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Wednesdays were Wonderful

And we still remember. Here the excitement of weekdays past lives on.


Wednesday, the 23rd of June, 2010

It is Midsummer, in the original sense of the word, when the day is longest; who will prove strongest? Groovers brought out the best in each other once again. Sterling runs a six-minute mile pace, with Michael E right behind (after a Tuesday track workout!). Norbert almost caught almost-Olympian Adrienne Binder in the swim, Kyle outright won the duathlon. Emily swam a half-mile in the ocean sans wetsuit. She has her mother’s muscles and motor!

We headed to Sharkeez to celebrate Josh’s and Kelly’s birthdays, and life itself: Karen had made a bone-marrow donation. Kristen kept bopping to the music, and knew all the words. What is life if not that which keeps going? You know our love would not fade away.

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Wednesday, the 9th of June

Another Wednesday, another slew of great performances by Groovers. Again Sterling wins his age group. Lisa does her first duathon. Local star Melissa Marsted shows up and is edged out by three seconds by son William. Taj rules the duathlon, and Karen outright wins it.

And that was just the beginning. Our own Kirsten Candy was the starring attraction at the best party in Santa Barbara. And those were original songs, by the way!

After that, the party continued at the Neighborhood. The music was loud, and ranged from James Brown to Little Feat via Rage Against the Machine. We learn that Michael won a wetsuit that evening in the Nite Moves raffle! Natira is thinking of having a Solstice party, and everyone agrees to attend. We have a discussion about whether it's right (in general; the specifics were outside our group) to tell X that Y is just no good for him/her. No conclusion though.

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Wednesday, the 2nd of June

Back to the past, and in the past, the water was colder. As far as swimming is concerned, we are still waiting for the summer to appear. It seemed like we never caught our breath during the swim today, although the water was at least reasonably calm. A bit of overcast kept the sun out of our eyes too. That was enough to keep Karen in her accustomed place in front of the pack. Matt was in sighting, almost drafting distance of her too. Josh and Lizzie both squeezed in under the 20-minute mark which is becoming a target and a dividing line between the hot and the merely warm performances. Which also suggests that our distance really is longer than 1000 meters, and longer than it used to be too.

Out of the water, and up the hill... and where is the familiar face of Lisa, usually at the front of the running pack? This time she made (and looked) like a seal, donned the wetsuit, and performed the wholly unnatural act (for a runner) of swimming! Talk about a baptism of fire. (Talk about mixed metaphors.) The Nite Moves swim has always been one of the toughest around. Conversely, Desa left the water to Lisa, and played her strongest hand with her strong suit of running, crossing the line at exactly 20 minutes. Fast as that was, Sterling was probably already dressed and dry, having finished more than a minute earlier, again winning his intensely competitive age group. Right behind Desa were Sam and Kirstin (who won her age group too). The vast bulk of the field were behind these fleet feet: the field of the run numbered almost 250. Sure is a popular thing to run up and down that f♨☟☹ing hill.

Speaking of popular, who could be more important in Our Town than our own Lizzie? Everybody knows her, and to know her is to love her. Proving that, everybody got to participate in celebrating her last birthday in her current age group (25-29?), and added cake to the health food diet of beer and ice cream. Even Jake Clinton got into the act, singing Happy Birthday. And after that, the ’Hood — clearly the hip place to be, as we saw plenty of post-Moves faces there. By the way, her hubby’s birthday is Sunday.

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Wednesday, the 26th of May

One stroke forward, two strokes back: the water was face-freezing cold again. Where’s global warming when you need it? That didn’t stop world-class distance swimmer and youngster Adrienne Binder from trouncing the pack this Wednesday. The rest of us followed as best we could, that including of course Karen and Andrea winning their age groups, with Andrea going on to win hers for the aquathon also. (Karen was passed only by the amazing Dani Lipski.)

In the 5k, Sterling continues to show his true stripes (spots?) as a cheetah, running at a blazing 6-minute pace; similarly Lisa and Kirstin were (again) first in their respective (and highly respectable) age groups. Kirstin probably heard Sam’s footsteps right behind her as an incentive! After the event, we watched the full moon rise over the ocean. People couldn’t seem to tear themselves away from the beach, but there was another event beckoning.

Down at the Brew Co lounge we were celebrating Andrew’s birthday — just one in a string starting with Taj’s last week, continuing with Lizzie’s next week, and possibly on into the summer. He is as old as the novel To Kill a Mockingbird: both turned 50 this year. As it happens, the issues raised and examined in that story continue to rile the nation, and politics are never too far away as long as we have Josh and Brian to stir things up. The question of the day: are California Propositions more trouble than they are worth?

Another table was investigating the Heisenberg principle: observing a pool player had an effect on his performance. Unlike Chauncey Gardener, you can’t merely watch.

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Wednesday, the 19th of May

We started celebrating this Wednesday with a windy wavy navy, heading out to the first buoy... just a bit warmer than it was the day before, but barely. Desa tried to swim out to the oil rigs.. I’ll race ya! That didn’t help her swim time but she nonetheless showed all the swimmers how running is supposed to be done by passing them somewhere up or down Shoreline Drive.

Andrea clearly put first things first after winning her age group (as usual) in the aquathon. Why don’t they set up the beer garden by the transition area? So that people like Sterling, who zoomed to a first in his highly competitive age group, don’t get all the beer first. Not to be outdone, Lisa took her age group and probably owes it to Sam, who was right on her heels. Karen, as usual, was out of the water ahead of almost everybody.

It was hard to leave the scene of the crime, but we kept the party going all the way to the Brew Co Lounge, where despite the plenitude of Lakers fans, we found our own space. In which, miraculously appeared a cake, to remind us that this is the last year for Taj in the easy age group. Next year he has to go toe-to-toe with the pros! Athletes of all ages planned their next triumphs, and at the end of the evening we were all dreaming with GiGi.

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Sunday, the 9th of May

Happy Mother’s Day! We have a few Groovers who manage to combine family and fast flying feet. Of course we would be the avant garde in all ways... the NY Times has an article on this very topic. Let’s celebrate our moms and try not to get blown away by today’s high winds.

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Wednesday, the 5th of May

It’s Cinco de Mayo and the first Nite Moves of the year. Talk about synchronicity. It was a party scene all over town, but the bestest party of all was down at Leadbetter Beach. Things were very well organized, unlike some years when Day One resembled nothing so much as guerilla warfare. That would still be a good description of the swim start, at least if you were up front. The water was way warmer than at the UCSB tri, no brain freeze today. But the currents were unusual, or at least not the simple west-to-east we are used to. Times were fairly slow, indicating a long course or something else holding us up.

Andrea is clearly a fine wine, just getting better, first Groover out of the water with Josh not too far behind. Then came Andrew (who apparently will be “Andras” for the duration of this year’s Nite Moves results) and Sarah Iron-Mandes, who had the fastest transition ever: it looked like she didn’t even stop. That must have helped her win her age group in the Aquathon, as did Andrea.

But for those who stayed dry, it was a points night for the SBAA Grand Prix, and they were pumped! Ricky came in under 17 minutes, Laura T was first woman across the line, Desa, Lisa, and Liz were separated by less than a second, Matt Trost, Taj and Sterling by just a few more, Sam and John H in a dead heat.. people were pushing it! Tek, the other Matt T, Sam, Dave, Laurel, Natira, Laura V, Shajan... our entire crew were out there. And we also should mention the return of the Groove’s favorite personal trainer Chinadoll Cisney.

People milled around a lot longer at Moves than we usually do at the Grooves — well, of course. There was beer! After that, festivities moved to the Neighborhood, which was rocking with both the post-Moves and the Cinco de Mayo crowds. It looks like the Endless Summer has started. ¡Viva Miércoles!

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Wednesday, the 28th of April

All’s definitely well that ends well, and this year’s run of Nite Groove certainly ended well today. We started out at Taj’s place in Goleta and ran out to Campus Point and back in very windy conditions. Nobody got blown into the ocean; all returned intact but quite sweaty: some chasing going on there.

It was a BYOB dinner and we were well supplied. Food was take-out Chinese (amazing, not pizza!) and satisfied all. We got plenty of useful fortunes from the cookies, and all looked forward to finding out if they would actually play out in bed. Über-massage therapist Kelly showed up to say hi but then had to retire, being under the weather. She has new straight hair. “Excuse me, but don’t you have a sister named Kelly?” Taj had a set of Burning Man photos from years gone by to show us what a real party looks like — by contrast we were like a bridge club.

What’s in a name? asked Shakespeare in a play that Desa is teaching her students. Laurel and Andrew discussed the etymologies of names with “-el”. Sarah M will have a new job with Air Combat Command, in southern Virginia. I wouldn’t want to be on the side opposite her. Andrew will have a new job with Sonos designing musical electronics. But for really new changes in life we have our friend Amy, who has moved out of our town but not our hearts. She & her other half are on the short list for becoming foster parents. We expect minute-by-minute updates on Facebook!

With the end of Grooves comes the start of Moves, of course. Lisa, Desa, and Sam could be heard talking anti-trash: “No, you will pass me.” Desa has been getting some PT from Mike Swan, and says it’s tougher than back-to-back Pier-to-Peaks. Julia G bemoaned a back injury that had her scratch from a tennis tournament to a youngster — oh the ignominy. But she predicts a sound thrashing of Brian. He’s going down 6-2 at best.

Natira had to cut out early to pick up her sister Chelsea, who we missed. We told horror stories to scare Kirsten for her first Wildflower triathlon, but at least she won’t be shivering in a tent. Andrew and Irwin discussed Kant and pretended that they actually knew what was going on.

And what is going on? The Wednesday tradition! See y’all next week in Jerusalem, er, Leadbetter.

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Wednesday, the 21st of April

Vanished the hint of summer we had last week; Dave suggested we have cars waiting down at the bird refuge to drive us back so we could just run east twice, rather than face the headwind at the turnaround. The wind was so stiff there was a break, and surfers, at Leadbetter.

Somehow we managed the return trip, possibly inspired by knowledge of the futrure: dinner at Ann Marie’s place. It was the coolest place to be this Wednesday. To celebrate Sarah’s return from the Other Coast, Karen baked a cake that looked just like a balloon. And balloons mean Spring, don’t they? Laura brought her kids so we would feel that it was a proper family gathering, and one of them got a special table. Liz and Desa made us feel like it was a jammie jam, dressed in their fuzzy warm colors.

Only a few (tall) people bumped into the chandelier; when they did, it marked time as a slow pendulum. And Dave, noting that next week would be the last Grooves, announced that we would drown our sorrows at Taj’s place next week. But no need for despair, the party will just get bigger after that. (That means: Nite Moves starts!)

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Wednesday, the 14th of April

The day before taxes are due, one of the two inevitable things according to legend. Our bodies said “No respiration without oxidative phosphorylation!” and got into gear. It’s getting so warm and light out it seems like summer already. We celebrated the return of Nancy C and Laura V, and the arrival of Marnie V and Kirstin C. Andrew was absent, but only because he had to be so cool as to be atop the Canary Hotel, where the CEC was patting itself on the back for organizing a lot of good things. Everybody around was somebody important... but.

They weren’t Groovers and were missing out on the true Santa Barbara experience. So our camera eye moves to The Neighborhood, where Groovers gathered for gala goodies and celebrated Peter’s birthday. Lots of planning for Burning Man... but really, the only plan is that there is no plan. We heard from (Professor) Ann Marie about her new class at Antioch College: she is teaching developmental psych. Watching our beers slip away, we contemplated Piaget’s concept of object permanence.

Some time later, Laura V met a guy who used his elbow as a communication device. Harder to lose than a cell phone, but a little more intrusive. He probably hasn’t lost it yet, and the way he’s going, he may never “lose it,” despite being a loser.

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