Saturday, October 13, 2018

A few more random thoughts

So the knee pain thing has pretty much resolved itself. I still can't run without significant risk of angering my patellar tendons, but I'm riding pain free, and I can even push hard on the pedals again, so I think the old knees are ready to do some hard work. BUT... the headcold I had a month ago resurfaced with a vengance this week, mainly the wicked cough that keeps me up all night. Two nights of terrible sleep and a day of coughing until I thought I would pass out in class yesterday = yet again having to take time off the bike to wait until I'm healthy enough to train.

This sucks.

Time just keeps passing, La Ruta gets closer and closer, and I am still not training like I should be.

I'm trying to stay positive. I know I have been blessed with good health MOST of the time. That I had a flawless year of races with very few mechanical or bio-mechanical issues. I know I will one day be back to riding bikes all day in the sunshine, and that a broken bone would be much worse. And a random all day rain storm today helped me not feel like I missed out on beautiful fall biking adventures.

But it's still hard and frustrating and scary. I'm on antibiotics now, and with two solid days of not waking at at 5am and no exercise (major sad face) maybe I can kick this illness down by Monday.

In non-bike related news I am blown away at how much easier/happier the students are at my new school than last year. Not sure if it's just a good batch of kiddos or of the demographic is really that different, but so far these kids are incredibly pleasant to teach. They come in every day happy and excited and positive. I give them a task and I haven't heard complaining yet. They get excited about the online games we play, they are stoked to win or to move up in the ranks, a kid even told me this week that he broke into the top 10 for the first time (one of the games ranks the kids within the class based on speed and accuracy), and he was so proud of himself I wanted to cry. It's a strange experience to go from a difficult group of kids to this, but I feel guilty being so much happier teaching them because I know the students at my old school are dealing with so much more in life and that's WHY they are harder to reach. It's not fair that one group of kids has been dealt a difficult hand in life and just up the street, 5 miles away these other kids got such a different set of cards and an easier childhood. Not sure what to do with these thoughts, it's just been on my mind all week.

And on a totally random note, goat yoga. Why? I mean I love goats as much as the next person, but what if they poop on my yoga mat? or start eating my clothes? How can you relax and focus inward and concentrate on the movement of your body when there is a goat standing o your back?

I saw this goat yoga class last weekend on my way through San Juan Capistrano... hilarious, but strange.

I'm OBSESSED with Matcha tea lattes right now. Not sure why I'm craving it all the time, but I look forward to trips to Home Depot because Bodhi Leaf, a coffee and tea shop next door, makes the worlds best Matcha.

And all these cool fall weekends have been making me want to bake ALL THE FALL THINGS. Last weekend it was apple cinnamon scones. and today I made pumpkin coffee cake with browned butter maple glaze... it's really a problem that I can't ride bikes right now haha. And on Wednesday night we made sweet potato gnocchi, which was way easier than I anticipated it being! I guess I am liking being home as opposed to on the road racing all the time. It's been nice to bake and cook and relax on the weekends. 

Coffee cake  :) I'm pretty proud of this one, and it tastes better than it looks!

That't is, really random thoughts for a Saturday night. Off to bed to try and kick the cold. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Knee Pain and Life Lately

Actually really loving the pre-dawn commutes :)
Oh hey, yes, I'm still alive. Alive and crazy and hanging on by the skin of my teeth. Since school started life has been insanity. Waking up at 5 to ride to school in the dark for 6:15am XC practice (I'm assistant coaching the freshmen boys XC team at THHS), teaching until 4pm, plus afternoon XC on Tues/Thurs, and soon to be leading HS mtb fun rides on Wednesday and Fridays... yeah, by the skin of my teeth. I am SUPPOSED to be doing my own training on top of all this, but that hasn't been going so well and to be honest I haven't done a single workout in 3 weeks.

When the coaching gig came up I said yes because one of my personal goals this year is to be more involved in the school/get to know the staff and kids better than I did at Laguna. My coach told me to be careful not to let my huge aerobic engine trick me into running more than my joints/non-running body could handle. But of course I thought 5.5 miles on my first run back was just a baby run, that running 5 times a week on week 1 was easing into it, and that when I felt pain it was just weakness leaving the body, blah blah...

And two weeks in my knees suddenly hurt so badly I could barely walk last Monday during 7th period. I was close to tears from pain, frustration and fear that I was blowing the most important training weeks on my year.

Fast forward to today and looking  back on this setback I feel a strange calm/appreciation for my broken body.
Trying to heal my knees with a butt load of stretching.
For one I never really appreciated my knees before. I know people who have suffered torn ACLs and chronic knee pain and broken bones... and I always knew in my mind to appreciate my normally functioning body, but being down with pain so severe you can't walk is equal parts terrifying and eye opening. As the pain slowly fades and I am lucky enough to start getting pain free commutes to school I am so so so grateful for every pain free pedal stroke. I am also full of retroactive gratitude for so many years of racing with relatively few injuries. And for some reason the gratitude for my hopefully soon to be healthy body and past is bigger than the stress about not training, so that's kinda great (maybe my mind is too overwhelmed from working so much that I can't hold both emotions at once, haha)

And secondly being injured means I can focus all my time on teaching and coaching, which I'm actually enjoying quite a lot. It's honestly been overwhelming to think about training after work, and the cumulative fatigue of teaching and coaching hit me hard at the Grizzly, so I'm secretly a little grateful that I haven't had to think about how to squeeze in the workouts for the past 2 weeks. The down time has been full of school work and sleep, and it's fueling the fire in me to race hard again as well.
I am the happiest girl when I get to ride with no pain :)

 It's been strange to me that I have lost all interest in racking up Strava data, that I'm not itching to run out the door the second school gets out, and that last weekend I didn't touch a bike on Sunday, but hey, I guess there is a time for everything and the time of excessive ride-till-you-die Larissa is taking a hiatus. I hope everyone is healthy and happy and enjoying all those miles and feet of elevation for me :) Thanks guys!
I will leave you with this picture of God smiling on the Santa Ana mountains from tonight :)