Monday Musings

Send a boat. Seriously. Send one. The rain has been going on here long enough and I’m starting to feel like if I should sit still to long I may get moldy.

In the south we hate to complain about rain ’cause when it’s done, it goes and we don’t see it for awhile, but I think we’re all ready for a break. The ground just can’t hold anymore and smooshes under you when you walk.

Yes, I just used smooshes. Enjoy that 😉

I’ve come to the realization if I’m running or cycling I’m gonna get wet from more than just my sweat. I’m ok with that, mostly.

Have you ever been on a bike, flying along, with water flying from the sky and it’s all over your glasses?

I’ve yet to figure how to make that all work as I need/ prefer to have them on.. tricky though.. with water on them and not wanting the wind in my eyes.

Speaking of my athletic shenanigans……

I took off on Friday with the intent of doing a brick session, meaning  a run/bike training work out.

The weather guy had promised a “mostly dry” day ahead. I pondered that statement when I walked out and felt light, misty rain hit me.

No big deal. I grabbed my bike and other gear, got set up and took off to do my 5K run.

Finished off the run. swapped gear, and got on the road for miles on the bike.  It always feels good to settle in and have time to drink something and catch my breath from the run.

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It was still fun and games…until….

My mind moved ahead to the route I was taking as the miles dropped under me. I approached a road that I turn on and ride into the cul de sac before looping back the way I came.

There’s a house that sits on the corner and the people there have a couple dogs. It’s not usually an important thing to me however one of them last summer decided it wanted to chomp my thigh when it chased me into the cul de sac and I had to really slow down because of all the loose gravel.

It took me a couple rides down that road before I started to relax again. So whenever I ride I’m always aware.

This was my mental status on Friday. However as I approached to turn on the side road I saw one of the dogs through trees in front of the house…. immediately aware…

Oh my gosh they are out and loose.

It’s funny…well not funny… but my mind began to immediately seek out the best way to avoid conflict.

First, I’m obviously not turning up the road as planned. If I kept going straight it took me down a huge hill that immediately dropped into a sharp, fast “S” curve. As much as I love playing daredevil off those hills. the idea of doing it with dogs chasing me didn’t seem prudent.

I determined to come to a stop as quick as possible, unclip, and hopefully put my bike between us.

I guess I wasn’t aware of this, but now instead of having two dogs, there were four, ( when did they get more??) who began barking and heading towards me, including one who snacked on my thigh last year.

It just happens so fast….

Before I could fully stop to unclip,  he came charging up and yes, again, chomped me in the thigh.

By now the owner was calling all of them and they were scampering off sniffing grass and what not.

Shaking I got off my bike, my upper thigh already throbbing, blood running down my leg.

Then damn it, tears.

It hurt, but seeing four dogs coming at me had been a little unnerving. I can’t explain how my brain was processing things, but I couldn’t get it all going in time to avoid the bite.

Tears because I was angry as I knew my ride was over, that I’d need to go home and tend to myself. Angry because I already felt like I’m behind in my training and this clipped the rest of my training time.

Angry because that stupid dog bit me….again.

The owner was like… “Oh that’s  bad bite.”

Really??

I’d say as it was a full mouth bite.

At that point I just wanted to get home. She asked that I wait while she herded them inside.

Here’s what you need to know. I live in areas where the roads are mostly quiet and there aren’t a lot of people up and down them. It’s great training ground. Plenty of hills, inclines and flat roads.

Being outside with your dogs with you, not in a fence, isn’t awful, necessarily. The problem is, if someone comes along and you have a dog that already goes after someone on a bike, he should never be loose. I mean, realistically, they don’t know when someone will come along and well, then, it’s to late.

After getting home and cleaning up, I sent hubby a lovely leg photo. Probably not the kind of leg photo he may have preferred as this one was a thigh with teeth marks, bruising, and blood.  Let’s just say I won’t win any great leg contests right now 😛

Of course, he wanted me to go to the clinic to be seen. Which of course I did.

Something  I hadn’t really planned into my day.

Before I got back home, the owner was sending messages that they were calling authorities, that the dog would be quarantined and was current on shots etc.

Damage control?

The thing that concerns me with all of this is…. the dog was very focused and intent on what it was about. Headed right into me to bite.  I carry a lot of heavy muscle on my thighs and it took the impact and still had damage. But what if I was a smaller person? Or worse, a kid on a bike? They might not stand up under it as well.

So I’ve got some decisions to make and things to consider with this.

I hate having to deal with it. I hate that my leg is swollen and tender and I seem to hit it on everything. I hate something making me feel insecure. ( after last years event it took several times that way before I didn’t feel tense riding there)

Could I not ride that way?

Yeah, I guess. But why shouldn’t I be able to ride a public road without fear of being attacked? It’s not my responsibility to keep my dog under wraps.

and this is the second time…..

Anyway… that was my exciting way of ending my week…

In the ways of work…

it’s been a busy week in my vintage furniture world. I sold several things this week, picked up another custom order and got the coolest table and chair set… that I want to keep. That is the cool thing about doing this. If I find something I love, I rework it, and it gets added to my collection.

I’m going to freshen it up and it will be a unique kitchen set, It’s legs and details on table…. so gorgeous!

I’m telling you… you just can’t go down to the local furniture place and find things like this anymore.

Oh and I also got some fun fabric for my chair projects.

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I scored a set of 8 antique harp back chairs that I’m getting this week. I guess we’ll see what I do with them…

I know we are approaching Fall….

my daughter in law asked me the other day if I was going to decorate for fall. I told her when it’s not 99 degrees and feels like summer.

I just want a little bit of a weather change, that’s all.  Just a bit of crisp in the air.

The warm, muggy, humid, sauna like weather we’ve been having has not put me in a festive mood wanting all things Pumpkin Spice

Speaking of that…shame on Starbucks for getting greedy rolling out Pumpkin Spice in August,

Are you kidding me?  August?

Not feeling it guys, not feeling it.

The grey days though have put me in the mood for soup and cozy foods. One favorite around here is taco soup. Toss all the ingredients in a crock pot and whoever shows up can grab something to eat. It also reheats well too.

 

I’ve got another busy week ahead…per usual…. and as always new adventures wait.

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Smiles for a new week ahead

What does your week ahead hold? Are you ready for fall and a change of seasons?

 

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Know Your Limits

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It’s afternoon and I’m holed up in my fav coffee shop with the intent of hammering out a post for you, my 1.5 faithful readers.

I’m listening to the happy banter of the baristas behind me as they whip up drinks. I’ve tried to get to know them and something about their lives. I like building those relationships with people, I mess around with them and some of them… I shamelessly tease and harass… even with all that they think I’m “cool and fun” and keep me hooked up with coffee when I’m around.

I’ll take that.

Anyway, it’s a gorgeous day and it’s hard for me to be inside, but in all fairness I’ve already been out on the road this morning logging miles as my legs remind me.

Specifically my quads with that tight sorta achy feeling that comes from hard work invested out on the road.

In a sick way I kinda like that feeling… I don’t mind tired legs when I know it’s because of what I’ve physically invested into myself and the gut level hard work that I’ve done.

Maybe I should say that todays workout was a “brick” session. For those of you reading this and wondering if I’m out tossing bricks around, no. It’s just a term that refers to one athletic activity sandwiched by another.

In  this instance.. for me.. it was miles on foot, followed by miles on bike, with more miles on foot to wrap it up.

I will tell you that it’s my second time to intentionally do this. I figured if I squish it in my midweek workout it’s a good balance to the rest of the week.

Why?  why you may be wondering…

Well a few years ago I realized there was actually an event that combined both sports I’m hooked on… running and cycling..  a duathlon. However, I’ve had a pesky Achilles thing that really derailed me in the running dept so I haven’t been able to pursue it as I had thought I would by now.  With some care, a tiny bit of patience, ALOT of stretching and rolling, I think it’s improving so I’m walking a careful line of doing enough but not to much.

I’m actually semi-hopeful I could do it by the end of the year.

Yeah.. I’ve publicly committed to doing a duathlon.  And not just anyone but one that’s listed as “the toughest in the state”. It should be mentioned that it’s literally run almost out my backdoor so I can train the heck out of the course all year so it does give me a slight advantage… slight.

The course though is some pretty crazy hills and inclines. It’s a 5K, followed by a 22 ride, and another 5K for the icing on the cake.

I thought about it this morning and wondered honestly.. what the hell I’m thinking??  I felt like I did when I first mentioned I was going to take on a full marathon.. terror and the fearful thought of ” can I do this?”

Let me tell you…if you’re gonna do anything there is simply no room…at all.. for that kind of thinking.  You will shut yourself down before you ever get started.

It will be an event with athletes half my age and in amazing physical condition. But then I remembered it’s really not about a competition with anyone but myself and going out and doing it.. even if I might be the last one crawling in 😉

It’s all the time I will spend training and the lessons I’ll learn on the road doing it. It will be the sacrifices and tired legs. It will be hours on a bike. It will be learning to move fast on legs that are tired after running and biking.

So I’ve started…small… but with an eye towards moving forward. Todays brick work was small. It was 2 miles on foot, 10 on the bike, and 2 on foot. It gives me the chance to work with moving out of gear and into it, of mentally shifting gears of activities, and mostly, learning how to move my legs quick after being on the bike!

I found myself wanting to push more this morning.. thinking… maybe I should move the distance up some.. or move faster… and I had to remind myself of this…

Know your limits.

Yes, I’m a runner. Yes, I’ve been cycling.  Yes I’m in a good physical condition. But it’s a different ball game putting them together and only my second training session out doing it. I had to remind myself for now, a few weeks, these are my limits of distance until I acclimate then I can add a bit more in the distance area.

To protect myself from injury or doing to much to soon I need to know my limits and operate there as I adapt to the challenges of doing both at once.  I’m fiercely competitive with myself so to say it’s hard reining myself in is an understatement.

That’s what I want to tell you, to remind you of. You might be new to a fitness program or toying with the idea of doing something. Maybe your friend has been after you to go to the gym or go out on the road.

Know your limits.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve done anything you need to know what those limits are and operate in that zone. Maybe for you your limits are just moving off the coach and out the door for a walk down the street a few times. Perhaps you’ve been running but are thinking of taking it up another notch…increasing miles a bit…again.. know your limits to protect against injury.

Don’t go out and decide you’re just going to run when you haven’t even been walking.. you’re setting yourself up for pain and failure.  Don’t go to the gym thinking you’re going to keep up using heavier weight when your milk carton is the heaviest thing you’ve been tossing around.

Take a critical look at where you are, what you’ve been actively doing,  and how long it’s been since you’ve done anything physical.

Understand what those limits are and operate within them. You will be constantly assessing and reassessing what those limits are as you get stronger.

Most of all, never be afraid to constantly be stretching those limits to new, exciting and more challenging things. Nothing feel better or makes you feel more successful than new physical goals that are accomplished.

 

Cheers To The Average Athlete

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So yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday here in the good old U.S.A.  to say the results  upset the applecart of many is putting it mildly.  Two big footballs teams battling it out for the top honor of being “the best of the best” in the league. It seemed like the game was in the bag until the Patriots (although not my choice to win 😉 did some pretty incredible athletic things on that field to not only pull from behind, but to take the game into the first overtime ever in Super Bowl history, winning the game and the title.

It’s hard for me to not observe all that goes on in a game from an athletic stand point. I am in awe that these guys can get slammed by 100’s of pounds of bodies on the ground, fly through the air, run at the speed of light, move with the agility of a deer being chased, bounce and land on their feet again. Their moves I often think of as strong male ballet. For such a rough sport I find beauty in the strong athletic movement of it. These are athletes in their prime.

Yes, I know and understand these men train as hard off the field to keep their bodies strong for the sport they play on the field. Nutrition and strength training are vital roles in their success on field.

Ok… so this post isn’t about the fact I may be getting more and more into football…. 😉 it is though, going to be a nod to the average, ordinary, hard working athlete.

To you. To me. To the normal people.

Those  who are disciplined and dedicated in training their bodies for tasks beyond the “usual”. We won’t be under stadium lights in front of a million screaming fans or earning coveted trophies.

No, our rewards will come from the dedication to our own sport ( or if you’re crazy like me…sports…) where we train hard against ourselves, setting new goals, working hard, returning home exhausted with maybe the only one happy to see us being our dog who is happy to wash the sweat from our grimy legs.

We alone know the mornings or evenings we will put ourselves through our sport, sometimes not feeling entirely like doing it. We know the mornings we are up early out getting it done while people still sleep. We understand the aches of a body worked hard and yet somehow, embrace it, preferring that over aches from doing nothing at all.

Our training teaches us more about nutrition and eating smarter to perform better. We learn how to set aside foods we don’t need and focus on foods that are fuel for our bodies to become stronger for our sports. It becomes a learning process that somehow our bodies teach us as we move along. How to eat enough, and eat enough of the right foods.

We set goals, lay out our own “game plan” and train like the world depended on how successful we are at it. We perhaps, have a few events we train for in a year. For some, it could be stepping stones to something bigger.

A 5k that starts off as a lark, leads to training for a 10k, and maybe ultimately a half marathon or more.   A cycling event or  maybe a mix of cycling and running. Perhaps there are loftier goals of full marathons or Ironman competitions or the desire to see just “how far” you can go doing something.

The things we can choose to pursue are limitless… sometimes only hindered by our minds and our thoughts of doubt that could hold us back.

So this post is to all of us, to you, the athletes who are inspiring to every day people who watch you. You may never get a “prize”, or have public accolades, or be famous. But what you do every day, what you work towards, the goals you set, the ambition you embody, the passion you have for your sport, could be inspiring someone else to get out and move. It could inspire them to try something new and different, to get beyond their comfort zone because they see you working it and doing it every day.

And that my friends, is certainly reward enough. To inspire and motivate others is one of the greatest gifts of all.

 

incredible-average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering Your Mountains

Conquer: to successfully overcome, to climb ( a mountain successfully).

I had just returned recently from one of my long rides out on the bike when I got a message from my daughter in law. Actually, it was a photo of my new granddaughter, wrapped snuggly in a towel after her bath.

Her big eyes wide open and alert, her tiny nose peeking through, she looked quite content and comfy.

After responding with the usual… ” eek I love her, she’s so cute”… I tell her that’s what I need…

A shower.

I’m in desperate need of it as I’m now sweat dried and dirty from the road.  I told her I had finished up 32 miles to which I get this response…

“you crazy woman!” ( this is a high compliment indeed haha)

It was followed by… “I’m so proud of you for conquering the bike while you can’t run!”

I really don’t think she knew how much those words meant to me.

I had certainly been on a bike in the previous year, but it was a cheap little bike I had picked up from the local Wal-mart and certainly not designed for the things I had been doing to it. I thought the  guy at the first bike shop I went to was simply trying to sell me something pricier when I told him what my riding goals were. I was kind of ( ignorant) to some aspects of cycling at that time… now I know…

I should’ve caught on when during a longer ride the handlebars had come loose and I had to physically manhandle them into place to finish the last 5 miles of my ride.

Cheap bikes aren’t meant to have the life ridden out of them 😛

It was June of this year when I got my first, real, professional road bike. A hot little black and red Cannondale. I found another bike shop where the guys there have taken me in and taught me essential things, and also challenged me on another level as well. It’s also kinda cool to have a place to land where you can talk about your athletic goals and they listen, offer encouragement and suggestions.

So, since June, I’ve been out on the road a lot more. I’ve added more miles, and learned to not be intimidated by crazy monster hills that make me think they’re gonna eat my lunch.

I’ve sharpened my mental muscle a lot more…and I thought it was pretty tough from all that marathon training…but like any muscle…. there’s always room for growth.

Cycling is work. Often hard and demanding work.  You learn to enjoy the downhill moments ’cause you know more hard stuff is coming at you.

Not only that, there is learning about your bike, all that shifting stuff (gah) and also learning how to push yourself more. It’s easy to sometimes stay in your comfort zone, it takes work to get out of it.

So I thought about that whole “conquering the bike” thing.

Being an endurance runner, I will admit, the move to cycling was rather seamless for me. I already had a lot of strength and discipline from distance running so physically it fit me well.

 But It’s not just that…it was learning to conquer:

perceived limitations, my assessment of my abilities, getting out of (yet) another comfort zone, mountains, hills, and more mountains to take on, conquering the mechanics of the bike and riding in a different way,  conquering self-doubt when the next step seems to taunt me that (what if) I don’t have what it takes? It’s also new skills and having an open mind to be taught and learn.

Conquering a new sport when running has been my “baby” for the past couple years.  Hey, at this point, why settle for one sport ? 😛

So I reflected on those simple words she spoke to me and soaked them in… they have come during rides to remind me what I’m capable of, what I’ve learned, and more importantly how I’ve grown and learned.

I’m not done yet. I have so much room to grow, learn, get stronger and better and what I’m doing. But I am confident, I will continue to conquer it.

So I’ll leave these words with you, my faithful readers.

What have you conquered? What seems bigger than you and you find yourself digging deeper to overcome and conquer something you previously didn’t think you could do ? It’s in the journey that we learn and grow but if we are strong and persevere we find we have everything we need in us to conquer and overcome, no matter what it is.

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On top of one of the mountains that challenge me 🙂

Olympics And The Average Athletes

train like an athlete

 

I’m supposed to be writing tonight… but I’m kinda distracted. Why you may ask?

The Olympics are on. This is an event that I don’t care where you are in the world, you’re represented at.

We’re only a couple days in and things are already pretty exciting.

This is a disclaimer… I’m fairly sure the Olympic games will earn more space here in my blog before all is said and done.

First, the amazing and cool thing of having countries from all over the world gathered together is such a beautiful, cultural whirlpool to me. There is such beauty and diversity of the human race.

But the thing that fascinates me the most?

Why, the athletes of course. The best of the best in the world. Bodies that are well toned muscled machines from the labor of their sport.  Years, days, and hours of training and a sacrifice that few will ever understand.

It has taken a huge investment in their lives for them to stand in a starting position at the Olympics.

I’m always a bit in awe when I see these athletes and what they are capable of.

For instance, I happened to turn it on today during the ladies cycling event ( well, you know I was glued to watching it 😉

First, the terrain. The were riding up a mountain with more twists and turns than you could count. I’d love to know what the ascent was but they powered it like they were on flat roads, making it look almost effortless although I knew it was far from that.

Then, the descent was fast and “treacherous” as the announcers kept saying. The cyclists could hit speeds of 45-50 miles an hour on twisting roads back down the mountain.

One cyclist lost control and went flying. Although injured, she was ok.

USA held the lead until the final 200 yards when the pack of three behind her made a swift over throw and she finished fourth.

I literally cried for her. The finish line in sight. She had held the lead almost the entire race and then so close, to not even place for a medal.

I could not imagine what that felt like. Heart crushing comes to mind.

And there were lots of other exciting events going on too… but that’s not what I’m focusing on tonight.

As awesome as these events are there’s one thing it does for me.

It motivates me, challenges me and makes me wanna push myself more.

No, I will never be an Olympic athlete, nothing remotely close.

But I am an athlete and I fully understand they haven’t gotten to where they are without training for it.

They get up every day and make choices to train their body for the sports they do. They eat well. They rest. They train hard. They live the life with a focus on what they do.

I have the same opportunities to train myself for the sports I enjoy and to improve in them.

I am only in a competition with myself. To get faster. Stronger. More fit. To be better at it than yesterday.

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This reminds me 😉

 

 

Maybe you too are an “average” athlete out there working it every day.  Maybe you have bigger goals. Maybe you have smaller ones. Many of us have that “thing” in our lives that we are working towards.

For me, well ha, I’ve got several ideas on a short and long term goal list.

I want to get over this injury so I can run again. That hinders me from an active pursuit of a duathlon. I want to continue to build my miles cycling pushing my speed and building a lot more endurance. I’m strong on hills but want to build that strength even more. I will continue to do strength training to work my body overall to keep it strong for the sports I pursue.

After watching such amazing swimmers during the Olympics it makes me want to work on that skill in my athletic life.  Triathlon someday? Maybe. I have some friends nudging me that way.

And overall, I want to represent the ordinary “middle aged” person who can be athletic and strong. (although my husband always informs me I’m not “ordinary” 😉

If you want to do something, you can.

Ah, but that thought skates into mental toughness, a strong will, and lots of determination that are best saved for another post.

Tell me… are you an “average” athlete? Perhaps you’re even better than that. Tell me about your sport and why you push yourself to be better.