Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Horizon

I've registered for two upcoming events.

The first is Live.Love.Tri at the end of August.  This is an all-women triathlon, the only one in New Mexico. This will be my third or fourth year competing, I've lost track! Instead of doing the full triathlon, I signed up for the Aquabike division which consists of just the bike and swim. If you would have asked me last year, I would have said that I would never compete in that division, but here I am a year later and it seems perfect given the situation with my knee and foot.  Confession:  I haven' been swimming at all.  I'm not even all that worried about it. I figure I can do a 400m swim without much practice and even if it doesn't go well, I guess it just means that once again I won't make the Olympic team.  Hahahah.

The second is Pedal Los Pueblos MS Ride, a two day event in the beginning of September.  I will be riding a total of ~76 miles over the two days in a hilly part of northern New Mexico.  I'm a little scared, but excited. So far I've raised $0 against my goal of $375. Of course, I just signed up on Monday.   If you feel inclined, you can donate here: National MS Society

Also, I've decided that I don't ever want to do a competitive walk again in my life.  Okay, maybe "never" is too strong of a word.  But I will think twice about doing it again.  I was in so much pain and limping for a few days afterwards. No bueno!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Power Walking my Way to the Podium!

This morning I participated in my first event for the year.  Yes, we're already into July and I'm just now participating in something.  Today was the women's distance festival 5K and I entered as a walker because I'm *still* not running.  In fact, I'm beginning to question whether I will ever run again, but that's a post for another day.

This is one of my favorite events because the all-women nature of it ends up with a very supportive vibe.  Many women who wouldn't otherwise be running come out for this one.  There's always a first time running group that participates as well. I just love that aspect of it

2nd Place Overall Walker
This also happens to be one of the only events in the area that I'm aware of with a competitive walk division. I had noticed from last year's results that the first place walker finished in about 29 minutes (holy smokes, that's fast), second place was 40min or so, and third place was about 45min.  Having timed myself at the track, I had a personal goal of finishing somewhere between 44 and 45 minutes as a power walker and thought maybe I had a chance at third place.  One the race got underway, I noticed a race walking lady about 20 years older than me in a garden hat that was kicking my butt.  I kept her in my sights and found her to be very inspiring for me to keep my pace up.  Eventually I managed to pass her and didn't let up my pace until the end.  This landed me 2nd place overall among the walkers with a finish of 40:33, roughly13min/mi.  Man, that was hard work, but a very rewarding result. I think I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

Run Friends!
Another highlight of the morning was meeting up with an old friend.  I had been with her when she ran her very first 5K about 6 years ago at this same event.  She notice that I was participating (albeit as a walker) and decided to sign up for the event again. Apparently this was her first time in a long time to get back to running. Yay to her for getting out there this morning!!!

Overall, this was a great event as always.  I'm glad I participated.  I really surprised myself with my power walk pace this morning and it was nice to take home some bling! Now I'm seriously considering taking up power walking.  I don't think there are many events with competitive walking around here though, so this might end up being a once-a-year thing for me.  Okay, actually, I doubt that I'll take up power walking, but I probably *will* compete as a walker again next year. For the most part, I'm planning to put my energy into cycling; it's a lot more fun than walking.

Next up: Live.Love.Tri at the end of August....but I signed up for the AquaBike division this time.  That will be another first for me!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy-go-cycling

Celebrated Freedom on the Fourth by going for a 28 mile ride with husband.  When we got back to our street, he continued on for an extra 10.  That was a nice way to ride together even though our distance targets were not the same.

I'm 80% certain that I want to do the Pedal Los Pueblos MS ride in September.  It's a two day ride with a variety of distances to choose from each day. Assuming we do it, I will choose the 36 & 40 mile routes for a total of 76 miles over two days. That's far enough to be challenging, but not so far that I'll hate my bike afterwards.  It's a hilly course, so I need to work on climbing.

Similarly, I'm 80% certain that I want to do the Day of the Tread half century. That one is at the end of October, which is an absolutely beautiful time to ride. That route also includes climbing.  Do you sense a theme?

This morning I went out on a short 8.1 mile ride.  Made sure to do a route with some elevation gain.  It was a nice morning.

Observation that made me chuckle this morning: all of my cycling self portraits tend to be similarly off center.  At least you get some idea of what it looks like where I ride.

I need to register for Live.Love.Tri before it sells out.  I'm trying to decide whether to register for the triathlon or the aquabike.  I'm leaning toward the aquabike just because of the problems I've had with my knee and foot.  If I can make a decision, I'd like to register today.

I'm really trying to LOVE cycling.  Not quite there...yet...but almost.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1) I tried to make a healthy version of chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies.  The healthy version had no added sugar or butter.  The healthy version also did not taste nearly as good.  One of the ingredients was unsweetened almond milk. I bought way more than I needed, so I decided to add it to my fruit smoothies instead of water.  YUM!  So much richer in taste, and theoretically good for me too.  So something good came out of the experiment after all.

2) I've tried out all three of my insoles enough to have an opinion. Here's the short version. The Sole Softec are too hard.  The Sof Sole Airr Orthotics are too soft.  But the Superfeet Berry are just right.  Unfortunately the Superfeet Berry are also ~$40 a pair.

3) I rode my bike for a total of 42.9 miles last week (8.3, 8.1, & 26.5 mi rides).  So far so good.  My foot seems to be okay with it. Planning to ride with Husband tomorrow while we're both off for the Independence Day holiday.  Looks like we should have a nice day for it.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Life

The first half of this year was a tough one for me.  I haven't shared all of the details but some of the lowlights include the death of my mother, a less-than-ideal oral surgery that required a follow-up procedure, and the elimination of my job at work.  Oh, and while this was going on, I suffered a micro-fracture in my right foot that took running-to-maintain-my-sanity completely out of the equation.

I'm happy to say that while I don't know exactly what the second half of the year will bring, I do know that it's off to a good start. Today is the first day of my new job as a freelancer as part of a new business initiative at at work.  Yesterday was the first day of my month-long summer class at UNM. I have the first of my final two (fingers crossed) appointments to finally finish the work in my mouth scheduled a few weeks out.  And I am actually registered for an event, albeit as a walker, for the first time this calendar year.

It's a humbling reminder that life is a journey.  Sometimes you have to hang in there and take every opportunity to add value in the very moment you are in as an investment in your future.  And have faith that things will eventually settle down and work out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On Power Walking and Cycling

On Power Walking:

I decided to time myself to get some idea how fast I might be able to power walk.  Here are my first three day's worth of information.

  • On Sunday, I walked an imprecise mile briskly and timed it in 14:40
  • On Monday, I walked the same imprecise mile and timed it at 14:15
  • On Tuesday I walked at the track with my Garmin for a total of 3.8 miles.  My average for the full distance was 14:53, but the real story is in my split paces:  13:34, 14:17, 15:21, and 16:40.  For the record, I walked the first mile and a half  solo, but had a friend join me for the remainder.   
What have I learned?
  • I cannot power walk and chit chat at the same time.  My walking paced really slowed down when I had company.
  • Walking clearly uses different muscles than running.  My glutes are sore.
  • I could *probably* power walk a 5K somewhere in 44 to 45 minutes as long as I stayed focussed. Maybe faster if I really practice. 
  • I walked on the very outside edge of the track to stay out of the way of the runners.  Each loop was just under .3 miles.  When running the inner loop, it measures pretty close to .25 miles.  Interesting, no?
I'll get to test my theory on July 20th, as I registered for this year's Women's Distance Festival as a walker!

On Cycling:

Went for another short ride before work. Same 8-ish mile route as Sunday.  It took me 20 minutes to get to my turn point and 15 minutes to get back home. That's the difference between having an uphill climb vs. coasting downhill.  I wasn't focussed on my speed, just wanted to get some exercise.  It was fun!

I'm planning to meet a friend on Saturday at my turn point and we'll go for a longer ride from there.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Fresh Perspective

Happiness really is a matter of perspective.

Being a Happy Cyclist
It started with an idea of testing out my foot with a short bike ride.  It was a beautiful summer morning, not too hot, not too windy.  I chose a route that was 8.3 miles long with a decent bit of climbing, just to test things out.

For the most part, it was a success!  My foot didn't bother me too much.  My knee was a little annoyed, but not too bad. And there was the encounter with a snake.  I am not sure if it's considered bad luck to have a snake cross your path (like a black cat) or if maybe it's actually a good sign.  In any event, I figured it wasn't going to be good if I hit the snake with my bike so I swerved to avoid it.

When I got home from the bike ride, I started thinking about about events that I might like to consider for this year. One is the Live.Love.Tri in August.  This is the all women's tri that I've done for a few years now.  I might not be able to run the run, but since it's a super supportive event, I don't think that will matter too much how fast I am able go.  It will be fun to just to participate.

Day of Tread Ride
Another event that I'm considering is the Day of the Tread.  Last year we tried the metric century and had to turn back early because of my knee.  I ended up doing something closer to 50 miles rather than the planned 64.  This year maybe we'll just plan for the half-century route.  It's 49 miles with just under 1500 ft of climb.

One final event of interest is the MS ride.  It's a two day event with several distance possibilities each day.  Husband did it last year, and would like me to think about joining him this year.  I don't want to hold him back, though.  Maybe I'll just do one of the two days?  Or maybe I'll just go out for support?  Not sure exactly what my role will be, but I put it on my calendar as something to think about.

WDF 2014, wearing blue shirt, green skirt
While looking up the dates for these cycling events, I stumbled across a photo from last year's Women's Distance Festival.  This is an all women's 5K that I've done for several years. They have both a timed run and a timed walk. This year's race will be in about 4 weeks. I was starting to get bummed about the likelihood that I'll need to register for the walk or skip it all together. Just for grins, I decided to look up the timed walk times from 2013.

The first place walker finished in 29 minute.  Wow. That's pretty speedy. I can't always run a 5K that fast!  The second place finished in about 40 minutes. That's just under a 13 min mile.  That's probably still faster than I can walk, but getting more reasonable. The third place woman, however, finished in 49 minutes. That's a little over a 15min/mi. I decided to time myself for a brisk one mile fitness walk.  I was able to complete it in 14:40 although I'm not sure if I can keep that pace up for a full 3.1 miles.  In any event, it certainly puts me in the range of a 3rd place podium finish if this year's walkers have similar paces as last year. Wouldn't it be a hoot if I could actually get a medal walking the race?!?!

All in all, it's been a good day.  I'm feeling encouraged and energized even though nothing has changed about my situation from a running perspective.  The difference is simply a fresh perspective and an open mind while exploring some other options.