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!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This, that, and the other

new jersey!
Don't have much to blog about.  Let's see what I can come up with.

I'm still riding most weekends, 30-40 miles is a comfortable distance.

Waving the white flag with regard to my knee. I've ordered another round of Euflexxa injections and am waiting for the orthopedic to call to schedule them. Running is out for now and maybe for good this time.

Hoping to bike commute one morning to the balloon fiesta.  Got a bike light that I need to install and test out first.

Bike clothes are fun. Started getting tired of the jerseys in my closet so ordered a new red/white/black one from Voler.  Also appreciate having the Intel jersey in rotation now.

Intel jersey
Bike knickers (aka capris) are becoming a new staple. Finding that they protects my legs from the sun, keep the chill off in the cool morning, and stay comfortable enough as long as the days don't get too hot.

Thinking about doing an MS ride (or two) in a state other than NM next year. If you have one in your area that is particularly scenic, let me know in comments!

Fun arm warmers are becoming an obsession, similar to fun beanies for winter running.

Will be trying the half buff under my helmet soon. Bandanas aren't working very well for me for some reason.

Sorry for my lack of blogging and commenting.  I miss running.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's Next, Elevation Profiles, & Never Forget

What's Next:  The short answer -  I'm not sure.  But that doesn't make for a very good blog post.  So I'll try to explain a bit of the longer answer.

So while my knee is generally okay with cycling, it's not generally been okay with much else.  I called the orthopedic to get things started to get going with my next series of injections.  Depending on when those are ready to go, one of the following scenarios is likely to occur:

If they can be ready to go by Oct 17:  Will plan to attempt to commute to one day of Balloon Fiesta by bike, weather permitting and if I get a suitable light for my bike.  Husband will attempt the century at Day of Tread and I will sit that one out. Hopefully my knee will be in good shape for light hiking by mid November.

If they can't be ready to by Oct 17th. Will still plan to commute to one day of Balloon Fiesta by bike. Husband & I will likely attempt the half-century at Day of Tread. Light hiking won't be possible by mid-November, but I'll try to set up the injections to begin immediately after Thanksgiving.

Elevation Profiles:  Just to give some idea what the "short course" ride was like.  The scale isn't the same between the two graphs.  Trust me, day 2 was much more challenging.
Day 1 - 36.8 miles, short steep climbs beginning and end, overall not too bad
Day 2 - 38.1 miles, due to scale it's deceiving - long steady climb first 10 miles, remainder easy peasy
Never Forget:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pedal Los Pueblos Reflections

packing up to head out
Packed up on Friday to head up to Pojaque, NM which is where the home base for each day of the MS ride was located.  The elevation is higher than it is for us at home.  We're at about a mile above sea level and the start location was closer to 7800 mi above sea level. I was nervous about the elevation as well as the hills more so than the distance that we planned to ride.
Day 1 in team jerseys
It's a fully supported charity ride for MS.  There are rest stops roughly every 10 miles. The first day had distance options of 36, 58, 88, and 100.  The second day had distance options of 40 and 58.  Last year, Husband did 58+40.  This year, I joined him for the ride and insisted on the shortest distances, 36+40.  He's quite a trooper and was fine planning to ride shorter and slower so that we could ride together.  We we part of a corporate team, with me clearly being the least fit on the team, so we didn't ride with the other folks.  But our small team of 14 riders raised almost $8000 for MS and it was pretty cool to be a part of a team rather than an individual rider.  Plus our team jerseys rocked!I was pretty happy to see the finish line on day 1 feeling good.  The weather forecast for that day seemed iffy: it was grey clouds overhead when we started and chance of thundershowers.  Instead, we actually had a nice ride day.  The clouds were welcome to keep the relentless high altitude sun off our skin and the temps comfortable.  All in all, it was a nice day to ride.

Finish line on day 1
We actually booked a 50 minute soak and 90 minute massage Saturday afternoon at a spa up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  That was a really nice treat and it did wonders to loosen everything up and prepare us for day 2.

Ready for Day 2
The majority of our company team wore last year's team jerseys for day 2, but I didn't ride last year and didn't have one.  Husband opted for his tier 2 fundraising jersey from last year and I wore one with orange for MS.  This made it hard for us to be identified from a team perspective, but since we weren't really riding with the others, it didn't seem like it mattered too much.  Plus a lot of repeat riders that had earned the fundraising jersey had chosen to wear it that day, so Husband fit in with that theme.
Made it to rest stop 1!!

I felt amazingly good on day 2 and was hopeful for a good outcome!The skies were clear for day 2, so it was cooler in the morning and the sun was back to it's relentless self.

earned my medal
Husband had told me the night before to just focus on getting to the first rest stop.  The first segment was the most challenging of the day and after that it would be relatively easy.  He wasn't kidding! That first segment was tough!  But I made it. It was also extremely scenic.  Lots of opportunities to stop and take a photo, but I was afraid I'd have a hard time getting going again if we stopped, so we just took it in as we observed it.

About midway through the ride, of of my colleagues joined us as his wife had opted for the longer route.  It was nice to have company and new conversation to finish off the ride.

All-in-all it was a good weekend.  I was also happy to see that I had raised a total of $505 for MS, which is what the weekend was really all about.  And I proved that you can just be a middle aged woman with an exercise habit and still complete an event like this.  Win-win!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Riding, riding, riding...

I didn't tally everything for August, but I did tally my bike mileage: 279.6 miles total for the month.

Rode a little over 120 miles over the long weekend.  I won't bore you with details, but I have had some successes and some failures and have come to the following conclusions:

  • I will probably do okay the first day of the MS ride, but the second day will be a real struggle for me. 
  • I will need to focus on replenishing spent calories after each ride to avoid "tapping out" afterwards.

I've happy to say that I've met my original fundraising goal, but now I'm actually trying to beat my husband's amount and I'm about $80 short.  You can find out more about MS and why I'm riding here: Lisa's MS Fundraising Page.  As I try to remind my friends and family, don't mistake me for an athlete, I'm actually just a middle aged woman with an exercise habit, and probably the least fit of the folks that I'm riding with next weekend. The MS ride will be a challenge for me, but less of a challenge than those faced with MS deal with on a daily basis.

It's not too late if you'd like to sponsor me on my ride.  No donation is too small.  Just ten cents per mile that I plan to ride that weekend works out to a donation of $7.60.  Best of all, no ice required. ;-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's complicated...

Friday afternoon -  went to packet pick-up and got (among other things) my VERY pink shirt for the event. Assembled my stuff and got my bike number put onto my bike.

very PINK event shirt

bike ready to go with number
I don't know about you, but when I do a repeat event, I start thinking about previous years.  That's where things got complicated for me.  I remember getting a calf cramp last year.  I remember that Husband was out of town doing the MS ride.

Then I remembered the call from my sister.  The one where she told me that she had seen mom for the first time since Christmas and didn't recognizer her.  That she had lost a lot of weight and was weak and in a wheelchair. And that she probably wouldn't make it though the next year. And a flood of memories and emotions all came back.  I told Husband that I wasn't sure that I wanted to do this event this year because it now had some bad memories associated with it.  But I decided that if I slept well, I'd just do it anyway.

This morning I got up, got dressed, and started packing the car and had an emotional melt down.  I went back to bed and cried for awhile. Then I decided to get going and go do this.  I was running out of time and it was now or never.  So I grabbed my keys got in the car and headed on my way. the midst of the melt down I guess I forgot to put my helmet in the car (d'oh!). When I showed up at the venue fairly last minute without my helmet, I decided that it simply wasn't meant to be this year and turned around and went home.  Yes, I'm sure there were work-around options. I'm probably not the first person to show up without a helmet and probably could have borrowed or bought one this morning at the site, but my heart just wasn't in it.

We're now on plan B for the day, a bike ride with Husband.

Maybe the aqua-bike or tri will happen for me next year. But this year I'm a DNS.

Updated to add:

Plan B turned out to be a 32 mile bike ride on a path that was mostly new to me.  I really enjoyed it.  So at the end of the day, it's all good.  No harm; no foul.  Here are a few photos from the ride:

potty stop at a library.  bathroom mirror selfy fail. hahah

our bikes resting at a pit stop

a cool looking old tree.  love the bark pattern.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Day 2 - RailRunner Bike Tour

If you haven't read my post about Weekend Day 1, consider reading about Saturday's training adventure there first.

All caught up now?  Good.

Bikes on top of the car ready to go before sunrise
Today's adventure required us to get up at stupid-o-clock in the morning because the RailRunner ride was scheduled to begin at 6:30am and it's about a 45 minute drive from our house to the start point.

I'm really not sure why they thought it was important to start THAT early in the morning for a 40 mile ride, but it is what it is.  Part of the reason we opted to participate in the event was to give us a solid day2 ride in prep for the MS ride in early September

A variety of types of riders participated
This event has a photographer and I'm hoping there is at least one good photo of Husband & I.  I really liked one of the photos last year and apparently the event folks did too because they used it on their event page!  Anyway, I didn't take many photos today, just focussed on riding.  I am including this one that shows some of the diverse types of riders that participated (tandem and hand bikes shown) The majority were road bikes, of course, but we also saw a few mountain bikes and recumbents.

Unlike the course we rode Saturday, this course is mostly flat, with one section starting around mile 23 or so that had some slow gradual climbing.  We started off surprisingly strong, averaging 17.5 mph until the first aid station.  Slowed down a bit after that. And I was pretty slow on that climb part. Overall average ride speed (when moving) ended up being 15 mph for the ride, 2 hours and 31 minutes.  We ended up stopping three times, two aid stations plus one stop that we added.  No flats today.  Yay!  Also, it's worth mentioning that the course was very well marked and had alert and helpful volunteers.  Thank you!!

I should have mentioned that I had one of the worst nights sleep in a long time last night.  I was pretty tired when it was time to go and I was very low on energy once we got back home. Took a nap, but I'm still dragging.  Hopefully I'll sleep better than that in between day 1 and day 2 of the MS ride otherwise that 2nd day is going to be very difficult.  I decided to order a white noise machine to help with my sleeping issues.  I hope it works.  It's small enough to take with me when I travel too.  More on that later.  Should arrive Wednesday.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend Day 1 - Aqua-Bike training day

out of breath after loop 2
Given that the Aqua-bike is a week from today, I figured maybe it would be good to ride the course.  And since we're doing the MS ride in a few weeks, we decided to ride the course twice.

I wanted to give my wardrobe choice a trial run as well.  I decided to go with tri shorts and a bathing suit top with a shirt over it.

The tri shorts were okay although I obviously prefer bike shorts. The bathing suit top however is a no-go.  I found it to be very uncomfortable.  I think I'l wear a run-bra thing with a shirt over it instead.

My race times on this course have varied from 42-46 minutes.  I did it in about 43 minutes the first time today and 48 the second.  It's a short, but moderately hilly route.  I feel confident now going into the bike part of the aqua-bike next weekend and I learned that I need alternate wardrobe choice.  From that perspective, it was a good training experience!

True be told, I haven't been swimming laps since sometime in 2013.  I should probably at least check my goggles to make sure they don't leak.  Yeah, you may have noticed that I'm not really all that serious about training for this event.  It's really just for fun anyway and news flash, I'm not going to win anyway. :-D

Tomorrow we have an early wake-up for the 40 mile ride event that we entered.  It has a 6:30 start time and the starting line is about a 45 min drive from our house.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Three (mostly) successful rides

partly cloudy skies!
Thursday - Solo ride of a local 16.5 mile route with some hills.  The weather was quite nice, partly cloudy which is a treat for us in central New Mexico. I was feeling good and had four tubes, a bike pump, and two C02 cartridges just in case I had flat tire issues so that I wouldn't have to call for a ride home.  Ride started out well, but noticed front tire getting soft on the back part of the ride.

Rather than deal with it on the road, I rode on it carefully.  Tire pressure was down to 60psi at home; it was a slow leak not an all out flat. I put in a new tube *and* a new tire on the front. My bike is now sporting a matched set of Vredstein Fortezza tricomp tires. Was another frustrating ride experience, but it is what it is.

new front tire
Saturday - The plan was to complete a ~44 mile route with husband that includes much of the upcoming bike tour route.  I checked to see how my new front tire/tube was holding up before we left the house and it was in good shape.

I'm happy to say that we completed the full route as planned this time. Hit some debris under a bridge at ~mile 32 and had to change the front tube, otherwise an uneventful ride. I felt pretty good when we got home and was encouraged about our planned day 2 ride.  We really need that second day of training since the MS ride is two hilly days in a row, but we don't usually ride consecutive days in training.

ready for day 2
Sunday - Chose a local 18.5 mile route with hills to ride with husband with hills. Neither one of us was all that happy about being on our bikes for a second day in a row (saddle soreness), but once we got going it wasn't too bad. However, it quickly became clear that hills are going to be a challenge for me. Was struggling on the hills and was exhausted afterwards when we got home.

I'll admit, the struggle I had with the second day of riding was discouraging. However, I'm not ready to give up.  I'm just really glad that we're doing the back-to-back riding in training so that I'm in better shape the day of the event.  Besides, "Life's not about limiting your challenges, but challenging your limits."  Right? RIGHT?!?

So here's the plan for the upcoming week:

  • Thursday - Solo ~16-20 miles with hills
  • Saturday - Ride the 15 mile course (aquabike is the following week) with husband - possibly starting from home to add some distance?
  • Sunday - RailRunner 40mile bike tour with husband

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Domino effect

sidewall puncture
Friday morning, I was meeting a friend to walk.  I decided to ride my bike to meet her and kill two "training" birds with one stone.  It was about a 20min ride to meet her and I left 30min in advance.  What I didn't anticipate was getting a blowout flat 2 miles into my ride and getting another flat with the first tube I tried when attempting to get rolling again on the side of the road.  I ended up having her pick me and my bike up. In the process of loading my bike in the back of her truck, I bumped the derailleur fairly significantly.  Just great.

We walked.  When I got home, I went through two more tubes and finally realized that my tire had a sidewall puncture.  You can see it between the two red tire levers in the picture posted here.  Too bad it took me three tubes to figure out that the problem was with the tire!  Even worse, they were the last three tubes that I had on hand. Out of supplies (and out of patience), I took my wheel, a new tire, and my bike to a local bike shop for help.

I told them my tale of woe and asked them to put in a thorn resistant tube, install the new tire, and check my derailleur.  I also bought some spare tubes, a new frame pump, and some CO2 cartridges.  With my bike checked out and ready to go, I was ready for Saturday's ride attempt.

two bikes ready to roll
The plan was for husband & I to do 44 miles.  What I didn't expect was that my legs/thighs would be sore from the squatting position I was in while trying to take care of my flat on the side of the road. Hence the domino effect title of this post.  Funny how things just add up some time. I ended up cutting my ride short to 28 miles.  He did the full 44.  At least I got out there!

It's frustrating to have mechanical problems get in the way of ride goals.  I feel like I lost last weekend.  But the good news is that I'm now carrying four spare tubes, two CO2 cartridges, and a new pump.  Plus I have a brand new tire on the rear wheel.  I feel better prepared now for getting rolling sooner if I have problems while riding along again. Of course I'm also considering installing the lyft app so I can call for a ride if needed.

So at this point we have one free weekend, then the 40mi ride, then the aqua bike, another free weekend, then the two day MS ride.  I'm a week behind in my training which was already cutting it close  But, the show must go on. You can only do what you can do.

Ever have unplanned issues like that get in the way of your training goals? 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Undertrained and overcommitted?

or as they say, "What could possibly go wrong with that plan?!?"
  • 3.5 weeks until the 40mi bike tour.  It's a route that I've ridden before, not too challenging.  Sounds doable. This one actually should be easy-peasy.
  • 4.5 weeks until the aqua-bike, which includes a swim. I haven't actually done any swam lap swimming since last August and may not get in the pool before race day, but it's only a 400m swim.
  • 6.5 weeks until Pedal Los Pueblos where I'll be riding ~76 hilly miles at elevation and the farthest I've gone so far is 38 miles on flat terrain. 
Maybe I should spend less time signing up for stuff and more time training.  Ya' think?!?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

ready to roll
The big training need is to get ready for Pedal Los Pueblos.  Husband & I went out on a ~39 mile ride Saturday.  That's about half the distance we'll need to ready for, but also with hills.  Right now I'm just getting comfortable being on my bike that long.  Soon we really need to add in some back-to-back training days because day 2 is probably going to be the more difficult of the two. Anyway, I took some photos to reflect Saturday's ride.  

I have a carrier for two water bottles in back along with space for a small bottle and a large bottle on the frame.  I didn't think one small and one large was enough because it was HOT.  So I loaded my bottles in back.  Next time, I'll probably include a small bottle in front as well.  There are a few places on the trail where it gets very congested, but most of the trail was fairly open so we could ride our own pace. Probably the scariest part of the ride was when we needed to cut through a parking lot because there is an intersection without a bike lane.  Someone started pulling out of the space without even looking my way.  Had what seemed like a close call.  We also had an incident on a small section of road with a bike lane when a car suddenly cut over into the bike lane in front of Husband.  Another close call.  Sheesh.
stupid flat
It was fairly calm winds on Saturday, which always makes for a more pleasant experience.  Can't say the same for today.  Glad we're not riding today, but it probably would be good practice if we did. Speaking of practice, Husband got to practice changing a a tube while out on the trail. And we were able to find some shade not far from where he got the flat.  That made it much more bearable.  As I mentioned earlier, it was HOT. I got to practice at home before we left and it looks like I get to practice again before I head out on my next ride because my rear is flat.  See how I spin that in a positive way? It's practice. Hahahahah.  Not that either of us need any more practice, we've dealt with enough flat tires over the past several years to be pretty good at taking care of them.

Next week we're adding another 5-6 miles to our route.  After that, we'll probably start doing back-to-back days.  There really isn't a lot of time to get ready for this event, but we're trying to build up in a smart way.

new black tires installed
And to get ready for all the riding up ahead, I put new tires on my bike.  The ones I had on my bike had been there for 3 years.  Boy, oh boy, the rear tread was WORN.  The new tires are black.  It's weird because I've had blue tires since 2006.  Hopefully they are lucky tires!!  Had a little trouble getting the back tire replaced.  Went through three tubes.  I'm sure it was operator error (mine), but eventually got everything installed, so I'm back in business.

Also, I lied when I said that the was next up. Just registered for a 40 mile bike tour the week prior to that. It will be good training for pedal los pueblos. The goal is to do a long ride the day prior as well. Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' keep that bike-a Rollin'...

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


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.