Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rhythm and Blues 5K Race Report

On Friday I got this email from a friend of mine from work with a last chance to sign up for R&B races.  She had asked me several times if I was going to do this race and I was tempted, but not sure because of MS150 training.  It was on a Sunday, so ideal to not interfere with a ride, but I wasn't sure how my legs were going to take the riding, so I never signed up. 

But as I've mentioned, my legs seem to be adapting very well with minimal soreness the next day.  That has been the most amazing thing when I compare cycling to running - running has 48 hours of soreness for me.  Cycling is only same day then done.  So when I got the email from my friend, I was all what the hell, I'll do it.

She was also nice enough to pick up the packet for me!  And I was able to park at her place which was about 1.5 miles from the start/finish.

The race was well organized.  The tech shirt is very cool with the Houston skyline around the bottom.  There were 3 bands along the 5K course, which were great!  And there was a medal at the end.

The course was Allen Parkway.  Not my favorite, but good hill practice.  My time wasn't stellar... I'm guessing around 32 minutes (the official times aren't up yet), but that isn't a surprise given that I rode 38 miles the day before!  In fact, truly the surprise was that I ran as much as I did.  I made the first mile with no walk breaks, the second mile with 2, and the third mile as needed.

With the exception of the water right at the finish line (THANK YOU for that!), the refreshments at the end were a bit frustrating.  Just two tiny tents and you needed to turn in a ticket for your one time through the line.  So already at the end of the 5K there was a big long line.  And then a grumpy lady yelling that you can only have one of each type of thing.  Not my favorite.  For the price we paid (and I'm assuming the 10k and Half paid even more), I'd prefer that they just get ENOUGH food for everyone, instead of artificially limiting the food.

Then I wandered back to my car and home to EAT ALL THE THINGS for the second day in a row.  That was actually my major overarching feeling Sunday afternoon - hungry and tired.

All in all, a very successful training weekend!  And my body seems to be adapting very well.  I couldn't be more pleased.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Saturday's Ride with Adron

I got a call on Thursday from my husband's best friend asking if I'd like to ride with him on Saturday.  R2R was riding in Sealy, and (we'll call hubby's friend) Adron's house is much closer than that, so I said sure.

He asked how far and I told him 30.  He asked if I could do 40 and I emphatically said NO - I am not ready for that.  The farthest I've EVER gone is 24.  He said ok.

I've known Adron for years, and I'm friends with his wife, but I'm not really friends with him, you know what I mean?  It isn't that we aren't friends, it is just when we are together he is with P and I am with his wife.  But even with that said I had complete trust.  I told him it was important to me that he stayed with me, helped me if I had any problems, etc, because I'm a newb.  He said ok.  I trusted him completely with the route.  That was funny - P kept asking me where we were going and I kept telling him to call Adron.  I really didn't know or care.  (I'm like that with R2R also.) 

So first we did this thing where we dropped his car at a park, then back to his house.  He switched my pedals to put cages on, which I'm going to try.  Then we left.

This ride was a number of firsts.  First riding in real traffic (on the way out to lonelier country roads).  First left from a traffic light (not a fan, but managed).  First ride through construction (on the non-traffic side of the barrier in the gravel - got really good practice mounting/dismounting with all the stopping to walk around obstacles).  First time over railroad tracks on my bike (LIVED!!!!).  First time riding from Houston to Katy AND BACK.  Yup.  The route was a little long.  But we'll get there in a sec.

Adron and his wife both asked me in the end if I learned anything.  I did.  I learned a lot.

I learned that I need to usually downshift a bit before stopping, because I tend to be in too hard a gear when starting. 

I learned that my bike has a balance point (duh) and if I find it with both my feet on the ground before trying to start, I experience a much smoother start.

I learned that it is much easier for me to find that balance point when I'm not panicking because I'm pressed for time (i.e. at a 4 way stop with a car that won't go even though I'm motioning them to go).

I learned that (I think) the numbness in my legs is because my saddle is too wide at the rear.  I'm going to go look at new saddles this week.

I learned that I should shift my grip early and often to avoid the numbness in my arms, and I finally felt more comfortable taking a hand off for more than a millisecond at a time.  (I still have a long way to go, but I was proud of this one.)

I learned that I could go a lot farther than I thought, since we went 38.4 miles.  But I'm not gonna lie - those last 8 miles were rough.  I was making my marathon pain noise.  And I think we stopped like 3 times.  It really was about 8 miles too far.  But we finished.  And that is all that counts right now.

And lastly, I learned, and I quote from Preston's text "Adron has a poor sense of time and distance".  I showed this text to Adron and he laughed and agreed.  That might have been nice to know ahead of time.  But he did push me way beyond what I thought I could do.  And I survived.

Perhaps I even thrived because I wasn't even sore when I woke up on Sunday.  At least not in my legs.  My tush would have protested a saddle and my triceps hate me, but legs were simply tired, not sore.

When I got home on Saturday, I proceeded to eat ALL THE THINGS.  And it was gooooood.

Friday, February 13, 2015

App Review: Carrot

I was poking around on Facebook and one of my friends had posted a link to the 36 Struggles of Using MyFitnessPal.  That was the app that I used the last time I tracked calories (I've also used the LiveStrong calorie counter), so of course I clicked, and proceeded to laugh out loud.  Because it is SO TRUE.

CARROT is the same, essentially, as all of the other apps I've used to track calories.  Except it calls me Meatbag.  And threatens me with full page ads if I go over my calorie allotment.  Scratch that, it is way the hell better than the other apps because it is FUNNY, and seriously, we need  a little funny when we are tracking calories.

Because duuuuuudes.  I always forget.  It is always such a bucket of cold water when I start tracking again, at how far out of line I've gotten.  I mean, I've tracked enough calories to have a pretty general idea of how many are in a lot of what I eat.  I've tracked enough to be capable of selecting the better choice if two things are sitting in front of me.  Where I always get lost when I'm not tracking is just in how MUCH I eat.  How many components there are and how they all add up to a much bigger number than what I'm seeing.  Also I always get lost in the fact that I'm a little girl and my allotment isn't really that much.  Nope.  Not much at all.

Anyways, the interface is really simple.  Click on "Record Calories".

Start typing in food and it will do an on the fly search as you are typing.  When you finish typing you can click search for fuller results.  And if they don't have what you want, you just go down into the calorie box and type those in, too, and create the entry on the fly.  Super easy.  Oh, and it gives you an idea of what you have to do exercising to fix what you've just eaten.  (Although I must say, I think it gives you more calories for exercise than it should.)

And then you can look at and edit your diary later. (And read whatever funny line is there.)


Pros: Easy, super easy, to use.  Funny.
Cons: No meal function yet.  In-app purchases (although the number is pretty limited and I think for 5 bucks you could get it all done).
Recommendation: Get!  Especially if you can get it for free like I did.  Because when calorie tracking we all need an app where "Choking Chickens" is an exercise option and it turns DefCon 3 red when we go over our calories!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monthly Progress Report

15 goals for 2015:
1. Leave my old job as well as I can.  Check!
2. Enjoy my month off.  In progress.
3. Get lots done during month off also!  In progress.
4. Rock out the new job.  Coming up!
5. Complete the BP MS150 in April.  In training.
6. Do a triathlon!  In training.
7. Train for and complete the 8 mile Turkey Trot. (Eg. Running, not walking.)  After MS 150 and Tri.
8. Start a garden.  Planned for this month!
9. Start a family game night on Thursdays.  Have done a few, need to make a habit.
10. Focus on consciencous spending. Trying... trying.
11. Lose 20 pounds.  Half a pound is better than no pounds.  Weight is 149.4.  Downloaded  a calorie tracker app and am redoubling efforts now that vacation is over.
12. Cook more, better at home.  Made good progress in January at better meal planning to both reduce spending but also reduce waste and reduce the necessity for eating out.  Need to keep it up and also want to mess with the crockpot this month.
13. Go climbing.  Not yet, unless you count Big Bend! 
14. Take ZoĆ« camping for the first time!  Check!
15. Make stained glass things.  Have most of the tools, need to get set up while I'm on this break.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ride Report: Pedaling the Prairie

I've been off the grid for the past week (pictures to follow), and actually didn't originally intend to be back in time for my Saturday ride.  But we were on the kiddo's first camping trip, and we wanted it to be a flexible, fluid thing, and when Thursday rolled around she looked like she was getting sick and started asking to see the kitties, and that was good enough for us!

I was glad because I really did want to go on Saturday's ride, so that immediately went back into the plans.  This was my first official "Ride".  It wasn't a race.  It is hard for me as a runner to differentiate, but there were no timers, and there is no winner, so not a race.  But they had packets and a start line and a finish line, and food/beer at the end, etc.  So the feel of the thing was exactly like a running race.

Clothing was a major stressor for me again for this one.  It was 45 and foggy at the start, slated to warm up to a sunny 60, so I didn't know WHAT to do.  I ended up in...wow, 4 layers.  Short sleeves with my running sleeves, 2 running jackets, and my windbreaker on top.  Long pants on bottom, and skullcap under helmet.  Only the fingerless gloves this time (and that was the right choice).  At the very beginning, I was happy with all of that.  But at the first rest stop I was flaming hot, so maybe I could have started with one less layer?  I ended up taking off the skullcap and one running jacket and the sleeves at the rest stop, and again was comfortable.  By the second rest stop I was ready to remove another layer, but didn't have anywhere to store it, so suffered through.  Also by the second rest stop I think I'd have preferred shorts on the bottom.  Hopefully all of this experience will help me begin to figure out these things better.  For sure the fingerless gloves were the right option.  For sure the sleeves were very smart because they could just be pulled down and didn't need to be stored.  I definitely like the windbreaker for the bike.  When I finished and removed it I could feel a whole ton of heat come out of there, so perhaps it would have been a better layer to remove.  I'll keep learning!

So for the ride itself: I don't have anything to compare it to since it was my first, but I was impressed!  They had breakfast before AND lunch/beer after!  Very nice.  There were real bathrooms in addition to the port-a-cans at the start.  There were 4 route options: 24, 45, 55, and 70.  I chose 24 (of course!).  There were 2 rest stops on the route: at 8 miles and again at 13 miles.  They were both well run and well stocked.  The 8 mile one was super crowded because it served all the routes and the riders weren't well spread yet.  The 13 one also served all the routes but everyone was spread out by then so it was far less hectic.  There were hills at the beginning and end, but not bad ones.  There was a hardcore headwind on the first half of the route.  I was beginning to think 10mph was just how fast I was.  Then somewhere around... 11? miles in, suddenly pedaling became easier.  I looked down and I was going 14mph and more easily.  I was confused.  I puzzled over it and eventually realized it was the lack of wind, ha!  I'm not quite as slow as I was beginning to think!!

For me personally on the ride: ate half a bagel and my coffee beforehand.  Just wasn't super hungry. Was hungry by the first rest stop but didn't want what they were serving - need to get a bento box for crackers and oreos.  Second rest stop I actually considered skipping because it was only 5 miles farther but I was glad I didn't, because I was really hungry by then and they had crackers.  Also, I didn't realize it would be the last stop and I would have really regretted it if I hadn't stopped because around 18 miles in my legs were totally in WTF land.  I was having some numbness, but then mentally began questioning if it was actual numbness or if it was the warm pants compressing me.  It was weird.

Oh, also, I still suck at starting.  I need to start off at the back of my wave.  But I also need to not panic.  All my starts yesterday were rough, and I was panicking, but I always found my balance and I never fell and that IS something.  I can do this and I WILL get better at it.

Despite my spazziness, it was a lovely day for a ride, and overall it was a great ride!  I finished and I keep improving, and that is all I could ask for!

Final stats: 23.8 miles in 1:59:30.

My splits were: 8.9 miles at 48 minutes (11mph), then 13.4 miles at 1:11 (11.75mph), then 23.8 in 1:59:30 (12.75mph).  Ha, well the headwind isn't quite as obvious as it felt, but wow, I sure felt it!

Ah, one more thing: an ibuprofen right after really helps!