#nostrava Saturday

So, an idiot with aerobars hit and killed a pedestrian in Central Park this week. And, BikeSnobNYC wrote a decent proposal to de-Strava-fy for the weekend out of solidarity for the dead woman’s family.

So, I did.

Missy and I did our semi-regular loop this Saturday morning. It’s glorious here – started the day at about 50 degrees, up to mid 60s by the time we made it downtown for lattes. The loop’s almost perfect – a quick kicker of a climb about 5K into it, rollers for the next 15K, coffee at about 25K, and we’re home and dusted less than two hours after we leave and about 25 miles later. Half the ride has water views, most of it has very little traffic and great shoulders – you should come ride with us.

The above is from last weekend. Missy uses a garmin and doesn’t upload to Strava, and she says we went faster this week than last week. But, honestly, that’s not why we were out there. It was a gorgeous day, we sweated a bunch, spent some quality time together, and helped accelerate the eventual heat death of the universe. Not much more a guy can ask for.

I’ve got to point out here that I can’t blame Strava for one idiot on a bike, and I plan to go back to logging bike rides on Strava as soon as I ride again after today. Strava is kind of a net positive to my mind, a place where one can track progress and evaluate fitness trends. I’ve used it to find good rides and runs as I’ve traveled, and it’s probably kept me safer overall than if it didn’t exist.

The bigger takeaway I’ve got, though, is that we, as individuals, put a pretty low price on other people’s lives sometimes. I’m participating in #nostrava weekend because I think we need to change that. As a driver, I’d also like to see something similar started when a motorist kills a cyclist or pedestrian, but that really takes the form of being a more conscientious driver every day, as the country averages about 100 fatalities from automobiles EVERY SINGLE DAY EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. And a lot of those are from folks who didn’t think they were trying to set a personal speed record.

Be good to each other out there, no matter what your mode of transport.

In the end, the blackberries will take over

In the end, Tom Robbins may be right about blackberries.

The woman who checked me into the hotel at SEA-TAC pointed me down the hill to the DesMoines Creek Park trail to get in my daily 5K. Lovely run, except for the almost 250′ of climbing over a quarter mile between the hotel and the trailhead.

Nice paved bike path type trail; not a whole lot of people, but a ton of beautiful ripe blackberries sitting there waiting to be eaten. Made me happy.

Ankle felt good. Slow and steady.

Posted in Run

Maybe it’s the altitude

Wow – Four whole posts this year.

There’s a little bit of reason for that, but first, some running.

I’m away for work, previewing New Mexico for the troop trip to Philmont next year (and some real job stuff, too), and staying on east coast time means getting up at 4 AM local and getting on the treadmill. ‘Cept today I didn’t get on the treadmill, I headed outside.

Great pre-traffic run. Little bit of gravel through a park, no twinges in my foot.

Sometime back in February or March I sprung the crap out of the tendon on the inside of my left ankle. So, it’d hurt one day, feel good the next, and I’d go out and put, say 4 or 6 miles on it. Then it’d swell up and hurt like heck for a day, I’d rest for a day, and then run when it felt marginal. Eventually, one day of recovery stretched to two or three.

Finally, in late May, I went and saw a doc. Nothing broken. Went to the podiatrist, and “Hey, the left foot’s way flatter than the right foot!” Great.

June was spent in an ankle brace, July’s been spent walking in orthotics and doing short jogs. August will be spent underway, so by September I should be somewhat back. And singing Bad-a-yah.

Two days in, I think I did get a light case of altitude sickness – woke up with a headache, nausea, and drymouth this morning that couldn’t be explained by too much beer last night. Wish I were staying here – coffee, exercise, and exposure to altitude would cure that in the long run.

It’s good to be back running.

Not Dead Yet (again)

It’s been a frustrating spring. Cold, wet, blah, blah, blah.

    Something’s up with my left foot. Started training for a marathon to be named later, and sometime in mid-March, felt a pop midway through a 10 miler. Left foot felt really, really tender. Ran another mile on it, then walked about 3 to get home. (Probably should have called the wife for a pickup). Since then, the foot’s swelled up for about two days every time I run, and really starts to hurt at about 4 miles. (Probably should go see a doctor) Bleh. Want to run
    So, don’t use aluminum bolts to hold a rack to a frame if you anticipate carrying anything resembling a normal work load (computer, notebook, change of clothes, lunch) on a regular basis. The one aluminum bolt I had on my commuter snapped earlier this winter. Tried to use an “easy-out” to pull the aluminum out of the steel frame, and ended up with a really, really smooth hole. So, now I’m terrified because I’m about to re-thread the hole. Worst case – need to put in a helicoil, but had to source a tap.

Anyway, it’d be really easy to be down, I think. BUT!

Snuck out for a quick ride after a storm on Sunday afternoon, and, without really trying to hammer, cranked out 6 PRs and two personal seconds on a loop I ride pretty frequently.

Not bad for an aging, fat dude.

Spring

Huh. February. Where’d that go?

Actually, it’s pretty much for the best that February is a black hole for this year. Pretty decent month running, great month spinning, but, like the old joke goes:

Why does February not have 30 days?

‘Cause if it did, I’d have to kill myself.

Not quite that bad, but, holy cow, I was ready for March to arrive.

Anyhow, rode to work this morning. Had a meeting in Mystic, so caught a ride for me and my bike over to the meeting, and closed out the day here:

Even better was Saturday. Solid 10K run on a leg that’s coming back from a near miss with PF, and a great spin – about 15 miles, then this:

Then an easy 5 home. In shorts.

Spring’s a magical time. I think that there’s a good chunk of survivor camaraderie going on – on my ride in this morning, there were at least two cases in which drivers actually yielded the right of way to me. Stunned. It’s usually pretty easy to ride around here, but this morning was especially nice.

Lots and lots of happiness.

Survived birthday season with the boys, and looking forward to spring. Only cloud on the horizon is that Missy and I didn’t get a relay team for the Vermont City Marathon. Can’t have everything, I suppose.

Popped the Commute Zero

I’d like to claim that I’m way, way, harder core than I am.

But, simple fact of the matter is that I haven’t actually commuted to work since 8 November, and hadn’t ridden the bike outside since my snowy mountain bike epic in December.

Bleh.

There’s excuses – Daylight savings time, sun not rising till after 7 and setting before 430. Whatever. Like other things, everybody’s got ‘em.

Today, ran out of excuses. Temp in the morning was mid-20s, sky was light by 630, and forecast to get to the 40’s before the end of the day. Awesome. Good ride in, slow despite a winter’s dedication to spin class, but the bike worked.

Biggest difficulty was in getting started – After over two months off, absolutely nothing was where it was supposed to be. Couldn’t find light batteries, couldn’t find gloves (and the ones I found weren’t thick enough by a long shot). Legs felt like sausages, bike felt heavy, and seemed like a consistent headwind.

Funny thing, though – I haven’t been able to quit smiling since I got to the office, knowing that I get to ride home. Headwinds on the way to work become tailwinds on the way home. Lots of slow tough rides lead to fast legs. Moving legs like sausages makes them legs like pistons.

Other stuff:

    If you haven’t, Mr. Cosmo Catalano has been, singlehandedly, providing the absolute best bike racing compendium weekly with The Week In Bike. Even my kids have started to look forward to this. Poor them.
    No real progress on deciding on an epic for this year. New job is exceptional, but I may be traveling for most of August, which throws a wrench (spanner) in using August for the execution of the Epic.
    In another life, I’m both a Cubmaster and an Assistant Scoutmaster. Still kind of ambivalent about the whole paramilitary structure of scouting, having spent a little bit of time working for the ghost of Hyman Rickover. But! Our troop got picked to go to Philmont in 2015. Which means that I can either grow more muscles to haul my pack at altitude, or I can finally drop the 30 lbs I’ve been meaning to for, well, ever.

So, that’s about it. Miss the dwindling RBF.

Black Lines – Advent Day 11

As you can probably tell, I’ve pretty much decided to power on through the Advent Project, despite the fact that I let it lapse for fourteen days. Eh. What’s fourteen days between friends?

Today may have started out as a perfect example of how lucky I am:

Woke up next to the love of my life snug in my own bed. Made it down to the YMCA in plenty of time to get a good bike, and started warming up. Light class load during the pre-New Year break, and Noreen kills the lights, turns on the blakclight, and fires up “Speak To Me” for the classic “Dark Side of the Moon” class (Ride? I don’t necessarily feel comfortable using cycling terminology for spin class, which is a different animal, a ghost shadow of the wonder that is really riding a bike).

Anyway, having been back to spin pretty consistently for almost two months, I had a breakthrough last week in that I finally re-learned pacing on rides, not wiping out too early, and not holding back and finishing fresh. Good times.

After spin, I hit the pool. And spent about 1500 yards staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool.

New Years started early this year – the pool was PACKED – every lane shared. I dropped in with a nice woman who was swimming A TON of leisurely laps, taking the lane next to the wall while she swam next to the rope. So, first thanks for the black line was in making one lane into two.

Then, as the swim went on, the pool slightly emptied out, and I was able to move over a couple of lanes for the last set – 250 hard. Head down, stretching to meet the black line with every stroke, and happy as a clam.

Got home good and tired to start the day.

Advent Day 10 – Travel

My lovely bride and I are currently up in North Adams, Mass, while our kids are at YMCA Winter Camp (Yep, we’re those parents who drop our kids off in the woods in the dead of winter then sneak off for a weekend at a fancy hotel and good meals. Terrible, terrible people.)

And, I know I hit on it before, but there’s something grand about being able to explore on foot. Sneakers and a single outfit are all you need to pack, and roads with sidewalks and decent shoulders are all a place needs to support the run.

Missy and I were up here (1) ’cause we didn’t have kids for the weekend, but if we just stayed at the house we’d end up finding stuff to do and not connecting with each other; (2) Because, despite being an engineer and absolutely artless, I’m actually very intrigued and fond of those who are creative; and (3) Wilco. Worth the trip for the day – the leisurely drive plus the museum got us to the hotel for a couple hours of R&R, then a quality supper walking distance from the hotel. Burned “The Philadelphia Story” from the hotel’s movie library, and then slept for 9 solid hours. Wow – must be vacation.

This morning, Missy managed to sneak off to the elliptical trainer in the hotel gym without waking me. I sat bolt upright in bed about 8, completely confused about when and where I was. Figured it out, and went to explore the town. A couple minutes with Google Maps, and I figured out I could do between 3 and 4 without getting lost and see most of the town, so I was off.

If only it were easier to travel with a bike…

Posted in Run

Forgiveness – Advent Day 9

The body’s both unforgiving and forgiving at the same time. Unforgiving, because a minor error in form can lead to injury just before a big race, and (in my case), a tendency to go just a couple calories over (just ONE cookie) every day leads to being consistently 20 pounds (10 kilos) overweight.

But, the body’s remarkably forgiving. I spent the first 25 years of my life not really caring about staying in shape. Then I did. Then I’ve been pretty streaky ever since. Despite severe personal failings, I’ve done several marathons, a half-Ironman, and more small races than I can count, plus wore out many, many more bike tires than car tires. No huge palmares, but I’m happy.

Today? Great example of that. I’ve been slacking on the run (last run was 10 days ago). Been to spin a bunch, but no running.

Got out the door this morning, and had an awesome run. Just down to the sheep pasture and back, ~6K, but the sun shone, the breeze blew, and the miles passed underfoot.

And my body said thanks.

Posted in Run