Saturday, August 31, 2013

Solid Week on the Wheels

I just wrapped up my training week this morning. 84 miles on the bike. Not much to most cyclists, but that's my biggest riding week since 2009. After this morning's 28-mile easy ride, my legs actually feel pretty solid. I think some of my endurance fitness is coming back. With maybe 2-3 months of riding left this year (outdoors, anyway, unless I want to be hard-core,) I hope to work up to over 100 miles per week. I've started informally training to ride the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. It's a roughly 72 mile paved trail that starts in Plummer, Idaho and ends just a few miles West of the Montana border, in Mullan, ID. My family and I walked a short portion of the trail during a recent camping trip, and it's beautiful. A friend of mine here in the Spokane area wants to ride it with me, so I now have a goal to train for. We're not going to push the pace, but we both need to get ready for several hours in the saddle. We'll most likely ride out to Mullan, stay overnight there, and ride back the following day, rather than ride 140+ miles round-trip in one day. I'm pretty sure I'm not up for that!

Here's what this week's training looked like:

MON: Bike 12.1 mi @ 16.8 mph avg (43:04); weights (full body)
TUE: off
WED: Bike 30.0 mi @ 17.1 mph avg (1:44:59)
THU: Bike 14.0 mi @ 17.4 mph avg (48:10); weights (full body)
FRI: off
SAT: Bike 27.9 mi @ 16.0 mph avg (1:44:40)
SUN: off


Monday, August 26, 2013

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

"Dad, I don't want you to be a cyclist. I like you better as a runner."
-Lindsey, 11

These words were spoken to me by my youngest daughter today, who is never one to pull punches. She has also complained about my slightly larger-than-usual belly the last several weeks. Hey, I'm working on it! Reducing it, that is, despite obvious dietary choices...

Well, to indirectly respond to my blatantly honest daughter, I like me better as a runner, too. The thing is, I just can't run right now. I've tried. Over and over and over. Whatever is going on in my right leg shows no signs of improving anytime soon. And more physical therapy and/or any other "treatment" isn't financially feasible at this time, unfortunately.

So...I'm currently a cyclist. I intended to become a cyclist earlier this year. However, we were in the midst of packing and moving across the state, so I had neither the time nor energy to devote to time in the saddle. Thus, I pulled the plug on my plans to do the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride back in mid-July.

Now that we're getting settled into our new home, I've gone for a few rides and, actually, I'm starting to enjoy it. While I was hitting the weights pretty heavy earlier this year, my endurance and cardio fitness were suffering. I'm slowly starting to get some of that back, and that feels good. I don't worry about riding too frequently (if/when time allows), since there is no impact on my joints. Well, until I space out and smack into a car, tree or another cyclist.

Building a base is my goal now. Not a lot of hill work. Not too much speed. Just gradually building the mileage, both per week and per ride. I have yet to do a ride over 20 miles, but I know I'll take care of that soon.

There's a big cycling club here in Spokane. I'll probably ride mostly on my own the rest of this summer and into fall (and on my trainer during the winter) before joining the club...which I'll probably do. I'm looking forward to doing some organized rides and...finally...getting my first century under my belt.

As for running...I'm not officially "retiring" just yet, but it's going to have to sit on the backburner for a while longer. I know the itch will hit me again eventually, but the fact that my injury seemed as fresh as a daisy when I first ran earlier this month after taking 5 months completely off tells me there's something seriously wrong, and perhaps more than just a few months off is necessary, sadly.

But, like I said earlier, I'm starting to dig the bike. And that's a big step (pedal?) forward for me.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

All Comers Track Meets—Article For NW Runner Magazine

This was an article I wrote for Northwest Runner Magazine that ran in the May 2013 issue. I'm finally getting around to posting it here.

(click to enlarge)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wheels Are Spinning...Finally

Three bike rides in the last three days? Why, yes! Well, the first one was a very slow ride with my sister that was cut short when her rear tire flatted and my patch job didn't hold. But yesterday and today were both legit rides (16 miles and 11 miles, respectively.) Still not very long, but I plan on easing my legs back into this whole endurance thing. It usually takes me a while to get "bike legs" anyway. My "running legs" usually come back a little faster, maybe because I've been primarily a runner for the last 30 years!

I've been riding on the Centennial Trail here in Spokane, along the Spokane River. The weather has been great, if not a tad warm. Tonight, I rode at sunset and paid for it by being sandblasted (bugblasted) by small, winged insects the entire ride. Within the first mile, I learned to ride with my mouth closed, even though my nose was a little plugged due to allergies.

Even though I may never be a hard-core cyclist, I'm enjoying some endurance training once again. I hope running will still be a significant part of my program, but while the weather is nice here, it won't hurt to get in several bike rides, especially since it doesn't seem to irritate my right calf and hamstring.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Still No Riding...But A Little Running

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was going to dust off my trusty two-wheeler and start pedaling to get my cardio fix.

Well, the best laid plans...

A surge of work came in nearly two weeks ago that has allowed little free time. Cycling takes more planning than most other forms of exercise, and to get a decent workout, I feel like I need to ride for at least an hour. So I haven't gone for a ride yet since we moved here over a month ago.

However, I've made time to lift weights three days per week. Last week, I had an overwhelming urge to do a short "cooldown" run after each workout. So, last Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I ran two loops around my neighborhood each time for a total of 6.3 miles for the week. There was a time not long ago that I would average that per day, but I'm happy to have "jogged" (that's what it felt like) even that paltry mileage. I did feel some aches and pains, but nothing too extreme.

I'll probably continue with this program for a bit just to see how my body will respond. I still have plans to get out and ride, too.

Even though I intentionally bulked up when I switched to weight lifting back in March, I do need to drop a few of those pounds. The extra 17 lbs. are definitely noticeable during these runs.

So, although it's not much to report, it IS running, even if just a little.