Monday, December 31, 2007

So I Kinda Always Knew My Masters Degree Was Worthless

So I haven't blogged much lately due to holiday stress and festivities. I plan to recap soon enough, but I when I saw this I had to post:

cash advance

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I guess I thought since I had a postgraduate degree that I get a postgraduate rating. Of course, I thought it'd get me a postgraduate job, too. See how that turned out...

While we're on the subject, I did check to see if the word "voyeur" could be used as a verb before I put it on my list of blogs I read. Of course, it's not supposed to be, but I'd liked the way it sounded and hopefully it will catch on. ;)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gee Thanks

Like I really wanted this available for public viewing.

I like how they think they can choose who my nemeses are, too. I, and only I, choose my nemeses. ;)

Heading to Oklahoma

The last couple of days have been pretty uneventful. Tuesday was a moderate level trainer workout, Wednesday was core work, and last night I did the Hour of Power again. It was both easier and harder this time, as I knew what I was getting into, but that allowed me to push myself harder. I managed to maintain 23 minutes in Zone 5 with a max HR of 193. I will be doing this workout one more time this training cycle and then it's onto my base phase.

Despite my predictions of booty lock, I never got more than mildly sore this week. It' s a good feeling knowing how much strength I'm building so early in the season. This time last year I was about 10 pounds heavier, riding maybe once a week, and not strength training at all. Compare that with three rides, three strength sessions, and some running and hiking mixed in and I'm doing pretty good. Plus, I've already got my cold/crappy weather riding gear dialed, so I will be able to get right to work in January instead of all experimenting it took last year.

Now if I could just avoid the copious amounts of sugar that I've been consuming...

That should all be out of the way soon enough. Adam and I are heading out early tomorrow morning to see my family in Oklahoma. I got really fed up with airlines last Christmas and swore we would drive this year, since it pretty much seems to take 12 hours to get there whether you travel by plane or car. That's mostly because neither we nor my parents live particularly close to the airport, so there's still a lot of driving involved. Mix that security checks and delayed flights and it takes all day to get there.

Since my parent's house is mostly surrounded by dirt roads, we are taking our 'cross bikes. It should be interesting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deep into Google-Land

This is a term I employed yesterday to describe my efforts to find "the most amazing pair of women's bibs with adjustable straps that could also detach for easy drawer dropping at a bathroom stop" for a fellow Yahoo group member. I have linked to said bibs in the hopes that plenty of people will buy them and thus they will be easier to find in the future.

More importantly, though, I got up a half-hour early yesterday and came into work well before my usual time to register for the Ouachita Challenge. It sold out in less than 24 hours last year, so I expected it to sell out even faster this year. Since I slated it several months ago as my endurance debut (as well as a chance to visit the folks in Oklahoma), I felt it was very important that I be logged in with my mouse poised in one hand and my credit card in the other to make sure I got in the moment registration opened. However, the joke was on me as we are approaching hour 26 and both the 60 and 80 mile divisions are still open.

The 80 mile option is new for 2008, but I'm sticking to the 60 for my first time. I find it rather hilarious, though, that the website describes that 80 mile race as such:

NEW for 2008, there will be an 80 mile race.This VERY difficult event will be limited to 100 well qualified riders. This event will have VERY strict cut-off times so if you are not prepared to ride with the "big dogs" at the "big dog" pace, we STRONGLY ADVISE you to choose from one of the other events.

Not sure what to think about that...

My one disappointment is that does not have a confirmed rider list for this event like they did for most of 'cross season. That's unfortunate because the confirmed rider list is the main reason that I prefer Bikereg over other event registration sites. Of course, it is very functional and easy to use and the owner lives about 5 or 6 blocks from me, so I'm a little prejudiced.

The blessing and curse of no confirmed rider list is that I apparently won't be spending the next 16 weeks Googling my competition. Although I like to know what's in store for me, the fact of the matter is that one never really does. I spent all 'cross season pouring over results and entry lists only to be disappointed when I would finish much worse that I felt I should.

This is the main reason my 'cross season was a disapointment. Despite knowing in my heart of hearts that most of the other 3/4 riders were not really better cyclists than me, I never could seem to put a good race together. Of the 30-ish different girls I squared off against during the season, I was able to beat exactly three. Strangely enough, one of those three went on to win a couple of races against of pretty big fields in races I did not go to. So it really did seem like everyone was pretty close in ability and anything could happen, but it just never seemed to happen for me.

So it's probably better that I know who I'll be seeing at the starting line come April 6th. I've just got to keep telling myself to TBC and not worry about what anyone else is doing.

Booty Lock

I actually decided on this topic last night after my strength workout, but didn't get a chance to post. This morning, however, I amazingly have nothing of the sort. I have a feeling that the booty lock is just biding it's time and will hit me up oh-so-good after my trainer workout tonight.

Last week, I began my strength training for the new year. The routine basically goes like this: various one-legged squat exercises on Monday, pure core work on Wednesday, and a full-body circuit of bodyweight excercises on Friday. I'm also throwing in some extra push-ups and chin-ups even when they are not assigned because my upper body is so weak.

That was supposed the plan for the next eight weeks or so, but Coach Dave attended a big coaching conference at East Tennessee State University over the weekend and I think he may be cooking up some big plans. My husband commented on my lack of power a while back (which is a correct assessment), so it appears that my early season training is going to focused on building muscle and trying to snap off some crank arms.

I really like this approach as it is something that always intrigued me in my days as a college distance runner, but I never really got a chance to try it out. What I'm refering to is the idea of training for speed before endurance as opposed to more widely accepted idea of putting in 12 or more weeks of long aerobic work before speed and power come into play. It seems counterintuitive that I'm training for power when my season is focused on endurance races, but it really does make sense. I've always had naturally good baseline endurance, but have never been able to put together the fast with the long. You need both to win races. So I'm going into this with the idea that you need to be strong enough to turn a given gear ratio at 60 rpms before you can be fast enough to turn it at 90 rpms.

Plus, it should help me in getting over those annoying little grassy humps in 'cross next year...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hour of Power

Last night I completed the long awaited "Hour of Power" trainer workout that Coach Dave has been warning me about for quite a couple of months. It consisted of a 15-minute warm-up, 5-minute build to Functional Threshold Power (FTP), and then 40 minutes at FTP, with 10 seconds of either overgeared or undergeared standing every two minutes. Since I don't own a power meter, I had to basically guess a gear ratio/cadence combo that I could sustain for an hour, but was hard enough to induce a level of pain befitting the workout's reputation.

Therein lies the rub with training on heart rate and perceived effort. I spent the first 20 minutes miserable and wanting to throw up but still a couple of beats below my lactate threshold and the last 20 minutes feeling no worse than "I'd rather NOT be doing this" but my heart rate well into zone 5. Overall, I can't say it was nearly as bad as Coach Dave said it would be, so I don't know if that makes me really tough or a real wuss because I couldn't push myself to that level of pain. I'm hoping to get a power meter no later than March so that I can find out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today was a medium-hard workout on the trainer. It consisted of 8 two-minute TT efforts with 12-second sprints at the end. The efforts were hard, but with two minutes in between, so not so bad. However, I was listening to a song during my cooldown that I thought went really well with yesterday's post. As the title of my blog might imply, I'm really into adapting songs for training purposes. It's not such a good pump-up song, but it's definitely a good one to listen to sometimes.

Billy Joel

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me why
Are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)
Too bad but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself
That you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right(you're right)

You got your passion you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize
Vienna waits for you

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you.

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through

Why don't you realize...Vienna waits for you
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

So just change "Vienna" to "La Ruta" and it's me all the way...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Transition 2

So I just finished up my "transition period" for the beginning of the 2008 season. Today marks the 19th day in a row that I've done exactly what Coach Dave has assigned to me. This is a big thing for two reasons: 1) Consistancy has always been my achiles heal when it comes to training. 2) After 9 months of working with Coach Dave, I finally trust him enough to do what he tells me. It seems like this has really kicked in now that the pressure of the USGP is gone. I spent the whole year with a "I need to be fast NOW" attitude. Well, I'm pretty sure that did me more harm that good, so I'm enjoying the walk into 2008.

I can't really say I'm particularly rested physically from the transition period, but mentally I am. I'm feeling very confident in my ability to do what I need to do this season that that will be enough to achieve my goals. Here's a rundown of the last 19 days:

6 rest days
4 run days
3 plyometric workouts
3 easy one hour recovery rides
2 crazy-hard trainer workouts
1 three mountain bike ride

So that's how I came to be mentally rested but waddling around like a duck, a combination of resting a lot but using many muscles that have not been used in quite some time. I seem to be adapting pretty well and after one last rest day today I'm moving back into a more cycling specific schedule. I can tell Coach Dave is holding me to the "one day at a time" thing and keeping my future workouts pretty closed to his chest. I've got workouts scheduled through Sunday, then nothing but my strength workouts blocked out for the next couple of months. I guess I need to just keep taking care of business and take it one day at a time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


So it all started about a year ago. Somewhere in the months of November and December 2006 I simultaneously became obsessed with the La Ruta de la Conquistadores and got word the US Grand Prix of cyclocross would be stopping a mere 2 hours from home in 2007. So what was a minimally talented mountain bike/cross racer with one year of experience to do? Hatch a crazy plan to become a cross/endurance/renaissance woman superstar.

So phase one was to focus all my energy for 2007 making the leap from mid-pack beginner to being able to survive the elite race of the USGP Louisville without totally embarrassing myself. It was a longshot, but how often does elite level racing find it's way to the midwest? Not often. So that dream and the lyrics of "Livin' on a Prayer" (along with my other cliche inspirational hits) helped me through many long hours of riding trainer through the winter. I hired a coach and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately, it was just too much ground to cover and I let a lot job crapola get in my way over the summer. My 'cross season turned out to be a huge disappointment as just couldn't seem to pull together any good races and ended up not only stuck in the 3/4 field, but not doing well at that.

So a couple of weeks ago, after a long annoying cold, I decided to call it a season for 2007. So moving on to phase two of the plan, I've moving the 'cross nonsense to the backburner and focusing on endurance racing for 2008. I'm still a long way from jumping into the La Ruta, but I plan to get my feet wet this season with a 60-miler and two 100-milers along with my regular cross country schedule. I'm currently in week 2 of my 2008 training and I've finally convinced myself to start the blog that I should have started months ago. So let the journey begin...