Saturday, May 9, 2009

HURT BOX Workout

This weekend was looking random for me, as the weather was predicted crap and only one crit Saturday in Milwaukee. After the past few weekends of traveling one or both days, a house that is full of dirty laundry and mail that needs sorting, I opted to stick around Madison.

This past week I feel like I may have had a turn-around with workouts and how I am feeling on the bike. Its funny, I look back to about a year ago, and think of how fit I was living in Tucson, availability to ride all the freaking time, but I don't necessarily think that there's benefit if you are doing junk workouts without structure. I have been dilligently trying to follow my "go hard or go home" combined with "easy means easy" workouts. Hard is hard, and easy is easy. There really shouldn't be much fluff in between. Fluff is fluff, and lets face it, no one is fluffin' on race day.

Tue night was the season opener for the Madison Tue Night Crit series. Holy hell, this has got to make one stronger!!! I rode over an easy 20min from the house, and did the 30 min effort in the B's race, feeling like a fish out of water in the first few laps. I found a group to work with that had been spit off the back, and though I was already discouraged being that I couldn't hang with the chase group, I was humbled by my ability to actually work harder than I have been all season (read: The crit that I DNF'd the week prior to..blech)

My group was about 4 deep and I sprinted hard to the finish, crossing ahead of the others. I thought to myself, "damn, I am just getting warmed up, let's do it again!" I rode a few cooldown laps solo, and this awesome gal Jane pulls up alongside (I had recognized her from Baraboo the week before) and she encouraged me to join her in the A's race that was minutes away from starting. What the hell, why not,right?!

So low and behold, Jane and I promised to stick together and work if we got dropped> Boy, did we EVER get dropped. Early on and for the next 40 min, we would hang to a wheel for 30-60 sec, and then recover til they lapped us again..we got lapped a milion times, but it was a super workout!

Today I was painfully introduced to the hurt box that is Jill Kislia. She is riding effin strong and kicking butt this year. Neither of us did the Muskego crit, so we instead took off to Observatory hill and did some hard (for ME!) hill repeats...Jill was encouraging the whole time, and though I am certain the workout didn't kick her butt nearly the way it did mine, I am uber grateful for her forcing me to be in pain during most of the 50 miles today. Ahhhhhh......and now I am tired..

Rachel won the Muskego Crit! Rock on ISCorp...and from what I can tell Kristin is hanging in the mix at Joe Martin...can't wait to read her race report!!!! Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend!!!

Other than that, life is good and I need to find a dress for a wedding of my dear friends next Fri.....So after a bit more downtime its off to TJ Maxx to bargain shop...happy training until next time!


Some recent races and a re-cap:

The past few weeks have been filled with many exciting events. I think my last blog entry was pre-IA so let's dig back deep in the vault and recap for just a minute

IA CITY RR/CRIT: (2wks ago?!)
RR-A 44mi race that included a large and in charge field of about 30 women, many from Team Kenda..ahem...who were kickin a$$ and takin' names all day. Kristin, Jill, Catherine, Mo, and Jessica were there and had the largest showing, as well as the win (Catherine). Unfortunately dear Mo didn't have such a fun time, as she took a spill on the 2nd lap (I think) and ended up with a second butt cheek that was full of red gunk and fluid. She didn't break anything but still, it was a crappy way to end the weekend and we hope to see her out again really soon.

Kaitlin (who is in Belgium with the natl team right now) had a great race and came in 4th, and I tried best that I could to chase most of the attacks so she could save herself for the finish. I hope it helped, and truthfully, I wished I could have done more, but I ended up popping in the 3rd lap and rode the last 12mi pretty much solo. A feeble attempt, and you have to walk away with at least learning from your mistakes. All and all, I worked really effin hard out there in the time I was with the pack, and I just need to dig a little deeper next time.

Sun's crit....well, let's just say I have NEVER DNF'd a race by choice, and I rode 4 laps of a 20 lap race. I pulled. I was pissed as hell. I'd like to forget it, so moving on :) (Kaitlin held on for 4/5th and Rachel was right there in the mix working all day..Great work ladies!)

BARABOO RR: last weekend was a super close and hilly RR that consisted of about 30 miles of solid climbing over a 15 mi loop course. Rachel, Kaitlin, Yvonne, Elicia and myself made a nice representation for ISCorp, in addition to the other 20-something women in the 1/2/3's. It was a large draw for the Kenda and MadCity teams, as both had as many or more riders.

This was probably the best I have felt all season up to this point, as I had recently gotten compact cranks on my bike, and my climbing was feeling more solid...Kaitie blew a spoke early and was out, Elicia giving up her wheel to Kaitie. Rachel and I hung on with 2 others for most of the race in the 4th group from the front and worked together to finish strong. Rachel had an awesome break on a hill with about 2 miles to the finish, and I was finally able to hold off the other women in our field and let Rachel get away. I think our group finished in the MOP but after talking with the others, EVERYONE seemed to have a tough race.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I can't even believe it, but I have become a little yogi. I never ever thought I would become so addicted to something that doesn't involve a bike, goggles, water, a trail, or running shoes, but its true. I have found something that (GASP!) I love to do INDOORS! Its bewildering, but also invigorating.

My co-worker, who is a certified Baptiste instructor, has been harassing me-or should I say "Challenging" me-to come to her class for awhile now. Now, don't get me wrong, but I know its hard work. And with this lingering ITB issue that is still rearing its ugly head now and then, I figured what the heck, perhaps I should go??
I've been switching between the reallyhotyoga and the lessthanreallyhot yoga places. The former is much better on days when I have consumed at least 3 Nalgene-sized bottles at work. You really need to prepare your hydration for those classes. I can already tell in the past month that attending even as few as 1-2 classes per week (which is all I can afford, both time and financially speaking!) has helped to improve my flexibility, my strength, and my overall sense of well-being. I think I may let the gym membership lapse for the summer and yogacize instead.

This weekend was the opening Madison crit series that a local velo club sponsors. Rain had been predicted for the weekend, and since Sat am looked awesome and the womens race was scheduled for 5pm, I opted to instead get a longer ride in the am with Lia. We headed out for about 60mi, at a very nice aerobic pace, and I threw some hard intervals in when I could. I have been working on my strength by SITTING while I am climbing. This is a new skill that I have yet to master :)

This race season is long, and right now, its more beneficial for me to get some longer miles in since I spent so much time off of the bike prior to my move. While this past week proved to be a bit of a breaking point in terms of leg fatigue and my perception of lack of speed, I think my fitness is finally coming around and I am getting stronger. We will see.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Big Easter Miles and FUN!

I am an orphan this Easter!! My dad and bro are sunning and funning in FL and Mexico, respectively, and my mom and sister are hanging back in Ohio!! So I am here in WI, and what better thing to do this weekend now that Spring is here but RIDE RIDE RIDE! Its warm, its sunny, and there are lots of people here so let's go!

Rachel and I took the liberty of organizing a fun group of hardcore women to do something long on Saturday. I rounded up the ladies with email, Rachel planned the route out to Blue Mounds (HILLS!)

It was fantastic! We had about 12 women show up, perhaps more, I am not even sure since it was so big you couldn't talk to everyone..Some of us from ISCorp and a large group from MadCityVelo...We even had a UWcycling group that rode part way with us!

First stop was at the coffee/bicycle shop in Cross Plains, notice the cool bike racks below with all of the rides!

Here are some of the ladies, refueling with cookies and scones prior to our next part of the journey!

That's Lia, one of my new riding buddies, and I don't think she knew I was taking her pic! LOL!

The ride was a fantastic 5hr-ish jaunt, filled with good hills, great conversation, and everyone feeling glad they took the afternoon to enjoy the outdoors..Some peeled off early, some did the whole route..but either way it was fun! Today I am heading out for something a bit shorter, then off to my friend Courtney's for some Easter Dinner and relaxing!

Below is a new creation, I just made it for brekky! Pecan Cinnamon Whole grain French toast with mango, blueberries, and raspberries on top! De-Lish!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Race Report-Hillsboro 4/4/09

This report is about a week overdue! Woops!!

I feel like this is my coin phrase, but honestly, "There's been a lot going on around here these days.."

Last Fri we loaded up Rachel and Jordan's cars and about 5 of us headed on down to Litchfield, IL, just outside of STL....Sat April 4th was the official kick off to WI/IL race season for me, and I was certainly ready to test my legs and my (lack of) strength with some big names...Many of the top Midwest NRC racers showed up, including a Webcor gal (Rebecca Much), some fantastic racers out of IN, and many of the Kenda girls (my new cycling friends Kristin, Jill, Monique, and some others). Madeleine and Anne from BH were there, too, looking super strong and ready to go!!
Needless to say, the field was stacked and there were almost 40 women in the 1/2/3's race! That's huge!! Bigger than any race I've done in AZ! (which was a bit of a surprise)

Position is key in road racing, and I suppose you have to learn what to do RIGHT after doing it WRONG...Case it point, I didn't position myself right when the gun went off...Rachel and Carrie-Ann, my teammates, and both very strong Cat1/2 women, were right in front, drafting appropriately and ready to follow the attacks by sticking to a wheel...I somehow didn't get in the mix, and tried to jockey up from waaaaaaaaaay off the back!!!?!?!? After about 3 attacks in the first 5 miles, it became a lost cause, I dropped off (along with about 10 others!) and Shelley from Kenda and I TT'd to get back....

We never ended up succeeding in that attempt, rode much of the first 15mi solo, and finally found a group of women behind. They scooped our tired legs up and we continued to work in this pack of women for the remaining 35/+ mi of the race! It was solid, we all worked hard, and all in all, I felt pretty tired and GOOD when it was all over.

The lesson learned: GO FROM THE GUN!!!!! I hate excuses, absolutely hate them...It drives me nuts when people have excuses for "why they got dropped" or "I was sucky today because..." I couldn't hang today because I am not as fast as those chicks, plain and simple! But I plan to get faster, and frankly, I wasn't that surprised! So back to the lesson: I need to be ready to blow myself up and hang on for attacks earlier than 30mi into the race, and that is what I plan to take with me from that race! What separates the pros from the Cat 3's is that they can ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK throughout the race, and still have enough for the finish! And I hope by midseason I am able to stick to their attacks!

After we finished up racing, Carrie-Ann, Rachel, and myself changed and ate some snacks, watched our Cat1/2 men finish up, and then headed off to get some food and drive home. Over 10hrs of driving, 4hrs racing/warmup/warmdown, in 36 hrs was a LOT, but I am glad to have done it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wavering Weather..........:/

Well, this week we've had it all....torrential downpour, sunny skies and highs of 50 degrees, and then, low and behold, the only 2 days that I have off, we are supposed to get snow! Go freakin figure!! Not exactly ideal for another 2 long days of base miles in the saddle, but what is one to do!? Move back to Tucson...nahh!!! I guess you just deal...

The work is still busy, the days are flying by, and I am happy to say that I'm up to 11hrs of cycling this week, and its only Fri...I guess that is pretty good, considering I am putting in at least 8hr work days.

Tue and Wed were roller rides, with Tue being more interval focused and Wed a total recovery spin. I am still sooooooooooooooooo incredibly frustrated with my legs!! My L leg, which was the initial source of discomfort and ITband injury, has more or less healed in the past few months. But a stupid 30 min run I did about a week ago triggered some pain in the R leg (which, mind you, I was doing all of the same stretching, strengthening, and rehab on to PREVENT it from being injured like the L leg!!!)...Certainly, its not nearly as bad or painful, but lets just say I am not running...AGAIN!!! Erghhh!! Bike and swim, bike and swim..oh, and yoga and weights! let's hope something works here!!!

The Univ of Wisc cycling listserv is a great place to post a ride, find others to ride with, etc. So, being that I knew I had a light afternoon schedule on Thurs and it was pegged as the "only nice day" this week by all the meteorologists, I opted to post a ride.

To my pleasant surprise, about 15 people showed up at the Arb bridge at 430 and off we cruised towards Paoli, up Observatory Rd, and back into Madison. Awesome, fast ride, and I was the only chick! (I may have even chicked a few of the other dudes out there too!) That's always fun to do...I was probably older than most of those little studs by a decade, but who cares, it was a super workout! And exactly what I needed heading into the wintry weekend...

Off to sip another cup of java and head to work.....

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Something to Try.........

Yummy, healthy, and delicious....Try these if you are looking for a new alternative to cooking/eating Garbanzo (Chickpeas) Beans!!

-2-3 cans of Garbanzo Beans; strained
-Optional: 1 can Black Beans; strained

-Spread out onto cookie sheet
-Drizzle with Olive Oil or spray with Pam (I use the former!!)
-Top with your favorite seasoning: S&P, dill, oregano, Mrs. Dash, etc
-Bake for 40-50 min (depending on how CRUNCHY you want the texture!) at 425
-VOILA!!!!!!! A healthier alternative to croutons or salad toppers loaded with fat and hydrogenated oils!

*They can get pretty dried out, so I store them in an airtight plastic container!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lack of blog = one busy girl

The past few weeks have been filled with big miles in the saddle, big hours at work, and big time fatigue for this girl.

Last weekend, Kristin got together a huge group of ladies and organized a fantastic weekend full of riding in the Madison area. I don't know about you (Jen H, Jen L, Angi, etc) who are familiar with AZ riding, but I gotta tell you all WI IS WHERE ITS AT!!!!!! I have done some of the most epic, hilly, fan-freakin-tastic rides since moving here. Obviously the weather is our only downside to getting out everyday, but nonetheless, you are all invited here when the Southwest becomes entirely too miserable for riding this summer!

Back to the weekend: Saturday was a solid 5.5 hrs (~90mi) with a bunch of heavy hitters from the NRC...Bri, Sam, Louise, Kristin...all the gals that really know how to ride...and plenty of other strong local gals who really gave me a run for my money...we climbed all day, and were fortunately sagged the entire way by Sam's dad and her boyfriend...I have to say it was the best supported ride I've ever done, and I didn't even have to pay a dime to ride!

Saturday was also Kristin's Dirty 30th! so we went to the Great Dane for an awesome meal, and Monique showed up with a magnificent artwork of cupcakes in the shape of a bike! how cool! Good times, good food, great people!(See Kristin's blog for the cool pics!)

Sunday was a good solid 4hrs in the saddle, a bit less hilly compared to Saturday, with a cruise out to New Glarus and back. By Sunday afternoon, I was pretty much D-O-N-E! But so happy that I was able to ride those distances with an extremely talented group of ladies both days!

Which brings me to this week.....tired legs, after coming down from that "high" on Tue and into Wed...I try to avoid massage, only because of the cost..but I caved on Fri afternoon...I have been putting in big miles at work as well, since I run my butt off most days. So I took the liberty of scheduling something for Fri afternoon, perfect timing leading into the weekend for some more long miles.

Yesterday another group of women from Milwaukee and Madison met and we cruised out to Blue Mounds for about 70miles of hills. Another super day of riding, and I am caffeinating up here for a shorter ride today with some of the same women!

I think overall I am just so happy that I've met some great women who enjoy riding and training as much as I do. TMinus two weeks until the season kicks off in Hillsboro, IL. (I still don't even know where the hell Hillsboro is!?? Go figure!) but I plan to be there, perhaps a bit flat since I've not done speed, but nonetheless really excited to start racing again!

Cheers, and Happy Sunday! Welcome Springtime! I am so much more appreciative of this great weather now that its finally here! Yay!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Rainy Weekend..........

Bummer! I knew my 2hr ride on Fri was TGTBT!! It started to pour like mad on Sat am didn't let up until the snow was coming down in chunks and flakes by Sun evening.

All in all, I had a pretty decent weekend training wise....50min mod run Sat, 75 min in the pool, lots of stroke work. A bit of yog's to stretch out the hips, and some maxing and relaxin' Sat night with friends and a glass of wine..

Rachel and I had planned to ride "come hell or high water" on Sunday and unfortunately we got the latter...literally! I was still raining cats and dogs when we ventured out the door, completely geared up for what we anticipated would be a short ride..but hey, at least we were doing it!! (You know, they don't necessarily stop a race if there's rain, so sometimes you just have to buck up and do it!)

We made it about 15miles, doing all miles on the Cap City trail and surrounding areas out to Monona...kind of wimpy, and ordinarily something I wouldn't do, but we both agreed that in the downpour it was much safer than roads...

About 12.5mi in, my hands went totally and completely numb..Ok, I know, a bit dramatic but nonetheless I was ready to call it quits...and I think she was too! Her hubby rescued us, and we were sooooo grateful for the warm ride, towels, and blast of heat awaiting us inside!

I stood under my shower for what felt like hours, and believe it or not, my 1:15 min in the saddle actually felt harder and longer in hindsight..I think I expended so much energy trying to stay warm, not slip, move my fingers, etc.

Much to the dismay of Rachel (HA!) we won't be doing that anytime again soon....

The hours-minded junky that I am wanted to do some more time in the pool, so I headed off for a longer set in the water that afternoon, by which time the roads were getting dicey. You gotta love the Midwest, the ever-changing pattern of weather.

Today I am feeling notsomuchawesome....EEKS! There are 2 flu's spreading around at work, and I am concerned I may have a touch of something. Think today will be the rest day, with my fingers crossed for the rest of the week being filled with Springlike temps!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Perfect Afternoon!

This morning started off with a very hard, anaerobic set in the water, doing a long freestyle warm up set of 500, 400, 300-ladder sets, some kicking, and then a main set of 5 X 200's broken up freestyle. I felt awesome after the 75 min workout--just what I needed to get me thru the Friday at work after what has been a very long week.

I love those days at work when all of your interactions are positive! Its a rare day when nearly everyone I meet, all patients I work with, are happy, grateful, and truly appreciative of the service you are providing! It was great day, and makes me remember why I do what I do...........

On the flipside, I was equally as happy when my 330pm appt cancelled, and I was finishing up at 230pm. The day was slow, our staff was adequate, and I took the opportunity (a rare one, might I add!) to get out the door and enjoy the beautiful 55 degree temps and sunshine! You better believe it, this girl is going riding!

I just love the UW cycling listserv, as you can post a ride, and within 5 min people are responding to you left and right, wanting to meet up and cruise the streets. Since I hadn't been on my rollers since Tue night, I was hoping for a mellow, aerobic 1.5-2hrs on the roads, and had just enough time prior to dusk.

Derek and Mollie, 2 cyclists who are newer to the sport, met me at the Arb and off we went towards Paoli. We ended up taking a slightly different route out towards Goodland Park, and talked a bit about racing. It was such a nice and fun ride, very social, and reminded me again why I do what I do. Mollie was full of questions about racing and training, so it was fun to be on the other side for a change--as I am usually the one asking questions to others!!!!

We ended up with about 30 miles and 2hrs later, and I was feeling warm, toasty, and pleasantly exhausted after a great day of training, work, and socializing! I capped off the day with my most favorite place to spend a dollar-- TRADER JOES!!!

And let me send a big HOLLA!!! To all of you who commented on my previous post regarding food choices!!
-Eileen, the lentil soup is da bomb! Ate it for dinner last night!!
-Jen H,- MINI PB CUPS!!! soooooooooooooooo good!!!! and yes, I Heart Naan Bread!! The garlic kind!!!

I filled up my cart with a bunch of yummies and ate my way into the evening!

Today is a typical Midwestern one....a day of sunshine usually follows a day of rain/cold/precipitation. I am finishing brekky and off to train indoors!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How would you react?

This post has almost nothing to do with training, racing, etc. But a lot to do with all that has been going on in my ever-diverse world. I have been tired as balls lately, trying to muster up the energy to sit on my damn rollers for longer than 1.5hrs, but it hasn't been all the motivating for me. The temps are warming, the skies are bluer, and I am still working the daily grind so basically, I am SOL if I want to get outdoors for a spin...However, my swimming and running have been fan-tastic so really I can't complain. That's about it for now.

In other news, my neighborhood is trying to pass for a halfway house to inhabit formerly homeless men, that would include 12 full-time residents who may or may not live there up to 4months at a time, with an obvious turnover rate every 4 months. You do the math, that's potenitally 36 residents in one year. All with potential criminal and/or sex offender records. And my hood is full of owner-occupied family homes, small children, and some student and professional rentals that are flat-style apt homes. I have been adamantly opposed to this, from a perspective of not only a female but thru the eyes of my neighbors and friends who are parents of small children.

Now it is a known fact that many homeless people have history of unmedicated or untreated mental illness, uncontrolled addiction, and criminal behavior. While there are clearly more "warm and fuzzy" people living in my hood, I am not one of them.
I guess I wish that I could be more accepting, and not as fearful. But I am a safety Sally and this idea makes me a little on edge.

At a community meeting last night, that wore my brain and feelings out to no end, there seemed to be a clear bias towards moving forward with these plans. From the chatter amongst people, it sounds as if this will likely occur. Again, I am somewhat speechless. And unsure of how this will affect the feelings of the neighbors, the property values of homes that inhabit mostly upper middle class working folks, and the safety of all of us.

What to do, what to do.......................

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some of my favorite things

Its the time of the year when I start to add different items to my grocery cart. Namely more frequent purchases of electrolyte drink mix, Fig Newtons, Clif bars, and the occasional 6-pack of PayDay bars for those really long days in the saddle. I'm burning more calories, I am working harder, and my body is just craving different things.

I am a very healthy eater- and this isn't an attempt to break my arm patting myself on the back, I just truly happen to enjoy my veggies. Blame it on my awesome mom who gave me only two choices as a child- broccoli or carrots? (Or you can just not eat dinner.....You get the idea). While others were allowed Trix and Cookie Crisp cereal, we would twist mom's arm for a mere box of Honey Nut Cheerios...and even that was a huge deal at the time. Nonetheless, I have steered clear of the bad stuff for most of my adulthood as a grocery store customer. While I dabble in the occasional burrito, hamburger, and serving of fries, I tend to crave these things only after an extremely hard effort, such as a race or a marathon day of training. I think I have trained my body to "not" crave many of these items on a regular basis, so its certainly helped keep me in check.

Some find it odd, but I really do not crave meat. EVER. I could definitely go the rest of my life without it. But chocolate, wine, bread, coffee. Now that's another story.

One of my guilty pleasures is searching other people's/friends fridge and pantries to find out WHAT I AM MISSING OUT ON in the world of food. I have some necessities and addictions that I can't live without. These are a few of my favorites:

Trader Joes
-organic creamy Peanut Butter (with Salt)- Good on just about anything
-Basmati Brown Rice
-Wild Rice (the black kind!)
-Mediterranean Hummus
-Natures Path Organic Pop Tarts (blueberry= the best, apple cinn., strawberry, brown sugar)
-Kashi Go Lean Crunch
-TJ's Roasted Vegetable Pizza
-Multi-Seed Corn Tortilla Flatbread (great with the hummus)
-Peanut Butter Pretzels (I go thru 1 bag/week)
-PURE energy bars
-LARABars (cashew cookie, apple cinn., cherry pie!)
-Clif ZBars (better than the original)
-Organic SOYcoutash (frozen blend of soybeans, corn, and peppers)
-Harvest Hodgepodge (frozen veggie mix)
-Wasabi Wow (trail mix)
-Blood Oranges
-Sweet Potatoes (lately I've been slicing thin, drizzling with olive oil, salt, pepper, and baking until crispy!)
-Mahi Mahi, Salmon, and Tuna steaks with seasoning (frozen)

What are some of your favorites?!?! Am I missing something good....Fill me in!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Solo Ski on another SNOWY Saturday

Me, trying to avoid the blowing snow on the only gusty part of the trail.

Apparently everyone else missed the memo, because when I pulled into the parking lot at the local golf course where I have been logging cross country ski miles all winter, there was only one vehicle. A little odd to me, considering there has been falling snow accumulating approx 5in since early this morning. Fresh, light, fluffy snow, with minimal wind. And the best part yet, really perfect temps for skiing. I guess I was the only one that thought it was a good idea.

Just as I was throwing down the skis onto the fresh snow, a fellow loonie like me skied up, red faced, frozen-nose-dripped, and raring to go. "It's a bit tricky out there today, you have to make your own tracks," she said. She and I agreed that the loop which generally takes us about 30 min would probably take about 40 today....

I set off and to my pleasant surprise, it was quite fantastic...Not a soul in sight, after my new ski buddy took off a few minutes before me..Just pure wintry white beauty, and a challenging workout that felt more like backcountry skiing on this awesome Saturday afternoon.

Base miles have started this week, and though I had hoped to be up to about 120mi by today, I am short by 25mi. I am not stressing, as I still have 10 more weeks to really build the fitness and peak at the right time. In fact, it was more fun to get out and rip it up on the snow after my trainer ride this am, and my 1.5hrs of skiing will be added to what would have been my longer ride for Saturday. Hopefully I can hit the pavement for some outdoor miles by Tue, as temps look sweet and I have the day off.

Back to clean the pad up for my mama's visit. Due to the *SNOW EMERGENCY* she opted to hang in Chicago an extra day with the brother and head onward to Madison tomorrow. Fun times in store.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's that beep????????????

Apparently I hit the trunk button on my set of keys, because at 545am my neighbor knocked on my door to inform me that my "car alarm was going off." Oh $hit!!! I felt awful, and ordinarily, I would have figured this out on my own, as Tue am is my Masters' practice. I had decided to sleep in until 6am and get a mellow run around the hood in alternatively. Yes, that's right, I am actually going to call it a "run" because I am v e r y s l o w l y starting to pick up the speed enough to deem it more than a fast walk....And I couldn't be happier.

So, 15min before my alarm was set to buzz me out of slumber, I am up and at 'em, with the keys, turning off the alarm, and just for good measure, making sure the car will start. Ahhh, relief, the sound of my car's engine firing away...

My run was refreshingly chilly, and peaceful. I do look forward to this time of the year when the air is crisp and cool, the sun is starting to rise a little earlier, and the time of the day is so quiet--and you feel as if you are the only person awake in your neighborhood. On this particular day there happened to be a handful of us out enjoying the beauty of late winter before we all had to shuttle off to our respective jobs and commitments.

The week is cruising on by, and I have laid out some groundwork courtesy of the awesome cyclist and friend of mine, Kristin, who generously offered to help me with some insight and focus to my training block for the coming cycling season. This week is the unofficial 2nd week of "base" training with 10 more weeks (or so) to follow. I will likely be in base for the first few weeks of my season, though I do plan to race well into the middle of the summer, so I need to remember to be patient with myself. Its all in good time. I am hoping that for a change, I can actually be diligent and follow instructions.

My mom is here this weekend, so long riding may not happen, though I do plan to get out a fair share, in between all of the other fun places I hope to visit with her...most of which will include coffee, food, and some sort of place that sells home decor! That is my mom's "thing" and we tend to have enormous fun putting together my little home when she is around! Yay!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When this is what you have to be excited about............

I have sunken to a new level. My life is so standard and boring these days that I was overjoyed this morning when I realized that I could secretly make my "two bag-of-grinds" coffee without anyone giving me hell for making extra-strength brew.....You see, some undercaffeinated people that work in my office seem to have an issue with coffee that-GASP!-is darker than tea!! WTF?!?!..So much, that last week, a post-it note was placed on a freshly-brewed pot of coffee-colored water stating *PLEASE USE ONLY 1 BAG OF COFFEE PER POT PLEASE*....Now, economically, that may be more substantial in a time of great despair. But considering that a) Most people don't drink that CRAP you call coffee b) Everytime I've made a pot, it seems to disappear before I even GET any coffee, I think YOU WHO WROTE THE POST IT are WRONG! I feel so much better after getting that off my chest..To all my coffee snob sistas out there "Can I get an AMEN....a HELL YA..."

So, after realizing this morning that no one in my office makes decaf coffee and there is an empty decaf carafe sitting quietly unused in the pantry, I have opted to secretly brew my double strength blend, without anyone knowing it exists. Pathetically, looking forward to work tomorrow.

In other news, I was able to get out for a short little spin on the bike Tue afternoon. Temps hit the 50's and now that its staying light out until almost 545pm, I can actually get some miles in after a long day in the office. Some good efforts in the pool Tue am, combined with my Sunday mega miles were a good chance to go pretty light and easy. Goal for the week is to hit 150/+ mi. I am at 90mi and its Wed, so we will see. In fact, its more about time not miles. But miles matter. Hell, time sitting on that God damn seat is what counts, loss of feeling in my vajay-jay, then I know I am becoming one with the bike.....But I digress.

Just like Aerosmith, I'm back in the saddle again. With my strong cup of coffee. 1 + 1= AWESOME. I can't wait for race season. Bring it on. I'll be there April 4. Fully caffeinated with miles under my belt. Ready to bring down the house.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cycle mania

This weekend was chock full of cycling action from Fri night until Sunday afternoon. Temps in the high 40's and mid 30's on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, were reason enough to let the trainers collect dust in my house and pull the fender over my rear wheel (in fact, I didn't even own a fender until Kristin mentioned that Planet Bike makes a pretty sweet little attachment!) In any case, I shot over to the bike shop Fri afternoon, made a quick salad, grabbed a bottle of wine, and headed over to Rachel's house for a team meeting with the ISCorps girls.

I am really happy to say that I think this will be a solid and dedicated group of women who I am looking forward to racing with this season. Yummy lasagna, homemade bread, salad, wine, bruschetta, and cookies with tea were on the menu, and over the course of the next few hours we ironed out the season and all commitments entailed with racing on ISCorps cycling team. All and all, a really fun night!

Saturday I headed out for a 4hr solid effort with Kristin, Rachel, and some of the otehr UW/ISCorps team members..Belleville, New Glarus, and Mt Horeb, with a few early season rest stops that included coffee, a PayDay bar, and Fig Newtons (of course!) I was more tired than really trashed, and ate my way thru the afternoon as I watched back episodes of Grey's on the computer! Nice...and even mustered up energy for a little social time with friends Sarah and Courtney later that night! Fun times...

Sunday ride was a bit more mellow, and though colder, a lot less windy than Saturday's ride...Rachel, Yvonne, Kristin, and myself drafted the boys for about 25 miles and then broke off for another solid 3.5hrs around the hilly countryside outside of Madison. Another great day on the bike. I can't complain. Certainly this weekend has been full of some good training, but I've obviously neglected my own chores, so as I procrastinate typing this post, I am now looking at a long list that include finishing laundry, grocery shopping, and some other odds and ends. Its weekends like these that make me look forward to them all over again! It looks as though it'll be trainer rides for the remainder of the week, but we will have to see....Until next time....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Silver Lining

Why is it that everytime I see Matt Lauer/Brian Williams/my local news anchor there has to be yet another company closing its doors, leaving thousands of people jobless and wondering where they will find money for the mortgage and groceries!?!? Its begining to severely depress me, and also make me appreciate employment at the same time. So much, that even with 16 patients that I saw today, I am exhausted as crap, still have to get in a workout and strength train, and though tired, I am ultra thankful. I used to rally like a champ to stay out past 1am in college, and I plan to use the same strategy tonight for my run and core workout.

I've said it once before, but people, if you are considering a job, go into healthcare.....Job loss = poor health. Unfortunately, it doesn't seems to be resolving itself anytime soon. Job security, an oxymoron. Perhaps it should be called Job Availability....Think about it.

On another note, I am annoyed to report that I slept all funktified last night and have an annoying nerve pinch-thingy in my left arm...wonderful...hopefully not the end of the world but nonetheless just extraordinary since my left hip/knee are still less than perfect. The silver lining is that it may be warm enough here this weekend to get out and ride...something that doesn't involve pounding my leg or flailing my arms around. I am hoping for sunny skies and temps in the 40's.

Busy schedules don't bode well for double workouts, and right now, I am getting in what I can get in. Less than I'd like to be doing, but I am hoping for that little thing called "Quality" to trump my "quantity" ratio. Time will tell. After all, my first race is Hillsboro in late March. With such a long season into the summer, I am relying on the upcoming warmer months to light that fire under my proverbial butt! As I was pedaling away on intervals to my new favorite 80's stream station last night, I was thinking to myself, "Its been just a year since your last race" and boy, the time has certainly flown on by. It does make me very hungry to get back out there and tear it up.

Time to blow this pop stand and trek on home for another evening of indoor training!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making Nice with the Treadmill

I've blogged on this before. Perhaps, even multiple times. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And the old adage, "keep your friends close and enemies closer," is the tactic I've imployed here.

Yes, I have been running on the treadmill. As much as it bores me to tears, its the only way to get back in the saddle and start to run again. With the past 2 months being inconsistent at best in terms of running, I have decided to forgo the icy and slick streets of Madison and do my miles indoors. So far, so good. While I feel as if my pace is no more than a fast walk (think 5.0mph...blech!!!) it sooooo much better than not running, the other alternative.

I am happy to report that I've been taking 3-4 days off in between, and starting with 3-4 min/run followed by 1-2 min of uphill fast walking. And you know the funny thing?? I am actually enjoying my workouts. In fact, its making me really appreciate the time I am spending running during those 35-45 min on the treadmill. I am logging my progress and how I feel, so I know if I need to scale back or increase. My fingers are crossed on this one!

On another note, its time to start thinking about the upcoming cycling season. While my Tucson friends have already started their race season, mine won't get underway until late March. Now's the time to really start putting those miles in on the rollers, and any nice day I can get out where the temps are above 35 degrees, I will try to ride outside. But for now, I am still taking full advantage of the snow-covered golf courses and skiing or snowshoeing on the weekends. There will be plenty of time to ride in the coming months, so I am not too anxious about this one.

Its Saturday morning, and I am fed, caffeinated (probably too much!) and hydrating for day of training! Happy for the weekend ahead!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Reason, Season, Or Lifetime

My friend in Tucson introduced me to this thought awhile back after a nasty break-up. It seems to be quite fitting, esp since I really believe that people come into your life in one or all of the above.

The community I've surrounded myself with starts as a group of "reason" or "season" people- upbeat, happy, usually-competitive, athletic folks, either triathletes, runners, and cyclists. The bonus is always the possibility that they will be in my world for a "lifetime." Many of my best friendships lasting years on end are with these people. However some of them are just "reason" friends, and after we complete our training session/race we part ways until the next event brings us together again.

Then there are my friends who have been around thru thick and thin--All of the hardships, the disagreements, the break-ups, the make-ups, the people I can call whenever I am just feeling the need to vent, get some sound advice, or just B*tch my little heart out (which I tend to do!!) when I know everyone else is probably not going to get it. They are my lifeline. My strength for those days, though few and far between, when I really need a shoulder to cry on.

My immediate family, they are my "lifetime." That's a given, since no matter near or far, sick, healthy, dead or alive, they have shaped my life. While some family are only around for a short season, and others specifically find a reason, they are still important figures in my world.

Most of the men I've dated can also go into the above "reason" and "season" categories, since after a few months/weeks/years their reason and season have failed to keep them around for a "lifetime." In some ways, its a bit depressing. But on the other hand, what you don't find in some people makes you keep searching for it in the others that come into your life for the next reason or season.

I think this lesson is a positive way to look at your personal relationships--with family, friends, and all of the others in between. Every person that comes into your life makes an impression, a footprint, leaving their mark so as to influence your life, your decisions, your next big move. So think about your life, your relationships, and how the people whose paths you cross usually can somehow fit into one or a few of the above


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tue Happenings

While most of everyone in the country was busily streaming the Inauguration on their desktops at work, I managed to attempt streaming 4x's without much luck. Ok, as I can always watch it later tonight online.......

Apparently age doesn't do much for eyesight. At my annual opthamology exam, I was told that 1) I have an astigmatism (tha hell is that??!?!) 2) my eyes have worsened by almost 3 levels in BOTH eyes 3) my insurance doesn't cover new contacts or glasses
Bummer on all accounts, but amazing how new Rx can make a world of a difference. Was that light green or red? And apparently I am no longer color blind

Tue Masters was eventful. In honor of CHANGE TODAY we wore flippers for the kick set. SOME change it was. Hard. And flippers I've always thought to be the wimpy way to kick. Put some glute and fire those abdominals, not so easy. In fact, a nice challenge that I welcome.

Madison is warming up, and though it would have been a most perfect afternoon to run--sunshine, pleasant winter air, and the best yet, off work early- my gut is telling me to giver a go one more week without it. At this point I've been off running for just shy of 4 weeks, what's another few days if it means I come back healthier and stronger!?!?? Besides, my butt is still stiff from marathon cross country ski sessions over the weekend and a little biff I took coming down a steep hill.

I am behind on my ABC addictions- Grey's, Private Practice, and Brothers and Sisters-so I will fire up the rollers and punch out some indoor miles and core training instead. I have also discovered a "create your own radio station" on that just about rules!!!! You pick the artists/songs. It soooooooooooo makes the time fly by when you are stuck indoors.

Off to train, until next time

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Starting Late

Its funny, when I lived in AZ I was accustomed to being up and at 'em for a pre-dawn workout. Not so much since moving to WI.

Its a much different mindset when you have gusting wind and negative temps until midday, so my weekends have been a little more lazy in the am...Get up, linger to the coffee pot and grind up some beans for a cup of joe. Eat breakfast, watch NBC, think about my friends in Tucson halfway done with their 70-mile ride on the Saturday morning Shootout..Facebook the crap out of friends..Facebook is such an addiction...its probably good they block it at my work! :)...................

Two doctors appts this week: one with sports med/athletic trainer, and another yesterday afternoon with a chiropractor, and I am already feeling more positive about healing this SI joint/ITband/piriformis thing. I really hate the elliptical but I sucked it up for 45min Fri morning at the gym, as I watched my friend Tina and other random runners jog circles around the indoor track when it was -25 outdoors at 6am. For the first time, I was actually wishing I was running around that track with them. Soon enough.

Laundry is drying and I am slowly getting my morning off on the right foot-literally-and heading to the UW pool for what I anticipate to be a good hard session. You really can't beat the facilities at a DivI pool.....Crystal clear water, a million lanes to swim in......and when its this cold there is no where else I'd rather be if I have to workout indoors.........

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Core Exercises!!! (thank GOD!)

So, I have been mulling and griping, and frankly just dragging my feet...Or my leg, for that matter, in the past week! I finally had an appointment today to see a Sports Med specialist to figure out WTF is wrong with my left leg!

If you live under a rock, then you probably haven't heard that the entire middle section of our country is in a glacial freeze right now, and Madison, WI is certainly no exception! In fact, I think we may be in the top 5 right now of COLDEST cities in the USA...I am sure some random North Dakota town has out done us, but that's a fight I will let them win..I promise, this tangent of weather patterns has something to do with my damn knee and stupid injury, so read on...

This morning, after a solid 20 miles indoors on the rollers, I geared up post shower to head to work...knowing that the temps were in the -10's and dropping, I layered like a good girl and walked speedily to work, as my entire body continued to freeze every step I walk to work is about 10 min/-/+ so opting to cut the time, I picked up the pace and ran in the snowboots for the last 200 yds!! BIG F*n mistake! My knee was stiff the remainder of the afternoon..

Good, however, was the appt I had at 2pm to see Dr. Gronski and Deb-Athletic Trainer extraordinaire! I was so impressed with both evaluations I received from them, and Deb remained in the room to perform some myofascial release on my SI joint, hip, and piriformis... Dr. Gronski doesn't seem to think that its more than just imbalance in the SI joint, which in turn is sending negative energy and inflammation down my IT band, hip, knee, and consequently causing other bursitis, tendonitis. In fact, he seems to think that this will heal relatively quickly if I am a good student and do my homework in the form of core work, ice, and slowly introducing running to my regimen again

Deb offered up some new exercises, which I will post later with instructions! (want to make sure they work!!!) I am stoked, and after my evening trainer session, I hit up the gym for some work! I love new stuff, and I am hoping I have that "good" soreness tomorrow from the workout!

Here's to getting running shoes have cobwebs and they miss me!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Whine and Wine...........

I am a lover of wine. And lately, the more I whine, the more I wine. Well, not in a bad way, so to speak. I am good with my intake, a glass some nights of the week with dinner...Perhaps more often, not necessarily a large serving. My faves are generally whatever is on sale at TJ's for less than $6, and I am always a sucker for anything dark red, but particularly the lighter ones like Zin, and Pinot Noir. White wine, though I rarely turn down a glass (!), tends to give me a gnarly headache, and hangover, no matter how little I consume

Apparently my wine goes hand-in-hand with my whine, because that seems to be more prevalent as well. This knee/ITB syndrome/hip/What-the-hell-is-wrong-already thing is really becoming quite the bugger....While I have been swimming my little butt off and feeling fabulous in the water, my leg is both literally and figuratively at a stand still...No running, going on 14 days today! It sucks! (and since its Fri, how about a glass of Cabernet while I am at it)

I just need to put it out there: Has ANYONE, ANYWHERE, in the land of Blogville, ever had a lingering knee issue that feels almost like a pressure of fluid building up around their lower quad/and posterior knee that is not pain but tension???

I have broken down and made an appt with a sports med MD, which being in the industry, I have finally taken my own advice...I stretch, I ice, I rest, I cycle, I swim, nothing is really making it any better, so I am at a loss. My only hope is that it really is just a bad ligament sprain or strain, and not a tear to something requiring an operation. Damn, health is something I really take for granted. And I miss my pain-free body. Whine, ya, that's twice in one paragraph. Pathetic.

Madison, on the other hand, is so pretty and snowy today, it just makes me want to layer it all on an run in the park. Shit. There I go again, whine. No running. So I will wax up my skis, take off into the beautiful hills and try my hand at some more skiing. The conditions look to be stellar, and its things like this that keep me hoping I will be back to my old self really soon.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and lovely winter weekend filled with a moderate dose of wine and a minimal amount of whine!