Mind over matter and all that jazz

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This week has been a challenging one, motivation-wise. For whatever reason, I just haven’t been feeling the desire to train and this weekend’s long rides were particularly tough. So, T agreed to go out for a ride with me for company and motivation. He was even willing to do a long ride, so I plotted out a 75 mile ride – challenging but doable. Unfortunately, we got a later start than intended and it wasn’t until 1:30 until we were on the road. Most of this was because T. had to work and it took longer to drive to the ride start than anticipated, but there was a small amount of tomfoolery as well.

At the park where we parked the car, we came across this awesome piece of playground equipment, it’s basically a swing on a zip line/cable thing with a tire at the end:

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(Embrace the dorkdom, that’s my motto.) After all of the fooling around, we hit the road. Unfortunately, mapmyride.com is a filthy lying website, because the first five miles were ridiculously hilly. Even T was huffing and puffing up some of them, until we hit the mother of all hills that caused both of us to have to stop and walk up lest we topple over. T was brave (stupid) enough to start riding again at some point, so he reached the top before me and was resting in the shade of a tree by the time I wheezed my way up there. The view was almost worth it…

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It all looks very innocent and whatnot, but that street is evil I tells you, EVIL! T was definitely not feeling the love for the ride and was honestly nervous about being able to climb back up those hills on the return trip, but we pressed on. After about an hour or so, we happened upon this pretty park in Everett:

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My camera still hates T:

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We talked it over and decided that it would be better to turn around and cut the ride short rather than turning it into an all out suffer-fest. Our new plan was to stop for coffee if we saw some place nice and possibly try to find an alternative to the craptacular hills on the way home.

We headed back and decided to go down to the town of Mukilteo, a really cute little harbor town next to a ferry line. We looked at the historic lighthouse:

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And stopped for ice cream:

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The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. We traded horrible hills for riding along busy roads (most of which had a bike lane) but the trade-off seemed worth it. Before long we’d made it back to the car and headed for home. T was totally wiped out, so we made a simple dinner and crashed on the couch. There was some serious competition for the couch though:

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But nothing that a little snuggling couldn’t cure. Even though it wasn’t the workout I should have been doing, it was a fun ride and nice to spend some quality time with T.

West Seattle Saturday

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This evening, I convinced T for a trip over to West Seattle to swim in Colman Pool. (The awesome pool referred to in this post.) T hasn’t been swimming in a while, what with being busy at school and all, so he was less excited about the expedition than I was:

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It was a largely uneventful swim, except for one notable exception where T,  swimming toward me got a little too wild with his arm motions (and a little too far in the center of the lane) and accidently punched me right in the nose. (Let me tell you, that really smarts!) To his credit, he felt terrible and apologized profusely. (I think he was relieved I didn’t punch him back on the return trip!) Oh well, I guess it’s good practice for the swim start at Ironman Canada…

Otherwise, the swim was great. T did well and more importantly was willing to wait for me to finish swimming my much longer set. Afterward, we walked back through Lincoln Park and let the dogs out for a little frolic in the park:

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Both of us were starving after all of the swimming, so we decided to treat ourselves to a little Alki indulgence:

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It wasn’t the healthiest recovery meal, but I will admit it was pretty tasty. We walked around Alki a little bit and then headed back from home. We made a brief stop for cupcakes, where I saw this awesome sign (doesn’t it bring to mind a Monty Python sketch?)

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All in all, it was a really fun Saturday evening.

Long run home

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I’ve been steadily increasing my weekly long run and combining it with my commute home. At first, it was just me running home, but as the time/distance has increased, it’s made me have to get more creative with my routes home. Tonight I had to do an hour and fifty minutes and was aiming for about ten miles. I decided to do a route through the Seattle Center, then along Elliott Bay and across the Ballard bridge home.

This route has the advantage of passing some famous landmarks:

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(A little side story: hidden behind the tree is the “dragon swing” ride that is the site of one of my favorite early dating stories with T. We worked at a theatre company nearby and would occaisionally wander over to the amusement park on our breaks and ride some of the rides. My favorite ride of all time is the dragon swing, so that was my choice. T, trying to impress me, said that it was his favorite ride also, so he’d go with me. When we got to the ride, it was closed while they mopped the vomit out of it, much to my actual (and T’s faked) disappointment. It wasn’t until another visit later on that I found out that T absolutely hates the dragon swing and gets super nauseated by it. Ah, young love!)

My route also took me through the sculpture garden and this lovely view:

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It was a tough run, crampy and hard to get in a groove. But I made it 9.5 miles and got to try out a new route, so it was worth it.

Memory lane

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As I mentioned in this post, my friend M is training for her first triathlon. As with any new endeavor, there have been a lot of highs and lows, including having to find a new race when the one she was originally training for got rescheduled to September. So, we went from the beginner-friendly, all women’s Trek to the relatively unknown quantity of Seafair.

It’s been really interesting working with M through this journey. Some of the milestones I remember well: the elation of the first successful ride in clip-in pedals, the longest swim, etc. Her enthusiasm for the increased fitness and new skills energizes my spirits and training. Some things I’d forgotten about, the anxiety that open water can bring. On Sunday, M had her first “open-water freakout” and the loss of confidence that always brings. I struggled with these same issues when I was starting out, so I know all too well how she’s feeling.

But to her credit, she’s coming back strong. We’ve spent the last two evenings in open water, first at Green Lake and then at Cottage Lake and each time she’s faced down her fears and gotten out there. Everyone feels afraid, but not everyone faces down that fear and sets out to conquer it, and M is doing just that. I’m both impressed and extremely proud of her. I know she’s going to kick ass and take names.

Showering a cyclone

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Today we were blessed with a visit from Ms. Cyclone, who was in town for business and came up a little bit early so we could hang out. Ms. Cyclone is also part of the Year of the Baby, pregnant with a daughter. I miss having Ms. Cyclone up in Seattle and hanging out with her, so I wanted to do something fun for the few hours we had to hang out. I thought it would be fun to do something “baby showeresque” to celebrate her pregnancy, but still low-key and fun.

So, M & I kicked things off with a cooing, squealing trip to Target earlier in the week. (Apologies to the shoppers/workers at the Northgate Target for all of that ruckus… ) Then for our main event, we decided to have a picnic at Golden Gardens. The weather wasn’t as sunny and warm as it’s been all week, but it was still good picnic weather. The gang was in rare form:

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And my camera still hates T:

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But the food was awesome and plentiful, with homemade bread provided by T, some awesome mac & cheese from M&J, a bunch of other yummy things, including cupcakes for dessert.

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And most importantly, creepy baby-themed toppers:

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Ms. Cyclone seemed to have a good time and appreciated our take on the baby shower, sarcastic card included.

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It’s hard to believe that the next time we see her, she’s going to be a mother. Crazy talk.

Dear jerkwads, an open letter to the folks on the Burke Gilman

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Hey you! Yeah, you. Idiot who’s riding right down the middle of the path, or worse, on my side of the path. What’s with that? I realize that it’s 8:00 am on a Sunday morning and there’s hardly anybody out, but do you really have to take up the whole freakin’ lane? And there isn’t just one of you, there are dozens! And don’t think I didn’t notice you, pack of group riders riding three abreast. And the most vexing part? That it wasn’t just the newbies, roadies, oblivious ladies chattering away. No. It was all of you. Apparently idiocy is an equal opportunity affliction.

Maybe I need to go get myself some football pads and mount a cowcatcher to the front of my bike and let the chips fall where they may. Consider yourselves warned, a$$hats.

Super awesome Saturday

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Tonight M & I took a little field trip out to West Seattle to swim at Colman Pool. Colman is this huge (50 meters long) outdoor pool right next to the water. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

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The weather was grayer and cloudier than the photograph above, but it was still an awesome place to swim. Even with numerous people in the lane, there was room to spread out and not feel crowded. I did manage to get hit in the head and the back (?!) by an oncoming flailing Asian guy, but otherwise it was a nice uneventful swim. M did awesome, busting out 800 meters and generally dominating the easy lane.

Afterwards, M & J had T & I over for Coq Au Vin and old photo night. The food was delicious (especially after all the swimming) and the pictures were hilarious. All in all, it was a super awesome Saturday.