Monday, February 27, 2017

"Off the Back" Blues

Everyone experiences dips in fitness and energy whether you're an elite athlete or a just a recreation enthusiast.  Additionally, injuries, illness, job schedules and other factors contribute to time on the bench which can create a feeling of being dropped "off the back."  My husband has been "off the back" of his bike for a few seasons. I'm currently battling Piriformis Syndrome, along with my dance instructor neighbor.  Two out of three women I run with in the morning are also battling injuries...Plantar Fasciitis and the other has an injured foot. My neighborhood reads like an "injured reserve" roster. Working your way from being dropped "off the back" is both physically and mentally challenging.
ASTYM - physical therapy fun
  • First, physically you have to be healthy. My friends and I continue to brave the cold early mornings, but we aren't as young as we used to be. We often have strained muscles and have added some much needed recovery days and physical therapy. And yes, when you miss several weeks, it's not easy to catch up. I'm pretty sure that loading laundry up and down stairs counts for cross training if you're not fortunate enough to have a ski pass or can't afford a gym membership. For long periods of hiatus, the 10% increase per week seems to be the golden rule to avoid injury for returning to your normal mileage. Note to those who can't: be patient and listen to trained medical professionals. There is life beyond training.
  • Second, and I think this is the more difficult, the mental challenge. It's hard to be patient. When you've been off, you still get to hear about others who've been killing it and having fun. It's also hard to be motivated when you're dragging. You don't have to be a competitive athlete to feel left behind. It's fun to have a pity party for a while. That's why they call it a party (albeit a pity party). But the longer you sit and procrastinate getting off the couch, the farther off the back you'll be. Perhaps you are physically healthy, but you've lost the will to do it after taking such a long break. Note to those who can: stop making excuses, those who can't would love to be in your shoes. 
I take inspiration from my daughter. She experienced some major and minor setbacks in her running career repeatedly but has never faltered because she loves running. I know it hasn't always been easy for her to spin on a bike and remained focused while in therapy, but she does it so she can compete again.

My daughter on podium:
Ice bag on foot
All competitive athletes at any sport, share that same focus and drive. Nearly all of them have experienced injury or downtime. Being "off the back" is part of the game. If you have pushed yourself to fatigue and max limit, you probably had a time where you've fell behind and had to recover. A setback is a set up for a comeback.  I scribbled in marker on my bathroom mirror this week "Be Motivated" to move me to action and make a move "off the back." I hoped it would inspire me to not only get me up early this week to run, but also get me to organize my tax paperwork, do laundry and set some goals. Maybe next week, I'll even tackle the basement bathroom.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another Day, Another Destiny

Carpe Diem! Do we really seize the day? There are many days that I just seize the television remote and a Diet Coke, to be honest. After attending a funeral recently for a childhood friend who battled Cancer, I did some soul searching. Her time was far too short in her accomplished life, but she certainly didn't waste any time while she was here. I began to take note how much time I wasted. Some things to consider since my soul search:
  • Go outside. Enjoy the season, weather and what nature has to offer locally. Okay, it's cold during our 5:30 am run but it's exhilarating! One thing I miss about California is the beach. When I'm at the beach, I miss Utah's mountains. Where ever you are, enjoy where you are, but get out.
  • Get unhooked. Put down your phone, IPad, computer, or whatever has you connected and disconnected from people. Time is short and if you want to develop real relationships that last a lifetime, your life starts now. Enjoy the journey with family and friends, not with your electronics. Becoming engaged with conversation and activities with people is so much more rewarding. Make memories from doing, not from just social media posting.
  • Be passionate about something. Everyone has a niche and that is what makes life beautiful and interesting. Find what is yours and develop it. This might require an exploration. You may discover you have many passions and talents...even better!
  • Be grateful. More than ever, I feel blessed for all that I have been given. Large to small, every thing I touch and can't touch I am grateful for. Each day is a gift. I love my family. I have great friends. I'm thankful for my job. I'm thrilled that I can park my car in the garage! With that in mind, it has really changed my attitude about seizing each day and being thankful for the journey.
Despite my son Cody's appearance in the second row, getting stuck in
"It's a Small World" for 40 min. with the family is now a cherished memory :)
I think back to a family vacation this past summer when my son returned from an LDS mission and just days later we were in California at Disneyland. The last ride of the day was "It's a Small World." "It will be great," I thought. He just returned from a different country and speaks a different language! It was near closing. We were all dreadfully tired and the boat stalled just moments away from freedom. All seven of us were trapped for 40 minutes with that pre-recorded music looped over and over. It became painful to the point of comical. But my point is, the time was not wasted. We could have had a negative attitude, but we didn't. The Disney employees thanked us for our laughter and good spirits. We enjoyed our time stranded in the life raft and it has become a forever memory. I'm now grateful it happened.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just Keep Spinning, Just Keep Spinning

Well after a three year gap after starting this blog, it was suggested that I should start writing again.  Time flies when you're packing daily lunches for your kids and suddenly you're 50. I still run with the skirts...still married happily to a cyclist (but he's on off season right now, by that I mean he's been off his bike) and I have two active kids still living at home. My third child (daughter) recently committed to run XC and track next Fall for the University of Utah, so that running hobby turned out pretty well for her. I have a freshman boy who keeps us in the red with his growth spurts and life pursuits. My oldest son is now married and recently graduated from the University of Utah and my 2nd son is  attending Utah State University. I guess life keeps spinning as it were.
The Skirts on Cali trip 2016

As I mentioned, my husband isn't hitting the bike as much as in the past. Strangely enough it saddens me. He definitely says he is "off the back" right now which is a hard place to be.  I never considered myself a cyclist but I manage to get on a spin bike a couple times a month for cross training. I'm currently battling Piriformis Syndrome which is awful. Not being able to run as much as I like makes me restless.  Just getting my legs spinning helps. I'm pretty sure my entire family has some sort of ADD and requires exercise daily, including our dogs. It's hard to get going with any exercise program at first, but eventually you'll feel it's a daily drug. When my daughter suffered two stress fractures last year, she spent a lot of time on a spin bike. She absolutely hated it. She did like it more than swimming, but she still hated it.  She couldn't run for 7 months of her junior year. She experienced one stress fracture in her fibula, came back for a short period of racing and then suffered another stress fracture in her tibia in her opposite leg because she favored it too much and it was back to the bike. Now spinning is part of her regime and cross training.  My advice to those injured, "off the back" or those feeling unmotivated, is to just keep spinning. The fitness will come back. It takes time. Look at me, I'm writing this blog and it's been three long years! Don't be afraid of the gap because it will come back.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I attempted to clean my house yesterday because it was Thursday, the special day, a day we don't have five conflicting practices, school functions and birthday parties.  Before you can even start to vacuum, dust or really clean, you have to pick up the debris.  My house always looks like a war zone.

Always begin in the kitchen - the heart of our home. Attack the worst part first. I got the dishes loaded and counter cleaned off.  I stacked all that unwanted mail and questionable receipts in a pile in a corner on the counter to postpone again for the next week. Cycling bottles are stacked all over my dish rack drying so that they don't mold.  My husband hates that. I went to the dining area and scooped up the helmet, bike shoes, bike chain off the kitchen table, threw away the greasy paper towels and grabbed the other bike tools and put them back in the garage.  I thought about putting the monster bike rack away in the garage but decided it would be back up next to the kitchen table tomorrow, so just surrendered to let it stay.  Next the family room.  Not bad. Three and a half pair of shoes, a pair of my son's shorts, a sock, the ski bag partially open full of clothes and a Yoplait yogurt container that our dog drug out of the trash.

Headed to the laundry room to toss my find in the basket.  My family has a code established about laundry priority.  If the garment in question is placed on the washer, than it is a priority, meaning "Wash Now."  This code was established because we have kids playing sports and needed uniforms clean and apparently the laundry maid was shirking her responsibilities.  Maybe we should just call it the sweaty pile.  The thing is, the laundry maid is noticing the priority pile is growing especially during this Winter and I swear my husband has favorites as far as cycling kits. I started the first of many, many wash loads from many priority sweaty piles.

I passed right by the shipping boxes stacked in the office because the office is not my pick-up territory. I had already checked the labels for chain love and had sent an accusatory text to my husband about ordering a trainer, but apparently the orders were work-related.  Okay, I guess other professions need to be trained too. It read trainer on the labels and there were a lot of boxes!  My bad.

Then headed for the bedrooms with hesitation.  The only consolation with my bedroom is, that I know every morning I make the bed, despite the laundry on the floor or the dust on the dressers. The bed is like our life raft in the sinking ship of clutter around us.  Okay back to our bedroom.  Actually, it wasn't bad.  I had recently dusted and my husband had organized his side a bit, so by most hoarding standards, it's probably a three.  He had most of his bike bags zipped up along the wall and his reading material stacked.

Ladies, remember when you had babies and they came with diaper bags and all those accessories?   This is what it is like being married to a cyclist.  They come with bottles, gear, gadgets and bags full of clothing all over the house.

Everyone dreads cleaning bathrooms. I glanced at the counter top...
Polo Aftershave, Paul Mitchell Hair Gel, Hammer Balm Muscle Cream, DZnuts Chamois Cream, and I thought, "He should really put some of these in his diaper bag."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My husband had a business meeting in Park City last week, so the kids and I got to go up to take a break.  The boys skied all day but my daughter and I opted instead to put on warm gear and take a short run around town.  She plays soccer and likes to run as well.  After our run, we were treated to a 50 minute massage at the hotel spa (courtesy of my thoughtful husband).  Now I've had a few massages in my life...not many, but a few.  My first was probably in my late 20's or early 30's.  My daughter was a little anxious at first when she slowly passed the steam room down the candle-lit hall of the Hotel Park City Spa.  The satin spa robe swallowed her small 13-year old frame.  We shared a room during the treatment.   I wasn't sure if it was the music, the fragrant oil, or the massage itself that made her catatonic, but I tried to speak to her a few times but she remained perfectly silent.

Afterwards she beamed, "I heard you but I couldn't speak. That was heaven and I drooled three times."

I thought, What have I done? I've opened a can of worms.

I remember when I got my first Barbie.  I loved Barbies. My mom probably rethought that first Barbie purchase over and over.  I had over 42 Barbies purchased during the Barbie years. And those who know anything about playing with Barbies, know that the Barbie window is very small.  Barbie is too mature to be played with for a baby girl, yet too young to be kept around with when you're in the preteens. And you know what you need with Barbie?  A whole lot of other Barbie crap:  Ken, Skipper, the motor home, the dream house, the hair salon, the air plane, and not to mention an endless wardrobe. Believe me, I had it.

So far, none of our kids are seriously into biking.  One son has a cycling jersey.  Another has a bike up at college with some accessories, but nothing that is breaking the bank.  The cycling black hole at my home is strictly my husband's.  My kids play baseball, football, soccer and the usual sports.  My daughter, however,  is starting the track thing.  And I have to admit, I kind of like it.  Running is something we both enjoy.  Originally I thought as far as cost, great! I'm thinking tennis shoes and shorts.  Unluckily, I laid out big bucks for some spikes last weekend because apparently she has sprinters spikes instead of long distance spikes.  Okay, honest mistake.  Never trust a salesperson at Dick's sporting goods.  Just for personal comparison,  I began making a few notes on some fees versus baseball or football fees.

First up Track
Compression socks - she wore mine and liked them  $24.00
Athleta headband - she adopted mine, so eventually I will need to replace it  $18.00
Running jacket - needed for outdoor training $30.00
Long distance spikes - note: send bill to Dick's Sporting Goods $120.00
dznuts embrocation cream - she discovered my husband's after workout to help with sore muscles $20.99

After attending the track meet at the Olympic Oval she was very nervous as she is young and it was her first high school meet. She ran a 5:47 mile unofficially.   Priceless

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lance's Upcoming Confession

I'm sure there are cyclists world-wide, my husband included, who are curious as to what Armstrong said to Oprah in his confessional interview to be aired this Thursday.  We all know he is guilty of doping, so what's the breaking news here?  I guess we would like to see him look uncomfortable admitting the dirty details that he is a liar and a cheater.  Well, don't hold your breath.  From what I've read about him, Armstrong only looks out for himself.  He must think he gains something from hitting the couch with O.

The thing that I find fascinating is why open up to Oprah and not Bob Roll, Phil Liggett or even Dan Patrick?  Her show isn't even on prime time.  Where is the Oprah network channel anyway?  I have a theory why he is BFF'n with O.  I think Armstrong knows that he's alienated his comrades and cycling enthusiasts and he is trying to appeal to women for forgiveness and the advertising market.  Since admitting his guilt, he has trunks of money in sponsorships to loose as well as pending law suits.

As a skirt (and the target market I know Armstrong is trying to convince), I'm frankly annoyed.  I think he is an amazing athlete in a dirty sport, but blaming the culture of the sport still doesn't justify doping, bullying or make him a champion.  It makes him a champion of cheaters.  You don't put cheaters on cereal boxes, jerseys or on magazine covers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Running With Goggles

Utah's weather has been unusually cold the last two weeks, even for January.  The Velominati Rule #9 states that riding in cold weather makes you a bad ass.  Well, running in at 5:30 a.m. in freezing temperatures either makes you a bad ass or a dumb one, I can't decide.

The cold weather and snow was methodically clearing my weekend schedule: daughter's soccer games were canceled, along with church meetings, indoor baseball practice, and even the city ski bus to Brighton (the last one especially ironic).  Yet, I still got a text from the skirts to run on Saturday and to dress warm and wear "ski goggles."   I had barely thawed out from a previous run where it hit a balmy seven degrees outside.  Does it make me feel bad ass to dream of a gym pass during the 8.5 miles in ankle-deep snow?  As you can imagine we weren't breaking time records during a winter storm, but we did do a few acts of service along the way, pulling cars out of the snow.  Afterward, I felt like I ran in mashed potatoes for 20 miles.  It's no wonder those spin classes are so crowded in the winter.  I'm just hoping it warms up a little, because my psyche is ready to crack - along with my knee joint, hip flexor, finger tips and all other extremities.

I have an amendment for the Velominati Keepers: Rule #92 Peer pressure can be deadly...but when you're called out, you're called out. (This includes e-mails and texts / race entry confirmations are preferred) 

Let me announce now, that I will not open any "lottery" messages regarding a snowshoe run. I know these races exist as I know the skirts love to include others on their adventures.  I had a great adventure on the route I like to call the "Slush Run" this past weekend, but blizzard runs are off my bucket list.   I actually ran in the St. George Marathon purely because the skirts entered my name with theirs in the lottery and we were all selected.  Next thing I knew, I was registered and running shoulder to shoulder with strangers.  Me -without a fuel belt at mile 20 thinking, "How did I get here?"