Sunday, December 28, 2008

Training Camp Day 1-3

Well, camp is has been an adventure thus far. The first day, everyone was driving or flying in from all over, so those of us that got here early enough went out to an Italian restaurant. We all bonded pretty quickly. Our first meeting was good- we received schedules for camp and the season.

The second day ended up with a few extra surprises. We headed out to do the Mad Duck group was 70 degrees and very windy...ten minutes later, it was pouring rain, windy like a freaking tornado, and the temperature dropped by 20 degrees. We rode back to the hotel and decided to try again later. We did try again later, but that didn't go quite as planned either. We started out with a pretty chill double paceline, but about an hour into the ride, an SUV passed us, angrily honking, swerved in front of us and slammed on his brakes, almost taking out everyone. He did it a few more times. After Nathan and those helping us that day got him to pull over, we continued our ride, but had to come back early to talk to the cops. We didn't quite get our tempo paceline work done. Will and Philip's parents cooked us a feast that night, which was very gracious of them feeding our whole crew.

Today was really fun. The weather was more stable- starting in the 40s and ending in the 50s and the wind was much more bearable. We all rode out as a group and then split up into guys and gals. Nathan had given us an order to practice pacelines in. We started off a bit rocky as we tried to get used to each other while going tempo, but after the first interval, we were rotating super smooth. We did a few more efforts, but with leadouts, which was so much fun. I love leadouts. Later, Betty, the nutritionist from Living Well, came and talked to us all about general nutrition and eating for races. She was super helpful and if you are in need of nutrition advice, she's great and easy to talk to. We had, once again, another delicious feast, but this time it was at Doug's house. Thanks Doug!

Camp has been great so far and I'm learning lots. Everyone on the team is super cool and so is the crew that is helping us out- Paula, Andre, Chris, Doug. I'm so grateful for everyone and for the opportunity to be here. Thanks also to Main Street Bakery for providing us packed lunches everyday- they've been great post-ride! We're in town riding here tomorrow and then we're heading up to Oklahoma for three days and then back here again for another few days. More updates with photos later!

It's going to be a great year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Week in Fort Collins, Colorado

After the Dallas White Rock Marathon, Peter and I headed back to Austin for a whopping 36 hours to take finals and then head out to beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. Now this trip wasn't just a little relaxing week long excursion at all. Peter and I were to go from Fort Collins to Dallas for Christmas Day and then to Grapevine for Metro VW training camp, so we were packing for a couple trips. Basically, by the end of our little travelings, we'll have been gone for the better part of a month. We so happened to be in Fort Collins during an unusually long stretch of cold/snowy/icy weather. The warmest day was in the 30s and the rest of the time was in the single digits to the teens. We chilled (or more like froze) there for the next seven days riding trainers every day for long periods of time, checked out the scene in downtown Fort Collins, spent far too much time at REI, among other things. It was so cold that the fountain downtown had semi-frozen over.

The second to last day Peter and I went snowboarding at Eldora while my parents checked out Boulder. I hadn't been on a snowboard since I was in 6th grade so I was in deep need of a lesson. Peter had the great idea of "just doing a quick run down the bunny slope before class." Yeah. That wasn't so quick for me. I think I fell every 5 feet...and got stuck in deep snow...twice. Luckily, I got the hang out of it with direction from the instructor and enjoyed the rest of the day much, much more, minus my whiplash from falling backward headfirst. It snowed while we were there, which was neat. Peter ditched me post-lesson for the big-boy mountain while I stayed on the green runs with my newfound friends from the class. I think I'll even consider going again, maybe even for more than one day, next year. Here we are before class, wearing at least 4 layers. It was so nice to spend time with my parents after not seeing them since early September when they made the big move from Houston to Fort Collins. The town is a great fit for them for sure and they seem much happier there. I wish we could have stayed longer- the trip seemed to end as soon as it started. I got some good quality time with the folks, including my favorite Christmas tradition of decorating the tree.

While seeing my parents is the best part of visiting them, waking up to this is a definite perk:

Yup, that is my dad's cappucino, made with espresso beans he roasts out in the garage. Perfecto. I'm definitely looking forward to spending a good chunk of time there between races this summer and riding in all those mountains. I was eyeing some good routes while I was there, even though they were snow-covered this time around. Despite the poor weather and icy roads, I was not without a good spot to ride the trainer. Luckily, my parents ride and have a sweet trainer set-up in the basement, complete with a dvd player, personal fans, and personal mats to catch the sweat. They have a whole workout area down there- I have typical parents, I know. Here is where we lived for the week (at least for a lot of our waking hours): Well, we headed back on Christmas Eve, leaving at 5am Colorado time and arriving in Dallas at 9pm. Long day in the car. Today we hung out with his family. Tomorrow is finally Metro VW training camp! I'm very much looking forward to finally meeting everyone and riding together. We'll be riding together the 26th to January 4th. It's going to be a great year and this will be a great start. Updates after that! Happy last few hours of Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dallas White Rock Marathon

So last weekend I worked for Clif Bar at the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Going out of town for Clif events is always fun because Clif Bar really takes care of its employees and puts us up in a nice hotel and we get fed good food. In 3.5 days we worked a solid 40+ hours. Busy, busy, busy. Luckily, I was still able to get in training, but at the expense of sleep. The discipline will pay off later! The expo was Thursday to Saturday and we just set up our booth and sampled different Clif products.
Sunday, we handed out Clif Shots to the runners. It was pretty sweet- even some of the elite runners took some! We had some trouble with the Clif arch because the winds were so high, so here is Peter and Emily trying to shove the arch back into its home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Intervals of Death

I know, I know, two posts, but I wanted Living Well to get it's own post because it was just that impressive.

With the Clif work that starts today and goes through Sunday, my schedule is super full so I've had to switch some rides around for the week. Yesterday I ended up doing the "interval of death." This little baby is 2 hours at 75% all nestled in a 5 hour ride. Well, you see, yesterday Dallas got a wicked storm (with snow!) and the weather was about 20 degrees. Now, Austin is the coldest place I've lived and it really doesn't get 20 degrees ever, so I was dying. I rode outside for a little over an hour before I just couldn't handle it anymore and opted for a trainer in the outdoor hallway. It was still pretty cold there but there wasn't any of that wind nonsense. After completing the 2 hour interval (no easy feat for me!), I opted to finish up the ride indoors so I could defrost my feet a bit. Not only was that my first five hour training ride but that was my first almost 4 hours on the trainer! Good thing I had some good tunes :-)
Post-interval face.

It was so cold Peter's bottles froze! I've never seen this before!

Today I headed up to Grapevine so Nathan could watch me do more intervals- but these a 15 minute sort of a pretty high effort. It was super hard and a lot harder than I had done them- more like 90% of my max. Whew! But guess what? I could do it! Shannon took a funny picture of me "dead" after the ride with Natan standing victoriously over me- look for that on her blog! We also took a product-placement one where Nathan was handing me a Pickle Juice to save me from "dying." Great fun :-)

Now it's time to pack up here and head to the Marathon Expo to set up! Woo!

Living Well Dallas = AWESOME

Hey there folks! Let me say that Living Well is amazing. In the past two days, I had each of my four appointments - acupuncture, life coaching, nutrition, and massage. Let me tell you, these are some of the nicest women I've met and they really cared about my needs.

I was a little nervous going into the acupuncture because I don't like seeing needles, but Michelle was great at explaining everything that was going on and it didn't hurt at all. It was nice because after she put all the needles in my Achilles, calves, back, and neck, I got to take a nice little 30 minute nap and let those tiny needles work their magic. After, she did this thing called "cupping" on my back (I have back issues) which helps to stimulate blood flow. Michelle took these little glass jars and put them on my back, then she lit a match and held it to the top of the jar to create a tight suction and then slid them around on my back. It felt pretty weird but in a good way but now I have a huge hickey on my back from it! After the treatment I felt a lot less pain and more flexibility in my back than I have in a month. Amazing! I'm looking forward to going back for sure.

Jenny, the life coach, was great. I tend to worry and get stressed out a lot, which sometimes prevents me from going to sleep no matter how tired I am. She helped me map out all my time commitments and see where I need to let go in the future and gave me some suggestions on how to ease my mind before I go to bed. I'll also be mapping out some goals for myself in different aspects of my life. She gave me a good amount of homework to do but I think it is really going to be beneficial and I already feel less stressed now!

After meeting with Jenny, I saw Betty, the Nutritionist. We set some goals and I'm going to start eating protein with every meal and snack, which I tend to skip out on :-\ The protein will help me maintain lean muscle mass when I'm training and not lose it to hard workouts that wear it down. Most importantly, I still can eat chocolate every day :-)

Finally, I got a massage from Melody. She was super sweet and I'm pretty sure I was so relaxed I could have started drooling. My neck feels better than it has in awhile and I bet it'll feel even better tomorrow.

I'm so appreciative of these great ladies that are helping out Metro VW and keeping us athletes in tip-top condition both physically and mentally. Working with them over the next year is going to be a real treat. Thank you!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Last Weekend in Austin for Awhile

School finished up pretty well and I just have a final in Business Law on the 15th. I took a little break from my studies this weekend and opted for some fun instead (plus plenty of riding of course!). Now, at UT, business students are special enough to not have classes on Fridays so I got to start my weekend a little earlier ;-)

My friend, Tammy, just got her PhD Saturday so she had a little post-graduation party with her family and friends. Tammy's dad made this amazing vegetable and fruit platter- it was so pretty (and delicious). It was great to see some of my old teammates from San Jose there too since we never see each other.

Sunday evening, Peter, my friend Abhi, and I went to Master Pancake Theater at the Alamo Drafthouse. Abhi is moving away to D.C. in a few weeks so it was nice to see him before he jets off forever. Master Pancake Theater is one of my favorite things in Austin- they usually play a well-known movie and have these comedians interject their own lines over the top of the movie, making it about 1321x more funny. My face is usually sore by the time I leave. This time it was a Christmas showing and they played random holiday clips from movies, shows, etc. It was great. If you live in Austin or are visiting, you must go to one of these shows.

Now, I'm sitting in Dallas and will be going to Living Well tomorrow for acupuncture and some more appointments there Wednesday. I've never done acupuncture, so I'm a little nervous and excited :-) More updates post-appointments!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Last Week of Classes, Part 2

In an effort to spread out the joy of the tests, papers and projects that is the last week of school, I decided to take a break to get this thing set up. Honestly, life has been pretty routine- training, school, study, sleep. School manages (much to my dismay) to get a little more time consuming every semester.

I spent last week in Dallas for Thanksgiving with Peter's family. It was a good time and I got in some riding with Shannon and some of the Metro guys. Peter and I made some chocolate pecan tarts on Thanksgiving with our mad team-cooking skills. Perfecto!

The lake by their place was really pretty and scenic- great for an early morning run.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Week of Classes

I'll actually get this dealio set up after classes end Thursday.