Category Archives: Exercise

55 miles to satisfaction

This past weekend I did a 55 mile bike tour with the P.I.C.  For “real” bikers, I guess that’s not a whole heck of a lot, but I’m not a “real” biker.  I ride to work a couple of times a week (4 miles) and maybe do some riding on the weekend, but leading up to this tour, we had done 10 miles at most in one ride.  Not nearly enough to properly prepare for a 55 mile ride.  But having done the five borough tour (40 miles) I thought, we should be fine.

Miles 1-20

As in the five borough bike tour, this was the best part of the tour.  It wasn’t easy, but the adrenaline of doing the tour made it seem relatively easy.  I was taking in the sights, and enjoying the day.  It was sunny, and there was a good amount of other people doing the tour with us.  If I had to guess, there were 1500-2000 people.  My body felt good, and we had a good rhythm.  This wasn’t a closed course, so we had to stop at lights and mind traffic, but outside of some major cross streets, it really wasn’t bad.  Also, for this tour, there were 30, 55, 75, and 100 mile options.  We signed up for the 55 mile, but kept 30 as an option in case we were struggling.  By the time we were near 20, I was confident we were going to do the 55.  I had to be sure though because the 30 mile track was going to break off soon.  If we were going to continue, we need to be sure because there was no turning back.

Miles 21-40

Things tend to get serious when you hit that 21st mile.  Fully committed to going 55 miles at this point.  You are no longer out there just to have a good time.  This is the point where your body realizes you’re actually asking it to push itself.  It understands that this is not a regular workout, but something where you are going to need to dig a little deeper.  It’s no time to panic, but the chatty banter with whomever you’re riding with or around tends to stop.  It’s a little quieter, and you’re a little more focused on how you feel.  You have to remember to drink before you get thirsty.  Why are my lips so dry?  Should I stop at this rest stop and grab a banana.  It’s still fun, but you feel a bit more of a burn.  On this particular leg of the tour, the roads were small, and the cars were scarce.  On more than one occasion, I realized we were actually by ourselves.  Our only guide was the little pink arrows on the pavement at most intersections.   For me, this is where I began to wonder if not training was a bad idea….yes, it was, but nothing we can do about that now.  Toward that 40th mile, I felt some relief knowing that this was the distance for the five borough tour.  So, what’s another 15 miles??

Miles 41-55

On my handlebars I had a speedometer.  This also showed the average mph, and the total miles.  Throughout the entire race, I tried my hardest not to see the mileage.  I wanted to make sure our mph average was above 10 (we are around 12.1), which is the only reason I continued to check it.  But for some reason, each time I looked, I saw the mileage.  And during this stretch, the numbers moved like they were stuck in quick sand.  A half a mile felt like three.  My hands started to ache, and the soreness on my butt was becoming more of a problem.  My bike felt much heavier.  I also began to get a cramp in my thigh.  And though a few sips of water helped make it go away, my bottle seemed to empty out as quickly as I filled it.  The exhilaration of going down a hill, was quickly lost to an uphill grade, no matter how slight it was.  This route was the definition of rolling hills, or so that’s how I remember it.  Oh, did I say we did all this on mountain bikes?  The saving grace was hybrid tires, and though the difference seems minimal, it’s appreciated.

I will tell you, I’ve never worked my thighs to such exhaustion before.  I was begging them to do something, and shortly before mile 50, they started telling me no. I pushed, and with each push, I could feel them wanting to give up on me.  It seems like these tours all tend to have a steep incline near the end.  I was ready, mentally, for it.  Hell, I rode up the Verrazano Bridge on a windy day, which was a much steeper incline than the hill this tour presented.  But, I couldn’t…I tried, I continued begging, but they just wouldn’t do it.  I conceded to the defeat.  Sadly, I walked it.  Afterwards, slightly dejected, I rode on.  There was still a few miles to go, and I was certain that I had seen the worst of it.  After a quick rest stop, we were back on our way, and on the horizon…another tough hill.  The only comfort was that numerous people around me also hated the sight of this, and a lot of  them “looked” like pros.  I stopped at the foot of the hill, and was joined by a handful of others.  More people approached, more people stopped.  I heard the groans of those who decided not to lose their momentum, and pedaled on.  The cheer of one of the volunteers was urging people along.  To myself I said, I have to do this.  No walking this one.  The P.I.C had been a monster on the course all day, so I knew she’d have no issue.  Let’s do it….I jumped on the bike, and pedaled my way to a little more pride.  I made it to the top of that hill, slowly…one cycle followed by the next.  Getting every little bit out of these thighs.  The rest, was a downhill roll toward the finish line.

Finish

I know people who have run marathons, and that is one major accomplishment.  This is the closest I’ll get to that feeling, unless I decide to do a century ride…maybe one day, but if I do, I’ll definitely train.  And though I could have done better, it was a great moment of accomplishment.  A moment of self satisfaction.  To some extent, a sense of belonging as you celebrate silently, with the others that took that trek  Slightly sore, I ate a lobster roll, took in the scene, and took my behind home.  I needed a nap.  I love that I am blessed enough to be able to do these things.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right?  And I’m getting older, so I need to be somewhat active.  And, riding a bike, in my opinion, is still better than running.  LOL  Till next time.

 

Advertisements

Weight a minute

Here’s a source of confusion for me.  I was never a heavy guy.  By medical standards, maybe, but in reality I was never a heavy guy.  I have pictures to prove it.  Was I bigger than what would look good on my body structure?  Sure.

I was forced to acknowledge this fact after my father mentioned how big I had gotten.  My father never says anything about weight, or at least he had never said anything to me, so this was a wakeup call.  Maybe I had let myself enjoy life a little too much.  So, I went on a 30 day challenge, using something that was on the Dr. Oz page.  The challenge pretty much eliminated dairy and red meats right away, and gradually got me onto a raw fruit and vegetable diet for the final week. 

Honestly, the challenge was more about cleansing than it was about weight, but if it had a collateral effect, so be it.  A few weeks after the challenge, I saw my father and he said something to the effect of, “boy, you’d better eat.  You’re losing the broad shoulders that you inherited from me.”  Okay, right there proved to be that parents are crazy.  But it was true that I had lost weight, so good for me.

Well today, while at work, a coworker (whom I hadn’t seen in awhile) exclaimed, “Oh my God, you’ve lost a lot of weight, looking good.”  Someone who was with her co-signed and said, yeah, you definitely have lost weight and your belly has gone down.  A few months ago, a similar situation happened with another coworker (big office building…)Most people, I guess, would be happy to hear this, but I’m confused because I never thought I was a big guy.

Honestly, my weight loss (from the cleanse) was probably a total of 15 pounds, at most.  Yes, recently I have been running, but I don’t think that has helped me lose any weight.  I don’t feel any different and my clothes feel the same as well.  So I still think I’m in the range of what I weighed after the cleanse, if not a little bit more.  Can 15 pounds really make that much of a difference where people would react so dramatically to the weight loss?  I guess the answer is yeah, but it just makes me think that I must’ve really looked like a fat ass before.  No one ever said that, but I guess that’s what these recent reactions are showing.  Who knew….

Higher Powers

Yesterday, I was supposed to go running.  Some of you who have kept up with my blogging know that I ran a 5k a few weeks back.  I am still running because I am participating in a corporate challenge in central park in June.  So, since I haven’t run at all this week, I decided yesterday had to be the day.

My day at work had been pretty busy, but bearable.  But around 4:30 things got a little hectic.  I’m supposed to leave my job no later than 5:20 to ensure that I can catch the shuttle bus to my condo building.  Well, before I knew it, it was 5:25 and I clearly wasn’t going to make my shuttle in time.  This was a bit of a blow because I wanted to run and be home and relaxed for the evening.  I certainly didn’t want to stay at work, and I had known that a few coworkers had gone to happy hour across the street.  The plan was now to join them for a few minutes, before taking the 15 minute walk over to my shuttle bus whose next departing time was 6:30.  So I was at the restaurant waiting for 6:10 to arrive and staying away from alcohol since I didn’t think it was a good idea to drink before running.

At approximately 6:09, I said my goodbyes and turned toward the door at which time, the skies opened up and it began pouring.  Determined to stay focused and get my run in, I headed out, even though I didn’t have an umbrella.  Two minutes into my walk, I had begun to regret the decision to walk because it had begun to rain harder.  Oh well, I’m already wet now…can’t really get more wet, so I walked.  It rained the entire walk, but it did let up once I got to the shuttle van meeting point, but one thing was missing….the shuttle van.  6:30….6:35….6:40….6:45, the van finally shows up.  Appears as if he had gotten pulled over for talking on the phone.  Well, at least I was on my way home.

But……not so.  There was traffic beyond what was normal for that time of day.  In addition, I had received a text message from a friend who had recently suffered a traumatic event, who wanted to go have drinks with a few of his friends….he wanted to leave in approximately 45 minutes, and I wasn’t even home yet.

All in all, home by 7:15 wet, cranky, and tired, I never made it to my run.  I’m not sure if all the obstacles were trying to set me up to be there for a friend, or if something bad was going to happen if I went for a run, but one thing is for certain….powers greater than me, did not want me running yesterday.  Hmmm

5k update

So I am proud to say, that I finally ran and completed my first 5k.  Though me and my P.I.C had done about 8 weeks worth of training, I was still nervous about how we would fare during the actual run. We didn’t finish in any amazing amount of time, but we finished.  I don’t know if the timing is important, but for those of you who are curious, we finished in approximately 31 minutes.  Throughout this whole process, I started out hating, began to like, and then hated the idea of running.  I’m not a fan of it, even at this juncture, but I understand it’s importance in my life at this time (it’s a new horizons sort of thing).  I have at least one other scheduled run and plan to continue running.   Honestly, I can’t see myself not running even when I have nothing to run for.  That’s the thing…I don’t like it, but it feels good to be active.  I don’t necessarily feel that much healthier either…I guess it’s just a mental thing.  That’s not to say that I won’t fall back into my couch potato ways, but I hope not to.

A few observations…this process was a challenge, and I will probably do more 5k’s for the challenge.  I might, and don’t hold me to this, even entertain a 10k.  Running can get boring, so in lieu of either of these, I may consider something I’ve heard of called a Warrior Dash, or if I’m feeling daring…a Tough Mudder.  The latter is a bit aggressive, so I would probably start with a Warrior Dash.  It certainly is more trying physically, but I feel that the idea of thinking of something besides the fact that I’m running, will make it easier.  That was the toughest part of running….well besides the running….it was the constant thought that I was running.  I couldn’t think of anything else, which made it feel that much longer….

That leads me to my P.I.C….hehe…she was amazing throughout the training process as well.  If you’re thinking about doing a run like this, getting someone to do it with you is key.  You will keep each other motivated and the likelihood of your finishing is increased.  That is, however, if you can deal with your life being threatened and scowls while running.  I guess it’s partially my fault since my way of motivating her were corny jokes and generic “you’re almost there’s,” but I ultimately think we helped each other.  It was also helpful to have a few of my neighbors in the actual race with us.  Seeing their faces at the finish line….yes, they finished before us, but they’re pro’s….was a welcome sight.  Matter of fact, having all of those strangers clapping and cheering at the end, and throughout the race, was amazingly helpful.  I briefly had wondered, “what if life was normally like this….what if throughout your trials and tribulations of life, random strangers recognized your effort, and told you how good of a job you were doing, and that you could do it.”  It wouldn’t change much, but it’s a welcome sentiment.  Anyway, that’s not the purpose of this post.  Just wanted to say, I made it, and I’m happy.  Mission Accomplished!  On to the next….

Run G…Runnnnn!!!!!

Yeah, so I’m training for a 5k. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I have to train for it because I’d like like to think I could just get up and run a 5k with no problem. I mean, it’s only 3.1 miles and real runners, or people who are in shape, could probably do it in their sleep. I’d like to think that I’m no slouch, and that my inner sportsman, can channel the youthful athleticism that I once displayed. I’d like to think that, but reality is powerful and the fact is that I can’t just get up and do it. So, here as I enter my fourth week of training, where the workouts seem to take on a dramatic change towards kicking my behind, I reflect on why the hell am I doing this.

LOL, when I told someone recently that I’d be doing this, they asked “what’s her name?” In actuality, there is no her. I actually blame/credit my neighbor who got me to agree to this while I was intoxicated on New Year’s Eve. I also extend that blame to another neighbor and a neighbors friend who ran the NYC marathon in November. And now I extend that to other neighbors and co-workers who have decided they would like to run a 5k also. Will we all do it? I don’t know, but this running thing has gotten contagious. On a personal level, I hate running. I’d much rather ride a bike. However, in a year where I feel I should try new things, and even face my fears (or things that I hate) head on, this seems to be a perfect thing to put on the agenda. I feel good about my progress so far, and having a running partner helps with the motivation.

Can’t say I’ve lost any weight, and though that wasn’t the goal, it would’ve been a nice side effect. Oh well, I hope I’m ready for the run in the beginning of May. I do not have any timing goals, I just want to finish. So, mild shin splint and all, I will continue to train and check this off of my list of accomplishments. Couch to 5k….cue the Rocky theme music…..