Tuesday, July 30, 2013

no tears (Marsh Creek)

what up, BP
I've had a love/hate thing going on with Marsh Creek for a while and the past few years have weighed more heavily on the hate side.
I've had my fair share of  trail side meltdowns at Marsh Creek.
Some meltdowns have even escalated into tears.
I'm not big on crying while riding (and maybe pregnancy hormones were to blame for my most recent hysterics on two wheels), but it's happened more than once there...just sayin.
The second time I DNF'd in a mountain bike race was at Marsh Creek (2011, I believe) and it wasn't due to some gnarly mechanical, but an impending migraine.
I shouldn't have ignored the warning signs (as I am wont to do, especially when faced with something fun and important, like a mountain bike race in the dark), but I did and sorely paid the price after one lap that night.
Fact: my first DNF was at Sewell 2008 when I broke my hand and I have yet to race there again, in spite of many thwarted attempts (due to crap weather and conflicting postponed dates).
Inexplicably, I asked my dad to ride March Creek with me today and we had a great time...
No killer bees or poison ivy or raging hormones or nasty crashes or sneaky migraines or jackasses running me off the trail.
No issues.
Just a truly pleasant ride that covered all the good stuff and then some.
I always forget that it's really quite a beautiful place, especially late in the day when the sun is lazily hanging out over the lake.
And, hey, the trails are fun.
I'm not in love with Marsh Creek, but I could stand to give it another try sometime soon...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

date night (+1)

first stop, Michoacana Grill for the best fish tacos you'll ever have
Maeve is starting to get familiar with this place and definitely has her "favorites"

evening in the gardens

Fish tacos, Mexican Coca Colas, and Longwood Gardens made for a perfect Friday evening.
Date night isn't quite what it used to be (and that's just fine, most of the time).

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Tonight's ride was pretty much the opposite of how I felt on my bike yesterday.
For an hour, I made it my job to stick myself to BP's wheel and succeeded pretty much everywhere but the power line climb (which is nastily washed out these days and I clumsily put my foot down at the steep pitch up top).
I know he had a rough night last night and probably wasn't pushing his hardest pace, but I was working to keep up and that felt good.
It's taken a while (post-baby), but I finally feel like my legs are starting to come around...little by little, I am getting comfortable going fast(er) again.

At breakfast earlier this week, I told Kathleen that I have no interest in racing cross this year (even though that's the one discipline that I probably do have the time to train for at this point in my life)...
I may have changed my mind and I may want to dabble in cross a little bit in the fall.
We'll see...    

flat flat flat

After a fun, albeit long, day at the zoo with two friends and our collective brood of six children, I was eager to hit the woods for a little decompression ride.
Maybe I picked the wrong night to resurrect the single speed, as I was already considerably beat before I clumsily labored up the first climb.
I've missed that bike.
I don't know...it felt so right when I started out, but things quickly unraveled and only got worse.
After thirty-five frustrating minutes (and, literally, falling into a rut), I called it and hastily made my way back to the car.
I just couldn't shake off that flat, nasty feeling and knew if I'd kept riding, it would only get uglier.

Tonight, I'm heading out again...maybe with gears, maybe not.
It will be better.
And, duh, I won't look at the ruts...
rookie move.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

little white flag

It's not even six pm and I've already waved my little white flag in surrender...
as soon as Bill came home from work, I nearly collapsed in a fit of exhaustion and couldn't even put the words together to say so.
I've taken an hour-long nap before dinner and I already feel like I can go to bed (again).
The baby is also taking an usually long late afternoon nap, while Max is beside me in his pajamas watching the Cartoon Network.
Something in the air?
The heat has finally caught up to us?
I don't know, but, man...
I am useless today.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

eight (and a half)

I know it's not suddenly, in the blink of an eye I have a big kid...
I've had eight years to take this in and watch him grow, but lately it feels like he keeps making these big jumps.
When he came home this evening from a weekend with his dad, I swear he got taller and he looks older.
Put him next to his sister and forget it.
Eight is a pretty great age.
Eight means he wants to run wild on his own in the neighborhood.
"Can I go in the woods?"
"Not by yourself, not without an adult."
"Danny's kind of an adult."
"Danny is a fourth grader. Nice try."

Eight means playing for what sometimes seems like hours independently, yet I can still hear the bold and colorful conversations between his GI Joes or Star Wars action figures. He gets so wrapped up in playing and is not yet aware that we can hear it all (or he doesn't care, even better).
Eight means elaborate set ups and carefully constructed freestyle Lego cities.
Eight means "Aww mom, do I have to clean it up??"
Eight means decent manners most of the time.
Eight means a glimpse of attitude and what he may be like as a teenager, yet he'll still grab for my hand in a crowd.

At the beach this week, we were lucky to meet up with our cousins at the amusement park on the boardwalk. Max doesn't do rides (he pukes at the movie theater, so...) and I figured we'd blow some cash on the old school shooting gallery, maybe the giant slide.
As his cousins, Zachary and Joe, made their way toward the line for the log flume, Max said, "I'll go!"
But, he doesn't do rides...
I watched him bound up the steps without any hesitation, fully expecting him to bail before they got to the front of the line.
To my surprise, he didn't bail and he survived the flume with a huge grin.

Max is a worrier (hmmm...who does he get that from?), typically reluctant to break from routine or try something new.
He's getting braver, though, and it's awesome to watch. 

This post is my random, poorly executed attempt to marvel at how quickly kids grow...
I'm probably just overtired and worn out from being up all night with an awful stomach bug, but it freaks me out sometimes when I can't remember exactly what Max's voice sounded like when he babbled like Maeve does now.
See? Blink of an eye...big kid.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

must be doing something right...

Not so sure about the ocean, initially...

This one just completely goes with the flow...

This one could not get enough of the sand/sun/ocean/boardwalk...had a hard time keeping up with him!

Feeling more confident in her daddy's arms...

Thrilled to watch him let go of some of his trepidation...

Soaking it up

Look at her legs...just, wow~

buried by his cousins...twice

waiting on that wave (the water was actually very calm)

happy baby 
After an accidental three year hiatus, we finally made it to the beach.
I didn't expect to relax a whole lot at all with a (nearly) seven month-old in tow, but this little getaway far exceeded all my expectations.
My takeaway from our three day excursion to OCNJ (my childhood beach) is that there is nothing better than watching our kids have fun.

(and now I've got those post-vacation blues!)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tracy Anderson is kicking my ass...

So, this is it.
I started writing here to share my experiences on the trail...racing and riding.
Adventuring, winning, losing, suffering, growing, crumbling, overcoming, going hard, trying, failing, nailing it ...all on two wheels.
It wasn't long before I started sneaking in posts about the other corners of my life because blogging came easy for me and I was never averse to getting personal.
Times have changed and mountain bike racing is on the back burner (like, way back back burner).
But, I'm still not averse to getting personal and sharing those other corners of my life.
Now I'm lamenting the fact that Tracy Anderson is kicking my ass.
Tracy Anderson workout DVDs.
I bought workout DVDs.
I bought workout DVDs.
Tracy promised that she will help me transform my body in 90 days if I follow her program exactly as prescribed.
I'm not trying to transform my body, by any means.
I'm trying to get my fitness back and not feel awful every time I peruse my closet or try on a bathing suit.
I'm trying to do something productive with the chunks of time I'm lucky to have to myself while my baby sleeps.
I'm trying to make this kind of thing a habit...so that in three/five/ten/fifteen years from now, I'm not left wondering, "Wow...what happened? Where do I start?" 

And I am definitely not following her program exactly as prescribed...her eating plan is ridiculously restrictive and doesn't account for needing energy to chase young children around/conquer mountains of laundry/ride/run/keep a household and family afloat.
(In fairness, I'm sure most of her celebrity clients employ staff to nanny their kids/juggle chores/prepare their food/handle sh*t in general, thus leaving them free to use all their energy on Tracy's body transformation, or "Metamorphosis by Tracy")
I'm not making this up...I really bought these DVDs and I've been dutifully "performing" my workouts for two solid weeks now ("Don't just do the workout, perform it," Tracy implores me).
All kidding aside, I needed something that I could do on a regular basis without having to rely on childcare or fair weather.
The premise is pretty simple and realistic and makes sense for me:
Thirty minutes a day of conditioning/strength training/mat work followed by thirty minutes of cardio...the strength/conditioning component changes every ten days to avoid boredom and to continually challenge different muscle groups. As for cardio, I've been running or riding every chance I get. There were a few days when I had to resort to the cardio DVD, but I am avoiding that as much as I possibly can.
Why am I avoiding it?
Two words: dance cardio.
If you know me (and my propensity to be clumsy and uncoordinated, not to mention my disdain for any kind of choreography), I need not elaborate any further.
Anyway...I've drawn a few conclusions upon purchasing and actually using these DVDs (and I could not have happened upon them in a more cliched manner if I tried...I got sucked into an INFOMERCIAL at 3am thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow's testimony and half a dozen "ordinary people" before & after photos...all while sitting there in my tired Old Navy yoga capris from 2003 during a particularly bloat-y bout of exaggerated PMS, no less).
I digress. Those conclusions I've drawn:
  • Waking up early or "performing" {snicker}my workout during Maeve's morning nap makes me feel energized for the day...even if I don't get to the cardio right away or have to skip it altogether, at least I got in a challenging effort and it's thirty minutes I didn't waste on FB or some other time suck.
  • Thirty minutes is nothing in the grand scheme of an ordinary day, yet if I keep this up, I will get stronger and glean some results.
  • Tracking my workouts on the provided calendar has made me feel more accountable about making time to get sweaty...I've definitely made it a priority to run or ride each day so that I can check off "transform" (the strength component) and "cardio."
  • The program requires 30 minutes of cardio six days per week...it's easy to exceed that goal each day, as I usually run for 30-45 minutes and typically don't ride for anything less than 90 minutes. Alternatively, if I have to skip the cardio component, I don't beat myself up about it because I know I'll make up for it with the ride time I'll log or go for a longer run another day.  
  • Obviously, the results aren't tangible yet (only two weeks in), but for the first time in a while I feel more motivated and more realistic about reaching my goals... I already feel more confident and better about myself knowing that I am sticking to a routine. 
Workout DVDs.
Yep, I went there.

...and I will race my bike again, I will blog about adventures again...whether it's a 24 hour slog on a ski mountain or 40 brutally fast minutes in the grass/mud alongside yellow caution tape. One way or another, I'll get out there.
Just not quite yet. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

too excited to sleep

The past few days have found the little one teeming with new developments, leaving her way too amped up to sleep through the night.
What's new?
  • sitting up very well with little support...stronger every day and she knows it!
  • teething like a beast...no teeth yet, but she's doing this weird thing with her tongue to keep feeling her gums and soaking through shirts/dresses/bibs with non-stop drool
  • rolling over (at last!) with ease...until now, I don't think it's been completely intentional. Now she's good to go!
  • new sounds...growling like a little dinosaur, screeching, "shouting"...she loves to make her presence known
  • feeding herself...purees are so last week! She loves to pick up chunks of food and feed herself...the more varied the textures, the better.
  • sitting up in the cart at the super market...I don't know who was more excited about this "milestone", her or me. Clearly, she is delighted to have a new perspective while being wheeled around the grocery store....
This baby is so ridiculously happy and has such unabashed enthusiasm for the most ordinary things (well, duh...because she's a baby after all and everything is new and quite exciting).
Still, I'm hoping a little will rub off on me.
Yay! Bath time!
Yay! Oatmeal!
Yay! Daylight!
Yay! Raindrops!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

what summer looks like so far...

long naps, happy afternoons

backyard low budget pyrotechnics


many mornings at Longwood

backyard BBQ

slack line battle

green apple Icee

watching the tour

saving turtles (photo credit: Max)

waiting for Buddy Guy to take the stage
super-shady petting zoo

family night at Paradise Farms

cousins getting drilled by the fountains
Yes, a picture post...
Up to our ears in summer.
Making sure of it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

facing (dog) demons

Ever since I was bit by a dog at Harmony Hill a few months ago, I've been reluctant scared to ride alone.
While the (unleashed/aggressive) dog and the bite itself certainly rattled me, it was the dog's owner that left me feeling stupid for being in the woods by myself.
Scary sh*t happens everywhere all the time and I have spent my fair share of energy being consumed by worries over what can/may happen any time I venture out solo.
I've also spent my fair share of energy trying to handle those worries and get a grip on that anxiety so I can enjoy myself on the trails alone.  
The dog bite incident took away a lot of stuff I've been working on within myself...even though I made it home safely and relatively unscathed (just a huge pressure wound on my left thigh with very distinct teeth marks, the skin barely broken- thank god), I was caught up in the fact that maybe the woods aren't a safe place for a woman to be on a quiet early Sunday evening. Or ever.
And those thoughts just turned darker and darker because I'm really good at that.

Which brings me to today...
With several hot, dry days in a row this weekend, I knew the trails here would finally be in good shape to ride.
I hadn't been on my bike in over a week and whenever I hit that week+ mark, I start to get super antsy.
Upon reaching out to a few friends and my dad, it became clear that there were no takers during my short window to venture out.
Pushing the dog and its jerkface owner to the back of my mind, I mounted up and took to the dirt.
All alone.
Thankfully, there were no creeps or aggressive pets in the woods...just me on my Salsa and three billion gnats trying to beat the heat.
It was an amazing, stress-free ride...my own (snail's) pace, my own meandering thoughts (which happily did not involve scary scenarios or any heavy sh*t for that matter), my own loop on my own time.    
Usually I'd rather ride with friends/husband/dad, but solo rides are important.

And aggressive dogs should be on a leash.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

six months

Maeve at six months:
  • weighs 18 lbs (my back pays dearly when I use the Baby Bjorn and I've been leaving the infant seat in the car, rather than toting her in it)
  • loves her brother, bath time, sweet potatoes, peas, bananas, Cheerios, grabbing/grasping her toys, "singing", standing up (with support), swinging, sitting on the front porch, riding in the car (especially when her brother is there to keep her company), fountains
  • dislikes most things any baby dislikes (a dirty diaper, a soggy shirt from drooling, those first few moments when we put her down for a nap, fireworks)
  • eats very well...now that she is able to sit up more confidently in the high chair, I've started introducing little chunks/bites along with the purees I've been making. 
  • clearly scans the room for me and/or Bill if someone else is holding her and has also shown a little bit of stranger anxiety in just the last few days
  • lights up when my mom or dad stop by, especially in the morning when her mood is super-cheerful
  • chats (okay, babbles) the most in the morning and then a little bit throughout the day...babbling sounds sing-song-y when we are in the car or when she starts to get tired
  • wears mostly 6-9mos clothing and I am already guilty of forcing my shoe habit on her...the (needless) collection is growing and she doesn't mind shoes or sandals one bit (and, yes, she gets plenty of barefoot time)
  • not into rolling over, but I'm not concerned because we've seen her flip both ways (prefers back to front). She can sit well on her own for a few seconds right now, doesn't mind being on her belly, and loves to squirm/scoot around on her blanket.
  • no teeth yet...gums appear white/puffy, but no signs otherwise and I definitely can't feel anything (Max had several teeth by now)...still, she loves cold teething toys!
  • sleeps well (thank god thank god thank god thank god)     
Maeve brings so much happiness and light to our family and it's hard to believe she's only been with us for six months. Although her true belly-laughs are hard earned, she is such a happy and pleasant baby...all sparkly eyes and easy smile.      
As for me?
Although I have some notable moments of extreme extreme anxiety about how harmful/dangerous/scary this world is with horrible scenarios lurking around every corner, I am trying my best to stay calm and enjoy these fleeting days with my baby girl.

I mean, six months...zoooooom...right??