Monday, May 28, 2012
First you need an event. But given that you have one, what are the practical things to think about?
Go backwards in time when thinking of preparations. Think about AFTER the event, when you are going to be wet and covered in mud! Find out what you can about on-site cleanup that will be available.
1) Take a bag of at least clean clothing to change into after you hose off. Including shoes. Underwear if there will be indoor / modesty changing facilities.
2) Think about how you will protect your vehicle's interior... even once you change! Plastic bags / sheets to cover the seats?
Think about parking, how far / what terrain you'll need to cover going to and from the start/changing after race area... are you going to get dirty all over again just getting to the car?
Now think about the event itself. What are the obstacles like? It is "just a few mud pits" or are there other crawling, climbing, hanging activities involved?
3) Plan and acquire needed attire and equipment. In my case this includes cut resistant gripping gloves, knee and elbow pads. It includes long sleeves and long pants and trail running shoes.
In the end, the goal is to have fun, honor those your event is meant to honor (in this case, the Quest for the Vets, our service members past and present). My personal goal is to finish the course, and NOT end up in the ER the end of the day.
AND... don't forget to stretch before and after!
Wish me luck, Spark buds... we are at flag raising minus 6 hours and change. Happy Memorial Day.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
When Memorial Day rolls around, the meaning of the day and the family tradition have a strong pull. So when I contemplated my TRI training for the day, and it said "Bike 10 miles", I knew that a trip on two wheels, human powered, to Mom & Dad's gravesite would easily fulfill that requirement, and that was my plan.
I didn't take my camera. I didn't take flowers. I didn't arrange to meet others. It was just me on the bike. Once I entered the grounds, my bike automatically headed for the corner I remember. I noted how the "three small trees" we used to use as visual markers for where Mom was laid to rest aren't so small any more... still, they are smaller than their neighbors.
When I got to the spot, I parked the bicycle, and stood and chatted for a few minutes. Believe it or not, I spoke aloud, like in the movies. And, unexpectedly, as I started to tell them about my son and where he was and what he was doing, a few tears fell. They did not live to see him overcome his challenges and grow into the man I know they would both be proud of. He was still struggling when Dad passed.
I spoke of their other grand- and now great-grandchildren. And then I invited them along on the ride home, to show them how beautiful the grown-up suburbs mom used to say were "too big" for her have become. The city has grown. Places that used to be fields are now commerial and residential areas.
I took a different bike-path home, one I had not taken before. It wasn't as pleasant as some of the others I have kept to, but it was a little shorter distance. In the end, my ride was 14.09 miles, in 90 minutes, with a 5 minute grave-side visit.
This Memorial Day weekend, I honor those for whom the day was founded: those lost in armed conflicts the nation has been involved in, dating back to the U.S. Civil War (remember, it used to be Decoration Day). May they rest in peace with honor. May their families be comforted that they are not forgotten.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Yesterday was a "rest" day on the training plan, and I was quite ready to go to bed early. The flip side of that is that I also woke early, half an hour or more before the alarm. Guess the body is programmed to say "7 hours - done!"
After a good stretch, I got up and started through my morning routine. By 5 a.m. I was ravenous and ate a banana. The steel cut oats are simmering, and I'm sipping my coffee from my SparkPeople mug (Mary's got a matching one, from her visit here last December... she can imagine having coffee together, as can I).
While I was writing my "sharing the road" blogs, life moved on around me. I found out that this wild concept of doing the obstacle course is causing me to invest in some new "toys". I have the feeling before I'm done, I will have invested quite a bit, between equipping for the triathlon, and this side-trip!
Anyway here are this week's investments: trail running shoes, knee pads, and elbow pads. I put them all on Thursday evening for my neighborhood walk, to see how they would feel "in action". They may be a little warm on the event itself, but to minimize / avoid scrapes and bruises? Worth it.
Today's training plan: run 30 minutes, it says. I'm thinking a light lifting workout might be good to go with it... don't want to overdo, two days out from the obstacle course.
Have a Happy and Active Spark Day, all!
Friday, May 25, 2012
Let me say one more thing: I'm normally a very tolerant biker, driver AND walker. Being "mature" I have been through just about every mindset that can turn someone into a temporary jerk on any means of transit (including bus and subway riding). So my little venting was not my normal behavior... I usually just shake it off.
I once took a class where they asked us about pet peeves and things that drove us nuts. And then, flipping it over, asked us to internally examine ourselves to see if we had ever DONE any of the things that drove us nuts, or could have been perceived as doing them in the eyes of another party. As in the parable of "cast the first stone", we all had to admit that we were not without errors of our own.
The take-away lesson was "everybody is somebody's jerk sometime".
So... as a biker, I try to be considerate of drivers. As a driver, I try to be conscious of both bikers and walkers. As a pedestrian, I try to be conscious and considerate of bikers and drivers. I'm sure I do not always succeed.
Once upon a time, I became suddenly conscious that I was exceeding the speed limit in a zone where children board school busses. There were small children at the side of the road and I had zipped by them... and suddenly I just felt like I'd been slapped upside the head... what was I THINKING? Was it really worth the risk to get to work a few minutes sooner?
No one was hurt. I just became aware. Thank goodness. Seconds make a difference when driving. Thereafter, I ceased being such a hard case about making my scheduled arrival time. If I end up a bit late, so be it. It's not worth risking the life and limbs of someone else's child to me. I can leave a little sooner if I have to or I can just change my mind set.
As a pedestrian, I know I am least protected from the impact of a collision, but I'm also going the slowest. As a cyclist, speed adds to my danger, and I'm not much more protected (a bike helmet only provides so much). So in these two forms of transit, I am most careful. But as a driver, I have the most potential of doing harm to others... and I would have a hard time living with myself if I did. So I try to be aware.
As pedestrian or cyclist, I need to do my best to help the courteous, conscious drivers... by being visible, as well as being wise. That vest? It's coming soon to my closet!
Have a Sparking Great Memorial Day weekend, however you spend it!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
First, I'd like to make it clear that I ride on BIKE PATHs as much as I possibly can. When I ride on the road I follow the rules as enforced within my city. The comments I was directing at drivers yesterday (and most days) are generally where the designated and well published bike path intersects and crosses roads.
The car that was blocking my curb cut? Was poised right over the crosswalk. Illegal activity, by the way.
The people I'm most afraid don't see me? Are talking on CELL PHONES! Illegal activity, by the way.
Good suggestion about wearing reflective vest... I hadn't got one yet, but if I'm going to keep up biking as a means of transportation it's on my list. I do have lights on my bike to make it street legal now.
Oh, to turn it on its head? Things that most irritate me about rude CYCLISTS are similar to what several commenters said yesterday... and may I add one more? Whatever happened to bikers signaling their turns? Hand signals and turn signals (for car OR bikes) are not optional!
So... in the end, I guess it boils down to praying out loud that people will be intelligent, courteous, and follow the rules of the road. I think we can all agree on that!
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