Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Banzo's Year in Review

Since I am a blogging machine on a jet-lagged tear tonight, what better time than the present to write my 2011 year in review entry. Well let me just say that 2011 was a good year. The end of 2010 was quite rough what with the death of my stepdad, some other personal events that crushed me emotionally, and generally a year I was excited to be done with. I can't be mad though, I learned so much about life, loss, and who I am. I feel so much stronger than I was a year ago. I remember in fact talking with Beth in my car when all that stuff was going down, saying 'you know Beth sometimes I just think the universe gives you that much more than you can handle, to prove you can do it'. And I did. For that I am very proud.

2011 has seen major life changes for me. I made a huge job change and moved across the country. In many ways I have made triathlon into a fun hobby instead of a second job. I am still obsessed but I have a lot more balance which I think is good. I'm not going pro (you can quote me on that), and I wanted to focus more on my career, which I have done to a good amount of success in my opinion. I think it's a good thing. Going into 2012 I have several career goals which is a new thing for me. They do not involve swimming, cycling, or running.

But even though I made a big change and started traveling 100%, I had a good year when it comes to triathlon. I set a new Half Ironman PR at Vineman. I made it onto the podium at all my races except New Orleans. And that hardly counted anyway since it was a duathlon and it was a stacked field with two of my best tri friends in the field! I somehow managed to make it onto the podium in my first Ironman which I still can hardly believe. I also qualified for Kona and didn't sign up. Well, live and learn.

This year (2012) should be interesting. I have a new coach, a new place to train, and many new challenges. But I think if I can get my nutrition solid, continue to make some time for training, and keep the balance I've worked hard to achieve, and do what Chad says, 2012 should be a good year. It might even be my best year yet!! Here's to sending positive energy into the universe.

Oh jet lag, you are strange - I'm back!

I am definitely feeling a bit on the loopy side right now. I woke up 'this morning' at 4:00 am Frankfurt time which is 10:00 pm last night New York time. What?! I am strangely not as exhausted as I expected but I do not feel 100% by any stretch. But it had been a while since I'd been to Europe (too long!) and I had a fabulous time. I need to get Tamra to send me a few pictures and I will post them. Since my phone didn't work in Germany, and I could not find internet there to save my life, I didn't carry my phone around with me and thus I didn't take pictures. Oops!!! 

This is what the running trails in Munich look like (I stole this picture from the internet). Running there is great.  There are trails like this for miles and miles. You can literally run 70 kilometers each way. Luckily I was only dumb enough to run 17 at the most.
I wondered if I would feel a special connection to Germany since by ancestry I am about 90% German. The answer is no because I mostly wandered around feeling like a typical American jackass who doesn't bother to learn the language before going on my vacation. I am now determined to learn German. It is a hard language. The words are long and there are many letters that don't seem to go together. For example to say excuse me, one must say this: Entschuldigen Sie. This is pronounced 'ent-shel-de-gung' I think. Try saying that five times fast.

I would highly recommend Munich and oddly it reminded me of Denver, I think because it is a similarly sized city, the elevation is well above sea level (not as high as Denver however, but enough to notice), and it is dry. Also the people there are sporty.

One cool sporty thing I did there is a pilgrimage to the Munich Olympic Park and Swim Hall. That place was amazing. It was a huge Olympic-sized pool that was used in the 1972 Olympics. What an amazing facility. However, surprisingly Germans do not self-sort into fast, medium, and slow lanes, and many of them love to do the breast stroke very slowly. Interesting! I always thought Germans were so orderly that they would be more organized when they go swimming. But it was a fun experience regardless. Tamra and I had a great time and although I am glad to be back, now that I like where I live, I had a great time and I look forward to going back to Europe, and back to Germany when I can speak the language. Perhaps by Challenge Roth 2013 if I can convince a few other nutters to do it :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Snaps for the Holidays!!!

Man there is just no rest for the wicked, or the weary, or whatever it is that I am these days. I have been so busy!! Just running around all over New York, Houston, and everywhere else it seems.

I have been taking pictures though, and thinking about blogging!! New York is a special place during the holidays. Well, all the time, just different during the holidays I guess.

Fancy treats. This is called a Thomas Keller Oreo at Bouchon Bakery. I didn't try it, but look how pretty!!!

 Waterfall from a ride.
 Rockefeller Center - Big Tree!!!
 Proposal in Grand Central Station.
 Random Upper East Side snap... me trying to be artsy with my iPhone, haha.
 Christmas tree through the arch in Washington Square Park. Still one of my top three spots in New York.
Happy Holidays!!! More to come from Germany, I'm leaving tonight for a few days.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I get to live here?!

Well I have lived in Jersey for almost a month and the bloom is decidedly NOT off the rose. I freaking love it here!!! I seriously wander around in a daze sometimes and try to figure out whether or not it's real. But it is!! How cool. I have been having a great time going into the city, riding my bike (except for running over a rock in a weird way and crashing on Friday), running, and generally having a really good time. I am still traveling for work of course so that is harder now that I really like where I live, but I don't really mind Houston and I've been getting into a nice rhythm there.

Last weekend the weather was really nice so I rode to the Tappan Zee Bridge and back. The coolest part was going through a second state! Welcome to New York!!

The Tappan Zee was cool but riding under the George Washington is just awesome and I can hardly get used to it. Wow. Maybe that's why I crashed, I was distracted by the scenery! So pretty right?!

This weekend it has been chilly so I rode my trainer today but it wasn't too bad. I watched a lot of TV and the intervals in my ride kept me distracted. I also met some nice new people on my local tri team when we did a little Kona viewing party. I didn't really see much of the Kona broadcast, but the purpose of those things is to socialize anyway. It has been a good weekend! In other news Brian dropped my TV today, so I got a fancy new one. Neat!!! I have had a super ghetto TV forever, I just do not care about electronics. But it is so nice. I think it will be great for trainer riding. Which frankly although I don't mind it too much, it is annoying, so every little improvement helps. For some reason no matter how long I ride I have, the last ten minutes just make me want to poke my eyeballs out. But once I'm done I always feel glad. I still owe my parents pictures of the apartment now that it's all set up, so I will do that soon, I promise!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do I know how to have a good time or what?!

So I don't know if I have mentioned this but I have a new coach for this year - Coach Chad!! I am excited. Although I have had awesome success with MAO, I am ready for a change this year. I have known Chad for a long time and we seem to be doing well so far. He has me doing all these crazy tests to establish my zones or something and I had a bike test today. The weather was decent so I took the ferry over to the city and rode around Central Park. It was WAY fun. I only thought I was going to get run over a few times. The park is closed to traffic except for a small corner from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, which is great, but that corner with the cars gets crazy because there are cabs, which are obviously nuts, as well as horse-drawn carriages, which are just stupid.

The park is so pretty right now!!!!

In general it was not bad at all and in spite of the cars I actually found it way less annoying than Wash Park in Denver, because it is much farther to complete a loop - 6 miles or so. Also it is hilly so it's not just an easy, flat, boring ride. And there is SO much to look at!! Also the bike test kept things interesting as I beat the crap out of myself. Neat!!

Here is my bike waiting to return to Jersey on the ferry!!

The ferry is really expensive but it is quite enjoyable and quick to ride, so I think I would take it again. The location is great for riding because it drops you off on the Hudson River path which apparently goes all the way around the city. I will do that ride one of these days but it seems like more of a leisure ride because the path gets really crowded and you often have to stop. On Sunday I have another ride and the weather should be decent so I want to try to ride up to the 9W (the main ride people from this area seem to like). I can't wait!!! It's fun exploring a new area on two wheels.