Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Archie would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. He is one hell of a turkey, weighing in at 21 lbs. He has asked to be stuffed with salmon and tuna juice, please and thank you.
I will leave you for the holiday with some of my favorite overheards from the Living History Farms run:
At the beginning of the race a girl started yelling, "Go faster! Run! Ruuuuuun!" Her boyfriend said something to her that I couldn't hear then she said, "Wait. We have seven miles of this? Oh my God! I'm gonna diiiiiiieeee!
Half way through the race, a dad said to his son, "You didn't come here to stay clean, did you?"
On the home stretch, I was looking at all the muddy butts ahead of me, when I said to John, "We all look like we pooped ourselves." The guy dressed like King Tut, running ahead of me, turned around and said, "Some of us actually did!"
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Last Saturday, John and I did the Living History Farms Run. it's the biggest Cross country running race in the country. It is 7 miles with insane muddy ravine climbs and ice cold stream crossings. A lot of people dress in costumes. The guy in the photo above parked by us and let me take his photo. I would love to have seen what that dress looked like after the race, but never saw him again.
I had no idea how I would do in the race. I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to finish it. My first goal was to run 3 miles of it without my calf hurting me too much. After I accomplished that, my next goal was to run the entire 7 miles without stopping. Once it was clear I was going to be able to do that, my goal was to finish the run in an hour and 30 minutes. I was able to finish in an hour and 14 minutes. Like I always say, set your goals low enough and you will actually meet them.
I found this photo on the internets. The only reason it's on here, is so you all can see Gene Simmons in a heart blanket in the background. So sweet.
|Photo of the booze cruise, by the booze cruise among the river ice chunks.|
I wanted to see how well I could actually do in my 2nd race of the day and my daughter was going to come by around 2:30 and pick me up for an hour or so before she had to go to work, so I was under a time constraint. I had to decline the invitation to join the booze cruise. I got stuck behind them at the start and had a hard time getting around, but when I did, I thought I'd power as much as I could before I got to the first creek crossing. Right before I hit the water, I felt something hit my wheel. I looked down and saw a large stick had shot up and jammed my rear derailleur into my spokes. Crap! I got up the creek and had a guy bend the derailleur away from the spokes to see if I could keep going. the booze cruise caught up to me and when they found out my predicament, one of them offered me a flask of Fireball and said, "Well, it sounds like as good an excuse as any to drink." I took a swig and figured I'd try to ride with them for a lap and then DNF. My bike was ghost shifting all over the place and it was driving me crazy. That didn't last long before my derailleur completely snapped and it, along with my chain, was hanging loosely from my bike. I shouldered my bike back to the start, handed in my timing chip and texted Coadster that I was done early.
It just so happened that her appointment got canceled, and she showed up at my car a minute or so after I texted her. Weird. We took off and John said he would meet me at the Machine Shed when his race was over. Around 4'ish, he thought.
Coadster and I found a place to eat appetizers and had a good talk and as we were getting ready to pay the bill, I got a text from john. He, by some bizarre coincidence had also snapped his derailleur and had to quit the race. Coadster got me to the Machine Shed and I drank beer and hung out with John and the Des Moines racers until about 6 o'clock when John and I headed back to Iowa City. I found out later I won a Brooks saddle in a raffle. So, it made up for not getting to finish my race.
Friday, November 21, 2014
|Thanks, Angy Snoop for taking this.|
Also, because it's Friday, you get cats and house photos. Here are the cats on the screened-in-porch Friday. After a crazy, bitterly cold week, the temps are supposed to get up into the 40's tomorrow. Woo hoo! There might just be some more cat porch settin' happeneing this weekend as well.
John cleaned off the front and top of our fridge last week. Probably because of how humid the air from the crawl space is and that it comes up and makes moisture all over everything we own. Most of the photos on our fridge were starting to get moldy. Some we were able to save, some we weren't. We got rid of all the refrigerator magnets on it, except these great trophies from the Chamois Time local series here in Iowa City. Seriously, the best trophies ever. You should do the race, just for a chance at getting one.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
|Photo taken by Mauro Heck.|
Here is a photo of me at Jingle CX. It will serve as proof that I was actually there this year. My bright, red, face will serve as proof as to just how damn cold it was there this year.
Soooo, it looks like they tried to fix the results for the race I did this weekend. It's different every time I check, so I'll probably wait a couple days and hope it stays the same for a while. It is more accurate at least right now. They have me 38th out of 41. Nothing to get excited about, but I'd rather have it be accurate, than have falsely positive results.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Well, I don't have much of a race report from Jingle CX, sadly. I did get to race one day. I don't have any photos of me racing, so you get all the party on the hill pics instead. A much prettier option, really.
|The mother of all cowbells.|
I woke up on Friday with a light migraine that never left me. I did race that evening, but I was weak and tired. I did the best I could. I will never know how I really did, because one of the officials screwed up and pulled a lot of the women off the course after the 2nd lap. There were 3 big categories in the field and he was trying to get the slower racers off the field, to keep it less confusing, but had an epic fail. He got some of the women ahead of me and all behind me, but he didn't get me and a couple of others. I was feeling so crappy, I really wanted to get pulled. I kept trying to establish eye contact with all of the officials, but no such luck. They gave me 25th place or something out of 42 racers, but I know I was closer to the back of the pack. I am curious to see hwat kind of points I get for that. Hmmmm.
After the race, John and I went on the hill to watch the other races and drink beer and have a dance party. Everything about that was good, if not a little weird...
|Thanks to Burne Sippy for this shot.|
John did pretty well on Saturday and said he had a lot more fun racing than he had had the night before. Which is way more important than results, as far as I'm concerned. We watched until the last race of the day, then we went to the store and got stuff to make for dinner. Our guests were fine with staying home and chilling out. Did I mention it was really, really cold and we were all happy just to hang out somewhere warm? We had a nice dinner of pasta, salad and bread and then watched the movie, Nebraska. What a great film. If you haven't watched it yet, you should.
|Another great shot from Burne Sippy.|
It was a great weekend, but man, was I exhausted after 3 days of hanging outside all day in freezing temps. I was also very socialed out. I love people, but then I need a break to recuperate. I will try to do that the rest of this week.
Friday, November 14, 2014
I Want Long, Straight, Curly, Fuzzy, Snaggy, Shaggy, Ratty, Matty Oily, Greasy, Fleecy, Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen...
So, we've been doing some furious house cleaning. I know I always say this, but I love my house. I love the hardwood floors, I love that it feels like a cottage/Hobbit house, I love how big the rooms are and that it's not one of those newer McMansions, where everything is perfectly boring...Especially when it's clean.
Also, I love our cats, even though they're assholes.
Here is our spare room, close to finally being done. We still need art on the walls and maybe a rug and a lamp and to paint the window sills, but the big stuff is done.
This is the third year John has participated. He hadn't cut his hair since last year, so it was quite a big difference.
Of course, I think he looks pretty damn snazzy no matter what length his hair is.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Tuesday was a good day. I took off work a couple of hours early to clean the inside of our house, since we didn't have time this weekend when we did all of those other projects. The UPS guys came and dropped off the fake fireplace we got from Amish Yard. Just in time for the coldest day we've had all Fall. It's a warm and lovely thing, that fake fireplace is.
I got the stairs to the dormer room primed (the first layer anyway). Those stairs were so disgustingly dirty, that no amount of elbow grease on my part could clean them, so I scrubbed and sanded and then put primer on them. I'll put another coat on in the next week, and then I'll paint the tops of the stairs light gray and the middle part white.
Coadster was coming to have dinner with us on the way to the Quad Cities to see her uncle one last time before he died of cancer. Stinky told me she had to work and couldn't make it, but she and her boyfriend showed up. She traded shifts with someone and didn't tell me. Luckily, I was making nachos and we had plenty to go around. The grand puppy came with Coadster and she was, as usual, very, very excited. Archie was so not amused with Bailey's over excitement and kept hiding on the tops of dressers and the hot water heater, except when he would do a reconnaissance mission to try to eat Bailey's dog food.
It was a hectic but lovely night and it was so nice having a full house and just as nice having peace and quiet after all the "kids" left.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I don't have a race report in the traditional sense, since I wasn't able to race this weekend. My calf is getting much better and I continue to work on stretching it and walk/running to get it back up to snuff, but last weekend, I was still recovering and so we got some work done. A LOT of work done.
Friday was lovely. I gave myself a nice walk/run and saw the lovely leaves in my neighbors yard. Then I came home, made fish tacos for dinner and John and I watched the movie, Chef. It was a little Hollywood in some ways, but really fun and I bought the soundtrack, I loved the music so much.
On Saturday, I woke up with a migraine. I took my meds and went back to bed. When I woke-up again, John was already starting on the windows. We have that lovely 1950's house with the old windows that you have to switch out the screens for storms in the Winter. All of our windows need to be replaced, and at one point we thought we would just go to the vinyl windows, but then realized they were disposable and only lasted about 20 years and we really do want to keep the "charm" of the period of the house, so we have been talking bout just redoing the windows and doing one or two a year until they were all done. Of course, Saturday was windy and John had the windows leaning against the cars to spray them down and a couple of them got blown to the ground. Oops! So, now we will get going on redoing those two windows that broke and quit just talking about, I guess.
We cleaned all of the windows and put up the storms before we got started tearing out and dragging the fiber glass, styrofoam and other detritus from the crawl space. We figured it would take us several days and we would just quit on any day where we reached our saturation point, since we had several weeks before the basement encapsulators we due to arrive. We dug in and pulled out 11 industrial sized trash bags of very full crap from the crawl space before we called it a day. Then we went to Eastside Shorts and had dinner and a couple of beers. just what we needed.
On Sunday, I woke up migraine free. Hooray! I walked the mile to Hickory Hill Park and then mostly ran on the trails there for a couple of miles before I went home. It felt great and my calf wasn't too sore.
We continued on with our crawl space project. Only this time, John had to travel further from the window to get the stuff, so while I waited, I raked leaves. Many, many leaves. By the time we reached our saturation point, we had finished 15 more bags and finished most of the crawl space. John said he has probably another hour or two of cutting chicken wire and taking the plastic off the ground, but we're done for the most part. I also raked up most of the leaves from our yard and got them to the curb for pick-up by the city this week. Can John and I kick out the work, or what?
We decided we earned some fun and we headed out on our cyclo-cross bikes for a little renegade ride around the Eastside of Iowa City. John took me to construction sites, school yards, parks and this really cool back part at the ACT campus where they have all these cut trails with park benches by ponds. It was so beautiful and really fun to ride.
We went home, showered and made it to Big Grove Brew Pub for Happy Hour. I love that place, I just wish they had more vegetarian options. Anyway, this was our conversation when we got out of the car.
John: Hey, we're actually going out after dark.
Me: Yeah. It helps that it's daylight savings time and it's dark at 5...
John: Still in time for the early bird special!
Me: Don't call it an early bird special. Call it Happy Hour. We'll sound so much younger.
Friday, November 07, 2014
Oh, Kids. Don;t get me wrong. I love my house. I REALLY love my house, but it has so many issues. Right now we are spending tons of time to fix them, but it could be a rough road for the next couple of months.
Then a couple of days ago, our handyman guy came over and reshingled that section of the roof and fixed the roof on our beloved screened-in-porch, that was, as my friend Pete would say, "hillbillied" originally. Whoever did it, used scrap leftover crap, and didn't seal anything, so it leaked and all the wood was rotting. We're hoping this does the trick.
On December 11th, we're having a company come and encapsulate the crawl space. It will keep the air in our house from being so humid that we're breathing in floating mold. It will cost a ton of money and it won't make our house look any better, but it will help keep our house from killing us. Plus, it should make it less attractive to termites and keep our beautiful wood floors from warping. We will save ourselves $1500 by going down and ripping the old, gross, wet insulation out of the crawl space ourselves, and that is our next project that starts this weekend. We will soon find out the value of $1500 in real, gritty, gross, terms. My plans to ease up on my drinking might have to wait a month...
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
I have no race report from this weekend. My calf is still too sore to race, but I had the costume all ready and I wanted to wear it. So, I did and now you will have to see too many photos of me all green faced and wicked.
I met this adorable puppy at the race. She is an 11 week old Mastiff. You should feel how soft those little wrinkles are on her head.
|Photo Credit, Julie Goodman.|
John told me I didn't need a costume for this. I told him, "Shut-up" because I apparently really don't need a witch costume. Any other time, it is just implied.
After the races, we met our friends, John and Shannon at a place called Eatery A in Des Moines. The food and drinks were lovely and both John and I agreed that Des Moines races are so much better this year, now that we hang out with John and Shannon afterward and then get to hang out with Coadster and her boyfriend and the grand puppy after that. So many good things in one weekend.
|Photo Credit, Kim Pierce.|
Here is me riding my broomstick bike on the course. Even though I couldn't race, I still had fun riding my bike around. I hope this calf issue heals quickly. I am officially tired of not being able to race during CX season.
John did great this weekend racing. He's been having some back pain, but he said it's been a little better in the last week or so, since he's been doing certain stretches.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
So, yesterday was National Cat Day? Oops! Looks like I missed that one on my blog. I'll just make up for it today. Archie helped sniff out my Halloween costume this week. I now have everything for it. I just have to figure out how to strap that broom to my bike and affix the witch's hat to my helmet somehow. Don't worry, I'll be sure to show you all the finished product.
Last night, Archie kept me company while I finished my latest ghost story, The Ghosts of Belfast. Today I am starting Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I think I'll probably continue my Halloween, scary reading into November for a while too.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Here in Iowa, we don't always get Spring or Fall. It can go from Summer to Winter, seemingly in a day. So, this Fall has been particularly amazing. It has been perfect temperatures, with some rain, but not too much and the trees are almost overwhelming in their colors.
Basically, this post will be me bragging about how incredible our Sunday bike ride to Kalona was. it was a beautiful Sunday with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60's. We went out a little later, so John and I could celebrate his mom's birthday by taking her out to brunch.
By the time we rode to Kalona, ate and drank at the brewery and then started back home, the sun was already casting long shadows against the dried, and as of yet, unharvested corn, making for more great alien looking cyclist shadow photos. My favorite.
I love all of the colors and textures of the countryside. I will miss that this Winter when everything is different shades of gray.
All of that beautiful gravel riding gave John a flat tire, so we were detained for about 10 or 15 minutes while he fixed it and got his CO2 cartridges to work. We made it past Hills and almost to Iowa City before we lost our sunlight. Luckily, we brought our lights. Next weekend, we'll be lucky if we get into the 50's for temps. We were happy to be able to enjoy the last warm days of Fall while they lasted.
Monday, October 27, 2014
We raced Bobber's CX this weekend and it's one of my favorite races of the year. Not just because it is in our own backyard and most of our friends come by, but mostly because they offer so many categories for women. I know I complain all the time about this, but normally there are 2 categories for women. You are either a beginner or you race with fastest girls. It's maddening, especially since there are tons of different categories for men. I've had officials tell me they can't add more categories because they don't get that many women, but if there were more categories, I think more women would race AND it doesn't take much at all to shuffle an extra category in with another race (especially if not that many women are racing it). Offer us shwag or a funky medal/trophy as a prize. if we want to win money, we can put on our big girl chamois and race in the open women's. But as a 50+ slower racer, I'd be happy to have the option not to race with the hotshots in their 20's and 30's (or even a hotshot in her 50's). Anyway, I will always a race that supports more options for women. Yea Bobber's CX!
John had a good race for the most part. He crashed on a root at the beginning and then had to make up a bunch of places he lost because of that. He was leading the race for most of it, but he said fighting so hard to catch up at the beginning, killed him on the last lap. Like he said, he never feels bad losing to the guy he lost to, because that guy is an amazing racer.
|Thanks Angy Snoop for the photo.|
|Thanks Angy Snoop for the photo|
|Thanks, Angy Snoop for the photo.|
So, while I was racing, I noticed that problem with my calf starting to flare up again. it was fine when I was riding, but any time I had to get off and run uphill or in the sand, it would hurt. I thought about DNF'ing at one point, but I thought I could tough it out...And I did. But I decided not to do the 2nd race. After I saw how swollen my calf was, I'm sure I made the right decision. I will spend the rest of this week, trying to stay off of my fatted calf as much as possible, in hopes of racing next weekend at Spooky CX. Wish me luck!
After the race, we got to play with our friends. We started drinking pretty early, and probably had a little TOO much fun, but that's not really much of a problem. There really is no such thing as too much fun, is there?