This month has been an absolute FREAKING blast, from the Colorado Rockies to the beaches and parties in Key West, I've been on the move. I'm astonished that I'm lucky enough to meet such amazing, genuine people. In the big picture, this past year has been a re-birth. While reflecting on life (as we all do this time of year) I can't say I would have done it any different. I might have saved a few extra pennies here and there but I always say "we have our whole lives to earn more money". Anyway the past 2 weeks consist of the following:
The week before Christmas went along as most weeks do. Training, work and eating. Luckily, during this seemingly normal week I found a new favorite drink and a favorite quick meal and it's not pizza. I would say I'm addicted to Culture Club's Ginger Kombucha. The fact is, most people will never like it and probably think it's gross. If you're not sure what it is CLICK HERE. All I will say is, give it a shot...you might have a better bathroom experience :) The new snack is delicious red cabbage, broccoli, red quinoa, red onion, diced sweet potato, spinach and kale topped with avocado. I'll always thrown in some roasted garlic, homemade salsa or generic italian spices too. Satuee everything but avocado until it's to your desired tenderness, add quinoa and avocado....eat up and refuel. Finally...it's been getting very cold down here (37 during the sunday AM run). The vivid colors and placid lake made for a nice picture before the run started. Still knocked out 13 miles though, no big deal. By the way, just because I'm from MI, doesn't mean I like the cold!!!
Key West For Christmas: I have to start by saying, I definitely miss the old days where my whole family would get together and celebrate. I ALSO have to say I think my family has evolved into crazy people who could possibly kill each other if left alone in a room for more than 5 minutes. Surprisingly, there were more families wandering about in the evening, leaving the streets bare, except for the late night karaoke singers and the prostitute dressed as Mrs. Clause. As it was my Mothers first trip down, my friend Katie and her family (KW locals) gave us the grand tour and welcomed us to their home with open arms....and scooters!!! Essentially, we all ate a butt load, stayed up way past my bedtime (9pm) and spend a ridiculous amount of money in the name of FUN! This takes me back to the beginning of this blog! Without meeting amazing people like Katie, my level of fun and experiences wouldn't nearly be as memorable. I mean she literally flew me over Key West and landed me on the ground safely...how freaking cool is that? Finally...my dear friend got married and reminded me that I need to get my act together if I ever plan to have a sweet family to support my triathlon endeavors!
I'll be in Key West again this weekend, but will be in much pain. Ragnar Relay, a 199 mile relay with 6 of my crazy fast running pals is set to commence this Friday. I'll be meeting more amazing people along the way and having fun with Jessica Crate, Jessica Glover from Jet City Espresso and many other Tampa road runners...Until then!!!
The Colorado trip continues onward....towards glory. Believe it or not, it got better and better. To start the week, we decided to do some man stuff. It included speed and beer (NO we didn't watch NASCAR and YES we waited until after we were done racing to drink). The go carts took us to speeds of 45+ mph and believe it or not, we were a little sore the next day. At the end of the event, El Fuego (Jon Sadler) came in third, Richard Banger (Nick Chase) came in second and Square Wheels (Brian Spivey) came in first. After the fun, we headed to downtown Denver for some epic organic pizza and fine desserts. Nothing beats some late night sweets and coffee. Well actually there are a few things....but that's another story all together.
Day one of epic snowboard trip! Through treacherous mountain passes and frigid cold, we traveled to Winter Park Resort! Luckily we found an 80 year old lady to follow. Not only did she blast by us in a front wheel drive Lincoln, she continued to pass every car in sight. We followed her lead, despite having zero visual reference of lane lines. None the less, we kicked some serious mountain ass! Jon Sadler got a great lesson, learned how to not break his wrist and we enjoyed some warm whisky pulls from a flask! We further increased our epic level of awesome by having a suit night (we forgot to take a picture). We found the classiest mountain restaurant near Dillon, CO and set out. Our choices consisted of chicken, steak and....Trout. We ended up getting tons of attention, compliments and free food! ACTUALLY, we looked completely out of place and since it was a Tuesday, no one really cared or noticed....BUT it was Legen.....DARY!
The next day, at approximately 6 in the AM, I went for a run. At 10,000 feet it was 5 degrees and bone chilling. Needless to say it was an uphill battle and I nearly lost my thumbs. The only saving grace was the view which was absolutely stunning and totally worth the moderate case of frost bite. Breakfast was next on the "To Do" and was only a 2 minute walk from the room. It was called the Arapahoe Cafe and Pub. After breakfast (Jameson and coffee) we proceeded to order some food. A french toast, fried egg and bacon sandwich,smoked turkey bennies & steak!
We made it to Copper Mountain, a place where we could finally unleash the fury. After a mild concussion and many high fives, we decided it was time to end our snowboard saga. All in all, the pictures describe it best. Tons of unforgettable views and fast slopes. I have to say it was awesome to travel above the tree line. Our highest altitude was 12,000 feet....the highest I've ever been while standing on solid ground!
So we were pretty beat up after snowboarding, a massage was definitely in order. I made a new friend through LifeVantage and Jessica Crate and she just happened to have opened a brand new massage suite in Boulder, CO. We met up with Stephanie Crosby at Rocky Mountain Vitality to get some serious relaxation. This proved the best decision prior to a 3 and a half hour flight!
Needless to say, this trip is exactly what I've needed. Between a few months of 12 hour shifts, saturated with 12-16 hours worth of training a week and 4 or 5 races mixed in, I needed to hit "RESET". Of course I didn't take a large amount of time off from training, but still the intensity is dialed back and I've been able to unwind. This week I'm spending some time with some long lost friends from Eglin AFB, Jon Sadler and Brian Spivey. Another great friend Katie Marsh dropped in to spend some time with us as well. I'm still mid trip, so there will be tons more to report, but for now...here are some highlights.
It was my second time trekking up the Manitou Incline...and yes, I set a NEW PR...in the Elite category Woo Freaking HOO. I was so pumped, when I reached the top I celebrated by climbing a tree. Either way, this place is absolutely majestic! It's also so inspiring to see other people who complete the hike. People in jeans, people with dogs and people who are 70+ years old and climb it 3 times a week are able to check this off their bucket list! The next night we all chipped in and helped cook the most amazing dish. Stuffed leg of lamb garnished with potatoes, carrots, asparagus and a sautéed spinach/cabbage mix. Needless to say we tore through that like a fat guy in a little coat.
To sum this week up, life couldn't be better. I've met some amazing people along the way, viewed amazing sights and eat'n some amazing grub. I hope to be able to live in a place like this one day, however the cold is really something that would be hard to get used to. Finally, I've started a new venture in something I'm truly hopefully will change my career as an athlete. The opportunities and positive effects on my performance are FACT. The science is there and believe it or not, the bad taste in my mouth about these types of ventures has been washed away. I'd like to thank fellow athlete Jessica Crate for helping shed some light on a bright future. Check out Protandim!
NO MORE TRIATHLON's UNTIL MARCH! Whew, now that I've gotten that off my chest, here is a Tri Key West recap!
First off, the race was just an appetizer. The real treat and victory came in the hours following the event. Honestly, there was nothing more reviving than having a morning drink and lobster Benedict with some good friends at Blue Heaven. I LIVE for "post race" high.
The event overall went off well if you consider it was in Key West (not a very organized or regulated place). That being said, there was definitely room for improvement. The Swim course buoys were spaced a little too far, leaving you quite lost if you were in the front. My major complaint was swimming under a pier and then having zero indication of where to go afterwards. The only thing that made sense was to head to shore, where 2 flags waited for you (they were practically invisible). I think it goes without saying, we're lucky it wasn't very choppy because it could have been dangerous under the pier.
The Bike course (Olympic) was actually accurate, which is very rare at a grassroots event. Unfortunately, due to poor course marking and haphazard directions by volunteers, this was the biggest disqualification list I've ever seen. Some negative highlights of the bike course were:
- Bike out/Bike in at the same location
- Sprint course 2nd lap turn around directly in front of "bike out"
- Single lane sharp corners without any seperation between between coming/going traffic
Seriously, the corners were the worst part. I would be surprised if there weren't any head on collisions due to people cutting corners.
The Run course was just lovely, with an amazing view along the cost. Yes, I said it was lovely, which seems wierd but Key West will do that to you. Oh wait...I had to run across oncoming runners in order to get to the finishing chute, which meant dodging a 6ft 5inch tall giant as he trudged out of transition. I also dodged a few bikes, not sure what they were doing there either. Thankfully I avoided the handlebar of a purple Huffy from impaling my stomach.
FINALLY the awards ceremony, in all of its glory....was ruined by MulitRace. They botched the results despite my efforts to "verify" standings prior to the ceremony. The 3rd, 4th and 5th guys were called up as 1st, 2nd and 3rd...leaving me with a "WTF" expression and disappointed attitude. We work hard to make podium, so when that seemingly insignificant moment is taken away from us, it takes a lot of the fun out of the ceremony. Plus, no one likes to have to coordinate getting their award. Multirace didn't have a reason for the mix up and with a very condescending attitude told me I should have "checked the monitors" (which I did). Either way, they treat athletes like cattle and totally do the bare minimum as far as customer service. NONETHELESS, my spirits were as high as they could ever be because I raced well despite injury and all of my friends had a GREAT energy which totally turned things around. Plus, like I said....it was an appetizer for the events to come.