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trying to train

The thing about totally changing your life: It makes training for a half-Ironman really, really difficult. Riding a bike by yourself in a completely new city that has multiple streets with the same name, scary-steep hills and asphalt that is almost always wet is downright intimidating.

Thank god for visiting friends! Safety in numbers! Kimra was in town for Memorial Day Weekend, and (after delaying the ride several hours to wait for the downpour to stop) we logged a 50-miler that included the Mercer Island loop (gorgeous), a tour of Bellevue (and its many stoplights -- ick), the Sammamish River Trail (if I ever learn how to spell "Sammamish" without looking it up, it will be a great accomplishment) and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

The ride also may or may not have included a stop at 7-Eleven for slurpees and some kind of rolled-up fake taquito thing slathered in pump-it-yourself nacho cheese. (God, who would eat that, right? Um ... )

Random thoughts about cycling in the Pacific Northwest: Someone deserves a hug for creating so many beautiful trails. It's not unusual to share said trails with roller-bladers; apparently, roller-blading is making a comeback. People in cars are much more bike-friendly here. There are fewer potholes than in Sonoma County. Since it's so overcast so often, cyclists wear clear glasses instead of tinted sunglasses. Riding in light drizzle really isn't bad -- in fact, it's kind of refreshing.

And speaking of training, I'm currently testing out gyms and trying to find a pool with a good aquatics program. Yesterday I went swimming for the first time in more than two weeks -- completed a 2,000-yard workout in about 50 minutes, which was exciting. The pool was great -- not crowded, with easy access to all kinds of fun workout toys (even Zoomers, which was awesome). I felt pretty good.

Until I went back to the locker room and discovered the spa was a "naked spa." And I was the lone awkwardly self-conscious person sitting there in a swimsuit. Fail.

adventures in moving

Since my last post (which feels like a lifetime away), I packed the cats up in a crate ...

... put the bike on the bike rack, crammed my car so full of stuff that I couldn't see out of my rear window and drove 14 hours north.

To the friends who made me a shit-ton of CDs to listen to on the drive: Thank you. And I am now officially a fan of Purity Ring, Grizzly Bear and that Fiona Apple song about being a pat of butter who loves a hot knife. (How can you not love lyrics like that?)

I arrived at my new home shortly after 11:30 p.m., unloaded the cats and the litterbox and the bike, and then passed out in a sleeping bag next to the litterbox. (Really, are you that surprised? We all know I have issues.)

When I woke up the next morning, this was the view from my deck. (If you look really, really closely, you'll see a sliver of the Puget Sound.) 

And that day was pretty much the only day I've seen sun since I've been here. But whatever. I like 50 degrees and misty. It's perfect for running. I also like how people from the Pacific Northwest complain that it's "too hot" if temperatures climb above 80. (If you know me, you know I do this all the time. Even when I was still in California. So basically every time I went to L.A., I would bitch about the weather.) 

One thing about Seattle that people don't tell you because they're too busy making dumb jokes about the rain: It's hilly as hell. I walk everywhere (yes, yesterday I even walked to work -- it's just under three miles), so most of the time I'm out of breath and my ass hurts.

I'm not kidding -- the hills are serious.

Anyway, so after being in Seattle for less than 72 hours, I got on a plane and went back to California to run Bay to Breakers.

And then I went directly from the finish line to the airport and caught a flight to D.C. for my first day of work. (To the people who sat next to me on that plane: I'm sorry. I used baby wipes, but I know they were not enough.) 

For work, we held a big Washington wine trade and media tasting at the Kennedy Center and then sponsored an event that involved lots of eating of cute animals. In sum: It was pretty much the best first day of work I have ever had. I loved everyone I met, and the wines were fantastic. I also ate a ridiculous amount of food and have no desire to eat any more lamb for a very long time.

I was supposed to fly home the following day, but I had major airline drama. (They told me the problem was weather and a "mechanical issue," but I suspect they found out how stinky I was on the flight over and just didn't want me on the plane.) So I ended up spending an extra night on the East Coast.

I finally made it back to Seattle on Wednesday. Since then, I've figured out the bus system (I literally haven't driven my car since I got back from the airport -- it's wonderful), started shopping around for a new gym (finding a pool with a good aquatics program has not been easy) and run out of office-appropriate clothing. (Thankfully, the movers arrive tomorrow with the rest of my wardrobe. I'm also looking forward to my bed -- a sleeping bag on a wood floor has been slightly less than desirable, especially when you have to share said sleeping bag with two cats that pretty much hog the whole thing.)

I've also had my first comparative tasting at work and am pretty much totally in love with this Syrah

I know, right? My life is so rough.

Dear Seattle: So far, so good. 


Hell has opened its seventh circle Summer has arrived early in Sonoma County. I spent my afternoon fielding calls from journalists wanting comments on a fire in Knights Valley. And then when I got in my car to go home, this is what my dashboard said:

I hate hot weather. (And how some reporters won't ever leave the city to cover wine country unless it's literally on fire.)

So I'm moving to Seattle.

Dead serious: After almost nine years in the Bay Area, 4.5 years (the longest I've ever worked anywhere) at my current job and a year of personal ups and downs, I'm ready for a change. I said yes to a new position, found an apartment with a view of Puget Sound and started collecting moving boxes.

The cats may or may not be excited about this.

I, on the other hand, am looking forward to the next adventure.