Archive for March, 2013

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike

Posted on March 29, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

stock-footage-little-girl-on-bike

It’s springtime in central Texas.  The mountain laurel has bloomed, saturating the air with its grape soda smell. Bluebonnets blanket hills and highway medians.  We hit a record 95° high last week, only to be followed by nights dipping into the 30s this week.  Definitely spring in Texas.

My neighbors are elbow-deep into spring cleaning.  There’s pruning and mowing and aerating outside.  Carpet cleaning, closet organizing, and decluttering inside.  Garage sales blossom like prickly pears.

My spring cleaning isn’t quite like theirs.  I dust off only two things:  My bicycle and Queen.

Not Queen Elizabeth II, or even Queen Latifah.  You know, Queen.  You probably recognize the bleacher stomping at most sports events. We Will Rock You.  That Queen.

A few days ago, I broke out my bike. Wheeled it out of the garage, pumped up its flat tires, wiped off cobwebs and last year’s tri sticker, oiled and polished it to a sheen.

I haven’t been on it since last year’s tri.

This year’s tri is coming soon enough, and I have a new goal.  I need to finish it in better time than last year.  I need to make it up the monster bike hill without the momentary standing still on the steepest grade, the rolling slightly backward.

I need to ride.  More than that, I want to.

And so Queen will be my closest companion on early Sunday mornings from here on out, Bicycle Race on continuous loop on the iPod in my head.

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride it where I like

Spring cleaning?  Nothing to it.  Just me and my bike.

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Are You a Runner?

Posted on March 22, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Roadrunner

I have a friend who’s run 2 marathons and several shorter races since she took up running 3 years ago.  She says she’s not a runner.  She says her friend, on the other hand, is. We’ve had some lengthy discussions about what the heck she means.

What, exactly, does it mean to be a runner?

Runners run.  At least at some point in their lives they did, even if they do not now.  But there is something more to being a runner than running.

What are the physical parameters a runner maintains?  Perhaps more important, is there something unique inside a runner’s head?

What do you think–what is a runner?  Are you one?

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Good-Bye No-Plan Plan, Hello (Torture) Structure

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

no plan b

After three weeks of aimlessness, I have an official training plan.

Last Sunday I created a 3+ month training schedule and registered for the races I had already selected, one per month:

  • March 23 – 10k
  • April 6 – 10k
  • May 18 – 10K
  • June 22 – Sprint tri

What a relief.  Sort of.

I kicked off my plan with a day of rest.  I needed time to process the whole thing, for starters.  Plus it was a Sunday, already late in the afternoon by the time I sat down to figure things out.  It was also the first day of Daylight Savings Time, which I still am not adjusted to, and the day after my birthday, a late night to say the least. I actually slept until almost 10 am.  A record, I think.

Even though I’m excited to have a plan again, it’s been a tough week of adjustment.  I’ve had a hard time waking up at 5ish after three weeks of sleeping until 6 or 7, and an even harder time with daily motivation.

However, I figured out a long time ago that I’m the kind of person who needs the structure of a training plan not only to keep me on the right health track but also to keep me on-task in life.  I am so much more productive in all other areas of my life when I can roll out of bed and run.

One more week, and I’ll be fine.  It will feel less like torture and more like it should feel—fun.

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Confessions of a Chocolate Hoarder

Posted on March 8, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Un cuore nel cioccolato

I’m off chocolate.  Again.  Soon, at least.  Probably Sunday.

I have this scary addictive kind of relationship with chocolate. Once I get started, I have a hard time stopping.

It’s not the sugar in it that gets me.  It’s the chocolate.  I can do without all other kinds of sugary things.

Soda?  Never.

Juice? I don’t get it.  Why drink a fruit when you can eat it instead?

Cakes, pies, donuts, hard candies, Skittles, licorice, you name it. If it doesn’t contain chocolate, I don’t want it.  It’s an easy pass.

Once I’m off chocolate, it’s gone, out of my life.  That is, the idea of chocolate—its shadow or form, if you will—may exist in my mind (thanks a lot, Plato), but chocolate disappears from my home and from my physiological desire. I don’t need it anymore.

While I’m on it, however, it changes me.  I am not the generous, sure-go-ahead-and-borrow-my-car-for-a-week kind of gal I usually like to be.  Not if it involves chocolate.

No, you can’t have a bite of my death by chocolate cake.  Slice your own piece.

What do you mean you want one of my Reese’s peanut butter cups?  There are only 2.  I have none to spare.

Selfish.  A chocolate hoarder.  That’s what I become.  And, yes, please take my car for a week.  That leaves me so much more time to sit home with my boxes of Girl Scout cookies and count them into nice, neat stacks.  One for me. One for me.  Two for me. Two for me.  Now that’s my idea of fun.

It’s the getting off chocolate that’s not much fun.  It only takes a few days, but during those dog days (even if it’s March), I even dream in chocolate.

So if it does all that, you might ask, why did I get back on?

It’s complicated.

See, there’s Easter, which weasels in to the local stores sooner with every year, and with Easter comes the dread Cadbury Egg.  And, of course, it’s Girl Scout cookie season, which may or may not have similarities to deer season.  And in between, I have a birthday.  What is a birthday if not a day to eat chocolate cake?

But, of course, there is more.  I met my running goal.  My white-slate refrigerator side is once again empty, and I have no new goal visibly posted.  There are goals in my head to get me through November, but until they are written, broken down into their daily tasks, organized into a training calendar, and pinned up in my kitchen, chocolate gets free reign.

So Sunday is the day.  The day that daylight savings time begins. The day after my birthday.  The day I will do laundry, so that the jeans that have been worn into looseness will tighten back up and cling in ways they were not intended to.  I will create my training plans and post them.

Once again, it will be death to chocolate rather than death by chocolate.

Wish me luck.

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Who Gave You Permission to Rest?

Posted on March 1, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

funny-pics.co

funny-pics.co

I’ve had what my brain considers to be some very lazy days.  The taskmaster part of my brain, that is.  The part that creates my schedule, absolutely loves to-do lists, demands focus, and keeps me on-task, in work, sleep, fitness, and even fun.

I hate that part of my brain.

Particularly when my body and the rest of my brain are clamoring for free time.  Enough already, they scream, so loudly sometimes they keep me awake at night.

Why can’t I be like normal people and take it easy from time to time?  Assuming, of course, that’s what normal people do.

Since I completed a half marathon nearly 2 weeks ago, I have not gone out for a run or in to the gym for strength training.  Instead of waking up before the crack of dawn, I have let my body dictate when it wants to rise.  I still wake up (briefly) at 5 am, then roll over and promptly go back to sleep.  When I do get up, dawn has cracked.

I know that it’s good for me to take a break from routine of any kind.  It helps me to come back fresh, strong, whether I’m training for an event or tackling a work project head-on.  Mental and physical breaks are a necessity, at least for me.

Plus, it’s not like I’ve done nothing. I’ve gone to a few Pilates classes, done some Yoga.  I’ve focused on stretching and have resumed the daily core work my body needs.  I’ve started a new work project and tied up some loose ends. I’ve even set a date to begin whatever it is I’m supposed to begin:  March 1.  A nice, round number.

So why does the OCD part of my brain keep picking on me?

Wednesday morning I caught myself staring uncomfortably at my refrigerator. No, I was not trying to invoke any x-ray vision gifts I might have miraculously been given by trying to see the stacks of Girl Scout cookies in my freezer. I already broke into those.  Rather, I was noticing what was posted on the side.  My half marathon training schedule, all penciled in.  My race bib and finisher’s medal.   A race bib and 2nd place medal from a mid-training race.

I took them down and put them away, leaving an empty white space in their stead.  My OCD-brain breathed a sigh of relief. Order restored. A clean, white slate waiting to be filled.  The fist between my shoulder blades unclenched.

There is promise ahead. But first, at last, there is rest.

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