2010: My Psyche Has Stretch Marks

I've been in racing sports now for 18 months. This is not long enough to know anything about year-to-year improvement. This is not long enough to know anything except that I'm having a lot of fun and feeling great.

Someday, I'll want to look back and see the highlights reel. For the record...

January 2010
Two-a-day workouts, lifting, running, swimming. Ice and snow galore. Changing the "power to weight" ratio. Pricing road bikes and dreaming of test rides. Groundhog Run: "How does it feel to be a top-20 badass?"

February 2010
Running running running. Picking up distance. Ran to work and back home, 7 miles uphill both ways. Running at lunchtime in the very cold. Running hills. Running trails. Narrowed down the road bike choices.

March 2010
Rock the Parkway half marathon. Crossed the finish together with Kris Pall, an old friend I hadn't seen in a long time. We raced for it pellmell. Lots of single leg strength workouts. Still thinking of myself as the recovering eating disordered person, the chunky girl who doesn't look like she should be doing this stuff.

April 2010
Run for Mercy 10K, Trolley Run, God's Country Duathlon. Faster faster faster. Back on the bike after months of intermittent trainer time. Commuting to work on the hybrid. Also, first mountain bike ride in the God's Country race in Lawrence. Thank you Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack. We purchase Gogo, the Madone. And I am gifted a steel mountain bike.

May 2010
Kansas City Triathlon, BikeSource Duathlon. Beaten by the waves at KC, ran like jolted with 500v at BikeSource, podium. Made the infamous wetsuit video. Weather still crappy. Like a delayed February. Morning rides nonexistent.

June 2010
Hospital Hill 10K. Missing strength work. Open water swims at Shawnee Mission Park, running trails first. Acclimating to heat. Road rides around the west side after work. Road rides down south on the weekends. Starting to stretch distances on the bike. Riding a couple of times at the river trails. MTB bruising begins.

July 2010
Du Draper Twice: podium on road, crashed and DNF off road. Prairie Punisher, strong on bike, walked in the heat of second run. WinforKC tri, like homecoming, fantastic field. Feeling like MTB might be a hubristic, age-and-ability-inappropriate mistake, but loving it and not wanting to quit. Riding long on weekends. Brick workouts. Found my "inner iguana" for the hot weather. One of the year's best rides, around Lake Hefner with the Bunnyman.

August 2010
Riding with pals. Spin Pizza rides. 30, 40 milers. Sunflowers to Roses. Won a fork at Spiderfest (local MTB seasonal party and ride — took all my sick-to-the-stomach courage to believe I belonged there and show up with my crap bike, where I knew no one, two days after I was told I didn't have any business in mountain biking the way I was going about it) and got called a "mojo vampire." Weird month to say the least. No more open water swims. First real look back at the year this month; I felt beaten up.

Between racing, the rapid cold-shock introduction to racing mentalities, athletic hierarchies, and cliques, gear acquisition and the new economic stresses thereof, huge new time commitments to athletic activity, being in a very different body, completely changing my nutrition, having my brain chemistry change, being around people socially a LOT and liking that for the first time, the unannounced amputation of a singularly valued friendship, constantly diving into and through physical fear (and vertigo!) on the MTB, lots of bangs and bruises, riding through the warps in home life and marriage as a result of all these changes... yeah, my psyche has stretch marks. Thank God N. has my back. The rest of the world can go fry an egg; I just want to be with him. No more multisport racing this year. Enough.

September 2010
MS 150 in Oklahoma with N. Fantastic rides, beautiful weather, reconnecting with a loved friend and kick-ass bluesman, Greg. On the mountain bike, on rocks. I fall a LOT. And I have to work hard to let the voice in my head dissipate that says I have no business on a mountain bike. Because it feels more wonderful than anything, even if I suck and can't ride very much of the trail at all. Running trail to build for the trail half in October. Turn in a 15 mile trail run with a couple of recovery walk intervals. Takes me for freaking EVER.

October 2010
Whoo! Running in Bangalore, riding in Belgium! Broken field, both places. Trail half canceled. I ran around slippery rocks at Lake Perry anyway, thanking my lucky stars there was no race. Was NOT ready for that elevation in a race. Tour de BBQ in Kansas City, windy as all get out. Graveyard Run with Kelly Grace.

November 2010
Back in the gym. Fall/winter doldrums: nutrition slips with holiday goodies. Running trails at lunch. Falling on the mountain bike but not walking as much. Decide to build a mountain bike and start looking at frames. My self-image is changing. My body not so much right now. I am seeing my body finally as its muscles, skin, fat, shape, strength, instead of as a work of salvage.

December 2010
The doldrums pass but not the holiday goodies. I nosedive into the beginning of a compulsive eating episode. Pull out of it by riding a bike around the ATV tracks by a gravel pit instead of attending the office holiday smorgasbord. Running trails and road, but there seems to be no default activity other than MTB. Riding at lunchtime, working on skills and confidence. Weather mild and dry. As the year turns, thinking of races and other off-the-books adventures that sound like fun... and who cares about wind chill! Let's go do the New Year's MTB ride on the fast and frozen river trails. Cheers.


Stacy Cahalan said...

Love this post. Holy crap -- what a year. You make me look like a sedentary zoo animal! Keep it up girlfriend. You are such an inspiration. Perhaps I could actually make it out of the steam room at the gym one of these days!

Ann Pai said...

Stacy, I am familiar with the zoo you are keeping over there. What you really need is a cold beer in a steel bottle and girl talk in the locker room hot tub.

Ann Pai said...

I keep hoping that things like "girl in hot tub" will get me numbers of weird hits from the interwebs.