Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ride On: My Toasty Twenty

I know a woman who did the Hotter n' Hell Hundred in Texas yesterday. It was conceived in 1982 as a bike race that goes for 100 miles in 100 degree heat. Then it caught on and this year had 14,000 riders. This is crazy to me (though Amy B. raved about it and I give her lots and lots of credit).

Today, though, I had a ride that I'll call my Toasty Twenty.

It was my first group ride ever, and I went with the Northern Virginia Casual Bicycling Meet-Up group. It was an all-levels ride, which meant that we met up at the beginning, then everyone did their own thing out on the trail, then checked in at the end (with an optional trip for bbq, too).


Pre-ride safety briefing with Gary, who led the cheering for us 3 new riders.
And what a trail it was! We went to the Indian Head Rail Trail (that link takes you to the pictures page so you can see how fabulous it is. Gorgeous!). Gary, the organizer of the ride, promised a flat and straight ride with beautiful scenery and he was not kidding. It was absolutely amazing, with trees, creeks, lots of butterflies, a few tiny turtles to dodge on the trail, and even a blue heron chilling out in the shade next to the path. It's only about 45 minutes from our house and so worth the trip.

The people were very nice, and while many of them were quite a bit faster than I was, I feel like I did just fine. Most people went the length of the trail (26 miles), but since I am lazy still building up my distance, I was happy with 20. The last three were tough enough that I'm glad I stuck to 20 today. And it was 85 degrees, not 100. A super Sunday morning.

A friendly rider, who is training for an overnight ride in PA (aka badass) took a pic for me. Thanks, Vicky!
I came home and suggested to Jim that a Go-Pro camera would be a good birthday present so I could take photos while on the bike, but he shared his concern that I might then become insufferable. Once again, I think that Jim is lacking imagination ...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

(Private) Swim Clinic

I have been swimming quite a lot and I do not think it's out of the question to ask for a private swim clinic with Nathan Adrian for my birthday. Jim thought that suggestion was very, very funny. I suspect that Jim just lacks imagination.

But he better get on it, because it's only 69 days away.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Perfect Moment

I don't think that there is a "perfect" moment for most things. But when you get that first sip of the morning's coffee right when the surface of the drink has cooled just a little but it's still nice and hot underneath, it's caffeine transcendence. I managed to stumble into that perfect sip this morning.

I got this picture well after that sip. But it's another perfect moment: time for another cup!
I also stumbled into some yoga with an app I've got on my phone. Since I practiced at home this morning, I got to practice with my cats. They wait until I'm finished and doing something else, then have a lot more fun with my yoga mat. To paraphrase my well-spoken friend Michael H. (and probably my dad, too), here are some cats being a-holes:


The action was much more lively than these depict.
Have a happy Friday!



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Distracted Swim

Today is freshman move-in day at Virginia's largest public research university! What does that mean for the faculty and staff? Lots of crazy traffic.

Because of that traffic, I cut my swim short today so I could get off campus before the moms and dads started rolling up. I owe myself about 10 extra minutes in the pool on Sunday. In the meantime, I am going to treat myself to wearing my Mason Patriots t-shirt to work and take a walk at lunchtime to check out all the activity. Even as I left campus at 7:00 am, volunteers and residence hall life staff were assembling to help get the new students where they needed to be. It's a big day and it's fun to be a part of it, even if my swim got a little bit shaved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Radiant Every Day



Can I let you in on a little secret? In 72 days, I'm going to turn 50. That number has taken up a lot of space in my head for the past few months, and it's not like I'm going to be a different person on November 4 than I was on November 3, but there seems to be some gravity to that couple of digits (and I'm not just talking about the obvious effects of gravity showing up on my person, so you can just move your mind right past that).

That's why I'm grateful for a group we have at work, the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, and their Twitter feed, @CWB_Mason, because they put up some awesome uplifting stuff like this article that made me feel a lot better about that number.

The gist of it is to recast your age as just a number, not a limitation on the vigor and radiance with which you live your life. It's a great article and went a long way towards making me feel better about that upcoming day on the calendar. Go read it!

And while I'm being grateful, I have to share that yesterday I had the crazy experience of tweeting at the radiant Chaka Khan and having her tweet back. My mind was blown and some of my friends think I am a little cooler. You made my day, Chaka!

And it's Wednesday, the day on which a bunch of bloggers link up with DebRuns.com to talk about the Wednesday word. Today's word is radiant, and I hope you check out the link below then go on to have a radiant day yourself.

Deb Runs



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Saved by Chaka Khan

I was going to write about driving to the pool this morning, and seeing a handful of runners out for their pre-sunrise jaunts, and thinking that this is when I really miss running.

And then during my swim, I was going to write about how it was pretty hard to get going until I got about 1200 yards in (aka, almost done), but that I had a few solid flip turns amongst the attempts.

And then I was going to write about how I forgot to bring a hairbrush for post-shower grooming (#swimfail) and felt like this during the walk back to the car:

That's Caravaggio's Medusa, of course, from Wikipedia. Because I stash a brush in the car, the horror didn't last long.

But then, voila, this bit of 1984 fabulousness came on the radio:



I went to college in the fall of 1984, when this song was still big on the radio. BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME! Once in awhile, my freshman hall mates and I would walk over to the dining hall on the other side of campus -- the big one, where all the cool kids ate -- and they'd be playing it on the loudspeakers and seriously, people were rocking out as they were carrying around their plates of food.

It's that time of year when a lot of friends' kids are going off to school (some in our neighborhood are even going to that rock-out-in-the-dining-hall place where I went) and I hope they find their own "I Feel for You" for a little aptly timed jam in 30 years.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hello, Old Friend

I mentioned recently that I hadn't been out on my bike in awhile. Well, I rectified that situation on Saturday with a terrific ride on the W&OD trail. The weather was in the high 70s, the trail was a little busy but not crazy (and everyone was super polite), and it was a truly happy hour.

There has been news lately has included a number of stories about bikers getting into horrible run-ins with cars (hint: the cars always win). My boss is an avid biker (and my go-to for all my newbie bike questions), and I asked him how he handles that kind of reminder that this stuff is a little dangerous. He told me that he definitely thinks about it but the fun of biking always outweighs the possible worst-case scenarios.

He's a smart guy, that man who signs my paychecks.

I headed out for an Anne-style, super-cautious ride and once I got back into my bike groove, I found myself smiling like I'm Kimmy Schmidt as I rolled along the trail. Even better, at the end of the ride I found myself at the coffee bar inside of Green Lizard Cycling in Herndon.



This place reminds you that the cycling community is very, very cool, but they were also very, very nice and the shop even had home-made pastries that were like poptart upgrades.

Fortified for the drive home!
For the rest of the month I will be busily driving my boy to various activities, thus preventing me from riding my bike to work. But the cool temperatures this morning in the FFX are a definite reminder that September is coming so I better enjoy having him around now.