Filling A Void

I’ll admit it – I miss racing my cyclocross bike. I guess I looked forward to the Sunday morning races more than I realized. Now instead of thinking about the upcoming race, I find myself thinking about the past races (what went well and where I could have improved). Yes, it turns out, I’ve still got that competitive spirit inside of me. (Phew!)

This time of the year is a trick time. It is too cold to ride outside comfortably – not to mention the ice and ridiculous winds. There is currently no snow so skiing and snowshoeing are on hold. So what to do? Well for me this has allowed me to get back to one of my favourite activities – running.

I know many of you cyclists are shaking your heads and thinking “Running? Yuck – I hate running”. I admit that running is not for everyone. But I do enjoy it. I’m not a fast runner. Nor am I graceful. But I thoroughly enjoy it. There is something about the freedom that running affords. Pull on some tights, a base layer, tie up the shoes and you’re out the door. In 30 minutes a good hard work-out can be had – anywhere.

Of course this recent excursion into running hasn’t been without its problems. First very weak calf muscles resulted in some severe hobbling around. Then I made the silly decision of changing my running gait from a forefoot strike to a heel strike – this resulted in some injuries. And now that I’m back-on-track and following the advice of a top-notch physiotherapist, I’ve got a new problem – one that even surprised my physiotherapist… My right heel is locked. Apparently our heels are supposed to move around – allowing us to pronate and supinate. Well my right heel is locked, causing some serious pain. No idea how this happened. I’m guessing it is because I “run like an elephant” (my words). Anyway, I’m now able to start running again…

This running is not the same as cyclocross racing or a long road rid in the summer – but it is still pretty darn good. My mind is free to wander and roam – to dream up new challenges while my legs are burning and my breathe is coming sharp and loudly. Soon enough I’ll be juggling running on the bicycle paths with skate skiing and snowshoe running.

Meanwhile through all of this I’m thinking of that moment in Perth when I dropped my chain and how in Almonte I had too much pressure in my tires and in Morrisburg when young Lois dropped me on the run-ups and in Logosland when I found my groove on the long false flats and how my barrier technique finally came together by the end of the season.

(To help keep the cyclocross vibes running through you, check out these awesome videos of women racing in Europe: Petitesreine’s Videos. If you watch the videos from 2011 you might even catch a glimpse of someone racing around in an Ottawa CX skin suit…)

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