Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blinded By the Light

If I never post again it's because I have been blinded. Bill just purchased a new bike light. A light that is brighter than the sun. He just pointed it at me and now I am seeing spots and blue blinking flashing things in front of my eyes.

Thanks, Bill.

If anyone needs to pretend that it is daytime while riding their bike check out the CygoLite Mity Cross 400.  Also a good choice if you need to burn holes in your retinas.

In other news, after polishing off a bottle of wine over dinner we almost talked each other into immediately registering for a 24-hour race at the end of April and a 48-hour race in July. Fortunately my lightweight self couldn't find my credit card so we didn't, in fact, drunkenly register for 72 hours, 250 miles and 700 bucks worth of racing.

The hazards of racing with someone you are stuck with for better, for worse, in sickness, in health.
Additional hazards of racing with your spouse (I hate that word)/husband/wife
/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/insert appropriate label here
 include looking like we do in this picture in front
of each other. And a shoutout to our old teammate Ryan, who
I couldn't crop out of this picture because my photo editing program
apparently ate some acid for dinner and is thus being weird.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Segue-Free Tuesday

  • Bill is currently putting new tires on our mountain bikes. Supposedly the lil' knobs allow for smoother road riding with less effort. Not sure if I buy it but the upcoming 60+ miles on Skyline Drive are hanging over my head so I will take whatever help I can get.
  • In addition to currently putting new tires on our mountain bikes Bill is also cussing at his bike breaks and the low ceiling in our basement that he keeps hitting his head on. Anyone have any good suggestions for disk break upgrades? His basically seem to suck and are constantly giving him problems.
  • But he did make vegan goodness for dinner, complete with every vegetable currently in season. And he scrubbed basically the entire house. Hooray! Happy Tuesday to me.
  • He also got my mountain bike overhauled. New bottom bracket, new chain, new thingy on part of my rear derailleur.
  • Training has been going fine. Nothing amazingly good or bad. I've decided to focus more on the run/trek than the bike this week. I just realized that June's 50k isn't too far away, actually, and that I therefore need more time on my feet right now.
  • It is supposed to snow here toward the end of the week and Saturday is supposed to be cold and grody out. Spring, come find me. I am ready.
  • I have a guaranteed entry into the New York Marathon this year. Running it in 2010 was a giant ball of fun and I am tempted again this year. I have a month to decide. And will probably take 29 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds to do so.

Happy Birthday to My Dad!

Today my Dad turns 6 decades old.

Happy birthday to him!
My Dad is a good dancer.
He also looks good in hats.

He was the only person at mile 7, cheering me on to an
unplanned 13.1 PR. Thanks Dad!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Change of Venue

On our way home from a weekend trip to Maryland this weekend we swung by Susquehanna State Park for a few hours on the trails.

The change of scenery was sort of nice -- the river one one side, woods or open fields on the other. As an added bonus trails were rated much the way ski trails are -- green circles for easy trails, blue squares for intermediate and double black diamonds for the most difficult. We kept expecting to find ourself dangling off the edge of a cliff but no such luck.

Plus a large portion of one of the trails smelled like feet and/or Italian cheese.

Good exercise, though, and Bill had to read a trail map, hopefully dusting off his navigation brain for the Rev3 that is in, like, three seconds. As an added bonus it was supposed to snow and rain all day but instead it was sunny and 40 degrees. Hooray!


Bill didn't let me slow down enough to
take a proper picture.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Girl and Her Trainer

After two days at a conference on pediatric and neonatal palliative care and hospice I was ready to clear my heart and brain with a few hours of outside fun tonight. The weather, however, was not on my side.

"A wintery mix," the weather people predicted. For those of you living in warmer places, this is east coast speak for "We don't really know what's going to happen, other than it will likely be cold and likely involve some sort of crappy hybrid of rain, sleet and snow pelting you from the sky."

Last week it was 75 degrees. This week it's freezing temps and junk pissing from the sky. Snow I could handle but this stuff is just nasty.

After stopping at Trader Joe's for Indian food and bread and at the state store for 13 bottles of wine (dinner of champions) I got home and faced an important decision: Two hours of drinking wine or two hours on the trainer. I picked trainer.

Instead of playing outside I spent my evening on my bike in the basement, staring at the cats' litter boxes, a dehumidifier and a shop vac (I will spare you pictures of this breathtaking view).

I don't mind the trainer but I am getting a little bit sick of it, I must admit. I've spent 13 hours on the bike in the past week and 7 have been on the trainer. How sad is that?

So sad that being on it now makes my face look like this:
Good thing I am a shorty -- I dont' hit my head on the
pipe when I climb.
I had my iPod on shuffle. Out of 2,346 songs it played "The Snow Is Gone" by Josh Ritter twice. Seriously, shuffle? Why do you mock?

Looks fun, huh?


When I got bored at looking at the litter boxes I would just look to the right to see our new mountain bike tires hanging from the ceiling, soup, pasta, candy corn, Febreeze, a giant thing of Folgers and oatmeal. So fun. Also, yes, you can live with us and our stockpile from BJs if Armageddon comes. The thrills of buying in bulk for two people.

And sometimes when I am in the basement I get creeped out because it sort of looks like the basement from Silence of the Lambs. Fortunately there's no well for people and no dog named Precious to creep me out even more. However, there is a cat named Bob who likes to stand next to the trainer most of the time when I am on it.

Animals are weird.
That is all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Dumbest Bike Injury of All Time

I've proclaimed myself the winner of the dumbest bike injury of all time. Here's what my award looks like:

My award is major, as you can see.
I don't, unfortunately, have a picture of my injury because it is quite small. After an amazingly lazy Saturday morning (I woke up at 11, promptly moved to the guest room where I took a nap, stumbled down the steps to the couch where I played online Scrabble, drank a gallon of coffee, ate some eggs in a basket and watched some cartoons) I decided that I needed to go play outside.

My friend Dave agreed to join me for the first part of what I decided would be a 30-mile ride. He rolled up to my house at around 2:30 and we were off. I'd planned to do about 10 flat miles with a higher cadence followed by another 20 of hill repeats. The freakin' Philadelphia Water Department had other ideas, yet again. The paved trail leading to the loop we were going to ride was blocked by the PWD, so we detoured and headed up and down a few hills to get to where we were going.

Dave is the type of person who, when you ask him to go for a run or a ride, warns you that he is out of shape and will be terrible. He truly believes this. However, once you get going, it's all you can do to keep your lungs from bleeding and your legs from burning off as you try to keep up with him.

Yesterday was no exception. As we worked our way around the 8.5-mile loop I struggled to keep on his rear wheel as he tossed back questions about work, racing and travel.

"Busy."
"A 24-hour race in Virginia in a month."
"Nowhere fast," I gasped as we worked our way around the loop.

I swear there was a headwind the entire way.

I'd planned on doing a bunch of hill repeats at three different hills after the loop. Dave decided to stick around for the first few along a hill that I love. It's not technical -- a few loose rocks and broken pavement. Just enough to remind me to pay attention but not enough to make me scared. It's one of my go-tos both on bike and on foot. A gate is at the top of the hill. I've made a habit out of circling the gate and then heading back down.

Spring is apparently upon us. Between today and two weeks ago (the last time I was on the hill) there were some new green things and sticks. When I looped around the gate today I brushed alongside some sticks. The sticks had thorns.

"Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!," I sad. "My ear!"

Dave, who had been resting against the gate waiting for me for about a week and a half, started at me. 
I grabbed at my ear and then ripped off my bike gloves. My bare fingers made it easier to grab and yank at the quarter-inch thorn lodged in my ear. Blood dripped off of my fingers and trickled down my ear.

Seriously, did I just get a thorn wedged in my ear while riding a bike? Yes. Yes I did.

I've knocked out teeth while biking (I wish I was making this up), cracked a helmet and have gotten more booboos on my legs than I can count. A thorn in my ear, though? Stupidest thing I have ever done on a bike.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Altered Mental Status

This week was supposed to be a low week for adventure race training -- I've been trying for a minimum of 12 hours a week for the past month. This week looked like it would be closer to 9 hours -- I knew I wouldn't be heading out for a long trail run or ride after Sunday's duathlon, meaning that my usual 3 or 4 hours on Sunday would be cut in half and I knew that Monday wouldn't amount to much training-wise as I had to be at work early and stay late.

But, fortunately, my brain decided to step up to the plate this week. I got in a quick ab and lifting session on Monday, managed to drag my non-morning ass out of bed on Tuesday for a 45-minute trail run. I'd planned on getting home from work, having a beer or two, flopping around the interwebs and having dinner with Bill, but had an unanticipated bout of motivation when I got home and headed to the trainer for an easy 45-minute ride that quickly turned into a 120-minute ride when I decided to stay on the bike.

On Wednesday morning a 16-mile trail run with Abby was penned in. However, the weather, and our own ideas of what constituted sane training, prevailed. Instead of hitting the trails, my family room looked like this at 6:30 in the morning:
Half of our six bikes in the family room -- one for Bill
to ride after work (hiding in the back), one for me,
one for Abby.
Fortunately I don't have to go into detail about the three hours Abby and I spent on the trainer as she did it here.  

For the rest of the day my legs felt a bit lazy but I was satisfied with getting in a decent chunk of time on the bike, even if it was on the trainer.

Bill fled from me before the crack of dawn on Thursday -- a 9 a.m. flight to Clearwater for Phillies spring training, a.k.a. an excuse for a bachelor party. I was half-nice and drove him to the train station that would take him to the airport, as opposed to being all nice and taking him the entire way to the airport. On the way back I ditched the car a few miles from home and headed into Wissahickon Park for what I'd hoped would be a 90-minute run -- thanks to Monday's long day I could afford to go in a bit late to work.

The weather was pretty much fantastic (mid-40s, sunshine), the park was empty (except for a few bulldozers sadly digging up a trail for no reason I could figure out) and I was pissed I had to eventually make my way to work.

After chowing down on some newfound electrolyte chew thingies for breakfast (they were sort of delicious, sort of worked and I sort of should have paid attention to what I was eating because I tossed the empty package at the first trashcan I ran past... no idea what brand or what flavor) and falling into a steady pace I glanced at my watch and realized that I was more than 45 minutes in. A fun time was being had by all so I decided to skip cooking an actual real breakfast at home in exchange for an extra half-hour running.
Ready for rocks and water. Also I think
I am wearing two different socks.
 Most of the trails were in sweet soft shape because of the rain the day before and my legs actually felt less tierd and more energetic as I continued on. The iPod shuffle gods were in tune with my mindset and kept presenting happy morningtime songs as the minutes and miles ticked by.

One section, however, had been particularly drenched by the rains the day before and had decided to cease being a trail and start being a river, giving me the chance to splash around before making my way back to the car. I tried not to run anything over as I zoomed home, repaced the planned-for omelet with a glass of milk and made it to work at an acceptable time.


Following two days of multi-houred weekday training sessions, this run completely reminded me that I like training for hours. I love running on trails, slowly feeling stronger, climbing into bed before midnight and actually being tired. I also freakin' love running with an iPod that takes pictures with a poke of the finger

That is all.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Ears Are Bored

This post is not about the advantages/disadvantages/upside/downside/you will get run over by an elephant if you run with music/if you don't run with music you will be so unmotivated you will never get out of bed again.

I often, but not always, run with my iPod. As I have been spending a lot of time on my feet, my usual running songs have been causing me to snore a bit.

So I am running low on new music to run to. Anyone care to toss some suggestions my way? I listen to just about everything (today's shuffle saw Modest Mouse followed by The Nields followed by Eve followed by Brett Dennen followed by The Prodigy followed by Vivaldi followed by Jay-Z) and honestly couldn't care less about the genre, just about the motivation factor.

That is all.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Non-FAQs Race Report

Q. What race did you do?
A: The Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Duathlon and 5k in Hampstead, Maryland.

Q: Yeah, so that narrows it down to two races. What race did you do?
A: The Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Duathlon in Hampstead, Maryland.

Q: What were the distances?
A: Until the night before the race I thought that the distances were a 2.5-mile run, a 10-mile bike and a 2.5-mile run. I also thought that the course would be relatively flat. I thought I’d be done in an hour ten, an hour fifteen if my run legs didn’t show up for the second run. And then my cousin, who we stayed with for the weekend, informed me that it was in fact a 15-mile, hilly bike. Bill informed me it had categorized climbs. Fantastic, considering I’ve ridden my road bike once outside since October and three times on the trainer ever.

Q: What words came out of your mouth when you learned about the mileage and climbs?
A: Aw, shucks. Whoopsie-daisy. Gee whiz, dawg.

Q: Are you happy about daylight savings time?
A: Generally, yes. Except not when it’s the night before a race that starts at 7:30 a.m. In that case I’d rather it get dark out at 3 p.m. every day for the rest of the year.

Q: What were you thinking?
A: I wanted to run a 7:00 pace for the five miles of running and, once I realized that the bike was actually 15 hilly miles, finish the ride in less than an hour for a total of 1:35:00. Initially I expected Bill and I to be the only ones at the race – a battle of two. Then we thought about it and realized that the field would likely not be crazy small and would, in fact, likely be competitive. Maryland seems to have a fairly active tri scene, and after another cold, snowy winter there were likely to be a ton of competitive triathletes eager for the first race of the season after months stuck on trainers, treadmills and indoor pools.

Q: What did you see when you arrived in transition?
A: Expensive wheels. Lots of expensive wheels. The bike next to me cost more than my last car. The wheelset was more than two months of our mortgage. And it wasn’t even the nicest bike on the racks. People eyed each other up and seemed to be taking the race more seriously than I’ve taken any of mine. Except the lady wearing a green feather boa on top of her race kit. She was sort of awesome.

Q: So are you ever going to discuss the actual race?
A: Ok.
The race director had us gather ‘round, told us nothing too useful, blew a whistle and we were off for a lap around a hilly parking lot before running up a hill through a neighborhood, around a cone and back to transition. I ran hard but not as hard as I could, reminding myself that the bike was probably going to make me grumpy.
Bill had a more eventful run than I did – a 5k started simultaneously and that course went past the duathlon course and the first 10 runners apparently forgot to turn around. I saw Bill run past the turnaround but he was too far ahead of me already for me to do anything about it. They figured it out at some point as Bill flew past me about 5 minutes later, simultaneously cussing and zooming. I caught up to him in transition but he sped out before I even had my shoes on.

A brief downhill started the bike, followed by a false flat and then hills. And also hills. And then hills. Followed by hills. And farms. I sucked amazingly at the uphills. Got passed by at least one person on just about every major climb. I felt like I was going as hard as I could most of the time, too. I held my own on the downhills though and was sort of excited to peek at my maximum speed on one of the climbs and see 42 miles per hour. That’s fast for me. Not necessarily safe for me though.

The only people I passed on the bike were two guys who didn’t manage to dodge the approximately 8 trillion potholes sprayed over miles 7 until about 10 of the course. I felt bad but they both seemed ok and I couldn’t quite handle the thought of more people passing me so I didn’t stop. There were also major portions of the ride when I forgot I was racing – no one in front of me, no one behind me and pretty things to look at. I started playing sightseer instead of playing racer. The course was beautiful. Then I’d hear the whoosh of a disk wheel creeping up behind me and I’d remember that I was in a race and that I hadn’t spent enough time on my road bike to really compete.

Once I managed to make it back to transition I realized that there were two women on their way out as I dumped my bike and yanked on my shoes. I made it my goal to catch at least one of them. They were running side by side about 100 yards in front of me and then one started to drop back a bit. My legs decided to cooperate, fortunately, and I very slowly started reeling her in. Bill was on his way back at that point and pretty much demanded that I catch her as we passed each other. Sounded good to me so just before the turnaround I went. Then I worked on closing the gap to the next woman. I was getting closer and closer but ran out of room – by the time she finished I was about 15 yards behind. At least having someone to chase the last half of the run kept me motivated.

I crossed the line in 1:32:XX, I think. I’d forgotten my watch, only glimpsed at the clock as I finished and the results aren’t posted yet. I was satisfied with my time but not thrilled with the way I placed. I was hoping to be in the top five but I think I might have managed to be in the top 10, which might not sound so bad … except there were only about 25 women in the race. I was satisfied with my run but not with how I stacked up in the bike.

And I soon went into a state of mild panic about the 60-mile ride along Skyline Drive in the Rev3. On mountain bikes. With backpacks. In an attempt to make me feel better/pee in my pants/drop out/hate geography one of my teammates sent me this:
An elevation graph or an EKG of someone who needs
a cardiologist as soon as possible? You decide.

Q: What rocked?
A: My cousin and her two freakin adorable little kids were at the finish line. They are 2 and 1, and were bundled, wrapped, covered and all tucked in their stroller. The kids looked confused.
“Mama, why did you get us up so early, dress us like our next stop is the Iditarod and make us sit in the stroller to watch people run around,” their cute little faces seemed to ask.

Q: Are there pictures?
A: Here. I stole these off of my cousin’s Facebook page. If we are Facebook BFFs there are pictures of a post-race nasty me with the adorable wee ones. I am not posting them here because it is freakin’ weird to post pictures of other people’s kids on your blog without asking.

Good thing the cones and ropes are there to keep back the large rabid crowd and
a truck with a tarp on it.
This picture makes me laugh. I am pretty sure that is me. Also Blogger
won't let me post these pictures in chronological order. That is all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

READY TO EAT SANDWICHES

At some point I will write in more detail about the crap/junk/processed meat products/synthetic food/chocolate/pizza/etc. I've downed in longer adventure races.

Bill, however, is a bit more consistent in what he likes to stuff his face with as we meander through a long race -- the most processed sandwich he can find. We've rushed to start lines after stopping at gas stations for shrink-wrapped cheeseburgers, barged into WaWas (Does everywhere have WaWa yet? If not, I am sad for everywhere) to grab pre-packaged ham sandwiches. The more fat and calories and the more likely to withstand a dousing during the paddle, the better.

For the Rev3, Bill is apparently trying something new--I came home last night to find something scary sitting on the coffee table.




My initial thoughts were this:
  1. The very fact that this item is in my household constitutes a household emergency. Thus, according to the box, I need this item in my house, reconstituting a household emergency. Well, shit. Mobius strip, anyone?
  2. I think it should be "READY-TO-EAT SANDWICHES" instead of "READY TO EAT SANDWICHES." The lack of punctuation almost makes this feast seem like an exclamation, maybe a question, or at worst, a mere statement. READY TO EAT SANDWICHES! READY TO EAT SANDWICHES? READY TO EAT SANDWICHES.
  3. It is cruel to juxtapose beautiful mountain scenery with READY TO EAT SANDWICHES.
  4. Barbecued chicken? Really? Are you sure that's what those bloody chunks of monstrosity are?
Bill was very excited about his purchase and announced that he would test one during his long run today (to his credit he still got the run in despite the crazy wind and rain pelting us again today). I hoped he was kidding. While I sat around hoping he was kidding I decided to further investigate the alarming box.
Yeah, I know this picture is gigantic. It's just that I want to share with you how to make
READY TO EAT SANDWICHES.
I like that the directions for READY TO EAT SANDWICHES state that said SANDWICHES "can be heated via one of the following methods: AS IS: Tear open the pouch at tear notches. Remove Sandwich and eat." Hmm. This isn't really a heating method, is it? Instead, we are told that to eat the Sandwich we should go through the extensive prep of eating it.

I am also happy that "Sandwich" is capitalized here, but not when eaten after being placed in a microwave. In case of microwaving, it is simply "sandwich." Equally as awesome is the fact that all directions include removing Sandwich from the pouch before eating. In case you were confused and thought that the pouch was part of the meal.

Bill wasn't home when I got home from work today. However, he'd clearly had a productive day as, sitting on the dining room table, was the box of READY TO EAT SANDWICHES. One was missing. I took out one of the survivors and poked it a bit. Sandwich just sat on the table like this:

Looks scrumptious, doesn't it? Who wants to come over for dinner for SANDWICH SHELF STABLE HONEY BARBECUED CHICKEN?

Giveaway! I am offering one reader the opportunity to come over for dinner where we will feast on READY TO EAT SANDWICHES. Simply leave a comment on my blog, be a follower (of anything, not necessairly my blog), make a Twitter account for me, and then follow me on Twitter. For an extra entry, go to the READY TO EAT SANDWICHES Web site and tell me what flavor of READY TO EAT SANDWICH you would like to have when you come over. The winner will then be selected by noon on March 29 not by a random number generator but by whomever mails me the largest amount of cash.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where the Sidewalk Ends


Nice that there's nowhere to go but off trail, up and
around. The closest detour is a half-mile away.
Today on my run in the park the trail suddenly ended. As in a gaping hole 12 feet wide decided that the middle of a singletrack trail would be a good place to live. Apparently the Philadelphia water department has decided to go digging all around Wissahickon Park, peppering the trails with giant holes.

If I could leap like a mofo I'd go for it.
The upside is that this forces me to do some steep bushwacking. Good exercise. The downside is, you know, GIANT DAMN HOLES.

Please fix this PWD. Thank you very much and have a nice day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Felt Like I Was Running Naked. Fortunately I Was Mistaken.

I have an on-road dauthlon Sunday (someone remind me to spring the clocks forward) in Maryland. I've done a total of zero road runs since before the new year and the only two runs without a backpack for the year were both races. This morning I decided that I should probably go hard for a few road miles without a damn pack on my back to remind myself a bit about speed (that is, what passes for speed for me).

I actually woke up this morning before the alarm went off. On a Monday. At 6:30. 6:30 in the morning. Someone send me a major award. I dug a pair of road running shoes from the back of my closet and headed out for a 3-mile loop with some gentle climbs through the neighborhood.

Without my backpack I feelt like I was running naked. I felt like I was zooming and that I'd shed 15 pounds since my last outing on foot. Before I knew it I was back home. I felt like I'd cheated, running through the 'hood without the burden of a pack on my back. I now find myself with a bit of a craving for a road marathon at some point this year, not something that I anticipated.

That is all.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lazy Sunday

An ark would be a good thing to own right now in Philadelphia. It's been pouring like a mofo since the middle of the night (broken up by brief periods of just regular old pouring) and, from the sounds of rain currently slamming against the house it's not leaving any time soon.

I should have sucked it up and gone for a long run outside but instead I decided to have a lazy Sunday morning. I finally rolled out of bed a bit after 10 after watching Sunday Morning and reading with napping thrown in for good measure.

I was, however, simply avoiding the inevitable. Bill was kind enough to set up my bike on the trainer in front of the TV, ensuring that the guilt of not riding would be worse than the absolute thrill of a long indoor session.

For as long as I could, I put off hopping on the bike. I ate some oatmeal. I dusted the dining room. I played Words With Friends. I stared at the wall. I made up my water bottles (including one filled with instant Starbucks -- wanted to see if it would rip my gut out or not as a test run for next month's 24-hour race). I stared at the wall some more. I watched the cats sleep. Back to staring at the wall.

Finally, I cold procrastinate no more. It was time. The first 45 minutes was a Spinervals DVD. If you aren't familiar with Spinervals, let me introduce you. Imagine it is 1992. Imagine 17 sweaty riders on trainers set up in what appears to be an empty bar, complete with plastic plants for decoration. Imagine a muscle-head-looking guy with a Madonna-inspired microphone headset. Imagine him yelling at you about cadence, heart rate, gearing, effort, body position and effort. And imagine that it kicks your ass. The DVD looks beyond dated (I am surprised that none of the bikes have downtube shifters) and the music is exceptionally terrible, but I don't care because it always crushes me. Within the first five minutes I was ready to be done but stuck with it for 45 minutes for some arm and core work.

And on I went, repeating 45 minutes or so on the bike with 15 minutes or so on the mat for what ended up being close to 3 1/2 hours (including a break for Wheat Thins and a cherry pie Lara bar which was actually quite delicious). I managed to keep myself occupied while on the bike, between music, an old issue of Outside magazine that I found underneath the bed and watching the Flyers lose in impressive fashion to the Rangers.

Not the most exciting training session I've ever had, but the longest I've ever done without leaving the house. I'll take it, considering I didn't get out of bed until practically lunch time!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bill's Blue Thing

I arrived home today to a giant Amazon box sitting in the middle of the family room. It was huge -- I immediately checked to make sure that there wasn't a body inside. Fortunately, it was empty. But, what was birthed from inside it? I poked around the house a bit and saw something peeking at me from behind a chair. It was this:


I felt like it was staring at me. I neither liked the blue thing, nor knew what it was. A pool noodle? Some new piece of junk to take up space in the basement? Both?

I was excited for Bill to get home from work, hoping that he'd be able to explain what the hell this thing was. His arrival explained little, unfortunately. After he kissed me hello, he ran over to his new blue girlfriend. Her name is, apparently, Joyce.

I've seen new dads look less proud while
holding their fresh offspring.
"I love this!," he exclaimed before plopping onto the floor and rolling around on top of Joyce. I stared. The cats stared.  I thought about writing to Carolyn Hax or Dan Savage. "My husband spends his time rolling around on a blue thing he calls Joyce. Is this normal?"

video

Right now he is watching an instructional video teaching him how to do more things with Joyce. His one leg is folded over the other and he is sitting on her rolling around. To be fair, I am not a proponent of stretching. Never really have -- faked it during soccer practice growing up, don't really do it now unless something is feeling particularly tight. So, purchasing a blue thing to roll around on for stretching makes me giggle.

Are you jealous of our NES in the video background?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Shoes and a Weird Cat

Happy Wednesday. I have two things to share that will drastically change the course of your life.

Thing One: I finally got new trail runners. I took a mental health day from work yesterday and after Bill and I finished an out-and-back on our road bikes (and in the sunshine) we stopped at the Bryn Mawr Running Company, located not in Bryn Mawr but in Philadelphia, of course.

I recognized the owner/guy who helped me find shoes right away -- he'd helped my friend Kate try on every pair of shoe for sale at the expo for the Philadelphia Half Marathon/Distance Run/Rock N Roll/Whatever It Is Called Now. She must have tried on 15 pairs of shoes and he was helpful, nice and patient. I am a sucker for good customer service so I remembered him.

I tried on no less than 787 pairs of shoes and finally settled on -- drumroll, please -- another pair of Brooks Cascadias. The new version seems to have eliminated the gripes I have with the older version I've been running in for the past few months. The recycled laces on the old pair are tubular and come untied if I looked at them weird, blinked or took a step. I ended up locking them closed with plastic clamps to keep them from coming undone -- a bit of a pain in the ass. The new pair, however, still have recycled laces (yay, Earth) but they are flat and, miracle, stay tied!

The new shoes also have a wider tongue and strategically placed eyelets equating to a snugger fit -- the old ones always felt a bit shifty. Wore them on my hill repeat trail run today and they felt decent. Plus the running store dude gave me a 10 percent discount. Sweet, because once I settled on the Cascadias I briefly contemplated ordering them online from REI to take advantage of Bill's discount but I knew that would be a dick move. And the running store dude's move ensured that I will be back there whenever REI doesn't have what I am looking for.

Thing two: My cat Vivian likes to eat spinach. I think he is a vegetarian at heart. Whenever I am making anything with spinach, which is a lot of the time (best vegetable ever) he is all over it like it's a raw, juicy hunk of slimy fish. Weirdo.
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That is all.