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48 days and counting

So remember this?

I made up new words.

Do you want to finish Ironman?
Say good-bye to all your friends!
You can't drink anymore!
Your social life's a bore!
But it's worth it in the end!

And congratulations, that song is now officially stuck in your head forever. (Welcome to my world.)

Anyway, a few highlights from this weekend's workouts:

New kicks!

Unfortunately, not even fancy shoes could help me feel any better on Saturday's run. But at least it was pretty.

When you're so slow you believe this turtle is your spirit animal.

I also rode another century yesterday. This one was much better than the first one, and I didn't feel like I was losing my mind at the end of it. Also, I was able to walk downstairs afterward, which is a huge improvement. I like to think my success was due largely to this hot dog, which I slipped into my jersey pocket for a mid-ride snack.

You should always wrap that wiener.

I know it's weird, but the salt and fat of a hot dog is the most perfect thing ever when I'm in the middle of a bike ride.

Hey, Oscar Meyer: Let's talk sponsorships.

And speaking of eating, my appetite has officially become the hunger vortex. See this fantastic, cheese-covered, gluten-free pizza?

I ate half of it in minutes. (And yes, I'm one of those gross folks who likes to dip slices in ranch dressing. Bring it.)

And it gets better: Immediately after eating, all I want to do is sleep. Like faceplant on the table. Man, I'm a party animal right now.

the big wine tour

This is going to sound terrible (don't you love it when a post starts that way?), but sometimes I feel like my job is full of adult baby-sitting. Which I suppose is a given when you work in alcohol or hospitality or anything that involves five 17-hour days of hosting 57 people for a tour.

For example, these shoes:

These MFers better have magic powers.

One of the guests forgot them on the bus Monday night, and I spent the rest of the week calling dispatchers to try to find them. (First of all, who leaves their shoes on the bus? How the hell can you just forget your shoes?) And then, after finally locating the shoes, I now have to ship them to said guest because they weren't delivered before she left for the airport. Grrr.

Thankfully, the week was not just about missing footwear. There were vineyard tours ...

Best bird abatement idea ever.

... led by the pioneers of Washington's wine industry.

Norm McKibben of Les Collines Vineyard

We learned about ripeness levels in grapes and how to tell when it's time to schedule the pick ...

... and got to wear these cool glasses because, you now, safety first and all.

I met Tom Douglas ...

He's very large.

... and ate his incredible food.

There was beautiful scenery ...

The Wallula Gap

Washington-Oregon state line

... and incredible sunrises.

And I named my bus the Pirate Ship Revenge and did a whole "Princess Bride" meets the Jolly Roger theme, complete with fake mustaches and plastic cutlasses.

And of course, an R.O.U.S.

(I swear to god, I'm normal and didn't spend all of my downtime taking weird photos with a giant, creepy rubber rat. Maybe only 50 percent of it.)

And then there were the people -- the lovely ones who did not forget their shoes and functioned like capable, grown-ass adults and were funny and silly and incredibly wine knowledgeable, like E.J. from San Francisco:

"I think it's corked!"

I also reunited with Shannon, whom I first met at Restaurant R'Evolution in New Orleans way back when.

The above photo may have actually captured the exact moment I decided I'm doing the New Orleans 70.3 next spring.

Anyway, I am now back in Seattle and real life. Which means cleaning cat poop instead of polishing wine glasses, spending all day on the bike instead of in a tour bus, and freaking out over the roughly seven weeks I have left until IMAZ instead of stressing out over whether we're going to make it to the next winery on time.


I think I just pooped a little.

hello, my name is stupid

There are times I'm convinced I'm just really dumb. Sunday was one of those times:

I swear, my coach must think I'm special.

Yes, folks, I thought Ride Around the Sound was Sunday, but it was actually Saturday, so while I was blogging about it in bed, it was actually happening and I was actually missing it.

God, I'm so dumb.

I still rode, though. And I tacked on eight miles to make it a full century. I figured it would be a good way to atone for my stupidity. And while I didn't ride the beautiful route from Seattle to Bremerton that I was really, really looking forward to (I chose not to do it because I'm totally unfamiliar with anything south of Seattle, and I didn't want to ride new territory all alone with no support), I still saw some pretty views.

Some random thoughts that went through my head during this experience: "How am I so stupid?" "My ass hurts and I should really buy a new saddle." "I have no idea where I am." "I'm just going to follow this dude in spandex. He looks like he knows where he's going." "Holy fuck, why are we going up this giant hill?" "Note to self: The guy in spandex is not your friend." "Where exactly is Issaquah and why am I here right now?" "Where did the bike path go?" "I wish I were at the farmers market instead." "My ass really, really hurts." "This is really, really dumb." "SHOWTUNES!" "Am I done yet?"

I pretty much rode all over Seattle and the eastside -- Woodinville, Lake Sammamish, Issaquah (wherever the fuck that is), Redmond, Shilshole Marina, Golden Gardens, you name it. I just kept going until my Garmin said 100. 

It took freaking forever. It's sort of disturbing that I can fly to a foreign country in the time it took to ride 100 miles. I can also finish an entire 70.3 in less time than it took to ride 100 miles. And I've had work days that were shorter than the time it took to ride 100 miles.

And the scary thing: 100 miles is still 12 miles less than the Ironman bike leg. Plus Ironman has the added joy of swimming and running.

Have I mentioned how dumb I am?

And it gets better: Why the hell did I choose to live on the second floor?

This was a challenge.

And then there was the walk to work.

I can't believe I'm going to have to run a full marathon after riding 112 miles. And I can't believe I have just shy of two months before I do it.

Don't worry. I double-checked the date this time.

the stank

Been laying low -- somewhere during my recent travels, I caught a cold. And since I am doing Ride Around the Sound tomorrow -- 92 miles, my farthest ride ever and a gauge of what I will need to work on for IMAZ -- I'm currently wearing pajamas instead of running clothes. The plan is to rest as much as possible and save my lungs for the ride.

And what better way to gently nurture those lungs than to visit the corpse flower and its stench of rotting meat?

The corpse flower bloomed early yesterday morning, but by the time I went to see it around 8 p.m., it was already wilting. It still smelled like roadkill, though.

Of course, I interpreted the whole thing as a metaphor for relationships: Waiting and waiting for something incredibly special to happen, and then when it finally does, it stinks to high heaven, but for some reason, I still think it's cool, and then the whole thing starts dying almost immediately, big surprise. 

Quick, someone hand me a cat.

Anyway, here are some less depressing (and less pungent) things from last night:

There was also corpse flower pre-gaming at Dilettante, which has the best chocolate martinis I have ever tasted in my entire life. And they are only $6 during happy hour. And I am not a girly cocktail gal -- you all know I love me some rye -- but man, these were sinfully good.

Chocolate heals, right?

And before that (don't you love how this post follows a logical timeline?), there was a work lunch in West Seattle with this view:

All you people who think it rains all the time are so very, very wrong.

And then the view from the water taxi on the way back:

I know I said New York had an amazing skyline. But man, my city is pretty.

away, and home again

After nine days of travel and a six-hour flight crammed next to two horribly ignorant women who loudly complained that the passenger behind them smelled bad because "she was from India," I came home last night to find my car had been broken into and prowled through. (Thankfully, there was no damage, and nothing was missing, but I'm creeped out. Also, my car battery is dead.) 

And then Mari projectile-vomited off of the kitchen table. And then I found five other vomits in the bedroom, including the largest hairball I have ever seen in my entire life. 

In other words, I spent the evening cleaning puke and feeling vulnerable.

The sane person would ask: Why travel so much? (Followed by: Why the hell do you have three cats?)

Because Sacramento. Where the babies have some kind of hypnotic baby smell that makes even the most stalwart cat lady want to snuggle them.

And the toddlers have ... well.

Sometimes I question my brother's child-rearing techniques.

The ramen is otherworldly.

Gluten-free soy milk ramen at Shoki.

And there is sun. And a pool that is actually outdoors. And isn't crammed full of people passive-aggressively circle-swimming.

The bike rides are flat.

Fifty miles with someone I adore.

And the ice cream from Gunther's is the best thing ever.

Especially post-ride, with a side of hot dog.

Because western New Jersey. Where the crickets sing and the table is piled full of produce straight from the garden and the humidity builds until the sky breaks in a burst of thunder and lightning. But this kitten doesn't care -- he's too busy biting fingers and attacking toes.

Kate's new little, Loki.

And the Renaissance Faire is overtaken by pirates because who cares about historical accuracy when you can dress like a pirate. At least there is regular jousting. (As if I am a jousting expert.)

And there is corn. So much corn.

One hundred ears of solitude shucking.

Because New York. Where it is Fashion Week, and the Hilton sisters take the Really Long Way to their car so people can take photos of them and make them feel like they are still relevant.

Like Barbies, in real life.

And there are so many good things to eat and drink.

Go to Dovetail.

And I look up and fall in love again and again with a city that has always meant so much to me because it reminds me of the one I lost but will never stop loving

That skyline in every direction, though.

And that feeling of seeing something for the first time.

Morning runs in the city.

Travel is bittersweet. Part of me wants to keep going, part of me wants to come home. But when I do open that door and climb those stairs and find these three, I think that maybe cleaning so much barf is really not that bad.

At least there was no revenge poo. This time.