Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Longest Bike Ride Thus Far

Monday night I went on the longest ride I've ever been on and it was great!!

I went down to Cycle Sport and Tri where they have a group ride at 5:30. It was me, Rich (who works at the store) and Glen (who maybe also works at the store, but came from his house so I'm not sure).

We left around 5:30 and went right to the roads. I've never ridden with a group of roadies before, or on an organized ride. But I've read up enough about groups and what to expect. Rich lead most of the time, pointing at road hazards, where we were going, etc. The street quickly lead us to the bike trail and we headed north.

The pace was pretty easy here. We chatted a little bit. Glen brought up the rear. After one of the intersections I asked Glen if he wanted to go ahead. I felt bad since they knew each other...kind of felt like I was crashing their ride. So we switched it up: Glen lead, Rich was in the middle and I brought up the rear. Glen pushed the pace a little more, and Rich told me to get closer and draft. I've never done this, not for long anyway, and not without freaking out the person in front of me. I got closer and the three of us sliced through the air on the trail, or at least that is what it felt like. It was a lot easier to maintain 18 - 19 mph while drafting.

After we got up to Morrow, we turned onto the roads. Rich lead and Glen was behind me since he had the light on his bike. I need to get mine on for the next ride. We weaved our way through some neighborhoods and then turned onto a curvy, hilly country road. After a short climb that left me pretty breathless, we went down a huge hill. I hunkered down and saw I was going 31 mph. The road gently rolled up and down and our pace was quick. I had to work to catch back up to Rich after the hill. This road ran along the river, on the other side from the bike trail. It was very fun, and challenging.

We came to an intersection and decided to head back via the bike trail (which we were near the entire time) instead of adding some more miles. Those guys could have done it, but I was pretty good after the miles of hills we just covered! We were at 17 at this point. So we headed back on the trail. Rich and Glen lead the way, chatting, while I tucked in behind them. Now I didn't feel so bad; they were going their pace and I wasn't hindering them. We went back around 19 - 20 mph for most of it, when we weren't going uphill or through intersections.

On the way back I noticed my butt was kind of sore. My fingers were really really cold (my gloves don't have fingers) and my feet were numb. I was really glad I wore a thermal shirt and jacket over that. I probably should have thrown some running tights over my bike shorts, but I didn't and opted for the tall socks again. My legs weren't too bad. It was mostly the numb feet that became annoying.

For the last couple of miles, we took a road along the river back to the store. We arrived back and I said thanks, and let them know this is the farthest I've ever gone! I walked to my car and my legs felt like jelly. There was a lot of pain. It was similar to how they felt right after the marathon, but only in the entire leg aching sense. I loaded my bike and everything back into my car, sat down and thought how I should probably walk a little more. But I didn't. By the time I got home I was really in pain and hopped out of the car and walked to the end of the street and back! That helped a little, along with some Advil and a hot shower to warm myself back up.

The ride was awesome. I can't believe I went 34 miles. Good opening group ride for the season – I can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Run in sunny cold

After a long week I did manage to get out Friday afternoon. It was beautifully sunny out, but kind of windy. I meant to bring a long sleeve shirt, but only had short sleeves and gloves in my bag. But it ended up being OK.

The river is very high and really moving.

This is the wipe the sweat off the eyebrows move with my awesome bright gloves... I can also direct traffic with these gloves, or light my way in the dark. ;)

Monday I am going to try a group ride from Cycle Sport which is just down the street from my work. I am really, really excited! The guy I emailed about it said last time they went 32 miles and averaged 16 mph. I am not ready to go 32 miles, but think I could hang with them at that pace. They stick around the trail so people can find their way back if they want to bail early. It is probably going to be pretty rough, but I am so excited to ride with other people so I'm doing it. I will be sure to post how it goes... yikes!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day of Rest and Perhaps Something New ...

Yesterday I ran 3 miles on the trail with Krista and it was awesome! The weather was great, a little warmer than we both anticipated. Both of us had all black on, but it wasn't a big deal. The trail is still open feeling since the leaves aren't in yet. Really cool shadows were cast over our path. I wanted to take a picture, but I don't think Krista wanted to stop for blog picture-taking :)

Today I signed up to possibly volunteer with Girls on the Run. It's a really neat program that tries to mentor girls through exercise and positive attitudes. They do a few 5Ks during the spring, and what I volunteered for was to run a 5K with one of the girls in the program. The girls are trained by other volunteers (maybe I'll get to do that some day too) but need mentors to get them through their "practice 5Ks" and race day as well. It sounds absolutely awesome, and I hope I'm able to do it! The first 5K I know of is in April, but I am hoping there are more. I figured this would be a neat way to see what the program is all about, and hopefully be able to help with the fun!

Today is a rest day. I was going to bike, but my back still hurts so I thought I'd just give it another day.
The weather sure is great for it today though!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


After a long day of work on a very dreary Monday, I somehow convinced myself to go on a 3 mile run. Once I got going, things were ok – some sleepiness wore off, my breathing was good. And it's 3 more miles in the bank, pain free :)

I stopped half way through to stretch my calves. My shins were really starting to hurt – I was beginning to get the floppy out of control foot strike because they were so tight. Must be from recent biking. I stretched at this fire hydrant and everything was great for the last 1.5.

Here are Mr. and Mrs. Duck, wadddling away from me as fast as possible.

Today I'm going to go at least 3 more, depending on how I feel. I would like to bike today, but I think the trail is still going to be wet. Plus my back is still really really sore. I need to figure out what that's about. It could be that it's just taking me a bit to get used to riding in the road position again. I can't remember how many rides I did last year with my newly flipped headset. So maybe it's that new position that is giving my back fits. We'll see.

Supposedly the sun is supposed to peak out later today. That would be very welcomed by me. Aside from chilly evenings, the rest of the week looks pretty decent. I'm getting excited thinking about doing some races for fun in the near future.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Nice Weather

Friday after work I ran about 2.5 miles with Krista. It was rough for some reason – we blamed it on being the end of the week. We did chat though - that is the first run I've done, well, since the last time I ran with Krista I suppose, that I talked with someone while running. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it on this blog before, but I really enjoy running with other people. I value solo runs too. But it is just so pleasant to be running side by side with someone, chatting about your days or thoughts all in a very carefree manner that the running creates.

Saturday I got up, made some eggs, then drove over to my studio where my bike still was and went for a 16 mile ride on the trail. The day was absolutely gorgeous.
A view from the bridge... blue sky, trees are still bare

When I left the house, the temp was 48º... so I thought maybe I needed something more on my legs. So I opted for my broomball socks. Then only my knees and a little more would be exposed to the wind chill! I looked pretty ridiculous, so I snapped a funny picture of myself in the mirror of our lovely in the middle of being remodeled bathroom to send to my friend. I thought I kind of looked like a roller girl, and told her I'd sneer at anyone I passed.
Tearing up the trail it's... Spinnin' Steph!

Another view of the sweet socks while on the bike.

Big helmet head! And nice shades. Where are my orange ones (that I prefer)!!?

My ride was pleasant. It was slightly windy, so that varied my speed a bit. There were so many people out - runners, walkers, lot of dogs, and cyclists. I know our weather can just turn back to being cold any day now, so it was nice to get out and enjoy the sun while it is here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Outdoor Bike Ride of the Year

This came to work with me today.

60º and beautiful = bike shorts, jersey, arm warmers and a big smile.

It was great to get out today. I rode down to the trail from my studio. It was pretty uneventful. I did run over a snake, which made me shudder. Thum-thump! Ew. By the time I realized it wasn't a stick, it was too late to swerve. It may have already been dead.

I only went 12 miles. It was a re-introduction of my butt to saddle (Butt, meet Saddle, Saddle meet Butt). Plus I had a printer rep that was soon stopping by my office to drop off samples. We have been working together a lot, but have never met. Well, first impressions are always fun... He arrived a little early and I was still in the bathroom trying to clean up (I was sweatier than I thought I'd be). I was also still in my bike clothes. Awkward! He ended up being a very cool guy though, so I'm pretty certain he wasn't mortified by my helmet head and padded shorts.

I averaged around 16 mph, not bad for the first ride of the season I guess.

Next time I'll go a little farther. And remember my water bottle.

3 More Miles, It's Starting to Feel Normal Again

I ran 3 miles in the 60º weather last night after work. It was great! I was really really tired though, and my body let me know it. It was windy and I was definitely struggling. But it felt good to struggle even, and good to get that body feedback that running allows. I knew I was tired, but it was nice to have the communication with my running self again.

We will hopefully be starting our track nights again soon! I can't wait. I will have to take it easy at first, but I look forward to it. Maybe this year we can get more people to come out...and have shirts!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Signs of Spring:

Daffodils are up and at 'em in the flower beds around the house.

As are the moles... (booo!)

And Marvin's Snap Dragons...

And lots of worms - ew.

Signs of Running Progress:


So there are some parallels. The weather is improving, and along with it, so is my running. I'm very excited and happy about that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another Deuce

Actually, deuce point 3. Today was gorgeous. Something like 63º and sunny by the end of the day. I went out for a leisurely 2 miles, but the loop I did was 2.3... inching up there! It felt great!

I paid my dues at the community center and found out that it is completely closed from April 4 - April 18. It is under construction, and this is one of the reasons the rate is so good right now. That is two weeks of no pool access, which I'm afraid will be a set back in my getting to be able to swim straight for 700 + meters for my loose plans to soon do a triathlon. And it also means no spinning. But since the weather may hopefully be nicer by then, I should get out on my bike for some miles on the trail anyway.

That is all. Boring update, but I'm so happy to have ran in nice weather with no pain the farthest distance I've gone yet out of this recovery!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is Near and Two Miles is Progress!

The last couple of days have been gorgeous. Today is the nicest yet. I've been working like crazy and I've been sick, but both things are finally coming under control again. I hadn't been running because, unfortunately, the sickness was in my chest and that doesn't make for a pleasant run or 2 hours after the run!

However, this past Friday I finished work, headed home and rolled on the foam roller a bit before going out for an easy 1.25 miles. My fresh legs didn't quite take it so easy though. I was excited. I'm not sure how fast I went (not that I ever go really fast) but I went too briskly for the lungs and had a good time coughing afterwords. (Part of me wonders if this will just help get it out of me though.) So Saturday I ran much more conservatively and didn't let my breathing get too hard, which had much better results. And..... I went TWO MILES!!!!! With no signs of pain!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!! 

It's a relief to know that the IT band can actually be controlled. I know I'm not "cured" and will have to work at it for the next months, continuing to take extra care of stretching and rolling every time I run. And I have tried to prepare myself for setbacks that could happen as well. It is so hard to not just go run and run and run. Well, honestly my lungs aren't up for that yet, but mentally it's what I want to do. Like today, I've felt how warm it is outside and long to go for a good leisurely run. But logically I know I should give it a day's rest and go tomorrow. So I'll work on the other things like my exercises and attempts at ending the Weakling Era (i.e. strength training).

I'm ready for spring, and think my body finally is getting there too!