That's a lot of food, but the buffet I'm referring to is the variety of activities used to (hopefully) burn off all those holiday calories. Thanks to my wonderful school schedule, I had a 5-day weekend and intentions of making the most of it.
Wednesday: Stayed home with Jacob, who's recovering from the flu. Went to the gym after Survivor and lifted weights. I'm about halfway through Stage 2 of The New Rules of Lifting for Women, the book I keep coming back to every time I re-start strength training. I've never made it past the first stage, so this is uncharted territory. I can definitely see some physical changes, and the numbers show I'm getting stronger. Pretty cool.
|Reusing my Thanksgiving day blog post picture. I'm environmentally friendly like that.|
Friday: Jeff got his shopping done Thursday night, and while I'm theoretically opposed to shopping on Thanksgiving Day, it left me free to ride on Black Friday or, as I dubbed it, Black RIDEday. Or Bike Friday. Whatever. I was just really happy to be on my bike again; with all the Skippo training and such it seems like there has been precious little time to enjoy the sport I really love.
|Having fun (and needing to adjust my helmet) around 10 miles in|
The pavement was only slightly better, and now my hip was starting to hurt. I wasn't sure if the problem was that it's been a while since I've been on my cross bike or if it was sore from the fall. If you're thinking to yourself, Wow, Kate sounds super whiny and not a fun riding partner at all, you're absolutely right. We decided to skip Busch Wildlife and ride back down the Katy to St. Charles, where we were parked.
There were three basic options: turn around and ride the Research Parkway trail back to the Katy (shortest route, paved, and featuring a sweet downhill to the trail), take the Quarry trail (middle route, gravel, probably overgrown), or ride the Hamburg down to the Katy (longest route, on soft gravel). For reasons that escape me, we picked option C, and once we hit the mushy Hamburg my day went downhill: riding into the wind, legs that were beginning to cramp, and (very unlike me) no ibuprofen or even salty snacks along.
Mickey was riding ahead, like usual, and I was dragging along behind, finally doing the math and realizing that we were taking the long way back (and I'm the one who said taking Hamburg was OK, I just hadn't thought it through until we were actually ON Hamburg), possibly the crankiest I've ever been on a bike, complaining out loud as I pedaled. Seeing my face when I caught up with him waiting at the turn to the Katy, Mickey asked, "Am I about to see Grumpy Kate?"
"Oh, she's here. You're about to meet Tantrum Kate."
We got back onto the Katy, where the wind was now at our backs, but I failed to convince myself that the tailwind was helping, and my legs just hurt more and more. "Bikes are stupid," I told Mickey, "and my legs hurt."
"Suck it up, princess."
|Riding back towards St. Charles on the Katy Trail. I pretty much hated everything about bikes and biking at this point but was trying hard to appreciate what a pretty day it was and how lucky I was to be out on my bike.|
Mickey rode back my way. "You know what would be fun?" I asked. "If you rode your bike really fast back to the car and then came to pick me up."
As I posted later that day on Facebook, it's a good training partner who knows when to give you shit about your complaining and when to go get the car.
|"I'll indulge your weakness, but I'm also going to gloat."|
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is always the St. Louis Orienteering Club's Turkey-O. Two years ago, Jeff, Jacob, and I did the 3 hour meet; last year I raced with Bob and Mickey. This year Bob was off bikepacking, but Mickey and I raced together. The meet was in Grafton, IL, and I was pretty happy to be orienteering on the Illinois side for a change.
|See if you can see my markings, some red and some black. I had trouble reading the numbers I'd put next to them, too.|
We started with the western section of the map, jogging across the parking lot and reaching the first CP before I'd expected to. I really struggled with figuring out where we were on the map for the first couple points, maybe a combination of the funky scale, the fact that we were jogging some here and there, and the fact that Mickey, like everyone I race with, is way faster with maps than I am.
If we were just racing to race, that would be cool with me: I'm perfectly happy to follow along behind my navigator, and the main reason I've worked on improving my own nav skills is just to be able to give input when it's needed. Since my goal for the day was practice, though, I needed to slow down. I told Mickey if he wanted to go fast I would be fine on my own, but we stuck together and he suggested I navigate us to the next point. Which I did successfully. :)
|I was far slower, as you can tell from how far away this picture was taken.|
From there on out we pretty much shared navigational duties and pretty much went straight to everything. We climbed up and down a lot of hills. Tucked in at the top of the bluffs along the Mississippi River, this course featured some serious elevation and steep hills. There were a few times I just sat down and slid, figuring I was going to end up on my butt accidentally if I didn't start out there.
|It was also pretty darn scenic.|
As it turned out, we didn't quite get back to the finish in time anyway. With 7 minutes left to go, we climbed a big spur but didn't go far enough down initially to find the CP. Finally we knew we had to head down quickly and we'd punch it if we saw it...which we did, just lower than we'd anticipated. We punched that last point and hurried towards the finish, coming in two minutes late and losing 4 CPs as a penalty, dropping from 19 points to 15 and close to last place. But....everybody was a winner at the Turkey-O, thanks to prizes donated by 180s.
|One of my mom's delicious (and beautiful) sugar cookies|
I was supposed to meet Chuck to run 8 miles on the trails. It was probably the last nice weather of the year. I slept instead. I'm bummed to have missed the warm weather, the pre-Pere Marquette training, and the good company, but it was definitely the right decision for my overtired body...and for getting the house cleaned up for my son's 22nd birthday party.
I'm totally not ready to go back to work tomorrow, but I definitely enjoyed my time off. I hope everybody else had a great Thanksgiving, too!