Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Awesome, awesome, awesome.

HOLLA at my fellow SYTYCD fans and new Puffpiece readers Nicole, Chrises & Lesley! Now that I've told you my predictions are uncannily accurate, this week's will surely be all wrong. Let's see, shall we?

How is it I never stop being charmed by the "Here are your girls... and these are your guys" cross-over deal at the top of the show?

1. Kherington & Twitch, hip hop: Seriously, Twitch--lose the plastic frames. (Or perhaps Kherington could "accidentally" step on them.) They're dumb. That out of the way, I feel like this is the first proper hip hop routine we've seen so far this season. They got the dance down, they performed it well, they hit it hard, and they had fun with it. I kind of wish the choreographers could have incorporated more of Twitch's own style of popping in this routine, but otherwise I thought this was great.

Holy shit Mary Murphy is wearing GLITTERY SILVER FALSE EYELASHES.

2. Courtney G & Gev, Rhumba: Courtney's kind of killin' me in this package, with the "let's get ready to rhumba" joke and the "hi mom!" aside. Adorable. Their dancing is, for me, unpolished, actually, but fine. They're a very likeable couple, and their chemistry is fun, but given some of the other dancers in the competition, I just keep wishing week after week that they were better. Yeah, it's great that the inexperienced dancers are "pulling it off," but in a competition that's supposed to have America's most awesome dancers in it, it seems a little weak to me.

3. Comfort & Chris, (African) Jazz: To Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People," no less. When the music starts, I want this routine to be genius. I want it to be raw and dirty and sexy and awesome. It's... not. Tyce DiOrio + Marily Manson should equal supremely awesome, right? I mean... right??? There just wasn't enough passion here. And honestly, the music and choreography could have saved them, but the thing is, while these two are good dancers, they're not awesome performers. I like what Adam Shankman said here, that the music should have felt like it was really moving through them, and it didn't happen.

4. Jessica & Will, Disco: Fine, I GET IT, Will is Classy. I do not have to be sold on this guy, I'm already prepared to see him in the final four. That said, this routine was a mixed bag for me. At some parts, I thought it was delightful and fun. Others, clunky. Like, a teeny girl like Jessica shouldn't seem like a box of lead when she's being lifted, should she? I'm no expert, but I thought the lifts here were a bit heavy. I also feel like Jessica is constantly Trying Too Hard, whereas Will is just effortless, and maybe that's why the two of them consistently feel like such a mis-match. Still, it was cute.

5. Kourtni L & Matt, Contemporary: Oh, Matt, with your ninja mask. What?!? No. And who's this Sonya with her giant mohawk and her comic-book style? Hmm. As for the routine, I thought it was kind of weird and over the top, and really well done. I sometimes think good choreography can save weak dancers, and I think in this case good dancing kind of saved some weird-ass choreography. The faces were a bit much, but they were clearly having fun with it, and their technique was flawless, and I liked it.

6. Chelsea & Thayne, Quickstep: These old-fashioned ballroom routines make me want to watch Gene Kelley movies. It makes me wish these young dancers would watch them too, and understand how fun they're supposed to be. The quickstep in particular invariably comes out a little stiff from concentration, and this is no different. Thayne needs a new expression besides "40-watt smile." He's a cutie, but it feels inauthentic and I'm bored. Overall I think they did the steps, but it didn't blow my skirt up at all. (It's weird that the judges said kind of the same things here, by the way. Maybe I've been watching the show too much and I'm starting to read their minds/predict their critiques?)

7. Chelsie H & Mark, Hip Hop: These two are really growing on me every week. I think they're getting better, and they really seem to commit to every style and every character the choreographers throw at them. I didn't love the super-literal routine here, and I didn't care for the song, but I loved the dance and the couple anyway. Totally intense and believable and fantastic.

8. Katee & Joshua, Samba: Y'all know I'm mad in love with these two, but I'm kind of nervous for them with this routine because we haven't seen any formal partnering from them yet. From the first note, and the first drum of Joshua's fingers on the stair rail, I know I shouldn't have bothered. And then Josh starts moving his hips and I literally gasp and yell "DAMN!!" out loud in my living room. Twice. Oh, my. This routine is smokin' hot and perfect and I am even more in love with this couple than I was 3 minutes ago. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

I'm going to rewind my DVR and watch those last two again. So good.

As for predictions, this week is tricky. There were 4 outstanding routines, and 4 that were just okay. Not dancers, per se, but routines. Part of me kind of wishes Jessica & Will would end up in the bottom three so they could send away Jessica & see about maybe a new partner for Will, and maybe that'll happen this week. (If they paired him with Kourtni so our top 8 dancers were Kherington & Twitch, Kourtni & Will, Chelsie & Mark and Katee & Joshua? THEN we'd have a real competition.) But I'm going to assume America can see how brilliant he truly is, and allow the junior underdogs Courtney & Gev into the bottom three instead.

Staying: Kherington & Twitch, Jessica & Will, Kourtni L & Matt, Chelsie H & Mark, Katee & Joshua

Bottom Three: Courtney G & Gev, Comfort & Chris, Chelsea & Thayne

Of those three, Chris & Thayne have the most to worry about. One of 'em is going, and taking a partner with him.

One more prediction: I will be very much surprised if Joshua doesn't win this whole thing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

no time for a thousand words

Getting back to the gym and staying focused post-triathlon has been super hard. I need another goal. The margarita I had with lunch today probably isn't helping either. *Ahem.*

When we got back from Austin I was hoping for at least a week to just work slowly and bask in my accomplishment. As it turned out, work had other plans. We've been really, really busy, but in the best possible way. Most of the time, at least. Some days are harder than others. Lots of days end with client/press functions, which is super-fun, of course, but not good for the diet, or for after-work gym time.

In other news, I have a lot of Gemini friends, evidently. I celebrated happy birthdays with Roger, Chris and Amanda this past week. I also baked my first cherry pie. And you know what? I'm tired and have no time for a thousand words, so let's do this instead:

We went to the zoo with Mac's sister and her family.
Rusty, Uncle Mac

Roger's birthday was 50's-themed. I had all the clothes for an accurate ensemble just hanging in my closet.
Keith, Dinah

I went dancing for the first time in ages on Saturday night. I did NOT have an outfit for this, so I bought this dress. And then tested it out. (It worked beautifully.)
I just want to freak out

I made this from scratch.
Cherry Pie

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

surely I can sort this out

Aaaaaaaaaalrighty then. Let's get caught up:

Last week's results show kicked off with Wade Robson's latest creation, and Mac watched it with me and almost lost his mind over how weird and fun it was. Only one of the couples in the bottom three was one I'd predicted, but the one I did predict, Rayven & Jamie, was the one sent home.

Also, earlier tonight I went to a screening of Get Smart, and it was Awesome. And there was a dance-off in it, so yay! That's not all, there were a lot of other really great things about the movie, I'm just trying to stay on topic, kind of.

Let's get to tonight's show.

First of all, I would just like to say for the record that I'm kind of bummed that the adorable Cat Deeley was ever made to feel self-conscious about the way she says "judges," because now she always makes the audience say it for her, and, well, I miss the way she says it. *sigh*

1. Chelsea T & Thayne, Jazz: Raise your hand if you love a Mandy Moore jazz routine. Me too!! I like this couple, too, I think they're super cute. This routine, though.... The costumes were weird, okay. And I think they're great dancers, but the whole performance came out really tame and boring when I think it was probably supposed to be super fierce and dramatic. I'm with the judges on this one--meh.

2. Chelsie H & Mark, Argentine Tango: Beauty and the Freak! These two are so cute to me, oh my God. Also, when the music and the routine create a false ending in the middle, and you find yourself hoping it isn't actually over, that's a good sign, no? I find the adjective for these two together to me is... deft. They're swift, and focused, and smooth--deft. So nicely done. (Also do I need to say, again, some more, how fantastic and fabulous Cat Deeley is here, helping Chelsie out with her shoe? Love!)

3. Jessica & Will, Hip Hop: Oh, fine, these little packages are making me like the contestants more. I'm buying what they're selling, this whole "Will is classy and awesome and Jessica is a sweetheart" thing. FINE. Their routine is the first one to make me go "Wow" out loud. So precise, and yet so fun and relaxed at the same time. The choreography is brilliant, and their attitude is right on. Sure, Will is stronger than Jessica, (even "genius," as Mia said) but I thought she did great, actually. This is a big winner for me, so far. (Cat: "Word, Nigel. Word." OMG.)

4. Kourtni L & Matt, Foxtrot: If there were any more concerns about these two being "too heavy," I think they took care of them with this routine. I thought it was dreamy. I mean, you hear "foxtrot" and you think "boring," but this made me wish I could foxtrot so I could do this routine. Now, the judges give these two a lot of criticism, but it's interesting, because most of it is actually constructive advice to help them be better, and most of it is geared towards two really proficient dancers. Plus, they offer this kind of constructive criticism to some of the other dancers, but no one gets as much as these two. By the end of their critique I was feeling like, "Well... I thought it was dreamy, but y'all had a lot to say...because these two are so good you expect them to be better? Um, okay. I still think they're dreamy, then."

5. Courtney G & Gev, Contemporary: So, I'm watching, and it's nice, and their chemistry is great, and then it dawns on me how gracefully Gev is dancing, and I'm like, whoa. These two, for me, are kind of the underdogs in the competition because they're just this side of immature. I just wish they each had an ounce more strength or experience to be able to pull off their routines. That said, I thought that despite a few stumbles here & there, they did a pretty beautiful job with a very sweet routine that really suited their personalities. (Also, I heart Mia Michaels. She's always so constructive and honest with the dancers, yet classy enough to be gentle as well. I want to grab her & Cat and go get some pink drinks and gossip about just how lecherous Nigel really is. They live here in LA, surely I can sort this out.)

6. Katee & Joshua, Broadway: After last week, I have high hopes for these two. (Oh, and Tyce is welcome to join Cat, Mia and me for cocktails. Call me!) When I see they're dancing to "All for the Best" I squeal a little bit, because it's one of the numbers I learned in my musical theater dance class at the Y last fall. As for the number, I find it delightful. Granted, it's probably going to take a major screw-up for these two to end up in the doghouse for me, but this was so much fun, and so well done! As soon as I rewind my DVR to watch it again I know I have a new winner for the night. To the point that I don't care what the judges think, but I feel a little smug when I finally let it play afterwards and see Nigel get up out of seat and dance around because he's so overcome with the awesome that is Katee and Joshua. Love love love love.

7. Susie & Marquis, Salsa: Susie can finally show who Susie is? Oh, dear. And I think that vein in her forehead is coming to get me. Oh, fine, you caught me, I still don't like her. As for the dancing, for me it was a hot mess. I think these two are kind of the opposite of Katee & Joshua--they'd probably have to have lightening & moobeams & rose petals literally shooting from their hands and feet for me to be impressed, and I know I'm maybe not being fair, but this just didn't do it for me at all.

8. Kherington & Twitch, Viennese Waltz: Is it just me, or are these two the best-looking couple on this show? My, my, so much pretty. And so is their dancing. I'm starting to believe that Kherington can do anything she puts her mind to--she's vibrant and effortless here. Twitch isn't quite as effortless, but for a popper? DAMN. He really went for it and succeeded here, for me. Very graceful, both of them. I didn't need the heart-tugging story about Jean-Marc's daughter to make this piece moving for me, but knowing how personal it was for him just made me glad that these two did it so, so beautifully.

9. Comfort & Chris, Krump: YES. I love a good krumping routine. And this one's pretty good, actually. Not as tough as I would I have liked it, maybe, but I think they pulled it off for the most part. I think this is the most mis-matched couple of the competition, so I think they're kind of at an unfair advantage, just in general. This routine really showcases how mismatched they are, both in terms of size and in dancing style. Comfort is tiny and her moves are tight. Chris is big and his movement here feels big. I thouht they did a fine job, but I wish they could have found a way to overcome the differences in their physicality to match their dance styles better.

Overall, I think it's going to break down like so:

Chelsie H & Mark, Jessica & Will, Kourtni L & Matt, Courtney G & Gev, Katee & Joshua, Kherington & Twitch

Bottom Three:
Chelsea T & Thayne, Susie & Marquis, Comfort & Chris

In conclusion, Mary Murphy's cleavage scares me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hip hop made me cry.

I don't know if I'm done talking about my triathlon yet, but it's definitely time to talk about So You Think You Can Dance. When I got back to LA, there was a prize for me waiting in the DVR: FOUR HOURS of dancing to catch up on. Eee!

Now I'm watching last night's top 20, so before I get into my thoughts on last night's 10 couples, here are my thoughts on the top 20 in general: I think they got about 18 of them right. I do not like Susie from Miami. She reminds me of one of these girls. But what really stings is that she IS in the top 20, and that darling Kellie (her mom is Bonnie Story, you know the one), gets pinged for... not enough personality? But Kellie, to me, was a beautiful dancer. Watching her first audition, I thought she'd not only be Top 20, but that she had the potential to win the whole thing.

It's just disappointing because one of the things I love about this show is that, most of the time, it focuses on the dancing. I mean, I get that they're also casting a show, of course. But I feel like when you make a decision to choose big personality + decent dancing over mild personality + brilliant dancing, then you're A) pandering and B) pandering to an audience that may not even exist. Fox, Nigel, just for the record: we really do watch this for the dancing. We like dancers with a personality and we don't like jackasses, but we really watch for the dancing.

As for the guys, I love so many of them and I'm thrilled they made it. I'm really bummed about the Gene Kelly dude. You know the one I mean. I just loved his style and would have loved to see what else he could do on the show. But they packed the dudes full of contemporary dancers, and he'll just have to come back next year.

Final gripe before I get into the Ten Couples: WHERE the F is SHANE SPARKS?????

I missed him all through the first rounds of judging, but when the first hip hop routine of the season ISN'T a Shane Sparks routine, it just feels all wrong. BOO!! Someone screwed up for him not to be here this year, is all I'm saying. That said, let's get into this:

1. Rayven & Jamie: A ballet dancer and a ballroom dancer doing a routine by hip hop choreographer couple (HHCC?) Tabitha and Napoleon. Like Dan said, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. It was cute, but I prefer my hip hop with a little more funk, a little more nasty, and hitting a lot harder, and while they did the steps, they didn't quite get there.

2. Susie & Marquis: Doing the smooth waltz. They mess up a lift, recover, and while their carriage and lines are pretty, their chemistry falls a little flat for me. Given how much I dislike Susie, I must say her dancing is decent. They get a lot of props from the judges for getting through it because it's so hard, and I'm just like, "It's supposed to be hard, but they're Top 20. They should be getting through it. Nice standards, guys." Are they complimenting the dancing to justify having her on the show, maybe? Feh.

3. Kourtni L & Matt: Jazz. This girl, I LOVE. I think she's darling and I love the way she moves. I also love that they're the Tall Couple, because dancers are usually so wee. I loved this routine, and they had good chemistry, but Kourtni really outperformed Matt here. Nigel's assessment of Matt is right on--he needs to loosen up. Dan is also right, that they should have attacked the routine more, but so far this is my favorite.

4. Chelsea T & Thayne: Cha cha. The routine is sexy and fun and they're definitely on Mary's Hot Tamale Train. They're both strong and performing well, and that Chelsea is SENSATIONAL. Love her. Thayne is adorable, but he's going to have to learn to keep up with her a bit more.

5. Chelsie H & Mark: Mia Michael's contemporary. These two are kind of Beauty and the Freak. This little girl is crazy young and cute and sweet, and Mark is this fun, weird dancer. The routine is fantastic, they dance is beautifully. Their timing, in particular, is fantastic, and I think they're a a strong couple together.

6. Kherington & Twitch: Broadway! I didn't love Kerrington in her initial bio package, but I did love her dancing. Of course they're selling the Twitch Story hard, but I love him, and I also love his dancing. This performance, for me, is full of WIN. Tyce's routine is fantastic and builds really nicely. In this style, Twitch is clearly both out of his element, and totally committed and winning at it anyway. And that Kerrington, man. Not to go all Mary Murphy, but she really is a joy to watch on stage. I actually squealed and clapped watching this routine.

7. Comfort & Chris: Jive. Oh, jive is so hard to get right, and we have a hip hop dancer and a contemporary dancer. I think they get the steps right, but it needs a little more energy for me. I feel like Chris is pulling faces to create personality, when it should just be naturally coming through in his dance, and I feel like Comfort is just concentrating her ass off. But, nice job. And that Comfort is adorable.

8. Katee & Joshua: Hip Hop. First off, I LOVE Joshua. Super talented, and darling personality. I want to hug him. Now that's out of the way, y'all this routine made me cry. Hip hop made me cry. Katie was kind of awesome, and I wasn't expecting that. Joshua, though, was BRILLIANT. Just... watching him dance this routine is like watching magic on stage. I gasped when I watched this and then re-wound it immediately to watch it again. Between them and Kerrington & Twitch, I have a tie for my favorite routine and couple of the night. Wow.

9. Jessica & Will: Tango. Hi, Will is hot. Jessica, to me, is just fine. And in this routine, I feel kind of the same. Will might actually be the closest thing this show has to a perfect dancer. He's really divine here. Jessica does a fine job of keeping up but, as Nigel says, a few wobbles. Tango is hard to pull off with most couples here, but I thought they were pretty great. NOT the couple to beat, as Mary said (See 6, 8), but pretty great.

10. Courtney G & Gev: Disco. Courtney is a Knicks dancer, Gev is a hip hop dancer from Kazakhstan. These two have good chemistry and are clearly having fun, but the routine is a little weak. And Gev needs to be a stronger partner, especially the lifts.

PLEASE STAY: Kourtni L & Matt, Chelsea T & Thayne, Chelsie H & Mark, Kherington & Twitch,Comfort & Chris, Katee & Joshua, Jessica & Will

BOTTOM THREE: Rayven & Jamie, Susie & Marquis, Courtney G & Gev

We'll see how my opinions & predictions match up tonight!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dinah: 1. Death: 0.

I finished!
We Win!!!

I thought I was gonna die, but I didn't. Dinah: 1. Death: 0. As for the whole rundown of how I did, I warn you now--it ain't pretty. Oh, and it's a long story, so if you just want to skip ahead to my slow, slow times, they're at the bottom.

Race Day started when Mac & I left the hotel with plenty of time to get to the race site, get me into the transition area & set up my gear, and call/text all my race buddies to make sure we could meet up. Then, we got lost. I ended up getting into the transition area with about 5 minutes to set up all my gear and get the heck out. I found my friend Loren, who suckered me into this in the first place, and ended up hanging with her until our wave started. Just as we were waiting to get into our swim corral, my friends Susan & Hilary found me! After many hugs and high fives all around, it was time to swim.

I'd done one other open water swim before this, but nothing prepared me for this. The water was super choppy and there was a strong current pulling everyone to the left. I started off with my nice long stroke and my "I'm a superhero!" mantra (I know it's silly, but it usually works), and then there'd be water in my face, in my mouth, up my nose. Then I'd realize I'd been pulled by the current and I'd have to get back on track. Then I'd get kicked in the face. I didn't experience any bad anxiety, thank God, and I never needed a noodle to hang on to, but the whole thing was a struggle. After all my careful training, I did a whole lot of doggy-paddle & sputtering. My best time in the pool was around 27 minutes; this swim took 37.

Still, finishing the swim was thrilling! I hauled my dizzy butt through my first transition slowly and still managed to forget my sunglasses (a big bummer on bike on a sunny, windy day). And then I was off on the bike.

First of all, the bike course was full of more hills than I ever expected or trained on. Second, the hybrid bike I rented was easily 50% heavier than my bike at home. Third, it was super windy out there. So, not the best conditions ever. BUT I biked up most the hills (and walked/pushed my bike up a few steep ones, because, OW), and used the downhills and flats to pick up speed. The wind was a little scary, but knowing how hard the uphills would be I knew I'd need the momentum (and help on the time), I just decided "No Fear!!" and peddled and went as fast as I could. It was a beautiful course, as well. Had the course been a little flatter, I probably could have done it in a nice, respectable time. As it is, I finished the bike in an hour and 16 minutes.

By the time THAT was done, I was exhausted. Had it not been Race Day, and someone asked me to even go on a light, breezy walk, I would have been like, "Um, no. The only left on my agenda today is a bath, some ice cream and a good book, THANKS."

But it WAS Race Day.

God Bless Loren Faye in this moment. Because as I pulled into the transition area, there she was, waiting for me. She'd kicked my butt in the swim and the bike, and now had a super-long transition time waiting for me so we could do the 5k together. When started walking she asked, "Are you still going to be my friend after this, since I talked you into one of the Hardest Races Ever?" To which I replied (in between panting), "Um, DUH." And here's where we were just really slow (totally my fault) and walked pretty much the whole 5k. Even when I got my legs back, I just couldn't do it. Y'all it was HOT. The high for the day was 99, so we had to be walking in about 95 degrees of blazing hot sun. And as much as I was super hydrated and fueled with proper nutrition & sports drinks, the heat was just really brutal. (My friend Susan warned me about the heat and I tried to train in heat & acclimate before the race, but our lovely Southern California weather never went over 80/85 in the last weeks leading up the race.) There was a long hill at the end of the course (what sadist plotted THAT out, I'd like to know??), and the heat actually HURT. But with Loren's help, and the ice cold water of some fabulous volunteers, and all the support I knew I had to finish, I just kept plugging away.

I would have liked to have done more jogging this whole time (Straight up: I jogged for the cameras, and that's about it). In the end, my legs aren't as wrecked as I actually think they should have been. And I keep looking back at this part and feeling frustrated that I didn't get to do all the jogging I'd trained.

But when we finally spotted the finish line I finally just thought, "F--- it," and jogged the last, like, 50/100 yards of the course. I got a double high five from Danskin spokeswoman and professional hard-core triathlete Sally Edwards as I crossed the finish line, got my medal and my water, and seriously felt like I might throw up. I think if I'd done any more jogging in that heat, I definitely would have thrown up, if not passed out. So it's probably best for my health that I didn't jog, I guess, but my final time for the 5k was a super-slow 55 minutes. UGH.

(Also: after doing the whole race and feeling more hot & exhausted then I've ever felt before, we had to walk about 1.5 miles back to the car. I thought I was gonna die.)

Overall, this event was the hardest thing I've ever chosen to do. It's also one of the BEST THINGS I have ever chosen to do. First of all, I made some awesome new friends by doing this (What up TEAM QUESO!!) But mostly, throughout the whole event, I kept thinking, "This water is really choppy (blrargh/garrgle/spleft/mloey/pleh/sputter) . . . but I'm gonna do this anyway." "Trying to bike up these hills on this bike, in this wind, is really super painful (Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.).... but I'm gonna keep peddling anyway." "Just walking in this brutal heat, after everything else I've already done today, is one of the most exhausting things I've ever done, and I really want to stop. (OMG I'm dying!) But I won't stop; I'm going to keep walking anyway."

It ended up being this profound experience. The medal we all get when we finish the Danskin says, "The woman who starts the race is not the same woman who finishes the race." Truer words were never printed on a pointy metal award. After all, the next time I find myself in a tough spot, faced with doing something I'd rather not do, I think I'll be a whole lot less likely to quit. I think I'll just plow ahead and do it anyway.

So. Will I do it again? You bet your sweet bippy I will. (And I'm taking some of you with me, so look out!!) This event has not only taught me so much about training, and what I need to do for the next one. All my training for this one didn't really prepare me for all the conditions of the course, but it did prepare my overall strength and stamina. And willpower, for that matter.

This race has also forced me to give up my old mantle of "Most Un-athletic Person I Know." Which, aside from raising money for breast-cancer research, is the main reason I wanted to do this. I just got tired of being this sad sack of couch potatoes, moping around going, "I'm just not athletic/coordinated/good at sports. I can't do athletic things." I set out on this journey to prove to myself that I CAN do athletic things if I want to. I might not be the fastest or strongest, but I can do it if I want to!!

And now I am officially a tri-athlete. I haven't signed up for any other races yet, but I will. I want to keep up my training, of course. Plus, man, I have GOT to get a better time. And then a better one, and then a better one....

Finally, I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have been reading along this journey for all your love and support and prayers--they helped so very much. Also: Thank you to Amy for introducing me to Athleta, home of the world's cutest workout gear. Thank you to Matti, for all the travel-sized beauty products that really came in handy this whole weekend. A HUGE thank you to Team Queso, for all the supportive emails leading up to this race, for encouraging me when I thought I couldn't keep going, and for the actual queso (and cake, and beer) after the race.

And, of course, Big Love and gratitude to my dear friend Loren, for talking me into this in the first place, and then waiting for me and sticking with me that whole walk. I am so proud of us for crossing that finish line together--We Rock Shut Up!!

And, last but not least, my fabulous husband Mac, who encouraged me on the days I didn't want to go to the gym, who listened when I went on and on about all my training endeavors, who didn't bat an eyelash no matter how much I spent on gear (this sport ain't cheap, y'all), and who never once wavered in his belief in me, that I could do this.

Thank you thank you thank you everyone! And don't forget, the next time I do this, I'm taking you with me!

My Results

Oerall Rank

Class Rank


Swim Rank



Bike Rank




Run Rank



2473 of 2592

327 of 376












Friday, June 06, 2008

Number 2785

I have an official race bib number. On Sunday, I will be Number 2785.

We got to Austin yesterday and went directly to the Whole Foods flagship store (aka Willy Wonka's Organic Foods Factory) for lunch, because they have the best salad bars you've ever seen.

Today, it is raining. says it's going to rain until Monday, with possible thunderstorms on Sunday. Now the only thing I'm more nervous about than doing the race is not getting to do the race after all my hard work. Not that it would be canceled due to just rain, but I hear lightening around lakes is dangerous.

So right now I'm praying for decent weather. Dry roads would be best for biking, but hey--I've biked in hail and I know how to work my brakes on a wet road. I can take a couple rain drops. Swimming in rain is... whatever, we're already wet. Running is fine, because at least it won't be a million degrees hot, which was the initial concern. I did a light, 30-minute walk/jog around the neighborhood where I'm staying, and either from rain or humidity or sweat or, like today, a combination of all three, it's just going to be a wet race. And that's fine.

I'm as ready as I'm going to get. I have a Race Plan (because when the Going Gets Tough, Dinah Makes a Spreadsheet), I have all my gear, I have a bike reserved, and I'm as trained as I can be. I might be doing a little more walking than I would like, but I'm okay with it.

All I need now is some last-minute encouragement to help quell the general anxiety & nerves I've been feeling all week. I'm going to collect them all and read them the night before my race, and remember that I am loved and supported and I CAN DO THIS!!

Thanks to everyone who has already called or emailed their support! Also, if you're feeling generous and want a little warm fuzzy for yourself today, feel free to click here and donate to the Team Survivor pledge program. This isn't like other races, where you have to commit to raise a certain amount of money. BUT there's no harm in kicking in a couple bucks for breast cancer research is there? If you want to do it in my name, then use the info below:
Name: Dinah McLean
Hometown: North Hollywood, CA
Race City: Austin, TX

Thanks everyone!!!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

you hadda be there

Trying to choose just one phrase from this fantastic R.E.M. concert review was so difficult. My mom should go to more shows and write more reviews, I think. Don't you?


Last night we attended the REM concert at Red Rocks, and it was quite a memorable experience on many levels. First of all, I insisted that with GA tickets we needed to get there fairly early to get good seats, because it's first come, first pick of seats. So with the gates opening at 5:00 for a 6:30 concert I didn't feel it was unreasonable to get there around 4:00. Arriving at 4:15 at the parking lot at the "top," we only had a 45 minute wait in beautiful sunny weather till we could enter the gate from somewhere near the middle of a long line. But before we could enter, all our drinks had to be de-capped....yes, apparently they're afraid we'll toss our bottles of water and pop at the performers if they have caps on them. Fortunately, I had put the drinks into a plastic lunch bag so they didn't get all over the place as we carefully avoided getting knocked over as people tore past us to get the best seats! I made no mention of the two frozen bottles of water that were keeping our sandwiches cold, but Bud probably would have had he known. Think what good missiles they would make!!

Even though we parked at the top lot, we decided to go on down to the front section and were able to get seats in row 20. We proceeded to enjoy our ham and cheese on rye sandwiches and a couple of $7.00 beers (while our opened drinks went flat). The first two bands were not our favorites, but they did have their following of adoring kids. "The National" was tolerable, but in retrospect, not loved too much because people actually sat in their seats for most of the performance. A group of old hippies/bikers? in front of us started passing joints early in the show. So I didn`t feel too bad about my hidden frozen capped waters. I guess the no smoking rule doesn't apply to anything but tobacco! Ha, ha! Anyway, no one seemed to mind about the smoke. I think they were all jealous that they didn't have any.

After enduring the loud grueling throb of "Modest Mouse" or, as one of our fellow folks in line called them, "shy rodents" we were starting to wonder if we'd made a mistake in spending $150 for this lovely evening. Bud kept trying to determine if he was the oldest person there when a REALLY old hippie with a long white beard and wild white hair with little braids here and there came around selling hemp ice cream. Tourists were getting their pictures taken with the hemp ice cream sellers. Anyway, we decided that Bud was indeed older. After all, we are older than the hippie generation. We passed on the ice cream.

After an intermission, during which time they set up for the Main Event, we were all poised for a fabulous show. Needless to say, it was beyond any expectations I had. By then it was dark, the rocks around us were lit so they jumped out like a surreal Parrish print. When the music and the accompanying light show commenced, we were bowled over! When they played the second song, "What's the Frequency, Kenneth? " from my favorite Monster album, I was totally hooked. It was incredible. The light show, which included a grid of moving faces of the band members and colors and shapes and words to appropriately accompany each song,
only enhanced our nearly overloaded senses. I thought it was amusing when they played "Losing My Religion" that they focused the lights and cameras on the audience as they sang, "that's me in the spotlight losing my religion." And then the audience was on the screen. Well, you can read the reviews, but you hadda be there.

Well, a good time was had by all. And those great seats? No one sits during these concerts--the whole time!! But I didn't mind standing during the REM segment as we'd been sitting for 3 hours before that! I was able to navigate the stairs with frequent "rests," but I noticed a lot of young people resting too! I am experiencing considerable soreness in my calf muscles, but that's fine. I don't want to wait too long before we go again.

I hope you've enjoyed my "review."
Love you,