Thursday, February 26, 2009

Training Progresses

Okay, so I'm now writing this post for the second time after I accidentally deleted it somehow. Aaaargh!

My training changed again this week. From this point forward, I'll only be doing one day of weight training a week. My intensity on the bike has increased quite a bit.

For those of you who think my husband is figuring out my entire training plan, you're wrong. I am actually participating. Chris hands off an Excel spreadsheet to me for each week (usually three weeks at a time). The sheet includes the days of the week and indicated on each is time on the bike, along with some mysterious codes. My mission is to go to the Mountain Bike Training Bible and look up the codes to see what they mean. Then I stand around a lot deciding how long my intervals and recovery periods should be, what gearing to use, etc. During this time I ask Chris many, many questions. Tonight, for example, I had to do F2 and M2, which are "big gear climbs" and "cruise intervals."

When I finally get on the bike, I strap on my $29.99 digital watch from Target and look at it every so often to figure out when I'm supposed to start doing something else. It's a fairly cumbersome process. In fact, I was just thinking "I wish there was some type of device I could use to program my workouts. Then it would just beep at me or something when it was time to switch." Oh, there is. I just can't afford it. :-(

As old as this low-tech training is getting, I am determined to keep it up because I have high hopes for this season. I need to be ready.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Couple Unrelated Items

So something happened on Sunday that made me feel really stupid. I was expecting to get a CPS Award for third place. I was sitting there at the Expo with a bunch of my teammates from last year, but I never heard my name. At first I thought they were just calling names in a really weird order. Then when it was over, I thought I must have just missed hearing my name because we were talking a bit amongst ourselves and the guy who was reading the names was seriously mumbling.

When it was all over, I went up to ask about it and they told me I wasn't on the list. I couldn't figure it out, because according to the results on the MMBA site, I came in third place. I didn't argue about it, though, because I wasn't positive and I didn't want to look more ridiculous than I already did. Turns out I was right—sort of. According to the file on the MMBA site, I'm in third. I have a three next to my name and I'm the third one in the list. Everyone below me is greyed out, presumably because they didn't do enough races to qualify. Upon further review, though, I realized the person directly under me did have enough races, even though her name is greyed out. She also had one more point than I did. They must have figured out there was a mistake but never bothered to correct the file. I'm glad I didn't make a big deal about it.

In other news, I'm really excited about our new site. We had some t-shirts made, wore them around at the Expo and had several people ask about the site. We even met a potential advertiser. I also created a Facebook fan site and we already have 39 fans (and some of them are actually people we don't even know). We got some link love from Danielle and Jake and we've had 245 visits since we launched. It's just one more reason why I can't for race season to start.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We're Live!

We've finally launched our new Web site! As my loyal readers will know, I've been hinting around our super secret project. Well, we're finally letting the cat out of the bag.

Michigan Mountain Bike is a project Chris and I have been working on for quite some time, and it is finally ready for general consumption.

We have some ambitious goals for our site and we'll be rolling out various components of the site as they are completed, but to start with, we'll have these items:
  • A comprehensive calendar of Michigan races, including maps to the venues and links to online registration
  • A featured blog and featured racer each month
  • Race reports and photos from selected races
  • Complete results for Michigan races
  • Timely, pertinent news

Check out our site and find us on Facebook.

We'd especially like to thank this racer and this racer for letting us feature them in February.

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Like It

I did a bit better this week, but not much. I've been having a lot of trouble consistently tracking what I eat lately, and I think that's really hindering my progress. Thankfully, when I weighed in this morning, I saw some positive progress on the scale. In fact, I lost enough to cancel out my crappy week last week. I ended up being down 3.2 pounds for a total of 24.2. I'm hoping to keep it up because I still have quite a ways to go.

All in all, it was a busy but promising week. I'm enjoying my new job and keep seeing things about the company that impress me. That's a good feeling, because things don't often turn out to be as rosy as they are portrayed in an interview (on either side of the table).

I don't really have much to write about today and I'll spare you the painful rambling. I will point out, however, that Alaska Jill linked me (and Di) from her blog about a week and a half ago. I finally got around to checking my Google Analytics tonight and I saw that I had 103 visits from her link. Too bad I didn't have anything interesting enough on here to keep any of those visitors.

That's it, I guess. Mostly, I just wanted to post my weight progress. There'll be more news to come in the next couple of days as we unveil our special project. I'll also have some stuff to recap from the Expo on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sad and Lonely Blog

It's obvious what's been missing from this blog lately. I'm not going to whine about how busy I am, because that should also be obvious (unless I'm just really lazy), so I'm just going to give a little update here.

I started my new job this week. So far, it's been really good. I know you can't tell much after three days, but I've seen a lot of things that make me feel very good about the company and excited about my opportunity there. I've been trying to finish up some freelance projects that have been hanging out there, so I've been working on those on my lunch breaks and in the evenings.
I never got around to posting my weigh in last week. It was crappy. Not only did I not lose weight, I gained 1.8 pounds. The thing is, I don't think this week's going to be much better. But I'm not giving up. I'm hoping it's just a rough patch and that I'm back on track now.

I've been keeping up my training and have been sticking to my schedule very well. I didn't get to the Snowcross race last weekend because I just had too much going on and didn't feel like I could take the whole day out of town. I've been mostly riding the trainer, though I have had a few days outside here and there. I'm really looking forward to race season and I hope I'll be ready.

The MMBA Expo is this Sunday and I am thrilled to have it right down the street from me. I'm also looking forward to a nice, spacious, heated building, which will be a definite change from the previous venue.

Besides the Expo itself, I'm also excited because we're putting the finishing touches on our special project that I've hinted at already on this blog. We had hoped to have it done before now, but our ultimate goal was to finish it prior to the Expo so we could promote it there. I'll also do a post on it on Saturday or Sunday (depending on when it's finished—it could be down to the wire). I will give you a little hint, though. The above image is part of the design for our promotional t-shirts that will be used to generate interest. Don't be spoilers, those of you who already know.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Help, I'm Drowning (and Other Good News)

It's horrible what I've been doing to my blog lately. Or, rather, not doing. There are all kinds of things to write about, but there just seems to be no time.

The latest development, which has made things even more hectic, is the fact that I've been offered a new job. Now I'm not complaining about this development, because I am very excited. It's just that starting next week, I'll be spending 40 hours in an office, and won't have time to finish up the freelance projects I have hanging out there. So, I'm trying to complete the big ones this week.

When I quit my job back in September, I was hoping I'd have a new job soon. As the weeks went by and I didn't get one, I embraced freelancing as a source of income and I also loved the flexibility. But I kept looking for a job and hoping for something good to come along.

I have high hopes for my new job. The people seem great. The company has a wonderful reputation in the community and I've heard from multiple people that it's an outstanding place to work. On top of that, I think the position will be interesting and allow me to use my skills. It's a lot of the communications stuff I had in my last job, but there's also some significant PR involved.

I may continue to be scarce around here for the next week or so, but hopefully, after that I'll be back in full force.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Suspense is Killing You!

I know all of you are probably eagerly awaiting news of this week's weigh in, which I have up until now lamely refrained from posting. It's not because I'm not excited, though. This week, with a renewed commitment to tracking and controlling my eating pretty closely, along with my hours on the bike, I was able to pull out a 3.6 loss. This puts me over my first WW goal and allowed me to earn this lovely keyring. In all seriousness, I am thrilled to have reached this milestone and am really pleased with how the program is working for me.

I also have some other exciting news, which some of you already know, that I will share the next time I post. Things are going to be even busier for the next couple weeks, after which I hope I will be able to return to regular blogging. For now, though, I have to get some work done and continue my debate with myself about whether to ride inside or outside on this SUNNY, 50-DEGREE day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Relax (and Simplify)

Sunday morning I was scheduled for a low intensity, 2.5-hour ride. When I went outside to let the puppies out and felt what had become an unfamiliar sensation of not freezing, I decided I must ride outside. That decision was only solidified when the sun came out in full force. I felt like someone who'd been released from a dungeon and in a way, I was.
I loaded up with gear and plugged in my MP3 player. (Yes I use it a lot when I ride, but trust me, the volume is low enough that I can hear everything around me.) In my mind, there was one clear choice of music for the day's ride. Ben Taddiken.

You see, I've been thinking about our buddy Ben recently because we've been trying to figure out if he's still in Key West or not. We've been unsuccessfully trying to get in touch with him for the past couple of weeks. Just the night before, I had a weird dream featuring my husband, Ben and an unidentified Monchichi-like animal floating on its back in the water around Key West. (I wonder whatever happened to my Monchichi ... )

At any rate, Ben leads a somewhat nomadic, pleasure-seeking life, usually playing guitar in a bar and consuming mass quantities of cocktails. Call it hedonistic or something worse, but it seems to suit him. One of his songs, Relax (and Simplify), has become his mantra and I was listening to that song and thinking about what it means. Sometimes the most simple things give the most pleasure. For me on Sunday it was the pure joy of seeing clear pavement for the first time in a while. Now I couldn't live the type of life he leads because I like "things" and security far too much, but there's something to be said for keeping some simplicity in our lives.

I'm continually being taught this lesson by someone or something, but I seem to keep having to rediscover it. Sometimes, especially when you've been hiding in the house, missing the sunshine and toiling away on the trainer, it feels so good to just get out there in the sunshine and ride. Not profound but true nevertheless.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I know I say it all the time, but I've still got a lot to learn about training. Yesterday I did the second time trial since I've been on my training program. The last one, which was three weeks ago, didn't seem that bad. I came in about where I expected to and I figured this one was going to be considerably better.

So, yesterday, as I was sweating like crazy and cursing Coach Troy, I was envisioning my results with a smile on my face. When I finished and looked at my computer, I was stunned. I actually did worse on this one than the first one. It wasn't much worse. The difference was negligible, but I had not improved like I thought I would. I had one of those moments where I thought "why am I busting my butt out here if it isn't even doing anything."

My husband then told me, very politely, that I had only been training for six weeks, this wasn't going to happen overnight, it was only three weeks since the last time I did it, yada, yada, yada. Then he said "besides, you're just base building right now."

In my head I know all the base building is going to be very useful to me one of these days and those long, long rides are going to help me when I'm doing endurance races this year. And I will stick to it if it kills me, but this test was definitely a blow to my longing for instant gratification.

Today I'm going to do one of those long, slow rides and with the temperature already feeling balmy at 32 degrees, I have a feeling it's going to be outside.