Friday, May 30, 2014

Took A Whole Lot of Tryin' Just to Get Up That Hill.

I will return to my vacation posts shortly, but I figured I'd mix some new with the old as I go. Last weekend was Snake Alley in Burlington. It's a hard race for me in every way. It has an insane climb and a fast downhill with a couple of turns after that. Also, I am all different kinds of perimenopausal and it can be really challenging racing under the hormones. Hmmmm. "Under the Hormones"...New blog name?

It seems a lot of women are squeamish about talking about "The Change". I was talking about it with John and we were pondering why people don't talk about it much. We assumed it was mostly because it was a sign of aging, and so many Americans hate to admit they are at THAT AGE. I also know way too many women who like to pretend it didn't make any difference in their lives after the fact. The women I'm thinking of were generally totally insane and/or self-medicating with alcohol or, like my aunt, at least a bottle of Midol a day.  I have never wanted to be one of those women, who after the fact, said they didn't know what anyone was talking about with menopause, they never had any symptoms and never got crazy, while their entire family is kicking each other under the table, trying not to laugh remembering how they all wish they could have armed themselves with tranquilizer guns during those years. So, in the interest of not being in denial, I am going to talk about the issues of being perimenopausal and how it affects me. Because, so far it has affected me some.

Being hormonal can make me weak, tired, dizzy, super spacy, anxious and mess with my confidence. Not in any way that would make me nonfunctional in real life, (yet) but all of those things are REALLY bad for racing. Also, my migraines can be worse and telling when I might get one is way more unpredictable then it used to be. So, I'm on a lovely hormonercoaster and it's hard telling from one day to the next who will show up to any race.

So it was, that I was feeling the hormones last Saturday when I raced up Snake Alley again, and again, and again. I did some prerides and didn't feel very strong or confident. The weather was beautiful and a lot of my friends showed up to cheer John and I on. I was afraid I wouldn't make all the way up the hill unless, I let all of the women go ahead of me and then I could choose my line and go alllll the way across on each switchback, which meant I was last for most of the race. Luckily, a couple of other women either went out too hard or just didn't have it in them to ride up Snake Alley that many times, and had to walk up. Which meant I was 3rd from last. I'll take it!

The next day, I was supposed to race The Melon City Crit in Muscatine, but after waking up with a migraine, I decided it probably wasn't a good idea. I did, however, watch John race and wandered around Weed Park, which was beautiful.

When we got home, I decided to run a nice, slow 6 mile route, because running can help the migraines go away, and luckily, it worked. Later in the afternoon, John and I went to see the new Godzilla movie and that was fun. As long as you didn't expect it to make much sense and you just wanted to watch monsters battle it out and wreck large cities while sitting in air conditioning and eating popcorn - which happened to be exactly what I wanted to do, thank you. We went for sushi after the movie and gave ourselves an all-out Japanese themed evening.

On Memorial Day, I woke up with ANOTHER migraine. We had already decided not to do the Crit in Davenport, so that wasn't an issue. I took my migraine meds and went back to bed. Then I got up and got some serious gardening done. I have some scrub bushes in my backyard that I've been meaning to tear out since I bought the house in 2009. I finally ripped out a little section and replaced them with Asian lilies. So much better.

So, I expect the next couple of years of racing to be a veritable crap shoot, where I work very hard at not getting disappointed when I am not able to do the races I love or decide to do them when I know I won't be strong enough or focused enough to get decent results. And since I have written this blog post, I will never be able to deny that perimenopause affected me after the fact...Unless I happen to accidentally delete this post, that is...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

There Were Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things. There Was Sand and Hills and Rings.

Since I've been such an inconsistent blogger, no one really reads this anymore and I'm actually okay with that. It gives me the freedom to write what I want without people freaking out on me about how I perceive and write about my own experiences or certain friends or family members thinking I drink too much or spend my money in ways they don't approve or whatever the hell else people think is their business...Well, Okay. I'm fine with people judging me, but if they do it on here and I don't like it, I can just delete and continue to write whatever useless crap I want. See? Freedom!

Anyway, I know at one point I said I would write about my Arizona vacation and here it goes: We left Iowa right as it was beginning to blizzard on February20th. We went South to Missouri, instead of West to Des Moines to miss the worst part of the storm.

So it was, that we drove and drove and effing drove through Missouri and Kansas all night long, until we hit Oklahoma, just as the sun was coming up. In the light of day, the snow was gone, the plains were stark, and by the time we hit New Mexico, we looked like we were in Bedrock with Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble.

In this much warmer, alternate universe, it became clear to us that things would suddenly go our way. We entered Santa Fe a little early and just thought we'd see if our room was ready. The clerk said that he didn't see that we had a reservation. John went back to the car to get proof. There had been a glitch and the only room that was open was a casita. They would give us that and not charge us for the upgrade. Hurray! He also informed us of the Goya exhibit at the art museum, that was only about a block down from the Georgia O'keefe museum...I was very much in love with our alternate universe.

Since neither of us got much sleep the night before, we planned for a nice relaxing day of eating, drinking and staring at things. To that end, we went to lunch at Cafe Pascual's and it was lovely. Great food and even better margaritas. We wandered around the Downtown area of Santa Fe, but neither of us are big shoppers, so most of it was lost on us.

We headed to the art museums and were so happy to check things out. The Georgia O'Keefe museum was very cool and the other museum had an exhibit from a couple who lived in NYC, who had normal jobs and collected all kinds of modern art and stored it in their tiny apartment. There were so many things to stare at.

We walked everywhere we went in Santa Fe, which is always the best way to check out a city, if possible. We had about an hour to kill between museums and our dinner reservations, so we wandered around until we found a place called Agave. "I bet they would sell margaritas there..." I said, and so we decided to explore the possibility. Turns out, they DID sell margaritas, and in fact they served the best margaritas we had the entire trip AND it was happy hour, so they were $5 a pop. Thank you, alternate universe!

We made it to Maria's for dinner which was just fine. They didn't have a lot of veggie or fish options, but we were able to find a couple of entrees and then had a lovely walk back to our casita. When we were about a block away, John said he wouldn't mind trying to find one more drink before we retired. Hell, we were on vacation, why not? So, we walked around the block and saw a restaurant named Tomasita's that had a line out the door of  what looked to be locals, so we figured it had to be good. We wandered to the bar and asked if we could just sit there and have a drink, and they said, "Of course." Our margaritas were very good and the next thing you know, we hear music and there are mariachis. Not only that, these mariachis were beautiful women. It couldn't have been a more perfect evening. If the rest of the the vacation turned out anything like this first day, we might never go back to Iowa...

Monday, May 12, 2014

I've Thought About Us For a Long, Long Time.

So, it's me again. What is it? May now? This was a big three day weekend for me. I try to save up as much vacation time as possible, so I can take it during the warmer months. I allotted myself an extra day and half for this month and used one day on Friday.

 What did I do with that time? Well, I woke up and read my book,  Americanah. It is really good so far and I drank tea and was covered in cats while I read it. Heavenly. Then I went out and bought up a bunch of organic veggie plants and flowers. After I had effectively pissed away most of the day, I was ready for my bike ride. I took the road bike out to Amish Country and it was lovely....Except for the brutal headwinds on the first 24 miles of it.

 I saw many beautiful Amish girls in bonnets and blue dresses doing yard work and men driving buggies, pulling trailers full of wood supports for buildings. I also stopped at the cheese house...Because I believe it might be mandatory when passing through Kalona. I rode through Frytown and then to Angle Road and finally got to my favorite road name in Iowa, Orval Yoder Turnpike. On the way home, I finally caught an amazing tailwind and flew up hills at 25 mph without even pedaling. So many reasons to be addicted to bike riding.

On Saturday I woke up with a migraine. I took my migraine meds and slept it off. In the afternoon, I was able to plant about 90% of the veggies and flowers I bought. John helped me expand our garden by one extra bed. So, we will try to grow twice as many tomatoes, as well as basil, peppers, lettuce, eggplant, pumpkins and I would love to grow zucchini, but I have found it very difficult to find seeds or starts. I rode my bike close to 150 miles last week, but guess what made my legs sore? That's right. Gardening.

Later in the afternoon, we headed to Ames. Coadster still has one more semester of student teaching, but the Latino Students only have their graduation ceremony in the Spring. While we were there, we stopped by her house, to meet her new puppy, Bailey. Isn't she the cutest grandpuppy you've ever seen? I promise to spoil the hell out of her and to buy lots of loud squeaky toys, just for fun.

The ceremony was really long and there were many speeches that sounded very similar. Most importantly to me, Coadster got honored by the college of liberal arts for her great grades and all the work she did as president of the ISU educational association. They also talked about her amazing organizational skills, and i had to laugh and think, "Kids have to rebel against their parents some way!" She also sang a song and got a standing ovation. So many reasons for me to be a sorry sap, and I didn't really need any of them.

Mother's Day was lovely. I still wasn't feeling 100%, so we took John's mom and Stinky to Mother's Day brunch and then went for a walk that we finished right before it rained. We came home and took a nap during the thunderstorms - the best way to sleep, as far as I'm concerned. Then we went to the Kalona Brewery and did some beer flights and ate pizza. I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day....Well, I suppose if we could have ridden our bikes to Kalona and back. That would have made it better.