Wednesday, June 30, 2010

wordless wednesday

sigh.  sometimes the only way you learn things are a REALLY bad idea is by doing them.

we're sorry, Graham.  we still love you.  a whole lot.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

more food, more exercise

I've been thinking a lot about my workout schedule/balance lately.  I do a lot of lifting, and when I was walk/running 2-3 miles and/or recumbent biking 30-40 minutes, I could lift 60-75 minutes, 6 days a week and have tons of energy.  Now that I've added cycling and tougher swimming to the mix, I think it's time to reconsider that balance.  The past 2-3 weeks I have been just ZAPPED of energy.  Part of it, I know, is that I haven't been doing a great job increasing my calorie intake on a steady and regular basis, but I think part of it is just that this new-to-me-sport of cycling is taking more out of me than I feel at the time.  I hop off the bike and feel great! Yay! Let's! Go! Play! but then later, or the next day, it's zzzz-city, and I'm the mayor of Sleepytown.  

I've also had some crankiness in my right knee (unrelated to the IT band, more under the kneecap) which I think I've isolated to suddenly quintupling the workload on my quads.  I ended up taking 2 complete days off last week, and my legs felt like fresh fairy dust for my ride on Saturday.  But yesterday, at the gym, I got on the leg extension machine, and had to get off after 2 reps because it was irritating my knee - and this was at the end of the workout after leg presses, one-legged squats, lunges, clock lunges, and step-squats, all which need my quad desperately.

The end result is that I think I'm going to cut back on my "leg" lifting days, and only do 1-2 a week.  On my leg lifting days, I've cut way back on the weights that isolate the quads - with all the cycling I have been doing, I just don't think I need it as much in the weight room.  I also think I need to be better about taking a complete rest day - oftentimes I'll "only" lift on a rest day, or "only" do a short run, or feel in my mind like swimming is a rest day because I was initially only doing 1000 yards, post-surgery.  Now that I'm up in the 2500 yard range, I need to remember that swimming isn't a rest day at all.  I don't have any sort of "set" exercise schedule - I always rotate lifting arms & back/legs, and I don't lift on my "big" cardio day - either a long ride, or a brick - but as I consider and lay out my week, I'm probably going to let "leg lifting" have it's own day (no cardio) or be coupled with either swimming or a very light cardio day (test run, 30 minutes on spin bike, whatever).  I'm hoping this will put some zip back in my zipper zapper.  I am interested in advice on this - how do you balance your rest days against whatever cardio you do against whatever lifting you do?  What works for you?

Now, about increasing that calorie intake....

Last night the poet cooked bruschetta - this is one of my absolute favorite dishes and I am awful at making it.  I found a recipe somewhere a month or so ago and he made it and it was brilliant.  So now we probably have it once a week or so.

While he was cooking it, I made a giant cookie cake.  OH MAN.  It's amazing.  It's almost the same as my cookie recipe but for some reason it is so much more yummertastical.  I have no idea why.  I put in two big gunks of peanut butter and a few fistfuls of chocolate chips.  Also, all I have in the house is wheat flour, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  We ate a good hunk of it last night...I also had it, with some grapes and tea, for my second breakfast this morning.  And I will probably have it with my lunch.  And as a snack.  And after dinner.  Maybe FOR dinner.  Hmm.
I can't stop eating it.

My first breakfast was a fistful of Tums (yeah, we ate a LOT last night) and a granola bar at 5:30am, because I met Heather for a gorgeous sunrise bike ride this morning!  I love that I live here.  I know half of you are moving across the country in 2 days or later this summer, but I'm in the middle of a love-fest with DC right now.  I had a good love-fest going on when I was a runner, but being on a bike has blown that outta the water.  I've never gotten to explore this much of the city in the (cough) 8 years I've lived here, and it's just fantastic.  The poet very kindly dropped me off at Roosevelt Island before 6am so I didn't have to bike up there in the dark (thanks), and this was my view crossing the Memorial Bridge right about 6:00am:
I KNOW.  No, seriously, I was grouchy and had a tummyache when I got up and was bitching at myself about agreeing to ride at some insane hour and then the dog was yarking and then trying to eat it and my tummy HURTS, but it was so beautiful out that it turned me around and I'm totally in for this early-morning ride business.  My long weekend rides have been starting in the 7:30-8:00 hour, and I've been missing out.

Anyway, we rode down and around Haines Point, the mall, and other than almost getting plowed over by a bus (my bad), it was such a great ride.  We had a great time chatting (I hope) and I'm looking forward to more of these super-early-morning summer rides.  Thanks, Heather!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

a great DC weekend!

Happy Monday, everyone!  I had a great - but sweaty - weekend here in 112* heat-index DC.  How was your weekend?

Friday night I took another shot at the peanut tofu recipe from Lauren.  I did the tofu in slabs instead of cubes, and it held together much better!  I also managed not to burn it, so a big win on my cooking skills.
 We ended up not pre-mixing and doing a choose-your-own-vegatable adventure.  
There's tofu in there, I promise.

Saturday morning I got up early and went up into DC to meet Kirstin for a bike ride.  We had originally planned on biking out to a brewfest in Leesburg, but decided that 8 zillion degrees was just a tad too hot to be on the very exposed W&OD trail, especially when we were going to follow it with drinking beer all day in the sun.  Instead, we did a DC ride, most of which was new to me - awesome!  We started out on the Rock Creek parkway & did a few loops - somehow we ended up in Maryland, then somehow ended up back where we started (I was just following, my internal map had no idea where we were).  It was a great, shady ride!  After Rock Creek, we headed down into DC, rode out and around Haines Point, up past the Washington Monument, through the city down to Georgetown, a few miles up the Capital Crescent Trail, then back to the waterfront for a breezy brunch!
It's getting hot!
Deeelicious mangoritas!

We parted ways after brunch and I headed back down the MV trail home - whew!!  It was around noon and there was no shade - the thermometer on my bike said it was 98* for most of the ride.  That last 8-9 miles really zonked me.  But it was a great ride and I can't wait until we do it again!

I had time for a quick power nap, and then we headed out to Annapolis with G to meet Faith - the puppy we were hoping would join our family.  Faith was really sweet but G was kind of freaked out - not sure what it was exactly, but we decided not to bring her home with us, which made for a sad and quiet ride home.

Saturday night's plans were foiled by a team member in one of my classes....grrr.  I got up early Sunday morning, though, and took G to the dog park with some other pups he knows.  He did a lot more swimming this time, and had a great time with the other dogs.  He was less than pleased about being hosed off when we got back home.
I went swimming, Mama.

Sunday brought a lot of cleaning, housework, laundry, and another successful run!  I got back in the gym and lifted for the first time since last Wednesday, as well.  The run felt great - as usual, some tightness near the end, but still no pain, so I'll take it.

Total: 2/17:58/avg. pace 8:59 (plus 2 minutes of walking on either side).

I've got a busy week ahead, including bike rides with some blogger friends, a sports massage, and my best girl coming into town on her way back to Georgia.  

Tons of congrats to all the folks that were racing this weekend - it was a hot one to be out there!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

random friday facts

1. Tequila shots plus me are almost never a good idea.

2. Why, yes, my rest day DID go well, thanks for asking.

3. We might be adding to our family this weekend.

4. Okay, maybe some actual facts.  I was a very picky eater when I was little.  I did not eat: pb&j, yogurt, fish, bananas, spaghetti with sauce, cereal with milk, and I hated it when my food touched.  I'm much better now, although I still eat my cereal dry.

5. I've decided to give up eating red meat.  It's actually been about 2 weeks since I've had any and I'm enjoying the way I feel without it.  I'm not making an, "I'm never eating red meat again" statement here, I'm just experimenting with my diet.  I'm also liking the way I feel after eating a meal with veggies and tofu.  Weird.

6. I'm either taking another rest day today, or I'm going to have an arms/back day at the gym.  My legs need another day off.

7.  Dammit, try to stick to the random facts.

8. I don't like white wine.  I've tried LOTS of it because people keep thinking if only I try "this" wine I will like it.  I don't.

9.  I never carry an umbrella.

10. I have been on a motorcycle going over 100mph.  Not.driving.

11. Yesterday was another opportunity for me to realize that I don't miss my job at Apple.  Not one tiny little bit.

12. I don't like butter cream icing.  I like the crunchy sugar kind.

13. Don't leave me a voicemail.  I won't listen to it.

14. I don't think I've paid for any of the furniture in my house.  It doesn't match and it's worn out.  That doesn't bother me right now.

15. I didn't really like beer until I was 25.  Now I love beer.

16. I love hoodies, but only when they are new or very very old.  After a few washings, they shrink a bit and I don't like them as much.

17. My favorite dish at a Chinese restaurant is called "chinese pizza" or "scallion pancake."  It's basically the outside of an eggroll flattened into a pancake with dipping sauce.  

18. My wardrobe has essentially become exercise clothes, sweats, and jeans/tee-shirts.  I need to clean out my closets.

19. There are things in my kitchen that I don't know how to use, or what they are for.

20. I like to read while I eat, while watching movies, in bed, on the metro, and in the car.  I always have a book in my purse.

21. I've recently become re-addicted to Sudoku.

22. I love strawberries, but I don't like strawberry-flavored things.  Oh, except margaritas.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

p.s. Did anyone else notice I'm almost at 100 posts?  Who knew I had 100 posts worth of gibberish in me?  Might be giveaway time!!  Make sure you are following my sweet, sweet ass!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

three things thursday

1. I think I'm officially over-trained.  I've been feeling tired and sore all week.  My knees are bothering me.  I haven't been sleeping well, which turns into complete exhaustion by mid-afternoon.  My quads have felt strained for about a week now.  The heat is getting to me a bit, but I think that adding cycling into the mix has been wearing me out more than I expected.  Result?  I am taking a day off - maybe two.  I have a ride planned Saturday morning to a brewfest, and I want to be chipper and well-rested, not cranky and going up hills at 2 mph.  So, today, I am not going to the gym, I am not going swimming, I am not going to do one-legged squats while on conference calls, I am not going to ride to the bike shop to get a second water bottle cage.  I am going to and let it expand.

2. I hate it when my dog is bad.  HATE IT.  Fortunately, he is almost never bad.  He has never chewed furniture or shoes or anything except his toys.  He doesn't beg (except when he hears the ice-cube maker), he doesn't jump on people (generally), he doesn't bark, he doesn't steal food, and he's never humped another dog.  When I was in the shower this morning, he pulled a bunch of string out of the kitchen rug - this is the ONE thing in the house he thinks is his toy.  The worst part is: when I swat him, he cowers against my legs, wanting me to protect him from Whatever Bad Thing is making his nose/butt sting.  It makes my heart hurt.

3. My bikini-wax lady left me crooked.  Again.  I think I'm going to have to leave her. 

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

mostly wordless wednesday

my girls (in NO particular order):

 you all mean different things to me, but I love you all.  <3

p.s. if you could all try and congregate in one state (or one TIME ZONE, at least), THAT WOULD BE GREAT.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

running update & DC ride

I'm about 2 weeks out from cortisone shot insanity now.  This is what my test runs have looked like:

6/7: Cortisone shot.
6/11: 1M (9:02): still a bit achy from the shot but otherwise feels good.
6/14: 1.25M (9:12): a bit of pulling but no pain.
6/16: 1.25M (9:08): felt amazing.
6/18: 1.5M (9:00): tiny bit of tightness at the end.
6/21: 1.5M (8:54): some tightness throughout but no pain.

I'm doing all these runs on a treadmill at the gym so I can carefully monitor distance & pace while concentrating on how I feel and my gait.  I know that once I get back outside - especially in this heat - my pace will suffer, and that's fine.  Right now it's more about getting going again.  Looking at this, so far, so good.  When I talk about tightness, it's more of an awareness of my IT band above my knee in the lower half of my thigh, but I haven't felt anything on the front/side of the knee itself, and I haven't had the trademark OMG WTF IS THAT pain that the IT band is known so well for, so I'll take it.  I'll take all of it.

As many people have commented, it's surprising that my cycling isn't bothering the IT band.  I do have a bit of tightness when I ride, and I've had a tingly sensation in my kneecap that worried me at first, but my doctor friend says that the tinglies are an annoyed meniscus that is common to new cyclists, and ice plus advil will help it calm down.  Done, Dr. Jamie.

My goal is to be running (or walk/running, if needed) 2.5M miles by July 11th because, as some of my eagle-eyed blog stalkers have noticed, I'll be doing a teeny tiny mini sprint tri that day at GMU.  I picked this one because a) it's in a pool; b) the run is only 2.6M; c) it's in a pool; d) I don't have to buy a wetsuit because e) the swim is in a pool.  Right.  I'm a wimp and I don't care who knows it.  No putting my face in river ooge, not just yet.  My cross-training regimen over the past 5 months has essentially been tri training with lots of lifting, so I think this will be a perfect race to test out where I am at.  Also, I'm sure I mentioned, it's in a POOL.  What do I wear?!

In other news....

Yesterday afternoon I went out for a monumenty ride with a close friend of mine that is moving to Denver next week.  Sad pandas are everywhere.  My original plan was to ride up to Roosevelt Island and meet her there (less than 6 miles away), but I stepped out of my house into the blinding heat, humidity, and sunshine at 5pm and decided to drive instead, so I wouldn't be zonked out for our ride.  We started out by riding onto Roosevelt Island, which was a terrible idea, because, as many of you know, it's a gravelly pebbley trail with roots and stairs and all kinds of bad things.  Also, yes, many people have told me this morning that there's a big sign that says "NO BIKES."  We didn't see it, I swear, but I promise I won't do it again.  Ru posed with Roosevelt and we GTF off that island.  Ahh, road is so much better on the biscuit.
Hello Mr. Roosevelt.
We looped over the bridge that involves crossing the GW parkway TWICE, waved at Lincoln, and headed out to Haines Point.  We attempted to take pictures of ourselves:
Until a man walking by took pity on us and took our picture.  I think we were embarrassing the city.
We left Haines Point and decided to do a loop around the mall.  We convinced some more tourists to take our picture at the bottom:
I don't know why I'm standing like that.

...and then went past WWII - my favorite monument - did some hinky jiggery and ended up on the other Memorial Bridge to get back to Roosevelt Island, which has a TEENY WEENY pedestrian walkway and I was terrified I was going to get blown into the river.  

I really enjoyed this ride - the Mall was deserted because it was 7pm, and it had just cooled down enough that we weren't roasting.  It also made a nice change from the tree-tree-bush-tree-bush-tree-tree-tree scenery of the trails I've been riding on.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, June 21, 2010

dog park & tofu

What a great summer weekend.

Friday afternoon I played hooky.  We took G to a dog park nearby that has access to a little river, where the dogs can splash and run and generally make a mess.  G had no idea what to do.
 I'm scared.
 Look, Mama, I can swim!

It was great for G to do some socializing with other pups - this was his first trip to the dog park!  We put him in the far back of the car on the way home, but he really didn't like it there....
 I want to sit in the front with YOU GUYS!
Here I come!

After we hosed him down, we went to see Toy Story 3.  It was really cute, but I'm not sure the 3D was worth it.  Plus we missed a bunch of good previews by seeing the 3D version.  Boo!

Saturday morning I got up early for a ride, and had just enough time to squeeze in 20 miles before I had to get dressed and pick up a friend - for a baby shower!  It was a great afternoon.
College buddies!

Sunday morning I had planned a 40-50 mile ride.  I woke up around 6:30, hoping to beat the heat and humidity.  Nope.  My stomach was bothering me, so I didn't get out of the house until almost 8am, and by then, it was already well into the 80's and muggy.  I headed out to the MV trail and was surprised to find it almost completely empty - usually at this time it is packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists.  I didn't see a single runner, and only saw 2 other cyclists.  I headed north on the trail, but bailed out in Crystal City and circled back home.  The humidity was really oppressive, and my legs were exhausted from: spinning class on Wed, cycling on Thurs, lifting on Friday, and cycling on Saturday.  When I got back home, I officially declared it a day off and went back to bed.  I continued my "day off" mentality by having pasta for lunch, ice cream in the afternoon, and then made a new recipe for dinner - balsamic-honey grilled tofu, grilled romaine, and peas.
I had a little more luck keeping the tofu intact this time around.

I think I had the heat on the grill too high, as the tofu was crispy on the outside, but still pretty mushy on the inside.  The recipe also said to try it baked, so I might do that next.  I finished off my night with another mugful of ice cream and a solid night sleep.  

How was your weekend?  

Friday, June 18, 2010

random friday facts

1. Good news: as of yesterday, I've managed to vacate 25lb of doritoes and Miller Lite off my bod since December (being injured sucks).  Bad news: lady funbags still the same size.  GRR.

2. Tabs open in my Safari window all day: Yahoo inbox, Facebook, Gmail inbox, Google Cal, b-school site, dailymile, and Google Reader.  Sometimes I close Google Reader when I need to get actual work done.  

3. When I was little, my favorite color was purple.  I had purple carpet in my bedroom.

4. I check my bank account online almost every day.  

5. I believe my dog will never die.  I have to.

6. I didn't like pb&j until I was 29.  Until then, peanut butter only.

7. I like Pages better than Word, but Excel better than Numbers.

8. I spend a lot of time while lifting looking at how my ass looks in the mirror.

9. I hate it when people talk to me in stores.  I generally hate shopping in stores.

10. I really really REALLY REALLY hate it when people interrupt other people that are talking, even if it's not me.

11. I cuss a lot.

12. I like making people laugh.  I have a really rough time with conversations about emotion or feelings.

13. I have not yet discovered how much money I need to have saved to feel safe.

14. Lately I've been thinking about doing a major renovation on my house.  I have no idea where to start, but really like the idea of the completed project.  I really hate the idea of living through renovation.

15. I wish I had been able to work less and spend time with friends more in college.

16. I have a really sensitive nose and hate bad smells.

17. I get random bruises a lot and can never remember how I got them.  Right now I have a really bad one on my left bicep (no idea), ouchie one on my right forearm (leaning too hard in spinning class?), a long series on my right hip/thigh (sports massage), a really bad one on my left shin (no idea, but possibly walking into the chest at the foot of the bed).

18. I talk in my sleep, and sleep walk.  In my life, I have taken showers, tried to climb out windows, slammed doors, folded laundry, and reorganized the pantry in my sleep.

19. Whatever body ph is needed to attract bugs, I have it.  I weeded the front beds for 10 minutes last week and got almost 30 bites.  Several through the stretchy yoga pants I was wearing.

20. I feel healthier when I am tan.  I know this is not true.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

three things thursday

This week's Thursday things is featuring some serious blogger love!

1. Lauren over at Failed Muffins sent me an email earlier this week asking me if she could interview me for her blogger highlight series.  The opportunity to babble to a totally new audience?  Hecko yes!  I think Lauren and I started stalking each other's blogs right about the same time, and she's super good fun people.  Check her out.

2. A few weeks ago, Brittany put something up on twitter about going to back-to-back spinning classes.  I love new things that make me want to puke & die, so I asked her if I could tag along one week.  We were supposed to go last night, and we ended up postponing until next week due to no space being left in the class, but I wanted to highlight her anyway because she is a kickass chick who just finished her first 50-miler.

3. And today, I'm really excited to be going on a bike ride with Heather, who has inspired me in a real way to bust out of my tired of eating habits and try a ton of new things in my diet (the food pyramid is not just bread & cheese?  SAY WHAT NOW?).   She also ran her first marathon last spring after training through some pretty ridiculous weather here in DC!

These are just three of the many bloggers who provide daily inspiration to me to run, bike, swim, and eat in a way that makes me a healthier and happier person.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

mostly wordless wednesday

Lauren sent me a tofu recipe to help me check off a June goal.

Step 1: buy tofu.
Step 2: Touch the tofu.  Don't be scared.
 Step 3: show the tofu who is boss... getting the liquid out.
 Step 4: cut into cubes.  Mine fell apart.
 Step 5: put cubes in hot pan.  Mine turned into tofu crumbles while they cooked.
 Step 6: sprinkle stuff on, to disguise tofu.
 Step 7: put 6 million random ingredients in a food processor, along with lots of peanut butter.
 Step 8: stand back in case it explodes.  Let someone else push the button.
 Step 9: put everything in bowl and mash it around.
 Step 10: make it look delicious so someone might want to eat it.  Hide tofu under noodles.
 Step 11: pour big glasses of wine in case it tastes really really bad.
 Additional note: make sure you have proper supervision when dealing with tofu.
He doesn't know he's too big to sleep on the step now.  
Don't tell him, it'll break his little heart.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

running update

This is a blog about running, right?

I had a cortisone shot last Monday.  Dr. P said not to run until Friday.  After talking with him, I'm changing my running strategy.  Before, I was rocking the walk/run.  Now, I'm gonna rock the run/stop.  On Friday, I got a treadmill, walked for 2 minutes, ran a 9:20 mile, then walked for 2 minutes.  That's it, peace out, end of story.  I spent the weekend cycling.  Yesterday morning I had a sports massage, and my dude really focused on my IT bands - re: tried his hardest to hurt me while I chattered away.  Everything felt pretty stretched out, so I decided to do another test run (HA!  I punned!).  I spent an hour or so lifting, and then hopped on a treadmill.  Walked for 2 minutes, ran 1.25 at 9:12 pace, walked for 2 minutes.  

I think this is going to be a good strategy for now.  I've been following a walk/run plan since I got hurt 3 months ago, so I know I have the running in my legs.  I'm just starting to change my focus to one long stretch of moderately easy running.  I'm probably going to do yesterday's run 2-3 more times before extending the distance at all.  This is far less total distance than I was doing in the walk/run, so I'm hoping it won't irritate the IT, and I'll do gradual increases (I will, I swear).  

Of course this is all just another desperate ploy to avoid having surgery, but I'm really hoping it'll take.  The two runs I've done have been pain-free, although the second one had a little tightness.  It might take me 2 months to work back up to a 5K, but I'd much rather do that then go under the knife.  And now that I have a shiny new bike to distract me, it's easier to be patient with the running.

FIngers crossed, people.

Monday, June 14, 2010

the rest of the weekend

But first, let's take a good long look at what I'll be sporting at the gym today.

HA HA!  Hope that was worth your life, Mr. Bee!
Note: I had been awake for less than 30 seconds.  I am not always this beautiful.
Additional note: I am very overdue for an eyebrow (among other things) wax.

NOW.  For the rest of the weekend!  After my lovely ride yesterday, we went to a restaurant in Del Ray that I've always wanted to try because I hear it's amazing, Fireflies.  I am pleased to report that it was quite delicious.  I am also pleased to report that I ignored all of the healthy menu items and had a cheeseburger with bacon & BBQ sauce and it was the best recovery meal EVER.  I can't remember the last time I had a big, greasy cheeseburger.  I barely made a dent in the fries though, and they were the yummy crispy baked kind.  Mmmm.

After that, we drove up into DC.  The original plan was to park on the Mall (HA, I know) and walk around to see some monuments and things.  We were thwarted by a) 5 quadrillion people b) zero parking and c) the 105-degree heat index.  So we plan-B'd it: put the top down on the car, did a driving monument tour, stopping with flashers on to take pictures and just generally be an annoyance to the district.  It was actually a ton of fun!  

We drove around the Mall, over the Memorial Bridge & back, and then down the GW to Mount Vernon & back.  It was nice to ride around and take a look at all the stuff that is usually just background to my traffic-induced-road-rage.  

Now, my lip and I have to go do some work.  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

maybe I am built for speed, after all

What a wonderful, exciting weekend!

Friday night I decided to give the yoga studio another shot.  Bad news, little bears.  The class was being taught be a regular teacher, not a teacher in training, which I thought would be a great way to sample the studio again.  The first 15-20 minutes of the class were fairly standard, but really excellent - smooth transitions, logical progressions, everyone concentrating and working hard.  Suddenly, our teacher tells us - orders us - to drop into child's pose, where she proceeds to yell at us that we're concentrating too hard, we're being too serious, and she's not going to move on until we all decide to lighten up and have fun.  While she was talking (a while), the girl next to me got up and left, which, if I'm being honest, I was also considering.  This triggered an avalanche of righteous insanity, which included forcing people into postures and variations, talking about the anti-psychotic meds she took, and telling us that yoga is where she brings her anger and we're all her friends for not leaving.  

I can handle crazy.  I can filter it out, and I was mainly able to get what I needed from the class, but there were two people in the class who were brand new to yoga.  My heart goes out to these people, and I hope they return to find yoga the welcoming, accepting place that it is, instead of this replace-the-knives-with-plastic kind of ridiculous experience this class was.  And what I take from this?  A strong sign from the universe that I need to keep looking for a yoga studio.  I can hear you, already, you can stop throwing bricks.

Friday night a good friend (who's a doctor - this is relevant in a moment) drove up from NC for the weekend, and we hung out and grilled and made delicious blender creations.  Worst pun of the night: my roommate, saying that my friend "doctored" his drink.  BOOOO.  Saturday morning we got up early for the 20-mile ride that was planned, which turned into a casual 11-mile jaunt with friends down the MV trail.  It was a beautiful morning, and we managed to get home just before the heat really cranked up.  

Why, yes, I do have a sweet, sweet ass.

I headed to the gym, and then home for the best shower I have ever taken.  The best shower anyone has ever taken.  We spent the rest of the afternoon eating on the patio of my favorite place on earth, running errands, and relaxing.  Saturday night I managed to create an epic disaster of biblical proportions by deciding to use my new bike pump to check my tires, and ended up somehow popping a tire right at the base of the valve stem.  My hero, Ben, taught me how to replace the tube to make sure I could get out Sunday morning.  Bless you, Ben.  Bless you.

Sunday morning I got up even earlier for another ride, this time with my friend Gretchen, who is training for a 70.3 in the fall.  This was going to be her first long ride, as she has been a casual biker for a long time but is a strong runner, and just recently has stepped up her game and purchased a tri bike.  We planned on 30 miles on the W&OD trail, but decided we would just see how good we felt.  This is one of my running buddies.  The first time I ever ran more than 4 miles was because of her.  Our 2-mile quick runs often become 6-8 miles because we're too busy talking to notice how far we've gone.  

This ride ended up being pure comedy.  We spent the better part of the first 1/2 mile stopping because one or the other of us had rubbing brakes, too-tight tires, shoe-clipping problems (NOTE: NOT ME.  I AM NOT CLIPPING IN.  I DO NOT HAVE A DEATH WISH.) or just checking out "strange noises."  We finally got going and all of a sudden - 4800-watt pain in my upper lip.  A giant bee flew into my face and got STUCK in my lip by the stinger, and was wriggling around, STILL ALIVE, trying to figure out WTF just happened to his happy little bee jaunt.  With superhuman effort and magical balancing powers, I managed to get the bee out of my face (killing him, sorry about that) while cursing the universe at full volume without crashing into anyone, the bushes, or the ground, and pulled the stinger out just as I stopped.  Yeah, I'm pretty freakin' talented.  My lip instantly puffed up to 58 times the normal size, and I've got a cool Stallone-style snarl going on out of one side.  I iced it with my water bottle for a few minutes and we headed on down the trail.  During the course of our ride, I got hit with at least 5 more bees.  Several bombed into my stomach, one hit me right between the eyes and escaped behind my sunglasses - as in, between the glasses and my EYEBALL - before I could shake it out, and at least two tried to move into my brain via my ear.  I have NO IDEA what I was doing to attract them, but they didn't bother Gretchen (10-40 feet away) at all.  

We decided to stop at the Target just off the trail in Herndon to get some Benadryl, but by the time we got there, it was feeling fine.  I went in and clanked around anyway, to buy some Gatorade for Gretchen while she watched our bikes.  When I got back outside, she filled up her fancy tri water bottle which, incidentally, doesn't have a cap, just a little sponge thing.  She leaned over to inspect her front tire and promptly knocked her bike over, spraying Gatorade over 10 feet, her, and her bike.  What.  I hosed myself down with bug spray, she bought more Gatorade, and we were off.

We actually had a really enjoyable ride - we spent some time talking, some time drafting off each other, some time intently speeding through miles, and some time just enjoying the ride.  I also had plenty of opportunities to practice gearing up big hills and flying down the other side.  She thought we started at mile marker 12 (yeah, you know where THIS is going), so we decided to turn around at 32, which is just over the line into Leesburg.  Somehow we (and by "we" I of course mean me) missed 32 and stopped a bit after 32.5.

I ate a pack of shot blocks and finished my nuun.  My phone, which was tracking my miles, died just before we stopped to turn around, so my time/mileage ended up being kind of approximate.  On the way back, we stopped at a bike rest stop slash BBQ joint (I don't know) to fill up on water.
Ignore my crooked helmet.

I stood in line with my three bottles of water listening to someone order 12 pounds of pulled pork BBQ and 8 pounds of mac n' cheese.  Blllurggh.  The heat was really getting cranked up by then, and we were starting to feel it.  I took some shot blocks when we stopped at Target (mile 9ish) and again at the turn-around (23ish), but I probably should've taken a few more at this stop (32ish?).  After we left here, we separated for a while, as I wanted to get in a few really fast, strong miles.  We caught up around the 15 mile marker, and this is where I started to feel zonked by the sun.  We cheered when we saw mile marker 13 - and then 12.5 - and then (you knew this was coming....) 12?  11.5?  GAH.  Turns out we hopped on closer to 11.  Regardless, we had a great ride - the W&OD trail is gorgeous, and I got to see more of it than I ever have this way.  

I've never been a particularly fast runner.  I get REALLY excited when my pace starts with an "8."  I've always thought that this mothership was built more for comfort than speed.  I've never wanted to win a race - I'm pretty content beating my own PR by 2 seconds while riding in the middle of the pack.  Cycling uses different muscles than running (everyone say, "DUH"), and in particular, uses those wide peasant thighs I've spent a significant amount of my life bemoaning.  Today I learned that I'm strong in a different way, and those thighs aren't (just) too fat for skinny jeans - they are strong and powerful, and made to get me up a hill without slowing, and to make the wind move faster across my sweaty, dead-bug-covered bod.  This just might (I'm saying "might" here people, don't blast me next week when I fall off my bike down the street and curse the universe that let me buy something so dangerous) be something I am built to be fast at.  What a blessing this injury could turn out to be.  

I finished up our 44ish-mile ride in a little over 3 hours - covered in dead gnats and chain grease, sweaty, dirty, muddy, happy - and hooked.