Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


February 2010

I AM HERE, part two

So, to continue…

After our rafting trip and a raucous all-night New Zealand type partay in our campground, we enjoyed sleeping in and waking to…the music of the all-night New Zealand type partay.  (These Kiwis are not kidding around with their partying).  We had been invited the day before to join the festivities, but as the evening wore on, I fell asleep on the little bunk in the caravan listening to Sam, Laura, and Sarah chat, and the next thing I knew it was morning.  Does it give anyone pause to know that these were summer staffies celebrating something or other…and that it was the entire staff from the BUNGY-JUMPING business in Mangaweka??  I opted out of visiting that particular offering today.

After a bit of tidying up at our campsite, off we go again on the road.  This area is stunning in its beauty, and is very different from the agriculture of the southern part of the North Island, and the mountains of the South Island.

Me and Laura at one of her homes

So here’s the greatest part of this post:  on the road on the way here, we drove for miles alongside….Mt Doom!!!  It’s at the southern edge of the race lake!  You can see it from the swim, bike, and run course!  Mt. Doom!  The Mt. Doom!  Who the hell put Mt. Doom in sight of my race??  I choose to see it as a sign of good fortune:

can you see Frodo and Sam?

So I got my first view of Lake Taupo and it took my breath away.  It’s a volcanic lake and it is GORGEOUS.  I will attempt over the next few days to catch it digitally, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to convey its beauty.  It is crystal clear, its banks are green, its colors are 40 shades of blue.  I can’t wait to get in it.

Beautiful Lake Taupo - with Mt. Doom in the distance

And finally, here is my little haven, my accomodation for the week.  Simple, clean, functional.  It’s in a campground on the lake (they call them Holiday Parks here), about 3k from town.  It’s peaceful and quiet and I’m so glad to be here.  I’ve spread out all over the room, which will have to change when Jesse and Sam and Laura come back, but for now it works.

the sleeping wing
the business wing

Tomorrow I’ll ride the bike around town, on the ride and run courses, and there’s a group Splash and Dash tomorrow evening (1k swim and 5k run) that I’ll join.  I’m looking forward to exploring the town and swimming in the lake.  I have to get the wetsuit dipped for didymo – sounds like a venereal disease, but it’s just an algae that is troublesome in the lakes in New Zealand.

I’m having the time of my life – my body feels great, I’m so ready, and I can’t wait for Saturday!

Thank you again for all the kind words of support – they are food and water to me as I prepare for this event.  I’m trying to remind my Achievement Personality Disorder self that it really is the journey, not the destination, and your words constantly remind me of that.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart….

…and thanks for reading!



Deep cleansing breath.

I. Am. In. New. Zealand.

For. My. Ironman.

I am so excited I am trembling while I type this.  It has been such an adventure getting here (on the 10-year scale) and getting here (on the 4-day scale).  I don’t know if I’ll remember everything that has happened since I touched down in Wellington, but I’ll try to use the pictures as a guide.

The Tim Tam Slam

Sam and Laura picked me up late at the Wellington airport and we made the 2 hour drive to their host’s home in Palmerston North.  We had a Christmas in February gift exchange, called it a night, and spent the next day assembling the bike, going to the grocery and finding an adaptor for all my necessary electronics:  Laptop, Kindle, iPhone, iPod, and camera.  That evening Sam was kind enough to introduce me to a New Zealand delicacy:  the Tim Tam Slam.  Tim Tams are little chocolate covered graham cracker and chocolate filling cookies.  Sam explained to me that you bite off a corner, bite off the opposing corner, plunge one end of said Tam into milk or hot chocolate, suck liquid up through cookie, and end up with a mushy, melting mass of Kiwi goodness.  I could not believe it myself when I actually ate one of these carbohydrate yummies.

no caption necessary

Laura ate one too:

Cutest girl ever

The next day was a busy one.  We took the bikes out for a spin around campus and Palmerston North.  We visited the town’s botanical gardens and aviary, and I got to see a lot of Massey University.  We brought home dinner from the grocery store and spent the evening watching the Kiwis report on the Olympics.  (Hint:  New Zealand doesn’t give a crap about the Winter Olympics)

Next day we packed up the bikes, all my gear, their gear and headed north to the little town of Mangaweka, where the kids have just finished their summer jobs as raft guides on the Rangitikei River.

the darling caravan (Kiwi for "camper") where Sam and Laura lived this summer

We got into town early enough to hop on the river for a couple of hours paddling.

(At this point I’ve temporarily suspended downloading any more pics – internet is working at a snail’s pace, so I’ll just write now and add pics later).

Anyway, we had a delightful time on the river, with their friend Sarah, who has also competed in the race Sam did in February across the south island, the Coast to Coast.  The banks of the river rose into high, grey sandy cliffs on both sides and we saw sheep alongside as we paddled.  The river was beautiful and clear and cool and very different than our rivers in the east.

I’ll publish up to here, then add another entry for the next adventure:  Getting to Lake Taupo…stay tuned for Lord Of The Rings connection…

In the land of the Kiwis

Sorry for the brief hiatus — travelling across the globe can do that to you.

I have made it to the country in which my race is being held (still have about a 3-hour drive and a couple of adventures before I finally get to the site).  The trip over was fabulous – got up front on the leg from LA for the win.  I spent a long 9 hours in the Sydney terminal before boarding the flight into Wellington where Sam and Laura were waiting – just so happy to see their sweet faces!

I haven’t blogged since I travelled back east to attend my mother-in-law’s funeral in South Carolina.  Jesse and Glenda both spoke and did a lovely job memorializing her.

Ben and Glenda

The two kids and I got on a plane the very next day, flew to Atlanta, then within about 2 hours boarded planes to Paris, Colorado, and Los Angeles.  I trained another day in the warm California sun before getting on yet another plane, this one headed Down Under.

The first thing I saw in the Sydney airport - we have to make the Kiwis fat too

My bike and bag w/gear arrived safely in Sydney where I cruised the airport like a homeless person/grocery cart combo til I could check them on the flight to New Zealand.

I got lots of guesses on the case: musical instrument? sound equipment? surfboard?

Sam had texted me before leaving the states asking for the usual I-can’t-get-this-here-would-you-bring-me-some _______, so I got the requested items:  graham crackers, Nilla wafers, marshmallows, black beans – I got them all through New Zealand’s hyperactive biosecurity panel except the black beans.

Moment of truth - will it go back together?? The answer is: Absolutely - in the hands of the master.

No training today, but Sam and Laura and I will ride tomorrow, then we’re headed to Mangaweka where they were raft guides all summer and kayak a day or two.  I check into my rustic cabin on the lake on Sunday, and begin the countdown to Saturday.  Jesse will begin his long journey over next Monday.

Thank you for all your kind comments – Dora, Renee, Susan, Lisa – your words mean so much more than you can know.  I will have them memorized and at the ready when I’m in the water, on the bike, and on the run.

I’m enjoying myself in spite of the stress, and really and truly can’t wait for the race to get here.  I’ll have to check out the internet situation at Taupo to know how that’s going to look, but I’ll do the best I can with the blog.

Thanks for reading!

Sunny, warm Southern California

Hey everyone…

I’m here to say that when you are too tired to blog, you are too tired!

I’ve been out here in California since Thursday, training like a maniac, and am so tired by the end of the day I haven’t even gotten on Facebook – and for those who know me, you know I’ve got to be really tired not to even do that!

Santa Monica Hostel
from the street, one block off the beach

The ocean swims have been interesting – fabulous in the sunshine and water temp of about 58 degrees; the first day I got a bit seasick (the wetsuit really keeps you on top of the waves, and the surf was a little roll-y when I was out there).  Today’s swim was a bit better as the waves were pretty flat, but it is still bracingly cool at about 60 degrees (helps that it was 83 degrees in the sun!)  The runs have been nice and sweaty – what a great change from the frigid air of Middle Tennessee this winter!

rinsing out the sand and salt

To those who follow the blog you know that our family has been concerned about Jesse’s mom advanced age and deteriorating health and on Saturday, February 13, her life came to a peaceful end.  Because the children are so far-flung we have set the service in South Carolina for next Friday.  Besides giving the family time to arrive it gives me the added benefit of a few extra precious days of warm-weather training.  I will be returning to the south next Thursday, but will probably not make it into Murfreesboro at all; LA to ATL to Myrtle Beach, and then back again before heading to New Zealand.  Jesse is on Facebook if you want to contact him with condolences.

Son Sam has completed his race on the south island of New Zealand and he absolutely rocked it.  He ranked in the top 40 for his division and says he will do it again.  He inspires me every time I’m on the bike or the water or in my sneaks, and I am SOOOO proud of him.

my biggest problem in this youth hostel

So I may not blog as regularly as I have been, but know that I’ll still be out there training.  And do not think that I have forgotten about my precious flat posse – you made the trip out here with me and have enjoyed the inside of my suitcase for days.  I promise I’ll take you out into the sunshine and onto the beach before I blog next.

Santa Monica Pier

Love and miss everyone – thank you for all your sweet comments!

Race is 3 weeks from yesterday – – – deep, cleansing breath.

It’s Time.

5 years in the training.

10 years in the planning.

Tomorrow morning (at 5:30am to be precise) I board a plane to take me in the direction of my Ironman event.  It’s an intentionally expanded journey, and includes 10 days in the warm Southern California sunshine to enhance the training, and concludes with the event itself on Saturday, March 6, at Lake Taupo, New Zealand.  (Worth noting to remember that NZ is 16 hours ahead of us, so if you wait til 7am on Saturday, March 6 here in the US, I will be just about finishing!)

Last couple of days of training, preparation, and goodbyes has been emotional, exciting, and eventful.  Beginning with the process of packing the bike into the case:

My entire precious bicycle is in that pile o' parts

11 pieces exactly, to the packing of the crap I’ll need:

that's a king-sized bed

to the last dreadful session on the indoor trainer:

iPod and Kindle - waaaaay better than TV

to the sad visit to the hospital to say what may be a final goodbye to Jesse’s mom.  She was able to tell me to do good on my race – “Not many people do that, you know”.  It was the most lucid statement she made the whole visit.

My LA accomodation is a hostel in Santa Monica – I’ve been hosteling since college, and with a return to the lifestyle in New Zealand  and Paris in November, for 23 bucks a night, it’s not too bad – right on the beach.  I’ll post pics and blog from said location as I complete my final 9 training sessions.

Son Sam begins his Coast-to-Coast New Zealand in 15 hours – it’s a two-day event kayaking, trail running, and road biking across the entire South Island.  We’re gonna party like effing rock stars after we get through these races!  (AFTER, not IF)  If this underacheiving child kept a blog, you could read about his adventures there; instead, you’ll have to get the second-hand recap from here.

I’ll be available by phone til around the 22nd, then by Facebook or email in New Zealand (business goes on as usual – business calls will be forwarded to the highy capable Colt who can schedule your massages as you need them!)

Can’t wait to blog about the oppressive heat in LA and New Zealand!

Best iPod shuffle:  Business Time, by Flight of the Conchords

Thanks for reading!

Still Training

can't WAIT to get out and RIDE MY BIKE in this

Hi all —

Once again, a lack of blogging does not reflect a lack of training…quite the opposite!  It’s just that the training has become so CONSUMING I just don’t have the last few moments of the day to indulge in the joy of recounting my day.  So here’s kind of a week-long summary:

OMG, THIS SUX!!  Ok, I’ve gotten that out of the way; now I can be a bit more rational.  What I meant to say is that this Tennessee weather is most certainly not conducive to the rigors of training for a triathlon.  The wind, the cold, the rain, the snow, I’m so terribly, terribly over it.  If you follow the blog you know that last week I made an attempt to chase some sunshine in Florida and train in a skosh of heat since my race will be at the conclusion of New Zealand’s summer.  That attempt was Epic Fail, as it was 36 degrees the day I tried to swim in the wetsuit and ride 80k.

my latest attempt to make it work: the Lemond on the trainer

So, never give up, never surrender, I’m planning another attempt at what we’ll call Vitamin D Training.  I will have to fly through LA on the way to Sydney on the way to Wellington on the way to Lake Taupo where my race is, and I’ve decided to go several days early to see if I can train in a little warmth there.  I’m staying at a hostel in Venice Beach and if all goes according to plan (HA!), I leave on Thursday and will be there about 10 days before I make the equally challenging attempt to procure a stand-by seat on a flight toward New Zealand.

What’s the Jordan family motto?:  Life’s an Adventure.  Each member of our family gets the opportunity on a regular basis to put to the test our confidence in this motto; this trip is no exception.  I will do the best I can to continue to blog from the trip to LA and the race week.

On a family personal note:  Son Sam is competing in the Coast-To-Coast New Zealand race on the 12th and 13th (this Friday and Saturday).  The competitors work their way across the entire southern island kayaking, road biking, and trail running.  Sam has trained as long and as hard as I have, and he’s an inspiration to me every time I lace up my shoes.  I am as excited for him and his race as I am my own.  I’ll blog about his experience since no amount of whining has compelled him to write his own blog.

Hubby’s mom celebrated her 90th birthday on Saturday, but her health is in decline with each passing day.  All of her sons and several additional family members got to wish her well personally on her special day.  She is currently in the hospital and Jesse may have to miss both mine and Sam’s races in order to assist her in her needs, but we both know she will be very proud of us.

Thank you for all of your supportive comments on this blog and in person – with just a couple of days yet to go before I leave I may not get to see everyone for my final good luck hugs!  I feel them, however, and am so grateful for all the attagirls!

Big ol’ brick on Wednesday – 4000 yd swim and 180k bike (2 and 112 miles!)…will try to do an entry then before I leave town.

Thanks for reading!

Swim. Run. Bike. I know, it’s out of sequence.

Not the best training day ever.  Might be the worst.

Most everyone who reads the blog knows that I came down south to Panama City Beach to my generous brother’s condo to train in some of that Florida sunshine.  (Good call, so it seemed, since Murfreesboro got snow-dumped on, then iced, since I’ve been gone.)  However, the same system that went through the rest of the south caught the panhandle of Florida too.  Today’s high was forecast to have been 55 degrees.  In reality, it was 43 degrees with a wind chill of 36.  That’s effing cold.  Especially on a bike.

I made an attempt to swim in the bay, but with that air temperature, it wasn’t much of an attempt….wading out to my ankles in frigid water.

not too flattering, but this is mom's view from the car

Went with plan B, which was to return to the condo’s indoor pool and swim about in the wetsuit.  It was too warm to do that, but I’m all about the flexibility.

inside pool, nice and toasty

After that, I punted again, because of the cold and chose to run, so on with the running clothes and out the door.  Eric’s condo is on the 19th of 23 floors so I chose to do the stairwells for today’s workout.  An hour and 50 minutes later, off with the running stuff, on with the bike stuff, and out the door for an 80k.

my salvation on the arctic bike ride!

(Working to resolve the sideways pic issue…).

Anyway, just a sucky training day altogether, but you have those.  Makes the good days even better.  Race is 5 weeks from yesterday.  Skyping Sam in New Zealand as I write this and his massive race (Coast-to-coast New Zealand) is two weeks away, but he seems far more calm and collected than his mom.

So much for sunny Florida – it’s even too cold for the iPod to work, so the song in my head is Mick Jagger singing something about not getting no satisfaction…

Thanks for letting me gripe…it’s therapeutic for me!

Thanks for reading!

Lovely non-view from the 19th floor - that's the Gulf down there somewhere

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