Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here we go again.....

So I stalled on writing this for a few days, but here it is. I am unemployed once again. So I now have 2 months to find a job. During this time I will also keep busy with some extra time at the bike shop. So the search begins once again. This time I promise to do a better job of looking for opportunities in Austin! So enough about that, it is what it is....

So today I ran across yet another reason that Austin is better than every where else. There is a lake by my house with a 2 mile running trail around it. So I headed over there this morning for a run with Ginger. We start our way around the path and then someone stops me and says "You're not allowed to have dogs here....there are signs everywhere". I apologized and said I hadn't seen any of the signs and didn't know and she continued to give me a nasty look, so Ginger and I turned around. No way was I going to put Ginger back in the car so we headed across the street and ran through the neighborhood. Unfortunately this was a small neighborhood area so I couldn't get very far, I then noticed a park with a trail and thought we could continue the run there. But there was another sign that said "No Dogs"! What good are running trails if you can't take your dog??? And what possible reason do they have for not allowing dogs at the lake path. So stupid. Anyway, that was my general annoyance for the day. So I guess I will have to stick with my neighborhood or the forest preserve for running with Ginger.

Today has been a very lazy day of reading mostly, and soon it will be time for dinner and a movie. Tomorrow morning will be an early wake up to get to the gym for a swim and then work at the bike shop. Ooh which reminds me, I need to wash my work shirt! :)

Later Gators....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An eventful ride....

There are many reasons why I dislike riding at the forest preserve and this evening I encountered pretty much all of those reasons:
1. Morons who decide to look at things behind them instead of the path ahead of them causing them to swerve and come very near to a head on collision with me
2. Stupid kids who start walking across the path without looking if anyone is coming
3. Obnoxious men who are apparently too good to slow down and feel the need to pass people even if I am coming at them and there isn't enough space for all of us and I almost get pushed off the road
(notice a trend here???)
4. Rollerbladers who think it's ok to take up the entire path!
5. People who think it's a good idea to store their fishing coolers on the path

I could go on, but I think you get the idea....

Oh yeah, and then a bird hit me in the face while I was riding.....yeah it was that good of a ride...

This is getting ridiculous....

So I thought that things were going to go down on Monday here at work, and it did in some organizations. But my group is apparently stalling. Yesterday passed by with no word and today is going the same way. Now some of you may think that this would be a good thing, because it means I get paid longer, but here's the problem: I don't have anything to do!! They stopped giving me projects (leading me to believe that I won't be working here much longer) but they're still making me come to work. I am now hearing rumors that things won't happen until Friday or even next week. Seriously....either give me something to do or let me go home and work on the job search!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

AT&T Austin Crits!!

Saturday was such a fun day! Woke up early, went to the airport, and hopped on a plane to Austin. Luckily everything went really smoothly, so I was able to get to the airport, get my rental car and head out to 290 Cafe where I was greeted by some of the TNT riders and a plate of migas!! I had definitely been craving migas, and it never fails to disappoint. I then hung out with Jenay, who has finally come out of hiding. She went MIA for a while, but she's back now, and everyone is happy about that! I'm also really jealous of her hot new single speed. :)

We then headed downtown to watch the races! There was a quick detour to Starbucks and BettySport in order to avoid the short rain storm (don't worry it ended quickly and it's hot in Austin so the roads dried out for the races). Jenay and I were there early so we got to watch the Master's race, the men's 4/5 and some of the men's 1/2/3 before anyone else showed up. Finally all of the fun people who had been tied up in the LLS board retreat made it down though. A bunch of us had a great time standing right on one of the inside corners, if you've never done this at a crit, then you don't understand. It is one of the most exciting and scary experiences ever, to see them come so close, and feel the wind that the pack creates. It's amazing, and one of my favorite ways to experience bike racing! The main events (the pro races) proved to be very exciting races. The women hammered it the entire time, they are all so strong and they amaze me. Watching them crash, slide across the road, and then hop back on the bike missing large patches of skin, is incredible. I would be sitting on the side of the road crying.... I don't think I'm hard core enough for crits, they scare the crap out of me.

I of course didn't have my camera, but thanks to I can provide you with a look into the men's race. Lots of big teams with big names were out there. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Rock Racing who made their presence felt by parking their giant buses and Escalades all over downtown. I was expecting to see the familiar black and lime green kits, instead we got this:
Ok first off, yes that is Tyler Hamilton and yes he was there. But seriously, white kits? That's not what any of us were expecting. Apparently they had these made specifically for the Austin race because they put Texas states on the shoulders and around the arms and legs it says "Austin Rocks" (Insert serious groan here....) They (mainly the announcers) used that phrase way too much throughout the day. Yes I understand that we were in Austin, and yes the race was sponsored by Rock Racing, but reducing yourselves to "Austin Rocks"??? That's just ridiculous.

Ok, back to the racing. The men's pro race is completely different than all of the other races because of the ridiculously high speeds. All of the other crits there would be a large pack and occasionally 1 or a few riders off the front. In the pro race they string out on the course, instead of watching a pack of riders pass you, you watch a long line of riders fly by you. Pretty exciting! The most amazing was the 1 Slipstream-Chipotle (Garmin-Chipotle) rider there by himself. He would be seen hanging out at the back and then he would work his way to the front for a few laps and then be seen at the back again a few laps later. Must be horrible that he could move around in rankings so easily. None of the attacks stuck throughout the race, so we all knew it was going to be an exciting finish. With 2 laps to go the front of the group looked like this:
Notice the 5 Toyota-United Riders controlling the pace?? We all thought that they had the race in the bag when we saw the same thing come around for the last lap. But then when they came in for the finish, this happened:
Whoa! Where did a Colavita rider come from?? I'm sure that's what all the Toyota boys were thinking as well! Someone definitely didn't do a good job of blocking. Oops! But it made for a very exciting finish for all of us spectators.

All in all, it was a great Austin day! (Of course) One minor letdown was that a certain someone apparently decided to not meet up with me, but oh well. He missed out, because I was looking good in my new SkirtSports blue Gym Girl! :)

Sunday wasn't quite as much fun since I started it out at 4:30am to get to the airport and catch a plane back to Chicago so I could make it into work at the bike shop. But it was worth it! Hooray for bike racing in Austin! So who's coming out July 27th to watch the crits here in Chicago with me??

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's fun, in an incredibly painful sort of way...

That right there is how I described the Thursday interval rides to someone yesterday. Yes they are fun, but they are also incredibly painful. Yesterday's ride was probably the most painful of all too. I was finally able to lift again on Wednesday so I did, and my legs were not happy about that yesterday. My quads and hamstrings were aching as we rolled out of the parking lot. "Oh well, keep pushing, it will get better" I told myself. I rolled out with 2 of the guys I work at the shop with and listened to Eric tell us all how "out of shape" he is. Keep in mind that this guy is about 6'4" and definitely built like a bike racer (aka he's really skinny). As soon as we started the first interval Mr. "I'm out of shape" Eric took off with the fast group, while I did everything I could to not get passed by absolutely everyone. Eventually I assumed my spot at the back of the group and stayed there. Like I said to the boys, "Someone has to be at the back!" Unfortunately after about the 3rd interval, I felt a cramp creeping into my left calf, I backed off a little to try to avoid it, and hoped that it would work. Apparently running around the airport all day and not finding time to drink much water isn't the best way to prepare for the interval rides. Unfortunately that sneaking feeling of almost cramping stuck with me for the rest of the night. It never actually turned into a cramp, just constantly felt like I was almost cramping. Which I think is even more annoying than the real thing. By the end of the night, we did 5 double intervals (evil boys!!) and I rode 90 minutes and covered about 28 miles. (Yes, we were going fast!)

Tomorrow I am heading out to Austin to watch the pros race the AT&T Austin Crits, it will be a very quick trip (less than 24 hours) but I can't miss seeing all of those boys race by! I heart very fast boys on bikes. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yes, it is time for something new...

I changed up the blog title a little. Decided I need a new title, the new one represents that I still couldn't think of something witty to put there, but also, represents things in life right now. It definitely is time for something new, and I'm working on making that happen. Plus, the new picture is really pretty. I love Tahoe. :)

Back into it...

I'm finally starting to get back into the swing of things. For the last few weeks I just felt like my schedules have been off, and especially last week with the foot issue, I just didn't get the work-outs in that I would have liked. This week is going very well so far. Monday morning I did another swim, it's still hard, and I could still use some proper technique pointers from my Triathlon friends, but I'll get there. Yesterday I headed out for a ride after work, 90 minutes and 25 miles. The good news is that I can hop on my bike in my driveway and do the ride form my house, the bad news is that it involves 2 loops of the forest preserve which can be slightly frustrating. I must have said "on your left" about 1,000 times. Oh yeah, and rollerbladers take up way too much space on the path! This morning I woke up, put on my Gym Girl skirt and headed to the gym. I am a true believer in the idea that wearing a skirt can completely change your attitude about the work-out. I felt very cute, but also felt strong showing all the guys in the gym that girls in skirts can definitely kick butt! :) Yes, the SkirtSports skirts are becoming a new staple in my wardrobe! So If you ever needs gift ideas for me, just check out their website! :)

This evening I may throw in a little yoga action to get everything nice and stretched out. Tomorrow morning is another swim....but this time with music!! The waterproof headphones (to go with the waterproof ipod case I bought) are currently out for delivery on their way to my house (thank you UPS tracking)! And tomorrow evening is interval rides with the boys. It will be nice to tackle these on my own bike again for a change.

Oh yeah, and the foot is finally starting to feel better! Hooray! Although I'm still holding off on running for a little while longer. I'm going to take my shoes up to the local tri store this week so Mark (the shoe expert!!) can check them out to make sure they are still good. I really hope I don't need another pair of shoes!

Working out in the morning makes me feel great for a few hours, but now the mid-morning sleepiness is starting to set in. I would really like to be a professional athlete so all I would have to do is train, and then I could nap when I get sleepy....yeah that sounds good.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Convert to Skirt!!

Such a good day yesterday!! I volunteered at the SkirtSports Skirt Chaser race. It's such a great concept for a race. Send the women out, and then 3 minutes later send the guys out to "chase the skirts". Being a volunteer was great! As soon as I arrived I got set up with a Gym Girl skirt, a very cute pink race t-shirt, and a white visor. For the beginning of the day I helped out with the registration where I handed out the skirts, shirts and visors to all of the runners. We then helped cheer the runners out, and then it was on to my next job, cutting brownies! And these weren't just brownies, they were absolutely delicious Eli's brownies with peppermint topping! Sooo good! But I was good and only ate a half of was already broken! :) We then hung out a little, listened to the band, and watched the fashion show. So many cute Skirt products in the spring line!! Eventually the runners started clearing out of the block party so it was time for clean-up duty. About 5 minutes after we started cleaning up, it started raining. Unfortunately it meant we all got a little wet, but it also meant that everyone helped and we got everything cleaned up in record time! About this time is when I realized I was the only volunteer left! (There were only about 5 to start with) The girls of Skirt all noticed this as well, and were very appreciative. So they hooked me up with more free stuff! :) I got a green Roller Girl skirt with a matching white and green Footloose Tank. So cute!

During the day I also realized that all of the girls from Skirt were amazing women and tons of fun! And it occurred to me...I want to work with them! So I definitely took the opportunity to talk with all of them and let them know that I was interested. I even talked with Nicole DeBoom (she started the company!) about it! :) Yea! Oh and did I mention that the company is based in Boulder, CO?!?!?!? :)

At the end of the day, all of us headed across the street to Peggy Kinane's (in our very cute Skirt outfits of course!) for some dinner. We then ended up dancing around to the great band that was playing. There were some of the runners there still wearing their race numbers so we cheered (very loudly) for all of them. It was a great night, with a bunch of really great girls. I am currently planning on trying to get out to Salt Lake City to hang with them at the next race in August!

Oh and if you haven't already, you need to try a SkirtSports skirt! It is definitely the most comfortable thing I have ever worn!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New adventures in swimming...

So I finally went and had my foot checked out yesterday. The good news is that there are no broken bones. The bad news is that there is some soft tissue damage. So that means I can walk without crutches but it also means no extra stress on the foot for at least a few more days. So that means no biking or running this weekend. I couldn't stand the idea of sitting around not doing anything this weekend, so I decided to try a new adventure. I stopped by the local tri store and picked up goggles and a new suit and then headed to the gym to try out swimming. I have to admit, I was even a little nervous going into it. Once I started out I realized something....

Swimming is hard!!

I made it through 30 minutes of laps. Basically I swam until my arms felt like spaghetti! I definitely have a lot to learn about this sport!! And I definitely need to get one of the ipod cases for would make the whole experience a little more enjoyable. So we'll see how long this new adventure lasts.

This afternoon I'm volunteering at the Skirt Chaser race! The best part is that they are giving me a whole SkirtSports outfit for volunteering for 4 hours! Yea! :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

I still think running is stupid....

So the foot is still all jacked up sadly. I had probably the most painful walk of my life into work this morning. I haven't even though about getting up from my chair since I got here. So it's probably a safe bet that I won't be attending the Horribly Hilly Hundred ride tomorrow. Now does this make me smart to take care of myself, or does it make me a wuss who can't deal with a little pain? Thoughts?

I think I know the answer already but I was really looking forward to pushing myself on that ride tomorrow so I'm just looking for some validation that I'm making the right decision.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stupid running....

So after one day of thinking I might like running (Monday), I am now back to my original opinion on it. (It sucks) I went for a run this morning before work, and it did not start well. When I started out my legs felt terrible, but I figured if I could maybe get them warmed up it would be better. Well that idea did work out kind of, but I ended up having to start walking at about mile 1.5. The rest of the experience went ok, but later in the day is when I realized the problem. There is something messed up with my foot. It really hurts! This is not looking good for my 70 mile "horribly hilly" ride on Saturday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will magically feel better tomorrow. Definitely no more running this week!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's started...

So I spent some time tonight working on the job search..... Resumes have currently been sent to Nike and Trek. Next up is Cannondale Sports Group and whatever other interesting positions I come across. I'm keeping my fingers should too....I could probably use some extra luck.

I may be tired for the run tomorrow morning....but I'm doing it.

2 Miles!!

Ok, so for most of you that are reading this, you're probably thinking that the only way 2 miles could be an exciting achievement is if I managed to:
1) hop on one foot the whole way
2) walk that far on my hands
3) "crab walk" it
4) swim it

Well, the real news is that I ran it. Now I know most of you are thinking "what's the big deal? I did that as a warm-up before my real workout this morning" Well, I'm not a runner, and I never have been, so to me it's exciting! I opted to take Ginger out for a run last night instead of going to the gym. Now normally I run continuously for anywhere from .5 - 1 mile before I start walking. But last night I kept going! And I kept on going for 2 miles! :) Yea! After that I started walking and threw in some more 2-3 block spurts of running. All in all I think I came in at about 3.5 miles. I'm going to try to keep running as part of my normal routine. Who knows....maybe I am getting close to jumping on the "crazy train" and training for a triathlon???

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend update....

Well the crappy weather has once again moved into Illinois. Luckily we were able to get a few very nicely timed breaks in it though which made the events of the weekend more enjoyable.

Friday night I headed out with Chrissy (aka pregnant lady) to get some dinner and then see Sex and the City! Overall the movie was good. There were a few scenes that I probably could have done without though, if you've seen the movie then you will know which ones I'm talking about. It was a pretty enjoyable evening and I got to see the progress on Chrissy's "baby belly".

Saturday I decided to sleep in and take my time getting ready for my ride. So by the time I headed out it was around 10:30. Which meant it was humid out. The other factor against me was that it was windy. So my planned 45-50 mile ride turned into a 35 mile ride. Yes I admit it, I wimped out a little. Mainly because I ran out of water though (the route I did didn't have anywhere to get a refill), and I figured if I had to go to my car to refill my bottles anyway I may as well just go home. Don't worry though, I will be purchasing a Profile Aquarack from the shop this week so I can set out on solo rides with 4 bottles instead of 2. No more excuses!

That evening I headed out to the city to meet up with the family (including my aunt and uncle and cousins who were in town for the weekend) for some dinner. Unfortunately a certain member of the extended family was being cranky and was tired and didn't want to wait for an hour to get yummy Chicago deep dish pizza, so we went across the street to California Pizza Kitchen instead. Definitely not as good, but my tostada pizza was still pretty tasty. :) After getting back to the suburbs, I headed out with my sister and her friend for some beers and darts. Ended up not being a very exciting night out, but I gave it a shot.

Sunday was the big day! The day of my mom's wedding reception. Unfortunately when I woke up I looked outside to see very dark clouds, and 10 minutes later it was pouring. This was not looking good for the evening at the country club with drinks and hors d'oeuvres on the patio. Luckily by the time we headed out the door from my mom's place it was starting to get better, and by the time we pulled into the country club it was nice and sunny out. Everything went really well with the evening. I had a good time catching up with some of my mom's friends, especially the one who mentioned a very influential contact in Aspen, CO who will soon be contacted about finding a job for me. :) The food was amazing too, especially the cake! And the wine was pretty good too. :) The party lasted until about 10 when everyone decided it was time to head out. So we got everything loaded in the car, and on the way home, it started pouring again. Apparently my mom did something right recently to get the weather to cooperate for that couple of hours.

The night finished off with a series of very interesting text messages, and then I reached the point where I could no longer keep my eyes open so I fell asleep to the sound of the rain outside my bedroom window.

Had a tough time getting out of bed this morning, and it's been a very long slow day at work. Apparently the people I work with feel the need to have meetings about the lay-off situation daily. I have to say I'm getting pretty sick of talking about it.

I have a pretty unexciting evening in store for me. Trip to the gym, laundy and cleaning.....oh boy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Good riding....

So tonight it was time to join the boys for interval rides once again. I knew I needed to go hammer it since I have a lot going on in my head currently, but I didn't have a bike. Luckily Jason never rides his bike, so I took his Orbea out. It definitely felt good to just go out and ride hard and get my mind off of everything else for a while. It also felt really good when I realized I was keeping up with people, and even passing some when we did the double! On the ride back to the shop 3 of the guys were trying to convince me that I really do need to get into racing. So, I'm on the look out for my first time trial! :) I'll let you all know when it is so you can send me happy thoughts and hope that I don't get humiliated!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Time to start the search again....

So today my wonderful employer United Airlines announced that they would be downsizing salaried and management employees by about 25%. And my group could be hit even harder than that since we are not crucial to airport operations. So I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's probably time to start the job search again. So to anyone reading this, if you know of any opportunities, let me know!

Wow, what a great way to come back from Tahoe....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quick (or maybe not so quick) Tahoe recap....with pictures! :)

Tahoe was amazing! Perfect weather and a perfect ride! Carrie and I rolled through the course with ease and finished in a little over 8 hours with about 6 hours and 45 minutes of pedaling time. (yes, we wanted to push ourselves a little but we also wanted to have fun and hang out a little at the rest stops). Here is a quick recap of the weekend, with pictures.....

Friday was a travel day. I flew out with the Illinois team. Flying with assigned seats on a boring airline (American) is definitely not as fun as flying with first come first serve seating on a fun airline with fun people (Southwest). When we finally arrived in Reno, many of us were very excited about the possibility of having the bus stop at In-N-Out, but sadly our coach was in a hurry for some unknown reason and said that we couldn't. We were all very disappointed. The burrito I grabbed at the airport was definitely not a good substitute for a cheeseburger protein style and fries. :( After bike pick-up Friday evening I went to Tahoe Pizza with the Texas team and good times (and a few beers) were had by all! :)

Saturday I rolled out for a short ride (with the Texas team) in order to get the legs moving, make sure the bike was working after the trip, and try to get used to the altitude. That ride makes me nervous every year because the altitude is always a shock on the first few climbs! Saturday afternoon my dad arrived and he, Carrie and I set out for some exploring around the lake, including driving up Emerald Bay.
Carrie and I even tried playing in the lake a little bit, but it was super cold!!
Sunday - Ride day!! We got lucky with absolutely perfect weather! :) Temps started out in the higher 40's and slowly rose to the mid 60's throughout the day, and it was bright and sunny all day! Any of you who have been to Tahoe know that pictures and words can not convey how amazing it is, but I will try anyway. Here are some highlights!
1. I managed to not crash at mile 2 this year! Yea!
2. Emerald Bay went amazingly well - apparently riding with 40 mph winds does help with hill training! :)
3. I beat Carrie up Spooner! (Ok well that could have something to do with the fact that I left Kingsbeach about 15 minutes before she did....)
4. Having your dad at the ride is fantastic because he meets you at the finish line with a cooler full of beer! :)

There are many, many more fun pictures, but I think I'm about maxed out for this post. For those that are interested, the remaining ones will probably be posted to myspace/facebook soon.

Time to start getting excited for AMBBR '09! :)