Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a spelunking we will go!

got the chance to go explore the talofofo caves today...very cool...

there are 7 separate caves i think...all varying in size and depth...including the one with the dropoff that made me a little squeamish just to look at!

we found a few pictographs...not sure if they are the real thing or just something some teenager added to pass the time, but we'll go ahead and pretend they're real cause they look like the documented real ones!
saw the window arch...apparently the caves were all connected at some point...til the ceiling collapsed and left this arch with a view to the east coast...

went through a couple of tight squeezes and used a rope to climb and descend a wall in one of the caves (sent one of the other girls up first to test the soundness of the rope....what??? - i'm not stupid! - can't just trust any rope you find in a cave!)


and in this picture you can see on the left, a spelunker, and on the right, a caver...

you see - "cavers rescue spelunkers"...or at least that's what wikipedia says...a spelunker is an uneducated and inexperienced cave explorer and that's what i am...ali g on the other hand, knows what she's doing! - we'll call her a caver!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

xterra guam...

wow...my toughest race ever...we all know how i don't really like to train for things...just kind of fly by the seat of my pants and my own stupidity, and naivete for injuries and abuse...

well...it caught up to me....let me tell you about triple xxxterra guam (is that redundant?)...1000m swim, 31k mtb, 8.2k trail run...

swim was fine...2 500 meter loops...uneventful...never the hard part for me...(that's me - 52...why does my arm look so fat? - is my arm fat???)


bike. was. brutal...starts out with i'm guessing 4 miles of hill to get to the start of the red dirt...4 miles...did you hear me?...it was 4 miles headed straight into the heavens baby...no rest spots, no rollers...just up, up, and away...

(this is just getting to the top of the climb to start the "real" stuff...they gave us gatorades...if i would have known what was to come i would have drank the whole thing, not just half and tossed so i wouldn't have to stop...don't you love how happy i look to be at the top?...soooo very happy!)


the course is not overly technical - not like the roots and rock gardens of west branch and the like...but beyond vertically challenging...and the rain the night before meant lots of mud in my tires, my pedals, and my cleats...

aaaaaand my hydration pack leaked...so i was REALLY thirsty...i came home and threw the piece of crap away...i really need to buy a genuine camelback...some things you get what you pay for...and i would have paid someone $50 for a half empty water bottle that day...and not batted an eyelash!

this is up on course - not me (duh, cause i took the pic! - can't you tell how serious i was about my time?) but i wanted to show everyone that this is without a doubt, the most beautiful race i've ever done...stunning...

this however is me...just before turning onto some of the "extra" hills when i thought we were getting ready to head back down the big hill!!! - sad, sad me - when i learned that!

so anyways - i made it into t2 before the 3 1/2 hour cutoff...then the strangest thing...no water stop coming out of transition...don't get me wrong...there were lots of volunteers for this race and they were awesome! - but i don't know if i've ever done a race where you didn't get some water before heading out on the run...

run...so now i'm dying...like i'm not sure how far til we get water and it is hot and humid and i feel like i might not make it i'm so thirsty...cause all i've had for 3 1/2 hours of hard racing is 2 regular sized bottles of water (one i had, one they gave us 2/3 through bike), and the half gatorade...more than enough in ohio, not nearly enough on guam!...

but as we are starting up the hill again, there is a guy on the side of the road and he is cracking open a monster energy drink right in front of me...i go "that is just CRUEL!"...so he offered me some...and i took it...i just needed a sip to make it to the water stop (it was maybe a mile from t2?)...my mouth and throat were so dry they hurt...so then i get to the water stop and down 7 or so waters and gatorades...bliss!...i probably hung around in their shady tent a little too long but it was just so nice!!!

then came the hill of death - i really could have used an oxygen tank a few times trying to hike up this thing...steep and long...and there were some pockets in the path that were so hot i actually looked down to make sure i didn't accidentally run through a brush fire cause the heat on my shins was unreal!...i did a lot of stopping and bending over and panting...lots of panting!

got to the top, had to scale down a 10-12 foot rock cliff to the next water stop...looked straight down but wasn't as hard to navigate as i had worried...had about 5-6 more waters...at which point running was difficult cause my belly was sloshing from side to side!...so more walking it was!

then - the river and the waterfalls...wow...i am guessing we ran at least 1 1/2 miles in the river...that you couldn't see the bottom of and varied from ankle to nearly shoulder deep...a couple of the sections i actually doggy paddled...and there were more waterfall sections and steeper sections than i would have thought...you really did have to slide down them on your butt...(or on your butt on your hands as i did cause i was afraid i'd rip my shorts!)...i don't know how anyone would do this run without gloves...

(i didn't get many good pics but here are a few of the pros - taken by pros, to show how it's done!)

so much river running it got a bit tedious...at that point i was really waterlogged and really ready to get out...i did it...i was done...next year i thought i would just do the relay cause the run was too much for me! (although we all know me and it's 48 hours later and i'm thinking i have to do the whole thing again cause now that i know what i'm in for i have a few lessons learned and want to improve on my EMBARASSING TIME! - finishing is awesome, yes...but i don't want to leave those times as my reputation!)

see, i was smiling, so it must not have been that bad, right?...(isn't it amazing how easy it is to forget the pain after enough time? - it's like that 24 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing out a 9 lb baby...the pain is diminished by the reward!)

but i really didn't understand how people could run this trail at all, it is screaming for a broken ankle in that dark rocky water, but i later found out from one of the other participants that it is a common hash run, and probably a GEAR (guam extreme adventure racing) thing too and they have kind of mastered it...which makes me feel better...i was ill prepared...and more than a little freaked out at the thought that there might be snakes or freshwater eels in there...at one point i even stopped and went back a ways to wait for another person to come by 1. to verify that i was still on course cause it was getting so ridiculous and 2. to not be alone in these deep pools of water!!!

but anyways i finished...i am embarassed i won my age group by default...it was not for a lack of talented female competitors though, it was just that they were all older, younger, or pro!


overall this race was phenomenal...it was very well executed and lives up to it's reputation of being one of the top five off-road races (as ranked by triathlete magazine)...i paid $70 and it was money well spent all the way up to the awards banquet at the hyatt and the engraved medals! (which again, i am still ashamed to have!) - they actually have your place and age group on the back, not just "finisher"...i have paid more for other races and received much less...my only recomendation for next year would be one more water stop on the bike and a water stop outside transition to the run...


and by the way, the OVERALL finish list went 1. male pro, 2-5 FEMALE PROS!!! 6. male pro, 7. and 8. LOCAL AMATEURS!!! (and fellow pilots of bear) 9. FEMALE PRO 10. male pro and on and on...the women at this race were animals!!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

conversations from the crib...

i'll admit it...i get in the crib with my kid...am i too big for it?...at nearly 6' and 140ish lbs...yes...but i paid for it...if i break it, well then whatever...it was worth it...

it's not all the time...but sometimes - like today after nap - i just can't resist...

we love to cuddle together and talk...today she pulled my shirt up and was looking at my tummy...

mom: remember you used to live in there? - that was your home...

p: yeah, and we can all live in there in our home!

mom: well i don't think we'll all fit...

p: yeah, and we can live in your heart!

mom: honey, you'll ALWAYS live in my heart!

********************************************************

mom: you know who's coming home tonight?

p: MRS. SONY!!!

mom: uh, no...muthoni lives in kenya and can't come over tonight...guess again!

p: DADDY!!!!!!!

(he was gone for 7 days on a trip)

**********************************************************

i walked out to get to the camera and came in to hear the most beautiful song...ever...

it went something like this...

"my mommy's beautiful!
my mommy's beautiful!
my mommy's beautiful!

mommy!

mommy is beautiful!
mommy is beautiful! in my heart!

mommy's beautiful in my heart!
my mommy's beautiful in my heart!
my mommy's in my heart!"

i caught the second half on camera...

it melted my heart...i'll give this kid anything she wants!...ok, well not really...but i'll think about it at least...

video

wouldn't you want to cuddle up with this??? - resistance is futile...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

i'm pretty sure...

i'm gonna get in trouble for this - but bear sent us this video tonight and i thought it was really funny...

video

Monday, March 22, 2010

since it's sunday...

let's all take a moment and thank God for the wonderful gift of the artichoke...

my favorite thing from the last week was discovering this amazing artichoke bruschetta...(i know, i know - doesn't she have a kid?!? - there's nothing else in her WHOLE life that can trump a bruschetta???...the short answer is YES...but since everything about her is my favorite thing from freckles to flatulence, i'd like to focus on other stuff...once in a while anyways)


so back to the bruschetta...artichokes, garlic, red onion, tomato, mayonnaise, and parmesan...season appropriately...(and by appropriately i mean lots of crushed red pepper among other things!)...toast and let the magic happen!


and of course this little thing will always be a favorite…

(except for the occasional whining...that i could do without!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

not sure how to start this whole thing...

so my first couple posts will be just pictures i guess to let you see a little of this paradise that we are now lucky enough to call home!!!

(in fact, i think i'll start with a picture of our home!)


we live in a newer neighborhood that is very american - garages and dishwashers and whatnot...it is an actual development where the rest of guam is sort of like a mishmash of houses just built randomly where someone buys a plot and builds a house...so we lose a little of that character by living here, but we make up for it by having the things we are used to!...the houses here are not always pretty, but if they will stand up to a typhoon, that usually takes priority!


this is tumon bay (as seen from the hilton where we stayed during our move)...yes...the water really IS that blue...i'm continually stunned by it's ability to be so blue...and so many different shades...there are spots you can look out and identify at least 5 shades at a time...

this is palmer at ritidian - it is a pristine beach...it's actually a wildlife preserve so hopefully it will always stay that way!


this is big john and bessie...you can find them down in umatac...i think big john must be the village's official ambassador or something - he is full of island love!...take a ride on bessie and feed her a few bananas, then try some fresh coconut!...big john will refuse a tip, but you still tip him anyways (gotta keep bessie in bananas!)


here is my father-in-law, lance, bonding with the 'ol girl!

video

really the south side of the island is the most beautiful - there are few places you can go that don't have an amazing view...lush mountains and jungles and beaches and all that good stuff...

but in fact, even the sunset over our "same as the next house" neighborhood is beautiful...you just can't beat it with a stick...