Archive for April 2010

Derby Day Approaches…

April 30th, 2010 — 9:27am

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Derby Party Preparations

April 28th, 2010 — 5:07pm

march-0021It’s a well known fact that Derby Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Since first attending the Kentucky Derby with friends in 2005, I’ve been obsessed with all things Derby. Luckily, I had the chance to attend the Kentucky Derby again in 2008—and even scored front row seats for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks races that year. Sadly, I haven’t been able to get back to the Derby since. So I did what any derby lover far from Louisville would do—I threw my own Derby party, right here in Madison. Last year’s party was a huge succeess. My friends truly embraced the theme—the ladies sported big floppy hats, and the guys paraded in leisure suits. I made an elaborate dinner spread of Derby favorites, and served more than a few mint juleps.derby-019

But this year we’re taking things to the next level. I’ve been planning for months. My friends know what to expect. This time I’m hosting my party on the actual day of the Derby (as opposed to the night before). And I’ll be showing live footage from the big race (now there’s a novel idea). Last month, I sent out official invites designed by Linda Le Kinff, the 2010 Kentucky Derby commissioned artist. And I’m working on incorporating fun games and prizes into the party. The menu is still in the works—but will definitely include some favorites from last year, as well a few new dishes. In addition to the classic mint julep, I’ll also be serving bourbon slush. Most importantly, I’ll be sporting a new hat (sort of). One thing’s for certain…this year’s derby party won’t disappoint. Get excited for the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby. The most exciting two minutes in sports!

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Taking My Baby Home

April 28th, 2010 — 10:03am

library-mall-020Flat tire. Not exactly what I wanted to find on my car yesterday afternoon at 3:30pm while attempting to leave for my 4pm bike fitting appointment. I had waited long enough for my bike to arrive (nearly a month)…and had just barely been able to squeeze in a fitting appointment (between my crazy schedule and that of the bike mechanic). Who knew when I’d be able to get back on the schedule if I missed my appointment! And bottom line—no bike fitting meant no bike riding.

Attempting to remain calm and rationale, I pulled out my cell phone and called my friends Lauren and Brodie. Thankfully, Lauren was home and agreed to pick me up and drive me to my appointment. And amazingly, Brodie came over later that night to help me change the flat (oh who am I kidding—he did it all). Lauren and Brodie were obviously lifesavers—which is exactly why they are two of my closest friends.

Crisis averted, I arrived at my fitting appointment just a few minutes late. I know a few of you were becoming increasingly concerned that my bike might never arrive. But luckily it finally delivered to the store on Saturday—after being shipped to Philadelphia first, in what I believe was some sort of warehouse transfer mix-up. And that’s how 5-7 business turned into 25-27 days.library-mall-025

I met my bike for the first time on Sunday. By then, it had been completely assembled. Of course it was love at first sight. My favorite part was the binder of paperwork attached to the bike, which was neatly labeled with a sharpie, D.O.B 04/24/10. I chuckled to myself as I thought of the bike as a baby. My baby. Born April 24, 2010. 47 centimeters, 16.4 pounds.

My fitting appointment consisted of 1.5 hours of various tweaks and adjustments by Tim, the head bike mechanic at Endurance House (and my former college tri class instructor.) Basically, I would hop on my bike and ride on the trainer and Tim would make various adjustments to the seat and aerobars, based on my feedback and what he saw. It was nice to have a fitting with someone who knows my background so well. Tim explained that his goal was to get me in a decently aggressive aerodynamic position—but more importantly, to make me comfortable for Ironman distance races.

Once all of the adjustments had been made, I headed out on my first outdoor ride. Tim watched as I rode around the parking lot for a bit, and then instructed me to hit the road for a while. The bike felt very smooth, but still a little foreign. I know it will take some time getting used to a new bike and position. I remember it took several rides before I felt comfortable on my last bike.

After the fitting, I rode home on my new bike—since I obviously didn’t have any other transportation options. It was a 10-mile ride from the west side of Madison into the heart of downtown and campus. It felt great to be out on such a beautiful evening, cruising on my brand new, shiny bike. When I got home and parked my bike in my apartment for the first time (in the spot of my former Ceverlo), I realized that after many years of patience, my baby was finally home.

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Light at the End of the Tunnel

April 27th, 2010 — 9:53am


I realize I’ve been MIA. Even my family thinks so. This morning, my mom gently scolded in an e-mail, You haven’t e-mailed or blogged in a long time. Even Grandma is missing your blogs.

The thought of my grandma patiently checking my blog every day from her computer, only to find the same tired post makes me feel like I’ve let her down. And today is my grandma’s birthday. So here goes my comeback.

Keeping up with my blog has always been a priority, but sometimes life gets so crazy—you know how it goes. Sadly, this is the longest break I’ve taken from my blog since it’s inception in May 2007.

April is generally my worst month of the year in terms of workload at the office. Twelve hour days are routine and days off are not an option. Between my two jobs, I haven’t had a day off since April 10.  That coupled with training for my first ultramarathon has translated into nothing but working and running. But I’m not here to complain. The good news is that my work has been sucecssful. My training is coming along well. And my workload will become significantly more manageable after this Friday.

Finally. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

And to put it all into perspective, today I received one of those e-mails that helps me realize why I work as hard as I do. And why it matters.


I’d like to thank you very much for spending time with Elliot & myself last Monday. I truly believe, it was your enthusiasm that convinced Elliot that UW was the place for him. He went to the Post Office himself, to mail the deposit last Wednesday.

Thank you again,

Mrs. Bernstein

It’s a simple message. But it made my day. Hopefully I can do something to help make my grandma’s day special in some small way, too.

I’m glad to be back. Lots of cathing up to do here.

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The Early Days

April 8th, 2010 — 9:24am









Apparently I was very excited about running from the very beginning…

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