Riding a Bike

IMG_0977[1]   Friday, 31 January 2014

This afternoon I went for a bike ride through El Dorado Park.  I went alone, and it was a little chilly.  But it was a whole bunch of practice.

And the LAST time I’m riding without padded shorts.  Yikes!


First I rode around the parking lot and practiced stopping and starting, clipping and un-clipping.  Then I had to scout out the route to the path — up the exit amongst a bunch of cars, then across a cross walk, onto a path.

The bike path has a stripe down the middle, dividing the coming and going, and the one side along the river was VERY narrow.  That was scary.  I ended up riding along on the wrong side of the path (no oncoming bikes) because I wasn’t certain enough to ride on the skinny half close to the edge of the river.

Then I rode around the archery part of the park twice – about 4.5 miles.  I run this ALL the time in the summer and I know how long it takes to run.  Riding along the same path (not the street) was super fast.

They are building two dog parks near the Spring Street entrance.  One for big dogs and one for little dogs.  The little dog park has just one bench for humans.

Then I rode along the river to the other part of El Dorado, where the lakes are located.  I rode on the street, opposite the way you run.  Twice.  Mirella tells me this is 1.8 miles, so that was 3.6 miles.  And I think the route to and from the car was a at least 1/2 mile each way, so the entire event was about 8.5-9 miles.  You have to be thinking about snapping your foot out while you’re evaluating whatever is upcoming.

The sky was fabulous



All good.  The one fly in the ointment is that my right knee hurts with every stroke (cycle?  turn?  push?). Next time I have to put on phiten before I start.


Making Progress – Getting Better

IMG_0809[1]Monday, 27 January 2014

On Mondays I lift weights (which I hate) and swim (which I don’t).  From the moment I start getting dressed (putting on stretchy clothes), driving to the gym, lifting weights.  All those activities I do dragging my feet.  And I get to listen to a book while actually lifting the weights.

I do this, mostly, at lunch time on Monday.  Usually I lift weights, check my blackberry, and then go swimming.  Today I didn’t want to swim, so I went home after the weights.

Then I went to see Lisa Fillis who is my nutritional guru.

And then I sent swimming.  Even tho the young-person swim team practice started while I was there.  But here’s the interesting news.  I did 2 laps to warm up.  Then I did 10 laps without stopping.  Yeah me!  Sometimes you don’t feel like you’re making progress.  And then sometimes you realize that you are.  In the last half of these laps I realized that I’m making progress.

And, I figured out a new way to count.  Launching out I say the big number (10 laps), but starting with the first touch at the opposite side, I can say  9 1/2.  I felt pretty good about all that.

And, I was swimming through the sunset and I could see the changing colors as I came up to breathe.  I liked that, too.

So I was successful in two different ways.  I went swimming on a day that I might have skipped.  And I did the dreaded weight lifting.

Today I Rode a bike

road bike womenThursday, 25 January 2014

Today I rode a bike.

Riding a road bike is ‘way more difficult than it looks.  First of all, they have a zillion speeds now (not 10 like when you were a hot-shot teenager).  The brake handle on each side controls gear changes (you move it sideways for gear change and squeeze for stopping) and there is a little gear changer attached to each handle — so you move the handle one way to move up in gears and the gear changer to move down in gears.  Last time I was on a road bike the gear change mechanism was on the frame.

Second of all, really cool riders (and I’m nothing if not cool, right) clip into the pedals.  Meaning there is a clamp thing on the pedal and a hook thing on the sole of your shoe and they mate together.  You have to twist and yank to get your foot off the pedal to stop.

I’ve been wearing bike shoes and clipping in to the pedals on spin (indoor) bikes for a couple of years.  Clipping in isn’t the be all and end all that bike nerds would have you believe.  But I get that there are benefits.

And of course I was wearing a helmet — not all that ugly — and very cute cycling gloves.  And I have a bag of fix-it stuff attached under the seat.  (I have no idea what’s in the bag, it was a gift.)

Today I rode around the Rose Bowl 3 times (9 miles) and practiced stopping in a parking lot.  (Remembrances of my dad teaching me to drive a stick shift in the Covina HS parking lot.)  At one point I had to ride up a hill (panting and downshifting) and then ride down a hill (scary fast) and obey a stop sign at the bottom.  My fingers hurt from squeezing the brakes downhill.

At one point we were on flat road riding 12 mph.  Which made me smile.  60 miles would take 5 hours and I was puffing doing 1/4 mile at that speed.  And an Ironman bike section would take — I cannot even figure out it (calculator help:  9.3 hours).

12 miles an hour on the flat wasn’t scary.  Going downhill fast was scary.  Actually, doing the long, gentle downhill side of the Rose Bowl was pretty fast at times.

road bike

At one point the coach had me corner.  Telling me to extend my outside leg and push against that outside pedal – explaining how to shift one’s weight for cornering.  Really, you have to tell people how to corner?  Don’t they drive?

I rode standing up,sitting down, hands on top of the handle bars, clipped, unclipped, hands at the corners of the handle bars, hands uneven on the handle bars, etc.  I rode along VERY slowly, showing my ability to balance and stop.  I started and stopped, clipped and unclipped. Stopped some more.

From a coaching point of view, the coach was telling me to pedal faster.  Pointing out how quickly people riding by us (operative word “by”) were pedaling.

And for my final move, I fell over, clipped into the bike, going — I kid you not — ZERO miles an hour.  The fall was very slow, like slow motion, and I hit the pavement going about 0.5’/second.  I got dirty, but nothing else.

Generally I liked it.  My butt did not hurt.  (Stay tuned for tomorrow.)  I was not overly scared, I didn’t think.  And I didn’t totally suck for a beginner (although I’m not sure the coach would be coaching long if he said told people they suck at the sport they’re trying).  At this moment, I don’t feel compelled to run out and buy my own bike.  But I thought about it during the riding.

Training Breakthrough – Warm Up

swimming poolWednesday, 8 January 2014

Such a great training day.  I spent an hour with Mike Henderson lifting weights and doing whole body core work.  And getting to talk to somebody “in the biz” about the difficulties I’m having swimming. 

I’ve worked myself up to 8 laps without stopping.  Then 8 more laps with as many stops as I want.  In the beginning, I swam 2 laps without stopping.  Big Rest.  Then a lap.  Rest.  Rest.  Then another lap.  Only recently have I been able to swim two laps without stopping in the second “set”.

For reasons I could not imagine, the later laps were easier than the first laps.  In a 6 lap set, for instance, the first 3 laps were good, the 4th lap was messy, and the last two laps were barely swimming, more trashing and gasping.  But after resting and swimming a few more laps with rests in between, the last 2 or 3 laps were MUCH easier.  Good form, smoother, breathing easier. 

Mike suggested I needed to warm up.  (I’m not a big warm-up person.) 

I walked down the hall towards the pool, stopped and turned around because I didn’t have much time, and starting towards the car saying to myself, “I’ll do them after the meeting”, only to realize that I’d never get back to the pool in time, I turned around again and walked into the locker room.  Big gold star #1.

Once in the pool, I did two laps and rested for a minute.  Then I set out to do 7 laps without stopping.  Technically I’ve worked myself up to 9 laps “without stopping”, but there are quotes around it because there has been a stop in the last few sets.  In the middle of lap 7 I knew I could 8.  And in the middle of lap 8 I knew i could do 9.  So I did 9 laps without stopping.  Massively huge gold star #2.

Because I was on a tight schedule, I didn’t do the 7 additional laps with rests, so I guess I owe the universe 7 laps at some point.

But I left the pool feeling pretty zippity do dah.

Mike says that the whole body core work we did was part of the warm-up too, and got the body ready to work together.  Who knew.  (Yes, I have seen my running coach do warm ups even when no one (but me) was watching, but other than loosening up my ankles, I don’t warm up, much.)



Anxious Eating?

IMG_0809[1]Monday 6 January 2014

I used to be the most anxious person anybody knew.  I manifested this in at least two long relationships through worried hands… the guy would tell me either “I can hear your hands” as I would wring my hands or “Leave the paper alone” as I would rub my finger and thumb together until, figuratively, the paper would ball up and go away.

In a conversation today, I described myself that way — I’m the most anxious person you know — and the listener was shocked.  First because she would never have described me that way and second because I’ve not described myself that way in over two years of at least weekly conversations with this person.

But, these days I am anxious.  All the time.  When I walk up in the morning, when I’m walking around during the day, when I wake up in the middle of the night – I’m anxious.  Being anxious is like pay it forward worrying, right?  It’s anticipating there will be badness.  Or being afraid there will be badness.

Here’s the discovery.  I would not have said I was anxious 6 weeks ago.  But 5 weeks ago I started a medically supervised, very low calorie diet and now I’m anxious (and have been for weeks, although I couldn’t name the odd feeling until today).  Maybe I’m an anxious eater.  Maybe I eat to soothe the anxiety?  And so without food to soothe I can feel the anxiety again.

Arrugh.  We’ll have to see.

On a positive note.  Today I swam 16 laps – 2400 feet.  2600 feet is 1/2 mile.  I am getting better.  What’s amazing to me is that the last laps are easier than the first laps.  (There is a lot more resting in between the last laps as compared to none between the first laps.)  But why are the first laps so hard?

And I lifted weights and had my feet worked on.


Happy All (or A Lot of) the Time

IMG_0957Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Maybe the funnest thing I do all year.  (Probably not this year.)  Pretty fun after the run today.  Because I am still coming back from injury, I could not run 11 miles today.  Today I got a ride from the lovely Sue M. to the start of the parade route.  Celestyna and I walked around the floats and headed back down (up?) Colorado at about 7 AM.  It was a long way for me to run without stopping and my goal was to make the turn from Colorado onto Sierra Madre, stopping where it meets Foothill.  I missed by about 1/4 mile.  So I walked, will Bill Z, for about 1.5 or 2 miles.  My butt didn’t hurt, but my feet did.  And I was running pretty slowly.

In getting to Orange Grove, Celestyna and I were looking for a route to the floats and being thwarted by “pass only” entrances.  I was being pushy and said “Look, we’re just people, we don’t have passes, and we want to look at the floats.  How do we do that.”  The answer was turn around, walk back a block and over a couple of blocks.  We had about 4 of these conversations — as I stomped away, Celestyna saying lightly “Happy New Year” to each person.  I was amused in a grumpy way.

We eventually made it the floats.  They were, are usual lovely.  Then I ran back to Starbucks and had coffee in the sunshine.

Coach Steve published a blog today with evidence that telling people your goals will lead to success is achieving those goals.  And he suggests that looking at goals — and writing — goals daily is a good thing.  I’ve saved my goals (from yesterday) on my desktop and will maybe attach to my postings…

I missed Monica Olivas today — too much travel to connect with the Pasadena Run — but she’s really lured me into two Monica-centric goals…I am going to do 14 races in 2014 (no distance commitment from me) and I’m going to make/test every recipe she’s ever posted.  (That should keep me busy for awhile.)

And I have a Dave DeNeire goal — cardio every day — a day at a time, a month at a time — which for me is a best effort goal.  I am not getting wrapped around the axle on this one.

(I hope Coach Steve doesn’t make any more friends.)

Finally, the uber FABULOUS Michele Pusateri unwittingly gave me my inspirational quote of the year, from, of all the unbelievable people, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson:

Consistent Hard Work Gains Success.

Greatness will come.

Be willing to put in the hard work and make 2014 your year for greatness.

As I think of this inspirational quote, I think of Carlos Romero.  A great inspiration to me.

One of my goals is to look and be outrageously happy in 2014.  I spent the morning with people I adore.  What’s not to be happy about?!

2014 Goals

  1. Lose 19 pounds in 2014
  2. Keep it off
  3. Balance training fueling and weight management
  4. Try cycling
  5. Do a Tri
  6. Go sub-6 in the full
  7. Do 2:45 in the half
  8. Go to Italy after France
  9. Go fly fishing a second time
  10. Sign up for piano, again
  11. Spend time looking/being outrageously happy

Monica Sub-Goals:  (a) Run 14 races and (b) try/test every recipe on RER

Dave Sub-Goal:  Best effort – Cardio every day – a day at a time, a month at a time.