Despite all of this, I was doggedly determined to get back on track with food and fitness, and I was very successful in only eating home cooked food and sticking to my planned workouts on Monday through Wednesday. This included my first weight training session in three weeks on Monday, which inevitably led to soreness, even though I tried not to overdo it.
Tuesday was our first attempt at the weekly local short track session that had started the week before when we were busy on our Tussey ride during the vacation day that I took. I've dreamed of having a local weeknight short track session available for years, but no one could ever get one going at Wapehani, although there was plenty of talk about it. Ironically, for all the rocky, climby trails we have out in the state forest, State College actually offers a more short-track appropriate venue than any of the "flowy Midwestern trails" near Bloomington. There is a little four-mile trail right in town called AccuWeather (I think weather site owns the land?) that is nearly pancake flat with lots of tight twists and turns winding through the trees. There are a lot of log crossing that drain your speed, but otherwise it's an excellent primer for speedy, bike-leaning practice. I didn't really put out any sort of race effort in an attempt to not exacerbate the impending soreness from Monday's weights, but I'm looking forward to letting loose as at the summer passes and my body can handle more efforts.
Wednesday I was stupidly sore as predicted, but I still made it to the gym to try and keep up my streak and continue to build good habits. I kept it *very* short and light, but even that took a lot out of me. At that point, my immune system decided to assert its general pissed-off state regarding the abuse that had been heaped on it in the past 2-3 weeks. I went from a slightly dry, scratchy throat when I left work to the most painful sore throat I've had in years two hours later. I wanted to call in sick on Thursday and Friday, but I thought that one day off in my first five weeks of employment was bad enough, and I didn't want to add to that total. So I spent Thursday-Saturday pounding Tylenol and Chloraseptic, and doing as little as possible except put in my requisite time at work, which luckily became much calmer during the latter half of the week.
The one highlight of this period was that in addition to the life-event finishing line I reached the weekend before, Frank reached his on Friday. He successfully passed his dissertation defense and is now a full-fledged PhD. Since I made the decision to move to State College in February, I've been really focused on all of the things that I've had to overcome, but I can't discount the fact that during the last year he has also completed the hardest task of his life while driving to Indiana on a regular basis and being supportive of me in my struggles. I am so proud of him for successfully finishing what I know seemed like a huge overwhelming task for him when we met. So we did! After close to a year of maintaining a long-distance relationship while each dealing with some pretty big life things of our own, we have made it out the other side together and happy. Of course, there we likely still have at least one more big move in front of us, but surely it will be easier doing it together.
Even though my throat still wasn't feeling that awesome on Sunday, at least the muscle soreness was gone, and I figured that I probably wouldn't make the situation worse by riding. I was also four weeks behind on my long ride schedule with a mere four weeks until the Rothrock Trailmix/Stoopid 50 race week. At this point we are almost certainly doing the 36-mile Trailmix, but at least I still have the Rattling Creek 50 in August to satisfy my endurance ego.
And my endurance ego is pretty bruised right now to say the least. It's so hard to come to terms with the fact that a 36-mile is such a challenge for me. It sounds so stupid when you say it in regard to pure mileage. I keep reminding myself that those 36 miles have more climbing than the Gravel Grovel plus a ton of rocks. The course is longer and harder than last year's, so it's hard to say for sure, but I bet the winning women's time is only a tad under 4.5 hours. If I can stay within an hour of that I'll be stoked.
|#scenicvistaselfie: Green Leafy Edition|
So while part of me wants to be mad that my 23-mile "long ride" felt so hard, and that the idea of adding the Tussey loop to the end of what we did yesterday still blows my mind a little, I'll choose to focus on the fact I did finally complete the 23-mile ride that has been scaring me for weeks. I guess the upside being put in my place by Rothrock is that once I do conquer it, I know I'll be a certified badass.
I guess I have a new recruitment slogan to get Midwestern girls to come ride the East Coast Gnar: There's strong, and there's Rothrock strong. Of course, this made me think of one of my favorite songs from when I was younger, and I realized that I finally got to live it out, but on my own terms. Because, you know, I was into Boulder before it got too mainstream.