Sunday, June 29, 2008

Xterra RB Winter State Park - I didn't race!

But my buds raced, and they raced fine and dandy! Missy Chrissy, Christina Bohensky was 3rd girl overall finishing of all the women finishers! She had an aweseome race. She was 5th female out of the water, 3rd coming in off the bike just behind Sarah Lichtenwalner who took 2nd female finisher and first in her age group, and Chrissy held onto her 3rd for the run also to take the win in her age group. Sheena was there to cheer everyone on while recouperating from an injury (thus, she couldn't race but would have liked to!) It wass Sheena's 26th birthday on Saturday, and Christina's Birthday today, her 27th! HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLS! Sheena's hubby Greg, and Chrissy's other half Rick Fessler were there two. Sheena and Rick did a 6.5 hr hike on Saturday scaling 4 mountains! Geez... Greg, spent his Saturday afternoon antiquing in Lewisburg, while Chrissy was saving her energy for today. And SUE ANNE CLARKE, our Mid-Atlantic Xterra Ambassador, was 5th woman to finish! This brave soul did the swim wetsuitless -- one of only about 3. The water was about 62. Brrr..... Girl I would have gladly brought my suit for ya! She was right behind the other gals coming in. And that after a fall in Richmond last week! It was fun watching for a change, and not racing. I think I could get used to being a spectator and not a particpant! Rob Lichtenwalner was commenting on the same thing (but he ain't quitting his racing anytime soon!). Rob rode 5.5 hours of moutnain bike on Saturday with his team bud from last year, Brandon Drougalis.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Counting my Lucky Stars

Geez...sometimes we shouldn't read too much. It's scary stuff! I'm reading up on brain injuries/bleeds and I'm discovering I'm a very, very lucky girl after my head trauma/crash in Richmond. I'm not experiencing many of the symptoms of serious brain bleeds like loss of memory, dizziness, anxiety, etc. My bleed was "small", so recovery should be normal...but time will tell. That's that part of brain bleeds that is uncertain -- it takes as much as 6 months to a year to fully recovery and its uncertain what one will encounter along the way. The one thing I did notice was my inability to proofread properly or speak intelligently (can't recall big words) so please excuse the errors! (I had trouble with this prior to the accident - its worse now!) I could also sleep at any moment -- even while talking to people, and my head hurts almost all the time. I'm not one for sitting still, so that's something new to deal with too. I tried to stretch yeststerday, but I realized I can't lower my head for any reason - instant pain. I may try to get on the trainer and ride real easy. Here's the pic the day of accident - Rick is never without a camera. Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers - they are working. I'm bummed I can't workout for a couple more days or maybe even weeks, but I guess that was meant to be. So I'll think about my routine after I can start again. Of all things, I miss swimming the most! Running second, and biking 3rd. I may start weight lifting again too since I won't be following any training plans. I'm pre-registered for the Trimax Xterra next week and also Rocky Gap July 13, but hope to pass those registrations onto a friend if they'll let me. I'm still going to Rocky Gap to enjoy the weekend and cheer on my buds. That's a beautiful place even if I'm not racing. Later kids...enjoy your workouts!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Racing Season Cut Short

It only took a little research to realize my racing season is over this year as a result of my little crash in Richmond Doctor's orders are "no strenuous activity for 1 month." Within that month I'll lose between 40-50% of fitness -- too much to gain back to do any races this year. So my dear friends, I'll be riding for fun the remainder of the year. Actually, my dear hubby has been looking forward to this for quite some time! He's the best.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Richmond didn't go too well. Stupid me was on a training ride on Saturday and I hit a mound of dirt going about 20 mph and it catapulted me in the air about 10 feet like a rocket. When I was mid-air, I said to myself, "this ain't good." Having no Motocross or downhill experience, I didn't know how to land or position myself, so all I remember after that is waking up in the ambulance. Looking at the divets in my helmet and the way my face looks (missing two front teeth), I landed on my face which resulted in an intercranial bleed which isn't very pleasant and puts a damper on things (dizzy -- aren't I normally dzzy? well I'm more dizzy now). I spent a day in ICU in the VCU hospital, and 3 days in a regular room. I have tons of cuts and scrapes (my face looks the worst) and my hand was in a cast because they said that was broken, but they took that off before I left. I have the best husband in the world for putting up with my shegnangans, and the best boss for dealing with me and the best friends for caring about me. I'll be out of comission for a couple weeks. I even told rick "I promise I'll never race again" after worrying him to death. He'd like to hold me to that (and I may hold myself to that!) I don't feel on earth at the moment so let me get back to my fantasy world. Oh, and one of my cats died while I was away. poo. I'll post when I feel up to it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Packing for Richmond

Oh the excitement. The bags are getting packed, the bike was checked over, the taper has begun, and the nerves are letting me know there's a big weekend coming up. Even Mr. Rick is excited! He LOVES kayaking -- even if it includes watching other kayakers. And Hollywood rapid on the James River is very entertaining. Its about a 3-4 ft drop, with a pushy rush of water through a 15 foot narrow area on the river. Rick's been studying kayak reports (deaths!) at this section, and he's taking his boat along which of course made me nervous 'cause he told me this AFTER he told about people dying in this section of the river. He said he'll stay in the calm areas and will look for someone to paddle with. It still makes me nervous. We decided to leave Friday rather than Saturday so we weren't so rushed on Saturday with driving 5-6 hours AND taking in all the events. There's a river swim clinic early Saturday morning that is a can't miss. The Richmond Clinic folks actually recommend water shoes/boots for this swim and I recall Candy Angle saying a few years ago at her clinic she wouldn't recommend them -- they fall off, etc. Maybe I need to turn her on to kayak booties -- they fit like a wet suit with a thin rubber sole, and have a drawstring at the ankle. Those babies ain't filling up with water nor will they come off. They are perfect for this swim (I've been using them) AND the 200 yard run afterwards to transition (which I remember hurts like hell over some stones and mulch). The Susquehanna River muck has been washed off the booties and they are in the bag to go! Jersey Joe Pa is packing too. He has his little visor in case its hot, and his sling pack to hop a ride with the big kids. This is Jersey Joe's first official trip to a big city, so who knows what he'll do! I think he's more full of anticipation than Rick and I combined. (I saw him checking Mapquest and looking at the schedule for the weekend). Exciting times.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Taking One Last Dip in the Pond Scum Before Richmond

It took all the suckin' up I could muster up to take one last swim in the crappy, leech-infested, slow flowing, greenish Susquehanna River to be ready for Sunday's Championship Xterra race in Richmond, Virginia. Three times I stepped in, then stepped back out. Rick was watching from the car this time rather than from the comfort of his boat by my side, and when I started heading back to the car, he started shaking his head calling me a wimp asking what's wrong. "So why aren't you swimming WITH me Rick?" "I don't want to swim in the river." "But why Rick, WHY don't you want to swim in the river?" "I just don't want to." So back I go to try for the 3rd and final time. Ok, I said to myself, taking a really big breath. Don't look down I thought (there were a LOT of wiggly things at the shore this time...and BIG crayfish with BIG pinchy thingys just waiting for their opportunity). And don't worry about that ankle deep'll wash off. Oh...and that's the best spot for the snapping turtles to hang out to cool off when its this hot, but don't worry about them either. Do you know what finally forced me in the water? Jamie Whitmore. Knowing she'd swim in anything about now made realize this river ain't nuthin! Anyways...they actually manufacture and SELL pond scum to consume and slather on your body -- so maybe my skin will turn silky soft and smooth! In I went, and had to stop after about 2 minutes 'cause I wasn't making any headway in the stronger flow going through the first opening in the ferrywall. But have no fear...just stand up! It's no more than 2-3 feet deep with many spots now 1 foot deep and you can scrape your hands across the bottom -- or in weedy things. And those weedy things wrap around your legs too when you stand up. So the best thing is just to keep swimming and not pay any attention to the bottom. But it was really, really murky tonight for some reason. You couldn't see the bottom of the 1 foot areas from the thickness of the scum. You could visibly see algae floating...and tiny specs of I don't know what. Swim time tonight? 15 minutes was all that was tolerable. When I noticed the weird aqua bug creatures floating in numbers, I figured that's enuf. The stroke felt good, so that's all that counted for now...and I think I'm ready to get back in open water for the 2nd (and likely most important) Xterra of the season. XterraChic talked about the James River being what you could call an "off road swim". Maybe Xterra should do more of those -- they certainly add a different perspective on swimming!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Humbled - Update on Xterra Pro Jamie Whitmore

Earlier this year, Xterra racer pro Jamie Whitmore underwent 9-1/2 hours of surgery to remove a malignant tumor from her spine. That was April. This is June. And while she's making progress, it sounds like its a slow, painful process. She updates her blog weekly, and reading it is humbling. It makes one realize how precious every moment, every hour, every day, every week, really truly is. Her blog is peppered with words of inspiration we all know and live by... "everything in life happens for a reason." Its all a test, and we're to take those tests and grow from them. Expand. Live more.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Racing with the Xterra Pros

Part of the excitement of Xterra is standing on the start line mixed in with Pros. Well, maybe not THAT close, but they are right there at the start with little ole farm girl, me, from Central PA, plugging along with a half-assed swim stroke. The Pros are SO friendly, likeable, and talkable, and helpful. I've only encountered 1 pro that seemed disinterested in anything but standing on the podium and smiling (sorry Barb Lindquist, but you really didn't seem too friendly). Barb only ever did one Xterra, and it was just to try it. All the others will answer any question you may have and are just as friendly as can be. So when the race preview articles come out about upcoming races and who's going to be there, its like reading an article about an old friend. Rick especially liked Conrad Stoltz and Emeko Llanos (did I spell his name right?) in Tahoe. He photographed them while they were being filmed for the Tahoe Nationals in 2005. Emeko especially was very polite, considerate and friendly. All good folks - family! So here's the the link to the latest news article on the Alabama Championship on Sunday.