Sunday, September 20, 2009

What it looks like to get dropped by...

I'm considering temporarily changing the name of this blog to "What it looks like to get dropped by _____".  Here's what it looks like to get dropped by Sam:

But let's start from the beginning.  Sam told me he had an easy 2 hour ride to do in Coeur D'Alene.  When my friends who are in stellar shape tell me they have an "easy day", what that translates to for me is "maybe I can hang on for dear life to keep up".  And I'm always game for that.

I awoke Thursday morning to rain pouring outside.  It was such a cozy feeling to be in my big, warm bed while hearing the rain falling outside.  Then it occurred to me that I was meeting Sam in Coeur D'Alene to ride.  Crap.  I texted Sam and said "it's raining".  His response included calling me a pussy and that I should "nut up".  Being so confused by the references to body parts, some of which I don't actually possess, I figured I'd better just "nut up".  When I arrived in Coeur D'Alene, this is what it looked like:

Then I really started to feel like a wimp or the small feline he referenced when I saw Sam was out there in the lake swimming.  I took a picture but it's hard to see him.  He's the small spec off-center in the picture below.

He got ready and as we were heading out on our ride, he said "I have some intervals to do".  Oh great.  So much for hanging on for dear life.  He dropped me at the first hill we hit and that was during the warm up. Here he is, waiting for me again.

I had some nice quality time with myself as Sam shot off like a rocket for his intervals.  I actually laughed out loud at how quickly he was out of sight.  But Turbo always came back around to get me and it actually ended up being a beautiful day and a really fun ride.  After his intervals, Sam slowed the pace so I could hop on his wheel and I did hang on for dear life!  I got that giddy feeling in my stomach, a reminder of one of the many reasons I love to ride.  I've still got a long way to go, but I feel like I am slowly but surely pulling away from that cloud hanging over my head and coming into the warm sunshine, promising me more warmth if I just keep on going.

I am grateful for the journey, the reminder that health and fitness are gifts to be coddled and savored.  And I'm grateful for what lay ahead.  I've had a small taste of what lies on the other side of commitment, hard work, early mornings and humiliating, vomit inducing training sessions...and that is what drives me, keeps me focused even when it seems like I'll never get there.  A friend shared a quote with me today by Tim Timmons, "celebration is empty without desperation".  I like it and I believe it to be true.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Big Weekend of Summer

I started out this post writing down all kinds of details about the weekend.  There was a visit from Shelby, lots of riding, a wedding and a race.  I realized, sometimes pictures just speak for themselves...
Shelby would not stop talking during the above photo session. 
 Shelby just climbed a huge hill but she's always ready for a photo op!
 She just licked me!
Amazing feats of strength and balance....not achieved.
 Our last minute team.  "Gulliver's girls of Lilliput". Alternate name was "All downhill from Rick" I thought that was more fitting.  No one is standing in a ditch or on a crate. Rick swam, Shelby biked and I actually "ran".  Highlight of the weekend was getting to be on a team with Shelby for the first time.  Gotta do that again.

Shelby's shoes with Ricks, they could have fit right inside.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keep on movin'

It's been a busy week of training and playing. Last Monday, Laura and I reunited on the trail for our first run together in quite some time. I've resumed using a hydration belt while running. I gave those up for a while, trying to adjust to running with little or no water like the young pups I run with. Not a good idea. I'm old and I require constant hydration. Nathan makes the one I'm wearing in the below photo. It's called 'Speed 2' and I will not run without it now. Even on a 30 minute run, I take it. It carries my Blackberry in the front pouch with room for an ipod and even a few gels. It doesn't slip around or ride up on me, it doesn't get hot on my back and I can get the bottles in and out with one hand. Nothing compares. Check em out. Now, back to my story...

I told Laura she didn't look like she was running in this picture but she does look hot. I love running with Laura. I can honestly say, some of my most memorable training runs have been done with her by my side.

It was a chilly yet beautiful morning. Not to mention, Laura had chocolate milk to share when we were done, a to-go bag of home grown tomatoes, plus some honey just for me. Score!

The next day, I went for a bike ride with Annie. Annie always seems to have these crazy interval rides. Maybe that's why she's so fast. I figured in my current state of fitness, I'd just hang on to her wheel for dear life during these efforts and hope for the best. The first 10 minute interval, I hung on and didn't die! YA BABY! 5 more to go, this is fun. Um, so the second one didn't go as well. As we came around a bend, a head wind hit me and girth-challenged-Annie didn't do her job of blocking the wind. As she pulled away, I quickly realized there was no chance of catching back up. As the all-too-familiar feeling of dropping a lung overcame me, I looked up and noticed what a beautiful sight lay ahead. So I got real, slowed down, and pulled my phone out to snap a couple of shots. Might as well get a good picture in the midst of my humiliation to share the beautiful sight of just what it looks like to get dropped by Annie.

I made it through the rest of the ride, watching Annie out in the distance and checking in between intervals. But once again, it was a beautiful day with great company. I am grateful for my friends who have been generous with their training time to pull me along when it'd be easier to leave me at home. I'll get it back, I know I will. In the meantime, it's nice to play with my friends, who I miss, on the big-kids' playground. Even if I can't reach the monkey bars, catch a ball to save my life or dodge even the smallest, slowest ball, I'm out there! And this is only temporary. Patience. Patience. Patience.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Just Going for a Ride

Haley and I went for a little bike ride today. We hit the western plains and headed towards Cheney. This was her first ride since Ironman Canada. It was pretty windy out so I decided to allow her to be out in front for some Kona practice. I mean, I wouldn't be doing her any favors by letting her suck on my wheel ya know. So, this was my view a lot of the time on the way out. Sister has got some calves, she might as well put them to use. Just sayin'.

Once we made it through the wind, we pretty much screwed around and acted like complete dorks for the rest of the time. Not much different than when we're not riding. Case in point, below photos:

And my personal favorite:
I can't stand this photo of me but it's the only one I have of both of us today. The depressing part is, we took two other photos that were worse. Probably had to do with the fact that I was eating during our photo session. Shocker.

I snapped this while riding. It doesn't even capture how beautiful the sky was. I don't think it ever even hit 70 degrees. I feel so lucky to train in such a beautiful place.

There was a moment today when we were on our way back, that I got just a small glimpse of how it feels to be "back". Granted, I was riding on a slight decent with a wicked tailwind. Ha! But, it was still a gift, a familiar taste of something I've had before that I really liked. Not to mention, it was great to get out there with my friend. No pressure, no pace to keep, no getting dropped, just going for a ride.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back in the Saddle with Eve

Eve and I headed out at 9am last week for a ride. She's training for Kona and I'm training my ass to shrink. Not to mention, I used to do this thing called triathlon and I'd like to get back to it. In addition to that, my cross country season has officially begun and I just recently started training again after a longer than expected, post-surgery hiatus. No time like the present! Eve had a 6 hour ride and talked me into riding 3 with her although it had been almost a year since I'd ridden that long. But I figured if I can't keep pace for 3 hours with Eve when she has to ride 6, it's my problem. er, it became her problem pretty early on.

We headed out the side streets of the South Hill and ran into Haley coming back in from sending Katya out on a "pre-Canada spin". Haley seemed to think Eve and I could catch up with her. We could see her disk out in the distance. I told Eve we should catch her! Um, ya. Eve could have, she galloped with every push of her pedal while I felt like I was riding a big wheel with warn out plastic wheels. I was seeing stars two minutes into putting the "hammer down". Eve looked back at me at some point (probably wondering what that loud wheezing sound was) and had mercy on me. We didn't want to catch her anyway, duh. Stupid, really dumb idea.

Twenty minutes after the Katya chase, Eve dropped her chain which turned into a major mechanical and the two of us proceeded to take apart Eve's bike in the middle of a country road.

My trusty El Torito kept Eve company while I tamed the hunger beast and spat out suggestions on what she should try next.

Eve decided it was time to call "the man". After getting some technical assistance over the phone, Troy was on his way. Yes folks, the one and only Troy Nelson.

By the time he arrived with another bike, we were already riding again but Troy showed up with a back up bike and took the ailing machine to the bike doctor.

Eve tuned in to the fact that her riding partner not only was a little plumper since the last time we road together but quite a bit slower. We stopped at the chapel to pee and fill up our water bottles with the hose. As Eve was pulling a swift mount on the very steady pavement after riding her road bike through grass and gravel, she went down. As in, she was completely upright and just tipped over and hit the pavement. Now, THAT was the coolest thing I'd seen all day! She cut her elbow and sliced her leg, all with no forward speed. Eve, you are such a badass.

We made it to the next stop for cold water and a real bathroom so we could finally wash our faces and hands. We split off and Eve went on to ride a few more hours as I slowly pushed my wounded self home. Funny, considering Eve was the one who fell.

Since then, I have a ridden a few more times by myself. While riding with others in my state of fitness is humiliating and discouraging, it is WAY more entertaining and fun.

Anyone want to go for a ride?