Pennsylvania Riding and TED

Yesterday I rode to this place.

It’s the Delaware River, which separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey.  I actually rode over the river into PA, then back again.

It’s an amazing, majestic thing.

I’ve been itching to increase the distance of my bike rides, and I’ve also been enamored with this notion of riding into different states.  I can get into PA with a ride of about 50 miles, and I can get into New York with a ride of about 110 miles.  This particular ride was 65 miles or thereabouts.

I was shocked when I saw the river.  I’ve crossed it hundreds of times, but always in a car.  This was the first time I’ve ridden so close to it.  I recall climbing up the road that hugged the river, getting to the top of the banks, and looking down on this awesome spectacle.  It felt right to me.  I felt like I belonged in that place, that I had earned the right to see that view, that through my own power I had gotten myself to that high place on the banks of the river, with the hills of northwestern NJ in the background.  It was beautiful.

This morning I dove deeply into TED talks.  I’m late to the TED party for sure.  I had discovered them a while back, but this week I decided to listen to a few.  I got pretty engrossed in it today.  It’s great because they’re only 20 minutes long – a great length.  There are lots of great topics, and the speakers that I’ve seen are good.

This one by Susan Cain on introverts really resonated with me.  There is no doubt that I’m an introvert.  The word that connected most with me was “solitude.”  It actually brought me back to the previous day, when I was riding along that river, with nobody but me out there.  Not too many feelings better than that for me.  Listening to that talk on introverts made me feel pretty good today.  Once again the notion of being myself and being happy about it.

Then I stumbled onto this talk and this talk by Dr. Brene Brown.  These also hit home, but in a much more fuzzy way.  The words “vulnerability,” “shame,” “courage,” “authenticity” are a bit scary to me.  But I think there is something really profound and powerful in the concepts that Dr. Brown introduced.  I’m definitely going to peer into the dark, dusty corners of my soul with these concepts.  I don’t claim to have any answers, but I’m excited to explore that stuff.  If I can learn anything or improve even a little in the areas that Dr. Brown mentions, it’s going to be a big deal.

I’m hoping I don’t develop a TED addiction.  One thing I’m trying to do is reduce the constant sensory assault that comes from information.  I’m an information junkie, so TED has the potentially to really make me crazy.  I’m needing some quiet time, so hopefully I can put TED in the proper place.

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Week in review: March 19-26, 2012

Last week was up and down…a bit frustrating.

First, the moment of the week…my 7-year-old caught her first fish ever.  From what we can gather, it’s a sunnie/blue gill.  Caught in a pond that was about 5 minutes driving from our house.

I’ve never really fished.  I only got into fishing recently when my daughter expressed an interest in it.  My philosophy on parenting includes the idea that you expose your kids to as much as possible when they’re young, then you let them gravitate towards areas of interest, then you support them.  Well, my little one was interested in fishing.  So she got a fishing rod as a birthday present from her uncle, and off we went fishing.  We went once last year, and this was the first attempt this year.  It’s not easy for me–I’m terrible with the hooks, I get grossed out by putting the worm on the hook and I really don’t like taking the fish off there.  But she was thrilled.  So we are eagerly anticipating the start of fishing season on April 7th.  Our area is perfect for fishing–there are a million places to go all within close proximity.  So, fishing it is.

Fitness wise it was another frustrating week.  At the start of the week, I was just getting over being sick.  Mid-week was better, but by Friday I was back feeling sick.  Same stuff–chills, feeling like I got hit by a truck, fatigue, coughing, the whole nine yards.  Although I feel better today, I’m going to the doctor.  I’ve got to get this figured out.

All tolled, I got in:

  • 3 runs for a measley 17 miles, in just under 2 hrs, 45 minutes
  • 2 rides for 90 miles, 5 hrs 38 minutes

I feel like I’m taking two steps backward for every step forward.  Between the foot injury and the sickness, I’m not able to get into any kind of groove.  Pikes peak is 143 days from today, and if I don’t get into a groove soon I’ll have to start re-thinking my goals. 

I’m itching to run today, but I don’t want to push it.  I’d rather take an extra day off to make sure I close out this sickness.  Today is hopefully one final day off with a trip to the doctor.  Then I can get cranked up again tomorrow.

Gory details are below…

Monday (March 19)

Still unsure whether I was fully recovered from the weekend’s sickness, and having an early start for work this morning, I decided to try a short but hard strength workout.  I aimed mostly at the upper body, since I hoped to get a run in later in the day (once I arrived at my destination).  Came up with this:  squat thrusts (10 reps), 10 minutes of wood splitting, chin-ups (overhand and underhand).  All of these were done as intensely as possible.  Just over 20 minutes of this (two sets) left me breathing heavy and sweating like mad.  And I only did about 10 chinups total (including both sets overhand and underhand).  Wow is that weak.

In Philadelphia this week.  Back to my home town.

As the day ended, I had a decision to make:  attempt a quick workout or get to bed early and go a bit longer tomorrow morning.  I elected to get to bed early.  If the fitness center in my hotel had a step machine, I might have thought differently.  But no go.

Good start to the week of eating:

  • 7 am:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 1 pm:  small caesar salad with grilled chicken, apple
  • 9 pm:  salad (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onion, snap peas), sardines

I felt good about this eating day.  I could have easily caved at lunch and dinner, and also in the hotel where there were awesome-looking Philly soft pretzels freely available.  One of my favorite things!  For dinner, I decided to forgo the company dinner (and the handful of soft pretzels) for a trip to the grocery store.  I love it when there is a fridge in the hotel room…I was able to buy breakfast for the next couple days as well.

Tuesday (March 20)

Today I learned something about hotels and fitness centers.  After an hour on the treadmill, the thing basically just stopped.  I guess they limit the time people have on the hotel treadmill to make sure nobody abuses it while other guests wait.  Still pretty weak.  I could have just jumped on another treadmill (or restarted mine), but it was getting close to when I had to leave anyway.  Being new at work, I didn’t want to be late for a client meeting, so I elected to stop there instead of getting another 10-15 minutes in.  Total in the morning:  Just over 5 miles, including 4 miles at grades 7-9%.  HR average 143

In the afternoon, we got lost on the way from our client meeting to the hotel, which ate up about 20 minutes of time I would have spent on a second run.  Ended up still going out, only for about 35 minutes.  Just over 4 miles.  My heart rate monitor wasn’t cooperating, so I ended up just running.  It was probably harder than I should have been running, but it wasn’t super-hard.  I did manage to hold back from what I wanted to do–given the frustrations of the treadmill then getting lost, I really wanted to run all out for a set of intervals.  But I was worried about the potential for injury, so I just took it relatively easy.

Total on the day was about 10 miles and about 1 hr, 35 minutes.  Some good treadmill incline in there.

Eating was good until I went off the rails late in the day.

  • 6 am:   greek yogurt, kiwi, grapefruit
  • 3 pm:  salad with chicken, and veggies
  • 5 pm:  protein bar
  • 9 pm:   lots of bread, rack of ribs, french fries, a few chicken wings
  • 11 pm:  2 cookies

Wednesday (March 21)

These early meetings are hard on the fitness schedule.  Today was “getaway” day from the hotel, so I did a strength workout.  The strength workout is coming together.  I’ll probably stick with something like this for the time being.  The workout looked like this:

  • Warmup (Lunge Matrix, Myrtl)
  • Fast Abs core workout
  • Body weight legs (jumprope, step-ups, squats)
  • Cooldown (cannonball)

Eating:

  • 6 am:  salad (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions)
  • 8 am:  greek yogurt, blueberries
  • 1 pm:  sardines, blueberries, kiwi
  • 6 pm:  steak, green beans, broccoli, soda, some bread
  • 10 pm:  M&Ms, chocolate chips, cookies, sugar cereal, peanuts

Thursday (March 22)

Doulble workout today!

am:  Riding 36 miles.  This felt awkward at first, probably because I haven’t ridden in a while.  The awkwardness went away as the ride went on, and I got stronger as time went by.  I was disappointed when this ended.  2 hrs, 11 minutes

pm:  Run 7 miles.  Tried a trail that’s close to my house and my gym–Round Valley Reservoir.  It was really convenient to be able to use the gym’s facilities to change before and shower / change after the run.  The trail was great.  I will definitely be back to this trail.  Although I might wait to hear the outcome of this first.

I didn’t feel great, and I didn’t push it.  1 hr, 5 minutes HR average 144

  • 10 am:  leftover chicken, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers (think this was supposed to be heated up, but I had to take it in the car cold), leftover roasted veggies (zucchini, onion, cauliflower, tomato)
  • 1 pm:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 6 pm:  peanuts, pollock, roasted veggies (zucchini, onion, cauliflower, tomato), salad, asparagus
  • 8 pm:  M&Ms, sugar cereal, ice cream, chocolate chips, 4 powerbar recovery bars

Friday (March 23)

Woke up with a lot of stiffness and soreness, especially in my calves.  Wondering if I was suffering from some sort of delayed onset soreness from that body weight workout I did on Wednesday.   Decided to go for a bike ride, which ended up being great.  54 miles, on a route that I haven’t done in a while.  I started out feeling great, but ended up feeling really bad.  The last hour felt like it was 100% into the wind.  Not sure if it’s loss of endurance (I haven’t been out for this long in a while) or something else.

  • noon:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 2-4 pm:  6 or 8 powerbar recovery bars (lost track), handfuls of peanuts, sugar cereal
  • 7 pm:  Eggs, grapefruit

Feeling sick again.  Chills, fatigue, aches, coughing, congestion.  Perhaps the stiffness and soreness I woke up with was actually this damn “cold?”

Saturday (March 24)

Woke up feeling like crap.  Day off.  Towards the end of the day, I felt good enough to go outside and try splitting wood for a few minutes.  Not the greatest idea.  By evening I was not interested in anything but sleep.

  • 8 am:  Yogurt with protein powder, banana,  orange
  • 2 pm:  4 powerbar recovery bars, handful of nuts

Sunday (March 25)

Still feeling like crap.  Another day off.

  • 9 am:  4 egg veggie omelet (onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes), orange, leftover roasted veggies (zucchini, cauliflower, tomato, onion)
  • noon:  smoothie (frozen banana, carrots, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, yogurt, OJ, lime juice), popcorn, nuts, sugar cereal, M&Ms, cookies
  • 6 pm:  leftover roast turkey, salad (asparagus, tomato, onion), salad (romaine, tomatoes)
  • 7 pm:  ice cream, cookies