Hot enough for you?

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Seattle (and the rest of the Pacific Northwest) is having a heat wave this week. Our drive home yesterday was in temperatures of well over 100 degrees, which I firmly expected would drop when we made it back up to Seattle with it’s abundant water and attendant winds, but no such luck. Usually after a vacation, I’m not that excited to go back to work but with temperatutes expected to be over a hundred degrees, I was excited to be in a heavily air-conditioned office.

Later in the day, one of my co-workers got the brilliant idea of trying to fry an egg on the sidewalk and asked me if I’d like to come watch. (Does she know her audience? I think so!) So without further ado, here is the great egg cooking caper of 2009. First, my lovely co-worker Jeannette showing off the hapless egg before his date with destiny:

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Then, the initial cracking:

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And we wait, sweating for something to happen:

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But alas, nothing does. So we check it again in fifteen minutes:

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The white has dried to the pavement, but the egg doesn’t appear to be cooked. I give it a final check before I leave for the day, at approximately half an hour since we started:

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It appears to be slightly cooked, or maybe it’s just dried out. Since it was supposedly 103 degrees today, I’m skeptical that anyone has ever successfully pulled this off. But since one of my former co-workers managed to bake cookies in his car, I’m keeping an open mind.

Bicycle initiation

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Today’s agenda was a bit more ambitious than yesterday. I needed to check in with some work stuff at our favorite local coffee shop and then we had a bike ride on the schedule. I’d planned to do a repeat of this route from last year’s trip, turning around a little earlier. It was already sunnier and warmer than yesterday when we got to the park. Joining me on today’s ride were M, who was a little nervous about taking on the proposed 20 mile ride, but still managed to rock it for the camera:

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T, who has the honor of making sure everyone’s bike has air in the tires and is ready to go (usually while being teased by one or all of us):

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And of course Susan, who was riding her commuter bike, because that’s the bad-ass she is:

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The ride was great, except that we turned on the wrong road initially, so it was a different route than I went before and ended up being quite a bit shorter. But since it was M’s first big hill-climbing ride, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone stayed together and we stopped for rests when we needed to so that it wasn’t too taxing on anyone. Afterward, I ran for a very sweltering 30 minutes, while the rest of the group played cribbage on a picnic table. Then we waded into the lake to cool off and finished the outing with lunch at Mo’s (YUM!)

After another lovely nap, some rousing games of Banagrams and a delicous homemade pizza dinner, we took a farewell walk on the beach. I caught M in the act of making art:

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It was crazy windy, per usual. Here’s J using the hoody as wind-protection:

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It was late enough that there was almost nobody out, so we could let Wally run free. He had a great time galloping around on the sand, which made me sad that he can’t be off-leash more often.

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He chased a stick and ran into the surf and just generally bounded around like a dork:

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We headed back as the sun was starting to set, so we parked ourselves on a dune to watch the show:

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As it got closer to the horizon, the clouds masked the sun into interesting shapes:

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A fitting end to an awesome day. Yet again Florence, you’ve provided a wonderful weekend.

Beach house Sunday

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I’ve blogged about the Florence beach house before, but I just love this place. Even with the late night arrival and having to sleep in the bunk house, it’s worth it. The first day was super foggy and a little bit chilly. We took the boys to the beach:

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It was pretty windy, but J found himself a nice napping spot in a ditch:

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The beach was this weird combination of blue skies and fog, giving everything this slightly unfocused, dreamlike quality:

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(I’m sure M’s pictures will do this far better justice than mine. so I’ll link to her blog when she posts them.) The rest of the day was very lazy. I took a long nap, read my book then we had a yummy pasta dinner, watched the Wrestler (meh) and took a late-night field trip to Fred Meyer for groceries and ice cream. All in all, an excellent recovery/vacation day.

Seattle Century

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I had a race rehearsal ride on my training schedule for this weekend, which is basically do a bike ride that lasts as long as you expect the Ironman bike leg to last. Since my long rides have been maxing out at 75 miles, I decided to find an organized ride to join for this part of my training. Luckily, the Seattle Century was scheduled for that same weekend so I signed up. I was excited to have a course already figured out for me, as well as aid stations where I could refill my water/eat and not have to carry so much on the bike. The unfortunate part of the timing was that we were also scheduled to go down to Florence that same weekend with Susan. Since those plans had been made long before this popped up, I just decided that we were going to suck it up and leave for Florence after I finished the ride. It was going to be a long day!

I left my house around 6:30 am, a little later than I wanted to but still early enough to feel okay about it. I unfortunately missed the turnoff to Magnuson Park, where the ride was scheduled to start, so I got to do a little riding against the current as I headed back against the stream of riders to the start line. D’oh! Once there, I parked my bike next to the weirdest bike saddle I’ve ever seen:

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Seriously, that thing can’t be comfortable! The mood was festive at the start line:

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I got my race number, took advantage of there being actual bathrooms and then hit the road. The ride starts on the Burke Gilman, so it was nice, flat and familiar. I skipped the first aid station at mile 12 (!!) and passed a surprising number of people who stopped for it. My plan was to hit every other aid station unless I needed to stop, so I pulled into Marymoor park to refill water and grab a quick snack. The aid station was next to the Velodrome, which was cool and had some guy roller dancing, which amused me:

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It’s always nice when the freaks collide! 🙂  As the day went on, it got hotter and hillier so I didn’t take any more photos (sorry!) and hit more aid stations than originally planned. But all in all, it was a good day. I took it a little easier than I could have, since this was a good thirty miles longer than my previous long rides. I felt fine all the way through, got to pass some people on some hills and generally felt pretty good about the fact that I can in fact ride over a hundred miles. The route was pretty well marked, except for a few sections in Issaquah and Bellevue where I had to dig out my route sheet and wasn’t too terribly crowded. They also had a really yummy post-race lunch with beer for those who weren’t driving to Florence. If you are ever looking for a nice organized ride in the Seattle area, I highly recommend it.

T picked me up at the finish line and after a quick shower and frenzied packing of bags, we hit the road. There was some sort of parade in Seattle that closed all sorts of major streets so it took us forever to get to the freeway. It was definitely going to be a long day. I drove the first leg before I got too tired and T entertained himself by taking pictures:

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It’s almost like being there! I finally crashed somewhere around the Oregon border and T took over the driving duties, getting us to Florence somewhere around 1 am. God bless his night-owl ways!

Seafair Triathlon: a race report

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The morning kicked off with Smokey Joe barking his head off very early in the morning. Despite the fact that Smokey Joe never barks at 0-dark:thirty, T still yelled at him to be quiet. Then we heard M’s voice calling our name. CRAP! My alarm didn’t go off! ARGH! So, after a frenzied flurry of dressing and getting ready to go, we were off to the race.

It’s been about four years since I’ve done a sprint triathlon and I was surprised by the butterflies in my stomach. Lately, my workouts have been longer than the entire race, but there’s just something about racing that makes me nervous. M of course was very nervous, so both of us were quite a pair. We body-marked ourselves rather than standing in the line and got our transition areas set up. We were two numbers apart, so we got to set up right next to each other, which was pretty cool.

We made sure we knew where our rack was located in relation to the various entry/exit points and hit the bathrooms. Then before we knew it, it was time to get into our wetsuits and get ready to swim. M was first, in the third wave with the rest of the 30-34 year old women. I was in the fifth wave, so I couldn’t see her too well from my vantage point, so I just kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t see a pink cap being brought in on a boat or anything. Luckily, I didn’t see anyone abandon in the beginning so I was cautiously optimistic that she was doing okay.

M’s husband J was on photo duty, as T had forgotten our camera in the craziness of oversleeping. He got a couple pics of the swim start:

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I had a horrible swim. There was some sort of rock wall that we had to swim over, which hurt. Plus, I seeded myself as if the swim was 1.2 miles, not 1/2 a mile, so I was too far back in the breaststroking, crazy swimming group and it was very hard to navigate through all of that mess. Oh well, shake it off and get ready to start biking:

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I had a pretty great bike. My legs were cold and numb from the swim, but I got down into my aero bars, found a rhythm and started passing people. The course is super flat and winds along Lake Washington and then up onto the I-90 express lane. There were tons of people on the course, so it was pretty crowded.

Then the course goes up a narrow pedestrian path as you go up onto the bridge. Naturally it bottlenecks here as you can only safely ride single-file (not that there weren’t some jackasses trying to pass people despite the volunteers telling them not to.) There were a couple of slower folks when I got there, so it was pretty slow going, and some guy behind me yelled “Oh, come on!” in an exasperated tone. Without even thinking, I responded with “They are doing the best they can. You need to settle down” in my calm ‘Mom’ voice. I was pleasantly surprised that the guy I’d chastised actually came up next to me and said “You’re right, I was a jerk. I’m sorry.” So, that was nice.

As I was cruising along the bridge, I saw a familiar yellow/white/black trisuit ahead of me. I had a decision, do I pass M or do I stay with her. I weighed the pros of racing my race on tired legs from yesterday’s ride or stick with M and get to do her first race with her. No brainer! So, I heckled her for a while and we took turns passing each other with a snarky “On your left” and generally enjoyed ourselves.

We pulled into transition at the same time, and did our transitions pretty much simultaneously. As we headed out on the run course together, I got to hear about her triumphant swim and general excitement about her first race, which was pretty awesome. She ended up dropping me on a stupid hill at mile 2 and I couldn’t close the gap, but J did catch one of the best run pictures of me, ever – don’t I look badass? (Oh, and the uniform I’m wearing was designed by yours truly for our tri team.)

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M had just finished about 15 seconds ahead of me, so she was at the finish line grinning from ear to ear. I was so proud of her. She did so good for her first race and with open water anxiety to boot. I think this photo sums it up nicely:

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Our final splits:
Me: Total=1:39:32, Swim=19:09, T1=2:51, Bike=44:56, T2=1:42, Run=30:53
M: Total=1:49:16, Swim=26:11, T1=3:05, Bike=47:37, T2=1:49, Run=30:34

All in all, it was an awesome day, in no small part because of the boys:

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We finished our morning with a delicious brunch, a nap and for me a 10-mile run in the evening. (Ironman training stops for no one… ) I was surprised by how sore I was after the race, apparently going fast hurts a lot more than going long. Next year, I’ll actually taper for the race and race it properly rather than throwing it in to a mess of Ironman training. So, look out Seafair Triathlon, I’m gunning for you!

Milfoil and parking follies

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Tonight, M and I went to scout the swim course for this weekend’s Seafair Triathlon. Unfortunately, there was a ton of seaweed/milfoil at the beginning of the swim which triggered a huge panic attack for M, so it was not a successful swim outing. We decided to console ourselves with some thai food in Capitol Hill, since both of us were starving. We’d brought the dogs along, since Todd was out of town and they regard car trips as “doing something” and M got this great shot of me and Smokey Joe:

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When we got near the thai place, parking of course was a problem. We saw a spot that looked a little on the tiny side, but M appealed to my parking vanity, so I decided to go for it. Four hundred turns later, we were in:

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I knew it was tight, but Jeebus!

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My title of parallel parking master remains intact!

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So even if the milfoil got us down, the parking follies cheered us up…

Just fondue it

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M & J were gracious enough to invite us over for another J cooking experiment – this time fondue was on the agenda. M had set a lovely table, and I caught her in the act of setting up her shot:

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T was in charge of burning the house down… I mean… lighting the burner:

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And J presented the main star, a very delicious cheese fondue:

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And voila, a beautiful dinner:

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And trust me, it tasted as good as it looked!