Monday, April 26, 2010

Run of the Charles Race

This weekend was the Run of the Charles Race from Dedham to Boston, Massachusetts. (Two Boston weekends in a row!) Though the weather report called for cold rain, it was cloudy and temperate during the race. Jon and I race c2 again, but this time in the amateur class (19-mile race).

We ended up winning the entire amateur race as well as the mixed division, but it wasn't easy. The race contained 6 portages. If you haven't tried sprinting with a canoe on your shoulder, don't bother; it sucks.

Jon and I got ahead off the start line and rode the first third of the race with another men's team. The only problem is that I'm not as fast a runner as Jon, or the other team. So after every portage we'd have to make up our lost time by paddling faster on the water. Frustrating.

At the 4th portage we had about 1 hr to go in the race. We ran hard, dug deep, and paddled away from the two teams directly behind us.

But the most important part of the race was gaining some more wake-riding experience. Canoes are a whole different ball game than kayaks. I still have plenty to learn!

Friday, April 23, 2010

So you want to have an exhilarating experience?

Stand on Boylston Street 200 meters from the finish line of the Boston Marathon as the elite runners come blazing down the road. You'll be surrounded by a million screaming people, and during the next 90 minutes, as the stream of finishers gets bigger, the energy will increase proportionally.

The Boston Marathon is inspiration at its best. You won't be able to resist getting psyched on running even if you try.

Oh, and Holly rocked her race in 3:15, a 7-minute PR!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let the Race Season Begin!

Yesterday's 18-mile USPP race was my first competition in 8 months and also the first canoe race in nearly 2 years. It feels good to work hard in a "long" race! ("Long" became relative when I started training for an 8-hr race.) Jon (my c2 partner) and I were 10th overall and the 1st mixed team. More importantly, we pin-pointed some key weaknesses to iron out before we race the 70-miler in 5 weeks! Wheee!

Here I am showing off my makeshift banana holder

The weather conditions were fairly epic: it rained, snowed, and hailed, and the wind never let up. The hail was so painful that I had to close my eyes; this may or may not have contributed to our steering difficulties.

After the race, I climbed into Marc and Holly's Boston-bound Forge Racing Vehicle. Holly is running the Boston Marathon tomorrow, and Marc and I are here to offer moral support.

Right now we're headed out for an easy 3-miles; then we'll attempt to navigate the crazy streets of downtown Boston to preview the course and pick up Holly's race number/timing chip.

Updates to follow!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Tell me some adventure stories!"

Well Ok. Before I came home, I went on an epic roadtrip. What's new? I packed my little Saturn full of climbing gear and, unable to sleep, left the house at 4am. I drove through the Angeles mountains at sunrise. By noon I'd reached Davis, California, home of Lauren Austin, my dear friend and teammate with whom I raced k2 in 2008.

Davis is a lovely little windy farming/ college town, with Yosemite to the East and San Francisco to the West. I instantly felt at home, which is cool because I was actually quite far from both New York and San Diego. Good people= home.

The following week I headed to Joshua Tree with Ian, and 20 other people from UC Davis.

Joshua Tree is a magical place.

Ian and me, grinning after having climbed til nightfall our first night in the park

We set crash pads below the bouldering routes and spotted people on climbs... but I kept cracking up because I thought the spotters looked like worshippers

Fem's a-climbin

Ian climbed Tarantula, a 5.12c. If you're curious what he's holding on to, my theory is sticky finger pads.

This was my proudest accomplishment of the week: Illusion Dweller, a 5.10c crack.

This route is called Sexy Grandma.

On the way home we stopped to sit in fields of wildflowers.

And you can imagine how happy I was!

PS if you're interested, you can check out these awesome videos of Ian (and others) climbing really hard bouldering problems!

I'm aliveeee!

I apologize for the hiatus! I've been through some big changes during the past month and writing here has been neglected.

As some may know, I've had some serious and puzzling health issues during the past 6-8 months. My hospitalization in December was really only the beginning. My doctors have yet to make a conclusive diagnosis, but the symptoms include severe allergic reactions and fatigue.

Long story short: my doctors recommended rest. I (naturally) resisted this recommendation from the beginning, but after the 5th allergic reaction and subsequent round of medication, cessation of training, etc. I decided to take my doctors' advice. This was obviously a very tough decision; nearly every part of me wanted to keep pushing through whatever was wrong with me. Without a clear diagnosis, I mused, I could get better at any time. On the other hand it was clear after 5 months of being sick that I was only getting worse.

So I flew home a week ago and I am pleased to report that I (knock on wood) feel fantastic! I am training again. Though it's certainly more logistically complicated to be an elite athlete in Rochester than the Olympic Training Center (like, you actually have to put your boat on your car and drive to the river to practice!) I believe I can make this situation work very well for me during the next few months. I have excellent people and resources here, and it's a very happy place for me. And the water's thawed!

So, schedule: I will not be racing the first US Team Trials on April 22-23. Instead I will remain training in Rochester, and race in the World Championship Team Trials in Lake Placid July 3.

A disappointing 6 months for sure, but I know I'm finally making the best of it. Home is, as always, a wonderful place to be.