Sunday, April 27, 2008
Sitting in my car, drinking a Dr. Pepper (guilty pleasure) and eating a soft pretzel, the word is kind of slinking around in my head: burnout...burnout...burnout... There was something different about this ride and this feeling & I suspect it has been creeping up on me for a while... and today, it sort of struck me in the gut...my tired, aching gut... burnout. Not like, "Oh, I've been training and racing and riding so hard blah blah blah..." (cause I haven't...I mean, I ride every chance I get without much regard to my mood or how I am feeling...it's always, "Can I go? Okay, then I am going...Goodbye..." ) The only "structure" I follow is a long-ish ride midweek, a recovery ride (which I usually end up pushing harder than intended) on Thursday, a race or hard ride on the weekend, maybe commute to work...whatever I can, however, with whomever. No, it's more like, "Oh, I've been in constant motion and spreading myself thin and losing patience rapidly with pretty much everything and everyone around me..." That kind of burnout. So, I am thinking about the morning & the day...how it unfolded. Woke up in my son's bed (well, he wormed his way into mine sometime during the night...and the bed became infinitely smaller, so I was like, "Fuck it, that kid has the comfiest bed in the house in the quietest room in the house...Nitey nite folks...")... Ate some cereal (I have not been treating my own nutrition with the respect it deserves). Gathered gear, loaded bikes, cut my hand in the process...scrambled to get my act together. Drove to French Creek, alone with my thoughts and senseless...despair??? Wow, what is this gloom hanging over me? Ewww, get me to the trails, motherfucker! In the parking lot, all my friends were excited to ride & get the adventure started. In spite of smiles and Max Brenner chocolate bestowed upon me by ever-thoughtful Cati, my lofty aspirations of two laps began to sink. And sink. Everyone was chirpy and talkative...I struggled to warm up, adjust, acclimate. My riding? Fine. Adequate. Strong enough. After one lap, a hapless attempt to locate Cati's family (who struck out to mine the beginner course for Emily & Becky), we tooled around trying to stay warm...debating lap two. Mentally, I was cooked. I have never know myself to sort of roll over, admit defeat...especially in the company of friends enthusiastic to hit it hard, play some more...soak up the trails, enjoy the day... Nothing could rally me. No amount of sincere encouragement or smartass ribbing could spark me... Done. Sorry guys. Done. And that I is how I ended up, in the warmth of my FJ Cocoon, drinking Dr. Pepper, reflecting on carefully chosen words of insight about anxiety and pressure and stress... Which led to me to the best solution I could manage for the day... Get in bed, still grimy and salty, not yet showered (gross, indeed...I mean, if you're going for low, may as well go for broke). After 90 solid minutes of anxious, crappy nap dreams, I woke up disoriented and even less rested. Hungry. Testy. Showered, stripped my bed, headed to the Perna's for chicken soup. I have a simple plan for the week (or however long it takes to crawl out of my little slump): Ride how I want, if I even want to. Maybe even bag Wawayanda. Doesn't matter...got my eye on cross. Even now. Especially now.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
After hastily putting my son to bed last night, I scrambled to gather a load of laundry while inhaling a Jello pudding Snack (tapioca...seriously). "Mommmm...gotta poop gotta pee!!" Drop everything...the Prince has summoned me. Flip on the lights, assist the Prince (and trust me, I am definitely not the Queen...I am the Help, the minion...especially at this hour of the day)... He wants to make small talk, he wants to be entertained... It always begins with him gesturing me to have a seat, oh...how about there, on the cold tile floor? "So, mom, how are you doing?" the exchange begins, and typically I find these opening lines incredibly endearing. Tonight, however, not so much... I answer flatly, "Actually, your Highness, I am running on empty. I want to take a bath, a Benadryl...or 3...and go to bed. Tapped out. Done for the day. Thanks for asking." So, the Prince is on his throne...tapping his knees, doing his business...and I sit there, keeping his Majesty company... And I am doing the worst thing possible, I am rushing him along..."Are you finished? I think you're finished..." Like, who am I to determine whether the Kid is done POOPING?! I am creating issues that will creep up in the most unlikely scenarios another ten or fifteen years from now...("It's not my bong, mom, I swear..."). Great. Why am I hurrying him along? So I can watch Tivo'd Lost? A show I can't stand anyway? I open the cabinet beneath the sink, looking for the Toddler Butt Wipes (it is a glamorous life, I tell you) and the King wails...his face is fiery and red, tears spring from his eyes, he is screaming Bloody Freaking Murder. As he is on the potty, I assume he is having a problem. So, still holding the cabinet open, I crouch down to offer some words of calm, to pat his shoulder or head, I don't know... And his head is like shaking, he is freaking out and with his other hand, he points all trembly to his FINGER STUCK IN THE OPEN FUCKING CABINET DOOR. "Oh my god, I am so sorry...so sorry, buddy...let me see it..." So his pitiful little index finger is all purple and white and what has been maybe three seconds feels an awful lot like three hundred HOURS...I grab a clean wipe and wet it with cold water, place it on his poor little finger and he is looking at me like, "Dude, I know you've had a rough night, but could you please pay attention to what your doing??" Then, he is further disturbed by the fact that he can see the tip of his finger, with the wipe wrapped around it...so I go all origami on him and fold the wipe into this complicated little finger tent/bandage thingie, which is great cause he reasons it won't hurt anymore if he can't see it. And I am like, "How bout a bandaid?" To which he replies, disgustedly,"Mom, it's not actually a boo boo." So, I figure, okay, fine...if this baby wipe does the trick, great...can we all go to bed now? But, first, let me collect my Mom of the Year award...I am overdue.
Friday, April 25, 2008
So this evening I was reminded what it feels like to crash with a little speed...I did a marvelous endo tearing up a sharp turn at Dtown...knocked me silly. Cati was like, "Awwww, you looked like when a little kid takes a tumble when they're skiing!," as she literally hoisted my bike from the brambles and helped me to my feet. I think after flying over the bars, I finally mastered that ridiculous shoulder roll I never got in karate...I was the only kid who couldn't do it. My brother earned waaaay more belts than I did (umm, actually, I didn't earn any). My dad warned me not to get cocky on the new bike. I don't think I was being cocky...maybe a little over-confident on a bike I am still trying to dial in. In any case, there I was sailing over the bars, taking clumps of dirt with me as I shoved my body into the ground shoulder-first. It happens...I needed that reminder. A warning. Riding home, only one car passed me the entire length of Sunset Hollow...weird. Daytime wasn't really over, but the sunshine was mostly gone. I turned on my light and my Ipod as I turned onto the last real climb and soft pedaled. All the way home. My grand aspirations for a killer lasagna fell flat. I don't even care for lasagna...maybe it will taste better tomorrow (there is plenty left over, I swear). One in the morning. Aching shoulder, a bowl of cereal, and another attempt at sleep.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Today I played Roadie. I wore bib shorts and my sleeveless Beans jersey (circa 2006). In my pocket was a pack of Extreme Beans (watermelon). I made myself get in the drops. I made myself stick to a wheel (but, that took a while). I made myself fly down hill. I made myself stay seated for the nasties. The Roadie Game is fun. Did you hear you hear me? I just said the Roadie Game is fun.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Ricky's Candy & Cones in West Chester...our haul for the afternoon: -Gummi Cola bottles (mine, all mine!!) -Cola flavored Pez (again, MINE!!) -Gummi fingers and teeth (not my influence, I swear) -Zotz ("Mommy, this is making my eyes all, like, red!!") -A Zero for my mom -Caffeinated sport beans in watermelon and cherry (brilliant or just wrong?) -A new Pez dispenser (the Mammoth from Ice Age) -A flat & chewy 3 Musketeers -chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Spanked (Hibernia Off-Road Duathlon Revisited)...long-ass post about a duathlon...you have been forewarned
3,2,1 GO! Huff puff blahhhhhh... There goes Cati. There goes Sarah. There goes Wendy. There goes Colin... Fuuuuuck. Into the woods, down down...up up up the waterbars. Huff puff blahhhh...why do I feel so crappy? Am I moving? Plotting my escape, don't want to do this...not having any fun...DNF DNF DNF!! (suddenly the DNF chant in my head sounds almost victorious). Run to the bike, run to the bike. Here comes Ryan...hot on my heels. Wow, his breathing is worse than mine...I am ahead of Colin & Ryan and I are pacing each other. There is a crappy, muddy bog...a woman loses her shoe. Uphill. "Come on, Ryan, we are almost (gasp, huff puff) there!!" Transition 1: How do I untie my shoes? The girls are lonnng gone, I am left with the last of my teammates & he is right there, getting ready to ride. Beat him to the woods, then he passes me on the descent...damn! For the entire first lap, I keep Allison & Colin in sight...catch Allison, go off course, catch up once more...then she drops me. She drops me hard. One more thankless lap on the bike. I know I am moving slooooow...I know because I start spotting critters...oh, look at the little box turtle. Oh, check out that snake...I watch Allison & Colin disappear over the crest of the last hill. Long gone. Transition 2: BP shouts that Wendy is a minute ahead. There aren't many bikes in the transition. My shoes! My shoes...it is so hard to unclip my salty helmet strap! Trudging up the hill, crampity-cramp cramp in my calves...now what do I do? Walk? Stretch? Curl up in a ball and squeeze my eyes shut? I run...my legs come around...my stride opens up a tiny bit and my breath eases just enough. There is Colin...I want to catch him, I want to beat him... We start to pace each other a little...it's really weird to run beside someone I am used to riding with. Wait, we're running? This is goofy. A "real" runner blazes past, I shrug...let's go, let's get this over with. Colin slows and wants to walk. "Come on!" I pick up the pace. I have to. We near the final gravel crappioso climb...I see BP (my dad! my dad!! Gotta run fast for my dad!!) and start my pathetic sprint...someone is breathing down my neck. There are 3 of us now and I won't let them pass. Colin & I sprint (wait, that was a sprint, right?) for the finish and I barely cross the line first. 1:53:07 After, "Good job! Way to go! You rocked," to all my friends and slayers, I plead, "Do not let me return next year." That was a long-ass account of an event I didn't have any love for. Every Bean made it the podium (even me, although I think there were only two in my age group anyway). Cati blew me away...talk about tenacity. Jesus, she was second woman overall. That is no joke. I love her support crew, Billy & Emily...they cheer loudly & enthusiastically. They have cold water at the finish! I love that every race brings more and more familiar and friendly faces...there is no shortage of "How is it going?" or "Good Luck" sentiments. I love completing something out of my realm, out of my comfort zone, especially since I wholeheartedly wanted to quit. Wanted to quit not two miles into it. Aftermath: Didn't make it through Sunday dinner...just felt mopey & physically ill. Dehydrated, throbbing headache. wah wah wah. Just wanted to crawl into bed and turn off the world. So, I kinda did... (and despite what you may think, I did get enough sleep last night...I spent a lovely few hours at a barbecue with an unlikely group of friends...I ate no junk and drank one glass of white wine...can't blame my performance on that). Did the entire week swallow me up and spit me back out at Hibernia? Yeah, perhaps... I am over it. 16 hard miles is 16 hard miles. Long-ass post, indeed. This week: Better Sleep. Less Stress.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Go outside right now. Steal one minute because it is such a perfect day. We are packed up & ready to meet Kristin & her little ones at Marsh Creek for exploration! ...Liz B, I did not forget that your birthday was two days ago...I just forgot to wish you a happy one!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
-A walk with the sole purpose of admiring pink trees and sunshine -West Chester Soft Pretzel Factory soft pretzels -Windows down, windows open -A dry, fast ride at French Creek with what is shaping up to be our regular Wednesday ride crew (me, Jeff K, Colin, and typically BP...absent this week, taking some time off to nurse Sunday's injury) -A new bike! A speedy, responsive, shamefully light bike... -Les Savy Fav Let's Stay Friends on constant rotation in the car -Coconut ice cream in the freezer
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Amy, Elizabeth, & Monkey
Fair Hill XC Presented by Bike Line:
"Um, Michelle, would it be gay if I start to cry?"
We have moved up and I am thrilled that she is here...that we get to experience the jitters and excitement together.
Gary is singing "Brick House." I have to pull the plug.
Kelly says "Good luck, Kim!" and I gesture to the gravel road, "It's cross!"
"Yeah, I kept looking for the barriers," he replies.
Suddenly, I long for Millenium Bob and the beep beep beep before GO!
My dad's group takes off..."Go dad!! Go BP!!"
We are next.
Holy shit holy shit holy shit.
Sarah warns me not to go crazy at the start..."Just settle in."
Um, my nerves can't do that. Yet.
Girl, I need to go.
Churn, churn, churn up the road...opening up!
Feels totally natural, just like cross indeed, baby...
Once all the super-fast badasses pass me, I settle in a little and find my rhythm...
Pressing through a corner, I start to approach the first logover (the smaller one on the flats) and see my dad, helmet off, on the ground, holding his hands in front of him. Fuck.
Eric Krone, of Guys, is there with him, checking his neck?? Fuck. Fuck.
Slowing, I say, "Dad?! Are you okay??"
"Go! I'm fine..."
I stop for a second, panicked...Eric tells me to go.
He is sitting up...he is aware...he told me to go? Do I go back? Oh, man...there goes his season? No...maybe? But, we just rode this days ago...Am I a bad daughter if I keep going?
Nothing to do, but keep on moving...I stand up and the rest of my lap is a tangle of nerves.
But, I keep on moving.
Andrea catches me. Again. Knowing these are her trails, I just watch her lines and follow follow follow. Damn, she is flying!
In the field, Colin informs me that my dad is okay...so, good, let's turn it up.
The train comes chugga chugga...watch out, as the elites begin to lap us nearly halfway through.
Honestly, I don't mind pulling aside...I mean, look at them...jesus. Mike Yozell is behind me on the rooty off-camber approach...don't bungle. Do. Not. Bungle. In front of Yozell. there he goes!
Second time up the "shitty little climb" (as a spectator calls it out to me, thanks...), I am nearly finished lap two.
Two clean laps down. I am doing it.
More splashy splash...
More tricky corners and...yes, I believe those roots are just a little bit more exposed...whoops, yes. Confirmed.
That was close...
One more time up the "shitty little climb" (which, truthfully, is not shitty at all)...and it's fun fun fun as I wrap up my first race as an ELITE.
You know, I heard my name out there all over the place...what a huge part that played in my motivation today. Just wanted to tear it up and not let anyone down.
I've heard several people muse, "You don't move up to expert/elite if you're slow..."
I am tired of hearing myself say, "Yeah, I had to move up cause I won my class last year, mostly due to attendance blah blah blah..."
I raced the whole series, I finished every race, and I even won a few at the tail end of the season...so, yeah, I kinda sorta had to move up...winning the jersey was certainly the impetus, no kidding...
But, how cool is it that I was lining up with the fastest women in our series?
How cool is it that I get to race elite???
It is a privilege and I really, really don't want to blow it.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Big day tomorrow... Looking forward to seeing everyone & cheering on the Sport racers/friends as they finish up their race (sigh). I am feeling antsy, nervous, but mostly excited. I love this! Right? Tomorrow I get to race... Been happy with the way I've been riding, though there is always room for improvement... Been riding as much as I can, as best as I can...feeling strong and even capable. So, the rest is sort of beyond my control & that is okay. There are chocolate poptarts in the cabinet. I better finish this race.
Friday, April 11, 2008
You never know what will turn up on "shuffle"...so there I was, flying down Skelp Level Road, sleeveless jersey and shorts (!)...sweaty & salt-crusted after a friendly ride with Cati. and here comes the intro with the unmistakable horns... Seventy degrees... I have never seen Downingtown so pretty (yes, wasteland that it is)...buttercups, daffodils, green moss...weird. The day ended with me opening the bedroom window before passing out for nearly seven restful, uninterrupted hours of sleep. Seven.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Thank you Fitzy for a downright gleeful ride & excellent pace (shattered knee, my ass! jeez)...so glad we ran into you. Never know who you'll run into or tag along with in the woods...another reason why I love love love to ride! Thank you Dad, Jeff, Allen, & Colin for the great company & constant motivation... Thank you, Cool Kids, for extending an invite that I sadly declined for not only a ride, but beer, nachos, & fish tacos (15 miles deep when we finally caught up at the covered bridge, one bottle & nearly drained...no excuses, there will be a next time for sure)... Thank you, Fair Hill, for an endless supply of amazing trails and beautiful springtime scenery (seriously, so much green around every turn...just lovely, just a relief to know long days and warm weather are indeed imminent)... I know when I close my eyes tonight, it will be trails, trails, trails...flying, rolling, weaving, & leaning into every corner... Sigh.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
He grabbed the Boston Creme donut immediately He had a better idea for the pinata, but it involved a blindfold and bikes
She thought I was much younger!
He baked a cake!
They played great music!
We won the award for best pit (although I don't know that we had any competition)
I will break it down pretty simply: Best birthday...
It doesn't matter that I ate too much coconut cake and drank too much beer.
It doesn't matter that I only rode three laps (three mostly clean laps).
It doesn't matter that one of the cool kids totally witnessed my hideously clumsy dive into a log on lap #3...well, he kind of assisted...but, his smile at the end of the race more than made up for it. It doesn't matter that I forgot to put my lucky Jackie Phelan $2o bill in my jersey...the sun came out anyway.
It doesn't matter that someone dragged their chainring across my left shin as we untangled our bikes from the heap at the start.
There were Bottlecaps (the candy) and Sport Beans in the pinata.
Joe the Drummer wants to buy a mountain bike.
Michelle from VisitPA graciously schooled me on log technique.
My team won two six packs of Stoudt's, 125 (!) raspberry hammer gels (ewww gross, raspberry), and a dozen donuts for the best Pit!
I caught up with many friends I haven't seen in a lonnng time.
My dad made espresso on the good old camping stove.
The self-imposed stress of the impending season (my first as an "elite"...heh!) dissipated after one lap...got that out of my system.
I was reminded that one of my favorite parts of racing is all the friends I have made.
My son sang "Happy Birthday" three times.
My mom made arancini and sage chicken for dinner.
It is not even ten pm and I am so ready for bed!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Tomorrow is my birthday... I will be thirty-three. My last memorable birthday was 2004. I am not one of those "It's just a birthday...no big deal..." kind of people. I get excited about birthdays. Thirty to thirty-three has been a quick jump...mostly because I have become someone's mom, I'm sure. Thirty-two feels like twenty-six, twenty-seven?? You won't hear me lamenting about my age (yet)...just happy to be here. So, I will be celebrating my birthday at Marysville...doing my best to help my relay team kick some ass and start off the season with a bang! (does anyone else know that song or did my parents make it up?) and no, I will not sing it. Ever.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I forget about spring every year...well, yeah, I sort of do... rather, when there are days like this, I am surprised by how great it feels to see spring green and warm sunshine in the landscape...it is a relief in so many ways. All I needed for today's ride were arm warmers, lightweight gloves, regular socks (as opposed to thick-ass Woolie Boolies), a short sleeve jersey, and knickers (yay, knicker time!!)... Second Wednesday in a row at Fair Hill...how lucky am I??