Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oh my...

Chris and I both thought that the end of the race would mean the end of his physically and emotionally challenging weekend, but no...

The plane for his first flight was late, causing him to miss his connecting flight out of Chicago back to Denver. He's currently sitting in a United terminal hoping to make a full 10-something flight and if he doesn't make that, I guess he'll have to find a comfortable hotel room to sleep in for the night.

Poor guy.

I wish so badly that I could just beam him home, he seems so exhausted and now stressed as well. I even have a delicious pot roast dinner all ready for him that I guess I'll have to pack up for tomorrow. The good news is that if he doesn't make it in until tomorrow, he has a great excuse not to go to work so I've put in for a sub for tomorrow so I can stay home and take care of him. I wish he was here but what can we do. Stinking airlines.

Edit: He couldn't get on any flights for tonight. His plan is to sleep in the airport and hop on a 8:55 flight in the morning. He's currently wandering aimlessly around the airport looking for any source of food. He sounds absolutely at the edge of all sanity. I wish I could send some potroast and pumpkin cookies his way. They are smelling up my house right now and if he can't eat them I won't eat them. We'll have a feast tomorrow. Together.

We now interupt the previous blog...

He's done! 2nd place single speed and 6th place over all! He sounds wiped. He said he's totally shelled but finished. He said he couldn't eat/drink the last 50 miles so he was going to grab a ride to town and try to eat some breakfast and get some sleep. YAY CHRISTOPHER! Hmmm... maybe now I can sleep...

Early morning...

Still no word on a finish from the boy. New audio update says he had the top 5 people but I only heard 4 names. Chris must still be chugging along. G-ted probably won't update for a while so hopefully there's cell service so Chris can call. I hope to post again soon saying he fin... ooh phone!...

Another new update

Well, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to wake up at 2:00am to hear a new update. I realize now at 2:20, that wasn't the smartest idea. It took me FOREVER to get to sleep the first time. I can't help but worry about the boy. This time I woke up, listened to the update, and now I'm sure I won't get to sleep again only worse.

The audio update said that Chris and the other two guys with him hadn't come through the last town yet when the audio guys left. He said he wasn't sure what had happened (indicating they were scheduled to come in but didn't) so I really hope things are ok. No call from Chris yet so I assume things are either ok or they're not in cell service. They still have a long time to finish but now of course I'm worried... doh! I'm given a little relief but the idea that none of the three of them had shown up yet, but I'm worried they took a wrong turn or something. Comon Christopher, you can do it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

New audio update

There's a new audio update at http://www.ride424.com/races/

Sounds like Chris is doing AWESOME! Definetely top 10 if not top 5 at the moment. Sounds like lots of single speeders have dropped out. I wish I could be there to cheer him on. Keep pedalling Christopher, you've got this sucker in the bag.

I'll be setting my alarm for 2 am -ish in hopes of another encouraging post on ride424. I have the coolest husband ever.

Update #2

Well, it's 8:30 Iowa time and Chris just called me from a gas station parking lot. He seems to be doing really well -- he was scarfing down some chicken and gatorade. He said that he's riding with some other guys (one of whom is another single speeder) and that they have about 120 miles left. He sounded really upbeat and ready to keep riding. He said that he and the other ss'er that he's with are currently placed 2nd and 3rd in single speed category so I think he's happy with that. If anyone can knock out another 120 miles ("only" 120 miles in Plesko verbage), it's him. He's still truckin!


Chris just called from a gas station in Iowa. He's past the checkpoint and over halfway done. He was fixing a flat and seemed to be doing pretty well. He sounds a little zonked but overall pretty good. He said he's been riding by himself for the past three-ish hours so he was happy that a few guys had caught up at the gas station and was hoping to ride with them for a bit. Sounds fairly optimistic for having been riding for 13 hours. Go Christopher!

Miss the boy

Talked to Chris at 2:20 am my time as he got ready to ride over to the start line. He seemed excited and nervous. Typical pre-race Chris.

Laying here for the last 8 hours knowing that Chris has been racing and I can't see him has to be one of the weirdest feelings I've had in a while. If I were a more spontaneous person I'd pack Turbo into the car and drive up to Decorah for the finish. That's how much I wish I was at least closer. I know I wouldn't be able to see him or help him in any way (stupid self supported concept), but I don't like the feeling that I get from being so far away. Who thought I'd ever WISH I was in Iowa? This is a foreign concept... brain doesn't know how to compute...

Guitar Ted has done a great job posting updates on the race (although I wish I could have a personalized report about the people I care about -- that'd be sweeeeeeeet). Looks like they are having spectacular weather.


Friday, April 27, 2007

The statue of delivery

Yesterday the librarian was reading a book that had the Statue of Liberty in it -- she asked the kids if anyone knew what the name was when little Luis screams out "THE STATUE OF DELIVERY!" haha. Pretty funny. At least at the time.

Well, here's my weekly Friday update on life and the time trial...

First life:

Things are good. I'm feeling better for the most part. I've heard that I'll hear about my job as early as next week and as late as May 15th. I'm hoping for next week. I've started testing my kids on their end of the year reading tests -- it appears every kindergartener is AT LEAST on grade level. I've had three kinders test at an end of 1st grade level. I've got some smarties in my class! Soon we'll see how the 1st graders are doing.
Chris is in Iowa for his race. He e-mailed today and said he made it to Iowa ok. He left a message on the phone too and he sounds excited. His race starts at 4 am, I wish him the best of luck -- I will even set the alarm for 2:15 am so I can call him right before his race and psyche him up. I love him and know he will kick butt. He's ridden a gazillion miles in preparation and at the very least, I'll be happy that he won't have to be nervous about it and the weather any more after he gets back.

Time Trial #3:
I finished in 19:48. Too bad the course was only 6ish miles instead of 10ish like usual :) Terrential downpours the day before caused the course to be shortened due to a rushing river going across the road that we usually race down. I was so much more motivated this week than the past two weeks. The first week I was so nervous. The second week, I was not motivated and even more defeated by the wind. This week I was ready. I was psyched to be racing. My day went ok -- just enough stress to get me excited about getting out of work and burning off some steam, but not so much stress that I wanted to cry and hide in a hole. Things were good.
When we got down to Cherry Creek, Chris and I decided to cruise down to the bathrooms when we realized that the starting tent wasn't where it usually is. We asked around and were told that it would be a shortened course starting a good 10 minutes up the road. We cruised down to the new start together, all the while pleased that we'd decided to pee instead of rolling up to the line 1 minute in advance like usual. We cruised back to the car, warned the rest of the group to leave extra time to get to the start, and headed down to the course to warm up.

This week the course started up "The Hill", wound around the back, around the turnaround, and back up a HUGE hill (thank goodness we avoid that on the regular course -- ouch), back around and down "The Hill" and into the finish. I started off the line motivated and excited to race. I pushed up "The Hill" but slowed a bit on the second part of it, cranked up the speed in the back (where I got to see Chris and the boys heading the other way on the road so it was fun to cheer and be cheered for), cruised around the turnaround and saw Melissa and Jeanie around the same spot as the last two weeks. As is becoming my mental tradition, I see them and pick up my effort but then hit a little wall in my speed where I then feel terrible. I need to work on that. Michelle passed me around this point and I actually hung a few feet behind her going up the monster hill which picked my confidence up -- when we hit the flats/downhills she pulled away and stayed away but I was happy to have at least seen her for more than a fleeting second as in the past. I cruised down the hill and was finished. It was a great race and a great effort. I was downright giddy the rest of the night knowing that I'd given it a great haul. I feel like I really put everything on the line and stayed mentally tough at the same time... if I can do that every week I'll become a very happy Marni.
I did stay away from Melissa and Jeanie again which makes me happy... especially because both showed up with aerobars this week and Melissa also had an aero wheel on the back. Whew! Yesterday I ordered a Fast Forward seat post in hopes that it will bring me a little closer to my aerobars and make me a little more comfy in the saddle. We've talked about getting one since I bought my bike, the time trials just gave me a really good excuse. Thanks to Chris for my "mad-money" while he is out of town -- at least I bought a bike part with it!

There's my update. I'm off to have dinner with the girls tonight, possibly shopping/knitting store with my coworker tomorrow, and probably some sort of bike ride with Michelle on Sunday. Chris should be home Sunday night -- he's only been gone one night and I already miss him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"You make it look easy"

Good luck to hubby on his race this weekend in Iowa. You are a crazy boy but I love you anyway. You are going to do great and you have your family and all of blogger-land behind you. The harder you work, the sooner it will be over. Turbo and I will cheer really really loudly from our comfy bed, maybe you'll be able to hear us :) Go get 'em!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fighting the plague with a bike

For the record: yesterday was the worst bike ride ever. Ever. The idea of it was great, the execution not so much.

We joined our regular group for a beautiful ride at Lair 'O The Bear in Morrison. All was great, I was happy to see Michelle out on a group ride (great job Michelle!) and it was nice to see Erik, Bill, Mike, and Jeanie too. I liked wearing my cute new biking clothes and it was fun to ride Bluebie with her cool new squeeky bunny. The weather was perfect.

Too bad about a 1/4 mile into the ride I felt like puking. And I felt like that the rest of the ride. I would stop every few hundred feet in an attempt to keep my breakfast where it belongs. I've officially never felt that bad on a ride before. Quite a day to make it the first time I've ridden to the end and back -- I usually turn around early. I figured if I kept going maybe I'd finally puke and feel better. No such luck. I just felt terrible the whole time. We finally made it back to the car 3 hours later and I was hungry and ready to eat something. Chris drove us down to Morrison where we were going to meet the gang for lunch and by the time we made it there, he felt terrible too. We bailed on lunch and I drove us home -- Chris agonizing in the seat next to me with what seemed like a Migrane and me driving trying not to puke. We were quite a couple! Around 4, we barely made it home and dropped into bed and that's where we stayed until this morning. I'm on the couch instead of work, still nauseous but at least not riding my bike, and Chris mustered up the energy to make it to work. Both of us look like we've seen better days.

This is officially the first time the two of us have been sick together. It sure wasn't pretty but we survived. The family that pukes together stays together... hmmm?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The wind beneath my wings...

Well, time trial #2 has come and gone in a breeze.

Here's the recap:

The day leading up to the race was stressful. Chris's day leading up to the race was stressful. Neither one of us were particularly motivated to race, so the drive down was spent trying to calm each other down and psych each other up to ride. Eventually the race came around and we both mustered up the strength to do our best. And then...

It was windy. Really really windy. Before the race I listened to girls coming back in from their race talking about how scary the wind made the course. Awesome. I just LOVE the wind... especially on my road bike... especially while trying to go fast... especially in my new aero position. Sweet. It did end up windy but it wasn't scary, so that was good!

I was happy to see my parents had made it down in time to watch us leave the starting line. It was nice to have a cheering section! I was immediately frustrated that my top speed leading to the back end of the course was maybe 14 mph when I was going at least 18 at that point in the race the week before. I had a fleeting moment of, "forget it, I'm getting off and walking back, this sucks". Instead, I pushed past it and kept going. The wind gave me a little relief as it blew me up the first part of the big hill at 24 mph -- WOW! That was fun! I'm usually going about 11 up that hill. Of course then the hill turns and continues and I was again slapped in the face with the roaring wind. That part wasn't fun, but once I turned to the back stretch towards the turn around, the wind pushed me a little harder and I hit 34 mph! The fastest I've ever gone on a bike is 36 and this was in aero bars. It was an adventure for sure! I wouldn't usually like going that fast, but I was so happy to have a tail wind that I was going to crank up that average speed even if it scared me!

Once I hit the turnaround, I noticed Melissa and Jeanie heading into the turnaround around the same time as last week so I kept cranking hard the rest of the way so they wouldn't catch me. The wind fought me going down the big hill, so it felt like I wasn't going anywhere despite knowing better. I was happy that my leg wasn't cramping this week as I came out of the trees, but I again thought the finish was sooner than it was. I started to zone out and lose a little motivation when some really nice guy came by and told me I was doing great and to "PUSH!" So I did. It's amazing what a little motivation will do. Whoever he was, thanks. After he said that, I picked up 6 mph and cranked hard the rest of the way to the finish. I had a huge cheering section as the guys, Michelle, and my parents waited and cheered. What a great feeling to finish!

We hung around a little longer, got the rest of the group across the finish line, took some pictures, and waited for results. As we stood waiting for results, a random guy came by and told me I did a great job. He said the pink bar tape on my bike made me memorable and he remembered that I was doing awesome. That made me feel good about the race. I went slower than last week but the wind slowed everyone down. I didn't let the girls pass me (except for Michelle, but it's always fun to see her even if she's passing me). I tried my best. I guess I can't ask for much more than that. Most importantly, I didn't quit when I really wanted to.

Next week will be a new week. That's what is so great about life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Eye of the Hurricane

Lots going on lately which leaves little time to blog... I do have pictures though! Here's the quick and dirty update on life:

* Still looking for a job for next year. No new news but work gets more stressful each day with everyone wondering where they will be next year. I'm waiting on a few letters of recommendation to be completed, then the job hunt will get more rigorous. I need to be more motivated to look -- you'd think the stress would help but it doesn't.

* Finally got word today that I'm officially immune to ruebella or measals or something and I've been exposed to the Parvo virus so I'm "immune" to that as well. Wohoo! Always good to check a few things off of your list of things that you could become ill with in your life. Getting those tests back was the last hurtle to being excited about baby-making.

* Went on a great "mountain bike" ride with the girls on Sunday. Michelle was a little worried about the idea of mountain biking despite her proweress as a road biker, so I took her and Melissa on a little tour-de-Plesko-neighborhood-trails and ended up riding for quite a while. It's always best to break into a sport with other people who have cried their way through the same experiences that you have. "Easy" trails to husbands/boyfriends are not always "easy" to wives/girlfriends. We had a great time and shared several laughs at the boys' expense. It was weird to be the veteran in the group... that NEVER happens. (notice the Cannondale in the middle back in action for another beginning rider!)

* Last night Chris dressed Harold in his new duds and we took a few quick spins around the neighborhood to try it out. We'll see how I do at the race tomorrow with my flashy new pink-bar-taped-aerobars. If nothing else, my bike looks awesome. Thanks honey!

* That's about it. Lots of riding for both the Mr. and the Mrs. (although MUCH more for the Mr.) which leaves us quite tired and borring. On that note, time for me to head to bed. Wish me luck tomorrow in the 'aero' position. Should be interesting, hmmm?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sweet Escape

My first time trial has come and gone. It has taken me two days to actually be able to wrap my head around the experience and have a few spare seconds to sit down and blog it.

What a fun race.

In retrospect of course.

I looked forward to the race all day on Wednesday despite some spectacular female cramps, nerves + new prenatal vitamins upsetting my stomach, and preparing for a big presentation to the staff about a horribly borring topic at our staff meeting. By the time the race rolled around, I viewed it as the easy part of the day. All I had to do was ride. It was nice to have that little sweet escape in the day to focus on only one thing that I could control.

We loaded the Element with a surprising amount of stuff for two people that are only racing for less than an hour combined. We drove down to my old 'hood, stood in line for a while to get our numbers and a t-shirt (YES! I don't see rides as worth my time unless they give me a t-shirt of course), and then headed back to the car for a very short warmup. Poor Chris had to put up with my rookie questions like "what do I wear?" and "how many cliffblocks should I eat?" and "do you think I'll die?". He's a wonderfully patient husband. You would think someone so elite in the sport would've dropped someone like me on the side of the road a long time ago. He even helped me practice the start in our dining room the night before. He knew I'd be mortified pulling up to the start line not knowing that the guys hold your bike while you get clipped in -- he also knew I'd probably freak out not having control of how my bike was standing -- so I strapped on my bike shoes with my pj's the night before and we practiced 3 or 4 times. He didn't even die laughing when I freaked out as he was holding me, put my shoe down, slid on the cleat and scratched our nice wood floor. I do love him.

Anyway, Chris and I pulled up to the starting line, noticing a few of our group were not going off on their scheduled time. We hoped they would get there and head off soon as I watched hubby disappear VERY quickly into the distance.

My turn was next.

I nervously joked with two of the other girls in our group who would leave after me and I pulled up to the starting tent. I made retarded small talk with the two volunteers (can you say NEWBIE?) and they counted me down and gave me a nice shove as I yelled back a polite thank you.

I stood up and cranked up to speed (the only time I stood during the race) and sat down trying not to freak out. I felt remarkably calm knowing what I had to do, knowing the part of the course where the boys said my andrenaline would wear off and reality would set in. I was a little ticked that there was a decent headwind heading out and around to the back hill. In our practice rides, I remember the leadup to *the hill* being a nice little cruise before cranking up the very deceitful climb. During the race, there was no little cruise. Let's just say the words "*&^%ing wind" repeated in my head with each pedal stroke for at least a mile. At least there would be a tail wind back -- that's how I reasoned myself back into a positive state of mind. If I turned the pedals faster, I would hit the turn around and get a smooth ride with the wind pushing me home. HA! Who was I kidding? This is Colorado afterall.

When I hit the turn around I glanced back (the only time in the race) -- mostly to make sure I wouldn't cut someone off in the tight turn. Knowing there were three girls in my group that started behind me I was scared to death they would be hanging right on my wheel. I was happy to see that I was out of the turn around and headed back homeward by the time I saw the next girl behind me heading into the turn around.

I pushed a little harder, not wanting to be passed by two of the girls (I knew it was just a matter of time before Michelle passed me -- she was on the road team in College and has a pretty serious bike and a lot of experience under her belt). Michelle passed me at some point in some tight turns and we were typical girls and giggled a quick "Hi! Doing great!" to each other as she passed. I tried to hang with her for a little bit but she was down in her aero-bars and I just couldn't get moving that fast sitting up into the wind. I tried to crouch down with my hands in the hoods, but that didn't do it. Oh well. I still had to stay ahead of Melissa and Jeanie. I rode a bit more and at one point thought Jeanie passed me, but according to the times, it must not have been her. Score. I was so nervous that Melissa would come up on me at any second so it kept me moving.

All was good on the way back minus the *&^%ing wind blowing in my face again. At that point I just had to laugh. Someone upstairs has a sense of humor for sure. Trying to ignore the tight pain in my chest from working so hard, I tried to sing songs in my head and keep my mph steady around 18.2. As I got within 3 miles of the finish my left calf cramped up like crazy. I pedaled a few more times hoping it would go away, and it only got worse. Then the foot cramped. My 18.2 mph speed dropped to 14 and every pedal stroke made me feel like crying. I was so frustrated (hence screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" at the top of my lungs while scaring the crap out of some guy passing me -- whoops). I had been working my butt off this whole time and I didn't want to let a freaking cramp get in my way of being happy with the race. I also knew there was nothing I could do to fix it until I got to the finish, so I cranked my speed back up in hopes of getting back sooner and making it better. Everything hurt, I was really thirsty, I felt like I was going to puke, but I still didn't want to get passed. Chris once told me "you have a lot more capacity to suffer than you know" and his words pushed me to the end. I also focused on the fact that if I want to have a baby, labor is going to feel a lot worse than that for a lot longer. I couldn't break down and let up.

I came clomping around the corner and saw the boys cheering me on. I kept thinking the finish line would be "now.. maybe now.. now.. if it doesn't come now I'm going to die.. is it moving?" until I finally finished 34:52 after starting (hey, I creamed my goal of not getting over 40:00). A combination of a big week, some hard work, stupid wind, stupid cramps, and some pride welled up and I spontaneously bust out crying after I finished. I felt like a moron and pulled myself together before anyone noticed. Little did I know, but my mom and dad had made the drive over and saw both Chris and I finish. They apparently cheered but I didn't hear them. It was exciting that they were there to support me. I didn't do sports growing up and I think it was the first time they've actually seen me compete in anything -- even if it is just competing against myself and the other girls in my group. It was fun.

We got in warm clothes, said goodbye to the parents, and headed off to Old C's with the crew. My foot and leg continued to cramp until after dinner and then I fell fast asleep on the way home as Chris graciously drove us home.

Congratulations to everyone who rode. I'm proud of all of us. We all kicked our own butts and rode good rides in the wind. Special congratulations to Chris on his 5th place finish! Holy freaking cow. He never seizes to amaze and impress me. The first time on his time trial bike in a year, the first time doing any ride with intense speed in a year and he can still pull off a 5th place finish. I feel very lucky that I get him as my own personal coach.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Harold's New Duds

Last night, Harold the road bike got some new duds. In a search for some super cheap aerobars to try during the time trial series that starts tomorrow, Chris and I left Performance defeated. In a lame attempt to find something else cheap, we stopped by Bicycle Village. We looked in the tri section and found ridiculously overpriced aerobars and then Chris had a genius idea -- the clearance bin! Whenever Chris says "holy crap, it's your lucky day" I get very happy. He found a pair of aerobars that are usually $150 under the clearance section for $50. YES! In the process, we had to look for a new stem to switch my regular sized bars after which this story gets much more entertaining. A summary of the conversation between Bicycle Village Mechanic (BVM) and Chris (C) is as follows:

C: Do you have any cheap stems for a road bike that aren't for oversized bars?
BVM: Well, we might have one, but why wouldn't you want it for oversized bars?
C: I don't like oversized bars and want to switch Marni's bike to regular sized bars and put these aerobars on it.
BVM: Oversized bars are the latest and greatest invention, why would you ever want to switch back?
C: I don't like oversized bars and want to switch.
BVM: Oversized bars are much stronger...blahblahblahblah...far superior than regular bars
C: I disagree, I've run regular sized bars forever and they've been great. I'd rather all of our bikes have the same set-up
BVM: You are retarded. Oversized bars are great, you'll never be able to find things to fit regular sized bars in a few years.
C: I disagree. I like the regular bars, I know plenty of other people that prefer the regular bars and you'll still be able to find parts in the future -- maybe not in this shop, but definetely other places.
BVM: I just have to warn you so you don't come back in 3 years complaining that you can't find parts to fit the other bars.
C: Fair enough, I just prefer the other size.
BVM: Well, I'll remember you. You are the ONLY person I have EVER met who doesn't prefer the oversized bars.
C (personally the best comeback I've ever heard him come up with on the spot): Well, I'm probably the fastest person you've ever met, so...

Haha. It was hillarious. The mechanic wouldn't drop it. The boy has some weird emotional attachment to oversized bars for sure. We laughed for a good while about that. Needless to say, we walked away with the bars but no stem. We'll go back to Performance for that. I'm looking forward to my race tomorrow with no aerobars and then racing next week with them to see the difference. Did I mention I also got some sweet bright pink bar tape too? Harold is going to look GREAT when we're done with him. Pictures will come when it's all put together. Wish me luck tomorrow. I'm hoping I don't end up crying into the wind.

p.s. pre-baby-doctor appointment today was a lot of fun. I now have a bag full of a variety of pre-natal vitamins to start choosing from. I feel like a little kid picking out of my Halloween bag. We'll see what happens over the next few months.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Well, spring break has come and gone for 2007. Last year I painted a room in our house and this year I relaxed in Vegas. The weather was beautiful -- much better than the snow and yuck I came home to. The girls trip went well... I came home much more relaxed and a decent amount poorer. I still can't get over how much you pay for regular food and drinks in Vegas. While waiting for one of the shows, they tried to sell me a $6 small bottle of water. And it wasn't even magic water -- I did ask. The shows in Vegas were great. We saw Phantom (AWESOME!!), Tony and Tina's Wedding (eh, wouldn't see it again), and LOVE (Cirque du Soleil set to the Beatles -- AWESOME!!). Good times. Here are a few pictures and more to come when I decide to charge the camera battery enough to download my pictures.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Plesko Portrait Studio Proudly Presents...

I rode today. Outside. By myself. It was nice. It was short. I didn't so much want to ride as I wanted to try out my cute new biking clothes. I am a girl afterall.

Here are a few of my beautiful birthday roses:

Time to pack. Adios.