Tuesday, May 31, 2005

GAAAAAAH! At last I will blog and NO ONE WILL STOP ME!

I've said that every day for a week. But this time I mean it! I've got a lot to say and there's no way I'll say it all before the next person comes by my office to annoy me.

I've been posting pictures more than words because they're fast and I can do it while waiting for a lengthy program to finish running for work.

I keep hinting about the wedding and recent trips to fabulous places. My cousin PartnerInCrime (PIC) got married in Seattle weekend before last and, joy of joys, I just happened to be scheduled to teach in San Francisco the week before! Well, OK, not entirely coincidental...it needed to be scheduled for sometime this summer, and May 11-13 was close enough to summer for me. SNG flew out to Seattle a day before I did and did some sightseeing mostly by ferry. On Saturday we visited downtown Seattle and the rehersal dinner was at PIC's house Sat afternoon. There were lots of relatives in town, which means that at any given moment could be heard WHOOP!s and AAAAAAAHAHAHA!s and all manner of inside jokes cultivated over may years, half of which I don't get, but hey whatever, they may be loud and a little wierd, but they're mine. And me calling anyone wierd brings to mind pots name-calling at kettles...

The wedding was on Sunday afternoon at a lodge out in the woods near a big waterfall (Snolqualmie falls, I think?). The scenery was spectacular. The ceremony was brief and elegant, with the congregation overlooking a tree-covered hillside with the falls below, mist rising up from the trees. I was hearing little murmors from several relatives of "Ooh, I could really retire to this part of the country..." I've heard those murmors before-- resulting in impulse-real-estate-purchases.

PIC and leBon are perfectly matched. SNG and I wish them all the best and a lifetime of happiness.

After the plane from Seattle landed I packed up my stuff and jumped on the next plane to Boston. That was a fun trip- I stayed at a swank place at the corner of Massachussetts and Commonwealth, with a suite overlooking Commonwealth Mall. For those unfamiliar with Boston, this is a mile-long park with a jogging trail that begins at Mass Ave and ends at the Boston public gardens, which connect to Boston Commons. One lap of Commonwealth mall and around the gardens and around the commons and back makes just over 5K, so I jogged it each morning. Before the city really wakes up the flowering trees are covered in dew and the birds are pecking at stuff on the ground. But then I had to go to work. Drat.

Actually, the work part wasn't bad at all, either trip. I had smart, interested students who asked challenging questions. Ahhhhh. And then I woke up.

And now I'm in the middle of 3 weeks in the office! The last time this happened was so long ago that I don't even have that year's calendar on my wall anymore. I'm going betty crocker overdrive and hitting the farmer's market regularly. Four rounds of strawberry shortcake last week, 24 jars of strawberry jam last weekend, and hopefully 24 more jars next weekend. After strawberries come the blueberries and the peaches, but I'm afraid I'll be traveling too much in July and August to really take advantage. OH NO! What will I do if I can't make my requisite 100 jars this year? What will I store in the attic all winter to lament next year that we didn't eat enough of it because I was on some low-carb diet or another?

Anybody need some jam?

I need to start knitting or making something that has no shelf life or calories.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

My friend Fuzzy and our boss, inside calling the game.  Posted by Hello

We had seats in S AS's luxury box, which means that you get a personal bodyguard who stands next to your seats looking menacing.  Posted by Hello

Drink enough beer and the scoreboard starts to look better. The guy in the edge is my boss' boss, having a reflective moment with his beer.  Posted by Hello

The game was riveting. As you can see, the score was so lopsided that the other team allowed our team to have 2 guys batting at a time.  Posted by Hello

We went to a Durham Bulls game with some coworkers.  Posted by Hello

I will blog about my cousin's wedding later this week, because it was just so much fun but in the meantime, I had to share this ethereal image. Isn't she just like something from a magazine? The fog was a nice touch, too. I like this picture a lot. The bride looks so serene and peaceful (PartnerInCrime is laughing diet coke out her nose right now). Posted by Hello

The finish line. ACTION! VROOM! Again with the mid-air foot and goofy grin. Grimace, perhaps? Try not to notice the fact that I finished the race so late that there were only 6 spectators left, and they were only there looking for the old lady from the nursing home who had wandered onto the track.  Posted by Hello

ACTION! The beginning of the run. VROOM! This picture makes me laugh. I'm not sure why. Something about the mid-air foot.  Posted by Hello

Tony was taking action-shots before the race. There's "warm-up/breakfast." Yup, jogging in place and eating. I'm sure mom warned me about this at some point...
 Posted by Hello

Here's the Novice Females group in the water, 2 minutes from the starting horn. Looks warm, huh? Looks can be deceiving!
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'll tell you about the triathlon in this post, the wedding in another post, other stuff in other posts... bite-sized pieces.

The water was considerably colder than expected. Usually the water at White Lake, NC is near the wetsuit threshold of 78 degrees, which means there's a reasonably good chance you'll need a wetsuit, but just as likely that you won't. We've had a cold spring this year. The water was just below 67 degrees. REALLY cold. I have a wetsuit, but it has no arms and no head covering, which was really not sufficient for 67 degree water. Oh, and I forgot my goggles, so even if the water had been warm enough to put my head under to swim, I still couldn't because of the goggle business. So I did the whole swim with my head out. If you've ever swam in cold water, you know that your heart rate spikes to keep you warm, which makes you hyperventilate a bit. For some people, this also induces feelings of panic and anxiety. Luckily, I don't panic from hyperventilation (actually, I don't panic from much of anything except SNG breaking a tooth on a piece of pizza), but the rapid breathing does make it remarkaby difficult to swim at all, much less swim quickly.

My swimming time was 28 minutes, which is a full 10 minutes slower than I had anticipated.

I will never swim in 67 degree water again without some head and arm coverings.

After the swim, things got to be more fun. It was a gorgeous day. The bike was 14 flat miles. At first I didn't have much feeling in my legs, or my arms, or my torso... I was still kind of numb. A few miles in I got feeling back and just buckled down and went as fast as I could for 40 minutes. Each rider in front of me became a target to pick off one-by-one.

OK, lady on a mountain bike with leopard-print bike shorts: you're MINE! (vroom)

Watch out, Mr. Baggy-Shorts and tennis shoes: I'm gonna Pass You like a MACK TRUCK! (vroom)

Yeah, you think you're so fast, on your tricycle with streamers on the handlebars, all knees-akimbo. I'll pass you and show you that 31-year-olds are ALWAYS faster than 6-year olds! (vroom)

OK, if I hadn't done well on the bike, my dad would have probably been very ashamed. In my group I was 1st out of 41! Yay! That's better than I had hoped for.

I spent the whole ride down in the aero-bars (which I borrowed from Katrin, THANK YOU!!!) and forgot to tilt my seat to adapt for the different position. I must have pinched a nerve because both feet fell completely asleep during the ride. So on the run, the first 1/2 mile, I was lumbering along trying to shake out the tingles in my feet. It must have looked pretty funny. No real rush on the run-- just took it easy and made it through. My goal was to finish the 5K in under 30 minutes, and I did. Just barely. Good enough for me!!

So it went well enough for my first tri, and I learned a few things...
- keep extra equipment in the gym bag: goggles, shoes, gloves, anything else I might forget
- Do Not Swim in cold water without a neoprene cap
- learn to swim faster (hee!)
- tilt bike seat when riding with aero-bars
- in spite of what everyone says, you really don't need any more calories to get through a short triathlon than you'd need for a long training ride. I should have had less dinner the night before and less breakfast the day of. It rode around in my belly like a rock.

There are some pictures on the web-- go here . SNG (a.k.a. Groupie/Team Mechanic) also took some pictures but I haven't downloaded them from the camera yet.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Let's play "Where's Cat?"
First of all, thanks for the much-needed sympathy. I'm still sickly, but I've got part of my voice back (as in, I am a talking frog) and I'm coughing a lot, which means this thing is on its way out. Yesterday I took at 4 1/2 mile run... well, run is maybe not the right word... more like, run awhile, stop, catch breath, cough, spit, walk a little, run again. But it was the first strenuous thing I've done since last Wednesday, and I needed to blow out some carbon because Sunday is The Triathlon. Yikes.

So this week I'm in town and trying to get in some last-minute training and sleep lots and eat right and all that stuff. Oh, and work. This week is one of the only times I've got this month to work on a course that I've been promising I'd write for over a year. But it's coming along OK. Since I'm sick, there's significantly less pedestrian-traffic at my office door which makes it easier to get some work done. Or to update my blog. :-D

Saturday afternoon we will head out to White Lake (near Clinton, NC) to check in for the race which is Sunday, 8am. But as a Novice Female, with staggered starts, I am part of the 2nd-to-last group to start (only the Senior Novice Females go after us!). This is a good thing because I'll be able to wake up fully, get properly warmed up, and most importantly, swim without the people from the next group swimming right over the top of me. Although you never know- I am pretty slow and some those old ladies might have a competitive streak. Besides, if I still have this hack/congestion going, I might spend the whole swim hanging onto the back of a referee kayak. think FAST! FAST! VROOOOM!

Then, first thing next week, I'll be on a plane to San Francisco to teach a class that I'm just learning, so wish me Big Brains. I'm a little nervous about it because it's a really tough topic and I'll be team-teaching with someone who is a teaching hero of mine. He is, I'm pretty sure, the best teacher ever to grace the classroom. I'm going to look like an incompetent TA in comparison.

But as soon as class is over, I'm jetting up to meet SNG in Seattle for a 3-day weekend for my cousin PartnerInCrime's wedding. I'm really looking forward to that. SNG is getting there a day before me so he'll be able to do a little sightseeing. Can't wait! Can't wait!

And THEN, no sooner does our plane touch down in Raleigh than I will be packing for another trip- to Boston. I like Boston, and this time, all the usual hotels were booked, so they're putting me at this outrageously expensive place that's a few blocks further from the training center. I'll find out what you get for that extra few hundred dollars a night over a normal Hilton. Better be some massage action, or free bottled water or something.