HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Today marks the beginning of the Lunar Year, which means lots of food and festivities in the Asian cultures. I hate when people call it Chinese New Year. It’s not like the Chinese are the only ones who celebrate it, right? I got a little curious as to which cultures actually celebrate the Lunar New Year, and according to Wikipedia (it was on the internet, so it must be true), Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese (Tet) , Tibetan (Losar), and Mongolian (Tsagaan Sar) New Year all fall on this weekend. Other cultures celebrate their Lunar New Year (though they may not call it that) at other times during the year, including: Islamic New Year, Rosh Hashana, and Thai New Year (just to name a few). Anyway, enough of the cultural history lesson.
I started off my (lunar) new year great. Saturday, had yet another race: Race #1 of the OC Chili Winter Trail Run Series at O’Neill Regional Park. I haven’t gone trail running in years, so this was quite a “new” experience for me. One of my first attempts at starting to run was trail running. When I lived in Virginia (during grad school), there was a great 5-mile loop near my place called the Noland Trail. It was nice because it was much more scenic than Mile Square Park (which is my usual running venue) and there weren’t any cars (once you got away from the parking lot). Running in nature is just way more calming than city running. However, that was many years ago and I haven’t been running on trails since then, so Saturday was quite an experience for me. Most of my running workouts consists of long flat stretches or very minimal (negligible) grade. For everyone out there who hikes or trail runs, you know that this is definitely not the case out in nature. There are steep climbs and equally steep descents, uneven terrain, mud, gravel, and treacherous branches sticking out of the ground just waiting to trip you. It was loads of fun, but I wasn’t prepared for it and ended up walking most of the climbs and some of the descents. Overall, I ended up with a good time, 53 minutes. The winner finished in 32 minutes, and the winner of my age group/female finished in just under 39 minutes. I finished 7th out of 18 in my age group and 79th out of 201 overall. That just means that there is only room for improvement the rest of the series. I’m not thinking that I will win my age group, since she will probably improve proportionally to me, but I hopefully I can up my pace and get more comfortable on those climbs and descents. Some pictures from the race:
After the race, I had a follow-up fit appointment at Final Fit. Just needed to adjust my aerobars and elbow pads a bit and Jim had a different test saddle for me to try out: V-Flow Plus from Cobb Cycling. The new saddle is magnitudes better than the previous saddle I had (Profile) and the previous one that he let me borrow, but I need to test it out on some longer rides before I’m totally sold on it.
This morning, I had some extra time before my family heads to the cemeteries to visit my grandparents (mom’s dad at one and dad’s mom at another), so I got in a (really really quick) ride on the tri bike to test out the new saddle and aero position. I (and Jim and Minh) am amazed at how different my new position is compared to my previous (non-aero) position, and how I’ve just fallen in line with it and haven’t needed THAT many adjustments. Today’s ride felt great, although my neck aches a little bit from looking up at a different angle. That just requires me getting used to my new position, should go away the more I ride. I wasn’t able to go incredibly fast on account of my weakling little legs (and lack of dedicated training), but I got a quick 10 mile ride in, which felt good.
Feels like the year is off to a good start, even though I’ve been having emotional breakdowns and haven’t been necessarily on the ball with my training. I think the races will be good, and I definitely know that I’ll have fun.