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Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the category “Biking”

Just try something … new

This is how I feel when I try to swim.  Only I don’t float that well.

This morning a friend posted on FB  “Even after all this time I still get butterflies! *6.1* here I come.”  It made me think, being a runner is like falling in love.

The theme right now seems to be Newbies.  As administrator of the MRTC FB site I never know what reaction the posts will get; something I think is very interesting flops, other times I throw something up and it goes like wildfire.  This week I posted a story from from a newbie and a photo I thought someone might like.  I think they struck such a chord with the runners because we all remember being a newbie.  Heading out the door in shoes from Target, wearing a cotton t-shirt and our old PE shorts, not carrying water, trying to figure out how far we’d gone by driving the course and watching the car’s odometer.

Somehow we made it.  We saw a poster at the sports store, which we’d finally discovered for shoes, and timidly registered for a 5K.  Feeling like a flashing blue light at WalMart, standing in the crowd at the start thinking OMG what have I just done?? we managed to get to the finish line.  We met other runners; although we denied we were a *RUNNER* because we didn’t go as fast, or as long, or didn’t understand what a “negative split” was, we managed to learn the talk and start getting hints for shoes, hydration, shin splints.  Runners love running, and they love to talk running.  A newbie, to an older runner, is like Christmas.  OH BOY!  NEW!  SHINING!  MEMORIES!  To share with a newbie is like crack.  Feels so good (so I assume, about the crack, I mean) and the up side is, it’s legal, and it benefits everyone.

The FB posts were awesome, I’ve read them several times. I love the enthusiasm, the joy, the memories.  I love the hesitant questions from the newbies, their excitement, their nervousness.  I love how the runners cheer each other on, the incredible stories of overcoming illnesses, injuries, weigh loss and reclaimed health.  If you can, read the links above.  You’ll smile.

You only get to be a newbie once.  Then you’re a runner.  You may be a runner who is not running right now, you may be a runner who is injured, or a runner not training for anything, but you’re a runner.  It’s like coloring your hair.  You’re a blond or redhead now, and it looks great, but the roots are Runner.

I, however, have discovered the Fountain Of Newbie.  You can be a newbie again. You just have to go back to the scared, hesitant, awkward, worried place.

This is what I feel like on my bike, only I look more worried.  And I wear a helmet.  Which, the first time I wore it, was on backward.  Hey, it gave T1 and T2 a laugh.

This is how I feel when I go really really fast, like 14 mph.  (Kristin Armstrong, Olympic Time Trials Gold Medalist, 18 miles in  37:34.81; if the online converter is correct that is 28.748890860692104 MPH)

It is a bit like falling in love.  Shiny object: boyfriend.  Shiny object:  bicycle.  Scary: first date.  Scary: first ride.  Revealing yourself:  maybe you won’t measure up.  Revealing yourself on the ride: maybe you won’t be able to keep up.  Sticking with it the first time it gets rough:  your first fight.  Sticking with it the first time it gets rough:  clipping in.

Thus I found myself early Labor Day morning enthusiastically donning the riding gear I’d carefully set out the night before.  Newbie, checking:  Shorts, gloves, helmet, water bottles… nervously excited I drove to B’s house and met H and Mr. B for a ride.  I felt so official, pulling on my bike gloves, helmet facing forward, gleaming new white shoes.  We took off.  Well, they took off.  I was facing the wrong direction!  hahahahaha!  I clipped in, too scared to try a tight turn on the neighborhood street, I went the opposite way and met them at the corner.  It was a beautiful morning as we rode through the countryside.  The ravens on the power lines laughed at me, but I knew they were wrong.  Laugh away, I said, laugh away, and I rode on.

Maybe I’ll save swimming for awhile so I can be a newbie again, again.

BFOS – The Saga Continues

Last Sunday’s run sucked like a Dyson on steroids. I’d had a great tempo run last Wednesday and had a target pace in mind, which I held for exactly 2 miles and then the Butt fell off the bus. I ran, I walked, I cussed, I hurt, I limped. I’d done two slow miles to warm up before the race, did the 5 Miler and gave up. My butt was trying to fall off and I was about fed up with it. I’d hoped to do twelve last Sunday since I’ve got the Tupelo run this weekend; unless I wanted to run the final 5 hopping on one foot – and I didn’t – I needed to bag it for the day.

This race, btw, is my absolute favorite, check it out: http://tupelorunningclub.homestead.com/tupelomarathon.html. The race starts at 5am – pitch dark – from a huge furniture facility and is an out-and-back course through the Mississippi farmland. The half is actually 14.2 miles. The turnaround is 1.1 miles from the start/finish, so the halvers have to run an extra 1.1 to the finish line. They didn’t do medals for the halvers until a few years ago. You could do the half, but no medal. And the medal is awesome, you do want one: a skull with gleaming red enamel eyes. The half medal is even better: it’s a little bigger than a half a skull, with ragged edges as though it were torn in half. The t-shirt is always a long sleeve tie-dye with a skull and crossbones on the front and the race’s motto: “Hurdle the Dead. Trample the Weak.” Last week the RD sent the following announcement, in view of possible bad weather due to Isaac:

Special notice: Tupelo Marathon and 14.2 Miler Contingency plans regarding Hurricane Isaac

After consulting with Tupelo Running club Staff Meteorologist Michelle Rupp and long time, former Race Director Mike Lail I am announcing the contingency plan for this year’s race:

 A. In the event of rain we will get wet
B. In the case of heavy rain we will get really wet
C. In the case of REALLY heavy rain I will wait in the building until you’re all back

I’m concerned about the run tomorrow, I haven’t done more than 10 in a few weeks, and my butt tried to fall off yesterday at 6 miles. I’ve been doing some BFOS research and will report in later; I’m hopeful I’ve found some help but I doubt it’s going to work within 24 hours.

After the pain of Sunday I took Monday off and woke Tuesday with a plan. I was going to run four miles.

And….

Then….

I was going to….

RIDE MATILDA!!!!!! This was the day. This was the plan. I was firm in my resolve and when Brain tried to squeak in my ear that maybe we should wait until tomorrow I squished him firmly back into his little dark corner and told him in no uncertain terms to Shut. Up.

I put her in the car and drove to a church about a mile from our house. It’s a great little church, very traditional Episcopalian church, white boxy old-fashioned building with a little steeple on the top, rather like Little House on the Prairie. They are really nice people, allowing a 5k/10k race to be held on their grounds every year, and they don’t mind runners using their parking lot to meet up and head out for a run so I figured they would not mind if I rode my bike in circles in their grass. Plus with it being a church and all, maybe God would be extra close at hand to rescue crazy women learning to ride a bike.

I took a deep breath and saddled up. We can do this. Just stay focused and stay calm. No panicking allowed. One thing I’d noticed when I was practicing clipping the last time is that I tend to stop my bike while still on the seat and then put my feet down. This worked fine when I was 12 and riding my Schwinn Stingray with the banana seat. On a street bike you can’t do that, the seat is too high, you can’t reach the ground. I’d never thought about it, though, when using the regular pedals as my foot was freer to pop off at the last second and land. Voilà – there was the main issue: I was trying to stop first and then unclip.

The ladies coming out of the exercise class at the church looked at me a bit funny as I pedaled in circles, focused: pedalpedalpedal, unclip, brake, slow almost to a stop, put foot down, unclip left foot. I did it! Look, Ma! No Cavities!

Emboldened by my success I decided to take a spin around the parking lot. Two exercise ladies were standing by their cars talking as I wobbled around the corner and almost took them both out – my bad, sorry! I told them I was just learning. They looked a bit alarmed and asked if they were going to have to scrape me off the asphalt, but I wobbled onward, thanking them.

12.5 miles and 51 minutes later I returned to the parking lot, unclipped and glided to a stop. I am a cyclist.

I am a runner, and I am a cyclist. And since I swam 10 laps last week, I’m claiming that, too.

I am not, however, a triathlete. nopenopenopenopenope.

Training wheels

Occasionally Brain and I don’t get along.  I try, I really do, but Brain is just not that easy to work with; it frequently seems to have a mind of its own and is often very uncooperative.  Selfish, even, if I may say.  And I may since it’s my blog, not Brain’s, so I can write anything I want.  Other than the obvious, of course.  I don’t want to start posting manifestos against governments or threatening stupid people who don’t know what a turn signal is, Mrs. Idiot Lady who couldn’t decide to move into the turn lane until the last possible minute, no, I’m fine, really, and thank you Baby Jesus in your little manger full of pokey straw that I have good brakes.  Because threats and that kind of thing could get a person in trouble.

I hope your cat pees on your new couch.  Repeatedly.

The truth is, Brain has  been dead set against this whole biking thing from the beginning.

“You’ll crash.”

“You’ll break your arm and then what?  How will you work?”

“How long does it take to heal if you break your hip and need surgery?”

For the love of all that’s holy, will you SHUT.  UP.

As you both know, I got Matilda back from RB’s last week.  She was so pretty, shining and proud with her new Barrel Guide Adjuster for the Front Derailleur, her cleaned and adjusted chain, her new black and red outfit.  I stood her up at the back of Babs, saddled up and held on (to Babs, not Matilda).  I practiced.  Clip in, clip out.  Clip in, clip out.  Right Foot did ok.  Left Foot needs some remedial help.

I looked down the driveway.  I looked down at Matilda.  Back at the driveway.  Back to Matilda.

“The driveway is pea gravel, you pea-brain,” intoned Brain.  “You know what your knees will look like when you tip over?”

“SHUT UP!” I begged.

“Remember when Traitor #1 broke his elbow off?  You could do that if you fall.”

“OMG!  I … no … I … won’t.”

It did suck when T-1 broke his elbow off, him being in Paris and all that, having surgery and I couldn’t be there.  It does stand out in my mind and it is just the card Brain could decide to pull.

Getting Matilda all fixed up, practicing clipping – that was a good start.  I should stick with that for today, I decided, and I put Matilda in the storage room.

I’m pretty sure she hung her head just a little.  But probably not.  Probably I just imagined it.

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