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Solitude

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I started writing a reply to OneKidsMom's blog entry, www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5691723
, realized my reply was going to drone on and on, so I figured I'd put my comment in a blog entry of my own. And because this is so long, I don't expect anyone to read it.

I became an avid skier and hiker in my 30's. With the exception of trips and leading hikes with the Mountaineers, I was almost always alone. By choice. part of it was scheduling: I didn't want to be limited by other peoples' school or work schedules. I also didn't want to worry about my pace being too different than my companions'. The biggest reason, though, is that I'm kind of a loner.

I love meeting up and talking with people on the trail. I always enjoy chatting with people riding the same lift chair. But I was quite content to do the working part by myself.

When it comes to hiking, people frequently focus on the dangerous aspect of a woman solo hiking. I was always careful: my overnight trips rarely involved the weekends, when the woods are more crowded. When I talked to people, I always told them I was meeting up with other people (a lie), and always lied about my destination. I camped out-of-sight of others. Even for day hikes, someone always knew where I was and when they should expect an "I'm off the trail" phone call. That was usually my mom, who also had a list of what gear I carry (so the search and rescue folks knew I'd be able to survive several days without help, even in the winter), what trail # I was on, what map it was on. (Like me, Mom loves reading maps. It let her join me, vicariously.)

I did have a couple of close calls, but those were with nature. Both came in the spring, after a very snowy winter. (Mt. Baker broke the record with over 1300" of snow. That's more than 100'.) In one instance, I'd dropped my back to search for a good camp site. Crossing a snowfield, my left leg broke through the snow and I sunk in up to my hip. The spring sunshine warmed the boulders under the snow, causing the snow to melt from below. I was amazing lucky to fall into a pocket, rather than hitting one of those boulders after dropping a few feet. In the worst case scenario, I would have shattered my ankle. I would have had to crawl back to my pack and crawled into my sleeping bag and tent to keep warm for the night, and then attempted the trip back down 2500' to the trailhead. I always carry an ice axe (I've even carried it into the Juniper Dunes Wilderness), and it's long enough to serve as a cane. But I can't imagine how much pain I would have been in, how much more damage I would have done, and how long that would have taken me because, as I mentioned, it was during the work week when the mountains are pretty empty.

The other close call came, again, when I was looking for the perfect camp site. I was crossing a partially-snow-covered bog. I was within a few feet of solid ground when one of my feet sank in up to my knee. It took some time to extricate myself from the bog without losing my boot. Once I was out, my priority was finding a camp site that was level and not in a depression. It was raining lightly when I first arrived. The rain got heavier, and turned to snow before I got my tent up. I got into the tent, into dry clothes, and into my sleeping bag. I cooked dinner in the vestibule of the tent so that I didn't have to get out of my sleeping bag. (Eating was a must. Food enables you to stay warm. I was badly chilled already, and I didn't want to risk hypothermia.)

My worst back country experience happened when I had someone around to rescue me. We'd snowshoed in the night before. It snowed another foot overnight. I woke in the middle of the night nauseous and with a horrific headache. Vomiting felt like someone was driving ice picks into my forehead. The next morning, my companion Marie packed all my gear for me. Fortunately the trip was all downhill, but I could barely move. Marie finally gave up on staying with me. She hiked all the way down to the car, then back up to me. She took my pack from me and kept me moving forward. She helped me into the car, and when we got to my house, she almost had to lift me back out of the car. Over the years, I told her she saved my life. She scoffs. She tells me how scared she was, and how amazed she was that I kept going. I told her repeatedly that if I'd been alone, I would haven't gotten out of my tent. I would have just lain there until someone found me. (And since my mom knew exactly where I was, it would have been within a day or two anyway.)

The lesson I learned from those three misadventures is Kim Does Not Go Into The Backcountry Alone When There Is Snow On The Ground. But I didn't give up solo hiking. The absolute stillness of the backcountry is worth it. My friends who worried about the "bad guys" were not solo hikers. I'd point out I'm more at risk in a mall parking lot. My then-boyfriend agreed. As he put it, someone looking for a victim is unlikely to go into the backcountry to find one, especially since any woman he encounters is likely to be fit enough to kick his ass.

I had an epiphany on one of those hikes. It was my first solo overnight. I encountered a guy on the trail. We chatted. He was headed down the mountain- he'd been caching supplies for an upcoming overland trip. I told him I was headed for Copper Lake, the most popular lake on this particular trail. In reality, I was headed for Malachite Lake - less picturesque, frequently snow-covered into August, more solitude. I told him my standard lie that my faster-hiking friends were coming up the next day. And of course, I had my ice axe strapped to my back and my 6' walking stick in hand.

That night, safely tucked away at Malachite, I kept thinking of the what ifs. What if that guy was a bad guy? What if he came looking for me? What if he realized I wasn't at Copper Lake and figured out I was at Malachite?

That's when the epiphany came. The voice said, "That guy is a wild card. You've done everything right. You cannot control what he does. Let it go. Stop living your life in fear of what some random stranger may do." And so I did.

Here's the crazy part: a few years after we met, the man who is now The Hubs was hearing me relating this story to friends. The Hubs said, "You know, I've heard you tell that story a couple of times now, and I think I'm the guy you met on the trail. I remember I was preparing for a trip from Big Heart/Little Heart into the Necklace Valley. I'd been caching food up around Big Heart. I was headed back down to Trout Lake, and I met this woman on the trail. We talked for a while, and then headed our separate ways. And all I could think of is, 'What if she finds my caches and steals them?'"

It's entirely possible that guy that spawned my epiphany is now The Hubs. The guy on the trail was white, about my age, pale complected, wore glasses. I have no reason to doubt that it was him, but what an amazing coincidence that would be!

But now that I'm married, I rarely hike alone. I don't backpack alone, because it would make The Hubs crazy. I ride alone a lot, but that's because I'm more interested in riding than he is. I don't ski alone because I miss The Hubs, and it just isn't as much fun without him.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSG180 5/13/2014 12:44PM

    You make me miss hiking. So much pretty country out there.

I never backpacked alone, but I bike alone most of the time (when I can bike, that is), and I've had fleeting thoughts of "what if something went wrong?" but it doesn't stop me.

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DDOORN 5/13/2014 11:19AM

    Very cool stories...all of them and of course the thread of connection!

Such an adventurer! :-)

Song for you:

www.youtube.com/watch?v
=13l3w50a65o

Don

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KELLISOR 5/12/2014 1:30PM

    I love this story! Your adventures sound amazing.

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ALICIA363 5/12/2014 7:25AM

    Wonderful blog and story!
My DH and I have written proof that we worked on the same production in college. Neither of us remembers running into the other. A little over two years later, we finally met. But we are amused at the near miss!

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HILLSLUG98239 5/12/2014 1:28AM

    You get a prize for reading that ridiculously long blog! emoticon

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MAESTROSHASHA 5/12/2014 12:36AM

    That Barb seems to get everyone a thinking. Not to long ago I myself had to break off and convert my comment on one of her blogs to its own blog . Clearly she has a gift for sparking thoughts with her words.

And that's something how you met your husband before you met your husband! ;) Apparently I spoke to mine at a party a few years before we were actually introduced. A memory that is his alone. I talk to too many strangers to keep track. Odd behavior considering how generally paranoid I am. Suppose my extroversion beats out my scaredy cat more often than not.

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So many choices!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Sunday, I'm headed back to Spokane for a work-related conference. The hotel has a pool, and it's on one of the bike paths that joins the Centennial Trial.

Swim? Take the bike and ride? Run? So many choices!

Truth be told, my bike's front wheel needs trued. The Hubs & I are planning to ride tomorrow, and then we'll take our to-be-trued wheels to the LBS. I'm doung a duathlon on the 17th, so I'd really like to have my bike in good shape - at least in better shape than me! So the bike will likely stay home. (Poor bike!)

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSG180 5/10/2014 11:49AM

    But if you get it done while you're out of town, that will be better! Have fun!

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BILL60 5/10/2014 8:41AM

    At times, bike get no respect.

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DDOORN 5/9/2014 9:46PM

    Now THAT'S the sorta conundrum we ALL should routinely have...lol!

Don

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EBRAINK 5/9/2014 8:39PM

    Seems like a wise choice - you don't want that wheel to affect your performance on the duathlon. So, swim!

And, I'll note that the last time I stayed at a hotel on a bike trail, they had loaner bikes...so, maybe? (Sadly, Spokane doesn't have a bike share program...)

Have fun!

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ALICIA363 5/9/2014 7:23PM

    emoticon emoticon
I love having choices! Have a great weekend!

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Bloomsday

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Last Sunday was Bloomsday. We stayed at a hotel about .8 mile from our starting area. The Hubs was in the starting group behind mine. It's okay to move back, but not forward. If you start before your color group starts, you will not be timed. I'd been warned that the crowd is so thick I'd walk the first mile, so I figured I'd start with The Hubs.

I planned to walk to the start. The Hubs went back & forth about walking or taking the bus. Ultimately, he agree to walk. The bus would have required almost as much walking. With 45,000 people on the course and thousands of spectators, Spokane gets really crowded on Bloomsday.

We stood around in the staging area for nearly an hour, but our group got the "Go" sign pretty close to the targeted start time. Twenty minutes later, we were at the start line. About a half-mile later, I kissed The Hubs and we proceeded to run our own events.

I'd been warned that running Bloomsday - which is a 12K - means running at least 15 km because you're constantly running around people. I believe it! I gave up on any kind of "plan." Whether I ran or walked was dictated by the crowd and my heart rate. People were pretty polite though: Often, when I ran through a gap between two people and accidentally bumped one of them, the person I bumped would apologize. emoticon As if it was their fault I bumped them, even though they clearly have the right-of-way.

I ran up the first hill, which isn't much of a hill. But then came Doomsday Hill. I used to hate riding my bike up this hill. It's three-quarters of a mile, 6.5% grade. I only ran to get around people. There was a giant vulture decoration at the top of the hill and lots of "Congratulations!" banners. At the top of the hill, there's less than two miles to go, and no more hills. At this point, the course is through the West Central and Felony Flats neighborhoods. There's a real celebratory and party atmosphere along the course from this point on. (There were two dozen musical acts along the course, in addition to folks blaring stereos and providing other "entertainment.") I missed the folks handing out paper cups of beer in Felony Flats.

I was really feelin' it by this time. At the start, there was tightness in my upper outer quads. No idea why, other than the 19+ mile bike ride home several days before. There was no reason for my legs to be tired. Once I started running, that feeling dissipated. Unfortunately, I felt it every time I walked. It got to the point where I didn't want to walk because my legs hurt, but I didn't want to run because my legs hurt. emoticon Obviously, I pushed through it.

Past the courthouse, the course makes a final turn to the south, down the hill and to the finish line. I knew there would be photographers at the finish, so I did my damnedest to look happy. In fact, I was delighted to see that finish line! There's a video of me approaching the finish line, high-fiving everyone along the course. The joy on my face is genuine. I earned my finisher's t-shirt.

My final time was 1:43. I'd estimated I'd finish in 1:45, so I was glad I met that. (That's how the organizers sort the start groups.) The Hubs finished about forty minutes behind me. I stood near the finish line, doing dynamic stretches and moving constantly. I saw him approaching the finish line, prepped my cell phone to take a picture, and completely missed the opportunity to take a picture of him. Fortunately, the event photographers got a couple of good shots of him.

We headed back to the car. That may have been the longest mile I've ever walked. Both of us agreed we were really at our limit. We refueled at Dick's Hamburgers. (If you're from Seattle, Dick's is a treasured cultural icon. There's one Dick's in Spokane, and while it's been there forever, I never got the impression Spokies love Dick's the way Seattlites do.) I asked that we stop every hour or so on the way home so that I could walk around a little bit. The Hubs agreed. I put on compression socks, and put my feet up on the car's dashboard. I never do that, because it's incredibly dangerous. In this case, I decided the benefit of elevating my feet outweighed the infinitesimally small risk of catastrophic soft tissue damage if we were in an accident on the interstate. My legs are still a little stiff, especially if I sit for too long. I managed a pretty good time (14 mph) on my ride home last night, though.

My bib number is up on the wall in my office. We're planning to do this again next year, but we're going to splurge a bit and stay at the Davenport, which is right next to the course. My goal for next year is to be twenty pounds lighter and twenty minutes faster. But I'll still go to Dick's afterwards. emoticon www.ddir.com/

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPEEDYDOG 5/10/2014 5:54PM

    Thanks for such a nice race report. How many people were there? My, oh my, that is a gigantic field!

Running in events is always a good motivator for positive lifestyle changes. I like you big smile a wave in the photo!

Congratulation!
R>Bruce


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SEATTLESIMS 5/8/2014 4:26PM

    Way to go on your race! totally cool to meet your goal time especially with that crowd! Wowza! that is an event!
Here is to making next year's goals!


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DDOORN 5/8/2014 2:10PM

    What an AWESOME accomplishment! Is this your first time or have you done this distance before?

After doing my annual 5K for the past few years, although I still maintain I am NOT a runner, I have to confess with toying over doing longer distances, since in my prep I'd been doing 60 mins. of jogging or probably close to 10K.

Of course getting off the anti-coagulant and back to cycling will probably knock that notion right outta my head...lol!

Don

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HILLSLUG98239 5/8/2014 10:40AM

    I have since been corrected: Dick's in Spokane is not affiliated with Dick's Drive-In in Seattle. But the Dick's in Spokane has the better sign out front - a panda offering a hamburger to a chicken.

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KANOE10 5/8/2014 8:46AM

    Bloomsday is a great event. We have people from our town going up for it. I have not tried Dick's but have seen them. You did great finishing the race with all of those people.

You are in great shape!

emoticon

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CLEARNIGHTSKY 5/7/2014 9:50PM

    WOW!! What a great-sounding experience! Love the vulture at the top of the hill--that's funny stuff.

You are an ATHLETE who inspires me!!

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KELLISOR 5/7/2014 9:25PM

    This looks so fun! I was running the Tacoma City Marathon while this was going on, though, so I can stop kicking myself for missing it while I was in the area!

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ALICIA363 5/7/2014 6:46PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JEANINNEWCASTLE 5/7/2014 12:53PM

  Great job! And yes, I love Dick's Drive In!

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Success is not an accident

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Sunday, two women at church asked me if I'd lost weight. I have, but more importantly, I was wearing pants that didn't give me a muffin top. But what struck me was that one of them, a woman about my age and shape, said, "I'm jealous."

Jealous? It's not as if I've done something that she isn't capable of. She's on my FB friend feed, so I'm sure she's seen how many workout-related status updates I've posted. Kim is at Tri-City Court Club. Kim ran. Kim rode her bike. Kim hiked Badger. Kim swam laps.

I know a lot of us get this kind of feedback from people: we somehow have discovered some miraculous truth and accomplished something the uninitiated cannot. Hardly. Ask what I ate yesterday - I can tell you. Ask me how many times I've run, swam, ridden, hiked, stretched, or strength trained this month - I can tell you.

Success is not an accident. While my bout of gastroenteritis two months ago gets some credit, the reason I didn't immediately regain the weight is that I made reasonable, healthy food choices instead of saying "I lost five pounds! Bring on the pizza and ice cream!" I still eat too much, but for the most part, I make good choices and keep my calories within a reasonable range. Some nights, I watch an hour of two of television; occasionally I splurge and watch three or four. But those nights are rare because I chose to do something different.

I give myself permission to skip workouts, but I don't do that very often, and I have to have a well-described reason for doing so (such as, I desperately need that extra thirty minutes of sleep, and that sleep will benefit me more than the run will). I've pushed through workouts I did not enjoy. I've ridden in 35-mph cross winds more than I care to describe. I've stared at the pool and wanted to cry because it was beating me. But day after day, I push myself. I work a little harder. I sacrifice the temporary comfort for long-term benefits (and big-assed bragging rights).

But here's what gets me: this woman is educated. Clearly she doesn't think she got her professional certification because she was lucky. Surely she's aware that it took hard work to get where she is today.

I wouldn't say any of this her, because that would be mean. But it saddens me that so many people continue to think there's some magic pill, some quick-fix, that will make them fit and healthy. There isn't. We all deserve to be healthy and fit, regardless of our shape and size. And that "secret" is already in us.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 5/8/2014 12:15PM

    emoticon Great blog! Referral from Don thankfully! I have had nothing but compliments and encouragement and quite a few of how I did it, then comes the Spark plug :) But its true they think maybe there is a quick fix especially as they have seen me recovering from so many surgeries and health issues they think it can't be just eat right and exercise lol.
Keep on being awesomesauce!

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HILLSLUG98239 5/8/2014 11:13AM

    I absolutely recognize it was a compliment. And I wasn't being entirely fair to this person: she has faced some huge struggles over the past few years, and she doesn't have the kind of support I do. If I was going through what she's been through, it's unlikely I'd be getting more fit. In fact, given the way 2010 went - when I got up to 210 pounds - I'm certain of it!

I wasn't trying to be mean. It was just one of those comments that set me to thinking. I've allowed myself to engage in the same self-defeating thinking. I battle against it all the time.

Quite frankly, as she gets her life back on an even keel, I wouldn't be surprised to see her taking better care of herself.

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SPINNINGJW 5/8/2014 7:46AM

    I have worked in health care for over 10 years. I KNOW what I am supposed to do to be healthy. I KNOW how to lose weight. I am well educated on a variety of topics. That being said "Knowing and DOING are two different things." Jealousy on the part of your friend may be "I am jealous that you seem to have the drive and desire to get thin and healthy and I don't." This lifestyle takes WAY more than education, it takes a DESIRE to truly change your life and how you approach food and fitness.

As ONEKIDSMOM pointed out, the comment was likely intended as a compliment.

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123ELAINE456 5/7/2014 11:20PM

  Awesome Blog!!! Well Done. God Blessings Always. Take Care.

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/7/2014 8:22PM

    How did I miss this one earlier? Don sent me over with his riff today! Absolutely emoticon

On the other hand, she might have meant it as a compliment. Well done on your hard work and the success that come along with it

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WATERMELLEN 5/7/2014 6:33PM

    Super blog and super comments from DDOORN who directed me here! Success isn't an accident -- your are so right about that, and deserve your pride in your accomplishments absolutely. Every person's path is different and I'm betting your good example will have an impact on your friends and colleagues who see what you're doing . . . we just can never know what's going on in other people's lives.

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KANOE10 5/7/2014 6:18PM

    Well said. It is not an accident. It is work and determination.

Great job on being healthy.

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VALERIEMAHA 5/7/2014 11:52AM

    Thanks to my friend Don for directing me to your fabulous blog with the "secret" that is already in us! I like what he said too:

"You've worked hard to find your unique path. This other person will have to do the same. There's no magic to this, just a few basic guideposts and the rest is up to us to hammer out through her own trial and error."

Dang -- I hate it that it's up to me (lol)!!!???
emoticon
Maha

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HILLSLUG98239 5/7/2014 11:13AM

    Good points, Don. I've heard that ex-smokers are the ones most likely to be bothered by smoking. Maybe I'm one of those people who, having seen the light, cannot understand why people remain in darkness.

I don't think poor choices are the result of ignorance in all cases. I just expect intelligent people to have a better grasp of cause & effect. emoticon

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DDOORN 5/7/2014 8:48AM

    Very true words indeed! However, I will point out that education and intelligence isn't enough (re: you mention that this woman is "educated"). Food is steeped and wrapped into SO many layers of emotions and feelings that can skew our minds and thinking terribly!

Been there, done that for FAR too many years...and yes, I STILL struggle around those issues which continue to have the potential to knock me off the rails of my healthy and well lifestyle!

There is SO much more to making healthy lifestyle choices than intelligence. Which also speaks to the corollary erroneous belief that somehow people who make poor lifestyle choices, who are obese, are intellectually inferior to their peers.

You've worked hard to find your unique path. This other person will have to do the same. There's no magic to this, just a few basic guideposts and the rest is up to us to hammer out through her own trial and error.

Don

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ALICIA363 5/1/2014 7:23PM

    I got the "you'd better not lose any more weight" comment at work today. Thank goodness for spark people helping me to prepare for some of this!

Let's hear it for big-a$$ed bragging rights!

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CLEARNIGHTSKY 5/1/2014 4:02PM

    Hey, Kim--right on.

I TOTALLY agree.

Like one of the totally ripped guys at the gym says, "When people say they're jealous of me, I think, 'Don't be! Do what I do!'" I love that.

emoticon

Maggie



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APONI_KB 5/1/2014 1:58PM

    This reminds me of how my mom was once looking at some of my photographs and said something along the lines of how well that expensive camera of mine takes pictures.

Sure mom and it has nothing to do with my spending hours pouring over photography books and websites to learn how and when to use various shutter speeds, apertures, and composition.

just point at the thing and fire away the camera is doing all the work

I choose to take it as a compliment that I make it look easy.
nothing else to do really

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EBRAINK 5/1/2014 7:59AM

    Well said, Kim. If it were easy to do what you've done, everyone would do it.

I never know quite what to do with comments like that - I think they're meant to be complimentary, since we all want to inspire envy in others, right? I sometimes hear a little bit of "mean girl" in them, too, since we're not supposed to make others feel bad (a co-worker once told me she thinks I'm losing weight because she has a weight problem - wha????)

I think the best response is yours. You're doing this for you, and you know how hard it is. Others could do it, too, but that's on them.

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Looking forward to the Brick

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm riding home tonight. I had a meeting last night, so I didn't ride home. And because of the meeting, I didn't get quite enough sleep last night. I've been a little draggy all day, but I took myself to the gym at lunch for a quick swim.

This morning, I decided I would do a brick workout tonight instead of going to the gym for strength training. I've been slacking on the strength training, but at this point I think I need to spend more time on the activities. The ride will be easy. The swim and the run will not.

Next Sunday is Bloomsday, a 12K. Two weeks after that I'm doing a duathlon 5K/30K/5K. Between these two events, I'll know how ready my legs are for the triathon the first weekend in June. But I think I've only done one brick this year, so it's time to shock my legs back to reality.

But I'm really looking forward to this. It's 72°F outside with a barely-perceptible wind from the ENE. The ride home should be amazing. I'll run into the house, switch shoes, and then take off running. I'll be miserable at first, but after about a half-mile, I'll be glad I'm out there, running.

Oh, and that banana cream pie in the refrigerator? Yup, it's dinner.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HILLSLUG98239 4/30/2014 11:37AM

    The brick wasn't terrible. But there also wasn't a corresponding moment when I thought, "ahhhh ... the lead is gone from my legs." I ran a little more than two miles - not much, but enough to call it a workout.

I skipped the pie. Had a chicken jalapeņo-cheddar brat with homemade bread & butter pickles. nom nom nom

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MISSG180 4/30/2014 11:00AM

    I'm happy for you but SO JEALOUS!!!!

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ALICIA363 4/30/2014 7:22AM

    Looking forward to the brick report!
emoticon

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