Monthly Archives: July 2014

Longest Ride To Date

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Today was a good day. A really good day. I’ve been getting into cycling for over a week now, and am enjoying everything about it.

Sundays are deemed a “long ride day”. Only the second Sunday, but a colleague and I were planning to have our long ride today but she ended up cancelling. It worked out as I’d thought that I needed to spend time by myself and a good way tp do that was to go out for a ride. I rode from my home, a few miles, with the intent of being a loner but as I rode past the usual Sunday morning meeting spot I saw two people and decided to ride with them. They were a lovely older couple who usually ride on Sundays from 6:30a. Being a newbie to the sport, they gladly welcomed me in as they themselves aren’t too speedy on the wheels, but they were fast enough for me to train and build my long miles and endurance with.

We set off at 6:19a with the aim of riding to the Frank Sound dock. During the ride they kept encouraging me, and giving me short tips on road etiquette. The ride itself was great. At the stopping point, another group of cyclists, whom we’d past at their first stop at a gas station, met up with us and had light chit chats of introductions. As a group we all decided to go further about 4 or 5 miles more to another gas station point. During this ride I was impressed that I was able to keep up with a speed of between 18 – 21 mph.

We refilled out water bottles and stayed at that spot for about 10 minutes before heading back. But it would be on this ride back that I lost most of the energy that I had on the way up. On our way down I realized that I did not eat the energy bar in my back pocket, this i instantly regretted. Lesson for next long ride. As thought, the gap between the group and I became wider and wider. I did try to speed up, but couldn’t hold that pace long enough to catch up so I decided that I would just spin my legs home.

When I finally reached home, my bontrager bike computer said I had ridden 33.1 miles. Wow! This is the longest ride to date. I was proud of myself. Proud that I got out of my comfort zone and met new people, rode a longer distance than planned (which also showed me that I could do it) and enjoyed the scenery. It was a very good morning.

I am thankful.

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She Cycled Alone

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It may not have been a perfect ride this evening, but I don’t care for perfection. I care for the heart behind the imperfect. Of course I am making that statement because I am quite imperfect, but my love for others and life is true.  That and I try to overcome my mistakes, not always making the mark but I try.

This evening I had my first, real solo ride!  Really this was supposed to happen last week but other things was given precedence.  This week I just felt deep in my heart that I desperately needed to refocus on myself and those things that I enjoyed doing, those things that I shined in. By “shine” I don’t mean that I excelled competitively in, but that one could so easily see that attractive joy in me. That infectious joy that also could spread to others.

Today was my first step. Not that I needed to explain the rationale behind my not going to boot camp, to others and as another firsts I didn’t give explanations.  This was for me, a little selfish, but well needed.  I was nervous and initially thought of all the bad that could happen to me on the road, by myself.  While there is some truth, what I decided NOT to do was give in to that common fear that grips me at times.  In a sense I brushed it to one side, while quietly acknowledging the realities, instead I focused more on the “good” that can come from going out on my own today.

As I reached home from work, I rushed just a bit to get ready: proper clothing, check.  Helmet, check.  Water in bottles, check.  Bicycle looks and tires feel sound, check.  House door locked, money in pocket, phone in armband – off I went to discover the unknown that awaited me.  Little hiccup in crossing the road, but not a dramatic one. Ok, I was on my way. I had an idea of where I wanted to go, and took off there.  

I really can’t say that I had a “Jesus” moment, and I certainly didn’t set out for one but I did find peace and joy in myself.  Just enough to wet my cycling palate for more.  Being solo also without music, allowed me to be in the present and to enjoy what was happening without additional worries and fears.  At one point I did feel FREE.  Free to be ME.  Sound corny? Well the truth is that I’d lost part of myself in trying to be something that others would love and want to love.  But realizing that that would never happen, the only other alternative was to let go of that train of thougt by accepting its reality and reclaiming what I’d given up. 

I confess that I can and do make a mess of things from time to time. Remember I said I was not perfect?  But I do try to have the right heart towards a thing, even if in the beginning I am stubborn.  But on this evenings ride, I felt that I was forgiven. That in spite of the mess I’d made over the weekend, I was still loved. 

Nah, I don’t believe it was a “Jesus” moment. But it was a moment that I could face the mirror, seeing the good and bad and still walk away joyful and positive that strength for tomorrow will be had.

Today was an awesome day.

A Swim in Caribbean Waters

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Today was my first official “swim day”.  

I know how to swim. I’ve been taught by family members since I was a child.  When I do think of swimming and my childhood I can’t help but think of those fond memories of laughter,  togetherness, comfort and fun. 

Today, some friends and I got together and mapped out the two points that we would swim from and to.  The points would equal one mile, our aim for the day.  We had our swim caps and goggles and we’re all set.  When we started off it was an amazing feeling and in and of itself an amazing view.  The natural waters of the Cayman. Islands were blue and green.  The sun was out and shining (and hot). 

My technique today was “freestyle”, and what I did notice overall was that while my body was not acutely fatigued, my breathing was quick and shallow.  This, I believe tired me out early on into the swim.  Instead of taking a nice breath of air, and stroking twice or three times while simultaneously (with concentration) letting the air out of my mouth in the water then lifting my head to the side for another break of air, i found myself just freestyling with my head up and put of the water, turning with my arms.   Not a great for,  but once again I noticed that breathing is paramount in a lot of the sports, if not all, activities.

When I reached the ending point, my “official” I’m was 49 minutes.  Long, but not terrible for first time semi-training for a one mile swim!  Notably,  there are many things to work on, but a start is better than none.

I have to say that I really enjoyed being out and trying different sporting activities, and being in a beautiful country helps!

Yes, I believe I shall be back out again soon.

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Push Yourself

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Saturday evening was a great run. I even surprised myself. 

The days have been hot, coming on to summer it usually is hot. But recently it’s been unusually hot than prior years, as far as I can remember.  With that being said, heat was a factor in me deciding, rather convincing myself, to go running.  I sat deliberating for a while the pros and cons of getting my tush out the door and tapping the pavement.  Finally after what seemed like half an hour, at 5:41pm I clicked my Garmin watch and began my run.

I had not anticipated the actual distance and time that I’d accomplished, but had an idea of where I wanted to be.  I set out aiming to run 6.25 miles.  This wasn’t an ordinary run, it was one experimenting with a product that would help keep my fueled during my run.  To ensure that I would put no pressure on myself, I set out with the understanding that this run was one of distance and not speed. At least not yet. 

One of the things I wanted to do was keep a steady pace throughout my run.  I knew that my body wasn’t used to running more that 4 miles but I was willing to push for that evenings focused goal of 6.25 miles and visually, from point “A” to point “B”.  After the first 5k, and about half an hour into the run, I downed one of the gels.  It was not pretty as I held it like I was holding a cup, and got some sticky fluid on my fingers.  No matter, I kept running while licking the vanilla fluid from my fingers. 
I had not noticed an immediate change or sudden super woman burst of energy, but after a few minutes I realized my body wasn’t tired.  At that point I checked in on my breathing, steady and controlled.  Checked in on my form, little change here and there was needed, then good to go.  Without any other expectations, I seemed to have been doing ok.  The gel fluid didn’t make my stomach ill at that point so I was happy. 

Another 20 minutes into the run and I stopped for about 10 seconds. Mentally I just stopped.  Decided to push myself again, not looking at how far I have to go but that I was doing the run.  Little pep talk at this point proved helpful in the long-run.  I slowed just a bit but kept going.  As I ran back the direction I came, a firm wind was against me. It was on the seaside after all.  I kept going, realising that the gel fluid left my mouth a bit dry.  Unfortunately I didn’t carry water with me, but I kept going.  I downed my second gel fluid.  

Tried to keep a steady pace, watching the sky above which suddenly seemed to get overcast and moreso as I ran in that direction.  I could feel the area just below my right knee start to ache, not too much to hamper my run, but enough that I made a mental note to ice it when I was done.  Slight drizzle at this point.  I’d never really ran in the rain before, and if it started to pour then i would have no choice but to run in the rain to my vehicle.  I kept going.  I’d say that the threat of rain pushed me that much more to keep going in order to beat the downpour. 

The last couple of meters I increased my pace and sprinted towards my vehicle, and the ending destination.  Like second nature, I immediately stopped my Garmin watch.  I surpassed 6.25 miles and completed 6.63 miles in 1:18 min.  Not bad for a novice runner in training for the half-marathon six months away!

I was completely surprised at myself and very glad that I got out of my house and onto the street for a run.  This run was definately a great run.  Yet again I am proud of me. 

It is good to have a goal to focus on, to keep ones eyes steady towards the prize.  It’s also important that you force yourself to not veer off looking at any distractions to the left or right, and begin second guessing your strengths in comparison to other athletes.  My challenge is with and within me, to do my best every time I am out there.

Strength For The Ride

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So, it has been a few days since I’ve posted anything.  Usually my posts are on significant things that I experience, and while a few things have happened since the last post I choose to write on today’s experience. 

Spinning or Indoor Cycling is a great mode of cross training for runners. This I’m just learning now.  Tonight’s class was a tough one, centered around “sprints” on flat surfaces and on hills.  I am relatively new to spinning, but slowly finding my niche and a love for the sport.  While in the class at the back of my mind I knew that I had more effort to give, with each build up and through the sprints – I gave each one my everything.  I could see that I was so easy to give half-assed work, but I couldn’t cheat myself from a good workout. 

What stuck at my was the end and the recovery portion of the night.  My former colleague taught the class, and she began talking about challenges in life and the tendency to always choose the comfortable as opposed to the uncomfortable.  She was proud of all of our efforts, and said that we each took tonight’s challenge and rode with it. We took the uncomfortable and went through it to the finish. 

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I was proud of myself again tonight. As she was talking, I was think of so many things that I’m afraid of facing head-on and I did tear up a bit.  I realized that I really can do it, that I have the strength to go through step by step.  Tonight was very encouraging.

I do like comfort,  as a default, but what is comfortable is not always what is good or best for me. 

I am joyful for tonight.