Mileage Recap ~ Nov – Dec…Happy New Year

Getting sh*t done!  Happy New Year my friends!  Glad to be back blogging.  The holidays seem to sneak up on me faster than ever 🙂  I’m always a step behind it appears, but you know it’s all good.  No reason to stress out about these things, because that’s not what the holidays are about.  It’s about friends, famdamily and throw in a little reflection for good measure.

I always use this time to reflect over my running stats Excel spreadsheet.  Yes, I am that “girl”.  I keep track on my Garmin and also a spreadsheet.  I am going into my 7th year of this journey.  How’s that for some dedication.  I do wish at times it would go a bit faster, but let’s face it, life happens…and that’s a good thing.

I don’t make resolutions.  I stopped doing that a long time ago.  Not because I didn’t keep them, it just didn’t make sense to me to wait for a date to start a task or goal.  There is no better time to start then right now.  So why wait until the 1st of January?  I guess it’s symbolic of renewal and new beginnings.  I get it.

I’m satisfied with my miles for 2019.  There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  If I were to use the present metrics of years past it looks like two more years.  I’m hoping for 1.5.

2019 had ups and downs.  I was diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis.  It’s not lost on me that suck and spondylolisthesis both start with the letter S. That being said, it doesn’t and won’t stop me from moving forward.  Getting older is awesome, but there are some drawbacks….LOL!  How’s that for a cup half full.  I went through the painful shots that helped some and finally opted to work on strength exercises and less intrusive ways to deal with the pain.

Goals for 2020

~ I really want to look out of the DC area for rides and runs this year.  Maybe throw in some hikes.  Looking to get out of my comfort zone and try something different.  I’m loving the Centuries ~ even though my MO is getting lost and falling.

~ Working on strength to keep the lower back in check.

~ Cycling out of the country…hmmm any suggestions?

~ Keeping up with my blog.  Still not digging my layout.

November and December were pretty average months.  I did complete the Cider Ride (55 miles) in November with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).  Nice supported ride through the DC area and out.  Served warm cider at various stops.  Would have been better if it was hard cider, but then that might have been a mess.  A happy mess, but a mess regardless.

Total miles for 2019 ~ 1417.77

Total miles completed so far ~ 7505.95 out of 11315.

I have 3809.05 miles gratefully remaining in my journey.  I hope this post finds you slaying your goals.  Life is good.  Life is a gift…don’t waste it.  Happy Miles to You!!

2020 be like:

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 26 Aug – 7 Sept…The Reston Century Recap

Happy Sunday my friends!  See, I’m being a good blogger.  Probably because I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m excited about finishing these miles.  I feel like 2020 will be a good year, one of pushing to get this done.  I’ve been doing this a long time and I’m happy to be on the down tick.  I’m still catching up on calculating my miles, so bare with me just a bit.

Finally, getting around to the Reston Century recap.  This was my second attempt at completing a century ride.  Some people were racing, I was riding 🙂 My first Century was in Tuscon, Arizona about two years ago.  I love the challenge of the century ride.  It’s challenging for mind, body and spirit from the time you start training to ride completion.  I try to train as I would ride during the event.  Meaning when you feel like crap or are having a bad day…you still push through to the best of your ability.

The Ride:

Beginning:

The Century was hosted by the Reston Bike Club.  Good club in NOVA with plenty of different ride events throughout the year at different levels.  The ride started at the square in downtown Reston and it was a rolling start.  Parked about 6 am and went to pick up my cue sheet and moved out smartly with my riding buddy at 6:30 am.  Roads were marked well and I was ready to go at 6:30 am.

Because this is so important ~ more for my memory if anything else.

 

About 15 miles in was the first rest point.  Unfortunately for me, I thought the two portos on the side of the street was the stop….so I stopped.  Yeah, that happened.  Got on my bike to find the REAL stop about a mile down the road.  If you’re thinking hmmm…yeah this sets the stage for later in the ride.

Happy start!

Middle:

For the most part the route was pretty level and easy to follow.  Got up to Purcellville, VA for another stop.  This is where the peel off was if you didn’t feel the full century ride.  Fueled up on some water and food and said goodbye to my riding buddy.  He decided that he only wanted to do 84 and not the full 103.  Off I went alone.

Three quarters of the ride at miles 65 – 80 were the hills.  They were the steepest I have ever climbed and took a lot out of me.  I had to walk one hill towards the end and in true Laurel fashion I fell on one.  It wouldn’t be a ride if I didn’t fall at least once.  I wish I could say I was cruising along and skidded out and fell.  It just sounds so much sexier, but no…no.  Also, what I’m known for is just toppling over.  That’s what happened here.  I lost steam and just tipped over.

Because…there is no reason to post this photo. LOL!

The ride that never ended….

Got past the hills and also, true to form, found myself alone.  How does this happen?  There are hundreds of people on the ride, but yet I’m by myself.  Was following the arrows, until I got to some town and saw a women scrubbing them up.  I yelled at her…okay I spoke loudly…and asked why she was scrubbing up the arrows.  She mentioned the city didn’t want them on the street passed 5pm.  She pointed me in the right direction and I kept going.  Now what happened after this is hard to say.  I know what you’re thinking ~ you got lost.  Annnnndddd, yes I did.

I ended up in another city.  I’ll be honest, I don’t even remember the name of the city now.  I was riding along and saw two women and I stopped to ask which way was the Reston Town Center.  They both looked at me like a deer in the headlights and just said I was 20 miles from Reston.  Uh….How.Did.This.Happen?  Yep, I was 20 miles off course.  Needless to say I was a bit devastated.  I was following the yellow arrows and for some reason I got turned around.  Both the women told me to call an Uber, but I just couldn’t do it.  I needed to finish.  Then I saw this other cyclist (not in the ride) and he started me down the right path.

 

Not too happy.

I ended up doing about 122 miles instead of the 103 and I still wasn’t finished.  The pic above is a far cry from the starting photo, but then again it was a Century plus!  Once I was on the right path I had three interesting events happen.   I stopped at this BBQ place on the trail and saw this:

Met one of the previous deputy’s of NASA Dr. Michael D. Griffin.  He rode with me for a few miles before telling me his bike isn’t made to go that slow.  Yes, he said that….

Then a skunk ran across my path and I nearly hit an women cycling towards me.  Sigh.

The good news:  I finished 103 miles under the 10 hr mark.  My last Century was 10:02 so this was good for me.

The bad news:  I didn’t finish at the proper place, I called in and had a friend pick me up at the Green Lizard, a bike shop on the route.  Well, it’s all good and I continue on and can’t wait to do better at the next one.

My mileage for this two weeks only came to 4.65.  There was some serious downtime happening!  I have 4,004.19 miles gratefully remaining in my journey.  I hope this post finds you thankful!  Life is truly good.  Happy Miles to You!!

Because I love pavement…

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 3 – 9 Jun…I Fear

Hello and Happy Sunday.  You know what that means ~ another blog update!  So, lets all take a deep breath in and let out a collective sigh, that this is happening ya’ll.

Fear comes in many different forms depending on the situation involved.  That’s a really big news flash for you and it doesn’t take a Psychiatrist to charge you a $100.00/hr. to figure that one out.

The fear of a test, water, bugs, planes, crowds or dangerous events…the list is vast.

Merriam Webster defines fear as  “anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety.”

Ooh, the loss of courage.  That just sounds bad, but alas, tis true.  The loss of strength and courage to complete or face a task.  Damn…that sounds real bad.

Fear can have a positive effect such as fleeing a burning building.  But for many, fear causes anxiety and plays on our inability to understand unknown events.  Therefore, we fear unnecessarily before the outcome is really understood or known.

What yellow brick road am I taking you down this time you ask ~ hills of course.  You know those beautiful tree lined things in the forest or whatever rural area you’d like to wrap your head around tonight.

I fear hills.  Or better ~ I fear my inability to get up the hills.  Or better yet ~ I fear my inability to get up the hills and fall.  There…now we get to the crux of the situation.  The final outcome has three possibilities 1) I get up the hill, 2) I’m able to unclip in time and walk up the hill, 3) I am convinced I am Wonder Woman and therefore find out otherwise and fall on the hill.

This weeks training ride was to be around 40 miles.  I drove out to Prince William Park early Saturday morning, the weather was great and I was in the mood to ride.  I could tell in the first 10 miles this wasn’t going to be an easy ride.  I was a little winded and frankly a little tired this week.  Then it became mental and fear set in or should I say anxiety.  When I reached mile marker 7 I actually started feeling a sense of dread, because I knew what was coming at mile 8.  This was fear, I was already thinking in my mind that I wasn’t going to be able to climb three consecutive hills for two miles, much less do it three more times.  Even though I had done it the previous week.  I had no idea what the outcome would be, but I was already thinking the worst.  I was thinking about unclipping, I had the fear that I was going to fall.  Riders know the pain from that one.  If you’ve never clipped into pedals on a bike, it’s a sobering experience.  Everybody falls.  That is the mantra.  But….it’s scary.  Trying to unclip when the shit hits the fan…is well scary.  Must I say it again?  Yes…it’s tres mui.  And falling…hurts.  I have had anxiety of falling since, well, my last fall.

I pass the 8 mile marker and immediately I’m in a dark zone of anxiety.  I round this corner after descending feeling all soulful, then the bike Gods thunder ~ “God giveth…and he taketh away”!  Oh yeah, he took it away ~ that feeling of riding down a hill, green trees lining the street, wind in your face, creek on the side of the road and the beware of bears sign….yeah good times.  I round that corner and it hits you in the face.  It doesn’t even kiss you first.  It’s just like…let’s get to the good stuff.  This was the first one.  Let’s call it, baby.  I manage to make it up this one, heart pounding out of my chest.  My eyes look like that kid from the Little Rascals.   I’m even practicing getting out of my seat.  I make it up, but there is no smile on my face.  Then there is a teaser hill to follow.  No one likes a tease.  You descend a bit then there is a little climb…then Papa hill is right around the corner waiting for you.  Kind of like when you were a kid and acted up at school, you knew that Papa would be waiting at the door with the belt to give your ass another go when you got home for slapping another kid at school.  Southerners will know exactly what I’m taking about.  Well, lets just say ~ my ass got beaten in a major way.  Halfway up the hill I was done.  I wasn’t even going to try it, because I was so afraid of falling.  Even unclipping was hard (especially if you try to do it ascending) and I began to panic a bit.  I unclipped and did the walk of shame up the hill.  I was mentally done for the day.  I then made the plan to just ride back and forth and avoid the major hills.  Wasn’t even gonna try the Momma hill.  No.

The only way to get around this can be with more practice and mental clarity.  I love the mental challenge that cycling gives me, but as you can see I have a long way to go.  Challenge accepted 🙂  It’s just one of those things I’m going to have to get past.  Focusing and being present would have helped too.  My mind was too busy concentrating on something that didn’t even happen or may not have happened.  The fall.  This can happen in every day life.  Wasting so much energy on the unknown.  Courage in all ways….

Ok, squirrel moment ~ what happened to the spell check on WordPress, anyone know?

Back…I have continued to gain miles for 9 straight days.  I had 60.20 miles for the week with my long ride coming to 22.87.  I have 4662.78 miles waiting for me to grow a backbone.  A few pics from the week:

Because sweaty selfies are so good….

You didn’t think I wouldn’t post trees?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s song is by the Toadies.  Awesome and describes this week perfectly….

“When I’am away….come on in, yeah”

Mileage Recap ~ 27 May – 2 June…The Daily Grind

Happy June!  The year is going way too fast.  I can’t believe it’s already June.  As I write this blog it seems like I have been here so many times before over the years.  The miles are slowly lessening as the years pass by.  The changing of the seasons and I keep moving forward.

I have been using my new Vivoactive for about a week now and I really like the way it handles.  It does a lot of what the old one did, but easier to activate etc.  More streamlined.

The exciting news this week is I have formally registered for the 2019-37th Annual RBC (Reston Bike Club) Century on 25 August.  Interesting that this is being held in a extremely hot and humid month instead of October.  Hmmm…I guess that will add to the challenge.  I have begun training with my longest ride being 60 miles.  As I mentioned in my last post I have moved away from training on the W&OD trail to Prince William Park.  Less people and more of a challenge.  I will continue to update on my training progress.

I have been trying to do a little something something every day.  Miles that is and I’m on a three day run.  Let’s see how long I can keep it going.  It’s warm now so rain or shine I should be able to get out and buy some asphalt.

Some pics from the week:

Greasy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s long ride was out on the Mt. Vernon trail and came to 19.97 – lol.  Just couldn’t stand to go an extra .03.  Hey it’s where the trail ended and the watch went “click”.  Like I said before, let it go.  Clock it, log it, move on.  Rolling in some old miles earned on April 7th came to 4.81.

Today I went back out to Mt. Vernon Trail and laid down 6.03 walking miles.  The body is feeling good and my faith is exceptional.  I was able to complete 38.43 for the week with 4722.98 miles gratefully remaining.  Today on my walk, the trees are all filled in with the many spectrum of greens, the air weighed heavy with humidity and there was a slight breeze blowing.  My soul is at ease and I hope yours is too…Happy Miles to You!!  This brought me peace today as I was walking.  Such a beautiful song:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 19 – 24 Feb…Shake It Off and Learning How to Cut Bait

Happy Sunday my 11315 friends!  There is nothing better than the second half…am I right?  The first half (whatever your half may be:  life, school, or miles 🙂 always seems to be a learning experience.  It always seems after you’ve been doing a task after a while you really learn it and become proficient.  Once you become proficient you can learn to improve and eventually enjoy!  At 51 (OMG really) I seem to still be learning this lesson not only for miles but in life as well.  But every step I take is wonderful in its own way and I am grateful that I can take those steps.

That’s the way I feel about my mileage journey and of course life itself.  If there is something I can say about myself, I have a very strong will in all things.  I don’t like to fail.  Some life events have been easy and others not so much.  But I have always looked at things from a glass half full type perspective and strive to do my best and be positive.  Today is the first day in a while there was a break in the temperature ~ 66 degrees.  I see people out running and realize that I can’t run long distances because of my back.  Well I can, but the repercussions will speak for themselves.   Kinda sucks to be honest.  Matter of fact the other day I saw people out running and in my mind I said “screw it”  I’m going to run that marathon ~ “whateves”.  Then I pull myself back and realize that for my health, I can’t and I have to find other ways to get those miles.  All is well, I have a beautiful bike and there are so many other ways to get those miles that will be filled with adventure.

Tomorrow I go and get the cortisone shots in my spine.  Hmmm.  My Dad had them and said he didn’t feel anything.  Again I say hmmm!  I had cortisone shots in my knee after my surgery.  All I can tell you (sorry men) but this was worse than a labor pang.  It was a different kind of pain than being in labor.  But it hurt sooo bad.  Let’s hope tomorrow goes somewhat smooth with little pain.

Mileage this week was done on the trainer resulting in 37.33 miles.  When I’m on the trainer I usually go for an hour and can max about 16 miles and some change.  This time I was able to get over 17!  Looking forward to some warmer weather so I can get the bike out more.   I have completed 6503.77 miles in my journey with 4811.23 miles remaining.  I hope this post finds you with a burning desire for life and love.  Is there anything else?  Happy Miles to You!!

Saw this fitting…. “that’s what people say…”  LOL only if you really knew….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Is Hard…Doing Nothing is Harder – My Ode to 2018…May She Rest in Peace.

What would you do to be happier?  That my friends is a very loaded question.

I wish I could say 2018 was a banner year.  Let’s just say I am looking forward to 2019.  I just got around to “updating” my working status on Facebook (not that it’s necessary) to living in the DC area and working at the National Archives and Records Administration.  Those in my inner circle laughed a bit and yelled “old news”!  I kept it on the low burner because it was a major change and upheaval. This isn’t a negative post but a post about growth, change, uplifting myself and somewhere down the line winning.

After serving in the Army as a logistician, Army wife, mother and eventually a civilian which totaled about 20 years I decided that I needed a “change”.  From there I moved to Phoenix, AZ and went to esthetician school to, how can I say this, entertain my more artistic side.  I have always played a balancing act with my technical side and my artistic side.  I decorated cakes for many years and found being an esthetician to be artistic but on another level.  Unfortunately, there were many things about it that just didn’t fit and so I moved on to work for a private business.

I have never publicly written about my time at this place of business.  It was the first time out of college that I had worked for a private company and not the government.  I worked directly for the CEO/owner and all I can tell you it was 9 months of pure hell.  I have no sympathy for the devil of which he must have been related.  Sitting on the couch with him during my third interview I knew taking this job was a mistake.  There is something in trusting your gut.  But me, being who I am, I was willing to give it a go.  Worst.Decision.Ever.  He ran me ragged and was prone to changing his mind constantly, not in a good way, and wanted to be treated like a king.  The only task I will bring up just to give you insight was stocking the personal fridge with Perrier™.  He drank massive amounts of Perrier™ and required his personal refrigerator to be stocked daily.  He drank the lemon and lime flavor and I would place the bottles lined up with labels facing the front.  They had to be perfectly in order by flavor…. yeah think about that for a moment.  I mean I can be type A, but damn.

I decided that I needed another change, but most of all I needed to make myself happy and take control of my happiness.  Believe me, this is a hard tasks for Catholics.  Guilt anyone?  I felt for the three years I was in Arizona I was just floating through a fog. Arizona was pretty…in parts, but it just wasn’t for me.  That’s right class, at 50 you can decide to change – and change I did.  Daunting.Scary.Unpredicable.  Yes, all of those words and a whole lot more.

I started feverishly applying to other jobs ~ everywhere.  I prayed.  I cried.  From time to time I felt sorry for myself.  Oh, and I flew to Dublin, Ireland and ran a marathon in between this mayhem.  I would wake up early in the morning and apply for jobs all day long.  Sometimes even on weekends.  I was relentless.  I can remember starting my day with this saying:

“Help me find the right job, the right place, I’m ready for the good stuff”.

Everyday.  Day after day, for nine months (no symbolism here – lol) until I finally got a call from the National Archives and Records Administration.  I had been wanting to get out of the logistics field and I applied for an Executive Assistant job to the Archivist of the United States of America in DC.  After three interviews, I got the job.  It was one of the happiest and scariest days of my life.  I had no apartment and only one friend in the area.  I packed up my Subaru and drove across country to my new life in DC.

I was extremely lucky for my friend Rajni who lived and worked in the area.  It was like she was there at the right place and time.  I owe her a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay.  I stayed with her for a few weeks and eventually found my own apartment.  The transition was mentally hard.  I hadn’t lived in an apartment since my 20s.  Making that move from a big house to a small apartment wasn’t easy.  All the things I had I left behind ~ I only took the necessities.  Again mental, but necessary for change.  Sometimes you throw things out to the Universe.  You taunt it by saying – “only if”.  Then the Universe throws it back and says “put up or shut up”.  So then you have a choice to take the “red or blue” pill.

“You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth.” ~ The Matrix

I took the red pill.  I wanted to find my truth – and so I did.  I left with what I could fit in my car and drove across country, by myself, in search of better.  Change is so hard.

There were times I would walk through my apartment looking at all the nothing.  I would sit in the silence on some days and just think about what was next.  I would get up each day and push a little further, grow a little larger, and eventually smile a little wider.  When I think back at the first time I stepped into this apartment there was a sense of despair and laughter.  There were days I would cry and days I would walk through laughing that this was mine.  I did it.

The job, what can I say.  I work for the Archivist of the United States in downtown DC.  He is amazing and the people I work with equally amazing and talented.  An academic atmosphere.  Even better, I like everything about the place and what we do for the country.  I can say I’m very happy.  I’m happy living in DC and with my job.  It has been a little over 10 months and I love my truth, my little red pill.

I am learning to embrace my future.  I continue to expand and grow.  In order to move forward you can’t dwell on the past.  Study it.  Accept it. Challenge it.  If a little 50 year old female can do it, so can you.  Change is so damn hard, mentally, physically and spiritually.  If you find yourself contemplating about 2018 and where your going, might I suggest taking that red pill?  Open wide and wash it down with your favorite beverage.

I hope this post finds you with a hot crazy determination for life.  The kind that burns the soul, makes you cry and shake and demand you do whatever it takes, however hard it may seem, to stay the course and find your truth.  Yeah, there’s going to be plenty of dead bodies along the way ~ so bring the body bags and a big ass shovel to bury that shit.  Six feet down – three feet wide –  cover it all nice and pretty, dust off those hands and make a sign of the Cross if you have too.  It’s over.  Happy Miles to You!