My First Century
June 23, 2014

Century: a. A period of 100 years, b. A company in the ancient Roman army, usually of 100 men, c. A bike ride of 100 miles, usually ridden by crazy cyclists.

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I finally crossed that threshold in my training and as a cyclist. I biked a century.  And not just any century, or just any 100mi training ride, but The Harpeth River Ride Century.  A very large organized ride with a major sponsor that takes cyclists through some of the biggest, toughest, non-stop hills around middle Tennessee.  I was completely terrified of it.  The most I’d biked to that point was 77mi, and that was a few weeks before.  Would my legs hold up?  Would my mind hold up?  And more importantly, would my “saddle” hold up?  But, you know what, it really wasn’t that bad.  Since it was such a large, well-supported race, it was broken up into several rest stops that were fully stocked.

before

Since this is such a massive bike ride, with thousands of cyclists, I was really nervous about the mass rollout that morning.  Turns out several friends and teammates weren’t keen on it either, so several of us decided to meet very early and get a head start on the crowd.  The plan was to roll out at 6am, a full hour ahead of the masses.  It was great, we had the road to ourselves, we hit the rest stops early so the food was plenty and the porta potties were fresh and clean.  We hit the rest stop at around mile 34, just before climbing the infamous Pulltight hill, a KOM for those in the know.  I love me some hills (small, light cyclists usually do), but I was a little nervous after hearing everyone talk about how bad it is.  The climb is no joke, but it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.  Just drop your gear and spin, you’ll get there.  Crest the top, then fly down to the other side, my least favorite part of cycling.

Turns out when you leave early, that means you also pick up everything in the road first too.  As I started descending behind my teammate, I distinctly started to hear a click…..click…..click…click..click..clickclickclickclickclickclick… Someone threw out tacks on the road.  I picked up a tack and when I got to the bottom, had to change my tire.  Another teammate picked up one earlier in the hill and changed his at the top.  While we were working on my tire, my stem broke on the new tube!  ARGH!  Toss that and start over….bent the stem on the second one but we were still able to get it pumped up, but not screwed back down.  Now I’m down to one tube left, not a big deal unless you’re like me and ride with 650cc tubes (smaller than the standard). One more flat and I’m done for the day, the sag crew probably doesn’t have one for me to use if I flat after that.  We saw so many people with tacks and flats for the next 10-20 miles.  That’s so dangerous.  If someone had blown a tire flying down that hill, it could have caused a serious wreck.  Looks like I reached a top speed of 41mph flying down that hill (and that was with my brakes gently applied).  I’m really surprised I didn’t wet my pants going that fast.

At the next rest stop, I had support check my wheel.  He gave me some more air and said I’d probably be ok, but may lose some air slowly.  The rest of the ride I was so nervous with every bump, rock, and pothole in the road.  Fortunately, our patch job held.

I really began to struggle over miles 45-65.  I think losing time to fixing all the flats and getting our group back together, getting caught up with the crowds again, the sun had finally started really coming out and getting hot, and maybe I was getting low on calories while I paid more attention to my tire instead of my nutrition.  I was in a bad place, my group had long left me, and I was trying to ride my own ride, but I was struggling and getting passed.  Then one of the worst hills in my opinion was at mile 60, super steep and at the turn from a stop sign.  When I got to the next rest stop, my group said I didn’t look ok.  But I got some ice in my water bottles, some gatorade from a cooler, more sunscreen and a couple peanut butter jelly sandwiches.  A few minutes in the shade and I think I was doing better.

kec

After that, it was pretty uneventful, just meandering through rural middle Tennessee.  Once I hit about 80 miles, I was feeling much better, good even.  I got stopped by a train just before the rest stop at mile 82.  That’s the second time I’ve been stopped by a train this year, I really hope this isn’t a trend.  When I got to the stop, we found another teammate and were able to get our picture together.  I was also offered ice for my water bottles.  Filled up 2 bottles, then took another cupful and poured it into my sports bra.  The cheers from the onlookers were hilarious….it’s like they’ve never seen a triathlete in the heat.  It felt so good.  At this point we were only about 18mi from the finish.  I was so glad I brought some extra “chamois butter” to apply at this point.  While I was probably ok, if nothing else it helps you mentally to know that you’ve added an extra layer of protection.  A couple of us reapplied our lube of choice and we were back on the road.

glide

At this point I was mostly familiar with the rest of the route.  It was nice to know I was really close to being done.  My group stopped at the last rest stop, which was less than 10mi from the finish. I met them there, but said I’m feeling good, let’s go, let’s get this over with!  A few more hills and were were back at the finish.  And just in time.  Within 15-20min of finishing, a severe thunderstorm rolled in.  Fortunately I was able to get back to my car and bike loaded inside before the rain hit.

Yes, these legs pedaled those wheels for 100 miles.  ONE HUNDRED MILES.

Yes, these legs pedaled those wheels for 100 miles. ONE. HUNDRED. MILES.

So, for my first century, this was a good one.  It was hot and hilly and really pushed my limits physically and mentally.  It was really well supported and the route was clearly marked with stickers on the road that were obvious and didn’t deface property.  I would definitely do this race again.  Just maybe not tomorrow, my legs have earned a little rest.

watch

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Signs of the weekend
January 27, 2013

While making my way around the town this weekend, I came across some fantastic signs.

Have you ever wished for an extra hour in the day?  Well apparently someone here found it.  Who knew it was at a coin laundry?  What a pleasant discovery just next door to a new-to-me Ethiopian restaurant?

25hrs

Next, while meandering downtown, I found out that the Convention Center was hosting the National Pavement Expo.  Ok, which one of you was keeping this secret from me?  You’re fired.  I mean, think of all the different kinds of nationally recognized pavement (gasp, even asphalt!) I could have seen on display?!  Just so you know, if the International Pea Gravel Convention is going to be anywhere within a 500 mile radius, you better give me a heads up!

pavement

And someone thought this town was boring!

Then on Sunday I made my first ever winter weather bike ride.  I just could not bear the thought of attempting to ride the equivalent of 25 miles on my trainer, so I bundled up and headed South to a rural part of the next county over.

At the mid-way point of my ride.

At the mid-way point of my ride.

In two different places I had to go through a single lane underpass under the railroad tracks.  While that sounds treacherous alone, it’s also on an S-curve with no mirrors.  I only had one close call in the 4 times I went through these.

At your own risk.

At your own risk.

And finally, while riding through an area that us Southerners like to call Cun-Tree (that’s “country” for the rest of you), I came across some very suspicious cows.  The first time I rode by, I noticed they all stopped and watched me carefully.  So, on my way back, I stopped to see them.  They were exceptionally apprehensive this time around.  I snapped a couple pictures anyway.

WTF, don't come any closer!

WTF, don’t come any closer!

Dammit.

Dammit.

How was your weekend? 

My Search Continues…
September 2, 2011

…The Ongoing Saga of the Dinos.

If I were to write a book of the past couple years, I think I’d make that the title.  But for now, I’ll just chronicle my findings here.  So, without further ado, I have new Dinos to share with you!

The first one is on the side of a local paper stand just outside one of my favorite local coffee shops.  Turn your head to the side, and there he is, in the freestyle hand drawn flavor.

The second is in a funky little neighborhood situated between the hood, the fancy pants neighborhood, the colleges, and the music industry.  On a little pole just next to the sidewalk sits one of the elusive Dino stickers.  (What I wouldn’t do to get my hands one of those myself!)  Thanks to a friend for telling me about this one.

 

I think I have another one stored on an old phone.  If I can figure out how to get that one off of the phone, I’ll post it soon too.  Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Rawr, they’re back!
March 15, 2011

Bet you thought I forgot about them.  Or maybe I stopped looking.  Or *gasp* even worse…extinction?!  Nope, none of those.  It’s just become even harder to search for Dinos.  First, I moved away from the neighborhood where they’re most commonly found, although I do still work nearby and run around the neighborhood at lunchtime.  But the Dinos’ creator has also moved and is not in town as often to leave me more goodies to find. (Yes, I like to pretend do think they’re just for me.)  So they’re harder to come by.

But recently, I came skipping out of the bathroom at my favorite local dive bar, rushing to get my phone to take a picture.

Yes, let me recap.

1. That is a Dino! (yay)
2. It is in a local dive bar (the dive bar to end all dive bars if you ask me).
3. It is in the WOMEN’s restroom!
4. Dino is giving a shout-out to the ladies!

Le sigh!  My love for Dinos has been restored all over again!

Say what?
October 29, 2010

Once again, the vanity plates fairy strikes again.  This time, it is a mixture of religion and poor spelling.  And we all know my pet peeve with poor spelling and poor grammar.  Therefore, this month’s “Say what?” goes to:

1. I understand when you’re typing an email really quickly and you make a mistake in a word.  But something that will stay on your car for several years, that you pay additional fees for, I would think you would really proofread that shit several times.

Photo courtesy of Beloved.

2. And this one. I mean really, did you just give the vanity plate application to a lolcat and say…just make sure it professes my faith.

Photo courtesy of my lovely friend Miss Dallas.

I know, I know, I live in the South.  We are truly at the buckle of the Bible Belt.  But, c’mon people let’s be a little more respectful of your faith and fellow drivers.  If you really need to say it and there aren’t enough letters…Buy a Bumper Sticker!

Take a walk on the West side
August 25, 2010

I used to live in West Nashville and only recently moved.  It has its own brand of weird, but it doesn’t flaunt its weirdness like the “other” side of town does.  I lived there for most of my life and still adore it.  After running a couple errands at lunch today, I was reminded three times today within about 10  minutes why I love the weirdness of West Nashville.

1. Hairstyles
Sitting at a traffic light, I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough to catch this beautiful updo.  Not only did this fine lady get her “hair did” in bright Oscar The Grouch green on the top, but she also included a lovely Cookie Monster shade of blue on the bottom.  You go girl!!

Click on the picture to zoom in on the woman walking just above the mirror.

2. Sketchy store
When I was little, this little market was pretty much where we went for everything.  Just a little neighborhood store.  Well, it changed ownership a few years ago and it is suspect at best now.  I stepped inside once only to find that there wasn’t really anything for sale, or at least nothing that I wanted or could legally buy.  The sign has been falling apart for years.  But apparently now they sell oral, but I don’t think I want to know what “Newpop” is.  Probably something equally as sketchy.

3. Crossing the street
In West Nashville, you cross the street whenever you like and wherever you like.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch this one on camera because A. I was trying not to hit him, and B. I was still in awe of the aforementioned hair-do.  This guy was crossing in the middle of a 5 lane busy road just a couple hundred feet shy of the actual crosswalk and intersection, walking with his push-mower.  No, there is no grass around, and he was walking from the side of the street with a drug store and an insurance company to the other side with 2 tire shops for cars.  Don’t mind me, I’m just taking my lawnmower for a stroll!

Say what?
August 6, 2010

I play this little game when I commute (or go on long car trips – anything to entertain myself, I hate being in a car longer than an hour).  It’s called the Figure-Out-What-The-Hell-That-Vanity-Plate-Means game.  Seriously people, you only get 7 spaces, if it’s not immediately obvious or you have to abbreviate out more than half of the letters, just stop!

1. There is a vehicle that parks in our office garage.  I use the term vehicle loosely.  It is one of the very few modes of transportation that I file under “utterly ridiculous.”  It is a Cadillac Escalade pickup truck.  (Really, what is the purpose of those things?   So rap stars can go to Home Depot and fit in with the common folk?)  Not only is this overpriced, oversized truck always in our lot, it’s in the visitor spaces, taking up at least 2 spaces several times a week, and the guy who drives it will nearly drive over you pulling in and out of the garage without even a second glance!  But what is even more ridiculous is the license place:

HIM8NCE

Yes, I can tell from your choice of mode of transportation that you’re “high maintenance.”  You’re probably also overcompensating for something else.

2. Then, the other day I was driving to the office, in my usual morning commute, when I came up on a Lexus SUV (*eye roll*) from Williamson County (a very affluent area; in fact the real housewives of Williamson County could put NYC to shame!).  Didn’t take me long to decipher the plates:

MACDADD

Well if this guy really is a Mack Daddy, I need to see if it’s either Kris or Kross who is driving this car!  I lay on the gas and pull up beside the driver side only to see a typical soccer-dad holding his overpriced-coffee-chain cup.  Really guy?  You’re the Mack Daddy?

Blogiversary, Helpful Hints, Giveaway
June 14, 2010

That’s right kids, it’s been 2 years since Sally opened her own virtual world!  In the past year, Sally has: posted more recipes, hunted more dinos, trained for 2 very different half marathons, got a personal record running a half marathon, hula hooped 13.1 miles in a storm, bought her own home, traveled to Canada again, hula hooped with fire, got snowed in, was flooded, became a new aunt (Tante), and shared many of her Helpful Hints.

And what better way to celebrate a blogiversary than with a Helpful Hints Giveaway!  But first, here are a couple more helpful hints to keep you going!

Sore feet
Been wearing heels too long?  Or feet are just worn out from a long run?  Use a TENNIS BALL or GOLF BALL to massage those sore feet.  This can be done at your desk or while watching TV.  Just slip off those shoes, and roll your foot back and forth on a tennis ball to massage your feet.

Scratches on Wood
I hate when I accidentally ding up a coffee table or picture frame moving it around.  How do you cover that ding?  Just just a MARKER that is a similar color to the wood finish.  You could buy the fancy expensive furniture markers, or you can just save your money and buy the same thing with a different name.  I keep a black and a brown marker on hand at all times!

No Socks
In the summer, you can’t just wear socks or hose with all kinds of shoes.  Besides the weird way it looks, it is also very warm.  But how do you get your shoes to feel comfortable and to reduce the sweatiness factor?   Just sprinkle some BABY POWDER or other foot powder in your shoe and voila, instant dry fit!

Back Tension
I hate when I have a knot in my back.  It seems impossible to work it out on my own.  But I just place a TENNIS BALL between my chair or the wall and my back and roll back and forth on it, or just sit back against the ball on the knot in my back.  It really helps relieve the knot and massage your back.

Gardening
While gardening, many plants need to be staked against a trellis or other stick, but some plants are too delicate for metal or plastic ties.  Just take some old PANTYHOSE, cut off small rings from the legs and snip one end. You instantly have a gentle, stretchy tie that will expand with the plant and can be easily removed, without damaging the plant.  Next time don’t throw away that pair with the run, just put it in with your gardening tools!

Wet Shoes
In the past year, I have learned a lot about running and walking in the rain!  So, I’ve had to deal with my fair share of soaking wet water-logged sneakers.  The fastest way to dry out the sneakers (without causing any warping, etc.) is to stuff them with NEWSPAPER.  For some reason, the paper used for newspapers is very absorbent and dries quickly.  Just remember to change them out periodically until your shoes are dry.  The paper wicks away the moisture and helps prevent any mildew or mold, and means you’ll be back out running or walking quicker!

Fluffing Laundry
Do you want your towels fluffy like when you first bought them?  Throw a TENNIS BALL in the dryer with your towels (just don’t use dryer sheets – they zap the absorbency of towels and should never be used with any towels).  The ball will bounce around with your towels, make a little noise, and help fluff and separate your towels while they dry!

BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY
Ok, now to the Giveaway.  I know, I know, that’s the only reason you’re here.  That’s ok, I love giveaways too, just be sure to tell your friends!  This Blogiversary Giveaway is Helpful Hints related!  Each item in the package is something I have mentioned as a tool in Sally’s Helpful Hints!  I have not included every item I have suggested because some are not very conducive to shipping (e.g., honey).

This package includes:  Tennis balls , eye drops, Friction Aid stick, cinnamon, black and brown sharpie markers, meat tenderizer, Tide To-Go stick, baby powder, pantyhose, dryer sheets, and tea tree oil stick.  And I may throw in some other bonus goodies for good measure upon shipping.

What do you need to do?  Just leave a comment (one comment only per person please) either about your favorite Helpful Hint from Sally, or share one of your own helpful hints with Sally and her readers!  The giveaway will end Friday, June 18 at 12:01AM CST.  At that point I will assign the valid entries a number and take a random drawing.

*(NOTE:  Sally does not specifically endorse any product featured on Sally’s Helpful Hints on Sallaboutme, nor has she received any special endorsements or sponsorship by any particular brand or company.  She’s just that nice to go out and buy them herself just for the readers.  Often the products purchased for the giveaway are generic brands with no particular preference to a particular company.  All uses of or participation in any of Sally’s Helpful Hints are at your own risk.  It’s the internet folks, you are always at your own risk.  Giveaway currently only available for shipping within the lower 48 States.  Rules subject to revision at any time by Sally.)

AND THE WINNER IS…..

Nate Baker! Congrats Nate!  I’ll email you very soon and get your package to you!  Thank you to everyone for playing along!  There are some really great hints below, check them out!  And look for them to appear in future Sally’s Helpful Hints posts!

(Note: Many apologies to Gareth, one of my most faithful readers.  He lives on the other side of the pond, so he was disqualified from the Giveaway.  But you should go check out his blog and send him a little love from this side of the pond…especially after the world cup game the other day…)

Nashville Flood Lite
May 5, 2010

Things are still moving along with the flood.  Many of the flood waters have started receding, but that does not mean they have completely receded, it’s just not as bad as 2 days ago.  There is still a water restriction, water is still safe, but our reserves are depleting quickly.  And yes, it’s been very heartbreaking.  I am on the verge of sobbing with every photo and video of flooding in my hometown.

So, I thought I’d bring a little sunshine to those affected.  While this is still a very real and serious situation, we could all use a little laugh.  And honestly that’s something that my hometown is good at, irony, sarcasm, and laughter.  First, please read this essay by one of our biggest fans of our hometown hockey team, it is truly inspiring.

Here’s how we feel, this little guy really gets the point across.  (photo)

We’re finally getting some national media coverage…even if it’s just the fake news.  Many thanks to Jon Stewart! (video)

The mall that is flooded has an “Aquarium” restaurant.  The tanks broke and most of the salt-water fish died, but apparently the piranhas (yes, I said piranhas) are doing just fine and are swimming around the mall! (video)

During the flooding coverage last weekend, one of the local weathermen was sketching the storm’s path on the screen, and um…well, came up with a certain unintentionally funny anatomically correct joke.  Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel for taking it to another level.  (video)

And of course, I have to include a picture of the Giant Carp caught  in someone’s yard, not far from my house!  Here’s a  humorous take on Giant Carp Guy. The photo is for real, the comments however…

And please continue to visit Nashvillest for all information on Nashville Flood and how you can help save our city.

Ready to Hoop the Distance
April 20, 2010

I’ve explained that I’m going to be hula hooping a half marathon before, and the time has come!  We have been training for almost 4 months and we’re ready.  This Saturday, 70+ women will be hoop-walking 13.1 miles with hot pink hula hoops!  We will actually pass the sign above twice.

While this is part of an actual marathon/half-marathon, our goal is to raise money to help give the gift of fitness and enjoyment of life to breast cancer survivors and raise awareness of breast cancer detection and recovery!  You can help support us here, or even better you can sponsor me specifically here. (*psst, I know it says a different name, but I promise you’ll be helping me and more specifically the breast cancer survivors)  And if you live in town, come down to the race course and cheer us on!!  We love it and will hoop just for you!