Wednesday, April 29, 2015

32 Miles and The Itch

After not doing any cycling last week (my bike was in the shop getting tuned up for most of the week), I finally got out for a ride yesterday. I rode 32 miles on the Centennial Trail, mostly next to the Spokane River. That ride is becoming a staple in my training. It can get a bit boring, but it seems like a good distance for me at this point. Long enough to be considered a long-ish ride, but not long enough to take over my entire day (and wipe me out in the process).

Yesterday's ride, however, didn't feel all that great. I had no reserves at all.  When I'd push a little on an uphill, I could tell there wasn't much oomph in my legs. In hindsight (after waking up with a sore throat and runny nose this morning), I'm apparently coming down with a cold. Either that, or my allergies are really intense right now. Since colds have been going around, I'm assuming that's it.

I had a long ride planned for Friday, but my riding partner can't make it, so I'll either hold off (if I still feel lousy), or do a shorter, easier ride. Looks like it's going to be pretty windy the rest of the week, so that'll probably dictate my plans, too.

Now, there's that itch I alluded to. I hope you're sitting down. It has to do with running. Even though my left knee is 100% against the idea, I'm really getting the urge to become a runner again. I can only do what my body will let me do, but I really do miss regular runs and racing. I miss the long runs, tempo runs, hill training, ice baths (yes, it's true) and the camaraderie of a running club and the racing scene. I'm also, five years later, thinking about marathon v2.0, since I wasn't happy with how the first one played out. That, though, seems like a pipe dream at this point. My body has been so rebellious when it comes to even running a couple of miles pain-free that a full marathon isn't even in the realm of possibility currently. I don't want to get my hopes up. If/when I get this knee taken care of, perhaps I can do a very slow build and see what happens.

It has now been six years since I started this blog. A lot of things have happened over the course of that time, both good and bad. The key is to just keep moving forward, in one way or another, and deal with each setback as it happens.

And, head cold, bad knee and all, I think I might go for a little run today...

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Hey, two days in a row of blog posts! Just like the good ol' days*.

Just a quick update on a milestone I've been chasing for many years. If you've been following along at home, you'll know that I'm approaching 10,000 lifetime running miles. Since my bike is STILL in the shop, I decided to get in a 4-mile run today (a slow one, thanks to my knee). That run put me at 99 miles away from the 10k mark. Double digits, baby!

Whether or not I can run regularly again, I will at least achieve the milestone this year. Well, unless I end up having knee surgery and recovery takes longer than expected.

So, after today's run: 9,901 lifetime running miles and counting...

*i.e. back when people other than myself actually read this blog! ;-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hill Humiliation

Last Sunday, inspired by the beautiful weather, I decided to venture out on a neighborhood bike ride. I normally load my bike into my truck, then drive to a local trailhead and ride for many miles on a paved trail system which is mostly flat except for a few small, rolling hills. This day, however, I chose to take on "The Hill." This hill, which leads into and out of my neighborhood, lasts about 1.5 miles and climbs several hundred feet. It doesn't seem horrific when driving up it. On a bike, however, it's pure evil. I rode about 15 miles on local roads before returning to the base of the hill, already slightly tired. As I started climbing, I realized that my front derailleur wouldn't shift my chain down to my lowest chain ring (I have a triple), keeping me from choosing the appropriate gear with which to climb. This forced me to stop more than once to manually put the chain into the low ring. That excuse aside, I learned that I'm definitely not in hill climbing shape. Not yet, anyway.

That ride put me at an unimpressive 330 cycling miles so far for 2015. That ride also convinced me to take the bike to the shop for a much-needed tune up, where they will hopefully fix my shifting conundrum. I hope to still get in at least one ride this week!

In lieu of my two wheeled torture device, I decided to head out for a run on Tuesday. 3.6 miles, 9:53/mi pace. The knee did hurt, but it was a dull ache, not the sharp ache I felt when I last made an attempt. I think the slow pace helped. With that said, my knee has been very tender since the run.

I've ordered a neoprene knee sleeve on, which should arrive by Friday. I'm not convinced it will help, but for less than $20, it's a worthy gamble. I know I need to get to a doctor soon, but until then, if I can even mix in a run or two per week to compliment my cycling, I'll take it!

Oh - my daughter and I were signed up for a trail 10k for last Sunday. Due to my knee, I wasn't going to run it, but I was going to take Natalie there & cheer her on. Well, she woke up with a bad head cold that morning and wasn't up to the challenge, so neither of us made it there. Oh well...there will be other races!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Wee Bit o' Speed

Due to a quick trip out of town, my cycling efforts are being limited this week. Thanks to bad weather, I rode my trainer for an hour on Monday. After a day off on Tuesday, I rode outside on Wednesday. 32 miles (out and back course) in a tad over 1:45, for an average of 18.2 mph. That's my fastest pace of the year so far, and it felt good (although I think I strained my upper left hamstring pushing hard uphill). The speed is slowly coming around, although I'm not out there racing. What was encouraging was that my legs felt kind of flat during the ride, not fresh like they did during last Friday's 40 miler, and yet the pace was still quick.

There are obviously some similarities between cycling and running, but I feel like a novice cyclist. I'm still discovering what I can do on the bike, and how things should feel at a given pace, or under different conditions (i.e. wind). I may never have the deep love for cycling that I've had for running, but it's growing on me every time I ride.

I have a new (modest) bike mileage goal this year: 2015 miles (See what I did there? Clever, right?) I know some of you run that much in a year, but I'm keeping it conservative as I ease into the sport. I've ridden just 249 miles this year, but with the nice, warmer weather on the way, I'll likely be putting in a lot more mileage. I hope to ride regularly into late fall, and even a bit during the winter, if conditions allow.

I'm also tentatively planning on doing a long ride in late September with a friend. It's a big, organized ride, with many distance options. I'm leaning toward the 84 mile ride. I'll be training myself to ride longer distances leading up to that. With a relatively easy 40-miler under my belt already, I don't see any problems with building up to that by September.

Ride on!

(maybe I should change the name of my blog? Or will I be resurrected as a runner again someday...?)

Sunday, April 5, 2015


The running has, once again, come to an end. At least until I get this knee checked out. I went out for a run last Thursday and made it .4 miles (as in less than a half) before I had to stop and limp home. Every time my left foot landed, I felt a very painful stab below my kneecap. Whatever's going on in there, it can't be pretty. So, until I find a doctor and get it looked at and/or scanned, I'm done running. I'm only 106 miles shy of 10,000 lifetime running miles, so one way or another I'll at *least* get that done, eventually.

On a brighter note, the cycling is going well. I only managed to get in two rides this week (Monday and Friday), but Friday's ride was a very nice 40-miler. My legs felt fresh and strong (probably since I hadn't ridden since Monday) and even the sporadic headwinds didn't bother me that much. I can tell my bike legs are coming back. So far this year, I've done 9 outdoor rides for a total of 217 miles (plus another 31 "miles" on the trainer), so I haven't put in as much saddle time as I'd like yet. As both the weather and my fitness improves, I'll be getting out more often. I'll likely keep it to 3 rides per week through the end of April, though, with one of those rides being a long ride.

I still have a lot to learn about cycling, especially when it comes to bike maintenance. Running is so much simpler! But I'd rather ride than do nothing at all. So let's roll!