Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Olympics, Swifts, Wildflower, Biking, and Spring Break

Perhaps one of my my literal blogpost titles ever. Again, it's been too long, and too many things have happened to fully report on, but I'll start with this. In February, Aaron and I went to watch the Olympics in Whistler. And it was rad. We were lucky enough to be able to sub-let an apartment that some of Aaron's friends from biathlon had secured years in advance, and the entire experience proved to be worth the hassle (ie the four hours spent waiting in lines for the buses transporting spectators from the venues to the village). We were also lucky to experience gorgeous blue skies every day we were there. The rain and sleet happened before and after.

I wish I had more photos of the friends and strangers we played with all week, but I have to say that I really felt like we were in the coolest place in the world. This was the view from our apartment window. Earplugs were in order every night, but we didn't have to wander far to partake in spontaneous dance parties, drink beer, and engage in hockey smack talk. We got out of there before the US actually lost to Canada, in the final, and I am glad for that. Hockey is one of the few things that turns Canadians into jerks.

This was the view of my xc skiing heroes during the men's pursuit. Marcus Hellner, Lukas Bauer, and Axel Teichman all in the same frame.

Then it was time to focus on my own athletics again, and with full-on gold medal envy, I begrudgingly participated in the national cross country championships which were taking place 400 meters away from my work. So I went to work, took a lunch break and "competed" in a national championship 8km cross country race and returned to work an hour later. Not a bad gig.

My awesome Spokane Swift teammates were out in full force, and we actually managed to win the team title. My team rocks.

In the end, I finished 34th, which put me (barely) in the top half of the field of 76. And I only ran 1 minute per mile slower than this chick! In my defense, she has an Olympic 10km medal to her credit. And some really little shorts.

Next up was my favorite early season running race, the Snake River Canyon 1/2 marathon. The race actually grew to nearly 800 participants this year, which is phenomenal for an event that takes place in the middle of nowhere. As per usual, the wind was a force to be reckoned with, but luckily, we had the tailwind on the way home this year. You never really know how the Canyon will toss you around in this event. Otherwise, it was a beautiful day and I ran a 1:21:05 and won my 3rd straight Snake River title, missing the course record (and a bonus) by 30 seconds. I don't know that my mini-string of Snake River titles will last for long though. Swift teammate Jodi Suter crossed the finish line only 12 seconds later and she then proceeded to stomp me in the St. Paddys five mile road race the next weekend. At least she's cool enough to know when a picture is supposed to be goofy. I don't know what the four Swifts on the right are doing with their chipper smiles.

The next weekend I flew south to San Diego for a spring break, a spell of warm weather training and the opportunity to train on the Wildflower course for a weekend. The mini-camp was spearheaded by Lifesport teammate Magali, and despite some frustrating travel-related delays, and some well-deserved exhaustion induced by staying up WAY too late chatting, we had a blast. I personally had a couple of rough training days, but Magali isn't only superfast, she is super fun, and being at Lake San Antonio in March is spectacularly beautiful. The wildflowers, wildlife, and greenery were spellbinding.

The view of the top of "Heartrate Hill," which is seriously overrated when compared to the difficulty of the run course.

Sexy vineyards

Magali and I might need some minders the next time we train together. It turns out that neither of us is a super-organized get up early and get 'er done type triathlete. So our training sessions ended just before sunset. It might have been a little chaotic, but it sure was pretty to see the late evening sun by the lake when we finished our bike rides.

And resplendent turkeys defining the expression "strutting around." We also saw vultures (Magali's good omen bird), chipmunks, ground squirrels, deer, and a hawk carrying an ill-fated one of those aforementioned ground squirrels.

Our training extravaganza culminated in Magali's unshowered, frantic packing job in the Day's Inn parking lot. She made her flight in the end, but I don't envy the person who had to sit next to her.

Then it was my turn to drive back down to San Diego for a week of playing with my bike and with Shelby, Aaron and Lily. My first bicycling date was a reunion with Bill Holland and Jason "CareBear" Lilly that included a spectacular ride up Kitchen Creek, complete with some UFO looking lenticular clouds.

More funky clouds over the Borrego Desert.

I also got the chance to ride with Brian Maiorano, who kicked my butt on one loop of the Great Western, only to leave me nice and exhausted for loop number 2, which I had to do solo. I love my San Diego friends. But mostly I love these people (and Aaron).

I wish spring break lasted a month!
At some point I'll get around to reporting on my first triathlon of the season, the SuperFrog on Coronado Island.


Sue said...

wow, cool!!! sounds like some dandy times so far this yr. and way to go superfrog lady:) Maybe Chloe could join the Swifts, since she needs a team:)looking forward to your race season!!

Phaedra Cote said...

I miss our shenanigans with the little in tow (she kind of tows us). Looking forward to CDA this year, it's been way to long since Shelby has been out...but I also think we need to get at least one trip in the works. Maybe to SD in late summer? My racing season will not be complete without at least one trip *somewhere* with you.

I'm SO excited for your season, and I'm definitely tapering for CDA (it's a support crew taper, much more serious than a race taper).

love you poops.

Matt said...

It was easy to cheer for ya at XC Nats, being taller than the pack ;)

sounds like your keeping busy!!

Congrats on the 2nd place at the Frog, looks like a great race! Good luck at WF!

Charisa said...

You have been very very busy. Looks like you are off to an awesome season!

Troy Nelson said...

Hope to see you at WF. Keep it below 90 mph, especially in Oregon.

Kieran said...

Congrats on your Wildflower results! (we chatted lakeside while I dunked my toddler). Best of luck in the future.

Chris - said...

You haven't blogged in a while...must be busy with Kona training. Good luck this weekend!

Kelly said...

Haley Cooper! Holy crap. Congrats on all the triathalons, marathons and ironmans. I just saw your name by chance in a random copy of "Outdoors NW" saying you were headed to Kona and knew it must be you. I'm in Seattle these days. Send me a message if you're ever coming into town. Kelly.j.jewell (at)

MarkyV said...

HEY COOPS!!!!!!!!!!

How about some updates! ;-)

Pweezeeeeeeeee! :)