Labor Day is over. It is officially FALL in my book. As I was riding the Syracuse course on Sunday with Ken, I noticed that the leaves are starting to change! The weather is cooling down, the wind is picking up, the air is crisper - fall is here!
Fall is my most favorite season ever! I can bust out my jeans and hoodies. I have to start wearing long-sleeved shirts on my runs. I no longer break into a sweat by merely moving! I can cozy up in my SNUGGIE and watch new episodes of my 2 favorite TV shows - NCIS and The Office! One downside to fall is I have to start wearing pants around my apartment again because it is just too chilly for a no-pants situation.
Fall always reminds me of cross country season. For me, this time of year is DEFINED by running. I ran cross country for 7 years - 2 in jr. high, 4 in high school, and 1 in college. I still miss it to this day and it has been 8 years since I've run on an organized XC team. I still am in contact with my high school cross country coach (him and his wife are both elite runners and they still live in the area).
As much as I still love to run - there is NOTHING like running as part of a team. Running together, racing together, traveling to races, team practices, and team dinners are what make it so amazing. You can't beat a day at a cross country invitational. Hundreds of teams gather, lots of colorful uniforms, it's just incredible. I can't even describe how much I loved it and miss it! I still try to make it (as a spectator) to the McQuaid Invitational which is one of the largest XC invitationals on the East coast and is held right here in Rochester, ~3 miles from my front door!
I am in all 3 of those photos above - can you spot my high school-aged counterpart? If you do, you win a hug!
I think that being on a tri team that is so close is very reminiscent of being on a high school XC team. We don't compete together for a team score but the dynamic is very very similar (with WAY less drama I might add).
Fall also reminds me of marching band. Yes, I was in band. I played the flute. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Just a few things about the Syracuse course which I rode again on Sunday morning with my teammate Ken. I really don't hate the beginning of the course. Yes it's a lot of uphill and it's slow-going, but I actually LIKE climbing up Sweet Rd. It's not THAT steep so I can just spin up it. It takes a while but really, not horrible. I like riding past Deryuter Lake. I think it's pretty and there's the cool elephant to gaze upon! What I don't like is the wind! Both times I have ridden the course the wind was brutal. The middle section has a ridiculous headwind and it's very frustrating. Ken dropped me because he had tempo sections to do and I just kept falling farther behind because the wind was killing my motivation.
I stopped along the way to take a picture of the M-Dot which was mowed into the side of a ski mountain! Ken was diligently doing his tempo - I was riding along at 15 mph sightseeing.. oh well. My drive to train well, do any tempo blocks, work hard - it's just GONE.
Also, I had a bit of an "incident" while riding. I had to pee the entire ride. I drove from Rochester to Syracuse at 6 am in order to ride at 8 am. We parked outside the park so there was no bathroom break before starting the ride! I was doing ok with holding it until I hit the oil/chipped section in the last 10 miles of the course; this just rattled my bladder too much! I decided I had to stop and pee before I peed my pants (totally legit during a race, not cool during training). I saw a good spot where I could crawl into the woods for privacy so I hit the brakes, went to unclip, failed to unclip, and tipped over... oh my. That hasn't happened since I learned to ride with clipless pedals. I was alone and no one saw it, but then I told Ken, and Kim, and Adam.. and now everyone knows that I'm an idiot. I bent my brake lever but the bike shop fixed it for me!
I have driven to Syracuse so many times in the past 6 weeks that I think my car could drive there on auto-pilot! My gas tank certainly likes the attention (although my wallet does not), and I like watching the green light say "EZ PASS GO" when I go through the EZ Pass lane because that's how easily amused I am.
There may or may not be a reason that I have been driving to Syracuse so much. :)
I am hoping this week goes by quickly!