Monday, November 8, 2010

Bad Blogger Award

So I know I'm in serious contention for the worst blooger ever award.  And I know that I was planning on updating more when I got back to school and back into routine. What I didn't anticipate was just how crazy busy I was going to be.  Between classes, work, and now, cyclocross every weekend through mid-December including a trip to freaking OREGON to race at Nats, it's been sort of... insane?

This weekend was awesome.  We went up to Massachusetts for Cycle-Smart International, a weekend put on by the team's biggest collective crush, Adam Meyerson.  It was a super-good time, I had some decent but definitely "needs improvement" results in the biggest field I've ever raced in, and had a blast doing so.  It was the first super-cold weekend, which lent itself nicely to lots of hot apple cider and lots of free oatmeal.  And a whole lot of awesome team antics.  We got amazing seitan burritos at a place in Northampton, which is the cutest town ever, and then got really good beer at a great bar nearby.  In general, it was a fantastic time.  The only downside is coming home and remembering that I'm not a bike racer full-time.  There's work to do!

But there's also a lot to do bike racing.  The whole vegan thing is coming along very nicely, I dropped a couple of pounds this week and honestly, I am feeling really really good!  I always forget just how good I feel when I'm vegan because, come on, ice cream is delicious.  But so far it hasn't been too hard- it also helps that I spend weekends not eating pizza as per usual, but traveling with a lot of vegan teammates.  It is weird how easily I've fallen back into the habit of checking labels and paying attention to stuff like that, and I'm eating a whole lot more whole foods- a lot of fruit for snacking!  The only problem is that sometimes I get hungry when I'm working a full day- like today- and I can't really hit a vending machine for snacks (this is a good and bad thing, I think).  I would pack stuff like trail mix, but nuts and me don't agree in a lot of ways.  I could pack pita chips or crackers, easily, but I never think about it.

In addition to the vegan thing, I also need to work on my pitting skills.  At Nats, I'll be pitting for three of my teammates at the same time, and my knowledge of mechanics is not great.  Nor is my ability to hand off a bike effectively.  On the flip side, I need to learn how to take a pit bike and not lose time.  So my teammates and I need to start working on things like that.  Additionally, I need to work on going HARD for 45 min, my starts, and riding WITH people, including things like bumping, and just cornering with people in front of me- I brake too much as it is.  So we're going to start really focusing on those things, and instead of our usual Wednesday night team dinners, we're going to combine dinner with some serious mechanic lessons so I can hopefully be a teensy bit competent in the pit.

I did get new compression tights today, which I'm very excited about!  I did a run this morning to drop off some forms, and it was probably a bad idea.  I've never been one for recovery, but it's clear I need to start, judging by how much going down stairs is hurting now.  I need to do things like stretch, wear compression stuff, and actually recover.  And I need to avoid getting sick!  I keep forgetting to take vitamins and use my Neti pot on a regular basis, despite really needing to, since I'm outside in the cold every weekend.  Also, I keep underpacking for races and end up freezing and/or stealing teammates clothing (I had Matt's legwarmers for the past month, and I warmed up in Charlie's jacket all weekend). 

The next few weeks are going to be super fun though- we have a lot of my favorite races, Thanksgiving weekend off, a couple of local weekends and a couple of travel weekends to places I love, and then Nationals!  I'm super excited but also really nervous about stuff like getting our bikes there, our flights working out, getting to sit together on the plane, not losing our luggage, car rental, stuff like that.  Details are nerve-wracking, but flying doesn't bug me too much.  Just the part leading up to getting on the plane and taking off.  We still have 5 weeks until we leave, but it's hard to believe that it's already November and most of my classes are starting to wind down somewhat and final projects are starting to be due.  This means I'll be keeping my Bad Blogger Award for a while, but I'll try to post more, for my sanity more than anything else!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan Til Nats

I recently came to a realization: my nutrition sucks.

I realized this when, in one day, and not as a substitute for any meals, I finished 8 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  That's over 1000 extra calories, in addition to the regular 3 meals (including 3 sodas) that I was having over the course of the day.  Not OK!

So, I basically decided to take the most stringent anti-Reeses approach possible: until Nats, I'm going vegan.  As some of you may know, I used to be vegan, and I've tossed around the idea of going vegan again.  The next 6 weeks will be sort of my testing ground, so to speak, to see if it's a feasibility.  This will also make me cut the junk out of my diet, eat more fruit and vegetables, and hopefully shed those few pounds that have not wanted to come off since Ironman.  I have faith!  It's been a couple of days and I feel better, maybe from a psychological standpoint, but I think in general, I feel healthier.  I felt better as a vegan before, but I enjoy being vegetarian more, and it works better in Robbie and my lifestyle.  At the moment though, I spend my weekends with the team instead of at Robbie's parents, an half of the team is vegan, so weekends aren't an issue during the season.  So it's a tossup, really.  Happier with how I feel or happier with what I get to eat?  We'll see.  I'm expecting to see some major changes in my training because of it though.  I'm going to start watching my weight- literally- and weighing myself every day or two on my good body fat composition scale, just to see what happens on a vegan diet.  Of course, it's not just a vegan diet, I'm trying to make sure that it's a healthy one: little/no vegan junkfood for me!  Of course, I'm still drinking 2-3 soft drinks per day (can't give that up just yet) and eating junk food on occasion, but the focus is on being a healthy vegan, not just substituting the bad vegetarian stuff for bad vegan stuff.  That would be what we call counter-intuitive. 

To catch everyone up to speed, this weekend was a 12th place at Beacon CX and a 13th place at HPCX.  I'm getting better, and I'm beating more women who used to easily beat me, so I'm happy about that. 

More later, but right now I'm busy reading a sports nutrition guidebook from 1990 that advocates, when at restaurants and dealing with pasta, to, quote, "PILE IT ON."  Also, order extra rice with Chinese food.  This author is my hero!  She's also really into muffins.  I could live with this diet.

Oh yeah- the title of this post!  It looks like Pat, Charlie, Matt and I will be representing Rutgers out in Bend, Oregon this December at Cyclocross Nationals.  We still have to get final approval and book everything, but it's looking good!  I'm beyond excited, we're going to have a blast!