Off the Road in the City……
May 23, 2011
Was thrilled this morning to see this tweet from @WORBA_MMB, the account of Metro Mountain Bikers, Milwaukee’s off-road biking club. The Metro Mountain Bikers maintain several areas of mountain biking singletrack around Milwaukee County. The Hoyt Park and Oak Hill sections are in located in Wauwatosa – the city just west of Milwaukee proper.
The weather was perfect for our first trail ride of the year. Sunny, 80 degrees. We put the hitch on the car, checked out the bikes; giving them the ABC once over – air, brakes, cranks and chains. Once that was complete, made sure we had all the gear – helmets, water, gloves, before heading out on the 5mile trip to the trails. Yes, I know we could have ridden, should have – in fact I ride past the Hoyt trails on my bike commute. However, kiddo doesn’t quite have his biking legs and stamina to do both the rides to and from plus the trails. Working on that is a goal for the year.
The trails are flowing, curvy single track. No tough climbs, but fun little touches of dips and creek crossings. The Metro Mountain Bikers do a great job of maintaining these – in keeping brush in check, building boardwalk type crossings, and installing rock and other armor in low lying spots.
I also laughed at this tree. Apparently, a local beaver has the same opinion as I about having this tree at the base of a small hill with a slight curve in the trail. Tho’ I suppose it would prevent you from riding into the river.
National Bike to Work Week
May 21, 2011
Ok, I admit it. I’m pretty much a fair weather bike commuter. I started bike commuting last fall and rode until the Friday before “fall back”, the switch from daylight saving to standard time. In the fall, I enjoyed riding the 11 mile route in the cool temperatures, and found the early morning frost to be a beautiful addition to the ride. However, I just am not comfortable riding in the dark, nor on snow and ice. So once the time changed, the commuter was put away for the winter.
As young as you feel (or act)…..
March 18, 2011
With the exception of 21, birthdays which bring you to an age ending in a 1 are not exactly milestones. Milestones would be the ones ending in a zero, the ones signifying a decade passing…30..40..50..60.. Or the ones ending in 9, bringing the “I’ll stay 29 forever” mentality. In fact, the namesake of my junior high school, comedian Jack Benny, made a whole schtick out of being 39. So much so, that our team name was the 39ers. Seriously, google, it, in Waukegan, IL there is such a school, my father taught there for much of his career, my brother and I attended.
This picture is of me, yesterday, on my most recent 1 birthday, a birthday on which a friend tweeted “no way you were as cool then as you are now”. The weeks leading up to this birthday had caused me to acknowledge the change in me over the last couple of years. And to reflect on the birthdays before.
I was excited about turning 30. At that time, I’d just been promoted to my first true management role. 30 felt like a good transition, an age to take me away from the uncertainty and indiscretions of my 20s. Five short years later, everything had changed. 35 was a tough birthday. I cried much of the day. Was at a miserable place in my life – unhappy marriage, feeling stuck in my career, obese, health problem after health problem. Unable to see a bright future. I felt old, really old.
In hindsight, attending a school where I was a 39er, seems to have been karma for me. Set up a bit of fate. Not in the “I’ll lie and say I’m 39 forever” sense (tho’ it has crossed my mind), but in the idea of challenging conventional age wisdom. The point where I started to get it right. The age I got re-married. Not too long before my 39th birthday, I discovered I was pregnant. Was going to have my first child. An unexpected surprise, but one I am thankful for each and every day. I don’t have any memory of hand wringing or fear over turning 40, was probably too far into the sleep deprived world of the mother of an infant to care. Never really thought of it as a milestone.
Seems like the next few years passed in a blur. Career moves by both my husband and I moved us around a bit. I got settled. Maybe too settled. Slipping once again into a life by rote. Comfortable, yet increasingly uncomfortable. Sedentary. Health issues creeping up as my weight crept back up. Slowly coming to the realization that if I continued down this path I would not be able to keep up with my son. That my health, my weight was affecting the things I loved. Many of the activities I enjoyed, visiting amusement parks, gardening were becoming harder and harder. Unable to do horseback tours or ziplines, because I was over the maximum weight limit. Beginning to avoid or dread activity. Knowing this 39er was about to be a 49er….it was time for a change, time to once again challenge conventional wisdom around age.
Heading towards my 49th birthday, I changed. As my weight went down and my fitness up, I gained back confidence in myself, in what I could do. At 49, I finally got scuba certified, entered and completed my first half marathon (and my second), began to re-discover the joy of cycling, bought a road bike, learned the empowerment of fitness.
Here’s to 51….the year I will complete a triathlon, run a couple more half marathons, finally run my first 5k, continue to learn to mountain bike, continue to bike commute, hopfully, try a zipline or two. Continue to set an example of a fit, active lifestyle for my son. Continue to bring activity and fun into my family’s life. Maybe inspire a person or two. But mostly, relish the freedom and agelessness being fit provides me.
Tis the season….
March 20, 2010
Great week here in southeastern Wisconsin. The first hints of spring. I’d left for Mexico with the yard covered in snow. In fact, don’t think we’d seen the ground since around the 1st of December. I’d hoped the snow would melt while we were gone – and that prayer was answered. Even better was the bonus week of sunny days, temps in the 50’s. Gave me an opportunity for my first outdoor ride of 2010. Well, not exactly the first, I had a fun ride down in Mexico through the jungles, er, nature park at Tres Rios.
But this week, the bike came out of the basement. It felt great to take off on a ride. I did one of my favorite routes which takes me through two local parks. Fox Brook which has a nice mile long loop around a pond. Did two spins, enjoying the laughter of a little girl on a bike with training wheels riding the opposite direction. She seemed to find me passing by and saying hello quite funny. From there I head over through Mitchell Park and its boardwalk over the Fox River. First lesson of the trip – in the spring be mindful of the water level of the river. At first I considered turning around, but then decided to go for it, and ride on. (thanks to the mom and daughters, I knew the depth. I’m not sure I’d have been brave- or stupid- enough to ride through if I hadn’t)
The second lesson of the ride. Sporadic rides on the trainer over the winter are no substitute for actual riding. Esp. when those trainer rides were few and far between the last few weeks, and not exactly at maximum effort. The hills around here killed me. It will take a few more rides before I tackle my first goal hill (the section of Brookfield Rd driving north from Bluemound to Gephardt).
And as a bonus I got to rock my colorful, spring-y, new Terry bike jersey.
Meanwhile, back at home, it’s also the start of the gardening season. This will be the year I start to tackle this garden. I’m starting to get a vision. Feeling more settled in this house thanks to some changes at work. Ready to move forward, start the heavy and not so fun work of clearing some of the overgrown mess and making my own stamp on the place. There’s signs of spring here too. Daffodils foliage growing through the leaves I’d piled on the beds. Teeny little hosta noses just peeking out of the earth.
On my walk Thursday, I’d taken this picture of the still ice and snow covered pond at Rolling Meadows park to remind me that we weren’t quite at spring yet.
This morning, on the 1st official day of spring, awoke to a reminder from Spring herself, that we still have a way to go before the real outdoor season. But it sure feels good to know we are marching towards just that!
March 6, 2010
When I first joined Twitter, my profile said “Making lifestyle & fitness changes for my health, to scuba with the fishies and keep up w/ my 9yo son”. Lots of changes have occurred since that post, not the least of which is the 9yo is now a 10 1/2 year old. This last week along with the future week have caused me to re-visit that statement.
For so long, I have let my weight influence or limit what could I do. Look closely at the picture of the skiing tickets. One from this past Sunday, and on the same coat is one from 14 years ago, the last time I’d skied. So not only could no longer fit this coat; which I am happy to say is now too big for me, I hadn’t skied for 14 years.
Last Sunday I took my son on his first ski/snowboard trip. For a brief second I considered also trying snowboarding, but realized that sport requires far too many attempts to get up from the ground, and maybe I should stick to what I know, skiing. I mean really, what is it about snowboarders and sitting on their asses at the top of the slopes? I’m hoping this is a beginner trait, but c’mon.
We headed to Sunburst, a local MKE ski “resort” for their family fun day. Fun, we had!!!!! Each of us took lessons. Son to learn for his first time, and Mom to get her legs under her.
Best part was the ski instructor commenting about my great balance. For those of you who know me or follow my daily mile training, I struggle, really struggle with balance. While my twitter profile didn’t call out balance, what a great feeling for someone to comment on my nemesis. How far I have come!
Family fun day was a huge success – both for the resort which drew a HUGE crowd, and for my son, who loved snowboarding. Being able to experience this with my son, awhile re-connecting with an old passion of mine was PRICELESS!
Day was a huge success…and for those of you with kids, you know this is one of the best signs of a successful outing with your child.
I’ve made huge progress on those other two objectives also. The health one almost goes without saying but if you haven’t already read – I’ve gone from borderline high blood pressure to 120/76 without med, no longer take drugs for GERD (and have NO symptoms), and my cholesterol has dropped from 243 to 168 without meds. All accomplished through diet and exercise. Not to mention as I sit 12 days from a milestone birthday, I feel the best I have of my adult life.
Lastly, that scuba thing. Finally got up the nerve to take the class. Sailed through the pool/classroom portion. In the morning we leave for Mexico. Next time you hear from me, I will be a certified diver. Something I’ve wanted to do as long as I can remember. In my 20’s I couldn’t afford it, in my 30’s I was too out of shape. And now as I close my 40’s, I will accomplish that objective. Sweet!