For most triathletes, the off-season is spent recuperating. Time spent regenerating, resting and being kind to their bodies that worked SO hard all year long. I do that too, but first I have to get in a few good cross races! Admittedly I use the term "race" loosely. Sure, it's a good effort for most of the 1 hour out there, but by no means do I put it all on the line. Most of the reason I go is for the atmosphere, spending some quality time with friends and to get in a workout w/o having to think about it. Most of the time on the course, I'm focusing on things so far out of my comfort zone that I can forget it is an actual race. It's a good thing there are lots of "fans" to remind me of when I do something stupid, that it IS a race and I should be going harder. I love cyclocross fans, they're so honest. The fact that the beer starts flowing around 9am might contribute to their honest, fun loving nature :)

The season started on October 7th, with Cross Crusade #1, Alpenrose Dairy. Usually this race coincided with Hood River Hops Fest, but I was thankful to have a whole week to recover before jumping back on the saddle! Alpenrose is generally the biggest race of the series, mostly because it's the first one. This year did not disappoint! We even had personal fans this time! Ryan's Dad came all the way from Idaho Falls, and my Dad and Brother were able to make it as well! For me, the race was kind of ..eeeh. The course is pretty technical, which does NOT play well to my strengths. Technical and super bumpy, left me feeling discouraged and a little discombobulated. Not to mention it was hot and dusty, leaving me extremely thirsty! I am not usually a big soda fan, but Ryan's Dad bought us some Coke's after the race and it was the BEST THING EVER! I finished almost exactly mid-pack, and happy to be alive.

Cross Crusade #2, Rainier High School. Out of all the courses, this one is definitely my favorite - yay for hills! The day was typical Oregon coast fall weather, a little cloudy, a little drizzly and a whole lot misty. It felt so refreshing! I had a horrible start position, but found a good hole at the beginning and was able to work my way up to top 10. The girls I hung with were the perfect balance for me. I was a little stronger climbing and thru some of the technical sections, but they pushed me on all the gradual and flat sections. The race ends on a climb, and I tactially set myself up for a sprint finish, swinging around another girl just before the finish line. I did get a little too anxious and went too soon, but was still able to hold her off - whew!

Ryan and I had scheduled in a "break" for the following weekend, but were persuaded by some friends to race again. Though I am exhausted...there really isn't much I would rather do with a fall day! Heading into cyclocross season, we always intend on being under full control of the season and what races we do...but the fever is nearly impossible to avoid. Before we know what happened, we inevitably spend 7 weekends in a row, driving at least 7 hours per weekend to participate in cyclocross. More specifically, Cross Crusade.

Cross Crusade #3, PIR Heron Lakes. In the few years I've done Cross Crusade, I have yet to do this course. It was a blast!! My legs did not want to give me much, so I just accepted what they could give me...for the most part. I did make them suffer a little bit...but was mostly nice :) I had a great starting position, but squandered it by not being able to clip in right away and missed a good hole. Anyway, I worked to get up to the second group of girls, and stayed with them for most of the race. There were some nice open sections that were perfect for picking up a draft when the "A" men would pass, but the rest of it was a little slow going thru mud and gravel. Though it didn't have any real significant climbs, it was a good mix of terrain which kept it fun and interesting. I didn't quite finish as well as I did at Rainier, but am not too disappointed with my finish of 13th place...after-all 13 is my lucky number :)

This last weekend, we missed the Cross-Crusade double header in Bend, OR for a trip to San Diego and a USATriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic!!  It means a lot that Ryan would give up a weekend of Cross racing to be my moral support person and travel buddy..it made all the difference! 



I'm sick if being bombarded with new fashion trends for fall, for a couple of reasons.  #1, I'm on a budget.  #2, I think we would be a lot better off if we spent more time on content that matters than browsing the internet for cute clothes and sweet deals.

These trends are not for the weak, but I wouldn’t share them if I didn’t think you could do it. Please don't follow these trends because I told you to. Do it for yourself.

1. Follow your heart and start living the life of your dreams.

2. Stop following what's trendy and find what's more authentically you.

3. Do something that scares you. Today.

4. Start believing you are worth it.

5. Set a goal that is going to push you beyond your comfort zone, and say it out loud. Every day.

I didn't say it was going to be easy. But it will be worth it.

Trust me.





I have been struck by a flood of inspiration today, and as I went to write this, I decided to take a look at the news. Out of all the articles I read through, the one I can't get out of my mind is Nicole Sherzinger speaking out about her bulimia. For the past few hours, my good mood, filled with hope and inspiration has had a dark cloud over it, that I just can't shake. I don't know Nicole personally, but I can't help but feel heartbroken.

It's interesting that Nicole is a person so publicly celebrated for her beauty, yet for some time, all she could focus on was the distorted self perception that she faced every time she looked in the mirror.

As I was reading it, I was struck by a memory I have of when I really started to turn the corner with my eating disorder. Sure, I had been "eating" and had recovered to a more "healthy weight", but hadn't really done any of the work to recover. I was looking through pictures of a race, and I came across someone running and said, "Wow, I wish I had legs like that!". The person that I was with just gave me this funny look and said, "Um, that IS you."

Ha, ha...oh....REALLY?!?! You mean, I was punishing myself everyday...working out, restricting calories, hiding in baggy clothes, telling myself very awful things over and over...so that I could be what? The person that I already was. I was hiding behind what seemed like an infinite wall of shame and self-hatred on a journey that ultimately lead me to see that I already was the person I nearly killed myself trying to be.
Now, the tricky part is accepting that...we'll save that for a different day.
Sure, I'm no Nicole Sherzinger, but do you see the point?

What if we all had the opportunity to actually see ourselves for what we really are? Would we be impressed? Do yourself a favor. Today, I want you to block your mind of all the things you have yet to accomplish. I want you to sit down and write all the things you HAVE accomplished, all the goals you've achieved, all the fears you've conquered. Write those down on a list and post it right next to your mirror, and smile. Go ahead, I dare you. And when you achieve your next goal, ad it to the list. You are more beautiful, more kind, more smart, more wonderful than you have ever given yourself credit for.

Start seeing yourself for who you really are, see what the world already sees in you.



Even though it would appear that I face fear all the time, in reality I train so I have confidence in what I do and not have to face fear on a regular basis. This has prepared me to be able to set goals and come up with a plan to work towards them. Life, on the other hand, does not always allow for planning time. On a daily basis, we are faced with course changing decisions, whether we are aware of them or not.

Some of the choices are not difficult, but sometimes they stop us dead in our tracks. Sometimes something stops us mid-way as if to say, "are you sure?"

Recently I was faced with an "are you sure?" moment. And I'm not going to lie to you, it was hard. So hard it took me days (6 days to be exact), to be ready to move forward. I went back and forth, analyzing every angle and direction, I even made a spread sheet. Needless to say, I didn't really need to do all that, because what my heart was saying wouldn't change. It didn't change. Sometimes no matter how much analysis you throw at an equation, the right solution may not follow any logic at all.  That doesn't make it any less right.

And as I sat and looked at all my daily inspirations, I was confident in my decision and empowered that I had, in fact, faced my fears.
Photo by sbbarkley