When (swim) Angels Squee…


Welcome to “things that make me go Squee”.

After “cleaning out the pipes” yesterday by venting for WTF Wednesday, I’m ready to “squee with glee”.

In honor of Pop Fiend’s attempt at decreasing drama for at least one day a week on LiveJournal by promoting “Drama Free Thursday” (for those who aren’t aware, my blog is crossposted to LiveJournal, my self hosted WordPress blog, Blogspot, and Facebook), I offer up my own “special” (in a rode the short bus kind of way) contribution, “Things that Make Me go Squee!!!

* Things that make me go squee!” may has become a regular Thursday spectacle production because “Squee” rhymes with “Drama Free”, and I’m trying to do my part.

I think that almost everyone occasionally forgets to celebrate and share good things. I know I do.

So in the spirit of putting “good juju” out there, here are the current things that make me go “SQUEE!!!”

Last Sunday, I had the honor to once again be a Swim Angel for the Seattle Danskin Women’s Triathlon. This is a huge beginner triathlon and many women have never done an open water swim before. Many are cancer survivors, some in active treatment. One’s first open water triathlon swim can be quite intimidating.

I swam sweep on two waves and picked up swimmers that needed encouragement/help. The first one was having heart rate issues (too high, something I’m all too familiar with), but I got her to relax, kept her near the boats and she finished just fine.

The second woman was difficult to keep up with when she was doing a crawl stroke, but she’d get winded and briefly need the noodle to rest. It was a super choppy day out there, with some good sized waves at times, so I’d see her come up and gasp for air and hand her the end of the noodle. She also finished strong.

After my 2nd wave, there were no more waves starting, so I swam back out from the finish, helped some women in (often they don’t need the help or encouragement until the end of the swim course when they get tired) go back out and do it again. I lost count of how many times I did this.

One woman said that when she becomes a stronger swimmer and triathlete, that she’d like to come back and be a swim angel some day. I hope she does.

I missed Karen and Jenn, but did find Alisa and Robin doing just great.

As I headed back out for the last time, swimming into the sun, I could see the silhouettes of the kayaks, lifegards on surfboards and halos and swim noodles of the other angels coming in with the final swimmers. It was then that “Ride of the Valkyries” started running through my head. I laughed so hard. Then got unceremonially hit by a wave and sucked in a bunch of lake water. That will bring one back to reality quite quickly.

The last woman in the last wave (who was not the last finisher BTW, I checked) was the one I remember the most. She was not built like an athlete. She was someone who was out there changing her life and working very VERY hard. These are the women who (other then the survivors) are the most inspirational.

With all the kaykers, lifeguard and swim angels with her, she kicked her way to the finish, laughing, smiling and knowing that she was doing something extraordinary.

We angels were chanting “Jennifer… Jennifer… Jennifer…”

Soon, the lifeguards were beating out a cadence on their surfboards as were the kayakers on their boats.

The dumming and the chanting were contagious. Jennifer laughed, we all laughed. It was awesome.

The swim angels lining the exit ramp, noodles in the air joined the chant, as did all the spectators and race staff on the shore.


I’m telling you, the first place finisher at the Boston Marathon does not get this kind of reception.

I think more than one of us cried tears of joy when she hit the swim finish accomplishing what months ago she probably never dreamed she could.

This race always makes me cry.

You can see me in this picture, I’m the one with the halo and the sparkly pink princess sunglasses

Here’s the first pink swim wave, which consists of cancer survivors taking to the water.

Here’s what swim angels look like on dry ground

How can you tell that you shop at Home Depot too much? (other than having the folks in the garden department ask, “See you tomorrow?” when you leave.

I got a $50 Home Depot gift card in the mail yesterday as a thank you… It was a great surprise.

I am so happy that my wonderful chickens, MaryAnn, Ginger and Lovey provide me with healthy, safe and fresh eggs

House and Garden July 28 2010 060

I don’t have to worry about the massive egg recall (380 MILLION eggs as of this morning) due to salmonella contamination.

Perhaps this will make more people consider backyard chickens, farmers markets or at least supporting small local farms instead of factory farms where this sort of thing happens due to crowded, unhealthy and inhumane treatment of these birds.

And let me tell you… with chickens and a compost pile, NOTHING goes to waste from the kitchen or garden.

Speaking of urban farming, my garden continues to grow like mad.

garden update 08-18-2010 007

My first Juliet tomato is finally turning red.

garden update 08-18-2010 011

My corn is getting tassels

garden update 08-18-2010 006

And I have cucumbers…

garden update 08-18-2010 005

I also have squash, green beans and apples that are almost ready to pick.

A few more updated garden photos are available by clicking here

I received my pasta extruder (a manual crank, no fancy electric for me) and I made my first batch of yummy home made pasta. It’s easy (the hard part is letting the dough sit for an hour) and WAY better than the dried crap you get at the store.

making pasta 005

My blog post about said pasta making is available by clicking here

I went on an AWESOME hike up to Spray Park at Mount Rainier National Park on Friday.

Spray Park MRNP August 2010 160

More photos are available by clicking here

I went on an AWESOME hike up to Snow Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on Monday

Snow Lake August 2010 091

More photos are available by clicking here

And here are little smilies for all the squees left unsqueed

And of course, the greatest squee of all…

I am blessed to have really GREAT friends in my life

And you can see a lot of them here… (if I don’t have a picture of you here, send me one)

Insert “squee” of your choice here

I wish everyone a happy and drama free Thursday, as well as lots of things to go “Squee” over.


Now, I’ve got to get back to work, I typed this up last night and posted on my break, (which is now over).


Mood: Gotta Squee


Frostbite Falls via the RedHook Brewery

I slid into frostbite falls (after swimming and biking in circles) via the RedHook Brewery yesterday at the end of my 162.1 mile trek, the grand finale of which was a 35 mile bike ride with the Cascade Bicycle Club around Lake Sammamish.


a few pictures of the ride can be found here:

For those not familiar with the “journey to Frostbite Falls” that runners make each January, you can find a synopsis here

and a fun blast from the past can be found below:

That total includes:
100 miles of bicycling, (on my road bike)
33 miles of spinning (you don’t get far on those stationary spin bikes),
13.6 miles of running, (need to work on that now that I’m uninjured)
6 miles of cross country skiing,
5 miles of snowshoeing and
4.5 miles of swimming.

Obviously, none of these totals are where I’d like them to be. But when I think if where I was at this time last year (sick, stressed, sick, grieving) I am 130 miles ahead. I’ll take it and try to improve on it each moth.

Additional fun factoids: I exercised for 23 hours and 15 minutes this month.

I burned approximately 10,035.4 extra calories; at 3,500 calories a pound that’s good for just under a three pound loss. OK, I only actually lost two pounds, but I’m in the rebuilding muscle stage, and muscle weighs more than fat. (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it)

I’ve got a February sheet on my spreadsheet just waiting for me to start out the month right by filling in today’s bike ride this morning and a masters swim tonight.


Mood: Tired


Triathlon anxiety… (is the hay in the barn?) and swimming solo

The temperature for Saturday’s triathlon is forecast to be 86 degrees.

That may not sound like much to many of you (and may even be laughable to some) but for someone living in Western Washington, it’s extreme. Consider the fact that black asphalt can radiate 180 degrees 6′ above it’s surface on such a day, and it’s down right scary.

This may be the race where I finally barf.

Today I needed to get one last (or maybe the 2nd to last) open water swim in before my first Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday (which I am totally freaking out about and am not ready for this early in this, my 2nd season of doing these things)

My regular swim partner Gene has had some “complications” at work and couldn’t get off in time to do the swim with me.

I had another potential partner from the South Sound Triathlon Club who wanted to come out, but he recently moved and couldn’t find his wetsuit. (no way do you want to try a mile in the current water temps without one)

So I had to suck it up and go solo.

I made sure that people knew where I was and when to expect me back.

I called the Icky Boy before I want in and after I got out (even if he came out to be bored and watch, he’s not a swimmer and even if he was, with me out in the middle of the lake, there wouldn’t be anything he could do anyway-but I know I like to know when he’s returned safely from something with significant risk)

The police are usually there and the outrigger canoe club practices in the area-both parties usually watch out for swimmers.

I was probably safer there than I was driving to work on I-5 this morning. I’m a strong simmer (but I’d by lying if I didn’t have self doubt and anxiety even though I swam that exact route last week with no problem)

It would be virtually impossible to sink in the wetsuit.

I towed my lifeguard float in case I got a cramp or took on water…

swim0509 001

I hydrated well today (it was HOT out) and ate some shot blocks for extra energy before I want out (they really help after a 10 hour shift at work)

People looked at me like I was nuts; nuts for wearing a wetsuit, nuts for carrying that silly float and nuts for getting in the lake and swimming out to the far end.

I felt good…


I swam it a bit faster than last time (no one to shoot the breeze with)

if you are viewing this via LiveJournal or RSS feed where the map doesn’t display properly, click here

I got out, texted work and called the icky boy to check in and headed home.

I’ve been tired the last couple of weeks.

I did two sprint triathlons in a week, and did runs two days after each of them.

I did a 71 mile bike ride a week and a half ago ago.

I haven’t been running as much as I’d like, but I have done a (slow) difficult half marathon this year.

I’ve done two open wter swims of just over a mile…

I’ve done FOUR sprint marathons (3 with 250 meter swims and one with a 400 meter swim) which is likely more than a lot of people have done this year but not enough if my books.

I just don’t feel fully trained up enough in any of my disciplines. Training for a triathlon and to be a staff rider for a double century with a full time job (oh, and a life) is a daunting task at times.

I feel like I’m not giving anything enough time or attention.

I’m resting tomorrow.

I’ve been tired. My legs feel fatigued and my morning resting heart rate is a bit higher than I think it should be (60 bmp)

I may do another swim on Thursday afternoon for confidence. I don’t’ use my legs much when I swim (difficult in a full wetsuit and counterproductive in a triathlon where you need to save your legs for the bike and run), so I should be OK. At this point, I really don’t consider swimming a workout.

Can I do an Olympic distance triathlon (full mile swim-40K bike-10K run) in the heat, this early in a season where I don’t feel I’ve done enough?

We’ll see on Saturday.

I will be supported by good friends (and my Icky Boy)

And I “haz he stubborn”


Mood: Swimmin’ baby…. Swimmin’