Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Effingham. Population:12,400

Luckily, in that 12,400, there are about 20 cyclists. And two bike shops.

I started the morning...in bed. And then in granny's kitchen (i think i've mentioned she lives next door. like, a driveway/20 ft separate her and mom's doors. weird. believe me. i love my mom. will NEVER be able to live in such close proximity..) with my aunt, drinking coffee and listening to granny tell the same stories she told three months ago (she's 91...patience...she thinks i go walking all the time when i'm training. ha ha ha). And then I kitted up and headed out for a ride. I stopped in the LBS here in town and asked about group rides. One. Tonight. Maybe four people. 18mph avg. They recommended another shop. I went out to the country to clear my head. It's absolutely gorgeous out here. Nothing but farmland, cattle, fields, blue skies, billowing clouds. I even found a few hills. Seriously. Actual climbs!! And I think it was a prarie dog that nearly got run over. I saw farm machines I didn't even know existed! I rode on gravel for a half mile and was attacked by four dogs...

On my way back in, I found the Uphill Grind. Dick, shop dude, gave me the low down on the group rides, the riders, etc. He wants to go watch the boys hurt tomorrow night. he he he. This is good for me.

From there it was home for a quick snack and to the pool for lap swimming!! But, dude...meters are so much different than yards. I'm not used to that. sooooo slooooowww.... I got in what I needed. I laid out in the sun after.

I got encouraging words from friends. I fought the urge to call and tell him about my day. You guys are awesome.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yep, yep, yep!

So, for the first time in my life, I am jobless and homeless. And somehow, I'm more at peace right now than I have been in quite some time. I know not what lies before me. I have a rough plan, but it's sooo vague. something like this: stay here at mom's in IL and bust my ass training for the next week. Take advantage of naps. And the time and ability to prepare meals. And mow granny's lawn. And sit and watch TV with her.

I have a long couple weeks of chaos and a few great days of training behind me now. Saturday was a long, sweaty, humid 16 miles in the hills of eden park, hyde park, and a surprise visit on the flats from my TTT partner, Scott. And Sunday was 105 miles on the bike, 50 by myself as I went back to get the truck of a buddy who was severely dehydrated. The ride was mostly flat, but I didn't once feel like I wanted to get off and throw the thing into the bushes. I just focused on cadence. And pedal stroke. and relaxing my upper body, not curing my toes, looking straight ahead, all those things I've been taught by the amazing people brought into my life for whatever reason.

Friday was my last day at work. I got cards and hugs and went home to frantically pack so I could leave for Galveston, TX the next morning. And it was then that I started to worry. It was then that I wanted some reprieve from the chaos, from the go go go that had become my life over the last couple weeks. And on my Saturday morning run, I decided TX was not the place for me at the moment. I needed some solitude, some time to hush my mind, some time to sleep peacefully, some time to just get away. And figure things out.

I went to the Hyde Park Blast Saturday night. And saw so many friends. I got so many hugs. I had so much support; so many kind words. And it meant the world to me. I was, once again, reminded of all the amazing people in the world, in my life. I'm quite the fortunate girl.

I was actually kinda grateful for those miles alone on Sunday, rushing back to the truck to rescue Todd, those miles spent in the rain, the heat, the smog. It gave me time to reflect. I was granted time to focus. And I realized I've been given the greatest opportunity the universe allows...the ability to go wherever life takes me. I simply have no ties. I have amazing friends and the best dad ever in Cincy, but I have friends all over the country. I have no less than 50 offers for places to stay. So, to the-middle-of-nowhere-IL I went. To stay in an empty house next door to my 91 year old granny. And that's where I am. With lots of country roads to ride, a few hills to run, a pool with a lap lane, and relatives on the lake.

And yet, deep down, that one persuasive voice keeps lulling me. But I cut it off today. There have been so many empty promises. So many "i'm gonna do this"'s. And I haven't been through all this shit to not realize a thing or two. No matter how much I might want someone to do something and follow through, no matter how much I love someone, I love and respect me more. And I know I deserve to live a dream. Because that's how I want to live. And we all have a choice. That's my choice. This is my dream. And I'm living it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I couldn't make this shit up if I tried

So, my horrible, faulty picker struck again.
No move to CT. In fact, the visit ended prematurely and I found myself back in Cincy a day early.
But it's not all for naught.
Thank GOD for training - it's keeping me sane. And friends - they're keeping me company, keeping my head up, calling, texting, emailing, answering the phone when I was in hysterics. And FB - it's making me laugh. And dad - he got me on a flight home pronto. And mom - she listened to me babble. And my brothers - they're checking in on me. And the woman on the plane - she handed me tissues and encouragement. And him - he gave me a reason to finally quit a job I hate. And to the other woman involved - she totally opened my eyes.
I always say that everything happens for a reason. And I still believe it. My stuff is going into storage this week. And I'm headed to the beach to visit my brother before going north for Musselman. And then, who knows?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here goes...

 Tomorrow afternoon, I depart for CT!!
But only for a visit. I'm coming back for 6 short days before moving out for good.
The last week has been full of fun and training and hanging out with friends and talking on the phone and sharing and packing. It's been exhausting, honestly.

I put in my resignation at work last Thursday and left work early to hang out with the girls. Left work early again on Friday to ride with Ackerman in the stifling heat. Seriously, it's just HOT here in Cincinnati right now. The humidity is disgusting. I took a huge gulp of ice cold water after that ride and it actually hurt going down. I thought I might actually be dropping my core temp too quickly.

Saturday started with an amazing two hour massage...and some good therapy before starting Project: Pack. Oh, how I hate packing. I've been doing more purging than packing, really. If it hasn't been used in the last year, it's goes in the garbage or to charity. Plain and simple.

Sunday, I awoke to thunderstorms....which wasn't a good outlook for Ride Cincinnati. But I was all about riding it, whether we got rained on or not. I needed that last long ride with my friends and teammates. And wouldn't ya know, the rain stopped just before the 6:30am start, I was interviewed by the local news station and we all got caked in mud. A few of us went off course to get in some extra miles and some hill climbs before returning to the after party. All in all, four hours of riding. And then eating. And the most amazing shower. And more packing.

I didn't get my long run in over the weekend. And getting to work pre-9am isn't exactly a priority right now, so I went for a long run before work yesterday. I was jammin' to my iPod, lost in my thoughts when I realized how far away from home I was...and just how long I'd been running...and just how few calories I had on hand...and just how drenched in sweat I was. My shoes seriously gained a pound of sweat weight from that dripping off my legs and feet. And I was a little loopy by the time I arrived home. Note to self: One bottle of low calorie G2 is probably NOT sufficient fuel for a 16 mile run first thing in the morning. But it will give you an incredible endorphin high. Or low blood glucose high.

Good thing I've been hydrating today...and that I had Dewey's for lunch. Great recovery post-masters and pre-group ride outta Reser's.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Tuesday Night TT

I went out to the Tuesday night time trial last night. My legs were trashed from racing and riding Sunday and then running Monday and some crazy zombie kick and jumps at Masters practice. I was not expecting a stellar performance. I was tired. And it was the boy's last night in town. I knew he was packing up the U-Haul with his buddy. The last time I'd been to the TT was the night he called me up and said "Are you in the car? Is this an ok time to talk?....We're going to Connecticut".

My head was all over the place. So brought the iPod. But I rode a warm up lap with my buddy Todd...and then I ran into a bunch of my guys at the start - Kevin, Barry, Smitty, Brian, James... We joked and laughed and carried on.

I dug deep. Set a new PR by 12 seconds.

They were all benig slow to change clothes for a T run. I razzed them. Kevin picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, spun me around, attempted to convince Barry to smack my ass...but Barry knows better, that I would smack back. There was lots of laughter.

And we ran. And I talked to Todd about running. And his stride and what I do to relax and the importance of good stride.

I got in my car, checked my phone, had a couple emails. Training partners wanting to know about the move, questioning where I'm headed, what I'm doing, how I could leave them, somewhat in jest.

And I know they're happy for me, but for the first time, i got a little sad. I mean, I'm overjoyed about the opportunity I have and adventures that lie ahead and all the things I'm getting to experience. But there is a part of me that has grown to love the people here. I've grown attached. And it breaks my heart a little to leave them. And to know that I'll be missed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Deer Creek Oly - tornados, lightning, setting PRs and chicking the men

The Deer Creek Olympic Triathlon isn't one that was on my race schedule...until, like, last Tuesday. I kinda just felt like racing it. This means, there was no taper. There was very little preparation. And I was just out looking to have a good time. per usual.

I awoke at 4am and was out the door by 5:15 for the (nearly) two hour drive. As the sun rose, I noticed the trees were whipping about. I also noted that there was a comment on my FB status that there was a tornado watch in Mt. Sterling. Beautiful!
I got to the beach and the waiting began... I waited in line for my race packet. I waited in line for the bathroom. I waited to set up in transition. And then I (along with everyone else) waited for the storms to subside and the race to begin. There was some crazy lightning that was striking out on the lake. It was gorgeous. But it also made me kinda want a duathlon. As the heavens were dumping copious amounts of water and I was chattin' up race stuff and tri gear with a teammate, I look to my right and hear "Ms Lindsey?"...it was Big Daddy Diesel!!! We chatted for a bit and suddenly, the sun was making an appearance and everyone scattered the pavilion. I made one last trip to transition and pulled on the wetsuit. which, i will note, is much more difficult to do when feet are wet.

The 1500m Swim:
We ladies are always given the last wave start. It sucks because there are actually some decent female swimmers. And some not so decent male swimmers. But I digress....So, we finally got started about an hour after supposed start. Out to the forst turn, no major issues. Upon making that turn...CHOP! I didn't mind it, but I was a little taken by surprise the first couple strokes. Swim, turn, swim....straight into the sun. I lost sighting and went off course a bit. Back on and a fairly uneventful second lap swimming over previous waves. Time: 23:45

Run up the muddy hill to transition...to empty foot bath buckets. The sprint tri waves had all gone off before the Oly and I guess they decided to NOT refill them? Anyway, run, find bike, strip wetsuit, don shoes, helmet, go get other sunglasses from bag...ugh. that took forever. time: 2:08

The 40k Bike:
Windy? Windy. Windy! The first 15-20 mins were just spent getting into the groove. I was cruising at 21-23mph. I took in water. Then the crosswinds hit. I decided to take in a gel....just a girl in a black skin suit riding a P3 with Zipp wheels and an aero helmet passed me. Dammit! The goal then became to just not let her out of sight. As I was climbing the first hill at the end of loop one, a CincyExpress teammate passed me with some trash talk stating that Barry might get chicked by me, but he wouldn't. When I caught him on the next little climb, I told him he better hurry up then. And he took off.
The second loop was much the same as the first. I took in another gel, drank some gatorade. At the top of that first climb is a flat that is straight into a headwind and I saw my speed drop to 11.4mph. A huge highlight of the tailwind though was seeing my speed over 30mph! The second time I was going in for those hills, I picked up a guy. He was sucking my wheel and I was getting irritated. I'd seen quite a bit of drafting out on the course. And I almost opened my trap a couple times, but really, they're the ones that have to live with cheating. So, I kept my mouth shut.
As I was finishing up the bike, I saw a couple other Cincy Express teammates already out on the run, so I shouted as loud as I could and pretty soon, I was pulling into T2. Time: 1:12.01

Rack my bike, take off shoes, helmet, slip on Zoots...and for some reason I walked until I hit that timing mat. I still had NO idea where I stood place wise. And I was having fun, so I didn't really care. I also knew I was making fairly good time.

The 10k Run:
It was flat and fast. But also all in the sun. The first mile is trudged across the levee, on grass...that had just been rained on...and tramped across by the sprint tri peeps. So, it was, needless to say, a little sloppy. I hot the first mile at 7:18 and waited for my legs to come around. Just before the turnaround, I saw the leading female (who I'd beat at Triple in every race). I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could hunt her down on the second half of the run...and then, at the turn around, I saw black speedsuit girl stopping for water. I got some water myself and went on ahead as she was complaining of cramping.
I kept myself relaxed and ready to go at any moment. At the last water stop, with about a mile to go, I asked for a Heed and heard "Water! Water! Water!" from black speedsuit just behind me. I didn't even look back, I just decided to pick up the pace for the last few minutes. With about a quarter mile to go, we hit the home stretch into the parking lot and round a corner where her cheering squad was based. They yell for her as she passes me. I was exhausted. She'd stayed right on my heels the whole last half and I didn't have it in me to go and get her in the last few hundred yards....
Until I heard someone yell my name. Suddenly, I knew I had it. I got a shit eatin' grin on my face, giggled aloud and poured it on, coming in 20 or so feet ahead of her at the finish. (Also outsprinting the CE guy who wasn't going to get chicked by me. Interestingly, he also started a wave ahead of me, so it turned out to be a 2 min beating.)  Time (via watch as T2 and run did not get separated): 44:00

Total time of 2:23.04. 3rd place overall.

I talked to some teammates and Scott (Big Daddy Diesel) and got a little something to snack on and then headed home. I had intended to ride (my bike) home from the race with a buddy of mine. Due to extenuating circumstances, this did not occur. So, upon arriving home, I went out for a two hour ride with the boy. And my legs were feeling it with every little riser. We discussed riding and racing technique and the mental aspects of competition. He's got a wealth of knowledge. And experience. Lucky me!

Friday, June 4, 2010

My masseuse

I was driving home yesterday when my phone rang. I recognized the number, but couldn't exactly place it. I, master of call screening, decided to answer, knowing I could cut the convo short because I had to get ready for a ride.

me: Hello?
Caller: "Amanda! Hello! This is Suzanne! How are you doing?"
me: "HI!!!! I'm great!"
Suzanne: "I was just looking for someone's number and I saw your name and number right next to their's...and I just got the feeling I should give you a ring".

[Suzanne is my very intuitive English masseuse that also doubles a somewhat of a spiritual guide. She just knows stuff. I also have not seen her since before Australia, which was late October.]

Suzanne: "Goodness! Australia must seem like eons ago! Are you going back? To stay perhaps? I have this feeling you're going away".
me: [as chills run down my spine...sometimes I forget just how intuitive she is.] "um. No...but I am moving to Connecticut at the end of the month."
Suzanne: "AHA!! That's it! Well, i'm certainly glad I called then!"

So, I'm going to go see her next weekend.
And, yes, I'm moving northeast at the end of June.
And I'm quite excited...though I will miss all my crazy training partners and friends here. It's just time to start a new chapter.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yikes! Stripes!

You know summer is approaching when the crazy stripey tan lines start showing up on the arms, shoulders, back, ankles and legs.

This, right here, is the result of a ride over the long weekend. I went to IL to visit with family. My mom lives in Effingham, which is 47 miles from my uncle, who lives on a lake in Olney. I decided to get some training in on some very flat land with a trip on my TT bike from mom's to uncle's on Saturday. 

Holy headwind! It's flat in south central Illinois, but damn is it windy! I had some demons to fight while riding. I literally screamed out loud at the wind at one point because it was just relentless. I'll take hills over wind anyday. The ride out (and against the wind) took me 2:16. And upon arrival, I ran down to the dock and jumped into the lake. That was followed by a beer, food, floating in the water, a ride on a jet ski, socializing with family...and then a ride back to Effingham. For perspective on that wind...it only took me 2:05 to get back, but the wind had died down (and no, it's not because i couldn't feel the benefit of a tailwind. i actually looked at the flagpoles). By the time I got back to mom's, I was beat! And Clubby and I laid down for a good night's sleep....

We awoke early the next morning to some crazy humidity. I mean, I checked the weather and it was 72 degrees with 94% humidity at 6:30 am. So, I set out for my run and decided that I'd just go as long as I could with the heat without hurting. I still had to drive to grandma's and then back home that day and I didn't want to be overly exhausted. Plus, I was just a week off TTT. I made it 1:15. with 4 water stops.

And then off to granny's for a visit. Meanwhile, the boy was back home meeting up with dad for a talk...more on that later.

Last week was just a whirlwind. And this week, while short, has been much the same. We're getting some crazy storms here now. And I just lost my toenail.

Other than that, I'm doing an Olympic tri at Deer Creek on Sunday. And then riding home from the race site (about 87 miles?). Some teammates are up in Quassy, CT doing the Rev3 Half this weekend. The following weekend, there is a 40k TT and I committed to a long ride after that with a friend. And the following day is Ride Cincinnati. Then the following weekend is a visit to CT myself and Father's Day! Big month. Lots happening!