Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Kitchen Unveiled

I apologize in advance to those of you who have seen some of these photos previously. Then again, I had to look at this view every single day for 12 long, dark years.


Old floor

I can powder my nose by looking at this floor! It's so shiny it's like looking in a mirror!!

Old sink..

New sink! New cupboards! New squiggly handle thingys! New counter!

Old drawers, and old space for a drawer that fell apart.

Look! A drawer with a front! And an extra cupboard!

Old pantry, view 1.

Old pantry, view 2. It had a certain je ne sais quois.

New pantry, view 1. (With doors! That close!)

New pantry, view 2.

Old cabinets.

New cabinets.


More ugly.

Still ugly.

And, here's some ugly parts.


Total: $5,950

Construction by Dila Construction; started on a Tuesday, finished the following Tuesday.

Is it possible to be in love with inanimate objects??

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Rest of the Dextro ITU Sprint Triathlon Story

I was—thankfully—in the last swim wave (thankfully, since that meant there wouldn't be anyone behind me who would swim over me, see how I think?) set for 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning. Transition closed at 6, so I got there at 4:30, which meant? I woke up at 3:30 a.m.

O'dark thirty in transition.

Maryland Girl and me at the a**crack of dawn.

That is just so very very wrong.

We were all concerned about the condition of the Potomac River since it had been raining nonstop for what seemed like decades. Saturday was packet picket, again at a hotel a million miles away from transition, with a mandatory pre-race meeting, and a rather sad and dismal expo. I really don't get these meetings. I think the only thing I learned was that there wouldn't be any kind of transport back to transition on race day, which meant getting up early and parking at the hotel, and taking the shuttle down to transition, so that after the race we could walk back to the hotel, get the car, and try to drive back to transition to get all my crap. I'm saying the fifth discipline in triathlon is logistics (the fourth is eating).

Saturday, June 20, 2009, Potomac River, looking towards Virginia. The sun finally broke through.

Anywho, there was 'sposed to be a practice swim after packet pickup and bike racking, but it was canceled because of thunderstorm warnings. Number One Daughter's BF had been on the river early Saturday morning and was very skeptical that there would be a swim in such conditions—rough current and tons of debris. He said he saw a few tires float by. Way to freak me out KB!

Didn't see any tires, but plenty of debris.

I wasn't quite sure which would be worse: Having this thing turn into a duathlon (please don't make me run twice!) or, having to swim. And it wasn't swimming in the Potomac that scared me, it was, well, just swimming.

The course: Straight, left before the bridge, swim parallel to the bridge, another left and straight back to the dock. Easy-peazy!

The sun is up and I am so ready.

SWIM: 20:51 (2:47/100m) Despite all my weeks and months of training, I'm still pretty much convinced every time I get in the pool that I will suck. As we queued up and waited for the 10 waves before us to go off (6 Olympic waves and 5 Sprint) I tried not to think about a single thing except putting one foot in front of the other. This (mostly) worked.

Soon we jumped or slid into the water, which was a lovely 72F, but very murky. Treaded water for three minutes, the horn blew and we were off.

Sighting was pretty easy. Keep the shore to your right, head for the bridge. I probably over-sighted (?) looking up every 3-6 strokes. I was wearing a new wetsuit and for some reason my legs felt very constricted. I kind of knew I should be kicking at least a little (the ghost of Coach Tammy screaming in my ear to "USE. YOUR. LEGS.") but I just couldn't manage it. I also have just GOT to learn that there is a difference between swimming in a triathlon and driving a car. (What, you think that's obvious? Don't judge.) In a car, for instance, when someone wants to merge, I generally slow down and wave them in. And it turns out? In a triathlon when someone is swimming in front of me and I am gaining on them? I should really NOT SLOW DOWN AND WAVE THEM IN. I should ROLL THE HELL OVER THEM if need be.


I didn't hyperventilate, but I was breathing hard, telling myself this was really NOT the time to review the recent spate of stories about how all deaths in triathlon occur during the swim (seriously, this is what I was thinking), wondering if I'd have time to scream.


SHAKE IT OFF, sister!

Soon enough, I was hauling my bad self up the ramp, and taking my sweet time walking back to transition.

T1: 4:34 A funny thing happened in T1. Well, first, there were still bikes there, so that's funny peculiar right there. My bike was in the very very very VERY last rack, as far from the swim as possible but right next to the bike out. Wetsuit off, goggles off, dry feet, put sock on left foot, put sock on right...c'mon, you can do it, just raise that foot a little higher, bend over, COME ON YOU'VE BEEN PUTTING ON SOCKS FOR UM, YEARS NOW!! EFF THIS I'M SITTING DOWN! I can no longer bend over, my back is so tight. Who knew?? So I sat on the grass and got my right sock on and then pulled on my bike shoes, except...wait, there's something weird happening in my right shoe. WTF? Is it just my sock bunched up??? YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, JUST LIVE WITH IT IT'S ONLY 12 MILES! Helmet on, sunglasses and go go go.

Bike 20K (12.4 miles): 45:59 (16.2mph): The bike was fantastic. There is no better feeling than being able to ride in the middle of the streets of Washington. The Olympic and Sprint races were concurrent, so it was also just lovely not being alone. D.C. Tri was everywhere. We owned this race! They were ringing cowbells on every corner or handing out water or taking photos, or, if racing, never failed to shout "Go D.C. Tri!" as they passed me. It was awesome. D.C. Rainmaker passed me a few times on the bike like I was standing still, and even though he was busy tossing his cookies, he still managed a "Go D.C. Tri"...awwww. So I went, and got me my fastest bike split ever. I even passed a few people. Yay me.

T2 2:10: A funnier thing happened in T2. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, took off my left shoe, took off my right shoe and saw...ewwww..wtf is that brown stuff on the bottom of my sock on no it's not oh yes it is THERE'S A GU WRAPPER STUCK INSIDE MY RIGHT BIKE SHOE! AN OPEN USED GU WRAPPER. Did someone casually toss a gu wrapper on the ground in T1 RIGHT INTO MY BIKE SHOE??? Apparently, they did.


I stuck the camera in my jersey, grabbed my cell phone, and pulled on my running shoes. Somehow? I managed to become more limber AFTER the ride, so I didn't need to sit down to put my shoes on like I'm 100 years old. Go figure.

RUN 35:32 (11:28 min./mile): Let the record reflect that this is the Very Same Girl who started the year by going sub-30 in the 5k. This is the Very Same Girl who threw down an 8:50 min mile in the mile race just a few short months ago! And yes, this Very Same Girl had one goal and one goal only on this run: Do. Not. Walk. I don't care if you "run" 12 minute miles, just don't walk. Yay, me, I did it. Since I'd done only two half-assed bricks since last year, this was a good thing.

The finish was nowhere near transition, so that's why I grabbed the camera and the phone. I figured I could run 5k with a phone in my hand. A phone that was TURNED OFF, let me state for the record. Not my prettiest 5k but I knew it would be over soon. Plus, I kept passing my D.C. Tri peeps again! I gotta tell you: When you live in (or in my case near) the big bad city, and you're in a fairly sizeable (ok, not huge) race, and every 200 meters someone calls out your name, you start to feel, well, well-known! It takes a village, people!!!

The End!

Afterparty! Volunteer at the ITU professional race water stop!

Is this Brownlee?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dextro Energy Sprint Tri Results

Mood: Overall happy, although I REALLY thought my swim time would have improved more, given all the swim torture I've been going thru. Still, I pretty much hit all my goal times. Afterwards, I volunteered at the Men's ITU championship race and got to see a LOT of hawt men going very fast. Photos and excruciating details in my next post!

Dextro ITU Sprint Tri, June 21, 2009:
Age: 52
Overall place: 431 out of 477
Div: 6 out of 8
Gender place: 145 out of 169
Swim 750m: 20:51 (2:47/100m)
t1: 4:34
Bike 20K (12.4 miles): 45:59 (16.2mph)
t2: 2:10
Run 5k: 35:32 (11:28 min./mile)
Total: 1:49:04

Philadelphia Insurance Sprint Tri, June 21, 2008 (ridiculously long race report):
Age 51
Div: 12 of 18
Swim 900m: 26:35 (2:57/100m)
T1: 5:56
Bike 24k (15 miles): 1:02:59 (15 mph)
T2: 3:48
Run 5k: 36:18 (11:42 min./mile)
Total 2:15:37

Friday, June 19, 2009

Clean Sweep, the Not-Born-to-Run Kitchen Edition, Part Two

You ask, I deliver!

You might remember my BEFORE kitchen...we'll wait while you go check it out.

And in case you don't have the patience to click, here's a few before shots just to refresh your memory:


Oh, look away!

Kitchen is EMPTY.





Total cabinet tally: 7, Home Depot in-stock: $1,000.

But just wait...wait til you see the final product! I could perform surgery in this kitchen! In fact, I'm making Number One Daughter scrub before she's allowed to set foot (that would be a bootie-covered foot) in this inner sanctum!!

Stay tuned for the finished, final, granite-bedecked kitchen that I want to sleep in. Watch this space!

(Obligatory Tri Note: Sunday, June 21: International Triathlon Union, Sprint Tri, Washington, D.C. I am Very Nervous.)

(Obligatory Housewives Note: I really like Caroline!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mother of All Negative Splits

It was just one short week ago when I forlornly begged MarylandGirl to accompany me on a 22-mile bike ride about 3 miles from my house because I am was pretty much afraid to ride by myself. Even though I ride with a cellphone, tubes, cartridges and a pump. I mean really.

But everyone was busy this weekend, so it was time to suck it up. I thought about Ironman Ray's weekend jaunts to Skyline Drive, and thought, well, if he can do it, so can I. Because? I'm MENTAL! So I sent out an RFP to Ray for some advice. And he proposed this:
...start at the Dickey Ridge visitor center – milepost 4.5. This takes out the initial climb, but that’s all good [I'LL SAY IT'S ALL GOOD!] because you start at a nice facility (with a bathroom!) as opposed to a roadside nothingness.
From there, pedal (or crawl as it may be) to mile 21, a high point, and then turn around and come back. I’d guess you’d be between 2:30 and 3:00 depending on how long it takes to get used to the hills [NOTE: I'M BACK AND I'M STILL NOT USED TO THE HILLS].
A general rule of thumb for Skyline drive is take your average speed and multiply it by .6-.75 to figure out how long it will take ya.
Finally, yup – perfectly doable by yourself. Most of the park traffic doesn’t really start rushing in until around 9:30-10AM, and even then it takes a while to make it in the park since the speed limit is 35MPH and people are stopping all the time to go to overlooks.

Skyline Drive follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 105 miles. But I thought the actual Drive itself was, you know, on top of the mountain. Like first you DRIVE up the mountain in your CAR, that thing with an ENGINE, and then hop out and ride a few hills.

Errr. Not.

My little car putt-putt-puttered on the way up-up-up into Shenandoah National Park. I wasn't sure it would make it.

But it did, and after scaring myself silly by driving a bit of the course, I parked at Dickey Ridge, pumped up the tires, donned the helmet, clipped in at 8:00 a.m. sharp, and set off on the most perfect summer morning, with bright blue cloudless skies and an empty park. I honestly didn't think I could do this, but told myself I could always bail (again with the positive self-talk. It's an art, people.)

Here's the elevation map:

Miles 1 to 16.5: 2 hours (to Hogsbreath Overlook, or whatever it's called)
Miles 16.5 to 33: 1:10!!!

Holy downhill, Batman. Sparks flew outta my brakes on the way down I was gripping them so hard. My hands ached. My life passed before me. I saw God.

But the way up was much easier than expected. Partly because I wasn't riding for time, and i wasn't trying to keep up with anyone. So yes, I rode 8 mph on the way up. But I never walked, never stood, and didn't fall over. Go me.

Start here


Up. Why is everything named after hogs?

More up

Guess what? UP.


I have arrived at the Promised Land! Hogsbreath!

Wildlife that I managed not to kill. It was going faster than I was.

Me, courtesy of the friendly gent who offered to take my photo. Holding camera backwards. Um, fail, but it's kinda funny.

Post-ride fuel.

So to recap:
1) I can't wait to go back.
2) I can ride hills.
3) I can ride by myself.
4. I actually LOVE riding by myself.

Who knew?

Thanks Ray!

More photos here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Clean Sweep, the Not-Born-to-Run Kitchen Edition, Part One

Yes, it's time to come clean, so to speak. You've seen bits and pieces of the NBTR headquarters over the years. Well, here it is, in all its glory, I present, my kitchen:

Yes, the floor is missing a few pieces.

Not enough cabinets resulted in this delicate solution of baskets and a metal shelving unit.

About oh, 8 months ago, Number One Daughter started stripping the wallpaper, step one in our "oh-we-surely-can-remodel-this-ourselves" phase. There was no step two.

So, a while ago, the top drawer sort of fell apart. It's amazing what you can get used to.

There you have it: 75 square feet of what has to win the prize for the "kitchen in most need of repair."

And I'm sure I would have lived with this depressing miserable workplace for a long time to come if I didn't have a crazy goal to rent my place out and move into the city. And if Number One Daughter's imminent departure weren't so...imminent.

I started saving and squirreling away every spare penny, and talking to contractors (fun! Not!). It's not like I was looking for a dream kitchen here. I had no interest in over-improving the place (a good thing, given my budget and the free-falling condo market). ALL I needed was 7 in-stock Home Depot cabinets, a new floor, new light fixture, and new countertop. And I didn't want to spend more than $5,000.


After MONTHS of looking, I finally settled on this firm, which works primarily on Capitol Hill, but which agreed to come out to the hinterlands of Bethesda to do this job.

Wait 'til you see what happened next. You WILL NOT BELIEVE IT.

Stay tuned....