Roll with it.

Over the weekend I set out to complete two bicycle rides. Saturday started with me breaking my Garmin watch band. Bye bye to mounting my watch to my handle bars for ride tracking data. This was a bit of a blow as I enjoy seeing my pace and time. I enjoy pushing myself to see how quickly I can get up a climb. The answer is not typically all that speedily, but I enjoy the challenge of saying “If the timer is on 1:02:06 can I get up this hill by 1:05:00, or something like that. I enjoy breaking the long ride up into mini goals and seeing if I can beat my own arbitrary idea of what I should be doing. Its also cool to look down at the screen and see how fast I’m going on the descent that I worked so hard to earn.

So I set out, Garmin in my back pocket. I hoped that it would still track my ride for me from its spot in my jersey. At least 15 miles into the ride (I know because I’ve done the route previously), I stopped for a Honey Stringer Gingerbread Waffle and a swig of Cherry Limeaide Nuun. I pulled my watch out of my pocket to see the timer reading 0:0:20 and .10 miles. So my watch worked as far as the ride down the hill from my house and then paused. No worries, I won’t get credit for that portion of the ride, but I’ll know I did it and I’ll just use the Strava app for the rest of the ride since my watch doesn’t seem to be working. Wonder why I didn’t just think to use Strava from the get go once I broke my watch band?

After refueling, I proceed on the path along the river. It’s a bright sunny day. Crisp and cool, but I am willing summer to come my way and wearing my riding shorts anyway. There are numerous families, people with dogs who are off their leashes and little ones on scooters and bicycles riding all over with little awareness of their surroundings or the dangers that are present on the bike path. Luckily, I proceeded with caution for the most part. I announced myself “On the left” with every pass, and sometimes numerous times to the same person. I realize you may think I am being courteous, which I am. I don’t want to startle anyone. But I’m also asking for a small favor. If you and your family of 4 could perhaps condense your pack to only 2 wide as I try to pass you, it’d be a huge help to me.
In the midst of navigating around large dogs, small dogs, and little ones on scooters, at some point I slip off the lip of the path and go onto the side of the path. My fabulous racing tires navigating atop dirt, gravel and big rocks. Old Emily would have squeezed the brakes and held on for dear life. A little more experienced Emily breathed through it, tightened up everything and eased back up onto the trail at my earliest chance. Whew. What a relief. The image of me crashing in front of 100 people flashed through my head. Tattered cycling clothes, broken skin, broken bones. And what about my beautiful helmet that so nicely matches the love of my life, my bicycle? Fortunately, all of this flashed through my mind quickly and just as soon as the image came it was gone and I was back up on the path.

Sunday’s ride was beautiful. Sunny and shorts. Yes is was only in the low 50’s. The warm sun felt good on my face and legs. A light windbreaker kept my core warm and cozy. There was a high wind advisory for the Willamette Valley. This means you are guaranteed to blow away. A ride is a ride, and although it was windy, I set out to cover some mileage. You know that feeling when you go out on a fishing boat and still feel like you are rocking even after getting home hours later? That’s what I felt like after riding 28.5 miles on the windiest day I’ve experienced since moving to Oregon. Cue Wagon Wheel song now. “Heyyy mama rock me!”

I could be upset that I broke my watch, annoyed that I had to share my spacious bicycle path with others who are not as courteous or perhaps just not well versed in the rules of the road, or annoyed with a little wind burn and a slower than normal route. Instead, I’m gonna roll with it. I got in two great days of riding for an estimated total of 50 miles which isn’t a big number, but it certainly beats sitting around doing nothing. I got fresh air, sunshine, and got to feel my blood pumping through my body as I climbed some hills and my heart racing on their descents.
Don’t freak out, just roll with it.

Its been a while…

Tonight I went for a 4 mile run after work. I donned my head lamp and reflective vest. The temps were in the 50’s and I sported capris. I felt great while running, but noticed towards the end of my run that it is time for new shows. I’m starting to feel it in my shins. To my Pegasus 31’s credit, they did get me through a 20 mile training run, a marathon, and all of the runs I’ve done since then from October on…

Check out my route here:

https://www.strava.com/activities/254522883/embed/5356254ed0717ebb90a62d548a807f3068fa9e6f

Why did I start running?

Have you ever been on a run and wondered to yourself why did I think this was such a good idea? The thought has crossed my mind several times whether on a training run or during an event. The good news is, I have finished all races I’ve ever entered and I keep going.

Growing up, I was always involved in sports. The list included softball, basketball, volleyball, broomball and field events. During high school I threw shot and discus and took pride in having leg press contests with the boys on my team. I was a tom boy and considered myself quite a brute. The thing about any of the sports I played was that we ran for conditioning and for punishment. I was never really fond of running. I wasn’t as fast as my team mates, my thighs slapped together and it never felt good to me.

During college I had a doctor’s appointment in which I was told that I should lose weight as I was creeping up to 300 lbs and it was only a matter of time before I surpassed that. I was on a diet about every other week and tried to make good choices while balancing 3 jobs, a social life, and dorm food. I indulged in food and drink more than I should have and couldn’t seem to get it together. The doctor suggested I take a weight loss drug in order to suppress my appetite and help me to lose weight more quickly. I did research and found that the side effects far outweighed anything positive this drug could offer me. I’m a sensitive person; I didn’t need to have added mood swings or more intense feelings. I did not fill the prescription and decided to take things into my own hands. Now fast forward through a few energetic pushes to work out and develop more healthy habits through college to being a college graduate, working in the real world and living like a grown up.

I lived in a beautiful home and had a room mate who was my best friend. We were inseparable until we weren’t. When things started getting rocky between us, I began running around our subdivision. We had been going to the gym together but now that we were avoiding each other, I sought a way to get my workout that didn’t include her. (Looking back at the 25 year old me, I see that we could have handled things much differently, and I wish her all the best). I clocked out the loop around the entire neighborhood. If I trudged up the hill to the pool and back down the entire lap was .97 miles. I started by walking, then added jogging and was thrilled the day I ran the entire lap for the first time. My version of running is not particularly fast or graceful (My middle name should be Grace, ask my mom about that or I can fill you in on the irony of that later). I was dating someone who had run a marathon, and this fact just blew my mind. I’d known runners in the past and always thought they were crazy. With him, it was different. I was impressed by his accomplishment and inspired as well. I believe the thinking was something like “if that butterball can train for and run a marathon, then I can probably get some enjoyment or accomplishment from running too.” If he could do it, there was hope for me. I’m not saying that I was particularly kind or nice at age 25, and hope that my line of thinking would be less harsh these days.

I spent the winter months of 2007 running loops around that neighborhood and trained for my first 5k ever. I wasn’t wearing running shoes. I wore soccer or basketball shorts and a cotton t-shirt. It didn’t matter that I weighed 250 lbs, I was out there, I was moving, and I was igniting a spark within myself. With increased exercise and decreased pants sizes, I was feeling stronger and healthier and took more pride in my appearance and gave more thought to my food and drink choices.

When you decide to run your first 5k, you might want to scope out the course, or at least read reviews before committing your entry fee. I signed up for my sorority’s philanthropy run called Run for The Roses at the campus of University of Georgia. I missed my sisters from my chapter and I felt like supporting the UGA chapter was a good way to stay connected and help the philanthropy. I was also excited to have a chance to see Athens, as I hadn’t yet explored my new home state much since moving there several months before. April 15, 2007 was going to be THE Day. I committed and I was going to run my first 5k. I haven’t been to Athens much, but fun fact it is hilly. I have not verified this with a map or any real data. But, I know during that 5k I plodded along, walked a little and thought repeatedly “what did I get myself into and why did I think this was a good idea.” I huffed and puffed and think I fought back tears once or twice. Somehow I made it 3 miles and when the finish line came in site, something magic happened. I was able to kick and do what I felt like was a sprint to the finish. I proved to myself that even though I never thought I was a runner, I could run. I was given all kinds of freebies at the finisher area including a great t-shirt. And so my obsession with freebie race shirts began. I signed up to do the run again in 2008, and much to my surprise the run no longer had a hilly course through town but was completed entirely on a nearby high school track.

I made it my goal in 2007 to complete 10 events between April and December. I am happy to report that I ran 12 events and even worked up to my first 10k ever in November 2007. I was facing free shirts, accomplishments and new challenges and couldn’t stop. I was bitten by the running bug and was on to the next goal. If I can run a 5k, I can run a 10k. Surely, with some work I can run a half marathon and so on and so forth. The possibilities are endless. There are plenty more stories for another day.

What are you working toward now? What is your proudest athletic achievement to date? What are some questions or concerns you have about running? What is some running advice you would offer a new runner?

100 Miles by bicycle?

What better day to spend a day in May than riding your bicycle 104 miles? I can’t think of one.

On May 15, 2015, I will ride 104 miles from Beaverton, OR to Pacific City, OR. This will be my third time completing this ride and my most moving experience yet. I’ve previously fund-raised and completed the ride because I like to help a good cause, and because a friend of a friend or a friend’s relative was somehow impacted by a lung illness or breathing complication. But now, it is personal. I will be riding in honor of my dad, who is currently battling stage 4 lung cancer.

I began my training in November, and am working hard to slowly build my distance and climbing capabilities. There are two big hills in RTB. The first is right around mile 20, and the second isn’t until the last quarter of the ride, when your legs are shot, you are giddy or next to tears and are ready to taste the salty air and celebratory brew at the Pelican Pub when you finish the ride.

This December I completed a solo 50 mile ride on a cold but beautiful sunshiny day in Eugene, OR. Most of my training rides are completed on my own. All of my events to date have been done solo. Its not that I wouldn’t like to have a riding buddy or group. So far, I have not found my cycling niche and will continue to screen applicants for cycling buddy #1 and good groups to meet up with for rides.

I have previously completed this ride solo, and am looking forward to having my brother riding the same route this year along with me. We have not yet game planned our strategy as to whether we stick together or one pushes ahead. But, I am proud of us for taking on this challenge and riding in honor of our dad and to raise funds for such a good cause.

Here is a link to the official Reach the Beach website in case you would like to read about what the ride entails, sign up to participate or get more information about the ride or the American Lung Association. http://action.lung.org/site/TR/Bike/ALAMP_Mountain_Pacific?pg=entry&fr_id=9210

You can also visit my personal Reach the Beach webpage here: http://action.lung.org/goto/emilym

Here is a link to my location on Strava.  http://www.strava.com/athletes/runbikewin  This month I have signed up to complete the Gran Fondo 100km challenge. Now I just need to choose a weekend, gear up and get on the road!

What are some of your cycling goals? Have you tackled a century? Do you have tips for riding with a partner? Do you see a benefit to riding solo over in a group and vice versa?

New year, new beginnings, continued joy and awesomeness.

Welcome 2015. Welcome to the future, Weemogee. Its about time you joined the blog revolution, and try not to dwell too much on the fact that your mom has been telling you to do this for years!

I am going to study up on blogging, and the things I enjoy so that I can I can provide you with good information, fun stories and inspiration among other things.

Some of my interests include, you guessed it: Running and Cycling. I think you can go anywhere with a pair of running shoes or a bicycle. Mine have changed my life. I have run a few marathons and completed a few century rides. I probably wouldn’t have believed you 10 years ago that I would be where I am today. I can guarantee I don’t fit the image you get in your head of what a runner or cyclist looks like. I’m OK with that. I tried to run my buns off. They aren’t going anywhere. But they are stronger than ever. I was once a couch potato who weighed nearly 300lbs until running changed my life. I am a Clydesdale and I am trying to embrace Running Big and enjoying the challenge. I am trying to shake the self conscious feeling of how my belly looks bouncing in technical fabric. I sometimes need to remind myself that I’m lapping everyone on the couch. Recently, I became a #nuunbassador. I am looking forward to sharing hydration stories, techniques and maybe even some mixer ideas with you!

I spend a good deal of time enjoying the outdoors especially mountains, sunshine and waterfalls. I consider myself to be a whiz in the kitchen, and adventurous in my choices of recipes and ingredients if nothing else. I enjoy learning about food pairings, and cozying up to the bar for a wine or beer tasting every once in a while. I am quite fond of turbo and enjoy motoring in my all wheel drive vehicle. I’m up for just about any adventure. I love meeting new people and exploring new places. Sometimes both happen at once. I am a proud alumna of Alpha Omicron Pi and Bowling Green State University so you will see some Panda and Falcon references among other sports interests of mine (Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, University of Michigan, LSU, Oregon Ducks, Eugene Emeralds and the list goes on and on).

I make an effort to shake the negative Nancy feelings, and to be encouraging to others. I am a fan of gratitude. I saw somewhere that there is always something to be thankful for and I’m pretty sure that is true.

So that is a little about me. I am excited to have a forum in which to share my passions. I am excited to begin this journey while documenting others that I am on.

I can’t wait to hear about my readers. Tell me where you are, what you enjoy, and things you’d like to see posted here.
Its so nice to meet you!