27 April, 2008

Maybe a few days off the bike is what I needed

Well, I did the 2:00 Heine Brother's ride today. Last time out was Wednesday. I won't count yesterday's 5+ miles, too disappointing. The Grandview hill was easiest to date. And that's after I fell on River Road and buggered my left elbow and knee and turned my right hood inwards. Geez! how embarrassing. I was dumb, worried more about the car behind me and not paying attention to the bike in front. My front tire hit his rear. Rear always wins!

I won't go so far as to say that Grandview was easy. But so much better than all the times before. Hope I've moved my knee enough that it doesn't get stiff overnight. I want to do the recovery ride after work tomorrow.

25 April, 2008

I'm hoping to match last week!

I've ridden right at 60 miles in 3 days. Thursday brought 2 webcasts, one at 9am and one at 9pm. (Both successful, I think.) So it was an off night. Today is a beautiful day - 84F and few clouds. I want to ride my bike so badly I can taste it! Soon, I think. I want to log 100 miles for this week. That's only 2 more days of 20 and I have 3 days to do that in.

Tuesday night, I was invited to have a beer with several of the regular riders. I couldn't turn down their invite, though it was already past 8 and I needed to take dinner home to hubby. They were just going to BBC, a parking lot over, so I said yes. Ordered a beer and 2 burgers to go. It was so pleasant talking and meeting a few more people. I didn't get home with dinner until almost 9:30, which wasn't good for the hubby's appetite.

One of my colleagues told me that I am her hero the other day. Now that's a little embarrassing. I asked why. She said because I quit smoking and have been working at being fit. Losing weight, not gaining any. Now, she's not a smoker. But I think we're going to have lunch soon. You know, what I've done is make some lifestyle changes. I feel so much healthier and stronger.

I added a new link to a blog I hope you find entertaining. I love to read it.

20 April, 2008

80 miles - 4 days

There are cyclists that do a century (100 mile ride) each weekend. In Louisville (and other places) the call themselves the "Mad Dogs".

If I hadn't taken both Thursday and Friday off, I could've had 100 miles for the week. I'd love to ride 50 or 100 miles in a day on a fairly regular basis. But I also want to work on speed. Wondering how I do both. Hmmm, talking to an experienced cyclist might help.

The temps were still in low 50s when we got started and finally reached los 60s at the end with overcast skies. The sun poked out twice briefly towards the end of the ride. I got to today's ride in plenty of time. There was another on the list that I almost did instead. Glad I changed my mind. This is the same group of people from 2 Sunday's ago. I'd say we had about 50 riders today. Nice group, they are very friendly. Several came up and welcomed me back. Most wore legging and jackets or arm and leg warmers. I forgot my long-sleeved jersey and leggings. I wore a lightweight long-sleeved t-shirt over a short sleeved tee and my bike shorts. I asked A.B. if he was doing the long ride. He said yes and he would sweep it. That means he won't let anyone get left behind. Today's ride didn't have cue sheets. I didn't need one. I was feeling pretty good. I stayed well ahead of A.B. and his group, but well behind the lead group.

We got to River Road and there were about 8 of us, fairly close to each other. Then there were 4 of us in front and we left the others. I was in back, but doing well keeping my tire about 4 inches off of Steve's rear. I'm learning. We were going about 21 MPH for a few miles. Felt pretty good, but I was getting a little warm. Steve says that he just can't maintain that pace. About the time I hear him and look ahead, the other two were already 500 yards away and gaining. We maintained 18 to 18.5 the remainder of River Road. I'm glad we backed off a bit. The hill we hit (it's not steep and I'm a wimp) in the neighborhood off of Rivery Rd kicks my butt. I worked to stay on the big ring until then. I was thankful I have a granny gear again. Though, I only used it for the last 500 yards or so.

We road 23.5 miles in just under an hour and a half. I felt great at the end. Once the bike was on the car, I stripped off my long-sleeved tee. I was fairly soaked underneath.

This past week was a good one. The weekend marked my Dad's death 8 years ago. I've spent some time reflecting. Now it's time to look forward to a great week ahead. Sunny skies, good rides, and plenty of work to do. :-)

16 April, 2008

What fun there is to have

Yesterday was 64F at 5:00 today it was 71F. I didn't get out of the office yesterday until 6:00. Both nights I took LIberty to Lexington to Cannon's. Through Seneca and Cherokee and back again. 19 miles in an hour and a half.

I need to get in some hill repeats. I'm thinking there's a good hill in the neighborhood I can take advantage of at least for the first couple then there's and another just up the road. If weather is iffy, I'll do that. I need to build these legs. My right hip flexor is still giving me fits.

A couple of humour moments. I'm leaving Cherokee entering Seneca and hit some nice flat. I'm diggin my shorts outta my crack and this small car with 4 grown 20 somethings crammed into it, one is hangin out the window asking, "Gotta a wedgie?". LOL I stick up my right thumb and yell back, "Not anymore!"

I get back to the office and the security guard holds the door for me. Asks, "how far'd you go?" I told him, "not far enough, but 19 miles". We chatted briefly and I take my bike upstairs. Get my laptop and clothes together. I start laughing out loud. I don't have any tennis shoes, I'm not wearing the heels I wore today with my bike shorts and sweaty self. So I walk from the building to the car in my sock feet. I laugh at myself all the way to the car. I can be such a hick.

We have been blessed with sunshine for these 2 days and should have at least one more. I plan on having as much fun riding as I can cram in. I hope everyone finds a way to celebrate Spring.

14 April, 2008

The Doctor's Visit

Went to the doc - gained 5 lbs since Oct. I cried - I know it's stupid and I know muscle weighs more than fat - but this is why I don't own scales. Then the Nurse Practitioner comes in and talks to me. We review the "numbers" and one was really close to last year - another went down. I cried again - I'm so dumb!

Anyway…then Doctor H comes in. He's looking at stuff and is reading a note about my cycling at least an hour 5 times a week. He say that he is very happy with where I am. I am holding stable (whatever!) and my numbers are in the good category. I should be able to do any kind of exercise that I want and not feel like my breathing should hold me back. We talked about cold air exercise and he said that it will always be difficult for asthmatics, but to use my fast-acting inhaler 20 minutes before, spend 15 -20 minutes acclimating and then begin my warm ups.

I didn't expect to see any huge difference in my numbers. I am a realist at heart. I just didn't expect them to go down. I may never get more capacity - let's face it - I smoked for 35 years.

So, now to plan on my next goals. There's a couple of races this weekend. I know I'm no where near ready, but still toying with the idea. What the hell. I'm not going to find out how bad I really am if I don't get out there and do it, right? The worst I can do is fall and really hurt myself.

I need to continue with my steady progress. There's a 5K at the Zoo coming in May. I should go and see what else is out there. Anyone interested in running with me? :-)

13 April, 2008

Just a little anxious

Tomorrow is my visit to the Pulmonary specialist. We'll have another breathing test and compare it to the first 3. One year ago was when I got to see the results of the first 3 tests. A life changing event. Thank goodness for that! Thank goodness for Chantix.

I am tobacco free, but I still have to make a daily decision to remain that way. It's scary how some events trigger emotions that automatically make me think about lighting up.

This week was great as far as cycling goes. I rode my first 30 miles in a single ride. The weather turned cold and rainy for the weekend. I resorted to the trainer. But upon reviewing my log, I rode 8 hours and 45 minutes this week. The most I've logged in a single week. Yesterday saw 1:45 minutes and I rode for 2 hours today.

Tomorrow is the Skirt ride. I plan on taking my bike with me to work, but logistics will be interesting with my appt. at the end of the day, this test takes additional time. I'm waiting to see what the plan is for the ride. They are all starting at 6:00. I don't want to miss, because I missed last week.

I've been trying to take time to thank some people that have inspired me. I found a blog titled Maggie's Mind that has continued to be supportive and helpful (though I think I gain 5 pounds when I read her recipes). My BFF, because if it wasn't for her deciding to quit I may still be puffing away. A friend and colleague that is a triathlete, and is more ambitious and gung-ho about fitness and training than anyone I've met. Another friend and colleague that joined me on my first group ride. My sister, my husband and my girls for saying the right things at the right times.

I also have noticed that I've hardly taken an aspirin, Tylenol, or Aleve in the last 6 months. All this movement, healthier diet, weight loss and who knows what else has made my joints stop hurting and swelling.

I have lots of goals I've been able to add to my list now that I can breath. I'm sure I'll be writing about those in the near future.

10 April, 2008

What to say, no complaints here!

We've been so fortunate! Warm day, overcast and threatened rain, never did. Winds were gusting at least 25 mph. Since I didn't have my bike with me at work I couldn't ride in town.

I've decided that I need to find a little used route around my hours for weekend evenings. Can't do Routte Rd or Kingschurch. People are tired and not as alert. If you happend to have the sun low in the sky, that can be even worse.
So I wussed and took the trainer out to the patio and rode a fairly easy 60 minute spin. Found some tightness behind my knees as well an this right hip-flexor. I should've worked it harder, but guess we'll get to do a workout on the trainer tomorrow. What a way to spend Friday night!

It's getting colder and thunderstorms starting tomorrow. It's a shame since it's Thunder weekend.

Skirts did hill repeats last night. Oli said til they almost threw up. Sounds like fun! :-) I'm gonna try and be there next week.

Had a nice chat with my oldest daughter on the way home tonight. We talked about politics, hunger, culture, some deep stuff. I'm not sure we have ever had such a stimulating conversation. Another evolution in this adventure.

09 April, 2008

Another goal achieved

Tuesday was the third beautiful day in a row here in the Ohio Valley. Monday was going to be an "off" day for the bike due to a farewell bash for a dear colleague on Monday night. I had my bike at work and decided if I could ride at lunch I would. I was gone for about 45 minutes, rode for a total of 35ish and did 7.5 miles. I need to find some alternative routes for mid-day riding in downtown. Lots of traffic lights!

I crashed Monday after the bash at my oldest daughter's place. It was a late night and I didn't try to be at work at 7am the next morning like I normally do.

Tuesday afternoon was beautiful. It started out with clouds, but they blew away for the most part by 5:00. I changed and took my bike downstairs. I rode to Cycler's and realised I forgot to write down my ODO and didn't have my stopwatch. (I had to take the mileage on the way back later to add it in for the evening ride).

I rode past Cycler's and onward up Lexington Rd to Cannon's and then to Seneca Park. There was quite a lot of traffic, but not as much as I expected for 5:15 - 5:35. I took a pit stop at the park, doubled checked my water bottles and started thinking I need to invest in a bike lock (keyed or combination - topic for another time).

I rode from Seneca to Cherokee, went up Dog Hill and Hoagland Hill. Felt pretty good for the first time. Then on the way down I missed my turn and stayed on Scenic Loop. There was Dog Hill again! Oh dear, sooner than expected, for sure. Still neither was terribly bad. Can't say they were easy, but my lungs and heart still felt fairly good.

The second time down, I asked where I missed my turn. People are so friendly! I made my way back into Seneca Park, slowed down to drink some water and then headed back to Cherokee. Now, I had already seen lots of cyclists. Some were mountain biking off road - down hills and through creeks. There were a couple of clubs out riding, wearing their colours. One group look to have about 25 - 35 riders. I'd love to get to the skill level where I could join a team like that. Each has it's own rules/guidelines/entry requirements. One is fairly open and only requires a given # of races each season.

The third time I arrive to the base of Dog Hill, I decide I need to catch my breath before ascending. Just took about 3 minutes of breathing easy to get my heart rate down. Then I took it. Third time was very hard, but I made it. My right hip flexor was really screaming at me by the top. The ride down was about 31 mph. Couldn't go any faster due to all the walkers and dogs and other cyclists and runners. I see the ascent to Hoagland Hill approaching and take another 3 minute breather. By this time I had been on the road for at least an hour and a half. This one was more difficult than Dog Hill, but I went into my Granny ring and rode it to the top.

It feels so good to be able to go back to the middle or big ring at the top of a hill. While riding in the parks a couple of guys and gals waived, nodded or spoke. A couple said, "Nice bike". Which I returned, "Thanks! wish the legs were in better shape to enjoy". Both said, "they'll come". Interesting. My bike is new, but entry level. I don't really know much about all the bikes, what makes them good versus top of line versus not. Maybe it's the brand name that catches people's eye. I'm not sure.

I wrapped up the third set of hills and headed back to Seneca. By this time it was 7ish so I left the park and headed back to Cycler's. Once there, I grabbed a cold beer and a potty break. Talked to them about bike locks for a bit and then sat on front porch and finished my beer. In came a group from the Tuesday Night Worlds (I'm pretty sure). It's a little intimidating see all those cyclists in their team gear. One of them is a woman that is very good and very competitive. I got out of there pretty quick at that point. It was after 7:30 and I wanted to get to the office before dusk set in. I don't have lights on my bike!

All in all, I was out for two and a half hours. I figure I spent close to 2 of it riding. My mileage for the ride was 30 miles which was the most I've done to date in a single ride. I was very proud of myself. Not fast, but I did the hills 3 times. I was tired but felt great driving home.

I was even more surprised about how good I felt this morning. No soreness in my legs at all. Just a touch in my lower back, but that happens with an hour on the trainer. The worst was my neck and shoulders were stiff. I need to work on keeping my upper body relaxed while riding. All in good time.

Today was an off day. I thought about an easy spin on the trainer, but decided this bod needed a rest. Looks like rain and colder temps for the next few days so I will be inside which sux. :-(

But outside, days are starting to even up with inside days. Soon they will outnumber. Hello Spring and Summer!

07 April, 2008

Quick note about age and being physically active

I was with a colleague one evening last week. She's from the UK and we were chatting before dinner about all kinds of things. I showed her the booboo on my knee from riding a couple of weeks ago. She commented that she didn't expect to see someone of my age with that sort of ailment.

Now I find that rather telling. I'm almost 50, does that mean I should be more distinguished and not do physical things that could involved scabs? Personally, I've decided that I'm gonna do anything that sounds like fun, involves meeting people and is healthy. Probably means it might take some toll on this body, but what the hey? Is it supposed to be in pristine shape when I'm done with it? Doesn't matter, it won't be.

I'm hoping this just keeps me living longer and healthier.

06 April, 2008

What a fantastic day

I've been looking forward to this since Thursday, when Olivia first mentioned the 2:00 Heine Bros. ride. There's been nary a cloud, save a wisp or two, during my ride. The day started clear and sunny, but very crisp. Had a leisurely morning sipping coffee, enjoying a good warm bowl of oatmeal, wrapping up a thing or two here and there.

It was funny driving to the ride. My though processes anyway. I've always been outgoing and willing to meet and talk to anyone. I decided early on that this was the only way I was going to experience new things and grow my world. But I'm driving to the ride and I get butterflies in my stomach. I did this driving to my first Trainer Tour, too. It's different for me, walking into a situation solo as opposed to having a buddy with me. I started to get a little paranoid. I wonder if people will take up a conversation or just say Hello back and move on?

I arrive at the parking lot, which is almost 1/2 full already, about 25 minutes before 2:00. As I'm getting my gear together, I'm looking around the lot to see if I recognise anyone from the Trainer Tour. Ya know, people with helmets on look different than without a helmet on. :-) I see the ride captain with her paperwork on the next aisle of cars. I walk over and ask, are you Connie? She was so friendly and helpful. She asked about my skill-level, speed, and experience and which length I was going to ride. I definitely came for the longer one. She said that A.B. would be great to ride with. She then went over and said something to him and he waved me over. He recognized me from the Trainer Tour. Even said I was a strong spinner. Then I saw one of the girls from work and we chatted. She introduced me or pointed out several of her YahYah sisters. I realised that I was silly for being paranoid.

We started out at a nice pace with about 10 in our group. For the most part we stayed around 17mph. Got a little faster in places and slower in others. Hit a number of yellow lights and then at least as many if not more red lights. As we changed places in the rotation, I would say Hi and introduce myself. It's funny, I usually gave people a short time as opportunity for them to initiate. Most don't feel comfortable in that role I assume. But everyone was friendly and pleasant once I broke the ice. We got to River Road and somehow I was in front of most of the ones I'd been riding with. Instead, I was with about 4 guys. We were going at a nice clip, about 19 mph and then cranked it up. I stayed with them a very short distance, but just still don't have the lung power. A.B. caught up to me enough that I could hear him talking to me. Said, don't try to stay with those guys, you'll wear yourself out. So, about 5 or 6 of us stayed together and kept that 17 mph pace. He kept asking if I got my wind back. Then as we approached the turn off of River Road he said I might want to drop my pace. We were approaching a hill that doesn't look too bad at all, but it's a long one with a low grade and can be deceiving. Oh yeah, tough is what it was. I was glad I stayed with A.B. 'cause if I'd try to keep a 20 mph pace and then hit that hill, I don't know if I could've done it without a stop. (That would be embarrassing as hell).

At one point a lady named Bernice heard me breathing behind her and asked if I was alright. I told her as long as she could here me breathing all was fine. If she couldn't hear me anymore then there'd be a problem. It was tremendous fun. Spoke to numerous cyclists. Many were asking how I did once we got back to the parking lot. I said that A.B. took care of me, he was my babysitter. Now, A.B. is over 70 and in great shape. Someone said that Bernice is approaching that age, too. I believe she had already ridden the chat & nibble which was around 60 miles. Several had. Then did the 25 mile ride, which is really only around 22. I also have decided I have a long way to go before I am happy with my ability. I want to get stronger and faster. I want to average over 20 mph. I'd love to get to a point where I might be competitive. We'll see. One day at a time.

I'm looking forward to the next one. I'll miss my skirt ride tomorrow, but think I might ride at lunch instead. My oldest said I could sleep on her couch tomorrow night, which should be good. It's going to be an interesting week. But the weather channel says we are in for some more sunny days in the low 70s. I say, Bring 'Em On!

04 April, 2008

April showers bring mud

But the sun is finally going to shine for a few days. I am looking forward to these next few days. There's a nice group ride Saturday morning at 9 on the Waterfront. Hope there's no road closings between me and the start. The morning is starting out at 43F, so will be a bit on the chilly side

One of the girls I work with that has done both Skirt rides told me that several of the girls are doing the Sunday ride at 2 at Heine Bros. There are two options, but I plan on the longer. Sunday is supposed to be sunny and 70F. What more could I ask for?

Monday is going to be my "off night". We are holding a major "send off" for a very special person that I've worked for for a long time. There will be very few dry cheeks.

It's still too dark to consider attempting a commute in the morning unless I put lights on my bike. I should look into that I think.

I've had some cigarette thoughts over the last week. Hubby has his in the office in the basement. I don't like these thoughts. My BFF has said a few things about wanting to smoke recently, too. I can't do it. Besides, my appointment with the pulmonary guy is a week from Monday. We're doing another breathing test. I hope I've made some headway since last April. I'll also find out how much I weigh. It's been since October. I know it's not 135, which I would love! But will be good to finally find out.

Mud is everywhere, but so are the flowers, daffodils and fruit trees in bloom. The grass is surreal green. Everything is coming alive and I am feeling great and soaking it all in.

01 April, 2008

Skirt Ride #2

I'm not sure it if qualifies as a Skirt ride, technically. You tell me:

Life is an adventure, you just never know what's gonna happen, what might be right around the corner, etc. I took a vacation day on Monday. I really needed a mental health day. Hadn't had one in months. Mostly I vegged and looked forward to my Skirt ride with the ladies. I had a 20+mile drive to the ride. Planned on leaving an hour ahead of start time, but got out of the house about 10 minutes behind schedule. I'm driving down Interstate-64 and there's a wreck around Cannon's Lane. Traffic was slow, but moving so I got off at Cannon's. Mistake, this was bumper to bumper for at least a mile. I started worrying about getting to the ride start on time. I called my Bro who knows how to get most anywhere in the city and took some pointers from him.

Whew, I get to the ride start about 10 minutes til 6. Get my bike and gear in order and meet the ladies. We had a nice turn out. I didn't do an official count (should have), but think there were at least a dozen to fifteen. There were supposed to be 3 groups. One would stay in Seneca/Cherokee and do the loops there. The other two were going to Iroquois with the faster doing the hill and the slower group wouldn't.

It was beautiful weather. Seventy degrees at 6 pm ride start with a few clouds in the sky overhead, but the sunshine was everywhere. We leave Cycler's and head to Seneca Park. The first group stays behind and we proceed to Eastern Parkway. We are in one big group, not two. Never really split off or discussed who would be in which one, at least not that I was aware. All is going well and we get to the intersection of Bardstown Rd. This is where I need work. I'm getting to the traffic signal and the rest of the group makes the light. I didn't make the light. So I'm at this fairly busy intersection watching the rest of the group get further and further away. The light changed, I clipped in and pedalled as hard as I could. I could see the group at the next intersection. This happened for three different intersections with traffic lights. After the third, I never saw them again. Period.

At some point I realise that I don't have my fast acting inhaler with me. I start thinking about that and realise I have at least 7 miles to go to get to Iroquois and then at least 10 to get back. I've lost my group. Hmm. The weather was good. My lungs felt clear. I had taken my Advair before leaving home along with a couple of puffs on the inhaler. (I always do that prior to real exertion). I had done my homework, studied the ride route on Google Maps, know my way around Jefferson County fairly well and decided to continue on. Why spend all that gas money to what, go home? I think not!

It was so good to spend time outside in warm temps and sunshine. So many people were out and about, pushing strollers, playing catch with the kids, running, jogging, cycling, washing cars. The route followed Eastern Parkway to Third Street which turns into Southern Parkway. Louisville has a beautiful park system. The parkways are 4 lane roads separated by a median with mature trees. At Southern Parkway, on either side of the road are smaller access roads that have (for the most part) been barriers in place preventing vehicle traffic, but allowing pedestrian and bicycle traffic. All along the way people smiled and acknowledged each other.

Iroquois has a lower road that loops the entire park, a 1.5 mile road that leads to the upper loop on Iroquois Hill. And the the upper loop road. By the time I got to the park I had already decided that if I was to do the hill, 1 - I wasn't going to see the others and 2 - I might run out of daylight before getting back as clouds were starting to float in from the west/northwest. I decide to ride around the lower loop and did about 1/3 of it before turning around and heading back.

The ride back seemed easier. At least the Southern Parkway to Eastern Parkway portion. Guess my legs had really warmed up. I was in my big ring most of the time and had a nice cadence of 95 RPM or more. I get to Eastern Parkway and I was going way too fast for the turn at the viaduct. Went a little wide, but all turned out okay. I'm working my way down Eastern Parkway, feeling really good. I've finally gotten a rhythm at the traffic signals. I'm unclipping my left foot and leaving my right one clipped. Still not terribly graceful getting the left clipped back in, but it was getting more and more smooth. I get to the Medical Arts Building intersection and hit a red light. This really hurt. I had to start climbing that hill from a dead stop. I made it, though slow. One of those moments I am so happy to have a "granny" ring. As I enter Cherokee Park I notice most cars have their headlights on and I start to get a little concerned, but I am closing in on Cycler's Cafe. Hoagland Hill was a little tough, but Dog Hill wasn't bad at all. Making my way down Cannon's Lane and then Lexington Road all I could do was think pedal faster. All cars had their headlights on now. The sky was almost full of clouds which were blocking what little daylight was left.

I pull in right about 7:50. There were 3 cyclists chatting from the ride. That was an interesting conversation. But I told the ride captain not to worry. I had been prepared. But next time we probably need to have a better system in place in case we have some inexperienced people that aren't quite so well prepared with knowing the route, etc.

I learned a few things. I need more work on my stop and starts, clipping in and out. I need to get some more miles behind me along with more hill work. I need to stay with the group and in the group, not at the back. Sometimes I just have to learn the hard way. Those seem to be the best lessons learned. I completed 25 miles so my ODO said, it took me close over and hour an da half to do it, probably closer to 1:45. That's okay. I spent plenty of time at red lights. One, I sat through 3 before getting a green.

Last week was 8 months tobacco free. I was riding about 10 minutes at a time on the stationary bike in June of 2007. I have come a very, very long way. But I'm not satisfied. I want to get stronger, faster, and keep building lung capacity.
The Skirts are talking about entering a race before the month is over. I'd love to do that! I guess I could let it intimidate me and not do it. Nah, somebody has to come in last. I have no problem if it's me, the first few times anyway. Because I know at some point, I won't be last anymore.