Sunday, July 20, 2008

This Is What I Want To Do

This past week I've been struggling with feeling unenthusiastic about my training. I got up Wednesday morning and did my 48 minute swim. I swam 2500 meters! Whew. I was dragging the rest of the day. On Thursday I came home in the afternoon and just wanted to sit. But I had my short run, 29 minutes. Miguel agreed to go with me (Thank you!!). It would be the first time we ran together. Neither of us was thrilled to go but we put on our shoes and got out the door. One thing I like about running is the lack of equipment. You just put on your clothes and tennies and you're out the door. Well, in this modern world maybe you also grab your ipod or garmin but you get the idea. I didn't take either because I had Miguel for entertainment.

We did my 5 minute warm up walk and then started jogging. It was so fun! We got to chat the whole time. I have seen couples running before and the whole scene has always been incredibly foreign to me. Now that's me running with my husband! I never would have thought...Wow. So Miguel suggested a loop that wasn't entirely flat. I agreed to give it a whirl. It wasn't too bad. There was this one short, very steep incline up over a hill but I sort of shuffled up and made it. No walking the entire 29 minutes. 5 minute cooldown walk and we were home. We felt energized and happy. Ah, exercise. It's good stuff.

I had to do a little shuffling of the training schedule this week. Friday was supposed to be a 97 minute bike. But Friday evening I had agreed to work the beer stand at a friend's event. Not enough time to cycle and still make it to that after work. Miguel and I talked about doing a big ride on Saturday anyway so I decided to swap them around. Saturday is a day off on the training log. We stayed up kind of late on Friday night and didn't get going for our bike ride until 2:30pm. Fortunately the heatwave has passed. We planned our route, home to Point Reyes, back home via Nicasio Valley and Lucas Valley Roads. About 45 miles. Whoa. My previous max was 30.

We headed out and I was feeling really strong. I don't know if it was because I'd eaten lunch only an hour earlier (a 98%FF kosher hot dog sandwich and an apple) or because of the day off prior but things were just feeling more doable, ya know? I got to The Hill. It's a hill I have never made it up without a break. It's probably not much of a hill to most cyclists, even though that elevation profile makes it look like Everest!, but to me it was The Hill. Given that I was feeling so strong I thought there was a chance I'd make it. I got to the point where I normally need a break and felt I could keep plugging along. Once I passed that spot I knew I would make it. When I passed over the top I told myself, "I made it, I made it...I made it!" and I got a little emotional. I was pedaling so slow, I was breathing hard, but I made it. Yay!

We rode on and decided to take a break at The Cheese Factory. After a brief rest and a Shot Blox we carried on, headed toward Point Reyes. This was new territory for me, I'd never gone past the cheese factory. The road between there and Point Reyes was really nice. Parts of it included a really nice, smooth, wide shoulder to ride on. We stopped for pictures.

That's next to Nicasio Reservoir. And my other new jersey! Isn't it cute? The weather was perfect, the sun was out. It was starting to cool off at this point as we were getting closer to the coast. About 9 miles to go to Point Reyes. Back on the bikes and on our way. I was happy to get off the bike when we got to Point Reyes at about 5pm.

We decided to grab some food, since we were starving!, at Point Reyes Station House Cafe. We parked the bikes in the garden (thank you nice restaurant people!) and sat. Later I would decide this was a huge mistake. But, onward. We both had a cup of clam chowder soup, plenty of bread, and shared beef kabobs with organic long grain rice as an entree.

It was all very good and not too filling. All in all we were there about a 1/2 hour. We hopped back on our bikes for the ride home. About 3 miles in my legs started hurting. My quads were in pain, sort of feeling as if they were about to cramp up. It dawned on me what I had just done. I rode for about 2 hours, got off my bike and sat. No cooldown, no stretching, just sat. Ummmm, hello Michelle? Now I was paying the price. At least I think that's what caused the pain because I wasn't anywhere near hurting like this when we arrived.

I carried on. A few miles further and they were hurting so bad I questioned if I would make it the remaining 12 miles home. Honestly, there was a point where I wanted to cry. I was going really slow and imagining all the various ways I could get home not on the bike. We could stop and call a cab. I could stop and Miguel could ride home and bring the car back. We could get a hotel for the night. All seemed plausible. Miguel kept checking in on me, "you okay?"...a weak, "yeah" in response. There were only a few hills to speak of. A couple long, slow inclines, and one steeper but short incline. I reminded myself that I was out there because I enjoy this, because this is what 6 months ago I could only dream of doing. I reminded myself that I am doing this by choice, that no one is making me. I started chanting, "This is what I want to do" to the beat of my pedal strokes. It actually made me feel better. I forced myself to look up at the unbelievably gorgeous surrounds. We pedaled through redwood groves, through lush, green slopes, past beautiful hills. We came to the base of the steep short incline and I just buckled down and ground it out. We got to the top and whew! I was shaking a little bit (partly from the cold I think - notice I'm wearing my arm warmers now, next I'm buying leg warmers!) and relaxed a little in the knowledge I would make it home. About 5 miles to go from here.

See how I'm soothing my leg? Can you tell I'm not quite as enthusiastic as earlier today? There was a huge HUGE downhill from here, lasting about 5 miles. I reveled in the speed and turns. We passed George Lucas' estate, Skywalker Ranch, and pedaled on toward Novato.

On the frontage road during one of the long, slow inclines my chain dropped. I unclipped my right foot to get off but for some reason went left. I fell. Ouch. I used my wrist to break my fall. I lay there for a second just feeling down. My legs hurt, I was cold, I was tired, and I fell. Miguel came and helped me get up. I got up, started riding, clipped in one foot, struggled with the other and fell again. Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Two falls back to back? Someone came riding by as I was getting back on and I was happy he didn't see the whole fiasco.

We rode the rest of the way home without incident and I finished my 2 liters of water a block from the house. Altogether we were on the bikes for 4 hours and 15 minutes, rode 47 miles. I averaged 10.7mph. Garmin says the total ascent was 2688 ft, MapMyRide says it was 1079 (that sounds more reasonable). Garmin also says I burned 2700 calories and I doubt that. When I got home my legs were burning. I walked around for about 10 minutes, and then spent 10-15 minutes stretching. I started smelling, and I'm not kidding, fried chicken. So we had KFC for dinner. Honestly I didn't give a rat's ass about the calories. They were out of crispy chicken though. Can you believe that? I still enjoyed my fast food dinner :)

I was worried about how my legs would feel the next day. But, I'm happy to report they're not bad at all. A little sore but nothing major. Whew! I have a bruise on my left thigh and my wrist is sore but I'm mobile and not in severe pain. So, there you have it. I was supposed to run a 5k this morning with a running club in SF. I bagged that. I have a 40 minute run on the training log but I'm not sure if I'm going to do it. I am going into SF this afternoon, the SF symphony is having a free concert in the park. We're all bringing picnic fare. Should be fun. I guess I'll be deciding about the run when I get home.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I'll have to catch up on my blogs this evening. I welcome any thoughts or ideas on why my legs were hurting so bad.


  1. Um..I did laundry so I can only marvel at your ironwomeness!

  2. Good job finishing the ride and pushing through!! It's times like these that make you stronger. I'm much more susceptible to falling when I'm tired. At least you weren't hurt badly. Have fun at the concert.

  3. Ok - lots to comment on. First off - HUGE CONGRATS for your milestone! That ROCKS!

    Second, awesome job today. That just sounded tough! And to get beat down when a girl is already feeling down by falling, well, that just sucks. I loved your mantra though, it is one that I will remember when I'm having a rough day.

    I see you have the argyle jersey. Man, I have some serious jersey envy!!!

  4. You're awesome! I am so sorry that you hit the wall but you powered through and made it. That just proves what a true athlete you are! blog today is about my mantra. Must be because we read the same book.

    xo from NY

  5. You totally rock! You powered through the bad ending to your ride! That has to feel awesome!!!! Congrats!

  6. you are amazing! its great that you hung in there despite some of the difficulties and persevered on.

  7. I love reading your posts! I feel like i'm right there with you, but alas i am sitting on my arse way up in Canada staring at a comp. screen..

  8. man, I have no leg-ideas but had to say KUDOS TO YOU FOR FINISHING!

    that which does not kill us, huh?


  9. I love your jerseys!! And that one is so pretty!!

    Wow what a ride - some many highs and lows mixed in all at once. But you got through it all so a major major congrats!!

    KFC after a ride like that sounds like a well deserved treat!!

  10. Let's see: legs hurting bad... ummmm ascent over 2600 feet... Hmmmm, what could be the problem???

    Besides that, you may have been a little short on potassium.

    My brother and sister-in-law live in Marin and I've been along that path you rode (of course, I was in a car...) Mighty awesome that you completed that ride!

    I thought of you on Saturday. I was biking with some friends and someone rode by us wearing a Bert/Ernie bike shirt. It is a cute shirt!

    Hope you have a good week. (By the by, some weeks/days I'm much more jazzed about training than others. This is normal).

  11. I am totally having food envy over that dinner! YUM.

    I didn't post about it (wanted to forget I guess) but after last week's long ride I fell over about 10 feet from my truck. It was shocking first of all and second of all it hurt!

    But I second whomever said that it is more likely to happen when you are tired. In fact when I read about your two spills I thought yup, been there done that. :-)

    Rides like this will make you stronger. Definitely! So awesome that you pushed through it! You and Miguel make quite a workout team!!

  12. That was some hill!

    You look great in your bike jersey.

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  14. wow. that's sounds like a great job!

    B vitamins are great for energy. GNC has these great capsule that's a mixture of different kinds of B's, I think it's called super 100.

  15. Congratulations on your huge run - that is awesome! And your stick-to-it-iveness. When I fell ONCE I had my husband come get me! (And I was only a half-mile from home, after an 18 mile ride)! I love your suggestion to eat no more than 4 earned activity points no matter how many you earn. That makes it more likely to benefit from earning them, and takes the pressure off figuring how many to count!

  16. "This past week I've been struggling with feeling unenthusiastic about my training"

    That is always so difficult to overcome. That is why I keep an inspiration folder where I write down all the reasons I run, workout, etc. When I am feeling discourage I look there.

  17. Great job on the workouts! I too have days where I am not excited about working out at all. I also love your bike jerseys! Very cute.

  18. Hi Michelle, you sure had a busy weekend, but it looks like you had a lot of fun (well expect for the spills). You asked if anyone has advice about your legs – R.I.C.E. Rest – Ice- Compression – Elevate. You are right, you rode for a while, broke down your muscles and just sat down in a chair for your meal (which by the way looked delicious and was a much needed rest in your ride), then you hopped back on the bike and your muscles started screaming. The thought they were done and were just starting to enjoy lunch…. When I started running too much I would get shin splints (from increasing time/distance too fast), the doc & running club swear by R.I.C.E. If I am doing an intense run I usually pack cold packs with me and ice on the way home, then elevate my feet when I get home. The compression usually doesn’t work too well for me, but it may for you. You are doing great at getting in cross training which helps different muscles heal at different times (I was doing step aerobics as cross training, which was the same muscles). I also found that alternating an ice pack and a heating pad really helped speed up recovery (it gets the blood flowing, which the muscles need to repair themselves). I know it is hard to rest, but building in those days is just as important as the days you workout. You are such an amazing person and it looks like Miguel is really taking to the new active Michelle – think about how much you are doing and seeing together, if I could only get Brian to join me on some of my outings.
    Have a great week and heal up for next weekend.
    P.S. I have one new photo at 10% gone on my site.

  19. Yay for making it up the hill. WooooHoooo!!

    I know how you feel about lack of enthusiasm. Sometimes it's hard to find the motivation.


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