Am I An Official Gym Rat Yet?

As both a point of principal and a point of poverty, I have never had a gym membership. It’s one of the things I hear people say – “Oh, I can’t lose weight or get fit because I don’t have a gym membership.” and I have always enjoyed responding with, “I don’t have one either and I still was able to drop a lot of weight and get strong again, so YOU CAN DO IT TOO!” 🙂 But, I won’t be able to use that one anymore, I suppose. When we moved to this new neighborhood in November, I was pretty excited that our rental came with a free pass to the nearby fitness center and the four swimming pools (which I will make good use of this summer!) Today was the first time I actually went to the gym!

I almost didn’t make it in the door! I stood outside, holding my little plastic entry card, without a clue about how to use it! I had expected something like a swipe machine and instead, I saw a doorbell, a surveillance camera (I’m sure those watching were wondering about the crazy lady standing there looking befuddled) a little plastic box with a tiny light near the doorbell (but no swipe spot) and a very locked door. Hmmm…. Thankfully, a lady was just leaving and saw my dilemma. I told her I was new to the neighborhood and it was my first time. She showed me how to lay my pass on the plastic box with the little red light and wallah — the light went green and the door unlocked! Wowzers! What will they think of next …yeah, yeah, Wayne (my IT, super technical husband – I know you’re laughing at me!!)

I had brought along a water bottle, my mp3 player and a copy of Runner’s World. Turns out, I used the first two items, but the third was useless since the recumbent bikes they have didn’t have a magazine/book holder spot. Once I chose a bike, adjusted the seat for “shortest person possible”, then I sat there baffled again. Um…. how do these things work?????? I’m a RUNNER! An outdoor runner! I am clueless when it comes to machines I’ve never used before (as evidenced by the whole entry pass situation.) Thankfully, I happened to push the pedals with my feet accidentally and that woke the machine up and it sprung to life! I had been pushing buttons on the screen but nothing had happened until that point. I was about to hop on another bike assuming mine was broken, likely amusing the other members there who knew better and just didn’t tell me! It offered a few workout options (none of them what I really wanted to do, so I’ll still need to work on that), but I went with the 20 min, rolling hills option at level 1. I figured – I’m new to this and just want to stretch the legs out and get in some cross training. I’ll ramp things up in a few weeks when I know what the heck I’m doing. I had wanted to workout for at least 40 minutes, so I actually did the entire workout twice, since I couldn’t figure out how to tell the bike to let me ride for 40 minutes from the get-go. Oh well..

It was actually a pretty darn good workout too!!! It had a heart rate monitor and when I pushed on the “hills” I registered up to 160, though most of the workout was as I had intended – around 130-135. I worked up a good sweat, ENJOYED the feeling and annoyed the lady next to me when I was riding like a maniac when certain songs (long live the 80’s!!) came on my mp3 that made me just feel HAPPY and made me push harder. The bike was literally wobbling I was riding so fast a few times. I also have a tendency to lip sync when I hear a song I really like! Well, I prefer to sing out LOUD, but lip-syncing is my second favorite option when in public. The lady next to me kept shooting me sideways “You are CRAZY” looks until she finally ended up cutting her workout short and moving to the other side of the gym to get away from me I think. I guess she wasn’t interested in racing next to me OR joining in on the 80’s tunes for a nice duet!!!!  Oh well…

I kept thinking, “This thing is a ZILLION times more fun to ride than my actual bike!” I love riding bikes, don’t get me wrong. I just hate my particular current, clunky, heavy bike and ride it MUCH slower than I did today on this standing-still model.

By the time I finished up, there were only three other people in the center — all dudes. One was about 70. Another maybe 50. And the last one to show up was probably 30. That one seemed to try to stay in my line of vision, giving me the “How you doing” Joey from Friend’s smooth smile. I need to have a shirt made that says, “You’re barking up the wrong tree! I have a husband and FIVE – yes, count them – FIVE kids — go flirt with the old man!”


Certification Ride – Part 2

My derriere feels like I imagine it would feel if a few donkeys wearing steel-toed boots took turns kicking my backside over and over. The quads are fairly fatigued – but I’m so pleased that I finished my two rides today and did a really good job! Wayne still gets to play math and map genius tonight with the laptop so we can present the finished product to the city in the morning (and in exchange go home with our hard-earned check – yay!!!!) So relieved that everything turned out fine.

Stats: 41 miles


Certifying the Marathon and Half Course – Round 1


What a day!!!! It was SO COLD when we were doing our calibration this morning that I thought my face would freeze! I made it a point to remind Wayne how toasty I would feel if ONLY I had that awesome Batman facemask he wouldn’t buy me earlier this week. He told me to be creative (aka – stop whining and suck it up big girl) so I pulled out my ponytail and wrapped my long, crazy hair around my chilly ears and cheeks. It worked. I asked him if I looked awesome. He said I looked right out of Napolean Dynomite on my bike today. I knew that meant “I love you with all my heart and you are the most beautiful creature to grace this earth” or something close.

I got a few surprises today. Part of the course is on a dirt road. Did I mention the RAIN from yesterday? The dirt road was soupy mud, rutted, gloppy, thick and downright difficult to drive along while riding a sweet Cruiser bike (no matter HOW cute the color, it did nothing for manuverability!) I slogged and grunted and pushed through. It seemed to go on forever. After about 2 miles of that, it turned into a gravel road. The gravel fairies had left more than the fair share, so the new challenge was pedaling through the gravel (grunt, grunt, grunt.) I was so relieved when I saw asphalt again after that! Unfortunately, the hills from hell were waiting to throw what they could at me then. I think I nearly started a field fire my quads were burning up so much. I lost count, but man oh man were there a lot of hills today!!!! Wayne would pull up next to me and shout out the next number to watch for on the counter – always 6 digits long. I’d repeat it to myself while staring down at my front tire at the counter until we had it right on the nose. Then we’d stop, place a marker on the side of the road and then do the next one. We do this for each and every mile for round one. It’s SLOW going! All the info gets typed into the laptop as we go. Tomorrow, we’ll get to also make notes on the physical address (hard to find on most of this course since it’s in the countryside mostly), so we’ll get to pull out our crazy long tape measure and find things like caution signs, lamp posts with any type of numbering, etc and make note for each and every mile where the mile on the course is in relation to some physical thing or address like that. That will be part of tomorrow’s fun and games. 🙂

We had one major freakout moment. We thought the counter broke today at mile 24 of the course! EEEK! You can only buy these counters from a guy in Colorado. They take like a week to ship and cost about $150. Sitting on the side of the country road with panic in our eyes, I was fearful we’d done all that work, come all that way and spent all the money we had and may not get to finish the job!!! So stressful! My genius of a husband spent about an hour working with it, though and fixed it!!!!! He got a big kiss for that one! I was so relieved!!!!! Everything was fine after that, though it was getting dark.

We watched the sun set. The five kids were pretty patient considering they had to ride around in the Suburban today for about 9 hours. They got to practice peeing in the countryside a lot today. I think everyone but the 12 year old thought that was FUN! We rode the half marathon course and did our markings and notations of counter numbers long after it was totally dark out.

Oh yeah – wildlife encounters! I sniffed three separate skunk stinks today. Phew! I stopped by bike twice to let a fuzzy black caterpillars cross my path (so cute!!!) I saw lots of sheep, horses, cows and DOGS today! I nearly died when huge barking dogs came after me on the bike -not once, not twice but three freaking scary times today!!! I’m so glad I didn’t get bit, but man, it was frightening!

Celebrated having day 1 complete by taking the kids to Arctic Circle and getting then ice cream while they played on the playland. I went for a burger, fries and a HOT COCOA for my frozen hands!!!!!!

Need to head back out into the dark parking lot of this hotel and run a mile next. Can’t let the streak die!!!!

Stats: 42 miles of biking


First Bike Ride This Month

It’s been two weeks since my chair accident and three weeks since my 50 mile race. I figured since the small runs had gone well, it was time to try my bike again and see how my back felt while doing it.  Good news — it was pretty good! My lower back didn’t even start to ache until I was finishing up!

I passed the peppermint fields, the cornfields, corrals of horses and cows, hayfields with haystacks piled up like children’s blocks and also strewn all about throughout the fields. I love haystacks! It makes me think of hay rides and pumpkin patches and corn mazes — some of the delights of fall!

I wore a long sleeved shirt today on the ride, which was a first for this season! I woke up fairly early since I’d been tossing and turning in the night dreaming I was at an upcoming race as a crew member or pacer. It was a fun dream and I kept switching pals I was helping throughout the night it seemed, so when I’d wake up I really wasn’t sure if I was actually at the race or not! Kind of funny how the brain gets on a track like that and won’t let go! It just seemed easier to get out of bed and start my day than go back to “pacing and crewing” in my sleep since I wasn’t resting during my dreams anyways. haha!

11.24 miles on the bike.  1:08 total time. 9.8 speed. Heart Rate: 138 Felt: Fine


The Sweet Scent of Peppermint

I took it easy on the legs today and biked to Star and back. It was a relaxing, wonderful ride. Riding by the wheat fields, the cornfields and my favorite – the delicious aroma of the peppermint fields made me smile.  The one killer hill (who from this day forward shall be known as Quad-Buster) was a blast to ride down, but a total killer to ride back UP on the way back. But, I did NOT stand on the pedals! I pushed through! Take that Quad-Buster!

Happy Friday!

Stats: 13.22 miles 12.1 mph 1:05 total time 133 – ave heart rate. Felt: Happy

Relaxed with a 15 min DVD yoga workout from a Grown Up Happy Meal I bought years ago. Very relaxing. Did it with my 4 and 6 year old daughters, who’s hair I kept ruffling as we laid on the mats.  They took turns giggling and ruffling mine back. Good fun!


Sometimes It’s Not About the Miles

Rode the bike in the countryside. Enjoyed the chill in the air. Glided past the sea of six foot tall fields of corn swaying in the breeze. I gazed longingly at the mysterious, dark, shadowy figures of the mountains in the distance against the baby blue sky and wished I was there, running through the forest, losing myself in the rhythm of thump, thump, thump of my shoes.  Really needed to clear my head today. Sometimes a little sweat can uncomplicate things.  Ankle is still pretty sore. 🙁 Would have rather been running.

9.02 miles. 9.5 mph  57:13 total time. Felt: Uncertain

Did Denise Austin’s Pilates DVD as well for core work. She kept saying, “You’re lengthening the spine!”, but I’m still 5’3″.  Darn it! I feel I was cheated. haha


My First Brick Workout

I was chatting with my pal, Otto, on Saturday about “brick” workouts – where you do one sport and then quickly transition to another (usually biking, swimming or running.)  Last night I decided to google “brick workouts” and get a few more specifics on them. I got the gist and then decided this morning to bike harder than usual for about an hour, jump off and then go for a short run and do it all in the heat of the day (lunchtime with a temp of 86 degrees and full sun for some heat training as well.)

I took the mountain bike out first for the ride and wore my Nathan pack so I could sip water as needed (man I love that thing – so handy!) I pushed myself a bit out there. Most of my rides lately have been about 11.2 – 11.4 mph on the bike, which for me, as a beginner, feels just about right.  My goal today was to push into the 12’s, push really hard at the last half mile and then jump right into the run on wobbly legs to see what it was like.

I could tell right away on the bike that my quads were still fatigued from Saturday’s epic 20 miler in the mountains with Amy and the gang. So, I took it easy on the first 2 miles, letting the muscles warm up. Then, I pushed a bit, feeling really good.  The funniest thing that happened today was around mile 10, when I was riding in the countryside and see Dumbledore (well it looked like him!), holding a “slow” sign. There was no traffic behind or before me, so it felt funny having this little old, gray-bearded man holding up that sign just for me on the bike. He hollered out, “Young lady, there’s new asphalt up ahead. You may have to get off and push your bike!”  “Ok, Dumbledore. Love your movies and books. Sorry you died at the end” No really, I said “Thanks for calling me  YOUNG!” No, not that either. I just thought those things.  I said, “Ok, thanks!” and headed on.   It’s probably good that my Ally McBeal thoughts mostly stay private. I have way too much fun in my head for most people to think I’m sane. 🙂

I rode on for another mile before I finally came to the actual construction crew – a huge steam roller, driving backwards on my side of the road, another construction vehicle head of that one also heading my way and then on the left side of the road, under a shade tree, sat about 6 road workers, in their neon yellow vests munching sandwiches and drinks. I just kept riding, silently praying, “Please don’t let that steam roller smoosh me into a pancake!” His vehicle was SO loud, I knew there was no way he could hear me if I yelled, so I pulled to the left side of the road and just went around him.  I saw the end of the asphalt.  It was new and built up higher by about 10 inches from the right side of the road.  I think I heard one of the workers comment about my bike, “Lucky! I bet it gets sweet jumps!” So, of course, I had to ride for all I was worth and go leaping off the ledge catching some sweet air before landing with a skid on the other side, right in front of the steam roller guy and tipping my hat before zipping off down the road towards home. Or something like that!!!! 😀  And, yes, I made up that last comment. I’m pretty sure many of you will get the movie reference, though. It’s one of my all-time favorites. I DID leap off the ledge and all of those people and machines were there, though. 😀

I picked up the pace and pushed on towards home.  I gave it a final hard push in the last half mile. Total distance: 13.1 miles. 1:02 total time. 12.6 ave pace (YES!) Ave Heart rate: 151.

After I jumped off the bike, heart racing, and looked down at my feet. Doh! When I dressed this morning, I put on the only pair of shoes I own that sort of look like bikers shoes – my Sketchers!  They’re really relaxed shoes for wearing with jeans or bumming around, but I’ve never ran in them! OH well! I didn’t want my heart rate to get a break, so I parked the bike, switched the Garmin to a run workout and took off, still wearing my Nathan hydration vest (since it was getting hotter than heck and again, I didn’t want to take any extra time to go in and get something smaller like my new handheld.)

I almost burst out laughing when I realized how jello-like my legs felt after riding so hard! It was hilarious! I had read to ease into the run after the bike ride for the first few minutes, so I let my legs settle in and slowly but surely, the run started to feel just fine. I also was pretty amazed at how much  my plain ole Sketchers felt like Kinvaras! I felt like I was running in a racing flat, almost – very responsive, comfortable and light. Huh! Who knew?!

I ran along, feeling good – not great – but not too bad, either. The first mile was 9:44, then I spun around and headed back to the house, intent on getting 2 miles. I picked up the pace for mile 2 just a hair. I saw a pair of power company workers give me a funny look as I went by. I thought, “What?! Haven’t you ever seen a runner in the middle of the day busting a move?!”, and I kept going, ratcheting it up, little by little as I neared home. I went into full sprint mode as I rounded the corner in the last tenth of a mile. Mile 2: 8:41. Best pace: 5:13. Average Heart Rate: 175.

As soon as I got back to the house, I reached up to rest my hands on my head. THAT’S when I realized I’m a DOOFUS! I still was wearing the hot pink bike helmet! hahahaha! No wonder those dudes were looking me over with confused looks! hahahah! They probably thought someone had stolen my bike and I was chasing them down or something! Sheesh! I could have run faster without that hot thing on my head, I bet! hahaha!

Anyways… good first brick workout for me.  It really did feel weird to try to run hard after a bike ride. 🙂 It was fun! I’ll do it again soon just for the heck of it!

Ok, after the bike and run, it was time to cool-down. I headed a quarter mile out and practiced my power-hiking arms for the first quarter mile (a VERY important ultra marathoning skill that I’ve been putting extra effort into lately since my next 50 mile race is less than 2 weeks away and has MORE climbing than I’ve ever done in a run in my life!) In the last 1/4 mile, when I spun around and headed back to the house, I just focused on easing the heart rate back down again.  I felt good! Very proud of myself! Great start to the week!

Looking forward to a couple more group runs this week (a moonlight run on Thursday night where I think the group  is doing 12 and my buddies Amy and Jon are running home from there with me for another 4 miles or so on roads) and then hopefully a shorter, higher altitude, easy trail run on Saturday (one week before my race – FAINT!)  Then, it’s taper time! I’m sure I’ll do lots of other fun workouts the rest of the week, but I’ll figure those out as I go. 🙂 Happy Monday everyone!!! Go get active! And, don’t forget to have a little party in your head while your doing so. Smile! It makes people wonder what you’re up to!

I finished up my workouts with 30 min with the Wii Fit Plus doing Yoga and Strength. Felt good!



To Star and then Middleton and Home Again

I love running to Star from my house and back. It’s nearly a perfect half-marathon distance for training. On a run  a few months ago I went a little further into Star and passed the sign that told me that only a mere 6 more miles in that direction would get me to Middleton.  That particular day, I was short on time and wasn’t able to keep going, but it’s been in the back of my mind every since.

I decided that today I’d take the bike to Middleton and back.  It was warm out. I waited for my husband to come home from his night shift and then I headed out on the bike, feeling excited.  I passed the usual farms and fields, the horses and then came to this little pasture with a cow nursing her two baby calves.  It was darling and made me think back to the special times of nursing each of my five children and how bonding that was.

When I finally arrived at the Middleton city limits sign, I’d rode over 12 miles in one direction. Awesome! So, I made a u-turn and headed back home, feeling a bit fatigued, but very happy.

Final mileage for today’s little adventure: 24.38 miles. 2:08 total time. 11.4 mph ave speed (and that’s with several stoplights and stop signs. Not bad.)  Average heart rate: 137


Some Things Never Change

I found this photo and thought I’d share it due to the similarities of what I’m going through right now. I have an injured right foot (back then it was from climbing up the front of my  heavy clothes dresser and having it tip and fall back onto me and my right leg – breaking it.) Now, I just have a sprained ankle, thank goodness.  In the photo, I’m looking kind of grumpy and riding my trike.  With the injury, I’ve been stuck on the bike a lot lately too and I’m not as happy about it as I would be if I were just running as usual.  Haha. Guess history is meant to repeat itself (or maybe the lesson here is that I was born a clutz and should work on that!)


To Meridian and Back

The weather is lovely out today. Sunny, but breezy. 72 degrees. Winds 14 mph.  The exact type of day, I’d normally lace up the running shoes and knock out 15 miles and long for more. But, since the ankle is still pretty sore, that was not to be my experience today. 🙁

The bike and I spent some more time together today.  Again, I took it on a different route and explored new places. I must have passed an entire dollar’s worth of change along the road today. Mannnnnnn, this is killing me to see all this TREASURE just waiting for me to run again!  I’ll be one rich Mama when that day comes. 🙂

I sent silent, frequent prayers of “Please don’t run over me! Please don’t run over me” as enormous, noisy trucks whoooshed right by me.  While riding near a home with a long driveway covered with parallel rows of weeping willows, I was nearly ran over when the owner (who I could not see driving out of her heavily covered driveway), tried to pull into the road without looking first! YIKESY! (I’m borrowing this cool and appropriate word from my pal, Amy! Thanks, Amy!)   Note to self – ALWAYS assume drivers are coming from every angle and will not see you on a bike. Safety first! Those five children of mine need me too much to even chance it!

Stats: 11.08 miles. 11:2 mph. 59:22 total time. Ave HR: 145. Felt: A little tired