Friday, November 30, 2007

Olympics for average Joes

Marc showed me this article today.

"...It's all part of a highly pragmatic and uniquely British effort to maintain national pride when London plays host to the Summer Games in 2012. Britain has a goal: fourth place in the overall national medal count.... The British aren't trying for big-ticket draws like swimming or track and field. Instead, sports officials have analyzed past competitions to identify areas where the competition appears weak. Hence the interest in sports such as team handball, women's sprint flatwater canoeing."

Ohhh flatwater canoeing, you obscure sport, you.

The article details a very interesting concept: gather thousands of athletic people and divide them into groups according to height and body type. Then put them through tests that help match them with a sport. Send them off to sport- specific camp and put them through more tests to wean out the weak. Then, according to the article, the final squad moves to a training center and gets all expenses paid for 5 years of training to win medals in canoeing.

"Britain didn't win any medals in flatwater canoeing and just one bronze in kayaking in 2004. But coaches say they'll be happy with three or four, of any color, in 2012."

Way to take initive, Britain! This is a cool idea and a valiant goal. But is it realistic for 2012? No. They're not giving sprint kayaking enough credit. Yes, they're going to discover quite a bit of untapped talent, to be sure. AND they will side-step the steep learning curve [for learning to balance in the boat] by feeding the funnel with hundreds of prospectives. But I'm not convinced that 5 years is enough time to surpass the likes of Natasa Janics and
Carrie Johnson. No way.

And will they love what they're doing, or just love the idea of the podium? Pure love of the sport goes a long way towards happiness, and happy athletes are fast athletes. How could you be happy for 5 whole years while participating in a sport that you only started because you were lured by the idea of winning medals?

("'I didn't even know the sport existed,'" says the "prospective Olympic medalist" in the article)

It's not that I think this is a bad idea, per se-- I'm just not convinced it will work. In the long run- 2016, 2020, if their pool of athletes develops a true love for the sport and continues, then Britain will begin to reap the benefits of their large-scale talent-search. Maybe it will be revolutionary. Until then, it will be interesting to follow how the program develops.

Moving up in the world

Yesterday we (Marc, Jason, Holly, and me) did a "crash bang medley."

The concept of "medley" is a pretty simple cardio workout: 3 x(10 minutes, 5 minutes, 5 minutes) with no breaks in between. The 10 minute pieces are done on your choice of airdyne bike, rowing machine, canoe erg, or kayak erg. The 5 minute pieces in between are your choice of speed bag, punching bag, abs, weights on balance board, slide board, step-ups, jumprope, etc. The idea is to go as hard as you can during each segment- whether it be 5 or 10 minutes- and then switch to the next machine without any rest. It's an hour of hard effort, and the switching keeps boredom at bay. We blast metallica, sometimes turn on boxing or canoe videos, and rotate on all the machines together. The cool thing about a medley is that you get out of it whatever you put into it- that is- if you're exhausted, you can take it easy and it's a great way to clear lactic acid. Or, if you're feeling good, you can go balls-out, which brings me to the concept of "crash bang."

Crash bang: going as hard as possible. Holly was ten- percenting Jason, meaning she had to come within 10% of his numbers on everything. (She did, with room to spare.) I'm not quite "there" yet, and Marc is mostly beyond "there," so he and I just tried to break our own records. (We did.) (In the forge, we refer to PRs as "world records.")

World Records Set By Emily Yesterday:

Airdyne bike-how many calories burned in 10 minutes
Previous record: 142.
Thursday's record: 153.
New goal: 160.

Rowing machine- how many meters rowed in 10 minutes
Previous record: 2392m (2:09/500m average)
Thursday's record: 2455m (2:02.3/500m average)
New goal: 2500m (2:00/500m average)

Speed bag- how many seconds to do a 1-10 progression (hit once with left, once with right, twice with left, twice with right, etc. all the way to 10 and back down to 1)
Previous record: 67 seconds
Thursday's record: 61 seconds
New goal: under a minute

Hard work and good results from everyone.

Today my shoulder is no better. I've been icing, heating, stretching, or propping it up since 5:30am this morning. I even decided to make some homemade bread in hopes that the kneading the dough would make it feel better!! (It didn't.) Tyler suggested yoga, so that's next.

but the bread is delicious!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Yesterday, Dan [my trainer] was with his wife, who had a baby! So- no Dan, no killer ab routine; instead I confessed to Cesar [my physical therpist] that my right shoulder has been hurting for about a week. After an hour of stretching, poking, and prodding, he concluded that my inflammation/impingement is probably caused by scapular weakness on my right side as well as a few huge, deep triggerpoints on my upper traps, which could be caused in part by my my terrible posture, which is could have something to do with a chest/back inbalance, which could be caused by my mother accidentally forgetting to hold her breath when she passed a cemetary during her 13th week of pregnancy. It's never- ending. I hate this stuff. It's my own fault, too, because I've been feeling so good that when I go to therapy I usually just do a workout with Dan and neglect stim, stretching, and triggerpoints because a) they hurt b) I feel like doing abs is a better use of my time c) it really, really hurts.

Cesar tried his best to diminish the knot yesterday, and I'm paying for it today: I woke up in the middle of the night crying. Taking notes in physics class today was almost more than I could handle, with every F=ma sending shooting pain up my arm. This all probably makes me sound like a wimp, and maybe I am. (The Wright's not tuff!?!) But that still doesn't make it hurt any less.

It's ominous because this is the same type of stuff I went through when my other shoulder was torn. And you know what, I definitely think that I have paid my dues in terms of injuries! But unfortunately it doesn't work that way. It's like my body is reminding me "Don't Think You're Good." Don't get too comfortable with your health; don't think this can't happen again. I'm toeing the line.

For the next few weeks, I'm going to focus on strengthening my scapular stabilizers, and have Cesar try to break up these triggerpoints. I feel helpless and vulnerable. It is unbelievably frustrating, but honestly, I don't know if I would be able to handle another shoulder injury, so I'm going to try not to complain about having to do extra work. I'm going to fix this problem before it becomes a problem.

Luckily for me, the guys at Brownstone Physical Therapy are so phenomenal that I swear they believe in me more than I believe in myself.

And congrats to Dan and his wife Bethany for the birth of their baby!! Perspective, anyone?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marcie Boy's Bright Idea

It was a crisp fall day: delightfully sunny, cold, and clear. Our fearless leader decided we should canoe for an hour before doing the usual Tuesday Medley, and at 1:30pm, it was decided that we would meet at 3:30. But no sooner had the decision been made did the wind pick up, the sun dart behind the clouds, and the temperature plummet. As a rule, Rochester's weather is reliably un-reliable. But we didn't mind-- if it was going to be cold for the paddle, at least it was windy and pouring rain as well. Not to mention the creek was roaring [by my rookie c1 standards] and I didn't make one single corner upstream. But nevertheless, paddling kicks ass right now because I've only gone, like, twice since Holyoke. Only approximately 34 more days of abstinence (but who's counting?) and I'll be chomping at the bit on New Years Day, aka Day One. It's going to be a good year.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Pretty low-key week, what with the holiday and all. I took it easy and enjoyed spending time with my huge family, all of whom converged in Connecticut for Thanksgiving.

Between the eating and the craziness, I did manage to fit in a few gorgeous runs and one spectacular hike with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I think New England is charming, even masked in fog as it was the whole weekend.

Farm down the road from Grandma's house

What that sign means to say is Twisty Turny Harrowing Descent Just Ahead

Carriage crossing!

Me and my little sister Anna on top of the "mountain"

Actually it was so cold and windy we couldn't cold our smiles for very long

A beautiful day, all in all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Winter's out to disappoint me

There's skiing (or at least snow) in West Yellowstone, Boston, Lake Placid, Burlington, Ottawa... the list goes on.

And don't worry... just in case I thought the weather might make a poor Rochester girl's skiing-in- November dreams come true: Rain for Thanksgiving at Grandma's house.

It's okay. I live for rollerskiing, really.

Have a good Turkey (chicken?) day!!

Things I forgot to mention

A couple weeks ago, we at Forge Racing (Marc, Holly, Kyle, Jason, and myself) made a sweet workout video to add to the Forge's previous workout video series that was a smashing success amongst canoe racers throughout this season. This edition is entitled "The 400 Workout," named after the 300 workout, which is essentially the regimen for the actors in the movie "300" (which I have yet to see) It uses kettlebells and the idea of supersetting the exercises to build explosive strength while getting a killer cardio workout. (read: you never catch your breath)

To create this torturous routine, we watched Youtube videos of the 300 workout and then Marc lengthed and adapted it to create the "400" workout. (read: we're tough, most ain't) The total workout is only 25 [intense] minutes long and we do it every Friday. Not that anyone reads my blog per se, especially not those who would be interested in the video, but in the interest of practicing what it might be like if and when I actually do have my own devoted readers, the video is available for $25 in VHS or DVD format. Additionally, the old videos (paddling technique, weights routine, and endurance routine) are available for $25 with a guarantee of rapid improvement if you copy our workouts exactly.

Team Forge at the 90-miler

Sunday, November 18, 2007

runner's high

Today's Race went swimmingly! I'm no runner - never have been - but I'm proud of my improvements so far. (For posterity's sake, I ran 40:22.) The stars today were Marc, Jason, and Holly.... they were each 1st or 2nd in their age groups, with Jason 5th overall, Marc 12th overall, and Holly 32nd overall (3rd woman). Team Forge cleaned up! Pretty good for big burly canoers.
Me with my running-champ roommate

The ski sale yesterday was ridiculous. Hundreds and hundreds of Nordic skiers in one place at the same time: the chances of that happening are like the chances of Lee beating me in this year's Emily-and-Lee-Loppet-Bet: slim to none. I did my share of equipment-selling (and equipment buying...) After the sale, we ate delicious food cooked by Mrs. Day (and okay, to be fair, Chad may have helped, but we're not exactly sure how.) Then a group of us went for a gorgeous dusk run at Mendon Ponds (we had to show the out-of-towners that we mean it when we say the section V skiing courses are hilly) and a coffee run. Thanksgiving break should be all the time.

For the rest of the day, I'm going to drink as much coffee as possible (I'm up to a pot and a half so far), read this month's Women's Health magazine, and browse Roadrunner sports for a new pair of running shoes. Time to get serious about this running thing, yknow?

Friday, November 16, 2007


Okay, it's on: who can sell more rcs carbonlites at the sale tomorrow: me, or Matty D?

And (more importantly), can our combined forces hunt down skiable snow aftewards???

my laundry is good for your joints

One of the things that's cool about staying at my parents' house is the proximity to "country" roads and wide open space... the farms and cobblestone houses, and the smell of woodstoves and snow in the air. It's perfection; nobody can convince me otherwise.

And since I'm tapering for the big Turkey Classic on Sunday,I felt justified in stopping to snap photos just so I could bring said perfection to your computer screen.

What am I listening to? Alison Kraus. Is there anything else?

The road.

Snow.On.My.Arm. (!!)

Some other points of interest from today:

-Starbucks guy called me sweetheart!!!! Cute.

-I accidentally left my vitamins in the pocket of my coat which went through the laundry. Now all my clothes smell like fish.

-The ski sale is this weekend! Time for me to play saleswoman and flex my nor-dork know-how, all while convincing my mom that she wants to buy me adjustable Leki poles for my birthday. What a riot.

-And, I am not actually tapering for the Turkey Classic this weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So much for good intentions

On Tuesday after the cardio medley workout, Marc and I discussed how to improve my running (and overall fitness). One of his recommendations was to, instead of just running in the mornings, row 5k and then run 5k. Holly has a rowing machine in our apartment, so I took his advice to heart yesterday morning. I rowed 2.5k (gotta start somewhere) and then I ran 5k. I started around 7:15am and I was done around 8. Perfect morning workout! I resolved to do it more often, if not every day.

HOWEVER, upon returning to my apartment after lifting weights, I found a note taped to my door. In effect: "Hi, I live below you, I have a 6 year old son and I would appreciate it if you didn't row before 8am." It was a very nice note, and I could tell she felt bad about writing it. But it made me feel so guilty and awful, like I was doing something wrong or had commited some sort of crime (yes, I am my mother's daughter). But after considerable thought, I don't feel so bad about it. In fact, I think PISSED OFF is a better phrase to describe how I feel.

First of all, this woman usually leaves her house by 6am, and that's why I figured rowing at 7:15 would be fine. But apparently (unbeknownst to me), her boyfriend sometimes stays over, and he works late and sleeps late, and the machine creates a disturbance for him.

Second of all, rowing after 8 is out of the question. I have things to do, and I'm already doing them by 8. I chose to wake up early so that I can work out and still have time for everything else. It's my routine; I like to do the same things at the same time [almost] every morning. So this pisses me off because she is politely asking me to change my routine for her boyfriend's sake, and frankly, I don't want to change my routine for ANY sake. (And I don't think I should have to.)

Lastly, do I ever complain about the noise from those above me when I'm trying to get to sleep by 9:30?? NO. They are entitled to do whatever they want. I turn on my fan, ignore it, and fall asleep.

This isn't supposed to be a slam on the woman below me-she's just my muse- it's supposed to serve as an example of how ignorant people are. It's just EXERCISE, for goodness sake, and all I ask is to do it in peace. Just let me be alone in my own little endorphin-high world. This goes for angry motorists who honk at me while I'm riding, people who won't step to one side of the sidewalk so I can run by, speedboaters on the canal who fly by me in my c1 with complete ignorance and disregard for how tippy it is [for me], the cops who drive by The Forge while we are lifting and ticket our cars for being on the wrong side of the street when the clocks tick 7:01pm... the list goes on. If people appreciated the value of being physically active, I don't think they'd be so angry or disturbed at having to sidestep around athletes who are just "doing their thing."

Can't a girl catch a break here???

Monday, November 12, 2007

This morning after my run I sat down with a cup of coffee and clicked on fasterskier. Today's new article is regarding the new Madshus ski: the "Nanosonic Highspeed."

"Madshus, the world leader in Nordic ski design and manufacturing and the world’s oldest ski brand, introduces a new top-of-the-line racing ski – the Nanosonic Highspeed. Crowning Madshus’ renowned Champion Series line of skis, the Nanosonic – available in six model profiles – reaches new pinnacles in trimming weight and dampening vibration for the competitive advantage."

Um, is this a joke? Don't get me wrong; I'm in love with my hypersonic skates, but wow, "nanosonic highspeed" takes ski nomenclature to a whole new level.

What does Dr. Charles Wright have to say?

"Nano is a real scientific prefix that means 10 to the exponential minus 9. That's really small. It's on the order of the size of individual atoms. This is a good example of what happens when marketing people grab technical terms. So, maybe it's poetry, so it can mean whatever they want it to mean... or else it's a translation problem with Norwegian. Yah?

I think we'll call our wax forms "nano wax forms" this year and we'll definitely sell them out."

The real point is that the Fairport Nordic Ski Team is selling handcrafted wax forms at the HF-L sale this weekend for the low price of $30, and YES! They can make a special form for the odd curvature of your new Madshus Nano Highspeeds.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pretty. Pink. Glitter. Aughhhhhhh

The adorable girls I babysat for tonight were absolutely off the wall. Princess stories, princess coloring books, princess crafts, princess necklaces, and pink sparkley princess glitter (all over themselves AND their craft projects.)

As if that wasn't enough, they wanted to hear me tell them princess fairy tales in detail, and then compare their lives to the princess lives. (The girls, 3 and 5, each reported having at least 2 boyfriends)

Suffice to say I don't think I could handle having children, especially not girls and ESPECIALLY not girls who are princess-crazy.

Sort of made me think about me when I was that age.

I never went through a princess-phase as a kid....

(I'm going through it now.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The first snow

Last night I tucked myself into bed happily thinking about all the snow that was supposed to fall when I woke up. But at 5:30am, it was only 36 degrees, and I grudgingly dragged myself out the door for another rainy trail run. HOWEVER on my way to Mendon Ponds, soft flurries began to fly, and I was positively grinning as I started off into the woods. It was quiet, dark, and still- just a hint of snow falling. As the sun came up, it stopped snowing, but when the sun finally peeked over the treetops, all the clouds cleared and it was blue and perfect. My Mendon 10k was as great as always! Perhaps best of all is that you hardly ever see anyone over there in the mornings-occasionally a lone rollerskier or dog-walker- but typically it's just you and the woodland creatures. As a matter of fact, the ratio of deer to humans today was 15:1, if you count me as human.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

November's spendor

I know these crappy cell phone pictures don't do it justice, but Saturday was a picture-perfect autumn day, and I loved every minute of it.

Pretty leaves!!

Not afraid of bridges.

The canal from the cliff at the end of the trolley trail

Snow's in the forecast for tuesday and wednesday!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

hello november

If I measured the value of my week in terms of things accomplished/cool revalations/muscle soreness, it's been one for the books.

I. Things Accomplished
I biked everywhere this week. I consider this worth mentioning, as I've never been into biking before. Reasons why I'm enjoying it:

A) 15 miles/day= $1.50 in gas/day x 5 days= $7.50 saved on gas
B) Listening to books on tape on my ipod (currently, The Cinderella Man, to feed the hungry boxing beast within)
C) Getting extra exercise that doesn't actually count when you total up your hours at the end of the week, but still makes you feel like you worked harder
D) Moving closer to conquering my fears of steel deck bridges and wet pavement.


II. Cool Revalations
If you are like me, then you probably want to grow up big and strong like Andy Triebold. You want to have big biceps and ridiculous abs. You drink protien powder after your morning run. Hey me too!! But I ran out of protien a couple of weeks ago and, when shopping for a new carton at Vitamin Shoppe, opted for the low-calorie (vanilla) kind. BIG mistake. It's so sweet I can't even stomach it. Whereas I used to mix my OLD protien powder in oatmeal, orange juice, milk, or water, now I can't without having my teeth rot and fall out (really... they rot... and then they fall out.) So I've been forgoing protien altogether, but breakfast is lackluster without it, especially when you're imagining your muscles atrophying. So, given that I drink 3 cups of coffee in the morning, I have solved the problem: mix the protien powder with the coffee!! It's delicious and I highly recommend it. And if that's not motivation enough, just think... I bet Andy Triebold drinks his in coffee.

III. Muscle Soreness
I hate when people complain about how sore they are, mostly because I just really don't care. So I'm happy to report my muscle soreness not as a complaint, but a joyous ode to the core workout I did on Wednesday at Brownstone Physical Therapy.

If you ever feel like you don't have the greatest 6-pack of all time, go to Brownstone and ask for Dan. His workouts are so great; all you have to do is remember to breathe after you give in to the pain. You'll only be sore for a Weak. ha

Speaking of weeks, tomorrow will wrap up mine with more biking, and an OD hike or rollerski... perfect ways to enjoy doubtlessly wet effects of tropical storm Noel.