Monday, March 30, 2009

It's been a loooong weekend.

First of all, racing in Women's B's is awesome! It's so much more fun than Intro, even if this weekend wasn't exactly amazing in terms of results for me. It was, however, a ton of fun and I learned a hell of a lot more about racing.

The three races were down in Philly, so Dad and I drove down early Saturday morning to get ready for my first road race as a B. It was chilly out and sort of dismal, but I was just happy that it wasn't raining, as per the weather report. I wasn't expecting any fantastic results or anything, for a few reasons:
-it was my first week racing non-Intro, so the race would be longer and much harder
-my legs were still pretty beat from the marathon
-it had been a super-easy rest week for me (see above reason), so I hadn't been riding outside or with people all that much (just once with George and Don)
So basically, I wasn't really totally race-ready, didn't have my game-face on, etc. But I figured, why not?

It was a ~12 mile race with a lot of hill, which I loved. Problem was, there was also a downhill with a turn at the end. My nemesis! Chris and everyone warned me, "don't brake on the downhill, be in the front of the pack or you'll have to brake and fall off the pack." Which, naturally, is what happened. This was exacerbated by the fact that I could NOT clip in for almost half a mile. I hate these cleats.

I passed people that fell off of the pack, but there was no one going fast enough to stick with and try to catch the pack. So I kept pushing alone for nearly 10 miles of the race. So naturally, I didn't do great, but I definitely learned that I have to push to stay with the pack and relax once I get there. If I had sprinted up the hill in the beginning to catch them after the downhill, I would have been ok, I think. I need to weigh the risk of blowing up with the risk of doing terribly by no pushing to catch the pack again.

Sunday rolled around, drizzling and gross out and cold as anything. First was the 8.5 mile team time trial, which Karina and I were really excited for. By the time we finished, we were totally soaking wet, but it was worth it. Once again, couldn't clip in for nearly half a mile, which sucked a lot. I think that we work really really well together, and I had an awesome time. The teams were staggered by a minute, and at the finish, we were only 3 seconds behind UVM, who started with a 4 woman team. We didn't do great in terms of results (missed points by 4 seconds!) but I think that we were at a distinct disadvantage, since most teams had more than 2 girls. In all, I think we did great but we can get a lot better. Since a lot of weekends have TTTs now, I think we're going to work on it more.

The crit scared the hell out of me. It's called the Rocket, with only 3 turns. It's only .75 miles long and it's flat. Cornering is still not my thing and it was raining. It was tempting to leave and not race but I decided to stay and get some practice in. I figured I'd do terribly. The race started, and once again, couldn't clip. It took until the first lap was nearly over, so by the time I got clipped in and could take corners fast (hard to take them when unattached to your bike), I had lost the pack. Luckily, a Colby girl had the same problem, so for the entire race, we drafted off each toher, worked together, and started nailing the corners. By the last lap, I took the corner at 26 mph, no brakes. Just flying around them, having an awesome time. We never caught the pack, and I think we should have maybe tried to sprint for it, but it was still a blast. We cooled down together and congratulated each other. I definitely got better at corners, and lost a lot of my fear about them.

After the races, Dad and I stopped and bought new cleats for my shoes. I think they'll help a lot.

So I learned a lot and had fun. And for the first time, I feel confident in my cycling abilities.

Of course, I need to improve in 4 major ways:
1. Mentally: I need to work on not being scared of corners and downhills, and not get psyched out before a race starts.
2. Nutritionally: For the love of God, I need to start eating better! I'd ideally like to drop a few pounds, which is tough while training so much. But I think if I could clean up how I eat, cut out the excessive junk food at night, and start really keeping track of my intake, I could be ok.
3. Physically: I need to recover from the marathon and focus on cycling. I'm going to cut back to 2-3 short runs a week, which should cut down on cramping. I'll ride a lot more though. Group rides, interval rides, and leg weight sets will be key.
4. Technically: Cornering and downhill racing and pack riding still need some serious improvement.

This morning I went out for an hour and did some start and cornering drills by myself in a parking lot at Johnson Park. Basically, I'd start, ride a loop around the parking spots, stop, repeat. Not fun, but necessary. The new cleats make a big difference, as does just taking the time to focus on something like starts.

I've come to a decision about the Half Ironman. I decided to not do any in May or June, but rather, wait until September and do one right near my house, just 2 weeks after the Skylands sprint tri. It gives me time to recover after bike season, start tri training again, get a wetsuit, do open water swims, and hopefully figure out my leg problems. After the marathon cramping debacle, signing up for a half Ironman only 2 weeks after the last week of bike season seems like a stupid idea. But come September, I'll be race ready and totally prepared for it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pulling out of here to win!

So I met one of my goals for the week and registered for the women's B races this weekend. Now we'll just see if I survive them. I'm pretty excited about the road race on Saturday and the time trial with Karina on Sunday, but not totally thrilled about the crit- .75 mile loop, completely flat. I'm not great with cornering yet, though I'm getting better, so I like a crit with hills so I can make up for my lack of good handling skills. Nonetheless, I'm excited.

Let's see... Wednesday I went for a swim, thinking that an hour in the pool would be super boring. By happy coincidence, Cristian showed up and kept me company- he's so fun to swim with because he thinks I'm super fast. Definitely an ego boost!

Also did an hour of intervals on the trainer in the morning- I surprised myself with actually feeling pretty strong while I did them.

Went to Princeton to meet with Stephanie, which is always fun, since while I'm technically her student research assistant, she's also one of the very few female friends that I have. So we get to talk about our lives and then about our work. Working on the green tech community college piece but so much other stuff has come up that I've been putting it off.

Did a weight set and some cardio with Karina and a couple bike team girls, then rode home from the gym totally exhausted. Robbie and I have a new favorite snack though- whole wheat pita with hummus and cucumbers and peppers. Yum!

Thursday I went for a ride with Don and George at 8am, thinking no rain until noon. Wrong. 20 min in, it started drizzling, and halfway through, it started really coming down. Visbility sucked, I got muddy as hell, but I had a great time. Don had me leading a lot of the ride while he worked with George, and taught me quite a bit about being out in front on group rides- something I'm not used to yet! One scary moment when we got to a 4 way stop and I was waiting. Don told me to get aggressive, so when no one was going, I started. Then, for whatever reason, a woman driving an SUV decided to start going too. While looking straight at me, making eye contact. It was one of those really weird slow-motion sort of things- she kinda had me pinned, because I couldn't go back or stop, I was directly in her path and she was moving towards me, so all I could do was push forward and hold my line. Luckily, she didn't hit me. Unluckily, Don was unable to chase her down on account of the fact that "she's in a car." It's weird though- stuff like that happens so often that I barely react to it anymore, just manage to get out of the situation if possible. I guess it's a good thing, but it kind of sucks that I'm so desensitized to the fact that drivers are perfectly willing to hit you. I admit- the eye contact thing was pretty creepy. Seriously, wtf.

On the upside, a corner that's been a challenge every time we ride finally made sense, and I could take it at 18 mph without braking at all. It was good practice, riding in the rain, since the weather report for this weekend is looking grim. Fingers crossed that it won't be too bad...

I was planning on going to karaoke last night, but my late class let out later than normal, and it was raining the whole ride home. We got in close to 9, soaking wet, and made dinner, which ended up making my stomach ache. My legs were tired and I didn't want to walk the 25 minutes to the bar in the rain alone, so I decided to wait for another Thursday with better weather.

Hopefully I can manage to not get panicky tomorrow and focus on racing well- I think a lot of my problem thus far is getting nervous and losing adrenaline before the race. Also, I'm so worried about crashing and pack riding that I let it get in the way of my racing instincts. Gotta get out of my own head!

Triathlon and marathon are easier in that sense- triathlon has no pack riding allowed, and both are really individual sports. Bike racing is definitely more about how the people next to you and in front of you ride, and you have to count on them. I was less nervous about running 26 miles than I was about riding for 10 minutes the weekend before!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marathon Barbie!

Yesterday was pretty nightmare-ish in terms of leg pain. But luckily, when I woke up today, my legs were stiff but I was alive. Took a really slow 1 hr trainer ride, then made some oatmeal and attempted to do some work. Instead of doing work, I pretty much watched Robbie play poker online.

Bullied my sister into uploading these for me:
Robbie and I a few minutes before the race started.

This picture is hilarious- I'm grimacing with pain, my posture is crazy from cramping, and my feet aren't touching the ground. Also, with the pink shorts, I'm totally Marathon Barbie.

So very happy that the race is finally over. On the up side, my hair looks like an Irish dancer's wig, with the big headband and curls all over the place. I would know, since I used to have to wear one back in my competitive dancing days. On the down side, this was when I ceased to be able to walk without copious help from Robbie and Mom.

Anyway, back to today... Went to class- which involved biking uphill, thankfully not too painful- and then went to the gym. Did a 30 min ab and arm set, then swam 45 min and aquajogged for 45 min with Don. We talked about the races from this past weekend, and my aspirations to move up to the B's, so I get more race time, even if it means I may not do as well. I'm ok with it though. I'd rather get the experience of longer races, plus I may actually do better with longer courses, since I'm primarily an endurance person provided my legs behave.

In all, feeling good.

1. Karaoke on Thursday. Sing a damn song!
2. Sign up for Women's B's for Philly
3. Order new swimsuits as soon as I get paid
4. Apply for a summer job working at Readington school's summer rec program
5. Finish and send out an article about community colleges with green tech programs

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pain is Temporary...

I ran a marathon. I didn't think I could, and didn't believe that my legs would be able to make it. But they did.

"Pain is temporary, quitting is forever" was sort of the theme for this Sunday.

But before I talk about the race, I absolutely have to make a very important list, because without these people, I never would have finished:
1. My dad for driving at 6 am on a Saturday all the way to Virginia Beach, then wake up at 6 the next morning after sharing a hotel room with me, my mom, and Robbie, to make sure I was race-ready. Then, for biking the ENTIRE course, especially after my legs cramped and he spent 13 miles alternately cajoling and bullying me to finish the race. I would have given up long before the finish without him.
2. My mom for coming along even though she thought I was going to hurt myself and thought I shouldn't race, and for making posters saying "Eyes on the Prize" to hold up as I passed. And for crying when I crossed the finish because she was so proud of me.
3. Robbie for putting up with a ridiculous weekend, sleeping in a bed with me next to my parents, and helping me walk to the car after the race when my legs were so cramped that I couldn't move.
4. My parents as a whole, for paying for gas, hotel, and food just to watch me cross the finish line.
5. Every damn person on the course screaming and cheering for us.
6. Everyone who told me I could do it and motivated me.
(7. A specific NO thank you to Justin, who I was supposed to race with- in fact, he was the friend who got me to sign up for this race so we could race together- but then backed out without mentioning it to me at all until I texted him on Saturday asking when he was getting there. Yeesh.)

We got to VA Beach on Saturday after an IHOP and Panera stop (breakfast and lunch) and got checked in. I wasn't nervous at all, pretty relaxed actually.

Watched Dodgeball with the parents and Robbie in our hotel room and ate a bagel, then went to sleep and actually managed to sleep comfortably despite being on a small queen sized bed with Robbie while my parents were 4 feet away and dad was snoring.

The next morning, got up, ate a Clif bar and went to shower. Unfortunately... the shower leaked and got my shorts and sports bra totally soaked. I didn't have any alternative stuff packed, so I had to try to dry them on the heater. Didn't work. Luckily, Robbie and I had gone out to the tacky baordwalk shopst he night before and I got pink short shorts with Virginia Beach written on the ass. So, wearing gray thermal top, gray long shorts with pink short shorts on top, nad a bandana like a wide headband, I basically looked like Marathon Barbie.

Headed out, managed to get to the race start a few minutes before the starting bell. I was amazingly relaxed.

Gun went off, started running with the 3:40 group. Other than a super fast 3 miles race to a portapotty, I stuck with them until mile 13. But at mile 10, I could feel my legs starting to cramp, but I pushed through it. I got to mile 13 with the group, but I was tearing up and had to start walking. I was crying and called Dad so he could bring me the cane. But as I started walking, I started thinking about wanting to finish. By the time he came, I had stopped crying, had my head held up high, and was starting to walk a little faster. Dad says when he saw me and how I was walking, he couldn't believe I was even considering finishing. But I walked to 14, and then started running again. Then walked, then ran, then walked, then ran. And I hurt. A lot.

God, it hurt. But I just kept thinking about how much I wanted to cross the finish line for all of the people that had gotten me to try. So I pushed it. And when I saw the finish line, I started sprinting, giving it as much as I had.

I passed one guy, then another, then another. Saw dad, who biked ahead to watch, saw Mom and Robbie screaming. And then I crossed the finish. And yeah, there wasn't a camera and no one saw, but I totally threw my arms in the air and cheered for myself. Then, I got all my bananas, medal, and water, saw Robbie and mom, and collapsed on them.

And couldn't walk to the car, couldn't get in the car, couldn't lift my own legs up to straighten them, couldn't walk into the rest area bathrooms myself, and teared up this morning trying to walk upstairs to work.

It was worth it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's a Cheap Trick!

Yesterday was pretty great.

Woke up at 5 AM to a terrifying cat eating plastic and growl/meowing at me, after having watched Ghost Hunters for a few hours. And yes, when I stay at Robbie's parent's house I sleep with a night light. The guest room scares me!

Anyway, went home to New Brunswick and hit the gym to swim for an hour. Once again, the women's locker room was closed, so I was swimming in my old tri gear and crappy goggles with no swim cap. And changing in the men's staff locker room. Unpleasant. My hip was a little grumpy, so I swam 40 min and aquajogged another 20. Aquajogging alone kind of sucks a lot.

Then, home, shower and out to lunch with Pat, who I hadn't seen in a few months. It was interesting catching up because when we were really close, we were both in really low points of our lives, and now we're both doing really well. So while there isn't as much interesting drama to chat about, that's kind of a really good thing.

Don and I biked to first bridge, and it was really cool realizing how easy a first bridge ride is now compared to two months ago. Granted, we were going at a pretty relaxed pace, but little stuff like my cornering has improved a lot since I started riding. Of course, I still have plenty to work on!

Went prom dress shopping with my sister, tried on a bunch of the ugliest dresses I could to keep her company. Then, the highlight of the night: my first trip out to a bar with friends since the night I turned 21.

I was meeting Don and company at Harvest Moon at 10:15, but they were running really late. Which meant that for about half an hour, I had to sit at the bar and fend off a) a chemist from Canada "traveling a lot and going to Budapest next week" who didn't seem to believe that I was actually meeting people, b) about ten guys that told me that a "lady should never have to wait" for her friend. Yeesh. Are people really still that corny?

My bad mood evaporated pretty fast once everyone showed up though, and "staying 20 more minutes because I have work early" sorta turned into 2 hours. I've heard Don talk a lot about karaoke, and watching him and Will definitely lived up to my high expectations. And I admit, when a guy was singing "When you were young" by The Killers, I was ready to sing. I sincerely doubt that I ever would alone, but I think if Don or Will or someone was with me, I'd do it. I still felt really awkward most of the night, but that's sort of a constant anyway, so I still had a lot of fun. It's been a really long time since I've been out with friends, and I've never gotten to go to a karaoke night or anything like that, unless basement show sing-alongs count. It was a good change of pace for me, and I loved getting to see Don and Will outside of bike-related stuff. It's kind of nice having friends again.

On the down side, I went outside to bike to work this morning and I could barely see since i t was snowing so hard. Worst way to start a morning- cold and soaked on a train for 45 minutes. Plus, on the walk to work, my legs started hurting. Time to start drinking as much tonic water with quinine as possible before Sunday. I'm not feeling confident about finishing, but it's supposed to be really nice out, so it'll be fun. I almost wish I was going to Delaware with the team instead though.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Baby We Were Born to Run

I was swimming with Don the other day and we were just talking about our lives, since I had no goggles and we were stuck aquajogging. He got serious for about a minute and told me how proud he was of me for the last two weeks, and "not just about bikes." He added that "it seems like you're kicking ass lately."

It made me very happy, and it made me think about that- I have been doing really well lately, and knock on wood, life is pretty awesome. Got a $1000 scholarship for health and science journalism, Triathlete bought my article, I'm getting a lot of good feedback and interested people with my tri club idea, and even though I've had a lot of problems with racing in the past couple of weeks, I haven't let them get me down or effect my willingness to keep racing. And I'm doing the marathon on Sunday, and even if I don't finish it, I'll feel good knowing that I gave it my best shot. My plan is simply to go until I can't go anymore, until I can't even walk. Til then, I have no intention of stopping. I know my body and I know that even if I cramp so badly that I can't walk, as soon as I get to rest for a few hours and let my creatine kinase levels go down, my legs will be fine. I just wish I could figure out what causes that increase!

The last two days have been fun- sleeping in until 9:30, seeing Paul Baribeau and Ginger doing Springsteen covers and singing along to Born to Run and Thunder Road like my life depended on it. Remembering how fun basement shows can be if you're with good people. Hanging out with Matt and Cristian and talking about racing. Actually getting home to Hunterdon County really late and feeling like I was 17 again and sneaking in late from a show! Kinda nice every once in a while to get out of "athlete" mode for a few hours.

Anyway, today was pretty decent, back to athlete mode. Woke up, did 30 min on the stepper to warm up my muscles, then 30 minutes of work with 10 lb weights and a bosu ball. Then, realized how nice it was outside. I knew I shouldn't run much, so I decided to go for a relatively hilly ride. It's the loop my dad and I used to do when I first started really riding a couple years ago. A year and a half ago, it took me 37 minutes to do the loop. Today, 22 minutes. So I did it twice, with the total time being 44 min. It's great because I wasn't really even pushing it. Nice to see serious progress!

Then, ran for 30 min just to check in on my knee. My stomach bugged me a bit and my knee felt funky, but not bad. I was really fatigued for the first half, and I'm not really sure why. But picked up a bit on the way home. Maybe it was listening to Springsteen that helped...

Robbie's 19th birthday today and we got Pizza Hut for dinner. Not healthy, but whatever. Ate a ton of pizza and cake, watched Justice League cartoons for hours. Great way to spend an evening!

On the way home, I was thinking about stuff that I really really want for cycling/triathlon:
1. a skinsuit. Right now, my jersey is entirely too big for me. That and skinsuits look sick as hell.
2. better sunglasses. As in, not $5 ones from Rices Flea Market.
3. new goggles. Nicer ones made for more open water type stuff that won't leave ridiculous goggle lines.
4. a wetsuit. Because it's gonna be COLD at Black Bear Lake if I ever get around to signing up for that half Ironman.
5. a transition bag. My messenger bag just hurts my back and shoulder and doesn't have any way to organize everything.
The list goes on and on, but those are the major things that I would very much like to own.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Race Weekend!

So this was my second weekend racing, and I think that it went a lot better than last race weekend, even if it still wasn't anywhere near perfect.

Don drove Mark, Charlie and I to Grant's Tomb for the Columbia Crit, so the ride there was a lot of fun, plus we didn't leave until 8am so I actually got sleep!

Got to the crit and warmed up on the trainer for a while, watched other racers, screamed my head off cheering, and then raced. The course was interesting- there were a few short sharp turns in the beginning, a little hill, then a really swoopy turn and then going up a hill to the end. I was doing pretty well, taking turns a little slow but making it up on the two hills. I was excited that I was actually around Corinna for a good portion of the race. Then, on the last swoop, my leg cramped a little, so I did kinda crappy on the ending and came in exactly mid-pack. So in all, I was really happy with it, except for the ending.

We drove back and went to a diner, which was fantastic- it feels really good to go out and really be part of the team.

Then, onto Stevens the next day!

Looked at the course and all I could think was, "oh God, this is not my course." Very technical- long downhill with an S curve at the top and sharp right at the bottom. Then a straightaway, sharp turn, then serious 15% grade uphill to the finish. I loved the uphill, but I knew there was no way I would do good on the downhill since I knew I couldn't go down without braking and relax at all.

I was right- spent the entire time going slow down the hill and then making it up on the uphill. Had an awesome ending though- sprinted past 5 other girls! It was pretty great, with all the guys on the team and my dad screaming at me to go go go, so I went and actually improved my place by so much in that last few seconds.

The race went about as well as it could have- I really really need to practice handling if I'm going to get any better at crits.

The best part of the day was when DK was talking to Charlie, who wasn't racing because of a crash that hurt his knee and ripped up his leg on Saturday:

"You're not racing today?" -DK
"No, my knee hurts from the crash." -Charlie
"Oh come on, look how many times Molly's crashed, and she's still racing!" -DK

Fantastic. I don't know if I was offended or complimented. I've only had 2 crashes, and only 1 of them was during a race! I am hella uncoordianted though- I have a tendency to just fall over pretty much on a daily basis, whether it's because someone stopped and I didn't clip out in time or I'm just being klutzy. Biking may be a very dangerous sport for me.

Also, I love this picture of me:

Tom took it on Sunday, and I look so unintentionally badass. Really, I was just feeling awkward that he was taking a picture of me.

And yes, that's a "pride surfboards" underarmour shirt I have on.

I'm going to the pool in a little bit to swim with Don. I already ran 6 miles today, and I forgot my knee brace, so by the end, my knee definitely was panging. I'm really nervous about Sunday and the marathon, but I'm trying to just think of it as a long workout and a fun roadtrip.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


There was a shoot out between cops and bank robbers outside my house, apparently.

Got home to find my house and driveway cordoned off and cops outside. Bank robbers went down my street, realized it was a dead end, and u-turned only to end in a gunfight with the cops, leaving 1-2 of said robbers dead, according to various sources. Creepy as hell looking out the window right now.

Just another day livin' in the Bruns.

Biking: the most fun you can have with padded bibs on.

Yesterday may not have been as fun as Tuesday, but it certainly was productive. While hill repeats were really tempting, they happened at the one time of day I was busy. But I more that made up for it with 2 hours of intervals on the trainer. It feels really good to actually do something other than just pedal for an hour on the trainer, as I've been inclined to do. It makes the time go much faster too!

In addition, I:
1. Wasted 2 hours of my life making copies. I'm a research assistant, so it's sorta in the job description.
2. Ate a bagel and ordered a ton of Gu stuff! (ahem, Tango Mango sports drink)
3. Went swimming with Vlad, talked about the relay tri we're doing in June
4. Pumped some iron to be buff for Spring break!
5. Actually remembered to do some stretching
6. Put my own CatEye Velo5 onto my bike, even troubleshooting it on my own
7. Packed a race bag for the weekend, though I still need to wash all of my stuff, as it's pretty offensive.
8. Found out I won this crazy award for Health and Science Journalism at Rutgers, so that's pretty awesome, since it comes with a $1000 check and a weekend of networking with people in the field, which should be awesome.
9. Fretted to Dad about what to do with my life and furthering my education: take a year off to earn money? Take a couple of classes during that time? Enroll full time and get loans? Do alternate route to get my teaching certification? While I want it to be June so I can move, I'm dreading deciding what to do with my life!


Today, I just went to the gym for an hour and a half, and rode outside on the mountain bike for about an hour. So, pretty tame training day, but I'm hoping it will be more effective. Now that we're racing, I'm trying to cut down on training hours by a tiny bit so I'll have more energy on weekends. Getting very nervous about the marathon in a week and a half, but since it's not a priority race, I'm trying to think of it as something that's awesome if I finish, but ok if I don't. I just wish it didn't involve driving 7.5 hours to get there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Time to Party, Let's Party!

Today I had the best experience ever. We did a 50 mile ride for base miles, and oh man, did it feel great. About halfway through, I was grinning and thinking, "this is the best way to spend an afternoon." I finally feel like I'm in college- hanging out with friends, on a sports team, et cetera, and for the first time, I'm almost proud to be from Rutgers as we're all riding in our kits. My confidence is back after the ride, and I'm even more excited for the weekend.

It was great experience practicing riding with a group after a couple weeks of primarily trainer-based rides. My legs felt awesome, even on Coppermine, and they stayed feeling strong the entire time. So much, in fact, that when I got home, I actually decided to go for a brick. Ran inside, threw on my running stuff and went out to run for half an hour. Not a super fast run or anything, but decent, and my legs still felt great.

Speaking of bricks, I've decided that I'm going to do the Black Bear half Ironman at Jim Thorpe at the end of May- it's a closer one than the Rev3, so I won't need a hotel. Also, it's a rolling hill bike course, so I figure I'll have the advantage of a really strong bike base. And I think I convinced Don to do the NJ State Tri with me in July!

Got some cranberry juice and Doritos (whatever, after that ride I can eat them) and now I'm eating a pb&j sandwich. God, I'm a 7 year old!

This morning was good too- did my Iron Yoga and got a good stretch in my neck and lower back where I was super tense. Then went to Princeton to meet my internship director to talk about a bunch of stuff- got a lot more work to do, but I'm actually pretty excited about it.

Yesterday at the pool was also great- Cristian joined Don and I for a swim, and it was a lot of fun. We raced the first lap and then he was watching me swimming laps for 45 min straight and he'd stop and be like, "how are you going so fast?" It was a huge confidence boost. I think that my swim times were improved, since I only had a 50 min relaxed trainer ride and a ride to the gym beforehand. So I got a solid swim workout in, had a good time, and got home at a decent hour, got a ton of sleep, and had a generally good day.

I've also realized that toning down the medications that I've been taking for IBS and drinking more tonic water with quinine in it have been cutting down my cramps, making my stomach function better, and I've been feeling a lot better. I've also been making a point of stretching a lot more before and after workouts. I know I should do it all the time, it's just a habit I never got into, and now I'm trying.

Gotta eat and get psyched up for hill repeats tomorrow, assuming my legs still feel good in the morning.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fun Nightmare

So this weekend did not exactly go as planned. I was nervous but super excited, and thanks to Don, I was visualizing an awesome two days of racing. Saturday I was up before the sun at 5, eating my Clif Bar breakfast and biking over to the time trial. Feeling pretty good.

Then, Marcos and I went out to ride the course, and that's when I started cramping. Badly.

So, hobbling over, I made the decision to suck it up, race the 2.7 mile TT and then see how I felt. Dad helped me change my tube on the front wheel and make some minor bike adjustments. Then, racetime.

My legs were burning and cramping the entire time, but I managed to finish 17th out of Women's Intro. Not a good time, but at least I didn't do too bad- finishing 17th out of 40 when you're crying while racing is not the worst thing ever.

Afterwards, I pretty much couldn't walk, so I decided not to race at Princeton. Went home to put my bike away so I wouldn't be tempted and changed into shorts and sleeveless since it was so nice and warm out. Don took me to Princeton, and I actually had a great time hanging out and taking pictures and video of the other racers, cheering them on like crazy. I love that about being a team- even though I couldn't race, I still felt good about them racing and doing great!

Woke up Sunday feeling pretty good, though my alarm got screwed up from Daylight Savings so I was running super late and had to rush to get to Livingston on time. Still, feeling ok. I was a little nervous, but Mom, Dad and Colleen showed up to cheer me on.

This was a circuit race, and for the first two laps, we were coached, which was annoying as hell, since everyone was moving at a snail's pace and braking so much at corners. Then, we had a two lap race. I was doing good, feeling great, making my way up in the pack, when a girl in front of me crashed. I almost avoided it, but ended up going down, hanging onto my bike so it wouldn't go flying (like some of the other riders did!) I destroyed my elbow, bent the hoods on my handlebars and torn up my left leg. Bleeding quite a bit and with my leg killing me, I kept riding. It hurt a ton, but it was worth it when I finally started passing girls. We had a line going but towards the end I broke away. At the final sprint, one girl was chasing me and passed me for a second but I sprinted past her and as I got in front of her, she mumbled "mother f**k" and I was laughing by the time I crossed the finish line.

I was really upset about my circumstances over the weekend, but really proud about how I handled them. Now I think I'm over my initial nervousness, and I can't wait for next weekend!

Of course, it would be nice if I had some new skin. Showering hurt so damn much this morning. CVS is my next stop, looking for some waterproof bandaids!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Butterflies in my Stomach

I don't think I was this nervous for any of the triathlons or races I've done to date. But the first cycling race I've ever done is tomorrow, and I'm terrified. It's funny, I didn't think that I would be nervous, but for some reason, it's really getting to me.

Part of it, I think, is that I have to run home tonight to watch my little sister in a school play instead of going to the team dinner and relaxing there. I also have to bring my tire to my dad, who got me a new tube since I got a flat and had to patch the old one. So we'll be changing my tire in a school parking lot, going to dinner and the grocery store for some Cliff bars for tomorrow, going to a play, and then rushing the hour home to New Brunswick and trying to get some semblance of sleep for a few hours. It's going to be a really hectic weekend, I'm afraid.

I'm not worried about doing badly- if I do poorly, it's all experience for next time. I know I'm good at cycling, it's just learning the handling and racing techniques that I'm not so good with. And I'm not really scared of crashing. I guess I'm worried about doing really badly, or making really stupid mistakes. Or just not being at all prepared for it, not being able to handle cornering well enough, or not knowing how to do the final sprint, or staying in the front by accident and bonking. I don't know.

Either way, I need to calm down! My stomach is in knots, which sucks worse for me than a normal person. Stress sort of causes my IBS to get a lot worse, so I've been having terrible stomach aches the past couple of days. I didn't sleep very well last night either, so I'm worried about being completely exhausted tomorrow.

I think that I'm mostly nervous because I'm in front of people that actually know something about racing, a lot of whom I consider to be my friends at this point. Normally, in my other races, it's been my immediate family and Robbie, and they don't really care how well I do or can gauge how well I'm racing. I think I prefer it when there's no one I know watching me- just look to the Bosco's Buddies 10 K in November- it was just Dad and I and he only saw me pass by him once, and I ended up getting second in Women's overall!

On the bright side, I don't have to be scared about flukemen or zombies in the water, unlike my first triathlon nightmares!

I just need to shake off these jitters. Hopefully after this weekend, it'll be easier!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Enzyme Update

Got back from the doctor. Results are in! My liver and kidneys are a-ok, however:

Normal person's creatinine levels: 145
studies show endurance cyclists during training season's levels at: 165
typical after a serious workout levels: 200
my levels: 6000.
and that's after 2 rest days.

"Your creatinine levels are about what we see in NFL players mid-training camp." -Doctor Cohen
No, we still don't know the cause. But the muscle enzyme levels are hysterical, though depressing. Feeling very badass right now though.

Long Time, No Blog

Yeesh. It hasn't even been terribly busy, yet somehow haven't found time to write anything since Friday. This weekend was super-rushed, which kind of sucked as the last race-free weekend for a while. But busy in a good way, at least!

Went riding from Flemington to Lambertville and back on Saturday with Marcos. Lots of rolling hills, so it was a great chance to get some hill work in, and it was actually pretty warm out. It was a surprisingly good ride for me, considering between crashes and leg problems, I hadn't ridden outside on my road bike for a couple of weeks (of course, I rode a lot outside just going between campuses on my mountain bike.)

Then, went and got my hair done. I'm pretty happy about how it turned out! (It's still wet in this picture, but you get the general idea.)

Funny enough, no one on the bike team noticed a difference. Then I realized most of them haven't ever seen me without a helmet, swimcap, or ponytail.

Robbie and I went to our favorite Indian place for dinner, had samosas, tandoori veggies, and a mango cheesecake! So good...

Sunday, Dad and I went riding Stockton-Frenchtown. It was a lot colder than we realized though, so he ended up turning back earlier, and I was freezing and couldn't feel my toes by the end, thanks to the wind blowing off of the river. Brr!

Then, of course, we went to Panera to warm up with black bean soup and yummy bread before I headed home to hit the stepper for a bit, then shower and sprint out to get to New Brunswick in time for a mandatory Cycling Team meeting. Pat did a little talk afterwards about race techniques, which was really helpful, though I'm maybe more nervous now, trying to keep my mind on strategy, not just riding. Thank God I'm doing Intro for the moment.

Monday was an actual Snow Day! No work, no nothing. So rode the trainer, hung around all day, and headed to the gym at 3:30 (taking an hour to get there on the bus) to lift and do some cardio before meeting a legs-freshly-shaved Don to swim. Good swim, though my arms were pretty tired. It's always better when I swim with someone else, because then I never let my pace get too easy. Had to wait forever to catch a bus home, which was a bummer and my hair froze completely.

But other than that, great day. This morning though, I was on the trainer and my upper thigh cramped a little, so I stopped at an hour instead of an hour and a half, though I'll make it up later. Going to do homework and head over to the Sports Medicine doctor to go over test results and talk about if the marathon is going to be ok for me to try, though I think no matter what, I'm at least going to try.