C’est la vie

Since we last met dear friend, life has happened. My oldest child celebrated a birthday, most of my extended family arrived for a visit at the always-appropriate hour of 4:30 in the morning, and the Fourth of July came and went.

The sad news: very, very little bicycle riding happened. I flaked out on a planned Sunday morning ride due to the aforementioned family arrival time in favor of getting some sleep. It’s amazing how little kids don’t seem to understand that 5am is probably not the right time to start telling me all about their road trip. Although later in the week, I did get my mom on The Beast while I hopped on Free Spirit and we tooled down to the tiny post office at the bottom of the hill. Of course that meant going back up the hill to get home but c’est la vie.

The good news is I fully immersed in Life. I got to spend an abundance of time with my family – my mom, dad, one of my sisters, my niece, and my nephews – for eight full days. Over doubling a household size could have been cause for alarm but the younger kids spent the days dressing up, wielding Nerf weaponry, building with the unending amount of Legos we have … and generally playing as hard as cousins can. The older kids alternated between helping the younger ones and quietly slipping off to their rooms or the family computer for some time with kids their own age.

Cookies were made. Dinners prepared. The girl cousins each ended the week with a new outfit made by their grandma. Tours of television studios and monuments of historical significance. We hiked the Wiss. One evening my sister, my husband and I took off for an Adults Only meal at the oldest continually operating tavern in the country. We also headed out for brunch one morning. We went down the Shore for a day to beat the heat – and get some yummy boardwalk treats.

The first half of the week was unending rain. The back half of the week was hot and humid. Dew points are well above 70* F and temps have a “real feel” of about 5-6* warmer.

On a fitness front, my sister is a runner so I ended up running with her on her shorter routes. She did a 12-miler on Monday morning and was cursing the humidity. We did a four-miler on Wednesday morning, a simple out-and-back that I somehow came up short by half of a mile so I had to jog up and down the sidewalk near my house to get the full mileage. Then she needed a six-miler so we decided to head out to Valley Forge so I could do the five-mile run and “earn” my race shirt (and she planned to just tack on an extra mile at the end).

It was hot. It was humid. We ran with a 16oz water bottle each. In the shade it was just hot and sticky – but in the bare sun, it was brutal. After the first mile-and-a-half I started to alternate running with walking to avoid overexertion – running in the shade, walking in the direct sun. I finally caught up to my sister around mile 2.5 to consult the route (and rest a bit – did I mention it’s hot and she’s not acclimated to the humidity?). We misread the map and resumed running – only to discover we made a wrong turn and would have at least a mile longer to run. Crossing a covered bridge, we landed on a shaded trail adjacent to a creek – and it felt amazing! The next 1.5 miles of shade were much easier to run. Back into the sun (and the last big hill) for a couple of miles before a delicious descent to the parking lot and my car.

Seven miles! My longest run to date. Even though I walked about 40% of the route, I feel pretty proud of this accomplishment. Just earlier that week the four-miler had been my previous best. And the bonus? My quads didn’t hurt the next day – because they were accustomed to the motions of running. It all makes sense – the more I run, the less it will suck.

Ultimately though, I missed riding my bike. I missed gliding along the pavement, the miles slipping by like water over the rocks in the creek bed. Running is good – cycling is my passion.

Yesterday morning I bid my family goodbye. It’s bittersweet to know we probably won’t see them until next year sometime but it will feel good to get back to mostly normal.

Until next time, see you on the road.

Disappointment

This morning I was supposed to run my first five-mile event/race but I didn’t go.

 

My reasons:

* I feel terrible today. Some combination of intense seasonal allergies and camping Friday night and most of the day Saturday has rendered me exhausted. I ended up sleeping over 12 hours last night.

* It was 35* when I got up and while my cycling wardrobe extends into cold weather gear – my running gear does not.

(I’m not even talking about technical clothing – I do not own sweatpants or long underwear to layer under my fitness gear.  This will need to be remedied.)

 

While I do not regret my decision, I am disappointed in my apparent inability to keep up with everything I want to do. When I was ten years younger, I would have easily been able to plow through the allergies and exhaustion. But I’m not 25 any more and the reality is I need more down time than I did back then.

 

This brings me back to the yogic philosophy of honoring your body wherever it is. Some days you will be able to go further than you ever thought possible, others you won’t. And you need to accept where you are in this moment. So today will be a day of rest and being present with my family.

 

A five-mile run will still be there when I am ready.

 

See you on the road.

2012 Stat Check

2012 was the year of getting out and being active. My metabolism started junking out on me when I turned 30 a few (five) years ago and staying healthy is high on my priority list. Here’s a look back at What I Did this year:

 

i bike philly!
i bike philly!

 

Outside cycling miles: 1908

Trainer miles: 74

Total cycling miles: 1982

(so close to my goal BUT two hundred miles longer than the distance from my old house in Colorado to my new house in Pennsylvania. Chew on that symbolism!)

Total running miles: 7.5

Total walking miles: 269

Dancing: over 15 hours

 

my LEGO avatar
my LEGO avatar

 

None of these are overly impressive – I ride with folks who put up big numbers like 4,500/8,000/Turn It Up To 11,000 miles in a year. I run with people who eat marathons for breakfast. I talk a fine game – but in the end, these folks motivate me to higher achievement. They are the ones pulling me up the hill or racing me down the street or gleefully shouting “MILES FOR BREAKFAST” as we zip through town.

This is only Year One of actually being active on purpose since my teens and early twenties. I hope to continue to be active and healthy for as long as possible! More riding, more running, more yoga – balanced with staying involved in family and community life. No regrets.

(Actually, I am impressed with my walking miles. I walk to the train station when I commute by train and occasionally take a lunch break walk. Little things add up! )

 

log overs anyone?
log overs anyone?

 

Whatever your goals for 2013, whatever your stats for 2012 – wishing you and yours the very best!

 

Happy New Year! from Philly with love
Happy New Year! from Philly with love

 

Reflection

Friends, it’s been a bit since I last posted because well, I haven’t been riding my bike lately.

I went on a wonderful Earn Your Breakfast ride a few weeks ago to Aunt Judy’s in Doylestown with four guys from Philly Bike Club under cloudy skies and 40 degree temps. I questioned my layering at first because it didn’t seem like enough – long sleeve base, wooly, windbreaker, thin cap under my helmet, full-finger gloves, padded wool socks but no toe covers – but it ended up being perfect. Except for the lack of toe covers – my toes were chilled!

Then I made a total rookie mistake and ate my protein (pepper-onion-tomato-cheese omelette) at breakfast but neglected my starches (potatoes) and carbs (whole wheat toast). A few miles into the return trip my quads were screaming at me. I downed a goo and my legs were happy again. Note to self: fuel the ride!

I also completed my first 5k under sunny skies and upper-40s temps. My time ended up being 33:20 – not too bad for a first-timer. And don’t tell anyone but I actually enjoyed it. My friend used this as a taper event for his entry in the Philly Marathon and he finished in 25something minutes. My other friend, who used this as motivation to work out and get in shape, ran an awesome 40-something time. So many other runners – and free soft pretzels at the finish! I would do another 5k, maybe a 10k if I had make the time to train.

I also signed up for my first ever mountain biking clinic. They have demo bikes that can be used and because I don’t have a mountain bike, I requested one. The flyer said the clinic is open to all levels so I mentioned in my registration this is my first mountain biking experience. So far no one I know has also signed up. I think it would be more fun to fall and laugh WITH someone – but if I have to head out on a solo experience, so be it.

So here we are at Thanksgiving time and I have so much to be thankful for. My family, my friends, my continued employment, a roof over my head, and the ability to meet our basic needs. I’m particularly thankful my parents’ recent health issues have abated and they are here visiting me in Philadelphia today. I’m thankful I have a couple bikes that I can ride in safe neighborhoods with my friends. I’m thankful for you, my faithful readers, because it means I’m not talking into nothing.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope you earned your dinner.

See you on the road!

And it’s been a while …

After I posted about giving ourselves permission to not be on the bike for two weeks, I have been taking advantage of being too busy to ride my bike for that purpose. It’s been wonderful, really. I don’t feel anxiety about not riding my bike because I’m getting other important things accomplished as well – like cleaning the house, paying bills, grocery shopping, shuttling the kids places, leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop meeting and a three-day business trip to Orlando. But I do miss it. It being riding my bike.

The weekend after I posted, I met up with five guys from Philly Bike Club (BCP) for a greasy-spoon breakfast run out to Skippack. It was a lesson in proper layering – while I did good with layering my base, jersey, armwarmers and woolly (with my windbreaker stuffed in my back pocket), I opted for thermal tights. The tights got very warm once we were done with breakfast and the temps were in the mid-60s. The lesson being if you are going to overpack bring your own backpack and next time opt for capris instead of thermal tights. 😀 55miles with 3800’+ of gain means breakfast was well-deserved.

This past weekend my girl friend and I decided to get brunch at Royal Tavern in South Philadelphia. I drove to the art museum district where we met up and then we biked over. I can say an easy three miles each way was as delicious as breakfast. Urban riding is decidedly different from my usual weekend rides – and it’s easier to slip into a mode of rolling stops. Bike lanes make you feel safer than sharrows. And assholes in pickup trucks honking at you are more prevelant. Fortunately I am a fan of being kind to drivers who are not as progressive.

This morning I was contemplating my bike commute. My commuter friend and I were talking about how much routine plays into motivation to ride. If it’s your routine to get up and ride your bike to work every day, it’s less of an issue to simply get out of bed even though it’s dark and cold. When you are sporatic and occassional, it’s more difficult because you don’t have the momentum of routine behind you. To make bike commuting permanent, I would need to fundamentally alter my existing routine. I’m not sure that’s possible right now, no matter how much I’d like it to change. My husband travels for work, the kids are still school-age and I feel strongly that being there for them in the morning is a small way to show them their importance in my life. I’m hoping that will pay off as they get older.

Also, I haven’t been running like I should be. The Lemon Run is in 3 weeks and I’ve been out twice for no more than one mile. I need to focus my time to running or this 5k will eat me alive.

So this post isn’t so much about cycling as enjoying the time off and focusing on other things that are also important for a bit. I’m looking forward to next week, when I will have time to bike commute again. Next weekend is the Philly Bike Expo as well, which I will be riding to with my BCP friends and then volunteering at their booth Sunday morning. Come by and say hi!

Until then, see you on the road.

The Lemon Run Prologue

 

Friends, this blog is a testament to my love of riding my bike for fun and transportation. Earlier this year I participated in the inaugural Lemon Ride, a 50 mile route in scenic Bucks County Pennsylvania benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I raised $500 to help fund research grants and help families of affected children afford travel and lodging expenses related to their child’s care. I met two guys on the ride – Glenn and Paul – who share a desire to help fight pediatric cancer and assist the families who have been affected.

 

Both Glenn and Paul are runners, not cyclists, so they challenged me to come run with them. So I have signed up for my first ever 5k – The Lemon Run. This event is in mid-November so I have time to convert my cycling skills into running skills. I will most certainly be blogging about the training process for this, as I have never been a fan of running.

 

I hope the T shirt has this adorable running lemon on it!

 

Please consider checking out our team page and donating an amount that fits into your budget. We are hoping to raise at least $300 for this four-star rated charity. Just click the link Below!

Team Perfect Strangers

 

Thanks and see you on the road!

 

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