Monday, March 19, 2007

Time Flies!

Not much time to post lately, but I've been keeping up with my jogging and my cycling. We rode 55 miles this Saturday. The first 17 went fairly quickly and were a really pretty ride. We spent about 10 minutes at the first rest stop, and I downed a hammer gel and half a banana. That seems to be all my stomach tolerates at the stops - unless I'm fortunate enough to find vanilla wafers. (no wonder Nicholas is such a fiend for them! He gets it from his mom!!)

Anyway, feeling good after the first break, despite knowing we'd likely be facing a headwind the entire way back, and we decided to take the longer route - 55 miles v. 41 miles. To date, my longest ride had been that walk through hell called 44.5 miles in Cat Springs. I was not looking forward to a repeat, but considering that the actual 2-day, 160 mile ride is quickly approaching, my mileage needed to go up. So, off we go!

I suppose this is where I admit a bit of an ego stroke in even being able to tackle the longer ride. We're still seeing people being brought in on SAG vehicles during each of these rides, and even as out of shape as I am, I've managed to complete each ride, stand up afterwards (ok, it was TOUGH after Cat Springs), and maneuver myself up and down our stairs the next day with no lingering soreness. The scenery was nice, even the section where we had to cross some rather funky streets with loads of traffic and a stoplight where drivers varied between wanting to let us turn left across the street on a green light rather than waiting on our green arrow. Little did they know, they only pissed off other drivers who were stuck waiting behing them when we wouldn't venture out into the intersection and the very same drivers remained stuck at the light when we did get our green arrow. ouch! BIG trucks, small shoulders, pissed off folks - it could have made for difficulties, but instead, the people of the town were really cordial and quite accommodating. I think we were in Bellville, but I usually end up so out of it that I don't know where I am unless I'm looking at a map or a street sign. At any rate, yay for the locals who didn't run us over! :)

The second half of the second leg was the absolute worst stretch of road I've ever cycled on. Imagine being in your car and riding directly down the drunk-bumps. bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump

Holy cow - my quads were screaming by mile 33! Consequently, the second rest-stop wasn't until mile 39, so I had more screaming quads to live through. My legs cramped, and we spent what was probably too long at the stop, but within .5 mile of getting back on the road, it was finally smooth again. I so badly wanted to scream - yahoo! - upon reaching the 50 mile mark (after all, this was my first time!), but when I hit it, all I could think was, "5 more miles.. c'mon, you can do it!" There was one final climb at the end of the last leg. Approaching a stop sign, climbing up a slight incline, seeing the odometer read 55.4 and thinking, "will this EVER end??" and finally, turning right at the stop sign - THERE IT WAS! The high school where we'd parked our cars that morning.

Thank God! I lived through it!

Hope you're all doing well - keep running, spinning, or whatever it is that you do!
Seek the joy! !

Monday, March 12, 2007

Seeking joy..

... in every step and/or pedal stroke, and FINDING IT!

This was such a great weekend. The weather was perfect, Joel was so supportive and helpful on the ride Saturday, and I ran on the dreadmill Sunday and got the benefit of those glorious endorphins. Add to that the joy of watching Hunter and Nicholas running around the yard like little crazy people Sunday morning, and I don't know how it could have been any better. Seriously, it was just about perfect. [hmmmm.. of course, now I'm wondering if I left clothes in the laundry for the nanny to find! ack!! yea, doing laundry puts a damper on things, but hey, maybe I didn't start any and will get to do it tonight?? that's better than the thought of our wonderful caregiver having to find my undies in the washing machine!]

Saturday's ride was 41.4 miles in Columbus. See the map here. I've decided that my earlier boasting to a couple I met on the Cat Springs ride about how I didn't mind the uphill bits but the downhill ones were the frightful parts for me was nothing but novice-talk! N-O-V-I-C-E-T-A-L-K!!! I've learned to love the speed of going downhill, and I maxed out at 38.8 mph this weekend! woohooooo!!!!!

As for the uphill climbs, especially the long, slow tedious ones, there's not much to say about them except "ouch!" Good grief, I actually had to come out of the saddle on one of them. Talk about burning the glutes!! I did, however, see other folks who had to walk their bikes up the same hill, so it could have been worse, I suppose.

Sunday's run was inside since I wasn't really sure how far I wanted to go, and I was certain I needed to get downstairs and do some ab work on the ball. I ran 1 mile (no walking - go me!), walked 1/8 mile, and ran another mile (no walking!). This, too, seems very novice, I'm sure. I'm okay with that.

In talking to Joel on Friday evening, I realized that I don't have any desire to be an elite athlete (yea, like that's a huge surprise to anyone that reads of my sporadic attemps at athleticism! haha). I simply want to do fun stuff. I want to be healthier. I want to pattern good habits for my kids. My running and riding won't save the world, but if it puts a smile on my face, it'll go a long way toward making life more pleasant for the people around me. Having him better understand my goals and why he shouldn't push me toward goals that are NOT mine is a huge step forward for us. I have to give him credit - he really listened to me when we talked. He HEARD what I was saying. The whole conversation began because he wanted to let me know he'd try to be more "tolerant" of my weaknesses this weekend. That might seem a bit odd, but he's been pushing me to achieve what he thinks I can - and who knows, maybe it's possible? But the result has been that it's made me feel attacked and subsequently, angry, and I've been ready to throw up my hands and walk away from it. Things have been tense and I haven't enjoyed the experiences like I'd like to.

I do think I shocked him when I said I wanted to do the long rides, but I'll go at my pace (and he can go at his much quicker one - I don't want to hold him back) and probably stop and take pictures along the way. He got this dumbfounded look on his face and explained that the people he knows who ride do it to go train and then get home. Okay, good for them. They compete. This is part of a regimen for them. I'm not competing, and I don't want to. My work life is so stressful and I compete so hard to be *elite* there that I want some place to just have fun. Running and riding is that place for me now. Thanks to Joel's finally understanding and accepting my approach to it all, it was even more fun than I'd imagined. To his credit, I don't think I'd ever tried to tell him what I hoped to get out of this. We really screw up the communication bit of our marriage sometimes, but boy, when we get it right, we do it so well!

I love my husband. He's a good guy (and he's pretty hot in his cycling gear!)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cool Stuff!

Sunday I spent an hour on the trainer doing the Spinervals Recharge workout. It's designed to get the legs spinning after a tough day on the bike. Saturday more than qualified as TOUGH! This particular workout felt good, even if it did have me sweating bullets! Oh wait.. I must have been glowing, of course!

Monday, I planned to take a spin / trainer class at Acme Bicycle Co. Unfortunately, due to their rough training in LaGrange this weekend and an unexpected personal obligation for the trainer, the class was canceled. No worries; my legs were thanking them for the rest. Moving right along and tonight I was able to attend the class. WOW! Carl is the Wednesday night instructor, and he was great. The class is relatively small. Most of us bring our bikes, with a few also lugging their trainers along. The convenient thing about Acme is that they have quite a few trainers available (for only $5 per session) for use, if needed. Today's workout was focused on pushing the lactate threshold. I think the Spinerval workouts have benefitted me because I did much better than I expected. It's about time, right?

So, I first heard of these classes from a co-worker who's a member of Team Acme. I joined the team, and once the ConocoPhillips training rides have ended, I'll now have a team to ride with. Yay! I met some really nice people and can't wait until Monday night when we train again.

Hope everyone out there is doing well!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Everyone feels like Lance [with a tailwind]...

This Saturday's ride was 44.5 miles, starting at Cat Springs. It led us along some beautiful country roads with some nice rolling hills. We started at a bit chillier temp than one would have liked, but in August we'll all miss the few days of cooler weather we're experiencing now.

We also began the ride with a tailwind. That's the way to enjoy a ride! You should have seen the folks out there just bearing down and pushing to max speeds they usually see only on downhills. Okay, I admit I was one of them. What can I say - it was fun!

I anticipated a couple of pretty significant downhill bits on the ride; however, if we encountered them, they were completely beyond my notice. I spent so much time focused on the awareness of the hill profile that I consciously chose to cycle slower than normal because I didn't want to end up going much too fast downhill. This led to a realization.

I'm timid. I've always been timid. People who know me say I'm a risk taker. They're wrong. People who know me well know that I'm timid. Or maybe I just am riskier in some areas than others. At any rate, I have a new mantra.

Be Bold.

Timid sucks. It's not fun. It feels old. And I'm not old yet!
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Katy, TX, United States