Saturday, January 3, 2015

Nov-Dec Goal Review

Well, that's it for my 2014 goals. I identified very specific goals in order to keep me focused on making some permanent lifestyle changes, but even then I had to remind myself throughout the year that failing was ok and the journey was the ultimate goal. I kept a copy on the refrigerator as a reminder to take care of my 5 needs - Personal, Spiritual, Physical, Financial, and Material. There were many times at the end of a long work day, that the easy choice would be to watch tv, but I would see the list and choose to do something that would give me more joy.

I'm carrying many of these goals into 2015, but haven't decided if I'll use a similar format or try something different. It's been interesting seeing posts the last few days from my fellow Vanderkitten VIPs. Most are very goal oriented and appear to be experts at accountability. Definitely my type of crowd.

So in honor of accountability, here's my final 2014 Goal Review from November and December.

Nov-Dec Summary
A1:  I caught up on lots of great reading thanks to the cold weather and holiday downtime. I also kept up with at least 30 minutes of Italian.

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore, Tell No One by Harlan Coben
The Son and Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith
Thunder Bay by William Kent Krueger
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich, and 
Winter of the World by Ken Follett

A2: I chose reading and Italian over blogging, but still wrote 4 blogs over the last 2 months.

A3: Only 1 trip in 2 months, now that's a success! I was back in Cincinnati the 1st week in November and haven't been to the airport since.

A4: We still haven't found a suitable solution for meals, other than making a few standards and doing more Indian take-out. I don't miss cooking but do enjoy eating a good vegan meal, so will have to come up with something.

Long Term: Maybe I'll write a book about moving to Italy!

B1: This is just one of the items I'll never cut back on. My monthly (or more frequent) bodywork session with Nelson always me to recharge physically and mentally.

B2: I'll also continue with my daily yoga/active stretching and need to make it a daily practice.

B3: My primary activity in Nov-Dec was getting the multirider software working for Max Testa Training and helping with social media. I'll be increasing my women's cycling support in 2015, volunteering at several races and representing Vanderkitten as a VIP. I've also signed up for another year of leadership for my college alumni chapter.

B4: Due to work and injury, we weren't able to spend the holidays with family. My nephews are growing up fast and I've got to find a way to see them at least once a year.
Annual Snowshoe Dinner with Joe and Kelly's family!

Back Surgery - We'll be able to travel more in 2015 than in the last 3 years!
Long Term: Hopefully my new role at work will help with this but it's a tough one to let go of.

C1-C5: We got a BOSU for xmas so core work will be harder to ignore. I didn't get on my skate skis in 2014 but we have a new track close to home, so I'll be working on my nordic skills. I've yet to register for any road, mountain, or running events but plan to shortly. I do know that working with Corey and having a personal training plan was very beneficial and I'll be keeping that up in 2015.

Long Term: Hopefully in the next few years, I'll be able to cycle each stage of one of the North American tours as a precursor for a three week tour. After doing the Ultimate Challenge, I realize cycling the entire route will be difficult, but at least a portion each day would fulfill my goal.

D1: We got a couple bites in 2014, and are back on the market in 2015. Maybe with all the Vail activity in town, we'll have better luck next year.

D2: I made an attempt at using up some of our gift cards, but they seemed to refill faster than we could spend. I did give a few away as xmas presents this year, after making sure they were still valid.

Long Term: We are on track for early retirement, maybe we'll be able to bump it up a few years.

E1: I donated another truckload in November. We gave a large pile of cycling items to a local non-profit and then the remainder went to the church. I lost track of the 1-to-1 but with two major purges during 2014, it feels like we are starting 2015 with less.

E2: We loved our trip to Italy in July and before Terry's back went crazy, were planning a xmas trip in Europe. Now we've got our sights set on his recovery and then we'll be back.

E3: After a long hiatus, we had some work done on the basement in December including my hooks!

Long Term: Now that we have the basement almost finished, we are eager to start on the next floor.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twas the Night Before Xmas

Twas the Night before Christmas... and we are tucked in watching the classics and hoping tonight's snowstorm delivers. Terry is flipping between National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story, and we have Elf ready to go. For the third year in a row, we are staying home for the holidays. It wasn't our original plan, but we are making the most of it.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Since Thanksgiving, Terry's back has deteriorated and surgery is planned for next week. He is looking forward to immediate pain relief once the extruded disc is removed and stops pinching his nerves. He's been battling back issues on-and-off for over two years, but the last six weeks have been the worse.

"Save the Tree" up for a 2nd year, thanks to Corrie!
Terry's invertrac in background, thanks to Nelson!

The initial injury happened during our trip to Priest Lake. Once we got home, the MRI showed damage but there were signs it was starting to heal. It eventually healed, as did a couple other major episodes, including one last Labor Day that delayed our Italy trip from last Fall to this Summer.

Italy 2014 - Selfie on our 13th anniversary

This last episode resulted in another MRI after an injection failed to relieve any pain. It shows a very large extrusion pushing against his nerves, which explains the pain and numbness down his leg. Although Terry's been disciplined with daily yoga, monthly bodywork, and standing at work; this extrusion needs the help of a surgeon. We are fortunate to have a very good one in town and his willingness to operate during his holiday.  The road to recovery is now only days away!

A painful company holiday party - too much sitting and an uncomfortable hotel bed

Terry's injury has dictated many of my activities the past couple months but I've also had plenty going on. Since Thanksgiving, I had another go-live at work that meant long days and weekends. I also started transitioning to a new role which meant more email and multi-tasking. Fortunately I didn't have any travel, so I could keep to my training schedule at home, the gym, and at cycling class.

So much easier to sweat thru a 90min workout with good company!

Rob stayed a Friday night after a week of work in Orem. The following Friday night, my parents stopped by on their way to Death Valley. They'll be back this weekend on their way home, so we'll get to hear all the stories about Christmas in the desert.

Bike ride on Dec 5th - Global Warming?!
Mom arrived and we got down to business - squeezing in 3 games of Scrabble!

Last week, in addition to doctor visits for Terry, I spent an evening with Penny and Steven at the hospital after their knee replacements and an afternoon with Christian and Corrie at Huntsman. Thankfully, everyone is home from the hospital for the holidays and on the mend.

The Knee Replacement Superheroes

I continue to pursue my passions when not working, working out, or playing Florence NightingaleDid you know she was also a statistician and writer? I've kept up with my weekly Italian lessons and daily homework. The last two sessions, il mio insegnante consentito solo italiano!

On the cycling side, I fine-tuned the multirider software for cycling class and now enjoy running the sessions and helping out with social media. Other than geeking out on the software, it is satisfying to provide my fellow cyclists with a new challenging workout. It's awesome to see the nerves before class turn into a proud smile of their achievement as they conquer the course.
Max serving up cinnamon rolls between intervals last weekend at Operation Coverup ride

In other exciting cycling news, I found out that I'm a 2015 Vanderkitten VIP! Overnight, I became a member of an inspiring community of strong athletic women. I can't keep up with all the private FB chatter, but I'm thrilled to represent the brand and meet new friends next year.

My latest Vanderkitten gear - you'll see plenty more in 2015!

All this cycling and 2015 talk, has me thinking of next year's events. As a volunteer, I plan to help with Tulsa Tough in June, the inaugural Tour of Montana in July, and The Tour of Utah in August. As a rider, I've got a few events in mind but haven't registered for anything yet. Of course, once Terry recovers we'll be working on plans for Italy. For now, the focus is on a quiet Christmas together and a healthy New Year!

Happy Christmas to All and to All a Good Night

Friday, November 28, 2014

PCMR Opening Observations

Last Saturday was opening day for Park City Mountain Resort. A day that almost didn't happen after 50yrs of season openers. Fortunately, the temps were cold in early November for the snow guns to provide enough man-made for a handful of runs. Then, the snow gods did their part and provided several inches Saturday evening. Looks like everyone had a blast!

Usually we aren't ones to miss Opening Day, but I had cycling commitments and Terry was flat on his back. I spent the morning at the cycling studio, then had a relaxing afternoon watching wildlife and finishing a mystery novel.

Caution: Moose Crossing
Sunday morning, I got up early to snowblow and shovel then opted for cycling class rather than skiing. Terry and I really enjoy skiing together, so it felt wrong to hit the lifts for my 1st day of the season without him. Plus it was the first cycling class I'd been able to attend and a great opportunity to catch up with friends. Amazing how you all can ride all summer and never run into each other on the road or trail.

Cycling Friends - Steven, Rad, and Tara 
Since we couldn't travel due to injuries and work commitments, we stayed home for Thanksgiving. Wednesday evening, we did pool therapy for our back issues. Yesterday, we headed to the resort for our 1st official day of the 2014-2015 season. As long as we could survive the drive and chairlift rides, skiing would hopefully get some blood flowing.

In addition to wondering how our bodies would react, we were curious about the new ownership and what other changes we would observe. Since the Vail purchase in September, the most notable was the coffee announcement! I'm sure there is more to the story, but to drop Park City Coffee Roaster and at the last minute when they already had inventory, certainly wasn't following "Support Local" initiatives.

The 1st test was parking. We arrived before 9:30 and the lots were filling up quickly, but no major changes. Next up was the lift line protocol. All the access gates had been removed and replaced with employees with extra strength scanners. We have always kept our season passes in our pants to trigger the gates but learned quickly that a pass in your coat was easier for the humans.

Also different was the loading process from "Front Row" to an alternating lane system. It wasn't working very well, but maybe the skiers/employees just need some practice. As far as Fast Tracks, we were a little worried how it would work without gates. If you aren't familiar, Fast Tracks is similar to an express line at an amusement park. You pay more for the ability to go in a special lane and load immediately. Fast Tracks is now set up as an alternating lane with Ski Lessons and we didn't wait for a chair all morning. With the large Thanksgiving crowds and only 3 lifts open, it paid for itself immediately.

Skis Crossed for More Snow

Happy Thanksgiving Selfie
2014-2015 Base Area - No changes, but betting it won't look like this next season
Another change at PCMR is the rule that if an employee is on your chair, the bar is coming down. Having worked for corporations with legal and safety departments, this change wasn't a big surprise. I also have a feeling the marketing and sales departments were in on it, since the bar now weighs a lot more thanks to the trail map and advertisements.
Bar Coming Down!
Thin Cover - You can still see Jenni's MTB trail
Talking to some employees, we learned that many of the changes have been good, especially for them. They are excited about job stability, increased budgets, and improvement plans for next season. I hope this is a good sign for the upcoming season. We lasted 90 minutes before the crowds were too chaotic to navigate and we were craving ice and medication. We headed back home thankful for a ski resort that almost didn't open this year. Now we just need some more snow!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can't Say No to My Passions

If only I could gain an extra hour of time every week and not just once a year during daylight savings. I find that as I try to say "no" more, I'm actually saying "yes" to activities I'm really passionate about and the hours are slipping by. The past few weeks of November are a perfect example. I'm not sure if I want it to change, the projects I've been working on outside of work are very exciting. Guess I'll find a balance eventually. For now, full steam ahead.
Nov 1: Last MTB on PCMR trails before the snow guns start blowing
Nov 1: SLC Real vs LA Galaxy - MLS Playoff Game 1
Nov 1: Can't say "no" to awesome seats - thanks Nelson!
On Sunday, Nov 2nd, I started off the 25hr day with a trip to SLC. The plan was for 60min of College Alumni Strategy and then my 90min Italian lesson. Glenn and I met about Montana Tech over a warm beverage, but then I headed home since my instructor was sick. After a quick lunch, next stop was to the cycling studio to setup the computrainer software and bikes, thankfully Terry helped me troubleshoot.
Nov 2: Cycling Software Program - this computer needed some TLC
Unfortunately I can't say "no" to work, so Monday I flew to Cincinnati and spent three long days with my project team and customer. We had a fun evening at Senate Pub for dinner and Taste of Belgium for dessert! I avoided the gym, but did go on a run with the guys one morning.
Nov 4: Vegan Nick Lachey (celebrating our project and the right to vote - which I did in Oct)
My body was still trying to figure out the time zone with a trip to the east coast right after the time change, so the rest of the week was a blur of work and workouts. In addition to the dark evenings, the temps have dropped, so I'm back on the trainer for the majority of my workouts until there is enough snow for skiing.

I woke up Saturday with a major dose of the blahs, which I'm blaming on travel and time change. I putzed around the house all morning, then headed to SLC for the Montana Tech Women's Volleyball game. They did a great job and won in 5. It was awesome to see a few ladies from my hometown on the roster!

Nov 8: Orediggers beat the Griffins on their home court! Can't say "no" to women's sports and college alumni.
 On Sunday, I was back in SLC for my Italian lesson at Raw Bean. Can't say enough about my instructor Davide and the coffee shop for providing me a chance to challenge my brain and improve my language skills. Now I've just got to get to Italy for immersion!

My Italian book collection to go with software programs, audio tapes, etc.
Home for a quick lunch and back to the cycling studio for more computrainer testing and setup. Again, Terry helped and we were able to try out a few multi-rider races and wrap things up before dark.

When I'm traveling often and for many days,  I cherish a week at home. Last week, I was able to do all my training plan workouts, knock out a few college alumni tasks including a monthly conference call, study italiano, cook, research holiday travel, and more. Although I'm still working long hours, it was the 1st week in a long time where I felt a bit more in control.

The weekend was packed as usual. Dinner & game night with the crew on Friday, computrainer class on Saturday morning followed by a trip to SLC for Montana Tech basketball, and then bodywork on Sunday. I also had to work, making my weekend work streak something I am not proud of and need to stop.

Nov 14: Cards Against Humanity - this hand had us laughing all night long! 5 solid answers - which would you pick?
Nov 15: 1st Computrainer Multi-Rider Class - only 2 of us, but it was official and successful - plus I made Terry sweat!
Nov 15: Oredigger Basketball - So much fun to experience the game with these two! Go Diggers!
I've been at home again this week and am still looking for that extra hour. If you hadn't heard, there is a movement in Utah to eliminate Daylight Savings Time. I'd vote for it.

Monday is a recovery day for workouts, but I find it hard to sit still. I headed to SLC for another 90min italiano lezione. I'm almost ready to write a blog, but I'll need much more than an hour to jot down a few paragraphs. How about a few words to get you prepared?

Ieri: Terry had a back injection and I was his designated driver and caregiver. Hopefully it will relieve the nerve pain he's been dealing with the past few weeks.
Oggi: I drove Terry back to SLC early for work then work, groceries, workout and finally a blog!
Domani: We are looking forward to a fancy evening at the Huntsman Cancer Institute Gala in SLC

If I've learned anything over the past few weeks, I can't (and don't want to) say "no" to my passions.
 - Friends
 - Italian
 - Sporting Events
 - Cycling
 - College Alumni

Guess I'll have to work on saying "no" to other activities, like cooking and working on the weekends.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

June-Oct Goal Review

Time flies when you are having fun! It also flies when you are working extremely long hours and weekends. I stayed on track with goal reviews the 1st 5 months of the year, but the last 5 months got away from me.  Now that Summer and Fall are over and I gained an hour today with the end of daylight savings, it felt appropriate to check in before time runs out on my 2014 goals.

June-Oct Summary
A1:  I didn't make a book a week, but I've also added almost an hour a day of Italian lessons to my plate. I would recommend any of these 12.
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Stay Close and Six Years by Harlan Coben, Treacherous Paradise by Henning Mankell, Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler, Police and Nemesis by Jo Nesbo, Purgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger, Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Step on a Crack by James Patterson

A2: I went on a blog break over the summer, so only 10 in 5 months. I did keep up with Mailbox Monday capturing shots on my long training rides. In September, I got back on track with posts.

A3: It seems that travel has dominated the last 5 months, but 3 trips were cycling related. Unfortunately I only escaped work in Italy, otherwise I was working early/late on "vacation".
- June = Tulsa (9 days), Cincinnati (5 days), Italy (5 days)
- July = Italy (7 days), LA (4 days), San Francisco (4 days)
- Aug = Cedar City (4 days), Toronto (5 days)
- Sept = San Francisco (4 days)
- Oct = LA (2 days), Toronto (5 days)

A4: Due to all the travel and catered food at work, I'm cooking less but I'm still on the hunt for a reliable weekly service.

Long Term: After our return from Italy, I found a local instructor and am taking private Italian lessons. The goal is to be prepared for a move to Italy at retirement, or sooner if the opportunity arises.

B1: Massages with Nelson are as consistent as my time on the bike. I look forward to each torture/healing session and between cycling and work stress, I don't make it easy on him.

B2: My work projects are for clients in eastern time zones which has left little time in the morning for yoga/stretching. I'm determined to set aside time the next 2 months to align my muscles and mind.

B3:  No change in my passion for women's cycling. This summer included Tulsa Tough, Half the Road screening, Tour of Utah Women's Races, and my own attempt at the Ultimate Challenge to understand what Ride 4 Equality would actually entail. Tweets @girojenny are best place to see all the good things going on with Women's Cycling.

B4: Major fail on this goal. I haven't seen my nephews in years and with all the travel, Terry and I have spent most weekends catching up with each other. We were fortunate to have a few friends and family visit over the Summer and Fall.

Long Term: I'm actually going backward with my "lists". Each massage session, I'm reminded of my bad habit as Nelson tries to relax my neck and shoulders. I'm making some adjustments at work, so maybe my lists will start improving.

C1-C5: Thanks to Corey and our cycling training program, the last 5 months have been great for physical conditioning! We were in good shape for our Italy trip and then I was able to regroup and survive The Ultimate Challenge.
Finishing The Ultimate Challenge!
1. Core strength is now the focus as we head into ski season. Similar to yoga, I need to make it a priority.
2. I did my 1st trail run last Sunday. It was enjoyable, but nowhere near 13 miles. I plan on doing more winter running/snowshoeing as cross-training.
3. Terry and I did lots of MTBing in September and October. Nothing epic, but fun all the same!
4. It snowed today, so maybe there will be a chance to still skate ski in 2014.
5. I raced in Italy and it was amazing!
Our last ride in the Dolomiti

D1: No updates on the lot. We'll try again in the Spring.

D2: I've been carrying the gift cards in my purse, I wish I could convert them to cash and be done with it. I also wonder if it is acceptable to re-gift gift cards?

E1: There is a large pile ready to take to the donation center before the end of the year. We haven't made any large purchases, but did buy the necessary bike gear throughout the season.

E2: Italy was fantastic! Even though our luggage and bikes didn't arrive for 4 days, we worked through it and had the best time with Amanda and her friends in Treviso and the Dolomites!

E3: We have definitely made progress on the basement remodel in the last 5 months but it isn't complete. It is functional and we are moved in, but believe it or not, I'm still waiting for my hooks!

January Goal Review
February Goal Review
March Goal Review
April Goal Review
May Goal Review
Nov-Dec Goal Review

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Playing in the Aspens

I'm on the road for the 2nd straight week. Last week was a short trip to LA, this week a long stay in Toronto. I only had time in California for a couple amazing vegan meals and a hit of perfect weather. In Canada, the weather has been cold and rainy but we've done a lot of walking around the city to some interesting restaurants. At night, I watch (and practice with) the Italian channel and go to the hotel gym.

I'm looking forward to getting home and enjoying a few more mountain bike rides before winter arrives for good.  The last few weeks, we've seen the aspens take center stage! We've started riding our road bikes on the trainers at night, but the weekends are all about MTBing. The following photos pick up where the September Single Track Adventures blog left off.

Wednesday Snow 10/1 - Not a great start to the month!
Friday MTB 10/3 - Snow in the Shade
Armstrong-MidMtn 10/4
Aspen Carpet
Raise your hand if you love Tommy's 2 Step!
Big Intersection - North Face runners everywhere!
Bonanza Sunbeams
Jenni's 10/5
Worth a Detour
Basement Tile Project - Gears and European Coins
After Work Ride on Glenwild Loop 10/9
Happy MTBer 10/11
Loose Moose 10/12

CMG 10/18 - Only a few Aspens still showing off