Things are still a little upside at our house after the storm and flood. In addition to the treadmill, we now have bikes at the bedside. I am not so sure what this says for my home decor skills. Tim however, has assured me that bikes are pack animals. They enjoy being huddled together. The treadmill is a little hard to get to but no worries. We'd rather run outside with a light in the evenings.
Tim carries a really bright light when we run in the evenings. I really appreciate it as I am really good at tripping. Tim's happy his new bike arrived (after only 10 months of waiting). He can't wait to build it up. He has bike lust and is in heaven. I wonder if I should feel threatened. Sometimes I catch him starring at the computer with a very happy look on his face. Just to be sure what Tim is up to I check the Google search bar. suspected nothing but bikes.
Last night while running, I warned Tim that Wildflower 1/2 was only 12 weeks away. (Thanks Beth for reminding me). 12 weeks is not very long. I am afraid with all the fun Tim is having building bikes and riding mountain bikes. He might forget about the road riding, running, and swimming. I am worried he might not be prepared. I know mountain biking is good cross training but I am afraid the riding has become more of a photo war between Tim and Paul. They seem to be more concerned with taking embarrassing photos of each falling into creeks and such than with heart rate zones, nutrition, and power output.

I am worried without the "embarrassing photo stops" at Wildflower Tim will in turn "suffer." He may deem triathlon "stupid"and swear off road riding completely. I really don't want to see my husband suffer so I sunk really low. I hit where him it hurt. I pulled out the girl card. I started to list the names of the gals racing. I said they were training really hard. They were mythodical and serious. I said they were going to go really fast. Faster than Tim. Faster than any boys. Not nice of me, but like I say, I didn't want to see my over worked and underfed husband suffer.

I wouldn't have thought to do it. However, the other day a couple of nameless blokes were riding Anderson Truck Trail. A girl caught them at " THE REST STOP". I want to be that girl. I bet she didn't take a rest. She asked them if they were taking the World Cup Trail. One of the boys replied "No it's too hard for us." Meanwhile the other boy choked and coughed with embarrassment. Of course the girl, was totally congenial. She explained that it was very easy. She offered to show them the line. Apparently, the boys could not accept her assistance. They chose to climb further up the mountain in search of redemption. They did manage to master the "World Cup" trail on the return trip. I don't know who this girl is, but I applaud her. In her honor the next day, you can sure bet I didn't stop at "The Rest Stop." It's a hard job motivating the men to reach their potential, but I'm a team player ;)

Turns out my not so gentle prodding of my husband was highly effective. This I know to be true, as I was soon running alone in the dark. The sacrifices I make to "nurture" and "protect" my husband.

The flood has given us a chance to clean up and get rid of some unused items. Look what Tim wanted to throw out. My Rollerblades! ( All together now... gasp!!!!!)

I know I don't use them very much, but what if I had some sort of injury? They would be great for strengthening my hips. Plus, I have all the protective gear. Maybe I could commute to yoga on them. It's only 5 miles. I'll admit it. I am over the top with that one. Descending Nautilus street on roller blades is a bit too much.

I'll stick to things that impress my husband more. Things we can enjoy together.
That was last weeks attempt at Sycamore Canyon. Not so good, but a bit of fun none the less. I spent more time cleaning my bike than riding it. Thankfully, that made my husband proud too.

I'm not sure, given all the things I love to do, if I am a little off tilt or actually very balanced?

Whatever it is, I sure am having fun.

Carlsbad 2010

It was a picture perfect morning for the Carlsbad 1/2 Marathon. Formerly known by the Neuschwander clan as the "Family Challenge". My mother -in - law claims the Carlsbad 1/2 to be her "signature event." Sadly, I was the solo family representative this year. Seth and Val just had a baby and Cindy and Bruce were busy with work. As luck would have it when Tim's schedule came out he was on call for today.

The title of "Family Champ" is HUGE. After many adjustment for injuries, illness, under training, over training, and man made "fuel belts", my father in law Bruce was deemed the winner. He had the best "age graded" time. I made certain he got the recognition he deserved.

I had a great day of running. I was off my a minute from last years PR. However, in 2009 there was more at stake. I engaged in a real dogfight to close a large gap on Seth and Bruce. I almost caught those darn boys. Grrr. This year I am certain I would have had them;) Sorry for the lack of excitement, but there were no dramatics or theatrics out of me today.
I do well in a race when I have a deeply set intention, like catching "those boys". I didn't feel ready to push then envelope and dig too deep yet. I'm still in fun mode. Plus, there was a chance that Tim might have some free time in the afternoon to go mtn biking with me;)
At the start I lined up with the 1:40 pace group. The pacer started off fast for a 1:40. I found myself working hard to breathe. I tried to relax a bit but after a few minutes we were still running at a 6:50/mile pace (according to my Garmin). Not having done any speed work since May, I knew attempting to run this pace would be a disaster. I backed off to where I could breathe easy. Ahh, true love. My desired pace came surprisingly easy.

I know one can't achieve big if one doesn't dream big and believe, but get real. I ate my share of Christmas cookies. I rarely wear my Garmin these days. I know how far I'm running and ignorance is bliss. Seeing the "goal" race pace on the watch and having it feel so good was such a delight. I kept thinking "this is why we race." We get to go faster than in training and it feels better. Priceless. That's why we train hard. I couldn't help but notice how happy the spectators looked and how beautiful it was. Running on the Pacific Coast Highway with no cars = Fun. It's like being a kid on a playground at recess.
The first 5 miles went by quickly. I stepped it up a bit for the second 5 miles. I smiled at the turn around. Oat Bag....I was headed toward the barn. Time to giddy up a bit. I ran the second half 60 seconds faster then the first.

Mile 10 came. I knew if I wanted to finish on par with last year it was time to kick it in high gear. I saw the 1:40 sign ahead of me. With great satisfaction I reeled in the sign, then left it behind. The 1:40 pacer was now on pace for about a 1:44, I'm guessing. The adages apply. If it seems too good to be true, it is. The watch doesn't lie. The ego boost was nice. If I wanted to set a new PR I needed to pick it up NOW!
I had an angel and a devil on my shoulder. The angel said "Go! Now! Take it home. You can do it." The devil said " 3 miles is a long way to go." I tried to pick it up a bit. My efforts went up but it was more of a fight to stay on pace.
At mile 12 a man ran passed me. His wife said "Nice pace, honey." He replied "Not bad for 30 minutes a day" That was pretty humbling, but also pretty insightful. We all have 30 minutes, we just need to make them count. He sounded really proud of his 30 minute/day. Although humbled, I felt proud of him.
Then his wife said " I'm going to run you in." It was mile 12. She was wearing tight jeans, a puffer jacket, and stylish street shoes. All I could think was "Have some pride kid! You can't let a women wearing tight jeans and a down filled coat outrun you." I dug a little bit then. Thank goodness for the downhill. If I could have caught my breath I would have shouted "Coming through, women in jeans on the loose. Look out below!"
I ran hard but I soon felt like I was running out of gas. I looked at my watch 13.1 miles and no finish line. Well, I never claimed to run in a straight line. I probably should not have looked at the watch at that moment. I must have been in "zone 5" because the voice of evil resurfaced and said "Nice job but 13.1 miles is a half marathon. Time to call it a day." Luckily, I saw the finish line and headed across. Not the best ever, but good enough. I smiled, it was fun. Plus, the damage was less than I thought it would be. The joys of being Type B .
Yes, there was a runner under Tim's name. This morning Tim was saving Granny's spine so we gave his spot to a deserving individual. As far as the Family Challenge goes......"I win, I win"

Carlsbad 1/2 Memories:

2009's waltz to the start.

This picture reminds me of when Tim's parents introduced me to Madonna Buder. She got confused and thought Bruce was my Dad and said we looked exactly alike. Looking at that picture I can see why she thought that.

2008: Carlsbad 1/2

The face of pure happiness.

I PR'd by 9 minutes that day and had so much fun along the way.

Friends to share the fun with!

2009: Family Portrait.

The Neuschwander clan plus the Keebler Elf.

I hope the Neuschwander family is represented at Carlsbad to infinity and beyond!

More From Storm Week

The morning started out sunny and crisp.
One might have thought storm week was over.
Don't be fooled.

In the late afternoon the wind picked up. Trees fell, palms fell, trash cans and fences blew over. It began to rain. Then it poured. The rain came down in sheets. The wind blew the sheets of rain. It was so loud I kept peeking outside to check on the rain. It seemed to be getting louder and louder.
"It sounds like it's raining in the house" I said with a giddy grin. I followed the sound of the rain. It didn't lead me outside where I expected. I addition to the rain outside we rain inside. We had a flood. Luckily, it was contained to a closet full of hardy outdoor gear. The walls inside are a bit damp. Good thing, we don't have any wall art other than our bikes.

Storm Week Continues

Twitter is sort of like blogging but shorter and quicker.
When somebody post something it is known as a "Tweet"
"Epic" is a term to describe something really cool.
Tim and I tend to overuse to this word.
In general the term may be overused to the point of annoyance.
Sometimes I just can't help myself.
Epic Swim. Tweet!

Storm 2010

From the top of Soledad today I thought I might fly.
I spread my wings and I almost did it.
After that it was a run down the moutain with the wind at my back!
Chances were high, that I still might fly.
The wind was swirling around me.
The streets became a river.
A kayak or a raft might have been fun.
Thankfully I was running downstream.
Tim lent me his hat.
It helped keep the rain drops out of my eyes and speed me along.
To this adventure I say:
Epic Run Tweet!

Tim and I like to work out hard so that our food taste better. All the athletes know that is how it works. When I read about something healthy that is not in the form of a supplement I am game to try.

While waiting for the Borat movie to start a friend of ours expounded on how he loved raw milk. He raved about the benefits. It was touted for not killing the good bacteria how it was safe because the farms were held to such high standards. It's been claimed to be the cause of "mik allergies." The big selling point was that he claimed it decrease his daily flatulence from 4 liters a day to 1.5 liters/day. My husbands response to this statement was "but why would you want to do that, isn't it fun?"

I didn't think much of this except that it made for a good story. We went to Switzerland and the milk there tasted so good. I never really liked milk before so coming from me that says something.

Tim likes milk but often has a crampy stomach and had a "milk allergy" as a child. We don't know if he really had a milk allergy but he had to have orange juice on his cereal until college. I guess college is all about experimenting: sex, drugs, alcohol, and for Tim milk.

This week at Henry's the Raw Milk was on special. I thought maybe it would be better for Tim's stomach. Maybe it would even taste like the milk from Switzerland. Last night, Tim and I were enjoying our cookies with a glass of raw milk. It tasted very good. Tim drank his glass. I had a sip of mine, noting that it was good. I was not the Swiss tasting milk I had hoped for. Given that it was whole milk, I was eating very chocolaty cookies, and I do have clothing NOT made of strecthy spandex, I deemed myself full and gave the rest of my milk to Tim.

All was good. Well all was good for a few hours, until Tim's stomach began to churn and the trips to the bathroom began. While I was sleeping at 2:00 a.m. Tim was researching things like typhoid fever. So much for curing Tim's stomach ailments and running without cramps happily ever after.

At first I apologized for poisoning Tim. However, he certainly did perk up for an afternoon mountain bike ride. Lately when I ask Tim if he wants to go for a run he says things like "Honestly, I'm not that psyched about it". When asked about the Rock N Roll marathon he grimaces and says"Me. No. Marathon. Pain"


Poisoning by the wife or great lengths to avoid a Sunday morning run???

Work and Play

I do my best to live in a manner where my life is so full of fun people wonder if I work at all! In truth I am employed. I am a registered nurse and have been for 11 years. I was a travel nurse for 3.5 years before settling in San Diego. Being a travel nurse was a most excellent adventure. Not everyday in the ICU is a pleasant one. However, you can count on me to find some humor in the darkest hours. Sometimes, I am apart of something I feel very proud of. It doesn't happen that way though. If you haven't heard by now healthcare is in a bad place.

I think working a shift in the ICU can be very comparable to Ironman. In fact, I think it was great mental preparation. Occasionally everything goes according to plan and others not so much. As a nurse I can't drop out until after hour 13. There isn't a finishers medal or a trip to Kona. I also don't get an IV. I have to find one in somebody who is nearly dead. The schwag bag is great though compared to Ironman ( does Ironman even give schwag bags anymore?) In the schwag bag is a paycheck, medical benefits, and a paid vacation. There also is great commeraderie and personal satisfaction with your efforts. Oh yeah, it doesn't take 5 weeks to recover from one shift. After being in a unit with no windows for 13 hours, I can't wait to get out on my bike. Sometimes I even get to run at work. Sprint actually (to the crash cart).

I love that my job will always be a challenge. Some of my colleagues have been nurses longer than I have been alive. They still claim to be learning something.

I graduated from college just before my 22 birthday. I was still 21 when hired for my first position. The unit I started on specialized in "End Of Life Care". 21 is probably a bit young to understand or want to understand end of life. I'm not sure it would be truthful to say working with the end of life inspired me to live life to the fullest. I think more truthfully it has compelled me to. It has been my excuse to embrace the kid in me and play hard for 11 years running. Working with death sure makes for a good excuse to put off washing the car, folding the laundry, and dusting the china cabinet . If I had a China Cabinet. There are bikes where the China cabinet would go in my house.

So how about a day of play with me?

0600 a.m. Rise and Shine. Bid good bye to husband. Coffee, cereal, sneak peak at the internet.
0645 a.m. Bike commute to swim.
0655: Actually roll from drive way
0710 Smile at the man running with the dog and toddler in the baby jogger. I see him often when I do this ride. He is like an old friend now.
0715 Crest Calle De Oro. Mist becomes drizzle.
0720 Intersect Torrey Pines in downpour. Smile. Wait for a cross walk and chat with a fellow commuter. He appears young. He is smiling and full of life. he jokes about how he miss-timed his commute. I notice his has a very expensive bike, components, and no helmet. No helmet.....
0723 Ride through campus at UCSD
0735 Late for swim. Takes longer to peel off wet biking gear than usual.
0745 Official workout begins
0850 Out of pool. Finished set. Heading for hot tub.
0851 Coach Terry gives me an extra 400 pull
0858 Done. In hot tub
0920 Attempting to dry bike gear under hair dryer
o930 Descending La Jolla shores, smiling
1000 Home. Bike dirty, very dirty.
1010-1100 Bike spa treatment performed by me.

1130 Bike master cold, wet, and dirty but bike clean. Bike master full of energy. Off for an hour run. Flat except for 6X1:00 minute hill climb repeat. Oh yeah, and the bump called Soledad between the bike path and home.

Game on: Must try to run up super steep slope 6 times and make it as far as the first time. Fun!!! I don't quite make it. Better luck next time. Run home grinning.
Notice:One Woman walking 8 dogs at one time. All dogs are beautifully groomed and behaved. I spy her slipping them kibble.

1245 Home. Must be T2. Make and eat lunch. Pack lunches for work tomorrow. Tim and I pretty much only eat homemade. Before you feel intimidated or inadequate due to our healthy diet. Note that we eat meat and drink milk from cows. We specialize in cookies and bread. Carbs!!! We also like chocolate milk. Correction, we love it.

P.S. If it makes you feel better race weight for us was so 5 lbs ago and it's all because we eat cookies. Cookies, made with butter and Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips. Hear me loud and clear. Chocolate, butter, flour, and eggs.....Bad triathletes, shame!!!!

If you still feel insecure or intimidated because we make our own food. Note that I am extremely careless in the kitchen. I got the idea if I hurried in T2 I could get a ride in on my moutain bike. I managed to burn myself while emptying the pasta. The danger of carbs.

In the end the first time creation of thai noodle satay turned out very well and sufficed for two dinners. Leftovers = more free time to play.

After that it was time to collect the produce. Stacy told me about a community supported agriculture program last year. I thought it was really cool. I am not a food snob. When possible I would like my food to come from my local community Not to discriminate against Florida's oranges or anything but.... while lucky enough to live in California I would like to take advantage. Every other Wednesday I go to the pickup site near me and collect my bin of produce. It's local and organic. It's $30. I think that beats Whole Foods but you don't get to choose the produce you get. It's whatever is in season. I think it's a good deal for the money but I am not really sure. I am sure that it tastes good and is fun. Tim and I decided that food and bikes weren't where what would save money on. We'll skimp on motorized transportation and movie tickets instead. Plus, just think of all the money we save by not smoking.

Since I got my chores done it was off to Penasquitos Canyon to hone my skills. PQ is a great place to learn to mountain bike because there are wide open trail to practice popping a wheely and bunny hopping as well as some fun single tracks.

That was my day. I enjoyed it. More good times to come.

Dragon Slaying

Whew! Who would have ever thought dragon slaying would be so tough. Maybe I should have started with rodent extermination. I heard there were a few Dragon sightings on the Anderson Truck Trail. I had to check it out. Advanced dragon slayers claim that the dragons living on this trail are very lazy and sleep most of the time. If you look at the picture you can see the big ruts. When then dragon breathes, his bad breath washes out the trails and forms ruts. He knows those ruts can grab a girls tire. He laughs when it happens. It was a very short ride in terms of miles but required every muscle fiber and brain cell for me to navigate. The dragon was swinging his tail at me and trying to push me into his ruts. He also launched some balls of fire. I had to duck deep into a rut to avoid the fireball. It was a pretty good move except I am new at dragon slaying and still learning how "not" to front load the fork. Oops. Thank goodness for my armor as I am unscathed.

Bedtime came early. 8:25 p.m.

Sunday morning we headed out early to Sycamore Canyon. Only a few dragons live there. However, there are lots of large dinosaur eggs. (Rocks on the trail). The dragons only live in the optional section of section called Martha's Grove. I rode the whole way up Martha's without stopping for the first time. There are a few sleeping dragons on the way down from Martha's. I accidentally woke one up and I got my eyebrows singed as he breathed fire on me. Dragon slaying is exciting but it's going to require a lot of patience, practice, and concentration.

Weekend Warriors

2010's First Weekend

I'll be honest....I tried really hard to finish out 2009 in good spirits.

Everything around me seemed to be going flat.

The Grinch stole Christmas. Tim had to work!

After all of that work he got tired and needed a break.
After the rest he wanted pie.
Julian Pie.

We had to ride there to get some pie.

The cappucino rivaled the pie.

Stacy recommends that her patients should eat Julian Pie.

She also recommends they climb 8,000 vertical feet to earn it.

After serving time in the "Kitchen" we were ready for pie.

Then we did some "Engineering "

Engineers Rd.

We all complain that the climb is sooo long and steep.
Except Stacy, she blows our cover and says it's easy.
Tim says next time she is getting pie a la mode.
The ice cream is sure to slow her up.
What a fun weekend.
Wait a minute, that was only Saturday. The weekend wasn't over.
2010 will be the year of Slaying Dragons !!!!
(with the help of my pink bikes)

What else would a "Dragon Slayer" wear?

Truth be told I purchased the shin guards after today's ride.

In slalom skiing the saying is "shin to win".

I thought of a new saying.

Eight Dollar No Holler. (That's the price of shin guards)

Soccer Guards and Volleyball knee pads from Big5 will protect me from the Dragons.

The shirt is left over from ski racing. It is a half shirt. I am currently wearing it under a jersey. However it has been suggested that I wear it solo and accessorize it with a nose ring, belly button ring, and a really cool tattoo.

Not too bad for day #3 on the bike.
The learning curve is huge. I am learning a ton.

The biggest thing I learned to day is to get your balance first. Always. I was having trouble while going super slow climbing up rocky steep sections. I figured out I needed to get totally balanced first then I could take the line of my choosing. However, if I tried to change course before I was totally balanced I would end up riding somewhere I didn't intend (like a rut or scratchy bush....hence the need for all my protective gear). If I was totally balanced I could ride my way through all sorts of things I didn't think I was capable of. Hmmm. Maybe just another way sports parallels life. Who needs therapy when there are rocks and ruts to ride over.


I don't do New Year's resolutions. They are just not my thing. I do like to pick a key word or phrase to live by. I'm close to deciding now but I can't commit just yet. The year is young and I want to let 2010 define itself.

2008 was "Fabulous." Anytime I was going through something challenging (like planning a wedding in between two Ironman races or the 16th mile of an Ironman run) and I really needed something positive to think about I thought about my theme "Fabulous". Once or twice ;) I got tired, down, or nervous. My family and friends always set me straight. They would quote my theme and state," Just remember Jen, it will be fabulous." Amazing family, friends, and the experiences I was having. Yup, life is fabulous. I was a little nervous going into 2009. After experiencing an entire year of "Fabulous" I feared I was ruined for everyday life.

2009 continued to be "fabulous" (sigh of relief:) but at some point I wanted more. I read the line "WIN" on Fatty's blog. "WIN" pertained to Fatty's wife's fight against cancer. It was clear at the point I read this blog she was going to die, yet she still was "winning." I thought about how much more I could accomplish, experience, and enjoy in life if I looked at challenges in my life as an opportunity to "WIN".

What will the word or phrase to live by in to 2010 be? I was thinking 2010 would be the year to "Slay Dragons." I was pretty darn sure of it. I had a conversation with the "Sprintman" founder and CEO of Smarter It made me rethink. We were discussing how despite having a positive attitude and the best intentions when you encounter a toxic person or situation it's so very easy to become toxic. The energy exchange naturally is towards the negative end. Unless one makes a conscience effort to pollute and dilute with positive behavior. Light bulb on!!!! Negativity is the dragon and it's my job to slay it. "Sprintman" then went on to share a tip with me, stating someone once told him to envision a wall of roses to shield oneself from negativity. Hmm, I bet that would work. The only problem is I really like the idea of slaying evil dragons. I bet I would be better off if I combined the two, slaying dragons and having a wall of roses. I tried growing roses in my garden but they got eaten by bugs and died. I tried to tend them and the thorns pricked my fingers. I guess I'll have to modify my wall of roses. Do you think wall of pink bikes will do?