Apr 28, 2008

drinking the kool-aid

i applied for and received my cycling license last week.
i'm officially offical.

Apr 27, 2008

flash points. say it fast.

everyday since last sunday, when by the the luck of the draw and much to the dismay i'm sure of every other veteran racer there, i won a snazzy new set of wheels; everywhere i go in town, at least five people would ask me; "have you tried your new wheels yet?" and when i replied that i hadn't, i got the sense that i had broken some sort of bike code. some code that said you have got to try out new gear immediately. it wasn't that i didn't want to, i was jonesing to give them a spin; we just had to buy tubes, tires and a cassette and hadn't yet gotten the chance. we finally got the chance to go out and buy all the wheel acoutrements last thursday, in time for a test spin that we planned for friday morning; but by the time we realized that bike shop man had sold us the wrong size tubes, it was already 8:30 pm - i couldn't accept that i might have to go another day before testing out the new wheels. in my desperation, i call a friend who owns a (different) local bike shop in the hopes that they are all still there, sitting around drinking beer rehashing that nights' ride and indeed they are; but if they have left by the time i get there, i am told tubes will be in the shop's mailbox. and as i rush out of the house to get new tubes, i wonder who the hell i am. i wouldn't rush out of the house to buy new shoes on sale at tjmaxx, much less break land speed records through the park in time to get tubes from the bike shop. i was overjoyed to pull up to the darkened & closed shop to find tubes in the mailbox. then it was back home to watch my husband break a sweat in getting my wheels properly geared up and i was finally ready to test them out the next morning.

now, i don't know a whole heck of a lot about bike gear, components and the like. i mean, just yesterday i got a big lesson on the difference between tubies and clinchers. but i do know what looks good. when we hung my bike up on our storage pole in the living room (yes, we proudly hang our bikes up in the living room) and i looked at it in all its' flash-point wheely glory - i thought, that looks shit hot.

as we rolled out for our ride on friday morning, i don't know if it was having been told umpteen times all week how fast the wheels would be, or if they really were - but i definitely felt lighter and faster. basically, i felt more badass. maybe it was placebo effect, maybe it was real - but me and my fragile bike ego will take whatever boost we can get and i'm just gonna go with it. the best part of the ride was the fact that i pulled my husband for almost the whole 27 miles instead of the other way around. okay, so he was a little tired from the testosterone-fest that was his previous nights' club ride. but still. he was sucking my wheel and i took a particular pleasure in looking back and yelling "close that gap!"

so, my very newbie racer and unprofessional, untechnical opinion and review of the flash-point 60 is that they rock. they are fast. they look shit hot on my bike and they make me feel like a total badass. i've got my next races all lined up. me & my wheels can't wait. it's all good.

now, if they are fast and make me feel badass is not a sufficient product review for you, (and i totally get that is not really enough information), i've taken the liberty of stealing the blurb below from their site, to lend more legitimacy to my fast badass wheely thoughts.

Apr 21, 2008

love / hate

despite the love affair i have been having with my bike lately, nothing makes me want to run more than spending the morning watching the boston marathon. i thought i'd be a wreck this day - wallowing in my own self pity at the fact that i am not there. but i am fine. boston will always be there and i will be there one day too.

but now, the coverage is almost over and i need to stop watching tv and texting my friends in boston and start my day. i have a lot of stuff that needs to get done before tonights' bike ride.

i loved the new balance ads that ran during the coverage. now, i haven't exactly broken up with running (me and running are just on a break while i have a torrid affair with biking - running is very understanding and will be waiting for me when i come back) - this one hit he nail on the head. there's another one- about how running knows you are thinking of leaving it. they are genius ads. love them.

refresh, refresh, refresh

so begins my day of live runner tracking!
run coach, run!
*postscript: coach rocked it! woo hoo!

Apr 20, 2008

long run

the post title does not refer to the fact that i did a long run today.
but i did do the long run circuit race: a 1.7 mile 30 minute bike race.

last night, after i posted my race report from yesterday and agonizingly hobbled up the stairs, i couldn't believe i was going to race again the next day. and this morning, when i woke up; shit that i didn't even know i had - hurt. but then we got to the race course and i pre-rode it for a few laps with my husband. i got some good tips on how to take the turn so i didn't wind up swimming in the lake, and as i got up out of the saddle to climb the only significant hill, i was surprised that it didn't hurt nearly as much as i expected. of course, i found the hurt on lap two at race pace.

race report in a nutshell: crazy, slightly scary fast start. lots of twisty turny fast shit. i hang on for two laps before getting shelled off the back. but i do not give up or slow down and after three laps of solo hyperventilating and hauling ass, i catch the group. let me repeat: i catch the group. i wanted to throw up, i wanted to quit on the second lap when i started to really feel that hurt, but i kept going and finished my third race in 14 days with a group. granted, i was the last in the group, (the one girl behind me pulled out). but it didn't matter. it was fun as all hell.

in fact, these past two weeks have just been fun as all hell - a series of events that have fallen into place, like this is the way things were meant to happen. i'm just going to go with the flow and keep on having fun. it is all a breath of fresh air right now. running was always a solitary endeavor for me, which was purely my choice - i like running alone. but this whole team thing and the comraderie of the bike riding and racing is a whole new dimension that i am hooked on right now. that, and the door prizes are a total bonus! after saturdays' race, i won a totally girly, surfy looking cannondale bike pump don't know what makes it special for the chicks, other than the pretty colors - but i love it. and after yesterdays' race, i won these in a raffle. as the runner girl turned biker chick, and being the total newbie racer - i think everyone hated me a little bit for scoring such a sweet deal on the racing wheels. i'll just have to prove to everyone that i totally deserve them!

Apr 19, 2008

if you are smiling, you are not working hard enough

today was my second road race. it was significantly tougher than last weekends' race. the piece of advice that my husband gave to me last weekend was - "if you are having fun and enjoying yourself, then you are not working hard enough". the pictures from last weekends race show me grinning from ear to ear. i am sure the finish line photo from todays' race will show the snot flying, and the painful grimace on my face.

the race start was so civilized and lovely. there were eight women. we chatted at the start. we went off into the woods to pee together. there was a lot of nice comraderie. and as we rolled off the line, slowly, still chatting; i thought, this is fun. we just rode in a nice little bunch, and the lovely chatty went on for a while.

and then. woah! wtf? holy shit! what is happening? jesus. they went up that hill like someone shot them all out of a cannon. who started that? okokokokok. i'm off, but i can. get. back. on. ok. i am back on. phew. and then, we are back to chatty. and then it happens again, a huge surge ahead. why always on a hill, people? ok. i can do this. i can get back on. sheee-it. they got way ahead. but a fellow teammate fell off too. (hehe, i have teammates now, how cool is that?). i told her to get on my wheel, and then holy shit - i bridged the gap and brought us back to the group who the hell am i? cannot believe i did that. and now the pace is fast. but i am still here. and holy shit, i look at my speedy calculator thingy, and i am doing 34mph. and this would be my max speed for the day. my next lap in this very same stretch would be 21mph. soon after basking in the 34mph glory, there was a hill, and it was on this hill that i got shelled off the back, never again to make it back to the group - although i tried my damndest & perfected the art of hyperventilating in my attempt to catch them.

and now, i was on my own. even though i was alone & there was zero chance of catching the group, i never let up. i knew there was still one person behind me. (although much too far behind to try to work together and make it easier) so i hauled ass, by myself. someone told me later that i essentially did an 18 mile time trial once i fell off. (i didn't even know what a time trial was. now i do. its like a mile repeat but much much much longer and harder). it was windy (as all hell) at times, it was raining at times, and it was hilly almost all the time. i wondered if crying was acceptable, cause i really wanted to. i knew quitting wasn't an option, even thought i wanted to. puking, though - that was a totally viable option.

it was fast, my legs were burning. i was confused about how much longer i had to go - oxygen deprivation will do that to you. i didn't clear my computer from yesterdays' easy spin and was trying to do the math and figure out how much longer i had. and for a blissful, blissful moment, i thought i was on my last lap & the finish was about 5 miles ahead. as i came up to a corner marshall i yelled out to him and asked if we were done at the church, or if there was one more lap. he says, "ma'am, i don't know what you're doing out here". dude, you and me both. i have no friggin' idea what i am doing out here. all i know is - it sucks. but then i am thinking: he called me ma'am. dude. ma'ams don't race bikes. i am trying so hard to be a badass mofo bike racer girl here. do not call me ma'am. i digress. i come up to the church, and because i can't see the team up ahead, there is the sinking feeling that i am nowhere near done - i see a number one being held up and i hear that bell (signaling the last lap) and i just want someone to shoot me. one. more. lap.

it is on this lap that i learn you can go into a pretty wiggy trance if you look down at the road right smack in front of your wheel and watch as the road whizzes underneath. don't do this. it's just not good for the focus factor. so. i'm riding. i'm riding. as shit ass fast as i can. and now i am back on that flat and i want to try and get it back up to the previous glory of 34mph but my legs had other ideas. 21 was going to be good for them. all of a sudden, a pace car whizzes by. uh-oh. fasten your seatbelt zanne, prepare to get lapped by the big boys. it is just as they pass me that i am at a particularly low moment. and low = slow. this would now be my slowest speed for the day. but i know where i am, and i know there is still someone behind me. i don't have that much further to go. and if my math was correct in my oxygen deprived state, i only had 3 more miles. (my math was not correct - thank god i didn't know that then). i started my marathon mantras. and i picked it up. and as i chanted only two more miles (it was way more), i couldn't help but compare the effort to running a marathon. since that's basically all i know. here's the thing: in a marathon, you pretty much find your happy pace, or whatever damn pace will get you to boston; and you stay there. in a bike race, there's a happy pace, and then - everyone around you starts to do a goddamn mile repeat, no - a 400; up a hill and you have to go do it too, or you are hosed. if i was breathing as hard as i was today in a marathon, i think i'd be dead by mile 5. its a lot of happy pace, rideshitfast, happy pace, rideshitfast. its confusing. and hard to do when hyperventilating.

anyhow. my mantra as i rode towards the finish was 'finish strong, finish strong'. it just about killed me to finish strong. my legs were screaming at me, my back hated me. but i saw my whole brand new team up ahead and everyone was yelling, and everything hurt so much and i am sure there were boogers flying out of my nose as i crossed the finish. but it was so awesome. the first thing my husband said to me was that i was not smiling when i crossed the line. he said "you raced your bike". yes i did. i did not ride it for 32 miles. i raced it.

Apr 18, 2008

the perfect diversion

if things had gone a little differently on february 10th, i would likely be sitting on a plane bound for boston right now with my husband and our best friends. but, i am not on a plane. i am here. at my desk. blogging. i thought i would be crushed on this day, knowing that i am not headed to boston, but truth be told - i'd rather stick hot pokers in my eye that have to run 26.2 miles on monday. even if it is boston.

there was a time not so very long ago, when i thought that if i wasn't running - all. the. time. and racking up the miles, that i might shrivel up and die. i promise you, i thought this. the mere thought of not running, or cutting back on my running; either voluntarily or being forced by injury - made me insane and sent me into an ugly downward spiral. i didn't know what to do with myself if i couldn't run. but soon after birmingham, in my heart of hearts i knew i needed a break - a bigger break than i was willing to take, or cared to admit. frankly, i think it just scared the shit of me that i felt totally burned out.

but then, the perfect diversion to the burn out came along in the form of my monday night skirt rides. we were being coached by a pro rider on how to ride, how to race, what to do. i learned more in one month of riding with these girls than i have in an entire year of riding. and it was these rides and the support and encouragment of the girls i met on them that were the catalyst to try out a race last weekend. and last weekends' race was the catalyst to sign up for two more this weekend. it all seemed to fall together, as if it was all meant to happen. i am finally, finally just having fun. there are no comparisons. no times on any clock from last year. no pr's to beat or make. no number or pace needed to qualify. there is no anxiety. it's all new. and its' fun. i feel like i can breathe now and i am loving the refreshing change it all offers.

the best part about the i-am-not-in-boston race diversions? they don't feel like diversions. the other best part? racing with my new team. yeah, you read that right. runner girl finds herself the newest member of the local cycling team. never in a million years did i think i'd ever ride my bike in a race, much less be on a team. but then again, there was a time when i never thought i'd run a marathon, much less three of them.

you gotta start somewhere.

Apr 15, 2008

ten years

today marks our ten year anniversary in louisville. i will never forget the day i said a tearful goodbye to my mother on the tarmac of white plains airport in westchester, new york and got on a little puddle jumper of an airplane headed for louisville, kentucky. as i sat down with our almost two year old son in my lap, i thought to myself "what the hell am i doing?"

i am a yankee girl, a born and bred new englander at heart. i was born in new york city and raised in connecticut. i spent my winters skiing in the catskills of upstate new york, and my summers by the sea off the coast of new hampshire. i went to school in boston, and after a brief stint in los angeles, i got married & lived in maine for five years. my husband is a massachusetts, boston- suburb boy through & through. we are total yankees.

now, there came a point in time after our son was born that we started to think about leaving maine. we had gotten about as far as we could in the company that we worked for, add the fact that the company was on shaky ground and jobs in maine at the time in my husbands' field were just not a dime a dozen. it was time to move on. and for a girl who thrives on change, i couldn't wait to start a new chapter. we were considering washington, dc and northern california. but the other day i will never forget was the one in which my husband said to me: "what do you think about moving to kentucky?" and while i can't recall my exact response, it was something along the lines of: "are you out of your fucking mind? over my dead body". that wasn't where i wanted the next chapter to begin. i had thought i would be in a way cooler book.

you see. i had a lot of preconceived notions about the south. i had a lot of preconcieved notions about a lot of things, but i'm better now. in addition to the brief stint in los angeles, i spent time in other places as well, northern california and sun valley idaho; and i could usually see myself living there. one of my brief stints was a year at a southern college. and it was fun, but after i left and transferred to a big school in boston, i never saw myself living in the south. (never say never people). in case you are new to the blog, or even if you have been reading forever and somehow missed it - i am high strung. i drove my college roomate crazy - i talked too fast, walked too fast, i did everything too fast. and she, to me - did everything at a snails' pace. the relaxed, friendly southern way of life and me did not jive well together. and frankly, it drove me absoultely crazy. when we moved here, i was driven to complete distraction by the slowness of the guy at the deli counter at the supermarket, and the chatty, chatty! woman who was checking out my groceries. um. is she talking to me? asking me about what i am buying? wtf? i would come home from the market ranting and raving to my husband about all manner of things: the slow-motion deli guys, the audacity of strange people who just chatted with you. out of the clear blue sky. like they knew you.

where i was from, the deli guys had your meat sliced in two seconds flat. and my god - the checkout woman never spoke to you. she just checked out your groceries. with swift efficiency. where i am from, and having been raised by a very new yorker father; you don't look people in the eye on the street. you don't stop and chat with random strangers. it takes years and years and years to make real friends, to build up real trust. we are new englanders. we are hardy. we are not chatty with strangers. we have walls. mine especially were way high and thick. it takes a long time to get past them.

when we moved here, and it was a head-spinning culture shock of a move - i spent the first two years asking my husband "when are we leaving?". i was hoping that maybe it was just a short stint and we could pack up again and start a new chapter somewhere else. but then we'd go back east to visit family. and there was so much traffic, and so many people, and everything was so expensive; and everything was just. so. much. i started to notice that i was chatting with random people. in a shop. on the street. and now i was being looked at like i was some kind of freak. i had the audacity to speak to them. out of the clear blue sky. like i knew them. my head stopped spinning at the culture shock or maybe the culture shock reversed itself - there came a day that i wondered why i wanted to come back east so much. and after that trip, when our plane landed back in louisville, i knew i was home. and that day was two years in the making and eight years ago.

it's spring in kentucky. it's derby season. i can smell the honeysuckle when i'm out running. the magnolia trees are blooming and leaving big beautiful purple and white petals everywhere. i'm having one of my "i love kentucky days". serendipitously on this ten year anniversary, the rain and cold have cleared, the sun is shining and the grass is greener than green.

there's something about ten years in one place that seals the deal. ten years is a long time. its long enough to plant a seed, and see the roots grow. its long enough to make lifelong friends, to make a life. a life you never want to leave. i may even listen to a little bluegrass to commemorate the occasion. bluegrass with a side of grits.

Apr 12, 2008

fun, hard, crazy, sick

i had three goals going into my first-ever bike race. #1 start. #2 don't crash. #2.5 don't be the tool can that crashes out anyone else. #3 finish.

mission accomplished!! and runner girl is on cloud nine. who knew runner girl could get on cloud nine from a bike race? i sure didn't! but its true people. it can happen! i went into this thing with a totally open mind and arrived at the start line amazingly calm. sure, i joked about getting a good picture so i could always remember what i looked like before the road rash made mincemeat of my face and i had visions of blogging my race report from the hospital. in traction. all that said, i didn't need my heartrate monitor on to know i was fine. there was no jacked up sky high heart rate even as all 14 of us rolled off the start in a very tight pack. the pack stayed crazy tight for a while, and i watched as wheels wiggled and got too close to each other, i heard some brakes, everyone was just trying to get into a little spot. it all had the prime makings for a crash (in my head). but it was moving pretty slowly, there was no crash, i was not all jacked up and i was thrilled that i was right up towards the front.

my husband races bikes and i love to hear the minutae of his races. i never knew that i would one day recall his race report minutae while actually riding. in a race. he would tell me about the accordian effect that happens in a peloton. the group is together, then strings all out, then comes back together again. i don't know exactly how many riders equal a peloton, so i don't know if the fourteen of us women were one, but that accordian thing? totally happens. just like he said. i was in it. and its' fun.

the race was a women open race. there was a national champion in the race, a pro mountain bike racer (and head skirt ride chick), there were category 3 and 4 racers from local teams and there was a handful (4) of women who were unafilliated with any team and for whom this was their first ever race. i was in that group of four. there was a prize for us. it was announced at the start that whoever among the first time racers won, their next two race fees would be paid. now there was a weensy new little goal in the back of my head. provided i didn't crash first.

the race was a 3.1 mile circuit race - 3 +1 laps. i hung on with the main pack for almost the entire first lap. my downfall was jacking around with my gearing going into the last & biggest hill. i could never catch up after that. but neither could a fellow skirt rider who was also a first time racer. we rode on our own for a while, hauling ass and sucking wind. and as we came up on the start line i heard my husband yell as we passed "work together!" right! work together. so i told her the same thing my that my husband says to me on every single ride: "you work 30% less in the draft". i told her we needed to trade pulls and help each other though it. and so that's what we did for the rest of the race. traded pulls all the way around. we reminded each other to take deeper breaths, take a sip of water and get in the big ring. we told each other to stop pulling when we could tell it was getting tough, we told each other to hang on when we were pulling. and we dropped a whole bunch of f-bombs on the hills.

the key to happiness on a tough ride, or in a race as the case was - might be working together; but i know there is a point at which you are on your own -when its a race to the finish - every man for himself. seeing as there was only two of us for a majority of the race and we were "teammates" or "skirtmates" as it were; it was just going to behoove us to work together for most of the race. we had a better shot at getting to the finish semi-together than dying of exhaustion alone. on a hill. but. there was that prize of getting my next race fee paid. so, as we came up to the last hill - once we got to the crest, i was planning to let her know that its a race now, we're on our own - but she was struggling long before the crest of the hill. and at the same time that i kept checking back and yelling encouragement, i felt good and kept pulling away. i yelled back and inquired if she was ok, she said yes and to go ahead. sweet. i so have this. and i crest the hill & put it in the big ring and haul ass. the finish is just right up there. and then. she catches up to me! (note to self: work on the decents!) and now its an all out sprint to get our race fee paid. and i mean all out sprint. i looked at our wheels as they crossed the line and hoped they had a camera, cause i could not believe how close it was.

my next race fee will be paid for - by me. i didn't win the sprint. but i could not stop laughing as i crossed the finish line. -maybe if i wasn't laughing, i would have won the sprint. but i don't care. it was an absolute blast. the biggest rush i have felt in a long time. i can't figure out how i was more relaxed in a bike race than i usually am on regular rides with friends. my arms weren't tense. my back didn't get all tight, and there was no white knuckle gripping of the handlebars. i swear, it was bizarro-world. i loved hearing all our shoes click in to the pedals as we rolled off the start, i loved hearing the whir of the wheels as we all went down the hills in a pack (thank god for that cornering clinic). i loved hearing the bell that signaled we only had one more lap to go. i loved it all so much i am quite sure that i didn't work nearly hard enough. i loved the burning feeling in my legs and the little bit of dizzy as i got off my bike. i've been mulling it all over - i learned a whole bunch of great stuff. as i wobbled over to where my husband and all his teammates were waiting to roll up to their start, someone asked me how it was - i summed it up for him: "fun, hard, crazy, sick". here's the best part - all this stuff i just learned today? i don't have to wait four months till my next race to apply it all. i only have to wait seven days. i'm doing another race next weekend.

woo hoo!

Apr 10, 2008

thirty minutes

its just 30 minutes. thats what i kept telling myself as i stared at the confirmation button on wednesday night. i can do anything for 30 minutes.

let me backtrack a bit: i am not running the half marathon, the very same race i've been on the fence about running. i had a really, really good pr there last year. i didn't think i was grown up enough to accept the fact that this year was not going to be nearly as good. while i am a little bit sad that i won't get to feel the satisfaction of pinning on the seeded number i qualified for last year, i finally came to terms with the fact that i just had absolutley no desire to run the mini marathon in two weeks. it was a combination of the fact that i wasn't ready. and having that seeded number meant i could line up in the front, meaning there was a really good chance i'd get run over. i didn't want to run 13.1 miles. and oh yeah - i wasn't ready.

i realized i had about nine weeks to have fun before any 'official' training started for marathon number four. deciding not to run the mini was totally freeing. it was part of my 'just have fun plan' - which is really no plan at all, but i didn't see running 13.1 miles right now as fun. as soon as the decision was made, a mental weight had been lifted and i went out and had the best run i've had since the birmingham marathon. but marathon number four is not the race that had me at near-maximum heart rate as i finally hit the "confirm registration" button.

this is.

runner girl zanne signed up for a bike race. not that i am really ready for this either. i'm just out to have fun, shake things up a bit for myself and try something totally new. a thirty minute circuit race on the same challenging, hilly 3.1 mile loop that comprises miles three through six in the mini-marathon. the monday night skirt rides have been training workouts geared towards eventually trying out a race. we've been doing hill workouts, intervals, mock crits and learning how to corner. i went out again on wednesday for another training ride during which i got my ass kicked and remembered what it felt like to really hurt, and to push past it. its' been a long time since i've been there and it felt great - and as we rode the course at race pace, i thought: i can do this.

whether or not i can actually do it remains to be seen. what i do know is that i will roll up to the start. there's still a good chance i'll get run over. there's a good chance i'll throw up, or - my biggest fear: skid out on a turn and finally see what road rash is like. i'm not kidding when i say i have googled "what to do in a bike crash" (tuck!). there's a very good chance i will come in dead last. but isn't there a saying: 'dead last is better than did not start'? and its just thirty minutes, i can do anything for thirty minutes. right?

still. 30 minutes on a bike pales in comparison to announcing: hey! i signed up for iditarod or western states or american idol - those were way more exciting suggestions.

Apr 9, 2008

and now for something completely different

i've been mulling it over since monday night.
i had until midnight tonight to decide.
i couldn't sit on this fence for very long.
i kept checking the website. obsessively.
i filled out the registration form. then logged off.
then filled it out again. then i logged off again.
and then -
i logged on
filled out the form
entered my credit card number
and proceeded to stare at the "confirm order" button.
for a long time.
a really long time.
and then -
i just hit it.
confirmed. registered.
holy shit.
not sure what i have gotten myself into.
i don't know who i think i am.
really. not sure.
i might throw up
both at the fact that i actually registered -
and it could be a really viable option on race day. the throwing up.
it could be temporary insanity.
or it could just be that runner girl shakes things up a bit.
and tries something completely different.

Apr 8, 2008

in a daydream

i don't know how fast or not fast i was
or how slow or not slow i was
it doesn't matter -
i was happy
and running
and it was good.

*lyrics from 'in a day dream' by the
freddie jones band - song #3 on
zanne's run playlist in running +
music sidebar. click play. rock out.
dream of running.

Apr 6, 2008

in my next life

i want to be a surfer girl. yeah, yeah. i know its a running blog. but this post has absolutely nothing to do with running. as shocking as it is, i do think about other things. but mostly, i just feel compelled to write. i have tons of stuff other than running that i'd love to write about. in fact, there's a whole novel swimming around in my head & i'd need a bunch of other blogs to get all my thoughts out. this place is just for the running thing. but because its my blog, i can occasionally ramble on about something else.

so, that said, in my next life i want to be a surfer girl. i say this to my husband who says "why can't you be one in this life?" something about living in a landlocked state that makes that one difficult. i want to live in a shack on the beach and surf every day. surfy little kids, surfy little husband. surfy little life. same husband and kids i have now. just surfier. basically, gabby reese & laird hamilton are living my next life.

the surfy love started a long time ago. when i was 15 to be exact. growing up, i spent my summers on the coast of new hampshire – new hampshire has about seventeen miles of coastline, with three miles of sandy beach. we had a house on one of those stretches of sandy beach. one might think that there can’t be a very big surf culture that revolves around the chilly atlantic off new hampshire, but one would be wrong. my sister and friends and i loved it when the lifeguards left the beach at 5pm. because 5pm meant the surfers could come out and hit the waves without fear of hitting any of the seaside waders. we’d sit on the beach and watch as they walked down to the water, surfboards overhead, a leash around their ankle - they'd wade in, hop a few waves, put the surfboard down, jump on & paddle out; bobbing up and down with the waves, waiting for the occasional ‘big one’ – big by new hampshire standards at least. they could get really big, the waves were always biggest before or after a storm. on those days, we could spend the entire day boogie boarding, stopping only for the ice cream man before we headed back out again. we loved the debate as we looked out to sea over which wave was going to be the best & biggest one to take in. i remember one day being on top of a wave so high, thinking – surely i could see the white mountains from the top of that wave, or at the very least – the little shop across the street. we shared copies of surfing magazines, tearing out pictures of our favorites and made collages covered with pictures of surfboards, big waves, laird hamilton and kelly slater. in college, i took a rocks for jocks class (not that I was a jock – far from it; but it was my savior from a math class) – i forget what the class was called, but our textbook was “WAVES & BEACHES”. perfect. right up my alley. i still have it, all highlighted and dogeared. while i was always content to observe surfers, and remain on my boogie board; i never really had a desire to surf until a few years ago when i took my first lesson, and then my second one just this past summer. and now, for the past few years, i’ve signed up through one of my favorite catalogs to win a surf safari. i haven’t won yet. but i just registered again. a girl can dream, can’t she?

there's been a bit of a resurgence of surfy love for me lately - mostly thanks to some groovin' new (to me) surf tunes that i have discovered and cannot stop listening to. can't stop. my surf groove playlist is getting exceedingly long - artists like this guy & this guy and the soundtracks to movies i’ve just learned about. thought i’d share some with you so you can get your surfy groove on too. what do you want to be in your next life?

Apr 3, 2008

you are here


an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.

my itb and knee are getting along fine now. everyone is happy. for over two weeks now i can finally make it past four miles without pain. its all i’ve wanted since birmingham. i’m running, the miles are slowly increasing but i want more. specifically, i want my pace back. i feel like every last bit of fitness has oozed out and i'm not sure how to get it back. do i just keep running and my pace will find me? or do i have to go out and chase it down? is it in hill repeats? intervals? me and my pace reunited on a three miler this week. she was tough as hell to chase down, but i got her. it was so good to get together again, but she didn’t really want to hang around - right now, i think we can only get along for three miles. as happy as i was to have her back, i was fine to see her go - she can be so exhausting.

i’m on the fence about everything.

part of me is fine with the fact that pace has apparently taken a vacation. and part of me really misses it. part of me wants to start officially training for something and start jacking up the miles - i want to cross some squares off of a schedule. and then again i don’t. part of me wants to click the registration button for the half marathon but not really. i’ve got a growing list of races i’d like to do. the list just grows. i haven’t committed to anything. i keep thinking ‘we’ll wait & see’. i don’t know what i am waiting to see. but there it is. maybe i’m just waiting for pace to come back & stay for a while.

i'm in limbo. i think i need to hang out here for a little bit longer. i sort of like it here. but not really. maybe i’ll mull it all over on my slow run tomorrow. or maybe i'll try and chase down pace again - see if i can catch her.

Apr 1, 2008

skillz and drillz

in my quest to become better friends with my bike, we've been getting together more often. three times a week to be exact. me and the bike have been going out with my husband on sunday 'skillz & drillz' rides. drills that include: riding freakishly close to each other. freakishly, handlebars within 2 inches of each other close. and ohmygod touching while you ride. next week, we have to lean shoulder to shoulder. while riding. on the street. note to self for next week: put valium in water bottle. i worry a little bit that next week is the week i find out what road rash feels like. we work on managing momentum, and how momentum is your friend. we work on looking where you want to go. if you look at where you are afraid to go - like that big hole - that's where you'll go. and i gotta say, looking where you want to go is amazingly effective. i am loving all this work on the bike with specific things to do. when i'm not riding well, and i'm all tense (the white knuckles and stiff-as-a-board-arms could be a dead give-away, i don't know) my husband asks me what i am thinking about or what i am looking at. my stellar response is usually something along the lines of: "i don't know" or "nothing". we joked later during our post ride chat that its like i just need someone to put a thought in my head. a smart bike thought. tell me what to do. tell me what to think about, what to look at & i'll do it. bend and relax my arms? ok. stop half wheeling? ok. tell me what that means & i'll stop. what gear is best for right now? just tell me & i'll do it and then i'll remember it for the next time. sure, there's a time and place for figuring things out on your own, but personally, i don't think a paceline with a bunch of people is a good time for that. i want to know and be told exactly what to do so i don't wind up with asphalt embedded in my face. nor do i want to be the tool that made someone else wind up with asphalt in their face.

i've also joined a women's riding group to help with the whole need to learn more and feel more comfortable. we ride on monday nights and last nights' ride was a total blast. i came home high as a kite, and this is something i have never felt after a ride. the group was started by a local racer and while they are fun and social and offer a great opportunity to meet and chat with other women (a mix of racers and regular girls) while riding in a 20 mph conversational pace line; the skirt rides, as they are called, are not without their skillz & drillz. in the rotating two-up pace line down to the hilly park, we (the regular girls, not the racers) are reminded to stop half wheeling, to get one someone's wheel, to slow down if we are pulling away, and to pull off if we are pulling to long. its a series of little coachy tidbits. and i love coachy tidbits. love. them. once we got to the park and rode a series of hills to the top, we rode a 1/2 mile loop with some sharp turns. orders are yelled at us all the way around the turn on the best line and how to take it, and when we came through the other side, and were told we all sucked and needed to do it again, because the way we all took the turn was how crashes happen - i was thrilled. this is exactly what i signed up for. someone to tell me what to do, how to do it best and make me do it over again if i sucked the first time.

between the skillz and drillz rides with my husband and the skirt rides, i'm starting to get back a little of the bike mojo that was lost over the past six months. and by bike mojo, i simply mean that i actually like getting on my bike now. i don't resent it for 'keeping me from a run'. its not a neccesary evil to get through an injury. i'm loosening up on that white-knuckle grip - which just makes for a smoother ride all around. i think me and my bike are friends again.