training

Every Day is A New Day

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.” 
― Arnold Bennett

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Hello Again Fellow Thrivers!

First off, I am overdue in updating on the Fitness Challenge.  This past Sunday I weighed in at 141.8, which is about 2 lbs up from the week before.  While I may have indulged in some chocolate and 2 slices of pizza during the week, the extra 2 lbs was more likely related to being bloated (with my first real menstrual cycle in years… ugh! I miss my birth control already 😦 ) and having not worked out immediately prior to my weigh in.  In reality, I think my weight has just plateaued back to what is was pre-holiday because I have been hovering at 140 the rest of the week.  At this point I am already running, cycling, lifting regularly, AND watching what I eat, so not much else to do there.  

Our challenge this week is to plank 15 minutes each.  Each person is allotted two attempts per day to reach a cumulative total of 15 minutes.  I finished my planking this morning, and the hubs has about 7 minutes to go.  Don’t worry, he still has one day left.  Aside from our challenge I’ve logged 9.7 miles on the treadmill, over 19 at spin, and just over half a mile in the pool so far this week- with one day still to go. This has me right on track for my mileage goals for the year: 49/500 miles running & 107/1000 miles of biking.  I should probably also set one for swimming, but I have a much harder time getting myself to swim than anything else…. I know, all the more reason!  Okay, I’ll think about it.

Yesterday was actually my first day back in the pool in I’m not even going to mention how long.  I think with all the stress at work Image(major upheaval there.. per usual… and I just interviewed for a supervisor position… yikes!) and all unfortunate stuff (gross understatement) going on with my friends, I just needed a break from feeling like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I had forgotten just how calm and relaxing it is to be in the water when the pool is empty in the morning.  It is truly a meditative experience.  Usually running is my go to sport for stress relief, but, in this case, a good swim was exactly what I needed.  Submersed in water and weightless, it was the complete opposite of how my life has been feeling.  No chaos, just quiet.  No commotion or need to hurry.  Instead I found myself falling into a rhythm and effortlessly gliding from one end of the pool to the other.  Previously, I’ve never had an experience where swimming was anything but anxiety provoking, but this was entirely the opposite.  It was as if I escaped to a land of tranquility for a solid 30 minutes of my morning.  I left the water feeling completely refreshed and energized… and this was after surviving a particularly grueling spin class prior to the swim.  So, perhaps, there is hope for me and swimming…  Maybe this is the beginning of a love affair (just don’t tell running).

It is funny though how thirty minutes of exercise in the water can reshape your entire perspective on a day.  With all the craziness going on lately, I desperately needed to hit the reset button and charge my batteries.  Now that I have, I feel happy that even in the midst of all the sadness around I can still ground myself and find my center.  I am grateful to be at a point in my life where I can empathize with other people without letting it consume me.  Rather than get depressed, I have found that I can feel badly for other people and still feel happy and grateful for the life I have.. and not feel guilty about it.  I am no help to anyone if I let their problems and tragedies drag me down in the muck.  Instead, I have been finding more productive outlets to channel my grief.

When my friends and I started the We Support The Wilcox Girl’s fundraising page, it was exactly that.  It was a way to cope and try to help someone we cared about deeply.  There are only so many times you can tell a person “I’m so sorry for your loss” before it starts to feel hollow.  By setting up the page, we weren’t saying we felt for her we were showing her.  It was our best effort at saying “we are here for you”.  We never in a million years imagined what it would morph into.  

Based on the estimate that a single funeral costs $10,000, I set our initial fundraising goal at that value.  I figured if we could alleviate Imagethe cost of just one funeral it would be a blessing.  We decided to post the site on Saturday, and by this morning we had already surpassed that goal.  What’s more, the page filled up with hundreds of words of condolences and support.  Beyond that, our Facebook newsfeeds blew up with multiple shares of our page.  Newspapers and the town patch featured it, and even Channel 3 picked up the story.  The overwhelming support that has poured out for our friend and her family is beyond anything any of us could have imagined or hoped for.  As awful and tragic as this situation has been, the response has been uplighting beyond words.

I am very happy and grateful to belong to a community that reaches out to support each other in a time of need.  I am also grateful that on the day my friends and I attend services with this family, we can tell them how much they are loved and supported, not only by us, but hundreds of people.

If you have ever thought for a moment that a single person can’t make a big difference in the world, take a look at what four grieving women were able to accomplish by reaching out to their community.  What’s more, if the individuals who reached out to share our page, give donations, and offer support had though that way, our page Imagewould never have been successful.  Paraphrasing (loosely) Mother Theresa, “You don’t have to do great things to make a difference, just small things with great love.” Besides, maybe a single person can’t make a huge impact alone, but lots of people with a common purpose can literally move mountains and make miracles happen. 

Every day of your life is a chance to make an impact on this world.  It’s a new chance to live the life you have always dreamed of.  Nothing is life is guaranteed or given, and most of us willing never know how much time we have left.  Leave your mistakes and regrets in the past.  Tell your loved ones how you feel about them often.  Be grateful for what you have, and consider what an impact a simple act of kindness can make in someone else’s life.

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I’m Sexy and I Know It

A great figure or physique is nice, but it’s self-confidence that makes someone really sexy.
Vivica Fox 
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Ok fellow thrivers, I told you all I would keep you updated on my progress with the Get Fit Challenge, and that is what I am here to do!  Today was our second weigh in.  The Hubs is down 8 lbs and I am down 4 lbs (to 140) from last week.  I think most of it is primary due to water weight, especially given we both ran for an hour beforehand.  However, I am pretty sure that it’s reflective of some progress.  I have to admit that I have not been particularly focused on losing weight.  I have been focused on eating healthier.  I gave up caffeine (including Diet Coke!… *tear) and have been trying to avoid processed foods and refined sugars.  Instead, I’m getting in more protein and fresh produce.  I have to say it’s a lot easier to eat “clean” with the hubs on the same page.  He bought a juicer and is also on a healthy eating kick.

ImageI certainly don’t feel any different yet. Nor do I think I look any different, but then I was never worried about changing my appearance.  I don’t think a number on a scale is an accurate measure of health for me anyway.  Most people are shocked to hear how much I weigh because I apparently don’t look 140 lbs (not sure exactly what 140 lbs is supposed to look like, but I guess it’s not petite).  What can I say? I’m dense… literally.  I worked hard for all that muscle, so I’m not about to sweat if my BMI doesn’t coincide with my fitness level.  

More importantly that number on the scale does reflective what my body can do.  I ran my first 50 K at my heaviest weight ever, which happens to be my current weight.  At the time, I was working out with a trainer 3 days a week AND running, cycling, and training on my own.  I don’t think my body could have carried me through that kind of terrain and mileage without gaining muscle mass and strength.  Plus, I truly believe all that cross training kept me injury free.  My point is, I can do things with my body now that I couldn’t do when I was “thinner” and lighter.  I can do chin ups, knee tucks while balancing on medicine balls, and workouts my trainer’s other clients can handle.  Why? Because I have MUSCLES and I WORK HARD.  Furthermore, I am proud of what my body can do.  Every achievement is a testament to the amount of effort I’ve put in, from hours at the gym to what I put in my mouth.

I don’t need to be the fittest, hottest, or most attractive girl out there.  I just need to know that I am doing my best.  I am not working out to be sexy.  I already am sexy- whether I’m 120 lbs or 150 lbs!  I am sexy because I am driven, passionate, and know who I am.  To me, self confidence is sexy.  Pushing limits, working up a sweat, and being willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty is sexy.  

Sexy is like happiness.  It doesn’t come from someone else.  You don’t need anyone else to make you feel sexy.  It doesn’t come from skin baring photos and likes and comments on Facebook.  It’s something that comes from within, and it comes with self love and self acceptance.  People who have it don’t need to flaunt it; rather, it emanates from within them.  It’s in their smile and their walk.  It’s in the way they treat other people.  

Let me tell you all a secret.  While I may be “thin” and able to fit in a zero or size 2 (dress, for sure not pants!) I still have stretch marks, cellulite, love handles, and rolls when I sit.  Want to know another secret? I am ok with it.  Most women do.  Sure, I could concentrate on getting thinner, but that wouldn’t help the stretch marks or cellulite; and frankly, my hip bones stick out enough.  These are not things that detract from beauty.  These “flaws” are part of who I am and a body that has achieved more psychically than I ever thought possible.  What’s more, when I mentioned my stretch marks the other day to my husband he seemed genuinely surprised and said he never even noticed.  So maybe, just maybe, we ladies can be a little too hard on ourselves.

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Me on my bike trainer… pretty sexy, right?

Sure I have days when I feel like “a busted can of biscuits” or just unattractive in general, but then I go for a run or get in a workout.  It never fails that within minutes that feeling vanishes… not because I’m “fixing the problem,” but rather because I’m changing my perspective.  What do I care about waking up bloated if I can still run over 30 miles or dead lift my body weight?  

Today, for example, I ran 7 miles in under an hour, completed the workout of the month at the gym (10 pushups, 20 knee tucks, 30 sec plank, 20 knee tucks, 10 pushups twice through all with feet in the TRX), and did an hour on the bike trainer.  How could I hate my body after all of that?

As someone who started this blog as a way to advocate for and inspire women, I want to do more than just encourage women (and men) to go out and chase after their dreams.  I want to let them know they are beautiful, clever, lovable, and sexy.  I want to demonstrate that these are qualities we need to find and appreciate in ourselves before we expect anyone else to.  Every person has his or her own unique mystique and quirks.  Instead of trying to conform to other peoples’ expectations of how to look and behave, we should all spend our energy on accepting ourselves and celebrating our individuality.  Furthermore, we should love our bodies for what they allow us to do rather than pick apart all the parts we don’t like.  Instead of viewing ourselves as having this or that flaw, let’s all embrace the total package.  

After all, you are a pretty amazing human being. 🙂

Repeat after me: I am sexy!    

Now say it and mean it!

PS. That is my new Tough Chik tank in the photo!  YEA!!!! I got my gear 🙂  Still need to spend that gift card though.  Hang Tough Thrivers!!!!

 

New Year, New Adventures!

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”
Helen Keller 

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Recently, I have been a bad blogger.  I could blame the holidays, but the fact is that there are just a lot of things higher on my priority list than blogging right now. Not that blogging isn’t important to me or I don’t enjoy it, but spending time with my husband and family, getting in a good workout (or two…or three), and getting adequate sleep all rank higher on my list.  Sometimes it’s hard to juggle everything plus the full time job; unfortunately, that means frequently the blogging gets cut.  However, with the new year upon us I am going to making an effort at blogging more regularly… again 😉

One new exciting thing is with the start of 2014, I am now officially a Tough Chik.  For those of you unfamiliar with what Tough Chik is, you should check out their website.  I already have their Toughie long sleeve T-shirt, and I have to admit that I immediately wear it every time it comes out of the wash because it is just so darn comfy.  I am still waiting for my official gear to arrive, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, my hubs gave me a gift card for Christmas (I might have sent him a few links to items on my wish list…) which I am looking forward to spending.

In other news, I have done something I never thought I would do and joined a Weight Loss Challenge.  No, I am not worried about my weight.  The hubs is trying to lose 20-30 lbs (so he can attain the appropriate weight recommended for his dream bike); and I am being a supportive wife.  We joined the Challenge as a team, so that means for every pound I don’t lose he’ll have to work that much harder.  See, supportive! Given that he is uber competitive, I thought the Challenge would be good motivation for him.  Plus, it’s through our gym, so it’s convenient AND they give a new challenge every week to get extra points toward winning.  This week was our first challenge.  It was a pretty simple fitness test consisting of as many reps as possible in 1 min for push-ups (43), sit-ups (58), and air squats (63).  Then we had to run/walk for 12 min and cover as much mileage as we could (1.68 miles).  We also had our first weigh in today (142.4).

While I am not particularly concerned with needing to drop any weight, let’s face it: after the holidays we all feel fat and bloated.  We eat waaaayyyy more crap than we would normally, and our bodies rebel against us.  Not to mention that I for one am really prone to letting a workout slide around Christmas in favor of getting some last minute errands done.  Then once my routine is messed up, it all goes to hell.  I have already been redoubling my efforts to get back on track, but this fitness challenge will add a little extra push.  Plus, with the hubs motivated to get in shape, I won’t have to feel like I need to choose between spending time with him and working out.

As some added motivation to get into better shape, the hubs has been pushing to start a family.  Initially, I had told him I wanted to attempt a Half Ironman first.  However, now I am starting to realize that I have a more finite window for producing healthy offspring than I do for accomplishing all my fitness goals.  Since you are only supposed to maintain your current level of activity when pregnant, I figured it’s best to get my arse in the best shape possible NOW.  While I realize that fitness during pregnancy is a bit of a hot topic lately, I have always been taught (as a women and healthcare professional) that exercise during pregnancy is totally safe as long as the women is already conditioned for it.  Therefore, if I am in great shape prior to getting pregnant that means it should be ok to continue strength training, spinning, running, and swimming (in moderation).  Obviously, all that would be off in the event of a complicated pregnancy; but I am a firm believer that being a fit pregnant women is good for the baby and mom… not to mention the easier delivery/recovery.  Plus, if I am going to be a vessel for a baby, I want to be the healthiest possible vessel.  To me, that means eating healthy AND working out for as long as it’s safe to do so.

That’s about all the excitement I have to share for now.  I will keep you all posted on the Weight Loss Challenge and family expasion progress.  In the meantime, you can rest assured that I will continue to kill it in the gym.  I hope you all had a lovely holiday.

Much Love!

The Running Thriver

Why Would You Do That?

“Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable.”
-Leo Rosten 

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I have stopped telling people I’m training for a half ironman.  In fact, I have stopped mentioning to people that I want to do tri’s at all.  Why?  Well, frankly, I am tired of people asking “why would you do that?”  The first question in itself is not too bothersome, but the barrage that follows is: “don’t you have to swim?” “isn’t swimming hard?” “aren’t you worried about the swim?” “do you have any experience at that?” “don’t you think you should start with something shorter?” “you know I heard that course was hard”… It goes on and on.

ImageWhile I appreciate the genuine concern, sometimes it makes me want to scream.  OF COURSE I know the course is hard!  It’s a half ironman! That is the whole point!  Why would I expect it to be easy?  Also, I am well aware there is swimming involved; but last time I checked, it was not impossible to learn to swim as an adult.  As far as having experience, if we all waited to have experience at triathlons before ever doing one, I suppose none of us ever would, would we?  Besides, I am an endurance athlete.  My favorite race distance is 13.1 miles.  I ride my bike for hours at a time.  Why on earth would I want to do anything with the word “sprint” in it?  The race would be over before I ever hit my groove.  Plus, I just don’t move that fast.  It’s not my thing, end of story.

People don’t understand this though when you try to explain it, so I’ve stopped trying.  I know they don’t mean to rain on my parade, but I’m still tired of the negativity.  I don’t want to be told I can’t or shouldn’t do something when my heart is already set on it; and I especially don’t want to hear how unhealthy my endurance training lifestyle is from people who drink, smoke, and over eat.  I feel like there is something a little backwards when people chastise me for running long distances, but pat each other on the back for binge drinking and hooking up with random strangers.  

What these people don’t understand, and there is no hope in explaining to them, is the deeper why: The is a reason I push my Imageself through grueling endurance events that goes beyond a new record or shiny bling.  It’s about building inner strength and reminding myself what I’m made of.  I try to pick at least one race a year that is way outside my comfort zone because I don’t ever want to stop challenging myself or pushing my limits.  I want to keep finding things that look impossible and prove to myself they aren’t.  Every event is an opportunity to look fear and doubt in the face and then leave them in the dust.  These events have helped mold my identity and make me feel good about myself.

For me, it’s also a reminder that all pain ends eventually.  Not just on the race course, but in life.  It’s a conditioning exercise in dealing with bad times and crisis.  Anyone can handle life when things are going well, but doing these events gives me that extra faith in myself that I’ll be able to handle whatever else life throws at me as well.  

When I was with my abuser, he made it a point to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough.  He pointed out that I couldn’t handle “any little thing” and regularly pointed out everything he thought was wrong with me.  He truly believed that I was Imageweak and couldn’t handle life.  Doing a half ironman (especially after selling my rings to buy a bike) will be my way of saying “hey pal, you couldn’t have been more wrong about me.”  Even more than that, it addresses those little twinges of doubt that linger even years after the abuse.  That little voice that creeps up and tells you that he may have been right...there’s no better way to silence it than prove it wrong.

At the end of the day, when I am out there in the midst of a race hating life and wanting to quit- that is when I am learning who I am and growing.  That is when I feel most alive. I’m not out there to break any records or compete with anyone else.  I am out there for me.  It’s an investment in becoming the best possible version of myself.  I don’t need cheerleaders at the sidelines or pats on the back, I just need me and the course.

I am ok if people don’t understand the why or think I’m strange.  I’ve never been one to follow the crowd anyhow.  The bottom line is I don’t know how to do anything half assed.  Anything I am going to spend energy on- from my job to my life- I am going to give 100%.  Therefore, if I am going to sign up for an event, it’s going to be the toughest one I can handle.  In this case, it’s a half ironman. After that who knows… maybe a full ironman, and no I probably won’t share that I’m training for it. 😉 

Entering New Territory

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life

as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

-Booker T. Washington 

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             Thank you Man Bicep! Love this one!

Today I entered uncharted territory: I started swim lessons. This was a HUGE step for me, and the final piece in my triathlon training journey.  I had intentionally saved swimming for last because I knew it would be the most difficult for me.  I was so nervous about the class starting that I literally got no sleep.  I was up every hour on the hour and just lied awake most of the night.  I was afraid that my total lack of experience would be an issue and that the swim instructor or other class members would be impatient and mean.  What I found when I arrived was quite the opposite!

ImageThe swim coach assured me that I would not be the only person foreign to lap swimming (as well as swim caps, goggles, etc), and although that was a total lie and I was the ONLY inexperienced person in the class, things still went remarkably well.  The first half of the class I tried to get the hang of putting my face in the water and breathing properly, but I was really struggling- despite the best efforts of the coach to help me.  I just couldn’t get the hang of the rhythm, and found I didn’t have enough time to get air in before putting my face back in the water. I ultimately figured I could either spend my class time working on the breathing or attempt to do the work out .  It seemed more helpful to focus on the workout and practice proper breathing on my own time.  

Once I did give up on putting my face in the water, I was actually able to keep up with the rest of the “slow” group.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how many laps I was able to swim with fairly minimal rest in between. The other swimmers were not bothered by my total newbiness, and that was a huge comfort.  In fact, they were all very supportive, assuring me it would get easier and that I was in the right place.  One swimmer even offered to work with me on the breathing outside of class, which was a super kind gesture.  Even the life guard introduced himself and offered support….which made me wonder just how badly I looked like I was struggling.  I later found out that he was the one who had taught the swimmer who offered to help me how to breath properly a few years earlier.  It appeared I was not the only person picking up swimming as an adult after all.  

Maybe it was the fact that I was so much younger than everyone else that caused everyone to take me under their wing; Imagehowever, I’m noticing that people at the YMCA are like that.  It’s like a little community there with everyone on a first name basis, which is probably why new people stick out like a sore thumb to them.  It’s comforting to be in such a warm, friendly environment when taking on something as anxiety provoking (for me) as swimming.  There is just something about putting my face in the water that makes me tense up and hyperventilate! Yet, I think if I am going to overcome that anxiety and get the hang of swimming properly that the other swimmers are right about me being in the right place.

Being in that pool today, I was pleasantly surprised with myself.  Of course, I was not thrilled about being unable to conquer the breathing, but I was excited that I was able to swim so many laps.  More than that, I was keeping up with people who have a lot more experience at swimming than I do.  Given that I have almost 8 months before the half ironman, I think  hope I should be in good shape.  

ImageIn other riveting news, I also started spin classes today!  It was super fun too!  Adam and I went together, but I don’t think he was quite as enthusiastic as I was.  In fact, I noticed I was the only person smiling through the entire workout, which I don’t completely understand… Doesn’t everyone love endorphins? 😉  By the end of the class, I had covered over 23 miles which is kind of ridiculous even for a bike.  That’s sub 3 minute miles!  Plus, that was on top of my hour of swimming (no rest for the weary there!), 4 mile run (on the dreadmill at 9 min pace), and full leg workout with the trainer.  I think it’s safe to say that I am going to be very sore and hungry tomorrow!  Don’t worry, I did at least take a nap in between my leg workout and the spinning.  🙂

 

Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I am hoping to get out early enough to catch the next swim class afterward… that is if I am still able to move by tomorrow…  Hopefully I will get some decent rest tonight.  If nothing else, at least I get to sleep until 4:30 instead of getting up at 4 for the pool!

My New Home and the Next Step

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
-Lao Tzu 

 

 

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Sadly, I am almost finished with the last of my training sessions.  :’-(  As it worked out, they wrap up just in time for the Bimbler’s Bluff 50K.  I think I can safely say that I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I’m hoping that will be enough to carry me through what I know will be a grueling run.  As an added incentive to hang in there, I have asked the women I am fundraising for to write some notes of encouragement that I can carry with me and read when I’m exhausted and want nothing more than to quit.  More than just having the letters to read, it will mean beyond I can even express in words to have them with me through the day.  It’s a tangible reminder to why I will be there.  Plus, I also feel like it’s a great symbolic gesture to carry them (the women, not the notes) with me on that day to overcome the challenge together. After all, our strength is drawn from our sense of community.  In reality, I think it might be the thrivers who will truly being carrying me through the day and not the other way around… 

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My cool new swimming gear!

Despite all the initial drama with my trainer, I have to admit that he has kind of grown on me… sort of like a little brother who annoys the hell out of you but you love him anyway...  Once we had a chance to hash things out, we were able to build a pretty solid partnership; and I am truly bummed to see it end.  As much as I would love to continue training even on a once weekly basis, between the amount of time I’ll be spending on triathlon training and the need to cut back on expenses, I just don’t think it will be feasible the next few months.  I suppose I will have to resort to kicking my own butt for awhile.  At least it’s something we all know I have experience with.  Plus with all the swimming, biking, and running that is about to commence, I am hoping I won’t lose too much ground in the conditioning department.  Besides, I always have Insanity and P90X to fall back on for cross training… and my trusty pull-up bar. 😉

The positive part about my training ending is I now have the time and funds (well not really, but I’ll make it work) to start swimming.  Up until this point I have only known how to swim to avoid drowning, so I definitely have A LOT to learn… Possibly even more than with cycling. Maybe I should be more scared… Better yet, maybe the swim instructors should be!

However, I am determined and committed. (I would like to cite the fact that I found a swim suit, goggles, and swim cap all in the off season today as proof!) I have been trying to find an affordable place to swim with a flexible pool schedule for quite some time now, and let me tell you it has been no easy task!  Ultimately, we decided that the Greater Waterbury YMCA will be my new home- for at least the next 8 months anyway.  

I picked the Greater Waterbury YMCA over our local one because they have two pools instead of one and a way more flexibleImage lap swim schedule.  In fact, I don’t think there are any hours that they don’t allow lap swimming during the day.  They also have off street parking AND for some reason the membership was cheaper… which makes no sense because it’s all the same organization.  Anyway, now that we joined, we can go to either one so I guess it doesn’t really matter.  Adam had pushed for the YMCA over the other pools I looked at because they offer spin classes (in addition to a multitude of other classes which I’m kind of excited to try out… if I ever have spare time between all my other athletic endeavors).  They also just did a 10 million renovation so the facility itself is really nice, nicer than our current gym actually and with more equipment including bikes!

As sad as I am to close the chapter on my personal training, I am equally excited about taking the next step in my journey to becoming an ironman (or at least half of one)!  I already signed up for swimming lessons and am hoping to take my first one tomorrow after work.  I am happy that my new home is filled with friendly, helpful staff, AND that they have a triathlon club which starts up this winter.  I am really looking forward to taking on this next challenge and making another step in the direction of my goal… I just hope I don’t drown in the process 😉    

Small Victories

“Fall. Stand. Learn. Adapt.” 
― Mike Norton, Fighting For Redemption: Hangambiiki

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This past week I have had a relatively small victory in cycling, but a major personal victory none the less.  After forwarding Adam a list of the top routes to view CT foliage, he finally coerced me into going for a ride with him.  I have to give him credit too, because as of late I have been masterful at coming up with excuses not to ride my bike.  Somehow I thought getting the road bike I fell in love with would make me want to use it at every available chance.  However, after the multiple spills associated with mastering clipless pedals (not sure why they are called “clipless” when you actually have to clip in to them… and risk significant peril in the process…) I have decided I might love my life more without the added anxiety…  Typically, I try to give my scrapes and bruises a chance to start healing before I go out and acquire more.  In this instance, though, it was clear that my incredibly thoughtful hubby was not only making an effort to encourage my to ride, but also an attempt to spend quality time with me.  What girl can’t appreciate that?

Since awake time with my husband is in short commodity these days, I hit the road with him (despite any reservations) andImage we traveled up to Lake Waramaug.  I have to start off by saying that this ride was EXACTLY what I needed.  Despite the fact that the path around the lake was composed of regular streets, it was clear the route was used primarily by pedestrians and cyclists so the traffic was accustomed to sharing the road.  The route itself was slightly over 7 miles and made a perfect loop around the lake with beautiful views of the water and New England landscape the entire way.

It was a good mix of rolling hills and bends which kept things interesting, however the best part was there were very few left turns or intersections.  In fact, when we switched direction on our third lap and traveled on the lake side of the road, there were NO INTERSECTIONS OR LEFT TURNS AT ALL!  It was like I had died and gone to heaven!  Instead of worrying about falling over at a stop light, I was able to focus on my pedaling and going faster.  I even set a new speed record averaging over 15 mph! (sadly, this is super fast for me).  Adam had pointed out to me a while ago that the reason I don’t fatigue quickly (or even after hours) on my bike is that I “cruise” rather than ride.  I was determined to prove to him that it wasn’t true!  So, basically, I pedaled as hard as I could… at least when I wasn’t stuck behind a slow moving truck anyway

I made it a full three laps around and covered over 23 miles.  Adam went ahead and did a fourth for speed… and partially because he is a show off. jk I probably could have ridden longer but I was starving by the third lap and struggling to get my legs to move… the crazy AM workout with the trainer and over 5 miles of running earlier in the day may have had something to do with it as well…  When we did stop finally stop to get something to eat on the way home I think I ended up eating more than Adam I was so hungry! lol

Overall it was a great experience just to get out and actually enjoy a ride and take in the scenery.  Spending time with my handsome hubby was an added bonus!  The best part is I now have a place where I know I can log miles in without anxiety.  Maybe there is hope for me yet!

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