Sunday, May 31, 2009

Times Flies When You're Having Fun

Wow, last week flew by. I was pretty busy and didn't take the time to sit down and update, so I'll kind of recap any points of interest I can think of that occurred over the last few days.

First of all, for all of you who have been telling me I should read it, I finally broke down, jumped on the bandwagon, and read Stephanie Meyer's uber-popular Twilight. Even though I have been resisting reading it, because it's not my kind of book, I decided it was a pool/lakeside/beach worthy read. I checked the 500-pager out of the library around 12:00 noon on Friday and had finished the entire book by 1:00 pm on Saturday. I didn't think it was fantastic, but it was a good, easy read, and now some things that didn't make sense when I saw the movie recently make a little more sense. Since I already bothered with the first 500 pages of vampire fun, I'm sure I will read the other three books in the series as well. I DO have a lot of pool/lakeside/beach laying around to attend to, so I have a good excuse to indulge in some light-hearted chick lit, my favorite. Next up for pool time today: Nicholas Sparks' Nights in Rodanthe.

Last Wednesday, Gearry and I hosted my head coach Steve and two assistant coaches, Conny and Josh, for a little dinner party on our back porch. Gearry played chef, of course. The food was amazing! The salad was made with baby spinach, strawberries, feta, candied almonds, and poppyseed dressing. For the meat eaters, he made a grilled red snapper. For the vegetarians (Steve and me), he made grilled portabello mushrooms. For everyone, he made goat cheese and fresh herb risotto and grilled asparagus. Gearry picked out a wine that accompanied everything nicely and we also had plenty of cold brew on hand. The evening was great, and as you can see by the picture, the table settings and fresh flowers looked fantastic on the back porch. So much fun to just sit and relax with these people who I worked so hard with all year long.

The Hoosierman Triathlon is getting closer and closer and closer! This Saturday, June 6, at Fairfax Beach. Today, I met up with about 15 triathletes for an organized group ride on the course. It was a social ride at a relatively comfortable pace, so it was fun to ride alongside people who enjoy doing all the same things you do and get to know them. Everyone was so friendly and interesting! Even some of the more seasoned triathletes thought the bike course, with all of its monster hills, was pretty intense, so that made me feel a little bit better about thinking the same thing! After the ride, a few of us decided we wanted to go run the 5K course. Well, it's a good thing we were all together because no one could figure out the trail course! A lot of the orange markers the race organizers put up a couple weeks ago have been taken down or moved, so it was pretty darn confusing. It took us 17 minutes to do the first mile of the trail run... that should say something! I also have a nice cut on my leg from some sticker bushes. The first mile of the run is crazy... Lots of steep, steep trail and you have to jump over creeks, over logs. Dang. But then the last two miles of the run are on the road, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don't get lost in the woods. They said they are going to remark the trails on Friday night, but I can see someone getting lost. Hopefully it is not me!

Also, perhaps since I last updated or perhaps I just forgot to mention it, Stebby and I decided we had far too little Colleen in our lives these days and so we're heading to Washington, D.C./Annapolis, for a girls' weekend, June 12th-15th. I fly out of Indy Friday afternoon, and Stebby flies out of Columbus around the same time, and we should land about the same time in Baltimore Friday afternoon, where Colleen will pick us up to begin a weekend of fun and mayhem! Can't wait to get crazy with my girls again. Saturday is our D.C. tourist day, which should be fun, and then we'll just see where the wind blows us for Sunday. So, this weekend, triathlon. Next weekend, D.C. Next weekend, Mexico. And then it will almost be July! CRAZY!

Alright, the pool is calling my name for a couple hours of sunning and reading before I drag myself back in front of my laptop to work on my (overdue) assignment for P540. This class seriously blows and is trying to put a damper on my summer, but I'm not going to let it!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Green Drinks and Slow Swims

Yesterday, Mom, Dad, Josh, and I made our way south to French Lick to attend my cousin Kyle's high school graduation. He was class valedictorian and will be attending Rose Hulman on, I believe, full scholarship. Yes, our family is one of overachievers ;) It was great to get to see a bunch of my family and show my support.

Mom, Dad, and I (Josh drove separately because he had to get home and get to bed early in preparation for waking at 4:00 this morning to go to the Indy 500) also made a quick stop while we were in French Lick to see Gearry at his restaurant. Business was booming -- they served about 240 that evening -- but he was excited that we came by and took a few minutes to say "hi." I had not been to the restaurant since he was promoted to head chef, so it was kind of neat to be there and look around and see all the people waiting for tables and think about how much responsibility he has. He is doing a fantastic job and seems to be really enjoying himself, so I couldn't be happier. If we could magically cut down his 50 minute commute time (without leaving Bloomington, of course), I think it would be absolutely perfect.

While at Kyle's open house, I got a chance to talk to my cousin Chris, who does tons of triathlons, including a couple full Ironmans. He is pretty much AWESOME. He asked if I was going to be doing the Hoosierman, since he knew I lived so close to the course, and that got me to really thinking about how close the race is! Two weeks from yesterday. That made me a little excited, but a lot nervous. I've done the Tri Indy duathlon, so I have my first race experience under my belt, but since it was only biking and running and did not include the swimming portion, the swim is throwing all kinds of nerves into the ring for this race. I'm slightly terrified. It's not that I can't swim; I've been swimming in the lake since I was a baby and I was a lifeguard, so swimming is not the issue. It's swimming WELL. Or FAST. My technique is somewhat awful, mostly brought about by the fact that I have 1) Never had formal swim training and 2) Panic when it comes to side-breathing and so therefore swim most of the way with my head stuck way up out of the water, a.k.a. lifeguard swimming.

So, I'm confident in the bike, slow but semi-confident in the run, and hesitant in the swim. My goal is just to not finish last... But the idea that I COULD finish last really scares me. I think it would be somewhat of a victory just to finish so that I can say I finished my first real triathlon (kind of how I felt when I finished the duathlon), but coming in last is not an option. The problem is if I'm slow enough on the swim that I come out of the water last, I will be playing catch up the entire bike and run, and that's no fun. I've gotta figure out how to get better at the swim over the next 13 days. On Wednesday morning Gearry is going to kayak alongside me (for safety) while I swim the Eagle Pointe lakeshore, and I hope to make some strides there.

OK, enough rambling thinking. (You see how mind works... It's an interesting place inside my head.) This morning I had a great bike ride on the course (cut 2:10 off Thursday's time) and a short but spirited little 20 minute run immediately following. Getting off the bike and right into the run is difficult, as your legs feel like they weigh about 180 pounds each, so I've been practicing that transition. My post-workout fuel of choice lately has been a smoothie I read about in Vegetarian Times and started making last week. Super yucky looking (it's GREEN) but very tasty and very chocked full of all the important post-activity stuff (protein, iron, carbs). If anyone is interested, you just boil about 5 oz. of fresh spinach until wilted, then throw it in an ice bath. Wring the water out of the spinach and toss into a blender with 3/4 cup apple juice. Blend. Then add 1/2 cup plain (preferably organic) yogurt and a dash or two of salt and blend again. This makes enough for about two smoothies, but if you save the extra until the next day, be sure to blend it again and maybe add another dash of apple juice before drinking.

After my ride & run this morning (and, of course, a smoothie and a shower) Gearry and I enjoyed the fruits of our shopping labor yesterday with our absolute favorite meal, which I am pretty sure I have blogged about a few times on here. Our "farmer's market" lunch included multi-grain baguette, fresh strawberries, sliced tomatoes, herbed goat cheese, honey, and Runcible Spoon Sumatra roast. AMAZING. If I could eat this every single meal for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly satisfied. Feel free to salivate., but please do not lick your computer screen.

Alright, I'm off to perhaps take a nap, perhaps work on my P540 reading, perhaps sit and stare at Indy cars going around and around in a circle for a bit. Then cookout this evening with my friends Catherine and Emily, and Emily's visiting friends from Michigan. Have a great one, people!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

These are a Few of my Favorite Things... About Summer!

I LOVE SUMMER. There are many, many reasons why, but below are just a few, along with pictures from yesterday and today to illustrate the fabulousness of this fine season. (Yes, I know it is technically still spring.)

Reason #1 - Naps!

Who doesn't love a good nap? Obviously, Zoey enjoys them (I just took this picture of Miss Zoey catching a few winks on the guest room bed a few minutes ago) and I do too. There is nothing like a carefree snooze after a long day working or playing out in the sun. The world would be a better place if everyone could make time for a little mid-afternoon shut-eye. I keep threatening to move to a country where they have afternoon siesta. They know what's going on.

Reason #2 - Summer Food and Bloomington Farmer's Market!

This morning, Gearry and I hauled ourselves out of bed to trek into town for the farmer's market, one of our favorite things to do on Saturday mornings in the warm weather months (well, other than sleep). The Bloomington farmer's market is fantastic. Our favorite buys are the local maple syrup, honey, and Capriole goat cheese. Above is a picture of this morning's bounty, from the market and the grocery and our favorite coffee roaster, Runcible Spoon. Summer eating is all about fresh veggies, fruits, and grains. This is pretty much the base of our summer menu here at the Young Caudell residence... If only everything could be so fresh year-round!

Reason #3 - Fun in the Sun in My "Backyard"

Took this picture yesterday while reading my first "for fun" book since August (grad school requires enough mandated reading as it is) during a break from working on my summer class. I think this picture kind of speaks for itself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Free at Last... Sort of...

The hellish spring semester is finally behind me. I'm sad to leave rowing, but happy to be able to sleep and to do some of the other things I love. I'm sad to not see all my friends in the master's program quite as regularly, but again happy to be able to sleep and to do some of the other things I love. I've had a few people ask me what I am doing this summer: In brief, taking P540 Learning and Cognition in Education; transcribing research files for two sociology doctoral students; traveling to Washington, D.C. to spend some time with Colleen and Stebby; traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with Gearry for 8 days of fun in the sun; studying for and taking the Praxis II exam to get my teaching license; training for and competing in a couple of triathlons (1 in June, 1 in July, and 2 in August); and hopefully finding some time to hang out with my parents and Josh, play some tennis, and spends lots of time on and/or by the lake soaking up the rays. And, of course, I'm sure I'll end up out at the boathouse some too since Indiana Rowing is hosting a U.S. National Team Development Camp for the summer. And, also of course, I have to start preparing for student teaching at Lakeview Elementary, which begins the first week of August.

To kick off my newfound semi-freedom, I joined Mom and Dad for a day and night on their camping trip to Boggs Lake on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mom, quite the budding photographer, took some great pictures of the baby dogs and of the beautiful sunset over our campsite.