Thursday, December 29, 2016


Twenty sixteen.  A year like no other in my life.  It started and ended in the worst way possible, but had so much good in between.  Here are the highlights:

January:  My sweet father-in-law passes away.
January:  We sell our beloved mountain home in Deer Valley, Utah the same day.

February:  We welcome our first grandchild, who becomes the light of our lives.
February:  We move out of our home for an extensive remodel on it.

April:  Our second daughter graduates from Culinary School and begins her chef life.

May:  Our only son graduates from high school.
May:  Our third daughter marries the love of her life and we celebrate with a beautiful wedding and reception.
May:  We move out of the rental home we are staying in because it gets sold and move into another temporary home.

July:  Our son heads off to college for a summer semester to get in a quick bit of school in before he leaves on his LDS  mission.

October:  Number One Son (and only) leaves on his two-year mission to Cuernavaca, Mexico and my husband and I officially become empty nesters.
October: I turn 50, and have an awesome friends party.
October:  My daughter separates from her husband and my life seems devoid of happiness.

December:  Divorce is signed.
December:  Let's end this year QUICK!

Not even my worst enemy should begin and end their year with the two d's - death and divorce  (I actually can't say I have any enemies).  At times it's been heart wrenching, eclipsing all the good that 2016 brought to our family.  I spent time in the fetal position unable to cope with a distressed daughter and loss of a son-in-law.   I refused to send out Christmas cards - a tradition that I have had for 28 years.  I was in a deep, dark place.

But friends and family helped me out of the quagmire.  They told me to press on, to get up and to get moving.  Exercise was my Xanax.  And that house remodel became the project that brought my husband and I closer as a couple.  My #2 is surviving.  She's catering to the most exclusive clientele in Park City, Utah.  Daughter #1 has become an amazing mom and the daily photo feed  of her daughter is the silver lining of my day.  Daughter #3 is so happy with her husband and is finishing her final semester of college.  And Number #1 Son smiled brighter than I've ever seen him as we Skyped on Christmas Day.  He exudes the light of Christ.

What have I learned this year?  So many things.

Don't judge others.
Don't fear change.
Empathize with friends/family who are going through hard times.
Look for the good in daily living.
A good book can make you escape reality even for an afternoon.
Pray, more often and more intensely.
Make and plan hard goals.
Dream Big.

I've tried in the past to not be too person on this blog.  But I wanted to share my heart with my tiny group of readers.  I find an outlet in writing that soothes my soul.  Twenty seventeen will be a much better year, I can already feel it.  Let's cheer each other on and share in the joys of life.  Because life is good.  And through the darkness emerges the sunrise -- every.  day.


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Skinny on Skinny & Co.

Here's the down and dirty secret of training in Arizona: you sweat.  And not just a little sweat, it's a LOT. It's the kind of sweat that demands you to immediately strip off those soaking clothes as you walk in from the heat kinda sweat.  Over the past few years, this has been the cause of dry, itchy skin or Excema -- especially on my lower back and right above my elbows, where I rest my arms in my tri bars.  I end up feeling like a lizard with a tough skaley exterior.

When I first noticed these patches of dry skin, I tried to soothe them with lotion -- ouch!  There was way too many chemicals to apply to the abrasions.  Then I tried Vaseline and Aquaphor, which helped but left me kinda goopy and oily.  And then I was given a prescription that worked, but the allowable amount my health insurance covered was the size of a mini tube of toothpaste.  I used it up way too fast and it was a hassle to refill the prescription.

Then I was introduced to this amazing product:  Skinny Coconut Oil.

I love this stuff.  It's 100 percent natural coconut oil and is very different than the coconut oil you can buy at your local grocer. I have been applying it on my "trouble spots" and it works!  It gently soothes my Excema and it doesn't leave any oily residue on my body.  It feels like it just soaks into my skin and heals it.  It's so healthy and non toxic that I can even cook with it or throw a drop or two into my morning smoothie.

Here is the skinny on Skinny direct from the manufacturer: Our coconuts are WILD HARVESTED from the jungles of Vietnam.  The coconuts are hand-picked and transported directly to our plant; a controlled environment ensuring quality.  Once cracked open, the coconut meat is put into the closed-loop, dehumidifying Nutralock System™. This extracts the moisture without heat, leaving all of the raw nutrients of the coconut intact.  Raw is better. The majority of coconut oils on the market claim to be "cold pressed," but are actually heated prior to the pressing process.  This extracts more oil from each individual coconut, yet raises the temperature over 120˚ F and destroys nutritional value. We believe our Nutralock System™ is superior to any other pressing method. Each jar takes about three times longer than other processes and uses 12 coconuts. This is why you can see, smell and feel the difference between our oil and virtually any other oil on the market.

I'm very interested in trying the sugar scrub and lip balm when I place my next order for Skinny Coconut oil, but surprisingly that may be awhile.  My first two ounce bottle has lasted me about three months, even when I use it daily.

So thanks for making me a believer Skinny & Co.  You have a dedicated user for life.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Road tire review│Specialized Turbo Cotton vs Vittoria Corsa vs Continent...

Ricky and I work together at Bicycle Haus in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Here is his review of the best tires out there for your road bike.  He's tried them all and I think he's got some great opinions.  Good stuff to know, for sure.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Stronger, Leaner, Faster

Sloppy running form is more pronounced when you're tired or slowly jogging.  When you speed up, your body adjusts to sprint more efficiently.  With practice, this motion will become ingrained even at slower paces.  Once or twice a week after an easy run, do six 100-meter strides on a flat surface (I like to run on the grassy football field inside the track).  Go at 90 percent effort, feeling fast but not all-out and relax your arms and face.

Also, use the summer months to hone your racing speed.  Rather than long runs, do short 5k or 10k efforts to work on the pick up of a speedy run.  It's too hot to be out for those marathon training days!

Pack healthy fats and protein in your meals each day.  Your body uses protein to build new muscle fibers and mitochondria, which burns fuel during runs.  Runners need quality protein with BCAAs, which support muscle recovery.  Where do we get this good fuel? Eggs, chicken, pork, lean beef, fish, soy and whey. Some healthy fats help to keep your appetite satiated: avocado, nuts, nut butters and olive oil should be part of your regular diet.

Make time for your workout by getting it done in the morning.  There's not much schedule interference when you do a 5am workout.  But that also means heading to bed early so you can make those wake-up calls happen.  There's no better treat than a beautiful sunrise to make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ironman Races from Most Difficult to Least

I thought this may interest my fellow triathletes who are searching for the right full Ironman for them.  LAVA magazine rated the courses of each race and the results are posted below.  It ranks the difficulty of the Ironman courses by different factors:  T&C stands for Terrain and Climate.  SOF is Strength of Field.  BMV stands for Body Mass Variance, or how much being fat or skinny makes a difference on this course. 

RANK/RACE                  IRONINDEX      DATE                    T&C                    SOF           BMV
1. Lanzarote, Spain                  90                   may                   1st                      8th             1st
2. Tremblant, CA                      82                   aug                   3rd                     6th              8th
3.  Muskoka CA                        79                   aug                   6th                     14th            2nd
4. Wales, England                      70                   sept                  2nd                    21st            3rd
5. Canada                                   77                   july                   4tt                    16th             4th
6.  Placid                                    74                   july                   5th                   26th             6th
7.  Boulder                                 68                   aug                    7th                   24th             9th
8.  Wisconsin                             64                   sept                    9th                  27th              7th
9.  Kona                                     62                   oct                     18th                 1st               19th
10.  Mallorca, Spain                  62                    sept                   15th                3rd               15th
11.  Cairns, Australia                 60                    june                  10th                7th                20th
12.  Fortaleza, Brazil                 59                   nov                     8th                  9th                25th
13.  UK                                      56                   july                     11th                35th              14th
14.   Couer D'Alene                   55                   aug                     12th                36th              11th
15.  Louisville                            55                  oct                      14th                 30th              12th
16.  Weymouth, Dorset UK        54                  sept                    19th                 22nd             13th
17.  Los Cabos                            54                  oct                     13th                  38th             10th
18.  France                                  53                  june                    26th                 20th              5th
19.  Brazil                                   52                  may                    25th                 2nd               28th
20.  South Africa                        50                  april                    20th                 29th             16th
21.  Switzerland                          50                  july                     21st                 17th             17th
22.  Chattanooga                         49                  sept                    16th                 25th             22nd
23.  Malaysia                              49                  nov                     17th                 34th            18th
24.  New Zealand                        46                  march                23rd                 13th             27th
25.  Vineman, CA                       45                  july                    22nd                 23rd            21st
26.  Netherlands                          45                  july                   27th                  12th             23rd
27.  Copenhagen                         42                 aug                     28th                  4th              34th
28.  Texas                                    42                  may                  24th                   32nd           24th
29.  Vichy, France                       40                  aug                   29th                   19th             26th
30.  Sweden                                 35                  aug                   31st                   15th             35th
31.  Barcelona                             34                  oct                     38th                  5th               31st
32.  Arizona                                34                   nov                   30th                   31st             29th
33.  Frankfurt                              29                   july                   34th                  28th             30th
34.  Western OZ  (Sydney)         29                  dec                     36th                  11th             37th
35.   Australia                             28                  may                    33rd                  18th            36th
36.   Taiwan                                27                   oct                     32nd                 39th             33rd
37.  Austria                                  26                 june                    40th                  10th             32nd
38.  Cozumel                              21                   nov                    35th                   37th            39th
39.  Maryland                             20                   oct                     27th                   33rd            40th
40.  Florida                                 18                   nov                    39th                   40th            38th                        

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Zion, Bryce and Nature, Oh My!!!

There is something quite healing about nature.  It calms the soul, it refocuses the mind, it brings inner peace ... ooohhhmmmmm.

But this is not what came to mind when planning our "2016 Girls Trip" to Southern Utah this year. We wanted adventure, memories and all the challenge that (almost)-50-year-old ladies could handle! And that's exactly what we got!  Rather than bore you with all the stories and belly laughter that happened on this trip, I'm going to pass along some how-tos about traveling to Zion and Bryce Canyons for YOUR trip of a lifetime.

1.  Plan at least a long weekend to hit both canyons.  We stayed two nights at the Desert Pearl Inn  in Zion and The Lodge at Bryce Canyon in Bryce.   We made our reservations about three months before we traveled.  Book early, the lodges fill up quickly!

 2.  Hike as much as you can.  Zion offers more hiking than Bryce, which is why we stayed two nights there.  Make time particularly for the Angel's Landing hike and the Observation Point hike, two of our favorites.  There are short and long hikes available to the visitors,  so do your homework and pick what works best for your group.  We are preparing to return to the Narrows hike in July.

 3.  Transportation within Zion National Park is done only by tram.  Whether you camp or stay in a lodge, keep in mind you won't be using your car much. What a treat!  These trams were convenient and ran from sun up to sundown.

 4.  If possible, take along an expert guide!  Lisa, our dear college roomie has been to both canyons numerous times and her information was invaluable.  Talk to people who have done the park.  Read up on social media.  It was nice to come knowing which hikes we were doing in advance.

5.  Pack appropriately.  You won't need heels, skirts or makeup on this adventure, but pack for quick changes in weather.  The vest I brought was the perfect outer layer to keep me warm after we summited Angel's Landing.  I was sweating on the way up, but cold on the way down.  Layers are your friend.

 6.  Bring cards!  We were pooped each night as we returned from our hikes, but card games kept the fun going and the laughter coming into the evening after dinner.  The Desert Pearl Inn "river" rooms face a beautiful babbling brook and emerald-green lawn with adirondack chairs for lounging and visiting.  All of these amenities make for splendid chill session at the end of a long day.

6.  Keep your iphone close by for spectacular scenery photos.  Ah-mazing.  

 7.  Be friendly!  There are people visiting the Southern Utah national parks from all over the world!  We met and made friends with travelers from New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark and France.  Don't be too shy to say a quick hello.  These folks have traveled around the world to see these sites -- let's represent our wonderful country with a polite greeting and a smiling face!  Interesting story, we said hello to a solo hiker who was sitting next to us on the tram to Angel's Landing-- saw him again when he was descening the trail -- saw him the next day at the lodge in Bryce -- and then again the next day on the Glen Canyon Dam bridge overlooking Lake Powell.  There are hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers on the same journey that you may be taking -- take the time to ask them about their adventure!

8.  Be accommodating.  Not every hiker is meant for every path.  Be aware of your limits and choose your hikes carefully.

9.  Stop and look down.  Or look up.  Don't rush your journey. The beauty is everywhere.  Enjoy...

10.  Leave a comment or email me with any questions.  I'm by no means an expert in these parks, but I can surely direct you to a good source for more information on Zion and Bryce!  Namaste.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Saying Hello, Again, To My Fitness Pal

In the never ending quest to BE BETTER, sometimes returning to the basics is a step in the right direction.  My Fitness Pal is that compass for me.

The My Fitness Pal app tracks everything you'll need to keep your body in prime condition:  calories, macronutrients, water consumption, weight, exercise and workouts.  If you're trying to lose or just maintain weight, it will help you set and keep track of a caloric goal.  I particularly love the bar code scanner for easy uploads when you are logging in your food.  For example, that sticker on an apple that you have to peel off before eating --- you know the one.  If you can point the scanner from your phone onto that apple,  your food recording is done! And amazingly, there is a bar code on almost every item you eat.

I also like using the computer to create a meal or a recipe that I eat regularly.  My "Almond Joy Smoothie" was a recipe I added into My Fitness Pal.  I created a name for it and stored it into my phone,  so now I can search and hit "add" so it is logged into the system, eliminating the time spent to record every ingredient every time.

And if logging your daily food intake seems daunting, consider the fact that thousands of restaurant meals and grocery items are already in their database.  So if you want that Chick-fil-a salad and are worried about adding every last ingredient into your account, don't fret!  That salad is already in their system and a simple search will provide all the info you need to log in that delicious dish!

I'm trying to stay dedicated to this app once again.  I believe it is a game changer.  It keeps you HONEST.  My daughter who had a baby last month is a dedicated user of this app, and she has inspired me to return to my roots of logging food.  It's the only way to be true to myself and BE BETTER.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The "WIN" Tunnel

 Last week was an epic week for me -- as it would be for any cyclist.  I got the chance to attend the Specialized Bicycle Components University (or SBCU) in Morgan Hill, California.  I spent time in the Level 2 Fit Class, getting better equipped to fit triathletes and mountain bikers on their bikes.   On the final day, one lucky participant was selected to be the guinea pig in the wind tunnel.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to truly experience something only a select few pros every get to do.  The class members helped fit me on my size cycle to determine the best position for me for maximum power in the most aero position possible.  I love the science behind this sport we call cycling. Amazing stuff.

Here we are with one of Specialized's physicists in action.  
This aero helmet was found to have the least drag. 

The team adjusting and tweeking my fit. 

If you can't maintain the position, it doesn't work.  But this felt dialed in.  

One happy SBCU camper.  We found the perfect fit! 

Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True