Friday, June 22, 2018

#sendingourbridehoff

With impeccable planning as only the Breihof’s can do, Katie organized many a woman to meet in Temecula for LB’s bachelorette. In flight we spread ourselves across the aisle with Mck behind, stuck in middle seat turmoil, trapped by the conversation of a booze-sweating, strip club pushing, socal middle-aged dad, who was trying to peg each woman with an over-arching archetype. It was the strangest flight. This flight attendant was on a different planet. Entirely different. Like pill different. Like if she wasn’t all there and I’m thinking it was pill planet I’ll feel bad, but that’s not likely right-planet? 


We got to our mansion, because onelifetolive, which was expansive & perfect & decorated in starfish & mermaid sea thematics and family travel. The backyard palm encircled hot tub, pool & bbq were quintessential. There was a movie room, thematically decorated bedrooms, a big, bountiful kitchen with center island, which is gathering gold, and wine and crack Chicago popcorn from the host. Glass-lidded rosé stickered in “Cheers” and “I Do’s.” Pink glasses for champagne pong, celebratory signs and glitter and pink feather boas. The best pool floaties the likes of diamond ring, perve dolphin too slippery to ride, a pineapple, mini pink flamingo floating drink holders, and my personal favorite, a mini blowup man-doll with erect ween as ring toss. It was an instagram lifestyle model’s palm springs concert weekend wet dream. 


Our first night’s dinner was in, gathered around the kitchen island, chopping capsicum (as the New Zealander’s say), onions, mushrooms, disrobing the corn and buttering their bodies, flavoring the chicken in bowl of hand-fondle. Skewering kabobs. Put on the grill by Katie in the good Levi’s. And the best - many many bottles of rosé - pre-race drinking, my favorite. We shared our meal together around an iron wrought table baked by the setting sun outside. Our night ended with a bevvy of squeals around a monsterspider in the corner with Usain legs. 


The following morning we drove out to Butterfield Country, to Vail Lake Resort for the 7th Annual SoCal Wine Country Women's 5k, as the hot air balloon festival was going on - the bulbous blimps against a hazy sky. Team Bridin' Dirty took 1st Team and swept 1st through 3rd, pouring sweat and baffled by the affect of minimal elevation. The best part about the 5k is that you get vino post race. And sandwiches. And can sunbathe. We accepted our goods, standing on the 3-tier, and headed back to the house for a pool party. This gorgeous soul, Leila gave each of us a tarot & spirit animal reading, each chiming in affirmative mmhmms. We played undergarment games over more pink, got ready in a flurry in all the bathrooms, with wands and powders and sweat. Uber'd to old town Temecula, to Goat & Vine for dinner. Goat & Vine had incredible wine (as it should) - Steele, Coeur de Terre. With ambition we ordered 4 bottles - Robert Renzoni's Prosecco in toast, Innocent Bystander's Sauv Blanc from NZ, Wiens' Pinot Grigio, Steele's Red Hills Cab Sauv. A serious ambition, one which left me trying to finish Steele as we were walking out the door, afraid to miss one sip. For dinner - shared apps of popeye & olive oil and sun-dried tomato hummus, cucumbers, bells, olive tapenade, grape tomatoes, house-made pita and crustinis, plus fennel sausage, roasted crimini, marinara and mozzarella pizza, plus Smokey the Pear with caramelized white onions, roasted chicken, smokey blue cheese, Asian pears and caramelized pecans drizzled with cinnamon honey and finished with arugula, and on.


Old town Temecula is really pretty, buzzing, lit up. There's wooden boardwalks and rustic western-era buildings and antique shops. There's a big focus on farm-to-table dining. We danced for hours in plastic firefighter hats over bad booze & bj shots in a room which bellowed in smoke machine, the dance floor wet in spilled drinks & spilled bodies.


Sunday was a waltz down the staircase to a kitchen filled in pan-fried peppers, scrambled eggs, avocado, toast, sliced fruit, coffee. We put on our matching outfits and climbed into our silver limo, popped champagne under the virulent blow of air conditioning, toasted over mimosas en route to our winery - Danza del Sol - a 40-acre vineyard on the De Portola Wine Trail in Temecula Valley. Rustic. Authentic. Bold. Shared tastings in the tasting room, of the '16 sauv blanc (white blossoms, white peace, melon, citrus), '15 & '16 reserve chard (favorited - green apple, boxwood, vanilla & the '16 - tropical pineapple, guava, supple, creamy, spicy nutmeg, toasted vanilla), '17 tres rose blush (peach blossom, melon, candied ruby grapefruit, nectarine), '14 super tuscan, '14 meritage (full bodied, dried cran, nutmeg, red currant, cinnamon). Sipped a glass on the patio, baking brown tinged in red. Limo'd to Lorimar, which we fell in love with and couldn't leave. As soon as we walked in, a band was all embracing, called LB up, played Ho Hey for her. Inside we tasted on the '16 vineyard blend (off-dry grenache, viognier, roussanne blend of peach, pineapple, honeysuckle on the back end), '15 zinfandel, a bottle of '14 syrah (ripe plum, leather, tobacco, black peppercorn, sassafras. Has a wonderful label description - "Riding on horseback through shootouts with bandits and rescuing a southern belle or two; stopping the adventure for only one thing, to sip this syrah by the campfrie...These violent delights have violent ends indeed. Perfect for...sifting through the reveries." We danced and sipped and sang and LB did a toss into the crowd and we took snack breaks in the limo and the limo overheated and we got a new one.


Back at home we prepared a taco feed. Pans sizzling in meat, sliced radishes, tortillas warming in the oven, the blender braiding limes and tequila. The sun set bluepurplepinkyellow against the blue-bulbed palm trees, and we began to pack, to deflate. We gathered in the movie room for a viewing of Ibiza, and fell into our beds exhausted.


Monday morning LB, Mck and I went back and forth on the hot hot highway roads for a shakeout run before driving back to San Diego. Had lunch in a little naval hub. Walked to the lip of Rosehill Fleet Ridge to see the palms and a little of that Californian wet. We returned our cars, boarded our flight, and were connected. A sudden weekly check-in in group text about friendship, traits, Pottermore, and rememberwhens?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Absorbed

Maybe I’ll start with that night my cousin & I met halfway on bikes to get to Swim Club where everything was hip from her black dress to the staff with their neck scarves to the pate to the Tecate with the hot sauce on the cylinder. We met a beautiful woman that night, new from Alaska; the kind you don’t have to impress, like letmebreatheyouin you’re not maintenance and together, because, we ended up at the renovated cabin tavern, which I was against, because with renovation comes removal of seedy, a change in creep, taxidermy, old art, that sweaty dew that shivers down the windows, and especially the box of stale donuts half eaten, that I would help myself to in a state of careless necessity. For years I swore it off in fear that it had changed. And yet, us three ended there with margaritas in boots and that fine box of sad donuts was still there, and I ate one.
The Vancouver Sun Run, Eugene 1/2 and many others when I was racing back to back to back. Sun Run was nice because I was able to overcome the curse of never performing there, and actually hung on for a PR working in a pack of powerful, wonderful women; Eugene was nice because it was a chance to rewrite a previously disastrous story of overtraining, poor performance, gut bombastic where Red did not have a good time driving my white-faced, heaving self home from E-town post race a few years ago. It also came with a PR, but what meant most to me was spending the weekend with LB, her fiancee, her mother (who treated us to endless Dutch Bros) and his family. Mrs. Breihof is le champion when it comes to race support. Her and Red should get paid for what they do. The big buffalo Brad Pitt of running that is N. Simmonds ran his final 1/2 there, and I got passed by my youtube infantile baby faced crush R. Trahan. So I'd say running is going good.
Thereafter was LB’s shower, lemon french, like living mag spread material. Baskets of grapes and thickly dripping olive oil from Queen Anne, baskets of bread, lemons, brie. Silver dollars in contrast. Homemade vino, bottle and grape-shaped cookies from some kind of miracle manbaker. Lemon curd squares, white chocolate dipped strawberries, various sorbets with meyer lemon cookie thins. Almond biscotti. Guessing love games & embrace. The flick of a gold curl against her skin & her white lace dress. In that living mag spread room with deep deep & bonded love, generations of strength, celebrating a woman who I feel fortunate to have known & blessed to continue knowing.
Then there was probably several steak dinners made by Red to try to keep my iron up because my body's trying to rid itself of all its eggs.

A lot of cat harassing.
A check in the mail from Eugene.

Yoga outside as the sun sets over the bay; this wonderful woman who brings yoga to the city’s life because she enjoys it, encouraging no-fee, who says things like, “butt stuff,” and the only person who makes me laugh as I stretch and bend, which is entirely soul-filling.

 If you can’t tell I’m relaying just a few moments in my life over the course of the last half year, because, because I’ve been soaking and thinking and reading and way too busy and full of too many yes’ and not enough no’s to write, and though it does feel like a piece is missing, it has felt good to just absorb as much content as possible and not process it in time.

 There was a day Red mowed the front lawn on the last legs of the electric mower, and set himself up a table with a ceramic bowl of ice and a bottle of sour beer, that I remember fondly. Because, resourceful. And, you might as well make every monotonous, unthankful task more vivid and wild.

Then, in May Red & I went to the San Juans, to Friday Harbor, to Duck Soup, which we’d always wanted to dine at - a friend & client of Red’s - for an Amavi Cellars pairing featuring the lovely & sensually Swiss accented Jean-Francois Pellet. I had the fortune of drinking and eating myself silly alongside Jean-Francois’ wife, a very elegant woman. It’s a testament to Red’s graciousness, that I can empty bread baskets and drain wine bottles at fancy places in the company of his clients, without any of those after-conversations of, Youneedtogetittogether. When we entered Duck Soup, him in dinner jacket and I in red, I saw a cat so majestic I thought it was fake, until it turned its head deeper into the sun. A restaurant cat at a place so regal it serves foraged cocktails & has been featured in Bon Appetite & Gourmet. *Did you know there’s a 1933 Marx Brothers movie called “Duck Soup?” To start - crab & octopus ceviche with lime shallot & cilantro paired with Amavi Cellars Semillon ’17. Then, pink scallops with rhubarb, rose syrup & wild flowers with Amavi Cellars Rose ’17. Embedded in endives an olive, smoked almond and garlic confit with Amavi Cellars Syrah ’14. Lamb coated in coffee, black garlic and chocolate over Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon ’14. Rabbit lion, lions mane, fiddlehead sage and hazelnuts with Pepper Bridge Merlot ’14. Quail, quail egg & sun choke dressed in brown butter hollandaise with Pepper Bridge Trine ’14. To conclude the orgasmic mouth rage of tantalizing tannins and panty-dropping locally procured foodie flavors, there was rosemary ice cream with fermented green strawberries, pistachio and caramelized honey. The night ended with a glass of wine in bed at our favorite b&b, Juniper’s.
Ski to Sea happened. As it does. This time to me, like some out-of-body thing. Do you know that feeling which is more of a season when someone is not a part of your life, but once was, and its anticipatory, too much memory, a thing of what you were and how. My brother was like that, maybe still, each time his father would come into his life. S2S is like that for me. I fish for a reason to say no, but it feels weird to stop a thing it feels like you were made to do; a perfect blend of passion and pain. I blew my own mind, which is something that I believe only happens a few times in life. Which seems weird too, to feel about such frivolity. Though it’s 100 years old. Though my gold spray-painted shoe is one of my prized possessions. It’s, in the end, not that important, but a thing I do. Also, I really really love racing alongside local, gangster superfemales. And I really really love how happy it makes Red to watch me.
 LB’s bachelorette. Which deserves its own.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Saturday, December 30, 2017

CIM

Something inside me was immensely drawn to CIM; a mere 69 (nice) days apart from BBM. Friends bet I'd roll into it; it's a thrill when people bet in your favor, in favor of your antics, be it wild and not entirely smart, but full of passion. I don't like to be told I shouldn't do something. Actually, I thoroughly enjoy it, because...reverse psychology.

I've chased the big marathons, but not championships, and with the US Marathon Champs in conjunction with CIM, the course that held my PR, I felt like, if recovery went well after BBM, and I got the go-ahead from the elite director, it would only be a good experience. A chance for Red and I to break up the Washington winter, to race against better, stronger women, to be encouraged to step up, to compete.

Nikki had been and continues to be a major factor in the evolution of my training. There's great potential to get too enmeshed in your own ideas, to get stuck in a holding pattern and wait entirely too long in a position of stagnancy before shaking things up. It's a great idea to have someone (if you don't have a coach), to have council with - someone you trust, who can look at what you're doing or plan to do with separation from the immediate intimacy of doing. I definitely wanted to do more and didn't think all the fartleks in the beginning of the second, abbreviated or continued marathon build were in my best interest, but, it was, and I'm extremely thankful for her guidance. I believe she did the very thing that we need most in a coach - hold us back from ourselves.

I love Sacramento. I love that as soon as we got off the short flight, got into our choice of a rental car out of a fleet of varying styles & colors, went immediately to Jimboy's tacos for parmesan and oil encrusted beef tacos, that on top of all that good, I could also get dropped off at a thrift shop, and finger through the donated fabrics of a city mostly unknown to me, in order to get a better idea on the internal culture of it. The architecture has a Louisiana-Cal mix of flavor, gorgeous fronts of homes, streets lined in bulbous orange trees with the heavier of its fruit flattened against the street in ocherous flame, thick green nw trees and palms.

I'm careless when it comes to hotels, or cheap, and because of such Red & I have stayed at the worst places: foot of freeways, window views of drug deals, chased by dogs, beds that crunch when you stir. In full acknowledgement of my idiosyncrasies, and, being more of the sort who chooses comfort over stubborn shortcutting, Red chose the hotel for CIM. The Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in downtown Sac was a factor towards the total calm I felt heading into the race. It "merges past with future, indoor with outdoor, and urban with rural." The staff were all models, impeccably dressed, there were bikes with baskets for free use, valet, free happy wine hour every night. Our corner suite had floor to ceiling windows, 180 deg. view of the city, a balcony, and the most plush, all white bed. After tacos & thrifting, Red picked up a couple bottles of red wine, and we checked in. We opted out of dinner out, our room too comfortable - and as I tossed between feet up the wall, reading You are a Badass, and watching TLC, Red walked to a local pizza place for takeout. The Kimpton is next door to the Golden1 Center, where on Friday night, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was playing, the music of which wafted in in progressive rock undulations through the balcony door. We shared margarita pizza and salads over red wine in bed until, heavy-lidded, we drifted.
Saturday morning was blanketed in a light, low hanging fog which burned off into blue. Cold pizza for breakfast. Red grabbed a basket bike and kept me company in my shakeout; we fell in love with gated homes & the fruit tree lined streets. Cold pizza for lunch. Later that afternoon I dropped off my bottles at the elite hospitality suite and headed to the mandatory elite meeting of race rules, prize purse, bib pickup. It was really cool to sit in this packed room, among some of the best men, women & famed coaches, to feel the tittering energetic air. I met up with Red post, at a wine bar called Downtown and Vine, where, over an olive mix, red wine & moscato, we riddled the wine buyer with questions about living in Sac. After, we walked to Coin Op, played classic arcade games and shot hoops against one another in a feverish sweat. We regrouped at the hotel before meeting up with family, Amanda, and her friend, Phuong (both of whom were seeking BQ's), at Lucca, downtown. Baskets of bread, another bowl of olives marinated in fennel seed, arbol chili & citrus, then: pappardelle with housemade sausage, mushrooms, chili flakes & parm and crispy duck confit with braised lentils, roasted squash, arugula, walnuts & pomegranate vinaigrette over Justin cab, ending in profiteroles (warm cream puffs with vanilla bean ice cream & dark chocolate sauce). It was really nice to share a pre-race meal and nerd out with the two of them.
At 4:45 am on Sunday I had a breakfast of oatmeal, banana and coffee before we got our car and headed out for Folsom. Red could drive me as far as a mile out from the start, where buses would pick us up and take us the rest of the way. The sun didn't rise till 7:30 am, and on the bus you could see the super moon between the trees. Due to the generosity & compliance of an apartment complex, the elite tents and portos are set to the side of the start line, and came equipped in mass coffee, creamer, bananas and water. It was pitch black in the portos; you had to hope for the best as you felt your way down. I took the advice of a friend to do a shorter warm-up, to allow for some warming up in the first few miles of the race. Noticed a knot in my left calf that wouldn't budge after vigorous pre race self massage, but thankfully it was never an issue. By 6:45 am we were ushered to the start line, where Vince DiFiore of Cake played the anthem on trumpet. Sophia from Seattle, and a few other lovely faces of women I follow were all there, a group of us with eyes on the 2:45 pacer. The gun sounded.

Miles 1-5
Before the race I had a hard time deciding whether I'd start out at pace, or if I'd stay behind the pack and try to negative split. I thought that the smarter of the two would be the latter, but I'm also the kind of person that can't not, so...I stayed with the pack, jockeyed for a full stride (to little success), and jockeyed to the right between elite fluid reachers. The pacer indicated that he'd follow a more fluid pacing plan, of pulling back the reigns on the ups and free-falling on the downs. Our first 5 miles were: 6:16, 6:17, 6:06, 6:15, 6:16.

Miles 6-11
The pack of 2:45 chasers was still thick in size, as we moved to the right for fluids, passing off drinks & water if some in the group missed or didn't have any. Though I was thankful that there was a pacer at all, that because of a pacer, all these women felt comfortable & secure in the pursuit, it was a little too stimulating for me. I figured the talking would cease as the fatigue set in, but the pacer was energetic the whole way through. He did a great job, and kept checking in if we'd like more stories, but I felt myself get the kind of stimulated where you're like in a library and someone takes a phone call. Despite this feeling, I can't be sure that his stories didn't completely distract me from any sort of pain or negative feelings in and of itself. Though I wish I could say I'm this totally positive person, I remember the annoyances well. I couldn't claim space, couldn't elongate my stride, couldn't fully extend my arm swing, as all was abbreviated by the size of the group, and the general height range of the women beside. Again, despite general annoyance, I can't be sure these weren't the very things that released within me an unyielding desire to compete. Every once in a while I'd visualize holding back, think of the words hold back, which helped at least trick my mind that there was a beast within, just waiting for the word. The miles ticked off: 6:17, 6:16, 6:14, 6:20, 6:09, 6:14.

Miles 12-17
What I really enjoyed about the pacer was his quick math. He possessed the knowledge, and all I had to do was go mind numb to the task. Being a fan of money-in-the-bank, despite knowing that a negative split is more productive to a positive end, I thoroughly appreciated when he'd say, "We're such-and-such seconds ahead of our goal!" It was near mile 17 when I started to separate from the pacer group, probably after I saw that 6:20 - 6:16, 6:11, 6:14, 6:16, 6:10, 6:20.

Miles 18-24
With Sophia up ahead I had this beacon of an instigated notion, an inspiration to move. Though I didn't know her well, I knew her better than the others, and I took her lead. It was this interesting sensation of being at complete peace with my own journey as well as femininely inspired, pack inspired. We danced back and forth, our surges our own, and I caught up with and danced with a couple other women who had separated from the 2:45 pack as well.

At BBM I wore the Hoka Tracers, but my feet were on fire by mile 13, so I opted out of these. For CIM I splurged on a pair of the Nike 4%'s little bro, the Nike Zoom Fly. I'd hardly trained in them (30 miles?), and the hard ankle structure had cut up my heels, but with all the positive feedback I wanted to try them. Even if just placebo. I've never had another gear on the back half of a marathon. Except for this day. I don't believe it was the shoes alone, but they were a factor, along with good intake of nutrition, no GI distress, no period, pliant adductors (thanks Rad Bones!) and smart(er) training, all of which aided in a strength I'd never felt before from mile 18 on - 6:15, 6:15, 6:09, 6:03, 6:06, 6:02, 6:06
Miles 25-26.2
I saw Red on the right, and he started to run hard, racing alongside. I remember thinking, "Oh man, I'm not sure if this is ok, he better knock it off, but fuck he's hauling!" He veered to catch me at the finish. I worked my way up to two women ahead, caught one right before the line, finishing in 2:42:44, with Sophia following closely behind. The final miles + were 6:04, 6:03, 5:42. After we crossed the finish line, Sophia gave me an incredible hug, sobbing, her petite frame so small against my hunched hulking stature. Red hugged me across the fencing, crying, as I stood there in disbelief. I wasn't pooping.
They placed a finisher's medal around my neck, and let Red sneak a little peekaboo into a finisher's photograph. A short while later Amanda crossed the finish line with a PR & a BQ, there followed Phuong. Red and I went to the Sutter Club, where they had this incredible set up for the elites and their plus ones, of silver panned hot breakfast foods, a fruit & yogurt bar, coffee, juices, massages, and a bar. We shared breakfast on a sunny veranda overlooking the finish line, witness to the sweat-filled glory of other companions in pain.
In the end 54 women ran an OTQ, with Sara Hall as the US Marathon Champ, just weeks removed from her PR at Frankfurt, finishing in a time of 2:28:10. The weather perfect, the size of the group of women seeking immense, the course fun, and the support from CIM outstanding - I've been processing the experience, soaking in. I've begun to understand the true value of goal setting, of perserverance. And, for the first time since racing marathons, I'm completely open to all, welcome to anything, with no immediate goals. A practice in presence.

After a hot shower at the hotel, we checked out, headed for Jimboy's and wolfed down parmesan powdery tacos in the car on the way to the airport. Flew to Seattle, drove home, calmed the sad wailing of our lonesome whisker biscuit and went to sleep, both of us back to work Monday morning.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

BBM

With encouragement I spent the spring base-training, something I'd conveniently sidestepped for years, with chronic subsisting injuries, laying season on top of season of workouts, trying to find a freshness out of an obviously non-proffering pile of work. It was hard to take a step back; it took a friend and teammate to encourage me of its value.

By July I was eager to start marathon training for the fall, and played around with Chicago, TCM, and BBM. In the end BBM seemed most romantic - to sleep in my own bed, to train on the course, to feel more connected with the RD and the community - these, I knew, would complement the path and override the glares - the fact that there wouldn't be a bountiful group of like-paced racers, the demoralizing aspect of passing the finish at mi 22, the potential of a train crossing. 

I did workouts on the back half, including a 12 mi simulation at MP with Ber & Maxx. Did long runs that ended at weddings where we danced into the night. The work was fun, I drank a lot of wine, and I recovered well...so I'd consider the experience damn near perfect, save for a bachelorette trip for one of my best friends and like 16 other women that instigated the most fertile of all myrtles/hyper periods with vomiting leading into BBM...still, it was a kickass summer of training, all female gore aside.

Saturday night LB came up from Seattle for a sleepover. Red ordered us pizzas stacked high in toppings, paired with wine. It was odd to be at home before a marathon, to harbor that race anxiety, and sit still. Thank god for sleep, because I felt useless. 

In the morning, with oatmeal, nut butter & bananas in a bowl, and a big mug of coffee, dear LB comes out in a homemade t-shirt, cotton drawn in markered encouragement. We drove the dark drive to Lummi High, where we warmed up with friends and BDP teammates set to pace the first half of the marathon. I lucked out with the insane generosity of Maxx and David, who paced me (it would be David's first - he fell in love). After a warm-up all of us toed the line, a drone humming above the inflatable arch, and the gun sounded. For the first 10-13 miles a group of us led the race. The pace felt effortless, fueled by adrenaline. Maxx was incredibly in-tune, all it took was a look between us, and with a self-awareness that seems to be lacking in most people these days, he easily read the situation and made my experience much more efficient by grabbing hydration and anything else I needed. David was a metronome. I'd worried the slightest that he wouldn't know what it took to maintain pace for a distance he'd never run, but I was deeply mistaken. I have never felt more at matched speed with anyone I've ever trained or raced with.

A short while later our group dwindled, separating from the front and back. We stayed on pace through the middle miles. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of having chosen BBM, was knowing exactly where I was 100% of the time. Though a benefit to some, I think I do best with less information. Near mi 18 we popped out on Marine, and I got to see my mother and grandparents. The miles thereafter held surges on into Squalicum Creek Park, which brings you to mi 20, the mentally deceptive Roeder, and the course's more "major" climbs and finish line pass-by.

We whispered our OTQ intentions to the railway prior to the race, and though they can't release their schedule or alter their timeline, we felt good about their awareness and hoped it was enough of a wink to the Universe. Another surge, my last, along south bay, I put my head down and passed the tracks sans delay. The wind on the bridge leading to Taylor Dock's death march zapped what little spright I had left, and on the N. State rollers heading back to downtown I decided that I would enjoy the finish over dragging myself desperately towards that OTQ. I had been off the mark for a few miles, and when I let go and let be, I really let go of the pace. Weaving between 1/2 marathon finishers, my jaw jutting, and Maxx & Amber yelling at everyone equally exhausted to step aside, we made our way to the finish line, with Amber slapping my ass, and I yelling at her to lay off.

In the end I ran 2:46:35, over a minute off my PR from 2015, but a new course record for BBM by over 5 minutes (previously held by Kate Bradshaw in 2:51:45). I was 1st woman/4th overall.

Welcomed by my family, Red, teammates and friends, a much needed hug from Rad Bones, and an interview with the Herald's Michelle Nolan, who has been around since I was in high school, it wasn't long before I hit my limit. Crouching, color-drained, pallid and heaving above the farmer's market where I had sold hot dogs soaked in cheap beer for a good many years...I puked in all trash cans, all portos, and almost between my own legs, as I was gutted from the other end...Somehow I got on stage, blue-lipped, to receive an award, before asking if I could leave, because I literally couldn't even.

Back at home I went straight for the shower and laid down beneath the stream; LB gave my fingers a tug goodbye and left me to my stripped misery. It turns out I'm not good for taking pain meds as a preventative. That which I took before the marathon shut down my gut and I couldn't absorb any fuel during the race. Once I stopped running, a backlog of suppression erupted in a shit & puke geyser. It was pretty miserable for 24+ hours.

I was and am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to race in my hometown, on the streets I've trained on, every day, for years. To have gone to talks at Fairhaven Runners, who've I've been buying from since I was in high school cross country, to talk alongside friends, teammates, and the BBM RD about the race and my goal to qualify for the Olympic Trials, all the support that came out in various medias, all the cookies and muffins and homemade breads it took Nikki to make for my relentless hunger, all team runs and workouts, all the cooking Red did for me, because he's an incredible cook, and I have a 17 y/o boy's hunger, all the wine he provided (because we all know I drink more wine than water), all the 5-minute massages his poor man hands had to endure, but most of all, all the nights he gave me space to soak in my training and how often he had to hear, "Nah, not tonight, I'm too tired," when we're not even married yet. What I am most proud of, aside from the work it took, is that I balanced it with a full, full life, full in numerous bachelorettes, weddings, birthdays, including my own 3-part birthday bonanza, traveling, and planning a wedding. I am most proud of a life balanced in giving no fucks and giving all the fucks. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

1Dck4Mck

Lincoln Park in West Seattle is redolent in sharp spikes, the suck of mud, bare legs, competition, all weather, teammate romance, old growth canopy, and always indicative of Fall. 135 acres and thousands of hours of volunteer effort make it a sanctuary amidst the gray chaos of Seattle. Mck, LB, myself and so many others present on this day raced together here, years ago. This park now encouraging us towards a bundle of trees, a path laid in petals leading to the bulk of an old growth tree. 
Earlier, over champagne, Red, LB & I got ready in LB's place off Aurora; a salute to the space we'd had so many ladiez weekends at, climbing the stairs to fall to the floor in a pile of racy movies, pita chips and hummus, waking up groggy - right out the door for a run to kick the booze sludge - a farewell to this dwelling. Red gets ready in all of 5 seconds, suited, watches football. We curl our hair, test new highlighters, try with aggression to get the damn lash bands to stick to the inner corner. I found this yellowgray corset thing thrifting, and pair it with a kimono. We tie the long neck ribbon on LB's beautiful floral dress; I can't get enough of the texture, the structure. Matt is a saint of a details man, and he gets us to Lincoln perfectly. Despite the suggestion that we dismiss heels in the park, LB & I are all for fashion and wear little kitten heels, so we prance in on our tip toes, clutching elbows.
In large jars are bouquets of baby's breath, signs with draped fern. The M.O.B. looks incredible in dark blue lace, a mock neck. Mck's sister has flown in from Ireland to officiate, dressed in emerald green, she gives a most tearful truth, and you're pulled in by the power of her love for her sister & Kris. The couple stand among the loose ends of white roses. They kiss. 
We head to the reception at Dakota Place Park Building, a former Seattle city light substation, brick, with period trim and hardwood floors. In one room, baby's breath and eucalyptus here and there among boards of toasted, thick cut bread and a bruschetta bar with pesto, fire roasted tomatoes, olive tapenade, artichokes and parmesan artichoke jalapeno spread. In the other room, a dance floor and dining tables laid with bamboo cutlery tied in hemp. Each person met is sweet, open, and in this you know that these two people are good, deeply, that they attract good. I'm beginning to float on the cab's red cloud, and I'm getting to know Mck's sister's Irish love, love watching his mouth form words, his accent, enjoy them together, talk Galway like I know how to feel about a place I've never been. I fall in love with them, because they're pleasant and we should be friends, but also because they are a more current symbol of a life Red got to live a long time ago, which I like to push into, siphon out, live in.
On top of the couple, we toast to the Lampi's and their announcement. Are called forth for dinner of pizza, baked off from a food truck, par-charred deliciously. The wine is endless. Speeches. A video of all stages. Beam when I see us three at Oktoberfest in Munich the year before. Wish for it back. And we danced. And we cried. And we laughed. And had a really, really, really good time. Take my hand, let's have a blast. And remember this moment for the rest of our lives. Our lives (our lives). 
The two cut the cake Mck made - a champagne cake, on the noses of them. At the end, with the sparklers lit, we salute. Someone has handed me a plate of the leftover cake, and I find myself walking around trying to dispose of it into the hands of party people, and somehow everyone is too full, and I'm forced to eat a little with my hand. I don't recall entirely, but I'm pretty sure the M.O.G. declares, "Gross." And I laugh, because, I am. 

Mck & Kris went out with us after. In some confusion, they went for karaoke and shots, and Red & I went for massive nachos and margaritas. The nachos were not smart. A few bites in and I about fell asleep on the table. Meeting back up with the Farrell's, Kris holds out his married hand and admires his ring.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Saused

Snacks in paper sacks and rosé in transport to SEA. Dbl bloody's. A 5:30p flight to SFO. Red & I had stumbled on the lip of Farley Bar on a past trip, the night inky black, with overhead heaters, a musty wine in ice bucket, and the dim, crusted red of the golden gate almost at hands reach, just there. So good that it was the first place we wanted to take our four friends. A bitter night, swaddled in fleece & heat lamp, the service was dreadful, a constant rush & reminder of the closing hour. They shut the lamps off as we ate. Us six were in and out before a table of two; the service imprinted on the food, the experience. A 2014 Paul Hobbs Russian River chardonnay was a sweet, soft kiss on the shit service.

Jed Steele's condo in sausalito is my favorite landing place. With Bladerunner on silent, we had a Steele tasting, then climbed the stairs to bed.

In the morning the men went for groceries, made eggs, ham, biscuits with goat cheese, sliced apples and coffee.
Drove to Sonoma, to Hanzell, where we had an escorted tour of the vineyards that radiate a full circle on the slope of a hill, stopping to finger the green, to see the white puppies, the geese and goats. The original Ambassador's 1953 vineyard, Zellerbach, de Brye, Ramos & Sessions, missing the barrel aging cave.
"Tucked into a nook on the steep hillside of Sonoma Mayacamas mountain range, Hanzell Vineyards sits with a quiet elegance overlooking the valley of Sonoma. Hanzell is an iconic and historic property that includes 46 acres of planted vineyards, 6 acres of residences with gardens, and 148 acres of oak woodland..."
Seated inside the Heritage Winery, sipping Sebella chardonnay ('15), with its lifted floral aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle, its flavor of white peach, golden delicious, kumquat, lemon zest and wet graphite. To the chardonnay ('14), smelling of lemon verbena, bosc pear and hazelnut. Flavors or pear, thyme and a saline character. To the pinot noir ('14) in dried cherry, blackberry bramble, orange peel, cherry tobacco, cedar, sandalwood, cardamom, pink peppercorn and forest floor. Finishing with the Sebella noir ('15).
In our family van, to the small city at the foot of the mounds, to El Moleno Central, where you stand in a wavering line in a minimal room, the back corner reserved for the mistress de tortillas. We grab cold Modelos y Pacificos from the open face chiller; the cashier pops the caps at the register. Chicken enchiladas suizas, green, with pickled vegetable relish y mole and ceviche con halibut.
We careen in a cloud of dirt to a roadside fruit and vegetable stand for avocado honey sticks, peaches, apples, watermelon. Fill our van trunk with produce.
Siestas before Giants. We drop off Cousin & Neil on the side of the road so they can taste their way though Haight. A cluster of skateboarders with feelgood smiles weave in and out of the thick traffic line, grab hold of bumpers. A nippy air, made nippier by the cold IPA in hand. Cubano sandwich. Final score 2-10, the Giants win over Philly.
A man with machines for hands blows bubbles, thick & iridescent against the night. Mission District for a late dinner at the Monk's Kettle: bier, berlinerweiss, burgers & pretzels. Back home a mouserat has nibbled on our peaches. Red & I fall asleep with two full glasses of zinfandel on our matching bedside tables.
The mouserat found the peaches on top of the fridge, through a leap we can't fathom. Neil, Adam &a Red rent mountain bikes and tour the Marin Headlands while I run 19 miles, all of us disoriented in the thick fog, circling repeatedly, distorted by depth.
To inner Richmond, Presidio Heights, Eternal Springs, to tide us over before Burma Superstar; no reservations - first come first. Munching pork banh mi's and chugging Vietnamese coffee on the side of the street. Ciders at Stein. Name at Burma, we're on hold for an hour - to Bitter End, a dark thing, with deer heads draped in scarfs, old faux christmas gifts, bulbs and disco balls aglitter.
"San Francisco has one of the largest Burmese communities in the country, and no spot is better (or faster growing) than Burma Superstar on Bubble tea-happy Clement Street (there are also outposts in Alameda and Oaklan, should you stray across the bay). Start with a tea-leaf salad (tossed at the table), and then get a mix of curries, stir fries, noodle dishes, and stews (Burmese food borrows from Indian, Chinese, and Thai). The pumpkin pork stew is so delicious and soothing, it'll make you wish it was freezing out. But it won't be. It'll be 55 degrees. It's always 55 degrees here. You don't even need Google Maps for this one; Just watch for the huddle of people queuing for Burma's legendary garlic noodles and samusa soup." (The VICE Guide to San Francisco)

Deep fried Burmese samosas (hand wrapped and filled with curried potatoes), served with the house red sauce. Lettuce cups with cured pork and shiitake, pickled radish, carrots and water chestnut. Oh Noh Causer (Burmese style coconut chicken noodle soup), with onions, eggs, cilantro, wanton, lemon and chili. Tea Leaf Salad with romaine, fried yellow beans, fried garlic, sesame seeds, fresh tomatoes, jalapeños and dried shrimp. Chicken stir fried with oyster mushrooms, lemongrass, basil, garlic, chili and sweet peas. Garlic and chili shrimp (wok tossed), toasted in garlicky infused oil with jalapeños and topped with toasted garlic and cilantro. Garlic noodles (flour noodles with fried garlic, scallions) in red chili sauce. Coconut rice (aromatic jasmine rice cooked with coconut milk and topped with fried onions). Sticky fingers (pork riblettes with caramelized sweet garlic and wine soy glaze).

Floating in a Burmese scented smoke cloud like six hippies in the garden of Eden, each mouthful was intoxicating. And, intoxicated, we floated out to the wharf, to the top floor of Lou's Fish House to see Willy G play live. With costume changes and seducing serenades, we nodded in tune and thick-throat gulped our bad margaritas. Across the street to In'n'out for chocolate milkshakes among the milky pink eyes of wharf drunks.
Sunday - 4 miles around Fernwood Cemetery, developed in the1800's, surrounded in heritage oak and bay trees, rolling plots of green - a wildlife habitat. Green in practice, with no person embalmed, no grave-liners or vaults, no headstones or bronze markers, only small, natural boulders, and each grave dug by hand. There's a Gan Yarok (green garden), a Jewish green garden that represents Orthodox, Conservative and Reform/Renewal. Monuments of Portuguese immigrants. It was other-worldly, a place of great peace, not of stark lines covered in moss and sad false flowers.
In the kitchen Cousin made a 17-egg breakfast with accompanying fruit stand medley, goat & cheddar cheeses, toast, jam, coffee. Packed up, drove along the winding backside of golden gate, saw the nose of a whale below. Back through Presidio, landing in Haight Ashbury for an afternoon of shopping, greyhound sipping, beer, to-go banh mi's, In-n-out cheeseburgers, fries and chocolate shakes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mck's Bachelorette

A few days post BC & the bbq was Mck's bachelorette. I'd taken the week off from work, to, you know, like fully live. I think in between the things Cousin fried me some homemade zucchini fritters with sunny eggs, cottage cheese & hot sauce. Friday morning I had 3x3 mi @ MP and Red acted in place of my original hype girl, Mads J, by biking beside me. I packed the car with a couple cases of wine and headed to Seattle where I joined LB, my ride-or-die Portland roadtrip chick. Stopped for really large dutch bro's iced coffees and made it to our NW Portland home. The 3-floor home couldn't have been more beautiful, with claw footed tubs and stained glass, a balcony terrace, kitchen terrace, immense kitchen, several bedrooms & bathrooms, classic decor and comfortable living spaces perfect for watching saucy movies in. Once settled, us gaggle of estrogen packed ladiez headed to the brew barge on the Willamette.
After a somehow depressing uber ride to the brew barge (depressing because the driver was waxing poetic about his previous 2 marriages to the beat of bruno mars), we toted in a 1/2 case of rosé and climbed aboard the barge. The wine put on ice in cooler-turned-table.
Earlier in the week it had been 107, and though cooler, we still lined our bras in ice, kept our dixies full and pedaled hard to catch that Willamette wind, if only in pockets. The BC fires carried smoke to Portland, the sky the color of a vacuum's collection, and set against it, rope walkers strung across the water. We played flip cup in motion, side against side, started to jig, getting loose from the pink, and pedaled back to shore.

For dinner, Please Louise - flatbreads shared, whether they wanted to be or not, I helped myself. To peach & prosciutto flatbread, to wild mushroom, king trumpet, pancetta, fontina, gorgonzola, sage & honey flatbread. A couple boozy cocktails and a nice meandering walk back to our place.
Saturday morning Mck, LB and I ran from the house to Forest Park, uphill, enclosed in varying green canopy, winding, popular for the uptempo.

A babe made overnight oats and had sliced fruit and a pot of coffee waiting. Another babe decorated the home in myspace-esque photographs of Kris, everywhere, tassels and garlands, bottles of champagne, temp tattoos and beaded necklaces.

The collection of us drove to the foot of Pittock Mansion and hiked to the top, toting a couple bottles of champagne and little plastic cups. The smoke hid the mountains, but the city laid out, sunning itself. In a secluded sun spot, just off from the main house, we sat, poured and toasted Mck.

Drove to Sunnyside/Hawthorne, to Por Que No?; a line out the door and little spray bottles left along the exposed wall to keep the patrons cool. A server passed out margaritas to us in line as we waited. Ordered "Bryan's Bowl," a bowl of beans, rice, salsas, gaucamole, queso fresco, cream, cilantro and roasted vegetables. The belly of me burst in beany goodness. A hot almond latte only intensified the sheer cosmic vulgarity of the taste buds alive & jostled.
A few of us walked the boutique streets near our home, on the hunt for piercings. Mck, gorgeous in a clawfoot tub filled with bubbles & a glass of champagne. Women coming in, sitting on the floor to talk, in cycles. Back at home we readied ourselves in black, Mck in white, watched as Mck opened all her dainty, lacy gifts, her dick coloring books, dick suckers and orgasm-lit. Sipped G's frozé's and gallivanted a good mile or two walk to dinner on Nob Hill at the Fireside. A glass of red, then pink, poured from secret pouch, dishes of brussels sprouts in sweet chili, of grilled bread & olive butter, of beet chips with harissa spice passed around. For dinner - smoked salmon with cardamon & lemon with grilled como bread. At this point, all I wanted was to take my 1980's VS velvet & silk see-through dress & my star pasties and schmooze & groove.
First - Barrel Room, welcomed in with red buckets of booze, with its dueling pianos & beer pong & outdoor dance club. Across the street to Jones Nightclub, which sounded like it would be rad - 80's & 90's themed, fluorescent - but it blew. "Literally no one is having fun here," cried the MOH. Free passes into Spyce Gentleman's Nightclub. "Gross!" cried the MOH. So we went back to the OG Barrel Room. In the cab van home, one with hiccups, and the beautiful driver saying, "I know how to fix this, hold her hand. Hold her hand." Unsure, she held her hand, and the hiccups ceased, and the man smiled, and we were all like, whoa.
Sunday morning, somehow, LB and I ran circles around Portland's Waterfront, passing the USS Blueback (SS-581), a decommissioned Barbel-class submarine which has sat moored in the Willamette beside the Marquam Bridge since '94. Haunting. Past the market, past the iconic pink boxes of Voodoo, past other runners, and through the erect and powerful jets of intense sprinklers. The she-power of female-connectivity took me down, as it did many other members of our she-squad with the P; it was a nauseating, yet lovely experience running with LB. Our other she-partners were kind to us, cleaning up the whole house while we were out. It was, as it always is, hard to say goodbye. All of us wanting a little more time.
With our cars packed, we walked to Besaw's for brunch. Around the table - avocado toast with compressed melon, sunflower seeds, white balsamic & sheep's milk feta, solo club granola with toasted coconut, almonds, candied ginger, sunflower seeds, cocoa nib & yogurt, rey-rey's breakfast burrito with eggs, potatoes, chorizo, cheddar, onion, queso, sour cream & gaucamole. Mass roasted potatoes. Stuffed, with coffees from our favorite little corner shop, the Dragonfly Coffee House, we piled into our cars, happy to have had the chance, but sad that it was over.