Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Bandwagon

Yesterday morning the weater looked gloomy.  The forcasters said it was going to rain all morning.  But what do they know, right?  Around 8:30am a post popped up on the Ocean Isle Beach Cyclists message board - here is the conversation that followed.

   Bike Shop Boy:  according to not suppose to rain until noon
                             whatcha think?

   Our Fearless Leader:  I can't do 9:00 AM, but could make it by 9:30 AM.

   Turtle Boy:  we talking today?

   Bike Shop Boy:  yes today I am in

   Turtle Boy:  ok ..........dirty bike here we go again.........

   Me:  I can do 9:30, wait for me!

Planet Bike Blinky
Super Flash!
So I get myself in gear.  Get the bike ready, whammo a bowl of cereal and head out the door with my "flashy light" blinking away.  It's super foggy, visibility is probably a few hundred feet.  Not the safest day to be on the road.  Plus the roads are wet because it's rained all night long.  I feel something that I'm going to call "mist" on my ride over to the bike shop.  It really feels like rain, but Bike Shop Boy said it's not going to rain.

We start out on the ride deciding to head away from the coast so there won't be as much traffic since it's still super foggy.  We make it just a few miles and what happens???  It starts to rain.  And then it rains harder.  So here we are, the four of us, The Usual Suspects riding in 50 degree weather in the rain.  We jokingly wonder what the drivers on the road must think of us.  I'm sure you have a pretty good idea. 

Of course I'm surprised when Harvey tells me to turn left on Ethridge.  We're going back.  Honestly, I was thinking "well we're already soaked, I guess we're going to continue on with the ride".   What kind of mentality is that? 

Bike Shop Boy offers me a ride home from the shop, but I tell him no thank you.  In my head I'm thinking, "that would cut off 6-8 miles, if I ride home and take the 8 mile route, I'll at least get in 30 miles".   Thirty miles is pretty much the shortest ride I will consider.  Anything less than that and it's just not worth getting your clothes dirty.  Turtle Boy's home is on the way, so I do take the 8 mile route.  By the time I get home I'm soaked through and through and freezing.  You know the kind of cold that when you take your super hot shower your hands and feet feel cold instead of heat? 

So are we dedicated or just plain stoopid?  I think neither.  I think we have Contagious Optimism!  It's nice to have a group of friends who are willing to jump on The Bandwagon and try to get in a ride no matter what the weather man says.  We made a fun memory to think back on this coming summer when we're melting in the 100% humidity.

Here is the message board post that was made just after the ride ended:

   Turtle Boy:  Just got some chinese food and read my fortune cookie
                        which I believe applies to OIB cyclists, especially after
                        today's Ride for Rain

                      It read.  "Confucious say "always check weather report yourself
                      before going for ride no matter what bike shop owner say".

I wonder what the next adventure will be!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Dirty Bike

Yesterday I finally got to ride my bike!!  The Usual Suspects Ride!  The weather here hasn't been too conducive for riding.  On Tuesday it rained all day - the weather was supposed to clear up and stop raining early Wednesday morning, it did, but not until around 8:00am.  People were bailing on the ride, one suggested an afternoon ride - no good for me, I had to be at work at 2:00pm.  I was disappointed.  Then, Harvey, "Our Fearless Leader" called and suggested a 9:30am start!  Whoo Hoo!! 

Harvey was already at the bike shop when I got there.  Thankfully he loaned me a fleece ear band, it was colder out than I thought it was and my ears were freezing.  Bruce, a.k.a. "Turtle Boy" was on his way. This was the nickname I gave Bruce,  not because of how he rides but because he is on Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Program during the months when the Sea Turtles lay their eggs at Sunset Beach (I call it Turtle Patrol).  He and other dedicated souls patrol the beach every morning looking for turtle tracks and new nests so that they can be marked or even relocated if necessary.  If they find one, then they "adopt" the nest and sit with it every night until the eggs hatch.  That is true dedication! 

Steve, who is better known to me as "Bike Shop Boy" (he owns the bike shop Island Hoppers, where we meet for the rides) wasn't going to ride, but Harvey saw him out on an early bike delivery while on his way to the bike shop.  Called him on his cell and made plans for us to ride by his house and pick him up for the ride. 

Immediately upon starting out on the ride I realized that this was going to be a pretty gross ride. The roads were still really wet from the rain, puddles here and there.  Rooster tails of muddy spray coming from the tire in front of you was the norm for the day.  I felt like the character from Put Me In The Zoo!  Does anyone else remember this book? I was covered in spots!  Mostly it got on my clothes, but on occasion on the face.  Nice.
We rode over the Sunset Beach Bridge and back and forth on the island and the roads there were muddy from so much run off where there isn't any grass.  Which is most all of the houses on the island.   In some sections of the road there were actually more puddles than road.  We looked like a bunch of skunks with dirty sandy streaks up our backs.  My poor bike was covered in dirt and sand.  I had to hurry to get to work so all it got was a good rinse - I need to give it a thorough cleaning very soon.

Turtle Boy hit one puddle with a hole hidden by the water and must have got a slow leak in his front tire. Bike Shop Boy had turned back towards home a little while before to get ready to open his shop.  We were close to the end of the ride and I looked back and Harvey was the only one there.  But no Turtle Boy, we waited a bit and then turned back to find him changing a flat. It was too bad that Bike Shop Boy wasn't there because he would have had the flat changed in just a minute or two!

We didn't ride super hard - just a good, even conversational pace.  The kind of ride you should be doing in the off season in the middle of the week.  It was nice to enjoy the morning with my cycling friends. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Old Man Winter

The weather here in Sunset Beach has been cold.  Really, really cold.  We had some snow, some ice, some freezing rain.  Ice on a Palm Tree is just wrong!

I've been able to run without any problems in the cold - just bundle up and get moving.  I can only run every other day though, more than that and it puts too much stress on my knees.  I need to get out on the bike but it's been just too cold!

Carol and me on one of those ridiculously cold rides.
Riding  in the cold is a different story.  For some reason once I go on a ride and get really chilled I have a tough time getting out there again on my bike.  All I can think of is just how frozen my feet and hands were on the last ride. 

My cutoff for temperature is usually 32 degrees - as long as it's sunny.  32 degrees with overcast skies is a completely different animal.  I use "hot hands" in the toes of my booties and in my gloves when I ride in cold weather, but sometimes it still doesn't help.  I need the weather to warm up, just a little bit.  I've had two of those really, really cold rides this season.  The last one found me sick for a couple days afterwards.  Now, I'm gun shy.

So today,  it was finally warm enough to ride - so The Usual Suspects rode in the afternoon.  Where was I??  Working.  Sigh..... 

By the time I get back on my bike all of my cycling fitness will probably be completely gone.  I can also tell that I haven't ridden much lately because the muscles above my right knee are really hurting when I run.  Cycling keeps the muscles around the knee strong, especially the Vastus Medialis Oblique or VMO.  This is one of the main muscles that power your bike.  It also helps stabilize the knee joint.  I had knee surgery on my left knee back in 2002, and when I'm not riding consistently I can really tell in my left knee.

I know I should be using the trainer and riding indoors... but I've just been too darned lazy.  I do much better using the trainer when I have a race deadline in the near future.  But right now the first race I have scheduled is in May, that's a long way off.  So for now, I'll just complain and wait for Old Man Winter to let go.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I've Been Spoiled

My spoiled life of leisure is ending today.  For the past 15 months I've been able to train whenever I pleased.  Ride on Saturday - no problem.  Run at noon - no problem.  Swim when I'm good and ready to drive to the pool - no problem.  But today I start a job. 

I'll be working at Bath and Body Works part time as a "Sales Leader".  That's their term for Assistant Manager.  Fortunately it's part time, but unfortunately it's retail - which means Saturdays and Sundays.  The store is located right next door to the Belk department store in Shallotte.  My husband, Bill is the Store Manager for Belk so I'll be right next door to him.  We can have lunch together sometimes!  And since he is the boss he can adjust his day off to coordinate when I'm not working - Bonus!

I suppose if I wanted to close every Saturday night I could still go on the Ocean Isle Beach Cyclists rides on Saturday mornings.  But working until 10:00 PM every Saturday night isn't something that I care to do.  I am excited about my new job though, and they said that they could work with my race schedule!  I love Bath & Body Works products!! 

I'm not a big fan of riding by myself, not so much because I need the company and encouragement, but I worry about getting hit by a car and being left for dead in a ditch.  It seems like the older I get the more paranoid I get about this, I never used to worry about it.  Plus I like the group dynamics of riding with others, it makes me push myself much harder than riding solo. The miles roll by much faster and I truly enjoy the camaraderie.  All this being said, I imagine I'll be doing some riding by myself.  Maybe I can get a sign like this for my back when I ride.

Planning my running and swimming won't be an issue at all.  Running especially.  I don't have any problem with tempo runs or negative split runs or even the long slow distance runs.  The iPod is my friend, and for Christmas Phoenix and Bogey got me a new 8GB Nano so I have tons of songs to choose from for running now.  The upbeat ones for faster runs and I love listening to Podcasts for my slower runs. 

Swimming by myself is fine as long as I have a workout to follow. I've had to do that ever since we moved from Texas where I swam with the Dallas Aquatics Masters (DAM).  There are so many sources on the Internet with a variety of workouts that it's easy to have a plan and follow it.  And when I was training for the 4 mile Take The Lake Swim last Labor Day I just contacted Bobby Patten, one of my old swim coaches with DAM for some ideas for high yardage workouts. Granted, I really enjoy swimming with a Masters Swim Program and miss it but I'm okay by myself.

I just have to get more scheduled and diligent in my training.  The outcome is "to be seen".  I'll let you know.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On Turning 50

Next month I turn 50.   Half a Century.  
The Big FIVE -O.

For some reason this is really bothering me, I know it's "just a number" and "you're only as old as you feel" but I'm not looking forward to this Birthday.  Maybe it's the new age group?  Maybe that in some races I'll now be racing in the "Grand Masters" catagory.  I know I don't look my age but just the same this is going to be a tough one. 

You would think that moving into a new age group would mean easier competition.  But unfortunately my main competition - Kari, Sharon, Rebecca - are all "aging up" this year too.  Great.  Plus there is a woman from Kure Beach who is already in the age group that consistently kicks my you know what whenever we race together, her name is Karen.  I do get to get away from Carol, Cheryl and another Rebecca though, at least for a few years!  This means that maybe my friend Carol won't be gunning for me at every race.  Not!  She's already planning revenge at the Kure Beach Triathlon in June.  I told her to keep dreaming!

I'm not sure what I'm doing to celebrate my Birthday - we talked about going to Disney World, or maybe New Orleans.  Either would be good for me, what better place to act like a kid? 

Growing Older But Not Up
I rounded first never thought of the worst
As I studied the shortstop's position
Then crack went my leg like the shell of an egg
Someone call a decent physician
I'm no Pete Rose, I can't pretend
While my mind is quite flexible
these brittle bones don't bend

I'm growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
So let the winds of change blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living then live while I'm dead

Sometimes I see me as an old manatee
Heading south as the waters grow colder
He tries to steer clear of the hum drum so near
It cuts prop scars deep in his shoulders
That's how it flows right to the end
His body's still flexible but that
Barnacle brain don't bend

So now don't get me wrong
This is not a sad song
Just events that I have happened to witness
And time takes it's toll as we head for the poll
And no one dies from physical fitness
That's how it goes, right to the end
As the days grow more complicated the night life still wins

Let the winds of change blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living then live while I'm dead.

-Jimmy Buffett

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Being Sick Stinks

I haven't felt right since after my New Year's Ride.  I wonder just what bug it was that I caught.  What ever it is I'll tell you, it stinks!!  Today is Wednesday, which means ride day with The Usual Suspects, I missed it.  I still feel a little queasy and tired.  Pathetic! 

I thought I was better yesterday and went for a nice easy 4 mile run.  Didn't push the pace, held it nice and easy.  Got home and later that day and... blech.  Felt weak and my stomach was hurting again. Not as bad as after the ride on Saturday but definitely not good. 
This afternoon the boys were in hyper-mode.  So I took them out for a short walk.  Good for Phoenix, but for Bogey it wasn't even a warm up.  So I got out my beach cruiser and took The Bogue for a run around the neighborhood.  Well, actually I just coasted. 

That boy has so much energy he ran and pulled me for about a mile and a half.  I wish I could bottle his energy for race day!!  When we got home, was he tired??  Of course not - his Dad was home so he raced to the garage door as fast as he could to get in and be with Dad. 

Oh.. and I think Bill may be getting what ever it is that I had.  It's nice to share!

Not a great start to the New Year with my training.  It's a good thing triathlon season is months away!

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Ride of the New Year

I went on my first ride of the New Year with "The Usual Suspects" plus a few others on January 1st.  We did a course we like to call the Two Bridge-Two Island Ride - a loop course that starts at Island Hoppers Bike Shop and takes us over both Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach Bridges.  The weather was a treat - shorts, jersey, arm warmers, wind vest and toe covers. On the islands the temperature was drastically different, it felt like a 10 degree drop - brrrr, quite chilly.

I rode 50 miles without any problems, felt a little sluggish going up and over the bridges which I contributed to the fact that it has been a month since I've been on my bike. The weather here at the beach has been unseasonably cold, we even had a brief visit the day after Christmas of some snow.  I always ride to and from home to these rides which adds 12 miles and gives me a nice warm up and cool down. 

I got home, took a nice warm shower and a nap.  When I woke up from my nap I felt horrible!!  It felt like I had the flu, body aches all over - it felt like someone had beaten me with a plank and then rubbed sandpaper all over my skin. I had a fever of 102.5!  I realized that I hadn't had anything to eat after my ride so I drank a can of Slim Fast High Protein.  BIG MISTAKE!!  I promptly saw said can of Slim Fast again when ralph quickly came to visit.  Note to self:  when you haven't ridden in a long time, don't forget to have something for recovery right when you get home.   Slim Fast High Protein is my favorite because it has a good mix of carbs and protein, plus if I drive to a ride it doesn't need to be refrigerated!  I use it  religiously after every race. 

My husband, Bill was playing golf at Lockwood Folly so Phoenix and Bogey were my only comfort until he got home.  It's been about 3 months since he's had the opportunity to play so I'm happy he started the New Year on the golf course!

I felt terrible all night and most of the next day.  Finally this morning I feel almost normal again.  I guess I picked up some 24 or 48 hour bug.  I'm glad it's gone - I guess I'll go for a run!!