Dragon Boat Racing

And now for something completely different…

On June 11, I participated in my first dragon boat race competition. It was harder than expected, but soooo much fun. It was sponsored by Bay Area Dragons. They were awesome – they provided boats for practice, instructors, gear… Fantastic organization.

img_8217

Bay Area Dragons

In May, my novice team and I started our practices. Now, when I say novice, I mean to say that some people on my team had never even gone canoeing or kayaking.

img_8277

My team! (I’m in the middle…)

It was definitely hard learning to paddle in sync. It was also hard learning all the terminology. I’m tall so was always in the middle of the boat, as part of what they call the “engine room.” That’s where the bigger paddlers are who can provide power. Now, that sounds like a good strategy. However, when the person in front is significantly shorter than you, it causes a lot of paddle clinking – I have a long reach and she, well… didn’t. 🙂 Each practice and, unfortunately, day of the competition, it took a bit of time for us to get in sync. And, then there were the challenges of the other 18 novice paddlers. Haha!
We only had 3 practices before the competition so I wasn’t sure how well we would do. And then, when I got to the event, I saw sooooooo many teams. And, teams who had their own gear – paddles, life vests. Or, PFDs for the cool people. Gulp. Was getting nervous. And, it was crazy windy. The morning started with winds around 12mph and the afternoon saw up to 19mph. Probably no biggie for the seasoned paddlers, but definitely an added challenge for us newbies.

img_8278

Race day!!!

The good and the bad is that we were in “Division D,” which meant we were the novices of the novices. I was ok with that. It felt fair. After 4 challenging races, we came in first in our division. Woohoo! It was certainly a good feeling, especially since I gave it my all in the final. Would I do it again? Probably. It’s nice to try different activities.

img_8222

The team before the competition

img_8228

Division D 1st Place! With a grumpy child who was ready to go home…

Oh, there’s a half marathon in my backyard

This morning, I got up to go for a run. Walk out the front door and flip a proverbial coin on which direction to run, then get moving. I thought it would be nice to run toward the San Mateo Bay Bridge for the view. And, that’s where I found it. The Divas Series half marathon. Oopsies. 

While it was lovely out, I knew I was in trouble. That pack coming down the road… They would soon be on the same trail as me and would end up playing a fine game of dodge the runner because I was going the other way. Oh, well. Got my run in. 

Divas wear pink


Apparently it is bad form to wear anything other than pink. 😁

My Invisalign Hell is Coming to a Close

Last year at this time:

I’m a little bothered. My teeth have shifted over the last several years and it’s really bothering me. My lower front teeth are a bit crooked and my 2 upper front teeth have started to dent in slightly. I want this to stop before it starts to look bad. My dentist convinced me to do a treatment of Invisalign.

This year:

Hey dentist! Get these nubs off my teeth. I am done. D-O-N-E. And, I am done with you. I hate everything about this… This has been incredibly challenging and I am over it. Regular braces would have been less annoying… I’ll explain why shortly. But, note this! This Friday, 3 short days away, the torture ends… Woohoo! And, even though my dentist is out of sorts with me, the issues I was worried about have been fixed. I’m happy with where things are. My teeth aren’t perfect, but that’s because I can’t follow the rules well…

Background:

If you are not familiar with Invisalign, you get plastic trays that move your teeth. You wear 1 tray for 2 weeks, then move to the next tray, etc. You also get these lovely (that was sarcastic) little attachments put on your teeth to help the trays push the teeth around. These attachments are nubs of varying shape.

A Set of Invisalign Trays


While it doesn’t sound so bad “on paper,” I found Invisalign challenging for several reasons:

  1. These trays fill up with saliva and it’s gross
  2. I find myself constantly trying to suck the saliva out so it feels better and doesn’t look as gross
  3. I can’t wear chap stick or lip gloss of any kind because it gets on the trays
  4. I meet with customers every week and don’t feel professional with an upper tray full of saliva
  5. Due to this perpetual cup of saliva in my mouth, I drink water all the time. Yeah, I know it’s healthy, but I am really tired of having to go to the bathroom *all* the time
  6. I have a lot of sinus issues so when I exercise, I am usually breathing through my mouth from the beginning. When you breath through your mouth, your saliva thickens. That’s already problematic, now add thickened saliva to an Invisalign tray and it’s extra gross
  7. I can’t enjoy coffee or tea with the trays in because hot beverages can damage the trays – well, that sucks on a royal level. I still enjoy my coffee, even though I’m not being a good patient because I’m taking my trays out more than they would like. I would rather deal with taking these torture devices out for a bit to enjoy a cuppa than totally depriving myself – that is probably the main reason I think regular braces would have been easier

Other things I’ve found challenging:

  • Lack of explanations from my dentist… Things like, “I’m going to saw on your teeth to make room for the other teeth to move.” He just did it and I was like what the hell are you doing? Ugh
  • About half way through my 18 trays, I noticed that my trays weren’t fitting properly. We had to do what they called an adjustment, which means more molds, etc, to readjust the trays… I thought it would extend my treatment by a little, but the new plan came back at 19 trays! That’s more than the original plan. That added too much time than my mental health could handle

So, earlier this month, I actually called my dentist and told them I was ready to stop the treatment early. They talked me into continuing at an accelerated pace with my trays through the end of the month. I guess technically through early June, but you feel me, right? They were making my last appointment and it fell on a week they will be closed… The poor woman trying to schedule asked if we could push it to the week after and I was like, HELL NO. So, this Friday is my release date. I am very much looking forward to no more nubs. I’ll get to go on vacation next month in peace. Woohoo! Yippee!

Definitely think Invisalign over before jumping in… You, too, may find that a different kind of treatment may be better for you and your lifestyle. And, certainly, there are less expensive treatments. I know a lot of people have done just fine with Invisalign – I’m just not one of them. 🙂

Just in case you were thinking about eating a tray:

Swallowing a Tray May be Harmful – Duh!

In case you can’t see it, it says accidental swallowing may be harmful. Did you see the first picture with the trays?? Yeah, no kidding… 😉

Stay healthy!

Pressing On

On April 2, I ran the Oakland Running Festival half marathon. It was a hard run for me… It starts later than I am used to and the weather was quite warm. Half way through the race, I felt dizzy. I had to walk for a while, then went back to running. I didn’t feel particularly good for the rest of the run, but I did manage to finish at about my regular time, and shaved off 1 minute from my previous half. And, I finally had a friend doing the same run!

17634691_10210450185703485_2768412572528599582_n

We finished! Oak Town FTW!

This is my 4th time doing the half in Oakland. The race was very well organized and I liked the way they changed up the start/finish area this year. However, after my run, I was thinking that this would be my last. After thinking about it for several days, maybe not. If I do this again next year, I’m going to train differently… While I can’t control the weather, I can control when I do my weekend practice runs. I think I will start running later in the mornings to get used to a later start time. I’m used to a 6:30am start time, not 9:10am (the time the half starts).

That being said, I’ve been feeling a bit worn down lately. Last week, I took 2 days off from any exercise (Monday and Tuesday). Then, I did my indoor cycling class on Wednesday, light running on Thursday and Friday, weight work on Saturday. I tried an open run on Sunday, meaning I decided to run as far as I wanted, didn’t matter what the distance was. I ended up running 4.5 miles and got to check out a vista point that I’ve been curious about.

teeny_sf

There’s a teeny tiny San Francisco out there

The most important thing to note is that my speed increased. I’m starting to wonder if I am running too much right now. Adding more recovery time between runs seems to be giving me more speed and endurance. Anyone else find this to be true? Sometimes? All the time?

Stay healthy!

Random Wednesday Musings

On Sunday, I went running. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But, I encountered two women running with an off-leash dog. I’m going to pause there because a) it’s not legal and b) dogs can be unpredictable and c) good thing I’m not afraid of dogs… The dog was well-behaved and kept pace with them several feet ahead. The first time I saw them we were going in opposite directions. Second time, they were coming up behind me. The second time is the reason I decided to include this in my musings.

Blurry dog running off-leash

I was running along minding my own business, lost in my own thoughts, when suddenly I felt something bump into my right leg. I kind of jumped to the left a little, looked down and saw the dog. Then I could hear one of the women calling the dog and it slowed down, but then kept encroaching on my space time after time, until they passed me. Again, glad I’m not afraid of dogs. So, appropriate or inappropriate? Not much of a bother to me, per se, but I am pretty sure that would have been a bother to someone afraid of or not fond of dogs.


I went running on Tuesday. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. But, then I saw this on the trail!

A message on the trail

A friend of mine moved to Arizona last year, but comes back now and then to run half marathons in the old neighborhood. She was in town this weekend to run the San Francisco Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon… And, she left a note. I didn’t get to see her on this trip, so I thought it was extra cool that I found this.


This bird.

What are you trying to tell me little bird?

Yesterday, this bird drove me crazy for the better part of 30 minutes. She was at my kitchen window pecking away. It sounded a little like morse code. Whatever she was trying to tell me, it was urgent. But, sadly, I wasn’t getting it. I even went outside to see if something, like a cat, was after her. Nope. Just really, really wanted to be inside. After about 30 minutes, she moved to a nearby tree. Hopefully, she was feeling better… or something.

Speaking of birds… About a month ago, I was working at my desk and heard some kind of noise. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was so I opened the blinds. From my desk, which is on the second floor of my two-story house, I can see the roof over the garage. There was a crow shoving something under one of the shingles. Seriously. So, I can only assume that my roof has become some kind of storage unit for this bird. One of these days, maybe I’ll go out there to see what I can find. I’m guessing multiple hiding spots. Crows are crafty.

Stay healthy!

A Bittersweet Moment on the Trail

Last week, I went for a long training run (11 miles). My preferred trail is along a beautiful reservoir – a little bit of peacefulness in a hustle-bustle kind of place. I noticed an older man standing in front of a bench. He was standing. Maybe that’s why I took notice. He was looking out at the water lost in his thoughts. As I got closer, we made eye contact. I said good morning as I passed by. He seemed noticeably sad. I’m sometimes lost in my own space when I’m running, but it wasn’t hard to pick up on the vibe. On my way back, I noticed that he had left a bouquet of yellow daisies. I wasn’t having the best run, so I noticed but didn’t look too closely.

Yesterday, I went to the same trail – another long training run (12 miles). I came to the bench. He wasn’t there… But, a fresh bouquet of flowers was. I stopped to look. That’s when I realized there was a plaque on the bench. A dedication.

I took a picture because it was truly sweet. I imagine that the daisies will be new next Sunday as well. I looked out from the bench – it’s a serene, peaceful view and I hope it brings him some comfort.

The View from the Bench