Monday, August 31, 2009

See y'all next year!

Yesterday was the USA Cycling Pro Road Race Championship here in Greenville and our very own George Hincapie won the Stars and Stripe Jersey! Congrats George!

Greenville is the host for this event since 2006. How they got it awarded, I don't have a clue, but it sure did a lot of good for the cycling sport in the area. So I was more than happy to hear this morning on the radio, that the championships will return to Greenville in 2010.

My new residence is in walking distance to the P3 Stars and Stripes Challenge course on which the cyclists do four loops. I was watching them zipp by on their first and their fourth loop. The second time I saw them ride by, I was able to snatch a disposed water bottle as a little souvenir.

This is the leading group on their fourth loop:

The course leads over Paris Mountain... Ascending on the steep part or "Back of Paris". I did this ascent once and I had to get off the bike the last 150 yards or so... I never have to get of the bike, but that hill was getting me. When I finally made it to the top, I just sat down and hoped not to barf for the next couple of minutes. Good times! I haven't tried the "Back of Paris" since, but I think I should, just to see, if I have gotten any better over the summer.

Speaking of my training. Now that we had those nice and fresh markers for the Stars and Stripes challenge on the road, I took that route as my workout for the day, but I bypassed Paris Mountain. Nevertheless, even the bypassed route was quite a hilly and I felt every piece of it (I wasn't on the bike in over a week, of course I felt every piece of it. Duh!). The course led me through my new neighborhood all the way into downtown Greenville. There, I lost the markers for a while and was moving stop and go through all the traffic lights. After a while, I just thought about wrapping the ride up and head back home without any markers, when I was suddenly back on the course. The way out towards Furman was a really nice piece of road, but the next time, I think, I stick to the less traveled roads around here. The P3 course is pretty and all, if you don't have to worry about traffic, but for a training ride, it's just too much slowing down and starting back up again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The race is in two weeks.... What to do??

A nice feature of BF's house is, that Paris Mountain State Park is basically in the backyard. So it was a short ride over there this morning to meet with some people from our Blue Ridge Relay (BRR) team for a training run up Paris Mountain. It's a 4.4 miles run (up and back down) and I was looking forward to it, because I haven't been running a lot lately due to the move, but also due to some pain on my right outer knee. This morning's run was my test on how things are going and if it felt good, I actually planned on doing another run to bring my day's total to 10 miles. Make a long story short, I did 0.5 miles and the pain was coming back... bad... even though I was wearing my brace. Instead of running through the pain, I stopped, got the dog from BF and did a walk around Lake Placid until the guys returned from their run.

I am worried, to say the least. Volume wise, I have backed up already for the past 1.5 weeks and there doesn't seem to be any improvement. And the BRR is not a race, where I can just go and if I can't finish due to an injury, I DNF and be done with it... of course it would suck, but what can you do. When you are a part of a relay team, things are getting a little more complicated. I honestly don't want to go to Virginia, only to be in pain from the first mile on... Walking my legs is not an option either, because of the seeding etc etc etc. That's a tough one. Today a friend joined us for the run, but he is not part of the team... I told him, it's possible that he has to be my backup... We'll see.

So while unpacking and organizing, I started to map out a plan for the next two weeks before the race. What I am thinking right now, is not to run until next Saturday. I will try to go on the elliptical a couple of times and then cycle and swim for my other workouts. I have to stretch EVERY day and ice the knee down. Last week, I ordered some kinesio tape but don't have a shipping notice so far. Hopefully it is going to arrive soon and what I hope even more, that it is going to work. The countdown is on, wish me luck.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"HAPPINESS"-Balance and Moving-"Ease"

Like anywhere else, food is readily available in my office and my co-workers are eager to ensure that we meet our daily calorie needs and beyond. I sometimes use the word sabotage in that context, especially when a race is coming up, but that's a post all by itself.

So, this morning I get to the office with a nice Dunkin' Donuts box sitting on the cabinet with pretty much the same content the DD box from last Friday had… Do you see the pattern?? Last week, I had enough willpower to withstand the temptation (really only because I knew, that there is going to be homemade birthday cake), but this morning I was weak. Packing boxes until 12.30AM last night and little sleep just made my willpower take a nap. So I had the donut (filled with chocolate mousse and covered with powdered sugar ) and it was YUMMIE.

How does a donut fit in my nutrition plan? Not at all, but I like deserts and sweets. It's not a coincidence that the name of this blog contains the names of two deserts. Sometimes it's very easy for me to avoid those foods all together and sometimes it isn't. Normally, I find a healthy balance between tons of good foods, some bad foods and exercise, that enables me to maintain my current weight and health…. And while we were joking this morning in the office about donuts, sabotage and trans fat, I named this healthy balance my "HAPPINESS"-Balance and that's how it works.
In the example of this morning, we had the negative influence that trans fat in a donut has on your LDL, offset by the positive influence the endorphins have, that are produced while consuming the donut. So we have a "HAPPINESS"-Balance. BUT this is only a short-term state, because if you repeat the donut-eating-process frequently enough, all the endorphins produced can not offset the negative influence your guilt has on your mood, when you don't fit in your favourite pair of jeans anymore. Obviously my observations are far from being scientific in any way, but the truth is, you have to treat yourself every now and then… Live a little, as they say. Life isn't any fun, if you can't indulge in things you like every now and then.

Speaking of trans fat, here is some interesting information. According to FDA labeling rules, manufacturers are allowed to write 0 grams of trans fat on their boxes, if there is up to 0.49 grams of trans fat contained per serving. Considering that the serving sizes are getting smaller and smaller to make the impression on the consumer that they are about to buy healthy foods, those 0.49 grams per serving can add up to quite some. Especially, because you should avoid trans fat in your diet completely due to the negative impact on your health.

The status on the moving front is, that we are done. As mentioned previously, I got all the boxes packed last night, it took me longer than expected, but I got it done with not a box to spare. The boys loaded the stuff up and my apartment is completely empty now. My original plan was to start unpacking tonight right away, but I will give myself a little break. I still can't believe, that this is it! A pleasant surprise was the ease in which it is possible to cancel phone/
Internet and cable service. You call and get disconnected the very same day. In Germany, you have to give the companies a three months notice to get service disconnected or moved... You have to give your landlord the same amount of time. Much easier around here... SWEET!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shouldn't you be packing boxes or something?

Yes, I should!

Tomorrow BF and buddy are getting all the stuff, that I can possibly box up, and move it to the house. But I don't pack stuff right now, I write the first post for a blog that I just created today. My conscience is almost clean when it comes to the moving activities: 1) I made good progress over the last couple of days, 2) I am capable of pulling an all-nighter if I have to, but honestly think I will be running out of boxes by 12AM and 3) my lease is not up until 8/31 and whatever is left over tomorrow afternoon will be taken care of over the weekend.

The reason for me to sit here in front of my laptop instead of finishing the obvious task at hand is simple: I am terrified.

When it comes to moving, I am a pro. Including this one, I moved 11 times in almost 11 years. Out of those 11 years, I spent 4 years in the apartment that I am currently preparing to move out of. That leaves me with an average of 1.4 moves/year prior to "coming to America"… Pro status or not, I am still terrified. Change is always difficult, especially for a control freak such as myself. Still, I am also head controlled enough to decide on change (if I have a choice in the first place) based on a logical evaluation and then try to deal with the freaking out later. I guess, I am in the dealing stage now.

The things that are going to change are mostly: 1) living together with other people again, 2) keep a happy relationship happy, eventhough we are going to live together, 3) live in a household with a kid, 4) trying to squeeze in my regular training hours despite adding 1.5 hours to my daily communte, 5) having to rearrange my routine completely and 6) having a complete "house"hold rather than just having an "apartment"hold…. I know things are going to work out one thing at the time and until that happens, I just have to pluck along and try my best.
You might think I could have chosen a better time to start a blog and I think this is the best time ever to start a blog. I will open a new chapter in my life with this move (I know it sounds dramatic, but that's how I feel) and somehow that needs to be documented. Also, I have been more than sloppy when it comes to keeping friends and family back in Germany in the loop. I used to do send them epic e-mails summarizing several months at the time with the result, that people got so overwhelmed by the amount of information, that all they ended up looking at where the pictures attached. By upgrading to web 2.0 communication, I will give people a choice to check in with me on their schedule. It also presents the possibility to see the small stuff and not only the major events that I hammered into those e-mails.

The idea of having my own blog bounced around in my head for a while and time will tell how good I am to keep it up. And now I guess, it's finally time to get back to packing boxes.