It has been way too long since I last wrote a blog entry. I have thought about writing more than eleven different entries that never materialized. I will tantalize you with their titles and leave the rest up to your imagination.
Missing blog entry titles:
Transitioning to Project Management at HP
Living at Home at 30!
Raft trip in Beautiful Hells Canyon
How to pack your schedule from 4:30 AM to 11 PM
Triathlon Training & Long Conversations on 3+ Hour Workouts
A Fun Weekend in Sun Valley including a PR (Personal Record)
Dakoka and Extended Dog Sitting
A New Car
Andy at Home after Far too Long
Life Back in Boise
The Ubiquitous American Summer BBQ
I will start by apologizing that these blogs never were written. If any of the titles sound too riveting that you just cannot stand it, send me an email and I will write it.
This summer has been far too busy and I have a tendency to create a ‘rock star schedule’ (as Andy calls it) where I am going from sun up to sun down. I generally start my day out quite early and meet someone to either run or bike. I have also been using the YMCA to swim. These activities have been happening for two reasons. The first reason is because I really enjoy working out. The second reason is because I have been training for a half Ironman called the Hulaman which will happen a week from today (on August 17th). The half Ironman distance is a 1.2-mile swim followed by a 56-mile bike and culminating in Ω marathon (13.1-mile) run. As you can imagine, training for a race of this length takes a lot of time and energy. I have spent many of hours doing the three disciplines. Yesterday I competed in the Emmett Olympic distance triathlon to put all three disciples together and make sure I can still do it. I will give you a quick summary of the race.
Anna (my sister) drove out to Emmett with me in my new car (2001 Volvo Cross Country). And yes Andy, I used the bike rack you installed on the car. We met up with Greg Lonnen and Matt Messinger (co-workers) at T2 (transition from bike to run) and dropped off my running shoes, hat and a GU. Next, we drove out to Black Canyon reservoir where the swim would soon transpire. I set up my bike on the racks so once I was finished swimming I could quickly change into the appropriate attire to ride a bike 40 kilometers (25 miles). I put on a wetsuit I had borrowed from a friend and wouldn’t you know it, it tripped while I was trying to pull it over my calf muscle. Darn…now I have to figure out how to get her a fixed/new wet-suit.
I was really hoping that I wouldn’t panic on the swim like I remembered doing in the few triathlon races I had completed back in 2002 before we started traveling the world. I rationalized that I must be a mentally stronger person than I was six years ago. Before we had moved to China, I had experienced some anxiety and learned how to overcome it, so surely that would translate into an all together better swimming experience this time around. The men competing in the Olympic distance (there was a Sprint distance as well) started five minutes before the women were to start. After the gun went off for them, I jumped in the water to get a feel for it. It was not cold despite the almost stormy conditions outside. As I looked around at the fellow females with bright yellow swim caps I tried to ascertain if I was relaxed or not. I recognized that I was probably not 100% relaxed but hoped I would be okay swimming.
The gun went off for the women and we were off. I kept my head above water and started swimming the breast stroke. After a few strokes, I tried to freestyle but didn’t feel like I could breathe well enough to keep doing it so my head when upright again and I went back to the breast stroke. This cycle repeated itself for pretty much the first half of the swim while I was internally pissed off at myself for not being able to relax and breathe.
Finally after rounding the half-way buoy, I relaxed enough to start swimming freestyle. I finished the swim about five minutes later than I was anticipating. The good thing about the swim was that my thought process had gone from oh crap, I cannot do the swim next weekend at Hulaman, I am going to switch to the duathlon to realizing that even if I breast stroke the whole damn thing, I can finish it.
After the swim I peeled off my borrowed wet-suit, put on my jersey, helmet and bike shoes and took off for the 40-km ride. The scenery on the bike was really beautiful and I was able to push myself and achieve a faster average speed than I had planned on. My thought process during the bike was mostly around how much food and drink I should be consuming. Was I consuming too little? Too much? I didn’t want to leave the bike under-hydrated or having eaten too much (which would make me sick on the run.) I was also hoping that I wouldn’t have to use my tire changing skills I had practiced the night before at my in-laws home, which I didn’t end up needing. It all worked out and before I knew it, I was at T2 ready for the run.
The run was hot, but I felt strong and found myself passing a lot of people who had swum away from me at the beginning of the race. The run course was two loops that were more or less an out and back course. It was fun because you could see where the other race participants were in relation to you, which made the time pass faster. After about two hours and 50 minutes, I completed the race and felt good. If the Hulaman is as hot as Emmett was, I am not sure if I can do it, but I will give it a go. Since the race is near the Oregon coast, it should be cooler. Even if I have to suffer through the swim doing the breast stroke, I can get through. Can you tell I am talking myself into these thoughts?
Other than that, after a wonderful two weeks with Andy, he is back in China and it is just me and the animals. When Andy arrived in Boise, we “moved” into our house. I put moved in quotes because we still do not have any furniture. This computer and my water bottle are situated in the corner of the room on a card table. Dakota, Becky Hoth’s dog who we are dog-sitting while she and her family are living in China, is asleep (and dreaming) in the spot in our dining room which normally has our dining room table. In the background, my mountain bike is propped up against the wall and the cat is passed out on our only thing to sit on, my grandparent’s old love seat. The dogs (Sassy and Dakota) and the cat (Ozzy) have been good companions with Andy gone, but it does get a little lonely around here.
This morning when I woke up the second time (didn’t wake up at 5 AM and meet Lindsay and Sherri to run since I didn’t get home from a ladies night dancing at the Balcony Club until around midnight), I took Dakota for a 6-mile run in the foothills. He did really well. In the Orchards or the trail right near 8th Street, there was a coyote who was desperately calling presumably for its pups. Other than that, the run was fairly uneventful. Luckily it was cooler today so Dakota, being a black dog, did not get too hot. I had also carried water for him. He did really well on the run but resorted back to the codependent howling once we returned to the house and I took Sassy out for a 10-minute walk by herself. Sassy has recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and therefore can no longer run, but it is important that she goes on short walks so her joints do not freeze permanently. Dakota likes to be around others and howls when he is alone..poor guy. The first night he stayed with us and his owners left, he howled all night long. I am a heavy sleeper so Andy, bless his heart, stayed up with him most of the night trying to calm him down. He was as stressed out as I am in the triathlon swim so I understand. He is doing much better now, but resorts to old fears when Sassy is not around.
After the run and walk and shower, my friend Lindsay picked me up to go to a pedicure which is an early birthday present. It was nice and afterwards we had lunch downtown at PF Changs (American Chinese food.) I spent the afternoon reading this popular vampire book I just started, napping, cleaning up the house (mostly just the dog hair) and then shopping (clothing at Anthropologie and food from Winco). This evening, I made a chicken salad sandwich after a trip to the neighbors when I realized I don’t have a can opener and a salad. For dessert I indulged in my favorite Skinny Cow mint ice cream bars and a piece of dark chocolate. With no TV or radio and my iPod yet to be found (I somehow lost it), I just spent an hour watching an amazing last lecture by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. It is definitely worth the hour and 15 minutes:
Work has been incredibly crazy these past few weeks with the big reorganization within IPG (Imaging and Printing organization). We put off our basement remodel until we are sure that we have positions within the new organization, which we should know for sure by the end of August. All of the uncertainty and the organizational changes may prevent me from going back to China for one last visit/move and our trip to Thailand. I am incredibly bummed about this, but it will be worth it if I still have a job I have been loving project management so I hope to be fortunate enough to continue with that line of work.
Andy has also been loving learning the technology of his new job, so we both have our fingers crossed. Well, that leaves out tons of details as to the rest of the summer, but at least provides some update that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I have really been enjoying my time in Boise. It has been wonderful being back in our house. China seems like a distant memory except for the fact that Andy is still there. People ask me about China all the time and I feel like I can only respond in two ways, either Incredibly interesting or do you have a week for me to tell you? It is simply too complex and enigmatic to describe in a 30-second executive summary.
I read the book ‘China Road’ while I was on the Hells Canyon raft trip and it not only was a very interesting book but it validated this feeling that China is too much of a complex place to describe simply. The author could not wrap it up in 300 pages although he did a fantastic job trying. I miss all of my friends in China and I am sad to think that I mostly likely will not be visiting any time soon. I promise to do a better job of keeping up this blog so we can stay in touch. The iMac will be packed up tomorrow so there will not be another entry from me until September. In the meantime, please keep in touch via email.
Zaijian Zhong Guo.
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