Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Sunday, September 28, 2008

First Century

After a week of recovering from yet another cold, I was finally feeling better this weekend. After Chris's excursion with Dave C out in Yogi-Bear-Land he was actually feeling more like riding than hiking for the first time in a while. So, rather than going for a 14er excursion this weekend, we got back to our roots and hit the road on bike.

This season has been full of firsts for me -- tackling tasks or routes that I once deemed impossible. One of the biggest on that list was completing a road century. We wanted to do it this summer, but the heat was an added complication that I didn't necessarily want to deal with on top of everything else. The weather for Saturday looked perfect, we didn't feel like hiking, and for once I wasn't in the middle of some illness.

We started out shortly before 8 am and Chris wound us up through Boulder to Carter Lake. This is a pretty classic road ride from Boulder, and just happens to be exactly 102 miles round trip from our house. By Boulder standards it's a fairly flat route, although it still had 4300' of climbing or something from home. The route there was beautiful. The weather was chillyish for most of the day, but didn't necessitate anything more than arm warmers all day. We got great views of the mountains to the west and got to ride through some beautiful farmland. We found several houses that we would buy if we suddenly became independently wealthy :)

I did fairly well for the first half of the ride. I was feeling good despite being off the bike for the majority of the month (minus some commutes here and there and some single speed rides which required a lot of walking). It's been a while since I've pedaled for more than two hours straight, so around hour three, my legs were starting to complain. We stopped briefly for a bathroom break and quick snack near Hygiene and were back out on the road. We got near the lake around mile 45 and my right knee started to hurt quite a bit. After downing some advil and more snacks, we wound our way up some switch backs to the beautiful lake. Surrounded by hills and mountainous views, the lake looked serene and I'd love to go back. We stopped near a little store and ate goldfish, M&Ms (THANKS TMOM!), and an apple. I was happy to have made it this far, but I also knew we had to the rest of the loop and then back home the rest of the way. The idea was more than slightly daunting.

I tentatively rode the big descent on the backside of Carter Lake before we turned back and started heading home. The advil had started to kick in so all was good. We stopped for a little break in Hygiene again which was much needed. Every pedal stroke hurt my right knee and by this time I'd already downed four Ibuprofen. Around mile 65, I surpassed my all time farthest bike ride! When we made it back to Boulder, we were hungry, my spirits were dwindling, and I was complete toast on the bike. Chris recognized my downward spiral and lead us directly to a Wendy's. We committed an assault on the 99 cent menu and after some frosty, nuggets, and fries, I was ready to finish off the last 15 miles of my first century. The food was great and the short break felt great. Unfortunately, when I got back on the bike both knees felt terrible... and I still had the hardest part of the whole ride still to go. See, this is an awesome century route, but the crux of it comes in the form of The Wall at mile 96!

Chris told me random stories to keep my mind from my screaming knees and he tried to train my brain into controlling the pain. He's so experienced now and good at keeping his body and emotions in check. I hope to acquire that some day! Before I knew it we were headed up The Hump and then The Wall. The Hump was ok -- it went quick and I was distracted enough to just cruise right up it. The Wall was painful. It's amazing to how extreme concentration and focus can deafen the noise of cars accelerating five feet from you at 45 mph. I stood and pumped up The Wall, trying to convince myself that it didn't hurt. I kept my head down and continually told myself that the road ahead of me was flat... nothing hurts... nothing hurts... nothing hurts. Soon we were to the top!

The best part of the route? After killing yourself up The Wall, the last six miles home is a simple coast back home. The lack of pedaling was like sweet candy to my legs.

By the time we got home, we'd been pedaling for a little over 7.5 hours, and out on the bikes for a little over 8. I spent the rest of the night bitching on the couch while Chris catered to my every need. My knees HURT last night and they are pretty sore today. Other than the joints, I'm feeling remarkably good despite doing my farthest ever ride by almost forty miles.

Thanks to Christopher for putting up with my whining and hooking me up with an extremely fun and beautiful first century!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On the road again

102 miles (my first century!!!!!!!)


7.5 hours of pedal time


1 TiredSoreAndHungryMarni (ready to die on the front porch)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kindergarten quote of the week

"PLESKO!!!!" (It's never a good thing when a yell from across the room starts with... simply... PLESKO)

"I HAVE A CRACK!!!!!!"

Hmm. Not sure where that particular crack is. I chose to ignore that one and not ask any more questions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A little somethin'somethin'

I usually hate change.

But I felt the need to change up my blog today.

Give it a little somethin'somethin' extra.

I hope you like it, I think it's perdy...


Had a great night last night with the girls. It's rare to find friends that you can laugh so hard with every time you see them. We all met in college and became good friends as we went through education classes at CU and went on to student teach in the same district. We've gotten each other through the first years of teaching and had many a good night with wine or margaritas. Last night involved four bottles of wine between the four of us, a delicious dinner of cheese and chocolate fondues, and karaoke on the x-box. The night was much needed and I hope we get an opportunity to do it again soon.


I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my leg yesterday giving the dog a bath. That's pathetic.


I'm watching the last game at Yankee Stadium right now -- well, ok, not the game but the pre-game thing with all of the greats coming back. I wonder how much those tickets went for -- what an awesome night! I was OBSESSED and IN LOVE with Joe Girardi back when he was a catcher for the Rockies (like, convinced I'd grow up and marry him despite the fact that I was 12 and he was 30-something -- haha). When he moved to NY, I became a Yankees fan, and now he's their manager. It's simply incredible that my Joe has become so big.


Hmmm, pretty sure that's it.

On to another week 'o fun!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday night fever

It's been a while since I've blogged.


Alas, it is Friday night. Time to kick back in the sweats and blog.

I'm so glad I'm married and don't have to worry about 'dating' and 'impressing' on Friday nights any more. I love my Friday nights of blissful nothingness. Long gone are the days when I felt like a total loser for not going out on a Friday night -- now I consider myself one of the lucky ones.


I have lots to catch up on.

Last weekend I ended up listening to my head instead of my heart and we skipped the fun 14er hiking on Sunday in favor of relaxing and healing. As a way to get over the flu, we shopped instead! I've been itching to buy a new pair of shoes. Well, I did. But not the kind of shoes I was looking for. Chris and I happened to find some display rock climbing shoes in my size on super sale and so now I stick to rocks like spiderman! I tried them out Tuesday night and while they are hideously ugly and unbelievably uncomfortable, they work like wonders! Why we have to resort to old chinese foot binding techniques to climb rocks is still beyond my understanding, but they work! The climbing was really really really fun, but I am still sore.

I did my first bike/bus commute of the year today. The original plan was to ride home, but as the day progressed, I realized I am fighting another cold that has been going around school. Rather than riding for an hour and a half not feeling great, I rode for 15 minutes up to the bus stop, waited 5 minutes for the bus, and took it down to the stop near home. It was remarkably easy. While I probably almost could've ridden home in the time it took me to get home on the bus, it was relaxing and not very difficult. You do see a very interesting subset of the human population on the bus. Perhaps that will be a topic for its own blog one of these days.

I have started my masters class for this semester. I am not happy to be back to the world of homework. Yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten to do an assignment about what a typical day in my classroom looks like. We were supposed to focus on us, and how we approach the day, not necessarily about the students. We were encouraged to write a narrative that would create a picture in the reader's head. I wrote part of it at the end of my lunch hour, another part at the end of my planning period, and crammed the rest in while I waited for "math night" to start last night. Frankly, it started out well, and then quickly deteriorated as the narrative went on. Then last night I got the grade from the teacher (a principal in the district). I am supposedly now the star student in the class and she wants to share my narrative with others because it was so fascinating and full of twists and turns. Ha! I love my ability to b-s.

One of my girls broke her nose at lunch recess yesterday by falling on her face, then one of my boys hit his on someone's head during afternoon recess and his bled for almost 30 minutes. I think I need to do a mini-lesson on how to not fall nose first.

Today we graded benchmark tests ALL DAY (no kids today). I was in a group grading 5th grade writing papers of students who have just transitioned to English instruction... so needless to say, the writing was a bit, well, entertaining. We were grading a prompt that asked them to tell a story about when they were little. One girl wrote a story about how when she was little, she was in Mexico trying to learn to ride a bike and her mom taped her feet to the pedals so she would learn. I wonder whether it was duct tape or masking tape... Duct tape could present a problem if she tipped over and tried to get back up. Another wrote a story called "The Water for My Pants" (which, after reading the story, I assume him to mean "The Water for My pLants). Another wrote about jumping on the trampoline with water and soup. Another was writing something about pencils and an eraser, but the spelling made it appear to be about penises and erections. Unbelievably funny. The day was way more entertaining than I expected.

And now?


Saturday, September 13, 2008

oh kitties...

I may be allergic to cats, but I still find them extremely amusing...


Tomorrow is supposed to be absolutely perfect in the mountains.

Perfect perfect.

The forecast is not even the usual "20% chance of storms" or "partly cloud" it is simply:

Ahhhh. Beautiful.

Originally Chris and I planned to do a 3 person single speed family attack on the 12 hours of Snowmass tomorrow, but STLDad had some important bus meetings that he wasn't able to get out of. The plan changed, and so it was going to be Chris and I in a duo team. However, in the end, Chris is very burned out on bike racing right now and frankly, the $250 entry would be better used toward much needed groceries. So instead, this week we decided to climb some 14ers instead.

Then the flu hit.

I'm feeling pretty good today. Still have a bit of a headache, but my energy has somewhat returned, and at least at the moment I'm able to eat without feeling like dying.

My heart wants to go up and climb Belford and Oxford tomorrow. Take advantage of the unbelievably perfect weather and enjoy a day out in the mountains with Chris and Turbo. Finally follow through on planned fun outing with Chris without letting him down... he's been bailed on a lot lately, by myself included, and disappointing him is worse than the flu.

My head tells me it's not the best idea to go hike 11 miles and tackle two fourteeners when I'm not totally recovered.

So I'm torn.

I hate decisions.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pesky germs...

Well, I made it almost a whole month into school without getting terribly sick this year (I had a good head cold over labor day weekend, but at this point, if I'm not puking, it's not that bad).

Yesterday started great. The power was off so I got to take an adventurous shower in the dark. Then, since there wasn't any power, Chris and I got to bump up our starbucks date a day and go have some awesome pumpkin-spice-white-chocolate-mocha and tasty breakfast sandwich for breakfast. I was in a surprisingly optimistic mood, considering how insane the children were on Wednesday. I was in a good mood, all was well.

Around 10:00 I started to get really dizzy and lightheaded and, in general, just felt weird.

By the time my first masters class rolled around at 4:30, I felt like I was going to die. Chills. Nauseous. Achy. At some point the teacher opened up a pack of chips ahoy cookies (one of my greatest weaknesses in the world -- LOVE THEM), and the smell nearly made me puke. I talked to her into letting me go home early. I came home, Chris put me into bed, and there I've been ever since.

It seems my fever already broke, which is incrementally faster than usual, so that's good. I'm feeling ok, although I haven't eaten since breakfast yesterday, so we'll see how some food hits me. I'm still dizzy and lightheaded, but I'm sure the lack of food isn't helping that.

Today I'm trying to rest and trying hard to ignore how screwed up my children are going to be on Monday after being split between various classes today (ah the joy of a city school district that can't get subs for anything). I feel bad that I'm putting out the other kinder teachers by making them have six or seven extra kids at the last minute, but I'm pretty sure I would've been in terrible shape at school today and then proceeded to be sick for the next two weeks like usual. At least right now I feel like I'm kicking it fast, and that'll be good in the long run.

(In more interesting news... UNBELIEVABLY awesome ride on the single speed on the opening section of the Colorado Trail up to Lenny's Rest on Wednesday night. Horribly spun out on the road section and stomping awfully hard to get up some of the trail climbs, but Chris hung around and coached me how to ride a lot of it. It was so fun!!!!!!! One of my favorite rides in a while...)

Monday, September 08, 2008

My personal chef

I didn't marry Chris for his mad cooking skillz... yo.

However, it has proven to be one of the many perks.

Especially now that he's not working and has an abundance of creative energy built up when I come home.

Tonight ChefChris has concocted a delicious home-made noodle thing out of leftover cheesy mashed potatoes and then stuffed them with chicken, garlic, red pepper and mozarella. Then cooked and sauteed in butter. With some sliced fresh pears on the side and peanut-butter-cup-ice-cream for dessert.


I love my Chris.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fall of perpetual smiles

While our summer of perpetual Saturdays is now, sadly, over, the Fall has brought a multitude of smiles (yeah, I know, it's not Fall yet, but tomorrow's high is 54 degrees, so I proclaim that it's now Fall).

A not-so-quick rundown of recent events:

1) I LOVE my new 29er!

Chris and I had looked at this bike a year or so ago at Salvagetti in Denver when they started sponsoring our team. It wasn't a good time to buy it, but I wanted to try a single speed, and they happened to have it in my size.

A few months ago, our teammate Nicolette bought that exact bike and my jealous bones flared. Lately, with fall and winter quickly approaching (and a potential duo 12 hour in the works) Chris and I ramped up our search for a MarniSingleSpeed. We searched for the better part of a weekend and didn't find anything in stock, in my size. Then we heard about a killer sale at Salvagetti happening -- with all '08 mountain bikes on sale. Including the single speed I'd originally looked at. Chris called down, they had another one in my size, and we ended up in downtown Denver, during the DNC, picking up my new bike (and getting it minutes before some other guy planned to purchase it).

So... Rhonda the 29er single speed joined our stable last week. We took it for a spin around Marshal Mesa and it felt like I was flying. The 29er rode as smooth as butter even as a rigid bike. Chris was amazed at how fast I could cruise down trails that would usually slow me down. Last night we rode it around Green Mountain, and the single speed pretty much kicked my butt. I walked... a lot. But coming down in the 29er was suuuuuuper sweet. And I got a lot of funny comments from shocked guys seeing little me ride a rigid 29er single speed. That's always fun. In all, I need a lot more work and conditioning to pull of the single speed. But I enjoy it. The bike overall makes me feel like a little kid again. I can't help but smile riding it.

2) My true racing season is now over. It started back in April with the Cherry Creek Time Trials and continued with the Winter Park cross country series which ended last weekend. Last year I did pretty well in Beginner, so I earned myself an upgrade to Sport this year.

I truly did not believe I belonged in Sport.

I hadn't trained as I'd planned, and the Sport girls are generally pretty fast. After the first race, I'm pretty sure I cried to Chris about how I didn't belong in Sport. He got me through it though, taught me how actually *riding* could help me, and told me I belonged there. Each race felt more natural, I quickly got into better shape, and I learned more racing tactics from Chris during our post-race-rundown-drives-home.

Last Saturday, I actually won my class in the King of the Rockies race. I gunned from the start for the girl who got 2nd place last race, and then I held her off for the following 26 miles to beat her for the win. The race itself was really fun. In the end, I took off more than 10 minutes off my time from last year -- and last year I got to do the short course since I was in beginner. This year, there was a last killer, never ending climb and technical descent. (I've had lots of questions about whether or not I rode my new speeeeedy bike for this race -- I didn't. I would've died on a single speed. No doubt in my mind.)

I not only won my race, but also got 2nd overall for the series in my class. Earning me an upgrade next year to Expert.


I already feel a bit inadequate, but Chris assures me I will survive.

He is the greatest husband (and impromptu coach) anyone could ever ask for. Somehow he's believed in me through everything we've tried over the past 7.5 years, and now he has finally convinced me to believe in myself.

3) Waaaaaay back in the day -- 2001, the summer after Chris and I first met, he took me rock climbing at the amphitheater in Boulder. Just the little hike to the rock alone almost killed me, then climbing was very scary. I was too nervous to even try to belay Chris. I think I climbed up once, then repelled down and went home.

Since our Longs Peak trip got sicked out over the Labor Day weekend (I got sick immediately following King of the Rockies on Saturday and remained that way for a few days), we took it easy on our Monday off and instead decided to give rock climbing a try. We practiced in the garage, then went back up to Boulder to the amphitheater. This time, the hike up took 10 minutes and hardly any hard breaths. Chris set us up and we climbed again. I was still scared -- yelling out "do you reeeeeally have me?" every five seconds. This time I belayed Chris and it was really fun and surprisingly easy. I climbed again and we soon got tired and headed back home. The only incident on the day was a slip on the path walking back causing a gigantic lump and bruise on my arm. Fortunately though, I survived the climbing part just fine, and look forward to going again soon.

4) My students are pretty good. I think, as they get settled and used to the whole school thing, I will have an awesome class. They are unbelievably cute, and a never ending source of good stories. My best quote lately? "My grandma's belly is really big because she drinks so much beer. I don't know why she drinks beer, orange juice is better. I thought she was having a baby, but it's just the beer." And this was just walking out to recess.

Even though Fall is just now beginning, I already feel it is going to be a great season.