Oops, suddenly it’s mid-February

…and I haven’t posted my wrap up from last year yet or any of the absolutely fascinating things I’d meant to post from this year so far. I’ll try to be a better blogger in the future….

Only a month late, here’s my wrap –up of 2012:

2012 Year in Review

2012 was a great year in some respects, not so good in others.  It was my first full year of marriage to my wonderful Wife, which was great. It was also a year that I was sick with a pretty significant flare-up of Ulcerative Colitis and associated problems (like anemia) for most of the spring and summer, going into fall. So without further ado, here’s my 2012 race wrap up so that I can move on to the more fun posts like:

–       A pictorial of an exploratory run in Spain in January while German was covered in snow

–       My kitchen renovation – it is beautiful and efficient, let me show you it

–       How to succeed at swim seminars without really trying (actually that’s not true, I was trying as hard as my little arms could pull me)

–       The hash I’ve made of trying to make my own training plan for this year

–       Cinnamon buns of love

–       Chapatis – easier than you think

–       Lembas pancakes – healthy and cashing in on Hobbit-mania (maybe next will be Die Hard Donuts)

–       Eggplant chili

–       Weekly training updates

–       Why I have to be crazy to train for Ironman along with doing aikido three times a week.

–       But look, despite all the chili, cinnamon rolls, and chapatis I’m making in my beautiful newly redesigned, significantly more efficient kitchen, all this training is making me seriously buff!

All these and more after I finally get this wrap-up out of the way.

So then, in 2012 I raced in 5 triathlons, 5 running races, and did a few other significant things.

In January, we went to Malta for holiday and rented bikes. If you’re not aware, Malta is basically a rocky crag in the middle of the Mediterranean.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, filled with wonderful friendly people, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is entirely composed of hills. Excellent start of the year vacation.

Malta in January is very hilly, slightly cold, but exceedingly beautiful.  This is the Ġgantija megalithic ruins on the island of Gozo. We took our bikes on the ferry and biked around basically the whole island for the day.

Malta in January is very hilly, slightly cold, but exceedingly beautiful. This is the Ġgantija megalithic ruins on the island of Gozo. We took our bikes on the ferry and biked around basically the whole island for the day.

In February, my full-time job ended. It was bittersweet, but I knew it was coming, as the project I was on was winding down and changing direction. At that point it was a long distance relationship that had been going on for almost a year, so it was time.  I also hired a coach over the internet (found through Training Peaks – actually she solicited me)

I don't have any other pictures from february, so have one of me in my Hello Kitty Ninja running gear.

I don’t have any other pictures from february, so have one of me in my Hello Kitty Ninja running gear.

In March we ran the Frankfurt 1/2 Marathon. Disaster for me, wonderful PR and great success for my wonderful Wife.  I got stuck in the very back of my corral, spent the first 2 miles being slowed down by traffic and lots of lying liars who lied about their finishing times, blew it sprinting to make up the lost time, stopping for tea at mile 9 and generally being miserable.  I think the underlying problem here was probably the anemia that was plaguing me all spring. I didn’t find out until May but by then my iron was so low, it must have also been very significantly low in March already.

I don't have any of the race, so instead here's one of Speyer Cathedral from our first long bike tour of the year, to visit our friend E near Heidelberg.

I don’t have any of the race, so instead here’s one of Speyer Cathedral from our first long bike tour of the year, to visit our friend E near Heidelberg.

In April, I didn’t run any races, but I  went to Japan for 2 weeks to get my ass kicked all over Kyoto by a bunch of guys who resemble Yoda.  It was the sort of fun that involved getting 3 hours of sleep a night and working harder than I ever have in my life.  Still anemic. We also had our biggest bike crash of the year.  Some idiot came shooting out of a driveway without looking and the Wife swerved hard to avoid becoming one with his grill, lost control and went down, I was right behind her, tried unsuccessfully to jump my bike over both her and her bike and went down, too.  Result was one sprained wrist (hers), some amazingly detailed bruises, a bruised and possibly cracked tailbone (mine), virtually no road rash to speak of thanks to layers of winter bike wear, little damage to the bikes, and a concerned bystander checking to see if we were OK as the original idiot looked on in confusion for a minute and then drove off…

Since the Wife absolutely put her foot down about me posting the posterity pictures of the giant bruise on her ass, have a shot of our very colorful and lesbian Easter eggs instead.

Since the Wife absolutely put her foot down about me posting the posterity pictures of the giant bruise on her ass, have a shot of our very colorful and lesbian Easter eggs instead.

In May, we ran the hometown point to point net downhill 10k.  This was the first race ever where the Wife passed me in a race.  She passed me pretty early on and I cheered as she went by.  I think she had an amazing PR at this one as well. It was the day after I’d had an intravenous iron infusion to combat the anemia issues and I was alternately nauseous and just tired. It got more fun when I just slowed down to training jog and enjoyed the nice weather.  I also passed my B1 level German language competency exam! And I also fired my coach (well, actually we parted ways very amicably, she just wasn’t a good fit for me, but I’m sure she’s great for other folks who aren’t as difficult as I am. Also, long-distance coaching relationships are just as hard as any other long distance relationships.) And we got to go to Vienna for a wedding and got to do a really pretty exploratory run on the island in the middle of the Danube.

May is also strawberry season here and since I somehow failed to take any good pictures of Vienna (which - my photography skills must be off the chart bad to manage to not take any pretty pictures in Vienna), here's one of a tart I made from a recipe in a German cooking magazine, along with the magazine.

May is also strawberry season here and since I somehow failed to take any good pictures of Vienna (which – my photography skills must be off the chart bad to manage to not take any pretty pictures in Vienna), here’s one of a tart I made from a recipe in a German cooking magazine, along with the magazine.

In June we traveled to the TriStar 111 in Worms.  What a well-run and fun race it was! Sadly, they’ve for some reason parted ways and apparently there won’t be another.  My bike and run were both slow and uneventful, but the 1 km swim in the Rhine was wonderful! No panic at all and I did the swim in 18 minutes and a bit, a huge record and improvement for me. Oh yeah, and in June my Ulcerative Colitis flared up with a vengeance. So yay.  Anemic and bleeding from my ass along with pooping multiple times a day and needing to bring emergency paper on all long runs and rides. The Wife also got her first proper road bike with clipless pedals and everything.  It’s a beautiful bike, she learned remarkably fast with the pedals and was generally awesome about all of it. I did my first home renovation project in this apartment – painting one wall in the living room an awesome orange. Also, my old job came back for two more months which was fun but hard as I was actually to sick to sit up and concentrate on brain things.  I have no idea how too sick to work at a desk job translates to riding for 5 hours on Sundays. My only excuse is that running, riding, and swimming don’t take a whole lot of thought.

This is our Worms 111 packing list.  Yes, I have a similar list for every race that we do.  OCD much?

This is our Worms 111 packing list. Yes, I have a similar list for every race that we do. OCD much?

In July, we got to bike a lot of RTFs (RadTourenFahren or BikeTouringRides) with friends, I turned 42 (there will be an answer and this year it is me…) and had the appropriate party (with towels, Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, Old Janx Spirit, and good friends. I also was a volunteer at the Frankfurt Ironman, which in itself was an amazing experience. Then I was overcome by a fit of insanity and signed myself up for this year.  So I’ve got that going for me. Note that there are no race reports from all the June, July, and August races because sick.  And also depression (which is also being sick).  I’ve got the start to every single one on my hard drive, just didn’t manage to finish or post any of them.

Here's me just back from one of my training rides in the Taunus (local mountains). Note that I've written my route on my arm so I don't get lost.  My first ride in this area ended in tears and a dead phone in the rain.  We took the necessary precautions to prevent that which apparently involve a sharpie and my skin.  Works, though!

Here’s me just back from one of my training rides in the Taunus (local mountains). Note that I’ve written my route on my arm so I don’t get lost. My first ride in this area ended in tears and a dead phone in the rain. We took the necessary precautions to prevent that which apparently involve a sharpie and my skin. Works, though! (Also note that my nail polish matches my sharpie instructions)

In August I raced in two, count ’em, two triathlons on back to back weekends followed by a week of surfing in Portugal.  First was the Frankfurt City Tri where I did the Jederman (everyman or sprint distance) as a tune-up for the following weekend.  Since I was sick anyway, I figured I’d leave everything I had out there, it couldn’t make things any worse than they already were.  The swim was a patented L on Wheels disaster.  400 m in a lake I swim in regularly and I panicked so hard that old guys doing head-up breast strokes passed me. I made up for it on the bike where I averaged over 20 miles an hour and was the fastest local woman on the bike (we have a separate locals division. And that’s not age group, that’s overall.  I was the fastest local girl on a bike in the short race that day. Not the most auspicious claim to fame, but I’ll take it.) In my age group I was fourth, missing the podium by 1.)Then I ran a 25 minute 5k to finish it off which was up to that point a 5 k PR for me (in a tri or in a running race.  My 5k PR was at the end of a tri that started with a swim panic attack and while horribly ill with an autoimmune disease complicated by anemia. I don’t know either.) The worst of the colitis coincided exactly with the Wiesbaden 70.3 on the following weekend, so needless to say, not my best showing.  My best swim ever, though. 38 minutes for 1.9 km and not a hint of panic. It was beautiful.  The bike.  Well, I survived the 1,600 meters of climbing (remember the average speed I just mentioned for the sprint? My average speed for this one was a full 33% slower) and then hung on and ran just over 10 minute miles (consistent ones which was the goal) for the 1/2 marathon.  The Wife and several good friends where there at the end to catch me and cheer me on. Then we went to Portugal. Portugal is wonderful. We’re so totally going back there.

Somehow no pictures from any of the triathlons. (Other than the official ones which are all mostly awful and not worth the money to buy). Here's me in Portugal with my giant, pillowy soft beginner surfboard. By the last day, I was falling down significantly more gracefully than the start.

Somehow no pictures from any of the triathlons. (Other than the official ones which are all mostly awful and not worth the money to buy). Here’s me in Portugal with my giant, pillowy soft beginner surfboard. By the last day, I was falling down significantly more gracefully than the start.

In September we drove north to the last tri of the season, a hometown local event in the Wife’s dad’s small middle-of-nowhere town.  It was fun and once again, I missed the podium by one. Of course, this one was 4 out of 6.  The swim was ok (in a pool, no panic), the bike was sort of boring and I towed along some older guy for most of it, thoroughly trashing any hopes of a fast bike for me. (yes, drafting was legal for this one). The run was some odd distance between 10 and 11 km that I finished in 57 minutes.  It was a really good run, I didn’t have the GPS watch on (I generally never do in triathlons on the run) so I have absolutely no idea if that was a good time or not, but I felt strong. Then we went to Berlin and a couple of weddings.

The Wife leaving transition at hometown triathlon in the middle of nowhere.  Note the adorable triathlon onesie and the gorgeous German woman on the gorgeous Italian road bike.

The Wife leaving transition at hometown triathlon in the middle of nowhere. Note the adorable triathlon onesie and the gorgeous German woman on the gorgeous Italian road bike.

Cliched tourist picture in Berlin is cliched.

Cliched tourist picture in Berlin is cliched.

In October, the Ulcerative Colitis was definitely, finally, definitively under control. I reorganized and started renovating the kitchen and it’s totally functional now, despite being tiny.  I finally rode my 100 Miles of Nowhere (with the Wife to share it with so we each did 50 miles in the Lesbian Triathlete Wives Relay division, naturally winning the division handily) and then ran the Frankfurt Marathon, which was a really lovely PR and just felt great from start to finish. It was the Wife’s first marathon and she did amazing, I’m so proud of her!

Marathon race belt :-)

Marathon race belt 🙂

In November, we went to the good ol’e US of A for Turkey Goodness with my Brother and the entire clan McLonwheels.  And we both ran another 5k PR as we were escaping from the chaotic vortex of my nephews for a few hours.  And we won a pie! And I finally broke my string of 4th place finishes with an age group third (out of 60, so there)!

Can't find any Turkey Trot pictures so have a preview of my kitchen remodel.

Can’t find any Turkey Trot pictures so have a preview of my kitchen remodel.

In December, we had a lovely quiet holiday at home, ran a Silvesterlauf the Sunday before New Year’s Eve, both got yet another marvelous PR, and I sort of started my sooper-sekrit project which I am really only just getting into the nitty gritty of now because it’s hard to start up a new (old) thing after so long away.  It is yet another long distance work type relationship, but I have higher hopes for this one. And I blogged (almost) daily for Advent.

Devil-kitty and Dukie help us take down the Christmas tree. (This is actually from January, but you've seen more pictures of them in December than you thought possible, so January is the new December.)

Devil-kitty and Dukie help us take down the Christmas tree. (This is actually from January, but you’ve seen more pictures of them in December than you thought possible, so January is the new December.)

OK so that was 2012.  2013 is going OK so far, still mostly healthy (I have a man cold at the moment) training, still flossing (mostly) daily, some of my new habits are doing OK, some are more challenging, winter depression was kicking my ass most of last month, but hopefully that’s also going to get a bit better now that the sun is coming back.

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