Thursday, July 21, 2011

MTME: Macklemore and Bon Iver

I've been hearing the name "Macklemore, with Ryan Lewis" regularly this past year, but have not made a point of listening to him (them; Lewis is a producer and collaborator). Yesterday, Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore) was on KEXP discussing the premier of his most recent (and epic) music video for the song "Wings". The song's amazing, the video is just as good. This guy has Seattle in his veins, and regularly references "the Town". He's making quite a name for himself on the national stage, too, having been invited to play at Rock the Bells in New York (from which he will directly leave to come back to Seattle to play a gig at Bumbershoot). He is probably best known around here as the guy who sings "My Oh My", a song which he wrote in dedication to Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus. What's more Seattle than Dave's famous catchphrases "My Oh My!" and "It is grand salami time!"...brings a smile to my face just thinking about it, and tears to my eyes watching Haggerty's beautiful tribute. He sang it on opening day this year, to pay homage to the recently deceased Niehaus. He's playing Bumbershoot, and I'll be damned if I won't be right there during that set.

Both songs have really excellent videos.


My Oh My:

Bon Iver: new album, self titled

I first got turned on to Bon Iver on the Twilight series' New Moon movie soundtrack. Say what you will about that whole phenomenon, but they have an AWESOME group of people pulling together those soundtracks. Bon Iver and St. Vincent teamed to produce the song "Roslyn", which is airy and soary and makes me feel like I could be out in the mountains just by closing my eyes. I don't think anyone else sounds like Justin Vernon, the voice behind the band (and major creative contributor, although he does have other contributors). He has this incredible, soothing falsetto. I especially like "Michicant" and "Holocene" off this record. Pitchfork gave them a 9.5 out of 10 and a "Best New Music" nod. This album is good for quite Sunday mornings, for solo walks around a quiet park, and for getting work done at work! You can't really understand what he's saying most the time, so it won't distract you from the task at hand.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Post-Triathlon: WOOHOO!

Me, about 30 minutes pre-race.

I woke up at 4:50 AM, threw my brand-new race jersey on, and my bike shorts, then the warmer clothes I planned on wearing post-race. Shoes- check. Bike gear- check. Fuel during and post-race- check. Loaded my bike up, and was on the road as daylight was kicking into gear at 5:20 AM, thinking to myself "My god, I haven't been up this early in...uhm..."

Made the drive down to Federal Way. Did you know no one is on the roads before 6am on Sunday morning? Parked in the transit lot and rode my bike to the race site at Steel Lake. Met up with the Hett ladies, racked our bikes on the same rack. Set up my transition zone (towel to dry my feet off in front of my bike, fuel/sunglasses/socks ready to go in my shoes, helmet and bandana positioned on the bike. Struggled to get the wetsuit on (those things are tight!). Chatted excitedly with the Hetts. With 20 minutes till race time, made it down to the lake to get the suit wet and "make peace with the lake", as I've heard it called. One pre-recorded National Anthem later, we were walking out to the end of a very long dock with a group of oh...30 other ladies? We all jumped into the water, and about 30 seconds later "3! 2! 1! GO!" And we're off...

I couldn't get my face to stay in the water, it was a self-preservationist thing. I'd get a bit panicked, and then I'd feel the wetsuit squeezing me, and I'd flip to my back. I did a majority of the race on my back, or a modified front crawl (with my face out of the water the whole time). Did that in 27 minutes, which I thought for sure would take me 40 or more. Yay!

Next was the bike leg, which I was most excited for. I love riding my bicycle, especially since buying this Kona hybrid off my coworker last summer (my other bike is a Novara mountain bike; it's heavy...I call it The Beast). The route was down a long hill, then two laps around the Weyerhauser headquarters (which is really quite lovely; the building is all concrete and glass, with great swaths of green vegetation growing all over it, set beyond a decent sized lake...and there's a big garden, too, but couldn't see it from the route), then back up that big long hill, and one very steep hill, then into the transition area. I held my own in the bike leg! Somewhere around 53 minutes, if I recall correctly. 12.4 miles down.

The running leg is my least favorite. I don't know where last year's passion for running went, but "the thrill is gone". The route was two laps around Steel Lake. A total of 4.1 miles. It was very hilly; the only flat stretch was in the shoulder of Pacific Highway (which was not great anyway because it was the shoulder of a highway!!). I mostly just speed walked, and then ran the downhills. I came out with about an average 13 minute mile. At the end, as I was re-entering the park for the last time to make a dash through some woods and finally pop out across the finish line, I saw Miranda. She had finished probably 10 minutes earlier, but was waiting for her mom and sister, who were not far behind me, to cross together. Almost there, almost there! I ran the whole way from her to the finish line; had to finish strong. I could hear the music (Doobie Brothers was on, which is ironic because I had just seen them two days prior with my parents..."Listen to the Music" was playing) and the announcer say my name. I was just so happy and giddy, I skipped the last 20 feet over the finish line. Jane was not but a minute or so behind me, and said she didn't see me but could hear the announcer shouting "Oh, she's skipping!" Haha.

It was a really great experience, and one which I'm sure I'll do again. More practice swimming in the lake, more hours to log in with running (blech), and more focus in the transition zones, and I know I can drop down to 2hrs 15 minutes. Maybe even 2 hours with better training.

Next year I am captaining my first Ski to Sea team, and plan to do the Seattle to Portland bike ride :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Restaurants: Golden Beetle

Sandy and I met for dinner this week. It had been a while since we had some one-on-one time!

Golden Beetle is the second restaurant of Chef Maria Hines (also of Tilth, which earned her the James Beard Award of Best Chef Northwest in 2009). It is an organic "homage to Eastern Mediterranean and north African foods". You can find the restaurant in Ballard, just a short walk for us from Sandy's house :)

We split a serving of hummus and flat bread. The bread was scrumptious and was seasoned (not your typical plain pita), and the hummus was homemade and had shavings of serano pepper. Tasty!

We each had two small plates, but shared tastes of each other's food. I had the white fish falafel (with aioli and a very green sauce called Charmoula), which was DELICIOUS, and the roasted asparagus (with shaved onion, a spicy/salty sauce called harissa, and fried hatoumi cheese flakes). Sandy had the spanakopita (delicious; were shaped like cigars) and Kibbeh (lamb meat balls in date sauce and plum relish)

Everything was delicious. The price was more than we usually pay for mediterranean food (about 25$ for the meal for each of us, and we were both kind of hungry still afterwards). The wine menu looked good, but the most affordable glasses of wine were only $7. They're new, and open to suggestions, so I suggested offering cheaper glasses. I would've gotten a glass if there was a $5 or $6 offering.

They have a Happy Hour menu that I'd like to try. This restaurant is worth the visit! In addition to the good food, it's a really pleasant atmosphere. Classy, but we didn't feel lame for showing up in jeans and tees.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Triathlon 2011: Pre-race Post

It's tomorrow! Today I went down to the course site and picked up my race package and got marked up.

0.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, 4.1 mile run. It's all centered at and around Steel Lake in Federal Way.

The photo above is the starting line. It's a deep-water start, which means we all get in (in our own waves- I'm a yellow-capped Buddy Wave person), tread water for about a minute, then start swimming when they blown the horn.

I have never run 4.1 miles. That's the part I'm dreading. The swim will be's hoping I don't feel nauseous again like I did during my first (and only) wetsuit open water swim practice! The bike leg will be where I can catch up. 12 miles? Psh.

Wish us luck! I will be out there with my friends Miranda Hett, her sister Jillian, their mama Betsy, and my friend Jane!