Mileage Recap ~ 8 – 14 July…Every Day is a Winding Road

Happy Sunday my friends!  As my Century ride approaches ~ I am keeping the faith and moving forward with training.  I normally train by myself, but every now and again I have a riding buddy join me.  I have found that when my buddy joins me, those hills seem to be easier to climb.  I’ve thought about this a lot and my prognosis is that neither one of you wants to show the other you can’t make it up the hill, so a buddy makes it easier!  Ha!  It has to be it.  So maybe training with a partner is the best option.  It leaves the mind clear or at least that is my take on the situation.

I continue to gain a little bit of mileage every day ~ when I can.  Sometimes life just gets in the way but every week I keep chipping away and I just love to see that Total Miles Completed number go up and up.  It’s exciting!

I went out to Prince William Forest Park for my long ride this weekend.  My goal was to do three loops and three series of hills without freaking out or stopping.  Not really focusing on too much distance, but the quality of the ride.  There you go ~ quality not quantity.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I went for three laps starting at a point closer to the entrance of the loop.  Not quite the 10 mile loop but just focusing on the hills.  I did three laps and made it up all hills for a total of 9.  Felt good and I’m ready for next weeks long ride.  I was able to get some running miles in too.  The weather hear has fluctuated a bit from hot and humid to warm and an nice breeze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbing those hills was a bit easier this weekend.  I just concentrated on my breathing and taking my time.  I didn’t stress or worry.  Seems to be a winning combo when I can do it right.  Feeling powerful….  Hope this post finds you in a good way this Sunday.  I have completed 6876.27 miles with 4438.73 gratefully remaining.  Life is good.  Life is beautiful.  Life is what you make it and how you see it.  Happy Miles to You!!

“life’s like an hourglass glued to the table…just breathe”

 

 

 

 

 

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 ~ 20 – 26 May – The Hard Death of My Vivoactive

Hello my friends…yes I know my blogging is sucking…majorly.  Just call it Hooverville.  I promise, I’m slowly getting my creative juices flowing.  Many times I have all these words in my head, but a hard time getting them out on this electronic paper.  They are slowly manifesting from thoughts into words.  Taking some time off had benefits and some certain realities.  One, I just allowed myself to be for a while.  Think about what I was doing without taking it too seriously.  The question I hear you asking…“so you took it seriously?”.  Uh, well think about it…I keep a spreadsheet…lists…photos ~ crazy baby!  Hell yeah!  But yes, I do take it seriously.

Two, it was hard recapping the miles I did complete.  I was doing a lot of miles inside because of the weather.  I would do my miles then take a picture of the machine.  I was doing about 17 miles a day for a while on the stationary.  As I was looking through all the pictures I said screw this I’m not counting these.  Screw it.  Let it go.  I can hear my Dad saying, yeah those miles aren’t real miles. LOL!!!  I love it.  I love my Dad.  He is hard core.  So, I’m living in the light and like most things wondering how I could possibly make this more difficult?  Hmmm, so glad you asked ~ from this point I will only count miles I do out.  Challenge accepted!  No more treadmill or stationary bike miles counted.  Take a deep breath…let it out.  Good.  No?  Oui, so, so good.  Sometimes you just have to let it go.  See it for what it is and what you need.  I needed to just keep moving forward and enjoy what I was doing.  I was in transition from becoming less of a runner and more of a cyclist.  Processing what all these miles mean and next steps.

I’ve lost a good and trusty friend.  Yes, my Garmin Vivoactive has bought the farm; is six feet under; iced; or what other descriptor you would like to give.  She gone.  She was a good lady.  Tracking all those miles for four years.  But she slowly began to tell me, she was ready to move on, join the other GPS tracking devices in the sky.  Just like that, she breathed her last…..  Wow, I’m almost getting a little broken up about an electronic device.  But before she breathed her last she gave me a big middle finger and left me hanging on last weeks ride.  Just sayin’.  If you think about it, what better way to go then just say, smell you later!  That added to my mileage count frustration.  I tried to use my iWatch, but it wasn’t the same.  It was like a drunk girlfriend.  I constantly had to tend to her and never knew when she was going to blow.  Sooooo…

I sauntered down to Best Buy and bought the Vivoactive3. It was the last one they had on the shelf.

Old vs. new

I had to laugh at this picture.  Look how far the design has come.  This was one of the first ones and looks like a mini tablet!  LOL!!!  It still has power too!  But just not tracking.  I haven’t even charged the new one.  Looking forward to testing it out.

Went to Prince William park for this weeks long ride.  Most weeks I have been riding out on the W&OD trail.  Beginning to end it is close to 100 miles.  You can pick up the trail at various points along the way and it ends in Purceville, VA.  Good ride, but lots of people which makes it difficult to run full out on the bike.

Prince William park is much better.  Not crowded and a good course to train with both flat and hilly areas.  This was the first time I road out there and I will be honest, it was a little difficult.  The loop was 10 miles.  The last two miles are three steep hills.  I was good the first two loops, the third I couldn’t complete the hills.  I will admit, it was a hard challenge.  This is a good thing, because I have found a good area to train ~ both beautiful and challenging.  A few shots:

Rider

 

 

Steam coming off the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I captured some of my miles from March and logging what I did this week.  I will keep going back until I recapture all the outside miles I did until I’m finally caught up.  Total miles this time around came to 49.82 with 4761.41 gratefully remaining.  Letting it go, breathing deep and moving on…so very on…it’s all good.  Perspective.

You’re welcome 😐

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Mileage Recap ~ 28 Jan – 3 Feb….Unbreakable…Yes, I’m Going Down Swinging

Happy Sunday everyone!  Wow, January seemed to have blown by and now we are into the month of love or not depending on your take on things.  You know how the song goes…”If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”.

As you might have recalled from last week, my car was broken into and therefore, the blog post I wanted to write had to wait until this week.  I just didn’t have the mental energy last Sunday.  Good news Safelite™ came out and repaired my window and I’m back in the car business.  Bad news, according to my friends this will happen again.  Welcome to DC.

2019 has started of with a bang.  I was furloughed for the better part of January and I finally went in for my MRI of my back.  I knew going in that something wasn’t quite right.  I have been experiencing a very directed pain in my lower right back for a while.  Did I ever mention I really hate going to the doctor…yeah well, not always the best thing, but yes I don’t like going to the doctor.  After waiting for a week…the diagnosis is in!  I’m going to look at this from a glass half full perspective.  I’m not upset, no defeated (quite the opposite)…I am unbreakable.

Have you ever seen the Netflix™ show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?  It is the life Kimmy after her rescue from a doomsday like cult.  She and the other “mole women” are trapped in an underground bunker for years, rescued and released out into the modern world.  It’s quirky and funny and Kimmy Schmidt learns to put a positive spin on not so positive situations.

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis in L1 – L5 of my spine which is causing degenerative arthritis.  The doctor also thinks it is congenital issue that worsened with age.  You can’t spell it without LOL in the middle.  Get it?  Hell, I still can’t even pronounce it correctly yet.  “Spondylolisthesis is a slipping of vertebra that occurs, in most cases, at the base of the spine. Spondylolysis, which is a defect or fracture of one or both wing-shaped parts of a vertebra, can result in vertebrae slipping backward, forward, or over a bone below”.  Thank you, WebMD.  In some places I have bone on bone.  What does this mean for me?  I know what you’re thinking…settle down, breathe and don’t get carried away…it ain’t over.  It means the running part of my journey is over.  Yes, you read that right the rest of my mileage journey will be earned cycling or walking/hiking.  Say hello to cycling Laurel.

When Dr. Cherrick, told me the news I was a little put out and then became a bit defiant.  I mentioned to him that all of this would just have to wait because I have already begun training for the Shamrock Marathon in March.  He just let me prattle on for about two minutes looking at me with annoyed eyes, mentioning that he can’t stop me from running, but then added…I wouldn’t do the race.  He left the office to bring up my images and then I saw the arthritis in my back and then the places where there was no cushion.  He continued on that I was close to needing surgery, but wasn’t that far gone if I changed my habits and committed to cycling which is low impact.  The fix is facet injection and more physical therapy if I so chose.  The other option is fusing the vertebra together.  Uh, no…nada, nein.  Not.Going.To.Happen.

As we used to say in the Army, if the path to the target has changed, adjust fire.  That’s all this is…the target moved, I am adjusting fire.  The goal remains, I just need to get there in a different manner.  I haven’t run since the diagnosis and I haven’t had the pain I’ve been experiencing. Literally, non-existent.

I am excited and more determined than ever.  Cycling gear is so much cooler than running gear.  I absolutely love cycling and I fully intend to keep the energy high.  I never do things small manner.  My first ride was a century – lol.  I also bought my first carbon frame bike – 2018 Fuji Grand Fondo.  Sweet ride:

Now I just need better weather.  My response to this diagnosis is 234.72 miles for the month of January with running (before diagnosis), walking and trainer rides.  I also have broken the 5,000 mark in my mileage journey with 4958.98 miles gratefully remaining.

I remain with much gratitude in my heart and an unbreakable determination.  It’s time to get road ready and conquer the rest of these miles.  Life is good.  When life gives you lemons…make lemonade.  Adjust fire.  Happy Miles to You!!

I thought this song was appropriate…”sugar I’m going down swingin'”.

am I more than you bargained for yet 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 14 Jan – 27 Jan…The Theft Post

Happy Sunday my friends.  I meant to spend some time and write a really well thought out post, but unfortunately it will have to wait until another day.  Today was one of those days where you just say ~ really?  My gusto for blogging was cut off at the knees today because someone broke into my car.  Sigh.  I drove to the Mt. Vernon trail to have a Sunday jaunt and when I came back the right back window on the passenger side was shattered and the contents of my vehicle stolen.

Lovely isn’t it?  The funny thing was I wasn’t gone long, but then these things don’t take long.  Whoever it was got me and someone else.  Timing is everything.  So today was spent on canceling things and police reports.

In better news the furlough as been suspended until February 15th.  Back to work I go tomorrow!

Mileage was #killer these past two weeks.  I road/ran/walked 134.53 miles.  I remain grateful to continue on my journey.  Whoever has my stuff ~ I hope it brings you as much happiness as it brought me.  Just a bit of advice though, maybe work hard so you can earn your own stuff!  I hope this post finds your heart joyful and your mind at ease.

I thought this song was appropriate.  Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 31 Dec – 6 Jan… By Crikey I’ve Been Furloughed!

Happy Furlough Monday my friends.  That’s right, I’m part of this big furlough funding mess.  Going on week three here in the big DC.

Without getting too political I will just say ~ enough already!  I’m ready to go back to work.  I’m a bit of a workaholic.  Yes…I’m one of those.  I love to work.  Of course it helps to love your job, but I’m getting very annoyed.  I mean how many mandalas can I draw to relive stress?  It would be nice if they would leave the working folks out of the funding mess – let’s keep the big projects (AKA the Wall) out of normal every day life funding shall we?  Please fight on someone else’s dime, preferably our senators and representatives.  I overheard someone saying, wow, I wish I could get a paid vacation.  First of all, I’m not getting paid right now.  Will I get back pay, yes that is the plan, but just think of all the work that is piling up right now?  That is the downside and no that isn’t fun….at all.  It is going to be a real ass-kicker when I return.  Mentally and figuratively I’m sure!  The upside… I’m getting some mad miles in… oh and I did get a pedicure today too.  Funny thing is there were other ladies in the salon on furlough!  Should have served wine.

In better news my training for the Shamrock Marathon in March has begun.  I started on Saturday and not too much to report but I kicked it off with a five-mile run.  My goal for this marathon is to have an average pace in the 10s.  Normally, I’m rocking an average 11, but my goal is to eventually run a marathon with an average pace in the 9s.  Mind over matter, mind over matter, mind over matter….yes Dorthy, mind over matter.

I need shoes like that…oooh maybe some running shoes….yaaassss!

I will have a nontraditional training plan this time around because I want to keep cycling.  Meaning…I don’t want to lose my momentum on the bike, so something has to give.  I have been getting miles in every day if possible.  A combination of walking, running, and cycling.  Throw in about three (four because I’m on furlough)  days of strength training and I’m a busy girl.  Getting it done.

Pain level is at a steady 3 – 4 out of 10.  Still in the right lower side.  MRI and X Ray are on Friday and will see where we go from there.  No, get that thought out of your head.  I will continue on.

Of course my long run was on a rainy day.  Sometimes I think, hmmm should I just go inside?  Nah, not always.  It wasn’t bad and normally on those days, no one is on the trail.  This is what my run looked like:

I kept it in the 10s!  It wasn’t a bad run and I felt okay.  Some slowing down on the hills to ensure footing.

My week was a good one ~ I completed 51.33 miles.  I have 5185.49 miles gratefully remaining.  I hope this post finds you in good spirits for the new year.  Remember, nothing lasts forever – even a government furlough.  Happy Miles to You!!

This came up on my playlist this weekend and was appropriate.  Absolutely love Annie Lennox and the acoustic version is awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!