Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Trail Training

Road Rules

Visiting Saipan is always an outdoor adventure for me.. Hiking, biking, exercising, swimming...this place is obviously one for the outdoors enthusiast.

With two weeks before the annual Saipan Xterra triathlon trail race, Tina and I hit the trails. She's racing in a few weeks so wanted to get ready.

I was so no ready...

I haven't truly mountain biked in years!

Cheers and happy training!

Guatama Buddha - “When a wise man is advised of his errors, he will reflect on and improve his conduct. When his misconduct is pointed out, a foolish man will not only disregard the advice but rather repeat the same error.”

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tina Tales

Friendship Firsts Outside of the fact that I simply love the Saipan lifestyle ... (today I took Tina's aerobics class at the Hyatt hotel, then did a 1200 meter ocean swim in warm, clear and blue pacific waters) ... I love to visit because it gives me a chance to catch up with one of my closest friends, Tina. I have known Tina since college. In fact, I still boast that I am the reason she is still out here...and boy am I ever so grateful. See, I set her up with her husband Tim when I first moved here in 1996. He was among the first people I met here. Tina was living in Dallas, and self admittedly the quintessence of big city Texas gal. You might very well find her photo if you googled those words. Quite the glam girl, Tina liked the finer things in life and never missed a beat when it came to the urban, and up and coming. Then she came out to visit granola girl me in Saipan.

A Calculated Connection

That's when I told her that she had to meet this handsome, kind bachelor who lived here...a dashing man by the name of Tim Goodwin... and everything changed. They met and fell in love, and this year, will be celebrating their 10th year anniversary with their two beautiful kids, Steven, age 6 and Mylan., age 3. Saipan took the Dallas out of her. And that is a very good thing. These days you'll find Tina mountain biking, teaching aerobics, organizing soccer mom outings and in my humble opinion, appreciating what really matters in life. And that's my friend Tina. It's always nice to visit Saipan and visit her and her family.

Cheers and happy training! "Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things." Robert Louis Stevenson

Island Excursions

Soaking in Saipan

It has been a great few days on Saipan. And most of my time has been spent doing my favorite activity here, and that's hiking. Saipan has so many great trails, and it never ceases to amaze me how much of the island there is to see and explore.
Sunday morning, Tina, her son Steven an his friend Carolina (visiting from Tokyo) went on a hike to my favorite place on island, a place named Forbidden Island.
Ithink the name has to do with the locals' lore, that this rough, rocky beachfront is haunted with evil spirits. There have been a number of drownings over the years. Carelessness here can cost you.
It's about a 20 minute trek down to the base of the "island". And the trek is nothing short of cool, as you traverse through the woods... all the while taking in the amazing views.

Once down Forbidden Island, we all jumped in for a swim with the fishies. Carolina and I decided to feed them some goldfish we brought along.

I think the neatest part of exploring forbidden island is going to the secret cold pool cave. You literally have to crawl through and down huge rocks.

Once we found the cold water pool cave we swam in it for awhile. Now when I say cold I mean like 75 degrees cold.

Not cold at all, but colder than the ocean water, since the water trapped in there doesnt get much sunlight. That ray of light you see on the right of the photo is where the rough ocean water spills into the cave.

I love forbidden island. It's always much fun everytime I go. And to think I used to go here all the time....

Volleying Around

This afternoon was spent enjoying a leisurely day at the Pacific Islands Club Hotel, where a beach volleyball tournament was taking place. Locals and well as world class pros competed.

Really, I'm told this guy sitting there is the number one ranked beach volleyball player in the world... I mean like the best. Of course, as I write this, his name escapes me.

He played doubles with one of my expat buddies who still lives here, and ironically, bought and runs the local tv station where I used to anchor.

That's Chris Nelson playing with the world's best. I think if I were Chris I'd be shaking. That would be like me riding in a pelaton with Desiree Ficker.

I took this photo for the sake of my roomie Liam, whom I thought would appreciate this pro beach volleyball player from Italy.

Yes, Saipan is a neat place. It's very outdoorsey, and there's always something going on. These are how the weekends are spent. No shopping, no sittin' in traffic to head to the malls, no stress.

I find those who took the plunge, who left their creature comforts in the states to live this lifestyle are my kind of people.

Damn I love Saipan and miss it. I can hardly believe I moved out here twelve years ago and left Saipan to continue my career climb.

My how life sometimes has a way of coming full circle.

Cheers and happy training!

"Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going." Tennessee Williams

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Today was a great day in Saipan, though probably better explained with the help of photos,of which I took several but cannot upload quite yet. In the meantime, here's a morning snapshot of my first morning "on island". Cheers and happy training! "Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 22, 2008

Saipan Story

Precious Paradise I made it. I am here!

24 long and sleepless hours later, I am "on island!" Only it's 4 am and dark and my girlfriend and her husband and the kids are asleep, so I can't very well splish splash until later.

Yes, this is where I lived for two and a half elysian years...from 1996-98. I moved out here to take a job as a reporter and anchor. It's like doing small town news, only your audience are locals (Chamorro and Carolinian islanders) ex-pats, and contract workers from Asia (who work in the garment and hotel services industry)

To the left of that photo is Bob Coldeen, Saipan's local sportscaster icon, because he's STILL HERE!

Bob moved to the islands a million years ago as a peace corp volunteer. He met and married a Chuukese woman, his lovely wife Marta..had a family, and he never came back to the States.

And that's my co-anchor, Travis Coffman, who I believe is a bigshot radio talk show host in Guam. His story is similar. He married a lovely local girl from Saipan, Dinah, and together they have three kids.

Living here were some of the happiest years in my life. And over these last several years, I haven't been able to shake it, romanticizing a day when I can do it again.

The experience was life changing.

I think because when you live on a tiny island out in the middle of nowhere, you learn to truly appreciate what is important. For me, that was friends (who essentially become your family) and travel.

That's what I took from my time here.

Outside of being born in Vietnam, I was raised almost entirely in Houston and was exposed to very little until I moved overseas.

Living in Saipan, it was refreshing to not feel like the minority anymore.

It was great to travel to exotic places.

And nothing beats weekends spent scuba diving and barbequing with friends.

So for the next five days, until I head for Vietnam, I'll be here, in Saipan, reliving some of those moments.

This is a place that will always have my heart.

Cheers and happy training!

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."--Buddha

Travelling Light

Hairy and Hurried I have always been terrible at planning big trips. My MO has always been the same: wait until the last minute to pack. Whatever I forget, I’ll just buy has been my logic. So Wednesday evening had me stuffing all kinds of stuff into one large luggage, getting about 4 hours sleep, and taking off. I did, however, decide I would take my bike. A major thank you to roomie Liam for packing the bike. Although as I write this, it may all be in vain. As I mentioned in a past post, my nifty new pinkgurugal laptop has a built in camera, so for the next few weeks I plan not only to write, but to Video blog, or as “they” say, vlog. I was in good spirits when I left thursday morning. But things went WAY south once I arrived to the airport. Because my other MO is that I arrive usually at the nick of time. My luggage and and my bike box were set home with Rob. Really. A Calamitous Continental Check in Continental ticketing agents basically wouldn’t take my luggage because it was checked in 33 minutes before the flight. They say I should have had it checked in an hour before the flight. Still, I’m not so sure about that. The kiosk allowed the check in. I even had my claim stickers in hand. Heck, I had even paid 50 bucks for having too much crap in my luggage. Personally, I think they were miffed at my skycap, who unbeknownst to me, had cut in line, and processed the whole thing.... then made me out to look like the jack-ass when i was confused at the situation. So net net, I had little choice but to run to the gate and get on my plane headed to Tokyo, sans luggage. Here's my vlog version skinny. Cheers and happy training!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hi tech Testing


Below is Pinkgurugal's first on camera appearance since my tv news career departure in December.

Only here, it's one in the morning, and I am dressed in my robe, with no makeup on, in the confines of my home.

Welcome to the real me.

Roll Tape

I am testing out my nifty new pink laptop's camera recording capability and hope to Vlog while in Saipan, Vietnam and Honolulu.

Seriously, writing this blog was about as high tech as I have gone.

Technology continues to intimidate me, but it seems trial and error has worked for me.

And I think it's working...

Note: Rob is making a cameo appearance. :)

Cheers and happy training!

"Light today with tomorrow." Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, February 15, 2008

Running Repercussions

Marathon Must I love the Houston Marathon.

I've completed five in a row and hope to continue this streak annually. I'm not anywhere near fast nor am I out there to win, I just like the feeling of accomplishment. Okay and maybe I am OCD about it.....

But in order to continue running, I need to address what's morphed into an increasingly aching issue.

Reality is here. No more denying.

Yes, much like the 12 step program... I'm taking my first step: I'm admitting I have a problem.

Patella Pain

Note those black bands around my knees.

Those are what have gotten me through my years of long distance running.

Now I'm no doctor, but those bands keep my knee caps from moving around during my runs, thus preventing sharp shooting pains.

They get sore, they hurt. And on rare occasions, the pain is so overwhelming take, I am relegated to ending the run. The bands save the day.

So yesterday, I finally had a date with a sports medicine doctor to figure out why, after FIVE weeks, I STILL can't step foot on the track.

Picture not so perfect

According to the doctor, if you look at my knees, notice how my alignment is not so symmetrical. That causes the pain and swelling, I think.

This aerial view of the knee caps is apparently more telling My knee caps are pushing outward, and overuse has those balls (hee hee... I said balls...) misaligned.


I have runner's knee, an inflammation in and around the patella spawned by overuse.


Ice and physical therapy exercises. And lay off the running. And trust me I have. I have not put on my running shoes since marathon day.

Not that I have been training at all, but I have my first triathlon race on March 15th overseas (1.2k swim, 37 mile ride, 9 mile run), then I am committed to the local Longhorn half ironman on March 28th.

Rob plans to run the swim portion (he swam Division one in college) for the "Tagaman" race in Saipan... I'll do the bike, and then depending on my knees, I'll do the run. Or he might do it.

I know, Im stubborn, I should REALLY defer these races, but shit, it's a part of me.

You tri geeks out there know what I mean.

Training gives us purpose. And lately, I haven't been training. I can't run. Shit, I can hardly walk sometimes! Which worries me.....

Anyhoo... this knee thing is something new. Praytell it won't stick around, like my other bone and muscle issue

Back Bothers NOTE: This will be the ONLY time I BARE IT ALL on my blog. Meet my spine, and more specifically, my lower back. We go way back.... like NINE years.... and still counting. That's when a day of water skiing turned injurious. While on my skis, the boat operator took a sharp turn, causing me to snap my back forward and too quickly. I'm no Xray reader, but if you look at my L5 S1 (that's the lower vertebrate that connects to the sacrum), there is not only some slippage, but there is also a hairline fracture, which is apparently the culprit of my chronic pain Over the years, I've managed with the help of cortizone injections, medication (mmm...vicodin, celebrex, etc...) and physical therapy. That's the ONLY way I can get through a long distance run. This year, I'm going to take ANOTHER serious look at alternatives. The pain has never gone away. I mean, do I want to get injections forever? Do I want to pop a pain pill when it hurts? And on that note, doctors are so leary of prescribing the good stuff for fear of litigation, i'm not even getting vicodin anymore. Which of course, makes me anxious because without vicodin and or a steroid injection, there is NO way I can handle the pain associated with long runs. And that would be death to my running and triathlons. And that would suck. Cheers and happy training! "As long as one keeps coming searching, the answers come." Joan Baez

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Back in Blog Business

Think Pink
Pinkgurugal's recent bout of blog inertia had to do with my laptop. It's STILL in the shop. I mean, it has been a month, much to my frustration.
It's just not the same... blogging on my desktop (the thing works like a snail!)
So today I made a self admitted impulse purchase...
I couldn't resist. Really.
I mean, it's pink. Some girls buy Mahnolo Blanik's... I choose PINK
I can take it on my travels and literally take pictures from the computer.
I havent managed to figure it out yet though.
Next time.
And as soon as I can figure out how to video blog (my laptop can video record too) I'll do that.
It's about time...cuz dammit, I got lots to talk about.
A Fated Find
Sitting at my doctor's office the other day, I looked up and noticed an Ansel Adams portrait. Then I looked closely at the writing.
Holy Homeland!
Canyon De Chelly? Could it be? Does this place actually exist?
For those of you who don't know.... the Chelly is a coined up name that comprises of me (Chau) and my best friend, Kelly.
Chau and Kelly are "the Chelly".
We are not just best friends. We're a statement, a lifestyle...
and now we've learned we're also a spiritual, native American Indian destination.
The chelly plans a pilgrimage to the homeland soon.
Wingin' It
Besides being an all around nice gal, pinkgurugal is an excellent wing girl. Just ask my many male friends, who have gleefully utilized my wing girl expertise. I always deliver.
Here's a recent example.
This is Pinkgurugal's guy pal we fondly call the Serpent.
Thanks to yours truly, here Serpent sits and chats with a young hottie during a recent Sunday afternoon at La Strada.
I facilitated this by first introducing myself and telling her (unbeknownst to Sepent) Serpent wanted to buy her a drink.
I have no shame.
Minutes later, things heat up when my Serpent exchanges digits with Miss hottie.
Talk later turned into some afternoon booty shaking. Pinkgurugal snapped this third shot of SERPENT slithering around the dance floor.
I think I may start charging for my wing girl services.
Jersey girl
Among the many things I love about Rob is his spontanaity.
The hat I am wearing was purchased at a Las Vegas hotel gift shop...just because....
Then the other night, it came in the form of buying Kelly and me matching shirts.
Let's hug it out
I wish all conflict ended this way. Now it's the chelly's job to spread the word.
Cheers and happy training!
"My happiness is not a means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose."- Ayn Rand