Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Maiden Ride on Cylo, My New Road Bike


I hear about these rides outside of the city, mostly in Chappell Hill, but I never go. Chappell Hill is called hill for a reason and I never thought I was ready for hills with the hybrid bike and especially not with the new guy in my life, Cylo. Then, I got an email about cycling in Brookshire from my friend Bob. Oh that's flat...I can do some flat. And I really wanted to get out there for a ride on Cylo. Elizabeth was in and I begged her nicely to pick me up since it is quite difficult to transport my bike in my car. Hey, I put gas in her car and I'm driving to Splash and Dash this Friday.

So, we made a plan to get up before the sunshine on a Sunday morning (6 a.m. departure time since it takes about an hour to get out there)...AGAIN. I put everything in an area where I could easily grab stuff in a rush, including laying out my clothes ahead of time. Thank God I just did the washing.

The group ride started at 7:30 a.m., but we thought we would start at 7 a.m. to beat the heat. However, we didn't get there at 7.

There were two parts to the ride. One part was out to Monaville and back from the parking area for 21.5 miles or you can add an extra loop as a second part for a total of 42.5 miles. The ride was sponsored by Bicycle World and had a van out there in case shit happened or you needed a ride back somewhere. And I needed the van. They also printed out maps for the ride with Wes' (the van guy) number.

Oh and wouldn't you know, I forgot my darn helmet. Thankfully, Bob had an extra one for me to use. Bob, Elizabeth and I rode out together since Bob knew where he was going. This was my first ride with Cylo since I bought him the previous Sunday, because I was sick all week after my bike ride. I dropped back fairly quick getting used to my bike and the new way to change gears. I wasn't too far behind and sometimes, I caught up to them. Cylo was faster, so much faster than my hybrid bike. My legs were burning and oh how my crotch/ass area hurt. I had to sit up off the seat a few lotta times. Eventually, Bob and Elizabeth left me, because I just couldn't hang with them speedwise. I lost them quickly on all of the hills. 

Then, my worst fears happened; I got my first flat tire, while alone. I freaked out. I have taken a bike maintenance class before, but I didn't get to do it myself and I don't learn just by watching somebody change their tire on a bike that doesn't look like my bike. Finally, someone came by and reminded me about the number on the map and I called Wes. Elizabeth called me to make sure I was okay and I told her to go on since Wes was there to help me. He showed me what to do (again, not letting me do it) with some tricks. He did let me put on the front wheel, which was helpful. He also put air in my other tire so I wouldn't get a second flat. It was scary, but I got through it with help.

I finally made it to Monaville for the stopping point and I just stayed there for about 20-30 minutes. I was able to go to the bathroom, get some water, eat a honey stinger waffle, and just contemplate my ride. I had no desire to continue on with the rest of the loop, but I knew Elizabeth and Bob kept going. So, I took my time and eventually met Shelly. We rode back together and it felt good to have someone there to ride with for the remaining 9 miles. Also, it was nice that I was the faster one. That rarely happens. We talked about sports and life and all the dead animals on the road. Thankfully, the weather was cool and the clouds just started to part for some pretty blue skies on the way back to the car.

On a side note, we were by Waller and I missed it.

We made it back to the car and I just chilled out reading my book (Game of Thrones...OMG! So, much is happening now towards the end of the book) waiting on Elizabeth. It was such a great ride even with the flat tire and heart stopping panic. I started to feel like a cyclist instead of just a social rider. It also felt good to get out of the city for a change of scenery and ride my new bike. I can't wait to do it again, although, I hear the van won't be out there again until next season. Sad face.


Things I learned on this bike ride:
  • When you hang your helmet on the bike so you won't forget it, remember to put it on the correct bike. I got home to find my helmet hanging on the hybrid bike, which is why I didn't see it at 5:50 a.m.
  • Thankfully, it didn't rain, but it was supposed to rain. I forgot ziplock bags again for my phone. Plus, it's just good for the sweat.
  • Watermelon is by far the best ever after biking treat. Elizabeth was a God send for having it.
  • Speaking of food, make sure to go shopping for bread before the bike ride. I put my PB&J on a corn tortilla and it wasn't good at all. And the gluten free bread Elizabeth had for her sammich was just not good.
  • I always air up my tires before every ride, which is why I haven't had a flat until now. I honestly didn't think it would need air. BIG MISTAKE! The biggest lesson I learned that day was it doesn't matter. Air up those tires anyways. I found out that my tires were so far below the psi they required and I didn't check that before I went out. I will never make that mistake again if I ever buy a new bike. I will continue to air up before each ride like I always do.
  • OMG, my ass, crotch, neck, and back hurt so bad on the new bike. I'm dreading my bike ride tonight for my bike fit appointment, because I'm still sore. I should have done an Epsom salt bath when I got home, but the Texans were playing.
  • Seriously need to get some new gloves. The new handles made my hands sore. I don't know why I can go into a bike shop and get everything I need to get, but not gloves. UGH!

I'm not sure when my next big ride will be, but I can't wait. And with Jim coming to join me next week, I will have a cycling partner that's also starting from my apartment with a bike rack capable car. YAY!

 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

20 Mile Bike Ride and a New Bike

One day, Elizabeth asked me about going on a bike ride. I agreed immediately even if it meant that I had to get up early on a Sunday. I could do it and I did.

We set our goal of 25 miles heading down the Brays Bayou to Terry Hershey Park. But if we could go for 30 miles, we totally would go for it. I realistically could do 20 miles and would be pushing myself to 25 miles. It's okay to have a crazy goal on the back burner though.

So, we set out with me in the lead. I immediately noticed the darkness surrounding my area. I made a statement that we need to watch out for storm possibilities, but had no desire to delay or cancel our bike ride. Since I'm not running right now, I needed another form of exercise besides swimming and working out at the gym (gyming?). If anything you will learn about living in Houston, a monsoon that looks like the Gods will come down upon us to flood out the city so that we can rebuild society could be happening on one side of your apartment building, while you will never feel a drop on the other side. And I'm not kidding. But you still need to keep an eye on what is going on around you stormwise (well and kidnappingwise, rapingwise, murderwise, stupidwise, etc.).

Let's just throw it out there...I'm slow. A great deal of this has to do with the fact that I have a hybrid bike, but I'm still slow anyways. I was on my way to getting faster in the bike last year, but lost my speed after surgery. I accept my slowness and move on with the ride. I only felt a little bad for Elizabeth being a faster rider stuck behind a slower one. So, she got to watch me. I learned a lot by the time I got to the bayou like my hand signals were incorrect. I rode when I was little all over my neighborhood, but do you think we used hand signals? Heck no. We didn't even wear helmets and rarely stopped. Currently, I ride with large groups or by myself. However, one time, I rode around my area at Thanksgiving with another person. Needless to say, I didn't know the correct hand signals and nobody corrected me until now. And I was glad for that, but I did get confused later on in the ride trying to remember which one to use.

I'm also used to just jumping on a sidewalk if I feel unsafe, because I'm by myself. One time, I messed up and went on the sidewalk without thinking about Elizabeth. I didn't do that again...not because she punished me for it, but because I realized it was not a smart or safe idea.

And then the monsoon hit...let me clarify, the first monsoon hit. I couldn't see much. It got windy; I was a little cold; I was definitely wet. We sought shelter in this gym area and then ventured out when it eased up a bit. Then, the next monsoon hit and then it dried up making it cool and beautiful. In fact, I noticed a rainbow painted into the cloud (wished I took a picture). We smelled donuts in the breeze; we said hello to everyone; we had gone the farthest that I have gone on this trail; I might make 30 miles. Then, the third monsoon hit and only looked to get worse. It was dark and the clouds were deep for miles. We decided to just turn around. We made it under 610 before we took another weather break.

This was the only time I felt comfortable enough to bring out my phone to snap some pictures.



The rain didn't stop, but it eased up enough for us to continue our bike ride home. To be honest, I was tired of the rain and just wanted to be home. Funny thing about this rain is that it hit us from the front in the one direction and then hit us from the front again in the opposite direction. WTH?! My shoes were flooded. My seat area was flooded. I eventually took off my glasses, because they were worthless to me at this point.

We finally made it home as a wet sloppy mess. We rode 20 miles through at least three monsoons in roughly 2 hours (according to Jim). I will take it since I mostly do 20 miles, while stopping for long periods of time for beer and tacos or elotes and more beer (not that there is anything wrong with that). And I learned a great deal of information just by riding with someone other than myself. For instance, bring plastic bags for your electronics. Thankfully, the rain always hit from the front.

Even with all the rain, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Well, except for I got sick the next day and didn't feel better until well, today.

My floor after standing there for a minute. And no, my water didn't break.
During our talks, Elizabeth convinced me to go bike shopping on that day. We were just to go shopping (I swear), but I found a bike that fit me perfectly for rather inexpensive at Bicycle World in West U. I fell in love.

Meet Cylo, because he reminds me of a cylon. Thanks to Dave for coming up with the name. I haven't rode him yet due to sickness, but I'm hoping to get on him tonight. Oh yeah.

He's so sexy! He could sleep with you. He could be nice to you. He could kill you in multiple ways from multiple versions of the same looking clone. He is CYLO!!!

Elizabeth was nice enough to give me her old bike rack for two. Although, I need to find a better place to put it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Plank Challenge

August's challenge of 40 pull-ups/chin-ups assisted/unassisted didn't go so well. I did it for a week and that was it. I mean I did my normal set requested by my trainer at Workout Nirvana, but I never reached 40 again. I did attempt to try and pull myself up on a bar twice with no assistance; however, it didn't go so well. I just hung there like dead weight.

On a side note, my audition to American Ninja Warrior was quickly rejected.

I didn't know what I would do for this month or if I would do anything at all. Then, I got a post update from Dannii at Hungry Healthy Happy and it was like a light shined down upon the computer with angels singing Hallelujah. I got giddy with excitement, because I really enjoyed my July Plank Challenge and this is exactly what I needed. Plus, planks are excellent to build strength in your core to help with back problems (me), running (me), and everything else.

Then, I really read it. Oh crap. She wants us to get to a five minute plank at the end of the month. I'm not talking about five sets of one minute (like what I did). Nooooooo, that was chump change. She means one set of five minutes. Is this even possible? I couldn't even do 1:30 minute plank at the end of the month for my challenge, which was my goal. Hmmmm....what to do?! what to do?!

I decided to go for it. I sent Elizabeth a text that I'm doing this plank challenge and she crazily agreed. We are unsure if we can get to five minutes, but we certainly are going to try.

I made modifications to her chart (see below or check out Danni's post here with the original chart) since I'm already at a point where I do one minute planks a day. In fact, I do at least two sets of one minute planks a day usually one legged, because of my toe pain. So, I will spend the first week doing a one minute plank instead of a 20 or 30 second planks.


I'm not expecting everyone to do this like me, but it's a great start. If you are starting on your first plank, then check out Dannii's original chart to get you started and certainly work on staging your planks like the picture below.


Start out on these levels and work your way up (source image).
Do regular planks, side planks, reverse planks, and eventually get to one handed planks like this little guy.
Source image.
And then maybe plank with a friend.

Source image.
I think this is an awesome challenge and thanks to Dannii for hosting it. I started yesterday with two sets of one minute planks. I'm super excited to see what this challenge brings to me at the end of the month.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Hot Sunrise Beach Run

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to run on the beach, but I fretted over my foot and whether or not I should bring Remington with me. At the last minute, I decided to go for a three mile run without Remi, while watching the sunrise. I wanted to take him, but he was dragging lately and didn't think he could handle three miles.

The plan was to run 1.5 miles and then turn around for the remaining 1.5 miles.

It was still packed with cars from the night before, which is unusual. It was also so freaking humid even in the dark. I was so glad I just wore my sports bra.

I ran 1.25 miles slowly without stopping. By then, my foot hurt bad and I walked for a bit. Then, my Garmin died and I switched to Runtastic. I couldn't tell what mileage I was at exactly when I turned around, because I had a weird stoppage between my Garmin and Runtastic.






I'm so miserable at this point.




The run back was miserable. It was hot. I was slow. I was in unbelievable amounts of pain in my foot.  I periodically ran, but for the most part, I walked a great deal. I wished that I brought Remington, because I all the walking I did. Oh well, lessons learned.

I finally made it back with around 3 miles under my belt. JL had Remi waiting for me outside to greet me. He was so cute running up to me when he saw me.

Overall, I'm glad I ran, but it wasn't the best run ever. And well, I'm not stranger to having crappy runs at the start of another injury.

So, let's talk about my foot. I've mentioned it a few times now. I've been having lots of pain where I had the bunion removal surgery last October. It started bothering me in April and then I tripped on a root in May making it worse. I guess I put the pain on the back burner, because I didn't feel it during the marathon. When I started running again afterwards, it slowly started getting worse (remember my first sunrise bridge run). On one Sunday, I had to cut down from my planned 9 miles to six miles and I walked the last mile, because the pain was so bad. I was now officially worried. I went back to the doctor and did lots of tests. It's still swollen there and either I'm reacting poorly to the pins or my bone spurts grew back (created new ones). I had a cortisone shot, which didn't help at all. I went back to another doctor who did my ankle surgery. He showed me that there is still bone spurts there and I'm at the last option...which is more surgery. So, there you go. I haven't decided when I will have the surgery, but I'm hoping to not have one this year. I would like to go at least one year without surgery. So, I'm looking at next year at some point.

And with all this, I haven't been able to train properly for the Route 66 Marathon in November. The plan right now is to drop down to a half marathon (unless the pain is so bad). I will reevaluate myself in October and see where I am at pain wise and running wise. I'm still doing the Oktoberfest Triathlon and the Spartan Beast Race, but unsure about the marathon. I am trying not to let this get me down, because I can still bike and swim and workout and at least run one mile.
.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sunrise Yoga at the Beach

It was the annual Rayapalooza beach vacation in Port Aransas, TX, last weekend with the Cordovas. I look forward to it all year and especially at the beginning of August. This month has been by far the busiest month that I have had all year and really couldn't wait for the beachy getaway with some good friends. I can expect good food, some drinking, dogs playing, walks along the beach with JL (and not in a romantic way), and some exercise.
I was only sad that I had to leave a day earlier than planned, but it was worth it to watch my two friends get married.

Congrats to Dindi and Brian!
And since we always exercise, JL decided to do something different. A couple of weeks ago, she texted me that we were getting up early to do some yoga on the beach with the sun rising around us and our dogs playing. I planned to do a beach run on both of the days, because I LOVE running on the beach. However, I wasn't sure if my toe pain would allow running on both days or possibly not even on one day (more on that in a later post). So, the idea of doing yoga on one day and running on the next day was a much better plan. Then, she wrote to tell me that we would have an actual yoga instructor (Michelle Acebo) from the Yoga Studio of Corpus Christi out there teaching the class. I was even more pumped about my weekend getaway and couldn't wait to get there.

And then our alarms went off at 6:15 a.m. on that Friday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed for some sunrise yoga. I quickly realized that not only did I forget my skydiving rig, but I also forgot my yoga mat. Thankfully, JL had an extra mat for me to use (but no skydiving on the beach for me). The sun was peaking out and the temps were somewhat lower than the death heat and humidity we received days before and certainly on Saturday morning. I tied up Remington, because he wasn't used to all these people and had been really grouchy since he got there the night before. But he had front row center and sometimes he would get on the instructor's yoga mat to what I assume supervise the situation.

She started off by rubbing our shoulders with a little deep massage cream (the same one JL used on me before). If yogis started their classes out like this every day, they would have a lot more students.

I have to say that it was weird not being in the lotus pose for this part, but this is what she wanted.







These ladies got the best spot in my opinion.

Molly is doing her own version of downward dog.

I really enjoyed Michelle as an instructor.



And this right here is why we got up so early.

I forgot my darn bandana.





Zori was the only one to get the leg up all the way; I tried, but failed.


This picture cracks me up, because we were all falling and I was getting molested by Niko.
The exciting thing was that I stuck my headstand. I couldn't get my feet up (which is so weird, because as a child, I had no issues with this at all) without jumping to it. So, the instructor helped me out. And then she let me go only giving me minimal support. I swear I thought she was holding on to me a lot more until I saw the pictures. I held it for awhile and was pretty proud of myself. This has now become a new goal for me.


I'm so close, but I just do not have the control to lift myself up without jumping it.

She was the only one to get the headstand without assistance.

Initial help to get me started.

She's barely holding on to me.


After looking at this photograph, I felt like a rock star. Every time that I have attempted the headstand in yoga class, the instructors are holding on to me for dear life. I think the sand really helped me let go.
We did some final stretching and the corpse pose, which I love and then said our goodbyes to Michelle. JL's dogs were fully involved at this point.



Remington is supervising the instructor as the quality control department.



I've never had an instructor do an extra stretch for me in corpse pose. I liked it.
It was not the hardest yoga class I have ever taken, but we had a few ladies in the class who have never taken a yoga class before. And to be honest, it was just perfect for me. I haven't done any yoga in a couple of months and my foot was still bothersome, so I didn't think much of it. I will say that it was weird doing yoga on the sand, because the sand was all over my hands and feet and especially on my face when I went into a child's pose. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I highly recommend Michelle if you are ever needing a yogi in the Corpus area. It was by far my favorite part of the beach weekend...well, except for when my friend E caught a 5' shark on my last night.

My baby boy all tired from chasing flies in the sand and digging for leftover ribs.

That was a big boy and they had some good tacos that I missed.
Ray took these photos and they are just amazing. I had to include them. Actually, thanks to Ray for taking all of the yoga pictures (except for 2-3 when we couldn't find Ray and Michelle had to take them).