Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hub-Deep In Crunchy Leaves

Cross practice was weird tonight...kind of mellow, low intensity... With back-to-back races looming, the sentiment was less is more. Following some quiet tempo through the fields, we ducked into the singletrack just for fun. Sun went down, lights came on, temps dropped, dropped, dropped. Probably one more week of official training after the MAC finals...then what? Nationals? Then... Catch up on neglected "chores" (first item on the list: take down the Halloween skeletons that are still hanging on the front porch...yes, I am officially that neighbor). Then... Back on the mountain bike, back on the hardpack...bust out the booties & the balaclava.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Numbers

I did it... I looked at the series standings. I looked at the "confirmed riders"... I always insist that I like surprises. I do. Apparently, I also like to torture myself. In a surprising twist, the New Kings are playing at Carlisle...cool.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Weekend

Thanksgiving (morning): Awesome hike in the woods, unbelievably beautiful day
Thanksgiving (dinner): Too sick to eat. What is the matter with me?? Flu? Lyme? Wednesday's Hurt Fest Cross Practice (thanks, Dr. Pain)?
Friday: Feelin better. Date with Jeff (first since August)...what should I wear?? Hmmm...jeans, twin six tee, zip-up sweater...Fancy, fancy date (Christmas shopping, late dinner)
Saturday: Feelin better still...
Rockin party at The Bowling Palace...I still suck at bowling.
"Lite" cross workout with BP...the toe feels weird. You know when you crack your knuckles by pulling them and it feels like your finger is kinda grossly hanging there? That is what my poor toe felt like with every rotation of my pedal. And for the record...I am not a knuckle-cracker, but I do have a little brother who used to torture me like that.
Saturday night: Dinner at Aoki...my new favorite thing to eat? Kitsune Udon. Yum yum yum.
A dangerously hot bowl of strangely delicious broth, hideously thick udon noodles, fried tofu triangles and heaps of veggies I cannot identify.
More, please.
Sunday: Red & White...French Creek...crossed the road for a little bonus loop (cut short by an endless stream of runners participating in the annual 15K Dirty Bird)...many friendly (and fast) faces on the trails (Bike Line "nemeses" Donna, Chris, John Williams, Elizabeth on her sparkling new Trek...fellow Beaners Ickes & Henderson)...Miller's Point was the place to be today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tradition

hmmm...apparently someone else likes to practice here
nice sweater

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow: Go for a walk or a hike or a ride or a run...or stay in bed and watch the parade. Make something to share with someone you love. Eat, drink, be merry... Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mercer Cup...or "Cross...It Never Sucks"

Nikki & her podium PBR...now that is classy & sassy
Just another autumn day in the park...stick around & you may see some skinsuit-clad lunatics battle it out and chase each other through a sandpit...maybe even clamber up a set of stairs and fly down an AstroTurf ramp...crazy shit!
"Well, one thing's for sure. I don't ever have to move up," my dad says, "55 plus is it!"
Go, BP...STAND UP!!
So that's a fly-over...
Fearless Leader payin his dues...
These are my cross family/friends...if you want to see the pros, check out Dennis or Michael Kirk.
I watched 4 inspiring races today: my dad's race (he finished a very respectable 5th in the company of National Champ Fred Wittwer & Richard Sachs...pretty cool lineup for him today), Lauri Webber mixing it up with the master men, Fatmarc (8th place...woohoo) and the Elite Women's Race (I was in awe).
The course: Demanding & fast.
My race: Aggressive and ten minutes too short...it was weird racing only 30 minutes. Another lap easily could have bought me a spot or cost me a spot. Where else do you tear yourself apart & sprint for eleventh place?
Jessica Kates apologized for sucking my wheel (and subsequently kicking my ass) and I just cracked up..."Are you kidding me?! You had a great race, don't be so polite!"
New faces made for some interesting racing, that's for sure...
I realized something today while desperately trying to warm up on the windy open road...cross never sucks.
Pinning your number on your kit with freezing, numb hands sucks.
Warming up, solo, trying to get the heart rate up...trying to get the legs to fire, sucks.
Trouncing awkwardly through the sand on a warm-up lap with a stupid broken toe sucks.
Forcing down a Luna Bar or Sport Beans or Orange Gatorade at 8:30 in the morning sucks.
Shedding layers at the start grid sucks.
But, once the gun/whistle/shout commands you to go, everything magically stops sucking.
The legs fire, the body is warm, the gut is settled, the toe is fine...ahhhhh, I love that part.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Claw

See...
you can win a prize.
It just takes a little skill & determination.
A (not quite)three year-old can do it.
I wasted 4 quarters on one unsuccessful attempt...yes, it takes 4 quarters now. I went for the hideous orange cat.
My son waits his turns patiently.
My mom hands him a dollar bill.
I try to explain the control, the navigation of The Claw, if you will.
"Okay, mom."
He grabs the handle...I ready myself for the "It's a tricky machine...nobody ever actually wins a prize..." speech.
He presses the red button.
My mom and I stare, awestruck, as the Claw plucks the hideous Made-In-China Glittery Orange Cat from the mass of tacky stuffed animals.
Holy Shit!
The entire machine lights up, sirens blare (kind of).
Triumphantly, the kid hugs his prize close & proclaims it "Glittery Hippo."
Okaaaay...
Yes, he is missing an eye (the "hippo").
Bee Movie Review: (I must preface this by admitting I loathe going to the movies...it was my mom's idea. It is Friday...I'm out of ideas by Friday)
I laughed out loud.
Chris Rock (as the voice of the Mosquito) almost had me peeing my pants.
There were cute references to no less than 3 other movies I love (The Graduate, Airplane, and The Incredible Shrinking Woman).
Sting had a cameo.
And Ray Liotta...(as himself) in a self-deprecating courtroom scene (the bees sue the humans for exploiting their honey...oh, forget it).
Totally appropriate for young children, stunning graphics, great cast.
I sat in one place for nearly two hours and I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Truth Hurts

So, my son lovingly puts his arms around my waist...squeezes tight. Says, "Mom...you're getting bigger!" Thanks to Dennis Smith for the photo... thanks, a lot. Thanks to Champion Systems for the ultra-flattering skinsuit. Thanks to a month of non-stop gratuitous candy binging on crap I DON'T EVEN LIKE!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Crossed Out

Back-to-backs got the best of me this time. Planted myself on the couch for nearly three solid hours... Three hours of complete laziness. I didn't even sleep...wait, I took a break from lazing to doze for about twenty minutes...then I woke up & resumed my zone of lounging. And I'm still tired. After my race yesterday, I took a mighty spill on the road, riding back from the bathrooms... don't ask, it's even more embarrassing than the toe incident. Luckily there was only one witness & he graciously asked if I was okay or if I needed help... "Um, yeah...I need a lot of help, clearly..." I hobbled my sorry ass & my bike back to the car, dejected & clumsy...the bike served as a handy crutch for the afternoon. So...a broken toe ("just a toe", but an extremity nonetheless), a little road rash & a blown up knee...two cross races (two stellar races...stellar conditions, stellar courses)...oh, and a kid with a stomach bug. A pale, puking kid. I think it's going to be a lazy week.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

HPCX...Taping Toes & Brewing 'Spros

I'll forgo the "race report" in favor of some highlights (in no particular order)...
The Good Stuff:
-The course itself & the whole Rutgers crew...great job!
-The Rutgers Red Starting Grid (something about those neatly taped lines...)
-The weather today...seriously...sunshine, blue skies
-Hearing my name & words of encouragement during my race, seemingly all over the place (thanks Jess, Marc, dad, Megan...she doesn't even know me...)...what a boost, you have no idea.
-My sprint finish with a random C Guy...just because
-Chasing, chasing, chasing Kathrin (again!)...she made me work harder than I have all season. I needed that...my weakness was mainly the wide turns. Now I have a new goal, a new obstacle to work on...thanks!
-Rad HPCX long sleeved tee-shirts
-Not having to rush home...not only did I get to see the B race, I got to hang out with Monkey, Anne, Nikki...caught up with Amy, who I haven't seen since 7 Springs
-My toe didn't hold me back (I firmly believe Kathrin would have beaten me anyway...she raced an awesome race)
-Fighting for a better result than yesterday & succeeding
-Not flatting after nearly bottoming out on the BRIGHTLY MARKED SPRAY PAINTED ORANGE hole
-Heated bathrooms
-BP's camping stove espresso The Not So Good Stuff
-Drama (ladies, it's supposed to be fun...must we really drop the F Bomb at each other at the finish line of an AWESOME race??)
-The officials pulling lapped women...some women were pulled after being lapped by the C leader. I understand their frustration completely...it's unfair because the C race is not the Women's race, they're not being lapped by their own leader. Not cool. Our field was 19 strong...take a cue from MABRA & give us our own race (and MABRA had call-ups for B Women at Fairhill...how bout that?!)
-My dad got third (woo hoo BP!) in 55+ B Masters...yet, no podium, no recognition. Shame, shame...how about respecting our ELDERS???
Seriously...(yeah, yeah I'm biased cause he's my dad)...There is something to be said about being 55 (a grandfather for crying out loud) and kicking ass like that.
Great day, great race...
Maybe a week of rest & repair?
In my immediate future? An icepack, an advil, and more tape. The toe is looking gnarly.
No, the entire foot is looking gnarly...
Doc said, "Activity as tolerated."
My feet weren't that cute before I broke a toe anyway.
Edit:
My bad...there was a podium for the granddaddies, but we were already on our way back to PA.
Thanks, HPCX!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Beacon, Baby!

I could post a photo of my mangled toe, but I won't... What a sad, sad girl I would be if I missed Beacon Cross... luckily, I made it. Thanks to nearly a whole roll of sports tape, 600mg of vitamin I, and toe-numbing temps, I sincerely felt alright. Not great, but alright. Lined up nonchalantly in row two, behind Nikki...I wasn't sure I would even be able to clip in smoothly at the start and I didn't want to bungle anyone's race. Naturally, the front group hustled away pretty quickly...tried to hang on, but didn't want to completely blow up, you know, two minutes into the race. Kristin G caught me and we worked back and forth for a lap...tried to work with her to bridge up to the front group, but she eventually dropped me. Lap 3 saw me trying my best to stay ahead of Katherin, inching closer with every breath (true to her word, gets stronger with each race)...Lap 3 was the toe-killer lap. The sand, the steps...ouch ouch ouch. The endorphins were running out of steam and the foot wasn't having any fun. Katherin advanced ahead of me and I followed some of her killer lines through the turns...by the time we reached the Amphitheater of Pain for our final death march, her long legs left me in the dust. I needed a grappling hook for my last attempt at the steps. Or Go-Go Gadget springs. Or an orange cape & superpowers! Something, man...I know I looked pitiful. I finished 7th... I finished. Beacon Cross...love it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Now I'm Whining...

Diagnosis: broken toe activity: as tolerated Can I tolerate the amphitheater of pain? The "beach"? We'll see... I'm being ridiculously, irresponsibly hopeful. It's only been 2 hours (the ER is quite efficient first thing Friday morning), so right now it hurts. Like a motherfucker. Oh, how did it happen? Too stupid for words...I'm going to ice the poor thing rather than waste any more energy writing about my clumsiness.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

No Whining

The fellas bitched about the cold... Charlie was sporting his winter booties. Winter booties. It's kinda funny, just listen to this shit: Booties. Bibs. Knickers. Legwarmers. Skinsuit. So, yeah...it was cold, there's even snow in the forecast, so I hear. Yes! My grandpop still loves to tell the story of when I was a three year-old, walking to Manoa Shopping Center with my mom, in the dead of winter ("It must have been twenty degrees!")...no hat, no gloves...unaffected, fine. So, maybe my mom needed a little practical parenting advice (I still insist the weed is what made me short & bad at math)...maybe she chose her battles carefully, like me with my own strong willed offspring ("Really? A full blown tantrum cause you don't want to wear a coat? Fine. Freeze...you'll see.")... Doesn't matter. I was loved and now I'm tough. I like the cold. Thanks, mom. The scenery at BVA today was epic...the changing leaves, the setting sun... Practice, practice, practice. On the brink of a cold (back-to-back children's birthday parties will do that), hoping for the best. I discovered Strawberries & Cream Cold-Eez and they actually taste pleasant. Tomorrow night Jeff is teaching me how to make baked apples...I guess it's a treat?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why Wait?

Thanksgiving dinner tonight... I was inspired.
Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce...I felt better, relaxed while cooking this evening. My family seemed to appreciate the effort, for the most part... "Mom, you forgot the jellybeans...and popcorn." Thanks, Charlie Brown. Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite things to make, ever...so easy & so satisfying (the color alone cheers me up). No apple pie, though... Not yet.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stop Sneezing at Me

I need some emergen-c... Seems everyone around me is sneezing & sniffling. Reaching for my pomegranate juice at work, I thought, "Wait, I didn't drink that much..." As I take a sip, Sean says, "I thought that was my bottle." Then, Aaacccchooooo.... Noooooooooo! Makes no difference, as I am feeling pretty lousy anyway...I am halfway through the antibiotics, but the Lyme symptoms are the same. Some people are like, "Lyme? Big deal...everyone gets it..." and some people are like, "Lyme disease?! Holy Shit, go to a specialist...you'll never be the same!" Crap... I have no tea. How did this happen?

Monday, November 5, 2007

forgiveness

Answered the phone...received a completely unexpected apology. A voice I haven't heard in nearly four years. Blew me away...I guess I never realized I needed to hear those words. I found my hidden Halloween stash...the good stuff. I am doomed.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fair Hill Cross

...and they will still be smiling come December 'cause they are tough & they love cross
the mosh pit...I mean, sand pit
Let me paint a little picture of Fair Hill "Not Dead Yet" Cross for you...
A seemingly endless sandpit with the added features of horse poop and rubber mulch...and it was awesome.
A ghetto run-up with broken concrete and rusty rebarb sticking out (just a little, quit bitching ya sissies)...and it was awesome.
A tricky & completely ungroomed mess of a mulchy, rooty zig-zag...and it was awesome.
Nasty turns and sketchy bleachers...headwinds that could make you cry...
gnarly stretches of crunchy gravel...another sand pit complete with gnashy bits of sharp rock...stakes that nearly claimed an eye (my fault)...awesome, awesome, awesome.
I loved my race, my lonely no-man's-land race...it was weird.
For the first lap, I struggled to make my way through the pack...I was feeling squirrely & odd. Finally made a little gap, but the front group was gone, gone, gone...damn! Thought about sticking with the second group and working with some girls in the wind, but...nope.
So, there I was...clamoring to grab the front five, pushing to make sure nobody else was breathing down my neck....
Initially, I felt lame about my race.
I didn't like my goofy near-misses, my lack of energy or finesse...but, then I got over myself (that happens often these days)...
I felt scrappy out there.
I tried my hardest to tear up that sand pit (and ran like hell when I couldn't ride the first stretch).
What I lacked in cool, I made up for in heart (that's my consolation at least).
And I didn't go down in the poop.
So...there you have it, my take on the very clever, very fun Fair Hill Cross.
Yes, it was chilly today. And windy.
So, we are all badasses...all 23 women who got their shit together and ventured out early (likely in the dark) this morning...for what? To race around and around and around an imaginative & challenging course. To chase. To play outside.
To come home and eat more chocolate!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm Pretty Sure...

-Carlino's rice pudding, though very yummy, isn't the best choice for breakfast -Nobody else is going to do the dishes -My dad let me win yesterday -I overdid the Halloween candy by one Kit Kat -I need a nap