Not being able to transfer race entries

Folks. Do you know what’s total bull? Not being able to transfer or get a refund for a race entry fee.

Put restrictions on it. Charge a fee, keep a portion of what I paid. But no refunds and no transfers is really annoying for something you’re signing up for months in advance.

I signed up for the Denver Rock and Roll half a few months ago, turns out we’re going to have a conflict, I’m just out $80. The race organizers could make another $25 off of me by allowing me to pay a fee to transfer my bib, meaning they’d make $105 for one entry instead of just $80. 

I’m looking at the Colorado half in May. I was contemplating signing up now because I know it will sell out, but with a no refund and no transfer policy, I’m not willing to bet $90 that I won’t have something come up eight months from now.

That’s dumb you guys. And probably puts you at high risk for people charging back/disputing their credit card charges. (I’m an electronic payments geek.)

I know we don’t want to create a marketplace for scalpers of race entries, so make it expensive and make it inconvenient, but don’t make it impossible. 

 

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car2go card finally came!

The other night I took a slightly different route home from work. I was in familiar territory, but it was nice to mix up my routine.

Since I walk to work from time to time, I walk my dog, and I run in my neighborhood, it feels like I’ve been up and down all the streets near me a zillion times, and like I’ve done hundreds of laps of City Park and Cheesman Park.

Chris and I wanted to take a long walk today, and I wanted some new scenery. I also just got my car2go membership card in the week, so we grabbed a car2go and drove it down to Wash Park. We did a loop around the park and then walked home. I had estimated our walk was going to end up around five miles but we ended up going over seven.

I’m in love with the car2go model. The ability to make one way trips makes it so much better than other car share options. We’ve been a one car household for almost four years, so I’ve looked at some other ones I keep thinking of the different ways I want to use it…

  • Driving myself home if it happens to be raining when I want to leave.
  • Driving somewhere we know we’ll be enjoying some cocktails and then taking a cab home.
  • Being able to loan my own car to family or friends who are visiting and then using car2go for myself.
  • Driving myself a few miles away from my house and then running home.
  • I plan to take the car with me on my runs, actually, in case something happens. I tripped and ate it pretty hard a few months ago. Luckily I only had to walk about a half mile home, but it would have been a bummer if I were further away.
  • Lugging beer and food to City Park Jazz, and then walking home with the empties.
  • Driving myself home from the gym after swimming in the winter. Wet hair when it’s 15° makes even a short ride or walk home uncomfortable.

Anyways. I’m happy to have another transportation tool in my belt. I’ve got my car, my bike, my bus pass, my feet, my uber app, and my car2go card. (Even if it took two weeks to sign up for membership.)

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In other news, I recommitted to running on a regular basis for the third or fourth time this year, and lookit! I ran four times this week. I’m tired.

Littlefoot Triathlon – Race Recap

Oh man.

This summer I planned to do no races, to enjoy my summer, and to go to more happy hours. And I have! I have spent a lot of time drinking beers on patios, sitting on the couch, working, and very little time working out. As a result I’m slightly squishier but a lot less stressed out than I was this time last summer.

But a few weeks ago Chris and I went for a bike ride and then I hopped off and did a short run. Just to see. Just to see how bad a brick might feel. But it was fine! I was hot and tired, but really, it was fine.

So on a whim, with no training, yesterday afternoon I signed up for the Littlefoot Triathlon, a tiny sprint tri that was this morning. (There were only about 150 racers.) I had done two random 5ks this summer, not really trained, and PR’d both! Maybe 2013 was one long taper I’d benefited from immensely.

Ha. Hahahaha. Oh, Past Mel. How did you get so dumb?

I actually had a lot of fun today, but I totally face-planted in the race. The very short version with random crappy iPhone pictures…

The approach:

Most of my gear came together pretty quickly last night except for 10 tense minutes spent looking for a stray cycling glove. (I have super crappy wrists, I need them even for a short ride.) My alarm didn’t go off (I set it for PM instead of AM) but Chris’s alarm woke me up and I got out the door on time. On the way there, I hit a bump on the freeway and in the rear view mirror watched my bike bounce out of its fastenings on the bike rack and slide dangerously close to flying off. Pulled over, adjusted, drove verrrry carefully the rest of the way.

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The swim:

Always my favorite leg, and I love the part before we start where everyone’s in the water chatting. I haven’t swam (in a pool or in a lake) in a year so I was impressed that I could swim a half mile with no breaks. It wasn’t fast, but I swam pretty straight and was able to pass some folks.

The bike:

Bleh. I think I have realized I do not enjoy cycling, especially on my crappy Target bike. The course wasn’t as hilly as I thought, but it was really curvy, so you had zero momentum going into the uphills. Also, my heart rate was like “WHY DID YOU JUST SWIM SO HARD FOR SO LONG? IS SOMETHING CHASING YOU?” and my heart rate would. Not. Come. Down. Not when I slowed down, not when I had water, not when I took it easy on the uphills.

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The run:

I got off the bike and my legs felt okay-ish, but again my heart rate was like “THIS IS NOT DRINKING BEER. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??” And by this time it was really hot, and when I tried to run my heart rate exploded and I felt a little dizzy. So since I had no goals, and I was just here for fun, I decided to just walk the 5k. I could have kept up a run/walk situation but…meh. Meh. I say.

I smiled at other racers, chatted with volunteers, and drank a lot of water. It was hot. Then there were fewer people on the course and I got bored. I kind of wished I’d spent my $85 on a new dress.

The finish:

I realized at some point that I was the last finisher, and I felt badly because I think people really like to cheer for last finishers who look like they’re overcoming some hardship but trying really hard. People like it when the last finisher is really old or overweight but doing their best to sprint to the finish! I was just a healthy lady who was not trained at all and being kind of lazy.

When I got to the finish line I tried to nonchalantly saunter across, but the announcer stopped the raffle/awards to call me out, and I waved to the crowd. “Hi! Sorry. Don’t mind me. Are there any vegetarian sandwiches left?” (There weren’t!)

Maybe 15 seconds after I finished, I was slinking off to collect my stuff when the announcer called out my name for first place! Well, only place. In the sadly neglected Athena division. (That means I weigh more than 150 pounds.) I collected my award and marveled at the math that allowed me to be both first and last. Ah, well.

So there’s that. Ninth triathlon in the books. Kind of made an idiot of myself, but I had fun.

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Three footnotes if I could remember how to actually code footnotes:

One, I think I actually came in last place, which is kind of funny. It’s that thing people dread but it’s fine. No one points and laughs at you, you still get the same t-shirt. I’m kind of happy to fall on this sword if it means someone else who would mind doesn’t have to. But, I was also in the last wave, so maybe someone who started 20 minutes ahead of me actually took more time than I did. Who knows.

Two, I wish the Athena division was really a thing. I always sign up for it if it’s an option because seriously, regardless of how in shape you are, it’s just harder to propel 150 pounds around a course than it is 120 pounds, and I’m a big person! I’d like to compete against other big people. I’m tall and broad and the only time in my life I’ve weighed less than 150 pounds was a brief period after college when I engaged in some somewhat disordered habits. Other than that, I’ve fit into the same jeans since high school.

And there were definitely women in that weight range who beat me today who decided to compete in their age group instead. They should have this cool plaque, not me! I mean, to each her own. Thanks for the first place/last place finish, ladies!

Three, race directors: you always run out of the vegetarian sandwiches or burritos! You should have more. I was starving and made a beeline for a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich when I left the park.

Just a few thoughts on the things we call blogs.

When Google Reader “moved out” I tried a few things. Feedly was too…pretty, I guess? I liked The Old Reader but the mobile interface was a little clunky, it kept marking a bunch of stuff as read that was not really read, and it kept having long downtimes. So far, for my money (which is zero dollars) CommaFeed is the clear winner. And by that, I mean it’s the most like Google Reader and it doesn’t do anything annoying. Yay, CommaFeed!

This weekend I spent some time cleaning up my feeds, moving uncategorized sites into categories and deleting ones I’m not really that into. I admit I had a few “hate reads” or “car wrecks” where I was really just reading for the pleasure of rolling my eyes, but I’m all cleaned up now and hopefully everything left in there  will inform or entertain me.

I used categories like food, laffs, Denver, style. I almost made a category for Trying to make this into a career.

Which got me thinking about the word “blog” and how I think we need some new terminology. At the minimum there’s a clear dichotomy between people who aspire to have some modicum of fame and fortune and those that aspire to connect with others with similar interests (be the interest triathlons or fashion or raising chickens). Obviously you can aspire to connect with folks and still hope your blog brings you a bit of fame and fortune, but either that’s a goal or it’s not.

[Anecdote! My friend recently started a daily outfit sort of blog. Her stated intention on her site is to share fashion ideas. Her stated intention to me is that she hopes to get a free pair of jeans. How wonderful it would be if we were all so authentic.]

I think what I want to say is that, broadly, there are online “Micro Magazines” and there are online “Personal Diaries.” If you have ads and giveaways and guest posts and you schedule content for maximum pageviews, then that’s all good and more power to you, but there should be a different word for that than what I’m doing here.

Let’s imagine a scale of 1-10 where 1 is my mom’s blogspot where she posts pictures of quilts she and her friends have made and 10 is the Huffington Post. Technically, these are both “blogs” even though they are vastly different publications. Doesn’t it seem like there’s a gap in the language if my wordpress site is in the same category as Gawker?

Pretending to be young

It’s kind of a running joke in our house that Chris and I tend to be the youngest people wherever we go. Our favorite restaurants tend not to be the places where the young and trendy go, but rather hotspots for retirees. The two shows we saw at Red Rocks this summer were Lyle Lovett and Prairie Home Companion. (When the performers are 55 and 70, the audience tends to skew that way as well.) We tailgated with friends who have kids almost our age.

So we sort of marveled this weekend when we ended up being very out of place at two shows filled with Very Young People.

Friday night we saw He’s My Brother She’s My Sister play in Boulder at the Fox theater. So, first of all, this show didn’t even start until 9 and there were two openers. We made dinner reservations for 9 at Brasserie Ten Ten. (I literally don’t think I’ve ever made dinner reservations for 9 pm ever in my life before.) (By the way that place was amazing!) (Also I know I overuse parentheses.)

Even doing our darndest to not be crazy early, we made it into the theater in time to see most of the second opener, The Outfit (with special guest Neyla Pekarek on one song, love her). I had forgotten it was an all ages show, and there were kiddos with black Xs on their hands.

The theater was maybe…two thirds full? We could have made our way down to the front, but instead Chris and I decided the (completely empty) area behind the sound booth was our own private VIP area so we enjoyed singing loudly and dancing our faces off with plenty of room and no worries about accidentally elbowing a teenager.

Now, He’s My Brother, Shes My Sister is one of my favorites lately. I’m not really a music buff. Chris plays DJ in our house and I alternate between sometimes tapping my foot and sometimes making a face, “What is this?” but most of the time it’s just background. So for me to know all the words to every song on the album and shlep up to Boulder for a show so late is kind of a big deal for me.

They’re a perfect ensemble cast, and I just find Rachel Kolar mesmerizing. She’s gorgeous, she has a killer voice, and she jumps around the stage like a jack rabbit.

I’m meandering. What I wanted to say was that while they are one of my favorites, they’re not super well known (yet!) and so as Chris and I stood in the back and I sang along loudly sometimes…I could hear myself. And the sound guys could hear me and gave us some funny looks. Hey, giant fan girl, go rock out in the front where you don’t look like a weirdo. Definitely during this song:

I love this song. It’s such an anthem. It just sounds like the kind of classic rock song that everyone knows the words to.

I had three drinks (a glass of wine with dinner and two whiskey and cokes at the theater. We got home close to 1 am, and I woke up at 6 am and spent all day with a headache and a tummy ache. #oldladyproblems

So anyways. The next night we went to see Danielle Ate The Sandwich at The Walnut Room. Not quite such a young crowd, but we ended up chatting up two girls hanging out in the front with us. They were both 21 and just…they were just so 21. An actual exchange:

21 year old: So, what do you do?

Me: I work for a software company.

21 year old: Oh, cool! My brother is technical, too. He’s studying computers in school.

Me: Oh, that’s his…major?

21 year old: No, in high school.

Me: Right. Okay.

They talked about going camping and doing mushrooms and the tragedy of a new love moving to a different city. So excited to meet the band there were nearly tears. I wanted to scratch them behind the ears, they were like earnest little puppies.

And once again the band we were there to see didn’t start until 10. (Maxwell Hughes opened. He is very, very talented, really a pleasure to watch, and has, truly, the most awkward stage banter I have ever witnessed.)

Determined to catch up on sleep, I came home and set myself up for a successful sleep in. I pulled all our blinds closed tight, put in earplugs, tied a bandana around my eyes to block out the light, and turned off all our alarms. You guys, I slept for eleven hours.

Back to more age appropriate activities today. Grocery shopping, cooking for the week, and hopefully early to bed after catching up on work emails in front of the tv. (well, the old iMac playing torrented downloads, same thing).