29 September 2011

peaceful, easy morning

I started this morning sitting outside with a cup of coffee, musing on the fact I only 5 days left in the UK while watching people drive to work (wrong side of the road), walking their dogs, and kids making their way to school (there is something so neat and tidy about the uniforms even when disheveled). 

*Not the cup of coffee from this morning 

I so could get used to this, it's amazing to me how everyone treats walking and cycling as something you just do rather than a means of exercise.  Most everyone walks--young, old, heavy, slim, smokers, all income levels, urban, suburban, rural in all types of weather conditions.

And another thing is how well behaved all the dogs are, I've only see one that had some socialization issues, but again, we're back to the walking bit, owners actually take their pets out for proper exercise.  I'm more committed to getting Elsie out for longer walks in addition to running with her after seeing this.

Ok, I have some castle ruins to go view today and a trip back to London to plan so just posting a smidge of the thousand plus pics I've taken so far


These Barclays Cycle Hire bikes in London actually get a fair bit of use, saw a lot of guys in business suits riding them

a swan pic just because :-)

 Some "mistakes" just turn out so cool

 Don't remember the location but very pretty

20 September 2011

Bound for Blighty

Am I allowed to call it that since I'm not a resident? Oh well, I like the alliteration so not changing it, complain in the comments if you have an issue with it :D.

So yes, I am all checked in waiting on my first flight with a huge thanks to one of my friends that offered to pick me up & drop me off thus saving a small fortune in parking or taxis.  Elsie is being spoiled by my sister and her family while I'm all kinds of sniffly about leaving my pupbaby behind--the only thing I'm not liking about this trip...oh the long arse trip across the Atlantic makes it 2 things I'm not liking.....wait a minute, let's add in the allergy-induced earache. Darn, I'm sounding crotchety, lol.

No, in reality I would be sitting here bouncing in excitement if 1)I wasn't drugged up on zyrtec 2) airport security would probably haul me away....this is gonna be such an adventure, I have a few things/people/places I want to see but there is no organized gotta be here and have such amount of time to do it plans. This is a laid back, explore and relax kinda trip.  

And I got my day kicked off to a great start by running 6 miles with some of my friends where I completely wrecked my straightened hair :-/. Totally worth it though, love you guys. 

18 September 2011

Trailing it

Yesterday was my first ever visit to Pinnacle Mt.........can you believe I've lived in this area for so long and never been here?  What a gorgeous place!!! And I can't think of a better first visit than to go with 3 of my friends for a trail run there.  No, we didn't go to the top--that's a hike rather than a run but we did get in 15 miles including some rather technical areas.

After last week's fubar long run I was kind of dreading and fearing this one........so thankful I was able to head out with the same great, extremely supportive group of friends......and I'm happy to say that while this one wasn't trouble-free it certainly was a redemption of sorts and a reminder that yes, occasionally I AM a runner, lol.

Thoughts on the day...........still need to find a nutrition source that's gonna work for me while running, I needed more than a gel at the halfway point, my stomach growled for 4 miles after that wanting food. The core workouts are paying off, no back soreness (knees, feet, left achilles are all a different story).  You have to pay attention!!!!!! The trails will bite you hard if you start daydreaming. It's ok to walk.  Laughter and fantastic convo even if it's bitching about how far we have left totally rocks and makes the miles fly by.

What are these berries?

These are all iphone pics so not the greatest quality

And then you get to eat!!!!!!!!!

Sigh of relief

As of Friday afternoon after cleaning my truck out completely (company policy if you take more than 2 weeks off) I am on VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!!  You cannot imagine how light and free I felt after turning in my work shop write up and got in the car heading back to my apartment......I knew the job had been weighing my mood and entire outlook on everything down but just didn't realize how far into the depths of ennui I'd fallen until then.  I felt physically lighter even (I'm not, actually at my heaviest that I've been for the past 3 years but that's another post).

Speaking of the job, it's not a good sign when one of your regular customers tells you that you might want to find a different route for a while.  Apparently the car maker that these parts are for have gotten a burr up their ass about some of the oxidization on the unpolished aluminum parts and while the supplier is getting their butts chewed on they are going to start refusing to load trailers with any damage, repaired or not.........the not is perfectly understandable but they would not even allow me to patch some pinholes with the metal tape I keep in the truck for that purpose--the same metal tape that the shops use by the way. What is not acceptable is that they refused my trailer because of a welded and riveted patch on the roof, one that showed absolutely no signs of water leakage whatsoever.  As they said, it's not my fault, the damage on these trailers are from the inside, I pick them up preloaded and sealed so no way for me to inspect until I'm empty at the dock.  Auto plant forklift & yard drivers are notoriously blase about causing damage to outside companies trailers so any trailer that's been on these routes for more than 6 months are going to have some damages.......Ended up not getting loaded until 4 hours after I already should have been rolling AND the shop where I went for repairs was shoddy with the caulk ($94 for that!!!!)  so I had to use the metal tape anyways.

Side rail damage on inside of trailer

Other work-related news.....the new dispatcher has been replaced finally.  As I've mentioned before, she's extremely nice but just isn't cut out to be a dispatcher especially on these dedicated routes.  I've only spoken to the NEW new dispatcher once on the phone but from what I've seen via the qualcomm communications he seems to be much more switched on.. 

Back to the trailers........since I was going to be t-calling whatever I pulled out of Laredo at my home terminal, I was set up with an OTR load.  Always an interesting prospect because most of the trailers that aren't on the dedicated routes don't go through shops near as often.  This trailer was no exception, a glance at the inspection sticker showed it to be a year since it had last went through a company shop and let's just leave it at the condition was less than optimal.......once I got back to the NLR terminal it was verified that the last time was 13 months ago, yikes.

Ok, enough of the work grumbles other than when I was turning in my writeup slips at the shop a driver was in the office who told me it just wasn't fair that I was taking 2 weeks off for vacation and a proper one at that.  Not teasing, he was serious. Ummm, yeah.  I more than deserve this time off and really it's not my problem that he isn't/doesn't/can't take his own vacations so a huge raspberry to him, lol.

Always prepared!!

The glad hand seal stash!! If you constantly drop/hook to different trailers then this is a must

12 September 2011

Music recommendation

Just had to share this music recommendation from MacDaddy's comment on my "New to me tunes" blog post.  Loving it!

Typhoon "CPR/Claws Pt. 2

Love all the cycling in this vid from them

Tennessee layover

Yep, last week I got to sit in middle Tennessee an extra 24 hours..........seems to have been a lot of laying over this month but hey, just one more week and I'm off on that much needed vacation.  Thanks to the layovers and Lola breaking down so much this summer I won't have near the funds I had planned on but I will deal, I very much need this time away from trucking.  

The packing in process, kind of a monochromatic palette

The layover wasn't all bad, thanks to the tropical storm moving through, temps dropped a lot--as in a 40-50F drop from what we have been experiencing and I got to go run aka play in the rain for 5 miles.  Happy girl!  Not only was it a refreshingly cool run, I managed an 8:59 per mile average with negative splits.  Very, very, very happy girl!!! 

Other tidbits from the week:

While I was standing in line to pay for my shower (only had Love's shower credits, no Pilot ones) a driver very kindly gave me one of his credits.  That hasn't happened for a while, although I've been known to do that for someone else when I have one available that I'm not gonna use.

There was actually a very polite group of drivers at the customer on Wednesday despite the delays for everyone.  Even had one stop to make sure I didn't need help with sliding my tandems, that rarely happens because it's usually rush, rush, rush, get outta my way there.  Guess the cooler temps had everyone in a better mood.

Shop kept my trailer hostage past my 14 hours after I left it there Wednesday evening so I ended up spending the night at home.  Had a very nice walk with a friend who happens to be a neighbor with our pups, enjoying those cooler temps still.

A bout of insomnia had me up and awake well before my alarm so instead of meeting the Thursday morning group, I got up and ran a timed run--50 minutes solo, then 17 minutes with Elsie.  Timed because I hadn't planned on being home and my garmin was in the truck.  I was up so early that I had my workout done, showered, and was pulling off the yard by 0700.

Yes, please!

I actually had a trailer preplanned so was in and out of Laredo in well under an hour Friday morning.

Dry and dusty Texas

Way too long trying to fuel at the Pilot/Flying J in Waco--damned fuel optimization software, that most of the large companies use had the place backed up, it's a bitch trying to get in and out of there traffic-wise, and of course you have some idiot drivers that insist on using ink pens or knives to punch in their info on the fuel pump keypads which resulted in me having to stand in line inside to get my fuel authorized.

Seriously, there is no call for this

Decided to try drinking unsweetened cranberry juice for the health benefits this week. Only way to get through it is drink it fast. Very, very, very, very fast.  Or maybe add vodka?

Pucker up!!!

It'll have to do

Sigh..............marathon training is not my forte.  As a matter of fact I hate the actual training bit where I HAVE to run a set amount of miles on a set (more or less) day. It sucks all the joy out of running for me, much prefer listening to my body or agreeing to a crazy-stupid long run on the spur of the moment with my friends.  I hate this so much that the Marine Corps Marathon this year will prolly be my second AND last marathon that I plan to do.  If I ever get to the place where I go out and run 18-20 milers just for the hell of it I won't rule out doing one off the cuff............as in not deciding to run one until the week before but nope, not signing up for another one months in advance ever again.

Yesterday totally sucked ass for me. Had a 14-miler on the schedule and made plans to run with my great friends which usually pulls me through even when I feel less than ideal but a hard couple of days of driving combined with eating practically nothing the previous 48 hours totally and completely caused me to fall apart less than 1/2 way through.  Such a shame too because we were running the Emerald trail with the dogs and Elsie was thoroughly enjoying herself.  Starting back up for the 2nd loop, I started getting light-headed--well actually it started when I was on the first loop with a bit of shakiness and like an idiot I didn't take my gel until it was waaaaaay too late. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I certainly know better than this.

So I start back down, make it back to my car and just sit drinking some Heed, waiting for the gel to work its magic--a Chocolate #9.  Totally awesome by the way, not sickly sweet like a lot of the other chocolate flavored gels from other brands and if I take it at the right time, I'm betting it's going to work very well for me.  Once I got  past some of the "ohmygosh I think I'm gonna pass out" stage I took back off for another 2 plus miles and didn't experience any queasy stomach issues like I have had in the past with some other types, RESULT!!!

Managed to squeeze out 9 miles and got in some nice chat time with friends--I'm reluctant to discuss them too much on the blog because of privacy issues, so I apologize if these recaps seem too self-focused on these group run recaps but I've yet to find a balance in talking about our great times and revealing too much about their lives. Just know that I would find it VERY difficult to get through a lot of these miles and times without them.

Oh yeah, back to the "long" run, since I didn't get my 14 in yesterday morning I planned on going home, resting up, EATING (!!!!!!) and trying to get the last 5 in last night before bed.  Honestly didn't hold out much hope that I would get out there and get all of it done but I'm--pleased? satisfied? those don't actually fit--well, it got done and while less than ideal, it'll have to suffice.

Elsie and I recovering

05 September 2011

What's on the agenda

One interesting thing I'm planning on doing while on vacation is attend the Cycle Show 2011 on one of the event days.  I don't think they'll turn me away at the door since I've only been on my bike twice this year, do you?  Maybe I should dust Buffy off, air up the tires, squeeze into the spandex and take her for a spin at least around the block before going so that I can say I really do  cycle occasionally.

My Jamis, reduced to art this year (ignore the crooked map, I certainly do)

04 September 2011

bits and pieces

Just a few items that don't really fit in any of the other posts I've written lately.

First off, you may notice that there's an actual url for my blog now :-).  Thanks to some nagging and a lot of work from the cranky person known as The Wondering Brit it got done finally.  It's both a very good thing and a curse being friends with a techy-geeky type person, not sure I recommend it.  Also I'm changing up the twitter accounts, I will be closing my old one and have started another with my @gabsatrucker name that's now unlocked.  I'm a bit stream of consciousness, no-holds barred, lotsa bad language, grumbly sort so prolly not safe for anyone who's easily offended.

Somehow I've evolved from a person who always had to have music on her solo runs to finding it distracting in the wrong way, almost kind of irritating.  Yes, I have gotten to where I like being able to hear my footfalls and breathing (when it's not atrociously humid that is).

The car has to go back in the shop because it's still cutting out a little and the check engine light came back on with my first drive after getting it out. Have I mentioned that every time I drive it at least 2 people will pull out directly in front of me.  As James said (yes, we still talk quite a bit), with my track record probably not the car I should be driving (4 instances of being hit around stops signs or lights).

Totally obsessed with Etsy.  Such an amazing array of handmade and vintage items, can spend hours on that site browsing.

Zico chocolate coconut water is to die for delicious........

as are the Ayala's Herbal waters.

And to cap this off, a huge, belated congratulations to Dr. Sue Black for being the 10th recipient of the PepsiCo WIN award for 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!  Be sure to read her post she wrote after receiving the award "If I can do it, so can you", you will see why she deserves this.  Sue is such an amazing lady and certainly an inspiration for me--still in a bit of awe that I got to meet her earlier this year.  She's also on twitter, definitely one of the must-follows :-)))).

on schedule

Second week of the new, get me through it, "just wanna survive this marathon" training plan is done.  And surprisingly despite my record this year, still on course. All distances have been met although the speed training has not occurred.  Yeah, yeah, laugh and scoff if you must but I just haven't seemed to have been able to keep things together workout wise for the past several months.  It's been a catch it when I can, try not to obsess over missing runs/workouts/etc kinda year.

Today was our Sunday morning run with the pups but 4 miles longer than usual, a couple of the girls are preparing for a west coast run so this week they're doing 3 ten-milers in a row (whew, tired just typing that).  That worked for me because I had 12 miles on my schedule and that would just leave me having to slog out 2 solo.  My only quandary was Elsie.  Up to now she's only ran 6-7 miles on Sundays with me and I wasn't sure she was up to 10 miles but hated not taking her because she does enjoy getting to run and romp off leash with us.

Please, can we run now?

My other concern once I woke up to get ready this morning was that it was sprinkling.  Normally if any kind of precipitation is going on, the mutt is hiding in the closet or under the couch and true to form that's where she was after her morning constitutional............right up to the point I put my running shoes on then she was at the door begging to go.  Still leery but I loaded her up to go anyways..............shouldn't have worried, once we got there she was zoom, zoom, zoom saying hi to everyone.  Me on the other hand........not so much.

Ready to run!! No, not really

Today was actually great weather, it was warm but we had a nice cool breeze every so often, overcast skies, and occasional sprinkles to kinda keep things from being overheated.  Unfortunately various hunting seasons are starting--dove season right now--so the days of running there may be limited......the anglers tolerate us but hunters kinda (and rightly so) don't like the game being disturbed by us gallivanting around.  There was the cutest little girl (she had a pink rifle!!) hunting with her dad who wanted to pet the dogs so Elsie got some attention.

Oh back to the actual running.....I struggled some, had a bit of achilles and foot pain on my left leg which I think is a holdover from the week's back trouble, but my breathing seems to be getting more in line with what it should be instead of the constant huffing like a freight train that I've done all summer (blasted humidity).  Elsie did great right up to around 8.5 miles then started slowing but she did quite well, I was very pleased.  My friends offered to keep her and wait on me while I finished up my 12 miles, oh those last 2 (well 1.64) were miserable with no one to talk to.  When I got back to our vehicles, Bren asked had I got my full mileage in and I said I was close enough, lol.  Still, that last .36 was nagging at me so after catching my breath I did laps in the parking lot to get 12 even.  Obsessed much?

Dirty shoes 

Dirtier tub--aftermath of Elsie's bath, one of the downsides of trail running

New to me tunes

You know I can't go without posting some new music that I've been loving lately.  The first The Naked and Famous are actually starting to blow up so you may have already heard some of their stuff on the mainstream stations but I'm loving "The Sun", such gorgeous blending of their voices

Next up is a group I just heard this morning, The Joy Formidable.  Love, love, love these vids from SXSW that were filmed at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop.  Only posting the one because I'm exhausted and have a 12 mile run tomorrow but I highly encourage y'all to check out the others.  They actually look like they're enjoying themselves on stage, such a rare thing.

02 September 2011

La Femme de Velo Tour

A friend of mine (that I haven't spoken to in quite a while) and my favorite not so local anymore bike shop is sponsoring Arkansas' first only female cycling tour this fall!  Very, very, very cool! Unfortunately, I will be on vacation in the UK on the day of, so no chance of me getting to participate in the La Femme de Velo Tour.

La Femme de Velo Tour

 First Annual-No Men Allowed!

 Sponsored by Bike City, Searcy Arkansas

 October 1, 2011

 20, 30, 50 mile options

   La Femme de Velo Tour-$30.00

 Check-In at St. James Catholic Church in Searcy no later than 7:15. 

Tour begins at 7:30am.
All riders MUST wear helmets!
This ride will offer limited support,
including directional signs, aid stations, and sag support.
There will be no local law enforcement acting as escorts or traffic control.

Register HERE.  And even though men are not allowed to ride in the tour, they most certainly are welcome to volunteer :-))).

As a side note, good luck and congratulations to Duane and Becky on their retirement. The shop is not gonna be the same for me with y'all gone

Need a laugh?

I am so going to get grumbled at for posting this, but really, it's hilarious and I can't seem to stop viewing it.  What's even funnier is that my aunt posted it briefly on a social media site I kinda despise so not naming it.  Even funnier?  Right after viewing it, I had a comment from a friend in the UK about how civilized they were (meant in jest, btw!).  Talk about timing, eh?  Oh, it may not be appropriate for work, so take that into mind before watching.

Her grumpiness

Has it really been almost a month since I last blogged? Wow, bad blogger. Bad, bad blogger. There probably is some appropriate punishment for the lazy bloggers--a bit of time in the stockade being flogged maybe?  Hmmm, just a case of declining interest by people more likely, certainly a case of oh my gosh she's still around, we'd forgotten all about her, lol.

So what's gone on since Lola was turned into a human crock pot.......I tentatively think the truck is finally fixed, only a few minor issues with the air conditioning for the past 2 weeks.  However I did stop to fuel in south Arkansas night before last and was confronted with this image when I stepped back into the truck and started to buckle up as I always do

Yep, that is my seat belt, snapped in half. Scary, eh?  Fortunately I was near a wal-mart so was able to buy a star driver hex head set to swap out seatbelts from the passenger seat to the driver's seat.  Those seatbelts aren't meant to come loose though........there was some grumbling, grunting, pushing and pulling with the socket wrench to get them undone.........Oh and liberal use of WD-40!!!  Afterwards, while putting away my tools and the oh so handy can of aforementioned WD-40, what did I find but a star driver set hidden away in a nook just like the one I had purchased only an hour prior........there went $23.97 plus tax, grrrrr.

Other work news....the new dispatcher is a very nice lady but she has our dedicated lanes so futzed up it's ridiculous.  Instead of keeping trailers down at Laredo for those of us who are dedicateds, she sees there's a trailer sitting there and thinks it must be dispatched out immediately and is doing so on OTR drivers. This in turn causes us to have to wait for trailers here, last weekend I was sitting from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon and having to check in with the office every 2-3 hours to see if one had crossed.  Not fun.  Today, I was at least assigned a trailer although I'm having to wait on it to cross.

Training, hey I've got a new plan now after it all went to hell last month.  There will be no personal records at the Marine Corps Marathon but I will do my level best to get across that finish line.  Last Sunday's long run was a 10-miler was 8 miles on the side of Loop 20 in Laredo, then 2 miles in a nearby neighborhood with Elsie.  Too much concrete, my legs and body were suffering from the no-give surface.  Tuesday, ran 6 miles with friends at home, then did a 5.55 mile run here in Laredo again.  This time I explored a neighborhood where there was a lot of new home construction so porta-potty score!!!!!!!!  Oh, probably only runners will get the importance of that, lol.

There's been lots more going on but this is turning into too long of a post already