Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bike Crawl #2

This past Saturday, our friend Jon organized our second bike tour/beer run. The weather did not hold out for us this time, but it didn't matter. I think I had as much, if not more, fun this time.

Our tour started at J&M's house. We had to delay our start by 30-45 minutes due to a downpour, but we were soon on our way. We rode our bike a few miles over to the NC Museum of Art which has a beautiful trail (though hilly!) that connects it to the Meredith College campus. We have been lucky to run there on several occasions. The trail has a variety of art works along it and leads to a pedestrian bridge that goes over a major highway. From there, we headed toward the NC State Campus and our first stop, East Village Grill & Bar.

East Village is a popular hangout for the NC State crowd. Their deck is usually packed on the evenings, but we had it to ourselves in the afternoon. It was a great place to relax for a few minutes with a beer before heading to the next stop. Unfortunately, it started to rain just a bit as we were sitting at East Village. We quickly rode over to our second stop, the Village Draft House, with a quick stop at The Raleigh Little Theater for coverage from the rain.

When we reached Village Draft House, the rain began again in earnest. Luckily, we were able to be seated in a covered area outside where we could sip a beer while watching the rain pour on our bicycles. We were determined (and hungry), so we powered on the the next stop, The Flying Saucer.

We had an easy ride downtown to our old friend, The Sauce. Once there, we ate big hot pretzels and enjoyed a beer on the covered deck. We were not done eating, though. Out next stop was Krispy Kreme.

We were a little giddy at this point, with beer in our tummies and rain on our backs. The donuts were fresh and sweet - a great stop on a Saturday afternoon. The sugar gave us the energy we needed to head to Big Boss Brewery.

Big Boss is my favorite of our local breweries. One of my personal favorite beers, Bad Penny, is brewed there. There brew pub is a neat little watering hole with tons of memorabilia and great people. We even met some new friends at the table next to us. The do not serve food, but they are just a few blocks away from our final stop, Carolina Ale House.

We were planning to be at Carolina Ale House around 3pm, but with the rain we were closer to 6pm. It worked out well as we had quite an appetite for dinner when we arrived. We had stashed two cars in the parking lot so we could load up and return to the beginning after dinner. It had been a long day, but one of the best days we had in a long time. Bike Crawl #3 has got its work cut out to beat this day!

Check out pictures from our adventure on Jon's photo site.

Monday, August 24, 2009

20 Years? Seems like yesterday...

I am so glad that I went to California for my 20th high school reunion weekend. Not only did I have a great weekend with my friends who I don't get to see enough, I actually had a blast at the reunion!!
I was nervous for nothing. People were so nice at the reunion. Folks remembered me from elementary school (we even got a picture of a group of us who all graduated from Montevideo, our elementary school). Facebook even helped. We felt like we all knew one another via our posts, so it wasn't hard to start up a conversation. The venue was wonderful, too. I have added more friends to my Facebook list, and just thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the reunion. I am already thinking about making this trip a yearly venture to CA, and I would certainly consider going to the 25th reunion.

All my fears and concerns were for nothing.

On top of a fabulous reunion, I got to see three of my best friends. I stayed with Melissa who I met in elementary school and have stayed in touch with over all these years. She still lives in the area, so she made an excellent tour guide for my return trip. We went to all three of our schools, drove around town to see how things have changed, and went to see my old house, now totally different with no trees and a second story addition. I also got to spend a glorious Sunday in Laguna Beach at the Sawdust Art Festival with Melissa and sisters Devi and Dorene. Devi and Dorene lived with their parents just three houses down from mine. Our families were extremely close, and went out to dinner every Friday night for many years. It had been years since I saw all three ladies, and we had a wonderful day together. I made me realize how lucky I am to have life long friends. I truly cherish my friendship with each of these ladies. I know it will not be years before we see each other again.

Here is a picture of Melissa and me at the reunion.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where did the time go?

Tomorrow I leave to go to my 20th high school reunion. Now, I actually did not graduate from the high school in CA (I did graduate from a high school in SC), but I did spend second grade to tenth grade there. I count CA as the place I grew up. I know these folks better than I know the people I actually did graduate with in SC. So, I am heading out there and staying with one of my dearest friends who I have not seen in about 6 years.

I am excited, but also nervous. Will people remember me? Will I remember them? Will they think it is strange that I am there even though technically I did not graduate from CA? With the advent of Facebook, I have gotten in touch with so many more people. Most are so excited for the reunion. I hope the trip will be as much fun as I imagine it will be. I guess I will have to let you know when I get back.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rest in Peace, Mr. Hughes

I was just listening to Billy Idol's cover of "Don't You Forget About Me." It takes me back to my teen years. The Breakfast Club was the first R rated movie I ever saw in the theater. We walked up to the box office to buy the tickets, but they would not sell them to us as we were clearly not 17 years old. The person who drove us to the theater (I can't remember if it was my parent or my friend's parent) stepped up to get us the tickets. In we went to our first adult movie.

To this day, The Breakfast Club is still a favorite. It makes me laugh, it makes my cry, and it makes me remember that people may look different, but we are mostly all the same on the inside. We all feel pain, sadness, happiness, and fear. It is finding that similarity in your fellow man that makes it easier to go through life.

Like Michael Jackson, John Hughes was a huge influence on me as I was growing up. It is hard to believe that both are gone. They will always remain in my heart and mind, as I am sure they will in millions of people, old and young, throughout the world.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's Tri Time Again - Triathlon #4

Yesterday, I participated in the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon. I had some good advantages coming in to this tri. UNC Wellness is my home gym, so I am very familiar with the pool and surrounding area. It is also just a few minutes from my house, so no 4:15 am wake up call (we got to sleep in until 5:45)! I also have my brand new bike. It turned out that all of those things did work in my favor.

I was very excited for the pool swim. I really lucked out with a 2 minute break right in front of me. There were no people in the lanes in front of me when I started. I got extra lucky that the person behind me was missing, so there was a 20 second gap between me and the next swimmer. I spoke to the guy before we got started. He said he was new to the sport and that this was his first tri. I thought that would also benefit me, but it didn't. He did catch me in about the 4th lap. I let him go around, but then he slowed (I think he went out too fast - rookie mistake). I wound up literally on his heels for the rest of the swim. It did help with my breathing and energy, but I may have been able to go a bit faster. Still, I finished the 250 meter swim in a new personal record - 6:23.

T1 is usually a breeze for me. This time, it was a little bit different. I had to get on my bike shoes, then run with the cleats on my feet to the mount line. I was right at what I thought I would do - 2:22.

The new bike and the clipless pedals made all the difference in the world. You start the bike on a flat section for less than 1/4 mile, then turn right and straight up a big hill. I was a bit tired getting up the hill, but once I scaled it, I started to fly. I really felt strong on the bike. I was going so fast, I passed the guy who had passed me on the hill. I actually got past more people than those who passed me. I was very excited about that. I even got to pass the guy who held me up in the pool. By the end of the 14K (about 9 miles) ride, I was feeling tired. I did have to slow a bit at times to catch my breath and straighten my back, but I will get better the more I ride. I was very proud of my bike time - 37:28 - which ranked 97 out of the 193 female competitors. It was clearly my best stage of the day.

T2 used to be easy for me. I would not have to change shoes. This time, I did have to change from bike shoes to running shoes. The great time also took its toll on my legs. I was more wobbly than usual coming off the bike. I had to walk out of transition. It was a bit longer than T1 at 2:32.

I headed out to run the neighborhood of Meadowmont. It is a lovely place, but has a lot of hills. We had a pretty quick ascent that was soon followed by a nice downhill. All of the folks around me were very glad for the downhill, but we soon remembered we would have to see this same road from the other direction. The volunteers on the course were wonderful. They were so supportive and kind (one lady took my empty water cup without my having to ask). I was able to run quite a bit, but did stop to run when I felt the need. I felt very strong at the finish (the downhill helped), and finished the run in 37:43. The 5K was a new PR for me. I was shocked to get a PR in the third leg of a tri, but very happy. My overall time was 1:26:25, well under my goal of 1:30.

I did try something different for this race. My friend, Judy, told me that she had her best times at triathlons when she ran the day before the race. So, on Saturday, I met my running group for our regular run. I did the 9.82 miles with the group, and still felt great for the tri. Guess I will have to run on 10/10 before my final triathlon of the season!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Feels like the end of summer

Things have started getting busy again.

Summer is not my favorite season. Actually, it is my least favorite season. The only good thing about summer is that most of my activities are on hiatus. The Junior League ends in May, and traditionally begins in September. Hockey season ends in June to start again in October. My book club has a final meeting around Memorial Day, then picks back up at the end of September. It is only August 7, and I can already feel things closing in on me.

We had our first committee meeting for the Junior League this past Wednesday. It was a nice meeting - a chance to meet everyone in the group and organize for the coming year. I will be on the same committee this year. Our function is to plan single day volunteer activities in the community. I contacted one local agency already, and the one day they have available for us is the same day I have to run 26 miles according to my training schedule. Guess I will have to pass off the activity because I don't think I could work a three hour shift after 26 miles.

I also did something stupid. I actually took on more responsibility with the League. I am going to be a membership advisor for our committee. We have our first meeting next Wednesday. They promise it will be easy and that we will only have 4 meetings a year. Of course, those meetings fall on a Wednesday night like all of the other JLDOC meetings. Wednesday night is my yoga night.

I have quit hockey, and I am seriously considering quitting my book club. I had hoped I had time to make a decision, but it feels like time is running out even though the weather outside is still very warm.