Back to School // Falls Goals and Resolutions
I wrote about this a bit last week in my Where in the World post about Virginia Beach, but being there really made me think. Every year since I was a baby, we’ve gone to VA Beach for a week of family vacation at my aunt’s beach house. And every year since I could write, I would spend time that week, usually on the beach, thinking about what I wanted to get out of the school year. I’d make lists of goals—yes, as a 6 year old—and as I got older, I’d also think about what I wanted my style for the year to be (casual surfer chic with a punk rock vibe usually won out. Come to think of it, I still like to think I’m the somewhat grown up version of that…). Anyway, because it always came right before back-to-school, it felt like a time to re-assess, to set new goals, to make resolutions.
For most of us, September is more New Year’s than January 1st is, since for those of you who are parents, your kids go back to school even if you aren’t. And for most of you reading this, let’s face it, September means the start of cyclocross season. I tweeted a couple weeks ago that I was so happy I started racing at the tail end of college, because it meant September still stayed back-to-school-esque, since it was a time to see new friends and start a new set of challenges. This year is no exception, except similar to last year, I won’t really be racing. But I will be at all of the big races and I am stoked!
This year has been good to me. I had a new book come out, lots of great travel, new projects (like coaching a junior camp and being at CX Worlds!), a wedding… Tons of rad stuff. And I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good about the systems I have in place for getting stuff done, even when it feels like an overwhelming volume of projects looming. (Even if you already read Getting Things Done by David Allen years ago, it’s really worth the re-read to kickstart your organization, as it turns out!)
I’m digressing. Anyway, back to school has made me start thinking about some new goals for me as the year enters its last quarter. It’s going to be busy, in the best way possible. So what are my goals? Let’s talk!
Release the Expanded, New Edition of Saddle, Sore
I said it in my newsletter an issue ago, but this summer has been focused on a big project. Of course, the status quo remains: I’m still writing for Bicycling, Map My Fitness, and Roots Rated; prepping for another season of cyclocross travel; and recording our Consummate Athlete podcast… But the big focus has been my side project: an updated, expanded edition of Saddle, Sore. This one will feature more interviews and info throughout the chapters you may have already read, with even more tips on keeping your skin and lady parts happy and healthy. But the big additions—and there were a whole lot of interviews that have gone into this—are chapters on Pregnancy, Post-Pregnancy, Hormones, Menopause, and (gasp!) a chapter for Men’s Issues! I want this edition to be women-focused, but open enough that men can flip through it and get a ton of information (and not feel like they need to sneak in a read in private). Even the tagline is new. Instead of a women-only guide to you and your bike, it’s now Saddle Sore: Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy. Because that’s all any of us really want, right?
It will be out in November, and I’m working on finalizing the texts, designing the new layout, and—possibly the most exciting part—planning a big book launch series of events up here in Toronto in December! So stay tuned for more details.
Pick a (Sporting) Goal and Train!
Ironman, again? A faster 5K? A bid for Xterra glory? Some mountain bike racing? What to focus on has eluded me for the past couple years as I moved from being a serious racer to a more generalized athlete, and we’ve been batting around some ideas lately. I’ve been keeping my fitness up and improving my mountain biking, but I haven’t raced seriously in quite some time. I’m planning that by the end of the month, I’ll have a goal and at least a rough plan for achieving it. At the moment, I’m leaning towards Ironman. I don’t think I did it justice when I was younger and frankly, terrible at fueling my ride (heh). But on the flip side, the idea of training for speed for a 5K is super intriguing, since I’ve never really spent a lot of time on intensity. I’ve jumped into 5Ks and I’ve (sorry, brag coming up) won some local ones, but 18:30 is my best time. I wonder how well I could do with a bit more speed training. That’s also an easier one given our travel schedule, honestly. But still… There’s just something about long endurance and Ironman that’s like a siren song dragging me back. But whichever I pick, I need a goal race and a plan to get there.
Be More Baller (Style-wise)
I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about developing a personal style as an ex-punk kid and a current athlete. It’s a tough one for me… I want to look put together at races, and in everyday life, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m overdressing in a sport where sweats and down jackets are the norm when out of kit. That presents a bit of a conundrum, and on top of that, when not at races, I’m more often than not tucked in a house somewhere with Peter working when not training. So things like style fade a bit. However, I’ve started to make more of an effort again, in that surfer-chic-with-an-edge way I used to dress when I was 17, but with a slightly more grown-up vibe. Lots of button-down shirts with denim shorts or leggings, some silk camisoles that make me feel a lot more stylish, and finally, some jeans that actually fit and feel comfortable (and don’t ride as low as the ones I wore in college). Also found a couple cheap, plain black jersey dresses that can be dressed up/down in so many ways, it’s insane. (And a jean vest that doesn’t make my shoulders look massive. I am a happy camper!) In all, I’m pretty stoked for fall fashion.
Accessory-wise, I’m getting there. If I could just stop cramming my poor Musette bag with all of my crap, it would look a lot cooler, I’m sure, but I haven’t managed that yet. Considering investing in a nicer, larger leather tote, to be honest. And I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: my rose gold Nixon watch is the best thing ever for instantly feeling more put together. I’m not one for expensive accessories, but this one (only $115, but still!) has been worth its weight in (rose) gold.
So the goal here is to just keep trying to figure out what defines me in terms of style, and make it a little louder and a little less just-got-done-riding. (On the note of style: I also really loved this piece over at InStyle about being obsessed with mid-aughts Olsen twin style. Lots of button-downs, masculine and feminine pairing, rad accessories, beachy waves… Sigh.)
I’m also starting to finally find a few pieces of makeup that I truly love. I recently wrote about Nars tinted moisturizer, and that’s become an almost daily-use piece of makeup. Doesn’t do much, just evens out the skin a bit, plus with SPF30, it’s perfect for race days when we’re outside a bunch. That with either black mascara and/or brown eyeliner or some smudged tan shadow and I’m set. The main goal for the fall is to keep that rolling most days, and toss in a red lipstick every so often. I finally got a great one, and I want to use it!
OK, enough about that. Sorry, non-fashion people!
Foray Into Fiction
I’ve been slowly and steadily working on a middle-grade novel that I am so stoked on, and desperately want to share … but I won’t until it’s ready. And by working slowly, I mean very, very slowly. Last month, I had a bit of an epiphany about a plot twist I couldn’t quite sort out, and now it’s outlined and ready to be written. While I’m having the best time re-doing Saddle, Sore, I’m also going to be super psyched to be able to focus on this one. The problem for me is, once a project like the re-write grabs me, it takes control. And, if we’re being honest here, writing fiction is a lot scarier for me than writing non-fiction that I know really well. I don’t know if I’m any good as a fiction writer, but I want to find out. So the goal here is to just keep trucking on that, and not let it get bogged down by new projects always taking precedence.
Pretty proud of myself for the last week. Talks at shops are getting (a little) easier for me from a public speaking standpoint, but above and beyond that, the week after our wedding gave me a chance to pause and reflect on how lucky I am to have a ton of awesome friends… But it also made me realize that I could get a lot better at staying in touch with them. I made a pact with one of my best friends to get back to our regular emails—we used to be so good at this and lately, we’ve been pretty much awful. But it’s like journaling, in a way—and with friends spread all over North America, while it’s not face time with people (and I don’t mean FaceTime, I mean actual time in person), emails are a decent way. My best friend Lindsay and I used to send a notebook back and forth when we were in school, and kept doing it in college, and it’s one of my best mementos and memories. So I want to keep things like that going with people I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. So, staying in better contact with friends is a top priority… and thanks to cyclocross, the in-person time is about to increase as well!
So those are my fall goals. Let me know in the comments: what are you hoping to do with the rest of 2016?