Saturday, March 12, 2011


It's been over 10 years since I've been to the SEC Tournament and it's been an amazing time!  People think it's odd that we would shut down the restaurant for a basketball tournament, but most don't know about how deep UK blue bleeds in our veins. 

My mom has loved playing basketball since her high school days in Thailand. Did you know she was the starting center of her team?  Did you also know that she is about 4' 11" ?  Says something about the height of Thai people, I suppose.  

When my parents came to the US in the 1970's they were living and working in Lexington.  They had heard about UK basketball, but really didn't know what all the fuss was about.  They walked past Rupp Arena one day and saw that tickets were for sale.  They hopped in line behind another couple and soon enough there was a huge line that had formed behind them.   The ticket sellers announced that they only has TWO tickets for sale.  Odd.  So the couple in front of my parents got into some marital dispute which led to them getting out of line and leaving my parents at the front of the line.

Sure enough, the ticket window opened and they sold just TWO tickets to my parents.  Then, they shut the window down and everyone else in line left empty handed.  Turns out those two tickets to my parents' first UK Basketball game were behind the UK bench, right behind Joe B. Hall.   Intoxicated by the spirit of the Big Blue Nation, they've been hooked ever since. 

So here we are now, me, Mike, and my parents living it up in CAT-LANTA where seas of UK Blue are EVERYWHERE!  The energy is amazing and there's nothing more fun than supporting our CATS.  Thus, why I am writing this post the night before the championship game.  We're still on a major high from our two wins. 

Tomorrow will be a tough game, but I'll be wearing my lucky shirt once again for the third day in a row :)  GO CATS!

Parents outside the Georgia Dome

Inside the nearby convention center after being chased out between sessions.  Officially the worse food we've ever had in our lives.  So gross.  Don't let their smiles fool you. 

Around the Georgia Dome

Big Blue Nation taking over the CNN Center

Basketball action!

View of the park

Green Team in Blue

Gene & Jean

Monday, November 22, 2010

Key West Day 1

Our view from the condo.  Not bad to wake up to. 

Beautiful living room and kitchen in the condo

"The Southernmost Rusty Bike"

 Key Lime Pie on a stick and covered in chocolate! Intensely good!

A lovely bird on Smathers Beach

The princess in the sand castle

ParaSurfers in the sunset

Pool at the condo

Friday, October 8, 2010


All my life I've been a big dreamer.  I imagine different scenarios all the time..what if this happened or that happened?   I think about the vast possibilities that life gives us and how I, one small little person in the world, can make the most of it.  Although some things I'm almost 100% certain will never  happen in my life, I don't believe in 'never' or 'impossible' ...because you just don't know what the universe will throw your way.  So I'd like to share my dreams here...some are real, some are ridiculous.  But again, you just never know.  So you can decide which is which.

-Have a farm or plot of land big enough to have a huge bonfire in the backyard...and a place to grow stuff too
-Have a restaurant on my farm that uses produce from the backyard (Just like Ina Garten)
-Bring hope to impoverished children by building them a school
-Be a fiddler in an Irish band
-Do a century bike ride for charity
-Sponsor a Habitat house (locally or abroad --- abroad would be much cheaper)
-Perform in a Bhangra dance troupe
-Learn how to quilt
-Finish a Half-Ironman race in one piece
-Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef
-Cure my horse allergy
-Meet Oprah
-Publish a cookbook

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Legacy Trail

I never truly appreciated how beautiful Central Kentucky was until I started cycling this year.  The country roads and the horse farms are really a gorgeous sight to see!  I've been all over the world and seen the most spectacular landscapes -- mountains, beaches, rainforests, valleys, rivers, oceans, lakes--- but the rolling green hills of the bluegrass are in a category of their own.  And the best way I've found to appreciate it all is on a bike.

I'm thrilled that the state of Kentucky and the city of Lexington are really working towards showcasing our beauty of our area.  This weekend, the Second Sunday event was a group bike ride from downtown to the beginning of the new Legacy Trail.  There must have been at least 200 bikers of all ages grouped together to ride to the Legacy Trail on its opening day.   As I'm getting a little more skilled at riding, I was able to capture some pictures along the way. 

We left our house around 12:30 pm and rode downtown, where the group ride would start.  There we ran into some good friends we hadn't seen in a while which was a most fantastic surprise.  The group ride was interesting as there were a lot of stops and it was hard to ride so slowly without losing our balance.  We stayed at the back of the pack to stay out of the crowd.  It was cool having police escorts all the way there. 

Jill and Ali
Riding through downtown Lexington
My former roommate, FE!

The Legacy Trail itself was nice and wide so all the hundreds of people who came to the opening could fit on it!  It was a tight squeeze though sometimes.   We saw bikes, trikes, training wheels, walkers, runners, segways, and Sprocket Jockeys (the biking rickshaw).

Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden

Liz & Laura!

Overall, Mike and I biked about 29 miles over the course of the afternoon. It was an amazing day with sunny skies, good friends, lots of fun riding all over town.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tri for Sight :: Race Report (Sept 5, 2010)

So it's done, my final race of the season.  What an amazing first year of triathlons it has been.  I'm thrilled to have sunk my feet into a new sport and look forward to speeding up for next season (hopefully). 

My grand finale this year went out with a bang with the Susan Bradley-Cox Tri for Sight.  I LOVED THIS RACE!  First, it was only 3 miles from my house which meant I didn't have to wake up at 4:30 am like the other races.  Second, the course distances were perfect (800 m pool swim, 18.5 mile bike, 4 mile run).  It was enough to be a challenge, yet short enough to where I wouldn't feel like dying at the end :) And third, there were a handful of friends who were doing the race with me. 

I didn't get many race nerves the week before the race and was mostly just excited to do it.  I arrived early Sunday morning to the race and it was definitely chilly!  About 60 deg. F!  After a blistery hot summer, it felt like winter to me.  After I put out all my stuff in the transition area, I had some time to kill so I just walked around and reflected on the past year.   One year ago, I watched this race to see what this triathlon thing was all about.  I watched all the athletes compete and thought to myself, 'hey, I can do this.'  And 'do this' I did ! 

Triathlons have meant more to me than just training and competing in races.  Racing has been a triumph for me on my journey back to good health.  From January 2008 - December 2009, I had one thing or another going on with my health.  Things that kept me from being able to exercise without pain.  I was gaining weight rapidly, since I loved to eat, and toppled the scales at my heaviest in November of last year.  But after being inspired by the Tri for Sight 2009, I decided to finally take control of my life again.  I joined the Beaumont Family YMCA in Dec. '09 and started working out and getting back into shape.  I joined my sister's clinic's 'Biggest Loser' contest and begun my battle of the bulge. 

I did lots of different workouts.  Whatever made me feel happy.  I ran, swam, did pilates, functional training, weight training, and began cycling.  I did an 'aqua-run' race in January (in 5 deg weather--that was nuts!), a full tri in April, another in July and this last one in Sept.  Throughout that time, having a new race to train for gave me motivation to get up early, work out and eat better.  I could feel that when I ate healthful, nutritious food, that my body would function better.  Like a machine!  A very slow-moving machine, that is.   But through the whole process, I lost about 10 lbs, gained muscle, gained confidence, and overall was much happier in life. 

So even though I finish slowly and don't have any trophies to show for my efforts, finishing the race still means everything to me.  During the last year, I found me again.  And every other aspect of my life is better because of this sport.  

So back to the race report.   After the pre-race meeting, all the triathletes walked to the Lancaster Pool (on UK's campus).  We sat on the upper observation deck and were placed in order of race number.  The numbers were based on our self-seeded swim times.  It was fun to watch the fast people swim! Although from above, it didn't look like they were sprinting.  They made it look so easy.  At one point when I was sitting and waiting to go down to the pool deck.  I got a twinge of panicky nerves.  I thought to myself 'I think this is a bad idea'.   But before I had a chance to get worked over my doubts,  it was time to go down to the pool. 

We stood in a line according to our numbers and each racer was pushing off the wall every 10 seconds.  It was my turn.  So, I quickly slipped into the pool only to feel my timing chip (which was on a velcro ankle bracelet) come off my ankle!  AAAAh!  The timing chips are used to time all your splits and your final race time.  There's a mat at the beginning and end of each leg of the race, so you will know all your precise times along with your transition times.   So before I even started to swim, I did a deep sea dive to retrieve my chip.  I thought I would just stop at the first wall and put it back on.   When I tried this, no luck! The velcro just wasn't sticking while I was in the water.  So I just swam with the chip in my hand.  Not ideal, but it worked.  The swim was smooth other than one very competitive guy who wouldn't let me pass and kicked major waves in the face most of the time.  Oh well.  I hopped out of the pool and heard my name being called!  "And out of the pool, 'TOE-AH GREEN'.   Close enough.

The run from the pool to transition was about .25 miles.  I jogged my way to transition, threw my swim stuff down and got ready to bike.  This was the first time I had ridden with my new cycling shoes and clipless pedals for more than 2 miles.  It was also the first time I had ridden at all after my stop sign fall.  Two things that made me very nervous.  But alas, 'no fear' I told myself.  And off I rode.  The bike course was beautiful!  And mostly flat (my favorite part!)  It was nice to have so many policeman blocking the intersections, so that I didn't have to stop, decreasing my chances of falling off my bike again.  About 2 miles out, I bent my head down only to see my left ankle, naked without my timing chip!  I forgot to put it back on!  As I pedaled I had visions of my T1 time being 2 hours.  Oh my.

For a second, I thought, I could just bike home, and it wouldn't make a difference without my chip.  But I really had no intention of quitting, whether I got my time or not.  The rest of the course was so pretty.   It took us out of the city and into some windy country roads by the horse farms.  Gorgeous!  About at the half way point, I started feeling tingling in my toes.  The way my shoes were set with my pedals, they were cutting off my circulation!  OH man.  After some more miles, I could really feel my toes goes cold.  I unbuckled my shoes a little and that helped.

Once I rode back to transition, I could see my husband, my sister and my good friend,  Rebecca (Pearly) cheering me on.  Also, my friend Bryan was cheering, too.  He had already finished racing in the duathlon (run, bike, run).  [He also got 2nd place overall, woo hoo!]  

I made sure to unclip BOTH feet before trying to hop off my bike.  No fall!  Success!  Transition 2 went smoothly.  Before I could even talk to Mike, who always asks me how I'm doing during transitions, I was off running.   I really didn't feel the jelly legs as I usually do and felt strong going into the run.   After the hills of the Lame Duck Tri, I was so so grateful for a flat run.  I cruised into an easy jog and felt no need to push much harder than that.  I had not been running very much at all and I did not want to get injured, so I felt content with my pace.  I walked a few times to give my foot a rest as I felt a little twinge in my ankle.  But I was happy with the run overall.  I got passed by LOTS of people,  but so it goes.  No worries.  

4 miles later, I cruised to the finish to the sound of cheers and cowbells!  It's so nice that so many strangers will cheer for you!   I was finished!  What a great feeling!  I felt strong and was just so thrilled that I finished in one piece.  YAY, 'TOE-AH GREEN'!

DONE! Bless the man that handed me that water!

Age Group Place: 18 of 22  
Overall Place (Women): 90 of 115   
Swim Time: 18:28 min (8th of 22)
T1: 6:10 min 
Bike 1:17:25 (17th of 22)
Bike pace: 14.3 mph
T2: 1:27 min
Run time: 48:48 (20th of 22) 
Run pace: 12:12 min/mile
**TOTAL TIME: 2:32:17 hrs.**