It’s like deja vu all over again…

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It’s been a while since I’ve bored y’all with a training-related post, so please enjoy this running-themed ramble…

For the past two seasons, I’d gotten in the habit of combining my long runs with my commute home. Tonight was the first time trying that with the new job. Because my new schedule has me working from home on Tuesday and Thursday (which I love way too much to consider giving up) I had to come up with a way to transport my laptop/any work-related paperwork home. Thankfully, I got an awesome lightweight day pack for Christmas that works perfectly as a running pack and my laptop fits inside perfectly. (I keep it in a sleeve to give some added protection should any moisture seep in, though the pack seems pretty water resistant.)

The funny thing is that most of my new route is the same as the end of some of my previous long run routes (for the locals, that path that runs from the Sculpture Garden to Ballard.) It’s a gorgeous route that runs along Elliot Bay and I’m used to seeing it in a far more exhausted state, so I was much fresher for sight-seeing. Not to mention that I’d forgotten my headphones, so I had no iPod to distract myself with. The combo of the added weight of the pack and the lack of music made it exactly like the run leg of a half-ironman and I definitely had to tap into some mental toughness. (I can’t say I’ll stop running with music altogether, but I’m definitely going to do some more runs without it, especially as I get closer to race day.)

I wanted to take some pictures, but was afraid stopping would break the flow, such as it was. And no one needs to see the aftermath of me trying to run and take pictures at the same time. I am clumsy enough as it is…

Saying good bye

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Today was a very sad day. We made the very difficult decision to put our oldest cat Dewdrop to sleep. She was an old cat (we adopted her off of the porch of some of T’s old college friends 15 years ago and can best guess her age to be “at least 17.”) The first time I saw her, sitting on the aforementioned porch, looking like something out of Dickens with her gigantic eyes, I was determined that we were going to rescue her, stealing her if need be. Luckily, the friends we were visiting were looking for someone to take her, so it worked out perfectly.

(This is my favorite photo of Dewdrop in the backyard of our Portland apartment. I like the mix of cute and “don’t mess with me” in her expression)

Dewdrop was a funny mixture of badass and bunny rabbit. She didn’t like any cat near her, but would lay the smackdown on any dog foolish enough to question her authority. She had an unusual purr that sounded like a pigeon cooing and for the first few years we had her, it was pretty much a constant sound. Even later on, house guests would be warned not to get her started unless they wanted to fall asleep to the sound because she wouldn’t stop for a few hours. She also had a surprisingly loud yowl for such a tiny cat.

My final reminiscence about her was the fact that we took her on many car trips – moving her from Seattle to California (plus a few trips up to Portland to see my folks) and then across the country twice. She was a great traveler and would usually curl up in the sunshine either in the backseat of the car or on the large dashboard of the Saturn.

Farewell little Dewdrop. We will miss you!

 

A little holiday

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T & I have been talking about taking a weekend trip somewhere for a long time. Like since fall. It’s sad. But trying to coordinate work and school schedules, animal feeding/care and then the actual trip itself was daunting (and expensive.) Finally, I decided that enough was enough and booked us a hotel on Priceline down in Portland. It isn’t exotic, but since we tend to spend our visits down there with family, it would be nice to have a little time to ourselves in our former hometown.

We dropped the boys off at our local boarding place and spent a ridiculous amount of time in Friday night rush-hour traffic, not arriving in Portland until 8:00. We didn’t feel like getting back in the car, so we walked to Andina for a cocktail and some food. We’d always done dinner there, so it was fun to try a sampler of their appetizers instead. Delicious!

Patient T let me take his picture:

Before turning the tables on me:

The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. We went for a run in Forest Park:

I also talked my way into PSU’s beautiful new swimming pool for a swim later in the day while T got some work done on one of his projects. There was way too much food, as we tried to hit a few too many of our favorite spots in town. Then it was time to hit the road on Sunday morning. So, not a very long visit but so nice to get to spend some quality time with the boy.

The great outdoors

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Seattle is a funny place. It’s a place where a group of friends is as likely to meet at a nice restaurant as in a parking lot to go snowshoeing. And so it was that I found myself at Alpental on a rainy/snowy Saturday morning, meeting our friends Erin & David, Jenn & Bryan and JenHS. (Plus “the girls” Greta and Tyr and our boys.)

I’m relatively new to the whole snow-scene and snowshoeing is so far the only winter activity that I enjoy. (I’ve tried skiing twice and because it was such a disaster I’ve been reluctant to try snowboarding. I might try cross-country sometime. We’ll see… ) So far, my snowshoeing adventures have been sort of like casual hikes, but on snow with these things strapped to my feet.

T & I got their first to find the parking lot where we were supposed to meet with a sign saying “Full” and a 20-year old motioning for us to turn around. Luckily, Erin & David weren’t too far behind and we managed to talk them into letting us squeeze into the lot about the time that the last car of Jenn & Bryan showed up. Initially, there were a ton of people on the trail including some skiers and snowboarders who would send the dogs into a frenzy as they whizzed by. It was T’s first time snowshoeing, so it took a little practice to get used to the snowshoes and negotiate Wally who was bounding into snowbanks.

After a bit, the trail thinned out and there were fewer snowboarders and skiers to rile the dogs up. It was gorgeous with tons of snow everywhere. T and I were a fair bit behind the rest of the group, due to a few stops to adjust snowshoes and whatnot:

It probably didn’t help that I kept stopping to take pictures. But how can you help it when it looks like this?

Did I mention there was lots of snow?

Frozen waterfall:

I didn’t notice Smokey Joe pooping when I took this picture, I swear…


The trail got more and more ambiguous and there were sections that David was blazing the trail for us. We went up steep hills and it was hard to believe these crazy contraptions that we had strapped to our feet were possibly capable of navigating them. But they did. And despite T taking a couple of spills, one of which into a tree well, nobody was injured. It was fun watching Wally in his element, bounding up steep snowbanks (although he also fell into a tree well and had a hard time getting out.)

We stopped at the appropriately named “Snow Lake” (It was covered completely in snow) and had snacks. The boys scored major snackage from us, others in our group and the couple that was on their first snowshoe trek and had sort of joined in with our group. (They’d caught up behind me & T, we’d gotten to chatting and it wasn’t like there was any other trail to really follow… )

The way back down included this crazy downhill that most of us negotiated by sliding on our butts. (Not only super graceful, but also involves some degree of ass-frostbite.) I was way behind so I missed seeing T’s trip down the hill, but everyone on the mountain must have heard his girlish squeals. (Love you, honey!) Apparently, it was quite the spectacle. But we all made it down in one piece. The trail that we started seemed so tame after the crazy back-country part:

Afterward, we ran a few errands and stopped for a super-healthy lunch at Fatburger. (After eating tons of snow, Smokey Joe had to pee, and this was the most acceptable place to eat off that exit… ) Later that evening, we grabbed take-out from the Vietnamese place around the corner and met up with Erin & David at the houseboat where they were staying. I’d never been inside a houseboat before and it was cool to see the little “dock/street” and what the inside looked like. Not to mention the enjoyable company. All in all, a very enjoyable winter Saturday!

Gotta love the bus!

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This morning, I walked out to my bus stop to see my bus already there (about three minutes earlier than scheduled) so I had to run for it, convinced all the while that it was going to drive off just as I got there. (As it happened, it started to pull out and then saw me and stopped which was soooooo nice.) As I got on, I was pleasantly surprised to see a seat in the front row. Score. I sat down and noticed this unusual sight:

That’s right. It’s a dog in a stroller. I couldn’t resist snapping the above picture and e-mailing it to M & T as a “ha ha, look what I have on my commute” joke. Then the bus had to slam on it’s brakes to avoid hitting a car and Stroller Dog went flying up the aisle. As the owner retrieved the stroller and picked the dog up to comfort it, I had a chance to glimpse the fabulous ensemble it was wearing: pink t-shirt, fleece vest and fur-lined hoodie:

It also turned out that the dude across the aisle from her, who I’d assumed was a wino, turned out to have a Lhasa Apso wearing an argyle sweater.

Why did no one tell me it was “Dress your dog up and take him on the bus” day? I’d have put Wally in a suit and brought him to work with me!

Multi-tasking at its finest…

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What does the busy triathlete do when she needs to fit a bike workout into an unrelenting work day? Well, if she works at home and she’s me, she MacGyvers herself a little trainer workstation. Since most of my work involved responding to e-mails related to a problem we were having with our website, it was very easy for me to work and spin at the same time. (In fact, it made me feel much less like killing people, which is never a bad thing… ) T came home half-way through my workout and couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of me on his phone:

Now, I just need to find a solution that lets me stay aero while I type… ;-P

M’s birthday – urban adventures edition

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I think we can all agree that the Monday birthday is pretty crappy. Not quite as crappy as the leap year birthday, but close. Especially when all of your favorite restaurants are closed on Mondays. But the upside to that is the opportunity to try a new place that you otherwise probably wouldn’t have. M found this great little gastropub called Quinns. It’s owned by the same folks that run the delicious restaurant we went to for T’s 40th, so we knew the food would be good.

Unfortunately, the parking situation was terrible but we lucked into an awesome spot after we’d given up on street parking and were looking for a garage. (Thanks parking gods!) The restaurant was lovely inside and had a great vibe. I tried to get a picture of the birthday girl and her hubby, but here’s the result:

(ooooh, romantic!) The food was delicious, as expected, and we had a great time. Afterward, we opted to go down the street for cupcakes. J got major husband points for not only buying a candle for M’s cupcake and borrowing a lighter to light it, but managing to do all of this without her noticing and pulling off a lovely birthday surprise.

 

We even sang happy birthday in the cupcake place. T held out for ice cream (as payment for the bet he’d made with M that the Ducks would make it to the championship.) En route to the ice cream place, we noticed a group of people playing bicycle polo across the street. T was kind enough to finish his ice cream outside so that we could check it out. You’ve just got to love Seattle, where people think “Hmm, I’d like to play polo, but I don’t have a horse. I do have this bicycle… ” Not to mention, the bike handling skills these guys have are PHENOMENAL!

It was amazing to watch these guys play. We had no idea who was winning (or even who the teams were!) but watching them chase a ball with mallets while trying (sometime successfully) not crash into each other was mesmerizing. It was a much more urban/hip evening than we usually have and we teased M that it was the power of her bad-ass tattoo. She’s so street, yo! It was a great way to celebrate M being born. Good job, M!