Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. After six weeks of living out of a suitcase and wearing the same four dresses, I am paralyzed by choice. I need to thin the herd. I don't need nearly the amount of clothing I have. I'm banning myself from buying more at least until the seasons change. This is embarrassing.
 2. My first week with the Garmin 910XT has been amazing. I have a super computer strapped to my wrist that is measuring laps in the pool, cadence on the bike indoor and pace on the run. I'm still learning the nuances, but I have no idea why I didn't do this sooner (hint: because it was $500 and I'm cheap).
 3. Napoleon has taken to cuddling with this stuffed bear. He takes it room to room and into his cage. They are best bros now. He kidnapped it from somewhere in the house and has claimed it for all time. It's adorable.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Apologies, Internet

Today is the first day I've checked my Bloglovin' feed in at least two weeks. Fourteen days without reading, commenting, liking or sharing blogs. Sorry, interwebs, for the sad state of social media affairs over here. I've also been notably absent on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I barely recognize myself, people.

So my deepest apologies to my neglected readers and fellow bloggers. I miss you, so I'm back in full force. And in case you missed it, here are some great reads I found in blogs and online while riding on my bike trainer today (BTW I did 30 miles inside, so I had some time on my hands):

Rosie's Food Swap Secrets: I loved my afternoons at the Chicago Food Swap and Rosie's take on this is pretty fab. Read my tips for swapping success, too.

27 Ice Cream Places to Visit Before You Die: I've been to none of these, but I do love my no-bake ice cream cake a bunch.

46 Life-Changing Baking Hacks: None of these are all that surprising, but it's nice to have them all in one place.
Cowboy Cookie Recipe
Undeniable Truth Tacos are the Best Food Ever Invented: I had zero doubts.

That incident with sunglasses and bats: Alyssa and I ride at this place often and every time I can't help but think of this story and shudder.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Training Tuesday: 40 Days

Four zero. Forty. Those are all the days that separate me from the big dance. I remember when I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin I planned to dedicate the whole year to it. Swear off booze, subsist on egg whites and water and my own smug satisfaction. I planned to sleep eight hours religiously, shun television except on the bike trainer and spend my weekends pedaling towards glory.


So instead I sit here with 40 days and 40 restless nights between me and what I hope will be my moment of glory. My only goal is to finish it, but man, that's looking a bit impossible. I had a great ride Saturday followed by an absolutely miserable 14-mile run Sunday in which I whined, got dehydrated, questioned the meaning of life, swore off running and did the whole run-walk routine back to the car for seven miles. It's so very me - some weeks I'm spot on with my training, and some weeks the wheels just fall off.

In the same respect, though, I feel like compared to some, I'm still doing a lot of training and have a solid base. Whether one can complete the Ironman on base alone remains to be seen.

Here's what I know: my training is subpar, but my desire to achieve this is off the charts. I am doing this race for me and to prove I can. If I don't finish this year, I will be sad and mopey and emo. But I will not be defeated. A set back is only a failure if you let it become permanent.

And hell, I already paid for the race. Might as well see if I can do it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Motivation Monday

Because we all need a reminder every now and again that there's a badass version of us somewhere in there.
I won this necklace at the Iron Girl Tri last year and have been wearing it a lot lately as my stuff makes its way to me. I've thought about it often. It's time to find my iron core.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Longest Ride Ever!

It's no secret my Ironman Wisconsin training has sucked. I don't even know where the training plan book is anymore because I've been so wayward in following it. Basically I've decided to do what I can where I am with what I have until race day. That may mean I can't do indoor rides (my trainer is in transit) and that might mean I skimped on swimming (pools are hard to find in Seattle), but I'm doing everything in my power to at least finish the damn race. I used to want to finish the race with a smile. Now I think about it along the same lines as this joke: "What do they call the guy in medical school who graduated at the bottom of the class?" "A doctor."

Finish line or bust, baby.

So in that spirit, I set off for a full century on Saturday. I swung by Alyssa's apartment and we started our trek of a hundred miles. This was a very interesting and mostly pleasant ride. It was hot, sure, and I drank about 120 ounces of water (still not enough), but we had a great time. My longest ride to date was 92 miles any Alyssa's was 90, so this was a big day.

We saw a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of nowhere as well as a guy driving a Harley with a sidecar for his dog (I approve), as well as stopped at the best-stocked Mobil on planet Earth. Alyssa told me early on we'd have to stop at a gas station because Snickers is part of her fueling strategy. No objections here.
In all, it took us right around six hours and we averaged 17 miles per hour. My new Garmin didn't have autopause set up so the speed is a little screwy.
Is this heaven?

I ended up eating a caramel chocolate brownie Luna bar, a peanut butter and sugar sandwich and some pretzels. We also picked up sour patch kids and peanut butter M&Ms along the way, which really hit the spot. When we rolled back into the apartment, I was slightly spent, but not terribly so.  My right foot hurt on the outside because I think my shoe was too tight, and my legs felt leaden today, but I'm otherwise feeling fine.

Am I Ironman ready? Only time will tell.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life Lessons Learned on my Bike

Smile. It helps.
Today I spent another handful of hours pedaling on Suzie Slice in pursuit of my Ironman dream. She and I have logged many hours (but not nearly enough, in my opinion), and I was thinking about how cycling is a perfect analogy for life - you suit up and try to navigate the road ahead the best you can while trying to avoid spills, wrecks and mechanical malfunctions. Here's what I've learned about life while powering myself mile after mile.

  • To keep upright, you have to move forward.
  • Don't panic. Panicking is how you end up on falling on your ass and bleeding everywhere.
  • Always adjust to meet the challenge. You have many gears, use them all.
  • Don't stop halfway up a hill because you're tired. You'll lose all the momentum you've gained in conquering the challenge and basically have to start over again.

Sunscreen, child, sunscreen

  • With proper training and gear, any ride is pleasant. And in the unpleasant portions, just remember that this discomfort will make the next challenge easier.
  • Save when you can. Belle the Bike was a $550 Craigslist find. Much like how I'd be hard-pressed to show you anything in my closet that I paid full price for.

Life is too short to be uncomfortable in cheap shorts

  • But know when to spend. The $30 bike shorts will not do for 80 miles. My comfort is worth the $75 price tag of my shorts.
  • Breathe. Hydrate. Wear sunscreen.
  • A hill only looks bad from afar. When you're halfway through, it flattens out and you can see it for what it is - a temporary infliction of pain.
  • Take care of what you've got. A good bike, properly maintained, has a nearly infinite shelf life.
  • After every painful, stomach churning, leg burning hill, there's a few moments of elation as you scream down the hill. Every hill in life is the same - once you're over it, you can smile at the boost it's given you.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Little Dog in the Big City

As I've eluded to before, Napoleon is not a city dog. At all. When my sister watched him while we were out of town a few times, I think he nearly drove her to the edge because he barked at every.single.person. walking by. He did not do well in Chicago, and has had a rough go of it in Seattle.
"Excuse me, did you fill out your TPS report this week?"
Granted, it didn't start well for him. Our plane was delayed, so I screwed up the timing of giving him his little sedatives. I had to dose him again halfway through the flight because he was get antsy. Which means he was still high as a kite when we arrived and was terrified of the airport.
Napoleon is so high he's actually seeing colors
Then, the apartment was a brave new world for him. An empty world. There wasn't a couch to jump up onto or squirrels to look at him. He wasn't so hot on the dog relief area, either. He didn't get the idea of peeing inside and still wanted to be walked.
"I really must insist on a fully furnished home"
But, walks in the city aren't going so well, either. I took him to an urban dog park and he was just confused. He sort of played with the other dogs, but not very well.
"Is this how dogs make friends?"
He also didn't get this whole walking on the sidewalk thing. He wandered across the entire sidewalk, stopping to sniff or jump onto people. He also won't walk over manhole covers and insists upon pooping in the middle of the sidewalk. And elevators? Napoleon has never been a fan.
"What is this motion?"
He spent the entire first week sleeping on me. Not near me, but touching me. I think he's confused and forgot that he doesn't really like me.
"You are a fine pillow, food lady."
Can't take this adorable face anywhere.