Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be a Really Athletic Person

That is my unsolicited advice to you today. No, really, do it. It is so fun! Now, if you're not a Really Athletic Person, you are probably thinking, "Oh, that would be nice, but..." or "I don't have time," or "I hate exercising," or something along those lines. Believe me, I have thunk all those thoughts myself, many, many times, for many, many years.

Seriously, I am not even 5'3" and I weighed 263 pounds. More than that, even. When I was nine months pregnant with my second, I was around 280 and I had completely given up: I knew I was going to pass 300 pounds and I didn't give a isht anymore.

When I was big, it annoyed the crap out of me when people would tell me "No, really, you should exercise - if I can do it, anyone can do it! Find something you love!" I would want to smush those people's faces with my hands until they took their little exercise-addict talk away from me. Damn junkies.

So when I tell you that if I can do it, anyone can do it, you have to listen to me. Because I know how unbelievable it can be to hear and apply to yourself and I also know how incredibly annoying and hateful it can be to hear, but I'm telling you anyway. Feel my logic?

OH MY! I am having SUCH FUN! I went out on my third Cascade Bike Club ride last night and what a HOOT! It started after work, pretty much already dark when we started. We got caught in the world' most torrential downpours. No one could see. I have never been so drenched in my life as I was last night. I am not sure my shoes will ever dry out. And I never, ever, ever wanted the ride to end. (Well, that's not true, but I was having a wonderful time.)

It is a proven fact to me now that riding in a group is just more fun, even if you're not talking. There were eight of us last night, although two bailed along the way: one guy got a phone call he needed to take and one woman was having some sort of difficulties and turned back. (This was actually a comfort to me, because one of my fears in the group rides was that I was told the group will not leave you. How friendly! Except if I can't keep up and I want to turn back, I need to know that I can turn back. This is the issue I still struggle with from the See Jane Run half marathon when someone got upset for us leaving her.* WHY would you want to hold someone back? I would be so unhappy on a group ride if people were having to wait on me and I just couldn't keep up. Now, if they're happy hanging out with a slow poke**, go for it!)

*I still laugh when I think of my Alli saying, "It's a race! That's the whole concept!"
**I am not a slow poke. Read on.

There was a faster group that departed a few minutes before us. After the ride, the remaining seven from the two groups went out and drank beer and ate yummy bar food. I was very much looking forward to my remaining half-BLTA sandwich and fries for lunch today, but I forgot it at home. Sadly, this means it will be devoured by the wolves children after school and I will never see it again. Sigh.

It was about a 17-mile ride around Mercer Island. Not far at all in terms of bike rides, but plenty far in terms of being a dark and rainy school work night. I was super excited because I haven't ridden around the island before, even though I regularly ride across the top of it on one of my typical rides across the bridges. I haven't ridden around it because it is very curvy narrow roads and I was chicken. Even though people told me to do it: it's like bicycle paradise and all the cars are used to the many cyclists. But I'm a ninny and wouldn't do it by myself. Now I will! Such fun. That longer ride around Lake Sammamish last weekend was also great for me, because now that I've done it, I'm comfortable doing it again my myself.

Bounce, bounce, bounce. I am having such fun!
I am not sure why I am so insecure about my abilities on these I get comfortable, those nerves are dissipating rapidly, but I find my self apologizing, internally and externally. I just started riding this summer. This is only my second group ride. Blah, blah, blah. I am guessing that comes from my always-automatic assumptions that I'm the last place girl. I just sort of assume my abilities (or lack of them) will put me at the back of the pack. So now that I've done a couple of these "moderate" rides, I am realizing that I am plenty good.

    Easy: Under 10 mph
    Note: for rides described as HILLY, consider choosing a pace one step down from your usual comfort level
    Leisurely: 10-12 mph
    Steady: 12-14 mph
    Moderate: 14-16 mph
    Brisk: 16-18 mph
    Strenuous: 18-21 mph
    Super Strenuous: 22+ mph

I would like to go faster, even, than the moderate rides. There's a 44-mile "brisk" ride on Saturday that I would love to do, but it's half-marathon day! And forty-four miles would be my longest ride to date, so it would be nice to do a brisk ride at distances I've been doing of 20-35 miles for comparison. Again, I don't want to get out there and get over my head. But this ride is otherwise perfect, because it's flat. They do it regularly, so I'll have another chance soon!

So now this is my Wednesday night riding group. They ride every Wednesday after work - and I can't wait to do it again. Such a nice group of people. Several of them were ride leaders, and one of them is a group leader for the training program that I'm doing next spring for the Seattle to Portland ride. He had lots of advice and was very sweet about offering to give me a ride home on Wednesday evenings after our rides if I wanted to ride my bike to the Park & Ride. (For simplicity's sake, I had wanted to just ride my bike to the P&R, but I didn't want to ride it home alone in the dark, dark, dark through the scary woods after the ride.)

Umm, I need to stop talking about cycling now because the whole point of this post was to Be A Really Athletic Person, not You Should Ride a Bike - Seriously it's Like Crack But Legal. So, to show you how multi-dimensional I am, I will throw in some little anecdotes about other sports:

- I am super excited about Saturday's Snohomish River Run. How will I do?? I DO NOT KNOW!! That in itself is kind of like Christmas morning. Can I run the whole thing? How will my IT band do? Is my ankle, which only bothers me on stairs now, going to be okay? I am very happy to have this event FINALLY be here and I am very excited to see how I do. I plan to staple myself to the 2:30 pace person and let him/her drag me to the finish line, if need be. Is this crazy unrealistic? I DO NOT KNOW!! It all remains to be seen.

- So I have a friend who is a big mountain biker. He used to be a big road cyclist. (I am still working on my terminology here.) He is the one who has really pushed me into cycling and specifically into these group rides through the bike club (even though he's a mountain biker - he's also the one who pushed me to take Blake to the MTB park last weekend). He emailed me the funniest thing once about the differences between mountain bikers and road cyclists, oh, I wish I had saved it. The gist of it, though, was that that road cyclists fuss about their riding clothes and their clip-in shoes and sit around and bitch about potholes. Mountain bikers are, of course, much cooler and more well-rounded than road cyclists, in his opinion. Everybody loves their thing the most. So I was laughing last night when us road cyclists were sitting around drinking beer and yes, there was bitching about potholes, and then someone (not me) said something about running, and one of the guys said, "I don't get running at all. The only time you should run is when you are being chased by a bear." And we were all laughing, and I threw out the fact that I am running (walking? crawling? I did not admit this little fact.) a half marathon on Saturday then everyone's talk turned to triathlons and how so and so does them and we should talk, etc. etc. There was a woman there who loves to swim and cycle and she said she wants so badly to do duathlons but there are no swim/cycle events and she hates running.

- So I thought of all my runner bloggy imaginary friends and I thought of my hands-down favorite running slogan:
Blake lives in fear of the football practice punishment runs. He'd eat nails to avoid laps.
- And in the final cross-training anecdote, I was on the waiting list for a kayaking outing tonight right after work. This is one of those groups and the event had filled up. But then some people canceled and I knew I could move off the waiting list, but I didn't get notification (the group leader would have to manually do it at this late date so close to the event). I thought about skipping it. I thought about riding my bike alone tonight ('cept for all the wet biking gear at home). I thought about inviting my buddies out for happy hour after work, or coming home and doing my laundry, reading a book and vegging out in front of the TV.

And then I packed a bag of kayaking clothes to take to work, got to my office and shot off an email to the leader: Is there room for me?

I really, really want to go. I don't wanna do laundry, I don't wanna go for happy hour or go to a movie. I wanna go kayak, even if it's in the rain. And plus, last time, to get me in the kayak in the lake, he just scooped me up and carried me out there: remember, I like to be carried! Hahaha.

Remember when I went kayaking with these boys?
Happily, the group leader emailed back right away, of course there's room for me, come on out!

I'll be there. For sure.


  1. You crack me up! I love your passion for - well for everything!

    P.S - I don't expect you to run with me at all - I want you to go out and kick that courses ass on Saturday....I will drive in case you break your body, but bonus my car has seat heaters so we can warm our bottoms and backs up on the way home. :)

  2. I just LOVE reading your blog. I love your excitement! I can't wait to hear about tonight's kayak trip, so excited for you that you can go! <3

  3. Wow, your group ride sounds awesome! Love being with like minded people. So, are you doing the STP? So exciting! You are going to rock the Snohomish half! Will there seriously be pacers there? I have never used one before, but would love to run with the 1:45 pacer, that would be so great! That saying always makes me smile and it is so true:)

  4. Go get 'em kayak girl! Hehe, I hadn't thought about there being pacers or not for your race. You really up for 12:00 miles? It is October, after all, the best running month for PR setting (well, besides May, but that was so last year for me). I honestly wish you could have run a bit more to train for this half. Okay, I'll stop being a nervous Nelly.

  5. This is so funny to me because one of my sisters is always telling me how addictive running is. If she had a blog, she would probably compare running to crack as you compare biking to crack. :) Hoping your run is super awesome this weekend!!!

  6. You can't get me to bike. My hooha huets too much when I do. But I will kayak someday. I really really want to. :)

  7. hooha hurts. Man I need to proofread. LOL.