Don't Make Change too Complicated: Just Begin!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

State Championships: 1200 Athletes and Counting!

The Opening Ceremony for the Senior Olympics was much in tune with the opening ceremonies for the regular Olympics...except everyone was over 50 years old!
There were over 1200 athletes and Cece found out quickly these were not shrinking violet athletes...they were rowdy extroverted athletes out to have a great time....AND they were competitive!
This is Janet Smith.  Cece and Janet met their first lunch in athlete's  village!  Soon, they were arguing over whether Cece was a pessimist or a realist and Cece got yelled at by a 77 year old dynamo who surged at her yelling over the lunch table....saying, "How can you be competitive if you are a realist?  You have to dream big!"

As you might be able to tell,.Janet  is a table tennis player (which Cece calls ping pong) and Janet went on to tell Cece about her strategy to beat "pony tail" because she has beaten Janet every year.  Now Janet knows that "Pony tail" has a bad eye and she will be hitting to her blind side so she can gain an advantage.  Cece exclaimed. 'OMG!  You are viciously competitive."    Janet replied. "Girl what else is there?  Meet me on Facebook after the events and I will tell  you how I did i t!"

Cece asked Janet what her secret to good health and happiness at her age was and she was told this wise advice:  "Never look back.  Just look forward to what excites you and look to your future happiness.  You can't change the past and waste energy on it."  They also talked about men and Janet exclaimed, "Make sure you see the bottom line of their checkbook before you get involved with them.  Are you coming to the dance on Saturday night?  That is where you'll meet a good man."  Unfortunately, Cece was leaving on Thursday....but maybe next year.....?

Janet invited Cece to come watch her practice with her table tennis partner after her bike  race.  She did just that!
Janet was about to serve!  Cece could not get any good pictures of table tennis because she  could not move her head fast enough to catch the action.  Cece broke a sweat just watching them run and maneuver all around the court!  Cece was exhausted.    She could not even keep her eye on the ball.  She learned that there are groups in NM that travel to play each other in tournaments. Cece told Janet, "I have a new appreciation for table tennis.It's exhausting"

This is Dorella.  She is 78.  She knew Cece's dear friend Tom Hendricks and used to ride with him on MWF mornings.She told Cece about the "Record Breaker" race that is Labor Day Weekend and that she is riding there trying to break the record for her age group.  She is in many cycling races and many swimming races too!   Cece and Dorella seemed to meet up at each meal although it was never planned that way.  Cece hopes that when she is 77 or 78 she will be in the great shape that these 2 women are in. 

 Both women were dynamos in their own playing table tennis and the other an amped up time trialist  and road racer....but they were both great examples of women who did not have Title 9 growing up and got into sports late in life. Before Title 9, PE for women was walking a few blocks for gym class.  No sports was unladylike !   They came into their own and excelled at their sport despite great odds.

There were many women and men who just astounded  Cece. She met runners, and discus and javelin throwers and many more athletes!  

 She was always the youngest and everyone asked her "Girl  why don't you just retire and have more fun?"    That always made Cece giggle!
Cece will look to the future and dream big!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Race Report: State Championships Part 1

Cece has not quite embraced this senior thing yet...even though she is just 54 and all of of her best friends are in their middle forties, she still qualifies in Albuquerque to join the 50+ Sr. Citizens Centers.    This is how she got involved in the Senior Olympics.  She must confess that at first, she thought they would be a big bunch of fuddy duddies throwing frisbees....but she soon found out in her first time trial when Olga the Skinny beat her by a 20 full minutes. And she saw some beautiful looking he men specimens in their aero suits! See example below from Cece's age category!  The gene pool in cycling is extraordinary!
And then there is Larry Johnson...the 92 year old cyclist who slapped Cece's butt...and Mr. Aero suit exclaimed , "He is probably the only one that could  get away with that!"
This is Larry with Susan Rice.  Cece was determined to interview Larry for this blog but could not catch up with him afterwards....which is literally true!  She greeted him at the turn around and tried to catch him on the way no avail.  She was going over 24mph and he was a speck on the horizon!  She still wants to know how he has maintained his health and fitness and speed all these years!  Perhaps she can catch up with him in ABQ!

Cece arrived in Las Cruces the day before the race because at the minimum, she wanted to drive the course.  But, first she had to find it.  She brought along "Karen" her GPS and was able to get directions to the Armory .  So, off she went.  She found the route some 15 miles away on a frontage road that went along I-10. She saw the dreaded overpass ramps...and thought "not too bad." She drove the route...not too bad....and then it happened.  COWS!  Right at the turn around there they were lying on the road and under trees...these huge black brown cows.  Now mind you....Cece does not have the bovineophobia that her friend Ellie the Shark  has...and yet she still thought these could pose a hazard to her race....especially since they were in front of the cattle guard at the turn around!
 Race morning, Cece was tired and was determined to get that cup of coffee she needed to revive her!  She got the cup of joe and ate her pre-race meal and off she to the port a potties about 5 times...that kept her busy....then talking to Mr. Aero suit....and Larry Johnson.  Finally, she put on her shoes and it was about 7:47.  The race started at 8am!  One more trip to the bathroom and she was good.  Coffee is a diuretic you know! 

 She lined up.  Cece talked to the motorcycle cop and asked him if he saw the cows on the course.  She said, "If you see them, can you shoo them away?  I do not want to have an accident."  he said , "Well ma' is my job to keep you safe so I will go and ride the route now and see if the cows are at the turn around."  What a nice guy.  Soon,  he came back and told her there were not any cows on the route.  Of course Cece asked him if he was sure....and he said he was certain.    Then he told her all about open space and his strategy for corralling cows that need back in! 

The race director gave the directions and changed his mind as to how the race would proceed at the last moment.  He decided the men would start first and then women 2 minutes behind them.  OK!   Better for Cece...she did not have to seek out the competition.  She had about 15 women in the race and she could easily keep them in mind.

3-2-1.  And we were off!  Susan Rice tried to convince the race director that she wanted to start with the men...but he did not allow it even if she tucked her pony tail under her helmet.  So, Susan took off like a bat out of hell as did the next group of faster women.  False flat for almost 4 miles.  Cece was going to use this as her warm up and not push the pace too much.  She did not want to fry herself and have nothing left.  She was going to ride her own race.

She had set time and speed goals for herself and that was her better or equal what she set for herself.  She stayed on her pace and her race.

Pre-race day.....Cece had sought out every freeway ramp in ABQ  to practice on and had done hill repeats on them  If you know Cece, she will always tell you that "this body does not like going uphill.": . but uphill she went... doing repeats weighted and not weighted.  She climbed every hill she wanted to except Tramway...she was not that desperate yet....and she easily navigated all the entry and exit ramps on race  day with ease.  She navigated the 90 degree turn and all the S curves.. some small rollers.....but what was most difficult was the strong head wind and the crappy pavement...which bounced though her arms like a jack hammer.  Later, Olga told cece, "Who could beat  a record pace on this rough course?"  Olga missed hers by 17 seconds.  Olga is a time trialist.  Cece just wants to race faster!

Cece was glad that she disciplined her training and did fast cadence work in high gearing....because she needed that as she sprinted in .  She never knew that after a fast race, she could sprint for a mile or more at 24+ mph!  Who knew?  All those dogged competitions with skinny women cyclists on the bosque playing "catch me if you can"  or "You be the rabbit" paid off for Cece big time.

 Her legs were burning, she wanted to throw up...she wanted to just coast a bit to catch her breath from its heaving and let her legs rest a bit...she was thankful not to be on a heart rate she told herself the favorite repeat refrain of Troy Jacobson..."Push, Push,Push! You can throw u p when you are soft pedaling after the finish line!  "  She was in her drops with her head down pushing through the finish line. woosh......ZOOM!  She was through!
 Mantra:"  Rome was not built in one day!"

She looked at her computer. ... 47 something!  WOW!  Her goal was 50.25.  She looked at her avg speed....she beat her goal.  She started to cry!  WOW!  She did it!    Tears of Joy! 

She was so excited calling people and texting people that she missed her medal ceremony!  When she saw the gathering of people they shouted to her that she came in 2nd place and she missed her medal.  Oh well.  She would get it later.  She knew the joy of victory for herself.  She challenged herself and pushed herself to places she did not know she could go!  This was exhilarating!

So now, Cece has qualified to race the20K in the National Championships in Later July 2013. They will be in Ohio. She has a lot of work to do...but she has time!  Cece has  the taste of success and can work to build on it!   

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

To Everything There is a Season....

A Time for Every Purpose Under  heaven:
...a time to break down,
a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn
and a time to dance;
A time to caste away stones,
and a time to gather stones together.....

After Cece finished her last ride this morning before the big race , and began her period of rest, she had this poem running through her mind.  She had a great ride this morning beating her personal best by four+ minutes.  She had not ridden fast in a while .....instead focusing on cadence work,  hills and leg work at the this was a great surprise!

Even so, she still realized that she would not be able to win the race she had been training for.  It is like she has Usain Bolt in her age category.  Who could win against him?   Instead of the Lightening Bolt, her name is Olga.

Cece has been working on herself to embrace the other reasons she is challenge see what she is made push herself over that wall of pain and come out the other give her all and test her own preconceived notions about what she can and cannot do!  

Many of her friends have had disappointments and were unable to win too....and she met one friend in Trader Joe's the other day and he said that he wanted to research what happens to athletes when they train so hard and do not win.  What is the psychology of defeat and then picking yourself back up again and trying again? 

It sounds much like weight gain...and then bucking up to loose the weight  you gained...or falling off that horse...and getting back on again. None of it is easy.  It takes a ferocious will to succeed despite all odds.

And Cece has learned that there are many odds besides being an Athena woman...some odds are being a parent and not having enough time to train, getting older,  getting injured, or having crisis on your job that has to be attended to...or having papers due so that you have less time to train....or not having enough money to get the equipment or nutrition and training you need ( like the woman weight lifter in the Olympics....Sara Robles...the strongest woman).   She writes a blog at Pretty Strong.

So, as she rests and drives south to her competition, Cece is going to continue working on her mind...affirming her successes and focusing on her personal achievements ...which are many.... rather that her failure to beat Olga.