Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TTrying to geTT inTTo a Groove

Well, I've been pretty silent on the blogosphere. I don't really know why, but I'm a little uninspired lately. Here's what's going on.

First Race of the Season
Well, my first race was supposed to be Bariani - a 30 mile road race. But, I'd had a lousy week starting with barfing. Then, the worst allergies I've had in my life crept up on me - to the point that I could barely breathe on Sunday and was blowing 3 tissues worth of snot every time I got off the couch. And, there was an unstable cold front moving through the area that morning, which made the whole thing unappealing. So, I bagged the race and registered for a TT this weekend instead. This is probably a good thing, since this entire season is focused on TT/pursuit. It is going to be good to work some kinks out with that before any races that I care about doing well in.

The New Jobby thing
It turns out I had a probation period that I wasn't aware of - which is probably a good thing, because I would have been stressing about it. Fortunately, I passed with flying colors.

I just finished up my big research project yesterday to support the web site redesign I'm working on. I'm still crunching the data and all, but have some good hints about where I should be going. The research included a heuristic evaluation, survey and usability study. I was thrilled to find two professors who would work with me on administering my survey during their classes. In the end, I was able to get surveys from about 15% of the student body, which is fantastic. I was also able to recruit an appropriate mix of students/faculty to participate in my usability study - amazing since I've only been here 3 months and barely know anyone. I am truly grateful to have gotten what I need to move forward. And, the cool thing is that one of the profs wants me to come back and speak to his classes about what I learned in the survey and how it will shape the redesign.

Other randoms
I finished up my article to submit to Adventure Cycling while I was on Spring Break. Maybe I'll post some of it here for critique. I'm sure it needs some spiffing to be palatable.

In the meantime, the planning of our 2nd tour with the parents is going well. After we selected the route and dates, my dad has taken over the logistics planning, which he loves. It's kind of fun to see how each of us is contributing from our expertise and gifts to make this thing happen. I am really looking forward to it. Mom and Dad just completed a week of training camp in Palm Desert, so they are full of fitness and confidence for the journey ahead.

There is just so much to be grateful for right now in life. Hoooray!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dog Days of Winter

Yep, it's that time of year. The time where I find it really hard to live in the present and really easy to focus on what lies ahead.

Normally I love training. However, there have been a few too many rain-soaked rides with flat tires or hours spent on the trainer lately to really be in love with the training. I do occasionally find a bright spot in the routine - the times I get to sneak in a weekend ride between storms with the Rickster are especially nice. So, mostly I'm looking forward - forward to the start of the season (Bariani to shake off the cobwebs) and to sunny days ahead.

Also, I can't help but look forward to longer days. One time recently, I was able to leave work around 5:30, and I got about 3 miles from home before the light completely disappeared. Very soon, I will be able to get all the way home in the light, which also means I can pull out the TT bike for some of the training/commuting rides (assuming rain is not around). The downside is that I will be departing in the morning twilight, but since I rarely go out before 7, it's not much of an issue. I have enjoyed being able to wake up on my own at 6:30 with the light peeking in the windows. I am looking forward to the long days of late spring when the alarm clock becomes merely an insurance policy. I love being truly awake when I get out of bed.

There are a bunch of things in life (work and personal) right now that are in the "just put your head down and get 'er done" category. I'm working through the list. I should be feeling free and breezy about the beginning of April. For now I am a bit stressed. But, I am grateful for a full life and good friends, family and co-workers who are relying on me. I have a sense of purpose. It is all good - just a little over-full right at the moment.

And, of course, there is the Wanderlust. It has been bugging, itching, prodding screaming I NEED AN ADVENTURE!!!! Watching Rick Steves marathons on PBS does not help with this issue. I'm watching the foreign currencies take a nose dive and wanting to pounce on that. Fortunately we have the Fall tour of the Olympic Peninsula already in the planning stages. This will likely curb my appetite for a bit longer. Next spring we will need, need, need to bust out of the USofA and find an adventure - maybe Argentina will be back on the table, maybe the Danube tour, maybe just go for somewhere we know we will like - Umbria, Dolomites, Provence. There is some part of my soul that needs to ride through the countryside on my bike and linger through 3 hour meals sipping wine, soaking in scenery and 24x7 Rick. That is just the best thing ever, as far as I'm concerned. But, for now I must work in anticipation of that future time when we will commence our next adventure. And, I must find a way to make an adventure out of every day!