Saturday, January 31, 2015

If He Asked Me to I'd Murder, I Would Gladly Lose My Soul.

John: I am so in love with you.

Me: That's good, because now I don't have to chain you to my bed...

John: Well, don't let THAT stop you.

(canned sitcom laughter)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Made a Lot of Mistakes. In My Mind. In My Mind.

Mt Lemmon.

Even though it's almost 6 months away, I have already planned 4 bike rides, a couple of trail runs and some open water swims, for our South Dakota vacation. One of the trails we'll be riding was voted the 7th best bike ride in the world. I'm not sure about that, but It sounds pretty amazing and it got me thinking about all the great bike rides I've been on and I thought it would be fun to put them up on the blog from time to time.

Fueling up before the ride.

The most recent amazing bike ride I've done was Mt Lemmon in Tucson, AZ. last February.

Getting ready for the climb.

Over 20 feet of straight climbing, and then the same amount of descending...Obviously.

Cyclists descending, while we were ascending.

Of course, the morning we were going to do this awesome ride, I woke up with my period and a migraine. My favorite combination...Or not. I took meds and slept for a bit and wasn't sure if I'd be strong enough physically or emotionally to ride something that challenging.

Incredible scenery.
We stopped at the train station market for lunch and then headed over. I told John I wasn't sure if I'd be able to ride any of it, but that I'd try and if it got to be too much for me, I'd turn back around and meet him at the car when he was done. We were parked in a beautiful park where I could read/nap in the shade.

When we stopped to pee, I reminded John to listen and look for rattlesnakes.
I knew John wanted me to ride it with him. He had heard how intense the ride and the scenery was and he wanted to share it with me, so he was being very encouraging and telling me he was pretty sure it would be no problem for me. So, I tried it. I figured if I could at least ride the first 5 miles, I could turn back before the descent was too long and cold. Although, I was worried about the climb, I was even more scared of the descent, which I had heard people could reach speeds of over 60 miles per hour - where hitting a rock or getting a flat could be the end of you.

At this point, we could see where we had come and check out where we were going.
  I trudged along at the beginning of the ride and it didn't seem too hard for me. It was only about a 5 % grade all the way, but that can add up as you go. The key for me, was not to go too fast at first. I had to be all about the negative split. I also had to be careful not to look down. My migraine meds make me dizzy, and I didn't need any help spinning my poor, tortured brain. We started at close to 80 degree temps and went through about 3 different ecosystems by the time we hit the top, where the pine trees were.

Almost at the top.

By the time we got halfway up, I knew I would make it and started picking up the pace....Well, a little bit, anyway. John stopped to pee and take some photos, so I rode some of the later parts by myself. I stopped at the big scenic overlook and waited for him, so we could take a dorky photo together. Always important.

We made it to the first stop on the top. Apparently, there is another place a few miles up, but we were losing daylight and the last thing I wanted, was to be descending way too fast, dealing with cars, motorcycles, other bikes and even a couple of skateboarders in the dark. so we turned back around.

It was so cold, my nose was running faster than I was descending.
I was right about the descent. It was way more challenging for me than the climb. We had heard it was freezing going down, because the temps were about 50 degrees at the top and then you are going fast in the wind and not pedaling, so not getting the warming-up benefit of constant movement.

I feathered my brakes the whole way down, and we went about 30-35 mph. John had us stop at one point because I was shivering so badly from the cold. We made it all the way down, just as the sun was setting. I was exhausted, but so, so, so high from the ride and the scenery and the whole experience. I was really glad I womaned-up and did the ride. It was one of the most amazing bike rides of my life...So far.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Baby Hair. With a Woman's Eyes.

 I do feel sorry for my daughters. It must be hard to have me for their mom. When they were about 8 and 9, I overheard them talking about me and it went like this, "It's not like she's stupid, it's just that she's..."


"Yeah. That's it. She's just really spacey."

In my own defense, my brain doesn't always work like everyone else's, and most of the time I'm living in my own, little, world, and for your information, my own little world is wonderful. Anyway, the other day I was driving and trying to think of the movie I wanted to borrow from Coadster. The actual name was "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", but for some reason, my brain got it confused with "Saving Silverman" and turned it into "Saving Sarah Silverman". It's a damn good thing I caught myself, before I asked her for that...Although, I would be interested to watch the imaginary movie I thought up, just to see in what ways Sarah Silverman might be saved.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Cup is Raised, The Toast is Made Yet Again.

My cat is more than a little unseemly.

Well, kids. I'm still trying to figure out if I'm well enough to run tonight. I ran twice this weekend, danced like a fiend on Saturday night and swam laps on Sunday afternoon. Except my calves being ridiculously sore from jumping up and down for an  hour and a half, I don't feel too terribly tired. So, I took yesterday off and will try to run tonight after work. As they say, baby steps, and if the sidewalks are icy at all that will be literal.

Since  Neither John or I ran yesterday, we decided to play a different sport altogether. First we had a pizza party at home, then we met our friend Burne for free pool night downtown. We just saw Burne at our party on Saturday night, but we didn't really get to talk to him, so we drank beer, played pool and talked and laughed so much, we couldn't always remember who was solids and who was stripes. I suppose, if you have to get through a Monday work day, it's kind of nice to end it playing with your friends.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Call It Tonight. The Party's Over.

Thanks to Adam H. for the photo.

I was going to post on Friday, but I wasn't feeling well and I thought my post would be even "crankier old lady" than normal, so I refrained. You're welcome. I missed a party I wanted to go to and I couldn't even run.

The good news is, that I got a shit-ton of sleep and felt a lot better the next day. John had asked me to do an almost 15 mile run with him and I really, really wanted to, but I knew I wasn't strong enough. So, he did that and I did a 2.8 mile run to see if I could even finish a couple of miles. I actually COULD do that and it felt pretty damn good. I'm still hoping that this time I won't relapse again.

 Later that evening, we had our RAGBRAI Announcement dance party. It was a lot of fun.I made Mexican food and a super ridiculously cheesy dance playlist. Also, my new dress came in the mail and it was the perfect dance party dress. Happy, happy.

Thanks again Adam H. for the pic.

I got to harass some friends of mine that I haven't seen for a while and the RAGBRAI announcement was pretty good. We'll be going through Coralville, so we'll get to actually sleep in our own beds. Plus, I think John and I can make it to Fort Dodge from our South Dakota vacation and meet the kids on Monday evening. Now, we'll just have to figure out what to do with our car for a few days...

As usual, Archie was the life of the party, but we might have to talk to him about when enough is enough. The beer is all gone, cat. You're drunk. Go to bed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Moon in the Window; a Bird on a Pole.

So, this stupid cold continues to linger. You'd think all that extra lime I've been putting in my cocktails would be enough vitamin C to kick it, but I guess not... I haven't done any working-out except bike commuting to work since Monday. I'm going to give myself another day before I try to swim and/or run again tomorrow. Instead, tonight I am meeting some bike racing women at Brix, the wine bar here and then John will meet me there an hour later and I will get to take him out for dinner. Here's hoping to a good riddance of a bad cold.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You and I Have Memories Longer Than the Road That Stretches Out Ahead.

My first "road" bike - really a CX bike.
 Soooo, this year is my 50th birthday on July 16th. It just happens to fall on the Thursday before RAGBRAI. If it were only up to me, I would just skip RAGBAI and do something else incredible. If it were up to me and I were rich, I would head to Europe to see The Tour in person and then find some cool road rides or go on that bike/pasta/wine tour in Southern Italy that I have always fantasized about...What I will do instead, is sit down, take a bite of that reality sandwich and make plans with my best friend and partner, with the money we can scrape together.

What that looks like isn't too damn shabby at all. On my 40th birthday, I went to the Black Hills with my pubescent'ish daughters and swam and ran on trails and saw buffalo, and climbed around in caves and had an amazing time. So, what I think John and I will do is a mix of a couple of different things.

Stinky on our frist trip to Sylvan Lake.
 We will head to South Dakota with our bikes. We're still trying to figure out if we'll camp or rent a cabin, but we'll figure that out either way in the next week. I think if we drive out on Wednesday night and stop about 6 hours in (the border of Iowa and South Dakota), we can spend the night there.

Me and Coadster in the Badlands.
 We can head to The Badlands on my birthday and ride the roads with reportedly wide shoulders around there and then head to The Black Hills for that evening.

There we will spend the next few days frolicking in the majestic beauty of the park and I can finally show John this place I keep telling him he has to see.

We haven't decided which day for sure, but either Sunday or Monday, we will head back to Iowa and join our friends for the rest of RAGBRAI. Apparently, I'm really going to need my Geritol to gear up for all of this, but I'm already as giddy as a 49 year old school girl.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One Day to Come Together to Release the Pressure.

John takes a lot of photos, but doesn't put them up anywhere, so on our vacation, my phone was full, and he took a bunch of photos that no one will ever see. I got him to send me a couple more from our vacation and I love the colors and the seahorse in this one.

People give John and I a lot of shit for "working-out" so much. They keep telling us we're so good to be doing that. Of course, we both laugh because neither of us is very well behaved or good about anything. We're just addicted, which is probably the opposite of good. I tell people saying that about us is like telling the town drunk how good it is of him to sit at the bar drinking all day. The big problem with being so compulsive about playing outside, is that when we get sick or injured it is really hard to take more than a day or two off. This has been my problem with my stupid mild cold, that doesn't seem to ever want to leave me. I was trying to take it easy last week by doing mellow, shorter runs or bike rides or swims, but by Saturday I was feeling a lot better. I ran my 6 mile route and felt so strong and good and thought I could do a double work-out on Sunday and maybe even a triple work-out on Monday...Until my cold symptoms all came back on Sunday morning. Crap. I took Sunday off, for the most part. John and I did a townie ride to get brunch and run errands, but nothing too hard or too far.

Later on Sunday we met our RAGBRAI friends to bowl. It had been forever since we all got to hang out together,  and it turns out that we're all still weird and probably drink too much. Hmmmm. I lvoe consistency.

John and I stayed out at least until 8. He had to work on MLK Day, but I didn't. At one point, we were talking about getting up at 5 am to swim, but I still wasn't feeling that well, and I decided it was more important for me to sleep in.

I did try to run my 6 mile route. I thought if I went slow it would be okay, but I was sadly mistaken. I went really slow, and I still couldn't run more than about 5 miles without stopping and being tired out the rest of the day. So, I spent the rest of the day reading White Fang, getting a few things done around the house, and giving the cats some love.

When John got home we had dinner, a cocktail and fun conversations like this:

Me: I love your brain, your sense of humor and your a$$.

John: That's funny, because you're only touching my a$$...

Me: Well, I can't really cup your sense of humor now, can I?

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Baby, She Wrote Me a Letter.

Dear Impending Three Day Weekend,

I need you more than I can say. I do realize that I just got back from vacation, but if  you know me at all, you know I am not one to take relaxing vacations. So it was, that I came home tired and weary and fighting a cold. This week I have struggled to get back to normal, but I need more time. You, Impending Three Day Weekend will give me that and I'm crazy about you for it. I know it won't last and I'll have to wait until the end of May for you to return again, but I plan on appreciating you while I have you.

Love, Churlita

P. S. The cats WILL be attended to. They don't let us get away with anything...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Amongst the Treasures That Still Remain There.

And on Saturday, it rained....And rained, and rained, and rained. The rains were fun for some and not as much for others. The rains created all kinds of issues for the races on Sunday and Monday, but I won't go into that here, because you can read about that in a million other blogs and cyclocross forums. I will say, that people keep asking how to grow the sport for women and I will keep responding, "quit  making us 2nd class citizens to the men in our races". I know I am a rabid feminist, but you don't have to be, to get upset about what happened in the junior women's races on Monday.

We watched the 11/12 year old juniors race on Saturday in the mud and that was crazy. Some of those kids could barely walk up the muddy hills, let alone ride them. Our Iowa kid in the race got caught in a crash and basically got his head run over by the bicycles behind him. Thank goodness for helmets. He still had a very respectable finish. What a kid!

After standing in the rain and mud, John and I finally got to go to Pinballz, this crazy place with over 100 pinball/video game machines that are all in great condition and don't cost too terribly much to play. We were in hog heaven. We even found a Gorgar machine, like the one they used to have at the Mill when we moved there. We spent a great couple of hours there, but then had to go and clean-up before our next fun thing.

A couple of days before, John's ex texted him to see if we wanted to go to a concert with her and the guy she came to Texas with. Having no other info than that, I imagined a midnight show at a bar with a bunch of drunk people and felt like it might not be my thing. Later, when we were finally at home and not driving somewhere to meet people and had more time to talk, I asked John if his ex mentioned who's concert it was. He said, "Alejandro Escovedo." Wait. What? Where?! He didn't know, so I looked it up and it was at Austin City Limits and started at 8. Well, that obviously changed everything. That was exactly the kind of older person show I could handle.

I was luckily able to get tickets and we met them at Torchy's Tacos for dinner and then headed to the show. Since we got tickets so late, John and I were seated in the back of the top balcony, but that ended up being perfect. We could see everything on stage (okay, once I put my glasses on. Whatever) and the show was lovely. It was a little sax heavy, (albeit, the sax player was great, but after the 80's most of us are pretty saxed-out) with the jazz band. I kept saying the band was over-saxed, which caused John to continually roll his eyes. Anyway, it was the perfect way to spend our last night in town.

On Sunday I tried to run again. It was the first time I ran since I got sick on Wednesday. I wasn't very strong, but I wanted to get on those amazing trails one last time before we headed up to the frozen tundra. I saw egrets and great blue herons and a weird looking duck that had a white head with red blotches. Hmmmm.

When we got back from running, we started hearing murmurs of the weirdness going on with CX Nats. The town of Austin closed down the venue because of muddy ruts possibly hurting the tree roots. At first they canceled the last and biggest day of racing. Not only that, they brought cops with tear gas into the park to arrest any cyclists who were at the venue. Talk about your biker gangs....So bizarre. Then the USAC folks talked them down and got them to hold the race the following day, to give them time to mulch the course and let it dry out a bit. It sucked for us, because we had to leave on Sunday afternoon. Oh, well.

Instead, we went to the graffiti walls and took a bunch of dorky photos. It was pretty cool. It was hard to find any space uncovered.

We headed to Chuy's for our last Texas meal before wen went to Oklahoma City for the night.

I was all migrainey, so when we got to our hotel, I had to lie down for a minute and rest. We figured out that there was a restaurant/bar downstairs in our hotel room and so we just ate down there and chatted up the bartender and another guy who was hanging out at the bar. We were both pretty fried, so this time, instead of checking out all the bars in restaurants in Bricktown, we opted to go back to our room and watch an episode of Freaks and Geeks. We were both more than fine with it. We had a great week, but we were so exhausted, and socially overwhelmed and happy to be going home to harass our asshole cats.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

'Cause Every Girl's Crazy 'Bout a Middle Aged Man.

I'm starting to get behind on blog posts, so this is the last two days in one shot.

I woke up on Thursday with a cold. It wasn't horrible, but I felt tired and weak and I was congested and coughing. I thought I might try to warm-up on the course and see how I felt, but after about an hour, I already knew how I felt. I felt sick. So, I called it then and didn't race. We went to watch the races to see my teammate and another Iowa woman race in my category. They both did really well. My teammate got 6th. Just one away from the podium, but getting in the top 10 in nationals is something to be proud of.

John raced later in the day. My friend A. and her husband met us there and watched the race I was supposed to be in and then we went to lunch together afterward. It's been so great hanging out with both of them while we're here. We headed back to the condo, so John could warm-up and nap and then headed back to the venue for the race. While Coadster really wanted to support John, she also was tired of freezing to death and wanted to have some relaxed time alone to stay home and read the book I let her borrow - Unbroken.

John's race was great. He wasn't feeling super strong, but like the day before, he tried his hardest. I ran into his ex and her boyfriend on the course, and we watched John's race together. John got pulled on his last lap, so I ran to try and find him and give him his jacket before he froze to death. He seemed a little disappointed that he wasn't in better shape, because this was the perfect course for him, but we both have had rough years with injuries, so he was cool about it and we both keep chanting, "Next year!"

After the race we only had a little time before we headed downtown to meet other Iowa bike racers for dinner at Old School on the 6th.

It was a nice meal. The food was great. I fot fish and chips and they served it with malt vinegar for the fries. My favorite.We talked about bike racing until poor Coadster's head was going to explode. I finally told John we could meet some of these guys later to talk about racing, but it was Coadster'slast night in town.

Poor Coadster was laughing with her boyfriend about hanging with old people on vacation and having 2 hour long dinners every night with our friends, instead of getting to go to bars and listen to music. So, I told her we would go and do whatever she wanted tonight.

We were on 6th Street anyway, so we walked around until we saw a place where the music was rocking and the bouncer was dancing outside in front of the joint. I believe it was called the Dirty Rooster. They had a cover band that played very Austin style music. Lot's of Stevie Ray Vaughn and old ZZ Top. They also had a beer pong table set up.

Best of all - Zoltar! We got to hang out for a while and Coady made fun of all the mid-life crisis people standing by us and acting like they were drinking their first shots ever and videotaping each other every 5 seconds. Another group of people came to join them and I said, "I don't know. These guys might be younger..." They took off their hats and they were pretty much all bald, and I had to say, "Nevermind." On the way home I was flipping Coadster shit:

Me: Coadster, since you've always been way too mature, I bet you go through a huge mid-life crisis where you buy a Corvette and start dating 20 year old guys.

Coadster: Awesome. I can't wait!

On Friday, Coadster's last day, we met A. at the LBJ presidential library. A. and Coadster are both history majors and so it is so great to go to places like that with them. Their total knowledge of historical events and political theories is overwhelming in the best way. We were laughing at coadster because anytime there were two people standing next to each other or a wall of the presidents in order of the terms they served, she would say, "They hated each other." And tell us why or examples of their hatred. I told her she should write a gossipy book of people in history who hated each other. It would a best seller.

John and I had friends racing in the 30+ men's category, so we headed to Zilker Park to watch. We left Coadster and A to check out the Willie Nelson exhibit. Coadster really wanted some time to have A. all to herself, so she was really happy. A. brought Coadster all these history books and bought her another one while they were out. As I have mentioned before, A. is a saint and probably the best friend you could ask for.

After the race, we met Coadser and A. at Swedish Hill bakery and had really nice, fresh food for lunch. I had to get a pastry while I was there. You know. Because...Vacation!

Our Iowa friend got 4th in his race. He was in 2nd place for most of the race, and could easily have won it, but he crashed at the very end. I know he was a bit disappointed, but no one should feel badly about podiuming in Nationals. It was a VERY exciting race.

We left A. and headed over to Book People. My friend who works there had the day off, so I was sad we didn't see him. I bought Coadster Don Delilo's Libra, because she is a huge JFK fan and I thought it would be an interesting read for her. She bought Bossy Pants, and she's going to let me borrow it when she's done. She has been trying to do some work on her confidence and self-esteem lately, so she has been researching some self-help and empowerment books for 20 something's. I think that is so great of her. I wasn't self-aware enough to even think about doing that until I was in my 30's and I am so much happier and better for having done it. I hope she gets the same results.

We dragged Coadster back to Zilker Park for one last race. Another Iowa guy who won the non-competition  race on Wednesday was racing his 45+ category. Coadster got really into cheering him on, so she was happy to watch him race again. He got 4th place as well, and it came down to a sprint again, so the race was really exciting.

From there, we only had a little time before we had to drive Coadster to the airport. We stopped Chuy's for appetizers and a drink. It was really sad to leave Coadster at the airport. Both John and I had such a great week with her. She is one salty broad and I love that about her.

Since we had just had appetizers, we walked over to the brew pub close to our condo, called Uncle Billy's. The beer was okay. Certainly not the best I've had here in Austin, but just fine. Our waiter was a really nice guy too. At one point, John left to make a phone call and he came over and chatted me up, since I was sitting by myself.  How nice was that? We decided to split an entree, since we weren't super hungry and we got the BBQ shrimp scampi over cheesy, jalapeno grits with an egg on top of it. It was amazing and left us questioning our decision to split it, instead of each getting our own. All in all, Austin has been great. I couldn't ask for a better vacation in every way, and the best thing is...We still have today and tomorrow.