Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On humility

Or should I title this post "On sucking ass"?

There's a guy in town who teaches indoor cycling classes. I teach indoor cycling classes as well, but these are different. He's an ex-professional cyclist. He sets your bike up on a Computrainer. (He has to ask you for your weight while doing this, unfortunately. That information is confidential, so to have had to utter those 3 numbers to someone other than a doctor or someone on the other end of the phone who will never be face to face with me was horrible. Especially since that someone is someone I think is a cutie-pie.) Everyone who takes his classes are roadies or triathletes who are trying to become better roadies/triathletes outside. His classes are very popular and his 5-week sessions ALWAYS sell out in advance. So I decided that since I haven't ridden outside since last September (not entirely my fault - damn you, ankle injury and blood clot!) I should take some classes from him. My plan is to re-enter the triathlon community in 2009 as a participant rather than a spectator or volunteer, and to re-enter it strongly enough so I don't embarrass myself. I am a triathlon coach, after all, so I need to at least look like I know what I am doing.

Last night I went to my first cycling class. Everyone else in the class had been taking his classes for at least a year - hell, one of the girls had even dated him, or so I heard - and everyone had been riding and racing all year long. But I thought I was okay - I've been teaching Spin at least once a week for a while.

I think I would've been okay if the setup hadn't been a simulated race, but no. Up on the screen were our names and what "place" we were in. I was in 1st for the first 2 minutes, then slipped to 2nd, then to 3rd, then to 4th, and finally to 5th. There were 6 of us, and the person in 6th had eaten cake at lunch and was feeling queasy. Had it not been for that cake, I probably would've been in 6th.

The competitive side of me HATED every bit of the 90-minute class because of this. Wow - how much more blatant can "Stephanie SUCKS!!!" be??? I was very defensive about the entire thing: "I taught 4 classes yesterday, ran with the group I coach, and I did a 1-hour leg workout." "Man, a Spin bike sure is different than a road bike!" "You have to remember that I haven't been on my bike since September 2007. I had to really think about where my cycling shoes were when I was getting ready to come here tonight." But the harsh reality is that I suck right now. I suck. I was out for the entire summer with injuries and since I've been healthy I've been focusing more on strength training and getting back into running. I know, I know - all of those excuses are valid, but they are still excuses. And I am a triathlon coach, for f*ck's sake! Who would want to hire me after seeing those numbers up on the screen??? I kept trying to tell myself that football coaches and basketball coaches aren't in shape like their players are, but alas - triathlon coaches are different. They're expected to be really good at their sport. I am really good at organization and creating the proper workouts for my athletes (one of my athletes improved her Ironman time by 2 hours and 15 minutes this November - woot!), but I am the Energizer Bunny when it comes to actual competition: I can go for days on end, but speed I do not have.

What this has caused me to do, other than to be pitifully depressed all day, is realize that I need to sit down with a calendar and a piece of paper and lay out my goals and how I'm going to go about accomplishing them. Strength training is great, but the time is about to come when I need to move the spotlight out of the gym and onto the road.

So, without further ado, here is New Year's Resolution #1: COME UP WITH A GAME PLAN FOR THE SUMMER OF MAJOR COMEBACKS.
More resolutions to follow. Happy New Year, y'all!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the night before the night before the night before the night before Christmas...

...I finally did something I've wanted to do for a very long time:

make a Christmas stocking. This is the stocking from the second Mason Dixon Knitting book, Outside the Lines. I'm not a colorwork person nor am I a socks on 2 circular needles person, but I went for it anyway. I started it on the 12th and finished on the 21st, thanks to being challenged by Judith. (A skein of sock yarn was on the line, and I am a competitive person!) I'm very happy with the result and have even planned my next colorwork project - Eunny's Endpaper Mitts. My Knit Picks Palette came in yesterday. Do I go with purple and orange, orange and green, or green and purple?

Another thing I've been meaning to share is the newest addition to our family:

The boy we've had for almost 9 years (eep!), the dog we've had for almost 1 month. This is Maddie, a 12-week old chocolate lab who is super sweet and super cute. Rudy died in his sleep in the middle of November, so all of a sudden we were a 1 dog family. I got an email from a friend whose boyfriend's coworker had a puppy he needed to get rid of (he stupidly had 4 cats, 3 dogs, at least 1 small child and less than 1 acre of land, and he works at a hospital so he has funky hours), and the pictures were too cute to keep to myself. I forwarded them on to Mike, who immediately said we'd take her. She's very friendly and snuggly and cute and fit into our crazy household right away. She went with us to my parents' house in Memphis for Christmas and was a hit. Here are some pictures of the drive down there:

Hayden was reading a book and needed a place to put his head, so Maddie gladly accomodated him.

She so wanted in the front seat, but I was knitting and Mike was driving, so she settled for getting just her nose up there.

Gracie, our other dog, has accepted her well. There were a couple of "I'm the alpha bitch" instances in the beginning, but now they're BFFs. Right now Gracie overpowers Maddie, but I don't think it'll be long before Maddie will give Gracie a run for her money.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Great day for a photo shoot!

Every time I get my husband to take pictures of me in a new sweater, I always stand in front of the yellow wall in our den. However, we live really close to a great park and it's a nice day, so we met for lunch then did an outdoor photo shoot. Here's my new favorite sweater, Wisteria:

Have I told y'all how much I love this sweater? This is my new favorite. I love the cables, especially how they start so densely then spread out.

I love the yarn (Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks - their less expensive version of Cascade 220, such a classic workhorse.) I love the color. I love the fit. The smallest size is 37", so I went with a smaller needle size to get a slightly smaller gauge, and I think I hit it spot-on. I loved the simplicity of the pattern (in the round, top down, pick up for sleeves after the body is done). I loved learning how to do the felted join so the only ends I had to weave in were at the armpit, the neck, the bottom hem, and the bottom of sleeve.

I am in a bit of a cable overload right now, so yesterday I cast on for a more mindless sweater: Avast from Knitty. The yarn is Wool of the Andes (again), Mike's birthday present back in August. I'd like to get it done for him by Christmas, but I won't kill myself trying to do that. Everything is stockinette except for the bottom band, which is a cable. I'm doing that first, then going up from there. The hems are nice and finished, so I may use the brown I have left over from my sweater and add a little extra color. We'll see.