Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh no they didn't!

Those clowns at RAM Racing are bringing that horrible hot chocolate race to my town.  Let me jog your memory about the worst race I have ever participated in (and blogged about here).  It was an overcrowded race with so much poor planning that it makes my blood boil even after nearly 7 months.

Yesterday, my co-worker innocently Skype'd me and asked if it was a Hot Chocolate race I ran in DC last year.  She then broke the news that they were bringing the race to C-bus.  While my jaw dropped, I was instantly on Google looking it up.  I'm not even going to give RAM Racing the satisfaction of putting the link on here and driving more traffic to their site (unless of course you want to go on their site and tell them what a bunch of clowns they are).

While you can register for the race and fork over $45 for the 5K or $65 for the 15K, there are practically no details on their website yet.  No race course, no parking options, no accommodations.  Maybe it's just me but I certainly wouldn't sign up for a race unless I had at least the basic details like WHERE it will be.  I'm also going to throw out there that you can register for Columbus' two largest and most reputable 1/2 marathons for about the same price and you are guaranteed some decent swag and a fully supported race course.

I will give them this:  Most areas of Columbus can accommodate a large number of people and cars.  The Columbus Marathon is one big event.  We have an arena downtown that can hold about 18,000 people as well as parking lots/garages to hold all the cars.  That being said, I don't think they would have the parking/crowd control issues they had in DC.  I've also participated in A LOT of local races and no matter what kind of swag they are giving away, other than the large full and half marathons, C-bus races don't pull 15,000 racers.  I think the largest non-half or full marathon event I've been involved with here in town has had about 1000 racers. 

I've given bad races another chance before (check out my 1/2 marathon re-do) but even a free race registration couldn't get me to go to another RAM Racing event.  In addition to a craptastic race, the EXCUSES that RAM Racing delivered after the race were downright offensive.  I blasted them back in December (and ironically, that blog post is currently my most viewed blog post EVER) and I'll blast them again now.  I have already strongly encouraged everyone I know to not sign up for that race.  I think maybe I'll start my own little protest.  You know, Occupy Hot Chocolate.

My co-worker actually said it well, "For $65, I'll just pick a day in November, go on a 10 mile run and make my husband fix me hot chocolate when I get back.  That should cost me 65 cents."

Here's how me and my BFF felt about RAM Racing back in December:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adventures in Moving: Part 4

Let me start off by saying I am type-A all the way.  A strong type-A at that.  I like lists, schedules and rules.  I like order.  So let's just say this this moving process has been anything but orderly in the eyes of a type-A control freak.  Nothing in particular, it's just challenging for me to have my entire life in upheaval.

It's getting better each day though.  The Pilot was home over the weekend and we go A LOT done.  We are getting to the point where the new house is really starting to feel like OUR home and not just a house will all of our stuff in it.

One reason it feels like home?  The Disney-tourist Potato Heads have been unpacked.

Even the cats are feeling at home.  As long as The Animal Whisperer Pilot is home, they are happy. When he's gone, those furballs pout and only come smearing around me when they are hungry or so desperate for attention that they will take whatever they can get.

One of the challenges we are having now is meeting the neighbors.  I think it's really important to be friendly with your neighbors.  I'm not expecting to be BFFs with all of them, but I'd really like to get to know them all.  To say we didn't have the best neighbors at the condo is the understatement of the year.  Besides, I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other and good or bad, everyone knew each others' business.  People looked out for each other.  My parents still live in that neighborhood and are close with several neighbors.  They really are extensions of our own families.  We have vacationed together.  Now as the "kids" are growing up, we are all attending each others' weddings.  Lots of fun!  I want that same experience now that I am a "grown up."  If we decide to start a family, I want that experience for our offspring.

So here we are the new kids on the block (yes, I grew up in the 90s) and really wanting to meet the neighbors.  Whatever happened to the Welcome Wagon and bringing over a casserole to meet the new people??  We've lived here over a month now and the only interaction I've had has been forced and I've been the one to stick my neck out.  I'll go ahead and fess up that I am terrible when it comes to introducing myself to new people.  If someone else introduces me to a stranger, I'm ok.  I'd like to think I'm not completely socially awkward,  But if I have to be the one to initiate, I turn into my 8-year-old formerly shy self.

It's hard to make myself available because there is so much work to be done on the inside of the house.  I hate to hole myself up inside but that's where the boxes are calling out to me that they need unpacked.  I've forced myself to go outside to water our hanging flower baskets and then I'll linger like a creeper out front or in the garage.  Just hoping maybe someone will be outside and I can say hello.

Another dilemma is that I am terrible with names.  I've now met three adults, two kids and a dog.  Is it strange that the only name I can actually recall is that of the dog?  Sigh.  None of these encounters have happened in the presence of The Pilot so I'm totally dependent on my own recall, which obviously sucks.  At least I can say hello to Charlie the dog when I see him.

We do have one slight advantage.  The previous owners of our house left us a letter which their realtor gave me at closing (the previous owners didn't attend the closing).  It was a very sweet hand written letter telling us that it was such a great house for them and how they brought home their youngest son from the hospital there and how their older son learned to ride a bike in the driveway.  It was very thoughtful.  They also described some of the neighbors they were friendly with.  They included names!  So even if we haven't met those people, we do know their names.  I've made it my mission to figure out how to meet the neighbors directly across the street.  According to the letter, they are newlyweds also and don't have any kids.  We must meet them because everyone else seems to have a bunch of kids so at least we would have that in common.

Tonight was absolutely beautiful.  It's been so hot around here that it was nice to not be sweating like a banshee after being outside for 10 seconds.  After taking the trash out (and wondering why it is that The Pilot has been working every single trash night since we've moved into the new house), I decided I'd go on a short bike ride through the neighborhood..... and smile to anyone and everyone I passed so they would think I am a nice person and they should come talk to me....or wonder what is wrong with me and call the block watch captain.

I hopped on my bike and here's what I discovered:
  • Just like at the condo, we have some expert trash pickers here in the new neighborhood.
  • It is .1 mi from our house to the neighborhood playground and picnic shelter.  
  • It is 1.1 mi from our house to the nearby elementary school and playground.
  • The path that winds around the perimeter of our neighborhood isn't so great for bikes.  The tree roots have pushed up the blacktop and it's bumpy!
  • I wish it wasn't creepy for a 31 year old woman to go swing by herself.  I really need to go borrow my niece and nephew so I have an excuse to go to the playground.
  • Some of the neighbors don't make their kids wear bike helmets.  And yes, I judge them.  I'm sure they are nice people and I still want to meet them, but I also have a strong urge to give them some literature on how bike helmets save lives.  Stepping off soap box.
  •  I need to find out exactly where my friend lives because I rode down his street and probably looked really strange as I rode by reeaaaally slowly and stared at all the people in their yards trying to see if any of them were my friend.  (Hey Andy, send me an email!)  :)
  • I rode by the house we originally made an offer on but ultimately lost and decided I am really glad that we have the house that we have.  
  • That just 20 minutes prior to my ride, I was admiring our weekend project of finally getting some bike racks for the garage so we can actually park in the garage now.
The Pilot still needs to mount a rack for his mountain bike but our road bikes are up off the floor now!  It's like a work of art.  It only took an hour, several tries, some new home-owner drama, a lost screwdriver bit, a call to my dad for help and me covered in mosquito bites from trying to "supervise" but they are up on the wall!

Anyways, on my way back to our house, I passed by a house several doors down and realized The Pilot and I are amateurs when it comes to our bikes and bike racks.  If my eyes weren't tricking me as I road by, this garage had at least 5 road bikes hanging from the side wall.  I'm talking professional looking racks and bikes.  We must meet these people!  If only I wasn't so socially awkward.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wendy's Triathlon Recap

I completed my fourth triathlon two weeks ago and I'm calling it an automatic PR.  It was a sprint distance tri but I'm pretty sure the swim course was a little short (was supposed to be 1/2 mile) and the bike course was loooong.  Usually a sprint tri has a 12 mile bike but this advertised as 17 miles.  And in reality it was closer to 18.5 miles.  Anyways, I came blazing across the finish line in 2:27:15.  I say this not because I'm fast but because I have now completed THREE triathlons that have taken place on the thresholds of hell.  It was HOT!

Now for the nitty gritty details.

It was a 4:15 am wake up call.  I told The Pilot that the early wake up calls are by far my least favorite part of racing.  And also one of the main reasons why I'll never do the Goofy Challenge again.  I slowly wandered around the house and got ready.

 Off to the lake!

We got up to the lake around 5:45 am and I picked up my timing chip (which for triathlons looks a lot like a house arrest monitor, not that I know from experience) and my swim cap.  The race had different color swim caps for the different age categories.   I was rocking out the red swim cap, representing the 30-34 age group.
 Hey kid, I'm an elite athlete.  Can't you tell?

I headed to the transition area to set up while The Pilot acted as my sherpa and paparazzi.  Isn't he the best?
 Super Sherpa Spectator!
He's loaded down with a folding chair, a man purse full of camera lenses, the camera, and a backpack with dry clothes for me to wear at the after-party, sunscreen, water and if I know my husband, a snack.

It was a party in transition since there were 5 of us teammates in the 30-34 age group so our bikes were all racked near each other. Our other teammates were close by as well.  Team in Training had a tent set up near the beach and we all met there.  It was also time to meet up with my own personal race stylist, also known as Lisa, who has some serious French braiding skills.  I've found the best way to keep my mass amounts of hair in check during a tri is to have it French braided into two braids.  It will fit into a swim cap and a bike helmet but it will also stay out of my face during the run.

There was supposed to be a mandatory meeting in transition with the USAT officials at 6:30 and then the race was to start at 7.  I knew this was more of a guideline than a hard and fast time.  This race company is notorious for late starts.  Normally that bugs the hell out of me but time was flying by on race morning so I was ok with it.  We made our way to the beach and I was squeezing myself into my wetsuit as the first wave of people started.
Coach!  I need assistance!  Can you make it so its not so tight??

 Suck it in Mary!

Our team was milling around on the beach and then wading around in the water as we waited for our waves.  I never actually heard them call each wave, it was more a follow the crowd kind of vibe.  Before I knew it, there were a bunch of red swim caps lining up at the buoys in the water.  30-34 age group.  This was an in-water start, which I had never done before and I have to say, I liked it!  It started in about chest deep water (for me) and there was no running from the beach into the water and getting your heart rate all jacked up in the first 5 seconds of the race.

 A very anti-climactic start

As the siren (?) went off indicating we could start, I swam a few strokes but quickly realized my swim buddy wasn't next to me.  My teammate Susan, while a tri alumni, hates open water swimming.  She was really freaked out before the race started and so we decided to be swim buddies and stick together.  When I looked back, I saw Susan still standing at the buoy.  She yelled to me that she couldn't do it and was in the process of turning towards the beach when I swam back for her.
 Susan, I will drag you through this if I have to!

No way!  Not on my watch, swim buddy.  I told her we'd walk it if we had to (the swim was along the shoreline so the depth stayed anywhere from knee deep to chest deep) but we were going to finish that swim.  I gave her some encouragement, which included me telling her that I don't like the swim anymore than she does.  She slowly started walking towards me and slowly but surely, we started to make some progress.  We walked.  I did the side stroke.  I would swim a few strokes and then make sure Susan was still with me.  We'd walk a few, swim a few.  Susan finally found a groove and got her head down in the water.  And that's when I thought I was going to get dropped!  Susan is a strong swimmer and can easily kick my a$$ any day.  Once she started swimming, I was giving all I had to keep up with her!  We finally made it to the last buoy and made the trek up the beach and into transition.  I must say, swimming with someone sure is better than being in the back all alone.  Swim buddies never leave a man behind!

Heads in the water!

Susan, look at us looking like hot stuff coming out of the water.  See, we are beating that guy in the Speedo (never mind the fact that he started in the wave behind us).

Swim time: 17:00.  Supposedly that is for a 1/2 mile swim plus the run up the beach into transition.  Considering my time last year was 21:00, I'm thinking the swim course was a little short.  Or as a race walker, I have an ability to walk really quickly through water and made up 4 minutes.

Again, I had a picnic and knitted a sweater while in transition.  4:39.  I have no idea what I was doing for it to take me so long.  I pulled off my wetsuit with no trouble.  I squeezed the water out of my braids (mass quantity of hair = super absorbent).  I sprayed on some extra sunscreen on my arms and legs.  I put on my cycle shoes, gloves, helmet and off I went.  I had to run the bike for what felt like a quarter mile before I reached the bike mount line (mounting the bike before the line will give you a penalty).  4:39??  I have no idea.

Once on the bike, I just told myself to push as hard as I could and deal with the consequences on the run.  I'm not sure why I went with the strategy.  I had no strategy at the start of the race but for some reason, I wanted to prove something to myself on the bike.  Prove that I can average faster than 12mph on a ride?  Maybe.

Remember that mandatory meeting I mentioned?  During it they mentioned that they had to re-route the bike course due to some local construction.  We sort of expected that.  The course was advertised as 17 miles (which was already long for a sprint distance tri) but they announced that because of the re-route, it would be closer to 18 miles.  Say what?  I was certainly glad I got in a couple 20+ mile rides during training.

The bike course was a lot different than I expected.  I knew the original course and was mentally prepared for it (including a long climb at the end).  But the course was completely different, though it still had the long climb at the end.  This course was full of rolling hills.  Not long or steep, just a large quantity.  And I hate hills.  But I will say, I've improved a lot this season at reacting more quickly when I need to change gears to prepare for a hill.  That meant that I was able to get up the hills.  Most of them went by without much difficulty but there a few out there that I was completely sucking wind.
 Why the heck did they put a photographer right at the top of  a hill
(at least I hope this was at the top of a hill)??  Not cool.

And in a complete first for me, I was actually passing people while on the bike.  That never happens.  Granted the majority of those people were on mountain or hybrid bikes (heavier bikes) but there were a couple on road bikes.  While I don't climb hills well, I have no fear on the downhills and that is where I tended to be able to pass some of those people.

Some of my teammates started passing me in the last 5 miles of the bike and while it sometimes sucks to get passed, its awesome to get passed by teammates who are doing amazing.

As expected, there was the long, slow climb in the last mile.  I managed to stay out of my granny gear and I even passed someone on the uphill but boy was I breathing hard when I got to the top.  Luckily it is literally downhill back into the transition from there so I was able to spin out my legs and catch my breath before getting off the bike.  Bike time: 1:19:02.  The course was closer to 18.5 miles but a 14 mph average?  I'll take it!  14 is faster than 12!

 Finally back from the bike.

Don't fall!

The second transition wasn't as slow as the first but it still seems like I was knitting a sweater.  2:39.  I racked my bike, took off the helmet, gloves, cycle shoes and shoved my feet into my running shoes.  I also made the call to take off my tri top and throw on a jersey.  I blogged about the tight tri top previously and even had my mom cut and hem the sides so it would at least work for the swim and bike.  But it was still uncomfortable.  I could have survived 3.1 miles with it but I also realized just how hot it was getting as I was still about 5 miles from the end of the bike.  My mouth felt like cotton yet I was sucking water down like it was my job.  I needed to protect myself from the sun so I took off the tri top and put on a jersey with sleeves so at least my shoulders were covered.  I instantly felt more comfortable...

...that is until I had to start actually running.  More on that later.  When I came into the second transition, Team in Training had a HUGE group of cheerleaders that situated themselves in between the transition area and the last 1/4 mile of the run.  It was perfect!  They could see people coming from both directions.  As I came in from the bike, I heard the cheer team go nuts but when I saw them, I realized they all had their backs to me in transition.  I looked up and saw one of my teammates, James (Susan's hubby), running towards the finish.  I won't lie, my first thought was "holy sh#$!  He's finishing already?!"  James was in the same age group and started the swim at the same time Susan and I did.  As quickly as I had that thought, I suddenly was so excited for him.  It was his first tri and obviously he was rocking it out like the hero he is.

Cheer team!

Once I completed knitting my sweater and having another picnic, I headed out of transition to start the last leg of the race.  A 5k.  It seems so simple.  Hello, I've completed full marathons.  I survived all 39.3 miles of the Goofy Challenge.  3.1 miles seems so short.  But remember how much I hate short distances?  I'd rather do a half marathon than a 5k.  And a 5k after I just swam 1/2 mile and cycled 18+ miles?  Ugh.  If you'll also remember, I only did one brick workout this season (much to my coach's chagrin).  As soon as I started to run, it felt like I had concrete blocks tied around my ankles.  From experience, this is normal.  I just needed to get through the first 1/2 mile and typically that feeling goes away.

Guess what?  That feeling didn't go away.  I don't even think I made it 1/2 a mile before I started to walk.  I didn't walk too long before I tried to run again.  No such luck.  The first part of the course was on a gravel/dirt/grass path.  It was uneven and difficult to walk on.  But running was so uncomfortable.  I just kept moving forward and cheered for my teammates as they passed by going in the opposite direction (it was an out and back course).

I finally made it up to the dam and was on blacktop for a little while.  I tried to run again and while my legs were starting to cooperate more, the sun was beating down on me. I was so thankful that I put on a shirt with sleeves so at least my shoulders weren't baking.

This is about when I started to contemplate my triathlon "career."  Why was I doing this to myself?  Why do these races always have to be so damn hot?  What am I always running on top of a damn dam with no shade?  I decided around mile 2 that I was never going to do another tri ever again.

I also decided that I never wanted to wear my race belt ever again.  This race required that a race number be worn during the bike and run.  With the number written on our arm, I have no idea why they also required a race number.  Anyways, I wore it on a race belt which I had never worn before.  I tightened it up before the race and tried it on and it seemed to work fine.  But because I probably lost 5 pounds worth of sweat during the race, that thing wouldn't stay in place at all.  I spent the entire 5k messing with it because it kept riding up.  I came close to taking it off and carrying it but I was already carrying a water bottle and didn't want something else to focus on not dropping.

 I'm pretty sure it was thinking about Parker and Seth that kept me going.

I walked much more than I ran but I kept moving.  I eventually made it off the dam, made a brief jaunt through some trees (shade) and back to the beach.  Before I rounded the last corner though, I heard The Pilot.  And soon enough, there he was in all of his Super Spectator glory, rattling his noise maker with camera in hand.  I was walking but even seeing him couldn't motivate me to run because I knew I didn't have the steam to run to the finish from that point.  If I was going to run again, it was going to be for the last time and I wanted to run across the finish.

Lucky for me, one of our amazeballs alums, Stephanie, jumped out of nowhere and started running next to me.  Well, ok then.  I guess it's time to run.  She pumped me up with some encouragement, got me running and ran with me through the last stretch along the beach.  I love that the tables turned because it wasn't long ago that I was cheering and encouraging her through a race as a coach and here she was doing the same for me.  Reason # 1,098 why I love TNT.

That's Stephanie running with me but then jumping off the course to let me have my "glory" as I made the last turn to the finish.  The little guy is my nephew and the cutie in the watermelon dress is my niece.  Super spectators in the making!  My niece was only 18 months when she was at the finish line when I crossed my very first marathon back in 2006.

And after 43:57 of trudging my way through, I completed the 5k and came across the finish line for a total time of 2:27:15.  I could have walked the entire 5k in the same amount of time, if not faster, but after the swim and the bike, that's all I had.  And that's all I needed because I finished.

That was one goal.  The ultimate goal was to raise money for research and patient services for blood cancer.  Thanks to my amazing supporters, I was able to raise $1,305.  We are getting that much closer to finding cures.  And that brings me to by far, my favorite part of race day.  I've been racing for a couple of years now in honor of Parker and in memory of Seth.  Two amazing boys who, with their families, battled cancer.  Parker is a success story and is 6 years in remission.  Seth didn't make it, but there are still a lot of people still fighting in his memory.

Like the joy of finishing another race isn't great enough, this time around, Parker was at the finish line.  He has been a super spectator at a lot of races along with his family but this is the first time I've been in a race he's been a cheerleader at.  His dad and his aunt were also racing so he, his mom and little brother, Miles (a "side-hero") came out decked with signs and noise makers.  Awesomesauce.  I think Parker is still surprised when he finds out people do these races for him but he's also very thankful. 

Parker and I at the finish
Super spectators!  Because real men wear purple!  Parker, Miles and The Pilot.

And let me tell you, seeing Parker and his family at the finish, along with all of my teammates who finished before me, it made the pain and the heat go away.  While I was telling myself I'd never do another triathlon again at mile 2 (and beyond), seeing what I saw at the finish made me realize that my work isn't done.  Whether it is racing, coaching or donating time and money, I will keep fighting until there is a cure for blood cancers.

 I love this picture!  Hugs all around!  I'm getting a hug from Meg.  She's famous for her amazing hugs.  It doesn't matter if you just met her, she gives full on bear hugs!  :)

We all finished and raised over $18,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

Thank you to all of my amazing donors:

Jack and Pat
Carrie J
Shelly and Zac
Steve and Both
Sharon and Steve
Lia and Brent
Tom and Rachel
Julie and Stacy
Rosemary and Robin
Carrie S
Richard and Vicki
Penny and Don
Kathi and Bob
Robin and Dan

Friday, June 22, 2012

You Might Be a Pilot Wife....

  1. If you spend 15 days out of any given month on your own.
  2. If you go to bed alone but wake up with your pilot snoring next to you. 
  3. If you wake up alone but then come home from work to find your husband cooking dinner. (Score!)
  4. If your pilot hides Biscoff cookies in your lunch bag.
  5. If you look up at the sky every time you hear an airplane.  Bonus points if you can identify at least the carrier.  Double points if you can identify the plane.
  6. If you have to RSVP to a wedding as one, maybe two and beg the bride for understanding that you won't know if your pilot will be attending until the schedules come out on the 20th of the preceding month.
  7. If you have attempted to take a weekend getaway via non-rev benefits, only to have to change your plans because the flights are full.
  8. If by day 3 or 4 of a trip, you almost forget you are married.  Maybe this only happens to newlyweds but there are moments when I pinch myself because I'm not sure if he's real.
  9. If you know the 3-letter airport codes for airports you've never been to.  Where in the h- is YYZ??  (Toronto)  BNA??  What about BNA makes me think that is Nashville?
  10. If you know there is a direct correlation between a broken APU and the amount of funk radiating off your Pilot's uniform.  Bonus points if you know what an APU is in the first place.
  11. If you have tried everything under the sun to get sweat stains out of a white uniform shirt.
  12. If you exclusively purchased canned vegetables with the pop-top lids (maybe this is just for the poor FOs who pack their meals).
  13. If you know that when you see PHL on the go-home day of your pilot's schedule, you know he's going to be late getting home.  If he makes it home at all.
  14. If you have power of attorney for your pilot so you can buy a house while he's at work.
  15. If you know that a 10 hour duty day means he's only going to bring home about 4 hours of pay. Give or take.  Usually more duty time and less pay in our case.
  16. If you feel slightly guilty when people ask where your pilot is and you respond that you have no idea.  Is it weird for a wife to have no idea what city/state/country her husband is in?  Yes.  Is this weird for a pilot wife?  Not so much.  We don't study their schedules.  When they are gone, they are gone.  It doesn't matter what city/state/country they are in (though out of country trips sucks because cell calls are pricey).
  17. If you feel guilty for making more money sitting at a desk all day than he does flying around an aluminum tube and responsible for 75+ peoples' lives.
  18. If when someone tells you how cool it must be that your husband has about 15 days off each month you quickly rephrase and politely (or not so much) tell them that your husband is AWAY FROM HOME for about 15 days each month.
  19. If you have ever suppressed the urge to call crew scheduling to let them know what you think about your husband having a 25 hour overnight somewhere when he could be home doing productive things like taking out the trash or mowing the lawn or taking his wife out to dinner or ALL OF THE ABOVE.
  20. If despite it all, you love that sweaty, exhausted, over-worked, under-paid pilot.
Now it's your turn, my fellow pilot wives.  Have anything to add to the list?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adventures in Moving: Part 3

It's been project city at our house.  I've lost count in the number of trips we've made to Lowe's and Home Depot.  We have a quite a stack of receipts and I keep waiting for the bank to call me to ask us to tone it down because the ATM is on fire.

Slowly but surely the house is coming together and the number of broken down boxes going to recycling far outnumbers the boxes still full of stuff.

Some things I've decided over the last couple weeks:
  1. I am so thankful to finally have curbside recycling.  We don't have to hoard it and then drive it over to the public recycling dumpsters which are always overflowing and nasty.
  2. I am so thankful to have a garage for the first time in my adult life.  We haven't been able to park in it yet but I have high hopes for the end of this weekend.  In the meantime, I don't have to do all kinds of mental gymnastics to figure out how to get my bike where I need it to be (long story).  I can just ride it right out of the garage and then close the door behind me.
  3. While I am quite capable of painting, I am not so coordinated at pouring paint into a small bowl.  At least I was wearing old shoes.  And standing on a plastic sheet.  And I have a very patient father-in-law.  And a husband who knows enough to keep his eye-rolling to himself.
  4. I hate allen wrenches.  And instructions that say it takes 45 minutes to put together a shelf.  90 minutes later and one chewed up allen wrench....
  5. I am so thankful none of our new neighbors have a jacked up Mustang (long story).
  6. I've been reminded multiple times over the last few weeks that I am not tall.  Clocking in at 5'3" I use step stools for most projects around the house.  And even with one step stool, I still cannot paint along the ceiling. 
  7. I've done more yard work in the last 2 weeks than I have done in my entire life.  That's what happens when you grow up with parents who like to do yard work (what is WRONG with those people?) and then buy a condo where the exterior maintenance is taken care of.
  8. I've decided that I hate yard work.  Planting flowers I can handle.  Watering flowers so they don't die?  Mediocre.  Yard work like trimming shrubs and raking brush?  While I can do it (some of which while on a ladder), I certainly don't like it.
  9. Being a pilot wife while owning a house that needs some TLC is harder than I thought it would be.  Insert me cursing at the leaky hose reel and wishing The Pilot and his strength were around to help tighten the hoses.
  10. And a conclusion I came to just last parents are actually machines disguised as sweet, funny, loving humans.  They have an unlimited supply of energy.  My dad is pushing 63 yet he still seems to be strong as an ox.  They have spent many hours at the new house helping us fix things up, clean, hang pictures, etc.  When The Pilot and I start to run on empty and would love to to sit down with a beer and call it a night, my parents are still going.  We've had to kick them out a couple times.  They make The Pilot and I seem old.  Sure, I can do a marathon but ask me to stand on my feet all day and clean, unpack, fix leaky faucets and install appliances, oh hell no.  I'm asleep on my feet by evening.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Date Night

The Pilot and I went on a much needed date on Friday night.  Ever since we bought the new house it has been non-stop work.  I wanted nothing more than a night OUT of the house and not talking about the house.  So it was off for sushi and a movie.

Get in my belly, fried sweet potato roll!

We got to the restaurant really early and there was NO ONE in there so dinner was quick.  We were going to be way too early for the movie so we did make a stop at Pier 1 Imports for one home-related purchase.  So we didn't successfully complete the "no talking about the house" part of the date but Pier 1 was right next to the restaurant and I've wanted to pick up another matching nightstand now that we have more space.  Anyways....

It was still a little too early to head to the theater and one of my favorite running stores just happens to be on the way so we made another stop so I could pick up more Shot Blocks.  I was tempted to go ahead and pick up another pair of running shoes since mine are quickly heading towards the end of their life but with the amount of cash flying out of the bank account the past 2 weeks, I opted against the new shoes.  And because I'm one of those suckers who falls for the "look at this basket of goodies next to the cash register, you must buy this!" tactic, I tossed a new BodyGlide stick on the counter.   It was a legitimate need, especially since it was a race weekend. 

We finally made our way over to the theater but realizing that my BodyGlide and Shot Blocks would melt if I left them in the car, I shoved them into my purse.  When The Pilot and I sat down in the theater, I reached into my purse to turn off my phone (so I wouldn't be "that girl" during the movie) and I came out with the Body Glide.  Because nothing says date night like a anti-chaffing a movie theater. I sense a "You Might Be Married to an Endurance Athlete" post coming soon?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Marbles Not Included

The Pilot and I frequent a local Mexican restaurant.  It's a local chain around town and I am convinced there is crack in the cheese.  but that's another story.

They recently updated the look of their menus and The Pilot noticed this...
Hard to see (my old school cell phone suuuuucks at photos) but that is a picture of a menu item on a table....with some marbles.  And the text over the photo says, "Marbles not included."  What??  I fully expected my quesadilla and rice to be served with a side of marbles.  And a side of sarcasm.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weekend Workouts

It was another full, unpacking, a wedding, more training, more unpacking, a very expensive trip to Lowe's to buy all new kitchen appliances and toilet parts (how can a house with three toilets not have one toilet that functions normally??).  I'm pretty sure I'll never get to sleep in ever again.  And when I say sleep in, I'd love to sleep in until 7:30.

Anyways, I got some last minute training in for this weekend's tri.  Saturday morning started off with a group ride.  Me and some of my other triathlon teammates tagged along to the TNT cycle team's group training.  They are all bada$$ and training for the Viva Las Vegas ride...which is 100+ miles.    The team was very welcoming.  Many are cycle alumni and some are newbies.  It was a big crowd though and I was a little nervous.  I'm not used to riding in a group.

 I'm wearing the purple shirt (go team!) in the middle.  Ann is to my right and that's Lisa peeking over my left shoulder.

I assumed I would only be with the group for the beginning though since I usually get dropped.  I managed to not run into anyone or anything as we got started to that was reassuring.  Even more reassuring was that I didn't get dropped!  I kept up with the group for several miles.  I eventually came across someone who had stopped.  She was considering turning around because she wasn't feeling well.  Knowing how it feels to get left behind, I stayed behind with her and Ann.  We offered to ride back with her.  I told Ann I'd ride ahead to tell the others we were turning around so they wouldn't worry and then come back.  Unfortunately I couldn't catch back up to the group so I ended up turning around again to head back to the other two.  Eventually, they came up and were riding again!  She was feeling better and decided to keep going.  Yeay!  It turns out that we both love the downhills (no fear!) but aren't so great at climbing.  We stuck together for awhile before coming up on the back of the second group of riders.  They had stopped to wait for us.  While I never want someone to interrupt their own workout to wait for me, it was really nice to see all of them.

One really nice thing about riding in a group is that everyone is looking out for each other.  Everyone in the back starts to shout when a car is approaching (car back!) and everyone in the front lets the pack know when there is a road hazard (pot hole! roadkill!) or if an intersection is safe to cross (clear!).  And of course you have to have a little humor to get you through some workouts.  Naturally, I was towards the back of the pack and I started hearing everyone yelling "Deer!"  I started looking all over the place for a deer but I didn't see anything.  I rolled up to an intersection where everyone was stopped.  And then I saw the deer.

Hard to see but this "deer" was of the stationary variety.

What was most amusing about this to me is that to this day, whenever my brother or I are about to leave to go anywhere in a car, my mom will tell is to watch for deer.  It's become a bit of a joke and I could be telling her I was about to go for a run...or a swim and she will tell me to watch for deer.  So don't worry mom, I'm always watching for deer.  

We all made it back safely and after my little detour in the beginning, I finished the ride with 26 miles.  And since there is a triathlon coming up and I haven't done one brick workout this season (Coach Garrity, you did NOT just read that, I am a liar.), several of us turned the ride into a brick.  We changed into running shorts and headed out for a run.  It was a short one (just over a mile) but it gave my legs a reminder of what it feels like to go from the bike to the run.  I was reminded that I hate the bike to run transition.  Legs feel all weird and wobbly....yet like concrete blocks at the same time.

After getting my "cha-cha slide" on at my cousin's wedding on Saturday night, it was up early again on Sunday morning for my last open water swim before my race.  

Looking like a team.....
 Looking like we all need some help....
It was FREEZING!  It was only about 57 degrees (air temp) when we got to the lake.  The lake was definitely warmer than the air since the past week had been unseasonably hot.  Even with a wet suit, it was just cold.  Like take your breath away when you get your entire head in the water cold.  Blah.  It went from ugly to a train wreck within 25 yards.  

For this asthmatic, that "take your breath away" feeling isn't just a feeling.  Also having that very tight wet suit on was not helping.  I could not catch my breath.  And then my worst nightmare.  I started to wheeze a little.  I rarely have asthma issues while working out.  I always have an inhaler nearby in case of emergency but you can't exactly carry one while swimming.  I kept plugging along though.  I stopped several times.  I stood up several times (benefit of swimming along shore).  I rolled onto my back and did the backstroke (or my version of it).  I got a pep talk from my buddies Lisa and Mary.  I was upset and frustrated but on the trip back down the beach, I started to panic a little.  With my ear in the water, I could HEAR myself wheezing and for some reason, the sound of not getting a full breath of air made me panic.  I knew I was ok and that it wasn't a full-on asthma attack but the sound of the wheezing while in the water was not pleasant.  I just needed to get to the other end of the beach and get out of the frigid water.  I walked through the water for some of the way back. I swam on my back for some.  I did manage to get my face back in the water for some of it but ultimately, I did make it back.  

Now, I very easily could have just swam to shore and walked back and got my inhaler out of the car.  Part of me didn't want to give up.  Part of me needed to prove that I could get through it.  besides, if it happens on race day, I will do whatever I can (safely) to finish.  I've had asthma since I was a kid and I can usually tell the difference between a wheeze and the start of an attack.  If I had thought it was the start of a full-on attack, I would have gotten out of the water.  If that happens on race day, I will get out of the water.  While I may be stubborn, I'm not stupid and I do know my limits.  

That said, let's just hope for warmer water on race day.  Let's hope that using my inhaler right before the start of the race will prevent this from happening during the swim.  5 days until the race!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The "A" Race

I have a triathlon coming up in less than a week.  Yikes.  I was chatting with my coach the other day and decided that no matter what happens, it's an automatic PR.  While I've done a sprint tri before, for some reason, the bike portion of my upcoming race is longer than my previous sprint.  Score!  It's most likely not going to be pretty.  I'm undertrained and I know it.  There was just way too much going on in my career and personal life to really focus on this race.  I'm ok with that.

But that doesn't mean I haven't already set another goal.  I registered for my "A" race the other day, the New Albany Walking Classic 1/2 Marathon.  I'm aiming for a new race walk PR at the 1/2 marathon distance.  My previous best at walking only (not counting my running 1/2 marathons) is 3:14.  I intend to beat that.  I haven't set an exact time goal yet but obviously anything under 3:14 would be spectacular.  I have about 3 months to train and my distance training has remained relatively high so now I just need to work on pace.  It's time to get these short little legs turning over faster!

I've mentioned before that I count my running and walking races separately in terms of PRs.  In my opinion, they are different sports and should be treated differently.  Plus, it's my life and I make up my own rules.  Anyways, Marcia, my partner in crime when it comes to race walking signed up as well and will help pace me towards my PR goal.  She mentioned something about finishing sub 3 but at my current fitness level, I'm not sure if that is in the cards for me just yet.  This is also a walking only event.  Any running means you are disqualified.  Also keep in mind that my running PR at the 1/2 marathon distance is only 2:49.  And Marcia wants to walk it in under 3.  She's crazy town.  ;)  We'll see how the summer progresses though.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Adventures in Moving: Part 2

One of the many reasons I was stressing out about this move was the fact that the closing on the condo was delayed.  Twice.  And we couldn't close on the new house until we were rid of the condo.  I was fully aware that closing could be delayed but I had very high hopes.  If the condo closed on the originally scheduled date, The Pilot would be there.  But, that wasn't to happen.  It was rescheduled and The Pilot would be literally overhead during the closings.

Sigh.  Luckily we had a plan B in place and I had power of attorney just in case this was to go down while The Pilot was working.  Want to know what that meant?  On every.single.document I had to sign my own name and then because The Pilot couldn't be there, I had to sign..... The Pilot by Gym Class Dropout, his attorney in fact.  In reality (with real names), it was 58 characters to sign every single time.  It took me nearly an hour to sign all of the documents for the new house.  I didn't know that being a pilot's wife would also mean I'd be subjected to a crazy hand cramp.

Oh well.  Luckily though, it was go-home day for The Pilot and he landed at about the same time I walked out of the closing with the keys to the new house.  After the first delay, we thought the closing would be on a Wednesday and I'd have to spend the first two nights in the new house by myself.  I won't lie.  I spazzed out.  I cried.  I was ok with going to the closings by myself because I bought my condo on my own before The Pilot came into the picture.  Sleeping in a big house by myself for the first time though?  Not my idea of fun.  I planned to stay at my parents' house until he got home from the trip.  But then we were delayed again and that problem was solved for us.  I had to go to the closings on my own but The Pilot landed just as I was walking out of the closing office.  After the closing, I waited for The Pilot at my parents' house so we could go over to the new house and walk in together for the first time.  While it was a brief moment, it was one I was very thankful to share with him.  I am very thankful that we were able to buy a home we love and after 2+ years together, we can finally build a home that is ours.

The Pilot was then home for only two days after the closing and it was a flurry of activity at the new house.  Including multiple trips to Lowes and Target.  Our bank account has been smoking.  Once The Pilot was back in the air, there were more projects for me and my family (while as awesome as they are, they have all vowed to never help me move again) to work on.  One project included cleaning out the very grimy kitchen cabinets.

This led to the discovery of....

Several plastic shopping bags folded into triangles.  These were all stuck under and behind one of the kitchen drawers.  Weird.  My theory is that the bottom drawer in the kitchen was used to stash extra plastic bags.  Also known as the "poop bags."  Any pet owner knows what I'm talking about.  We knew that the previous owners had two dogs so my guess is that they used plastic bags to pick up after the dogs and by folding them into triangles, they were easy to put in a pocket while taking the dogs for a walk.  How on earth they folded those bags into triangles is beyond me.  Former Boy Scout or Armed Forces??
Just one of those strange things you find when moving into a "previously owned" home.  After several years of living in the condo, we randomly came across an Elvis clock.  One of those hip-swiveling things but his legs were missing.  It was tucked on top of an air duct in the basement.  And the best part?  Next to the Elvis clock was a little black book with one phone number scribbled into it.  It was a small black notebook that actually said "Little Black Book" on the cover.  Good times.  I can't remember but I'm pretty sure we just put it back on the air duct for the next person.  :)