Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turkey Weekend

Monday morning of course as everyone always says came way too fast. I had a good time at home with family in MD for Thanksgiving and then on Saturday night for the USC vs. Notre Dame game (Go Trojans!) with a night of dive bar diving(?) mixed in on Friday night with some friends. I did not manage to bike home on Thursday after my race like I had planned, mostly because of the rain but I also wasn’t sure I had figured out the safest route for riding (along Rt. 108 west of Columbia, MD?). I did manage to run the Turkey Trot in Alexandria even though I almost backed out due to the rain as well and took a nice long and very slow run on Saturday afternoon in the amazing weather up around the Columbia Mall. Surprisingly I only saw one other runner out during my 1 ½ hour run on such a great day. Would have figured more people would be out burning off the pounds of food they stuffed their faces with over the holiday. I guess that is why the average American gains whatever it is 8 or 16 lbs during the holiday season.

Only notable thing so far this week is that a friend of mine here at work named Erik found this posting on Craigslist under the women seeking men section and sent it along and told me I had to respond. He said something about living vicariously through me. Anyway, if you look at those you probably noticed this one. A 23 year old athletic girl who recently moved from the west coast and I’m sure has already received over 1000 replies to her ad. I’ll keep you posted though I doubt I’ll hear anything. I’ve never responded to one of those things so I’m not really sure if I did well with my response or not. My email subject was “I hope you’re not a UCLA fan” and I sent a picture of me at the Rose bowl with my SC jersey on…


Monday, November 20, 2006

Prom, yes that's right... Prom 2006 and I went

I went to Prom this weekend. Yeah, you read that right and I wrote it right. Prom 2006 at Bartson Academy. Quite the night; though the chaperones sure missed a lot, I mean I saw photographic evidence posted on the internet of someone spiking the punch! I wonder if he'll get suspended.

All in all Prom 2006 was an absolute blast; held by my friends Thoreau and Kristin at their amazing apartment and including everything from the balloon arch to the flying banner on the building outside,;oh yeah and the picture backdrop for couples pictures too. I made Prom Court but was cheated out of the win after only something like 4 people voted for me. You know it's kind of like the national election system; way too much power is left to the voting public sometimes...

Any way, the night was a serious Blast (yes that's right, with a capital B) and many thanks go to Thoreau and Kristin for hosting such an amazing party, uh, I mean Prom...

Had dinner before hand at Buca de Bepo with the desired stares and laughs from our fellow diners and even managed to see a coworker to whom I have yet to have the chance to explain myself. Drank 6 liters of Chianti, a couple of bottles of champaign and ate plenty of pasta oh and don't forget the meatballs.

In other news, my coworker and mentor of sorts when it comes to cycling (and my job really) was struck by a cab this morning while riding into work. He himself is fine though his rear wheel is a different story (think taco shell). Apparently a cab driver was riding his tail this morning when he decided he would "teach him a lesson" for riding in the street and ran into him from behind. Said driver then feels the need to get out of the cab, kick the bike laying tangled in the middle of the street and beginning teaching his lesson. Incredibly even with two witnesses offering business cards and the obvious use of a vehicle as a weapon, the cops still may have let the cab driver go with a simple ticket for property damage. No, reckless driving, no reckless endangerment and no aggravated assault; all of which would have been quite appropriate in this case.

Sort of scary to a city biker; now I know to be weary of not only all BMW's but also Cabs while I ride.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another new bike... this time with gears!

My new (1991) Specialized Allez
Technically it is on lease at the moment from a friend but soon it will officially be mine! It is in absolutely prestine condition and rides like a dream; oh yeah and it has gears! So hopefully now I will be closer to the pack down at Hains Point for the lunch time ride chasing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pasta Parties

This weekend on top of the Veterans Day 10K I spent a bunch of time with friends eating and enjoying the company of good people. After spending the night home on Friday night preparing things I hosted a pasta party supposedly for the people running the race the next day thought only three of the 11 people there ran the next day. I made a sugered pecan topped mandarin salad with a red wine vinegret dressing, homemade fettuccini alfredo and spaghetti with a homemade meat sauce and some apple oatmeal cookies for dessert.

I haven't cooked for people in a long time and it was a lot of fun doing it even though I get a bit flustered sometimes with it. All of the food turned out extremely well and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. My alfredo sauce seemed to be extra popular (maybe bacause those folks were vegetarians) but what was really great about it was that while it was a good creamy sauce it still only had a few grams of fat per serving. I've started my marathon training diet so I'm trying to pay close attention to what I'm eating for that. Some people might find that excessive I find that going for the entire training program including diet helps me stay focused and keeps me

Sunday after the run (and the half hour thawing shower) my friend Mandie who also ran had a few of us over for Brunch for which she got her hands on a Belgain waffle maker... Boy am I jealous. Then Sunday night another friend Krista had a prethanksgiving day feast at her place with a packed house and tons of great food. Love that!

Oh yeah, and as inspired by my good friend Swan and her great photographing abilities I've been keeping my eyes open for interesting and cool shots which I will share from time to time. While I am no photographer by any means I will do what I can. Below is a shot I took walking home from Mandie's in the rain in Dupont circle. Unfortunately the light was not great and so the picture was not quite as nice as these from the day before but oh well.

Running in the rain

Is the weekend really over? I found myself longing to be anywhere but work today; after a great though different weekend it is hard to sit through another day staring at a computer screen doing cell auditing and formula building. The weekend itself was a bit different then the usual since I stayed in on Friday and Saturday nights and woke up on Saturday and Sunday around 6 am (not the most exciting thing to do on a weekend. But I took the GRE’s on Saturday and ran the Veteran’s Day 10K with about 850 other brave souls on Sunday morning. The organizers called us "hardy".

The race itself was a ton of fun and being the first road race I have run in since I was in elementary school I ran nice and easy and enjoyed the company of the other runners. When we first got to the starting area however it was only about 7:30 and it was raining and about 40 degrees so it wasn’t the most pleasant waiting experience. To make this worse there were only about three or four tents set up which were essentially taken up by the announcer and equipment, organizers and registration tables and the food and drink so there was not a lot of room to huddle outside of the rain. The worst thing however was that the bag check area was simply a long line of tables and the open grass behind them for the bag storage with absolutely no cover whatsoever. I’m just glad my big old Timbuk2 bag is waterproof (though water still managed to come in along the sides…)

Once the race got going everything was back to good as we quickly warmed up running along with the wind and actually beginning to enjoy splashing through the puddles along the road. There were a couple of brave supporters out to cheer on the runners and some even more wonderful volunteers along the route to do the same and direct us the right way. The course was nice although a bit boring for me since I cycle at Hains Point once or twice a week and while I was worried before hand about the wind it actually seemed to help me out during the race. I knew when it was at my back of course and tried to take full advantage of when I could but then when I was running into it I was able to really use it as a strong motivator to get me moving faster. The entire race I was basically moving up on and running through people, especially since I began the race at a much slower pace for the first 1 ½ miles then I ended up running the rest of it at. Then when I got into the strong headwinds I was able to motivate myself to run harder through them while I could see other people letting up a bit, passing those people and setting my sights on the next people.

While I am typically not one to be terribly competitive, or at least I attempt not to be I could feel the competitive drive taking over throughout the race. Like when I was actively picking people in front of me off as I ran both headwind and tailwind, and especially for about a mile or so towards the end of the race. Through the final stretch beginning a little after the 4 mile mark as I ran around a group on their left I noticed a smaller women speed up along the right of the group as I began to pass and then she ended up sticking with me through the next few groups I passed. After a little bit I decided I’d start using this as a little bit of fuel and try to loose her and so I started to pick it up a little only to see her pull up a tiny bit ahead of me. We got to a bridge with about as much of an incline as we’d get in the race and I made my move and accelerated up and over the bridge. Then I kept my pace up under the next two over passes and began to pick it up for the final half mile or so. I think I lost her on the bridge but I never thought to look back at the finish to see if she finished near me or anything.

As for my time, eh not terribly great but I got a great feeling for a 10K and the type of pace I can expect to run them at. For the Jingle all the Way 10K my goal will be below 45 minutes; oh and my strategy? Making sure my shoes are well tied before the race and starting out at a better pace and then gradually increasing from there on. I’m entirely addicted to road racing now and while I never win a race, I will always enjoy running them.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I’ve been meaning to get around to this post since Monday but things have been a little hectic this week both at work and away. First of course Tuesday’s election… OH HELLS YEAH! That’s what I’m talking about; oh and Bush’s reaction is quite perfect, he’s just so crushed. I was personally somewhat surprised that Democrats didn’t make an even bigger and cleaner sweep but I guess I just don’t understand the mind set of the other side of the argument. Thank you to every person who took the time out of their busy lives to be included in governing this country and showing the world what it is that really makes America great; and helping me feel a little bit better about the American attitude towards our own politics and policies. Hopefully the changes made will at least begin to bring about the changes of direction this country so desperately needs.

That said I was not planning on voting on Tuesday; even as I got to work Tuesday morning I had no intentions of dragging myself to a polling booth. I’m sorry for that; I guarantee I will never try that again. After getting in to work I decided I couldn’t let myself get away with this so after confirming that my mother (yes I know… “mommy can you come pick me up?”) could not come get me at a metro station I rented a Flexcar for the afternoon/evening and drove up to Columbia, Md to enter my vote. I then spent the rest of the morning researching the local candidates I would be choosing between since I already knew my major choices.

I’ve got to say, after only voting one time before in my life in 2004 for the loosing candidate it felt good to really have a vote that counted as I watched CNN predict Cardin as the winner for the Senate. This was quite a fulfilling election.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Over doing it...

I've known for the past few weeks that I've pretty much been over doing things when it comes to working out my body. The biking to work almost everyday as well as to most other places I need to go, running to work on the days I don't bike, hard rides during lunch and long ones on weekends and the weekly games of frisbee have begun to make themselves felt on my body; most notably my legs. Unfortunately this doesn't stop me, I know all about the value of rest days in the workout program but common, there's just no time for that. I want to get out and do shit and resting doesn't leave any room for that... I'm going to get over that one of these days when I can't even stand up.

Not quite yet though; today for my official marathon training I needed to do a four mile run. Simple, four miles I can break out like that and it there I would be on schedule. However, since I ran 5 1/2 or so on Monday (only supposed to do 2, 19 week training program here) I needed to go above and beyond again for the "long" run for the week. So today I went out with the mindset I would run till I felt like I should turn back and then run back. Went well except for that little thing called my own head. When I do this kind of run I like to think I could just go out and run forever so I never know when to really call it quits for the way out. Today I ran out to Connecticut Ave. and up to the Zoo and thru it and then took off going up Beach drive till I got about a mile and a half past Military Road which is something along the lines of 5 1/2 to 6 miles, one way of course. By the time I got back to the zoo my legs were kind of tired and I ended up stopping around there and walking up Adams Mill Road to get back home.

Not a terrible thing although I did bite off a little bit more then I could chew and it was way to cold to be trying to walk a mile or two in a soaking wet under armor shirt (which was perfect by the way for the long run with the blood pumping). Thought I was going to have pneumonia by the time I got back home.

The really bad thing however is that my sore ass legs are going to still have to get up tomorrow morning for the 25 to 30 mile bike ride I promised to my friend who is in the final stages of her century ride training. Sweet, oh yeah and since I stayed in last night I'm itching to go out tonight and am probably heading out to Chloe for a friends birthday party folloed by a clus for some dancing. Oh how my legs will love me after this one. I think I may be making myself take monday off from at least the lunch time ride down at hains point... well, that is if the weather is really bad.

This little guy says it'll all be worth it...

Friday, November 03, 2006

The regulars

Yesterday was the official one year anniversary of our weekly happy hour at Ella’s wood fired pizzeria downtown. It also marked the triumphant return of our good friend Swan from her months of travel (including loads of incredible pictures; just check out the link to her blog). We realized that it had been one full year about halfway through the night and decided that pictures were in order. After taking a nice group shot we then informed Mikey (the greatest bartender in DC if you ask any of us) about the occasion and he in turn brought us a great present in a small tiramisu cake and a bottle of Champaign. How could we possibly not go back ever week with such a great staff and reserved table waiting for us?

The crew including many of the originals (greatly missing the lost soul Jeff to the Southland)

Our presents from the greatest bartender ever...

Isn't it great to be a regular?

Oh and thanks to The Express and Wonkette for the mentions the other day! Thats more traffic then I've seen in the existence of my blog...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The new mayor (to-be) thinks I'm a dork...

Last night coming home from work I decided to stop off at the Fleet Feet around the corner from my place to pick up some body glide to protect my poor nipples from my marathon aspirations. When I went into the store and they told me they didn’t close until eight I decided it was a good a time as ever to pick buy a new pair of running shoes like I’ve been talking about for the last four months. I’ve never actually really gone and gotten fitted for running shoes other then a clerk handing me a pair of shoes I liked in the size I requested so this time they sat me down and went through the whole shpeal. Then I tried on probably eight or nine pairs of shoes to get the pair that fit me just right. Oh, and I rolled up the legs on my khakis and went for a few quick “jogs” out on the sidewalk of Columbia Road while people looked at me funny.

At one point when I came back into the store a couple of young boys had come in and were obviously well known by the staff. I sat down and tried on another pair of shoes and when I stood up and turned around Mr. Fenty was standing in the doorway of the store. Apparently his mother is the owner and those were his little kids running around on their Halloween sugar highs. Now I’m not one to gush over people with “celebrity status” or anything, I would usually just try to act like they are just some regular person but I guess I was a bit shocked to see him there last night. At one point while I watched him attempting to control his kids he looked up with a bit of an exasperated look on his face and I said, “pretty soon you’ll be running a city and trying to control them too”. He gave me a funny look and laughed.

I’m a dork.

My shoes are great though so far. I got up this morning (extremely hung over of course from the Halloween festivities from the night before) and ran in to work since I’d left my bike there the night before. It was a pretty reasonable run despite the hang over factor. A nice 3.5 mile run in the morning is just about right for where I should be in my marathon training program so I’ll probably start doing that more often. The only bad thing was that my soap kept bouncing around in its soap box in my backpack. That was a little annoying.