tim bakes bread for dinner. It’s delicious and warm. My Dad provided us with “UP tech support”. Tom can provide us the answer to any question we have by consulting Wikipedia via his Crackberry….I mean Blackberry. Hmm, how can I contribute?

Tim's beautiful and delicous bread.

Too bad it goes bad quick.

My mom's homemade lasagna (center), rhubarb cake (left)

Aha. I know I can be the barrista. Everybody loves coffee. I decide to wow everybody with gorgeous cappuccinos. Yes. That will be just the ticket. I might even impress Tim so much he’ll go snowshoeing with me. I use the stovetop espresso maker and the Illy coffee I gave my parents for their anniversary. The espresso machine is shiny and new, gleaming with excitement. Now that the milk foamer is here I have a chance to contribute smething to the feasts. The milk foams beautifully, which is not always the case. Over the rich Italian coffee I place dollops of foamy milk. For the final touch I add some chocolate sprinkles. I offer my artful creation to my father. I’m bursting with pride as I pass the cup towards him. His face crinkles at the site still stunned the from yesterday’s strong espresso. I had to make it san foamy milk as the milk wand was in Tim’s lost bag. “None for me thanks” Oh well. My mom will be impressed. A former home economics teacher and a true rival to Betty Crocker, she always emphasized the importance of presentation. I try to share the delight with my mom as well. She humors me and takes a pretend sip stating, “I’m good” and declines another. I turn to Tom. He accepts his cappuccino and downs it in one sip. He nods his approval but I am not convinced he is impressed. I am not sure he could have tasted it, it went down so fast. Tim accepts his cappuccino with a smile. Other than with Tim my cappuccino efforts were a dive. I realize I have nothing to bring to the table. Then it dawns on me. I have love. Love is the ultimate gift to bring to the table.