Trek Women
February 29, 2008

What's Your Bling?

Diamondring A number of shocking ground breaking things have happened this week.  I finally got countertops and water in my kitchen.  More surprising - drumroll please - is that Jeff and I went and saw a movie - in an actual theater!  (Yes, I know to those of you without small kids at home this is not cause for shock). 

While Jeff and I were walking through the mall prior to the movie we passed a jewelry store and Jeff said, "You don't need any of that, right?"  Let me say this, Jeff and I have been married almost ten years.  There's no need for mystery and subtlety anymore.  Our time is limited, our brains are fried, and we are often operating on too little sleep.  We cut to the chase.  I laughed - hard.  Jeff said, "Well, you know, I didn't think so but it's good to just check every once in awhile."

The thought of diamonds, in any form right now, seems like a waste.  I don't know if it's being married long enough to know that there is no jinx if you don't wear the wedding band every day or if it has to do with my training.  It's probably a little of both.  If I actually kept my wedding band on when I was training and racing I would have lost my finger long ago because of lack of circulation.  Besides, upon thinking about it, I have come up with a reuqest - no diamonds for racing. I could see (mostly because these types of odd things happen to me) getting cut up by someone's errant arm in the melee that is often the swim start.

My point - yes, I'm getting to one - is that diamonds are not ALL girl's best friend.  When I dream of bling I see tri racing entries, speedy components for my bike, the latest and greatest gadgets and training gear, perhaps travel to exotic biking locations. . .

I'm not by any means saying that you can't be both - a tri/biker girl and a bling girl.  I don't begrudge any woman that (again, just please no diamonds cutting me while swimming).  So, here's what I want to know.  What's your bling?  What would you choose if offered the diamonds (and no you can't have both in this example.)

I see an Ironman race entry and the associated travel costs that go with it (Jeff doesn't know that yet - this is the subtle sneaky way to find out if my own husband reads my blog. . .).  I can't wait to hear what I've stirred up now. . .

-Jen

February 27, 2008

Holy Crotchus Numbingness!

Saddle The boredom of riding my trainer has not reached an all-time high (it's getting close, though).  But, after riding yesterday, something that had been creeping up on me, came to light. . . "Holy Crotchus Numbingness!!!"  That's my new totally scientific, technical name for how my crotch felt when I got off the trainer.  Now, I don't remember this being a problem in the fall - I think I would have noticed - so I am wondering if it is somehow related to me sitting differently when on the trainer than if I were outside.  What I can tell you is that something must be done. . . NOW.

During my visit to Trek last summer I got a lesson from the seat product guys (who are totally passionate about saddle fit) and learned intense scientific studies on how crotches fit on bike saddles have been done.  Let's just summarize by saying this:  All crotches are not alike.  I also learned that there are certain saddle adjustment preferences that people have.  Some like their saddle level, others perhaps like it a little nose down. . .

It's time to call in the experts.  I'm going to fire off some e-mails and tomorrow take a trip into the bike store to graphically describe my issues.  Now, I know that there may be others of you out there who have saddle discomfort issues and feel that a discussion at the bike store would be too uncomfortable.  But, I know the pain/discomfort I was feeling yesterday far outweighs my discomfort in drawing a crotch diagram for the bike shop guys. Clearly this has all the makings of "Hijinks ensue."  Stay tuned. . .

-Jen

PS.  I know, a lot of you out there are thinking I should just try some seat adjustment myself.  But, that idea goes straight to the image in my head I have where I touch a bolt on my bike and all the pieces of my bike just fall off.  I know, I have maintenance issues to overcome. . .

February 26, 2008

Spinning in Place

Business_woman_walking_hamster_wh_2I am getting nowhere.  I was sitting on my bike trainer last night spinning in place and lamenting the feeling I have of being a mom on a hamster wheel.  It seems like lately my world is just one big cycle of drink lots of coffee, put kids on bus, physical therapy, wash all the stupid dishes in the laundry sink so that I can proceed to, dry all the dishes that are on top of the washer so that I can proceed to, do the laundry, get kids off bus, cook dinner, do homework, ride my trainer . . . . REPEAT.

I feel like I am living the same day over and over and over again - even my kids squabbles are starting to be exactly the same each day.  (Along with my sigh and utterance of "stop touching your brother".)

I don't know if this is a feeling that only stay-at-home moms feel (maybe it's because I never leave my "office") or if everyone gets this way from time to time.   It doesn't help that my bike trainer encourages the spinning in place feeling.  What is a girl to do to break out of the rut? 

I guess I will try and mix it up today and get on the trainer earlier than the evening.  But, I don't think I can stop those daydreams where I spin enough that the bike suddenly launches itself off the trainer and through the wall leaving behind the cutout of me (kinda like in the cartoons). . .

-Jen

PS.  If you click on the picture you can actually watch the cartoon me circling the wheel  :)

February 22, 2008

Click Here for Spring

Snow_day_4_2

I have an apology to issue.  The winter snowstorm that brought snow, freezing icing rain, ice and then rain to the Northeast overnight - um, my bad.  Just last week I was confidently boasting that nope, it wasn't going to snow this winter by us.  No sledding, no snowballs, most importantly, no school snow days.  As you can see, I clearly brought it on.  I had it coming, which is exactly what Cameron was trying to tell me in this picture today.

So, while the kids were out romping in the snow (and trying to sled backwards) I decided to try and reverse my fortune and click Spring and Summer our way.

I was race planning and race registering.  So, as of now I am registered for The Philadelphia Women's Triathlon (sprint distance) - July 7th; The NJ State Triathlon (Olympic distance) - July 27th.  And on September 14th I will once again do the Danskin Women's Triathlon - NY Metro Area (sprint distance).  What I am still trying to figure out is what to do with August. I am looking for suggestions.  I would love to add another Olympic distance or longer to August - I am looking at a few; the Lehigh Valley Steelman (Olympic) - August 10th, the Patriots Triathlon - August 3 (half iron lite - where that distance come from I don't know). Snow_day_001_3

Additionally, and soonest, I plan on doing the Girls with Gears event April 20th in Limerick, PA.  It sounds like a fun event and all the distances I'm considering seem to include the description "hilly."  Nothing like tackling that goal head on!  They will have 5, 15, 25, 40 mile rides plus a metric century (62) and the Trek WSD Fit For Women Tour will be on hand with bikes for you to demo.

I will sprinkle in a variety of other cycling only events but I needed to get my tri schedule going so that I can then get a plan for my training.  Let me know of events that you think I should consider.

So, while it was snowing outside, I was cozy in my PJ's clicking my way right into Spring and Summer training and racing.  Let the fun begin. . .

-Jen

February 21, 2008

Seriously, Even My Kids Get It. .

125x125_2 So, while I was in Utah relaxing in my hotel room one night, the headline hit me - Team Astana (whom Trek sponsors) excluded from the Tour de France.  WHAT?!!!?

First I had to acquaint myself with the fact that there is an organization that runs the Tour - Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) and that they decided that Team Astana should be excluded from the Tour based on the doping scandals of last year's Tour.  WHAT?!!!  (this thought will repeat).

Team Astana, other than retaining the same name, is a completely different team from the aforementioned scandal.  The new Team Astana includes outstanding cyclist Levi Leipheimer (never associated with any doping scandals) and new manager Johan Bruyneel (of Lance Armstrong 7 Tour wins management).  The new Team Astana has also instituted rigorous doping controls. 

Given all this I am back to my original reaction of WHAT?!???!  To punish a team, which has cleaned house and now spends more on anti-doping controls than any other team, seems crazy (well, beyond crazy but I'm watching my language).  Seriously, in the words of my kids "It's NOT FAIR. . . ."  Even my kids get that if one kid is being punished or in timeout for something it doesn't mean that the other brother gets punished simply because he shares the same name.  Plus, we all know that crap about "I'm making an example of you. . ." never really worked as a kid anyway.  Six and seven -year-olds know what's fair, now the ASO needs to figure it out.

Doping in cycling (and other sports) is a serious problem (don't even get me started - explaining that one to my kids is a mess) but those Teams who work hard to play by the rules and compete should have the chance to do so.  So, I join with the campaign established and say "Let Levi Ride!"  To learn more or sign a petition visit LetLeviRide.com.

-Jen

February 20, 2008

I, Robot and Amen!

As I alluded to in my last post, I am back from skiing in Utah and I still have all my limbs attached.

We were up bright and early Thursday morning to head to Deer Valley resort (in Park City).  About 10 inches of fluffy snow had hit the runs overnight. I was able to get the ski boots on, get on the lift (for some reason always a freaky prospect even though I've done it hundreds of times - I think it's the image of falling off the lift onto my face and everyone in line laughing at me. . .). I was fully committed to green (easy) slopes but still felt tentative as to whether my leg would work or not. Freaked out completely was how I would describe my skiing that day. My leg fatigued after about 5 hours (okay, it was fatigued before then). It was toward the end of that day that I took my only fall of the whole trip. Somehow I got caught up and ending up falling, acrobatically engineering it so that my butt strategically hit the back binding of one of my skis. As I lay in the snow waiting for Jeff to somehow help me up, all I could think was "That's gonna leave a mark." And yes, by that night, I had a nice purple splotchy bruise on my butt!

On Saturday we headed to Alta, where we have skied before. Jeff decided to point out, by singing the song mind you, that I was skiing like a robot and only moving my upper body in a stiff robot way. Talk about self-conscious then - you try skiing with "domo arigato Mr. Roboto" stuck in your head.  "You're too scared and tentative and then you get stiff and robot-like," Jeff said.  Ummm, hello, tell me something I don't know (okay, scared part I knew.  The robot part, didn't know.)

Basically my conclusion was this - I am a head case.  The mental logistics involved in me going from fearful to fearless are exhausting.  Trying to overcome the image of me strung up in traction results in a stiff, scared and super slow ski stance.  This does not just happen with skiing.  I have the same mental issues with my tri racing too.  Seriously, while Nike is telling me to "Just Do It", I am pondering my new T-shirt slogan "But, But, But. . . "  And while I'm often telling myself that I'm doing the best that I can, I'm not always convinced that I am.  I think that's why I avoid hills on my bike (for one) - I constantly am assessing my "What ifs - What if I fall?, What if I can't make it to the top?, What if I'm too slow?, What if I'm too fast? and the always glorious and ever-present, What if I look stupid? "  Clearly something to add to the list for this season:  Work on the mental game.

Our last day, which was a half day of skiing so we could catch our flight, the sun came out in full glory.  The sun being out was key because the visibility on the snow was much better.  I somehow rationalized myself into the visibility causing me to be less afraid and let Jeff talk me into doing some black runs, one of which was called Amen.  I pointed my skis over the edge, said a lot of "Oh #$%@# "on the way down and then said a huge AMEN when I got to the bottom.  Jeff then said, "See you didn't look like a robot on that one. . . ."  Damn.  Now the song is stuck in my head again. . .

-Jen

PS.  Enjoy the photos - click on the "Notes" label for descriptions. . .

February 20, 2008

Once, Twice, Three Times a First-Grader

Bren_project What I wanted to do yesterday was sit down and give you all a full report on skiing after getting back on Monday.  Instead, I helped Brendan with his "Vote for Me" school project.

Here's the thing - I've passed first grade - at least I'm assuming I did since I graduated both high school and college. 

Last year, when Cameron was in first grade - I passed first grade - again!  Now, a lot of the second half of the year I don't remember thanks to the chemo drugs but I know that Cameron's project also involved a poster, research and a report.

I am now working on passing first grade for the third time.  I really loved school growing up BUT I was totally blindsided by the concept that I would have to complete all these grades again once I had kids.  The toughest part of all of this is trying to think like a first grader again (how do you explain the idea of a campaign speech on a first grade level?).  There is also the notion of my insistence that a first grade project be actually completed by the first grader in question.  I have heard of too many instances of projects being done by the parents and then presented as the work of the child (can you say science fair anyone?).

So, yesterday Brendan worked really hard to type up his ideas into a speech.  Brendan's ideas on ways to help the earth and environment included,  "making everyone pick up their litter, having no smoking and no cutting down trees because cutting down trees give gorillas no home." I was really proud of his campaign ideas - I'd vote for him -  but ever so thankful that I am almost done with first grade.  Maybe three times is the charm. . .

-Jen

PS.  I will post a full report on the ski trip later today.  I will give you the hint that all my limbs are still attached.

February 13, 2008

Headed Downhill

2006_0411march060044_2 This was the view from the ski jump at the Olympic Training Center in Utah when Jeff and I were there in 2006.  We both re-discovered skiing that year and had a great and exhausting trip skiing various mountains in the Salt Lake City area.  We were all set to do the same trip again last year and chemo got in the way.  Trip postponed.  Bummer.  Trip rescheduled (months ago) for this February.  December comes, so does the cast on my leg. . . . 

I've been diligent about my physical therapy for my foot and while the end goal is to make sure I'm riding and racing in good shape this summer, I still want to ski.  (Or maybe I just want to go on this trip as a break from physical therapy and to erase the bad karma that having these plane tickets is bringing.)  Either way, last week my physical therapists gave me the thumbs up.  They say my ankle will be supported enough in the ski boot and they are fairly sure my leg is strong enough.

So, here it is 4 AM and I am posting to you before Jeff and I head to the airport.  We're off for 3+ days of skiing.  Here's hoping that I spend more time on the slopes than in the lodge and that I don't come back with any new things to rehab in PT.

-Jen

PS.  I'll be checking in from Utah and will hopefully let you know how the view from the top is!

February 12, 2008

Now It's My Turn

I've been encouraging you all to post, e-mail and write down for yourself the goals you may have for 2008.  I've led you on with the promise of hearing what I would like to have as my personal goals for 2008. There are a couple of reasons why I've been dragging my feet.  First, I know that actually writing down my goals solidifies them as desires.  My cancer experience and the every-3-month hold my breath scan thing has caused me to have an emotional state that's always wrapped around the "Plan B" for my goals.  Somehow having desires and then the possibility that cancer could squash them has made me emotional protective of myself.

Secondly, I think that I've been afraid that somehow sharing my goals will clearly define me as "bike-girl impostor."  I'm still a newbie to the triathlon/biking circuit and I have a lot to learn.  But, yet here I am blogging away about my biking experience (or mostly lack thereof). I'm hoping that I can share my learning along the way this year and that maybe some of you will join me for the ride (both literally and figuratively!).  Plus, I'm hoping some of you out there can help teach me a thing or two.

So, drum roll please, here's the big and the small of my 2008:

Triathlon:  Take on Olympic distance triathlon and perhaps a half-iron distance (that one will have to be later in the season)

Biking:  Learn to ride hills (my current hill riding strategy consists of finding routes that are devoid of hills).  I want to learn to confidently make it to the top of any hill without rolling backward down it!

Ride a 20+ MPH bike split in a triathlon.

Learn how to use tri-bike shoes and transition with them on my bike (stay tuned, this one will be a laugh a minute I'm sure. . .)

Learn - REALLY learn - bike maintenance.  Again, I feel that simply praying for no flat tires, chain issues etc. . . is not an effective long term bike maintenance strategy. 

Join a bike club and tackle one of my bigger fears - the group ride - again afraid that somehow a group ride with experienced cyclists will reveal how NOT experienced I am.

Ride 100+ miles at a shot - whether on my own or part of a charity ride/gig I want to see what kind of distance I can do.

Running:  Um, learn to do it again. . . think I might have to leave it at that for this year.

Train with purpose - I want to actually figure out what a "bike workout" or "run workout" could do for my triathlon racing.  My current training regimen looks like this:  Bike Workout - 1) get on bike, 2) ride, 3) go home.  There must be something to all these "workouts" that training sites and magazines post - I'm aiming to figure it out.

And lastly, convince some of you out there to try a triathlon.  Any one in?

-Jen

February 7, 2008

I Love the Underdog

1underdog2 So, were you wondering if I would actually make it the whole week without writing about that miraculous, amazing, best-Super Bowl ever, win by our team the NY Giants?  What a game!  What a win!  I couldn't even blog on Monday because of how pumped (and tired) I was over that win.  I won't go on and on about the football game, in case you're not really a football fan.  Instead, I have to tell you how much I love an underdog.

The Giants were 12 point underdogs and yet pulled out the win.  I LOVE rooting for an underdog.  The player who gets pulled off the bench and no one knows their name - I'm rooting for them with unabashed enthusiasm - "You go bench sitter!!!"  Whether it be professional sports, high school sports or the local charity bike ride - the underdog is the most important player, in my mind.  Here's why.  When an athlete does exactly what we expect by winning a game, a race, whatever, they've done what we expected.  Ho-hum.  But, how much angst do we feel, as the pressure builds, for the athlete that is unsure of completing the goal?  How much pride and celebration do we feel when they attain what so many others felt impossible?  Do you ever apply that thought to yourself?

I think that's what I love about being the amateur-triathlete.  The first time I did a triathlon, I surprised myself mentally and physically with my own accomplishment.  Now, because I know I can, the feeling of celebration isn't so strong.  That's why this year I'm setting new and more challenging goals.  New distances (Olympic distance, maybe more?), new challenges (like actually learning to not be afraid of hills - gasp!).  We're all underdogs at something - it's not something to be ashamed of, it's actually something in which to take pride.  Find your inner underdog!  I'll be cheering for you. . .

-Jen