Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tis The Season!

Tis The Season, for so much fun, celebration and shift in gears! I've been having fun with all of the above!

I have always been a holiday freak, and this year I haven't been holding back on the fun and celebration of the season. My house is looking festive inside and out!  Im sure I just make more work for myself, but its worth it! 

Inside …

And out….

Tis the season for, 

* more coffee than usual throughout the day to stay warm, and awake

Starbucks at Lunch
Iowa City, Jingle Cross  morning = winner

* for more sand and mud in cyclocross than the rest of CX season

I love riding the sand now!

* for Montrose, and the end of CX  and missing seeing  my CX friends every week,  until next year!
Montose, end of an amazing CX season
Check out amazing pictures of all kinds at AliEngin photography

* for amazing weekends showing friends from out of town the city for the first time

Smiling at the Bean !!!

* for a new season and a new adventures 

So excited for another year with @BettyDesigns

* for focusing on weaknesses, and working on them, to achieve your goals….

McKenzie Altmayer

I had the pleasure of working with Geneva High School running superstar McKenzie Altmayer in our SEP  (sports enhancement program) at work. She came to me twice last school year as an injured runner. She was committed to her running goals and signed up to get stronger through the summer (her off season) to become stronger, and more efficient, so she could run faster and stay injury free. She showed up for the SEP sessions through the summer following her off season running practices. Tired, sore and probably like most high school girls some days wishing she was sleeping, shopping or being a girl….she came in worked hard, …..and got stronger all summer. We made significant improvements in her strength, and run form. I said good bye to her at the end of summer when cross country season was starting. Several months later I was thrilled to see she met the goals she set of running a low 17 in high school CC meet, making All -state,  and  staying injury free all season! She is already back in the SEP program , working on becoming stronger for next year!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A year of Being Betty

I can't believe its already been 1 year of being a Betty! and, I recently had the chance to test out this badass Betty Designs skinsuit during Campton Cross.  The kit is of course amazing to race in and what a fun, way to race and get fierce in the dirt! It fit like a glove, was warm, helped me go fast on one of my favorite CCC courses! I'll be bringing it with me this weekend to 3 days of hard core dirty racing at Jingle Cross!
Campton Crossed
Ugly race face/ badass kit to help you go fast
(photo: Jayloo Photography)

And what a wild year of adventures its been being a Betty in 2014! My year of being a Betty started off at with me at the lowest I've ever been, but is ending 100% better than I could have imagined a year ago. What a wild year of crawling out of ugly place,  to smiling racing and training some again and having a lot of fun along the way. At first, many  days I cried and walked home, but then more days came where I got stronger and faster and finished running with an enormous smile on my face.  

My mission for the year became to focus on myself and my 11 year old son, try to be #badassandbeautiful just getting through the day a normal day and do as many different and new adventures as I could along the way  I began to train some again got fit and raced a little.   

I was a Betty at the Get Lucky 7k in March in Grant Park Chicago
Get Lucky! 7k 

I was a Betty running on the 50 yard line to finish the Soldier Field 10 miler in May
Betty Finish on the 50

I was a Betty winning my age group at the local Batavia triathlon
Batavia Tri, 1st AG

I was a Betty at the Magnificent mile in downtown Chicago getting 2nd in my Age group at the Fleet Feet Women's 1/2 marathon in August. 
Betty runs the Mag Mile

I was a Betty at the Trek Cup cyclocross race starting on the line with the pros
Betty at the back of the pro field Trek Cup CX

Even though I didn't race as originally planned I had many amazing opportunities to be a  Betty with other adventures throughout the year that would never have happened otherwise. 

I was a Betty on a boat on Lake Michigan on the 4th of July sporting the new Brazilian bikini
Betty at the "playground" Lake Michigan

I was a Betty stand up paddle boarding in August
Betty Paddles

I was a Betty working the marathon expo my clinic sponsors talking to runners about staying injury free
Betty talking running

I was a Betty on the sidelines at football games 
Betty on the sidelines

I was a Betty sporting my badass kit finishing a ride and running into the grocery store for last minute food for dinner

Betty post ride

And I'm a Betty at the end of the day with my feet finally up!

 A year later, I am standing on my own, am strong and motivated to keep climbing to top of a big mountain.  I keep moving forward as a single mom, professional, and sometimes an athlete.   I am finishing up the year racing a lot of cyclocross, and trying to stay warm on the bike and still go fast. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Laughing, Hurting, and Loving Cyclocross

Summer is gone, but I'm not pouting about it much anymore because there has been a whole lot of good stuff to laugh and smile about, and push until it hurts lately …….. just some of which includes: 

1. Jack's cast is off and he will be able to resume sports next week, and I won't have to squeeze in a every other week Dr. visit.  Jack has continued to participate in as much football conditioning as he can practice as he can with hopes he can get some playing time in the last 
1 -2 games
KYFL was announced at Varsity game

2. Even though its cooled off quicker than most falls, I have my Betty Designs Capri tights to keep me warm and motivate me to get out the door when its barely light outside! on some mondays I can barely run thanks to a great weekend of CX racing, later in the week I am running faster than I would have ever imagined.  I need to squeeze in a running race!  Some in the CX world would say don't run, those in the running world would say, too much biking will slow you down, right now in my world of both its working!
Betty on early morning runs!

3. So many fun girls nights out with my amazing friends!   random drinks on the patio, when timing is everything, or big nights out to Zac Brown Band at Wrigley Field.  
Zac Brown Band at Wrigley Field with my BFFS
Random reunion with my Nashville besties!

3. Cyclocross every weekend!

I didn't race much this summer and it was really quite awesome.  I think I left some of my best efforts this summer out on my training workouts. But thats ok, because now cyclocross is here and its been a whole lot of painful, fun, sweaty,  and dirty fun !  

 I started the true CX season with nothing other than probably one of the biggest locally, TREK CUP! Why not jump in to the first race I do all season against some of the best in the world. Its humbling nerve racking, and a complete rush to start on the line (but way far back) with the top girls on the US pro circuit. It was an amazing 2 days of racing to start the season. I walked away sore tired and smiling. 
starting in the back of women's' Pro race
photo credit: Kevin Sparrow

CCC#1 Caldwell Woods
 The first race of our super competitive local Chicago Cross Cup (CCC) was at a new venue Caldwell woods. It was 80 degrees,  and I loved it because there was a tough run up and a few hills. My fast PSIMET team rocked the first race, I believe we had 5 or so  in the top 10 overall women's 1,2, 3's to include Kelli, the overall winner!!! 

CCC#2  Hopkins Park
 I loved this race this year for a number of reasons, but partly because I finally had a good race here. In the past I have had some bad luck with either getting a flat, and last year being taken out at the start and basically starting the race in last place. This year, I had a good start ( for me), and a good race. It was so much cooler than the week before, I finally broke out my new PSIMET cross suit and it was perfect!  
i've been practicing my starts
photo (Jason L. Ward)
this either helps or hurts my running

After 2 CCC races I am in 8th place. But unlike every other year where I race in the CCC as much as possible to fight and claw my way as high as I can in the series, I am not focusing on that this year and going to step out and do some other big races with other competition and other courses.  Kind of crazy because this is the best start to the CCC  I've had since I kissed triathlon goodbye,  but I'm so excited to try some other races like Gateway Cup, Jingle Cross and this coming weekend very excited to being trying CX Colorado style at Cross of the North! #smiling

Monday, September 1, 2014

So Long Summer... its been real!

Summer is slipping away although I'm not sure it exactly ever showed up in Chicago until recently it made an appearance giving us our first "heat index" days at the end of August when school is back in session.  I have to turn the lights on sooner, push the envelope of time just a little bit longer when heading out early in the morning because I'd rather see the sunrise rather than navigate the dark.  Ive been seeing some leaves on the ground and even turning colors when I'm out on my early morning rides or runs. 
Hello Fall!

 I do love fall and so much that comes with it: football, cyclocross, Octoberfests, pumpkins and pumpkin spice, fire pits…..and less humidity with good hair days and less frizz or pony tails. But I have a love hate relationship with fall just like I do with track workouts, Vo2max intervals, or getting my hair highlighted. I love to do get on the track or push the pedals as hard as I can because it makes you faster, but sometimes dread it because it hurts, its painful and its scary to fail if you can't hit your goal watts or splits.   I love to get my hair highlighted but I have a hard time sitting still in the chair for that long.  I love fall but don't always love whats coming after it. Winter.

Betty off road

With the end of summer comes football season!  My Dad coached, all my brothers played and I grew up watching it. I love it and still feel like I need to go to high school football games on Friday night.   Jack was so excited for 11U Black. He started 6th grade and middle school then came home after a successful first day,  and wiped out on his ripstick,  broke his arm in 2 places at the growth plate that required surgery to put it back in place. You never know whats just around the bend in your day, but post polar vortex pretty much nothing phases me anymore.  Football for Jack will mostly be from the sidelines this year with his arm in a cast, but it was his idea to keep going to practice and games to help and watch and participate in what he can.  I've been trying to use this setback for him as a chance to teach him that going through hard times can only make you stronger.
2 good arms/ Elburn Days parade

I didn't race much this summer, but fall brings cyclocross season and a lot of racing.   Relay Cross kicks off the cyclocross season locally and recently I had so much fun remembering what painful fun racing hard on the CX bike feels like. The skills are a little rusty, and the high end efforts need some work. I raced with my PSIMET teammate Sarah Szefi and we landed on the podium in second! 
Awesome way to start cross season!
 Sadly I was sore for a few days after this and am always amazed at the mark such a short race can leave.  When I try to run 1 or 2 days after a CX race I sometimes feel like I've never run in my life before. I went from relay cross race to tapering for the Magnificent Mile Women's 1/2 marathon. Truthfully I did way more than taper! It was such a crazy 10 days with Jack's arm and extra doctors appointments, extra continuing education classes that I hardly fit in workouts. Jenny even sent me a nice little message …Helllooooo ! :) making sure I was ok!  She has been such an awesome coach writing giving great workouts and feedback even though I have been all over the board with what I'm doing!  I've been that athlete, coaches want to pull their hair out with.
Pre race at the fountain

  I'm not a city girl, but running downtown on the MagMile across the bridge and past the Wrigley building was amazing and I loved this course. My running has been going better than really...ever… in a long, long time.  It was so hot and humid though that it didn't make for a fast time. I finished 2nd in my age group in a huge field which I feel good about. There was a lot of estrogen at this race, several thousand women, but I did see some men with bib numbers racing which I thought was a little odd. I am fine with it and actually like races where there are men in the mix but I just thought they might have felt a little awkward.  And if men wanted to have an all men's race I might volunteer to hand out the medals at the finish line. 

My summers (and springs for that matter)  for the past like forever have been set up around races to qualify for other races, training camps to help for those races and traveling to those races.  This was the first summer where I had no goals no big races or training camps, no agenda and I admit I was a little unsure of how it would go.  But now that it is ending I have to say it was an amazing summer with so many fun adventures  and I pretty much accomplished almost everything I wanted to as far as summer fun goes. I even fit in some SUP. This is something I wanted to do more of and still hope to fit in 1 or 2 more times before it gets too cold. 

Cheers to the start of fall! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Nashville is fun Ya'll, and Beautiful Oregon

Summer Vacay!

I put the running shoes, bikes and swim gear aside for a weekend in the dead middle of summer for the first time in forever a few weeks ago when I traveled with some friends to Nashville. No training allowed, and no workout clothes were to be packed on this trip! I did sneak my running shoes along, no one knew. I am a very early riser compared to this crowd so I thought I could quietly fit in a run early one morning, but ended up having too much fun to get up and go run.  Plus the goal for this trip was to have fun first, then fit in workouts, vs. workout, then fit in the fun.!  This girls weekend had been planned for quite some time.  Just a short weekend away to be girls and have fun.  5 of us loaded up in my Forerunner and headed out very early Friday morning to get to NashVegas in time to chill have dinner and then head out on the town.  But 5 girls, chatting sleeping, looking at phones, and no one paying attention, we found ourselves here:


Eventually we did make it to Nashville by way of Cincinnati ……and a whole lot of construction, pit stops , laughing, swearing and several extra hours of drive time. It just made getting to Tennessee that much better! 
Tennessee never looked so good

Once we checked in to the hotel, the fun never stopped. What a fun city!  We shopped listened to music danced laughed, stayed up late and had a blast. Everyone is friendly in Nashville, ya'll.  We made all the correct states on the return trip home and arrived back in about 1/2 the time and I was even  able to fit in a run with the sun going down. 

2 days later Jack and I were on a plane home to Oregon. 
11 yr old with Beats and a phone

Beautiful Mt Hood
Some of my old Wattie friends have been wonderful and kept in touch over the past year and Robert Flannigan invited me to come join in their  Bend training camp. Bend is very hard for me to resist.  It happened to fall on a week when there was not much going on and I wanted some serious time off in the middle of summer.  I spent several days at home, then drove over to Bend and stayed with my wonderful friends Peter and Tina Leavitt. I played some trained some and mostly just loved it up in Bend. I could live there in a second you know. I fell in love with Bend in undergrad days of driving over from college to fraternity parties and skiing on Mt. Bachelor.     I did some amazing rides with incredible views,  one killer trail run that was so beautiful I wanted to look around in awe at every turn but had to keep eyes on the trail or I would have tripped and face planted. 

Post run ice bath
I spent my last morning in Bend Mtn biking on some fun trails. This was a random addition that absolutely loved. Next time I'll be faster with mtn bike shoes!  I was privileged enough to ride with Peter  post surgery on his first ride bike since his epic crash in California. What I learned is I need to ride more trails!

I had entertained thoughts of racing at AG nationals since it is in Milwaukee and so close to home.   I even trained for it a little.  But my goal this summer has always been to have fun first and enjoy some of what summer has to offer that you miss out on when you are staring at a lane line, or your head is down in aero position for hours. Its been a nice change to  go on different adventures,  break away from my old normal and not have my life revolve around triathlon, races and training.   So the minute I have felt stressed about having to pack a bike get up early to race, or train and it feels like work, I'm out. What I've noticed is that I haven't missed triathlon this year, and I have managed to stay in shape and still work out hard, but I do miss competing. I have a 1/2 marathon coming up  and soon lots of CX races to get my fill of that.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

More, Randomness

I have been debating whether it was worth keeping this blog going. I am busy, I don't race or train like my old normal, so there are no fancy race reports. It takes time to write and most of the time I think who really cares.  But just when I think about shutting it down, I get a message from someone about what they've read and it helps them or motivates them and weirdly enough that has happened twice just this week. Its also a nice distraction from what I really should  be doing like setting up online bill pay to make my life easier, or stretching and foam rolling like I preach a million times a day.  I started this blog years ago for the athletes I coached, the injured athletes I work with or any mom or person trying to balance  family, work,  training and racing (pick your order of importance).   A lot of the posts turned into actual stories that became part of a book I was so lucky to be a part of contributing to. And,  we still get messages from people across the country who have read the book.  Maybe some of this lately will turn into another book down the road. There's definite potential for a sequel. 

So here goes for now, complete randomness!

I have been so busy at work, and am smiling because have helped lots of runners/ athletes get back on the road; I have a very full schedule and am "being efficient" at work,  but at same time managed to send Jack off to the wrong week of a summer camp. Whoops I swear I changed that registration. 

I can change the propane on the grill without blowing up the house, add salt to the water softener, ( I count this as a workout these days), and fix the garage door opener
but have driven past the turn to my subdivision more than once lately, and most days forget at least 1 thing I am supposed to take with me when i leave the house.

I think there is a birds nest at the top of my chimney. Need to do some investigating on this one.

I can get up get my workout in, and get out the door looking sort of professional, but haven't  sat still long enough to see  ANY of the Tour yet, and even though we were able to see the World Cup action at work thanks to Telemundo, they aren't showing the Tour.
I must try to catch some,  because fit cyclists on their bike in spandex leaves you with a good visual for the day.

My work schedule changed again at the start of summer, to be ……"more efficient" (i'll keep my comments about healthcare these days to myself). If I am not up working out by 5:30 or 6 in the morning it won't happen. There is NO time after work, M-Th. If there is,  I'm fairly worthless.   I still like to train and race so, I get up and do it. The good part about this is I have seen some amazing sunrises and there is no traffic on the roads when I'm out biking!  Lately, I am trying to get to the pool more than 1 x month.  My new team Betty suits and the outdoor pool make it so much more fun. 

My randomness must be driving Jenny crazy when it comes to writing workouts. But have stressed I have no big triathlon agenda.  I have more than once signed up for races last minute to include attempting an xterra that was epic failure because I crashed so hard descending the bars jarred loose and i looked like I was run over by a car. But I loved it and want to do it again.

For the 4th I ran a 5k in the morning and hung out with JH. She crushed the 10k and I raced some young teenagers in the 5k. My PR for the week was on the track, though. Despite all my randomness I ran as good as I almost just about ever have on the track at my 40-something age! But,  because of my 40 somethingness  2 days later I felt like a locomotive at the 5k. It was hilly which added to the joy, but it was a start to an amazingly fun and random weekend.  

I found myself on a boat the next day in Lake Michigan with the city in the background and a group of very fun friends.  The water was way to cold to swim, but I did jump in, and afterward dancing in the streets to 90s rap music at a street festival. 

I miss the mountains from home, but this was a very fun day in the city.

I'm finding randomness is ok. I am still working out, but having a lot of fun too. Not having my summer focus on getting myself ready for Vegas or a World Champs leaves more time for fun.