Friday, February 26, 2010

Drive (long and verbose)

(I really didn't think this post was going to grow into an recounting of my life story, but it did. My apologies. My life story is boring, and verbose.)

Bummed - because I'm skipping my race tomorrow to focus on my health, which hasn't been so great all week.

Setbacks, though, have the tendancy of sharpening my focus and determination. "Setbacks". To be fair, my versions of life's speedbumps are pretty small. Mostly it's just a sniffle here and there, struggles with inclimate weather, flat tires, etc.

When I injured my knee in August at a MTB race I had about 2 weeks off the bike, some infected stitches, but then it seemed to be over. Fast forward to October, when I had an infected blister on my heel, and a weird boil thing on my hip. Antibiotics - check. Ready to rock and roll again. Fast forward again to New Years Eve, when another of the boil things popped up on the back of my left calf. Ouch. And, since I was in Massachusetts, I couldn't really see a doctor. It's a long story, but Mass has state run health insurance (of which I am a big fan) but if you're from out of state, and uninsured, makes it pretty f'in hard to see a medical professional without a $2000 ER visit. Word. So as weird infection thingies kept popping up on my legs (by the way, I love my legs, I treasure them - they're the tools with which I pursue my passion) I couldn't see a doctor for a couple weeks until we made it back to Reno. Luckily I saw the same physician's assistant I'd seen before, and she put 2 and 2 together and concluded that I developed a systemic infection at the time of my FIRST infection (from those stupid non-dissolving dissolvable stitches) and whenever my immune system was compromised, or I had a small injury, or a little teensie weensie ingrown leg hair (hey, who doesn't?) the little bugs on my system would go crazy on it and I'd get an infection. So she gave me a monster dose of doxycycline (the same antibiotic I'd been taking for each infection - it's cheap, it works) plus another one, in the hopes that it would knock it out of my system. Yay, cured! Right? Wrong.

Two weeks ago I started getting the boils again. Just a little one to start with, and I thought, 'maybe it's just a fluke, right?' Wishful thinking. I got a big one behind my knee a week later. So I went in to see my physician's assistant friend at Urgent Care. And . . . she lanced it. Yeah. Gave me a nice shot of local anesthetic (ow), took a scalpal, sliced my leg open, squeezed, and then stuffed it full of gauze (or something like that). Ow. Oh yeah, and she took a culture and sent it to the lab so we can figure it out once and for all. Went back in to have my gauze stuffing removed, and before I could protest she stuffed some fresh stuff right back in. Anyway, the whole infection thing has left me feeling lousy, kept me off the bike (it's like I have an incredibly painful golf ball behind my right knee), and pretty much made this the most blah week I've had in a little while (fortunately it was a rest week, so resting was on the schedule, though maybe not to the degree I took it).

Okay - so, not to sound like I'm bragging or whatever, but I think I'm pretty good at handling pain. The re-stuffing of the gauze was the single most painful 30 seconds of my life. Good. God. Make it stop. Which it did, pretty quickly.

Fast forward to today. The lab results came back! And, much as suspected, I have MRSA. Which conjures up images of necrotizing bacterial infections, but it's not that bad . . . yet. haha, just kidding (I hope). So I'm going back in for the final gauze removal tomorrow (whilst my teammates kick some Snelling butt), and to get some new, MRSA-spanking antibiotics. I hate being on antibiotics, but I hate having pockets of pus in my legs more.

So, what was the point of this whole long, over-sharing story? Well, I've had a shitty week for training and pursuing my of my goals. I'd lost a little weight prior to this, and I'm pretty sure, with the lack of activity and the drowning of sorrows in chocolate, that I've gained it back. Whatever.

My season started great - with Cantua and Pine Flat. This has been a minor setback. I have 2 weeks until the Madera Stage Race. 2 weeks to get back on track. 2 weeks of solid training.

It's raining out. Like, cold, cold rain. At least it's melting the snow. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow. Tomorrow, I'm going to go ride for 3 hours in the rain. I'm going to strap on the fenders, the Craft winter riding pants, rain jacket. I'll be grateful that I have the health, that my body does everything I ask of it, day after day. After my ride I'll take a long hot shower (a "thank you" to my cold corporal self), and eat a good meal so my body has everything it needs to recover from the stress I put on it. So I'll be able to go do it again, the next day. When Cody proffers ice cream I'll eat some fruit instead. Because I want to win races. Big races. Lots of them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Morning

I'm sitting on the couch, Cody's MacBook Pro on my lap, a cup of coffee in hand. Yesterday it snowed about 10-12" here, and this morning I can't even bring myself to look out the window. Our thermometer says it's 25'F out there. Today will be a roller day.

But first! I'm going to work! The big news is that I got a job (in addition to the middle school strings assistant job). And it's a bike shop job! So a new bike rests somewhere on the horizon. Anywho, I'm working at Peloton Bicycles. It's a small shop (literally, the floor space is tiny) with a small crew, but solid. I like my bosses, and I have vastly more experience than the other employees, so I feel like I have something positive to contribute. That's a nice feeling! So I'll be working there a couple days a week, still helping with the orchestra on my days off, and squeezing in as much bike time in between as I can. I finally signed up for my Certified Personal Trainer course so in my other spare time (ha! Spare time? What's that?) I'll be studying to take the exam for that. Professionally, things are finally coming together!

Last weekend I had my very bestest friend come visit from San Francisco, so I neglected my bike a little bit and ate too much chocolate, but the weather forecast is for things to melt and clear up so I'll be making up for that this week, and hopefully heading back over the hill this weekend to race Snelling with my team. I've been feeling just a touch under the weather lately, and I had an awful experience at Snelling 2 years ago where I went there "a touch under the weather" and came up so sick that I was on my ass for 10 days. So if I'm not 100% I'll probably bail, because I really, really, really don't want to repeat that experience. Good riddance.

Anyway, I guess I should go face the ice and snow, get myself ready for my sweet new job, and clean the cat box. Ahh, what a glamourous life I lead.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Season Kick-Off

Ha! Check out the dude behind us - dying! And we're all smiles and sunshine.

I - can't - go - any - faster! Crap!

Oh, the agony.

More agony.
I don't have much to say about the Cantua/Pine Flat weekend, except that it was rad. We didn't have the numbers to earn upgrade points, but I had a blast duking it out with my new friend Rikke for two days, mixing it up with the 35+ ladies on Saturday and the 1/2 ladies on Sunday (hey, guess what? I outclimbed a couple of them!). Rikke ended up nipping me on both days, but it was awesome having someone there to challenge and push me (and vice versa of course). We're both looking for our upgrade, so not having even a measely 5 girls show up to race in the 3's was lame, but we made the best of the situation and flogged ourselves and eachother. Bike racing is awesome, and even more so when you feel strong (I did), and good company is just the icing on the proverbial cake. Radical. Life is good.
Speaking of awesome - Cody deserves huge credit for not only chaffeuring me around all weekend, feeding me (on and off the bike), dogsitting while I raced, and offering moral support, but also giving me the most killer leg massage on Saturday after the first race. Ahh, if only he could come to all my races. Sadly, he has a life of his own.
Now I'm home in Reno, it's 60F outside and sunny and gorgeous and the birds are singing. There are 1000 things I should be doing, but right now I think I'll just go lay around, in the sunshine, on the hammock, and read a book. Life is good, indeed.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Finally! My training gets really on track. I was struggling a little bit in January - weather, travel, motivation - but lately both my head and my legs have been where they need to be. Still unemployed (for the most part, more on that later) but totally taking advantage of the free time to ride ride ride. All this free time also makes it so much easier to attend to my rest, recovery, and nutrition needs. If/When I have a 9-5 it's going to be a struggle to not have this kind of time.

So, on the employment front, I am sort of employed. I'm working 5-10 hours a week helping with a couple middle school orchestra classes. For those who aren't privy to my dark life before bikes, I was a musician. Violin, tuba, and tenor saxophone. So now I'm using my latent violin skills for (minimal) financial gain. It's actually really fun. I've always loved teaching (spent a number of years teaching music, and was a music education major for a number of years) and I've really missed playing music since my jock-transformation. It doesn't exactly pay the bills, but it helps a bit. I've got a plan in the works, so hopefully soon there will be more profitable news in the job report.

Last weekend was our Touchstone Cycling team camp. It was rad - the girls are nice and awesome, and there's sooooo much serious talent on the team. We raced a crit on Saturday, and I was happy with my fitness, and very surprised that it didn't hurt as much as the first crit of the season typically does. I'm incredibly motivated by the strength of my team, and I feel like I have something to contribute. Good all over.

Right now I'm totally exhausted after finishing a third consecutive day of hard training. I love this feeling - coming home from my ride with barely the energy to eat a good recovery meal. Jeez . . . I think I just reached the end of my creative energy (not that my blog is especially creative, but you get the point).