Monday, July 29, 2013

Feat #11: A New Tradition?

This is my friend Jane. She traveled to the middle east this year, in part to prove to herself she could.

She also does a cartwheel every year on her birthday. On her last birthday she turned 79. She is definitely an inspiration!

Here's to you and many more, Jane!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Feat #10: Getting the Worm

Every night this week I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m. and every single morning I got up and ran my favorite route. I usually mix it up a little, alternating running with other exercise, but last week my focus was slipping a bit, especially with the summer heat, so this week I decided to do something drastic.

The drastic part wasn't running every day. The drastic part was getting up at 7:00 a.m. to do it. I am not a morning person. Even though I know it is lovely to get out early. And even though I know 7:00 a.m. isn't even really that early.

Here's my favorite route (4 miles):

I start by walking about 1/4 mile to Canyon Road at the edge of my neighborhood, then I start running. Almost immediately, I turn and head south down into the river bottoms. The hill down is a good warm up, then the hill up on the other side gets my heart rate going.

Shortly after the top of the hill, I turn and head east toward the mountains. In the mornings, there is usually (always?) a strong headwind coming out of the canyon.

The reward comes at my halfway point, when I turn north again, down through the river bottoms into the shade and across the creek. It is always cool and refreshing, no matter how hot the weather is.

That leg ends, though, with a steep uphill climb to the mouth of the canyon. When I reach the top of the hill, I turn west on Canyon Road to head home. It's mostly a gentle slope down on a wide bike path, with glimpses of Utah Lake in the distance.

When I get back to my neighborhood, I slow to a walk for the last 1/4 mile.

I'm glad I stuck to my goal this week. I'm also glad I'm not setting an alarm tonight.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Feat #9: Solo

Here I am coming in from my first ever solo sail on our family's Melges MC Scow, just before a successful landing, which included leaving the tiller and hurtling myself up to the bow to catch the post on the pier. This may not seem like a big deal because I grew up sailing and many times solo-sailed boats like Sunfish and Lasers.

But it was. A big deal.

The MC has intimidated me since we bought it about 20 years ago. It's designed for racing and is very sensitive to the smallest shifts in weight or wind. The sail is relatively large and the rigging is heavy duty and fairly complex for a boat that size.

Pretty much every summer we have to make repairs due to tip overs, mishandled Water Safety Patrol tow-ins, and rough landings. I've been on the boat when we've tipped over, including at least one time with me at the helm. And as a faithful crew member, I have flung myself more than once into the lake to keep the boat from ramming into the pier or the shore in unpredictable conditions.

What you can't tell from this picture is that the wind further out on the lake was actually quite strong and gusty, a good test for me. I told myself I had to cross the lake and to come about at least three times. Going out a little ways, turning around, and coming straight back wouldn't count. I ended up coming about four times because, full disclosure, I held back and didn't quite make the landing on the first try.

My dad and my uncle Tom, who have been sailing the lake their entire lives and who coached me well, cheered me on from the pier while I sailed alone.

Alone. I sailed the MC alone.

Feat #8: Slam

About 10 years ago, I retired from tubing. It is fun to go fast, but mostly all it did was batter my body. Plus, I wear contact lenses. It's hard to see without them, but it's also hard to see wearing swim goggles to protect them because of all the spray. So I gave it up.

Last week, I put on my goggles and came out of retirement for one day in honor of my 50th year and this project.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feat #7: Cake and Ice Cream

We just got back from a terrific vacation at our family cottage on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. For years, I've heard various cousins talk about riding their bikes over the rolling midwestern hills to Hebron, Illinois, just under 12 miles southeast of our cottage, for ice cream.

I'd never done it, so I talked Dad into going with me one hot, humid, windy day. 

Once we got past the steep, steep hill on Indian Hills Road within the first mile, the rest of the many hills we encountered seemed like a piece of cake. 

We missed one turn on the wandering back road route we'd mapped out--it would have helped if the map we took with us didn't end at the border of Wisconsin!--but our error only added a little. Our final round-trip mileage: 24.

The old Hebron ice cream shop that had been the big draw for my cousins isn't there anymore. But there's a newer one at the main intersection, right near the town's water tower, which is painted like a basketball, an homage to the unlikely 1952 state basketball championship teamMom, Jack, and our friends met us there for cones and sundaes. 

Thinking of the long, hot return ride ahead of us, I picked a (possibly more hydrating?) chocolate ice cream soda. Not sure if it helped, but we did battle the headwinds and burning sun and made it home!