Thursday, October 17, 2013
Today, as I was standing in the hallway in my bike clothes, waiting for the elevator, I was looking down at my tights-clad legs. I flexed my quads. I thought, "I love my body."
I am overweight. My BMI is just under "obese." This 185 pound body is not rippling with muscle. I have very long legs (I'm 5'6", and I have a 32" inseam), so I can carry an extra 20 pounds and still be pretty fit. But I consider 185 pounds to still be 20 pounds over what I'd like to weigh. (I'd love to get back to the 150 pounds I weighed when I was 20 - I was gorgeous!) So, my declaration of love for my body was not based upon how "hot" I look.
Back fat, saddle bags, inner thigh fat, round belly - I do not love them. But overall, I really do love my body. Every day, I thank God for my healthy body that does practically everything I ask it to. (It's not my body's fault my will power and discipline sometimes fail me.) I'm fit enough to commute by bike most days. I run, I hike, I ski, I swim. A lot of people would love to be healthy enough to do that. I don't take it for granted.
My body isn't as aesthetically pleasing as I'd like, but the power to change the outside package lies within me. Deciding to switch to multisport has allowed me to consider the possibility of getting my body weight down to the 150's. I've spent the last 20 years telling myself that while I could do it, I don't want to work that hard. Now, anything is possible.
So, I love you, body. I may say bad things about you from time to time, but please know that deep down, I recognize your faults are mine, not yours. Thank you for being strong, healthy, and resilient. Thank you for going days on end with 6 hours of sleep a night, only to get the occasional reward of a full 8 hours of sleep. Thanks for running reliably, even though I sometimes fuel you with absolute crap.
And thank you for looking so amazing in tights.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Yesterday, I decided that today would be a brick workout day. My bricks are still pretty wimpy, but I'm the type that prefers to start slow and work my way into things. Last night, I put the clothes I thought I would need for the run next to the front door. That way, I could get home from my ride and be off on my run pretty quickly.
Other than briefly being downwind of the waste water treatment plant, the ride home was lovely. I averaged nearly 15 mph on my round-trip commute. That pleases me. The best thing I saw on the ride home: a woman riding her bicycle wearing a backpack designed to hold a small child. In the backpack was a small dog. Its paws were on the woman's shoulders. It appeared to be having a grand time. That's a devoted pet owner!
Upon arriving home, I timed my transition. It was about five minutes. Not bad, considering it involves me securing the bike in the garage. I've learned a way to switch over much faster: instead of trying to swap out bras, I put the running bra on over my medium-impact bra. I also went with the FiveFingers Bikalas instead of the KSOs for the same reason: much easier to get onto my sweaty body!
So, fuel belt on, out the door I go. I started running immediately. And almost immediately, I started to feel a cramp in my left calf. Not a debilitating one, though. I ran through it. It was a little cranky the entire time, but it didn't screw up my stride, and the pain lessened. I'm pretty proud of myself for that. Once I decided to keep running, my inner coach started whoopin' it up. You are a warrior! You are an athlete! Good on ya!
I switch between running and walking at about equal intervals. My interval is about 90 seconds. Last time I did a brick workout, I looked at my watch between 43 and 45 seconds every time I was running. EVERY TIME. Tonight, I made it a minute before checking my watch. I view that as progress: I'm getting stronger and fitter. Yay, me!
At about 1.4 miles, I started feeling a weird pressure/pain sensation between my second and third toes on my left foot. I kept wriggling my toes, hoping it would move something around and make that sensation go away. It didn't. I ended up talking off the left shoe and walking the rest of the way wearing one shoe. It was interesting experiencing one bare foot and one foot shod in a FiveFingers shoe. They are NOT the same! It gave me an appreciation for how much cushioning there is on the balls of the foot of those shoes. It felt like a cushy layer compared to the natural cushioning in my bare foot. Clearly, I do not anticipate being tempted to try running truly barefoot. The asphalt in my neighborhood is in pretty good shape, and I didn't encounter any dangers to my unshod foot, but I did not like it.
I'm pretty happy with my mini brick. I'd hoped for two miles, but I ended up with 1.9. (My first 5K is in 9 days.) I'm really proud of myself for running through the cramp. If the pain had become severe, or it messed up my stride, I would have just walked the two miles. But I trusted my body, and I tuned into what was going on. My instincts were right. I've been rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, instead of a wistful "what if..?" feeling.
I still have a long way to go before I'm ready for a triathlon. But today was one of those little milestones that keep me motivated. So yeah, I'm pretty pumped.
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!
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.
(repeat as needed)
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!
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