Please Give Me Money

When I write to ask you about donating for the upcoming 5k run (May 1st) for the American Lung Association, I fully expect you to think to yourself, well, yeah, sure, but what have they done for me? And maybe you don’t smoke and have never had a black spot found on your lung in an X-ray, and you don’t have asthma and your lungs are free and clear. And that is awesome. But the ALA needs to raise $130k for this event, and thus far they’ve got about $33k.

–>To cut to the chase and donate without reading all kinds of interesting facts as well as the stunts I’m willing to pull to get you to donate, go here: 

 The American Lung Association is around for more than just research. The local ALA provides the following programs *in addition* to funding treatments and research for cures for diseases such as lung cancer, lung disease, COPD, and asthma:

  • Teens Against Tobacco Use – a peer teaching tobacco prevention program. The ALA trains staff to work with high school students on the health hazards of tobacco use. These adults then recruit and train high school students to serve as role models and teach children in elementary schools about why it’s not “cool” to start smoking.
  • Master Home Environmentalist – a FREE program for anyone who lives in King County – with a simple phone call, our highly trained staff will come to your home and assess the hidden dangers and quality of your indoor air.
  • Lung Help Line – a FREE program for anyone to use, call 1-800-LUNG-USA and be connected immediately with a Respiratory Therapist, whom you can ask questions about your lung health.
  • Freedom From Smoking – considered one of the most successful smoking cessation programs out there; our staff and resources will help you quit for good.

Interesting thing to note: More people who have never smoked die from lung cancer than people do from AIDS, liver cancer, or ovarian cancer. And Lung Cancer kills 160,000 people annually – more people than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

Now, I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out how to get you to donate. Thus far I’ve given you the option of semi-permanently marking my body with a henna tattoo (to be done April 28 on the Expedia Bellevue campus, by a professional), and that did bring quite a few of you in.

If it’s not enough incentive to see your design etched in henna on my person for 30 days, how’s this? Each person who donates $25 or more enters into a raffle for a PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES, from Super Jock N Jill, valued up to $100. You heard me.  Running Shoes. (Folks who have already donated are in the running – pun intended).

You can donate here:

I Made My Goal: Have You Made Yours?

Donate here:

Yes, my individual goal was $500, and yes, I’m currently above $900. This has been due to the amazing awesomeness of those who have donated. One generous lady in particular, in honor of her father, is having the Budweiser logo tattooed on my bicep. I may just put one on each side, that’s how awesome her story was.

This is a gentle reminder, along with the tax man and the Rides of March, that donations are tax-deductible. So if you’re looking at your return for 2010 and saying, hmm… I could totally have used a break: consider donating.

In other news, I have purchased running shoes, I’m getting better at the PT, and I definitely have osteoarthritis in my knees. This is not surgery-requiring, merely some shots and some life changes. I am to lose 20 pounds. Since I found out I have lost two.

Give Me Money. Again. Please.

I’ll be running (walking, limping) in the American Lung Association’s 5k run this coming May 1st. This is one of those “get people to donate money” things, and last year I had the amazing incentive of annoyance plus the ability to have people sign my helmet for the Ride.

This year, options considered for fundraising included shaving my head. However, that was vetoed by Man and Boy, and so instead I found something far more temporary: a tattoo.

Specifically many tattoos (hopefully), of the 30-day Henna variety. The week before the race I’m engaging a henna artist to tattoo slogans, pictures, names, etc. — whatever is wanted, as long as it is PG — on my limbs and upper back for the race. At the $25 level, of course.

And you, too, can be a part of it. You can even *watch* as I plan to tweet the proceedings 🙂

But, you need to donate money. Here’s where you do that: 

I may even come up with fancier incentives for fancier money 🙂

Fighting for Air

Nope, this won’t be a dramatic post about the stress of my life or some sort of me vs. the world thing. (No drama…. no no no no drama).

I’m running (walking, limping) in the American Lung Association’s 5k run/walk in Magnuson Park, Seattle on May first. I have a team and everything.

I haven’t run in 1 year, 2 months, and 2 days.

I have 3 months in which to go from zero (with a messed up knee) to 3.1, and I think I can do it.

But you know what that means, right? TRAINING! And… training posts. Lots of posts about people at the gym, and running during lunch breaks, and the benefits of various flavored Gu. Oh, and there will be clothing and shoe reviews, too, as I gear up.

Fighting for air, indeed 😀

Event Driven

In keeping with my usual way of doing things (e.g., the dopamine rush that one gets from chocolate, online Scrabble, and checking things off of one’s list) I have signed on for a whole bunch of stuff this year. Some I will discuss, and some I will not. There will likely be an announcement of the Not Currently Discussed Items around June or July. But this isn’t about that. Think of it as one of those teaser trailers before the show.

The Events of 2011, at least sporting wise, are:

  • A 5-k run. Yep, I have to get back into running. I’ll be starting a team of at least 10 here at Expedia for the American Lung Association’s annual 5k, and so I shall go forth to the Running Shoe Store where they will provide me with shiny new shoes. Be prepared for posts about sore knees, the amazing physics of excess flab as you run, and whether or not this was really a good idea. Also, I have to raise money.
  • A 2-day double-century bike ride, known as the STP. The Seattle To Portland, more specifically, and training for that has already begun. The fact that as part of training we will be riding 80 miles one day and 80 miles the next which is what I did for The Whole Ride last year is a bit of an eye-catcher.
  • An October stair climb event for the ALA (place to be determined). Again with the raising money.
  • And then, depending on how things went with the 5 k– the Seattle Half Marathon in November. Again.

Folding into this training schedule is that thing I call my job, which I love but which has gone up to 11 as of last November and *stayed there*. When your boss looks at you earnestly and asks you when you’re going to take any time off, and at least three coworkers suggest you need a drink, you may need to take some time off. But when you’re committed to having everything come off PERFECT or at least NOT MESSED UP then you have a hard time putting down the iPhone and the Email. The Job is having me travel a bit this year, including to Geneva (let’s hope my luggage doesn’t get lost) and then there’s personal travel too (hello, Phoenix! Hello, Hawaii!).  Oh, and then there’s boy schedule and its companions of sports and karate and boy scouts and camp and PTSA in there too. Mustn’t forget that.

This year is the first year I’m operating completely without a paper calendar. Usually, I am the recipient of a calendar from a friend who likes dogs, from a family member who defaults to Calendars, and some sort of work gift thing. And this year, I got none of it. My wall at work is empty, my dedicated calendar space at home is devoid of said calendarage. I’m operating completely on my Google and Outlook (syncd!) calendars. It will be an experiment in e-venting, I’m sure.

What I’m discovering thus far is that I need to stick to plans if I’m going to make them. When you put in your calendar that you are going to go to spin class, it’s because you realized two weeks ago when you put that there that you had a 7am call the next day and so you wouldn’t make it to *that* spin class and if you were going to get your required weekly time in the saddle then yes you really did need to do spin class on Thursday. Or when I lay out the menu for the week then I really do need to stick with it because if I wing it and use the potatoes with the pork tenderloin instead of the pasta then that means the chicken has to now go with the rice and you have to put peas with potatoes which takes it away from the cacciatore that was supposed to go with the pasta. Oh, and you end up with really weird menu combinations, which sounds fine for Iron Chef but not for Random Sammamish Hurried Dinner Wednesday.

I have — and love — my iPhone. I may need to expand its applications to help me keep the dopamine rush at a steady state.  Meanwhile, you are to fully expect more e-Venting.

PS — Starbucks is releasing a 31 ounce coffee drink. ‘Nuff said.


I love my car. LOVE it. It is wonderful, it is simple, it goes vroom-vroom. It has two nails in my passenger side front tire.

I bought the car in May. I had it all of two (2) weeks when an unidentified light lit up on my dashboard, indicating something that looks like this: (!). This is not a very intuitive sign, you see, so I immediately pulled over and looked at my Owner’s Manual, tucked ever so elegantly into its pleather binding that matches the interior of my car just-so.

(!) remained unidentified.

After calling the dealership, whose service department was closed, I then called BMW America, because if my car was going to blow up on me I really thought this was something I should know. They called me back and announced that (!) in fact means that you are losing pressure in a tire (somewhere) and don’t worry! They’re run flat tires! You can totally drive… under 50mph… for like 150 miles when that light goes off.

So merrily I went upon my way, and then merrily paid $258 the next day for a (single, as in uno, ein, un) tire. You can’t patch a run flat, you see.


Fast forward four (4) months, and I do not have (!) showing up. I do however have two (2) nails in my passenger front tire. That would be the same passenger front tire that had the one (1) nail in it last May.  So, with a fully pressured tire, I look at my options. I can:

  • Pay $258 for one (1) tire at the BMW dealership
  • Pay $105 plus installation at the Discount Tire company for the same tire
  • Pay $X (TBD) at Costco for two front new tires and get rid of the @)#($%%$^*($# run flats

And I choose Discount Tire. I make an appointment, because that appears to be the most efficient thing to do.

I arrive at said appointment, which was at noon. As I’m checking in, I tell the young man behind the counter that I really need to be out the door by 5 to 1, to which he replies “Oh yeah absolutely!” Comforted by this assurance I sign the little paper, hand him the keys, and go sit down.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

Twenty minutes in, my car has not left the parking lot and made it into the bay. Twenty five minutes in, it still hasn’t.

At thirty minutes in, I ask for my keys, explaining that the car hasn’t been touched, and that I don’t think they can replace a tire in a half hour, and please gimme my friggin keys already. I leave, and on the way to my next appointment call Firestone — trusty Firestone, who does the tires on my old Rav — and tell them my sob story and they promise to fit me in at 2pm.

At 2pm I arrive at Firestone, who, 15 minutes in, announce my tires are RunFlat and they can’t replace them and they can order special tires at $300 a pop if I’m willing to come back tomorrow.

In the meantime I had called the BMW dealership who had said they didn’t put a run flat tire on my car.

So at this point I have Firestone willing to sell me 2 tires (because they don’t have the same brand), Discount Tire unwilling to actually, you know, work, and BMW telling me that my tires aren’t really my tires.

I give up. I go to Costco. If I’m going to buy two new tires, I reckon, I’ll get non-run-flat and I can get out the door for the price of one run-flat. So to Costco I go!

Whereupon I discover that:

  1. Yes, they are run-flats
  2. No, you can’t just replace two. You have to replace all four. You can’t have two run flats and two non-run-flats.

It is important to note that at this point I whipped out the iPhone, copied all of the little markings on the tire, googled it, verified yes indeedy they are run-flats, did some mental arithmetic regarding speed and mileage, had them put the tires back on the car, and went home. Once there I had a very comforting, very large glass of red wine.

I am officially delegating this to the MoH (man of house).

Veni, Vidi, Vici

or, as Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters: We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!

On Saturday, June 19th, 2,250 riders showed up to a mall in Surrey, BC.  They departed said mall at 7am and rode 84 miles to Mount Vernon, WA. The next day they rode 76 miles to Redmond, WA.  Those 2,250 riders raised $9.2 MILLION dollars. The expenses of the ride (food, tents, sign, support staff, gas, materials, shirts, organization, website, administration, etc. were reported at about $1M. So $8.2 Million dollars went directly to cancer research.) There were easily 500 support staff members with us on the ride.

At the start, the mall was crowded with bikes, and many of us did not clip in for the first half mile because of the likelihood of stopping quickly to avoid crashing into the bike in front of us. Escorted by police motorbikes through the town of Surrey, things thinned out as we found ourselves edging toward the border. Pastoral Canada, with its smells of cows and sights of green grass and berry farms (“they say blueberries are going to be cheap this year, because of all of the extra coming in from the states, eh”) greeted us on our first 20km out.

That’s how you measured this thing: in Km’s. The whole way… It was an average of 20-30kms between pit stops (except for the border crossing one — there was one at Peace Arch and one in an elementary school in Blaine, and if your map is telling you that’s only like 4 km apart your map is right) and each stop was fueled with water, Gatorade, snacks, a medical setup, and bike mechanics.

I’d just like to point out that I didn’t need a bike mechanic the whole trip, nor did I fall.

Out of Blaine we headed to Bellingham, where the hills greeted us. Quite a few of them, in fact. We rode one that gently curved upward for what seemed forever — the hill itself was more than a mile long and at least a 5% grade– ate lunch, and then got on another, larger one. What goes up must come down, though, and we found ourselves screaming down the other side at speeds above 30 mph — in some cases faster than the cars were allowed to go.

The weather on Saturday was gorgeous.

We landed in Mount Vernon, managed to acquire beers and food and shower (not in that order: actual order was — as defined by me — beer gear shower food beer bed) and slept in tents.

Sunday morning the mist greeted us, and then followed it up with some rain, which lasted most of the day. It was a pretty straight slog for the first 50 miles or so, and then the ride managed to find every single large hill in Woodinville. Unlike the slow, lengthy climbs of the day before, these were steep, “stepping stone” type hills– go up this 9% grade hill for about 4 blocks, hit the top, and realize that a block later you will do it again. The temptation to give up and take the “quitters van” — the aide van that would happily take you to the next pit stop without any hesitation — was huge. Then you’d see an older rider huffing and puffing it to the top, with their yellow flag on their bike (Cancer Survivor). And you’d be ashamed of yourself, switch gears and tell your bike, “C’mon, let’s take this hill. It can’t be that bad.”

At points the cold and wet was bad enough to numb the fingers, when I found I could neither brake nor steer I got off the bike and walked a bit, then sat in the aide van (while it was parked) to warm up the hands. As the blood rushed back into them, it stung, and I got back on my bike.

I personally talked to 9 cancer survivors on this ride, but there were quite possibly as many as a hundred. One was 11 years cancer-free from a soft-tissue cancer in her back she got at 13. One was an elderly man 5 years free of bladder cancer. One was a year past his chemo, and his daughter suggested the ride. She was with him — in spirit, as he was waaaaaaay ahead of her on the course. And one said simply, “I’m doing this because when I was in the hospital for six months I didn’t feel like I fought all that much or all that hard. I laid in a bed, let them pump me full of chemo, and they fed me and were nice to me and tried to make me comfortable. I gained 40 pounds. I feel like I cheated, that I’m cancer free and I didn’t work all that hard. So I’m doing this to show that I can work hard.”

We’re doing it again in 2012. And this time, I’m raising $5,000.

Home Stretch

Considering that I’ve only been in training 4 and a half months, I can call the next five weeks the home stretch. I’m following the training guidelines, and am on a first-name basis with my local bike fixer dude, as my derailer isn’t quite sure if it wants to derail my chain appropriately or derail my ride inappropriately. I blame poor nomenclature for its inadequacies and overcompensation.

I have, as of last week, made the minimum amount of money raised ($2,500) and am aiming to get my goal of $3,000 in. At this point, my goal is to stay on the bike for the two days of riding and hope my rear end doesn’t fall off.

Or maybe I hope it will. Since starting training in January I have gained — wait for it, wait for it — seven pounds. SEVEN. POUNDS. This is insane.

Ok, let’s put this into perspective: I weigh X.

At my lowest weight at this height, I weighed X-19.  At my highest weight at this height, unpregnant, I weighed X+40ish. (Yeah, I’m putting the “ish” there. I wasn’t proud of it, and it was a long long time ago). I am on the slighter end of this sliding scale but it doesn’t make me happy.

I have ordered a body fat scale (hello, whole new heights of things to obsess about!) and I’ve downloaded an app for that, and an app for this. I would really like to get back to at least X-7, which is where I was in the New Year and fine with that. I’d like even more to get back to X-19, or even perhaps X-25; but let’s not get too carried away.

That said, I have a new job 🙂 Perhaps that will help burn some excess calories?


Man is a creature who, having given up on an efficient way of dealing with daily traffic, aspires to go to the Moon — and then Mars. On a shoestring.

People are generally goal driven. The nobility and value of those goals are generally subjective; if your goal is to spend the rest of your life as a couch potato far be it from me to dissuade you. Just leave some of the Cheet0s for me.

Of late I find myself searching for, and adding to, my goals. In doing so I find I do *better* if I pick ones that, while not completely unattainable, are quite difficult. E.g., signing up for a 160 mile, 2-day bike ride after having successfully ridden 12 miles.  I find that if I set myself up for a challenge– a not-impossible one, but one that I can’t really flake on, either — I will rise to meet it. This strokes my ego in some sort of way I’m not going to be able to articulate clearly, but that’s ok: I still get the oxytocin release.

I find that this tendency to set challenge and then meet (or get close) breaks down into smaller pieces of the overall goal: to wit, mileage. Each week now we are to be riding about 55-65 miles in addition to our long ride, and our long ride has to fall within a given Min and Max. Being paranoid that I will not make my goal I have been advocating the Max (so, last weeks was 47 on top of 60 miles which would put us at 7miles over goal for weekly mileage– and we made 41. Go ahead and do the math, I’ll wait).

What I’m getting to is, much like the person who “games” their watch by setting it 5 minutes fast, if we set the weekly goal to X+Y where X is the minimum required effort and Y is WWLD (What Would Lance Do), we are typically achieving X and sometimes achieving Xb (you know, halfway between X and Y). This is not bad on the whole, but I wonder at the psychology of it. If I was just “honest” with myself and said “ok, we’re doing 47 because that’s the minimum required this week (and it is)”, would I do the 47? Or would I suddenly cramp, or hit a wall, or fling myself over bicycle tracks?

There is a certain amount of fear in setting goals that may be just beyond your reach. But we got to the Moon on analog technology that is less sophisticated than items you use everyday. Stretching is good.

Taking a Page from NPR

I’m here to talk to you about your Bobbie services. Think about it, you tune in to Bobbie on a daily, or at least weekly basis; you trust Bobbie to tell you about all things Bobbie and keep you more informed on the things you like to know about, such as Spin Class Social Studies and Things Not To Do With Data. When was the last time you were standing around the water cooler and the conversation turned to something you heard from Bobbie, and were able to participate in the discussion?

Now is the time to show Bobbie that you appreciate her, that you understand that this Bobbie service isn’t something that should go unrecognized. For just pennies a day you could sponsor Bobbie for $30 in the RtCC. Or think about your daily latte expenditure: what does that come to, $3? Maybe $5 if you get that pastry or roll? How much do you value that latte versus your Bobbie experience: for just a fraction of your daily latte habit you could sponsor Bobbie for $50.

Don’t forget, your Bobbie RtCC donation is absolutely tax deductible.

And then you can drive in your car, and go about your work day, knowing that you’ve done your part in supporting the Bobbie. You then have that bond, with other sponsors of the Bobbie, knowing that because of your financial support you will have access to the Bobbie and all of the Bobbie expectations you’ve come to enjoy.

There are also wonderful pledge gifts for your support of the Bobbie. At the $25 level, you will receive an authentic thank you email from the Bobbie, personally addressed and containing some personal reference or relevant piece of information. At the $50 level, you will not only receive the thank you email but are likely to get your data faster (cough). At the $100 level and above, you will have the opportunity to sign the Helmet of the Bobbie for yourself or in honor of someone you know as she plummets down the backroads from Vancouver, BC to Seattle.

At the $250 level, you will be able to access the Bobbie’s personal blog, which is actually quite racy and includes all sorts of gossip, back to when Bobbie started blogging in October of 2005. Alternately, if you already have access to the blog, the Bobbie will show up at your house and do your laundry for you each week for two months. And if you already have *that*, you are Bobbie’s boyfriend and should be donating just because you use up more of the Bobbie’s time than anyone, except the Boychild, who doesn’t need the tax credit.

Once again, you can donate to the Bobbie’s fundraiser (The Ride to Conquer Cancerhere and thank you for your support.