Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moving Day!

I wish I had pictures of the highlights of the past two days of moving out of and into various apartments. Robbie and I have spent the last couple days cleaning, carrying, lifting, packing, dragging, yanking, shoving and scrubbing various furniture and parts of our old house.

It took 4 hours to clean our bathroom. 5 guys and me, plus shows a few times a month bringing in tons of dirty punks. Suffice to say, gunk in the shower was the least of my issues whilst cleaning. Gross. That will never happen again. Ditto on the fridge.

Yeesh. Finally, we got to our new place, only to discover that our new apartment hadn't been cleaned. Our new landlord offered us a choice- we could wait til June 1 and have a cleaning lady in, or we could move in and clean it ourselves and get a $75 credit off our rent. We decided to clean by ourselves of course.

Mrs. Martin, Robbie's mom, was awesome- got off work early to help us carry and clean. We got the bed, mattress, a couple boxes, and my desk up to the attic apartment, and I was dying! So many flights of stairs.

Pictures to come this weekend once we paint and clean.

Tuesday I did some serious lifting and speedwork at the gym, followed by a cool down swim. It felt pretty great. My speedwork is definitely going to help with Bear Mountain in 2.5 weeks.

Yesterday I took the day off to move- I was super sore and beat by the end of the day, and the stair workout I got was equal to a good 1.5 hr on a StairMaster!

Today Robbie and I went shopping for cleaning and kitchen supplies. We have so much to buy!

Then, I got home and convinced my sister to ride her bike while I ran in the park. It ended up being a great speedwork session, including a fairly intense hill. Only 45 min, but it felt really good. For the most part, roughly 7:30-6:50 min miles, give or take. And for me, that's really great! If I can keep this speed up, then I'll be able to really improve my times.

I did 30 min of ab and weight work, and I'm trying to convince myself to get on the trainer while watching the national spelling bee.

Honestly, I've been pretty unmotivated since my big crash a couple of weeks ago. I'm getting back into it, but it's hard with a hectic schedule and moving a lot between Hunterdon and New Brunswick. I'm hoping once we settle in, it'll get easier. On the up side, we finally got our new frame from Cannondale. It's pretty awesome- the Super 6 all carbon frame, but it doesn't look as cool or badass as the series 6 we had before. Still, I'm glad to have it back, even if I am nervous about riding a good bike after that crash. We got a huge discount but still it wasn't cheap or something I really had the money for, so I'm hoping that the township will kick in a little for the frame, sice it was their pothole that sorta screwed me over. I've heard that they've paid for car repairs from it in the past, so hopefully they'll help out. Otherwise, that's a whole summer of work down the drain that I couldn't really afford to do. Huge bummer. But that's life, I guess. At least I have a dad awesome enough to get the bike for "him to ride," let me race and train with it, and then pay for the new frame when I wreck it. He really is the best!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back from the Dark Side

I know that the past few months have involved entries like "why bike racing is the best thing ever" and "bike racing is quickly becoming my favorite sport." And while I still love the bike, don't get me wrong, I've realized that my number one love will always be Triathlon.

Yesterday was the first race of the season, a short fast sprint triathlon in south Jersey. That meant getting up at 4 and being out the door by 4:30- earlier than most of the bike races this season, but this time, I was wide awake and super excited, even without my good bike- I was racing on the Trek again, but honestly, I didn't even mind. It helped that Dad drove and Robbie came along. They really are the best!

Setting up transition, getting body-marked, getting awesome race swag, these are things that I missed! (Things I didn't miss: bathroom lines and the fact that no one else was warming up on a trainer.) I got my wetsuit on and paddled around the lake (very sea-weed-y and full of lily pads.) I was feeling pretty good about everything, albeit a bit nervous- I didn't know how the open water swim would go- I've never had a good one, so I wasn't expecting much.

Then, the race started. It was an in-water start, so I had gotten up to the front, and jsut put my head down and went. I was amazed that I didn't start panicking like I used to, and just focused on "go go go go," sighting occasionally. It was only a 400 meter swim, and all of a sudden, there was the shore, so I started focusing on passing more and more people. I wasn't even out of breath when I exited the water, so I was fairly amazed to realize it was a 7:30 min swim and I was the 6th female out of the water!

Then, onto transition, where the wetsuit came off perfectly and I was on the bike and moving. I shot up to 24 mph easily and was going happily, passing people for a couple miles. Then, cramping.

I should have used the trainer on Friday and warmed up, but instead I went tubing with friends. Like an idiot, I didn't drink my tonic water with quinine, which usually helps with cramps. I pretty much screwed myself over.

So my right thigh felt like it was on fire, and I totally lost power in it. I tried to focus and just keep going, but it was killing me. Then, a car came a bit close, forcing me to run over a large stick, which got caught in my rear wheel. I tried to ride it out, but I ended up having to stop to untangle it, losing a good minute. I was pedaling essentially with must my left leg for power at this point, so I was stoked that the ride was only 12 miles. I wanted to push it, but I couldn't. It wasn't even a "it hurts too much to push," it was literally that my body couldn't with that pain. My average ended up being 19 mph, 4 mph short of my goal, which shouldn't have been hard to accomplish- I've raced faster than that, and this course was flat with only a couple of small rolling hills. Needless to say, I was unhappy.

Got into transition and Dad yelled that there were 14 women ahead of me and I needed to "haul ass." So, into transition , where I tried to jam my sneaker on, only to realize that the lining had come out and jammed in it, so I had to fix that before I could get it on. Waste of a good 45 seconds or so. Then, onto the run. As I ran out of transition, Dad just started yelling "Run like hell!"

So I did. Or tried to anyway. I took the first 1.5 miles easily, probably around 7:45 per mile, since I was afraid my hip cramping would spread- it's been known to do that. Luckily, it didn't, so on the way back, I sped up to around 6:55 min miles and passed a couple of women.

While I wasn't happy about the run, it's the best one that I've done so far- even a 5k I did last summer was 24 minutes, so I shaved a couple minutes off of that. And if my hip had its normal power, I could have gotten it down to around 19-20 min easily, I think, since I wasn't really winded at all, just worried about my legs.

It turned out ok- I wanted podium, and I know without the cramping I would have gotten it, or been in 4th or 5th at worst. However, I ended up 11th woman overall, and first in my age group. I've never been first before, so at least I achieved that much. Anything less and I think Dad would have left me in South Jersey!

Anyway, at least I got to race in my awesome grim reaper suit!

Next race: June 13, Bear Mountain. And you better believe that I'll be ready, warmed up, with my good bike, and ready to kick ass.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Amplified Adrenaline

I'm getting super nervous and excited about this weekend! (And I keep listening to Strike Anywhere's "Blaze" to get me in the competing mood.)

I know it's just a small triathlon, but doing well in it is kind of going to define the rest of the season in my book. After a crappy race weekend a couple weeks ago and all of the medical maladies that have been driving me insane for the past few months, my future as a competitive athlete is pretty fuzzy. Still, I've been feeling good, so I have high hopes for the weekend. Looking at last year's splits for the winners, I'm a little intimidated. I'm just hoping that the wetsuit gives me an edge that I haven't had before in the water, and that my bike split will give me a serious edge. I should do well, barring any medical or mechanical issues. Just thinking about it knots my stomach up, and I know one of the key things to remember is to just STAY CALM before the race starts and during the swim. In past races, I have a tendency to get super nervous and get a flood of adrenaline really early, so when I'm actually racing, I'm already feeling drained.

The past couple of days have been all right. The weather is finally getting really nice, so Tuesday I got to run for 90 min. It was the longest I've run since the marathon, so I was happy that I did it cramp free. I had some "stomach issues," but I still managed to finish the run. I rowed instead of swimming though, since I was in Hunterdon.

Yesterday I had job training, so most of the day was devoted to that. Then, headed out on a 6 mile run. I wanted to make it fast, but my stomach had a sharp cramp in it. Still, a huge improvement over last week, only taking 51 minutes instead of the 56 it took after I got sick. I was super slow at some points because of the cramps, but the other times, I was moving pretty fast- now that it's nice and other people are running, it's fun to try to pick people off on the trails. Someone to run with would be great, but you can't have everything.

Then, biked to the gym to swim for 30 min, part of the time practicing swimming a straight line without being able to see (closing my eyes in goggles) and sighting while doing that. I'm feeling pretty good about that now. And, I admit, I like swimming after workouts because it alleviates the need for an actual shower! (There's a reason I have short hair now. I'm too low maintenance, especially over the summer).

I had to pack a lot into the truck, now that Dad and I put the cap on it, so I ended up doing an impromptu weight set, carrying huge amounts up and down the stairs. I banged one crate into my leg and thought that it was starting to cramp, but luckily, after a few hours, it stopped and only a slight bruise remains.

Rest day today since I'm working, and tomorrow will be pretty relaxed so I can kind of do an "early warmup"- maybe even another wetsuit/lake test to be prepared.

Physically, I'm in probably the best shape I've ever been in right now. Mentally, I need to stay focused during the race and not start thinking about "just finishing." Instead, I'm going to try my hardest to win this damn thing, and hopefully I won't a) cramp, b) have stomach pain, c) break my bike again or d) get eaten by a fluke man whilst swimming in the lake.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rest Week Accomplished.

Well, the past week sort of was an unplanned rest week, but I guess I had it coming.

However, this weekend made up for that. Saturday, dad and I took my new wetsuit, bike, running shoes, and transition gear over to Spruce Run for some practicing. I was so stoked about testing out the wetsuit. We walked down to the beach (dad holding my bike) and I got in the water and splashed around. I cannot believe how fast and good I felt in the wetsuit. Suddenly, I wasn't panicked that something would touch me! I wasn't freezing, and I was breathing a lot easier.

I floundered around for a while, and then just did a super short swim before running out of the water, dad running behind me holding the bike as I pulled off the wetsuit. I did a good transition out of the suit and onto the bike, then did a fast 3 mile ride, back to transition, and into running gear. I ran a half mile, just around the huge parking lot, and dad timed it as a ~6:45 pace, which would be perfect if I could hold it for the 3 miles next weekend. So in all, it was a really good practice and left me feeling a ton more confident about next weekend's sprint triathlon.

Sunday was pretty blah. Woke up and it was cold and gross outside and I was just feeling tired, so I rode the trainer for an hour and a half after putting the aerobars back on. It was a great call because I got to make minor adjustments to the seat position. Then, 30 minutes of weights while finishing the Justice League dvds.

Robbie and I took our moms out for a Mother's Day lunch, which was lovely. Then, watched poker and the Food Network the whole night.

Today, I rode a very windy 50 miles of hilly territory in Hunterdon County. It went better than I expected, but a little slower than I would like- I am definitely still recovering from last week. But afterwards, I took an ice bath and it was awesome. Painful, but awesome.

Dad and I put a cap on my truck to make moving easier, and it took us a good hour to do it- we had to bring it from the backyard out of a good 6 inches of sinking mud (in my old combat boots with drainage holes), then battle the spiders and ants that had laid claim to it. Gross. We washed it off and connected it to the truck, and while it's not the best looking thing on earth, it's going to make moving a lot easier.

Off to bed- it's going to be a busy week and I'm not really looking forward to the next few days- can we just skip to Friday so I can get ready to race on Saturday?

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Get Knocked Down...

It's been a very long week, so I'm pretty stoked that it's finally over and that I'm finally feeling sort of human again. It took Monday and Tuesday completely off of training (except biking to and from a final) in order to start feeling better, though I was still not super stoked about eating ever again. It wasn't until last night that my appetite even sort of resembled how it usually is (meaning always starving).

Wednesday I went on a 6 mile run and was pretty annoyed. I'm not a super fast runner to begin with, and last Thursday was the first 6 miler I had done in a while, thanks to the cramping after the marathon combined with the bike-heavy training I'd been doing. I was pleasantly surprised when I ran the 6 in about 49 minutes, since I wasn't really pushing the pace at all. So it sort of sucked when Wednesday ended up taking 56 minutes. I know it was because I've been super sick and I was really not pushing it at all (for fear of throwing up on the trail), but it just is a huge bummer that the crash on Friday not only wrecked my bike, but also has thrown off my training.

I ended up using the trainer on the porch on Wednesday for an hour and a half as well, since I wasn't up to riding on the road, but it was so nice out. Then, 30 min of very light weight set while watching TV.

Thursday I was super stiff and just feeling really sluggish. Luckily, it was Robbie and my first official day done with school and work for a couple weeks (well, I'm still working, but not tutoring until June). We celebrated by sleeping in, and then getting bagels and watching TV. He even sat and watched TV while I rode the trainer in the living room. Then, we started packing to bring stuff home so when we move in a couple weeks, it won't be so bad.

The stuff we have seems to be multiplying. I don't know how we managed to accumulate so much stuff in two years. My truck cab was full when we left yesterday, yet the room looks the same! I can't understand it...

We had our team photo for the Rutgers Cycling team, and they were psyched to have a girl in it for once (Karina had already left the country, so she wasn't around, it was just me.) Then, I made the point that with short hair and a men's jersey that's too big, I blend in anyway. I have high hopes that I look vaguely feminine at least (admittedly, I unzipped my jersey a bit at the top and actually put on eyeliner), and they made me sit in the front row. I'd say that you could tell I'm a girl because I have shaved legs, but then again, so do they. Oh well. I like my short hair! I just wish we had women's cycling gear... (Mark promised we'll get some though, so come fall, Karina and I will be the sexiest Rutgers cyclists around!)

Tomorrow better be nice out! Robbie and I are taking a picture of us for our respective moms as my belated mother's day gift, since I was racing last weekend, and Dad and I are supposed to be practicing with my new wetsuit at Spruce Run. This is super important, seeing as my first triathlon of the season is a week away. Yikes! Besides, after a week of not being able to train hard, I'm stoked to get in a couple of serious sessions and start my new summer training schedule.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Worst Day Ever, Volume 2

My week in pictures:
First, there was this potholewhich ultimately resulted in this:

as well as this: (among other cuts and bruises)In addition to a mild concussion, which made me start throwing up on Sunday night, all night. This led to yesterday being spent in the hospital getting a CAT scan and an IV full of drugs and fluids, as my blood pressure was getting way too low thanks to being dehydrated from the throwing up. Not a great day overall.

Still feeling like crap and had to spend today not training either. My head and stomach are just generally not feeling great, but definitely getting better.

This weekend, I raced with my old Trek 1000, and it was pretty terrible. I felt nauseous a lot of the weekend (not realizing it was from the crash) and I wasn't used to riding the Trek at all. Saturday was a 10 mile rolling hill time trial, which went ok. I was 7th, missing 6th by 2 seconds, and it was a great introduction to a lot of the Team Somerset people.

Bear Mountain really sucked though- 42 miles, and within the first 2, I lost the pack. There was a neutral downhill and then a start on a hill. My gears got stuck and I couldn't shift, and by the tie I got it figured out, I was behind the pack. Then I made the mistake of not pushing hard enough (honestly, I wasn't feeling strong, and I don't know if I could have pushed much harder) and ended up with a girl from SBR, who I totally loved. We picked up a couple of other girls, but on the second 14 mile lap, they were disheartened and taking it easy, so I pushed it and sped up a bit, doing the last 25 miles of the race totally alone. In a race of 60+ people, I was mid40s, but only a few finished behind me, most dropped out. But as I always say, death before DNF! In all, it was a good training ride. It just sucked because I really wanted to do well in that race, and if Friday hadn't happened, I would have had a great hill ride and a working race bike that I was used to. I don't feel bad about those crappy results, since even my dad, the original hard ass said I was nuts when I told him I was still racing over the weekend. I just want my bike back!

As far as the bike thing goes, I'm hoping that Cannondale's crash replacement program comes through, since I definitely can't afford to pay for a new frame.

Robbie felt neglected that I didn't have any new pictures of him up here, so I bring you:

Adorable, right? (And as it gets hotter out, I'm so much happier with short hair again!)

Anyway. Hoping to get my summer training plan figured out, hoping to be feeling good enough to ride again tomorrow, and certainly hoping that I'll be back to normal by the Saturday after this one so I can do decently in the triathlon on the 23rd.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Worst Day Ever.

Honestly, I'm too upset to fully write about it, but I just have to say:

I was on a ride today, didn't see a pothole, hit it, flipped and fell hard, and now my bike is in 2 pieces. Cops, ambulances, and some very nice people helped me out.

But what really hurt the most is that my beautiful Cannondale Carbon Series Six's frame is split in two.

As for me, a little blurred vision, a lot of road rash and a lot of tears.

Still racing with the old Trek tomorrow though. Wish me luck, it's gonna hurt a lot.

More to come, but for now, ouch.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

School's Over!

Things that are now in my possession:
1. Zoot Women's Zenith Wetzoot
2. AquaSphere Kayenne Goggle
3. Body Glide

It's been a good couple of days in terms of stuff that I own. I went to SBR on Monday and got this amazing wetsuit and goggles and had a wonderful time seeing Blake! I need to ride with him as soon as possible, I definitely owe him big time. I think I'm doing the June 13th SBR sprint tri with him, giving me another chance to use my great new wetsuit!
Things I've learned: tri wetsuits are hella tight! I have a wetsuit for surfing, but putting on a tri one is a whole different ballgame. It was so hot and sweaty trying the suits on, I thought I was in a sauna! It's so cool looking, Blake says I look like Batgirl in it.

I also got rid of a lot of my old clothes finally- 3 gigantic garbage bags of them donated. I have a hard time getting rid of stuff because I always think "maybe I'll wear this sometime." I also tried on all of my jeans- mostly hand-me-downs from my cousin- and got rid of any that don't fit well. It's depressing because since seriously starting to become a cyclist/triathlete, my legs have gotten a lot bigger- there's no fat on them, it's all muscle, but it still means some of my pants are tighter in the legs.

So yeah. Got some new stuff, got rid of some old stuff. Now Robbie and I are starting to search for various things we need for the move in a few weeks, mostly kitchen stuff and storage containers. It'll be so nice to have not gross stuff!

I need to come up with my summer training plan. I've been feeling pretty out of it lately, especially since the race and run on Sunday. Yesterday my legs cramped really badly en route to my morning swim with Don, so I ended up skipping my hour of cornering practice and my 30 minute run in the afternoon. It sucked. I made the most of it, went home, sorted clothes, ate Chinese food, and took it easy.

Today was pretty bland- weather sucked so I used the trainer inside, did yoga, and then ran errands and helped Colleen learn to parallel park. I'm a great teacher, if I do say so myself. Then, back to New Brunswick, where I rode to the gym. I was planning on swimming but I wanted to spend more time with Robbie so I used the elliptical instead and did a weight set. Robbie and I got frites for dinner! There's a Belgian fry place at the student center with 20 different sauces and the nicest owner in the world- he made me try so many sauces before picking two! I also got Robbie deep fried Oreos since I left him all alone last night (and playing online poker and having bad luck- yikes!). I'm the best girlfriend ever.

I need to come up with my summer plan, and I'm hoping that will jump-start my training for me. I think I'm just burned out with the end of the semester, plus I'm in a weird period: we haven't moved yet but we're about to, I don't start tutoring until June, and I just feel sort of useless. I need more projects! At least I have two races this weekend, and my first triathlon in two and a half weeks. Hooray!

So life is good, I just need to get more productive.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Last Collegiate Race Weekend of the Season

Well, last weekend of collegiate cycling is over. Some good, some bad, all fun!

Now I’m driving home with my mom, dad and Robbie, my loyal fanbase that are willing to drive ridiculous distances, sleep in tiny hotel rooms, and cheer their heads off for me while I race. Who could ask for more?

Anyway, the weekend started super early Saturday- we made it to Moshannon Lake pretty fast, with plenty of time to warmup. I gave Chris his new changing skirt, which he loved. (Pictures asap!) Moshannon Park is gorgeous. Lakes, hills, cabins, and amazing scenery. I want to spend a few days out there this summer just training like crazy- it’s perfect for tri training! (Maybe I can convince some of the team to come with me…)

It was warmer than expected, so I got to wear shorts and my short sleeved jersey. We had a 21 mile loop with over 1800 feet of climbing- yikes! Still, I was really excited, and a little disappointed that we wouldn’t be doing 2 loops like the C men and A women were. What a gyp!
The race was insane- huge winding downhill that shot me off the back of the pack with only one or two girls behind me. Still, once the downhill was over, I pushed as hard as I could to get back to the pack, and by the time we hit the first big hill, I had caught back on. We got up the hill and girls started dropping off the back. By the time we hit the big 5 mile hill, the pack was totally shattered. After a couple miles, I thought I was way off the back, so when I caught 2 girls, I asked how many people were in front of us. So when she said 8 or 9, I was totally shocked. I passed her and the girl with her and headed up the hill, trying not to look too far up the road and focus on my breathing. It paid off, and finally the hill was over and I was descending back to the start/finish. Hit the finish line to cheering from the awesome Rutgers team there and from my own crew. I wasn’t even feeling tired, and kinda wished I had another lap to catch more people.
Turned out the girls weren’t totally right- I ended up in 11th out of 39- good, but not as good as I wanted- I wanted top ten!

But in all I was pretty pleased with the result, especially when mom looked at me and said, “well, I didn’t think you’d be done this fast!” Yeesh.

Then, off to find a hotel, eat some Panera, and get ready for the banquet that night. Well, BBQ banquet anyway. As usual, there was minimal vegetarian food available, but we made do. The highlight of the night was when our esteemed conference director Joe Kopena was presenting 3 volunteers with an award for all of their services, and then added that he wanted to acknowledge a fourth volunteer, and asked his girlfriend to marry him, receiving a 5 minute ovation form all of us in the crowd. I admit, I teared up a bit. It was the sweetest thing ever!

Then, back to the hotel and a Sunchips snack before bed. Sunday was the crit, and the weather was looking dismal and I wasn’t really excited for a short course with a lot of corners. I made the mistake of starting way too far back, which I could have corrected but a) the girl next to me had her chain drop at the starting line and almost crashed me out, and b) the girl right in front of me took the first corner slow, forcing me to as well, and lost the pack. I tried to catch back on, but the first lap of crits always sucks for me. I was on the hill and Will was screaming “it’s now or never!” but I didn’t push hard enough to catch on- looking back, I should have pushed harder, because even by the end I was feeling pretty good. I passed basically anyone ahead of me that wasn’t with the pack, and I was with four girls (ahem, pulling the whole 3 laps I was with them) then passed them. It had been about 20 min and since the course was short, they pulled a lot of people. We were the closest to the chase group, but we finally heard that we were on our last lap (or at east I was pretty sure that’s what he said). I was panicking that the girls would be rested from me pulling most of the time, but I just pushed it as hard as I could, left them by the first corner, and didn’t look back. A UVM girl was near me, but on the hill, I pushed past her and had a good amount of space between us by the time I hit the final sprint. I did another cooldown lap because honestly, I hadn’t heard the bell and wasn’t totally positive we were done, and I figured it was better to do the extra lap than to stop if we weren’t done. I was super pissed about letting the pack get away early because of poor handling on a couple of girls part’s and my own lack of confidence and not just sprinting to catch back on right away.

The guys were all pretty proud of my sprint to the finish though, so I felt a bit better. I ended up cooling down on the trainer and doing a quick 7 loops around the 1 kilometer course: perfect for cheering on Eric as he raced with Men’s C’s. My legs felt pretty decent the whole time and it was fun running that circle. Made friends with some of the marshalls, so when I was on my "bell lap," one of them started using the bell on his bike to cheer me on!

After that, we headed out as it started to rain a bit harder. Now, we’re finally back home so Robbie and I can commence with boring couple stuff: laundry and grocery shopping.
And less than a month til we move into our own place! Yay!

Next weekend, racing for Team Somerset at Readington and Bear Mountain. I’m excited to see how it measures up to racing collegiate.