Sometimes I Fall

I love riding my bike. I love getting into a pedaling rhythm. I love going fast and the sound of the wind as it rushes by. The adrenalin rush when I am speeding down a hill and the see that I am getting close to 30 mph is INTENSE! (Now, I know for those who have been riding for years that may not be so fast, but for me…whooooo it is super fast!)

I love the changes in me that have occurred in the last year. I love that I feel healthier and stronger now than ever before. I love that I am more confident in my physical abilities and I love the confidence I have gained mentally as well. And….I’m gonna say it….I love my legs. My legs are muscly, sleek and tan.

I have found two things that I don’t like though. First…I hate, hate, hate riding up hills. I mean really…I hate it. When I approach a big hill I instantly want to cry, get off my bike and stomp my feet while refusing to climb the hill.

The other thing I don’t like… I fall. I don’t fall speeding down a hill. I don’t fall when the wind is rushing by me. I fall when I am going very slow or standing still.

The first time I fell was the first time I rode clipped in. The second time I fell was the same day as the first time…It’s very important to remember your feet are clipped to your pedals.

I fell again when Don and I were doing a practice ride in preparation for the Tour de Cure.  I was standing at a stop light, waiting for it to turn green and just. fell. over. Really, standing perfectly still. I could feel it happening, but because my foot was clipped into my pedal I was powerless to stop my descent.

I did the entire Tour de Cure without falling. Except for the very end…You know, the part where you dismount your bike. Took one foot out and then leaned to the other side. The nice guy directing riders to the bike corral thought I was having a diabetic episode. I assured him that I was just a huge klutz.

I’ve been doing good though. I haven’t fallen in quite some time. Then Monday night came. I went for a ride by myself. I parked in a lot near the bike path. It was a fantastic ride…the first time I’ve ever rode solo. The ride left me relaxed and feeling at peace with the world.

I unclipped early as I approached the parking lot. ~I always unclip early because of my tendency to fall.~ I got a little distracted by someone getting out of a car near my truck…a girl has to stay aware of her surroundings. I was almost stopped when I got that familiar feeling. I was leaning away from my unclipped foot.

You know what happened, right?

I fell. Then I laughed. I don’t know why I think it is so funny to fall. It hurts…it’s not funny…but I laugh.

A nice woman with her “too cool” son (he rolled his eyes at me and seemed irritated that his mom stopped) pulled over to make sure I was okay. I said I was and that I had just leaned the wrong way. She was kind enough to inform me that it was the pedals that caused me to fall.

I have discovered that my muscly, sleek and tan legs must have some kind of visible injury at all times. As soon as one skinned knee gets almost healed I fall on the bike or slip getting into the tub (big bruise and scrape) or burn my leg on the concrete climbing out of the pool. Below is a pic of my newest injury…view at your own risk…

I know it doesn't look all that bad in this picture, but in real life, it's pretty gross and my calf is all scratched up.

When I ride, I am determined to do what I must to reach the end of the road in front of me. If it’s a hill I must climb, I’m going to do it. No matter how big, long or steep the hill…I’m going up and over it and I am going to enjoy the super exciting ride that awaits me on the other side. When I fall on my bike, I will get back up, brush myself off, ignore my bruised ego and keep going.

In life there are challenges…gigantic, intimidating hills that I have to attack and climb. I will climb and fight my way up and over that hill and scream with excitement when I get to the other side. And if and when I fall, fail or have a set back in life, I will get back up, brush myself off, ignore my bruised ego and keep going.

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The Water

Someone is making the most beautiful music on our piano. I feel so at peace. I have to turn around and see who it is.

Dillon…Dillon is playing the piano, but he has never played before. I am shocked at the exceptional talent my son is displaying. The notes he is playing are filling the room. I try to ask him where he learned to play like that…He just smiles at me.

There is another noise…loud, annoying…It has to stop! It is totally drowning out the beautiful piano music.

It doesn’t take but a couple of seconds for me to wake up. Ugh! It’s 4:30 in the morning! The beautiful piano music…the alarm on my phone. I specifically picked that alarm alert so I could be drawn peacefully from my slumber. The annoying noise…Dillon’s obnoxious alarm clock. How is it that it wakes me up, but he can sleep through it forever!

Why did I set my alarm? Surely there is no good reason for me to get up while it is still dark outside.

SWIMMING! I have swim practice this morning! Yes!!!! I love swimming.

Don is waking up. I have to go get Patty awake. She is going with us. Fun times.

As we pull into the parking lot, I can see that our coach is not here yet. I am glad. I am always worried about wasting her time and getting there late. She is training Don and I, for free, as part of our Team in Training participation. She has been kind enough to work with Patty for the last couple weeks.

There are others swimming in the pond this morning. I haven’t ever seen anyone else swim here. I guess word must be getting out.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

As we stand on the bank, I am not looking forward to getting into the water. The highs during the day have been reaching into the hundreds, but the pond remains cold. Don bounds in the water and dives under. Patty, Linda and I inch our way in. So cold…

After swimming the breast stroke for about 150 meters my arms are finally warmed up enough to start swimming freestyle. It takes a little time to get a rhythm going, but with each stroke my arms get looser and my breath gets more even.

The way the water flows over my skin is soothing and refreshing. I slowly glide through the coolness. It envelopes me,wraps around me, blocking out the sounds around me. All I hear is my own breathing.

My mind clears…the only thoughts I have are the movement of my body through the water. I examine each movement; my arm digging deep to pull more water, my hand sweeping past my hip, the roll of my hip away from my hand, my head turning…barely my mouth clears the water and I inhale. The same movements over and over again, free my mind from all the busy thoughts that always swirl around.

As I come to the end of my time in the water, I realize that doing this…swimming has become a sort of therapy for me. When I started, just a few months ago, swimming was anything but relaxing. It was difficult. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t fun. Now, I wait expectantly for the time in the water when I can clear my head and find the sweet relief from the days problems.

LLS Memorial Run 08/11

Patty & I had a fun and early morning.

Saturday’s are our big training days. Usually we do a bricks. (A brick is a workout that includes a swim & bike, swim & run….you get the idea. However, because our coach is hardcore we usually bike, swim & run) Today was different because the Bakersfield Memorial Run for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was this morning. Of coarse, we could not just do a 5k and call it a day…

At 3:45 this morning I was awake, drinking my breakfast. I have to say…and I can’t really believe I was actually feeling this way…I was excited for the workout that was coming. Weird, right?

Anyway, I drank my breakfast and woke the princess up. She wasn’t as excited as I was. We got all ready. I loaded our bikes and we checked & checked again to be certain we had all we needed. Patty came out to get in the truck and said, “the sun isn’t even up yet?” Ah, funny girl.

We arrived at Yokuts Park at about 5:15. By 5:30, our bikes were ready to go, we were stretched out and the entire team was there with us. We were off by 5:35.

It is fun to ride with a group. Everyone has someone to ride along with, no one gets left behind and there is always good conversation taking place. On days when a rider is feeling less than enthusiastic about the ride, the energy from the group can be infectious; quickly the rider will be falling into the rhythm of the group.

Patty rode amazingly. Today was just her second ride being clipped in and she had no problems at all. I was a little worried for her because it can be very scary going up a hill with your feet clipped to your pedals. You think that you are going so slow you are going to fall over and at that slow of speed you can’t really get your feet out. You just have to keep pedalling. Patty had no problem though. She figured out what gear to be in and was able make it up the hills like she’d been doing it forever.

Here is a map of our ride.

When we got back to the park, we loaded the bikes into the truck. Jane, the Team in Training Coordinator for our area gave us some sweet new shirts to wear for the run. I was even able to get one for Don. 😉 I think he is gonna love it.

So, we put our cool new shirts on. Switched our shoes and went to get our numbers and walk around until the run started.

All ready to go!

Patty & Linda started jogging as soon as the race started.  I began by walking to get warmed up all the way. My goal was to maintain a 15 minute mile. I was borrowing Linda’s Garmin (GPS watch) and used it to keep track of my speed. I walked for the most part and when my speed started dropping off I would jog. By jogging and walking I was able to maintain a sub 15 min mile!!!! It was so much easier than I expected it to be.

Patty did so good she was second in her age group. We hung around after the race to watch the awards ceremony. Patty was really surprised when they called her name. It was cute.

Wooo! #37!

I had so much fun with Patty today! I cannot wait until next Saturday when Patty does her first Sprint Triathlon.

She’s Caught the Bug

When I bought my bike shoes I wasn’t aware that a person’s feet swell when riding. The last time I wore them they murdered my fat swollen toes. So, I have passed them onto Patty.

Here she is on the trainer practicing unclipping…

So, we got her all set up and when her dad got home from work we went for a ride. She was nervous and excited. You would think the girl had been using those shoes and pedals forever. She’s a natural!

The first time I tried riding clipped in I fell in the front yard. My little girl didn’t fall once! Not even in the front yard!

We had a good ride tonight. I think Patty is ready to graduate to a big girl road bike. I am pretty sure she has caught the biking bug. She wants to go super fast! Maybe Santa will bring her one for Christmas. 😉

I got new shoes and pedals yesterday…They are cute and match my bike.

Just A Short Note

I am so excited! Don and I have a Sprint Tri scheduled for August the 13th. It’s more practice for us. The event is a 400 meter swim (open water), a 10 mile bike ride (kinda hilly from what I have been told) and a 3 mile walk/run.

Patty is going to do it with us!!!! Yay! Patty! On Saturday, Patty went to practice with me. She swam about 600 meters, road 18 miles and jogged/walked 4 miles. For the record…I did not jog, Linda our coach jogged with her. I think Linda was happy to have Patty with us because it meant she didn’t have to go slow with me.

Another tidbit…I’m a bit jealous, Patty got to ride Linda’s bike. Her bike is awesome. If our bike were cars mine would be a Honda Civic (not a bad car) and Linda’s would be a Porsche.

So, when you see Patty ask her how the training is going. 😉

My bike
Linda's bike

SLO Tri 2011

We did it!

I did it!

I knew Don would finish. He is such a stud!

Anyway, we did it. On Sunday, Don and I participated in the San Luis Obispo Triathlon. I wasn’t the slowest and I hear I wasn’t the last. Don’s time… 2 hours, 8 minutes and some seconds. My time… 2 hours, 28 minutes and some seconds.

DID YOU SEE MY TIME???? LESS THEN 2 AND 1/2 HOURS! Is that a good time?   I don’t know, but it was faster than 57 others.

The day started early. We were all packed up and ready to go the night before. After checking and rechecking we were certain we had everything we needed. We all climbed into the truck; me, Don, Dillon, Destiny, Patty and Pinky and off we went. We met up with our coach, her friend & our team-mate and caravaned to San Luis Obispo.

We arrived  about noon to check in. Our start time was 1:00 pm. We put our bikes into the transition area. Walked around and looked at the exhibits. Rested some in the shade. They were running late…about an hour and half late. We finally got called up to head to the pool at about 2:15.

I swim slow…real slow. I do swim though. I have come a long way in the time that I have been working with our trainer. I swam all 18 laps without stopping. I was the 6th from last in line. By the time I was done swimming the pool was empty…I swim slow. When I realized I was the last one in the pool I found myself getting discouraged. It took a little self talk to keep myself going.

My transition to the bike was pretty quick, I think. No problems anyway. I jumped on my bike and took off. I was pedaling as fast and hard as I could. At about mile 2 I realized I hadn’t brought any Sports Beans with me on the bike. I didn’t have my lip balm…I need lip balm on a ride. I wasn’t feeling real good about my ride. I was bemoaning being the last on their bike. I had a chaser though…a police officer named Joyce. She introduced herself to me when she caught up. I was encouraged that she was breathing much heavier than me and seemed to be working a lot harder.

Around mile 4 I passed my coach going in the opposite direction. A little later I saw Don working hard going the other way. I was glad he was having to work so hard…I was a bit upset with him for not waiting for me. I had told him before the race that I wanted him to go ahead when he was done with his swim…I didn’t think he would though.

Once my legs finally got used to being on the bike I was able to pick up my speed. Not super fast mind you…I can’t really go super fast, but I do think it was my fastest 15 mile ride ever. I passed someone…on a hill! It felt pretty dang good!

The transition from the bike to the walk/run (yes I did run a little) was flawless. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, grabbed some Sports Beans and I was off! It took about 15 min to get my walking legs. It was a bit of a hilly course. I walked up the hills and jogged down them. There were encouragers along the way as well as water and Gatorade stations.

As I was getting toward the end of the course, Don came to meet me. He was sitting on the corner, smiling at me, proud of me. I love when he looks at me that way.

With the encouragement of Don and my coach I ran to the finish line. I could hear Dillon, Destiny and Patty cheering me on.  As I came into view, the said my number, they said my name…I did it. I finished my first Triathlon.

In the time that we have been training, I have gotten stronger. In the striving and sweating I have learned to do things I couldn’t do before. Through the long hours of pushing myself harder, I have honed the skills I already had.

I have found something greater in all of this.  Don and I have always had fun together…played together. For 20 years we have been a mom and dad to Dillon and Patty. We have been our parents children. We have been doing the day-to-day stuff that everyone has to do. We have been living…trying to find those moments when we can catch a glimpse of who “we” are. All these hours of training have provided more opportunity to remember and grow closer to just “us”.

A Couple Days of Torture & Chili Verde

I am tired. Triathlon training is difficult.

It’s not that any of the things we are doing are difficult in themselves…it is the training for all 3 parts of a triathlon that is so dang exhausting.

Our training is coming along, though. We are getting better at swimming and walking (Don is running…I will continue walking) and our average mph on the bike are getting faster. We have been doing brick upon brick. A brick is a multi-workout. We started by doing a bike, followed by a walk, finishing with a swim.

On Friday, we did our first practice tri. We met at Riverwalk park and swam in the pond behind the Amphitheater. At 5:30 in the morning the water was surprisingly warm. We didn’t swim nearly as far as we will be in our actual event, but we did get a feel for swimming in open water and fighting kelp. It was a good swim…the kelp was gross. The most challenging part of it was sighting. Trying to do a proper freestyle swim while keeping track of where I am going is gonna require some more practice for sure. When you swim in a pool there are these fantastic lines on the bottom to guide you. Not so much in a mirky pond.

When we had completed our little swim we got our bikes and took off on a ride. Having just gotten out of the water and still having our wet swim clothes on, we didn’t have to worry about getting to warm. The day was quite beautiful and it was perfect for being active outside.

I found that I have a little bit of a problem getting my biking legs. I felt like I had no power and it took half the ride for me to finally get warmed up. Once I was warm, I was ready to go! Our average speed was better than it has been so far in our training.

At the end of our ride, we locked the bikes in the truck and set out for a 3 mile walk. I don’t know what our pace was, but it felt fast. I didn’t need as much time to transition from riding to walking.  My biggest problem was having shorts that kept riding up….I hate shorts that ride up.

I was so very tired by the time we went to bed that night. The day seemed to drag on and on!

Saturday morning came with a later meeting time for our work out and we only did a swim and a ride. We did double the swim as the day before and rode for 19 miles instead of 15.

Yesterday, because my husband likes to torture me, we went for another bike ride. 42 stinking miles….ugh! I was dead by the time we got home. My feet were killing me (I have discovered that my bike shoes are too dang small), so much so, that my entire body was hurting because of the foot pain.

When we got home, I was greeted with the wonderful smell of the chili verde I had put in the crock pot before we left for our ride. It was fantastic! It might have been the best chili verde I have ever made. Or I might have been so hungry that it tasted like the best. Either way, it was some good food.

In case you would like it….

Chili Verde
2 pork tri tips cut into chunks
1 large can tomatillos
2 large cans chopped Ortega chilis
1 can chopped jalapeno
Put everything in the crock pot, including the liquid from the tomatillos. Let it cook… When the meat is tender, I like to break it up into shredded pieces. I leave some big chunks because Don likes it that way. You can serve with tortillas, burrito style or over rice. To make it healthier, have brown rice instead of white. I also like some Jack cheese with mine.

Sunday we do the San Luis Obispo Triathlon!!!! I can not wait!