Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I know I haven't been around much. I moved house, which went badly, The movers failed to show up - twice - and when they finally moved me, they stole my iPod and broke a bunch of things. I dislocated my shoulder unpacking, and now I'm sick (sinus infection). Although I'm being billed for it, the internet is not working in my home, so I can't get online much. I also changed jobs and started a masters program.
Sooo .... life's been stressful, and I'm sorry haven't been around as much as I like. Hopefully, that won't last. Special thanks to Dani1855 for driving several hours to help me assemble furniture - you should have seen me putting together my office chair one-handed!
Many thanks to people who have checked in - I appreciate it!
Monday, May 21, 2012
I've only been to Cracker Barrel twice in my life, which is probably a good thing, because it's definitely not diet food. What it is is down home, uber deliciousness, melt in your mouth goodness, Heaven on a plate!
The first time I was there, I had the beyond amazing sweet potato pancakes. Oh my goodness! They were so good that I didn't even bother with the syrup - I couldn't imagine covering up such savoury succulence. There was a party going on in my mouth, and the guest of honor was my tummy!
So ..imagine my dismay when I went a second time and saw this menu:
Yes! Sweet potato pancakes were only a limited time offering! They're gone! Can you believe that the waitress had the audacity of suggest that I might want the multi-grain pancakes instead?
No. I want sweet potato pancakes, and I'm hoping that if enough people mention it to Cracker Barrel, they'll see the error of their ways and repent of their foolishness.
Here's their contact information:
To save you time, here's my suggested text:
Dear Cracker Barrel,
Your sweet potato pancakes were the best. Please bring them back!
Pretty please will you help restore sanity to the Crack Barrel cookadoos who ruined my much anticipated breakfast on the road?
Saturday, May 05, 2012
OK, so I'm doing these out of order. The previous blog was about the Country Music 1/2 in Nashville. A week earlier, I headed for the Outer Banks
to do the First Flight 5k and then the Flying Pirate Half Marathon.
I hadn't been in North Carolina since 2010, and as much as I had enjoyed flirting with the exceptionally handsome honey-voiced state trooper who'd pulled me over for speeding, I tried to obey all traffic rules this time around.
I juuuuust made the expo before it closed and grabbed my bib numbers and swag before jaunting up to Duck, NC to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
(That's Nags Head, on the way to Duck.)
Saturday was warm and sunny - not a cloud in the sky. I cheerfully sauntered my way to a shiny medal in the 5K and then returned to my hotel to shower, change and enjoy the sites. A word about the "hotel" ...
I knew I was getting a deal on hotels.com, but there's usually a reason when a place is cheap. At first, I was psyched to discover that it's actually a time share, and I had a one-bedroom flat. However, the "kitchen" was missing a stove and a refrigerator! I could have lived without the former, but the latter rather defeats the purpose. So when I returned from the 5K, I rang the font office and mentioned that there was a gaping hole where there ought to have been a fridge and could they please fix it.
WELL -- the woman tartly informed me that a kitchen doesn't necessarily guarantee a fridge. Umm .. sure. If you're AMISH! Of COURSE a kitchen has a fridge! Doy. She also informed me that I was going to have to pack up and move the next morning because it was week to week, and people had reserved that place. She seemed to think I was odd to find her request peculiar and somewhat offensive. Why couldn't they have told me that up front? It was 2 in the afternoon. Had I not called them, when were they planning to let me know??
I told her I was racing the next morning, so I was going to need to move a day early. It worked in my favor, because I was on the third floor (walk up, no lifts) and the new place was on the ground level, so fewer stairs after the race. Also, the new place was much bigger AND had a jacuzzi tub in the bedroom. SWEET!
I packed, moved, and unpacked. Then I went out for "linner" to get to bed early for the race. I found a seafood buffet and was up to my elbows in fake butter, sucking with unseemly enthusiasm on a crab leg when the nice waitress, who had already showed me - twice - how to crack the blasted things open, conversationally said it was a shame the big storm was coming in.
It was?! The sky looked fine to me.
Oh yes, she assured me. It was rolling in overnight, and it was going to be miserable the next day.
She wasn't kidding. It came down in thick sheets. It looked like that Hollywood rain you see in movies that's so heavy, you think it looks fake. I had my wipers on high the whole way. I drove past the start to the finish and parked there, queuing to shuttle back to the start. I was drenched to saturation just waiting for the shuttles, and I assumed that it couldn't get worse.
I'm kidding. It didn't get that bad.
But it did get THIS bad:
I knew the course had been changed somewhat from previous years, but I did not realize that much of it was going to be trails ... which became muddy and pot-holed. I gamely plodded along. My sneakers squelched with each step. They said that they would call the race if there was lightning, and about halfway through the ordeal, I did find myself wishing ....
What! You weren't there! It was bloody miserable!
I was (of course) near the back of this soggy parade. Some of the (smarter) people dropped out and presumably caught rides to the party in Pirates Quay at the end. For a time, I was dead last, and this incredibly annoying man motored along in the LOUDEST buggy I've ever heard. I mean, c'mon - if I'm going to be last, at least let me trudge along in peace and QUIET! I finally turned on him and faux politely waved him on. Oh no, he explained. He wasn't allowed to pass me. I told him to turn off his buggy, chill a few minutes and then come check on me. He wasn't happy, but thankfully (schadenfreude, anyone?) a poor man fell behind (Don't feel too sorry for him - stay tuned) lagged quite a ways back, and then a few others did, too, and pretty soon, I could no longer hear Mr. Chinese Motor Torture.
The volunteers were strangely enthusiastic during the ordeal, God love them. I tried to muster up the same, not always succeeding, but at least I remembered to thank them. I formed a nasty set of blisters, which I cheekily took photos of later, but I haven't uploaded my photos from that card yet, so you're spared the unpleasant sight. I pretty much minced along a muddy, sometimes flooded trail in the woods for the final three miles.
Do I look happy?
I was super annoyed when I saw the chap who'd fallen so far behind get driven up to where I was and dropped off. Hello? Cheat much? (See, that's why you oughtn't have had any sympathy for him earlier!)
I finished. I was hypothermic and a little disoriented. I knew I had parked one lot over form the finish, but the finish was supposed to be a shopping center, and this was the YMCA, which, by the way, wouldn't even let us in! I was so sodding wet that I almost sat down in their parking lot and relieved myself, but thankfully, someone opened the door, and I scooted in past the astonished receptionist. I think she wanted to say something, but I looked so wretched and fierce that I frightened her, and she let me pass without comment. Trailing water, I found the ladies, where my sweatpants puddled pools of water on the floor as I made a puddle of a different nature in the appropriate place.
I decided I'd live .... but just barely.
There wasn't much of an after-race affair, but the nice folks offered us eggs on biscuits, wrapped in foil to keep warm. Mine was tepid, but it was heavenly! I ate it standing on theYMCA porch with another woman who looked as bedraggled and forlorn as I did. Once I ate, I felt reason returning and realised that I needed to get out of my wet clothes. I asked the woman if she was ok, as she had the same glazed look in her eyes that I'd had before wolfing down the biscuit.
She was waiting for her husband, but he hadn't come, and she didn't have a phone. I handed her mine. She couldn't reach him. I offered her a ride, but she seemed a little nervous about accepting, even though she lived in Duck, where I was heading.
I limped across the parking lot and then across the next parking lot to get to the one in which I'd parked some six hours earlier. The lot had flooded, and I had to wade through ankle deep water to reach my car. The phone rang. It was the missing hubby,who politely identified himself in a way I found utterly charming, and I told him where to locate his poor wife. I put my thermal wrap on the seat to keep it dry and began working my way back to the hotel.
Right before I got "home", I saw Duck Donuts and without even thinking, I pulled in. When I got out of the car, I emptied the pool of water that had formed on the wrap, limped inside the shop, and was greeted by a divine aroma. I bought two doughnuts, drove back to the flat, limped in, stripped off, and ran the jacuzzi.
And panicked. The handles disintegrated in my hands! It was crazy. I couldn't turn off the water!! I tried several things and then pulled the plug so at least it wouldn't overflow, called the front desk, and pulled on enough clothes to be decent for the (very nice and very nice looking) maintenance man who showed up.
He eventually fixed it. The whole time we were chatting, we could hear the piercingly loud alarm clock next door. Mr. Handsome Fix-It looked at me questioningly, and I commented to him that I was glad I was only there to race and not for anything romantic because the walls were way too thin. He stopped what he was doing and gave me a funny look. Then I added that I had clearly heard the folks next door fighting the night before, and I sure hoped there wasn't a body lying over there.
"Great" he responded. "Now I have to go over there and look."
"Would you mind turning off the alarm while you're there?"
He laughed. And he did! Thanks, Mr. Handsome Fix-It!
I ate the doughnuts while lounging in the jacuzzi. Does it get any better?
I ended up with three (count 'em!) medals: one for the 5k, one for the Flying Pirate, and a third one for doing them both in the same weekend!
Saturday, April 28, 2012
My friend and I met up in Nashville to do the Country Music Half Marathon. She loves country music, and this is her favorite race. I tolerate some country music in small doses, but - as everyone knows - I'm a complete bling ho' and it's always more fun to race with a buddy.
The hotel offers a shuttle from the airport. I called, and a nice man picked me up. We got to chatting, and I just adored his Tennessee accent. I told him about my trip to North Carolina and how the honeyed words of the state trooper were so delightful that they took the sting out of being pulled over for speeding.
We got on so well that I even convinced him to go through the Arby's drive through so I could grab lunch! hee hee hee Every time I've seen him since, he's referred to me as "Speedy"! I told him that I'm only fast in my car!
After the expo, we visited the Grand Ol' Opry. Keith Urban just played there, and I recognized a few of the artists scheduled to appear in coming weeks. It was fun to wander around, soaking up the atmosphere.
And then in case that wasn't enough culture, we visited Cooter's Garage. YES! THAT Cooter! WA ha ha ha!
We raced today. Up at 4. Out the door at 5. Stuck in traffic at 6. Race started at 7. I crossed the start line at about 7:40. There were a bejillion hills, and they all seemed to be going up! I really struggled - this wasn't my best race. Nashville is an attractive town, and much of the race meandered through neighborhoods, where people set up tents in their yards, tables filled with goodies, and leisurely sipped drinks whilst watching us shuffle past. There were 30,000+ runners, and I was definitely near the back by the time I finished at 3:58.
It was way too hot for me. The temperature broke 80 before I finished, and it was intensely sunny. A woman near me keeled over and complained of "heart trouble". I couldn't see any medics or police nearby, so I jogged back to some Team in Training coaches I'd seen a few blocks back and told them what happened. They were great about calling the race people and running back with me to stay with her. I hope she was ok.
Despite my difficulties, there were some fun moments. A woman was "pole dancing" with a stop sign until a female police offier escorted her away from the course. Little kids cheerfully offered to turn their garden hoses on us, and a charity organization HULA HOOPED their way through a half marathon! The ladies - literally - walked and hula hooped - the entire way! Amazing.
I'm gimpy with blood blisters. My friend finished faster and with no adverse effects, so she's going to the concert this evening without me. I'm cooked! I'm in the hotel, watching "return of the King" on the telly, icing joints, despairing over my sunburn and admiring the newest addition to my bling collection.
(Mine's in the center - SWEET!)
13.1 miles, 29000 steps, 3087 calories burned, four new blisters - and one gorgeous medal!
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
My spark buddy Beth and I signed up to do the Virginia Beach 1/2 marathon relay this past weekend. You can check out her blog here:
And yes, the cheesy grinned moron on her background page is none other than moi. All I can say in my defense is that it was quite warm, I'd just worked hard, and I'm wearing my first new bling in ages! WOOT!
As many of you know, I destroyed my knee at the beginning of the year, came to America for surgery and have been lingering ever since. After almost a year on the sidelines, it felt absolutely brilliant to get back into it. So the saga begins ...
On Saturday, I rented a car and drove to Virginia Beach. Sadly, the whole rest of the world decided to drive, too. Not wanting to miss the fun, Mother Nature opened up the skies, only encouraging more poor form from frustrated motorists. The three-hour drive took over seven hours, including my accident. Yes, I rear-ended someone. ... and not in a good way. Bad Cat! He wasn't hurt, thank goodness. I have some cuts and bruises, including one on my forehead that I can't quite explain. We were in gridlocked traffic. I wasn't going fast, and somehow, I managed to do a real number on the car - a craptacular little Chevy malibu with uncomfortable seats and awful wheel alignment. Oh, and now a bashed in front fender. Oops.
I found the hotel, the expo, Beth and her DH, put the accident behind me, and focused on my first race since the God-awful nightmare in Walt Disneyworld in January. This was my first ever relay, and it was definitely an experience.
3 a.m. Wake up
4 a.m. Ready to go. The shuttles begin running at 4 and end at 6. decide not to wait until last minute.
4:10 a.m. Head out to shuttle. Discover that drivers have no clue where they're supposed to be going or that they're supposed to be - in fact - shuttles. Sit on super ultra "nipplingly" cold air-conditioned bus, wishing the nice lady bus driver wasn't menopausal until 4:50, when the drivers finally figure out where they're going.
5:00 a.m. Arrive. No racers. Volunteers milling confusedly. No one know the bag check is. People, "bag check" is a FLEET of UPS trucks that collect our things and drive them to the finish line. They're fairly hard to miss. Find bag check. I'm the first person to check my bag. This has never happened to me before.
5:15 a.m. Find shuttle to relay point. The relay shuttles are supposed to run until 6, but they just cram us all into one shuttle and go.
5:30 a.m - Still going.
5:45 a.m. - Still going. The driver asks us if we know where the drop off is. Since we're only supposed to have traveled seven miles, I'm concerned that we've been tootling hither and yon for almost 30 minutes. Eventually, our driver decides that we should be on some military base, a decision the armed sentry most vigorously protests.
"Sir! You MUST leave these premises!'
"But I'm here for the race."
"Sir! There is no race here. You MUST leave the premises!"
"I've got the people for the race."
"Sir! Turn around!"
"So this isn't where we should go for the race?"
Yikes. Eventually, mensa member bus driver realised that he should not have driven through the cones blocking the road, the police office standing at the intersection blocking aforementioned road, and police cruiser blocking the same said road, to access a secure military facility. Give this man a gold star.
5:50 a.m.We were dropped off at the correct place and had a long walk to the relay point. A lot of smart people nipped into the McDonalds for coffee, breakfast, and a place to sit. Stupidly, I walked all the way to the place and sat on the ground for three hours until it was my turn to race.
This is the tricky part of relaying. I was fired up to race when I got up, but by 9 o'clock, my hips were whinging, my knee wanted me to reconsider, my tummy was ready for I don't even know what - lunch, I guess. The sun was up full, it was warm, and NOW it was time to race.
Well, once they announced that the first Hot Tottie team member was on her way in, I revved right up. Beth looked great. I could tell she was tired, but the cheerleaders on the side of the road gave her a warm welcome, and she finished strong. She averaged 30 seconds faster per mile than she'd expected, and we were in great shape for the second leg.
I have only recently started walking again. The most I'd trained was six miles, and at a 21:00 minute per mile pace, so I was worried. I did the first two miles in under thirty minutes, but the knee was screaming, so I slowed down and just enjoyed it as a walk. I ended up averaging 17:30 per mile, so it was still a big improvement over my training pace.
Along the way, I saw Elvis, Beaker from the Muppets, a Super Family, a devil, and other odd assortments of fun runners. I saw an older man struggling a bit and walked a few miles with him. He looked to be about 70 and we got to chatting. He does the big Goofy race at Disney every year and is their race administrator for Facebook. I told him my story about how I was treated, and he was incensed. Hopefully that will never happen to anyone else. I met several people doing their very first race and many wonderful charity racers.
"Fitty" and her DH were waiting for me at the finish line. I trudged through the end of race tents and then back to the hotel. Being part of the Rock N Roll race series, we had a concert on the beach to look forward to in the evening, including headliner Bret Michaels
Whilst waiting for Beth, I chatted up a nice man who gave me VIP passes for the concert! Sweet! Unfortunately, getting up so early doesn't leave much in reserve for evening entertainment, and after an hour or so, Beth was cooked, and I wasn't keen to sit there by myself. Luckily for me, my hotel was a mere five blocks from the concert, so of COURSE I could hear it clearly. I sat in the outdoor hotel hot tub, watched the stars, and listened to Bret Michaels wail away. Great show, and a sweet ending to the weekend.
Stay tuned, because the Hot Totties are reuniting in January at Walt Disneyworld to do the Chip and Dale marathon relay. I can't wait!
Get An Email Alert Each Time CATIATM Posts