Monday, November 30, 2009

Catching Up!

Rather than an obscenely long written post catching up on the last week, here's an obscenely long post in pictures:

It's a long time coming (considering I bought the bike a month ago) but here it is, my WSD Trek Equinox 7, which is (thanks to Blake) now perfectly fit for me! I wish I had had it for Friday since Vlad and I did an awesome 50+ mile ride to burn off some of the Thanksgiving calories, but my Cannondale worked just fine.

Note how wide my aero bars are set apart- as Blake puts it, I have a swimmer/short course build.

My saddle isn't perfect, but it'll do for now:

Just one more shot because I couldn't resist:

And here is my NEW mountain bike! Surprise! Haha it's out of the blue but my friend Charlie was willing to sell it to me obscenely cheap, so Xterra, here I come! I think Vlad and I may race Buffalo Xterra next summer if the timing is right.

Now, onto business at hand: cyclocross!!
I am improving immensely, and having a lot of fun in the process.

For example:

This is the photo in an email we got last week before Long Island cross weekend:

This is the end result:
Ninja camping between races! It was awesome and a great "team bonding" experience.

We also have a few examples of me becoming more competent:

(Mercer Cup CX- lots of mud, stairs, barriers, etc. It was awesome!)

(Actually hopping barriers after a real dismount at Allentown on Saturday)

Catching up and passing girls that passed me when my chain dropped. Yeesh!

Going into a turn, not braking- it's a miracle! (As my boyfriend pointed out, it looks like I'm braking, but I assure you that I am not using them, merely resting on them. Hmph.)

I love this picture, rockin' a particularly off road section in Long Island.

More to come, but suffice to say it's been a nutty and busy week, and racing every weekend both days for the past few weeks is starting to wear me down. But only one week left before the season is over, and I'm admittedly going to be relieved. Thanksgiving weekend was never so crazy!

But, I am thankful that even with a hurt foot, I can still race. And more than anything, I'm thankful for:
  1. my incredibly supportive family- they come to every race they can, they are my best friends, and I love them so very much
  2. Robbie- always there and supportive no matter how crazy I am, including the times I demand that he rub my back and legs while I watch Frasier. He's truly amazing!
  3. Blake, Vlad, Mark, Charlie and the whole darn cycling team- without these guys I would never be able to afford bikes, ride bikes well, or have fun doing it! And I would damn well not be as interested in getting up obscenely early to get to races. They keep me motivated and sane(ish).
The list goes on and on, but those are the big ones. So, a belated happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


You know the saying "you don't appreciate something until it's gone"? Well, that's how I feel.

I miss running. I miss the lovely crisp fall days and sunshine and trails and roads. I miss short runs, long runs with Dad on the bike, the hills in the park, the sweet long run on half trail/half road at Round Valley, et cetera.

There, I said it. I never thought I would ever even consider missing something as awful, painful, and stomach-cramping as running, but now that it's gone, I want it back.I used to love the elliptical, but being forced to use it after ignoring it for 2 years sort of sucks. It's boring and no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get a hard enough workout. I can get a good sweat, breathe a little harder, but really, it doesn't compare.

Sunday, I ran for the first time in a week. And yeah, my foot broke down after about 10 minutes. But seriously, the ten minutes were awesome.

I keep running tiny places, like from the elliptical to the locker room. Just to make sure I still can. I have a doctor appointment with a sports guy tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have answers, and an idea of when I can run again.

In the meantime, I'm getting psyched for 'cross this weekend, along with the sweet camping plan that a few of us on the team have- should be a good time!

I think that this has really been good for me, oddly enough. It's shown me how much I actually enjoy running and how much I would miss it if I never ran again. It was something I needed, it's given me a whole new perspective on my training as something I should love doing, not just as a necessity. It's something I haven't felt strongly about for a while, and it's nice to get this drive and desire back!

But seriously, my foot needs to be fixed now. I want out of the gym and onto the trails!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bad News/Good News

The bad news is that there's no way I'm going to be running the marathon this weekend. My foot still is nowhere near healed. Maybe if I'd taken more time off it, if I hadn't been racing 'cross as much, et cetera, but honestly, I don't think it would have been marathon ready either way. I went on a short run after the cross race on Sunday, and it felt awesome to be running outside... for the first ten minutes. Then, pain and a long walk home with the little sister (she was ower walking in the aprk I was running in.) So, no marathon for me. I was a little bummed, as I'd put in the 23 mile runs, figured out nutrition, done all of the right stuff, only to have it messed up at the last minute, but I'm trying to stay positive.

Since it wasn't a real race, more of a long training session for me, it's not like dad and I can't run (well, he'll bike) 26.2 miles once my ankle heals. It won't be as fun, but equally effective, I think. And having been training for it for so long has me in good endurance shape.

Of course, I'm mad that I wasted an entry fee, and mad that I won't have that definitive ending to my beginning of winter "off-season." I guess the last 'cross race and the Big Chill 5k December 12 (my ankle better be ok by then!) will be my end of season races.

Also on the bright side, I get to race in Long Island with the team all weekend instead- my foot isn't so bad that I can't race 'cross, I just can't do a ton of running. So if it's a run heavy course, I may be a bit slow. But I'll make it!

I raced at the Mercer Cup CX race this weekend. I was very unhappy when I realized that we were being lined up according to when we had registered, so I was literally the last person in line. Not my favorite place to start. There were about 40 Cat3/4 women, and a lot of them had already raced the course the day before and were more familiar with it, so I knew it would be hard to do well. I, on the other hand, had put in a 3 hour trainer ride instead- I have a sinus infection or something, and racing in the rain on Saturday seemed like a bad idea.

But Sunday was mid-60's and warm!! It was ridiculous November weather, and while I'd like a white Christmas, I'm stoked about the weather right now...except that I hadn't packed any shorts or tshirts, so I was stuck wearing my skinsuit halfway and tied around my waist with a sports bra to cool off after my race.

It was a very technical course, and I did better on it than I expected. I think if we'd had another lap, I would have done even better, because as always, I still had more in me after the race. Memo to self: learn how to go hard and finish with the tank on 'empty.' I always seem to end with more in me!! But anyway... fun, muddy, and starting in the back meant even though I passed a lot of people, I was still mid-pack by the end. Which is fine with me. I finished 20th, grabbing the last points, so it could have been much worse. And I'm getting a lot better at cornering and just going for it in the mud!

I had one great moment where one of my ex-boyfriends was standing in the holding area, getting ready to race, and he spotted me. The exchange, done in complete monotones, went as such:
"Hi Molly."
"Gonna catch her?" (points to the girl in front of me.)
"Yup." (I did.)

It was so wonderfully chill for a CX race exchange, since they normally consist of people screaming. Fabulous. I also saw another ex of mine (these were from back in my punk/alleycat fixed gear days) win his race, and since we parted on friendly terms, we actually hung out between races for a bit while I waited for dad to find me. It's awesome, reconnecting with old friends.

Dad has also decided that he wants to get in shape and race cross next year- he almost bought a 56 cm cross bike at the race, some guy was selling it for $800 and Dad wanted it. But he decided against it for one major reason: he wants to get in shape, and then next summer, go halfsies with me on a good cross bike that will fit both of us- we can both use a 50 cm frame, so it'll work. And obviously, we'll never be racing at the same time, so we can go to a race, one of us races, washes the bike, and the other goes! It's a brilliant plan, and I really hope he makes the effort to get in shape for it- Dad doing cross would be excellent. And there are quite a few 45+ men doing it, so he wouldn't be alone! Besides, he looks so stylin' in his RU CX jersey I got him.

Me and my foot are heading to a meeting, then the gym. I may hate the elliptical, but that thing has been pretty useful the past few days. At least I feel like I'm doing something run-related! I have a doctor appointment with the sports guy at the RU health center, so hopefully he'll have some insight. And if I'm not going to be able to run on it for a while, it's time to start working on dropping a couple pounds and logging some serious bike and swim hours. So, like I said, it's both good and bad news, but I'm trying to, as I've said before, "stay posi."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Team Photo Shoot!

We had our cross team photos today and they came out awesome so I had to share:

The crew.
(Mark, Charlie, me, Marcos, Eric, Pat, and Charlie)

We are the America's Next Top Model of 'cross

We look so collectively badass.

Lookin' tough.
Notice that we all have short brown hair (with the one blond exception in 2 of the shots. But luckily, I still look like an actual girl- thank you fitted skinsuit!!)

For more sweet pics, check out David Wilson's Flickr.

Back in the Saddle

This week has gone a bit better than last week. Then again, it would have been hard to not be better than last week.

My foot is feeling better but instead of running at all this week and risking it, I'm just aquajogging and using the elliptical machine. And when it was 65 and sunny on Monday, it was tough to get myself to stay out of my running shoes! But it's going well.

I made plans to race this weekend, next weekend (CX and marathon!), the weekend after, and the weekend after. A month of racing! It should be exciting, to say the least. But our team needs points from women, so I'm doing what I can.

Yesterday was a just ok swim session, 3400 meters with 15x100 as the main set, done a race pace. I wasn't feeling very fast, averaging 1:38s mostly, which isn't a huge improvement. It seems like I just don't see a ton of swim improvement, though I feel like I'm going to be a lot better in a race situation now.

On the bright side, today was Veteran's Day, so working from home instead of going into the office, which meant gym time this morning and making cross practice on time. Of course, it also meant trying to stay out of the fridge and keeping the TV off to get work done, and I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't quite get as much accomplished as I wanted to. Making progress though!

I think I've just been feeling very stalled in my life lately- school isn't a challenge, and my jobs don't exactly leave me thrilled, or with healthcare. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. Maybe it's just the change in seasons, and the fact that I have no A races at the moment. I need to snap out of it and find challenges elsewhere though- if classes aren't challenging, I should be reading on my own, and if work isn't challenging, I should be finding other things to do that will make up for that. I need to start freelancing again, it's been too long since that Triathlete mag article!

I am reading some books on web design on my own and checking out some books (pun intended) about library science while I consider library school. I want to teach, but I'm progressively more intrigued by the idea of being a librarian. However, with teaching comes coaching and summers off, so it's a toss up.

When I was at dinner with a friend the other night, we were talking and realized we've been feeling the same way about stuff lately- he's my age, fresh out of college and in serious debt, and we really relate when it comes to how we're both feeling about stuff. It was nice to know it's not just me, it's just my age!

Anyway, off to put ona skinsuit and head to CX!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stupid Ankle, Stupid Week

So my sprained ankle and I have had a very boring week, hence the lack of posts.

We had viewing and funeral to deal with, which coincided with 2 complete rest days for me and my foot, which was still killing me. It's beena sad few days, and that's all I'll say about that.

By this morning, it felt better but I just did a weight set (skipping anything leg or foot related) and 45 minutes on the elliptical instead of running, which actually felt pretty solid. A 30 minute bike ride to and from tutoring ended a solid, if not minor, day of training. Tomorrow I'm taking mostly off and I have a big weekend ahead of me:

  1. reading the sports nutrition textbook I got out of the library for article ideas
  2. make scholarship list
  3. wash and wax truck
  4. change oil in the truck
  5. fix headlight on truck (sensing a theme here?)
  6. go to Rice's Flea Market with the little sister to get a jump on x-mas shopping
  7. library!!!
  8. Robbie and I are working on some pomegranate recipes for pom wonderful's contest. He's quite the amateur chef and we had some awesome (top secret!) ideas. I'm very excited about it, went to the Farmer's Market this morning and am bursting with energy about this...
I admit it: I'm a total Christmas freak. I love this time of year, and I'm not one of those people who hates when carols star playing in November. So yeah, Christmas shopping will start early this year! And yes, our apartment will be getting decorated. Soon.

In other news, I'm going to be racing 'cross a lot more. We just realized that to win overall in collegiate cross we have to have a lot of women's team points too. Since I'm the only female on the team with a cross bike, that's a lot of pressure! I'm sort of excited about it, but trying to not let the pressure get to me. This is my off season and my "fun" racing, and I want it to stay that way. Also, I'm not positive what's happening marathon-wise anymore. It's in 2 weeks, and I don't know if my ankle will be healed by then. It sucks. On the bright side, if I don't do the marathon, I'll be racing cross Saturday and Sunday. So it won't be time off, that's for sure!

It's been a long week and I just want my ankle to hurry up and get better...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Werd, but True.

Loving this pre-race picture of me!

Weird thing #1:
I am fairly certain my ankle is sprained, hence the foot pain. This is weird because I have absolutely no idea how it happened. It felt better when I took a couple days off running but 3 miles into my run yesterday I had to stop and limp-walk-run my way back home for another 3 miles, then could barely walk all night. Try chasing a 2 and 3 year old like that!
So I'm taking a couple days totally off- it's Robbie's Grandmother's services anyway, so we'll be back at his house, giving me a good amount of recoup time. Hopefully it fixes itself, because my health insurance bites.
Fingers Crossed!

Weird thing #2:
I was putting in my results to the Rutgers Cycling team and decided to check out the ECCC (Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference) 'cross rankings.
Guess who managed to get ranked as #1 B Woman thus far?
You guessed it, yours truly.
Strange. I'm also 45th nationally for CX women's cat 4.
It's pretty sweet knowing I've gotten a lot of team points, and that I might be slightly more competent than I thought. I'm hoping to race more so I can upgrade and go to nationals, though that's pretty pipe-dream-ish. Still, Dad and I talked about it last night and we agree that with a little tweaking and a bit of practice, I could be pretty competitive at least in Cat 4, maybe even move up to Cat 3 eventually. We'll see. It depends on my ankle, of course, since my main issue is mounting and dismounting, which is a lot of leg twisting action that I can't work on at the moment.

Anyway, a couple more pictures:

Race start!

Ahh, finally, dry ground!

Lookin' cool, post-race.
(I was looking at my mom's camera and dad took this shot from the side,
hence my "off in the distance" pose)

OK, this is from Granogue, but I just found it and I really like it!