Tag Archives: Reward

Riding My Bike in Portland

Pre-Ironman I had some misconceptions about how I’d feel post-Ironman:

  1. That my bike and I would need a break. In fact, we might even need to see other people. I couldn’t fathom that I would want to be in the saddle anytime in the immediate future.
  2. I thought that I’d be dying to run fast, and run my heart out. With months and months of slower endurance training I felt eager to be done with the hours and up for focusing on intensity.

Thought #2 is topic for another day, for when I have the bandwidth to write a novel, but since IMC I’ve felt shockingly amazingly awesome about being on my bike. Despite the near 6 hour ride that day and many (many, many, many) hours on it through the summer it’s been so enjoyable and fun to ride without such an agenda. I’m enjoying pushing myself and my lungs to whatever extent my body feels like without worrying about impact and injury, and with the lingering tiredness just starting to lift I’ve needed that ounce of prevention.

This weekend we spent time in Portland, and outside of races I’ve never ridden my bike outside of Seattle. Thanks to the awesome folks at Athlete’s Lounge they hooked me up with a few route recommendations, I strung some together, and hit the road this morning.

Having grown up in Portland I can navigate myself in a car pretty well. I may not know street names, but I can get myself from point A to point B in a pretty direct manner without getting lost. However, I never rode a bike when I lived here. Seriously, not once! So I was a little nervous setting out on the road just after sunrise.

The air was a chilly 50 degrees, and in shorts, finger-less gloves and a sleeveless jersey with arm-warmers I started on the cold side. But riding the first 5 miles entirely up hill got me warmed up pretty quickly!

I rode past high school party stomping grounds along Cornell Rd. and then up to Skyline Blvd. From the moment I got my drivers license at 16 years old Skyline was my favorite place to go for a drive. Beautiful views, beautiful homes, forest, rolling pastures, and farmland all mixed in. Just minutes away from the city but so so peaceful and beautiful.

Skyline Blvd is known for it’s awesome cycling – and cars that don’t like cyclists – but I only passed a few other riders and the handful of cars that passed me did so respectfully.

Though I’m definitely a city girl, rides like these make me feel like I could do country. Maybe. Someday. Sort of. Or probably not. But they make me WANT to want to be country!

After about 8 miles rolling and winding, I was rewarded with a newly paved and not too technical downhill all the way to Sauvie Island.

Sauvie Island is so pretty in the fall. I haven’t been out there in years, but an early autumn-morning sunrise with chilly air left me feeling like I could have ridden the 11 mile loop at least 10x 5x without getting bored.

Being on the Island reminded me of childhood fall seasons, as THE place to get your pumpkin is the patch out there. It looked like the farm was just getting ready to set up. As soon as I saw the signs I wanted to kick myself for not having brought cash. Apple cider would have been absolutely amazing; much better than chews and deliciously warm to combat the cold morning.

After leaving the Island and crossing the bridge it was less than 10 miles back to where I had parked my car.

It was so fun to ride in my old stomping grounds and to see areas I haven’t taken the time to visit in so many years. It’s not even as though they hold an extreme amount of sentimental value, but it was such a breathtaking morning and such an engaging and freeing way to spend time seeing new(ish) sights. I think that I need to start bringing my bike with us on more road trips (and we need to start going on more road trips), and I need to seek out new routes in the Seattle-area. Today makes me look forward to fall very very much.

Do you have any bike route recommendations for me? Seattle? Eastern Washington? Anywhere that I can drive to from Seattle?

 

*None of these photos are my own. They came from rubbertotheroad.com and sauvieisland.org. But this is seriously how amazing it looked out there this morning!

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Confidence in Rest and Recovery

I read a really great article last weekend, I think in Triathlete Magazine. Then I accidentally recycled it in a stack, and can’t find any trace of the article online. The premise was simple in theory, but unlike any way that I’ve ever read or thought about self-confidence and its relationship with race preparation, readiness, and success.

Athletes who dislike rest days, tapering, and recovery generally do so because of a lack of self-confidence. 

The article really focused on smarter training and recovery as part of a well-constructed and successful  plan. Of course you need to stress your muscles and body in order to see improvement, but before you can reap the rewards you also need to recover to build a stronger version of yourself. Many athletes – me included – really dislike rest days, taper weeks, and doing anything that resembles not actively moving forward.

But that’s just the thing. Resting and recovery does move you forward.

Recovery should really be looked as another discipline to work into a training schedule. Without them the hard work can’t be absorbed – or celebrated – in a productive way. And the athletes who don’t like easy sessions or days off? Well, turns out most of them are workhorses who are insecure about their performance and lack confidence in their preparation plan. Hating on rest doesn’t have much to do with hating resting, it has to do with insecurities about preparation, and thinking that you could have done more.

On every rest day I’ve had I experience an underlying feeling of guilt when I should be proud for doing what I need to do to get better. I’ve heard “rest is part of the plan” about a million times, but I’ve never thought about it in connection with my confidence in the plan.

I don’t always have confidence in my ability to perform. But generally speaking I have good confidence in my plan. I believe that if I follow my plan I’ll get where I want to go. Occasionally I question details. But I’m an athlete who feels so guilty for cutting 10 minutes out of a run that I’ll make up the time later for peace of mind. Really. I did that this weekend. I take extreme pride in following directions.

All of this makes sense to me, perfect sense, but I think it’s also a bit easier said than done. Some days I can’t give as much as I’d like to and want to make up for it later. But rather than putting miles in the bank it would probably be a better idea to make each one count now and enjoy the rest day when it comes around next. Because there probably won’t be a whole lot of them between now and August!

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Spring is online

Oiselle just launched some of their spring line and I’m drooling over the bright colors, warm weather styles (tank! tops!), and the thought of spring. Though the Happy Hoody might just be what gets me through this snowy night we’re having.

What should I buy first?!

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My Muffins Are Delicious

Maybe I’m biased because I baked them. But truly after the first crack at ‘em I was in love. This girl doesn’t bake, but these were so delicious that I kept baking them, and then baked some more, and at this point our freezer is getting bare if there isn’t at least one container of emergency Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins being hoarded away for a muffin emergency. But really. I could eat these muffins all day long without getting sick, or sick of them. Yeah, yeah, that’s what she said. Or he said. Or something. Anyway…

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com a while back, but I’ve made a few tweaks and changes (including perfecting a loaf recipe into muffin form) so I feel I’ve put enough of my own mark on it to call it mine. I also like to think it’s not completely terrible for you; lots of egg, lots of pumpkin, spices, healthy! The sugar not so much, but that’s part of what I’ve perfected so let’s get to the recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 1 cup vegetable oil
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2/3 cup water
  5. 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  6. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  11. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Muffin cup-ize your muffin pan. Recipe should yield 32 small muffins, or less if you prefer your muffins large.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between muffin cups.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean. About 20-22 minutes.
  5. Enjoy! Make sure if you want to freeze them that you allow them to get to room temperature before you lock them up. In this house, if we don’t freeze them, they don’t last more than a handful of days.

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Filed under Fuel For the Cause

Partners in Water Hoarding

Today has been an awesomely refreshing self-imposed rest day. I woke up already tired and lethargic; maybe I stayed up too late and drank too much last night, maybe not. Wish as you might, you may never know. However I quickly decided to devote today to doing nothing. Lots of lounging, a boat ride, and a few beers later and though still tired I feel mentally refreshed.

I always hate giving in to an unplanned rest day, because I feel like if I give in once the likelihood that it will happen again increases exponentially. Like, once you have a donut for breakfast you should probably just have a burger and fries for lunch and then, oh, I dunno, a milkshake and chicken fingers for dinner. But really, when I kill my own momentum I always want to smack myself upside the head a bit. I feel weak and as though I bypassed an opportunity to be better.

Being on vacation I don’t feel quite as bad as I would at home in Seattle; if I have one lazy day while in Hawaii we’ll all keep breathing. I also don’t feel quite as bad because I don’t have the same kind of immediate performance expectations as I did all summer. I now know what I can expect out of myself when I tri (hahahaha, I crack myself up, maybe it’s those beers) and I have a measurement in terms of performance and capacity. I know I can afford to be lazy for one day now, and that in 6 months I’ll be glad I took the opportunity.

I also don’t feel bad (can you tell I’m convincing myself?) because yesterday was our 1 year wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary (yesterday) to my #1 fan, my bike carrier, my equipment manager, my dry clothes protector, my partner in water hoarding, my best and favorite reminder that I can always do and be better, but that I’ll be loved all the same. Thank you for putting up with my 5am wake up calls and 9pm bedtime, my same pre-race meal before every.single.race.no.matter.what.it.is, the growing collection of water bottles taking over our back room and my inability to talk about much other than triathlon these days. I love you to the moon and back.

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Endless Summer

Just as summer is fizzling out we’re leaving for a week. I love fall to absolutely no end, but I’m pretty excited to extend warm weather exercise by one more week especially when it comes to open water swimming. Clearly I could use some more practice in that before I relegate myself to the pool.

Peace out, Seattle.

Soon I will be running here:

And swimming here:

Yes, I plan to relax on the beach, (try to) fall asleep in the sun, and drink a minimum of one frou frou drink with an umbrella per day. But my most favorite thing to do on vacation is wake up before the rest of the world and go for a run. It allows me to see a new place before it gets flooded with action and starts my day with something special for myself… And doing something for yourself is what vacation is all about, right?

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Breakfast

Good thing group swim was such a success this morning.

All week I’ve been banking on it and planning, knowing that today this would be my reward breakfast:

Today marks the return of the Pumpkin Doughnut. My only regret is that I didn’t get two!

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