Lunch ride…

Wednesday wasn’t a lifting day, and I knew Kiddo had another Little League game tying up my after work time. I’ve accepted I am kidding myself to think I will ever work out after dinner, maybe start throwing in some light yoga. But even that is really that’s a fantasy. For several reasons, I’ve been a bit reluctant to pick back up on the bike commuting. The new commuter bike is not as comfortable as I’d hoped. I still need to do some fit tweaking. I’ve got concerns about fitness and stamina, if I make the round trip. Most of all, I’m still a bit tentative about the traffic, both in that section of State Street, I’ve had issues in past, and with all the construction.

Yet, I wanted to ride.

Solved it by throwing XCal on he car, and making it “Bring Your Mountain Bike to Work Day”. The Oak Hill, Hoyt and Bubba’s Woods trails are close to the office. Hoyt is close enough to bike from the office – via that above mentioned section of State Street. I drove over the tosa and parked by the Oak Leaf. Got in a nice 10 mile spin. A combo ot paved path (Oak Leaf) and dirt a lap and a half of Hoyt. Rode about halfway home on the commute to confirm my path was still open despite the construction.

Not sure when I’ll start bike commuting again. Still have to work out the traffic scare demon. But damn it felt good to ride over “lunch”. Doing it again today. As I continue to strive for consistency in training, his is a great option when I’m not travelling.

Striving for Consistency vs. Perfection

I have this tendency to let a desire to do things perfectly derail me. It shows up sometimes as procrastination (that old fear of failure thing or even a fear of success), other times as built in excuse to stop doing something or to do things I know I shouldn’t. After all, you can’t do it perfectly, why bother, right? I think everyone struggles a bit with the later. The old, “I just ate a piece of pizza, might as well eat what I want all weekend and get back on track on Monday” thing. The problem for me is that Monday never comes. Or rather comes and goes and goes and goes….

As I re-commit to training, I have to work on making consistency my focus as opposed to getting lost in a desire for perfection. I saw this already starting to happen this week. I’d combined the desire to start this new program with words from Keifer (www.dangerouslyhardcore.com) about late afternoon being best time to work out. I knew Kiddo had his first Little League baseball game at 5:30. Knew that I’d be pushing it to leave work earlier enough to get him to the field, let alone sneak in a workout before. But yet, I still had myself convinced I had to work out in the afternoon. That if I was going to do this, I must do it perfectly.

Obviously, this wasn’t happening, and by Monday evening, I was this close to fuck it, I’ll never get this right, why bother. My nicely equipped but lonely home gym would continue unused.

Thankfully, Tuesday was another day. Copies made and posted of the workout and warm-up cue sheets. Daily logs printed. Best of all Week1 Workout A accomplished  It felt good to sweat, to lift some weight. The program is interesting in that warm-up includes foam rolling or other myofascial release moves, static stretches, dynamic activation and mobility work. Looking at the work outs, I think I’m going to like this program. Even if I still always feel like a beached whale trying to roll around on that instrument of torture known as a foam roller. Yes, it does hurt so good.

Bottom line, I know I’m going to continue to struggle with finding the “perfect” time to work out. My schedule is never consistent. I travel frequently. Kiddo’s activity schedules change. Stuff comes up. Life gets in the way. But I know I must find that time. Be consistent.

The more things change…the more they remain the same

How freaking perfect…I come back to this blog to start bringing some personal, albeit privately public (that makes absolutely perfect sense to me) accountability to my diet, conditioning and general fitness training, and discover my last post was of the exact thing I planned to write about.

#FAIL

So fast forward 15 months. Crossfit was a hoot. I loved it, even if it did not love me. Supraspinatus tendinitis with impingement. Big words to say I screwed up my shoulder by doing too much too fast with less than perfect form and ignored the pain for far too long. Until I basically could not raise my arm, was heading to frozen shoulder territory. Still have twinges of pain in certain positions. 6 months of physical therapy later, I was released to start crossfit or weight training again, but haven’t. Tossed around program idea after program idea, but couldn’t settle on one. Knew that my competitive nature combined with tendency to injury made Crossfit perhaps not ideal for me.  Couldn’t quite pull the trigger and start. Winter training was a few (very, very few) spin classes, and playtime on the bike at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park. Yesterday’s ride on some real trails showed me how far I need to go to get back in riding shape.

Meanwhile clothes a bit too sung. Feel doughy. Weight feels up, but looking at logs nearly exactly the same as it was when I posted that last blog post. Overall diet is decent, not strict paleo…probably too much its of gluten and grain. Not a ton of alcohol, but a martini or beer at night is too much the norm. Generally only one drink, but more habit than need. Mainly real food, very very limited processed crap. Still stuck not making final weight loss goal, still with a long way to go.

Bottom line is getting in shape. Not about the scale, even if I know for optimal performance and self confidence, I must drop a significant number of pounds. I want to feel strong, re-connect with that athlete in me. Sure there’s the looking good, feeling sexy bit. But it’s the strong, confident, secure in my skin feeling I miss. That I am determined to bring back.

And so back to this blog. To some of the habits that worked so well. Tracking food. Lifting weights. Only this time I am not going to second guess programs. Waffle around. Tweak a trainers program because I’m some kind of special unicorn. Commit to one program, and do it for the entire 12 weeks. Re-asses after that.

The program I’ve chosen is ‘Strong Curves’ by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis. Love that it is a lower body focus but with a decent amount of upper body. Today is the first workout. Kinda pumped to start….

(ha, see what I did there?)

Washington DC…Biking Family Style


One of the joys of family travel is rediscovering the world through the eyes of your child. With Kiddo in 6th grade beginning to understand and show interest in politics and government, a spring break trip to Washington, DC seemed a perfect idea. Planned a trip that included all the typical touristy highlights, along with side trips to reconnect with family (Kiddos sister & hubby’s brother live outside Baltimore).Of course, many of the sites were visited by bike. Others by foot. Or via the use of public transit. Or a combination of all three. We’re a get up and go kinda family with a firm belief that exploring by foot or bike allows a much deeper experience no matter where you are. WARNING: FAILED AT LIMITING PICTURES AND WORDS BELOW. Hang with me. In a complete aside for biking people: All three days I was rented a mixie (being a *girl* and all). And I don’t think I ever stepped through it. Always threw leg over saddle. Old habits.

Our first rental was from the Union Station location of Bike and Roll. We’d taken the subway from our hotel, choosing this vendor both due to location, and we’ve rented from these folks before in San Francisco (read about it). This location only had “comfort” bikes – whose wide, padded saddles are the opposite of comfort when riding all day, just saying. Once we got suited up with the proper sized bike and helmet, off we went.
First stop was the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Spent a couple hours wandering around looking at the exhibits. In our case it was just enough time. We were ready to move on.
Started heading up the Mall, with a couple of photo opportunity stops. First by FEMA then by the Washington Monument.

In fact most of the rest of the day was stops for quick exploring of monuments, reading plaques and taking pictures. The World War Two Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial.

A spin around the reflecting pool brought us to the Martin Luther King, FDR, and Thomas Jefferson Memorials. Sadly we were a couple of weeks too late to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
The day was getting long, so it was time to head back to return the bikes. But first a swing past the White House.
A great day of sightseeing. Much, much more seen, much more enjoyable, cheaper, healthier and fun than a bus tour.
On another day, we rented bikes from Bike and Roll’s Alexandria location, opting for their Combo bike rental, Mount Vernon tour and ferry package. In this you bike 11-12 miles on a bikeway along the Potomac to Mount Vernon, receive tickets to the site, lock your bikes up on the grounds and take a ferry back to Alexandria.
It was a nice easy ride, great for families. Mount Vernon is such an interesting place to visit. The gardens, the plantation house, the glimpse of how for Washington and others of his day their lifestyle only existed due to slaves.
The ferry ride home was also quite enjoyable (even if I would have liked to bike a bit more).
Equally enjoyable were the oysters and beers when we got back to Old Town Alexandria.
Other trip highlights were visits to the International Spy Museum, and using their GPS enabled “Spy in the City” handheld to go on a walking spy adventure around the city.
Plus visits to the Ford Theater (make reservations!), the US Capitol, The Library of Congress, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry (oh say can you see….), seeing friends and family, catching Uncle Mike’s band perform, meeting cousin Wrenn’s fiance and hanging out with big sis, a Food Network inspired trip to DC-3, a visit to Dogfish Head Brewery, and another bit of biking this time along Ocean City, MD boardwalk.
Yes a busy week…that’s how we roll…and how we like our vacations!

Read all the way to here, and wondering why I wrote a recap of a 2012 spring break trip in spring of 2013? It has occurred to me that maybe if I either deleted or finished all the partially written drafts I have hidden behind the scenes of this blog that I might feel like writing more. Take away some of the pressure created by evidence of procrastination. Or some such. I have a tendency to start a post, give it a title, throw in a picture, and then get stuck – usually because I can’t figure out how to limit the # of pictures or words. Looking at the list in the draft folder, a few were easily deleted. Others I would like to finish.

This recap of our spring break 2012 trip to Washington DC fit under the need to finish category.

No Boys Allowed – Ray’s Women’s Weekends

Two years ago my love of mountain biking was ignited by a spur of the moment decision to take advantage of the free women’s clinic at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park here in Milwaukee. This year I was fortunate enough to be able to attend both of Ray’s women’s events, the February clinic at the original Ray’s in Cleveland, and the March event in Milwaukee. Hosted by 1995 UCI Women’s Downhill World Champion, Leigh Donovan,these events are a resounding success in bringing women interested in mountain biking together, an amazing 218 women in CLE and 203 in MKE.

Ray’s and Leigh put together a list of coaches that read like a who’s who of women in mountain biking, too many to mention but included: Tammy Donohue, Cory Coffey, Angi Weston, Hillary Eglert, Lindsey Voreis, Carley Young, Sarah Rawlings, Suzanne Summer, Nadi Stenbrecher, Wendy Palmer, Rae Gandalf, Jeni Roosen, Tania Juillerat. The women who attended the clinics were a diverse group in all respects  A wide range of ages from 8 years old to late 50s and beyond; skill levels from never mountain biked to regular racers; interests covering cross country, jumping and freeride, along with BMX racing. Both Ray’s locations offer areas for learning technical skills like log overs, drops, rocks and skinnys, areas to work on jumping and bmx freestyle skills, along with pump tracks and a cross country loop around the perimeter  All sections are defined by skill levels from novice to expert allowing visitors to Rays to progress through the park as their skills develop. Following introductions of the coaches, everyone split into groups around the Rays park, complete newbies to learn body/bike position in the Novice room, beginners and intermediates to the sport and beginner skills areas, many to beginning and advanced jump lines, others to the pump track.

The reasons behind the success of these clinics are twofold. First by the enthusiasm, passion and expertise the coaches bring. They break down skills. First explaining in words and gestures and then demonstrating themselves with their bikes. Angi Weston using her hands to explain cornering, Lindsey Voreis using her entire body, and Jeni Roosen demonstrating rolling over a drop with perfect form.

But probably the biggest factor is the women only format. It’s not just the lack of testosterone driven egos and bravado. There’s a sense of safety in the encouragement. Encouragement and urging to not doubt yourself and just try. Cheering as you attempt, even louder cheering when you succeed. A group that picks you up if you fall, and nudges you to succeed. Even more there’s the witnessing other women learn and do. A sense of if she can do it, perhaps so can I. 
Both clinics ended with shared stories over beers while the coaches conduct a swag raffle. All participants were winners – not just of t-shirts, water bottles, forks, tires, even season passes, but of a sense of accomplishment. I will always fondly remember a young woman XC racer animatedly talking  over lunch about crying in joy when she finally mastered the pump track. Or of plans being made for summer rides, contact info shared with other local women. Huge thanks to Rays for sponsoring these clinics, and to Leigh for hosting…and to all the coaches and women riders who traveled far and near to come together for these great days of riding!
My entire album of pictures from the two clinics 

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