Monday, February 22, 2010

A few random thoughts...

Just figured out the downside of riding a century then commencing regular training the next day...

I can't stop eating! Seriously, it's insane how hungry I am today.

On the bright side, had a thoroughly excellent weight set with Matt at the gym today. Hello leg muscles!

And in other news, note the sweet super short buzzed sides... I know the mohawk isn't up, but this is how it looks most of the time:

Oh yeah- I was looking through some old stuff and stumbled across these articles from when I was writing for ELLEgirl, the teen magazine. Check out how "punk rock" I totally am:
(Yes that's my zine Deviant Behavior. And it's me posed on the cover of it. Wearing a Sex Pistols backpatch on my jacket. Whatever.)

My Weekend of "Rest"

I know a century wasn't on the schedule. But with 40 degree weather and sunny skies, how could I resist? Especially knowing that race season is under 2 weeks away!

So it was an eventful weekend. Saturday was one of the best, most intense runs I've done in ages. 67 minutes with the second half at 1/2 marathon pace. My monitor was dead though, and even if I wanted to stick to 1/2 marathon pace, I don't have a clue what mine would be. So for the last 50 (that's sorta like half, right?) minutes of the run, I was going all out at my fastest sustainable pace. And it felt really fast! But even feeling that fast (probably doing a 7:15-7:30 pace), I wasn't getting tired. This means that my training is clearly working and the slow long runs are paying off. Hooray!

The century was intense. There were only 4 of us, which meant no hiding in the paceline. There were only four of us, 2 of whom were A men, which meant long stretches of riding at 22-24 mph hanging on. And we were in my neck of the woods, which meant hills. Lots of hills.

Yet amazingly, it didn't hurt. In fact, it felt pretty great. When I was hitting tough spots, I had Charlie to chat with, and Will had speakers in his back pocket blasting Lady Gaga and on one particular hill, "I believe in a thing called love" by The Darkness. It was a huge help! It was a lot of fun, and a great way to spend the day. I feel like I should write more about it but honestly, there's not a whole lot to say. We rocked a 4 person century, I think I probably hurt less than at least one of the guys, thanks to all of the endurance stuff I've been doing, and I am feeling a lot better about taking on the B women in the next few weeks.

Speaking of which, I sent coach my race schedule. He responded, "I want to make it realistic for you, as I know you don't know how to go at even 85%!" He's right, of course. I could start out with the best of intentions, but if I'm making the effort to go to a race, I damn well want to do awesome, not just ok.

So the plan is to turn down the volume a teensy bit and up the intensity. Which I'm stoked about. Honestly, race weekends don't take a lot out of me though. Usually I don't take long to recover from hour long races, which helps with training.

This week is all about refocusing. I was definitely lacking in motivation lately, but between a week off, a great run, and an amazing century with some awesome people, I'm feeling a lot more motivated to get seriously moving. Bring on the week!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sigh... Rest Week... Sigh.

I must admit, I was ready for a rest week. I even have a sports massage scheduled for Friday! Granted, my rest week is still going to end up being somewhere between 14 and 17 hours, but it's been pretty awesome.

I've even managed to have some semblance of a social life in the past couple of days- lunch with my friend Melody (the only other tiny super tattooed mohawked adorable girl I've ever met that lifts weights as much as I do), who I hadn't seen in over a year; dinner with Mark that turned into dinner with Mark, Cristian and Matt; and plans for hangouts with a few other people in the near future.

Lately I've been having an identity crisis as well as an identity discovery. The good news is that I'm really starting to try to sort of balance defining myself as an athlete with defining myself as a relatively punk-rock 22 year old. This means instead of wearing gross sweatpants all the time and just buzzing my hair, I have the mohawk, I have earrings in again, I'm paying some attention to how I dress again. I'm making plans to have non-athletic hangouts! Baby steps, but important nonetheless. I feel like when I started seriously training a year or so ago, I lost a lot of what me-ness I had. It was there, but being defined as an athlete was more important. I feel like I'm finding a healthy balance again though. Not to say being an athlete is at all less important! In fact, I feel like this is a turning point in how I feel about being an athlete- I don't have to "act" like one, I simply am one. Which is kinda neat.

Anyway, onto the identity crisis part: I admit, I haven't been enjoying my education class this semester. It's about cultural diversity in the classroom, and much like ed psych, I feel like I'm learning reallty obvious stuff and paying a lot to do so. The problem is that it's the only way that I can get to be a high school teacher, which is what I want to do. I would love to get my English PhD, I miss English classes so much, but it's jut not realistic. So in short, I'm confused. I'm applying for Teach for America because the deadline is tomorrow, and I'm thinking about doing that to get my certification, then working towards my Master's. I'm just not sure about it at all. And of course, I would need to get into the program.

I'm getting psyched- road season starts March 5 with the Rutgers Season Opener, and I can't wait! I'm really nervous about road season, as my handling and pack riding are always a little shaky- I am a triathlete, after all- but it'll be good to start racing again. It sort of crept up on me though, I can't believe that the weekend after next I'll be racing! I need to get to the parent's house next weekend and collect all my race gear, very exciting. I bullied Matt into taking me out for practice and a course preview this weekend, and hopefully we'll get to do a Sunday Century so I can get used to group riding again. I'm looking forward to the season starting though- it's not as fun as 'cross, but it's still a great time! I think Dad's getting excited too...

I broke in new running shoes today- I went with Nike Pegasus, because apparently I needed a shoe with a lot less stability so I won't hurt my foot again. We'll see. I hate breaking in new shoes though, so I'm glad it was during a short run that I christened them. Hopefully they'll hold up now that...

My rest week is drawing to a close, with a total day off tomorrow but then a hour long half marathon goal pace run on Saturday plus course riding, then hopefully a century on Sunday. I'm so glad it was a rest week, I really needed it to get back to being really excited about training! Hopefully the weather will be a bit more cooperative come March, I can't take much more snow.

Hope everyone else is having a lovely productive week!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snowday, V-day, and Later Days.

First, a bit of history:
Rutgers Cyclocross Team podium when we won the ECCC Cross Conference! I finally found the photographer that took the picture, so we actually have proof we podiumed! Note the sweet cowbell trophy that Charlie is holding, that was part of the impetus for our cowbell tattoos. (So far, 4 out of the 6 of us on the podium have the cowbell tats.)

Anyway, I also bring you Snowday 2010 with RU Cycling:
I woke up to abot a foot of snow last Wednesday but rather than stay inside when I didn't have to work, I called Crisitian to see if he wanted to mountain bike. The offshoot was the Cristian, Matt, Andy and I took off through New Brunswick getting catcalls from collegiate students about how crazy we were and tried to take the towpath. In a foot of snow, acceleration is HARD! In the picture you can see me and Cristian sprawled out- I hadn't even fallen that much, but it was exhausting... But really really fun!

The snowday also spawned these two adorable pictures of Robbie and I:

As well as an epic snowball fight in the backyard with Robbie and Adam, doing awesome throw and dive motions, leaving us totally snow covered and tired. It also led to hours of shoveling- my back still hurts! OK, and my dad had to come to New Brunswick to get the truck out of the driveway... it was ice covered and our landlord never got anyone to salt it. Mehh.

I'll wrap up the week quickly- yesterday was Valentine's Day, so Robbie took me to Panera and then surprised me with my best present ever:

Meet Skeets, our new Beta fish. He's named after Booster Gold (my favorite superhero)'s robotic sidekick. Here's a picture of Skeets and Booster Gold together:
That's right, we collect action figures.

Anyway, in other amazing news, it is finally a rest week for me! only 10 hours (not counting riding to classes and the gym) on the schedule (though Sunday's 2.5 hr ride may end up a lot longer if the team does a century, but that's at the end of the rest week.) And it has "get a massage" on one of the days, and who am I to argue with my coach?! Fantastic..

It couldn't have come at a better time, too. I've definitely been feeling a bit on the burned out side lately- I blame the snow and being sick for the last couple weeks, but my motivation was definitely waning a bit. It's funny though, as soon as I saw the rest week schedule, I was already feeling more motivated to get back to high training volume again! It'll be a challenge to stick to actually resting this week, but I can use the time to do some much needed bike maintenance, the chance to get out and finally buy new running shoes, and maybe the chance to spend of time working on my new project...

At the bike team meeting on Thursday night, I accidentally got voted and accepted the position as sponsorship director for the team, typically Mark (Mama Bear)'s job. Yikes! Luckily, I'm really close to Mark anyway, so it should be fun. And I already wrote for our team blog, was planning on usurping the website son anyway, and put together the newsletter for sponsors anyway, so really, the job seemed pretty natural for me. I'm excited about it more than I realized I would be, I already have a ton of ideas. I admit, I love stuff like this. I'm nercous because I'm not so good with knowing what gear is good and whatnot, but that's what Matt and Charlie are here for! And Charlie made a good point- I'll pick it up fast enough. And that's good beacuse I really should be doing that anyway. So yeah, very exciting new project for the coming year.

Off to tutor and then gym for a new weight set with Matt!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not homebound, just snowbound.

Will I ever get to train outside again?

My sources say "no."

Seriously, first I can't ride the century because I'm sick, then I'm basically out of commission and not riding outside because of my sinus infection, then it snows and the century is canceled, then just as the snow melts, another foot of it gets dumped on New Brunswick.

What the hell!?

That's Robbie, being the best boyfriend ever and shoveling off my truck. Note the snow-hawk that he made on top though! ...Even my truck is totally punk rock.

Anyway, there was one shining bright side to this whole midweek snow debacle. I have the day off of work! Well, so to speak, anyway. I'm still working from home, but at least this means time to clean the house, do a ton of school work and catch up on writing, and of course, build an epic snowman. And hopefully coerce someone into mountain biking with me.

In other exciting news, I have a new addition to my teensy apartment'o'bikes. Well, not new, but I haven't used it in a couple years. My pink fixed gear is making an appearance in New Brunswick for the first time since 2007, and I'm pretty stoked. It has two flat tires that I intend on repairing today, but other than that, it is ready and excited to ride again!

Why? (you may be asking. And I woudn't blame you.) I blame Matt and Cristian. Matt has a fixie, punk rock as he is, and riding to the gym with him on a beater mountain bike is just embarassing. And slow. Not to mention I kinda sorta may have agreed to at least try out riding at the track this summer... Also, Cristian has been bugging me for months to "be more punk" and "ride the fixie again," so I'll make him happy. That and the whole bike handling thing... I think riding fixed definitely helps my handling skills, and the ridicuous gear ratio on mine basically guarantees a workout wherever I go.

Anyway, training... This week (sunday onward) marked the beginning of a finally not sick training week. Between the infection and funeral/viewing stuff, it was a rough week. By the end of last week, I was feeling better but still wasn't swimming, and was taking it pretty easy. Easy meaning a 15 hour week instead of a 20 hour one. And my diet got chucked out the window (happily, I have to admit. I do love pie...)

But this Sunday was kicked off with a 4 hour trainer ride pre-Superbowl (Century canceled due to snow), and Monday was weights with Matt and a swim. It's amazing how slow your swim gets after 1 week out of the water. Luckily, by the end of the set, I was almost back to normal...

Then, yesterday was the 3 hour trainer ride and then an hour run later in the day. Both felt good!

After 3 hours on the trainer, this is how happy I look. On the bright side, I'm wearing one of my favorite t-shirts, it's gross and huge but so comfy!

But... Road season for us collegiate types starts in only THREE WEEKS! And in the past month, I've ridden outside a grand total of 2 times on a road bike, and crashed one of them. Not great odds. The weather has not been kind to us this January. Still, I did a great FAST and HARD trainer ride on Saturday for 1.5 hours, and felt awesome, so BRING IT ON road season!!

And bonus: women's A & B racers will be racing together, thanks to the addition of the Women's C option, which means longer races for us B's, thank god! At least I'll get some decent training in, instead of 20 minute races followed by 2.5 hours spinning on the trainer. (Instead, I'll only spin 2 hours...)

So to sum up:
STOP SNOWING ALREADY!! I am really really really ready for summer, even if summer brings 28 hour training weeks, races galore, and IM nerves.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sick. Not Tired, Just Sick.

Not to be all mope-y, but...

I'm sick.

I'm one of those people who will tough it out normally to hit weekly training totals. But when I'm pretty sure that I coughed up a lung and have a whisper for a voice and am working from 10-10 today tutoring and nannying, I draw the line at waking up at 5:30 for a trainer ride and run. Between that and what I'm pretty sure is a staph infection in my finger that makes it hard to grip handlebars, I'm not in great shape. Then again, neither is any student at Rutgers, as apparently, this is the bug that's going around. Which means the health center is not exactly easy to get an appointment at.

I personally blame Matt. I think my training buddy purposely gave me his bronchitis, or whatever this is, in hopes of a week of no weight sets with me. Hmph.

Seriously though, I'm hoping that a day off will make me at least a bit better so I can get back to training tomorrow. I skipped a swim yesterday too- and while I thought I'd feel great finally getting some time off, it sucks.

Thankfully not training does mean that I have time to get to the health center and use one of their emergency appointments today, so hopefully they can give me some kind of antibiotics or something. I hope. At least, I want to make sure that it's nothing I need medicine for! Also, someone needs to fix my damn finger. It's ridiculous.

Other than that, I'd like to say it's been a great week but it hasn't. Mid run Saturday morning, my mom called to tell me that my aunt- who I was going to see later that day in the hospital- had passed away. So that made for a super fun rest of my run. And of course, the whole week is insane because of nanny and tutor obligations (the nannying is going to be cut back in a couple week but not yet so I'm doing double duty a few days), and now adding in going to the viewing and funeral, and family stuff afterwards. It'll be nice to see my family, even given the circumstances. My aunt had been really sick, so it wasn't a surprise, but she was an incredibly sweet lady who I loved very much, and she will be missed. It's a big comfort to know she had been in pain and now she isn't, and now she's with her sister, my grandmother, in heaven.

It's a tough week, to sum up.

So now, I'm going to get up, clean up, and head for the health center. Wish me luck...