Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catching up in Haiku:

Ironman! Sunday!
Moved into house, its AWESOME!
Bought dog named Charlie.

Hope to blog more soon!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Last we spoke (yeah, yeah, yeah...) the footers were about to be started. Well, July 1st that happened.

Around July 9th we got basement walls:

Then I went to a race and on vacation so I missed two weeks of visiting. Next thing you know, it's July 30th and viola:

We have a house! Here's a room by room...


Living Room:



Master Bedroom:

J's Room:


By August 7th we had windows:

Around August 19th plumbing and electrical was done. Those would be boring pictures, so here's the huge master tub:

August 28th showed they were prepping to start the stonework outside:

And by August 31st the stonework was almost done:

The insulation was also done, but I don't have pictures of that.

And finally, by Friday, September 2nd, the drywall was 100% installed:
Kitchen and Sunroom:

And the started the siding:

We were told it would most likely be done mid to late October...PERFECT with my training schedule!!!

Oh, and I can't write a post about the house without mentioning my backyard:


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Organized Randomness

1. Living Arrangements:
I was filling out some paperwork and had to list my address and whether I Own, Rent, or Other (Explain). So I checked Other and I have to come up with an explanation. Living in Sin? Freeloading wench? Live-In Cook/Lover?

2. New House:
At last look, my neighbors should be moving in any day now. That may be an exaggeration but last week they were putting shingles on and they have windows.

3. New House:
I still have dirt. But the footers are allegedly being put in today so the “real” construction should start soon.

4. Triathlon:
The other day I was asked what is my favorite part of triathlon. I use to quickly say running (ok, I use to say transitions which is still true), but the favorite sport was running. Not so much anymore. My calf is pretty much heeled but it still flares up and my back just hurts... All. The. Time.

5. Triathlon:
That said, it’s official, my favorite part is cycling. (And even as I type that I said ICK!)

6. Food:
I’m going to try a new nutritionist next week. Her name is Shelby and she works primarily with athletes. Her website is – check it out.

7. Food:
I’m getting wishy-washy on the veggie delivery. It’s great in that I try new things and we are eating healthier but it’s darn expensive! I can't wait until I live next to Wegman's!

8. Life:
I’m going to see Mamma Mia at Wolf Trap tonight and I’ve had the song Dancing Queen in my head all day.

9. Life:
You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen
Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen.

10. Life:
Just try to get that song out of your head now!!!

11. Work:
3.5 day weekend couldn’t come soon enough!!!!

12. Work:
I rarely mention work here (or anywhere electronically) so I’ll say a lot by saying a little:


13. Work:
If you choose to add expletives in there, that’s your choice.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Check It...

Finally added some recipes to my Tri To Cook Blog.

Only three of them, but they are all fabulous! Grilled Vegetable Salad with Greens, Tomatoes, Herbs and some other stuff, Chard and Salami Frittata - made with prosciutto, and Roasted Cod on Large Garlic Croutons which may be one of the best things I have ever made.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Thirteen About The Move

1. My townhouse rented, it showed for two days, got five applications, and one person is moving in on 26 June.

2. Which is great! Think of all the $$$ I can save in the next 4 or 5 months until the house is built!

3. But, now I have to pack. I hate packing (but I love unpacking). So far the “stuff” in my office, spare room and bedroom are done. By the end of the weekend, the closets, living room and kitchen will be done.

4. Storage facility is reserved, movers come next Friday, and the carpets get cleaned on the 25th then I am D-O-N-E with that place!

5. Except that whole being a slumlord, I mean landlord.

6. And I have to do that whole change of address thing. Hopefully my junk mail will decrease.

7. I didn’t expect this to happen so quickly so training has taken the back seat this week. Missed both bike rides during the week, both strength, and one swim. ARGH!

8. And because of the timing of this, our weekend getaway is cancelled.

9. But still, I’m glad it rented and I’m looking forward to saving some money over the next couple months!

10. I didn’t think I had a lot of stuff until I started packing. By my guesstimate, I have about quarter of stuff then Dude has. This means packing his place is going to SUCK!

11. New House News – Apparently we are NOT on the neighbor’s schedule. If we were we’d be getting the foundation poured by now. So far we have an excavated basement. In other words, no progress since last week.

12. But the neighbors have all their exterior framing, roof, most interior framing, and the porch done (again, they signed a week before us).

13. I hate the neighbors. OK, I don’t really hate them but I’m really jealous of them. They got my first choice house (not that we could afford it), the lot we wanted (no ugly green box in the yard), the stone we wanted (but ours is still awesome), and now a much faster build. But I am 1/4 acre closer to Wegman’s then they are!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


1. Two posts in one day, and a Thursday 13 on time. Apparently miracles DO happen.

2. I’ve finally gotten into the Training Groove. And just in time since IM-AZ is 5 months and 11 days away!

3. I am doing strength training with Barry the Strongman. He had me flipping 375 pound tires, over and over again. Pretty cool stuff, and great for the core muscles! Unfortunately, he got a new job and so far, aligning our schedules has been difficult.

4. My calf is all heeled now but I’ve had back pain for months. I finally let Dr Tara take x-rays and here’s the results:

I have mild scoliosis – lower back.
Then where my spine is SUPPOSE to curve (think side view towards the bottom), it is perfectly straight (has no give).
AND the lowest disk is almost non-existent due to arthritis.
But wait, there’s more…
bone spurs on my spine and hips.

And THAT is why I wake up in pain everyday and why I have to build up my core muscles!

5. Along with the Training Groove, I’m also on the Eating Groove. Which, by the way, is counter-productive. By IM-AZ I'd like to look like Princess Leah in this picture, but the way things are going, I'm more likely going to look like Jabba the Hut!

6. House News!!! They STARTED!!!! (3 ½ months after we signed all the paperwork and without telling us, sigh …details). As of last Sunday, they have excavated the basement and as soon as Dude gets around to sending me pictures I’ll post them. If they work at the same pace as they did with our neighbors we should have basement walls this week, floor next week, and metal beams the following week!!

7. Townhouse is on the rental market (through a realtor, I don’t have the time or energy to deal with it) and besides not wanting to pack/store everything I hope it rents soon!

8. Back to the eating thing, we just started getting veggies delivered to us though South Mountain Veggies and it’s pretty cool. Since I tend to stick with veggies I know when shopping this will give me a chance to play with new items. Last week I got beets and rhubarb as part of the bag. The beets made their way into a grilled veggie salad and the rhubarb was used in a fantastic strawberry-rhubarb pie.

9. Speaking of cooking, and the above mentioned dishes, I am WAY behind on blogging on my Tri To Cook site. I have at least 8 recipes written down, just need to type/add them to the blog. Maybe this weekend!

10. It’s been a while since I blogged, but Face of America was a rousing success in money raising. Team Steel Wheels raised over $24K and the event itself raised over $400K! As for the actual ride, day one was a freezing wet adventure and day two was great. Definitely an inspiring weekend made more so by one of our team members, Jothy Rosenberg, who lost his leg and half a lung when he was a teenager and was told he would not survive. He’s in his 40’s now – check out his book and you will probably never say “I can’t do that” again! I love this picture of our team after the race!

11. It’s Thursday, Dude’s birthday is Sunday and I have NO IDEA what to get him.

12. Dude and I are taking a quick weekend getaway in 3 weeks. Either Blackwater Falls or Seneca, WV. He wants to camp, I want to cabin and it looks like he’s going to win.

13. I just got my bonus and I know I should save it for everything we’ll need at the house, but Penny has been eyeing new wheels. Not ZIPPs mind you, but something more lightweight/racier. Hmmmmmmm….

General Smallwood Olympic Relay Race Report

Back Story This was a complete last minute, “sure, I’ll ride the bike in a relay”. Found out my pal Becky would be my relay partner – cool! To make sure I did not get roped into doing the full race (it’s been known to happen) I did not bring running shoes, goggles, or a wetsuit. Just me and Penny!

Pre: The race was less than an hour away so I got up at 4 and headed out. Pop Tart breakfast with a bottle of water plus I had time to have a pancake at Team Z Central. This was a very small race venue and by appearances, Team Z made up a good 80% of the field.

Swim (Becky) – ~29:25 minutes Becky has been having issues with nausea when swimming and with (stupid) Cozumel coming up, she’s testing new things and trying to get more time in the water. She had no issues during the swim. YEAH!

T1 – 2:50 There was a 1/4 mile run from the swim finish to transition. I was waiting in transition and had a “she looks familiar, doh, that’s Becky, it’s time to go!” moment.

Bike 25M – Ride Time 1:23
First I will say there was absolutely NO DRAMA during this ride. I ate, drank, and stayed upright through the whole thing!!!! I wanted to do the ride at this race because it is the same venue for Waterman in October and I have to say I really like the course. Only two “I F-ING hate hills” at the beginning and the rest were rollers. I rarely came out of aero and only shifted to the small ring twice.

T2 – :32 Now THAT is what a transition time should look like!

Run 6.2M (Becky) – Run Time 1:11
Becky was grousing about being such a slow runner but I think she did a FINE job especially since it seemed like the first half of the run was uphill!

Final –3:07
In typical “Es Relay Fashion” I missed seeing the finish (unless I was the runner, I have never seen my team finish). All in all a fun time, beautiful day, great relay partner, fabulous Team Z burger (with hand-cut shoestring fries), and a single serve box of wine (due to the whole “no beer” resolution).

Oh, wait, there is one small detail I forgot to mention.

Yep, Team “10 Less” (there’s a story behind the name, but I don’t want to type it out) came in 3rd place. BOOYA!

5+ months until 11/20/11 – IM Arizona – It’s gonna be IM-AZing!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kinetic 2011 70.3 Race Report

Alternate Title 1 – So…Nutrition IS Important
Alternate Title 2 – Kinetic Curse
Alternate Title 3 – I’d like a do-over please!

Back Story: I did Kinetic in 2009 in prep for Ironman Switzerland and pulled the tendons in my hamstring. If you recall from that race report I dragged my bum leg behind me for 13.1 miles but by golly I finished. This year, the race was my kick in the pants to start training for Arizona, and my opportunity to overcome the Kinetic Curse.

Pre: We were expecting rain so I had all my gear stowed in big Ziploc bags and under a giant garbage bag. I also got Rock Star parking right next to transition so I could put my gear bag away after setting up transition versus lugging it over to Team Z Central. That caused me to linger in transition longer then norm so I didn’t get my secondary breakfast at the tent (pancake or bagel) so the bowl of oatmeal was going to have to hold me (Mistake #1). Got into my wetsuit (otherwise known as sausage stuffing) and was all ready to go. No fear since I didn’t have lofty goals for this race.

Swim 1.2 Miles – 43:18 (includes run to timer): 5m 28s slower than last time here, but not a PW either. “Easy” swim, no contact and relatively straight line. I think the swim to the first buoy caused the slow time because I couldn’t find a rhythm and was just flailing arms. Or it could be that I haven’t been to swim practice in over a month. Whatever.

T1 – 6:40: What the…?? Last time I did this race my T1 time was 3:07! I do remember telling the woman next to me that at this point my swim was only slightly slower then transition time.

Bike 56M – Ride Time 3:28:18:
A PR at this race but it was a different course then last time so it probably doesn’t count. So I’m riding along, drinking my Gatoraid/water every 10 minutes like normal. When I was on the bike an hour I ate my first Hammer Gel. Almost immediately I started having vision problems. It was raining so I wiped my glasses off and noticed that I had tunnel vision and my head was feeling kind of loopy. I stopped and was standing over my bike when I realized I was about to pass out. I just got off the bike and was laying Penny down when I blacked out. No idea how long I was out but came to and immediately panicked. I seriously thought I had a stroke because it was exactly the way my Mother described hers. I kept trying to stand up and kept falling over so I assumed I lost function of my legs. So I did what any normal person would do – I laid on the side of the road crying like a pansy-ass sissy girl, thinking OMG I had a stroke, OMG I had a stroke, OMG I had a stroke.

After a bit of blubbering I was able to stand, I drank some Gatoraid and soon was able to ride again. My plan was to get to the point where you start the second loop and head to the end instead. Instead, by the time I got there I was feeling better so I decided to keep on going (Mistake #2).

Around mile 40 I started feeling nauseous. Around mile 45 I got sick (lesson learned – stop the bike, there’s no place to get sick while riding without getting it on you or your bike). And again some 20 minutes later and THAT is when I knew my day was done.

So What The F Happened: I’m calling this a nutrition FAIL. I had a small bowl of oatmeal around 4:30 AM. I didn’t eat again until almost 9AM and that was after “pre-race nerves”, swimming, and biking for an hour. My blood sugar had to been bottomed out. The episode happened almost immediately after eating gel which is almost all sugar so I think it shocked my system (causing the blackout). All my food on the bike was sugar based so I think the getting sick was a result of too much sugar on an empty stomach and a bit from drinking nuclear lake water.

So my lessons learned are eat sooner on the bike and be prepared (like I have been in the past) with salty food, sweet food, and some miscellaneous food just in case.

Still plenty of time to TRAIN, practice, and get it together before 11/20/11 – IM Arizona – It’s gonna be IM-AZing!

I would like to say Thank You to all of my Team Z family for checking up on me, both Saturday afternoon and on Sunday. If my Mom only knew how much people watch out for and take of each other she wouldn’t worry about me so much!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Positive Attitude…Activate!

1. A dear friend is going through a health scare and I am scared to death of the results. To make matters worse, she’s not here so I feel helpless. I know she is where she needs to be to get the best medical care/attention, but I’d give anything to go to these appointments with her. And in typical “Es Fashion”, I tend to make jokes when talking to her but my heart breaks when I think about what she’s going through and the fact that her support system is hundreds of miles away.

2. The same weekend I found out about her, I found out another friend was in the hospital because his pancreas was essentially giving up. He was in a coma for three weeks and thankfully he’s rallied and is back home now. He has to make a major life change (no alcohol) but I hope he realizes there is more to life than his dear Miller Lite. Right now he swears he will never drink again. I only hope this fear of death sticks with him for the long haul.

3. All this worry and fear about my friends has made me realize that Life is Good! So, if you recall, I want this year to be more c’est la vie, less Type A so here goes! POSITIVE ATTITUDE…ACTIVATE!

4. After a three week hiatus I am back to exercising!!!!! My calf is 90% healed so I am run/walking. I took Penny for a ride on Tuesday, muy happy! And I’m back in the pool (and was told twice in one practice that I have a beautiful stroke).

5. So here’s a picture of our house from March:

And from this past weekend:

Wait, that’s the same picture. But if you were to go there today it would look EXACTLY the same. Word is they will start late April. Right now they have a promotion going on that says houses will be done in six months. Since we signed a contract two months before this promotion I HOPE our house will be done within six months as well!!!! That would give us an end of October move in which means Recovery/Taper period. That would work!!!

6. On Sunday, Dude, J, and I hiked the property. We spent about an hour along the lake shore and didn’t come near the end where it opens up into the “big lake”. It is beautiful, peaceful, and right in my backyard!!! Sooooo excited about moving!

7. As for my townhouse, the kitchen has a new look - I got new countertops, sink, faucet, and drawer/cabinet pulls installed. Final cleaning and de-personalizing is in the works and it will be back on the rental market soon!

8. This week, Dude and I were supposed to start our “diet” – more protein & veggies and fewer (but better) carbs. Unfortunately I’ve been busy. Next week I’ll be out of town thru Wed, then have Face of America ride Fri – Sun. I guess diet starts 18 April. Still trying to drop 10 pounds before IMAZ!

9. Face of America in next weekend. We had a fabulous Happy Hour at Glory Days last Friday – raised $1,100! And if you eat at ANY Glory Days in the month of April, give me the food receipt (not the credit card receipt) and Glory Days will donate 10% of food purchases to Team Steel Wheels! Or you can DONATE HERE!

10. This getting up at 4 AM to make swim practice is tough. I always feel incredible until about noon then nose dive into exhaustion. Any ideas on how to extend the post exercise energy? Since I’m thinking about starting to run 4-days a week, maybe a lunch time run might do the trick.

11. Dude and I are heading to Colorado this weekend. We will be spending the weekend with my BFF and her family. I’m planning a meal for Friday, we are hiking Saturday then joining her family for dinner, and then Sunday Dude and I are on our own. We may go to Boulder to see another friend or may just goof around in Denver.

12. Hmm, if the government shutdown happens I’ll be in Colorado. Can you say darn-it!

13. Don’t forget to check out my cooking blog - Tri To Cook! Oh, and just so you know, I’m a little behind on blogging on that one as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

13 Things

1. Pulled tendons.
2. Micro tear in calf.
3. Probable Heel Spur.
4. Possible Plantar Fasciitis.
5. Can't go barefoot...ever again.
6. I get tortured twice a week with Active Release Therapy.
7. It literally brings me to tears.
8. But today, for the first time since 5 March, I am walking without a limp.
9. Haven't been able to swim, bike, or run for over a week.
10. And can't for another week.
11. Which gets me to the day before National Marathon.
12. Should I run it?
13. Do I dare?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

13 on time!

1. Weight – I’m going the wrong way. I was thinking today that I lost a lot when I first joined Team Z, and the next year when I was training for Ironman. Then I realized I was working out six days a week, often twice a day. Maybe that is why I lost weight.

2. Exercise –
See above. My run this weekend was slow and steady. Issues with my calf/ankle/Achilles and now heel and back pain cut my Monday run short.

3. Injured?! –
See above. Now this whole calf/ankle/Achilles/heel/back pain (I think it is all related) is cutting into my swim. Only lasted half of practice this morning before my back was hurting too bad to continue. Time to see Dr. Tara and get this fixed!

4. T.E.A.M. Steel Wheels – Letters and bribery went out yesterday and I’ve raised $340 in 24 hours. 70 emails went out last night – wish me luck. So far I have 2 dinners and 2 baked goods to make. DONATE HERE!

5. Personal Hell at the Office 1 – It’s raining. A LOT! And apparently my window leaks. When it hits the windowsill it splatters to the back of my neck. FUN!

Then there’s a car parked outside my office where the alarm goes off ALL F-ING DAY! Oh, it shuts off and I start to think joyful thoughts, then within 60 seconds it starts again. We have NO IDEA who owns this car. I swear they’re stealth!

6. My Back – is KILLING me! And Dr. Tara’s office doesn’t open until 3, then I have to make an appointment. Fingers crossed she can squeeze me in today.

7. Musselman – House is booked! Looking forward to a relaxing weekend on the lake. Oh, and the Half-Ironman. And goofing around at the Micro-Mussell (watch out Iron-Cat)!

8. House Update – Sunday is our full day at the “This is What You Get” Center. I mean Design Center. I’m thinking Bailey’s in my coffee, a liquid lunch, and maybe some Vicoden is required to survive this trip.

9. Rental Property – My place is on the rental market. I’ve had four people look and one is semi-interested but she doesn’t want to move in until the end of May. At this rate, it may still be available!

10. Personal Hell at the Office 2 – The cafeteria is at the other end of the lobby from where I sit. In the morning I get to smell bacon – salty, wonderful bacon. About an hour before lunch they start baking cookies – sweet decadent cookies. It takes ALL of my will power to not succumb to these temptations!

11. Vacation (I mean very important work meeting) – I’ve arranged a business trip to Denver next month. I love having employees out there, especially during the end of ski season. I mean Performance Review time.

12. Netflix – Dude found Netflix streaming. I’m afraid we will never leave the couch again! We’re in the middle of Season 3 of the show 24 (I didn’t start watching until the final season). It’s hokey…but strangely addicting.

13. New Blog – Tri To Cook! Check it out!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday (Friday) Thirteen

1. Weight Goal – Nothing to report. Still the same and I’m considering joining Weight Watchers – in-person. I’ve done the on-line thing and stick with it for about 30 seconds. If I have to check in somewhere so I feel accountable (she said as she finished the slice of cake from an office mates birthday).

2. Exercise Goal – 5 am still sucks. I need to run more. I wonder if I’ll ever do weight training again. Anybody want to buy a Kinetic bike trainer??? Daylight savings is around the corner and Penny is getting antsy (but my seat bones are not)!

3. Red Nose Race #3 Recap – This was supposed to be my 16 mile run. Started running and just below my calf muscle feels like a tight ball and as a result I can’t flex my foot/ankle. I’ve been having this problem for a year and I’ve learned that usually by mile three it works itself out. Well, not today. I only did 10 miles, most at a 5:1 run/walk. Because of the pain in my calf, my form was completely off so it jacked up my hips and lower back as well. I really need to see a Dr about this!

4. T.E.A.M. Steel Wheels – My letters will go out this weekend and am going to resort to bribery. For one week only, if you donate over $50 and live in the local area, I will make you dinner. If you are not from the local area, I will send you baked good (I’m experimenting with scones and biscotti now). We are also going to do at least two Happy Hour fundraisers, hopefully details will be out within the next week.

5. Change to Race Schedule – After looking at the long-term schedule for IM training I will most likely have to remove the Covered Bridges ride and possibly the Great Pumpkin ride from the schedule. I’m down to the marathon, three 70.3’s, and Ironman.

6. Run Faster – Well, I’m putting the run faster on hold until after the marathon (but I have every intention of incorporating it into my training) but I have implemented it into my swimming.

I now swim in the fastest lane at practice. Now, before you start thinking “wow, she’s bad ass” you should know our Team Z West pool is often quite empty. Joining the fast lane started because last week there was only one person in the lane so I joined him. We actually swim at the same pace but Competitive Me just had to “beat him”. Mind you, we were splitting the lane so we weren’t even really swimming together. My only goal was to catch and pass him, regardless of where either of us were in the workout.
So today, we’re all getting in the pool and someone had to go down a lane. He looked at me and said you get the fast lane, you’re faster than me.

I think he was setting me up. New guy leads, first set is a 500 in Zone 2. He TAKES OFF. Competitive Me tries to keep up. We finish the set and I ask (pant) was that your zone 2? Yep. CRAP!!! I ended up doing the entire swim practice in zone 4 except when we were doing a 200 in zone 5. And that’s when I caught him. BOOYA!

7. 20 Mile Run – Done. The good news is the calf issue worked itself out (this time). The better news, aside from the marathon I won’t be running anything over 14 miles until early fall!

8. Ironman Arizona Update – Bike transportation is set-up. If you know anyone in the Northern Virginia area racing, please let them know there is special pricing available through Go to the bottom of the left column and use the Northern VA IM-AZ link! We haven’t nailed down the pick-up/drop-off location yet, but most likely Arlington. The next big planning hurdle is finding a place to stay. Then of course the training (kicks off a week after the marathon)!

9. House Update – Since I wrote the Design Center blog, there’s not much to report other then there is a boat load of paperwork involved. Got the call today that all of the permits were filed two weeks ago so anywhere between two to four weeks will be ground-breaking. I kind of want to go out there with a ribbon and big scissors but Dude will think I’m a freak! Can’t wait until they start though because for each delay it’s pushing closing/moving closer and closer to Ironman!

10. Dude loves me – As many of you know I do finance for a living. This means I live/die by spreadsheets. You can figure that I have a slew of spreadsheets built for the building/buying of this house. I was showing Dude my latest addition, where I went room by room of my place and have a list of everything I have. I then have it broken down by whether it goes to storage, gets moved to his place, sell, etc. Then I have where it will go in the new house. He got as far as reading the column headers, looked at me, said “I love you honey, but…” Then just gave me a look that basically said “you crazy”.

He’ll appreciate my organization skills in a couple months.

11. Hair – I got 4 inches cut off!!! It’s now right at shoulder length (shortest it’s been in 3 years) and I LOVE IT!! I wear it curly and it rocks! It also looks quite professional when I straighten it.

12. Vacation or lack thereof – Remember when I said I was going to save money this year? Well, BHP (before house purchase) we were planning on a quick weekend trip to Colorado to visit friends. Well, Dude’s sticking to our save money plan and that trip is no longer on the books. So sad! I need a break!!!

13. New Blog – Did you see that I launched my cooking blog? Tri To Cook! Check it out!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My First Design Center Visit

I spent 3 hours at the Design Center for the new house and got the cabinets down to two colors (Java Glaze (brown with a wash where you can see black on the edges) or Sasparilla (black), granite is picked (Crema Bordeoux), and the tile is somewhat narrowed down. All choices still need Dude's look/ok.

One of the advantages of building NEW is because you get to make the choices and roll everything into your mortgage, right?!? That's what I thought at least. I know I'm not getting a custom home, so my dreams of the walk-in shower with jets is on hold, as is my dream for a pot-filler above the stove, and my custom built drawer for my pasta machine. OK, I'm fine with that but I still thought I would get "my kitchen" - an open kitchen with stainless appliances, double oven, beautiful island with shelves for my cookbooks, big sink....

Then I got to the design center, or as Dude calls it "Sorry, this is what you're getting" Center.

Three major things that ticked me off (and had I known, I may not have gone new).

Appliance packages:
1 - Builder's Choice - plain old white GE appliance (free);
2 - GE Profile Stainless - Dishwasher, cheesy looking 36" Cook top, Microwave above (with vent), Double Oven, Side-by-side refrigerator (relatively inexpensive);
3 - GE Monogram Stainless - Dishwasher, 36" Cook top, Wall Mount Vent Hood, Single Oven, Microwave, Side-by-side refrigerator (pricey, but within budget);
4 - GE Monogram Stainless - Dishwasher, 36" Cook top, GE Wall Mount Vent Hood, Double Oven, Ugly Side-by-side refrigerator (take out a 2nd mortgage for this one and you're still not getting what you want);

What do I want? Well...
I want a French Door Refrigerator - not exactly new technology and the number one choice in fridges these days. Oh, and they run about the same price as a side-by-side. But NO, a French Door Fridge is not an option but "that's one of the main things people ask for".
I also want the wall mount vent AND a double oven, or a single/double oven, or a single oven with a convection microwave (or Advantium but I know that's pushing it) and I want this without jacking the price up to the "second mortgage required" price range.

Kitchen Sink Choices
I want an under mount single bowl sink. Is that asking for too much? It's the same price as a double bowl. It takes up the same room. It's the same to install, no, actually, it should be easier since there's only one drain. But NO, not an option but "that's one of the main things people ask for".

Kitchen Island
Like I said, I have the color of the cabinets down to two colors. Here's a perfect idea, I'd like my island in Sasparilla and the rest of the cabinets in the Java Glaze (because the colors look great together). I mean, both colors are available, right?! And it's not like they have already built out the cabinets. But NO, not an option but "that's one of the main things people ask for".

So, at the end of the day, I'll probably get choice 3 in appliances, and I'll find a way to get the installers to install the sink that I want, and my island won't be contrasting but it will still look great. But going in, I already know that I will eventually be spending a lot of money to get the appliances I want (and dang it GE, post the prices of your Monogram stuff) and re-doing the island into something I want.

And did you notice the theme of "that's one of the main things people ask for", yep, every time I asked for something, that was the response I got. I have an idea...make these AVAILABLE CHOICES and you'll have happier customers.

OK Es, breathe...
count to 10...
and remember you are getting a beautiful house within a half mile of Wegmans.

Breathe in...Wegmans, Wegmans, Wegmans...
Breathe out!

New Blog

I've launched my new blog - no fear, this one will remain active.

My other blog is Tri To Cook and will be 100% about cooking. This blog will remain about triathlons, training, and life in general.

If you're interested in cooking, go take a look. Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, Happy Training! And stay tuned, hopefully a blog about my first Design Center visit is coming up and hopefully a Thursday 13 tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thursday Thirteen on a Tuesday

This use to be so much easier – I just don’t know what my problem is these days. I started writing this two weeks ago so I figured I’d just post it today….

1. Weight Goal – It’s time - I have to slim down for Ironman and to feel a little better about myself. I’ve said it before I obsess about my weight. I know I’m not fat, but my knees and feet will thank me if I could shed some pounds. On the plus side (no pun intended), I look better now then I did in my previous life at the same weight - more solid. Guess you could say this endurance training base has its perks. Without further ado –

Current = 150
Goal (by Nov) = 140
For Reference:
Air Force days (91-97) = 130 – 140
Marriage (96-06) = topped out at 178
Officially Divorced (07) = 160
First marathon (Feb 09) = 141
Ironman (Jul 09) = 147
Fall 2010 = 154

2. Exercise Goal – I’m back on the "paying myself" $5 for each workout and I’m sadly already behind the power curve. I hate the bike trainer, I hate 5 am swim practice, and I hate that it gets dark so early. On the plus side, it’s staying light a little longer and soon outdoor cycling will start. Penny will be excited to come off the wall for the first time since November. And as for 5 am swim practice, I just need to suck it up and get it done!

3. Money Goal – Big things happening this year (keep your pants on, I’ll spill the beans in a sec) so the goal this year is to SAVE MONEY! That means no crazy Ironman spending (I cringe when I look at what I spent for Ironman Switzerland), postponing my Girl’s Weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday (gulp) until next year, and watching my pennies every chance I get. That includes limiting my 7-11 coffee to days I swim and Fridays (because I’m still buying my lottery tickets).

4. Eating Goal –
As part of the weight/money goals there will be changes in my eating/drinking habits. The big one is no beer until after Ironman (caveat - one beer the night before each big race is tradition). As far as eating, far less eating out! I'm a darn good cook it's time to do it more often.

5. 2012 Goal – One of my personal goals is to be a tad less Type-A in 2012. Less obsessing, More Moderation. I want this to be a “c’est la vie” year and just enjoy living without the indecision, second guessing, worrying that I usually go through. Wish me luck – this is soooo not me!

6. Red Nose Race #1 Recap – This was a 14 mile Team Z “race against the clock” race. I was not officially timed because watches were not allowed and I wore mine. In my head I predicted 2:45 and I finished in 2:43. I ran the first 10 miles with Dennis and Sally at about a 11:30 pace then Dennis and I ran the last five and somehow managed a 11:18 average pace. Felt good and I really liked the trail we were running on.

7. Freezin’ For A Reason “Race” Recap – This is an easy recap… After being sick for a month I thought it best to NOT jump in a freezing lake on an already cold and wet day. I did donate my registration money since it is a FABULOUS cause. Next year!

8. October 70.3 Race Pick – Set-Up Events introduced a new race series and quite conveniently they have The Waterman 70.3 in Maryland on 8 Oct. This means that aside from Musselman and IMAZ all of my races are within two hours of home so I’ll be able to cut a lot of the travel costs from my Ironman Prep budget (See #3).

9. “Run Faster” or “Damn you Iron-Jason” – I met Iron-Jason for dinner last Wed and we discussed training strategy. His advice – “Just run faster” - as if it’s that easy. Sunday was Red Nose #2 Race and I planned on running 14 miles. I got there late so I started 11 minutes behind everyone else. About ½ mile in there was an ice patch that seemed to last F-O-R-E-V-E-R so I quickly decided I was just going to do 5 miles then leave and go run on the W&OD. Just past the 2 mile mark Dennis was heading back so I turned around and ran back with him. Overall, I’m guessing I did just over 4 miles at around 11:30 pace. I went to the Vienna W&OD and started heeding Jason’s advice. The first 5 miles (miles 5-9) were ~ 11:00 pace. Mile 6-8.5 (or miles 10-12.5) = 9:30 (!!) pace, next mile at just under 10 min and the last was just over 10 min pace. I did it, I “Just Ran Faster” but OMG I could barely move on Monday. Damn You Iron-Jason!

10. T.E.A.M. Steel Wheels I’m falling behind on raising money. I need to do my email letter writing sooner then later. I also need to send Thank You’s to those who have donated money. Want to know how you can help? Go here and make a donation! As a team we raised $750 dollars in 24 hours Superbowl weekend. $500 was automatically contributed when we sold all the squares then Coach Ed and Becky Fulkerson also donated their winnings to Team Steel Wheels. How cool was that?!?!

11. Change to Race Schedule – To continue to save money, my race schedule is changing. I’m only doing the big races. Wilderness ride and the Super Double Top Secret Olympic Distance are not going to happen. That still leaves me with a marathon, three 70.3’s, one 100+ mile ride, (possibly) two fun rides (depends on #12), and of course, Ironman.

12. Oh, and Dude and I are buying a House – A year and two months after the big announcement that we were going to move in together we are REALLY doing it. We accidently went house hunting a couple weeks ago – the sign for a Model Home reeled us in – and two weeks later, we have an agreed upon offer on THIS Richmond American Home. In addition to moving in with Dude, getting a brand new house (and my gourmet kitchen), there's a WEGMAN's less than a ½ mile from my house!!! How freakin’ awesome is that!
Here's a pic of the property (you can see Lake Manassas between the trees.

13. Hold Me Accountable – OK, so the goals have been stated so now I ask that YOU hold me accountable!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Race Calendar

Conveniently, I have 13 races/events in my schedule for 2011 so this doubles as my Thursday Thirteen.

1. Jan/Feb - Red Nose Run Series – there are actually three races, 30 Jan, 13 Feb, and 19 Feb co-sponsored by Team Z. The distance varies based on what you are suppose to run for the week so mine will be 14, 16, 18 mile races. The catch is you are racing against your predicted time so watches are not allowed. Well, sorry folks, I’m cheating. These are very important training runs for me and I need heart rate data. To off-set my cheating I will submit an 8-minute mile pace for my prediction so there is no chance that I’ll win.

2. Feb - Freezin’ For A ReasonNot a race, but a fun-event to raise money for Camp Sunshine. And an excuse to bring out the FEXX costume, jump in a frozen lake, then party like a rockstar.

3. Mar - National Marathon This was supposed to be an “A” race but the plague that hit me in December moved this to a “C” race. I hope to finish and really hope to break the 5-hour mark.

4. Apr - Face Of America – This is my charity event for the year. It’s a 2-day ~100 mile ride from D.C. to Gettysberg, PA in support of disabled service men and women. The injured soldiers ride on hand bikes and other modified bikes so “we” are there to help them on the hills. Check out World T.E.A.M. Sports for info. Please make a donation here. Or join our team, T.E.A.M Steel Wheels. (Sadly I will miss RumpASS in The BumpASS this year)

5. May - Kinetic HalfI wasn’t planning on this race but it showed up on the Team Z race calendar. And I have a beef with this race after my injury in 2009. It’s early season so I’m not expecting much besides shaking the cobwebs out.

6. May - Wilderness RideAgain not something in my original plans but another Team Z Race/Event. It’s not a race, just a hilly ride. Not sure what distance I will do yet.

7. Jun - Super Double Top Secret Olympic Distance (Relay) – There’s a new race series starting but we don’t know the details yet but this showed up on the Team Calendar. If relays are allowed I’ll do the run. And for the record, the wetsuit and bike will be left at home. NO CHANCE of doing the whole dang thing.

8. Jul - Micro-Mussel I just have to beat Cheater! Oh, and I need to find a new tricycle or preferably a Big Wheel!

9. Jul – Musselman Half This is my “A-“ race. My goal is to beat last year’s time, PR a half, and still make a homemade ravioli dinner for my housemates.

10. Aug – Lancaster County Covered Bridge Metric Century This is a very well organized metric century that Dude and I missed out on in 2010 because it sold out. Hopefully we will make it this year.

11. Early October Half Ironman – This is TBD but it will either be the weekend of 1-2 Oct or 8-9 October. And it will be somewhere relatively close-by. Goal is to reel in my Ironman Plan.

12. Oct – Great Pumpkin Metric CenturyThis is one of my annual rides that I’ve only missed once in the five years that I’ve lived here. Truth be told, I do it for “all-things pumpkin” at the rest stops (soup, cake, pie, cookies, etc.)!

13. Nov – IRONMAN ARIZONA Holy cow, I’m doing another Ironman! My only published goal is “to beat my IM-Switzerland time”. By how much…well, that’s my secret.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 - Year in Review

Or Better Late Then Never...

2010 will not go down in any record books for me. Truth be told, I'm just glad that it's over. This is also delayed because the year ended with me sick...sick almost consistently from 7 December until YESTERDAY (I did have a 5-day break in there, but still) a MONTH of sinus infections, ear infections, walking pneumonia, and bronchitis. Apparently my immune system went on holiday.

Rather then go month by month, here's a summary:

- I did my first Polar Plunge, and will be repeating it in 2011.
- I ran my first half-marathon, guess you could call that a PR!
- I participated in one Relay (should have been two but more on that in a bit) and did one Oly - did NOT PR in either.
- I did two 70.3's. One in Hell (Florida) and one at a fantastic venue (Musselman - Lake Seneca, New York) that I'll be returning to in 2011. Did NOT PR in either.
- I got robbed in the MicroMussell and will redeem myself in 2011.
- I did not do Marine Corp Marathon (but if you look at my results you'll see that "I" finished in 4:08 - that was actually my ROCKSTAR cousin who came down here with 3 days notice and still finished in 4:08. BTW, she's also skinnier and prettier then me...BIATCH).
- I ran the Marine Corp 10K against Doctor's orders. Did NOT PR.
- I travelled to North Carolina to do an Ironman Relay and ended up attempting the whole dang thing. I got to the halfway point in the marathon and called it a day (and I am STILL kicking myself for not finishing)!!!!

If you remember my Motivation Plan, I was to "give myself" $5 for every workout I did. Well, I "made" $605 - that is sadly 2.32 workouts a week which is almost exactly what IM AZ costs. Convenient!

In total...
I swam 52,365 meters, or 12.4 Iron-Distance swims,
I biked 1,217 miles, or 10.85 Iron-Distance bike rides, and
I ran 445 miles, or 16.97 marathons.

Compared to 2009 (which I quit tracking in Sep 2009):
I swam 100,312 meters, or 23.75 Iron-Distance swims,
I biked 1,518 miles, or 13.53 Iron-Distance bike rides, and
I ran 512 miles, or 19.52 marathons.

Aside from racing/training, I had a blast in Vegas with some great friends, I got promoted at work (which includes my very own parking spot), I got a bad-ass tattoo, I went on a non-race related vacation in Grand Cayman and I'm still head over heels, madly in love with Dude.

All in all, LIFE IS GOOD!

BRING IT 2011 - it's time to KICK AZ!!!!

2011 Race Schedule and goals coming soon!