Sunday, April 20, 2014

H140 Training: The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday was going to be the day I pedaled to Ventura. I had the route all planned out. I had my support crew ready to go, even after some logistical rearranging of plans thT needed to be done on he part of one of them. My Camelback was packed with energy bars and electrolyte drink mix. My water bottles were chilling in the fridge filled with electrolyte goodness. My goal destination awaited, with the planned end point being a friends house where I would shower, then we'd all go celebrate. Everything was ready.

And then Friday night came, and one member of my support crew had to take the other to the emergency room with a kidney stone. We've known about this particular one for a couple of weeks, but it was now turning into a crisis situation. Sure enough, she was admitted to the hospital, but wanted me to still do my ride. 

Saturday morning came and I decided I would still do it. I needed the time in the saddle and the miles. I geared up and headed out the door. Then I saw the rear tire was completely flat. Weird. I hadn't been doing so much riding to justify that. I filled it up win my foot pump and left. 

The first part of the route I had planned is all uphill. Sometimes it's just a gradual climb, and sometimes the hills are steep and tough, but the entire first 25 miles is a steady elevation increase. I felt every inch I was gaining. It felt just so much more difficult than it should have. Some parts of the road,even with a marked bicycle lane, aren't great either. It's heavily traveled by trucks, so there are lots of ruts and ridges, not to mention gravel. Pretty soon, it felt like evey bump was making its way to my teeth. They started to rattle around in my skull more than usual. I looked behind me, and darn it if that rear tire wasn't flat again. It wasn't completely flat, but it was just a matter of time until I was riding on the rim. 

I stopped and debated. I had a tube with me, but no air. I could change the tube, but with no air, wouldn't be sure if it was the wheel or the tube that was problematic. There was a gas station, I thought, a half mile or so ahead of me, so I could walk the bike that far and try to change the tube there then get air, or change the tube where I was and walk to the gas station, or call it a day and turn around for home. I knew there was no way I could make it another twenty miles to where my support crew (reduced by 50%) would meet me with a foot pump. My biggest concern wasn't walking the bike, it was changing the tube on the REAR tire. I messed up some rear tires last year when I didn't remount it correctly, and didn't want to run that risk again.

I weighed all those factors, and decided to go home. I was over five miles out, so running home would still be a good training season, even if it wasn't the one I planned. I would pretend I was training for a duathlon.

New plan in mind, I started running. Almost a mile into that activity, a huge pack of cyclists came storming my direction. I lifted my hand in greeting. The lead guy hollered, "You okay?" 

"Yeah," I hollered back.

Someone else said, "Need a tube?"

I chuckled and said ruefully, "No, I'm good. Thanks, though!" And kept running. Then I heard bike tires behind me. I turned to look, and saw that two riders had peeled away from the peloton to see if I needed help. First I recognized that the kits they wore were from the bike shop where I had purchased my bikes. Then I recognized one of them as the owner, Rob. 

I thanked them profusely for turning around to help, then apologized profusely that they had tuned around, and basically alternated between those two themes. I explained that I had a tube but no air, and that I was going to be at the shop to get the flat repaired, and he said, "We'll just do it now." Like a well-trained pit crew, they had the tire off and tube replaced lickety split. The thing that took the most time was them trying to figure out which one had a Co2 cartridge. Turned out neither did, thinking the other one had packed one, but one did have a pocket pump, which was enough to get it full enough to make the trip home. Rob left the rear brake lever loose for some reason that made sense to him but that sounded like "fwah fwah fwah" to me. He told me to stop in at the shop later and he'd take care of it.

I happily started pedaling home, and it felt great to have air in that tire. I saw a gas station and briefly pondered stopping, getting a full tire and continue with the plan, but with the brakes being kind of wonky, knew that wasn't such a great idea.

All told I did about 16 miles, as I took an intentional detour just to add some miles- so far less than the 65 I was planning on. I suppose it could be considered a failure. But the good things were:

I wasn't so far away from home that i was uncomfortably stranded.
No mechanical failures at a dangerous part of the road, like a steep downhill, which could have been disastrous.
Good incentive to get Co2 cartridges, which I did later when I took my bike to the shop, as well as some more tubes.
I was able to spend more time with my hospitalized support crew, which was important. 
Got to see at there are good people in this world who are willing to help, even at the expense of their own goals and schedules.

This week's goal: TBD.

Happy training and riding!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Should vs Must

I haven't read the whole thing yet, so read and form your own opinions. But this bit showed up on my RSS feed this morning, and it's intrigued me all day:

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.

Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.

Full article here.

If fully implemented, this could change a lot of how I think and act - what I choose to eat, when I choose to exercise and what type, etc.


Monday, April 14, 2014

H140 Training: Better Than Last Time

This was one of those weeks where nothing really went as planned, training-wise. That's okay.  I didn't get a bike ride in on Saturday, my usual riding day, because of a commitment I had made (emceeing a Girl Scout Pinewood Derby), and even though I usually don't do much of anything on Sundays, I know that if I'm to complete my planned 70 mile ride this next Saturday, I can't not get on a bike and expect it to be easy. To clarify, I don't expect it to be easy anyway, but I don't want to unnecessarily make it more challenging than it already will be.

ANYway. I hopped on my bike to get a quick ride in this morning before church. I did about the same route I did last week - LA Zoo/Griffith Park.

When I got to the hill that I hadn't been able to complete before, I told myself I'd be doing great if I could get a little further than I did last time. I was focused on trying to remember where I had gotten off last time, so that worked well as a distraction technique. I thought I was about ready to get off, but then saw a speed limit sign and told myself to just make it to that sign, then see how I'm feeling.

Before I knew it, I was at the sign, and still going. "Okay, just a bit further, then I'll get off and walk." Then someone passed me on his bike, and I didn't want to get off in front of anyone, so kept going.

THEN before I knew it, I was at the toughest part of the hill, and still going. By then, I could see the top of the hill, and figured it would be stupid to get off when I knew I was nearly there, so I just kept going.

The payoff is always worth it - the sweet downhill of 32 mph. That always feels great.

My lessons learned - Don't think about the entire distance at once. Just give yourself little chunks to bite off. Do a little bit at a time. Those little bits all add up to one big accomplishment.

Secondly - I am stronger than I think I am. I know that I struggled with this ride last week because of a fairly heavy duty leg workout I'd given myself earlier that week, but the fact that I could do this just one week after not being able to - that gives me hope.

Also, recovery is so important! I am still trying to find the balance between training sufficiently when I don't have time to do all the bike rides during the week I know I probably should so I load up my training schedule in other ways, vs recovery. And sleep. Oh, sleep, how I miss you. I need to figure out how to get more. What I get is quality, I'm just lacking quantity.

"Should" vs "Must" - thoughts coming soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

Back story - a nice guy at work brings bananas for everyone. Well, not EVERYone, but he brings a lot of bananas, a bunch of them, if you will, and gives them to people. I sit right outside his office, and he likes me, so I get one just about every day. His name is Steve.

I had to apologize to C for delaying an IM response: "Someone came by to chastise me for having bananas on my desk."
C: whaaa?

EllJayPea: Well, you know Steve the banana guy. He frequently isn't here on Fridays. And he likes me, so he gives me two bananas on Thursdays. So there are 2 bananas on my desk, and a woman walked by, saw them there, stopped, backed up, picked one up, waggled it at me and said, "These are SO bad for you!"
She then proceeded to tell me that she has started juicing

C: Oh brother....

EllJayPea: So she was putting 1/2 banana in each "juice,"and she gained weight. She cut the bananas out, and can already tell a difference.

CinniMinion: Yeah, okay crazy juicer lady

EllJayPea: 1. I am busy, on my lunch, with my back to the aisle. Leave me alone;

EllJayPea: 2. Don't look at my desk and think you need to lecture me about stuff on it;

EllJayPea: 3. Shaddap;

EllJayPea: 4. I think you have "juicing" confused with "smoothy-ing."

Friday, April 11, 2014

H140 Training: Movies about Cycling

Yes, I believe watching movies, or reading books or learning about the sport you’re participating in is just as valuable as actually doing the sport. Whatever will get you motivated. I’m a sucker for sports movies. Seriously. Love ‘em. Here are three movies I’ve watched recently that are about cycling.

“Wadjda” -  An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. (IMDB)

If memory serves, this is also the first feature film directed by a Saudi woman, which is noteworthy of itself. This was a good story with a lot of different layers. I know some family members who lived for several years in Saudi Arabia who may really find it interesting on even more levels than I did. Sure, there are some areas where the story could have been edited a bit, firmed up if you will, but it was certainly thought provoking.

Warning – it is subtitled, so you can’t multi-task and watch at the same time. Unless your Arabic is better than mine.

“The Armstrong Lie” – A documentary chronicling sports legend Lance Armstrong's improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace. (IMDB)

This was very compelling, if you’ve ever seen a headline in the past five years about Lance Armstrong. Even if you aren’t a headline reader, this was really good. It makes me mad that I ever held a shred of hope out for him not being liar, when it’s very clear he is and was. He also appears to suffer from a severe case of megalomania, or in my family, “big headedness.” It’s surprising there is ever enough space for him AND his big ol’ noggin in the same room. Give it a watch. It’s a great story, well shot, neutrally told, and a nice insight into the world of professional cycling.

“Rising from Ashes” - Rising from Ashes is a feature length documentary about the first Rwandan national cycling team in their bid to make history and represent their country at the 2012 Olympics. Competing in a white man's sport, reserved for the privileged, a rag tag group of cyclists coached by the first American to ride in the Tour de France, are transformed into a powerful symbol of hope for a country recovering from one of the world's most devastating genocides. (IMDB)

Of the three cycling movies I’ve watched in the past three weeks, this one was by far my favorite. The others were good – don’t get me wrong – but this one was inspiring and heartbreaking and beautiful.

Here are some great quotes from it:

"Cycling is about suffering. You cannot be a cyclist without going through a tremendous amount of pain. You can’t escape it." – Jock Boyer

“If you want to not suffer, you cannot survive to do cycling.” One of the Rwanda team members

“Trophies have no value, unless you use them to better other people.” Jock Boyer.

Watch it. You won’t be sorry.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Conference Training: Update

I haven't checked with the other people yet to see how our conference workout plan went. Ellen has been leaving comments as updates (thanks, Ellen!), so I know that for two of us, at least, it was successful.

My Saturday morning started with a bike round to and around Griffith Park (home of the Los Angeles Zoo, among other things) before conference. It's not a very long ride, but there's a nice little climb right in the middle of it. A climb that was so nice I didn't bother killing myself trying to complete it on the bike, but got off and walked/ran up the hill instead, when my cycling legs gave out. The whole route was about 16 miles, which I underestimated how long it was going to take me. Or overestimated how late I could leave the house and still make it home in time for conference. I got home about halfway through the first talk, so missed some of the exercises, probably.

But I picked up right where I came in, and overall for that morning session, did about 50 squats, four tricep dips, one plank and six or seven push-ups.

To recap, we were to do a squat for each "Jesus" or derivative thereof, and a 30-count plank for Joseph Smith. As Ellen and I observed together, anyone who says our church doesn't believe in Christ is crazy, as evidenced by the fact that the squats far outnumbered the planks.

Linda enjoyed reminding me that I needed to do a squat if it looked like I was getting complacent about doing one, or missed that I was supposed to be doing one. And both Linda and Cim were a little critical about my form if it looked like I was getting too lazy. As a note - neither of them showed any inclination in doing any of the exercises themselves; merely told me when to do mine. So supportive, those two.

In the afternoon session, the squat count was about the same, coming in at around fifty. I did five 30-count planks, and I'm not sure how many dips and push-ups.

Confession: I still owe doing Saturday afternoon's squats.

I didn't do anything for Sunday's sessions, other than listen. I'm at peace with that.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Conference Challenge

As I left my exercise session with my friend on Wednesday, we were chatting about watching conference. Recognizing it's challenging sometimes to stay awake, and both cognizant of individual goals to become more physically fit, she suggested that each time a certain word is said, we do a pushup or something similar. Together, we agreed on four words and an exercise to do each time one of those words is mentioned. Feel free to join in, if you'd like.

Atonement = 1 push up
Jesus (or any derivative) = 1 squat
Book of Mormon = 1 tricep dip
Joseph Smith = 30 count plank

One friend points out it will be difficult to take notes, but knowing myself as I do, at least I won't have my attention directed elsewhere (iPad, Facebook, etc.) so will be listening more than I might be otherwise.

(For those who may read this and aren't aware of what this "conference" is that I'm talking about, twice a year, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints get to hear from a living prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the church. Here's a little video that introduces what it is:)