Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Greetings all! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday today. Normally, I just view Memorial Day as another Monday to sleep in, watch daytime TV, hang with friends, go shopping, etc, BUT this year, I am spending the holiday weekend in our nation's capital. As a result, Memorial Day is a little more special this year as I really got to spend some time to honor those that have served and are serving for us.

It's been awhile since I played tourist in DC so on Saturday, my mom and I braved the sunny heat to explore the National Mall. Holy crap - that place is huge! I mean, I knew it was BIG, but I really had no idea how friggin' long the mall is. Here's a pic for your reference (click to view the large version):

At one end is the US Capitol and at the other end is Lincoln Memorial - they are ~2 miles apart!!! We entered at the metro stop which is at about the halfway point and worked our way to old Abe.

We first stopped at the Washington Monument. It's pretty tall (ha).

Then we spent some time at the World War II Memorial which was actually quite nice because there were a lot of veterans there and a lot of people were taking the time to shake their hands and thank them for what they did.

We walked all the way past the reflecting pool (where I kept thinking about Forrest Gump yelling out to Jenny) and finally made our way to the Lincoln Memorial.

Hello Abe!

Here's a view of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Far, huh?

We also viewed the Vietnam Memorial... sad to see how many names were listed.

All in all, it was a nice afternoon to remember those that we have lost and to appreciate the wonderful country that we live in.

On a running-related note (as this is a running blog, right?), I was really impressed with the number of runners I saw out there battling both the heat and the number of tourists as they ran around the mall. It was at least in the mid-80s with large sections with no shade at all! While we were walking around, I actually overheard a lady behind me complain about the runners interfering with the tourist paths. Which I thought was really funny because right before I heard her say that, I, myself, was thinking wow - what a great place to run! This is a perfect four mile loop with lots of great people watching! Ah well, obviously she wasn't a runner.

Anyway, we headed back to DC again today to watch the Memorial Day parade. And wow, that was a long-*ss parade - two hours to be exact! But it was nice because at the halfway point, we all took a moment of silence to honor those that we have lost. It was also nice because we got to honor and thank those that are currently serving. Here are some picture highlights that hopefully you will enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: Even after spending a good amount of time on Wikipedia and Google, I'm still kind of confused about all the armed forces. So if I messed up any of the titles below, please let me know and I'll correct them. Also, if anyone has a simple explanation of the difference between the army and the marines, please let me know that, too. :)





Oh, and look, Gary Sinise was one of the honorary marshalls!

Well, that's all for now. Cleveland Half Marathon race report coming soon... (quick teaser: I did NOT get a personal worst. YAY FOR ME!)

Hope you all had a good holiday weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ride Report: Cinderella Classic

Well I hate having more than one race report in queue so I'm going to get this out now since I am doing half marathon #9 on Sunday.

On April 4th, I participated in the Cinderella Classic - a 65 mile, all-female bike ride that went throughout the east bay, starting and ending in Pleasanton. My friend Kirby told me about this event and I am so glad I signed up.

It was AWESOME! Definitely my longest bike ride to date and so much fun. I think the ride was limited to about 2000 riders and was sold out. Everyone got really decked out for the ride - pretty much everyone had some kind of costume on (see pics below). I kept it simple and just added a foam tiara to my helmet.

The course went through some really scenic areas. There were enough hills to keep it challenging but none that were too strenuous - I think I stayed in my big ring (is that the right word?) the whole time. As you can tell, I still consider myself a bike newbie but I think this ride is perfect for me as well as for the more advanced rider, like Kirby.

Another wonderful thing about this ride is that it was so well-supported. There were constantly SAG vehicles driving by so there were no worries if you had any bike issues. This came in especially handy for me. When I first arrived at the event, I somehow managed to break the pin off the valve of my tube when trying to inflate my tire. Sad thing - this is the *second* time I've done this. Luckily, they had a bike support crew set up at the start so I just handed it over and they took care of it for me in no time! (Side note: I have changed my tube before but that was in the comfort of my living room with a bike manual in front of me - still took me way too long.)

Here's me and Kirby at the start:

As you can see, Kirby added some fun "flare" to her helmet:

But check out the rest of the riders!

The next two were "borrowed" from the official race photographers:

Official Race Pics:

This was taken around mile 22.

I think this was around mile 37 - it was warmer then so I had taken off my jacket. Layering is really key in these kind of events - it was freezing in the morning and warm in the afternoon!

Because this was a "ride" and not a "race", I took my sweet ole time during the whole thing. There were two rest stops and one lunch stop along the way so I was out pretty much the entire day, leaving around 8:30AM and returning just before 3PM. If you take out the rest stops, I was biking for about five hours or so. The weird thing is that I totally felt fine by the end and I could have biked longer if I wanted to. I wasn't even sore the next day which really surprised me.

Even though I knew it wasn't a race, I was still a little disappointed when I finally returned to the start. I was thinking there would be a big FINISH banner or something but there wasn't anything. Kind of anti-climactic BUT they did have a nice spread of food at the end.

And instead of medals, we got this patch. I don't know what I'll do with it but I thought it was fun to get something different.

All in all, it was a really fun event and I highly recommend. I think it would be especially fun if you do it with a big group with coordinated costumes :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

One of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen on TV...

So... I've been a horrible blogger and commenter. Please accept my apologies. Hopefully some of you are still following me?

I still need to post a ride report for the amazing Cinderella Classic but until then, here's some fluff that I'd been meaning to discuss for awhile. Apologies again if this has already been discussed out there in blogger land.

This post has to do with "The Real Housewives of New York City", specifically that crazy cougar / newest housewife Kelly Bensimon. (On a separate note, I don't like her but I do find her entertaining. Regardless, I'm Team Bethenny all the way!)

Earlier this month, they showed a clip highlighting Kelly's love for running.

OK, seriously - is that not the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen? Like people just casually run in the middle of a car lane in front of a taxicab in Manhattan. PLEASE! And yes, she really did say, "The ultimate experience of being in New York is running in traffic." Maybe if you have a death wish!

(By the way, this short clip by itself was sandwiched between two commerical breaks. I've noticed Bravo do this several times and I hate it! But then again, I watch most of my TV on the DVR so I fast forward through most of the commercials but I still think it's annoying. It might also just be a one minute clip squeezed into a really long commercial break but it's still weird.)

I read that Kelly was a marathon runner and of course I was skeptical, so I had to verify this. I'm happy to report that yes, she ran the 2007 NYC Marathon for a charity in 4:54:57. Being the good stalker that I am, I even looked up the pics:

So that's pretty cool but I still think she's crazy.

In other news, I do have some other events lined up that I haven't yet mentioned here. First up is the Cleveland Half Marathon on May 17th. Training is sort of being crammed in at the moment so I'm just looking to have fun in my hometown with my family's support.

I did manage to log 20 miles last week which is pretty good for me although this week hasn't been going so great since I spent most of the time being sick (and no, I don't think it's the swine flu). I feel a little better now but unfortunately I hear rain will be coming our way this weekend - bummer...
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