Monday, December 29, 2008

Rochester Photographs 2008

A photograph of me was featured in the Rochester newspaper's Top 10 Photographs of 2008. It was taken by Jay Caper for article published in February of last year. You can see the photo here by finding "Jay Caper," the second photographer from the top, and clicking on my picture on the right-hand side of the page.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weird Rochester Weather

After getting slammed last weekend with two back-to back storms and over a foot of snow, we had a nice couple days of normal winter weather. But, starting yesterday, it's been 60 degrees and rainy. All the snow is gone, and the creek is thawed.

To add to the weirdness, at 7am this morning it was warm, calm, and the sunrise was eerily red. (red sky at morning!) Now, 3 hours later, the temperature has plummeted, the sky is black, and the winds are up to 60mph.

Eesh. Make up your mind already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Watch Out World

I am 21 years old today.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My New Bench Pull

Problem: utilizing the bench pull is paramount to my lifting program, and I didn't have access to one at home. (And of course, given my steadfast desire to get stronger by executing my strength & conditioning program to the best of my ability, this seemed like a real pickle.) Solution: commission my dad to help me build one!

It was fairly simple: a bunch of 2x4's, cut them down to the correct length, and insert many screws. The top is padded with foam making the grand total cost of the products only $17!!

Lastly, I found 250lbs worth of old Olympic weights on craigslist for $50. I set up my new bench pull and weights right smack in the middle of my 15 year-old brother's recording studio, for which, in my defense, he claimed the basement as soon as I moved out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blizzard, Part One

Well, the snow started falling at about 9am. I spent all morning knitting mittens, aka procrastinating from the job I have been putting off for 3 days: prepping the skis. Between me and my sister, there are 10 pairs of skis, then another 8 pairs from my mom, dad, and brother. That doesn't count any of our downhill skis (1 pair each) and my brother's snowboards (2, I think). There is a LOT of waxing to be done. I really enjoy waxing skis, but the pile of 18 pairs I want to get done before Saturday is rather daunting.

Oh well; make hay while the sun shines!! I am snowed in so I might as well be up to my elbows in CH8 shavings.

If the roads are passable in a few hours, I'm going skiing!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snowshoe Running is REALLY HARD

With a particular emphasis on the really hard part. I have basically two speeds: walk, or feel-like-my-heart-is-exploding-from-my-chest.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things That Rochester Is

Lovely!! tehe

The roads are salty and the trees are barren. The buildings are grey, the sky is grey... even the trees look grey. It seems like the whole town is just quietly waiting for the snow to come liven things up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy December!

I had a good two weeks of training post- Thanksgiving adventure, although I did manage to hurt my back somewhere along the way. X-rays showed my spine as normal, so it's definitely just something muscular that needs rest and recovery. I find that the older and more experienced I get, the easier it is for me to take the time off that I know I need (or stop the workout before the point of injury!) It feels really good to be in control like that, especially when my body feels better as a result.

I took a redeye back to Rochester last night and arrived today!! Of course, all of yesterday's snow melted while I was en route, and now all I see is grass. Oh well. Let the finger-crossing and pajama-inside-out-wearing and hoping-wishing-praying for snow begin!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tecolote 5k

We [the senior kayak team] attended San Diego Canoe/Kayak Club's 5k race this weekend. I personally did not race, due to my apparent back injury, but I did take photos and freeze my butt off. (It was rainy, windy, choppy, and 50 degrees. No one was really prepared for this.)

Mickle and Jen in the foreground duking it out with Maggie and Vinson

My team! Well, 75% of us, anyway: Emily Mickle, Jen Burke, me, Katie Hagler

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1000- Arrow Challenge

The resident archers here at the Olympic Training Center do an event every December called the "1000 arrow challenge." This involves shooting 1000 arrows in a row. It takes between 6-13 hours, depending on how fast the athlete can shoot.

On a normal day (over the course of 8 hours), the archers might shoot between 200-300 arrows. 1000 arrows is over three times the normal training load. To put things into perspective, that would be like us kayakers taking our normal 2-3 hours on the water daily and multiplying it into a 9-hour continuous paddle Yikes. Talk about over-distance training.

Anyway, I spent a good portion of my day watching these audacious athletes and taking pictures of their suffering. Everyone needs good support, you know?

Tyler shooting late into the evening

If you've unfamiliar with Olympic archery, I'd highly recommend checking it out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More about Thanksgiving in Joshua Tree

I don't think you can say you've really seen a sunrise until you've climbed up on some tall, cold rock in the middle of the desert and looked East until you were totally bathed in rosy light.

This landscape is beautiful, and totally foreign to me. I got up before dawn every day to catch the sunrise, and we spent all daylight hours rock-climbing.

Lauren Austin, my dear paddling friend who is currently studying geology at UC Davis, taught me the ins and outs of outdoor climbing (along with Eric, pictured below!).

Learning how to make a rope-backpack

Lauren also taught me a lot about the rocks themselves. They are volcanic, and have very large, rough crystals ("the cheese grater", we called it, when we were up on the rocks, hoping not to fall on exposed skin). They fracture at 90-degree angles and erode in straight lines, creating these really interesting angular rock towers all over the park: a rock climber's fantasy.

There are rocks just everywhere. Milions of rocks. Billions of rocks!! Each person in the world could have his very own rock.. probbly even his very own rock tower.

We met all sorts of interesting climbing nuts (get it? Climbing nuts!!?) We also ate delicious food for Thanksgiving: instant mashed potatoes, vegetables, and chicken... all thrown into the same pot and cooked on a backpacking stove. There's no water in the park, so we definitely didn't shower for 5 days. It was chilly and windy and the surrounding mountains were covered in snow. I loved every bit of it.

This was my first time climbing outdoors, and I have a newfound respect for people who do this. It's admittedly freaky when you get up on the wall on your second pitch and you're the last one to come up, the wind is blowing all over the place, you're not entirely certain how to do your next move, and all you can think about is that #3 cam in a crack five feet above your head that's totally saving your life right now. But I made it to the top, thoroughly enjoyed myself, and am hopeful that my next go of it won't be quite so unnerving.

Eric and Lauren watching me ascend the pitch

What is a Joshua Tree?

I spent my Thanksgiving climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, just three hours Northeast of San Diego. A year ago, I'd never heard of a Joshua Tree, but now, having spent ample time in the desert, I find them fascinating.

Joshua Trees are trees native to California, Nevada, and Arizona, confined mostly to the Mojave Desert area. They are slow-growing trees with long, sharp, cactus-like "leaves" that grow in a spiral pattern. As the story goes, they got their name from Mormon settlers, who thought that the trees' up-stretched arms looked like the praying prophet Joshua.

Joshua Trees always remind me of the Truffala trees in Dr. Suess' The Lorax!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Testing week

We've just finished a week of baseline testing in the gym, on the track, and on the water. There are a bunch of out-of-towners here at the training center and I'm glad, because it's more lively and fun than normal. For me, the testing went fairly well considering it started less than 24 hours after the half-marathon.

Some numbers, compared to testing at the end of September (7 weeks ago)

Weighted chin-ups: 25% increase in weight
Max. Bench pull: 8% increase in weight
Max number of chin-ups: 20% increase

And, coupled with my nifty 0% increase in body weight, we are looking at an official improvement in strength-to-weight ratio in the past 7 weeks!! Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Half-Marathon pictures

Don't let these poorly exposed, blurry photos fool you. When not hastily snapping photos on his iphone, Tyler is actually an impressive photographer. You can find some of his work here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Whole New World of Pain

I was unaware that my legs could be this sore.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fem's Distance-Running Debut

I ran a half-marathon this morning. The Silver Strand Half Marathon, to be exact. I "enjoyed" it and feel that it was a learning experience. The most important lesson that I learned was that you can't run this type of race without training properly for it. Fitness doesn't apply across the board: you can't go from "paddling fast" to "running fast" unless you actually put in the miles. If you don't, the race itself will be very painful indeed.

Anyway, now I can check "half-marathon" off of my life's to-do list and never run one again unless I want to.

(Certainly within the next year.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What have I been doing lately?

Getting destroyed by hard week... and making this scarf!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My car

As some may know, my car was stolen over a month ago here in San Diego. They found it outside of Los Angeles (2 hours north). It's an old car, but beloved nonetheless. The insurance proceedings have been interesting ( you mean it's only worth how much!?) The funny thing about it is that the money I was offered for the car is less than the combined worth of the two pairs of rollerskis and boots that were in the trunk (and are still in the trunk, according to the police report). Apparently the demand for rollerskis on the black market is very slim, as this is the second time they have been left behind by thieves that break in to my car.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


A trip to Otay Ranch Mall is always fun. Here's how it goes:

Bike 3 miles up the hill to the mall
1st stop: Panera. Nab free bread samples and leave.
2nd stop: Best Buy. Play piano keyboards until I run out of songs I know.
3rd stop: Victoria's Secret. Reedem coupon for free underwear; do not purchase anything else.
4th stop: Apple store. Take funny pictures on photobooth and email them to friends.
5th stop: Walk by the smoothie stand for free samples
Bike home, hoping to hit the stoplights just right. You usually get lucky.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Welcome back!

I flew in to San diego at 10:30am Pacific time yesterday morning. During my first 24 hours here, we did 2 arduous, rest-free circuit workouts at about 45 minutes each, 90 minutes of biking (not counting my commute), and a 10-mile paddle that kicked my as$. I also was awake for a full 24 hours straight, thanks to my fabulous body clock. Throw me into the fire!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hiking is My Middle Name

Gorgeous hike with Matt and Steve this weekend

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Moles vs. Voles: Everything You Never Knew You Always Wanted to Know

Today while at my gardening job, I was raking a Gigantic Leaf Pile. I was also listening to Sugarland on my ipod. All of a sudden, I heard a piercing screeching noise that sounded like some strange bird. All that noise was comming from a tiny wiggling grey lump at my feet. I crouched down to his level and said, "Why hello, little guy! You are a strange little creature." And he really was. He looked like a tiny lump of dirt with a pink nose on the end, and he wanted desperately to continue to burrow. I can understand that! So I said goodbye and left him alone.

The remainder of my leaf-raking time I spent thinking about this poor little guy. I was quite certain he wasn't a mouse. Was he a mole? Or was he a vole? I didn't really know the difference.

A mole is a small burrowing mammal. Normally you can't see its eyes or ears (just its nose) They live underground and eat earthworms.

A vole, on the other hand is a small rodent that resembles a mouse, but smaller and stouter. They are also known as field mice. They eat seeds, bark, vegetation, and insects.

I vote for the vole as Cutest Animal Ever... although my new friend was indeed the former.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Blustery, rain turning to snow"

I woke up this morning with every intention of biking straight to my gardening job and working all morning. However, at 7am it was 46 degrees, gusting wind, and pouring rain. I don't care how hardcore I pretend that I am... 4 hours of pulling weeds in a wet, blustery flowerbed sounds miserable. Instead, I made myself some coffee and decided to clean the house while I waited for it to warm up and stop raining.

7:30: drinking coffee, newspaper read.
8:00: still raining and 46. countertops cleaned
8:30: rain slowing down. Living room vaccuumed
9:00: still drizzly... but the temperature has dropped to 45?
9:30: dishes put away, mail sorted. still 45 degrees.
10:00: 44 degrees. Wind picking up. Microwave cold coffee; check email
10:30: Sit down to update blog. 44 degrees. Much windier than earlier.

Well, it seems waiting on the weather was a gross mis-calculation. I'm going to go get a scarf and go over there before it starts to snow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lake Placid

I went up to Lake Placid this weekend with Justin for hiking and camping. Now, let me tell you my rationale for thinking it'd be cool to camp in the Adirondaks in October. (Get it!? Cool??) Last week, I slept with my bedroom window open by mistake. When I woke up, it was 40 degrees in my room. So I figured, hey, that was cold, but it wasn't TOO cold. So sleeping outside in a tent should be no problem.

But of course, if that were the case I wouldn't have a great reason to write this blog post. It was FREEZING. We even had mummy bags that supposedly go down below twenty degrees, and it was still miserable. All night I alternated between burrowing deep into my sleeping bag (until I could no longer breathe) and coming up for air with my head protruding from the mummy part of the bag (until my nose turned into ice).

After a fitful night we went into town for breakfast and were told that it'd gotten down to twenty degrees. Woo hoo! I did secretly love it, though. Next time I'll be more prepared. Maybe invest in a better tent.

The hiking, however, was phenomenal! We went up Avalanche Pass and to Lake Colden (we think?) We weren't really sure where we were, and a pair of park rangers were making fun of a woman who'd asked them the same question, so we kept our mouths shut and just hiked. It was fun!

Marcy Dam

Justin spotted this grouse and got super excited (the Tetlows are serious bird people).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'd like to live in these pictures forever

Photos I took around my house yesterday night. I've been sick all weekend but I ventured out because the sunset was nice.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl

I went down to Cortland yesterday to train with the boys, and it was nothing short of a killer 24 hours. This morning was especially gorgeous: an Indian summer day with perfect blue skies. The air is so clear and crisp, with just a hint of the smell of snow. In the car we rolled the windows down, turned the country music loud, and flew past cornfields and over rolling, fiery-colored hills. We picked apples by the roadside and skipped rocks on the riverbank. If everyone could have a little piece of this sweet carefree northern October, I think the world would be a perfect place.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'm going to be a rock star

While I was away, my little brother built an entire recording studio in our basement. (He also makes his own guitars by hand!) He bought a a pickup for his cello, so we hooked it up to his amp last night and played music. I'm headed over to the music shop tomorrow to buy some mandolin sheet music, with every intent of joining a bluegrass band when I get back to California. I figure eventually Paul and I will combine our talents and make it big time... so all of this musicianship is just feeding in to my eventual career as an esteemed musician. You heard it first.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I am home in New York for three whole, lovely weeks. It will be as much an important training block as it will be a much-needed retreat to my beloved chilly air and frosty mornings.

The leaves are beginning to change, and it gets below freezing at night; I am all wrapped up in a big fleece blanket and I can't remember ever being happier.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lawson Peak

This week we hiked Lawson Peak, which turned out to be a bit more strenuous and a LOT more incredible than last week's mountain. We were on the trail for a good 4 hours, most of which was spent climbing up rocks and through caves. The summit felt like the top of the world. I was, of course, in heaven... and you can click on the photos for proof!