Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Ally as Yoda! "Try not. Do or do not, there is no try." Yoda

Monday, October 29, 2007

Of Ironstar Interest

Race Renderings

My FINAL triathlon race of the year culminated with the Ironstar Half Ironman in Conroe, Texas on Sunday.
Truth be told, I wasn't terribly excited about this race, but I wanted to do it because
1) Jane's Addiction (that's her new nickname in celebration of herself and her new Guru bike, I'm dropping Ironbabe Jane) was doing it. So was my roommate Liam.
2) I didn't want to get trashed for Halloween Weekend (too tempting)
3) I like the tri lifestyle
So on the eve of the race, Jane, my roommate Liam and Kelly all headed up LATE (like by 9ish pm) to stay at the Best Western Motel, since it was across the street from the race start. Who wants to get up ass early and drive for an hour if you can book at hotel room for a hundred bucks?
Since the Red Sox were playing, none of us got to sleep until close to midnight. Liam is from Massachusetts. Go BoSox...
It would be close to 6am when we all decided to get up. I think Jane got up WAY earlier then us. I got some extra sleep by spooning with Liam and Kelly since it was chilly.
After grumbluing and stumbling, we finally got to the race start around 6:30 (okay maybe close to 7:00?) and unloaded our stuff at the transition area.
I must say that in typical me fashion, I was not so prepared and took a very laid back approach to setting up.
I feel badly because Jane was a little on edge. She later told me that she can't handle our "get there when we get there" attitude. I can empathize with her. It was her first half ironman. Last year this race was my first half IM. Sorry Jane! :(
Since Kelly is going to 70. 3 Worlds in a few weeks, she was our cheerleader and photographer.
The swim was fine on the way out, but on the way in, it was crazy choppy and I could not see the buoys. I got lost on the turnaround and for the first time EVER, I had thoughts that I would not make it. It felt SO far away. But after 48 grueling, hard fought minutes. I'm out.
A wimp when it comes to cold weather, I cursed myself for not bringing gloves and wearing my Sugar cycles shirt. I SWEAR for the first 45 minutes of the ride, I was so cold and wet I was shivering, and thoughts of dropping out again entered my head. And the shady parts of the ride in the beginning were the worst feeling.
FINALLY, I began to dry up, things got warmer, and I was feeling better. We woke up to 48 degree temperatures and by midday, things got to the 70's.
Doping Up and Out
I was fine until I made another bonehead move that at the time, seemed to make sense. During the bike, I took a vicodin for my back. Now my back felt great, but not so much in my head. Around mile 40 (i'm guessing because my frapping CATEYE CRAPPED OUT) I became delirious. It was windy on the way back, but I slowed down considerably and again, thoughts of dropping out entered my head.
But like most triathletes, I was determined to not give up and keep going. Getting off the bike into the run was tough.
I was tired. I was weak, but for some reason, I went ahead and started running and running a running. I guess the delirium wore off, because at the end I kicked it up and had my fastest half Ironman run time.
Of course, this was only my third half IM race, but tonight I compared the run times, and for this race, I averaged 10-12 minutes faster than the others. Strange?
My roommate Liam said tonight.. "Dude, races are all different..." It's true. You can be out there and have a bad day or a good day or be okay in one sport or suck wind in the other. Mother nature plays an important role, not to mention your state of being.
Total time: 6:29:-- . I was happy with my time, and I am happy that at least for this year, the triathlon season is OVER!
Congrats to all of those who raced.
Our Sugar Cycles relay team took third! :)
Liam won his age group with an unbelievable 4:30:19 time!
Then our Sugar Cycles team watched as Jane's Addiction crossed the finish line. Way to go Jane! You officially have a half ironman under your belt!
I never regret racing. I overcame negative thoughts, the fear of not finishing, what not to do during the bike, and I felt good after the race. Yep, I definitely love this sport. But I am glad the 2007 racing year is finished!
Time to take a break....
Cheers and happy training!
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Harriet Tubman

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Professional Pivot Point

Inquiring Minds Now that Pinkgurugal has made it official that I'm checking out of my "real world" come January, the questions keep coming, like... "What are you going to do now?..." "How will you finance your trip?..." "Who's taking care of your dog?..." So why are you walking away from TV NEWS?..." blah blah blah.... Then something totally bizarro happened, and it all came back to me. My engineer I worked with yesterday pulled out this photo he took of me almost a year ago. Picture not so perfect

This is a photo of me and one of my esteemed photographers covering last December's "Ice Storm" that wasn't.
For three miserable days, we slept a few hours holed up in a tiny motel, did a million liveshots, stood outside in the freezing cold, ate bad food and worked around the clock.
Typical storm coverage, big story stuff.
Stuff I used to thrive at doing. Now it all seems so perfunctory.
* *
So this was my defining moment of truth...the first in a series of events that had me contemplating a life change. But covering this event was the impetus.
And I now have a picture to prove it.
There are no accidents. And getting this photo from Nick is a perfect example.
Cheers and happy training!
"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. " ~Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No nonsense news

A Reflective Realization Four months ago when pinkgurugal started journaling, it was mostly for fun. Well, blogging has been more to me than I could have imagined. Going through my past blogs crystallized what matters most to me: relationships and experiences. It has been great to be able to write not just in jest, but in the spirit of positive energy and optimism. I have a great outlook on life now. But as life goes, it didn't always come this easy. I read some of the quotes I included after each post. Some gave me chills. Having said how incredible this year has been, I am closing the chapter on another part of my life to begin a new one. And that's my professional career. This week I announced my permanent departure. Fade to Black For the last 15 years, I pursued a career in the TV news industry. From a meager intern, to a writer, to a reporter and anchor, in places far away and near, it has been an incredible ride. It was my passion. But my passions, as you may have read, have evolved.

Have courage will travel
One passion, that was on deferral too long is my wanderlust. An industry that is 24/7, with demands to leave on a big story and abandon everything on a moments notice, doesn't lend itself to extended time off.
So I am heading on a trip around the world. And I was touched with the memo sent out by my incredibly supportive station manager. Here's an excerpt:
Come the first of the year we're going to say good bye to Chau Nguyen. Chau has decided to see the world once her contract expires. She's planning on traveling to Vietnam, Tibet and Europe. As Chau says, she's going to follow her passion. I know Chau's smile and her amazing positive energy will be missed by all of us. A proper send off will follow. In the meantime, we'll start looking for her replacement next week. as she would say, "no worries".
My only regret: that I didn't journal about all the incredible stories and people I met along the way. What a privilege it has been.
Professional development
TV news changed me and made me into the compassionate person I am today. Without this exposure I am not sure I would be understanding and tolerant of people. You learn in this business that life isn't fair for a lot of people. Tragedy is tough. Life is suffering.
And for those of you who cast aspersions on the media, who think we are heartless vultures looking for the big get, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. In my experience, most are good people, who followed their passion to tell stories. I did. And nothing beats working with fantastic reporters and photographers. I will miss these guys greatly
No Worries
Some have approached me with bewildering looks on their faces. Why would I want to leave a great job, at a great station, in a career I worked so hard to build (trust me, this is not a business for the weak)?
Because I do have passion for life, and life isn't just about work for me anymore.
What will I do when I return? Who knows? But just like everything else I do, I will do it with commitment and intent, with all the zest and energy I have, and I will do it with courage. It is silly to be afraid of an uncertain future.
I embrace it. And I can't wait to see the world. You have one life. It's short. Live it.
Cheers and happy training!
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."
Alan Cohen

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Random Ramblings

Face off I am going on two weeks with a new visiting friend on my face that won't go away. I shall name this ... Pinkgurugal's pimple that won't go away. How is it that at 34 years old, I am suffering from teenage breakout? Please pimple, please leave the premises of my face. I need to look pretty for the prom.... Race so Unready My 2007 triathlon season culminates this weekend. My FINAL triathlon of the year is Sunday's local Ironstar half Ironman. I can hardly believe this year has come and gone, and I still can't shake the fact that little me finished my first Ironman last month....crazy.... Firstly, let me say that while I harbor little if any nerves, I have NOT properly trained for this race...AT ALL. Truth be told, my training went from 15-20 hours down to maybe 8-12 hours weekly. I'm not necessarily proud of this, but I backed way off. Lemme' 'splain.... 'Splain It Well for starters, I have actually had a semblance of a normal social life...and that means I actually went to dinner and treated myself to a few drinks, or two, or three... someone recently mentioned that I talk way too much about my penchant for beer. It's true. I like the sauce. Anyhoo, all I'm saying is that over the last few weeks, if I didn't want to train in the morning (like this morning), I wouldn't. Of course, that would make me feel guilty, leaving me to run/ride/swim in the evenings. But I am on no real schedule, so whatever... Oh and here's something else, my back hurts :( I have been stretching, but this core workout commitment I made to myself 6 weeks ago to do abs three times a week is not going so well. I wish I had a 24-7 personal trainer. Ironbabe Jane mentioned in her blog that the weather is getting cold in Houston. It's been gorgeous, with lows in the 50 in the mornings, warming to the mid 70's by midday. Didn't that sound so meteorologist-like? :) At any rate, her post about what to wear for this race brought me back to last year. Because last year, the Ironstar was my FIRST half ironman ever, and I was a nervous wreck. But when I finished, I thought, "this isn't so bad..." And then I wanted to do more...and more... and more. Don't worry Jane, treat it like any other race, just get arm warmers and you should be fine. I rambled too much on this one. Maybe I'll just go for a run the next time. Or drink another beer. Cheers and happy training! "Be the person your dog thinks you are" unknown (and displayed in Liam's room)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Aim for the Heart

Fraternizing with the Feds Pinkgurugal's roommate Liam invited me to have a few beers with some friends in town This is Sweet Jim and his cohort Jean. I met Sweet Jim a few weeks ago during one of his other visits. They are here investigating some pretty top secret stuff. Jim is all smiles because he and his wife are expecting their first child, little sweet Jim. :) They talked "bid'ness" over a game of darts. Jim aims to win. Word is he's a bulldog in court.

Straight Shooter

My game was not so good. I have NO hand/eye cooordination. That's why I run, bike and swim. Not much required. Welcome to your tax dollars at work...even if it's not right on target. Cheers and happy training! “The only way to change your story is to change what you believe about yourself….Every time you change the main character of your story, the whole story changes to adapt to the new main character.”~Don Miguel Ruiz

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boys on Bikes

Strollin and Rollin On Sunday Pinkgurugal headed to the country with... and rode "behind"... Could this be.... Red Allez Guy and White English Boy? Yes, Red Allez Guy and I called truce Sunday and together we all rode. I snapped these snapshots of this cute couple as they were riding into the woods. For some reason I lost them during the ride...somewhere in the backwoods... for quite some time. hmmmm... I got a little bored so took this fuzzy and silly self portrait After the boys resurfaced, we took a halfway break at the country store. I snapped these photos of our bikes and thought... HOLY CRAP!...these three bikes are worth MORE than my car! I am guesstimating this is easily 15 THOUSAND DOLLARS in bikes....or it's likely more if you include all the upgrades. So that got me to thinking about how triathletes and cyclists drop big bucks for a nice ride. I recently read that cycling is the new golf. In other words, like golf clubs, cycling enhusiasts want the best. I had no clue when I started cycling... But consider this: amortize my investment into my pink guru and into number of days I have and will be on it, and the cost is nominal..if not negligible. Good, rationalizing it just made me feel better... We feel good after we cycle. Not bad for a day of truce. “The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually to make a new man of himself. “~Wang Yang-Ming

Friday, October 19, 2007

The "Dyer" Consequences

Thursday evening Pinkgurugal went out with galpals Cheryl and Kelly for a...
Dose of Dyer Inspiration
My cell phone wasn't taking very good pictures of the evening, but the three of us went to listen to Wayne Dyer speak.
This was our friend's Debbie's idea. Simply an amazing and inspirational person, not to mention a hot babe, Debbie has been a spiritual mentor and wonderful friend to me over the last few years.
But she had to bow out because she needed to go out of town at the last minute. I hated that she couldn't come, but I am so grateful she got the tickets and thought of me.
So instead, Kelly came in Debbie's absence.
As hectic as life can be, sometimes it's good to be reminded of what really matters in this world.
A Wayne Dyer Didacticism

Wayne Dyer is a spiritualist who has inspired millions. While I have only seen him speak on PBS and have never read any of his THIRTY ONE books, attending this talk resonated with me.

You know, that whole "there are no accidents" thing, the"letting go" talk, the "quit worrying and change your attitude" stuff.

I know it's self helpy, but I like to help myself to spiritual growth and development

But the bulk of Dyer's talk was about taking Taoism and applying it to our lives. I didn't know this, and ironically, Taoism is the embodiment of my belief and value system.

Pinkgurugal's Readers Digest version of Taoism

Written in circa 500 b.c. by Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching (translation: The book of the way) basically teaches us to live our lives according to our true nature, and that is in our playful, innocent selves.
And life is a delicate balancing act, that with good comes bad (that yin and yang, water and fire thing)
There are 81 chapters in the Tao Te Ching. They say you can read them in an hour or a lifetime. And there are many paradoxes to this eastern philosophy (and I am paraphrasing) like:
less is more...
in the quiet you find wisdom...
true wealth is in the simple, not material.
I have long professed that if I could be any religion, I would be a Taoist.
Henceforth, my simple girl with a complicated mind self characterization.
Cheers and happy training!
"Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.” - Lao Tze

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Cultivating Crisis

Suffering from a raging mold spore allergy headache, Pinkgurugal decided to sooth the brain by pulling out (once again) my.... NEVERENDING PILES OF MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS

Welcome to the world my other obsession, my feigned quest for knowledge and edification. I didn't want to count how many magazines are here, but let's say...mmm.... it's easily in the triple digits. I could open a magazine stand with this many reads! Sadly, I am sooooo far behind on my reads it's shameful. But I hate to waste a good read, so I let the magazines mount and mount and mount.... I counted TEN MAGAZINE subscriptionS. Let's start with my obvious penchants. Triathlete, Triathlon Life, Runner's World

These magazines are good for the occasional tips on injury prevention, shoes, profiles and eye candy watch. Other than that they are just magazines filled with fitness product ads. I don't know why I subscribe to them, I just do because, what if I miss out? I think I get Triathlon life for free though. Fitness and National Geographic Adventure I have no clue why Fitness comes to my house. It's always the same old rhetoric: drop ten pounds, toning tips, blah blah blah... Now NG Adventure is a MUST. GREAT travel tips. I usually tear out the places I'd like to/will visit and stick it in a folder. This is my other LOVE :travel. WANDERLUST. Isn't that a German word, HINT HINT? :) Outside and National Geographic Traveler Outside: An ALL TIME favorite! Great articles that feed my need to explore. Terrific writers and lots of cool photography. My love for this magazine began in 1997 when I became obsessed with the Mt. Everest disaster. I swear I must have been a mountaineer in a past life, because I've never climbed, and I grew up the daughter or immigrant parents living in Texas. Strange... The article written by Jon Krakauer left such an indelible impression on me. That desire to test your boundaries and that mystical oneness with nature greatly appeal to me.

One day I WILL hike to base camp. Or when I'm ready to DIE maybe I'll head further up. Anyone up for the challenge? NG Traveler: Just like its NG Adventure counterpart, this magazine also has cool travel ideas. This month there is a spread about my own homeland, Vietnam. I'm heading there next year. I can't wait. Now to Pinkgurugal's need for... Current Events Cultivation Time and Newsweek You HAVE TO keep up with what's going on around you and your world. I mainly choose these weekly magazines because they are relatively easy reads written by decent journalists. A liberal bent? Maybe, but my centrist ways allow me to read between the lines. And finally.... The New Yorker If you haven't picked up this read, I would highly suggest it. Although I won't suggest subscribing unless you are retired and have a lot of time on your hands. This magazine is arguably one of the best. The writing is nothing short of excellent, and you'll always read something interesting, be it a short story or an investigative piece. Not to mention the sketches. Gotta love Ahmadinejad on last week's cover. I have more of these magazines than any other. Again, I HATE to waste a good read. Between a job, triathlon training, Vietnamese lessons, friends, family, and a sometimes semblance of a social life, I hate to admit my many magazines continue to sit there, as if to say, "please read me, please!" Cheers and happy training, or reading on my part! 'Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.' - Albert Einstein

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crank it Up

Chelly's Chains Monday night was date night with Kelly, i.e. "The Chelly". I made chicken "a la Foreman grill" style.

Not that I know anything about cleaning my chain. I took some lube and cleaner fluid stuff, put drops on each chain and spun with an old towel on it.

That's how we clean chains, right?

Then I wiped down the rest of a bike, and in hard to reach areas, I used a good old tooth brush, which I used on my teeth before I went to bed. Mmmm... did I say that? :) Then I told Kelly to do the same thing. The only man in the house, Jasper, was no help. Neither was Ally, who had better things to do, like sleep. Oh the Chelly. Now go get us that man! :) Cheers and happy training! "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being." - Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe