On feeling stupid (or not)

I cringed when I watched this Jimmy Kimmel video, a series of “man on the street” interviews asking people if they preferred the “Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare.” And I hoped they had to interview 20 or 30 people before finding a handful that didn’t know they were the same thing.

I like to think I do a fairly good job of not looking stupid by not being afraid to sound a little stupid and just admit when I’m not fully up to speed. There are a lot of moving parts at my job, and I probably find myself saying “Can you refresh me on the details of how that works?” at least once a week.

The other day someone asked me point blank what I thought of the situation in Syria, and I had to just sigh. “I definitely wish I knew more about what was going on, but I’m afraid I haven’t been keeping up.” The person I was talking to proceeded to give me his opinion, which is what I think he was really getting at anyways. Win-win.

This week over dinner the topic of a North Carolina school board that banned Invisible Man. And my friend was talking about how crazy it was for this book to be banned especially since it was such a classic, and I said, “Wait, sorry.What’s it about? I mean, I know it’s about a man who can turn invisible…”

Whomp whommmp. (In my defense,  I bounced around a lot of different schools, so my required reading was all messed up. I never had to read Catcher in the Rye or Great Gatsby but I had to read Beowulf like four times.)

Nope. I’m a dummy. Maybe not as silly as the woman talking about how much better the ACA is than Obamacare, but I was pretty embarrassed.

I suppose my point was that at least I didn’t mind admitting that I didn’t know something rather than trying to bluff my way through it. I could have nodded and sipped my wine and googled the book later. But pretending like you know something you really don’t is pretty stupid.

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.

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).

Odds and ends

Chris and I went to REI last Sunday and he spent like 30 minutes trying on cycling jackets, looking for one to replace his current jacket, which is looking a bit tattered. He’s a tall guy on the skinny side, so we were both surprised when he kept having to size up to a large or even extra large. And I was really impressed that the jackets came in the usual neon yellow but also pretty peacock blue and…we were in the women’s section. Which explained why all the jackets seemed just a little tight in the shoulders and short in the sleeves.

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We have one of those things that lets you make your own sparkling water. Or sparkling anything, really. I love sparkling water, so Chris has been carbonating water and sending it to work with me in these glass bottles. I did not know they were beer bottles and I got some funny looks at work.

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Our ‘Yes on 2a’ sign finally arrived! If you live in Denver you should vote yes on 2a if you like things like libraries and police officers. This is a pretty uncontroversial measure. Regardless of your opinions on the role of government in our lives, we all agree that libraries and police and roads are essential functions, and 2a allows us to have more of all that good stuff without raising taxes. Magic!IMG 3468

We are dog sitting two dogs this weekend, bringing our household total to three. Sadly I spent all day yesterday in bed fighting some kind of fever-y evil sickness. Dogs barking and wanting to play were not what the doctor ordered. (Chris was at work.) I felt much better today, so first thing we took them to the park for a good long romp.

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I was rather short sighted when I bought my MacBook Air two years ago and only sprang for the 32 gig hard drive. I have struggled with storage space ever since, and I finally decided to move most of my music and photos over to the iMac to free up space. It was pretty easy to copy it all onto an external hard drive and then from the drive into the iMac.

As a bonus, as the photos loaded into iPhoto, I got to see a rapid fire slideshow of that last five years or so of my life. It was fun to see really random photos I haven’t thought about in a long time. And not just…oh, that wedding! But also…oh man that really good breakfast I took a picture of with my phone. Or those suspenders I texted a photo of to a friend.

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Now I have a touch of the Sunday Night Blues. I definitely don’t live my life counting down to the weekend, but I always find myself lacking time on Sunday night and feeling a little stressed out. Like, I want to finish laundry, triage my work email, take the dogs for a walk, pick out clothes for tomorrow, make lunches for the week, fill out my mail in ballot, and go to bed in about three hours.

Tights are not leggings and leggings are not pants

Today I wore a dress to work that I deem just an inch or two too short to wear with bare legs (because I have borderline Victorian notions about hemlines) but it’s completely fine to wear with opaque leggings under them. The following is a very slightly dramatized text conversation that just happened.

Me: Embarrassing! I have a giant hole in my leggings. Since you will shortly be leaving our home and going right past my office, will you swing by and drop me off another pair?

He: Oh god. This is my worst nightmare. What if I accidentally bring you tights?

Me: Leggings don’t have feet and they have a wide waistband.

He: So, they’re like pants…

Me: Leggings are not pants!

He: I think I found some, but they might be workout pants?

Me: If they have anything reflective on them, that’s not the right thing. Or a nike logo…

He: Okay. I don’t know. I’ll just bring you a variety of black stretchy leg coverings from which to choose.

I won’t leave you hanging, he triumphed.

It’s 475% More Miles

So, I went to get on the spin bike at the gym. There are only like eight total at my gym and only four of them have any kind of display (to show distance, time, play the TV, etc) and obviously those four get the most use. So I know the people who use those spin bikes all the time in the evening. There’s blonde lady, the guy who kind of looks like Alec Baldwin, and the guy who looks exactly like the guy who just won on the Bachelorette. (The resemblance is eerie.)

I get to the bikes and only Alec Baldwin is there, and he says, “You’re here a little late today.” And we chatted about how it’s hard to make time for the gym, that it’s more fun to ride your bike, and what not.

Okay, so then I say something like, “I signed up for this race and I’ve been training ALL summer and I’m REALLY excited it’s this weekend and I’ve been spending ALL my time on the bike and spin bike because I am SO nervous about the bike and being able to finish.”

“What race?”

“The Harvest Moon. It’s a half iron distance, it’s this Sunday.”

“Is that in Parker?”

“No, it’s in Aurora.”

“I think it used to be in Parker. I’ve done that one a few times.”

Okay, so at this point I know that the Harvest Moon is a race that’s only like 10 years old and as far as I know it has always been in Aurora but whatever. This is the first time Alec and I have spoken, so…okay. I don’t really want to correct him.

Blah blah blah, something about college football. Pleasantries. Have a good day! Have a good ride!

Later that very same day, I got an email from Active about upcoming races in Denver. One on the list is the Fall Frenzy. In Parker! And I was like oh, how funny, this is obviously the race he was talking about. It has a fall sounding name, it’s the same weekend, but this one is in Parker. So I check it out.

The bike course is 12 miles long. Alec Baldwin now thinks I have been training and fretting all summer for a 12 mile bike ride.


So obviously I’m now trying to think of ways I can casually work this into conversation the next time we end up on neighboring bikes.