total meltdown

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This may sound weird, but the annual trip to Aspen for Food & Wine typically means it's time to get serious with my Vineman training. While I'm in Colorado, I pack in high-altitude workouts. And somehow manage to clean up my diet and cut out the gluten (odd venue for it, but I'm a girl who likes a challenge). And then I come home and start upping the mileage.

And at first, things seemed to be going as planned. I had a fantastic run in Boulder.

I made a new friend, saw some interesting art and felt like I could've kept running forever.

(Just curious: Is it normal to see pot plants randomly growing in public places? Because I swear I saw at least four of them while I was out there.)

Then there was the 5K from hell in Aspen. And I got an 1,800-yard swim in at the ARC (which never ceases to amaze me -- besides the mega-sized aquatics facility, complete with three-story water slide, this place has a climbing wall and an indoor ice rink).

(Swimming at altitude is just as tough as running at altitude, though!)

And then I came home, continued with the running and the swimming (yes, I realize my cycling is totally suffering), went on a quick work trip to San Francisco and then came back for the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on Saturday.

I should've known something was off when I woke up that morning with a sore throat, but I figured it was just allergies and ran the race anyway.

It was hilly. And hot. (Of course, the one day sun decides to show up in Seattle is the same day as the race. Go figure.) I got passed by a perky pregnant woman wearing a sign that said: "Running for 2 / In 5 days I'm due!" (Am I a bad person for wanting to punch her? Don't answer that.) And I finished in a not-so-rocking 2:16:58. I figured my poor performance was largely due to my lack of training.

Until I came down with a 101-degree fever the next day.

Thankfully, I'm no longer confined to my bed, suffering alternating bouts of sweating and chills while my nose runs like a faucet.

However, now I can't breathe. The stupid cold or whatever it is has lodged itself in my lungs, and I wake myself up at night because my wheezing is so loud. My coughs are juicy and disgusting and make people standing next to me uncomfortable. My lungs hurt when I walk uphill.

Pardon me while I freak out and lose my shit for a moment: Vineman is less than three weeks away and I cannot train because I cannot breathe.

Big, fat, superbold F


Sunday, June 16, 2013

I have been traveling so much lately that I can't remember what day of the week it is. (Case in point: I'm currently at a hotel that has a nacho bar on Monday nights, and I just went downstairs to stuff myself with melted cheese, only to discover that -- duh -- it is not Monday.) I also got off a plane in Denver and thought I was in Phoenix for a split second. (In my defense, it was abnormally hot.)

And the last time I was actually home, Mari left me this:

Sorry. Had to share.

I can't really blame her. I'd probably take a massive protest dump too if the only person in the whole world I didn't hide under the bed from drove me 14 hours to a strange place and left me there all by myself with only a crazy kitten who doesn't stop biting me for company.

I'm a horrible cat mother. (Cue feelings of lingering, former-Catholic guilt.)

But I love the travel. And I love my job in a way I haven't felt in a very long time. Yes, it would be nice to actually spend one week straight in my new place and, I don't know, maybe even unpack. And yes, I would love to start meeting people who actually live in Seattle and take part in activities that are actually based in Seattle, such as going to the grocery store and finding a reputable dry cleaner. And yes, it's quite possible that Vineman is going to be absolutely laughable this year due to my extremely inconsistent training.

And the hardest part: It does get a little lonely sometimes, especially when I find myself in a really beautiful place and wish I had someone to share it with.

But I've had the chance to do things and meet people and have experiences that I will never forget.

Like five days in Washington wine country with a group of 50 trade folks from 11 different countries. (Key learning points: Everything east of the Cascades is a desert. Only American men are afraid to wear color. The Columbia River is a cold, cold thing, even in June. The Red Mountain AVA is awesome. It's completely possible to have a dance party in a hotel lobby.)

This week, I flew to Colorado (not Arizona, as I previously thought) for the Aspen Food & Wine Classic events.

Highlights included running my worst (10-minute PW) yet most memorable 5K ever. I thought the altitude was going to kill me, but Marcus Samuelsson hugged and kissed me on the cheek at the starting line when I told him I read his book and loved it. And then I walked back from the race with this guy:

And we talked about how 5Ks are really hard because they feel like an outright sprint for 3.1 miles and we really just prefer half marathons.

But that was nothing compared to taking the gondola up the mountain last night for an event.

Gorgeous in daylight, yes? Now imagine it at night, when it's pitch black except for the city lights shining up at you from below, and then your co-worker decides to play the Cure's "Pictures of You" on his phone. And you sit in silence and the instrumental part just builds and builds and you remember how important this song was to you in high school and you think how in high school, you never would've thought your life would end up the way it has. And this strikes you as something sort of amazing and you wonder where you will go next. And the lights keep shining up at you and then you think: I don't ever ever ever want to take this for granted.

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