Sunday, July 31, 2011

25 Before 25

I have been working on a list of 25 things to do before I turn 25 and it is harder than I thought it would be. At first I included things that I’ve done before but want to do again. But I tailored those so that everything on this list is a new challenge. I am scared of how fast time flies but I am excited for all that is ahead. I truly look forward to being twenty-five, I think it will be a great age and I expect to be ready for new adventures. But, as my dad always advised, I will not wish my life away. I will live in the moment, while also planning for the future, and I will try my hardest to accomplish these twenty five “to-do”s in the measly fifty-one weeks ahead.

  1. Plan and begin bike ride across the US of A.
  2. Start cakestruction blog with Ingrid.
  3. Swim for sport.
  4. Set foot on the Appalachian trail.
  5. Go to Charlottesville with Joshua.
  6. Try at least 15 new restaurants in DC.
  7. Give YOGA another chance.
  8. Significantly refresh and improve my French. Then spend an afternoon speaking only French with my mom.
  9. Become comfortable with public speaking.
  10. Go Running in Vermont with VT Shaws.
  11. Begin Composting.
  12. Properly train for a half marathon and run it, comfortably, in under two hours.
  13. Create custom title/header for my blog.
  14. Survey my friends on the best coffee in DC. Drink a large cup from there. And savor it.
  15. Ride a century with my dad.
  16. Go somewhere new with Joyce and Nicole.
  17. Take at least three writing workshop courses and develop theme/plan/vision for my book.
  18. Complete comprehensive, streamlined Operations Manual for Fund Development department at GSCNC.
  19. Go to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.
  20. Create and eat a complete meal with foods only picked, killed, or scavenged by me and a sous-chef. Dad?
  21. Convince Nathan to run Somerset 8k with me. 
  22. Rock climb outdoors (with a harness and stuff).
  23. Learn to use Adobe video editor. Take more videos.
  24. Become much more handy. Especially with bicycle maintenance.
  25. Swim in the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ragbrai Day 7: The end

If you're riding Ragbrai today, you are probably sad that it's over. You may be ready to give your butt and legs a break for a while. Or you may be ready for a good night's sleep before you finish your long ride across this vast country. But either way, you're surely going to miss the madness, the unique spirit and energy that doesn't really exist elsewhere. You have a substantial, hilly, 65.6 miles ahead of you, though, so enjoy it while you can!

Though we're missing it at the end, Josh and I are doing a great job of honoring Ragbrai this weekend, as we spent last night riding bikes until it was time for bed and woke up this morning to get out and ride some more. We spontaneously decided yesterday, to ride down to the Lincoln Memorial to meet Ingrid and David on their walk among the monuments. We rode through dusk on the Rock Creek bike path and, all of a sudden, this emerged:

It was a beautiful, windy night in the city and it gave me such a special feeling. I live in the Nation's Capital and it is an unbelievable thing, something I take for granted far too often. And I live here with some of my best friends. Though it would have been cool to be biking in Iowa, I truly can not think of a better way to have spent the night. It mostly consisted of Ingrid, David, and I, lying around like this:

Big Legs. All the better to ride a bike with.
While Josh stood around and took pretty pictures like these:

Now, we're off to test the soreness of our butts on our long-awaited ride to Gravelly Point. We were going to be joined by a bigger crowd but people had bed bugs to exterminate, work to do, or fear of the heat to succumb to. So it's a date. We are bringing a football, a picnic of grapes, olives and camembert, and a shit-ton of water. And hopefully we'll find some of that unique madness and spirit on the trail.

We will be thinking of those on Ragbrai, as I live vicariously for one final day. This week of imaginary Ragbrai participation my seem weird to some of you and that's ok. Like father, like daughter. Enjoy the ride !!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ragbrai Day 6: GO GATORS

Last year on Ragbrai, my parents and I planned a day to wear our college jerseys.

 As my mom and I were riding, I said that it would be cool if they had a designated day for everyone to show their school spirit. Because there are so many Iowa and Iowa State Jerseys, and plenty of other out-of-state ones, sported throughout the week. And Ragbrai is peppy enough as is, why not just through a little pep rally rivalry day in the mix? She said that I should include in my "suggestions" after the ride. Well, I never did that, but I guess there were other people thinking what I was thinking. Because this year they created college spirit day. And it is today!

I, total dork that I am, am showing my own, work appropriate, college spirit today. It's no bike jersey, and its symbol will be known by no one that sees it (besides maybe my readers) but it is meaningful to me.

I am a part of the action, in spirit at least. I am still waiting for my parents, who are truly a part of the action, to send me photos of the masses in uniform. I'll take their being so out of touch as a sign of how much fun they're having.

Those of us who aren't on Ragbrai 2011 can have fun too though! Tomorrow, I'll be on a bike ride in DC with friends and maybe we'll even dip our front tires in the Potomac River. Maybe we'll have to dip our whole bodies in to survive the heat.

I hope you're feeling a dose of spirit on this hot and sunny Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Half Number Two

It's official. I am registered to run the Baltimore Half Marathon on October 15, 2011. It's a hilly city so I have lots of work to do. 


I am also officially registered (in my heart and head) to dress as ridiculously as necessary in celebration of Nikki's 26 miles on her 26th birthday. Much much more on that momentous endeavor to come.

Ragbrai Day 5: Tail or Head

Let me share with you an e-mail that my mom sent me this morning:

Yesterday, we followed team WIND... their motto: 'looking for tail, but we'll take head..." Ha ha, we've had some of both today (wind that is...)
Those weirdo mid-westerners are just the best. And the Shaws fit right in. Not only did they  follow team WIND, but they created their own little Ragbrai ride from the Des Moines Airport, where they dropped off their rental car, to their campsite in Algoona, 17 miles away. They rode through downtown to see the capitol building, where my grandma spent much of her career.
Did you know that my grandmother, Elizabeth Orr Shaw, was the first woman in the Iowa State Legislature?! She was also a babe.

Anyway, I am envious of Betsy and Sandy's detour yesterday. Of all the times I've been to Iowa, I've never seen Des Moines (Days Mwehhns- nasal) and I'd really like to. The beauty of this capitol building, especially, spiked my curiosity so I went searching and found some cool stuff at Living Downtown Des Moines. Maybe my mom wasn't so crazy when she suggested I move to Iowa and make Ragbrai hire me. I mean still pretty crazy, but less so than I thought.

But enough about yesterday and Shaw family history. We're on to Day 5. I think I'd be sad that the ride was nearing it's end. But not too sad to pee in corn fields, drink beers while biking, and eat weird parts of cow and pig. Maybe I'd be experiencing some tail or head...

See you tomorrow! It's college Jersey day so get ready to show some school spirit!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ragbrai Day 4: Downhill in the Rain?

It's Wednesday and it's a pretty short day with very much downhill riding. Probably a relief in the middle of the week.

If you are anything like me, you'd probably be taking down your tent right now. Or you'd be sitting in the tent, still packing up, while the rest of your party waits on you. Maybe you partied hard last night and you're still snoozing. Or you got going early and you are stopped in Luther starting your day with a breakfast burrito and a pbr. 

It may rain today which gives you even more of an excuse to take advantage of the many stopover towns. More pie and beer please.

Betsy and Sandy will arrive in Altoona today by car, will camp out with the masses, and will begin their ride to Davenport tomorrow. Can't wait to hear (and share) their updates!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ragbrai Day 3

 Here is the route for today:

I'd expect to be somewhere around Lamesboro (sweet name!) right now, maybe eating some watermelon or a piece of Amish pie. Maybe I'd be checking my newly downloaded Ragbrai XXIX iPhone App.

Or maybe, if I'm anything like this guy from the Ragbrai Forum, I'd have smashed my iPhone in a pile of cow manure at that last farm, I'd be telling time with the sun, and maybe I'd be going commando or something.

"Š…crew the iPhone, there's more people with Droids now than will *EVER* buy an iPhone....and the disparity will only increase. Two more years and the only people with an iPhone will be either members of Steve Jobs' flock of sheeple, or those people who are still locked into their contract and couldn't upgrade away from them. And as for all this high-tech BS, remember — THIS IS A BIKE RIDE, FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!  If you want to go on something where everything is mapped out, planned out, scheduled out, and arranged for you, may I suggest taking a cruise?"

But I'm not like this guy, so I am intriqued by the App. Some people seem to be having trouble with it in the small ~2,000 person towns on Ragbrai which have trouble supporting all our cell phone calls but it is the launch year so I'll hold out hope. With any luck, it will be fine-tuned and non-battery-draining by July 22, 2012.

Happy Dreaming and more vicarious Ragbrai updates tomorrow!

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Ragbrai Time!

Exactly 365 days ago today, and 52 weeks ago yesterday, Betsy, Sandy, Joyce, Ben and I set out to begin our 442 mile journey across the state of Iowa. I can't believe it's been a whole year since Ragbrai 2010. I'm a little disappointed in myself for riding so many fewer miles these past 12 months than I did before, but I am proud to have kept loving Lucy, to have kept writing i love Lucy, and to have remained active and energetic in a number of capacities.

Though I am nostalgic about the ride, I'm not too sad to miss it this year. I feel that I have a lot to plan and look forward to in the summer of 2012 so that keeps me connected. I am also keeping up with Jack, Rich, and others and will be living vicariously through my parents, who leave Tuesday morning to drive 2/3 of the way across the country to partake in 4 days of the party on wheels and end in my mom's homeland, Davenport.

In living vicariously, I may even share a guest post from one of the Shaws about what's going on in the wonderul world of Ragbrai. I will also be posting the route info for each day so that those of us that are staring at computers all day, instead of the open road, can dream about what else is out there. I'm a day late so we'll start with Sunday and Monday.

 For those of you who are riding, have fun, and for those of you who aren't, please join next year!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

i love lucy gifts

You may remember this special cake that Josh made me for my twenty-third birthday last year:

It is the state of Iowa, with the route that I rode on Ragbrai last summer. It may come as a shock, but it has been a year since he made me that cake. I'm another year older and, though I'm not riding Ragbrai, I am still living the "i love lucy" lifestyle. And many of the generous presents and goodies I received for my birthday are proof of that fact.
Hadley's cake of my future book and bookmark (even though it'll be so good you'll never stop reading)

Sarah's beautiful balloon pic of me biking in heels.

Running shirt from Josh so I can bleed even more blue and orange.
Running water bottle from Josh.
Athlete's Cookbook (and farmer's market veggies) from Nikki

And new copper and stainless steel cookware from Josh to make my super athlete meals!
Similar cake to last year's... but Iowa has become THE USA! Made specially by Nikki and Joshua!

I am so grateful for great friends and family who make such a big deal about celebrating my birth, even though it seems a sillier and sillier phenomenon the older I get. Even though these material things are very exciting, delicious, and useful, it is the quality time with loved ones that i appreciate the most and I'm very lucky to have gotten lots of it over the past four days. I will let you know how it feels to run with a  water bottle, to bike in heels (maybe...), and how delicious and energizing the athlete's omelet burrito and chocolate fig and almond bites are.

I am working on my list of 25 things to do before 25 and will post it this week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Saturday Ride

Last Saturday, Betsy, Sandy, Josh and I went for a long, and very pleasant, bike ride. We met in Georgetown at 9:30 for coffee and my mom's favorite breakfast burritos. I hadn't seen my parents since before we left for Florida (since June, I guess), so it was great to catch up. We talked a lot about bike plans and laughed at some scandalous(ish) stories of my dad's. We eventually got on our bikes, rode across the key bridge, and headed for our destination. In a hurry to get to our favorite (read: only one we've ever been to) bar in Old Town and watch the third place Women's World Cup match between France and Sweden, we stopped very little. We got there just in time and watched intently, drank beers, and ate food.

At half time, my dad and I took a quick ride across the Wilson Bridge and back. That is always a cool experience and, this time, I imagined what it'd be like to run over the thing. Probably just as cool and, obviously, much more difficult. We raced to get back and still missed the first twenty minutes of the second half. But it was worth it, in spite of the scrape I got on my arm (which Hadley tells me resembles Harry Potter's lightning bolt) from trying to ride in the "shade" of the concrete guard rail and scraping up against it as my dad and I got lost in conversation. Josh, on his own field trip at half-time, took this picture of the Bridge. I'll pretend that it was planned, and that we are some tiny little dots in the picture...


France lost which was a bummer but it wasn't enough to dampen our spirits on this beautiful day. We went for some ice cream and froyo and then took our time getting out of town. We stopped to watch a guy play what Josh has coined "wine glass music". It was awesome and very impressive.

We then rode alongside this guy, slowly moving along on his Penny Farthing, and laughed with him about all the people, including me, gawking and taking his picture.

On the way home, we stopped for a while at Gravelly Point, where Josh got a bunch of cool pictures. Every time I bike through here, I say that I want to come back sometime with this as my destination. To play frisbee or soccer or to picnic here would be so fun. So that is a new goal of mine. In 2011, before it is too cold, I will make a trip out of riding to and hanging out at Gravelly Point. Participants welcome...

We stopped in Georgetown to say our goodbyes and then Josh and I made the mistake of deciding to ride through town instead of on the Rock Creek Trail. After a long and super fun ride we rode hill after hill after hill in Georgetown, Glover Park, and on Reno Road. But really, it only made us stronger and it justified my drinking four beers later that night in celebration.

Besides making me happy, tan, and sweaty, this ride made me really miss biking. I do plenty of riding around the city but it is all for commuting. And commuting is great but I want to start reeeally riding more. I want to do a century with my dad and I want to ride to Mount Vernon. I also want to feel confident that I can successfully ride a bike 3,000 some miles across this country.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BikeShare Email and Riding

You may remember an e-mail that I sent to Capital Bikeshare a few weeks ago asking what their policy is for riders who go over their allotted 30 minutes of free riding because they arrive at a station and all the docks are full. Before I left for Florida, I received a very nice response from a customer service representative informing me that if one goes over their allotted 30 minutes for no fault of their own, they will not be charged.

Then, I got another e-mail a few weeks later with my updated account information. I logged in for the first time since I activated my account and saw that I have only used a bikeshare bike fourteen times since my first ride on April 27. That is an average of 1.3 times per week and I know I can do better than that! Fourteen busrides would have cost me $21 and fourteen metro rides would have cost $31.10 (at the very least!) so I've almost already gotten my money's worth. But it's not about the money, it's about the riding! I hereby challenge myself to up my average to at least two trips via bikeshare a week. I will check back in a month or so with my progress.

So for all you commuters in this city, be comforted in knowing that customer service at Capital Bikeshare is quick in responding to your inquiries and that they will not charge you if you get stuck with nowhere to dock. I hope that you're sharing a bike more than 1.3 times a week and, if you're not sharing at all, I hope you'll consider joining. It is a really cool thing!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Kid at Heart Shoes

Last week, we went to the Nike outlet and I did this to my shoes.

They were ugly already so I thought, why not at least give them a little character? Kinda reminds me of junior year of high school when I wore strawberry shortcake and rainbow gay pride shoelaces in my chucks.

It's good to still be a kid at heart. Nike has these laces in all kinds of crazy colors and I highly recommend them if you're looking to spice up your life. Or simply to add character to your running shoes.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cross Country Planning: Who wants to go?

The possibility of riding across America is very real. We wouldn't depart for at least 11 months but it seems that planning must begin soon. The first thing to do is to confirm who is going and for how long. I, no doubt, will be riding the whole way. And I will not be riding alone so my ability to pursue this is wholly dependent on the interest of others. Here is the potential crew:

Joyce: My best friend from college, who currently resides in Boulder, CO, where she is working on her masters in Environmental Engineering. We decided we wanted to bike across America together and that we would do it in 2012. We're still on track to make that happen. She will graduate in late May but prefers to start later in the summer so that we won't be doing the whole thing during the hottest part of the year.

Sandy: My dad, the original bike commuter in our family. He has [imaginary] experience riding across America, Europe, and Africa. He is retired but will be the chair of the board at our church next year so the timing is not ideal for him.

Betsy: My mom, the slow and steady bicyclist of the family who was the first to ride Ragbrai and the one to get us all back into it in 2007. She will still have a job next summer so will need to see about working pat-time from the road for a few months. She is the most organized person I know and loves to plan these things. So having her along would be a logistical dream.

Nathan: My brother. He is not into long distance cycling. He rides a fixie around Baltimore and he is pretty good shape given all the cigarettes he smokes. His role would be to drive the sag wagon and carry all of our stuff. And maybe bike some. At this point, he is probably the least committed. He may start grad school in the Fall of 2012 so his availability would be something like June-August.

Ingrid: My other best friend who currently lives in DC. She has a lot going on right now, including working a full time job and going to school to become a nutritionist so she wouldn't be able to ride the whole time but wants to do one or more sections of it.

Joshua: My boyfriend. There is no way in hell he is going to take 3 months off work and ride his bike 3,000+ miles across the country. He wants to continue his career, needs to hold down the fort in DC, and simply doesn't like biking enough. The big draw for him is the scenery and the photographer's heaven we would be exploring. So he may be interested in flying out and joining us for a week or several on a bike or in the car.

And there is me, of course. I need to see about taking a leave of absence from work but it is way too early for that now. I have no idea if this is even a possibility. I need to save enough money to pay rent for three months. And to pay for all the expenses along the way.

Right now, that is all. And I don't think we want it to be too big. Nor do we want it to be too small. Everything is up in the air but it's exciting that way... the possibilities are endless.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Time to Run

Ah, what a beautiful thing a vacation is. I have managed to run 5 out of 6 days that we've been in Florida. I haven't run that much... probably ever. Yesterday, running 3 miles of circles around Josh's mom's gigantic apartment complex, switching between road, sidewalk, curb (which I hear is good for your butt), and grass, I hurt my left ankle. I think the curb running is probably to blame. It still hurts this morning so I may have to take today off.

These runs have not yielded much writing material. They have consisted mostly of running on sidewalks alongside walls surrounding neighborhoods. They are pretty monotonous, especially when compared to the aesthetically pleasing routes I'm used to running in DC. They are also extremely HOT. Monday, not expecting Josh's step-mom to make a big brunch, I timed my run poorly and did a sweltering 5.2 miles beginning at 11:45 am. It was not something I looked forward to doing again. So Tuesday, despite dressing in my running clothes at 10, I procrastinated until noon when I convinced Josh to bike alongside me as I ran. DUH! I don't know why this has never occurred to me before. Not that it's something I'd request often because I realize that it is pretty ridiculous. But on a vacation, with plenty of time to kill, in a place where I don't know my way around very well, seemed the perfect time for Josh to prove how much he loves me by riding a little BMX bike 5.6 miles at a measly 10'03" minute mile pace. I know, this is horribly slower than normal but I blame the heat and humidity and I'm ok with it. And, running at 5 pm yesterday, I ran an average 8'59" mile so all is not lost.

5.6 very slow miles on this little thing.
Running alongside walls like this. Trying to keep up with boy on bike.

Hopefully my ankle pain will subside quickly and I'll be back on my feet today or tomorrow. And, though I don't want the vacation to end, it will be nice to be back on a bike soon as well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swamp Running

On a sweltering Saturday in late August, 2007, Betsy Shaw and I set out on a road trip from Raleigh, North Charolina to Gainesville, FL. We were driving my new car down so I could be there to move into my new apartment and start my junior year of college in the fall. I had been away from my beloved Joshua for two and a half months and I was so so anxious to see him.

This past Saturday, doing the exact same drive, I had a similar anxiousness but it wasn't for any particular person- I had Josh sitting next to me the whole way. I was anxious to see my town- to get back to this place that I called home for so long, that I'd been away from for an astounding nineteen months. I knew I'd feel pangs of nostalgia and I was certainly right about that. I actually teared up on the drive as Josh and I talked about our friends and our first memories of moving to Gainesville. We spent pretty much the whole night smiling, eating our favorite Gainesville food, and reminiscing about just about everything. It was wonderful.

But don't be fooled, I couldn't return to this place without doing some exercise, especially after the nine hours I'd spent in a car. So, not at all spontaneously, Josh and I went straight to the swamp (football stadium... ahem, the best, most wild of football stadiums) with camera and running shoes in tow. I have never written about "stadiums" on this blog and that is a shame. Because, for four years of my life, they really were my favorite form of exercise. I'm sure you get it but to run the stadium simply means running around the stadium by going up the stairs in one section, over to the next, down those stairs, over to the next, and so on. They are quite challenging and provide a great workout. But there really is nothing better, especially after so long away, because there is some sort of energy you get from just being in that place, from feeling that sense of camraderie, love, excitement, and craze that every true gator must feel in the swamp. Even when it's empty, when there is no football team to cheer for on the field, you just feel at home there. And sometimes, if your names are Carrie and Nicole circa 2009, you may get to have a private viewing of Tim Tebow and John Brantly practicing on the empty field. You may forego running stadiums to sit there forever and gawk at those heros of yours.

On Saturday I didn't see any football stars. But I felt that familiar energy. I also felt extremely nostalgic and happy and sad at the same time. Josh and I contemplated what we looked like to these people. Did we look like college students? Freshman there for preview? Or did we look like alumnae? Parents? Strangers? I felt truly old when we saw students (hopefully Freshmen) and observed how young they seemed. But young or old, student or alum, I will always be able to do that run. I did two laps around and it was rough. I then did two "gator mountains", running from the bottome to the top, 90 rows above the field, all at once. I thought I'd be in such great shape from all my long runs in DC but this was a whole different ballgame. I am gladly very sore so I have something to remember it by. Josh opted out of the running and took lots of photos of the stadium and of me in it. Here are some of the good ones.

There she is.

Tiny little Carrie running around.

This is where the magic happens.

Mountain #1

Almost done...

Can these legs get me up another time?



And see ya. I'm never coming back down.

I should also note that this kind of running is not at all conducive to running applications like mine,
Nike Run Pro. I was curious to see how many miles it is to run stadiums but, only four minutes in, I discovered this was a bad idea. 

It had me running only .25 miles in over four minutes at 17 minutes and 14 seconds a mile. This was going to seriously bring down my average speed so I stopped. And here is how it mapped my run:

So I stopped the app. I didn't need it anyway. I would kick it old school and have the time of my life! Go gators!

*Photos courtesy of Josh Bassett