The Honeymoon is Over

While our trees are about at peak Fall color, we're also getting a taste of true Autumn weather -- not "Indian Summer," but Fall slop.  Last night our weekly Weds. Night Gravel Ride was semi rained-out. We managed >20 miles, but it was hard-fought, slow, cold, and wet.  There were a lot of UNfun moments on the back of the tandem with bald tires, too.  Downhills through loose, gravely mud are scary.  Uphills on the same terrain are extra hard as the wet sand-slop sucks at our tires.  Add to that the fact that it's dark and spitting in our faces.  Running in the rain is mostly pretty fabulous.  Biking in it...not horrible if it's Summer, but in the low-50s it's challenging to not become horribly chilled.

Monday night was also a gravel road ride from the impending bike shop.  Most of us ended up underdressed, so we were actually colder by the finish of that ride than we were last night.  One of the difficulties of dressing for the weather in the Spring and Fall is that the temperature swing from the beginning of a ride to the finish can be pretty drastic.  It's easy to be over or under-dressed, depending upon whether one is riding in the early AM or just prior to dusk.

Me, MC, Heather, Kaat
Sunday was another fun Kisscross cyclocross race and redeemed a course that I really loathed last year (and was the straw that "broke" this camel's back for about 3 weeks, last season).  It was also the first race for our 3rd Coast Racing team with legitimate kits!  We only had 5 gals in the C race (which has me pretty bummed.  I think we had about a dozen women in the first race of the season, but it seems like 4-5 is the number of C women competing most weeks.  I think that's about half the # of competitors we were seeing for most of last season.  I can't help but wonder if the relative difficulty of the course for the first race has a lot to do with this.  There were several individuals on brand new bikes who have never been back.  Even as a semi-experienced CX racer I was not thrilled to see courses that so heavily favored mountain bikes), but we placed 1, 2, 4 (that was me in 4).

Scott's first B race...my hubby in hot pursuit!
I believe we still have 3 races left, including the Halloween race in about a week-and-a-half.  My goal is to simply not be the last C woman for any remaining races.

I had a lot of fun shooting our team members during the B race.  I think I'll be bringing my big ol' DSLR to all of the races in the future.  Contemplating a new lens, too.  My 50mm is too short and doesn't yield the sort of depth-of-field results that I like, even shooting at f/1.8.  My 100mm does a nice job, but I have to stand WAY back...and then people invariably end up standing in front of me, not realizing the chick with the camera a mile from the action is actually shooting.  My short Tokina zoom is nice for portraiture, but too slow-focusing for sports.  A fast Canon zoom would cost as much as a new bike.  So I'm eyeballing a fast 85mm Canon prime lens.  Christmas is coming!

Still no word on the ovarian cancer blood test I had last week, so I'm assuming no-news-is-good-news. Were my results positive for a cancer marker I'm certain they would have called me, already.  I have an appt. in a couple of weeks with an OB/gyn surgeon.  I really hope they recommend simply taking that ovary and its big cyst buddy out as soon as cyclocross season is over.  I'd probably even be fine with leaving the uterus in place if there was no evidence of anything too amiss, at this point.  Removing the ovary would be a no-big-deal recovery.  Even laparoscopic or vaginal removal of my uterus would likely have me down for a month, minimum.  And right now we're planning on an epic New Year's Eve bash at Casa Bikestra™ with our 3rd Coast Racing teammates.

And a lot will probably rest on how well the Prometrium (bio-identical progesterone) works to eliminate/minimize a lot of miserable peri-menopause and endometriosis symptoms.  I'm hoping this stuff is like a miracle drug.  So far I'm 3 doses in and have 0 side-effects.

Speaking of miracle drugs, I visited the allergist yesterday.  They want to do further deep-skin testing to screen for mold, trees, and grass.  I have a feeling I would trigger at least 2 of the 3.  My mom has mold allergies.  And Spring is generally Hell on my sinuses.

The allergist is also starting me on Symbicort, since even crazy high doses of inhaled steroid (Qvar 80mg, 2 puffs 2x/day) aren't putting my lung function where it should be and I have "obstructed" lungs.    Symbicort is steroid + long-acting bronchodilator.  The steroid brings down airway swelling and the bronchodilator further opens airways (like a rescue inhaler, but for more than a couple of hours).  The funny part of this is when they ask me how my breathing feels to me I always find it to be pretty decent, but the spirometer tests tell a different story.  My lung function has been so awful for so long that I don't even have any concept of what it would be like to have acceptable air intake.  I have to wonder what I'd be capable of with normal lungs...

I also wonder what I'd be capable of with a leaner bod.  I'm working on that.  I'm down 5#s in about the past month or so and about 4#s over my lowest recent weight -- back when I was newly out of my long-arm cast.  I'm currently about 16#s from where I'd like to be (130#s).  I think I'm going to start doing photos at 5# intervals -- in the same sports bra/shorts -- to see just how transformative those pounds lost are.  I'm at that point where every few pounds can be pretty apparent on a relatively small frame.  Even with the 5-6#s I've lost in the last couple of months I'm seeing my midsection flatten and my face looks slimmer (bat-wings are still stubborn as hell).  Keeping motivation in the face of tasty eats is crucial!!

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