Here's the other pet portrait I'm working on right now -- meet Julius!
So one of the things I've been doing lately is portraits of peoples' pets -- so far dogs, cats, and parrots. Lots of people do dog and cat portraits, but I have yet to encounter anyone who does commissioned pet bird portraits -- maybe I've found a special niche! In fact, I hope someday I'll get commissioned to do portraits of more unusual pets, I'd love to do frogs, iguanas, ferrets, tartantulas, horses...
In any case, I've done a number of portraits for my bird sitter in trade for bird sitting, which works out really well -- she has a bunch of beautiful parrots for me to paint! Here is the subject of the one I'm working on right now, a portrait of her caique, Tengu. The next step is to paste this cut-out onto some kind of pretty, textured ground, but I was happy enough with the portrait itself that I thought I'd post a scan of it.
Well, I survived the triathlon last weekend, and although I was blown away by how difficult this course was compared to my first triathlon at Treasure Island, I am so proud of how well I did!
All the gory details and some photos of me looking all ATHLETIC (!? ME?! still not used to it!) are below... You can ignore all the text and just look at the pics if you want to.
So, my total time was 3:19:37, which put me at 68/179 in my division (women 35-39, since I will be 35 in August) and 416/1042 female racers! Not bad at all!
The breakdown/race description:
So as opposed to Treasure Island, which was a 'deep water' swim start, Wildflower is a beach start, meaning, the horn goes off, and you and 70 other people start running into the water, get prone, and start swimming. It's a little hectic, and it was one of the aspects of this race that Todd and I were both feeling a little worried about. However, at this point we've both had lots of practice at swimming in groups where people are running into each other, swimming over each other, and flailing limbs are everywhere, so we both kind of know what to do. To get 'warmed up' before starting, as soon as the wave before you takes off, you get about two minutes to get in the water and swim around before you have to get back out and wait for the horn to blow. I was getting really nervous until I got in the water to warm up, and then I remembered how much I love to swim and how comfortable I am in the water. The sun was shining, the water was warm, and I could feel the anxiety just melting away. I got back out with a big grin on my face.
Here's a picture of the swim start: HECTIC, see?
Side note on water temp: Although the lake was between 68-70 degrees, because wetsuits were still allowed, you'd be a fool not to wear one because these slippery swim wetsuits make everyone swim faster. In SF bay I always wear a neoprene hood over my swim cap, but that was totally unecessary at Lake San Antonio!
So the horn went off, we ran in, and started swimming all over each other. For the first few hundred yards I was mostly just jockeying for position and trying not to get kicked in the face, but then everyone spread out and I got my breath back and my rhythm. The course was a marked off rectangle of buoys, .93 mile (1.5km). At one point someone kicked my arm lightly but just enough to knock my arm so I had to adjust my watch. I wasn't going to look but oh my god! I'd only been in the water for 13 minutes and was almost half done!
My swim time ended up being 32:13, a shocking 5 MINUTE 30 second improvement over my Treasure Island time. I was already ahead of schedule!
side note on time: OK, I try really hard not to put pressure on myself about time on these things, but really, I have goals I can't completely ignore... at least they are fairly realistic, and I don't get down on myself if I don't meet them.
Here's me running out of the water, demonstrating the supposedly time-saving taking-off-wetsuit-while-running technique.
Ran up the hill, into the transition area, and got out of my wetsuit and into my bike shoes as fast as I could. This time I wore a tank top and shorts under my wetsuit with my race number already pinned on, so no need to change clothes! The wind on the bike ride makes them dry out pretty quickly.
The beginning of this bike course is about a mile long really steep hill that manages to psych a lot of people out. I'd ridden the whole bike course once before, and knew I could do it, but it was hard not to feel nervous about starting a ride like that. Even during the swim I started thinking 'once I get over Lynch Hill I can relax!' But it was okay. My training on the Marin headlands has paid off. I was passed by a lot of people going up it, but I passed a lot of people too!
This was the first time I missed seeing Todd, who started an hour earlier -- he was racing down Lynch hill finishing his bike loop as I was starting -- guess I was too busy trying to crank up the hill!
The rest of the ride was totally fun. A few more big uphills, but lots of steep downhills in between, which I've started to really enjoy. I learned that if you take them fast enough, you get enough momentum so you don't have to work as hard on the way up the next hill, and on a rolling hills kind of course like this one, that can be REALLY helpful. NO ONE passed me when I was going downhill!
Here's me being all speedy...
The bike course was 24.6miles (40km) total. My bike time was 1:34:57, only about 5 minutes longer than Treasure Island. That made me feel great, considering how hilly this course was!
Then it was time to ditch the bike and start running. Almost home! Almost ran off with my bike helmet on! Put on my 'action visor' and ran up the stairs (UGH!) to the beginning of the run course. This was the second time I missed Todd -- guess he'd already finished and was standing waist-deep in the water cooling off when I ran by. I guess I was too far in the ZONE or something to hear him cheering me on!
Running after riding is always hard. Add that to 85 degree weather, no breeze, and hot asphalt and you've got a pretty miserable experience! Luckily, the scenery was gorgeous, and at every mile there was an 'aid station' where they were handing out gatorade, water, and had a big hose with a spray nozzle. As I approached each aid station I grabbed some water, dumped it on my head, and then said 'SPRAY ME!!!' I swear I was completely dry and overheated by the time I got to the next one...
Here's me, trying not to stop -- I'd never start again! Note that the slight smile from the earlier photos has turned into a grimace of determination! Or something!
So my run was about 10 minutes slower than it would normally have been for this distance (6.2miles, or 10km, which for this race I did in 1:05:55) but hey, at least I didn't pass out or throw up! I think I was getting pretty dehydrated by this point, but it's hard for me to drink too much water when I'm running or I get the dreaded stitch in my side. So I just plodded along, heat rising off the asphalt, vultures circling overhead (REALLY!), thinking to myself 'almost done. don't stop running. almost done. no walking. almost done...'
The bizarro end of this race is a mile run DOWN that horrible hill we biked up earlier... and then you can really appreciate how steep it is! For people whose knees can take it, it's an opportunity to make up some lost time, and just go for it, all the way to the finish line. I ran faster, but still just didn't have the juice to sprint the last 100 yards or whatever. However, I actually remembered to take a second to look around and enjoy myself when I was running down the finishing 'chute', a fenced off area lined with flags and cheering spectators. Here's where I finally saw Todd, who cheered me on as I did the last 50 feet, and then I started yelling and raising my fists when I heard my name announced as I crossed the finish line. They caught me on camera, grinning and yelling like an idiot:
I DID IT!
My time was about 9 minutes more than Treasure Island, which is right around what I expected with all the big hills on the ride and run, and how hot is was by the time I got my run on. So I am really, really proud of myself. For some reason I felt even more overwhelmed and wowed and emotional when I finished this race than even my first one... maybe because it was just that much more difficult.
I know I did one already, but I still am walking around saying to myself, wow, I can't BELIEVE I was able to do that!
Illustration BLOC, my illustration group, have roped a few other local illustrators into taking over a giant space in Oakland with us so we can pack it with heaps of awesome artwork!
I really hope some of you can make it for the opening. This is one of those galleries where you have to call to make an appointment if you want to see the artwork on a different day, so the opening (or the 'closing reception', if that date works better for you) is where it's at. Plus, you'll get to schmooze and drink with the artists!
So here's the details: (I scanned in our neato flier)
Friday, May 12th, 7-11pm
1800 Campbell St. (the corner of Campbell st and 18th st, west oakland)
My artwork, and the artwork of a bunch of other really talented artists!