Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There's Place Like Home....

Especially during the holidays!!!!

I was able to score a quick trip home to Oregon, at the cost of Adam having to do some work out there. Business for him in Oregon and I got to tag along, lucky me!!! I needed a "mountain and fresh air fix" and headed west for a few days. Along with visiting my family, I was planning on doing some running, and playing in the mountains.

I packed my "medium" warm running gear. No need for the heavy stuff running in the outskirts of Portland, even in December. However 10 min. into my first run, I am stripping off a layer. It was a damp 50 deg, out in the morning and I was too hot. I have taken some down time from training since my last cross race, so I was looking forward to just going out for a run with no agenda. My parents live in the foothills of the Cascades 40 miles from Mt. Hood. So it is very hilly there....like real hills, and way too scenic. I had a big fat smile on my face the whole run. Even huffing up the hills.

We also did a little Christmas shopping, Christmas cookie baking, relaxing, and decorated a tree.....but

the other part of this trip was supposed to be a "no work, no computer, no Blackberry, no "training or racing" trip for Adam and I. I try to nail him down on this 1 x a year. I think the only way for this to really happen would be to take a cruise (no cell towers.....but I'm not a big fan of cruises), or trek off some remote location like Mt. Everest. But we came really close with a trip up to the top of Mt. Hood and a night stay at Timberline Lodge. We weren't looking to summit the peak, just hang out in the mountains. The ride up there is amazing, even when raining. We hadn't planned to ski, or really know what we were going to do, which makes it even more adventuresome. I had wanted to snowshoe/hike, but daylight hours were limited by the time we got up there. We checked out the lodge (very cool old place actually filmed in parts of THE SHINING!), with the snow has high as the windows on the 2nd floor. My only request was to get out there and do something in the snow. So we decided on night skiing, and it was awesome. The slopes weren't crowded and as the sun started going down it cleared up and it looked like you could see all the way to California!

Its always hard to leave there, but stepping off the plane back in Chicago, and I am faced with work, a Christmas party, 2 days left until Christmas, hosting Christmas eve dinner, and the start of our basement being framed and dry/walled. I may have gotten a little out of shape during the past 2 weeks, but I am up to the task. I know how to dig deep during crunch time like late in a race when you've dropped your gu, or salt tabs, ( or like the time during Horribly Hilly when I missed the last aid stop and its 100 deg. out) Its exhausting, sometimes but worth it in the end!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The brown and pink explosion template was over the top, too much for me!
The basic black is much better :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Winter has arrived with BLAST. With it are all the fun things that makes winter in Chicago so enjoyable....hats, gloves, many layers, cracked skin,( I have looked like Rudloph for 3 days with a red nose.) And the gloves....I can never manage to find a matching pair... I have to say though, I do like the snow. It makes winter a little more fun to be able to go out and play in the snow. I'll take 30 and snowing any day over 2 degrees and dry.

My first cyclocross season has come to an end. The last race was held at Montrose in the city and Brr it was very cold and winter like, but the snow just missed us by a day. For a newbie to cylcross I was reminded frequently that it was a "cakewalk" with the weather this year. Most of the races we wore shorts and short sleeves. I wonder what it would be like to race accross the snow? Since my main weakness in cyclocross seems to be riding through sand......as evident by many wipeouts at Montrose, riding through snow could be interesting. The last race was fun and I have to say of the races I did the most technical. These courses are harder to use your fitness as a strength (give me the hills and hard run ups!), especially when you wind up on the ground 2 x in the first lap. I finished up 8th in the series using a couple 9th places, then 6th, then 4th, then 2nd place finishes to score points to move myself up in the standings. I had only intended on giving a few races a try, but I got hooked and it was great having a new challenge, racing in some different places, and racing against different people (many of the girls are crit racers) Many thanks to Rob Kelly for helping me with some great workouts and teaching me how to do starts, barriers, and run ups, along with Ara and the other Bicycle Heavan guys for all their useful tips, and to Thomo for the awesome run workots, they were a huge in having the high end fitness. Of course thanks to Adam for helping with the kids. There are races every week,and if you want to do well, you better show up each week which means they had to be carted along for a few of them. They must think their mom is nuts!

In the midst of the end of cyclocross, it has become full blown Christmas around our house. I LOVE Christmas and have gone all out already. I am sad to report though that we broke down and got a fake tree. :( For the first time ever. It is frustrating for an Oregon girl to fork out big dough for a tree that is lame, drops needles, doesn't smell Chritmasy enough. The fake one is very perfect looking. We kicked of Christmas by spending the weekend after Thanksgiving in the city, going to Macy's, the Walnut Room, Daley Plaza tree and Santa, and seeing the Zoo Lights. The kids had a blast and the city was nice to us.

Now I think I'll break out my snow shoes, for some snow shoe running, and show up to a few more swims per week in Naperville. My poor cross bike is toast. It wasn't in great shape to begin with, thanks to several years of Ride n Ties....and literally throwing it to the ground to my partner. Then add many rides through MUD this fall. I'm not really looking forward to indoor trainer rides. Other than 1 short session per week, for hard intervals, I have managed to stay riding outside. I'll give the biking legs a break for a bit. But, Mt. Lemmon is calling me. I want to see the top again this spring!