Friday, August 31, 2007

The Antlers Have Found a Home!

Earlier this week, Karen generously agreed to help me hang my antlers, and other random antique store finds, in my bedroom on the wall above my bed. I think the whole eclectic assortment came together so nicely, and even Karen agreed that it looks great. She said that it looked stylish and much less north woods lodge-ish than she thought it would. I’d have to agree. Last night I actually had a dream that I found another great set of antlers, so that must be a sign that more are on the way.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ladies' Night

Last night was ladies’ night. My mom is currently swinging single as my dad and brother travel like nomads through the western states before my brother’s upcoming ultra marathon in the Wasatch Mountains on September 8th. Karen and I decided to drive to Brookfield after work yesterday afternoon to join Jackie for a downtown concert and picnic. The plan was to pick up Chinese food from our lifelong favorite—Chinese Pagoda in Wauwatosa—and then head downtown to Pere Marquette Park (on Third and Kilbourn) to enjoy Wade Fernandez, a musician of contemporary American Indian music.

Unfortunately, the rain quickly put an end to our concert plans, but we certainly didn’t let that spoil our fun! We arrived in Brookfield around 6 p.m. and picked up Jackie, who appeared relaxed and carefree, now unrestrained by the continual stresses and demands that come from living with two grown boys. We hit up Balistreri’s, our favorite local pizza joint in Wauwatosa, which serves up the most amazingly thin crust pizza. Next, we headed to Kopp’s so that Karen could finally taste the finest custard in Milwaukee, which I so often rave about. The two flavors of the day were Pomegranate and Grasshopper Fudge. My mom and Karen chose Pomegranate, and I, of course, chose Grasshopper Fudge, which was sinfully delicious. After ice cream, we returned to my parent’s house and looked through several picture albums from my childhood. It was pretty entertaining stuff. Lots of family camping. Some rather scary hairstyles. And that little blonde who always marched to her own beat. It was a fun night. I wish ladies’ night with my mom came along more often.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More Pictures From the Lake

Action shot of Kristin riding. And Karen attempting to take photos while riding herself. Very dangerous!

Kristin and Karen gearing up for a 60-mile bike ride on Saturday morning. Short and sweet, because it's taper time, baby!

Nightfall on Long Lake.

Karen paddling strong (while Kristin sits and takes pictures) on Friday night.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crazy You

Many of you know that I am a vinyl junkie. Some of you have spent quality time with me during vacations searching for the best local record stores. My most recent purchase, and current obsession, is the fifth version of Rewind!, which is a compilation of “original classics. re-worked, remixed, and rewound” from Ubiquity Records. According to the label’s Web site, “the concept of the Rewind! compilation series is simple—our favorite artists cover their favorite tracks, revealing their influences and bringing classic tunes back up to date.” The album features the following eleven tracks that are all cover versions made from scratch (no remixes or re-edits).

1. El Michels Affair “Walk On By” (Burt Bacharach)
2. Black Shakespeare feat. Charlie Charles “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac)
3. The Rebirth “Handle It” (The Sylvers)
4. J*Davey “Dirty Love” (Frank Zappa)
5. NuSpirit Helsinki “No Quarter” (Led Zeppelin)
6. Randy Watson Experience “Be Still My Beating Heart” (Sting)
7. Psapp “Everybody Wants to Be A Cat” (The Aristocats)
8. Osunlade “Crazy Love” (Prince Nelson)
9. Daz-I-Kue feat. Bembe Segue and Colonel Red “Spoiled” (Ben E. King)
10. Henrik Schwarz “Labeille” (Guem et Zaka)
11. Owusu and Hannibal “Caroline, No” (The Beach Boys)

My favorite track is Osunlade’s version of Prince’s “Crazy Love.” It’s just so sexy, and I can’t help but dance around my living room when I’m listening to it. The lyrics are simple, but the beat is what really gets me. Really, you just have to listen to it:

"You have got a strange way about ya'... kinda' crazy
But I love you just the same
Because you... Oh you make me wanna do
Oh everything
I'm just a crazy fool, lost in the world of love
I get from crazy you
Oh, I'm so strung out thinking 'bout the crazy things you do
Crazy you"

I Smelled Cordovan, And It Was Good.

Banana Republic has just launched Cordovan, its newest men’s fragrance part of the Discover Collection. At a staff meeting on Sunday night, we were given samples of the new men’s and women’s fragrances. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough samples for everyone to take both, so we had to choose one. I thought it was somewhat odd when several of the mostly-single female employees chose to take the men’s fragrance sample instead of the women’s. They were all giddy and excitedly exclaiming how wonderful Cordovan smelled. But then I worked last night, and quickly learned what all the fuss was about…

I couldn’t stop sneaking sniffs during my shift last night. Cordovan smells like the sexiest man alive. I want to keep a sample of it under my pillow at night. Seriously. It’s a modern, woody fragrance meant to call up “rugged masculinity.” The red bottle is inspired by an old-fashioned inkwell and the notes include leafy green fig, raw nutmeg, and vintage leather. Cordovan is currently available in stores in both 50 and 100 ml. bottles. The 100 ml. bottle is priced at $58. Guys, if you buy this fragrance, the women will jump your bones. And ladies, this is the gift that keeps giving. Perhaps my true calling in life is marketing for Banana Republic…

Flying Pig Spotted in Minocqua!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Antiquing Adventures

Over the weekend, Karen and I ventured to my family’s lake house in northern Wisconsin, near Minocqua. As many of you know, antiquing is one of my favorite hobbies, one that I picked up from my forever treasure-seeking parents who spend each day circling new garage and estate sales in the local newspapers.

There are several great antique shops and a fabulous Friday/Saturday flee market in Minocqua that I go to every time I am in town. The antique shop pictured above is one of my favorites. It’s less than a five-minute drive from our cabin, and features a quality array of eclectic offerings. While I didn’t make any purchases there, I had a great time looking around. Sure enough, I had more luck at the flee market. I purchased the tea pot above for $5. I figured you can never have too many teapots, and thought this one was particularly interesting. And for $5, I mean, why not?

Blue Moon

And I totally forgot to mention the best part of the walking tour last Thursday night. The tour concluded with a free tap beer or house wine at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill, my favorite neighborhood bar. Here is Karen and I enjoying our complimentary beverage, a Blue Moon, of course! FYI-the Blue Moon Bar and Grill serves one of the best burgers in town. I have been eating so many burgers lately…I think I am slowly turning into one.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Architectural Digest

Bradley House, Louis Sullivan, 1910 (106 N. Prospect)

Buell House, Conover and Porter, 1894 (115 Ely Place)

Elliot House, George W. Maher, 1910 (137 N. Prospect)

Gilmore House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1908 (120 Ely Place)

Last night, Karen and I took a “twilight” historic walking tour of our neighborhood, University Heights, with a very knowledgeable guide from the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. We learned more about the fascinating history of the neighborhood, and the many forms of architecture represented. The guide talked specifically about thirteen of the most architecturally significant homes. Four of these are pictured above. The first in the neighborhood was the Buell House, designed by the architectural firm of Conover and Porter in 1884. Originally, the home’s power was generated by a windmill, and the current owner has one up in the yard to commemorate this historical fact.

In the early 1900’s, with its close proximity the university and downtown, the prominent Madison neighborhood housed many University faculty and staff, which holds true today. Our house was built in 1921, and I’m just fascinated with its design and history. I want to uncover the dusty plans at City Hall and follow its roots from the very beginning. I love our neighborhood. I want to live there forever. I also want to take the four other historical neighborhood tours that the Madison Trust offers: King Street, Mansion Hill East, Mansion Hill West, and State Street. I'm always fascinated by historical facts and stories. And when these can be condensed into hour-long walking tours, how can I resist?

What a Ride!

Post ride: still smiling!

Last weekend I went to Chicago to visit Royce, the guy I’ve been seeing recently—err…my boyfriend?? In addition to a laundry list of other coincidentals, he and I are both doing the Ironman Wisconsin triathlon in a few short weeks, and thought it would be nice to get together for some final training (and make-out) sessions over the weekend.

I arrived at his place in Uptown late on Friday night, and on Saturday morning we drove to Barrington, from which we ventured out on a 100-mile bike ride to Lake Geneva and back. The first thirty-miles were challenging with many rolling hills. Royce is a better cyclist than me, so the pace was fast. After fifty-miles, we arrived in Lake Geneva, and that’s when it began to pour. Hard. We were drenched. The temperature was also quickly cooling.

We rode into downtown Lake Geneva, and despite the weather, throngs of people were out enjoying Venetian Fest. That’s when Royce suggested that we stop at a bar called Champ’s on Main Street to grab a beer, which was music to my ears. We chatted over a Heineken and Miller Light in the beer garden, and then warmed up in the bar for a few minutes. I was dreading the fifty-miles back to Barrington. I was so cold. Eventually, we sucked it up and got back on our bikes.

The ride back was challenging in every possible way. We made the most of it, however, by learning more about each other and asking every question we could think of: What’s your favorite song? Gatorade flavor? Most embarrassing moment? We also kept ourselves entertained by singing songs: Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels” and Counting Crows’ “A Long December,” which I didn’t realize at the time, were extremely appropriate. About fifteen-miles from the end of our ride, Royce got a flat tire. While he was fixing it, the mosquitoes–literally hundreds of them–were eating us alive. Not to mention the rain and cold. It was awful. He quickly fixed the flat, and we were on our way again. Five minutes later, he had another flat. And we were no longer singing. We didn’t have any more tubes (my bike has different sized tires, we came to find out.) At that point, we realized we needed a ride back to the car. Fortunately, the second driver we attempted to flag down was a nice old man who told us that he had a soft spot for bikers. He kindly drove us and our bikes back to Royce’s car, where we promptly changed and blasted the heat.

Although the weather was awful, we both had an incredible time getting to know each other better. Royce said it was the best date ever. I don’t know if I would have called it a date, but the fact that we could still laugh, smile, and sing, despite the rain, cold, flats, and mosquitoes, seems like a good thing to me :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ogg Hall = Posh New Dorm?

This morning I had the opportunity to tour Ogg Hall, the newest University Residence Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, as part of a campus staff open house. The six-story residence hall, located next the SERF and directly across from Sellery Hall on the corner of Dayton and Park, will replace the outdated 13-story towers of the old Ogg Hall, which will be demolished beginning in September. Ogg Hall, only the second new residence hall on campus in the last 42-years, is named after Frederic A. Ogg, who was a professor in the political science department from 1914 to 1940. Ogg Hall will house 615 residents this fall with a cluster-style set-up. The cost of the new building was $27 million.

The new Ogg Hall is very impressive. Some of my favorite features are the covered bicycle and moped parking area, a rain garden in the courtyard between the north and southwest wings of the building, the spacious rooms (246 ft.), beautiful views of the city skyline, and the vibrantly colored walls. It makes me sad to think how quickly it will be trashed by students. Soon, the gardens will be trampled, the paint scuffed, the bathrooms dirty, and the charm of a shiny, new residence hall, gone. Which leaves me thinking that places like these are way too nice for college freshmen. Aren’t dorms supposed to be somewhat ghetto? Isn’t that part of the experience? Today’s college freshmen are filthy spoiled. Dorm life should not be posh living. As if. And seriously, why do they insist on keeping the name Ogg, a word that is completely synonymous with ghetto dorm life. I'm confused...

Steve Heaps, Master Scooper

Immediately following dinner at the Weary, Karen, Kim and I headed to State Street for forty-five cent ice cream cones in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the locally-owned Chocolate Shoppe. Because of the weather, there were very few customers taking advantage of this fabulous deal. When we approached the counter to gaze at the gallons and gallons of magical flavors, the guy behind the counter announced that it was their anniversary and cones were only forty-five cents from 4–9 p.m. “Yes, we know,” we excitedly interrupted.

There were at least five male scoopers behind the counter, who had clearly anticipated much greater sales that night, and they immediately took a liking to us. And how could they not? We all ordered our cones, and coincidentally all chose to include a scoop of “Heaps of Love,” which is a creamy vanilla based flavor with everything-but-the-kitchen sink: chocolate, caramel, brownies, Oreos, pecans, and cookie dough. Well it just so happened that Steve Heaps, the ice cream’s namesake and “master scooper” happened to be working that evening. Steve loved us. After much bonding, we took a picture with Steve, and he even showed us his ice cream scooping hand muscles, but assured us that he’s not usually one to show off his muscles to the ladies. Can you see how the muscle by the thumb on his right hand is so much larger than the left? Clearly, Steve has been scooping for many years. Maybe you can’t see it very well from the picture, but trust me, his muscles were bulging. There’s nothing like a man who can scoop some ice cream.

Before we left, Steve asked for our names and shook our hands. He called us Special K. We asked if he would create a flavor for us, and he said he would. I could tell his mind was immediately churning through the flavor possibilities. We are planning to frame the picture of all of us and bring it to Steve early next week. So that he may never forget his Special K.

Dinner at the Weary

Last night, I had dinner with my friends Abby, Mark, Kim, and Karen at the Weary Traveler, which you’ve undoubtedly heard a million times is my favorite restaurant in the whole world. In my creature of habit ways, I opted for the West of the Andes Sandwich (pictured, right), which was delectable as always. It's a succulent beef tenderloin sandwich with avocado, Pico de Gallo, and chipotle mayo on a soft roll. I feel bad that I don’t venture out and try more of the selections on the menu, because each and every entrĂ©e sounds delicious, but I think I would have to go very frequently to get it all in, and of course allow myself permission to order the West of the Andes every few trips, so as to get my fix. Perhaps this winter. Abby would totally join me for the challenge. It’s on.

I Like to Make Stuff

Thanks to Kelsey for her comment about ReadyMade, a “bimonthly print magazine for people who like to make stuff.” I totally like to make stuff. Therefore, I think I will very much like this publication. I’ve never seen it before, so I went online yesterday to learn more about the magazine. It sounds awesome. It’s like a subscription for instant inspiration. I think I will need to go to Border’s to pick up a copy very soon. One of their recent online articles explains how to whip up a batch of home-made hard cider. Sounds tasty. Thanks for the great tip, Kels!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tea Time!

Check out this great vintage teacup and saucer clock made by Danny Seo, author of Simply Green Parties and Simply Green Giving. I just love craft projects like this that are so unique, but totally reproducible. I think I just might design a clock like this for my kitchen. Karen has a fabulous collection of vintage egg cups displayed in our kitchen, and I think a clock like this one would very much compliment that collection. Danny simply glued teacups and saucers to a piece of wood, and then added a dial in the center for a fun and stylish piece.

Danny’s is a great blog; you must check it out. I was very happy to see his blog posting on August 8th, titled “Trophy Antlers?” In it, Danny writes that, “As I’ve been scouting homes and stores for Country Home magazine, I’ve seen a trend of vintage trophy antlers and stag heads grouped into collections as part of the home design.” Love it. I’m sure that some of you think my interior design tastes are a little whacky, but I much prefer the terms stylish and unique. Danny's blog posting totally validates my recent antler purchase, thank you very much. Not that I needed to be validated. Obviously.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Mindset of the Class of 2011

For the past ten years, Beloit College has produced the College Mindset List, which is an effort to identify the worldview of the entering freshman class. This year’s freshmen, the class of 2011, were generally born in 1989, and thus have very different life experiences, insights, and worldviews than you or I. The list of seventy items is jointly produced by Tom McBride, Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities, and Ron Nief, Beloit’s Director of Public Affairs. The list indicates, for example, that for most students starting college this fall, rap music has always been mainstream, Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born, and stadiums and rock tours have always had corporate names. The list is interesting, and also pretty entertaining. But, be warned, it will make you feel old.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Slice of Heaven

This afternoon, in honor of my friend Seif, I had Ian’s Pizza for lunch. Generally, I’m more of a brown-bagger, but today—perhaps conveniently—I forgot my lunch and was forced to search for sustenance on State Street. I was immediately drawn to Ian’s, where I ordered a huge slice of gooey Mac n’ Cheese (pictured, right). Seif’s favorite is Steak and Fries, and, I kid you not, whenever she comes back to Madison to relive her college days, she always goes to Ian’s and orders a half-year’s supply to bring home to freeze and eat later. There is no greater fan of Ian’s Pizza than Seif.

Which reminds me, I totally forgot to tell Seif that they are now doing Ian’s Pizza and Capital Brewery Beer cruises on Lake Monona. Seriously, here are the details. Thursday nights (5/31–9/27), $25 per adult, Betty Lou Cruises. You catch that, Seif? And Seif, you might also want to know that Ian’s Pizza is hosting a pizza eating contest on Library Mall on Saturday, September 1. And that’s totally when you’re going to be here for the weekend, right? (Seif is going to win.)

Mmm…Mac and Cheese Pizza. This is good stuff. A true comfort food. I’m not really one to wait for colder months to enjoy good comfort foods. I prefer to eat them throughout the year. Karen always makes fun of me because I’ll order chili during the summer, even on a ninety degree day. But the thing is, I need comfort always.

Fall Trends I Love

Frye Tina Shorty Cuff, Piperime, $258

Wool Riding Cap, Banana Republic, $48

Here are the trends I love for this fall:

1. Hats
2. Clutches
3. Tights
4. Ankle boots
5. Wide-leg trouser pants
6. Cropped, fitted jackets
7. Sweater dresses
8. Skinny belts
9. Trench coats
10. Jewel tones

Two items that I am particularly keen on purchasing for my fall wardrobe are a pair of great ankle boots, and a wool riding cap. Must. Find. Great. Ankle Boots. The two items pictured above give you an idea of what I am looking for. The Frye boots are obviously ridiculously expensive—but a girl can always dream, right?

Table A-Go-Go

Table in a Bag, Crate and Barrel, $39.95

Blowing out the candles!

Opening presents on the boat, I am slightly confused by the plastic wine glasses, until my mom tells me about the table that goes with them, waiting in the car!

One of my favorite birthday presents from my parents this year was a Table in a Bag from Crate and Barrel. The hardwood table, perfect for picnics and camping and touted online as a "Table a-go-go," collapses into a canvas bag for easy transport, and measures 30" sq. x 17" H when set up. Several people use these tables during the Concerts on the Square that I regularly attend during the summers, and I have been admiring them for quite some time. I just had no idea where to find them. And that's where Jackie stepped in. My mom saw that I was admiring these tables when she and my dad came to join me for a concert last month. My mom later saw the table again at a concert in Milwaukee, and marched up to the people to ask where they purchased it. Nice work, Jackie! In the last few years, my mom has become a master in finding the perfect gifts for me. She's obviously very perceptive when I talk about things I like.

So I love my new table, and I'm so excited to use it at next year's concerts, and hopefully before then. It looks so cool when people have their picnic foods spread across it, along with a few candles, and several low-height chairs set up around it. Very vogue, and also much more comfortable than sitting on the ground. Love it. Great product, and the price is definitely right.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Vacation Finds

During our week of vacation, Karen and I of course did a little shopping in Princeton—at the upscale boutiques lining Water Street, as well as at the many antique stores surrounding the perimeter of town. I found two great new wall hangings for my bedroom that I am very excited to share. Although everyone I’ve shown them to thus far has laughed their heads off, I love my new little antlers and feel very confident they will hold their own in my room among the many other wonders and treasures. Despite the reactions from my friends and family, I have absolutely no buyer’s remorse and remain confident in my great find. Soon they'll all come around. I found the antlers at Georgie’s in Princeton, which is an upscale boutique that showcases many items from Tracey Porter’s line.

My second purchase, from a garage and garden antique store in Princeton, is a vintage water color painting in a wooden frame. I don't believe its true beauty is adequately captured in the photo above, so you're just going to have to trust me when I say that it's fantastic. Just like the antlers. I fell in love with the unique piece and immediately put my poker face on to barter down the price with great success. Mom and Dad have taught me well. Trash to treasures.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tracy Porter Fascination

The Ambrosia Bud Vase

The Bohemian Luxe Bud Vase

Tracy Porter and family on their farm in Ripon, WI

I am a fan of all things designed by Tracy Porter. A few weekends ago, my friend Karen attended what was sort of like a Tracy Porter trunk show with great discounts, which was probably primarily intended for local PR in the small town of Ripon—where her business is headquartered—conveniently located only a stone's throw from Green Lake. The show, only the second ever—and advertised as perhaps the last—drew a line of hundreds of local Tracy Porter admirers to a large gymnasium at Ripon College. This made for a chaotic shopping experience, but Karen did good work. Among other items she found for herself, Karen picked out two beautiful bud vases that she later surprised me with for my birthday. Both (pictured above) feature intricate designs and details, and fabulously vibrant colors, and the vases are now prominently displayed in my bedroom. The best part is that Tracy herself was at the sale, and Karen asked her to sign one of my vases. Which just makes them all the more special and unique!

Karen and I have been quite fascinated with Tracy Porter’s story over the years. Several years ago, she and her husband traded in their big-city life, and big-stress careers, for great uncertainly and a go at small-town life on a rural farm in Wisconsin, where they intended to start a business of designing and painting furniture and other home goods, which had always been Tracy’s most treasured hobby. Relatively quickly, her creations were picked up by Neiman Marcus and featured on Oprah, and since then, Tracy Porter has humbly enjoyed great success. Anyway, I admire both Tracy and her husband for their courage, passion, humble spirit, and artistic talent.

I Am In Love...

With a coat. Green is my favorite color, and I love this jacket (the Wool pique Ava jacket) featured in J.Crew's recently released fall catalog. Sadly, however, the Green might already be sold out, as the only color options currently listed online are Welsh Purple and Black. And there's a note online stating that color and sizes not listed are sold out. Bummer. Oh, I love this coat! So slimming, classic style, great details, fabulous color.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Our campus communicators work very quickly. Just released, on the heels of being named by Newsweek/Kaplan as the "Hottest Big State School," here is the new "hot" logo that will be featured in all new university pubs, communications, etc. This is big time, baby. UW is HOT! (but sadly, this logo is lame).

The Good Time Girls Hit the County Fair

Welcome to the fair!

Kristin=Skee-ball master.

View from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

Blood curdling screams could be heard throughout the fair grounds!

Karen goes for BINGO! Grandma D. would be so proud!

One of the many highlights from vacation was our trip to the Green Lake County Fair on Saturday, August 4th. Karen and I had so much fun mixing with the townies and experiencing everything the fair had to offer. I think we did it up right, as the pictures above obviously attest. That's what I love most about my best friend, Karen. We can seriously do anything, be it a spontaneous trip to the county fair or a routine and seemingly meaningless run to the grocery store, and we will always find a way to make it fun and totally memorable. The good time girls: turning monotony into an adventure each and every day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hottest Big State School

It's that time of year again, when high-school seniors and their parents gear up for the college admissions game. A time and game I know all too well. In general, I shun the ever publicized and hotly debated annual college rankings since I believe they are based on "junk science", merely intended to generate publication sales; however, I do hypocritically pay attention when UW is honored and praised as it should always be. Today, UW-Madison was named the "Hottest Big State School" by Newsweek/Kaplan. Here is a link to the article, and the pertinent excerpt follows. Cheers!

Hottest Big State School: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Growing up in Wisconsin, Laura Sullivan was raised on Badger mania. But she was initially afraid that she would get lost in Madison amid 41,000 students, 140 undergraduate majors and nearly 700 student organizations. So when her high-school German class visited, Sullivan says she was shocked to find that she immediately felt at home. The tree-filled campus of nearly 1,000 acres looked to her exactly like a college should. It occurred to her that its enormity actually meant "endless opportunities," she says. It is the old traditions graduates remember most, including Picnic Point, declared by one newspaper to be "the kissing-est spot in North America."

Rock Star Ride

Riding to the race on the pontoon boat with our bikes. Mine: the hot, black number pictured front and center.
On the pier with the gear.
Karen parking the boat. Rock star parking, baby!

Mondays are tough to begin with. They are even more unbearable when coming off a 10-day vacation. Needless to say, I am struggling. Despite this, I have many exciting updates and pictures to share from my wonderful vacation days spent on the pristine waters of Green Lake. I'll attempt to highlight our many adventures in chronological order.

I will thus begin with our adventure to and at the Ripon Medical Center Triathlon on Saturday, August 4th. This year’s race, for the first time ever, was held on the grounds of the Green Lake Conference Center, which proved to be a vast improvement from prior years' races, both in terms of venue and logistics. Karen and I thought it would be exciting to drive to the race by boat, instead of car. I pictured a rock star arrival, with the other participants pointing and whispering in admiration. Although we didn’t have much of an audience upon arrival, I still felt very cool. I think that was definitely my favorite part of the race–-an experience that will certainly necessitate my registration for future years' races.

The race went well. Despite coming off the bike as the leading female, I was quickly overtaken during the run, but held my ground and finished second in 1:19:49, just thirty seconds behind the female winner. I was first in my age group, and felt solid throughout. Karen impressively took 2nd in her age group, despite having to stop and fix a flat tire during the bike leg. It was a sprint-distance triathlon, a distance I haven’t raced in years, since I tend to do more long-distance stuff now. It surprised me on how exhausted I was afterwards. I was quite literally worthless the rest of the day. I’ve always erroneously assumed that a sprint distance race means less work, but clearly I was very wrong. It kicked my butt, and I was quickly humbled. I now have much greater respect for the sprint-distance triathlon. It may be shorter, but it’s a hell of a lot faster.