Sunday, December 18, 2011
Well, the end of the year approaches, and I continue on my Spark holiday.
As for 2011, it was a decent year. Event-wise, I competed in 17 of 18 events that I entered (three 5K races, two triathlons, two duathlons, and eleven bike rides -- didn't finish one duathlon and skipped the last bike ride because of illness). Spark-wise it was approximately three-quarters of a year of maintaining the loss I had achieved to that point.
It seems that, for me, a healthy life style is built on a three-legged stool. One leg consists of healthy eating. Another leg consists of good exercise habits. And for me, the third leg appears to be about work-life balance. (As everyone has a different path, the legs of your stool might be different than mine.) I had the first two legs pretty well established, or so I thought until the third leg collapsed, throwing me on my bum. LOL!
Since the start of summer it has been increasingly busy at work, to the point that it interfered with the training I wanted to do for my events this year, and in turn started messing with my eating habits. Yes, I got through most of them, but not as well as I could have. For instance, I had to do more walking on the bike rides (the big hills) because I wasn't able to train as much as I wanted to. Why? Because of work...having to be there early, stay late, last minute things, etc. My current program is more busy and dynamic than most programs I've been on. They've all had big pushes before major deadlines, and this one seems more "energetic" than previous ones. By August, most of my training was the actual events themselves, which doesn't lend itself to overall fitness. By the end of September, we were so busy at work that everything else pretty much flew out the window. My stool collapsed and I began my break from Spark (in part because I had other things that needed catching up as well).
And so it goes. I'm pondering that third leg, trying to figure out what "work/life" balance means for me and what I can change to get back on track. In the meantime, instead of dropping off Spark altogether I am popping in daily to at least spin the wheel, check the friend feed, and comment on a few blogs here and there. I will get it figured out...in my own time, and in my own way. If, as they say, "third time's the charm," then next time I should have it nailed. We'll see!
As the end of the year approaches, I want to send my Christmas greetings now. May all of you have a blessed holiday season, and may be coming year be filled with prosperity and growth and goodness for all.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
I'm still here -- still taking a break, still busy at work and trying to get caught up on other things. While checking in this morning a blog title on the friend feed caught my eye. I do not know this person (she's a Spark friend of a Spark friend), but what she posted was powerful. I'm stealing it (copy/paste) to share because I think what she said speaks to all of us at some point on our journeys (credit to WhirledTraveler):
"I had an 'Oh-my-God' moment when I was commenting on a team member's blog. I am posting my comment here because I said to her what I have needed to say to myself, and I want to remember it. Her blog was about how she feels she fails by not tracking or by not doing the things she knows she needs to do to fix her health. Paula's blog really hit home with me because I beat myself up over the same things, but why? Here is the revelation I had:
"It's called learning, babe. We try. We fall. We pick ourselves up. We try again. We fall again. The more we try, fall, and pick ourselves up again, the longer the times between our falls. The longer we stay on our feet. The stronger our legs get. You don't remember when you first learned to walk, but that's exactly how you did it -- trying and falling and trying again. The only difference between then and now is that somewhere along the way, we developed this crazy belief that we should just do something -- even something we are not good at or have never learned to do successfully -- without any sort of set-back or failure. It's not realistic. If we had had that attitude as babies, we would still be sitting around on our bottoms, waiting for someone to take us where we want to go. But we didn't know any better as babies. We just had this urge inside to get up and try those shaky legs. And we learned to walk.
"So you have shaky legs. So do I. BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP -- NO MATTER HOW BAD WE ARE AT THIS. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WE FALL OR DON'T LIVE UP TO OUR PERFECTIONISTIC EXPECTATIONS. We are going to keep standing and falling and standing and falling until one day, we not only stand and stay standing, but we RUN!"
Very wise words, indeed!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend...
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Haven't been blogging much because there hasn't been much to share. At the moment I'm taking a short break...things are busy at work and my hands/wrists are needing a computer break in the evenings. To give them a keyboard break I'm working on my knitting and doing other tasks around the house that have been neglected over the busy summer.
I'll be poking around on Spark pages, keeping up with everyone, and will be back to posting regularly once things quiet down at work. In the meantime, I'm not gone...so let's keep Sparking!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Yep, I did my version (13 miles instead of 29).
The morning started early enough with the usual ride to some venue a ways from home. This drive took me south instead of north, for a change, and I had a beautiful view of Pikes Peak. It probably doesn't show up so well in the morning light in this picture, but here 'tiz anyway:
Our venue for this ride was Columbine High School and Clements Park in Littleton, CO. We parked in the high school parking lot, the start/finish line was at the border of the parking lot and the path into the park, and the start/finish of the ride went through the HS parking lot. Here are shots of the high school sign (not readable here, unfortunately) and the start/finish banner.
Before the ride started, my bike Frieda enjoyed a cup of coffee. Okay, I drank the coffee but Frieda likely enjoyed it anyway.
This ride benefits 3 organizations: Craig Hospital (specializes in treating people with brain and spinal cord injuries), a group that helps with adaptive technologies (the name escapes me at the moment), and the U.S. Handcycling group. Here's a shot of some of the handcyclists waiting for the ride to start:
I had not ridden in this part of town before, other than in side the Chatfield State Park which we passed but did not enter, so I was unfamiliar with the bike trails here. While the trails are nice (no cars), they are still kind of narrow (bad when there's a lot of bike traffic), and the hills...the hills were killers. We were at the same level as the adjacent interstate and streets, except when the path went under them. Then we had big hills down and back up the other side, and they were killers. I have not done well on the hills this year so this was a hard ride for me. Plus there was a tunnel somewhere that was long and dark -- I wasn't able to get my sunshades off so I rode that distance totally blind, seriously. It was perhaps the scariest stretch I've ever done. Another issue I had was riding with the handcyclists. It was hard for them to peddle up the hills so they tended to be slower than the regular bicycles (slower than me, even, and I'm pretty darned slow). On the first hill we hit (still in town) we were still bunched together and the pack same to almost a halt. I ended up having to make a fast stop halfway up the first big hill (couldn't get around two handcyclists and someone else nearly fell into me when she slowed for them; it's a wonder I didn't fall over), and then I wasn't able to get back on the bike since the hill was steep, so I ended up having to walk to the top. I worked on pacing myself after that, to either get ahead of the handcyclists or leave enough room between us. It wasn't a bad thing, just different for me.
We had gorgeous views from the bike path:
Okay, so where does "my version" of the ride some in? Well, the hills were killers, like I said, and I'm not doing so well on them this year. This ride was an "out and back" which means we ride to some point and then turn around and head back the same way. And this means the nice downhills we did have were going to be freaking ugly uphills on the way back. I wasn't feeling my best on this ride for a couple of reasons: first, my sinuses have been bugging me a little (some bug going around) and I'm starting to feel like I have a cold coming on (I'm fighting it and don't know if I'm winning or not, but I was coughing more on this ride so I think I'm catching something). And second, my joints haven't been too happy lately, especially my left foot and my right knee. Dolt that I am, I ran out of glucosamine/chondroitin last week and keep forgetting to get more when I'm at the store. One doesn't realize how much that stuff helps until one stops taking it (I'm getting more today!). This wouldn't have solved all the issues with the foot/knee but definitely didn't help any.
After riding/walking/huffing/puffing up yet another big hill, something in me snapped -- I was done with the hills that day. In addition, I kept hearing noises from my bike, occasional snaps or pops after shifting, and occasional pops from the back wheel (sometimes indicates a spoke has broken). Since we were on bike trails instead of roads it's harder to get SAG support for problems. At any rate, I decided I wasn't going to finish this ride -- at the next major intersection I was going to see if I could get a ride back to the start. I was done.
A few miles and another hill later brought me to an intersection where we had to cross a major street instead of going under it, and there was a ride volunteer there pushing the walk signal for us. I asked her if they had SAG support and if she could call for a ride, which she did. Unfortunately they didn't have much for SAG support, so it was going to be a long time before someone could come get me. At that point I decided to go to the shopping center at that corner (out of the traffic noise) and call my brother. This meant that, officially, I was dropping out of the event. It didn't feel good emotionally but I really was done with the hills.
Well, my brother and family weren't home apparently -- they didn't answer text messages, so I assume my niece had a lacrosse game and they were there. This meant I had to find my own way back to the venue, so this became the "my version" of the ride. After resting a bit and checking the back of the bike (found a couple of loose spokes but nothing broken yet), I decided to work my way back on my own. I wasn't that familiar with this part of town but had a general idea which way I had to go, so I started riding on the sidewalk and heading north on the street we were on (very busy one). Then the sidewalk ended, which forced me to ride on a very skinny shoulder with heavy traffic. At the next major intersection I turned right (to head east), getting back on the sidewalk. That was fine for a mile or so, and then I hit a long stretch that was being repaved. All of the signs about the construction were on and blocking the sidewalks, so I had to ride on the street. And holy crap -- that "grooved pavement" that has been stripped in prep for resurfacing? MAJOR bumpy. I thought my hands were going to vibrate off my arms. There was one stretch with several signs on the sidewalk and riding on the grooved pavement was so uncomfortable that I gave up and walked the bike on the sidewalk (there was no way to ride around the signs). Finally I got past the construction and was able to resume riding on the sidewalk.
Eventually I reached the street where the school/park were located, and made a left turn to head south. There were a couple of hills but it wasn't bad, and at the top of the last hill there was the high school. It was a true relief to have made it back. And because I had to get myself back via walking/riding, I see it as completing my version of the ride, even though I bailed on the official one. It took me almost an hour to get there from my turnoff point, plus an hour 20 minutes for the official part of the ride that I completed (don't know the exact mileage because my GPS thing died again).
Once back at the school, I changed shoes, got a cookie, and then went looking for the Columbine Memorial. Most people probably know this: Columbine High School was the site of one of the deadliest school massacres in our country (at that point in time anyway); 12 students and one teacher were shot and killed and 23-24 other people wounded by 2 students-turned-monsters. A memorial was built in the park to honor the innocent victims of this massacre. I'd never been here and wanted to see it. And because I didn't know the way to the memorial, I ended up walking a mile...not a good thing on aching joints. Plus I had to climb a hill to get there. What's with the freaking hills anyway?!?!?! LOL!
This sign points the way:
At the entrance is a dedication sign that describes the memorial; probably can't read it here but I'll share it anyway:
Here's the text: "On April 20, 1999, in a senseless act of violence, twelve students and one teacher were killed, and many others injured at Columbine High School. It was a tragic event that shook the Columbine and metro Denver communities, horrified and saddened the nation, and changed forever our perceptions of the safety and security within a school typical of so many across America. Over time, Columbine parents, students, faculty, and community leaders designed and constructed this Columbine Memorial to remember those killed and injured that day and honor their lives. This Memorial is dedicated to those innocent victims, so that they are 'never forgotten.'" (the "never forgotten" is apparently in quotes because there is a ribbon on the floor or the memorial with the same words."
I didn't get many pictures here because my camera battery died, however here are a couple to sort of show what the memorial is like (research online and you might find better pictures):
The inner circle has memorial stones for each of the 13 victims; here's a shot of one of them:
It was a very humbling and touching end to a tough ride. I need to come visit this memorial again.
And there it is...the good, the bad, the ugly. I have one more ride after this and my official season will be done. That's 18 events for this year, pretty amazing to me.
Now it's time to get some household chores done. Cheers!
Get An Email Alert Each Time SOCKITTOME Posts