greatest hits, 2014

Here we are again at that somewhat strange moment where one year folds into another. Where Facebook offers small summaries of our best moments. Here is my more curated version.

Goodbye, 2014. You weren’t one of the better ones. But I’ve done enough dwelling; this is the time to think brightly. Fitness-wise, I set new PR’s in the half marathon and 10K. I rode my bike a long, long way. I finished two Ironmans and two 70.3’s. I trained a lot, and loved it. And that, in the words of the Hokey Pokey, is what it’s all about.

As I shelve another year, here’s a small collection of the things that kept me going—DNF’s, down days, and dysfunctional bodies be damned. Things that don’t have much to do with triathlon, but that enriched and enlivened it through and through.


Family » Highlights include my mom’s visit in May and a week-long trip to Winnipeg in August (pictures below). I love my sporadic chats with my brother in Vancouver, daily Snapchats of my darling niece, and quick catch-ups with my mom despite the miles between us.

Sand dune-jumping with the sibs, and riding bikes with the parents.

Clockwise from top left: Songs by the lake with my brother Matt, taking one of his yoga classes on the beach, finally meeting my niece Bri, and seeing my Grandma Ward.


Friends » From Friday “first light” cove swims to Saturday rides, training and friendship go together like Julian pie and 6 hours in the saddle. As I look back on the year though, it’s the non-training moments that stick out: beers at Regal Seagull, dinners at Native Foods, BBQ’s, hikes, movie nights, Smoker Sundays, and this recent holiday. Sure, there are days I miss the way a certain friendship felt, like a favorite sweater I left on a train somewhere. But I am grateful for the new friends I’ve made this year and the chance to strengthen existing ones. (Check out this wonderful essay on choosing your “crew.”)

Clockwise from top left: A Winnipeg bestie, beach days, fires, and non-triathlon “endurance activities.”

Clockwise from top left: Christmas Eve morning ride, Misfits Dinner, Christmas morning brunch with friends, Christmas night at Butsko’s.


Reading » I don’t read as much as I’d like to. I blame it on majoring in English lit. Or my 9-5 job writing and editing. Or that in the last few years, I discovered good TV, which for many years I wrote off as a waste of time. But the most likely culprit is Ironman training: working out twice a day can be, let’s just say, tiring.

A selection of what I did read:

  • 10% Happier  by ABC broadcast journalist Dan Harris: great no-fluff advice on how to integrate meditation into modern life
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by TV star and comedian Mindy Kaling: some funny coming-of-age-and-career type writing
  • Thrive by media mogul Ariana Huffington: a little fluffy but pleasant
  • The Well Built Triathlete by super-coach Matt Dixon: excellent, though it frustrated me at times
  • Women Don’t Ask by negotiation theorists Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever: to round out my feminist reading for the year and for advice in getting out of a career rut.
  • Does Serial count as reading or watching a TV show? ;)


Year-round riding » This list wasn’t supposed to include triathlon-related items, but riding is so central to living in So Cal that it almost seems to sit on its own. I am so thankful for the variety of routes and strong riders San Diego has to offer.

Clockwise from top left: Riding around North County, coffee rides with my beau, bib shenanigans with my Nytro teammates, Highland Valley in a rare rain.


Good TV » Sometime in the last few years I became a TV person. That’s it, I said it. Putting it in the “recovery” camp helps me justify it further. This year I enjoyed Masters of Sex, House of CardsDowntown Abbey, True Detective, The Killing (the only TV show to make me cry, ever), Girls, Homeland (though this season is deteriorating) and Orange is the New Black (not in my top-five list, but good characters).

My TV choices in 2014.


Travel » I may not have strolled through the bazaars of Istanbul or trekked the Himalayas this year, but I was lucky enough to get out of town a few times. Whether it was a weekend in L.A., a work trip to Hawaii or Lake Tahoe, traveling solo to South Africa for an Ironman, riding the coast of California, or visiting beloved places like Syracuse and Winnipeg, I got a few more miles under my belt and met a few more memorable souls.

Clockwise from top left: Big Sur, new South African friends, elephants!, fun in Syracuse, swimming in Santa Barbara, and fancy juices in L.A.


Eats » I love discovering new products and recipes, whether I’m using them as fuel, recovery, or simply just enjoying them. In addition to my standbys (ie: hippie popcorn and easy cured salmon) and expanding my beer repertoire, below are some of the goodies I especially enjoyed this year.

Left to right: Stone Levitation (4.4%!), Nutiva coconut oil, Ally’s sweet potato bars, Talenti gelato (makes a great reusable container for homemade nut butters), Noosa yogurt, and Harmony Bars made by two of my good friends right here in San Diego (stay tuned for a name change on these guys.)


In the gym bag » My hairdresser recently turned me on to “purple shampoo,” which helps tone down chlorine-induced brassiness. I also discovered blister protection from Band-Aid that saved my toes after I ran a race sockless. All the rage among at the Encinitas Y, Oofos sandals are SO worth the hype. (Hopefully my cat won’t decide to follow in the path of Julie’s dog and discover how good a snack they are.) Lastly, the Wet Brush has changed my post-swim grooming “routine” forever. ‘Nuff said. (Shop for a good price on Amazon.)

Clockwise from top left: Purple shampoo, Band-Aid blister protection, Oofos, The Wet Brush.


can’t live without » This year my mom introduced me to the Fels-Naptha stain removal bar from Purex. It’s cheap as borscht, and gets bike grease out of anything. I’ve also fallen in love with the Q Card Case for the iPhone 6. It’s slim and compact, and holds up to 3 cards–perfect for a non-purse carrier like me. For rides, I pop the whole she-bang into the Dandycase iPhone case, a pretty sweet 100% waterproof phone pouch, like a glorified Ziploc bag. It fits in a bike jersey, is touch-friendly, rain-proof, and best of all, I can leave it on the side of the pool deck if I’m expecting an important email. (Just be prepared for your ride partners to tease you about bringing an iPad on rides.) Lastly, my new Manduka Commuter yoga mat carrying strap has turned my FitN December (read: as much yoga as I could possibly cram in) into a much more pleasant experience.

Clockwise from top left: Fels-Naptha, the Commuter by Manduka, the Q Card iPhone case, and the Dandycase.


And lastly,

These two »The ones I always love coming home to. Expert race sherpa/bike SAG/charcutier/mixologist on the left, and on the right, one darn cuddly cat.

Three of my favorite things.

A new year is, for most of us, largely symbolic. When I wake up on Thursday, the sky won’t have turned orange and I won’t suddenly be able to run a sub-4 hour marathon. But this year, the symbolism of a new year seems especially rich. Here’s to another trip around the sun.

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