Winter Weight, Treadmills & Trainers Oh My!

It’s been a brutal winter for outside bike riding. Between back-to-back snow, ice storms, power outages, and a vicious melt-freeze cycle there just hasn’t been an opportunity to safely ride outside. Many of the cyclists I know hang up the bike in late fall and don’t start again until spring is fully underway. Some cyclists I know suck it up and put their bikes on a trainer or pull out the rollers and spend their time pedaling quickly to nowhere to retain some semblance of fitness. I’ve avoided the trainer as long as possible, finally breaking down only last week.

After a spotty record of physical activity in January, I decided to start training for my 5-mile run coming up in April. Get some base miles at my work’s gym on the treadmill until it’s light enough after work to be outside. If there’s anything more boring than being on a trainer, it’s a treadmill. The first run was brutal. It hurt. I was lethargic and I went too fast too soon and while I don’t do “serious” distance I stay focused on just being active. Sure enough the next few runs felt better. I’ve been able to stick to running about 6-7 miles per week this month.

Certainly I am eager to get back into regular riding to shed a few winter pounds that somehow magically find their way to my pear-shaped body when the riding decreases and the eating stays the same. I’d like to tell you, friends, that cycling has given me perspective. That I have found the holy grail of self-acceptance and am completely comfortable in my skin every single day. The truth is I have and I haven’t.

When I bought the Beast and was first beginning to ride, I wore a skort and famously told my more serious cycling friends that I didn’t need anyone looking at my ass-ets. That I wasn’t going to be a “serious” rider anyway. Ten mile rides with stops to drink became fifteen mile rides and being able to reach for my water bottle and drink comfortably. Thirty-five milers became my long rides and with it a new pair or shorts (still rockin’ the unders though). First event, a 50-miler with my best friend – rockin’ the shorts. Somewhere around this time I stopped caring what my hips looked like in Spandex. I bought new jerseys that looked awesome. I started to love riding and took any excuse to hop on my bike and pedal off for a few hours. It took much longer to lose the unders and I’m so thankful I did.

The best thing about riding is definitely the company kept but also often times the food. Fuel the ride well – no need to go crazy overboard. I’ve learned how to use real food (trail mix, dried fruit and nuts) in addition to my favorite energy bars, beans, and goos. But come the end of the season or a long drought of good weather and one can find themselves staring down a few pounds that happened “even though you are eating the same!” Yeah – I’m right there with you. Getting back on track with healthy eating and adequate exercise. (Although the time off was very nice for getting house work done and spending time with the family)

 

This past weekend was so gorgeous – I got a 4 mile run outside on Saturday (snow-melt puddle stomping and the scent of fallen pine branches thawing in the sun) and a 45 mile bike ride on Sunday with friends to find lunch. The sun was shining, the temps were mid-forties to low-fifties. It felt scandalous to be out riding and running with mounds of snow still blocking traffic corners. It felt so good to be outside! This week is a big dive in temperatures and a few snow showers expected. Looking forward to another week of the treadmill and trainer so when spring fully arrives, I can hit the road running. (haha)

 

Making plans for all the rides we want to do this summer: restarting mountain bike rides with the club, Quad County, Ride for Homes, heading down the Shore, The Lemon Ride, Philly to Brooklyn, lunch in St Peter’s Village … it’s going to be a great summer!

See you on the road! 

Powerless

This past week our family, as well as over half-a-million other families, were without power due to an overnight ice storm that left a quarter- to a half-inch of ice on every surface already covered by about 6-8″ of heavy, wet snow. School was closed and many trains were suspended for a day. The house got progressively colder as the power outage wore on and the outside temps didn’t get above freezing – starting at a manageable-with-layers low-60s and slowly creeping down every day to a bone-chilling 41* on Day Four. We bailed on staying in the house the night of Day Three when it was about 45* in the house and moved into a hotel. Our dogs went to a boarding facility that still had power.

Driving through our neighborhood after dark was eerie and felt abandoned. Apocalyptic – like people once lived and played here. Now it’s just dark and empty. Every night we were told our power should be back up by very late that night, but sadly that wasn’t the case. And I believe it’s not the energy company’s fault – the sheer number of streets closed due to massive downed trees and wires was incredible. Each day a few more streets would open up, a few more houses getting power again. And we waited. Finally the power came back on very last night. The house was at 41* and falling.

Friends, I share this with you not for sympathy but because spending several days at home in a cold, dark house has been enlightening.  For us, this was a mere inconvenience – we had the means to afford a warm place to go and keep our pets warm and fed. And already I am evaluating options for being able to stay in the house longer and keep it warmer.

We all know there are people in our communities that lack basic services because they can’t afford it. For many, our short-term inconvenience is their everyday reality. Our family has personally been between homes before and the lack of a place to call home is very disconcerting. Unmooring. This needs to be remedied in our community.

That’s why I am proud to be raising funds for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s Ride for Homes. I share their belief that everybody needs a safe and affordable place to call home. Every family contributes to their build and the build of others’ homes. The Ride for Homes is a four-day, 250 mile bike ride from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and back to advocate for more affordable housing and raise much needed funds to assist in building 10 new homes in our community and make repairs to 75 other homes.

My goal is to raise $1,000 to help fund this mission. Will you stand with me to help others have a safe, warm home to come home to?

Click here to give a few dollars to my campaign – no donation is too small. Together we can help those in our community have a safe and affordable place to call home: https://share.habitat.org/laura-kelly-rideforhomes

Thank you for your support! See you on the road (if it ever stops snowing and raining!) …