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!