Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I said I was taking a month off running. I made it 22 days.
When I woke up this morning, I never would have thought in a million years that tonight would end off as it has. Over the weekend, I did something to my back and had to bump up my regular chiropractor appointment which wasn't supposed to be until Friday of this week to Wednesday morning (the earliest I could get). Because I'm sore, I opted to take a rest day today from Boot Camp cardio. I did just the video, and rather than bike to work as I have every other Monday this month, I plodded to the bus. Sitting is what kills me when my back is out, so work today was filled with lots of ups and downs to the water cooler and the bathroom to stretch things out. By the end of the day I was feeling better and decided to use up a Groupon deal that I had for the movies and bought a 6:45pm ticket to 'Water for Elephants'. I also had a deal for Running Away Multisport that expired today, so after work I headed over to the store to pick out something nice. I walked around the bikes and shoes and sifted my fingers through the tech gear, salivating over all the expensive equipment. I ended up choosing a pair of rechargeable LED night lights for my bike (an investment that would have set me back a pretty penny without the deal) and made my way over to the movie theater. Since I hadn't planned on seeing a movie and it was definitely dinner time, I decided to hit up the snack bar. I ordered a dry popcorn and diet coke (a BIG treat for me - not exactly "dinner" but oh well!) and found a seat in the dark theater.
The movie was great, the popcorn was salty, and the diet coke hit the spot. I thoroughly enjoyed my evening. As I left the theater and walked out into the dark, humid night, something hit me. I didn't want it to end yet. It was still relatively early, and as I waited for the bus to take me home, it dawned on me. I wanted to run. Like, right now. At 9:30pm.
Deciding not to let the feeling get away from me, I raced home and jumped into my running gear as fast as I could. I laced up my shoes and started my Garmin and practically flew out the door. It was 9:42pm. I shortened my regular 5 minute warm-up walk to 3 minutes and took off on my regular route, by feet pounding the pavement. Yes! It felt SO good.
Now, I NEVER run at night, let alone LATE at night. Usually after work I am so beat, my energy is in the stinker. Getting through a night run can be like pulling teeth for me, so whatever stars aligned tonight I will never know, but I am so grateful for them (although I'm assuming the stars names are "salty carbs" and "caffeine").
The smells are different on a night run - I ran through late night dinners, meat on the BBQ and open restaurant patios. Through stale beer from bars and lingering cigarette smoke from a few lonely souls on the street. I ran past lilac blossoms and the smell of mud. Of garbage that has been sitting all day in the Chicago heat and the moist smell of grass being watered by a leaking hose. Good smells and bad smells - I took it all in, the humid, night air against my face with just the slightest cool breeze.
Tonight I ran with the rabbits. I saw three different bunnies darting in and out of the bushes as I passed, running along-side me in the grass. I smiled and laughed at each one - reminding me that it's ok to be a turtle sometimes too - as long as you keep on going.
The dogs are different at night - as are their owners. And unlike in the morning, where I share the streets with cars and drivers on their way to work - tonight I shared the sidewalks with couples and people sitting out on front stoops enjoying the beautiful weather.
With every corner I turned, my body glistening with sweat, I felt stronger and more alive. I set out to run 3 miles - I ran 3.5 because I could. Tonight I ran after 22 days of not running because I missed it. And I knew that once I missed it badly enough, I would come back to it with a vengeance. But quite honestly, I was scared. I was scared that I WOULDN'T miss it. I had a bad race on May 1st - and honestly, it wasn't that bad - it was just..."hard" - I still set a personal best, but I was disappointed in myself that 3.1 miles felt so darn difficult after having run such a great 8K only a couple weeks earlier. So in a fit of "I don't wanna" I quit. I stopped running and poured my energy into other things, saying I would come back to it when I missed it. Not knowing if the "missing it" would ever happen or not.
I don't know when I will run again, but I do know that it won't be that long until I do. After 22 days away - I can honestly say that running is a part of me because I missed it. I actually missed it. I know now (like, really know, in my soul) that there will be good runs and bad runs. Tonight was a GREAT run. And I can't let the outcome of one race ruin my joy for the sport. Maybe I just don't like racing all that much. And that's ok too.
The bottom line is this (and I am so thrilled I can now say this and truly feel that it is true): My body LOVES to run. And so I will.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I stole my blog title from today's guest dailySpark blog by Samuel C Klontz: www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=bik
The blog is about bike commuting to work - the benefits and the hassles. But ultimately it IS about burning calories over gas and for the most part, really enjoying the daily trek to and from the office.
I wasn't aware that May was National Bike Month, nor was I aware that this week is National "Bike To Work" Week, but I'm thrilled that I'm participating in such a great thing anyway having already made the decision on my own in April to become more intimate with my pink lady bike, "Roxie" for the month of May. She's so pretty :)
As part of the Spring into Shape Bootcamp that I'm doing this month, I decided one of the easiest ways to kill two birds with one stone (getting to work and getting in my 5 days of cardio per week) was to dust off the bike, pump up the tires and darn well use it! The night before I started to ride I spent about 2 hours in the basement getting to know Roxie and all her parts. I adjusted the gear shift and the handle bars - figured out that the breaks were rubbing badly on the back wheel causing unnecessary friction and taught myself how to adjust those too. I greased the chain and oiled all the squeaky connections. I was feeling quite the handywoman by the end of it all!
It's honestly not as hard as it seems. Bikes are, by nature, simple pieces of equipment that actually have very few moving parts to figure out. And before you ride, you SHOULD be familiar with the ways in which your bike can (and inevitably will) work for you and against you. And always have a back-up plan! (Mine's loading Roxie on the nearest bus).
So far things have worked out great. After that first scary ride to and from the office, I'm now biking to work 3-4 days a week, swimming and doing Zumba for my other couple of cardio days. The first step was getting over the fear I had of sharing the road with cars and getting more confident with how Roxie maneuvers and feels to ride, switching gears and understanding what the gear shift is there for, choosing the route of least resistance with the lightest traffic and deciding whether or not I was going to ride at night. The next step was getting over the DOMS and the initial butt soreness of the first few days of riding - which is no pleasant feat, but you just gotta get back in that saddle and ride again! It DOES go away eventually.
I have now graduated from just riding to and from work, to riding to work, then rehearsal or show, then home, sometimes making a trip back to my theatre in between all of that. I can't tell you the amount of time I've saved waiting for and taking crowded rush hour buses! In fact, I have gone ahead and switched out my bus pass from a monthly rate to a pay-per-use for the rest of the summer. How's that for motivation to keep riding?! The money I'm saving will either go towards my trip to Africa in August, or to something else nice for myself.
It's not all sunshine and roses out there though. This morning a car turning left to catch a yellow light almost hit me. I've experienced riding in VERY heavy winds and fluctuating temperatures for the past week that have made the ride, at times, very unpleasant. Biking activates MAJOR muscle groups in the body including the core and the quads, glutes and calves, which I have now found makes me into a ravenous beast the majority of the time. If I'm not careful, I can easily eat back all the calories that I have burned (which surprisingly aren't as many as I wanted them to be) and so far, biking has not done me any favours on the scale. I'm attributing it to the fact that my quads are packing on major muscle, and since they're the largest group in the body, that must mean that they weigh quite a bit more than the fat that I'm losing off of them. I'll know more about my measurements in another couple of weeks when bootcamp wraps up, but for the time being, I seem to be losing more off my waist and hips, but not my legs. Whatever - I'll take it!
Biking all month has also put running on the back burner for a while. After a not-so-great 5K race a couple of weeks ago, I've decided to take the month off running. I'm giving myself a chance to miss it, because if I miss it, I'll want to do it again - and right now I don't miss it enough.
While training for races gives me a purpose for pushing myself harder and further on two feet, biking serves its own purpose on two wheels. It's providing me a daily function of getting to and from places in my work clothes (something I can't do if I'm running). I feel healthier, more confident, and I'll admit it - kinda cool out there - with the breeze in my face and the wind (hopefully) at my back!
And finally, it's putting me back in touch with my inner child. The child who won a brand new pink bike in a raffle at my local bike rodeo when I was 10, but who at that point in life was already too overweight to ride and really enjoy it. Sure I got some use out of that bike, but all too soon it was collecting dust in the garage rafters with the rest of my recreational equipment. I remember feeling a little heartbroken when my dad finally dragged it out of storage to sell at a family garage sale. Part of me wanted to protest, but a bigger part of me knew that if I wasn't going to use it, then I didn't deserve to have it. And when the little girl and her father who bought it for her walked away with their new treasure, I knew that bike belonged more to her than it ever had to me anyway.
It took me 20 years to invest in another bike. But this time I'll be darned if my pink lady is going to hang in the rafters collecting cobwebs. She was made to ride and I owe both her and myself another lap around the block.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Get thee to a grocery store and find these immediately! Oh man - they are SO good! 120 calories for 5 "turtle-like" mounds of chocolate yumminess.
My officemate is the bestest sometimes. She brought these in this morning along with a couple other Skinny Cow chocolate wafer bars and let me choose which one I wanted.
I totally went for the turtles.
Chocolate craving fixed! Now I just have to work on the chicken wing one. Blargh.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The pavement stretched out before me this morning, sun beating down, warm spring breeze in my face and through my flowing skirt, as I peddled my bike to work. I breathed in the smell of fresh cut grass and thought - this is the first scent of summer. And how beautiful it is!
I've been daydreaming all day about getting home tonight and sitting out in my yard with a magazine and an iced Berry LaCroix water, taking in the remains of one of the most beautiful days I have ever experienced.
It's making me emotional, these winds of change. Not just in the change of seasons, finally to something warm and sunny, but because I can see and feel and taste the change in me. The things that I have denied and shied away from for so many years. The thought that maybe, this year, I can begin to embrace all of those wonderful things that I have been loathe to experience because...I couldn't.
My dear Sparkfriend LOTUSFLOWER wrote the most beautiful blog today about everything she's looking forward to doing this summer. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
It brought tears to my eyes knowing that someone else has felt the same things that I have - the gorgeous summer days spent on the couch avoiding shorts, and bathing suits, and activity.
I AM a creature of nature. I love sunshine and lake breezes and the feeling of my skin turning brown from spending time outside in the warmth. And for far too long I have ignored this part of myself. I have literally kept her sheltered inside a dark hole and have not let her breathe the air she so longs for. But not this summer! I haven't sat on my couch in over 3 weeks now. And I like it that way!
Despite the scale's need to disappoint for the past few weeks, today I broke out my first sundress of the season - an item I bought to celebrate my 100 pound weight loss in April. When I bought it, it was still a little tight, but today I put it on and it is loose, and flowy - it fits perfectly. It has confirmed that regardless of what the scale says or does not say, my body is still in this fight. I am enjoying my day of spaghetti straps and bare legs - sunglasses still firmly on my head in anticipation of my trip home.
Here's to the beginning of the season! One of bikes and barbeques, running and reading outside in the sun, pools and ponds, hikes and lighter hair. I embrace my love for the great outdoors. The smells and sounds of summer. A smile on my face the first time I heard the familiar bells of the ice cream truck on my street this week. Gulls circling a picnic lunch. The roar of engines of cars that are just as happy to be out from under the dustcover as I am to be freed from my plastic covered winter windows.
I am anticipating my most active summer yet. Already I have cancelled my bus pass in lieu of riding my bike to work as much as possible. With the extra money I save, I can hopefully buy myself something fun! There will be swimming and training for a 10K in August. And I am just so happy that I am ENJOYING being outside, opting to walk 4 miles home last week on a simply beautiful spring day. It's refreshing for the soul, taking a moment to smell the blossoms and feel the breeze. I feel awake and am excited for all of the new opportunities that the season has to offer.
Wishing you all the best summer yet! Look for me on the patio!
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
My bike's been on the street for 2 days and already she has a boyfriend...
I found her canoodling last night with this fine young Blue Boy.
I guess Spring Fever is really rampant this year. How about a little love for her owner???
At least he's a Schwinn!
Get An Email Alert Each Time KITHKINCAID Posts