Friday, February 27, 2009

Great Book!

I just finished We Might As Well Win by Johan Bruynell (with Bill Strickland) and I loved it! Normally I'm not much for actually reading about pro sports, even triathlon or cycling, but this was just what I needed right now.

Some Quotes from it:
If you’re going to expend that first big block of effort and energy to participate, you might as well go ahead and give whatever it takes to win.

Muscle power without mental power means nothing.

If you’re breathing, you still have a chance to win.

I love it! It came at exactly the right time, when I'm questioning my ability to race, both cycling and in the marathon. Obviously, I wasn't planning on quitting the team or anything, just getting nervous about being able to hold my own. However, I really was thinking about dropping out of the marathon. I think I'm staying in the game though.

I've been feeling better now that I'm not taking aspirin at all, and I think my bruises are actually healing faster! The ones on my legs are almost gone, and the one from all the bloodwork is actually healed already! And cutting down on my various meds for IBS has helped, I think. My stomach has been doing ok, and I feel better in general.

My mood has also improved as I've finished the flyer for the tri team and started a blog and an online survey for it:

Like the logo I designed?

Hopefully I can get some feedback soon so I can start figuring out logistics, planning, and getting stuff in order to really kick off. I decided ideally we'll be up and running by May/June and planning to enter one major Hunterdon County race with most of our racers by September- this includes people new to tris, but I figure if we don't have time to work on open water swims (the hardest part to deal with, I think) we can still get them in the duathlon sections or on relay teams.

Thank God it's Friday, and therefore, pizza night.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pro/Con List of the Day

So yesterday read like a pro/con list, which is sad in and of itself. For example:
Pro: got whole wheat bagel with veggie cream cheese and a Mountain Dew for breakfast (treating myself since I have an 8 am class)
Con: Spilled soda all over myself and my stuff
Pro: I got a knee brace for free
Con: I also had to go in for more bloodwork and a urine sample, thanks to some unhappy test results from Tuesday
Pro: watching season 8 of Frasier
Con: DVD got stuck in the computer. Rutgers Comp services says they'd charge at least $135 to get it out
Pro: Robbie and I figured out how to get it out using a nail file and nimble fingers, without damaging the computer or DVD
Con: my legs hurt and I had to stop a long run
Pro: on the treadmill at night, I realize if I run faster, they don't hurt
Con: the knee brace they gave me is so freaking sweaty and uncomfortable
Pro: laid around on the grass listening to Sister Christian while waiting for Robbie outside of a class
Con: swimming alone at the gym sucks
Pro: weightlifting with the team is awesome

It was weird- it felt like I should have been in a terrible mood, but I was actually feeling pretty good all day.

The doctor called me in the morning to say my muscle enzyme levels were really high and he wants to check and make sure my kidneys are functioning ok. My liver function is up too, but that's probably a side product of the muscle enzymes. It's funny, since i was writing about muscle enzyme elevation in athletes for a blog in my other class. The knee brace he prescribed is working pretty well though, and I'm trying to make an effort to stretch more.

So my arm has a bunch of needlepricks in it from bloodwork, but hopefully we'll have a few answers sometime next week.

The new Triathlete was exactly what I needed to read: an amazing picture of the winners at the Thailand triathlon, where everyone looks so happy and so proud, and then a letter from the editor talking about how he never wants to DNF a race, and how he thinks about the Lance Armstrong quote "pain is temporary, quitting is forever." it's really inspired me to think positively about hte marathon coming up. I wish I was confident about that and about cycling and the season, but truth be told, I'm scared to death. It's not getting hurt that I'm worried about, it's looking stupid or messing up or not being good enough.

I have to get over it though. I've dedicated way too much time to even entertain the thought of not doing very well all season. I just hope my legs can cooperate with my brain and just get moving! It's hard to accept limitations, especially when weird stuff is happening to my legs and I don't even know why it's happening. Last week when Dad and I were running and I had to stop, I started crying and just yelling "it's not fair!" because I don't understand what else I can do to get better.

Off to public health class, and then Stuff Yer Face for dinner- Robbie had a gift card and we haven't grocery shopped all week, so we're sorta stuck going there. At least it's a decent way to end a long week of classes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting out of this rut!

I feel like the last two weeks have just been depressing. First, the crash two weeks ago left me too sore to ride with the team, then the cramping started, then my knee went out again and cramps came back. So it's been a pretty bad couple of weeks.

Things are starting to turn around though. Spent an hour and a half on the trainer this morning, which was a bummer as opposed to riding with the team but I didn't think my legs would hold up for 2 hrs of interval riding. Maybe tomorrow afternoon if anyone rides...

Made awesome oatmeal, watched and quoted Frasier with Robbie, and then went to the sports medicine doctor, who I love.

We talked about my knee and my cramping, and we came up with a few things. My knee keeps popping because my bones are pretty much scraping up against each other. Yikes! He gave me some physical therapy to do at home, and a prescription for a knee brace for when I'm training, so hopefully those will help.

Cramping-wise, he thinks my problem might be because my old doctor told me to take aspirin before workouts so my legs wouldn't cramp. Apparently, that's really bad for your stomach, kidneys, and makes me bruise and swell a lot easier. Ice packs for me from now on! He also thinks it may be being brought on by my IBS, but not in the usual way. Because my stomach is so nuts, I have a hard time keeping ,my electrolytes, potassium, and magnesium at the appropriate levels. He ordered a bunch of bloodwork done to check on a lot of that stuff. Should be interesting!

I hope we can get things straightened out before race time! I'm hopeful though.

For right now, I'm going to cut down on the stuff I have to take for my IBS, start wearing the brace, stretch and do physical therapy, and stop taking aspirin!

Anyway, after that, we biked to class and then I biked to the gym, swam for an hour, then hit the elliptical (didn't want to risk running til tomorrow!) and did a serious weight set. Felt really good, reading my new Triathlete magazine. (Which should be running my article in June or July!)

Still working on getting a flyer/survey/website figured out for the tri club, but my mom talked to some people and I've met a lot of people that seem interested. So feeling pretty good about it. I would love to see this get off the ground!

I'm using Dad's bike this week to get used to it, but it has to be stored in my room:
There is a section of floor maybe 3 feet by 5 feet that's sort of free space, provided we keep everything perfectly straightened up. I cannot wait until we have a new place so we can spread all of our stuff out (i.e all of my sports gear). I have such great plans for moving...

I'm attempting to be optimistic. I was reading this article in Triathlete that basically was my whole "death before DNF" philosophy, and I was biking home and saw a Dunkin Donuts sticker that said "you kin do it" (cheesy, I know). I know it's lame, but between those two, I suddenly feel a lot more hopeful about racing and especially about the marathon. Scared, but definitely more hopeful.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Doing Better, Thankfully.

Woke up yesterday expecting the worst, but surprisingly was walking around pretty easily. Decided to not push it and just did 45 min of free weights and bosu ball workout with an hour and a half on the stepper.

Dad and I decided to spend the morning on a TV hunt, so we went to Circuit City, Target and Walmart comparing TVs with built-in DVD players. It's almost impossible to find a normal non-wall-hanging set, so that's probably what we'll end up having to do. Of course, we'll keep my crappy 13 inch VCR combo TV for the other room in the apartment, so we can watch Terminator 2 and all of my Scooby Doo movie collection!

After the browsing, Dad and I had lunch at Panera and spent a good thirty minutes discussing the Doonesbury characters from the 70s and where they are today in the comic. Awesome.

My personal favorite:

Such a good series. Especially during the Vietnam War and the oil shortages. Great stuff.

Less than 2 weeks until race season, still nervous about that. And terrified about what to do about the marathon- quitting isn't really a concept I'm fond of/good at doing, so if I don't go, it'll really hurt. But at least I could race at U Del that weekend with the team, so I wouldn't be doing nothing. It would be a let down though, not to mention annoying since I already paid for the race. But a 7 hour drive to be dying by mile 10 isn't worth it, and I realize that. Plus, I hate to wreck my legs running and ruin my biking season. I'm hoping the spors medicine guy tomorrow has some insights.

I need to focus on some projects now, like my internship, the tri club, freelancing, and working on my personal writing a little more. I've been so tunnel-vision on training lately I've let my intellectual side kind of fall behind. No longer! I'm still a total nerd at heart.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Less Than Psyched

Went for a run yesterday and it started out fine. It was really nice out, sunny, almost warm, and Dad and I were having a great time. Until my legs started cramping again.

I'm in serious trouble.

It was the same as last week, limping back into Stockton, stopping because I was crying and I couldn't breathe, barely being able to get into the truck. My legs are swelled up a little and I could barely navigate the house all last night. Overtraining doesn't make sense, since I took it so easy all week. And overtraining shouldn't make specific muscles start cramping so badly without any warning.

The highlight of the day was making awesome French Toast, trying scrambled eggs for the first time, and making veg sausages for dinner before watching more Frasier with Robbie.

Dad and I are really worried though- if my legs don't stop cramping soon, we're not sure about what to do about the marathon. I 100% hate to back out of it, but if my legs cramp, there's no way I would finish it. We still haven't reserved hotel rooms yet, so now we're in limbo over if we should or not.

I'm just scared.

Friday, February 20, 2009

We've got the Swim and the Bike Down...

Stolen from Don, who posted it to the Rutgers Cycling blog:From the pool during our swim with Charlie on Thursday morning. We are awesome.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Less Painful, Still Optimistic

Let's talk about cornering. But first, a word from Don: (via an email to the team yesterday)
Molly, being the only one to ride with me today, is a total stud handler now. She holds her line through corners, bumps elbows and shoulders and hips, and rides supersmooth.

Where were you? We missed you!
It's nice to get some positive reinforcement! But seriously, I learned a ton, and I feel significantly more confident about being able to race this season. Need to practice more, but I think I have a handle on it now. No braking unless absolutely necessary!

Then I sat around and watched Frasier and let my legs rest. Weird feeling, being relaxed in the middle of the week. Not entirely bad! Then, called Dad and talked about "the future" for a while. Not sure exactly what I'm going to do, but main plans include:
  1. Getting my Masters in English Education
  2. Starting to teach ASAP
  3. Starting a tri club, getting certified as a coach
  4. Racing (bikes and tris) as much as possible
  5. Buying a house somewhere in Jersey in a training-friendly area
  6. Freelancing as much as possible

Legs are feeling a lot better as well, though still a little tight. Yoga on Tuesday, swimming Wednesday and Thursday, plus taking it easy have done wonders.

Lifted with the team on Wednesday night, had a great time- my legs felt fantastic afterwards, but more importantly, I actually had fun hanging out with everyone! I can't say it enough, I really love finally having a group of people to work out with.

Thursday morning, managed an hour and a half on the trainer, which was very exciting since I didn't cramp at all. Hooray! Went to the gym and lifted with Dad. Don got to meet him and see where I got my good looks. Then, Don, a Charlie I had not met, and I went swimming, and I got to show off my super-awesome swimsuit again (pictures to come asap, I promise!)

Good times.

Tomorrow's my serious rest day/work day, and hopefully Saturday I'll be running. In the meantime, some very serious planning to ensue...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Painfully Optimistic.

I'm terrible at taking it easy. But then again, my legs are hideously slow at getting back to normal, so fair is fair I suppose. The cramping has gone down a lot, but even 20 minutes on the trainer this morning caused enough cramping that I had to stop and just do some free weights and crunches instead. Biking to class wasn't too bad though.

Been feeling out of sorts the past two days- vague stomachaches, sore-ish throat, general malaise. I think part of it is legit, since most of the house is sick right now, and the other is just that it's a month into the semester and routine is dragging and I can't wait until summer is here. I'm also getting more panic-y about what to do: alternate route teaching, grad school, teach for america, take a year off and focus on tri stuff, etc. It's just a confusing mess of options and I'm not sure how to go about it. There are a couple of teaching positions opening in Hunterdon next year, and there's a house that would be a brilliant buy right by one of those schools, but everything is so "maybe."

Anyway, I'm also just generally having an annoying day- the store was out of mountain dew cans, my bike's front brake was grinding the wheel but it's rusted together so I couldn't fix it and just had to take a brake pad off, I'm riding a ridiculous beach cruiser that will fit in great in Virginia on the beach but is unsuitable for NB in winter, I can't train like I want to be training this week, and just feeling very slow. Whine, whine, whine. Done with that.

I have been thinking over this really great scheme lately though. More and more I realize that I want to keep triathlon in my life as much as possible, even more than I am right now. I started thinking about this when a woman at my aunt's party the other weekend said how she'd love to do a tri but needs the push to do it. I'm thinking about starting a tri club- racers, of course, but also coaching/training other people who want to do a tri, and also plan charity events, like bike drives. I've done the bike drive stuff in the past and I'm great at organizing, so I think it might be a good idea. I've been ruminating on it for a while, and in the next few weeks, I'm going to make some initial inquiries to people about it, try and gauge interest level... So if anyone reading this is interested, let me know!

I'm excited abot the chance to maybe be able to really incorporate triathlon more fully into my life. Depending on how it goes, I'd be willing to take a year off school and just focus on this plan, to build it up. It's all speculative now, of course, but we'll see.

Anyway, I'm going to attempt yoga, which will either help with my leg cramps or make them worse. It's a toss up.

At least this week of not riding or running a lot is good for one thing- tomorrow I'm practicing cornering with Don and whomever else decides to join us. Thank god for that, because I'm getting very nervous about them!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Legs Hurt. A lot.

So yesterday I was out on a 2 hr run with Dad along the Delaware. About an hour in, my stomach started giving me some serious trouble, causing some rather interesting moments. After "taking care of business," I started running again, but a couple minutes later, my legs started to cramp up. Within another minute, I was standing hand on my knees crying because they hurt so much. I didn't think I'd finish the run. "I never thought I'd ever say this, but I don't think I can finish."

Dad was about to ride back to get the truck and come get me, and that was when I guess I sort of snapped. "Dammit, I'm getting back to Stockton [7 miles] if I have to crawl."

We started jogging very slowly, picked the pace up, and kept going. We made it about a mile before I stopped to walk because of the cramping. It took about an hour and a half, but we made it back to Stockton. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to make it, but that's what pride and stupidity will do to you.

My legs barely worked for hours afterwards, but today I'm walking fine. It hurts a little, but not too bad. Riding sucked though. Instead of going out for a 75 mile ride again, I barely made it on the trainer for 30 minutes. So I did weights for another 30 minutes and called it a day.

It's frustrating, but I guess this week I'll take it easy. I'm sure a lot of the cramping is from such high volume training, but I wish my legs would give me some advance warning. As it is, the cramping comes on very hard for a while and then fades away, no warning light cramping beforehand to let me know to slow it down a little. What a hassle.

On the up side, I'm super psyched to swim tomorrow, since I have the greatest swimsuit of all time. (Pictures hopefully to come asap!)

I also have a lot of stuff to think about in terms of the rest of my life. New propositions came about today and gave me a ton of food for thought. Lots of very big legit triathlon ideas, teaching ideas, and serious living stuff. Very serious, very scary stuff. Ha, and here I was psyched to be graduating and finally having my cell phone repaired.

In the meantime, since Valentine's Day was spent at a punk show Robbie's brother was putting on, I'm gorging on chocolate and relaxing the rest of today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another Day, Another Bruise

So last night, I brought my bike up to my room for safekeeping, since we're having a party tonight. I know I have a tendency towards falling over when I'm on the bike, but when I'm off of it?! It just seems unfair.

But, klutz that I am, I managed to trip over it, fall into it, and smack my thigh and shoulder (the previously uninjured side) into it. I have a new bruise on my arm, and a huge one on my thigh, complete with swelling. That bike has it in for me, I swear.

In other news, my shoulder is healing but looks gross! I can move it more today, but it hurts to have any cloth over it, hence the sleeveless shirt. My backpack is killing me too, so I'm really glad it's the weekend.

I need to stop getting hurt! My legs look like someone took a bat to them, I have so many damn bruises (and I don't even know where half of them came from!)

Glad it's my rest day. I need pizza and cartoons and sleep. This week I've been so tired, I think a lot of it is from crashing on Tuesday and needing to let my body recover itself from it. Dr. Cohen says that's why I have bruise and pains for so long- simple things take a lot longer to heal when your body is constantly repairing muscles from such high volumes of training to begin with. Yeesh.

On the up side, Robbie and I found out that our public health teacher is a hardcore guy from the heyday of New Brunswick punk, thanks to my Strike Anywhere! sticker on my Nalgene bottle. It was pretty hilarious, having a professor telling us that we should go to his show at the Court Tavern in April. It makes the class infinitely more interesting!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Almost Blew Away!

Seriously, this wind is insane. I actually got run off the road a few times by gusts of wind, blew backwards on a downhill, and struggled harder than I did going up the steep hill on Chimney Rock Road just trying to pedal on a flat surface. It's crazy out!

Had to traverse two campuses today, so I've been outside riding for about an hour- longer, since the wind was so brutal. I stayed inside on the trainer for an hour and a half this morning, doing some informal interval style riding while listening to Andrew WK and watching Frasier. Dad couldn't make it to the gym this morning, so I was stuck going alone to lift. It kind of sucked, since my left shoulder still can barely move, and plus, it's starting to scab and hurt whenever I shift around. I also still can't swim, though by Monday I should be able to. My knee is bugging me a bit more than usual, and I think it has something to do with the crash, so I'm hoping that clears up too.

Also, since it happened, I've just been totally exhausted a lot of the time, which I'm attributing to needing more sleep to heal faster. I've been hungry lately too- unfortunately, it's usually hungry for crappy food, like the 11 pm Snickers run the other night, but honestly, the extra calories are what I really need anyway. Why can't I crave a protein shake instead though?!

I'm definitely relieved that this week is almost over- this weekend will be busy as usual, but I'm really starting to look forward to Sunday rides, painful and exhausting as they are. And even Saturday long runs are kind of fun- it's cool to be seeing progress. Hopefully my stomach will agree with me this week though!

Starting to get very ready to move into our new place in June, and more ready to get the hell out of New Brunswick in 4 years and into a "real life" and house. Thinking about somewhere near a river, like Frenchtown or Stockton, or just on the other side of the river in PA. I just want to have my life figured out! Sometimes it's hard to remember that I want a life, not just an athletic "career" these days. Things like buying expensive gear when I should be saving money, or not wanting to work so many hours so I can train are hard to kind of align with the idea of being debt free and having money ot put a down payment on a house in 4 years. Ah, the perils of being a Big Kid all of a sudden.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It Must Be Summer...

I'm wearing shorts. In February. And not just on a run. I'm wearing them just because it's 65 freaking degrees out. Amazing!

My shoulder is killing me, but my knee and legs are feeling ok. I think I'm taking the day off from swimming and going for a ride instead though. I can barely lift stuff with my left arm, let alone swim for an hour. Which makes me mad, but at least it's just a minor shoulder injury, not a leg thing.

Dad came to hang out in the Bruns today, so we went on a 6 mile run (bike for him) and then to Panera with Robbie to get lunch. Nothing like a treat in the middle of the week! I was surprised that the run wasn't painful at all, other than the shoulder pain from moving my arm even a bit as I ran. But my legs were fine, and that's the important part!

Also, my new favorite thing in the world:
Am I ready for racing to start? I have no idea. I can feel myself making huge improvements, and I'm really proud of the progress I've made, but I still have trouble with corners, and while I'm getting better at riding in a pack, I don't know how well I'll be able to when it's actually race conditions. So seeing the date of the first race get closer and closer is scary, especially knowing that once the season starts, it's going to be insane until it's over.

Biking over to the library because I can!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why I Hate Styrofoam.

So, I had a bit of a fall this morning on our 27 miles a-loop. I was doing ok, a little behind but feeling pretty strong on all of the hills, until this stupid piece of styrofoam escaped my sight and I went over it, flipping and running just about into Charlie, who managed to swerve to avoid running over my head with his back wheel, getting my shoulder instead. As you can see, that impact ripped my jersey, my shirt under it, and my shoulder. I slammed my hands, hip and shoulder on the ground as well, and my other leg hit into the top tube of my bike, since my new pedals are tight ad didn't unclip when I fell. I have a ton of road rash in a lot of places, my hands are bruised, but the worst part was ripping my jersey, gloves and lovely new booties. Breaking out the duct tape this weekend!

Anyway, I survived the rest of the ride home, though it hurt like hell. My legs are incredibly sore though. I showered very painfully, and put a ton of neosporin on all of my cuts and scrapes.

But barring that, it was a really good and (I think) effective ride. It was pretty good, and I felt really great until the fall.

Yesterday was great though- woke up, did some light weight stuff and various crunches, and then I went to Princeton to see my internship director type for breakfast, ate a bagel, had an awesome time, and made it back in time for my first tutoring session. I admit, I was itching for it to be done, since it was really warm and nice out (if you consider 45 degrees warm) so I wanted to run.

Got to run for an hour and wear my shorts, which was great since my legs are so damn white! Of course, they're also dry as hell from the wind when I rode on Sunday, and from swimming so much.

Speaking of swimming, I got to swim with Don again after an elliptical warmup, though he forgot his goggles (hmm, and he makes fun of me for forgetting sunglasses on Sunday's ride!) so he had to aquajog the whole time. So I swam for an hour and then jogged with him for 15 minutes. As always, it's so much more fun to swim with someone instead of alone.

In all, good day yesterday, bad start to a day today. I'm sore, taking it easy this morning, eating a protein bar and moping. And I have a paper to write. I think the hour at the gym is getting kicked off the schedule and I'm just going to do some yoga if I'm up to it. I felt tired waking up this morning, so now I'm feeling a lot crappier than I was then. Yuck.

Hopefully today gets better and all these cuts and scrapes heal really really fast.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Just gotta get out-just gotta get right outta here

So Saturday I missed updating this because it was my aunt's 60th birthday, which meant a surprise party. Which meant booze and dancing. Though not for me. (Well, a little dancing...)

It also meant having a family friend ask me, "how did you get such a great body?"

To which I replied, "well, I train 3 or 4 hours almost every day, so it damn well better be decent."

And then I promised to take her running some weekend. Flattery will get you everywhere.

But my run that afternoon was less than fantastic. It started out great- warm enough for sleeveless! But about 4 miles in, my stomach sounded pretty rumble-y. "OK, Bull's Island is up ahead, I'll stop and use their bathroom," I thought.

After that stop, everything seemed to be in working order... not. 5 minutes up the road, I said, "Dad, we gotta turn around." Back to Bull's we ran (well, he biked) and barely made it. After that, it was great.

Probably my best run to date, and felt pretty stellar at the end, speeding up quite a bit for the last mile. A little crampy after, but I think I needed to drink more on the run, but with the state of my stomach, I figured it was better to wait til we were done, rather than risk another "incident."

Anyway, fast forward to today... I meant to get up and ride 35 miles before I met the team, but when I tried to wake up, I felt dead, so I figured an extra hour of sleep was a smart idea. Still got to Frenchtown well before the team, which was good since it gave me time to eat and digest a bagel in the coffeeshop where I meet them. Also, a chance to have two men over the age of 80 tell me that I'm "gorgeous."

The team rode in, hilarity ensued, and we headed out 30 min later, only to be stopped by a guy wanting a picture of us. We posed and smiled, but he told us to "look dead." Hmm... I guess he wanted to pretend we were beat after a long ride, but the problem is, we all usually look pretty psyched when we finish long rides! So our smiles stifled, we assumed tragic guises for the camera, silently snickering the whole time.

On the road!

I had such a great time riding with the guys (and one other girl.) There was a Bohemian Rhapsody sing-a-long that was just fantastic (hence this post's title). Unlike last week where I felt like I was slowing people down, I managed to stay with the pack the entire time without making a huge effort. There was a minor incident involving a huge work truck toting a flatbed trailer that almost hit into me and blocked me out, but a push from Ken as soon as the space between the truck and the guardrail opened up to accomodate me, I buzzed through and caught up with the bike. Afterwards, Ken told me I did a great job, and I think I may have actually "glowed from praise." Or at least that's how it felt.

I even stuck with them a couple miles longer than last time, hitting a big hill and getting about 2.5 miles up before I headed back to Stockton to meet dad. In Stockton, I called him and told him to meet me in Frenchtown, planning to ride there, then Frenchtown-Stockton-Frenchtown again, bringing the total mileage to around 100 miles. Unfortunately, I didn't acount for the RIDICULOUS headwind that blasted me the entire way to Frenchtown. (I know in Bohemian Rhapsody there's the line, "Anyway the wind blows,doesnt really matter to me," but in this case it mattered very much!) I was pretty beat, and told Dad we should start in Stockton and ride to Frnechtown, that way we'd do the hard part of the ride first, instead of the easy downhill tailwind-aided segment. So we got to Stockton and headed out against the gusts of wind. We got about 5 miles before Dad was ready to call it quits because of the wind. It was just such an uphill battle. Honestly, I didn't really mind all that much- the wind was taking it out of me and I was starting to get cold because of it.

So in total, I only made it about 85 miles instead of 100, but considering 15 of them were seriously uphill, 18 were moderate hills, and 40 or so were riding into a severe headwind, I don't feel too bad about it.

Also, it's crazy how many people talk to me when I'm wearing the Rutgers kit. People that ignored me in my tri gear (I'm old school- gross tshirts and bathing suit bottoms are where it's at for me training int he summer!) are all of a sudden super friendly and chatting. And I can't count the number of people that have wished me luck this season!

I feel surprisingly good, not at all sore and not even particularly tired. My body is really starting to adjust to this long run/long ride business!

I'm starting to get really nervous about the marathon, but I'm not too worried. If I finish, I'm happy. Honestly, the bike team and racing is more important to me than the marathon, so if I do poorly in that, it's primarily because I haven't been focusing on the running as much as the biking lately.

Intensity weeks start on Monday. I'm expecting to see some pretty stellar improvements in my biking! But in the meantime, tomorrow will bring my first tutoring job of the semester, a breakfast meeting with my internship director, and of course, my recovery swim with Don- and I have a feeling that by tomorrow night, I'm going to be needing it!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Muffins for Breakfast!

Spending a ton more time training lately, and it’s finally starting to pay off. My knees are starting to hurt less, same with my hip.Wednesday , I ran almost double what I ran last week but with no pain. Of course, the tradeoff is constant tiredness and ache-y legs every night, but it’s worth it. It’s going to have to get cut back soon though- base training on the bike is almost over, which means we have to get a lot more serious about bike training, and it’ll be the same amount of time, but a lot more energy expounded. I just hope I can keep up!

Wednesday was lifting with the team in the gym, which was first and foremost good for my legs, but second, it was a great time to actually get to know the guys a little better. Also did swimming, biking and running. Charlie was one of the first guys that got to the gym to lift at 9:30, and when I said I’d been working out for about 4 hours already, he looked confused and then said, “oh right, you’re the triathlete.”

Yesterday I admit it was too damn cold to want to ride outside, plus Dad was coming early to hit the gym. So poor Don had to ride in the cold by himself (not my fault but I still feel bad!) while Dad and I rode to the gym on our mountain bikes. Even that short ride made my eyes and face hurt! Decent weight set and a run on the treadmill plus cooldown on the elliptical, but my knee was a little weird. On the treadmill it would hurt for a second or two and feel like it popped out of the socket, and then it would be fine again. What a hassle! At least for the most part, it seems ok.

Today I’m getting new sneakers! I’m really excited about it, since I think that my old sneakers are part of the reason my legs hurt so much when I run.

I’m also hoping to get some tips on bike fit for me, since I can’t actually bring my bike in on the train during peak hours. And hopefully a transition bag. Also, maybe looking at tri bikes- Dad and I talked about maybe splitting the cost of one, as a graduation/birthday present.

Also, these are the booties that are making my life significantly better, though hopefully I won't have to use them at all Sunday if the weather reports are true- biking 100 miles in 60 degree weather sounds awesome.

I've been having bagel cravings lately... go figure. I think my caloric intake needs to get boosted a little, so I don't really mind.

Anyway, back to work!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

"Why, look, Barnaby, a new recreation enthusiast. We'll start off your workout with vigorous calisthenics executed in rhythmic time with acetate pressings of the new musical craze called jazz. Steak and eggs and eggs and steak
That's what you should have for breakfast
Sometimes I love Family Guy. (I just started writing this as I turned on the TV and that sketch was on. Hilarious.)

Anyway, today was a very snowy day, which kind of was a bummer considering the amazing weather from yesterday. So instead of getting to ride with the team, I watched Frasier for an hour and a half on the trainer in the basement. It wasn't too bad- I lowered my seat and it made a world of difference. All of a sudden, my "nether regions" actually felt ok afterwards! However, my elbows have been hurting me a lot lately from being stressed when I ride. I wonder if there are any exercises for that. I suppose I'll look into it.

I also stole a water bottle holder off a broken bike in the basement, so now I have 2 on my bike!

Chinese food leftovers were a yummy breakfast, but then Robbie and I had to take buses all over campuses because of the snow. However, while waiting for a bus, I was reading for a class and realized I actually love Sherman Alexie, the Native American author. His short stories are great!

Anyway, after classes, I did some Iron Yoga in my room, where I realized, after being on my hands and knees and doing plank pose, that our floor is REALLY dirty. Also, cow pose makes no sense to me- it's when you arch your back down when you're on all fours, usually followed by cat pose, where you arch your back up. I've never seen a cow arch like that. And I'm from Hunterdon County. There used to be a lot of cows.

After that, ate a pb&j sandwich and headed to Chris and Rich's for some serious trainer action. An hour on the trainer, doing some high cadence and interval riding, which was actually a lot of fun. Also, we started watching The Flying Scotsman, which was a really awesome and inspirational movie, though I missed the ending. I love getting to spend time with people when I'm training, be it a road, pool or attic.

And oh man- Saturday and Sunday should be between 45 and 60 degrees! I'm definitely going to try for 100 miels on Sunday, and certainly at least a 15 mile run Saturday.

Time for brownies and some homework.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Baby We Were Born To Run!

Dad and I pre-ride yesterday:
Today was so nice and warm! I had to spend the morning doing online class and internship stuff, and then I had tutoring orientation. When I went outside to bike to the tutoring place, I realized just how beautiful it was out! I spent the whole orientation (learning how to be a minimalist tutor, etc.) just wishing I could get outside. As soon as I got out, I raced back to the house, threw on shorts and a tshirt and headed out to run.

I was only supposed to run 30 min today, but since I took the morning off from cycling, I decided to just utilize the warm weather and go 10k. It was so muddy, but so much fun. I came back with my legs, shoes, and shorts completely mud covered.

It was great. When it's nice out, I forget that my hip and knee hurt, that my stomach hurts, that I'm tired, et cetera. I'm just listening to Bruce Springsteen and going.

Added bonus: I improved my time by 2 minutes, without even trying! I am getting better... Just with my stupid knee injury it's been slow going. At least there are improvements though.

However, I still am getting really weird bruises on my legs. For example, this one on my other uninjured leg. Weird.

Anyway, after my run I had a protein bar and headed to the gym, where I spun for half an hour and did weights for the same. Then it got interesting as Don and I attempted to swim at 6.

First, as I was getting into my suit, I managed to walk into a door, a bench, my own open locker and hit my head on the sink.

All of the lanes were full when we got there, and we waited a frustrated 20 minutes, watching 3 kids swim a lap and hang out for 5 minutes before swimming another. What a hassle.

Don "politely" asked when they were getting out, and they said they had no plans to get out. The whole last half of the pool was closed, but it turned out that the sign was erroneously there. We finally got in the last lane after a chat with the lifeguard, and proceeded to get shoved so close to the buoys that we were swimming in about a 1 yard space. A huge guy got in and just started treading water right where we were swimming, and of course, his girlfriend got in and they commenced with making out and treading water. Excellent.

45 frustrated minutes later, we got out. If I had been stuck by myself, it would have royally sucked, but at least we could laugh about it. It's pretty cool having people to train with.

Of course, what wasn't cool was the locker room after the swim: the aquasize class (full of large women) and all of the kid's swim classes ended as we got out, so it was jammed and annoying as all hell.

Got home, and now eating mac and cheese and soy nuggets. Woo!

Some pictures before my ride yesterday:

75 miles better

Yesterday was incredible.

The team is incredible.

I'm beyond proud of myself right now.

At 9:30 yesterday morning I headed out, armed with leg warmers, booties, 2 layers of underarmour, and all of my new Rutgers team gear. My mom actually got tear-y when she saw me dressed up in team stuff. It was very sweet, really. She made me pose for pictures (I'll post them later) and then she finally let me leave.

I had no idea how hilly that 13 miles was. I was under the impression that it was mostly downhill with a few small uphills, but I couldn't have been more wrong. My hips were killing me from my run yesterday, but they worked themselves out eventually, just not quickly. I rolled into Frenchtown in 40-45 min and left my bike by the rack near the cafe the team meets in when they stop mid-Century. An hour or so (and a blueberry scone) later, the shop was attacked by a horde of sweaty bikers dressed in Rutgers kits. It was amazing! I actually knew most of them, and got over the whole "nervous around groups" business and had a great time just talking to all of them. It's funny though- I'm really not used to being recognized as a girl, since I've lived with all guys for so long, so to have so many people pointing out "hey, a girl riding with the guys" was really strange to me. It did have its advantages, since Don let me cut in line for the bathroom!
We headed out around noon, and I rode with them for 21-22 miles (at around 19-21 mph) into Titusville, down Route 29. It was so much fun, I had this huge grin on my face for the first 12 miles, talking to the guys and singing along to 867-5309. Once we hit Stockton, it was single file riding, so it was less fun, but still not terrible.

Don helped me figure out how to ride with a pack, especially how to slow down without braking and how to stay with the rest of the team. Andy shared a gel with me, and it didn't sit too well in my stomach. Because of that, I admit, the last couple miles were rough, and between my stomach and my legs being pretty angry at me after my run on Saturday, but with Rich behind me yelling encouraging stuff, I managed to keep up until they turned off and I biked back to Stockton.

I stopped after they turned so I could call my dad and tell him to meet me in Stockton so we could ride together, and when I stopped, a guy pulled up to ask if I was ok, introducing himself as a "fellow cyclist." It was very sweet, actually.

The ride to Stockton was half terrible, half amazing. Terrible because the side of the road I had to ride on was covered in slush and potholes with almost no shoulder and a hefty amount of traffic, and awesome because I was up to one of my longest mileages ever and I was thinking that I wasn't going to make it and after a few minutes, I just started picking up the pace and doing great again.

Dad met me in Stockton, I chugged Gatorade like it was my job, and we hit the road for Frenchtown. Again, thought I'd be dying, but we averaged 17-19 mph the whole time. We thought the ride back, mostly downhill, would be a breeze, but it turned out that the breeze was against us, in the form of an intense headwind.

We got back pretty fast though, after which Dad sardonically added, "you sure sped up after that other guy passed us."
What can I say? I'm competitive like that.

So I'm 75 miles stronger, and the morning after, I'm not in any pain, thankfully. I could have done the century, I think, but I wanted to spend more time with Dad and make him get out on a ride. Maybe next weekend I'll go farther with them so I do my own version of a century.

Anyway, my legs are stronger, and I finally am starting to feel like part of the team. For a girl, I think I kept up admirably well. Then again, when they took that turn and left me in Titusville, for all I know, they were laughing their asses off about me. However, if I give myself credit for one thing, it's that when I felt sore and my stomach hurt and I just wanted to slow down, when I didn't think I could go faster, when Rich yelled "go, Molly!", I went. If nothing else, I like to think I've got determination.