Thursday, April 27, 2006

National Arbor Day -- April 28

Well, a couple weeks ago, while Michelle was still recovering from her surgery and limiting herself to walking, I had thought to join her. However, I was a little slow on the uptake that day and didn't get to the park before the gang all left. That meant I took off down the trail hoping to catch up to some of them. I had taken my camera with me and along the way, I stopped to take a few shots. Even though I eventually did meet up with the Y group, I continued to take pictures throughout the morning. My focus seemed to be on trees and nature. As April 28 (Friday) is National Arbor Day, I thought it fitting to post some of the shots I took, especially since I'm not currently swimming, cycling, or running after the whump, whump, whump beating I took the other day.

First a quick look at the trail we Puyallup Y runners frequently run. This is about 3/4 of a mile from the main parking lot. Eagles or ospreys are sometimes seen on those two scrags in the middle of the picture.

Next, a little further along the trail, I spotted this tree. I have no idea what kind of tree it is, I was simply taken with the amount of moss on it. They say moss grows on the north side of a tree, but if that were so, then I was on the north pole because every side of this tree was covered in moss. I think all the moss simply indicates there is a lot of moisture in the area.

Upon leaving the trail and the Y Runners that day, I headed home, but not before making a couple more stops. A few weeks ago, you'll remember I talked about a ferocious wind storm that we had. It took out many trees, including, it would seem, this rugged hold out from days gone by. Not only is the tree now fallen, but its trunk was all twisted and gnarled, yet it continued to blossom.

Next up was this old abandonded farmhouse. Does this old house not make you wonder who lived there before and what their lives must have been like? My husband and I would dearly love this piece of property, but only if it came with the adjacent piece of property which is currently sporting a beaver pond. The dam is difficult to make out now that the grass is green and growing, but they (the beavers) did a fine job of building it and this pond is bigger than I've seen in 5 years.

Of course, the property that Pat and I have isn't all that bad either. We have several fruit trees: italian plum, golden plum, cherry, apple, apricot, peach, and walnut. During the spring, the blossoms are beautiful. The blossoms above are apple and the ones below are cherry.

Of course, no northwest garden would be complete without the requisite rhododendron. This is one of the beautiful early pink varieties. If you look closely, you will even be able to see the bugs infesting my pretty rhoddie!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Whump, whump, whump...

...that's the sound your tire makes just before it decides to explode. At least that's what it sounded like to me.

I had finished the 50 mile Kapowsin loop of the Daffodil Classic when, after some strawberry shortcake (one of the benefits of this particular ride), I decided I'd had enough of hills and poor, chip-sealed roads. I was tired, but I still wanted to get in my 100 that weekend so, instead of opting to do the 50 mile Buckley loop, which would drop me back down by my house, I decided to simply go up and down the trail. I would be closer to home and I wouldn't have to climb Tubbs hill (that first steep spike you see on the elevation profile for the Buckley route).

It was on my way headed towards the opposite end of the trail, when I entered the intersection (that, coincidentally, leads to my place of employment), doing about 18 mph, when I heard the dreaded "whump, whump, whump." I hoped to get across before getting off my bike to investigate the sound, but almost before the thought could form entirely, the next thing I heard was POW. I found myself skidding to an abrupt halt with my bike on top of me, in the middle of the intersection. I had gone down. Hard. Very hard. Do you have any idea what it is like to go from 18 mph to zero in no time flat? Let me tell you, it hurts. A lot! And I know people had to have seen me go down, but nobody stopped. Why is that? Did they assume I was okay?

Initially, I was stunned. I knew what had happened, but all I could do was lay there for a few seconds to collect myself. Different parts of my body wanted to spasm. I willed them to stop. I didn't have time for cramps just then. I did my best to untangle myself from my bike. The intersection I was in wasn't terribly busy, but I didn't want to take the chance that some yahoo would come careening off the highway at 50 mph and hit me.

I gingerly tested my parts. Some woman was talking to me. She was on a bike. Some K-mart special by the looks of it. She had a kid with her. She was asking me if I was okay. I nodded my assent and got off the ground and picked up my bike. I carefully walked to the curb where she was. It was obvious I was shook up, but I had enough wherewithal to use my cell to phone home. Terrific. Answering machine. He says (my husband) that he checks it every hour.'s 4:05 p.m. Did he just check it? Will it be another hour before he checks it again? I'm feeling dizzy and need to sit down before I fall down. I plop myself on the curb. Now, I admit I wasn't really in the mood to keep riding that day, but having a blow out was not how I envisioned ending my ride.

The woman, Jennifer (very nice lady), offers to give me a ride home. She only lives a half mile away. I agree and while she rides home, I phone home again to leave another message. Fortunately, hubby answers and I tell him what's happened and ask him to come get me. When Jennifer shows up in her SUV, I thank her profusely for her kindness and generosity, but that my husband will come get me. She smiles her understanding and drives away.

Well, while I didn't hit my head (though some, like my husband, may still think I should have it examined), somehow my chin connected with the ground. Fortunately, for me, it would seem my (well padded) left hip took the brunt of the damage, along with my left hand and left knee, the very same knee that required surgery a few months ago. My right hand also took a couple of scrapes. I'd put pictures up, but they'd probably gross everyone out.

So, there went my plans for completing the equivalent of four ironmans this month. I've already got three, I think, or at least very close to it. But, with these open wounds, I don't see myself getting in the pool in the next few days. Running may also be difficult because of my hip. In fact, my hip has me especially worried. Besides having a huge goose egg there, it has taken more than 24 hours for the bruise to start manifesting itself and I don't think it is anywhere close to being as dark as it's going to get. After all, what g-forces are in effect when soft tissue and bone hit something as solid as pavement at the speed I was going?

Oh, and terrific. Now it seems my left shoulder may have been hurt as well. It's a good thing I've still got four months before my ironman.