Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

I received some good news this morning! Even though my foot still looks like an anvil has been dropped on it (bizarrely large separation between toes and swelling in odd places) there are no more breaks! While there is obvious tissue damage and some arthritis flaring up, I received the "okay" from my doctor to resume normal activities!

Which of course means training for a 50 mile gravel road race in April.

Fortunately I am a bit of an Oracle and foresaw the clean bill of health a few days early which allowed me to meet up with my friend Kelly for a trainer ride.

Lucky for us, Top Gun was on television yesterday.
The plan was to ride until we hit 20 miles according to Kelly's odometer.

So Kelly, are we at 20 miles yet? -Me
We've ridden 11 miles-Kelly

Where are we at now?-Me
Mmmm, we're getting there.-K
We have to get there before Goose dies. I can't pedal and cry at the same time!-Me
I don't know if we're going to make it-K
Pedal, dangit! Pedal!-Me


And we're at 20 miles.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Question of the Day

The extra blast of winter weather has added a lot of time to my commute lately. It's given me plenty of opportunity for thinking. Dangerous stuff.

What I've been pondering lately:
Can a person go from 3 months of minimal, to very low aerobic activity (and eating lots of comfort food) to doing a 50-mile bike race in 6 weeks? And do all that without aggravating a fragile, recovering stress-fracture?

I'm thinking the answer to that is doable.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Exercise Freak

This post features 30-second sketches because I don't have time to peruse my photo libraries, stage an elaborate blog-worthy photo-shoot nary did I ask the people in this post of I could publish their image.
The Train
A couple of years ago, on a warm and sunny Saturday morning, I hitched up the train and took the kids for a bike ride down the bike path, around the tip of Muskegon Lake into downtown Muskegon. We stopped at the Cheese Lady for some snacks and a break before venturing back home. The little bike excursion was seven miles round trip. A great way to kill some time on a long summer Saturday when Chad was at work and myself at a loss of how to entertain tiny people (I readily admit I enjoy my kids much more now that they can DO things than when they were toddlers and infants).

We are used to getting looks when we take the train out for a ride. This particular morning, however, a woman approached us in front of the Cheese Lady's door, jaw dropped in aghast. "I saw you back in North Muskegon! You must be an Exercise Freak--a fanatic to ride all the way here!" 

I, uh, didn't know how to respond.
I'm one of the last people I would call an exercise fanatic. And surely, riding 3-4 miles with my kids is hardly a major accomplishment. Not in the circles I run in at least.

Which brings me to the point of today's post. Let me introduce just one of those people that I call friend, whom I would not consider an "Excercise Freak" but if I had to pick someone to hold that title, he would be a definite contender.


Matt the "Exercise Freak"

While many people would agree that training for and completing in a marathon* is quite a commitment, Matt has gone above and beyond, doing an Ironman*, an ultra marathon, adventure races and all sorts of crazy stuff. 

That alone, however, is not enough for me to consider him a contender for the title of Exercise Freak. I have quite a few talented and dedicated friends that have accomplished similar endeavors as Matt. Running an Ultra Marathon is NOT a qualification.

But competing in The Ride, a local community fundraising event, as a one-member team is by all definitions considered 'Fanatical.'

The Ride is an indoor bike race on trainers (or stationary bikes) where teams of 8 people race to complete the most miles in a given time. Each team member rides for 25 minutes before passing off the bike to the next person on the team.

^ That's what I look like when I do The Ride (only worse).
That's a pool of sweat on the floor beneath my bike.

I have done The Ride before. It is the hardest 25 minutes of cycling you'll ever do. You crank into the hardest possible gear and hammer for a lung-sucking, quad-busting--everything goes dark and little tiny stars appear--eternity. You're inside, breathing recycled mall air next to 70+ other teams sweating like hogs in August going absolutely nowhere while bleeding every ounce of energy from your body. 

And Matt has chosen to do that 8 times over on his own, self-sponsored team.

Matt, you are one crazy dude. Dear friends and readers, if you would like to support Matt at The Ride, you can make a donation HERE. Select "Sponsor A Rider" and type in Matt Vander Sys. He needs to raise $400, so go help him out!

"All money raised from this event goes to the Mercy Heart Center. Funds help pay for community programs and projects that help heart patience achieve a more active healthy lifestyle as well as helping at risk people from becoming heart patience. Please help me reach my fundraising goal."

*Not all running races are called "marathons." A Marathon is 26.2 miles.
*Not all triathlons are "IronMan" traithlons. An IronMan event is 2.4 miles swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run completed all at one time.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vacations Over.

Hello? Anyone out there?

Probably not. I apologize for my sudden and lengthy absence from the blog. Shortly after I wrote my last post I developed a stress fracture in my foot during Zumba class. Unfortunately the injury changed the landscape of my winter training plans and my waistline.

A stress fracture occurs in a weight-bearing bone and is usually caused by repeated stress.  While my body was experiencing the debilitating effects of the stress fracture to my foot, the rest of me was feeling beaten down from the accumulation of life stresses.

January was a uniquely stressful month for myself and my family. We refinanced, had to switch daycare providers (if you've had kids you know what a difficult decision that is), held my cats as they went to sleep for the last time, and for the first time I experienced what its like to represent a company on the front lines—something that is simultaneously rewarding and difficult.

However, at the end of January we somehow managed to pull everything together, hitched up the trailer and headed south for two full weeks of camping at Fort Wilderness Resort.

Our days were filled with walking, biking, swimming, reading and napping. It was divine. We even managed to make it to each of the parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. It was a wonderful time of family-togetherness and recuperation.

Sidelined with an injury, I had to take out my aggression on some alien-life-forms at Epcot.

Sage's homework assignment while on vacation was vlogs to her classroom about Disney World:

I'm back. My foot is slowly healing. I should be able to start biking in 2-4 weeks and running sometime in April. Lumberjack and Iceman registration are just a couple of weeks away . . .