16 November 2008

back in the swim of things!

Wow! Things have been so busy and moving sooooo fast! I can't believe that it is the middle of November, where did September and October go!?

So here are a few updates:

Car is good. Honda came through and picked up everything except the battery and the tow! Woohoo!

I'm battling with a graphic design client for the cash that is owed to me, over $1000, and he is playing games. I, of all people, totally know what it is like to be without cash but I just feel like he is totally screwing me over and feel like I busted my ass to get shit done for him and now I've been waiting (and still waiting) for several months for him to compensate me. :(

Work still rocks! It is hard some days and very draining on all levels. But I really like all the people I work with and I don't let the grumpy (some completely justified!) residents get to me. It is frustrating that I can't do more to help though! :(

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This past Friday I attended the OPC Zoning and Planning Workshop in Westlake. So much fun and really informative!!! I hope that we can implement some of the ideas from the workshop in SEL!

Saturday I met up with a couple people from the Cleveland Bioneers group so we could talk about revamping the website. We settled on using Ning, so we can have something that is more interactive and easy to update/transform! Stay tuned, I'm going to use you guys as guinea pigs so we can get some feedback.

Today was the first day of the awesome Reddy Tri Swim Clinic. I did the clinic last year pretty consistently until my hip got all weird and I really think that I benefited from it. So I signed up this year so I could hopefully improve even more! Today was great! And for not swimming in at least two months, I did pretty well and was able to keep up with the rest of the gang pretty well. My goal this week is to fit in at least 4 swims. I would really like to get my distances up so I'm thinking of working up to an everyday swim of at least 30 mins and then the Sundays I don't have the clinic doing a nice hour long swim to keep my endurance up.

I'm hoping that some money comes through before Janaury so I can take advantage of my discount at the bike store. I would really like to get a new trainer. Mine isn't horrible but it is used and just a plain wind trainer and I would like to get something a little more high tech. I bought it off of another tri club member form $75 so I figure I'm not out alot of cash if I get a new one this year. Plus Steve can hook up his bike to the one I already have.

So my goals for the winter training season are as follows:

-improve my stroke mechanics and endurance
-improve my running endurance and times
-build a good bike base

Here is the thing. The first one and the last one I truly look forward to. However, the running part - not so much. It is something I've never been very good at and last year just when I started to hit my stride, I had a hip that decided running was out of the picture, for a while. So I haven't been very good at getting back into the swing of things for several reasons. Hopefully, once I start to get in a better swim and bike routine, the running will fall into place!

I have another training session/workshop tomorrow, so I need to get some work done since I will be out of the office again.

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend and stayed cozy warm! :)

02 November 2008

the good, the bad and......

The wedding!

Congrats to Jon and Deborah! :)



As Friday began to wrap up, I got a phone call from my brother around 3pm. My car was not working/running. In fact when I answered the phone he said, "You're car just broke!" I was envisioning a wheel falling off. I said, "It broke? What do you mean it broke?"

Apparently, my alternator went. :( which makes me very sad for several reasons:

1. My car is an '05 with about 46,000 miles on it. That just shouldn't happen!!!
2. I have no car until it is repaired (possibly Tuesday) and the rentals are $25 a day.
3. Because I don't have an extended warranty, it is going to cost almost $900 to fix, the majority of my paycheck.

So the dealership wasn't very helpful in terms of going to bat for me with Honda, so I have to call myself tomorrow and see if I can get them to cover some of the cost for the repairs. I was able however, to get the service guy to admit that not only was it odd that my alternator went but that it shouldn't happen and that he hasn't seen an '05 with this problem. Not that that is going to ensure any sort of success with Honda corporate but a girl can hope!

As a result, I wasn't sure I would be able to attend my friend's wedding. Thankfully, one of our mutual friends was able to bring me down to Newark, Ohio for the wedding.

The wedding was beautiful and it was sooo awesome to see some great friends that I don't often see! Needless to say, the weekend rocked and I was super happy we had an extra hour this am! :)

I hope you all had great weekends and good luck this Tuesday when casting your vote! :)

28 October 2008

weekend fun!

This weekend was busy but fun! I went to the movies with my mom and gram to see "The Secrete Life of Bees" on Saturday at the Cedar Lee. All three of us read the book so we wanted to see how the movie turned out! It was quite a good movie and even if you've never read the book you would most certainly enjoy it. I was pretty impressed by Dakota Fanning too. I really wasn't sure how she would fair with such a strong cast. I also got to see previews (which are my fav part of going to see movies!!!) for some films that are coming soon to the Cedar Lee (and theaters near you ;):

MILK

This movie looks great! It has a great cast and director so I'm really looking forward to it! It follows the career/life of politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk. It is a movie that is generally an important subject to discuss and raise awareness for however, with the coming elections and the recent push to reban gay marriage in California it is even more fitting.

Trouble the Water

While I have mixed feelings about this film, I am anxious to see it. I hope that the reality of what happened during and after Katrina is told in a way that more people can understand what happened, what hasn't happened and why. This is a documentary that follows two people from the days leading up to Katrina to the aftermath. It was the winner of the Sundance Grand Jury prize for best documentary for 2008.

Then Sunday , I had some family stuff and then book club which is always fun!

Things have been soooo busy for me lately, but manageable so far. This should be my last week at the tutoring center. I'm certainly going to miss the kids but I know that I can't maintain 60hr+ weeks forever. Plus, I'm anxious to get back to my training, which has taken a backseat during all the transition time.

Stay warm everyone!!! Things have been pretty chilly around here lately, sign of more to come!

23 October 2008

whatcha been doin'....

Bloggy friends!!!! I know I have been SUPER absent and I'm sorry. I haven't forgotten about any of you and have been silently reading everyone's blogs, trying to keep up with all that you've all had going on! :)

I hope that you didn't miss me too much :P!

I have been loving my new job! I doing things that I love so even though it is lacking on the money side, I all good!

Also, I'm still working at the tutoring company. It has been a bit overwhelming but they believe they have found a new person so I'm only going to be there on Mondays and Wednesdays now so that will help alot.

I'm also still trying to balance the graphic design stuff! I so need the money and enjoy being creative but seriously, lately I haven't been doing much of anything except working and trying to fit sleep in.

The good news is that things are starting to normalize and slow down a bit. Which means I can start taking my pilates classes again AND swimming AND running again! I'm also hoping that with some of the GD money I make I can get a fancy new trainer! :) Plus, I have total incentive to start up my swimming again cuz I'm doing Rob's classes again this winter! Which totally rocks because it really pushes me and helps keep me swimming.

I have a bit of a dilema though I have to work through. I have a stupid Bally's membership so I have access to a pool at pretty much all hours. However, as many of you know, having clean pools isn't exactly something that Bally's is known for. :( Well, I talked to one of my tri buddies, Jack and he has been over to Urban Active and the pricing is about the same. Now here is the deal, if I stick it out at bally's for another 12 months it is going to be about $500 for the year. If I break my contract they can charge me the full amount of just a cancelation fee of $200. So I think I'm going to plead my case and see if I can get out of my contract and head over to Urban Active to enjoy the clear blue water they have there. What do you guys think????

I hope all is well with everyone!!! And I promise that I won't disappear like that again! ;)

25 September 2008

signs of change

Yesterday morning, I woke up and was looking out of one of the windows in my bedroom and saw two beautiful red leaves. That is right everyone, fall is silently sneaking in! Things are changing! In fact, my life is FULL of change right now!

As many of you know, I have been looking for a job. :( I've actually kind of been looking for a new job for a while but had a job that I at least enjoyed and made decent money doing. When that ended, I was out looking for a new job. I have been interviewing and sending out a million resumes but just haven't really found anything. A few weeks ago, I had a meeting with the Mayor of South Euclid and the Housing Manager there. I have known the Mayor for several years and consider her to be a mentor, so whenever I have new ideas or info about things happening in the planning world, we sit and chat about it! It just so happened that the City was interviewing for a housing inspector position.

Of course the first question that was asked as I sat in my interview was "Why do you want this job? You are so overqualified." BLAH! I can't tell you how often I hear that. :( It isn't totally my fault that I like working in nonprofits and that they are always looking for entry level positions!!! Anyhow, I told them that I knew the salary was significantly less than what I am used to and that it might seem like the job won't offer enough challenges, but I really miss working with people and doing what I love to do most! I see planners as having a wonderful opportunity. While many people think that urban planners are the ones who make change in fact it is the people who do; we just facilitate change. With the housing market in the state that it is, there is so much opportunity for communities to embrace change and have a significant impact on the future of the community.

So the same day I saw the leaves starting to change, I got a call offering me the job. While it pays less than my last job, I will enjoy it more and it is more than I am making unemployed! ;)

Then as I was sitting on my bed doing some work in photoshop this is the sight I saw:


Two cat tails TOUCHING each other. While the peace didn't last too long, it was a welcome sign!

I hope that everyone is having an awesome week!!!

21 September 2008

what i've been up to...

I did not realize until today at the CTC Fall Picnic that it has been well over two weeks since I blogged. :( I knew it had been long but come on!

Here is the update:

I'm still trying to find a full time job. But have been sending out resumes and interviewing (a little). I got an email the first week of September from someone needing some web design and print design assistance. (Thanks Jen!!!) So I have been busy trying to fulfill his requests and began work on the multiple projects two weeks ago. In the midst of graphic design chaos, I had to throw together the last minute details for the ERC fundraising breakfast which went well and was fun except for the getting up at 5:30 am part.

I dont' have too much to say really because I've just been glued to my computer screen and cell phone trying to work out all the details of these rushed projects. If you are interested, have a look!

I also have to wrap another website that I started a few weeks ago as a proposal so hopefully I can get that done over the next few days. Additionally, I am finishing up a website for my parent's business.

I hope all is well with you bloggy friends! I have been trying to catch up on everyone's news so please forgive my no comment visits.

02 September 2008

so long...

I have been so caught up in this book I'm reading for bookclub I haven't been doing much else except reading! It is a really good book and I can't wait for bed tonight because I'm going to finish it for sure. In spite of reading over 250 pages the past three days, I got alot accomplished this weekend and had some fun too!

We had a belated bday party for Steve and hung out with fam. I cleaned and reorganized the linen closet, which I KNOW everyone is jealous about. Sorry, we all can't have such fun people! :P

Things are slow and steady in terms of finding a new job. Slower than I would like but I can't control everything, right?!

The cats aren't totally enemies, well at least Morris isn't. He thinks that Isabel is some play thing and she isn't so happy about that idea. Today Steve and I had to take them both to the vet. First of all, I have to say that I adore my vet, Dr. Ramsey! He is amazing and cares so much about our pets and is so helpful and supportive. If anyone is looking for a vet in the area email and I can give him a great recommendation!!!

I knew based on Morris' previous history with URI that Isabel was working on a decent one and as soon as Morris started sneezing and becoming even more snuggly than he usually is I knew he had succumbed too. So an hour and half and $158 later, they both have their meds and instructions and we began the hellacious routine tonight to get them both on the mend! Poor Isabel has eye drops, nose drops, pills and lysine gel to take once a day and Morris has liquid antibiotics and lysine as well. It is going to be a long 14 days but thankfully they only require doses once a day!

I'm still debating Portage Lakes this weekend. I don't know that I really should spend the extra money considering I'm without a full time job, but I'm disappointed to end the season already. I have a couple of more days to consider it! :)

Oh if everyone could keep bloggy friend Mike's brother in your thoughts and prayers (if you pray) I would appreciate it! Tomorrow (Sept 3rd) he is undergoing surgery!!! Good thoughts!!!!

I hope all you had WONDERFUL holiday weekends!!!

I just want to say a quick congrats to my friends, Rob, Charlie, and Jack! They completed the INKY this past Sunday!!! I was checking the laptop all day to check on their progress. Great jobs to you all!!! Also, we had tons more CTCers there, congrats!!!!!

28 August 2008

disappointment

I was just visiting one of my favorite daily reads, The Daily Coyote and noticed in the twitter something about a dog injury from a Four Paws toy. And since I haven't written a ranty post lately I figured it was time! :P

I often am very disappointed in the quality of products, not just toys but food and care products as well, that are produced and sold for pets. One example I have personally is trying to purchase cat toys WITHOUT catnip. Morris can't handle it. He gets crazy and nasty and remains that way for hours. So I don't like to buy anything with catnip in it. Have you ever tried to find out what exactly is in the toys your are buying?? It is nearly impossible to discern what has catnip and what doesn't. And if you can actually find someone that works in the store, they have no idea if it does or doesn't.

Often it seems to me that many of the companies that make animal products don't really care very much about the impact of the product. If they did we would not have the dog and cat food that we have and we would not have lost thousands of pets last year to poisoning. We as consumers need to be more aware of how the products are made, what goes in them and whose products we purchase.

This big fellow, Chai, was playing with a Four Paws Pimple Ball with Bell and got the ball lodged on his tongue. The suction grew worse and his person dad could not remove it. He rushed Chai to the vet and ultimately Chai's tongue had to be amputated. As a result, he has created a blog about Chai to warn others about the balls because he was not receiving the response he wanted from the company. Here is a quote from his blog:

"I sent this information along with the reference to Petunia the french bulldog to Four Paws Inc, and it is their position that there just aren’t enough instances to do anything about this. I told their Insurance company’s case manager that was not a good enough excuse, It was inferred that my dogs value wasn’t much and that his pain and suffering don’t count as he is just a piece of property."

I know that many people who don't have pets or have never had one, don't necessarily understand a pet owner's point of view. Similarly, they don't understand the importance of a pet and the love, companionship and joy that they bring into our lives. But to knowingly keep a product on the shelves that has harmed several dogs and killed at least one, is immoral. If one person's child is harmed by a product, even if it is a result of negligence on the part of the person supervising a child, the product is recalled. We have !Caution! !Extremely HOT! on coffee cups and now get lukewarm "hot" beverages because some genius placed the coffee cup between her thighs, spilled it and sued McDonalds because she was burned.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association 63% of all households have pets which equates to approximately 69 million households. Within that, Americans have approximately 73 million dogs, 90 million cats, 139 million freshwater fish, 9 million saltwater fish, 16 million birds, 18 million small animals and 11 million reptiles. Like many things in this country, people are accepting status quo because they either don't realize they can make a difference or feel like they can't make an impact.

Please take time today to check the toys you have for your pets and remove any Four Paws products. It may seem extreme, but if one product is bad how can we trust that any of the other products aren't dangerous?

25 August 2008

Lorain Triathlon - 8/24/08 - how NOT to eat shot blocs!

A few months ago I volunteered for a tri in Lorain with NCN racing. I had worked the run aid station and listened to MANY complaints about the course. Either it wasn't marked well enough or it was hard or both. Some complained about the bike as well. So when I cashed my volunteer race voucher in for the tri this past Sunday I knew what I was in for. :)

I had checked out the course maps online on Saturday afternoon to make sure I had some idea where I was going. In all of the races I've done, (all 3 :P ) the first I had a part in T1 so there wasn't anyone to follow out on the bike, the second I took forever to "run" a mile and there wasn't anyone to follow on the bike so this one I was preparing for being alone on the ride.

I got up early after getting in a few hours of sleep the night before. Got all of my stuff together and Steve and I were out the door by 6:25am. I got all the way to Lorain and made my left onto Erie to catch the bridge. But the bridge was closed!!! There wasn't anything on the website indicating that the bridge was closed. :( I saw several others approaching the bridge as I was turning around searching for an alternate path. I finally made it to the race site around 7:30am.
We did the typical unloading and tire checking and then walked up to the transition area and I headed over to the registration table. After getting marked and forgetting to get my chip I headed over to transition where I met up with Sara and later saw JenC. It is always nice to see smiling and familiar faces.

My BS was kind of low when I got up that am (74) so I had wanted to check again before the race. But with only about 20 mins to spare, I figured that I should get things together and head down to the beach to fill up my bucket and get in line for the swim. I almost forgot my goggles!! so I had to turn back for those.

As I was standing with my CTC chicas on the beach I realized that I hadn't had any sport beans. I always down a pack of sport beans pre-race so that by the time I hit the bike they kick in and the extra carbs help push me along. I have to refuel more frequently that others because of how my body works (or doesn't! ;) ) and I haven't mastered taking in fuel on the bike, plus to have fuel for the bike I need to consume it at least 20 minutes before.

I start the swim and it feels like my timing bracelet is falling off of my ankle. So I stop and reattach it and get moving. The swim was good. I felt a little more tired than usual and really pulled with my arms. The waves were a bit bigger than I had expected so I just tried to go with it.

I was trying to make myself do as much freestyle as I could so I was working harder than my last tri swim. But all in all it felt good. I came out of the water and walked up the beach. I was trying to get my heart rate under control and running up the beach and then hill to T1 wasn't going to do that.

S: 15:52.25

T1 is still a struggle for me to get through quickly. I realized at this point that if I didn't eat something I probably wouldn't be able to finish the race. I grabbed a pack of shot blocs and ripped it open. I hate having the shot blocs all over my teeth forever after I eat them so I have begun biting them in half and swallowing the half whole. This day I decided that one really wasn't that big and I could probably swallow it whole. HA!!! BIG MISTAKE. I grab one throw it in my mouth with a big gulp of water and swallow. The sticky bloc quickly gets lodged deep in my throat. I start swallowing hard and realize that it truly is stuck. I don't think I've ever been choking before. In my head I think, "Ok stay calm! keep trying to drink and swallow. they are sugar, eventually it will start to dissolve." I also was reassured because the ambulance wasn't that far from me so I could always get help if I needed it. I started to feel breathing constriction and just kept drinking and swallowing. Finally, it broke free and I could breathe. Success!!!

I took a minute to breathe and relax some and then I threw on my shoes, helmet and sunglasses and started walking over to the exit.

T1: 06:05.45

The bike was decent. I felt tired and I was really struggling for the first 5 miles or so. Once the shot blocs started to kick in I could feel a change in my legs and I felt like I had more energy. There is one really steep hill which unfortunately isn't as steep on the way down. I was also a bit confused because I had remembered that for the sprint course you took all rights, but my first turn was a left so I started to get a bit confused. All in all the bike went well. I wish I had been faster on the first few miles but I was happy with my performance and time for the length of the course (14.3miles).

I still haven't mastered shifting. I set my bike up on my trainer today and watched the gears move as I shifted. I thought that if I pushed my shifter in all the way once my rear deraileur would move all the way to the top. Silly me! I didn't realize that I had to push three times. Yesterday, I was getting super frustrated because all the gears I could find were either too easy or too hard. Because I was only shifting between 5 gears, not ten. So next race hopefully I will figure this out! :)

B: 1:02:50.25

As I returned to transition I saw Steve standing on the side of the road and he started clapping. I got back to transition and walked over to my spot. He eventually made his way over and asked if I was going to run or walk the run. I was beat and the humidity was taking its toll. I knew that running would kick my heart rate up higher and probably not get me to the end any quicker than walking.

T2: 03:41.75

So I set out on the run in a light jog and then Steve met up with me near the car and we started walking. I was walking pretty fast so he was lagging back a bit because he hadn't had any breakfast and was super hot and thirsty. He stuck to the outside of the course and we chatted back and forth a bit.

It was mostly all in the sun and the humidity was really getting to me. I just kept a steady pace, determined to finish. I will say that this was probably the hardest run for me so far. When I woke up that morning, I had no desire to do the race. Everything kept going wrong and then the bridge incident plus waking up on the wrong side of the bed, I wasn't even confident that I would finish honestly. I went into the race thinking, just go and enjoy it and when it starts to really really suck you can stop if you want.

R: 55:13.40

total: 2:23:43.10

Having Steve shadowing me and chatting really helped get me to the end. I'm glad that I finished but I don't think I will do this one again. I hate being critical of RDs or races, especially when it was free for me, but I just didn't feel like things were very organized. The only support for directions on the bike course was the Lorain PD. They were awesome and cheering for people but I was surprised there weren't any volunteers on the course. Also, the only time you saw a sign on the course was at the actual turn. I often was slowing up at intersections to read the small street signs to see if this was one of the streets I was supposed to turn at. I was kind of annoyed that no mention of the bridge being closed was on the website or that an email wasn't sent out. Apparently, the bridge reconstruction was in the PD but I don't often read that paper so I had no idea until I got there. The fact that I saw 5 other cars on the way to the race going the wrong way means that I'm not the only one who didn't know.

Great job to all the CTCers that were there!!!! We had a great showing of participants and volunteers!!!

24 August 2008

eating my words......

Things started to take a change with Isabel on Friday. We have decided that we just need to be more supportive and give her some more time. Yesterday we bought a few baby gates and stacked them so we can open the door to Steve's room and Isabel and Morris can see each other and talk and poke through the gates.

Things are moving along, slowly but surely and they both are starting to feel like things are good with another cat around. :) Obviously, it will continue to take time as we introduce two adult cats who are used to very different circumstances.

So for now, Isabel stays! Yeah! :) I didn't want to send her back to the rescue.

I'm off to bed after a long race and then a long afternoon with family and friends. Race report will be coming soon! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend!!!

22 August 2008

weekend prep!

Sunday I have the Lorain Tri! I looked at the course map today so I knew where I was going. I worked another tri in Lorain (same course I believe) a few months ago and had alot of complaints about the course not being marked or difficult to follow. I totally understand that sort of frustration but I also think that we have to check things out beforehand so we are informed racers!!! Just to be safe, I'm going to print out directions for the bike and ziptie them to my bike so I don't get lost. I need every minute I can get people! :P

Here are the stats for the bike:




Here are the stats for the run:



OUCH!!!

Hopefully things won't be too bad! I'm also hoping that it isn't a terribly humid weekend. (fingers crossed)

So tomorrow, I get a new dryer. Hopefully, I was specific enough about what I need that I get the same thing I have now. The fridge was such a disappointment, a slap in the face really. June would never have bought something like that. It isn't practical; it is sooo small! There is so much money left in the estate, why scrimp on something as necessary as a fridge? I digress! More finger crossing for a good dryer with multiple temperature settings. I mean that isn't too much to ask!

Then my neighbors invited us for a cookout on Saturday evening! Dana and JT moved in a few months after I did. They have two adorable little girls that are always pretty much full of giggles and smiles so that should be fun! :)

Sunday I have the tri (EARLY) and then Steve and I will return home, shower and head over to my friend Chrissy's house for a BBQ. Her parents are coming as well as mine and my gram. It will be nice to see my nephew Jak, since I haven't seen him since June. Little ones grow soooo fast!

Steve is going to the NIN concert tonight and mom wants to do dinner. I have to do some things for work this afternoon and I figure I can wash all my race stuff that is hang dry today so I can pack everything up tonight. I just feel better on race morning when everything is in my bag! :)

Enjoy the weekend everyone!!!

21 August 2008

learning and growing

Yesterday I spoke to the woman from the rescue where we got Isabel. She was very disappointed in us. I truly believe that Isabel needs more than we can give her right now. She has experienced a significant amount of change (aka trauma) over the past 4-6 weeks and I really think that a single cat home would be best for her. I called the rescue this morning and left a message asking her to call me back. It is a heartbreaking decision to make but I think it is best for her and us.

Now Steve wants to get a kitten. I think I need to talk to him more about what to expect. He seemed to think, regardless of all of my warnings, that this transition would go more smoothly for her. I will say that I'm incredibly surprised by Morris' progress. The first few days were kind of difficult but after about 5 days he started to become more interested in her and seemed curious and excited to be making a new friend.

I'm not someone who gives up - on anything - so this is a difficult thing for me to do. Giving her back is the right thing though. The decision wasn't completely mine because she is Steve's cat. He realized that she needed more nurturing and attention than he was able to provide. She has alot of healing to do and needs to be the companion of someone who has more experience with that. It makes me sad but we have learned alot from this and hopefully Steve will bounce back and find the perfect kitty for him!

18 August 2008

animal adventures

Things with the new cat aren't going so well. :( She pretty much HATES Morris and being confined in one room. I can understand the confinement but not the other issue; I mean she was with seven other cats and I know at least one was a male. I don't know! Obviously we will have to wait and see.


Tonight after another cat "bonding" session I was getting ready for bed and went looking for Morris. I found him in the living room half under the couch. He often "hides" but forgets to hide his whole self. So I tried to figure out what he was doing. I went to pick him up and he scurried under the couch to the other side. So I knelt down on the floor and looked under the couch from behind it. There was one of the toss pillows under the couch in between us. He was staring at it intently and I noticed something fuzzy on top of it. I thought it was one of his toys so I tipped the pillow towards him and all of a sudden this thing flies out from under the couch and right in front of my face and starts flying around in circles!!!

I started screaming and ran into the hallway and started screaming for Steve to get up, that there was a bat in the house!!! Yep' that's right a B.A.T!!!!

He was all confused and I recounted my story like this:

"Ssstteevvee IwastryingtogetMorristogotobedandtherewasthisthingunderthecouch (deep breath) anditstartedflyingincirclesandididn'tknowwhattodo (deep breath) andandandthere'sa!baaaaat!!!"

He looked kind of confused and then he saw it and started freaking out (this kid calls me to kill spiders). Then he was like where is Morris and I said in the living room and then I thought of how bats can have rabis and he could bite Morris and then I would have to put him to sleep. (Cut me some slack people, you try not being overdramatic when you have a bat circling the dining room and living room at midnight on a Sunday!)

So Steve grabbed his carrier and I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a bag of his treats and started shaking the bag and calling him. Thank god Morris loves his greenies more than chasing a bat!

So we grabbed Morris and the phone and went in the hall. I called my mom hysterical and recounted the story this time without breathing and then of course started crying cuz what else is there really to do at that point!

I have dealt with getting rid of bats before but that was in the day time and in North Carolina. So I was pretty sure that I couldn't catch the bat with only a broom. Oh and here is my mother, "Don't you have some kind of net?"

"Oh yeah mom, I'll just grab my trusty butterfly net!!!"

So she finally calms me down and gets me some 24 hour exterminators. I was finally able to get one of them and about an hour later the critter man came and caught the bat.

Thank.god!!!!!

Currently, I believe we are bat free and hopefully we can stay that way! Who knew Cleveland Heights had such friendly bats?!

14 August 2008

this is a test

The other night I realized I needed a BUNCH of things for Morris. The cat store that I usually go to was closed by this time so I had to run up to Petco instead. This store usually has cats from the APL or other shelters that they are trying to adopt out. So we usually check them out on the rare occasions we are there. As we approached the cages, this little orange and white cat started crying and reaching through the cage. I asked the lady that was feeding them if I could take her out. She instantly started purring and was just so cute. Not cute enough that I wanted her or anything but super cute! (I don't really want anymore cats!)

So my brother was standing there and he gets all smiles and is petting her and just so in love. And then it happened, "Can I get her?!" I didn't know what to say at first. I wanted to be like "HELL NO!" So I listened to his pleas and attempts at logic and said ok. I filled out the application and told him that we would have to talk to the rescue group she was from and that if her and Morris could get along and he took care of her than it would be ok.

Steve has been wanting to get a pet for a while now and I've been mulling the idea over. He definitely can't get a dog because he isn't home enough and it is soooo much responsibility. So we have had a few conversations about the cat (who is already named) I told him honestly how I felt and what my concerns were. There is already a waiting list for her so I knew that if we didn't take her she wouldn't have to wait long for a new home.

Tuesday evening I got a message from the rescue group letting me know that Casey's people mom was dying from stage 4 breast cancer and that she had to give up her animals because she was preparing to go to hospice in a few weeks. My heart just broke. I was the one who held Max as June said her goodbyes before she went into the hospital. I can't imagine how hard it must be to give up your beloved animals.

I still was feeling uneasy about the whole thing and how Morris would adjust, that I don't really care for cats (except my cat of course), if Steve really would be able to care for her, the extra expense after just being laid off, etc. etc. So we have discussed it length and the rescue people were awesome about giving me info on how to slowly introduce her into our house, more importantly Morris' house! ;)

Today Steve is going to pick up his first pet. I'm worried but I think this might be a great learning experience for all of us. This is the biggest responsibility he has ever had! I'm so worried that he isn't going to take it seriously. But I think I have to let him try it at least. How can you grow and become more responsible if you aren't given the opportunity?

I think it will be good for Morris too. He has been the King of the castle for almost 5 years now and because of his very poor condition when I found him, has always been very attached to me. I have been wanting a dog for a while now and maybe having a new cat sister will help ease him into cohabiting with other pets. Plus, I always feel like he gets soooo lonely when I'm gone for a long day! Now he will have a playmate. A MUCH smaller playmate, which is another concern but I guess I have to let it go and see what happens.

Here are some pics from the shelters website of Casey aka Isabelle:





She is soooo little compared to the giant that Morris is. She can't possibly weigh more than 5-7 pounds! She is around 3 years old and a long hair (yuck!) with a very sweet disposition. Apparently, 90% of all orange cats are males so that makes her more unique!

Wish us all luck! I have a feeling we are going to need it, badly!!!

12 August 2008

GCT 2008 Part 3: My T1 PR!

I started the 'swim/run' at the back of the pack. I had no real expectations that I was going to run very fast (or very much! :P). So I hung back and walked most of it.

I got into T1 and thought of everyone who had reminded me to PR in T1 today. :) I grabbed some water (cuz I still haven't mastered DWC [drinking while cycling] ) and changed my shoes. Like Jack, I was having some clip issues but finally got going.

The bike was challenging for sure. Once I got out of the park, I saw my crazy ladies, Beth, Melissa and Elizabeth jumping up and down and yelling like crazy! I couldn't help but laugh, shake my head and smile! :) Because there were 4 distances, I had all different levels of athletes on the course with me. Everyone was really nice and encouraging as they passed. Just before the first big hill, Amie came around me and we exchanged hellos.

I was really unsure of this ride. I had wanted to ride the course once before the race and didn't have a chance. I'm kind of glad I didn't because I don't know if I would have had the guts to follow through with the race. The course overall was challenging; the hills were steep in some spots and the concrete was not kind to my lady parts AT ALL! I in fact thought that when I got off my bike that my vag was going to fall off, seriously!

I only had a few run ins with unkind cars; one that honked at myself and four other cyclists while trying to run us off the road. I did have some weird run ins with other participants. Knowing that I'm a slower cyclist, I stuck as close to the cones as I could so I wasn't int he way. On my way back down Heisley, I heard this woman yell, "On your right! Right, right!" And I started moving right because we are supposed to pass on the left. Then I realized what I was doing and quickly veered left to get out of her way. No sooner was I left and instantly, I heard, "On your left!!!" I was being passed by a pack of 5 riders and instead of them all passing on the left they split around me sending two of the cyclists off the course and into the road and the other three passing on my left in a group. The guys on my left were two abreast with one following them. It was very weird and disorienting.

I was feeling pretty good throughout the ride until I got to the aide station on my way back into the park. I hardly coasted on this course because there was very few areas that were flat for a long period of time. Once I got back on Heisley the wind was really getting stronger and I kept as low as I could (wishing I had aerobars most of the time). On the straight aways I could coast for a bit and when I do, it is just my nature to extend my right leg. As I passed the aide station, I started feeling this knot growing just behind my knee at the top of my calf. I kept extending my left leg, pushing my heel down as far as I could but I couldn't get it to loosen up.

I made my way back into the park and saw my mom and my crazy cheering squad! Those girls are seriously the best and the nuttiest! :)

I got off my bike and the minute my left foot touched the ground, I felt a pain that started at my heel and traveled all the way up to my hip. I walked into T2 changed my shoes, put on my visor and grabbed my water bottle. As I racked my bike, I got my rear derailuer stuck in the front tire of the bike next to mine. So that took some time to maneuver before I could leave.

As I went out the course I saw Rob Reddy and Pam which is always nice to see smiling faces. I did a pretty good walk/run combo for the first mile. My left leg was killing me so I kept stopping at all of the fence posts to stretch. I got to the turn around and made my way back in. I attempted to the the walk/run but spent most of my time walking. As I made my way back into the park, there was this loud cheering and clapping. You guessed it! There were my ladies running towards me! They asked how I was doing and gave some great advice and encouragement. I saw Paul and Aimee near the end of my run and both looked great!

Mom met me just near the shoot and I ran (running limp) into the finish. I was greeted by Cat and chatted with her for a bit.

After I changed and grabbed some gatorade, I got to chat with Jen and Matt C, JT, Nancy, Paul, Charlie and so many others! It was such a great race and Mickey and Pam along with all of the volunteers worked so hard to make it great! Congrats to all the CTCers that were out there this weekend and many thanks to all who helped out!!!

R(S): 16:46
T1: 4:52
B: 58:59
T2: 3:36
R: 56:04

total: 2:20.17

max speed: 20.6
avg speed: 12.5
5k pace: 18:02 (my slowest ever! :( )

11 August 2008

GCT 2008 Part 2: My 1st Duathlon

"The swim's been canceled!"

After all the talk on the forum lately (as a result of Steelhead's swim cancellation), I thought he was joking at first. Maybe I just hoped he was joking.

I said, "You're kidding right!?"

"Nope. Coast Guard canceled the swim."

MAJOR BUMMER!!!!

The decision was the right one, just not in my favor or the one that I wanted. I grew up on Lake Erie. My grandfather always had boats and as a result I spent my summers out on Lake Erie. I have seen a great day go to hell in a few minutes. Lake Erie has power that many overlook and on a day like yesterday, even the strongest swimmers would have struggled. I knew if I had been out there I would have spent more time trying to swim back to my line than actually swimming forward on the course. The under tow was strong, the waves were at least 3-5 and the caps were plentiful.

For anyone new to my blog or who doesn't know me, running is my least favorite thing to do. As result, it is the thing I 'practice' the least. In fact, until yesterday, I haven't been running in at least two weeks. And believe me it shows. However, I love the swim and the bike and am much better at those as a result. Plus, nothing warms up my muscles and joints better than a great swim.

Since I was already feeling tight and twingy in my back, I knew that the 1 mile run wasn't going to do much to help me today.

I unpacked my transition bag and grabbed all my swim related things and threw them on the backseat. I checked my tires and headed off for body marking.

Because the swim was canceled, the sprint would do a 1 mile run, 12 mile bike and 5 k run. Unfortunately, we didn't start til 8:30am. I got to chat with friends (Melissa, Beth, Amie, Janet, Brandon, Paul, Julia, Nancy and others) and hug JenC before it all began! Then I sat on the ground and stretched and cheered for everyone as they left.

Everyone looked great on his/her way out! Janet, as always looked strong and ready to tackle the bike and JenC's new ride is waaaaay hotter in person!

Jack ran into some trouble with his cleats which delayed his bike for some time. Finally, he got things under control and was off. He still did a great job in spite of the snafu!

At 8:15am they called everyone over to begin the run!

GCT 2008 Part 1: Weekend begins with tummy troubles and cold weather

Yesterday was the GCT! This weekend was sooooo much fun; exhausting but fun. Saturday morning I woke up around 4:30am and had a quick breakfast, jumped in the shower and started to get ready to head over to the GCT Youth Tri. I was good till about 5:15am. Then I got super super sick and thought I was NEVER going to make it to the Youth Tri! :( Finally, around 7:00am my stomach started to settle down and I threw on some clothes, stopped for gas and made my way over to Mentor.

The Youth Tri was awesome and soo much fun to watch! All of the kids did great and worked so hard!

After the Youth Tri, I stuck around and helped with packet pick up. That was super fun, because I got to see lots of people I haven't seen in a while.

Saturday night, I didn't get much sleep. I had only had about 4 hours the night before so I took a nap around 4:30pm for an hour and 15mins. Then I got up and started getting my stuff together for the next day. Did some laundry, watched the olympics for a bit, the weather (I knew the cold front was going to have some major effects on race day, but still was hoping for the best!) and finally got in bed around 12:30am. Around 1am I woke up feeling tight through my hamstring. I knew wearing my dumb crocs wasn't the best idea with a race the next day, but I didn't think that standing around for 6 hours would really be an issue. I would have worn my running shoes, but I didn't want to get them FULL of sand the day before a race!

I got up and went in the living room to stretch and use the foam roller on my back, hamstring and IT. 20 minutes later I was back in bed. I woke up around 4:45am and totally didn't want to get out of bed. I had everything ready to go but was a bit nervous. In the short time that I did sleep I had a dream that I got all the way to the race and when I got to transition realized that I had forgotten my bike at home! :( So needless to say, I was double checking EVERYTHING to make sure I didn't forget a thing! ;)

Mom and I made our way to Mentor and found a place to park. I started unloading my stuff from the car: transition bag, bucket, bike pump, bike. There was a buzz in air; I could tell that while everyone was groggy people were still pumped!

I saw Ben Miralia walking down our aisle and heard the words that I had been dreading since seeing the lake the day before.......

05 August 2008

and the winner is...

C!!! ok so only four votes but still! ;)

So here is the deal, course A is the GCT sprint course that I have to ride this weekend. B is the Fairport Harbor course that I did a few weeks ago and I only remember one small small hill. And C is the ride I did this Sunday, which was supposed to be longer but I got too tired and I wasn't hydrated enough and I haven't been eating right or testing! My brother wasn't thrilled when I told him I was turning around, but such is life.

And yes that hill at the end is a killer and I got about half way and was around 9-11mph and felt like I might die so I said screw this! I turned around went back to the bottom unclipped and proceeded to walk up the bridle trail that runs next to the road. Which by the way was not fun because A. who knew they paved the bridle trails in concrete!?! and B. the dirt that HAD been over it was now all shifted and packed to the sides creating this narrow valley in which I had to maneuver my stupid shoes (the hatred continues) and my bike. No fun, but I guess I felt a little better about it than tackling the hill at the end of my ride! :)

All this hilliness kind of got me worried for the race this weekend. I don't expect all tris to be easy, but I guess I was hoping for a more flat course like Fairport. ;) I will do what I can and walk if I have to. Hopefully, I will feel invincible like my last tri and I won't even notice the hills! :) Also, I had very little problems with my clips at the race but Sunday I just couldn't seem to get the right one in. I think there was some psych out going on too because of the major intersections I had to cross. All of them were only two way stops and the speed limit on the roads is 35 but people tend to do 40-45.

I'm hoping that I can at least get half of the course in before Sunday. I'm only working one job now so I have more free time (a la two blog posts in less than 12 hours) so hopefully I can fit it in. May days this week are pretty chopped up though. Meetings around 9am then nothing again till 3pm, work until 8pm. I'm think that if I can get out of my meeting early tomorrow am, I can swing by the house and zoom out to Mentor, ride and then zoom home by 3pm.

Tonight I have a swim on tap after pilates. Just in the pool though. :( I have no swimming partner for OWS, plus I would be able to get to the lake until 7:30-7:45pm. *sigh* Ok I'm off to do some laundry and write a few cover letters. I know you are all super jealous! ;)

what's your vote?

Of the following, which bike course looks the most difficult, factoring in elevation only???

A.
B.

C.


Two of the courses up here I have completed. One is an upcoming race I have and I just looked at the map today but I haven't ridden the course yet. I'm a bit freaked out!

So bloggy friends, which one is the killer course???

03 August 2008

Burning River 100 Miler

First, I want to thank everyone for so many positive responses on my last post. I wasn't sure how it would be received so I was pleasantly surprised! :)

Last night Steve and I went down to the Boston Store to volunteer for the aide station at the Burning River 100 Miler. We worked the last shift. It was Steve's first time volunteering at any sort of race event and he really enjoyed himself so hopefully he will think of doing it again! :)

The weather was wonderful!!! The rain we had the night before brought a ton of bugs out though so we were all spraying the bug spray and sticking close to the torches.

My friend Melissa was a participant. At 11:15 I had lost communication with Beth and couldn't find out if where Mel was or how she was doing. We had quite a few people drop and I was sooooo worried that the darkness would dampen her spirit. When I finally got home, I rushed to my laptop to see where she was. The site showed her up to 85 - that made me exhale a huge sigh of relief. Beth texted me a couple of times throughout the night. I left my phone next to my bed so I would wake up from any incoming messages. And then this morning, I got the news that she had finished!!!!!

Congrats Mel I'm sooooo proud of you!!!!! :)

ESpeed was our aide station captain and Laura was also helping to keep order. These two gals did such an amazing job!!! ESpeed was running around making sure that all was well and that things were running smoothly!

Congrats to all the participants! Regardless of your times or finishing, you all did an amazing job! This is really such an unbelievable undertaking! Be proud of your training and your efforts yesterday and today!!!

Now I'm off for a ride and then to the parents' house for dinner! Friday was my last day at ESI. I know they will be calling (frequently) for things but it was still kind of sad to close a two year period. I hadn't always loved every aspect of my job but I did like the people I worked with. Tomorrow, I have the handy man coming because I was having outlet problems Saturday! I thought for sure there was about to be a fire!!!

I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed the great weather!!!

31 July 2008

Perspective

I know this sounds cliche, but seriously life is all about perspective. I always tell my brother that when he starts to bitch about things that aren't the way he thinks they should be etc. I really believe that we have a choice in life; well many choices but overall we can decide what life is going to be like. You can be happy if you choose to be happy. In spite of all the bullshit, you can truly make the best of things and maintain a generally sunny outlook. I think it does wonders for your state of mind. However, dwelling on the shitty things that have happened to you over time doesn't really get you anywhere - except more unhappy.

Two weeks ago, I woke up and felt overwhelmingly content. Just satisfied. Of course there are things that I would change if I had a magic wand, but in general I just felt so good about where I am in life right now. Two days later I found out I wouldn't have a job at the end of the month. You know what? That didn't change how I felt.

Charlie asked me the other day if I really spent close to a half hour in T1. Yes! I did! FOR REAL. lol We both just laughed. My goal wasn't to break any records or kill myself on the race but to enjoy every minute of it. Just soak it in and have a blast! And I did. All 2 hours and 33 minutes of it! ;)

For the most part, the people that I've met from the tri club, racing and blogging are very welcoming and just all around great supportive people. I feel so so lucky to have them in my life and I know the friends that I've made as a result are ones that I will have forever.

That said, there are quite a few people that sometimes let the competition get the better of themselves. I remember this past winter. I was at the Chili Bowl. Charlie and I were stretching and getting ready for the race. Janet popped by and said hello and we wished each other well. Then someone came up who I had never met before. We chatted with Janet and then she went on to her warm up. He looked at me and said what is your goal for today. I laughed a little and said that I would be happy with a 13-15 min pace. Instantly, he said WHAT!?! that is sooo slow! I'm definitely going to be faster than that. I just smiled and said well good for you, I hope you have a great race! He kind of shook his head and went on his way.

The Chili Bowl was my first race after my hip flexor injury. I didn't have any great expectations for that day other than just racing and having fun. I knew that my hip would probably bother me and that I would end walking most of it. However, I didn't care. I was there and I was doing what I could and I was finishing. That's all that mattered.

This is just one example of either comments made directly to me or things I've heard people say about others. When I hear statements about people walking during races or rides, or using what is considered to be an easier gear or swimming without perfect form and struggling, I get a little disappointed. The whole point of triathlon is to compete with yourself. To love every minute and see how far you can push yourself, becoming better every time. Every race I do is MY race. I do it the way that feels best for ME. Because, God willing, there will always be another day and another race.

I think of how lucky I am to even have the opportunity to participate. How even though I might not be in perfect shape, my body works and I CAN test that. We are all works in progress, that is what life is all about. Growing and becoming more than what you are today.

I can physically, emotionally and mentally push myself to go places I've never been and see what I can accomplish. It is a feeling like no other I've experienced.

When I volunteered at the Rite Aid marathon this year, I got to see something I had never seen before, up close and personal. It was dreary and rainy and cold. We were setting up the cups, preparing for the runners. Suddenly, Monica said, "Oh oh here come the wheelchair racers." We both stopped and watched and cheered as they went by. I remember looking at her both of us with tears in our eyes. I had so much emotion, even today, I felt so proud of them. They didn't give up. They were still racing even though their legs weren't the mechanism propelling them forward. It was one of the most inspirational things I've ever seen.

Please remember as you embark on your journey, that it is YOUR journey. You might share it with someone but ultimately all that matters is how you are traveling. Be kind to others and you will find the same kindness throughout your journey. Only measure yourself against your actions and goals, not the actions and goals of others. Make sure that at the end of each day you are thankful for that day and you are happy to wake up with yourself the next morning.

Keep perspective and you will have light shoulders and an open heart.

27 July 2008

Fairport Harbor Race Report

aka TRANSITION IS NOT A PARTY

or

aka DON'T DICK AROUND IN TRANSITION

or

aka PRETTY MUCH BEST DAY EVER

__________________________________________________________________

I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post! I had too much fun today not to write about all of it!!!

Last night I spent several hours preparing my bag for the following day's festivities. I'm one of those people that likes to be prepared. Whenever I go on a trip, I bring two pairs of underwear for each day and then throw in four more. I'm just always worried that I will need something and not have it. Soooo, I packed all sorts of stuff that I might want or need just in case.

I got up early enough and then of course had a few delays that were annoying so I don't need to go into the details, plus I'm over them now! As a result, I was running late (I know, SHOCKER!). I got there just in time!!! 7:55am to be exact.

As I was heading towards the water I saw JenC and her friend Hallie. She asked me to keep an eye on her at the start so we waded in the water and I chatted her up a bit. Then we ran into Beth and the three of us chatted till it was time to begin.

the SWIM
Things went better than I expected. (sshhhh, I haven't been swimming - pool or OW - for over two weeks!) As I was getting out of the water my watch said around 20 mins so I was pleasantly surprised! I'm not sure I would say it was harder than I expected, more like around what I thought it would be like. I had to rest more than I'd care to admit and doing a modified backstroke saved me ALOT of time for sure. I had a boat ask if I was ok and I instantly thought of Matt C's quote: "I'm not drowning, that's just my backstroke." I couldn't help but smile! :)

T1
Here is where things get a little well, totally weird and totally me. I was so excited that I was doing my first tri and that I had made it in time and that the swim wasn't nearly as bad as what I had prepared myself for so I kind of lost track of time. I went to the bathroom because I had to pee SOOOO bad!!! Sat down and chatted with my 'fan club' aka mom and gram, had some sport beans and a ton of water and then all of a sudden I realized that there weren't any bikes left in the transition area!!! WHAT!?!

the BIKE
My last encounter with the hill at High Street had me slipping, falling and landing on the ground. I totally did NOT want a repeat with all the crowd support. So I walked from the transition area up the hill. When I got to the top I waited for a few cyclists to come in and then the woman looked at me and said, "Wait are you in the race!?" I just laughed and got on my bike.

I couldn't believe how great I felt! I was trying to remind myself not to start off too fast, which I ALWAYS have a tendency to do regardless of event. I got to see some of my gals coming in off the bike which was great. I felt awesome the ENTIRE ride. I was shocked and surprised and thrilled. :) The bike was about 50 mins total (including walking up hill). My avg speed was 13mph and my max was 20.6mph, my best speeds EVER! I caught up with 3 or 4 people and passed them. One of the guys I passed I saw just before the turn around. He had already gone through the turn around and I passed him on my into the turn around. As I caught up with him, I said hi and great job and passed. I was about 5 bike lengths ahead and I heard him exclaim, "C'mon, you've got be kidding me!!"

T2
I came in off the bike feeling strong but tight through my hamstring. I grabbed one of my water bottles and changed my socks, threw on my shoes and went. I was at 1:39 when I left.

the RUN
I walked up the hill and my legs were feeling tight. I figured that if I did run, I probably wouldn't be any faster than if I walked. So I just walked at a good pace and enjoyed the day. This young kid I passed that was struggling with his mountain bike caught up with me about 15 mins into the run(walk) then the man that I passed caught me around 25 mins in. I just kept up the walking and tried to stretch out some.

I seriously had such a GREAT day. Things went better than I expected. I learned alot and enjoyed every minutes of my day. I was able to check my HRM and BS, although I would have liked to check in each transition, and tried to make sure I was keeping things in check.

Here is the breakdown:
SWIM: 20:00
T1: 27:30
BIKE: 50:00
T2: 1:30
RUN: 55:00
total: 2:34.51

BS prerace: 97
BS postrace: 98

HR avg: 163
HR max: 180
cal: 3691

bike avg: 13.0mph
bike max: 20.6mph

GREAT JOB TO ALL THE CTCERs THAT WERE OUT THERE TODAY (JenC, Beth, Adam, MattC, JT, etc.)

22 July 2008

on your LEFT, no the other left

After a very hot and very long week, I was looking forward to the weekend; which in fact turned out to be just as hot and long! Steve's grad party was Sunday so we were prepping for that all weekend and the day was spent running around trying to make sure everything was done and all the guests were happy. We finally got home around 10:30pm.

Last night Steve and I rode the path at Euclid Creek. It was fun except for a few things. I only got in about 5.5 miles because after walking up the giant hill, I was faced with another small hill and was thinking that I couldn't do anymore hills!

So we were riding along and I swear, everybody and their brother was out last night. I mean seriously you'd think they were giving out free stuff or something!

After my frustration of conceding to the hill (without trying for fear of falling over), I stopped at the top and had some water and caught my breath. We rode up a bit further did one smallish hill and turned around. Steve is always concerned that I will fall and spends a ton of time looking over his shoulder. I told him to go ahead that I would be fine and to look AHEAD!

I left myself get up to 18 mphs and I had to slow down a bit. The hill is pretty steep so I was just coasting for some time with light pressure on the brakes to maintain 18mphs. It was pretty funny because I felt like all I did on the last mile or so was coast because of the momentum from the hill. I was trying to make my presence known without being too obnoxious so I would just let all the walkers know that I was coming and then thank them for moving.

Everything was fine until I caught up with these three kids.

The oldest was probably around 12 and then there was a little girl (?) around 5 and then a boy around 9 or 10. So I say, "on your left" and she moves all the way to left and stands there. Then the boy who has this huge stick (like 5 feet tall) is on the right. So I try to split the difference and ride in the center. As I move to the center so does he! Seriously, I slam on the brakes and am almost at a complete standstill with him inches from my front tire. I didn't really know what to do. I mean I'm clipped in and going pretty fast and he is just standing there like a deer in head lights!!! So I seriously thought I was going to hit him. Finally, at the last possible minute, he jumps out of the way and I kept going.

As I continued, I thought about how things would have played out if I had hit him. I mean how do the police handle something like that. I could just see it on the front page of the Plain Dealer, "Boy killed by over-zealous cyclist; charged with vehicular homicide."

As I continued, I kept up my notifications and one group of older women responded in a way that made me go, "Hmmmm." As I passed I said excuse me and thank you and they said, "No problem, thanks for letting us know you were there!!!"

Obviously, we all know who they were referring to. So as I caught up with Steve, I recounted my almost crashing and killing a kid story and then said, "Have you been practicing good cycling etiquette??"

He looked at me sideways and stumbled a bit and said, "Um, yeah, why?" I told him what the ladies had said and he looked at the ground for a minute and said that he thought he had been good at notifying everyone that needed to move. Suuuuuurrreee! ;)

All in all it was a good ride. I practiced going fast and not getting scared AND I practiced shifting which I think I'm finally getting the hang of! Oh and I was clipped in on both feet and didn't fall! :)

Baby steps!!!

18 July 2008

blink

Things have been crazy for me lately and not in a necessarily good way. It is a long story but to sum it up, I'm getting laid off at the end of the month. So as a result I've had to change things up a bit in terms of my expected season of sorts. I'm pretty sure that this means Great Lakes Escape is out. I just can't plan on the entrance fee, accommodations and purchasing a wetsuit right now. :( So I'm bummed but what can you do right?! I will do Lighthouse and GCT and see if I can fit one more in before the snow falls.

I'm not opposed to change I just feel uneasy about the uncertainty. I know things will work out in the end and remind myself that I don't have to have an answer for everything, that some things just are and we have to adapt. Obviously, I'm back to a full force job hunt but there aren't alot of prospects right now in my field. I'm hoping I can increase my hours at the tutoring center but that still won't bring me up to where I'm at now in terms of a paycheck. Thankfully I still have two more paychecks from due to me! :)

In other news I saw the coolest thing last night. Something I haven't seen in a long time. And it served as a reminder.

I'm warning all you bug people now that it relates to a creepy crawly-ish thing. So I was outside at like 11pm and I was walking down this little path on the side of the house to grab some of the Fresh Stop stuff to put in the basement and I saw this.

I know what you are thinking, WTF? Right? Well it was a huge garden slug. Steve wasn't at all fascinated and he said "Make sure you don't touch it! You shouldn't touch things like that!!!" Seriously, sometimes I wonder if he is really the girl! Anyway, I hadn't seen such a big slug in a long time so I just had to snap some photos. :P






So what does this have to do with anything? Well, first of all it was a reminder to be aware. If you aren't paying attention, you can miss so many things in life! I know most people don't find it exciting to stumble upon a common slug, but if I hadn't been paying attention I might have stepped on the little fellow. Also, to appreciate the little things. Life is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it journey. So often we move so quickly we forget to take time to look and observe and listen carefully to ourselves, each other and nature. I will need to practice this as began my new job search.

14 July 2008

lessons learned, except for the sunscreen one...

This Sunday I met up with BH, JE, and MN for a ride of the Fairport course. I didn't get to do the entire course but all in all it was a good ride and I learned alot. Here are some things I identified as needing to work on:

1. clipping in and out - Seriously folks, I HATE my stupid shoes and my stupid pedals. I totally wiped out right at the beginning of our ride because I was so busy worrying about clipping in my damn right foot that I couldn't get up the hill. So then I just gave up and put down my right foot and as usual slid across the pavement and fell. Oh well, I haven't fallen in a while and at least I got it out of the way early! :)

2. gears - I'm still working on what is the right 'place' for me gear-wise and knowing when to change.

3. mileage - Practice, practice, practice! Nuff said.

4. hydration - My cages are pretty tight and as a result you really have to yank hard to get the bottles out. Therefore, I don't usually drink while riding cuz the last time I tried it, it felt like I was trying to rip the bike out from under me. I have a camelback that I might start wearing because not hydrating is just plain silly!

The girls were great, as usual, and Monica was my personal coach! She kept trying to give me hints on how to ride better and was the perfect, Momma Hen as cars approached.

Also, as Beth's email stated this AM "Holy head wind Batman!" Seriously, going down Fairport Nursery Road, sucked major ass on the way back in. The wind was pretty strong and I felt like such a weakling.

I still am not sure what the rest of this season is going to bring me (yes I know it is almost over). I often feel as though I will NEVER be ready to compete and the times when I say I can I feel like I just might be in denial. Basically, I just need to focus more on getting my mileage up and becoming more comfortable.

Oh I almost forgot!

5. sunscreen - It isn't that I never learned this nor that I choose to not do it on purpose, but in my defense, I couldn't reach all the areas on my back that needed sunscreen and didn't think to ask any of the ladies before we got started. So as a result, I have a completely bright red upper back with a LOVELY white racerback design. Gotta love it! ;)

11 July 2008

what's in a name?

So since I got my bike, waaaaay back in January, I've been thinking of an appropriate name for it. Alot of my fellow Triathletes have chosen names that encourage them to accomplish great things, remind them of a person they admired or embody his/her racing style or personality. I have been thinking alot about what my bike means to me and all that stuff existential stuff and then this morning it hit me.

dah da dah!!!! [those are trumpets sounding in my head, oh you can hear them too? good! :) ]




Behold
.
.
.
.
.
Redd Foxx!!!!!




It's ok you can be mildly disappointed. I don't mind. :) I had hopes of some wonderfully inspiring name but this morning I was thinking about how I'm super dramatic when it comes to riding and Redd Foxx instantly came to mind.

I still feel like I don't have a clue what I'm doing and while I enjoy every minute of it, I still waiver between feeling accomplished and triumphant to completely insecure and totally freaked out. Every time I embark on a ride, whether it is from the side door to the end of the driveway or around the block or 20 miles, I always say something along the lines of, "Well, this will be fun, unless I die!" Or "See you later, unless I'm dead!" In fact I just left a voicemail message the other day that went something along the lines of: "I was wondering if you wanted to join me on a ride, that way someone will be there in case I die."

It of course is mostly in jest that I say it. There is only a small part of me who is convinced that I will get hit by some huge SUV and die.

Yes, I can be over dramatic at times, but this really isn't about dying. It is really about the fact that I'm still uncomfortable being clipped to a super fast, super light bike with nothing to insulate me from things that might run into me or me into it. I have fallen several times. Not lately but, when I first tried the pedals and the clips, it was one continuous falling frenzy. I didn't have a plan on how to get on the bike and clip in and start going. I was trying to do what 'felt' right but I couldn't find it, so as soon as I would get back up I'd start to move and then fall. Up, moving, down. This repeated about 8 times and I finally gave up, covered in mud from my multiple falls INTO the bushes, I trudged up the stairs, defeated.

Since then, I have been able to finally develop a strategy with help from my SUPER patient friend Beth. And I haven't fallen again and I can finally ride and I finally feel like I kinda know what I'm doing. I still sometimes feel like an impostor on a fancy bike but hey.

Those of you that know me well, are aware of the fact that I have a very healthy self esteem. Part of my thinking that I'm wonderful ;) (which is very tongue-in-cheek) is also a reminder of all that I have to learn and how far I have to go. If I can't laugh at my insecurities and remain light hearted, how will I succeed in conquering my fears? Taking life too seriously really bums me out! Laughing makes everything manageable. :)

I figured this morning that since Redd Foxx, as Fred Sanford, was always letting Elizabeth know that "This is the big one!" How could I find a better person to name my bike after!? And obviously since it is red I opted for Redd Foxx instead of Sanford.

Now my bike is just as over dramatic as me! ;)

07 July 2008

yummy weekend!

First, many thanks to all of you! As always your comments are great and help me stay motivated!

This weekend, I volunteered at the Summer Tri in Lorain. The event was fun and overall it seemed like people enjoyed it. The run was pretty tough though as there wasn't a BIT of shade! I worked the water stop with fellow CTCer Patrick. Pretty much EVERYONE looked like they were struggling a bit from the heat/sun/humidity. I seriously felt horrible for them! After clean up Beth, Brandon and I headed over to Lucky's in Tremont for some super delish food!!! Mmmmm, I think I could eat breakfast there everyday! I had an awesome omelet with spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and cheese. It was enormous, so I did my best! You know when you eat something that is super yummy and you start to get full but you so much want to finish it because it is just that good?! That is EXACTLY how I felt! I didn't succeed in eating the whole thing but I managed a good half to two-thirds! :)

Then for dinner I made this awesome pasta I picked up at the Farmer's Market in Tremont. Ohio City Pasta makes some really great stuff! I used some green and yellow zucchini from my fresh stop share and threw in some yellow and red peppers, pasta sauce (also local from Little Italy) and diced up some chicken. It was tasty! (If I do say so myself. ;) )

I have been riding around the neighborhood lately and am beginning to feel more confident. I still freak out if I have both feet clipped in and I have only worked up to 15 mph before I feel like I have to slow down. It is so weird! It isn't like I don't have other bikes to ride or that I've never ridden, I'm not sure if it is just the clips or also my seating. The other bikes I have(had), I have always been more upright so this is a definite switch.

I'm hoping to get out to ride the Fairport route this week/weekend to prepare for the tri at the end of the month. I was going to go out with my brother yesterday evening but I was beat after being outside all morning and then returning home and cleaning and doing laundry. The course has three separate crossing at railroad tracks. So I'm not looking forward to going over tracks six times but at least I won't freak out on race day when I have to do it!




I ran this morning. Only 1.5 miles on the treadmill, but it is something! :) I am so blah when it comes to running. I really enjoy swimming and cycling, but running I'm like what-ev. I have to change my attitude about it. I will say this, I'm not concerned about the runs. Even for GLE, I figure my main goal is to finish, if I'm happy with my swim and ride I could care less about how the run goes. If I have to walk the whole thing, so be it. Finishing is my goal! :)

The whole reason I began triathlon was to have fun and have goals to work toward. So for this year just completing the race is really enough for me to be satisfied and happy with my performance. Next year I can work towards breaking some major PRs. ;)

Oh, any suggestions for crossing the railroad tracks??? I'm kind of afraid I might fall over. :P

30 June 2008

excuses, excuses

So part of the reason I haven't been blogging lately is that I've been really busy with major cleaning and reorganization of my house and a ton of work! :( I haven't wanted to blog because I felt like all I have is endless excuses for not training. I keep saying that once things calm down I will get a more consistent schedule and I will be able to train more and consistently but I don't know when that is ever going to happen and I'm beginning to think that I'm making excuses. If I continue at the rate I'm going, which is occasional runs and dips in the pool, I will NEVER be ready for any triathlon let alone GLE.

So today I decided that I can't make 'excuses' anymore. Just as my work responsibilities and home responsibilities contribute to my life and make me feel like I'm accomplishing things (think lists and checking things off! :) ), training also makes me feel good. And I've been wanting to do it, I just always feel like I'm running around crazy busy. So now is the time for me to get strict with myself and my time. I know that I do alot; between working (which lately has been like 50+ hrs the past few weeks) and volunteer stuff and then trying to squeeze in family and friend things, but I have to make time for me. I kind of feel like we are trained from a young age to feel guilty about spending time on ourselves. Maybe it is just women that feel that way, but sometimes I put things last. Things for myself. I have to put my foot down and just say, "No, this is important I have to make time for it."

So wish me luck bloggy friends! I'm determined, now I just have to stick with it!!! :)

22 June 2008

O Canada....

I had the most wild dream last night!!! I dreamt that I was at the start of Great Lakes Escape, standing on the edge of the boat. I jumped in and starting swimming and kept swimming and swimming and soon I was alone in the water and kept swimming. I got disoriented and couldn't tell were I was going. I was exhausted and so confused. I started to tread water just looking around.

So I kept swimming and suddenly I saw the shore. I started to walk onto the beach but I didn't see anyone else around.

Suddenly the mounties came out of the woods onto the beach and sidy, "Welcome to Canada, eh."

Then I woke up. I know crazy huh?!

16 June 2008

upside of down

The summer has been flying like crazy! I'm waiting to wake up and find that it is October. Seriously, people where are the days going!?

This weekend brought lots of fun in the sun; I swam (a bit) with Beth, Monica and Gary then thanks to a patient Beth, tried to 'master' the art of clipping in and out. (UPSIDE) And I got a GREAT sunburn. (DOWN) I knew I needed to wear sunscreen but I haven't had a chance (or made one I guess) to buy any and I just wanted to get to Aurora! It is starting to fade a bit, although I still have that great X from my swimsuit between my shoulders. It might be wishful thinking, but maybe I will have a bit of a tan. ;)

On a more personal note, things with the house have been....difficult...weird...unsettling. I think it is crazy how people change after a death and money is involved. I think it is disgusting actually. I'm disappointed that someone I cared about a great deal is being discarded essentially because she has no 'real' family. I understand everyone has different ways of dealing with grief, but for me, throwing everything away doesn't make my grief less. Thankfully, I can have her old pictures and keep my memories. I know she is gone and I know that her stuff needs to be thrown away and sold, but I guess the current manner things are being 'taken care of' is hard for me to deal with. Plus, it is the finality of it all. Obviously, it isn't like I think she is coming back but having her house the same makes things easier.

This also causes some concerns on my end. What is to come? Who will buy the house? How long will the downstairs be essentially empty? Will I like the new owner(s)? Will we be able to stay? Will we want to get out of the lease and move?

So many questions. All things that I can't really worry about but still do.

I'm hoping to get some more time in on the bike this week and once my shoulders and back don't feel so crisp, throwing my suit on and getting some time in the water. The running is still going slow but that is my weakest area and I'm hoping to master the swim and bike this year and once I feel more comfortable and stronger in those areas focus on the run, my weakest and by far least favorite area next year. I honestly could care less about my finish times this year. I just like being out there and having a good race. :)

I'm thinking of the GCT women's training day this Saturday with Monica. We can get some more water time in together. Which is always fun! It is nice to have someone that you can cheer for and who can cheer for you! :)

06 June 2008

flashy flashy

I went to dinner tonight with my mom. We ate at Abuelo's which is this great Mexican restaurant off of Harvard. It was super yummy as was the margarita drinky thing I got. Then we ordered flan since my mom had never had it. Can you believe it?! She has become so much more adventurous since she started school. She LOVES tequila so she had this fancy petrone hand shaken margarita. Anyway check it out, it was very yummy and the service was excellent!

Then we met up with Steve at the dreaded Dick's Sporting Goods. I don't think anyone there has a clue how to even tie their shoes, but that is another story. So we bought these flashy things to wear while we ran tonight so people wouldn't run us over. I was actually surprised how well-lit the side streets were. I think it is still good we had them on though. Flashy-flashy. ;)

Oh and that's right you read it right Steve and I ran tonight outside. First, I must say that I never run outside except when I have a race. I'm not sure why but I just never do. I guess I don't really mind the treadmill that much and I never really was fast enough to run with any of my runner friends. With Steve I can be like "SLOW DOWN" or "SPEED UP" and I won't feel bad. He still doesn't get the concept that I'm not supposed to be running like I did preinjury so at one point I was like "Dude, back off." He had this great idea to 'race' from the church to my house. I said yeah that is exactly what I DON'T need to do.

Steve did track and CC in high school, he liked CC the best. Lately he has been talking about running again. He ran till the fall of his junior year and stopped. So tonight I was like, "Hey you want to go for a run?"

Hopefully, this is the beginning of things to come. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! It is going to be a hot one. I had originally planned on the Sunday in June ride but I have a shitload of work to do that is going to keep me busy this weekend. Good luck to my chicas doing the Clay's Park Tri (and all the other participants too!) Monica and Beth you girls are going to kick ass! :)

Oh if anyone wants a car wash Saturday/tomorrow (cheap or free I think) stop over at Bryan's Marathon on the corner of Lee and Essex. :)

04 June 2008

100 posts already

I can't say that I'm too surprised since I am never at a loss for words! ;)

The summer is really starting to shape up and the weather has been pretty constant. I'm waiting for a little more to fall into place and I'm struggling to keep all those crazy balls up in the air right now. I have alot of projects going on but they are mostly enjoyable so I'll manage. ;)

Last night I finally made this yummy salad that I've been thinking about for a few weeks now. I saw it on a cooking show one day during lunch and it turned out really yummy! :)

I don't have a fancy grill top for my stove so I just used a pan. Everything still came out tasty! I do think though that half of a head of radicchio is plenty. Next time I'm going to go with less radicchio and throw some bib lettuce in too!

So I made that, some grilled chicken and ravioli. We had just (finally) gone shopping so I threw some delish blackberries that we got that night in with it all. Yum!!!

I have a short break from teaching so I'm home earlier and ready to make some good dins! Not for too long though. I'm excited to start again but I will miss my evenings! And you all know how I just LOVE pics so I had to include some. Eat your heart out Giada. :P

I'm hoping to get some cycling in this week. I'm still trying to master the clips. It will come in time and with practice but I just want to be past that whole thing. I'm running again which is nice and Monday's run was great and I felt the burn in all the right places, which is weird for me but it made me so happy to know that my muscles are finally listening!!! I still have time to get a short run in before dinner. I'm off! :)