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The ride was worth it

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I debated riding home last night because of the wind. Truth be told, I questioned my sanity for even thinking about riding home.

I had to appear in court yesterday. Crossing over the river, visibility was limited to a few miles because of blowing dust and sand. And hour later, most of the dust and sand had cleared.

As the end of the work day neared, I checked the weather at the nearest airport. 26 mph wind, 33 mph gusts. I decided to ride home on the sourth side of the river. It's longer (15 miles, as opposed to 10), but most of the way is relatively protected from the wind by trees. (The Pasco side of the river is mostly exposed. A few sections are on top of the levee alongside the river - completely exposed.)

As I was standing outside work, turning on my lights and various electronic gadgets, a gust of wind pushed me backwards. I shook my head - I'm going to ride in this? I must be nuts.

The ride over the Columbia River was the most exposed. I probably could have walked faster. Fortunately, the river is only a half-mile wide. This wasn't the worst wind I've ridden in - it did not blow me off the trail - but I was glad I rode on the south side of the river!

I didn't see many trail users. The trail on the south side of the river is all parkland, and there were only a handful of people in the park. (No one was using the disc golf course - that's a first!) I only saw two other riders. We shared the knowing nod of people who recognize that everyone else thinks we're insane; only we know the truth - we're the lucky ones!

The ride took about 80 minutes. I had the wind at my back at the very end of the ride, which made the last little elevation gain go by quickly. The sun was setting, and I was treated to a glorious display of pinks and purples and deep oranges. Lovely!

And this morning, I had that wind at my back. Wheee!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADZOE 10/11/2013 6:36PM

    Wow, as a fellow Northwesterner I know how the Columbia Gorge winds can be, driving I-84 out to The Dalles can be dicey. But what an awesome ride across the river! Have a great weekend.

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_VALEO_ 10/11/2013 6:27PM

    Seems like the wind was with you, rooting and cheering for you!
I like your sweet madness and I can picture you on your bike fighting the raging elements. emoticon

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IRONBESS 10/9/2013 12:24PM

    It's a little hairy riding in that kind of wind for fear you'll be blown over in a bad spot, but it sure makes it worth it when you're rewarded with nature's beauty, doesn't it. Glad you made it safely and enjoyed a tailwind and a lovely sunset!

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Why am I doing a tri?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A while back, Owl_20 asked why, if I don't really like swimming or running, am I doing a tri? Why not just set some challenging cycling goals.

Thank you for asking. It made me think. And that process made me appreciate why I made this crazy decision.

For several years, I've set a goal of riding a century by the end of the season. I have yet to accomplish that goal. Saddle sores, tight IT band - something always derails me. I truly love being on the bike, but I am not accomplishing those goals.

My weight will always be an issue if I only ride. I love riding. I also love eating. I can burn 3000 calories on a ride. But, as disgusting as this may sound, I can easily eat 3000 calories a day. While being such a lardass makes climbing hills slow, tedious, and unpleasant, it also makes going down hills a lot of fun. And it doesn't really "punish" me for being so heavy. (I was about 210 pounds when I started commuting by bike several years ago.)

I will never be able to run a 10K if I don't lose more weight. Running is simply too punishing on this body. When I was around 180 pounds 12 years ago, I took up running because I didn't want to regain all the weight I lost cycling in the upcoming winter. It worked.

Switching to multi-sport has really energized me. I look forward to those walk/run workouts, as much as I gripe about them. (I gripe about my in-laws, too, even though I generally enjoy their company.) And because my focus is on three sports, I can justify doing a walk/run just twice a week. (But I know at some point, I will have to start doing it more than that. Kind of like I'm going to have to swim more than twice a month.)

I got lucky when I lost ten pounds almost immediately after my surgery. The weight has stayed off. I'm still eating too much, but I believe I'm much more in control of my impulse eating. And the weight loss has made a difference in my cycling, too: despite the four weeks off the bike (and not a lot of riding before my surgery because I was pouting), I was immediately back to averaging 14 mph on most rides.

My clothes fit better. I'm feeling muscles I don't normally feel. And I'm happy.

So, thank you, Owl_20, for making me think. It made me appreciate what my body can do a little bit more.

emoticon emoticon emoticon (repeat as needed)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APONI_KB 10/7/2013 9:05AM

    Plus you get to put a "swim/bike/run" sticker on the car.

I wanted to do a tri because mostly I'm a runner but last winter I just got so sick of the cold and dark I was about to freak out. I started swimming at the Y just for something different. Then it seemed logical - ok I swim twice a week, I run every morning, hmm that just leaves the bike part and heck I used to ride to class every day in college. I can do this.

not that easy

I'm jealous that you commute to work via bike. I want to do that but I just can't quite get the logistics.

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BOILHAM 10/6/2013 9:09AM

    What a great blog! It made me think, too. I might steal your idea and write one of my own about why I have decided to do triathlons.
It is so interesting in how others train, and their own likes and dislikes. I'm not a cycling guy. I used to ride a mountain bike once a week, just for the health benefits, but don't enjoy it as much as swimming or running. As far as swimming, age has taken it's toll and I'm no longer a 'good' swimmer, but I really enjoy it.
Thanks for the great thought provoking blog!!

Comment edited on: 10/6/2013 9:10:48 AM

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RACEWELLWON 10/3/2013 10:12AM

    Awesome - I made the decision to do a Tri after I volunteered to be swim angel at the Iron Girl last August - Swimming and Cycling - I have down to good routine however , the running part needs work! To success - Karen

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It's good to be back!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Yesterday, I went for a walk at lunch and I rode my bike home. I was convinced it had been a couple weeks since I'd worked out: it was only 10 days. But that 10 days felt like forever!

We had a heck of a lot of wind yesterday. The forecast was for 30-40 mph winds, with gusts to 65 mph. I'd guess the wind was at least 30 mph during most of my ride home, but I never felt a gust. I'd call that a lucky break.

I decided to ride home despite the wind because the wind would provide me a reason not to go fast. And it did: it was a slow ride. The wind was from the SW, which meant it was coming from my front left quarter throughout most of the ride. (It was at my back briefly - bliss!) The first part of my ride is through the city, and that gave me a good bit of protection from the wind. But once I get to the river, I'm up on a levee and completely exposed.

A headwind is miserable, but wind coming through the bike's wheel is like riding through mud. It surprises me how much it slows my forward motion. Fortunately, there are a few places along the river where trees break up the wind. I can feel the difference immediately. Along the western portion of the levee, the City leaves the sagebrush in place along the trail. Bless them! The shrubbery provides a wind break and keeps the wind out my wheels.

My first 5K is in two & a half weeks. I haven't tried running. I figure I will try a walk/run later this week. My sinuses are still a little clogged. I expect the first time out to be unplesant. (I just about coughed up a lung when I got home last night.) But I need to do it. It won't get any more fun if I put it off.

I'm weighing whether I should ride home. Ten days off is not so long that I need to ease back in. I felt pretty good after both last night's and this morning's rides. And I do love riding that bike.

I didn't gain any weight while sick, which is remarkable given my sloth. Gotta embrace those victories, no matter how small!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/1/2013 3:27PM

    I'm glad you are back able to exercise.

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Putting sickness in perspective

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm sick. I resent the down time, but it occurs to me that my annual fall rhinovirus reaction mirrors the season.

August was go-go-go. Even the weekends we were home had obligations scheduled into them. Now the weather is turning. It's a delightful time to be active outside, but I'm not partaking. (Being sick tends to really wear me out. I crave sleep. This is no time to work out.)

But the weather is also signalling that we're moving toward nature's slumber. Soon enough, we will have picked the last of the tomatoes and beans. Not long after that, the plants will freeze. Nature needs its break to rejuvenate; so do I.

Soon enough, this cold will have run its course and my immune system can put another mark in the "win" column. I will be relieved to have only put on a pound or two after not working out for a couple weeks. My heart and lungs will feel like bursting when I start running again, but my legs will feel fresh. I'll be back to appreciating the gift of a healthy body that largely does what I ask of it.

Sooner than I like to think, winter will hit. I'll stop commuting by bike for a few months. I'll be pulling on stouter layers for my morning run, eyeing my first triathlon in June. I expect to join a gym, too, to get in swim workouts. Maybe this will be the year I develop enough discipline to ride a trainer indoors.

And then the cycle starts again. Life is beautiful (and that's not just the DayQuil talking!).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYCRN 9/27/2013 8:43PM

    Maybe your gym will have spin classes ? They make indoor cycling bearable. And a little strength training can help triathletes too. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HILLSLUG98239 9/26/2013 10:01AM


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GHK1962 9/26/2013 9:34AM

    Sorry you're feeling sick, and hope you get back on your feet soon.

Saying that, I like that most of your blog looks in the future and predicts all the good, positive things.

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I'm voting for a relaxing weekend

Friday, September 20, 2013

My allergies have been bothering me the past few days. Mostly, it's just heavy post-nasal drip. It's fall, and we have things that release pollen in the fall. So I checked the pollen report: zip. Nada. Nothin' to see here, folks.

This lack of pollen made me fear that I am allergic to Tuffy. I was allergic to Magic, but I kept him for 16 years. I'd keep Tuffy, despite allergies. I buy diphenhydramine in large bottles. It's my beautiful pink miracle.

I mentioned this fear to my legal assistant. As it turns out, her allergies have been bugging her the past few days, and today was especially bad. Another legal assistant reported the same. So I'm guessing it's not Tuffy (although I wouldn't put it past them to lie to me in the interest of seeing me keep Tuffy!).

I've taken plenty of drugs this morning. I'm still sneezy and a little dull around the edges. I have the deep fear I'm coming down with a cold. (Which would mean all three of us have come down with the same cold. That is not outside of the realm of the possible, though. My office seems to be an incubator for pathogens. One person gets sick, and it works its way through the entire office over the next 4-6 weeks.)

I have the afternoon off, so once I'm done with court I will head home. I think I'm going to indulge in a little Nyquil and lie on the futon and let the cats walk all over me. I was going to mow the lawn, but if it's allergies, mowing the lawn will just make it worse.

I'm still planning to go camping this weekend. I'll just bring along my arsenal of drugs and spend my time relaxing and napping. The boys can go play without me. So I won't be going for a swim or a run or a ride. Yep, I'm just going to relax.

So why does the thought of relaxing make me so panicky? emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APONI_KB 9/24/2013 8:55AM

    My allergies are acting up now too. Ah fall.

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CLEARNIGHTSKY 9/21/2013 8:11PM

    FUNNY--"and let the cats walk all over me."

I relate about getting panicky about relaxing. For me, it's that I don't trust myself yet that I'm not actually sliding down the chute into No-exercise Land.

But I'm very happy that it sounds like you're hearing the inner voice to take it easy. Makes sense to me with the congestion. I second the motion to "take it easy." All in favor, say "Aye." "AYE!" All opposed--(crickets chirping.)


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GHK1962 9/20/2013 5:30PM

    That is good news that it is likely the Mr. Tuffy that's the issue emoticon emoticon

Though being sick is not walk in the park either (so you had better rest in the park!)

Hope you have a good camping trip.

PS - thanks for the info about the winter footwear....and mos were clipless pedal useable...yeahhh!

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