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So yesterday was likely my last bike race ever. I hate to say it, but I am fragile. I often get in unfortunate situations and just have some unfortunate luck, as much as I try to ignore that fact and to have a positive attitude.
Seems like every week, 90 minutes before race time, I find myself laying on the couch, feeling exhausted and wondering how I will possibly bring myself to get up, much less race.
But I paid for the whole series of racing already, so I always drag myself up, ride the 10 minutes to PIR, spend more time making bathroom trips than warming up, and then toe the line, going on faith that I will somehow make it through the race.
Miraculously, every week, I make it through the race.
This week, I was the first to line up. The second was Shawn, a woman in the single speed category who was very happy to see me, as she has apparently been using me as a 'rabbit' for at least two race seasons!
"Well, I'm not feeling too peppy, but I'll do my best," I told her.
The announcers for this week must be trainees, because after a few minutes, over the lineup of guys in front of us, I heard the cutest little toddler voice say, "Welcome to short track." When it was time for us to be sent off, a girl of about 8 or 9 yelled "Go!" enthusiastically into the microphone. Start 'em young, I say.
I had what was probably my best start ever, racing off the line and taking the first turn behind Mielle Blomberg of Team S&M, who won the last race. She was soon rocketing away, and I shouted to her "Go get that beer!" as she pulled away. (There was a beer or coffee prime for the winner of the first lap).
It was a good day to have a great start, as I heard what sounded like a pretty bad pile up behind me going into the second turn and just hoped Jess wasn't caught up in it.
Before a few more turns had gone by, all the fast girls started passing me, putting the universe back into it's proper order. That included teammate Michelle Kunec, who I *used* to be able to catch last year, until she went all crazy hardcore mountain biker chick on me. She complimented me on my start as she went by. I also survived getting passed by Tuuli The Menace(TM), which I have so nicknamed her after she bulldozed a few teammates last week trying to pass in tight corners.
I settled into a good rythym and somewhere in lap two, I heard Shawn behind me. I knew it was her because she would call out, "Rabbit...." trying to get me to go faster. When that didn't work, she finally passed, and said, "Come on let's go." We went back and forth the rest of the race and it was fun to have her around. As we went through the twisty, hilly section in the trees, a friend of hers who was watching said hello. "Oh you dyed your hair!" said Shawn.
"No, I just cut it."
"Oh well it looks great!"
"No chatting in the race!" I yelled back, just to give her a hard time.
A couple of rivals went in lap two, but they pulled away so fast, that it was clear I would have to hurt myself beyond the bounds of having fun to catch them, so I let them go. Basically my main goal was to not be caught by Loraine, a former team mate now riding for Guiness Cycling. Don't ask me why, my ego just wouldn't allow it. Every twisty section, I could look back and see her sitting about 15 seconds back and it was great motivation to keep pushing.
I never know how many laps I have to go which makes it hard to pace myself. The first race I did the lap counter said 2 to go, but then when I came around again, we were done, and I let a rider nip me at the line.
This week I again saw the 2 to go sign and treated it as such, and was able to hold off Loraine.
After the requisite hacking and desperate lunging for my water bottle, I found Jess to see how her race went. I had seen her early in the race, looking good on the woops section (rolling hills). Unfortunately, she had a random crash in a corner in lap two which took our her derailleur hanger and ended her race. Sweetheart that she is, she watched the rest of my race without cheering, not wanting me to worry that she was hurt. She also let me know that I finished ahead of Jan Moss, one of the strongest riders on our team, but a relatively new mountain biker. So since I will likely never type these words again, let's just note for the record that I FINISHED AHEAD OF JAN MOSS. :- )
Another week, another miracle of getting off the couch and having a fairly successful race, ie. I finished strong and kept the rubber down. Hoping for better luck for Jess next week!
I don’t know about any of you, but I have been to a million different massage therapists over the years. From the ones who give you a 10 minute massage at some special event to ones I see over and over again for a period of time. There have been many massage therapists I could consider good or even top notch, but it wasn’t until I had a massage with Colleen that I had the experience of being floored, earning her the reputation of “the best.” Ever. My first massage with her was at Cherry Blossom last year when she set up her table and offered massage at one of the team houses. Recently I started seeing her on somewhat of a regular basis to attempt to get the upper hand on some chronic pain that was affecting my training and just my general well-being. Colleen’s move to The Bohdi Tree makes it even more convenient for me to see her.
Considering Colleen to be the best massage therapist I have ever seen, I was still somewhat skeptical of anything more powerful than the pain from my old injury. I had tried a lot of avenues to combat the referred pain from the arthritis in my wrist, including supplements, acupuncture, heat therapy, occupational therapy, etc. The massage treatments for this specific pain were definitely not your “kick back and relax” type of massages (although she does those too), they were focused, active, specific and sometimes very intense, but a few days after just one treatment I was experiencing relief! And since I have been seeing Colleen regularly I have not experienced the degree of pain that I was routinely experiencing before. I decided since she recently became a sponsor of Sorella Forte, moved her second office to a new location and because I think she is The Best, she deserved a bit of a spotlight. Hence the article. I sat down and did an informal interview because I thought we should all know a little bit more about Colleen and her massage practice.
Q: What types of massage do you perform?
A: Therapeutic, myofascial, deep tissue, prenatal, relaxation.
Q: What first got you interested in becoming a massage therapist?
A: I was treated with chiropractic and massage for a chronically tight IT band injury from running marathons and half marathons. Once I was treated and experienced that kind of work I was curious and decided to go to school. That was about 12 years ago.
Q: What school did you go to?
A: East West College of The Healing Arts, here in Portland, when it was on SE Belmont. I took classes in the evening and worked full time during the day. I was licensed in 2000.
Q: Ten years is along time to work the same position; what has kept you in the field?
A: I have had burn out, but now that I know the symptoms I can prevent it from happening. It took me a while to figure out how to really take care of myself in my work and I think that’s how I got burned out. Being athletic has helped me with the endurance part of this work, it helps me stay focused and solid, both in a mental and physical frame of mind. I am strong and I keep my core strong so that the work I do doesn’t injure my back. The maximum number of massages I will give in a day is four. Doing massage takes a lot of energy and as a massage therapist I try to stay level headed. I have learned a lot about compassion in this work, and at the same time I have learned that I can’t take things personally. I can’t please everyone.
Q: What percentage of your clients are also athletes?
A: I would say, 80% are athletic.
Q: What percentage of your clients come to treat chronic injuries or pain?
A: I would say that about 10 to 20% come in with chronic pain issues such as migraine issues, upper shoulder and neck discomfort, and some with low back pain and stiffness. Some of these clients come in frequently for preventative care.
Q: What do you mean by preventative care? How does massage help with that?
A: If you are training for a specific event, let’s say, and you’ve had a history of injury or you are training and don’t want to get injured, massage therapy is a great way to prevent an injury from happening or happening again. It works because massage stretches the muscles, increases flexibility, and decreases muscle tightness. It increases blood flow and circulation to the area to help heal the muscle tissue after a hard workout. Everyone’s body is fascially connected. Fascia is a type of web-connective tissue that is subcutaneous. Myofascia is fascia that surrounds our muscles. When someone has a chronic holding pattern (such as the way a person holds her head, how she sits at her computer, how she carries a purse or shoulder bag, etc.) or an acute or chronic injury, there is potential for pain and decrease in movement because the fascia and myofascia get “stuck” or bound up. In order to decrease the pain and increase movement that fascia and myofscia needs to be softened (make more pliable and supple).
Q: You have been a Sorella for a long time; what just recently made you decide to become a sponsor?
A: I have been a Sorella since 2002. I think my practice is at a point where it made sense. Going back to knowing how much massage helps individuals, it is one way I can help my club and teammates. Some people think massage is such a luxury so financially I want to be able to allow them that luxury if that is how they view it. Personally, I view it as a necessity, but I may be bias.
Colleen on the final corner of Battle At Barlow
Q: How much of it has to do with relationship?
A: I would say that this sponsorship is a great way for me to individually get to know each member a bit more, as I don’t have the opportunity to ride with all of them. I am looking forward to meeting a lot of the new women who have recently joined Sorella.
Q: What are a few things that are really rewarding for you in this type of work?
A: It is simple, but it means a lot… When a client trusts me. It’s rewarding when a client comes back to see me or refers a friend, family member or co-worker; when a client leaves with a smile on her face; and, when a client tells me she feels some change from the work I’ve just performed. It’s rewarding when a client’s goal is simply to relax for an hour or 90 minutes, and I help the client reach that goal.
I would like to end this article with a little analogy I made up on a recent team ride, while riding close, right next to Colleen, chatting. You know when you are getting a massage and the therapist is pressing on your muscle with a lot of pressure and holding that pressure as they follow the contour of your muscle up or down? You know sometimes there is that slip that occurs and you can sometimes anticipate it happening, but it catches the therapist by surprise and they say, “Oops!” or “Sorry!” I liken it to “holding your line” in a paceline or in a race. It takes great skill, focus, concentration and practice. I have been amazed over and over again at how Colleen can flawlessly hold her line on my muscles, as if she is crystal clear on where they begin and end. Experiencing this as part of a massage treatment allows me to relax more with 100% trust, as I am in expert hands.
Colleen and her cozy heated table at The Bodhi Tree
For an appointment with Colleen, call 503-816-4179.
It was a treat to support the Strong Sisters at the Cross Nationals in Bend in December. Some of us helped to set up, support the warm-up process and see the starts and finishes. Despite the cold weather, difficult course (including ice puddles!) and tough competition, everyone did outstanding. Sorella Forte got top 15 spots with Rhonda Morin taking 8th, Colleen McClenahan 14th, Jan Moss 10th, Sarah Tisdale 13th, Linda Fanning 14th and Kim Reuter 15th!
It was a very cold morning with ice and snow covering the grounds.
Waiting for the race to start was brutally cold.
Colleen running up the stairs.
Into the ice puddles!
Tisdale takes two at a time.
Sisters looking out for each other.
Lots of love here.
Happy faces.... It's over!
Congratulations for another amazing cross season!