Monday, April 26, 2010

The View from the Saddle: Ovarian Cycle 100-Mile Ride!

Very happy, totally recovered cyclist here reporting in!

Ovarian Cycle Saturday was an amazing experience. I've never done anything so exhausting and yet with such an emotional high. What a day!!
Registration at the host gym opened early and we were greeted with a terrific goodie bag with an awesome T-shirt, towel, a bike jersey (if you'd raised above a certain amount of $$), a lot of coupons and a fabulous "Hope and Promise" makeup kit from L'Oreal (the event's major sponsor and a huge supporter of ovarian cancer research).  The event room was a huge, 2-story-high basketball court with an indoor track circling the ceiling level and six racquetball courts "ringing" the room at the floor level. There were almost 200 cyclists riding the whole 100 miles in our event, and the event staff had tied a balloon to each bike.  Most teams had creatively decorated their bikes, too. Our team had attached bouquets of beautiful silk springtime flowers onto the front our bikes and we’d tied teal ribbon bows onto our handlebars. I can't tell you how festive and really thrilling that gigantic fleet of bikes looked! Everywhere there were floating teal, pink and white balloons, and banners with each team's "Honor Roll" lists, a giant Ovarian Cycle sign and huge silver stars on the walls symbolizing the fact that this event was helping women "reach for the stars" in the search for reliable early detection tests and cures for all gynecological cancers.

I’m telling ya, this event was planned out to “T” and “I” perfection. 
Those volunteers really took care of us and were ready to do anything they could to make the ride more fun and comfortable for the cyclists. Throughout the day, they walked among the bikes while we were riding, bringing us fresh towels, picking up our trash and recyclables, and offering us water, Gatorade, PowerAde, orange slices, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, crackers, power gels and energy bars. And one of the adjacent racquetball courts was filled with tables of water, drinks and food, too --- available not only to riders but also to family and friends who came to watch and cheer, so in addition to the performance food that the cyclists would prefer to grab there were brownies, pizza, chocolate chip cookies and all sorts of other treat foods. While I wouldn't ever plan on doing an all-day ride this way, you could theoretically have shown up with your clothes and shoes and been A-okay on food and hydration. The provisions were THAT generous.

Along the back wall there were also silent auction tables -- lots of very cool stuff -- and there was a masseuse doing complimentary 10-minute neck and shoulder massages. Ahhhhhhhh!

We started our ride at 9:00 sharp, and the day was basically formatted like 6 hours of spin class. We had a different instructor each hour, and 5-minute breaks once an hour to dash to the potty, change clothes, eat, fill water bottles, stretch, etc. Almost all of the music rocked, the instructors were great, and there was a lot of variety in the ride -- even if the scenery didn't change much. :-) We did seated and standing sprints, jumps, seated climbs, standing climbs, etc. Just about the only thing we didn't do that's a "regular" item in spin class was anything really slow and heavy, and I’m sure that's because to hit our mileage goal we needed to be riding pretty fast all day. Each instructor set the pace for us, and if you kept up, I think you'd have been pedaling at an average of around 15 to 18 mph, with sprints thrown in here and there.

The day ended with Eminem's "Lose Yourself" -- what a great cycling song — and that last couple of minutes was unbelievably emotional. My sweet hubby and DS #1 a/k/a Journey Boy came for the last 30 minutes and stood with a lot of other riders' family and friends on the sidelines, cheering us on. Looking around me, I could see that every single rider in the room had found one last ounce of legs and wind for that last song, and we were all standing out of the saddle, hill-climbing on cadence with that thumpin' bass beat at a pretty hefty resistance -- heaviest of the day for me! -- and singing at the top of our lungs. As the song ended we were all whooping and high-fiving. Then they played “We Are the Champions” and we shouted out that chorus together while we cooled down. The lump in my throat was the size of a baseball.

All day long there were photographers snapping shots of the ride, so I will post some pictures when they become available.  (The picture shown here is from the 2009 event held in the same facility, just to give you a "flavor".) But trust me, you do NOT want to see pictures (nor do I want to show pictures!) from the last hour or two — all of us were soaked through and looking bedraggled by then, and I had lost count of the number of bandannas I’d gone thru. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready for a hot shower, y’all.  I scrubbed and shampooed and held my face under that wonderful spray until the hot water ran completely out!

I am so, so proud to have been part of this awesome event. I raised more than $3,200 for ovarian cancer research -- can you believe it?? -- and finished the biggest athletic challenge of my life feeling strong and like I could have kept going.  Unbelievable for this little middle-aged mama!

Thank you all again so much for everything you did to encourage and support me. It means more to me than I can express, and I’m incredibly grateful. I'll definitely do this Ovarian Cycle ride again next year, and if OC’s doing a ride anywhere near your city I encourage you to give it a try. You can write to me and I’ll walk you through a training and nutrition schedule. And I promise you will thank me!!!  :-)


Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Day to Go!!!

I am leaving as soon as I hit "PUBLISH POST" to hit the gym for one more short but intense training ride, dear readers, and then I'm done with my training -- just tomorrow, a rest and fuel-up day, and then Saturday morning it's finally time for the Atlanta 2010 RIDE TO CHANGE THE FUTURE™!

My thanks again to the wonderful Gigi of Gigi's Gone Shopping, who surprised me earlier this week by thoughtfully including a shout-out to me and to this cycling event (which benefits ovarian cancer research) in her daily blog post.  I've been really delighted and moved to find donations from JCA's at my Ovarian Cycle home page.  You are all, truly, a lovely crowd of fine, strong women.  Thank you so much for including me in your midst, and for supporting my "century" ride! 

And, of course, you are also fashionable women, so what kind of JCA would I be if I didn't make at least SOME effort to be well-dressed for my 100-mile ride?

Thus, my Polyvore set of what will be going in my gym bag. :-) 

It's not too late to donate to Ovarian Cycle, by the way, so if you're of a mind to chip in a few dollars towards the search for a reliable early-detection test for ovarian cancer, just go here and look for the "Make A Donation" box on the left column.  I'll appreciate every dollar!

See y'all on Sunday, when I'll tell you, I'm sure, what an amazing Saturday I had!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Rock and Roll

As bloggers go, I'm a Model T auto.  I sputter along, occasionally I pick up a little cantering, not-quite-galloping speed for brief intervals, but then I conk out and have to be re-cranked.  I do so admire you sleek, Maserati-style bloggers whose words of wit, wisdom and fashion advice appear freshly and dependably on my Dashboard every day.  And this post, sadly, will do nothing to enhance my reputation in the universe of great, fun fashion bloggers.  Fashion's not on my mind today.  (Well, not much -- I'm sure I'll do some ritualistic J. Crew Weekly Exchange and Spring Sale Section browsing later.)

Nope, what's got me cranked and cantering happily today has to do with August 1, 1981.  And MTV.  Stick with me here, I promise I'll connect the dots.

It turns out that August 1, 1981 (8-1-81 -- this had to mean something in the world of numerology, right?) was an auspicious day in the unfolding life plan of one young Atlanta lawyer who would grow up to be JCAUNCMom.  I didn't know that, of course, and I don't remember the day at all, truthfully.  (Heck, I don't remember last MONTH, truthfully.  Menopause sucks.) 

But I'm sure that it was hot as blazes, that you could cut the air with a knife, and that I had arrived at work sometime around 7:45 a.m. faithfully dressed in my earnest little John T. Molloy Dress for Success uniform:  a stiff, starchy, button-up-the-back cotton blouse, a string of pearls, a navy/gray/black conservative suit (pencil skirt just above the knee, no pants -- not allowed for young lady lawyers for a loooooong time), L'Eggs suntan-colored pantyhose and Etienne Aigner closed-toe pumps in black, navy or burgundy.  I was one year out of UVa Law School and had been a junior trial law associate at a giant downtown law firm for almost one year to the day.  I had just turned 26 years old.

Dot number one.  (Huge dot.)  On August 1, 1981, my husband-to-be came to work in the same department at my firm.  I could tell you that bells rang, birds chirped and choirs sang when we met each other, but that would be taking just a smidge of artistic license.  The truth is that I don't remember the day we met.  I can tell you that I thought he was adorable and that within weeks we were buddies -- we had lunch together a lot and compared dating tales of woe, and by late November we'd tiptoed sideways into our first date, both of us petrified that this would ruin our friendship.  But see how wrong we were?  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Dot number two.  At 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981 on one lone Northern New Jersey cable system, a brand new television channel rather quietly made its broadcast debut.  It was MTV -- Music Television.  What you see above is the original, iconic MTV logo, which changed colors often but otherwise stayed much the same for nearly 30 years. (*** See footnote.  Seriously, I wrote one, lawyer-style.)  Another weird my-life coincidence:  Among the few thousand lucky cable customers who could see MTV that first midnight was my future brother-in-law, then a night-owl and music aficionado college student.  I'd betcha $20 that he actually saw Music Television go live.  Remind me to ask him.

Check out this link on YouTube, dear readers.  It's the debut of MTV and the very first-ever music video broadcast ("Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles -- save that one for trivia night for sure).  For those of you who are anywhere near my age (shout out, Meno-'Mazing Girls!), I'm sure that watching this will jar loose a visceral memory of the original MTV logo (man stepping onto the moon), the fantastic original MTV guitar-riff theme music, and those six simple words that would forever change music for us all, from an audio-only event to an audio-visual event:  

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll."  

The guy who posted this on YouTube also posted many other links to hours and hours of that first day of MTV.  You will not, will NOT, believe these archaic videos.  Laughable now, but to us -- my gosh, BANDS SINGING THEIR SONGS ON TV!! I highly recommend spending a little time with a cup of coffee browsing and smiling and watching history unfold. 

Because it really was history, on a scale much grander than the my-husband-to-be-entered-my-small-world kind.  For you youngsters out there who only know MTV as it is today -- mostly non-music programming filled with reality TV shows -- I can only tell you that the original MTV truly was revolutionary stuff on an order of magnitude of, say, "I Love Lucy".  It was modeled after broadcast radio, so the format was simple: 24/7 music videos, a few commercials, and, anchoring it all, a team of young, hip, oh-so-cool "veejays" (and yeah, MTV coined that term) who introduced the videos.  To those of us who were young adults in the early 80's, the original MTV VJ's were rock stars in their own right.  Who, amongst my age group, doesn't remember Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn??

Today, MTV is just one of a veritable battalion of "child" and "sister/brother" channels owned by Viacom, including MTV2, MTV Hits, MTVu (aimed squarely at college students), MTVTr3's (in Spanish -- as in 'uno, dos, tres', get it?), VH1, Comedy Central, Palladia, Nickelodeon -- the list is long.  To watch music videos in the old-school MTV wall-to-wall style, you have to be lucky enough either to get MTV Hits on your cable/satellite system or to tune in to one of the other sibling channels during a "block" of music videos.  And even then, there's no J.J., no Martha, no Mark, no Alan, no Nina freakin' Blackwood.  Oh sure, there's good stuff to watch, but today's sophisticated videos cannot remotely compare to the original MTV programming in plain old sheer titanic value -- it's like comparing the pebble-sized impact of today's fine "Saturday Night Live" cast with the asteroid-sized impact of the original SNL Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

Yes, 8-1-81 was a very cool day indeed.  And who knew.

Now you're thinking "Fascinating little history lesson, honey, and so glad you were an MTV fan, but, um, today's not August 1st so whazzup with this post?"

Glad you asked, since that gives me the opportunity to connect the dots for you, and grin,  and brag.

My darling boy with his cousin (visiting from U-Delaware, go Blue Hens) in Chapel Hill last fall.

Dot number three.  (Also huge.)  I am thrilled to share breaking news:  My DS#2, a/k/a Blues Boy, child who owns half my mama heart, distinguished UNC-Chapel Hill Communications Studies/Media Production/Electronic Journalism/Creative Writing student and all-round fabulous fellow, is going to be...

...interning this summer for the Production Department at MTV Networks in New York City. 

!!!!!!!!! I know, right???? We are so excited for him!!!  He will be one of the busy go-to, go-fer guys assisting the squadron of ridiculously young MTV staffers who write, plan, produce, edit and air the content -- including original music videos -- for several of the MTV family of channels.  He'll be living in the NYU dorms, he'll be riding the subway to work like a real-live New Yorker, and he will be having, I know, the time of his life.  And making contacts that will be invaluable in launching his own young career.  Who knows -- maybe we're witnessing the "birth" of a future J.J. or Mark or Alan.  Or Chevy Chase or Dan Aykroyd.  Or Jon Stewart.

Dot number four.  I love this one.  Guess when Blues Boy will have his last Friday at work, his last weekend hurrah with his new friends and colleagues, and move out of his dorm to come home?  You guessed it.  It's the weekend of Friday, July 30th... Saturday, July 31st... and Sunday, August 1st. 

Now you tell me that's not cosmic dot-connecting. :-)

*** Footnote, lawyer-style: 
In February, 2010, in recognition of how much the content of its flagship channel had changed, MTV retired the words "Music Television" from its logo.  This news created barely a ripple in the media.  But speaking on behalf of my generation, I say let's have a moment of silence.  In honor of Music Television, and those cheesy videos, and that kickin' theme music, and J.J., Alan, Mark, Martha, and Nina freakin' Blackwood.  Rock on.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

For Sale 4/12/10

Just one item this week, but a beauty!

NWT, size 8 Victoria cami in Golden Olive, as pictured.  $65 shipped (this is exactly what I paid for it, and shipping's on me. :-))


Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lovely Jaipur Perfect Shirt

Happy springtimy Saturday, JCA's!

I popped by my neighborhood B&M this week to return something and was stopped in my tracks by the slim, beautiful new Jaipur Perfect Shirt

It's always fun to find a print that you can immediately envision with quite a few things already in your closet, and this one was calling out to everything that was caramel, khaki, pecan, papaya, plum, guava, berry and denim blue.  So then, of course I had to grab it and float thru the store creating mental outfits (this is called Advanced Rationalizing), and oh, how pretty it is with this spring's soft terracotta and ginger pieces! 

As if to seal the deal, there was one -- just one -- lovely, lightweight merino ethereal ruffle v-neck cardigan hanging on the sale rack, marked to $39.99, and lo and behold it was (a) my size and (b) light berry. LUSCIOUS with this shirt and the new terracotta Scout chinos!

So I said "Welcome to my closet!" and the sweater and the chinos (along with a totally necessary, way cute little braided belt in salmon) came home with me. It won't bother me one little bit if you wanna welcome these pieces to your closets, too. :-)

Here's the Polyvore of my new fave ensemble.  My sweater's different, as I mentioned, but I do love the one pictured in my set.

Have a great -- and of course fashionable -- weekend, everyone!