Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cabo Half Marathon

This was the third year for the Los Cabos Half Marathon  and it went from a couple hundred people to over 1000! From the expo/packet pick up to race day, everything was smooth and professional- a real top notch event.

The course is similar to the Ironman run, in beautiful historic San Jose, finishing on the main plaza in front of the church and surrounded by coffee shops, bars, and yummy restaurants.

Naturally, I ran supporting the TriCaboKidz Foundation which meant sponsoring a kid's entry, and getting a cool tshirt in return, which I proudly wore after the event:)

 I saw a few friends race morning and found Miriam who I also raced in La Paz- she's a local stud that beats me up on the bike and run any time we get together haha.

Training leading up to the half had gone great- it wasn't specific to this race obviously as I switched back into triathlon mode about a month ago, but I had banked some awesome runs (even marathon long ones for the supposed Carlsbad full) so I felt I was carrying solid run fitness.

The course was awesome! It took us from the Plaza along the San Jose hotel corridor, over to the Mayan Beach Club, back and over the Puerto Los Cabos bridge, where the hills start into Fonatur then down to the Marina, some trails in the huerta/farm, back to the bridge again and a small out and back to the Plaza finish.

All along there were people cheering, awesome volunteers, clearly marked kms, and aid stations with gatorade and water.

Along with the 21k they had a 5k and a kids 3k and 400m dash.

At the start I lined up next to Miriam and hung on through 3k, then dropped back a bit where I stayed within sight until the end, never able to catch up. Around km 18 another local, and also SoCal chick, Melissa, caught me and we played cat and mouse until 2km left and she snatched 2nd place a few seconds before me.

At the finish, I chugged some Baja Brewing Co beer, and then enjoyed a short walk over to Miriam's where we showered and then grabbed some foooood! Ive never rushed a buffet like that since awards were going to start, but Tropicana Inn is a must for the breakfast buffet- paella, delicious hashrbowns, and omelets, fresh juices....

Half marathons are the best distance honestly- long enough but intense enough to give a quality fitness deposit, and so I'm thinking I'll go race the inaugural Rock N Roll Half Marathon at altitude in Mexico City March 15th. It sounds amazing since you start at sunset!! The post race party will be good ;)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Race Team & Schedule!

I could not be more thrilled, honored, and motivated to join this amazing group of women in the 2015 SMASH DIMOND Triathlon Team!!!

In a few weeks I'll have my hands on this sexy bike and plan to fly with it in the following races...

March 21- ITU LaPaz (Chicago 2015 ITU Worlds Qualifier)

March 29- Cabo Whaleman Half Iron Distance (tentative)

April 26- Galveston 70.3 (Intention of qualifying for Austria 70.3 Worlds which hurricane Odile kindly stepped on my attempt to grab the slot in Cozumel last Sept!)

May - August a few sprints and olympics in Texas as I go home for the summer to train for Chicago and Austria (fingers crossed!).

Depending on how my back fares....end of season Ironman to have just one chance at my new AG 25-29 that I never raced Kona in, and...well...I've never been known to just treat Kona as a "fun run" ;)

BUTTTT above all the goals and results, is getting to meet each of my teammates, train and race alongside them, and inspire and be a role model for other triathletes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

2015...Checking in from Cabo!

Um, wow. That about sums up my reaction to life thus far. Up until I reached a quarter century, literally at 25, life had been pretty smooth sailing. The biggest stressors I had faced were college papers, demands from parents and coaches, the occasional fight with a friend, a sports injury, the buildup to an Ironman....cake!

This post may be a long one because I have a lot of personal and professional things that I've kept to myself the last couple of years that I'm finally ready to speak about and release, welcoming a breath of new air, new beginnings, and a new found strength that only certain downfalls could've provided.

The first bump in my step isn't really news- the back injury that seemed to pop out of nowhere in 2012, thus leading me to pull away from any hope of being a professional triathlete, maybe ever competing in an Ironman distance again, and starting the real world job hunt that had only proved fruitless since my 2009 college graduation.

It came at a necessary time as I was also exhausted and craved change- maybe not so much change as came about- but change nonetheless.

Fast forward to moving to LA and no luck at finding a job that would sponsor a visa. There were amazing internship offers that I wasn't legally allowed to take as an intern can't be foreign unless the company sponsors an entire H-1B petition for them (no company in their right mind would do such a ludicrous thing).

So out of a casual bar conversation with a stranger bloomed the idea of moving to Cabo San Lucas- the thought of which had never entered my mind prior to that fateful February evening in Pebble Beach.

So in a span of two months I visited Cabo, signed employment with Snell to sell real estate, sold my car in LA, packed up my condo, flew to TX, packed bags there, and moved to Cabo.

Through all of this, beginning in November 2013, I was battling some perplexing, frustrating, and depressing health issues. I've only vaguely told people about this because until recently I still had no clue what was really going on.

All I knew was that since cutting back my training from a full time athlete to your average gym-goer, I had actually become more fatigued. Where was the sense in that?

If only it had been just fatigue, I started getting double vision, headaches, grave unexplained and random bloating, muscle cramps, and a complete apathy toward any and everything.

One could say I was depressed, but it was different. It would come in bouts, and even when my mood was great, when I was stoked and at my most optimistic, this cloud loomed over my physical and mental health.

Around April, when I was finally in Texas for a few weeks before the move to Cabo, I Googled my symptoms like mad, determined to narrow down what could possibly be preventing me from even 30minutes of activity a day, causing weight gain while eating healthy organic foods and in complete caloric control.

Enter hypothyroidism. I was convinced. This had to be it. Thyroid and a major hormonal imbalance whether related or not, where causing this turmoil.

Back track for a second- even in early 2013 when I went to Clermont for QT2 Pro training camp, I had a discussion with Jesse about my ridiculous fatigue and recovery issues at my young age. How I felt like I was 80 and training was ten fold harder.

Anyway, three days before scheduling an appointment with my family's endocrinologist, I started taking a supplement by Mega Food (I love this company btw because everything is FOOD based). I didn't want to take anything synthetic, especially on my own, and I didn't want supplements that had thyroid hormone etc because if I was wrong I'd be playing with fire.

Mega Food's Thyroid Strength has a large dose of iodine from kelp, 300mg of tyrosine, some holy basil, copper, magnesium, basic things that help to support your thyroid.

You may think I am crazy as heck and that's fantastic but I swear by the time I stepped into the doctors office a few days later, I almost wanted to apologize for not canceling the appointment because I felt 16 again.

I had energy to conquer the world, I slept amazing, the water retention disappeared about as magically as a bad bout of PMS, the headache gone...just out of this world amazing.

I told the doctor this, he ordered blood work, and a week later we discussed that I may be borderline hypothyroid. As such, I should continue on Mega Food's supplement, my multi, and check back at year's end. If I feel like stopping that supplement then I could go off it a few days or weeks and monitor the symptoms.

I lost roughly 10 lbs by July, and the sky was blue and sunny again!...And then it happened....In Cabo Mega Food anything can't be found, and the only multi is Alive (which is ok, but you'll later understand why this didn't work for me), and I had run out of my own. Everything returned to the nightmare of early that year, until late August when a trip to Mexico City reunited me with my pills haha that my mom had sent from the US with a friend for me to pick up there.

Again like a roller coaster, I was revving back up to normal. Thanks to the hurricane, once back in the US I wanted to monitor blood and all again and see if there was a way I could not be dependent on this supplement forever...I mean what if they discontinue it? What if I am in another country? etc. Also, I was sure something else was missing in this puzzle.

Coincidentally, I happened to read Jordan Blanco's post about some health issues and her doctor, in Colorado, Dr. Silver at Boulder Peak Health. She seemed like an excellent option- a doctor that lives in the heart of crazy endurance athletes like myself, is an athlete herself, and speaks of hormonal and women's health so passionately.

Immediately I scheduled a phone consultation, we ordered blood work, and this is what we found....

Everything looked normal and actually very healthy. Creatine looked a bit elevated, could just be dehydration....but there was ONE "aha!" to my symptoms: MTHFR.

I have a genetic mutation C677T that hinders my usage and production of folic acid.

Very few multi vitamins on the market use FOLATE- the bioactive form- and instead use synthetic folic acid, which if you have my issue you can't use and it only in a sense clogs you.

Folic acid is also used to fortify a lot of foods- luckily many are gluten products like pasta and cereals that I don't eat.

Regardless, through my years as an endurance athlete I had run these reserves of folate pretty low, and since a couple years ago I had stopped taking a certain multi vitamin that contained the FOLATE that I didn't know I needed and had switched to multi's like Alive that have folic acid.

If you do your research you'll see that your body's ability to use folate directly impacts your thyroid, your hormones, your ability to make new cells, seratonin, dopamine, everythingggg!!

So why had Mega Food's thyroid supplement worked really well for me? Because it fed me the tyrosine and other thyroid supporters that my body wasn't churning on its own.

Since then, taking METHYLFOLATE, and/or a vitamin like Garden of Life's Kind Organics Women's Daily which has folate (from lemon), I feel like a NORMAL 27 year old!!

These ups and downs have resulted in my inconstant training, in reality exercise. They've caused me to value health and the ability to have even the most basic active lifestyle, and more importantly that Ironman did not cause this, that I didn't overtrain, that I'm not a hypochondriac, that I wasn't depressed, and that I can and will still workout avidly and compete in sports- especially the one I love most.

Through this all, through the moves, the job challenges, the hurricane that left me literally feeling homeless and unemployed, and sad about what had happened to such a beautiful place, I learned that as quickly as the body recovers, so does the soul...so do groups of people, and cities like Cabo.

And out of the storm, if you keep your mind and your heart in the good that you want out of life and what you hope to contribute, life will exceed your expectations and give you tremendous fortitude and opportunity to live out your potential and help others do the same.

I came back to Cabo in early December, with only plans of staying a few days at a friend's house- unsure what conditions it was really in, just wanting to tie some lose ends, not overstay my tourist-visa-welcome in the US, and clear my head a bit after two months of another round of door knocking for US jobs that led to nothing.

The progress was outstanding! Sure roughly 60% of hotels are still shut until late spring/summer, there are some "issues" in the lower income areas of San Lucas and San Jose, and only things pertinent to tourism are being dealt with full force, but if you really witnessed or understood what this place went through with Odile, the fact that it felt 99% normal in its everyday functions, leads to nothing but respect and admiration for the community.

At that point, I had a gut feeling (I always say there's one thing you can trust over everything else and that's your gut!) to try and stay in Cabo. So I put it up to fate. I said, if there's a place for me here, then I will be able to commit myself to the sports development that I had begun to get deeply involved in with TriCabo, it will be nearly effortless to find a place to live, and my family will be receptive to the choice.

One phone call to Paco of TriCabo expressing my desire to commit to them 100% at least until summer and see where it goes, and he was on board and thrilled at my decision. One email to these condos that a new friend had shown me, and they responded with ONE unit left for lease through June available Jan1.

Coincidently, one of our TriCabo coworkers that had been administering TriCaboKidz had begun to slowly step out of that role and so it was perfect timing that I came in to shadow her and take the reins to grow our Triathlon School for kids, promote our races, our camps, and help develop sport in Cabo.

I feel elated, healthy, free, and honored to be giving back doing what I love more than anything else.

Working with the kids is refreshing, inspiring, challenging, and am also coaching some local adults, and hoping to change a little bit of the culture in this part of Mexico to be more in tune with an active and healthy lifestyle.

As well, I have my own lofty triathlon goals for this season that I can't wat to announce in the next post...now with the fabulous assurance that my health is on track!:)

My hope is that I can welcome any of you to Cabo in the near future and showcase the progress we have made with the community's involvement in sport, and host you in a wonderful training or racing experience.

Cheers from sunny Cabo!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I want to share this link with all of you for a project that one of my oldest family friends (we are like sisters) is launching to help her dad rebuild his career- after 30+ years as Mexico’s leading radio guy. He founded Grupo Monitor and was the only actual “voice of the people”. His success was such that Fox announced his Presidency at the studio, he was awarded a journalism prize by the King of Spain, and basically there was no political figure in Mexico that didn’t know who he was and cared deeply about what he communicated.

Long story short, as you will see in the third, and main, video, the Calderon Presidency/party shut him down and breached his Radio contract (he later won trial but was never compensated), and in 2008 had to go to the US for political exile. 

With the help of his daughter, Andrea, and her boyfriend who just quit his job at CNN in NYC to help them, they are rebuilding Pepe’s image and resurfacing him as the source for intellectual growth and expression for the Hispanic community- both in and out of the US via a website/podcast. 

The story itself is Shakespearean in its drama and tragic ending- which, with the help of those that donate to launch the site, can change into a just and wonderful one. 

Thank you for supporting them and our birthright freedom of speech! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The rest of the Kona trip & Seattle

It was my true intention to blog every day while I was in Hawaii but after the very first blog post on, technically, day zero, it simply wasn't going to happen.

When I'd finally sit down on the computer, it was with mediocre wifi, so more often than not I'd resort to my smart phone.

The trip as a whole was fantastic! I set out to try and connect with as many people as possible in hopes of finding a job in this industry that could keep me in the US or somewhere cool abroad, and I left with numerous promising leads.

It was fabulous to see new and old faces, and spend some time helping out at the expo and for the first time, getting involved in the keiki (kid's) race before Ironman.

The Saturday right after I arrived I found out there was an organized race of the full swim course and jumped in last minute with a friend which was amazing because it felt like I was racing again but then emerged to find fruit and bagels waiting at the King Kam beach restaurant.

Every day I'd run and/or swim, mostly solo but got in a solid 11 miler with Hillary (www.smashfestqueen.com) all along Alii, and another short one with Beth before finally leaving the Island- got to meet little Wynne too :) The swim highlights were: obviously the "race", finding the Smash girls mid-sea and joining them for the remainder, and the last dip from the Pier getting to swim out to the 1.2 bouey with Chrissie Wellington, and the Grangers.

For the majority of the trip I shared a condo with Holly, SOAS' Steph, and her sister Andrea- it was awesome spending time with these great women! The night before last, Jen Barber let me crash with her before slumming it back down to Uncle Billy's "hotel" and we had a great dinner and a failed attempt to find late night local Big Island ice cream despite miles of walking in effort.
 (Jen, Me, Jordan Blanco at the Aloha Party)
(Our yummy dinner with an awesome view at Daylight Mind)

I also had two long lunches with some of the Mexican athletes and it was cool to hear of their journey to Kona and how/where they train back home.

The rest of the sun and fun is all in pics....

some amazing salads: Ultimate Burger (in a bowl), Lava Java Greek chicken, & Huggo's seared ahi :P

Sinfully hydrating Nuun cocktails at the Triathlete house party

 One of the first swims in my new Betty suit (www.bettydesigns.com)

Rad view from our stay at the Royal Kona the night after the race!
Finally stole a pic with this legend!

cheering along the run course!!
Race Day!

Sebastian the King of 2014

What a performance by Ben Hoffman!!

Fun times at the ClifBar party

Day after the after-party on a couple hours sleep with Tawnee for a "swim"
Shiono Sushi- top notch!!

The best for last: Rinny in absolute Beast Mode about to cross the mat for her 3rd Kona title!

From Hawaii, I was set to travel back a whole 17.5 hours to Texas with stops in Seattle and Dallas. The Ebola scare in Dallas coupled with the agony of being sleep deprived in airports felt enough to warrant getting off in Seattle and stay with my good friend Sam a few days. I'd only passed through Seattle in 2007 en route to Portland for Nationals, so never explored any of it.

Aside from the gloomy weather, the people, abundant culture, fantastic food, and general love/support for outdoor activities made me think I could totally live there! We enjoyed walks to some amazing coffee, cocktails at the chic Edge Water Hotel, a swim in Mercer Island, and a fabulous dinner at Anthony's Home Port in Kirkland.

Icing on the cake was getting to play original Nintendo and meeting Sam's horrendously cute rescue dog, Mimi.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Kona 2014 Day 0

It happened! For the 7th year I'm back at the Hawaii World Championship- 3rd time not racing...except last year was a total catastrophe as I spent only a few days on the Island sick and counting down the minutes to return home. Needless to say, I didn't stay even to the race week and sort of left apathetically without looking back- more concerned about fixing my own work/life situation than playing around in the Hawaii sun.

However, this year the Kona plot began brewing early summer when the TriCabo races and events were being planned at full gear and I was set to come promote the camps and primarily our inaugural Cabo Whaleman. As well, I wanted to help some friends out at the Expo- LAVA Mag & SOAS.

The almost too-good-to-be-true fun of 2012 was begging to be repeated and 2014 had to be it. Then Hurricane Odile came through Cabo and did its little dance of destruction and there went Cozumel 70.3, and any concrete thoughts of promoting Cabo tourism through Ironman week.

Fast forward to a few days ago, sitting at home in Texas, regrouped and looking at everything through a "blessing in disguise"/"glass half full" lens and tick tick the dots connected and...well...ALOHA!

It's hard to succinctly describe the feeling of touching down in Kona. Wait, backup to getting on the triathlete-filled plane at LAX, and feeling a mix of butterflies as if I was going to race again, and an excitement of the week when this whole community of swim, bike, run lovers unites in paradise to celebrate the best of the best. I ran into a good friend, Pablo who was seated just across from me, and it was amazing to hear about all the endurance racing he packs on year after year! The baggage claim was full of people from all over the world, each with their unique story of how they got to be at this year's World Championship.

I got my suitcase, which was all I had since my bike is still cozy in Cabo, and another good friend and Kona local, Cody, picked me up and we went to grab lunch at the Kona Brewing Company. I'm not a beer person, but their Longboard is fantastic and after a whole morning of travel it went down like liquid gold.

From lunch he dropped me off to check in at Uncle Billy's where I'll be two nights before joining some girl friends at a condo for the remainder of the trip. At the lobby I met the cutest woman- in one of the elder categories- that was telling the receptionist she qualified in IM Sweden but had never swam without a wetsuit and was nervous and just hoping she'd make the swim cutoff. I couldn't resist, and asked her if she wouldn't mind me helping her out these next few days in the ocean to give her a few pointers and get her more comfortable so she makes that cut off no problem! So tomorrow we'll start bright and early :)!

Quicky, I unpacked and put on my bikini to head straight to the beach to get back some of the color I lost since Odile. I enjoyed a little swim in the ocean and was feeling surprisingly awake despite the 4am TX-time wake up, so also went for a run on Alii.

Now I'm starting to wind down and will just relax the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow after I swim with the woman I met, I think there's a group doing the whole course so why the heck not?!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hurricane Odile- From Paradise to Armageddon in 12 hours

I'm writing from the safety of my family's home in Mexico City after fleeing Cabo on a rescue plane yesterday morning. Words will never be enough to portray what I saw and experienced in Cabo during and after Hurricane Odile, but I want to write the most detailed account so people can get a sense of what the situation was really like as of Wednesday, Sept 17- as most media outlets are filtering things likely to protect tourism in the long run, as well as not to worry friends and relatives of those in Cabo during the storm. The easiest way to do this is as a "timeline"...

Sunday morning (Sept 14)- Woke up and went to the grocery store as we all had word that the hurricane was coming, but Mega (the grocer) wasn't packed nor frantic, so nothing seemed too worrisome. I bought two jugs of water, and some coconut water as I had plenty of rice, energy bars, and snacks to hold me down a few days (even weeks- thanks Powerbar!!) if the electricity went out. I returned home and just chilled the remainder of the day as all my training for Cozumel 70.3 had pretty much wrapped up and I was enjoying this OFF day and looking forward to a cozy but interesting night in, and my upcoming Wednesday flight to Cozumel for the race!

Sunday afternoon- I got messages from friends saying to duct tape all glass doors and windows and fill bathtubs (don't have one) with water in case it needed to be used to wash dishes or other things after the storm. Having never experienced a hurricane before I started thinking this was kind of crazy but it did raise my level of concern so I had my neighbor help me tape my windows. I also put up my bike box and some dining room chairs against my glass balcony doors to protect them further.

Sunday evening- the skies and the ocean were beginning to look quite eerie and the wind was starting to howl. I continued using internet and face timing with family and friends until about 8pm when lights would flicker and eventually the wifi went out. At that point, as the wind was making very scary loud noises, and the doors and windows were rattling I had the impulse to change out of my pijamas into workout clothes and tennis shoes in case...well in case I didn't even know- it just felt like what I should do. Also, in a rather amusing but what felt like necessary way, I packed a backpack with some essentials- wallet, jeans, a jacket, power bars, emergen-c packets, car keys.

9PM approx- a glass balcony door from my bedroom (I have a studio so it's continuous but the bedroom is a bit separated by two steps and an archway)- blew out and I heard some glass splatter across. Adrenaline rushed through me, I grabbed my backpack, literally put on my bike helmet and sunglasses to protect me from flying-anything, and rushed to my bathroom and shut both doors (one leads to my tiny hallway the other to the bedroom). I still had phone signal and called my mom scared out of my mind. At this point I had only a flashlight and didn't know how long the batteries would last so I spent various minutes in the dark with doors rattling and the wind making atrocious noises and things breaking everywhere outside of the bathroom. Eventually the ceiling began to raise (where the vent is), and shake badly, my balcony doors had broken too and if the bathroom doors gave I was completely exposed in the 4th floor to the 125mph winds and anything flying around. **Note: I later learned that it actually helped when things broke because it leveled out the pressure in the apartment. If I could do it again I'd have left the entire balcony doors open to the screen only and maybe nothing would've broken- happened to many people I later spoke too (not even a coffee cup had moved because they opened windows on purpose!).

Early on I had to open the bathroom and retrieve my passport and the jug of water I had forgotten as water had already stopped running so in that hot bathroom I couldn't be without water till morning. It was the scariest few minutes of my life trying to retrieve those two things.

This continued for about 2.5 hours. At roughly 11PM the eye came over us and I heard my neighbor yell for me. I thought their place was in better condition but I was wrong! Their front door had blown out as well as their glass pane/windows in their bedroom and their bathroom ceiling. So they took cover with me (he and his gf and their two dogs) in my tiny bathroom where we remained until about 7am. We'd occasionally sneak out to pee in the dark as the winds calmed down for periods at a time.

7am-10am Monday Sept 15- We walked out to a ghost town- it looked apocalyptic. All of the beautiful palm trees were skimmed, the skies were a gray I'd never seen before, there was some flooding, the pools and the ocean were a disgusting brown, the palapas were all collapsed. Only about 6-8 people were renting in the Casa del Mar Apartments, and the resorts which it belongs to- Zoetry and Las Ventanas had been evacuated. I immediately shifted to robotic mode- it was instinctual- and started to clean up and gather my things. My apartment was clearly uninhabitable and at that point I just had to figure out where to sleep that night and how to get my things out of the apartment asap. I ran into one property management guy and he was walking around with a notepad assessing the damage to report it to the office at a later time in weeks I assume. I told him I was evacuating and made sure they were going to take care of the damages with the owner from then on. A couple that was renting an apartment two floors down for a few days had been the smart ones that opened their balcony and so other than flooding their place was not damaged. They offered me a bed or couch if I needed for that night and also helped me with some clean up (limited to sweeping some glass and using all towels to limit the flooding). They had little water or food to hold them through the next few days and I am mortified thinking they're still there as their flight was for the next day (Tuesday) but they had no rental car, there were no taxis functioning and like I said the whole complex was empty. So once I left and it was dangerous and also wasted gas to go back once more, I don't know how they fared.

10am- I drove down to Cabo to my great aunt's house to check on her and see if I could move in with them for now. I didn't take that couple's offer cuz I had to get all my luggage out and it was survival time so being around those that had food, water, and other resources, and some plans was imperative. The roads were okay but you had to meander through telephone poles that were splayed across the highway, rocks, fallen signs, often drive on the wrong lane, etc. My great aunt and her husband were find and their community had some neighbors that had really taken Odile seriously and stocked up well. They had found a pipe that was providing water thanks to gravity and so after a long day of packing my things and bringing over 4 luggages with all my clothes and stuff, I was able to shower with buckets. It was the best shower of my life.

4pm-8pm I returned to my old apartment to grab my bike box, wheels, helmets, bike trainer and kept that in my trunk with the plan to store it at another friend's house that was very secure, in their garage. My great aunt's neighbors cooked some fish on the grill, they even had wine and she made a salad- we were using all the food that was going to spoil and actually had a lovely dinner enjoying the fact that we were alive and safe for now. It was a much better Monday than the majority of the people. I also had 3 bars of phone service on their rooftop so I called my mom and dad and brother and a couple other people.

Monday night- candles lit, I said goodnight to my family and went to sleep- shocked.

Tuesday morning Sept 16- Woke up actually thinking I was still in paradise in my apartment- then it hit me. I rushed up to the roof to try and call my family again but service was now completely gone. I went with another guy from that complex to try and get signal on one of the highway ramps in town but we quickly realized it was gone everywhere. I asked him to take me to Brent's house - my friend that I train with at Diamante all the time and whose house I wanted to store my bike and prob other luggage with for the long term. He and his wife and baby (4mths old) and his mother in law were about to drive out to Diamante as that exclusive property had large generators and they could care for the baby better and eat. I asked if I could follow them in my car and I was very very fortunate to spend the whole day in Diamante.

The contrast between the people of San Lucas we saw on the drive over lining for a bit of gas in barrels, and packed outside all the grocery stores and other shops looting and fighting over everything, to a buffet, and cold drinks, and even some people playing on the putting green in Diamante was heart wrenching. People in all of the hotels/tourist developments were not being told of the chaos in town both in San Lucas and San Jose so as not to set them in panic. The dark reality was hard to keep to myself but I was also shamefully enjoying an almost normal day in Diamante as people were walking and standing in the heat for hours just to get basics for their family.

A friend that's a pro golfer at Diamante let me store my bike, wheels, trainer, pump, helmet and shoes in the clubhouse and I couldn't be more grateful. It is by far the most secure place in Cabo due to it's distance from town and incredible security.

Tuesday 3pm approx - we left Diamante through back roads to avoid the chaos in town but still ended up seeing the disaster in San Lucas where the Walmart Plaza, Costco, etc are all located along Hwy 1. Cars were parked all along the mudded highway and people were walking out with everything- abusing their chance to get free food and water and stealing electronics and anything they could get their hands on. Police, even military squads couldn't and didn't do much of anything. I was really worried driving as a single young girl, in a nice car, through this free for all mayhem. We sped quickly back to Cabo del Sol (residential grounds and also resort grounds of the Sheraton and Fiesta Americana).

There I rushed to another friend's house, Paco- he's from Mexico and we were working together with TriCabo for all the exciting races and events. I learned his wife and kids had fled on a plane that morning- which didn't surprise me but I was beating myself for not having come to him sooner. Luckily, for me, he was still there with his two housekeepers. I found one and she waked with me to the Sheraton where he was meeting with the head guy of the resort and he explained he stayed to help with the situation at hand; also to secure his house. The Sheraton had a generator going and the people were enjoying 3 buffet meals a day and enough water/drinks. Though they weren't very comfortable sleeping in a big convention room with nothing but a couple fans.

All these tourists had their names written down by hotel staff and told there were no commercial flights for a few days, and eventually they would get bussed over and put on planes. I knew there were already at least federal planes coming in and even though the airport was destroyed it seemed stupid to not try and at least see what was really going on for myself the next day- especially with a car of my own and enough gas for 2-3 trips- another advantage I had over tourists as they didn't have rentals and again, no taxis were available. They were completely reliant on what hotel staff told them.

5pm Paco offered me to stay with him at one of his villas- the other had been absolutely obliterated- front door blown out, plasma tv from the living room blown out, marble slabs broken in half, ceilings ripped. My great aunt has two cats and I'm deathly allergic, and as I said it was survival mode and Paco frankly lived in a much more secure community and is very well connected so he was my best shot and making it through the next week if need be or at least getting to the airport soon. I took him up on the offer and went to my great aunt's to collect my 4 suitcases full of clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses, everything.

6-6:30pm they had a tiny generator that was going to pump water for a half hour. I showered with a bucket from the little water that came through the bath. Filled my car with my stuff and drove to Paco's. A neighbor of his in another villa had experience with hurricanes having lived in Cancun- he's the manager of Esperanza a luxury resort in San Lucas, and he was the only one that did a phenomenal job of forcing his guests on buses to San Diego Sunday morning. Some resisted not understanding the state of emergency but his initiative won them their safety. His wife had made soup from pots on a grill, and we had another great dinner, and then it was off to bed.

It was also a ghost town there- only a few people in the villas and it looked out of a horror movie. I asked Paco to sleep in the same room as I, and frankly we were both scared during the night. I still tried to open the faucet to brush my teeth only to be reminded I had to use the water bottles. We grabbed buckets of pool water to flush the toilet- just surreal stuff. You learn to appreciate basic necessities.

We were told 8pm no one was allowed out of Cabo del Sol as cars would be parked outside to prevent people from coming in along with armed security.

Wednesday morning Sept 17- 6am went with flashlight to the underground parking to get my car and move some belongings around in suitcases to make sure of what I was going take on the plane. Paco's driver had agreed to meet me at 8am to take me to the airport to try and see if I could get on a plane. If not, at least we would see what the situation was. Again, I feel incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed a breakfast at the Sheraton buffet- limited- but still, coffee, eggs, has browns, and fruit. I asked a staff member if the guests were being taken to the airport at any point that day and he said "no, there are no commercial flights today, we'll just have a meeting at 9am to tell people how things will work to evacuate". I grinned in disbelief- what BS.

As we were driving to the airport at 8:30 am 50+ cars were lined in one gas station waiting to get rationed gas. The radio was repeating that it was obsolete to make the trek to the airport because there were no commercial flights today. OMG. BS!! I was looking at planes in the sky on the toll road drive over!

We get to the airport and there was a line of 300 people maybe? I told the driver to take me to the front, got out of the car, and cut my way to the very front of the line. No apologies whatsoever. Once I knew there were actual flights leaving, I was going to be on one of those flights no matter what it took. I only had a small suitcase and a backpack with me. Fortunately I spotted two families I knew and grabbed the hands of the children and when they opened the actual way over to the military trucks and walkway to the runway (the airport was in shambles, you got on at the runway), I yelled "women and children" and we found our way to the very front group. We got on one of the military trucks and got off at the point where it was a line for Mazatlan and a line for Guadalajara. They were going to make 3 trips to these mainland airports and from there people could connect to their homes internationally or in Mexico. I got on the Guadalajara plane, and from there to Mexico City where I finally landed at 4:30pm.

Looking forward....

I am still in disbelief- I loved Cabo and cannot believe it went from paradise to now being enforced by Marshall Law and looking like a bomb exploded.

I pray for those still there without running water and power. In that heat, sickness/infections are almost inevitable and the frustration of unshowered hungry thirsty people leads to incredible danger.

Some friends and even my great aunt and her husband, understandably wanted/had to stay. They own property there, they have pets, family, etc. I was in a sense a tourist renting a furnished place and only with 4months of ties to Cabo. It won my heart over immediately but I could leave and at my age with no pets, children, or in a relationship I can go anywhere.

The only thing I feel I can do to help Cabo is to provide information and pictures and pressure others to donate for reconstruction and to aid those stuck in Baja Sur.

I know it will be rebuilt and it is a place so dear to nationals, and internationals, that they want to see it thrive in all its beauty again.

At this point I will be in Mexico City for a few days before going to Texas to my mom and stepdad's a few weeks- need to see them, my brother, my dog, and have a sense of normalcy for a while. Also, I have little clothes and stuff with me so need to be with them and regroup.

I'm open to finding a job in Mexico City in the marketing/Ad industry that I love, but I am slo heavily considering a job abroad - not going to spill the beans now but I had an incredible phone call yesterday with an opportunity to live/work in a country I've been dying to visit since I can remember.

The point is, things, even horrible things, happen to all of us and we grow and learn from all of the experiences. You have to see it as a blessing even in disguise and make the most of it. If I learned one thing it's that the only things that matter are safety, health, and family. I would not have even flinched at just leaving with the clothes on my back and my passport and phone.