Friday, February 13, 2015

"It took 50 years to look this good"

I don't know what this is called, but it's a good glute stretch
Hopefully it's not bad luck to hit a milestone birthday on Friday the 13th.

I've decided to go with the mantra "fifty and fabulous"  although I made need to "fake it 'til I make it" because most of the time I just feel old.

We have forty miles on tap for tomorrow and it looks like the weather will cooperate. YAY!

Meanwhile, I'm keeping busy with my daily yoga. Here are a few more photos.

Some Side Stretch pose that I think I was doing wrong

Extended Child's Pose - note trapped cat in background. Hahaha!
The screen has been wonderful at keeping the dogs out.  However, one of the cats (the old one) got trapped on the wrong side the other day.  You can see him in the last photo trying to figure out what to do.

He actually had an alternate path through a cutout passthrough to the kitchen, which he eventually figured out.   Silly cat.

I think the half-century is in six more weeks. Our training plan peaks at 55 miles four weeks from now. Hopefully that will be sufficient to get us ready.  One thing I'm not sure about is the course profile.  However, we will be riding at a significantly lower altitude, so that will work in our favor.

Enjoy your day. Happy Friday the 13th and Happy (early) Valentines Day.  Hope you enjoy it doing something you love.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fickle February

Bundled up for a chilly ride
 Last weekend, Sunday looked to be the better day to ride.  It had snowed/rained on and off Friday and Saturday, but the skies were blue and the temps had increased to upper 30s/low 40s.

Enjoying a spring-like day
I was sporting a balaclava under my helmet and had donned a winter jacket. All things considered, it was a decent day to get out to ride.  But it was definitely a wintery February day.

Fast forward to this weekend.  Much to my surprise, Saturday's high was 67.  It felt like spring!  I was able to ride with just arm warmers.  I didn't even need a light jacket, although I was wearing an extra short sleeve layer under my jersey.

Hard to believe the change from one weekend to the next.  Of course, this pleasant weekend was a rare event.  It looks like winter plans to return on Wednesday. But no complains for the spring preview!

Uninterrupted yoga!
Now for some yoga news. After a particularly frustrating few days whereby the dogs just would not leave me alone, I decided to invest in a folding four panel screen.

You may notice a few things from this next photo.  A few panels of the screen are visible; it's blocking off the arch to the kitchen. More importantly, no dogs!  They are trapped on the other side of the screen. I'm sure they could nudge it out of their way if they wanted to, but so far they haven't figured that out.

It is really nice to have uninterrupted yoga for a change. I'm not sure why I didn't think of this solution earlier; I expect it to enhance my yoga experience immensely.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yoga (with dogs)

Long time, no blog.  Yes, I know.

Jan was filled with two things fitness: cycling and yoga. I've given up on the trainer for now and we're back to riding outside, at least for long rides on the weekend. We have 6 more training weeks until the half-century. That's where my training focus happens to be.

But what I feel like sharing today is my yoga journey. I've had an on and off relationship with yoga over the years. I've usually gone into it thinking that I don't like it and am not good at it, and end up fulfilling that destiny.  Recently something has changed. I feel like I'm truly embracing it, and the result is that I'm starting to enjoy it and see improvement in strength and flexibility. Surprisingly, I've been doing yoga daily for 20+ min and sometimes more (longer or a second session) for the past month.

The biggest obstacle right now is that I am attempting yoga at home with dogs. For some reason, they can't stay away when the mat come out. Some photos of my escapades:

Downward Facing Dog (with dogs)
Every morning it's the same, the dogs want to be on the mat!

Sunbird Bow in a rare uninterrupted session. Dogs happened to be outside.

Swan Pose (with dogs)

Cat Pose (with dogs)

Tell me about your experiences with home yoga practice. Anyone else accompanied by dogs/cats/kids?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Five Things Fitness

It's been at least 5 weeks since I've last updated my blog.  To catch you up quickly, here's a list of 5 things fitness that have happened since my last post.

1) Remember the Ab Challenge?  That didn't happen.

Actually, I am still working on my abs, but I abandoned that challenge because it was way too difficult for me. Instead I'm now doing a combination of plank, prone plank, and bird-dog (both sides). Holding everything for 30sec and working on increasing repetitions.  It's more aligned to my ability, yet I'm still strengthening my abs.

2) Cycled on a new path.

cycling - Kauai style
Rented a couple of beach cruiser bicycles while we were on vacation in Kauai in November. The island has a multi-use trail on the east side along the ocean that is scenic and quite pleasant for cycling.  However, I know now that I do not at all like that style bicycle.  Despite the large cushy seat, it was pretty uncomfortable.  Given a choice to do it over again, I'd look for a place that rented hybrids. But don't feel too sorry for me. Afterall, we were riding up and down the east side of Kauai enjoying ocean views!

3) Got back in the water.

Even though I'm always reminded that swimming is a good way to exercise and it's easy on my knee, I had put it off for well over a year.  I can now say that I've been there several times this month and intend to keep at it for awhile, especially since I bought a multi-use pass (use it or lose it!). Every week I've been timing a 400yd front crawl, and I'm seeing improvement. It's giving me something to word toward.

I still don't love swimming laps, but with my waterfi ipod it's a whole lot more tolerable. I do enjoy having the distraction of music.  And I think I'm secretly the envy of the other swimmers who are stuck listening to the sound of splashes and bubbles. Or at least that what I keep telling myself.  Hahahah.

jingle bell 5k
4) Walked a 5K, this time at a more leisurely pace.

The last 5K that I walked was competitive and I took 2nd, but then I was sore for several days afterwards. This one was untimed, I went much slower, and no after pain.

 Husband finished (running) in 23 something.  I finished (walking) in 47 something.  Walking isn't as fun as running, but it' more fun than sitting on the couch.  So there.

5) Changed focus from running to cycling.

As of the moment, I have no plans to do any running.  Right now it looks like we will do a Tour de Cure in March and an MS ride in August.  The Tour de Cure in March means that I need to get back outside on my bike probably in January and start training. May set up the trainer inside as well.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

30-Day Ab Challenge

Boy am I in trouble.  I decided to go for a 30-day Ab Challenge that I stumbled across, but my abs are so weak that even day 1 was a challenge

Day 1 starts with 15 sit-ups.  Well, it turns out that I can't even to a single sit-up without tucking my toes under the sofa.  Yeah, not a good sign.  But in the spirit of starting where I am, that's what I did.

I would also like to add that 10s plank seemed like eternity.  But at least I could do that part properly.

So we'll see how this goes.  I figure that if I get stuck, I can always repeat a day.  What's more important than following the plan is strengthening my abs, right?  And it's pretty clear from day 1 that my abs could use some strengthening!

What are you doing these days to improve your fitness? Trying anything new?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hunt for a commuter bike

Sorry that I haven't been blogging or commenting much.  I'm in the middle of getting my injections and I'm supposed to be staying off my left knee while I'm getting the treatment. As many of you know from experience, it's hard to get excited about blogging when you're benched. The only thing interesting that has happened recently has been my hunt for a commuter bike.

After commuting to/from the Balloon Fiesta in the dark (twice) on my road bike, I decided that I'd like to do more commuting by bike.  In the past, I commuted on an aluminum road bike that I no longer own. It wasn't ideal for that job for several reasons. I still own a 90s steel frame mountain bike that I thought would work, but it's heavy and not very pleasant to ride. After about 1.5 miles, I'm pretty much done riding that bike. So I decided to look for a used hybrid.

my nifty upcycled pannier bag
I should back up and say that I'd like to be able to use it for "quick" trips to the store, riding to meet a friend for a walk on the bosque, and for commuting to work a few days a week.  I live on a gravel road, there is a hard packed trail that is a more direct route to the bosque, and my commute to work includes a half mile or so stretch with a decent climb up onto the mesa.

While I believe most people are better off commuting on a touring or city bike, given these conditions, a hybrid with decent traction really seems like a good answer in my case.  Also something with decent gearing so I can haul my mass up that hill (carrying laptop, change of clothes, etc).   Buying a used bike seems like the way to go for a utility bike, so my search was on...

Scott P6 Sportster hybrid (2009?)
After trying a half dozen or so bikes from a combination of craigslist and a shop with consignment bikes, I narrowed my search down to two options.  A 90s era Giant Innova with a steel frame that needed work (derailleur adjustment, new brake pads, new tubes, etc) to get to a ride-ready state and a more contemporary (2009?) Scott P6 hybrid with an aluminum frame that was ride-ready as is that had some pretty cool cyclocross tires installed.
Richey SpeedMax tires

I ended up going with the Scott because asking price was only $35 over the Giant, was ride-ready, and those tires really handle well on a variety of surfaces. Overall, I'm pleased with my find.

I plan to replace the seat post mounted rack with a frame mounted rack.  I also have a bike computer that I want to install along with my lights.  And I need to fix up an underseat bag with the right kind of tubes for these tires.

I won't actually be able to start commuting for several weeks because I need to give my knee time to get through the treatment and begin healing, but this gives me a project while I'm benched.  When my knee is ready, the bike will be ready as well.  Win-win!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bike Valet at AIBF

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta offers a free bike valet service.  This is the first year that we have tried it out.

The Balloon Park is about 8.5 miles from our house, which is not too bad.  The downside is that we needed to leave in the dark and when we got out onto a more major rode, we needed to ride along some traffic congestion for a little while.

The upside is that we didn't get stuck in traffic, we didn't need to pay parking or pay the premium charged for the park-and-ride bus service combo ticket.  Plus we got some exercise.  And it was a great morning.

There are a few things that I'd do differently.  I left my bike gloves at home and wore regular full fingered gloves on the way to the park. I should have stuck with the bike gloves.  I also wore bike shorts under running tights.  I think bike capris would have been a better choice.  Finally, there was a section where we rode in a bike lane among car traffic that actually had a multiuse trail off to the side (we found that on the way back); should have taken the multiuse trail whenever possible and stayed off the road because there was debris and some signs that we needed to dodge.  Other than those few minor things, it really worked out well.

It was special shapes day.  Sharing a few photos.  Enjoy!!

Can't see much? Either could I!  It was dark when we left the house.  My bike light lit up the path ahead fairly well though 

A Balloon getting ready to launch

The Bees are a crowd favorite

AIBF is one of the only ones that lets spectators out onto the field to walk among the balloons

Another crowd favorite.  It inflated today, but didn't launch

Back at the Bike Valet to pick up our bikes and ride home.  A really nice service!