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on the road again

So what do I do after my whiny last post about wanting to finally unpack and feel like I really have a home?

Throw a bunch of crap in a suitcase and head out for a whirlwind trip: Three states in 10 days, a combo of work and play.

Stop 1: Washington, D.C.

Where there was a very pretty brunch at a new spot ...

... and a tasty reunion at an old spot.

Pepyoke -- my favorite!

I've eaten at so many restaurants all over the world, yet Mandalay remains the love of my life -- it will always feel like home.

Other random D.C. thoughts: "House of Cards" has tainted my view of this city, especially of the Metro. How can you not look at this and think: Dirty politician-murderer-fear-fear-fear!


Also, apparently, on Saturday nights women don't wear clothes here, just obscenely short bandage dresses. In fact, if my outfit of jeans and a tank were deconstructed, it probably could've clothed 10 people. That's how little fabric everyone was actually wearing. (Dear god, I'm old and cranky, aren't I?)

And finally: The architecture is pretty freaking breathtaking.

Stop 2: New York

Where my morning run became an emotional experience ...

... and also a bit of a sightseeing tour.

While there, I visited my aunt in Midtown:

And wandered through Erika's old neighborhood, Gramercy Park. (It still hurts. I don't think it will ever stop hurting. And the funny thing is I don't ever want it to. I don't want her to ever just be "something that happened.")

And I also took the subway to Williamsburg to meet Kate for dinner and a drink:

Nothing like a whiskey at the end of the day.

Stop 3: Ohio

Yeah, I never thought I'd say that either.

seattle anniversary

A year ago at this time, I was somewhere in Oregon, driving north in a car stuffed with my cats, my bike, the contents of my entire pantry, the plant I've had since college, boxes of "important" files and some toilet paper (because it sucks to move into a new place and, ahem, make yourself at home, only to realize something very essential is missing). The car was so full that said toilet paper was actually awkwardly smashed against the rear passenger window, which I'm sure looked really classy. 

This traveling circus arrived in Seattle just before midnight. I remember pulling up in front of my apartment and thinking: I have no idea what is going to happen next.


Confession: I can't recall the last time I fully unpacked. I don't think it's ever actually happened; I've never lived anywhere that felt permanent. I've spent my life jumping from one situation to the next. When I was in college, I counted down to graduation, so I could "grow up" and be part of the real world. When I got my first full-time job, I hated it and wanted to go back to school. When I went back to school, I was so poor that I couldn't wait to go back to work. And then it was job after job after job and move after move after move.

Since graduating college in 2000, I've moved nine times and lived in three states.

There are boxes in my closet, and I don't have a clue what's in them.


I have this dumb joke I tell people who want to know where I'm from and how I ended up here. It goes like this: "I grew up in L.A. and apparently have been moving north ever since. I'll probably end up in Alaska eventually."


It's weird to turn 36 and feel like a child: Single, no roots, trying to negotiate with your landlord so you can go month-to-month instead of signing another lease. I don't think I've fallen into this kind of life by accident. This is the easier choice, because picking just one place -- looking around at the trees and the dirt and the sky and saying: "Yes, this is it. Right here" -- is terrifying.

But lately I've started to feel something different.

so I got older

... but not necessarily wiser.

Check out my cans!

Since I'm a mature and sophisticated individual, I celebrated with a nacho cheese fountain (and a taco bar from El CamiĆ³n) and invited all of my friends over. I told them that in lieu of gifts, I wanted everyone to gain 5 lbs. (Yes, I'm an asshole.)

This is normal.

We also drank an equally ridiculous amount of wine, including the vertical of Justin Isosceles I'd been saving for almost a decade. 

The 2000 was my favorite.

And when you pair excessive amounts of wine with excessive amounts of cheese, this is what happens:

Because posing with cheesy tots is sexy.

Thankfully, my parents were too busy being lovey-dovey and insanely cute to be embarrassed by their nacho cheese-covered, wine-soaked daughter.

Dear Mom: How do you not age ever?

What a night.

Somehow I overcame my nasty hangover (I swear, nothing makes you feel old like a terrible hangover) and went for a birthday ride.

Gah is for gorgeous!

And I gave myself the best birthday gift ever: I can now drink out of a water bottle while riding and not freak out and throw the bottle on the side of the road! Yes, folks, I can take that stupid bottle in and out of the cage! At freaking last! 

And it gets better: I can actually even take my sunglasses off and hang them from my jersey mid-ride. And I can get in and out of aero pretty easily now. And I can take my right hand off of the handlebars without losing total control.


My favorite girl.

uphill climb

Feeling slightly guilty right now because I skipped a three-hour ride today. The weather just didn't clear up, and I was intimidated by the prospect of riding in the rain alone (bike buddy Rachel had to work), so I took a long nap instead (because if you're going to be lazy, be really, really lazy), then did a ridiculous amount of laundry (I still think they should change the sport to quadrathlon and make laundry the fourth event) and then ordered enough Vietnamese takeout to feed a small army. Before I knew it, the day had slipped away.

The weekend was not entirely wasted, though. I did get a ride in yesterday: Hill repeats with the team.

I don't know how something can be so painful and yet so fun at the same time. Oh wait -- I think maybe that describes triathlon perfectly.

My "I survived" face

Dumb things I did during this ride: Decided to pass five people on a hill during the warmup so I could ride next to Coach Mark at the front of the line. Heart rate went immediately to Zone 5. And I still tried to make conversation: "How was (gasp) your birthday? How is (gasp) the baby? How are (gasp) the cats? Don't mind (gasp) me -- I'm just going to (gasp) die here next to you!"

An even dumber bike-related thing: While putting the backseat down to make room for my bike, I hit my face against the side of the car. It hurt. A lot. And I immediately thought: I've given myself a black eye and should probably ice this. But I was in front of people, so I tried to be stoic and said nothing.

Until several minutes later when I realized I had actually cut my eyelid and blood was running down my face.

And then I started laughing hysterically, which is exactly the reaction that most normal people have when they realize their face is bleeding.

This is what my eye looks like now:

Call it "boxer chic"

I'm just thankful my skin is as dark as it is or the bruise would be much, much more visible. I swear, I'm an extra-special kind of stupid.

training update

After my last post, you're probably wondering how my training is going, or if it's going anywhere at all.

Somehow, despite being a complete glutton who cannot say no to anything that is smothered in melted cheese, training is still happening. Yes, there have been challenges. For example, today the pool at my new gym (only $25 a month with a 25-yard pool, a vast improvement from the pint-sized 20-yard pool at my old overpriced $130-per-month gym), is closed due to "chemical issues." (Just for the record: This is not because I peed. Well, as far as I know.) But for the most part, I'm sticking to Coach Mark's plan.

Here's a quick update on how things are going.

The Swim

It is now completely normal for me to swim 3,000 yards in a workout. Unfortunately, Coach Mark somehow thinks I can do this in an hour. It takes me more like 1:15. So even though I have the endurance, I'm still so slow that the pool may as well be full of Jello. Which I suppose is probably still preferable to a pool full of pee chemical issues.

"Deep" backwards is ...

I also did my first open water swim of the season last weekend. I was in San Francisco for work, so Kimra convinced me to head to Aquatic Park. You know, because swimming in 57-degree water is something normal people do on a relaxing Sunday morning. 

Of course, I roped Thai and Josh into the insanity too. Because the more the merrier, right?

This is what dumb looks like.

The swim was sort of brutal -- water so cold I felt dizzy and had to swim the buoy line one buoy at a time, baby steps. (Can you use the term "baby steps" if you are not actually stepping?) But I managed all of 30 minutes in the frigid water, and I didn't have a panic attack, so that was an accomplishment. And then I got out and did a transition run, which was especially fun in ice-cold, sopping-wet tri shorts.

But the best part: Check out my awesome, awkwardly-placed wetsuit chafing.

Not a hickey, I swear.

Always a great look when you have two work events to attend afterward. Dear triathlon: Thank you. Rabid "Twilight" fan is apparently a nice option for me.

The Bike

Except for the fact that my Garmin cadence sensor completely crapped out after only two months of use, the love affair with cycling continues. Yes, the indoor trainer rides are tedious (thank god for "House of Cards"), but the heart rate stuff really works -- I can already see a massive improvement in my fitness.

And spring has finally arrived in Seattle, so I've been deepening the friendships I formed at bike camp and riding with my teammate Rachel (who conveniently lives just two blocks away) on a fairly regular basis.

We experience cool shit like this:

Which helps lift our spirits since we live on top of a massive hill, so every time we ride anywhere, our adventures -- no matter how fun and breathtaking they are -- end with a giant climb to get back home. Truthfully, though, the climb is never as bad as we think it's going to be. And I will admit that I am climbing so much stronger than I was last year. Again, I think it has something to do with the tedious trainer work -- boring as hell, but worth it.

That said, I still need to drastically improve my bike skills. For example, it would be nice to be able to safely replace my water bottle in its cage after drinking from it. Currently, my hydrating technique involves freaking out, flinging the bottle on the side of the road and then stopping to retrieve it.

And I'm still working on feeling comfortable in aero.

The Run

Confession: Because this is the sport I know best and because I am afraid of re-injuring my foot, I tend to slack when it comes to running. I have yet to run more than four miles. And most of the time, when my training plan calls for an easy run, I do a ridiculously easy run. Like I'm stopping to look at tulips and pet cats and admire the view of the Space Needle, etc. Snails can probably slime faster than I'm running.

But I still love being out there. Running is the best way to explore beautiful places, like this trail I stumbled on in the Presidio earlier this week.  

I think I'm having an "I miss San Francisco" moment ...

Can you really blame me?