Monday, October 21, 2013

October is my favorite month for a reason!

Two great weekends in a row? How is this happening? Things are looking up!!

Saturday I actually had time to go see Cherry in the morning, since I no longer have that whole "training for the marathon" commitment thing.. which means I don't have to squeeze 3+ hour runs in on Saturday mornings. I've taken 2 easy weeks of recovery from the marathon (first week I ran 0 miles, last week I ran 10) and now I am ready to get back into it, but it will be nice knowing that I don't HAVE to do these long runs on the weekend and can go see (and even ride) my poor neglected horse instead! However, I really don't want to lose my run fitness so I am going to try to keep my mileage steady. Maybe no 20 mile runs for a while but I would like to keep my long runs at about 2 hours on the weekends when I can.

After visiting with Cherry on Saturday and doing a bit of homework, I donned my ballgown, pinned on my race number, laced up my running sneakers, and walked the half-mile to Johnny's Irish Pub where the annual Johnny's Run Like Hell Halloween race is held. I love this race and I do it every year if possible! Usually I race it as a typical 5K but this year I was asked to be in a 6-pack (6 people dress up in a theme and have to run together, attached together) by my friend Rich. Our theme was Cinderella, and 6 of us ran together, with Rich pushing his daughter, Chloe, who was dressed as Cinderella, in a stroller that was paper mached to be a giant pumpkin (aka, Cinderella's pumpkin carriage). Rich was the stagecoach driver, we had a Prince Charming, a fairy godmother, 2 ugly stepsisters (I was one of them) and... the horse pulling the pumpkin carriage. It was pretty ridiculous but we ended up winning the costume originality contest!

a dress with puffy sleeves - not the easiest ensemble to run in
with medals and celebratory beers!
 I spent the rest of Saturday working on my homework, which I made a lot of progress on which left me feeling good for Sunday - Ellison Park Cyclocross day! This is a 2 day race but I had skipped Saturday's race so that I could do all of the things that I just talked about. I love cyclocross but it is definitely time consuming and sometimes I need to do other things instead. Anyways, waking up and dragging myself to the race on Sunday morning was a chore. I was tired, it was FREEZING in my house, I couldn't find any of
my gear (since I was too lazy to pack it up the night before) and I almost bailed. This seems like the story of every cyclocross race that I have done this year.

I am soooooooo glad I went.

  I got there, rode the course once to get a feel for the hills and the rhythm. It wasn't very muddy which was good, although there were some sketchy sections and a muddy run-up called "the ladder" plus the famous section going up the hill that they love referring to as the Alpe d'Huez. I raced Saturday last year (as my first cyclocross race ever), which is ridden in the reverse direction. I've heard that Saturday is harder than Sunday.. which, after yesterday, I can agree with. Either way, it's still hard in both directions and it has the most climbing out of any of the cross races I've ever done. There were 5 women in the CAT4 race and I needed to either get 1st or 2nd to get my points for my upgrade to CAT3. I really didn't care which place I got going in.. but then we started racing and I was right on the tail of the leader, Leah, for the whole first lap, and the other 3 women had fallen behind. So I am thinking "don't do anything stupid, and you'll get 2nd" fully knowing that ANYTHING can happen in a cyclocross race. She wasn't able to pull away from me in the first lap, and she was riding more conservatively than I was on the downhills. I was following her up the switchbacks and the last turn at the top of the Alpe d'Huez was muddy, and she jumped off and ran it while I was able to ride it, so once we rounded out the top of the hill and started going down, I made my pass going around a corner. And that was it.. I led for the remaining 2 laps, although she was not very far behind me. I had the world's best cheerleader there - Emily - who also took some great photos. I managed to not mess up at all except when I caught one of the CAT4 men that had started 1 min before us. He had some trouble at the muddy, squirrel corner at the top of the hill and slid out right in front of me, which caused me to stop, and I had to hop off my bike (on the wrong side), run around him, get on the left side of my bike, get back on and get going again, still while going up the hill. Not happy. Then he passed me going back down the hill. Seriously, just make up your mind and get away!! Ugh.
down the hill
the barriers, where the race announcer complimented me on my technique :)
the ladder.. I need spikes in my shoes!
pushing it into the finish (that's my game face for the entire 40 mins)
 Anyways, I won! It was awesome and I loved being referred to as "the women's leader" by the announcer (yes, at these pro races they actually have an announcer!). I got a sweet medal and (I think) my upgrade points! The 2nd place woman, Leah, also got her upgrade points so YAY for more women in the open races that are around my speed! I stuck around for a bit to eat some food, drink some Rohrbach's delicious root beer, and spectate the female pro race.
women's CAT4 podium! sadly missing 2nd place

Emily, Ken, me, Solveig cheering for pro women

I then had to head home and finish the rest of my homework, which took much longer than expected - oh well. Also, I finally had to turn on my heat last evening. I was wearing a coat while trying to do my homework which is just ridiculous. My AC units are still in my windows (that is a whole different story) so I haven't wanted to turn on the heat because it will just go right out through those vents and talk about throwing your money away! But I had to because it was 62 degrees in my house! I NEED to get those things out this week!

I'm trying to tone down the next few weekends. I need a break. It's been fun but there is always a "homework panic" on Sunday night and it really stressed me out!

Also, for some other (much more interesting) blog reading, check out Jennie's Kona race report here!

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