Monday, March 30, 2009

Philosophical Meanderings

I've been doing some thinking lately.  Dangerous, I know.  But typical of me being who I am.  This is sort of a cumulation of a couple of philosophical/deep discussions with Paul recently.  There are a multitude of reasons why I love him very much, and one of them is that I can talk to him.  Not talk at him or talk to him while he pretends to listen or passively listens, but really talk to him about what's going on in my head and he actively listens and gives me insights that facilitate me being a more aware, more complete person. 

I've always been completely fascinated with who we are as people, what makes us who we are, and why I'm different than another person who experiences similar circumstances.  What makes me who I am, basically.   The word "Character" has a multitude of definitions, and I believe being clear about what you mean is vastly important as words are beautiful and poignant, but highly individualistic in their interpretation.  I'm using character in the sense of "the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person, especially the moral and ethical traits".

I agree with the fact that true depth of character, true depth as a person is cultivated through deep pain and traumatic events.  Events that shatter your world view, the construct of how you create yourself, and the how and why of what you believe.  These events are outside influences from your environment that have a large influence on how your character is developed, but there's a turning point when these traumatic events where you can take the lessons learned from it, analyze them, and learn from them, creating a better you - or you can simply push the issues aside and not develop as a person. 

Lots of people do this, neglect critical analyzation of themselves and their character - people who don't deeply think about their situations or themselves, who let life happen to them, who don't delve into the deep end of who they are and why they are the person they are.  They go to work, they have relationships, they eat and breathe and have fun.  But to not explore and be critical of who you are as a person - to give up the opportunity to develop that depth of character seems highly wasteful to me.  

The only thing we have in this world that we can (marginally) be sure exists, is ourselves, and that sometimes seems like a mirage to me.  But for the most part - the only thing I have a constant connection with is who I am as a person.  Developing that, keeping a constant progressive trend from one level of awareness to another is why I'm here - it's why I exist.  The so called search for enlightenment.  Facts and Deductions, analytical reasonings about external stimuli in the outside environment is useful, but everything starts self analysis.  The thought that only true enlightenment starts from within. 

I spent the past couple of years going through deep depression, being in a marriage that wasn't working, fighting with the truth of who I was and who I wanted to be, spending the seemly short, but psychologically eternal 12 hours or so of starting a divorce, and then enduring Richard's suicide, and subsequent recreation of myself and my life.  As a result of all that I've gone through quite a bit of self re-creation and some significant pain.  Once again, I find myself in the calm after the storm extremely grateful for all I've experienced.  I think of what I might have been like if I stayed in Kansas and married some plain boy and lived and bred and died within a couple hours of where I grew up and I shudder a bit.  Not experiencing the immensely varied, turbulent, violently chaotic and rich life I've had would have wouldn't have allowed me to be who I am today.

Like I've mentioned before in posts, negative experiences teach leagues more than positive experiences.  I know this is more of a musing post, but it's been a reaffirming realization lately that I'm thankful for everything I've ever endured - the "bad" almost more than the "good".  It's been a reoccurring thought since I was a child -

"If you never experienced true pitch black dark in your life, you wouldn't be able to appreciate the brilliant light that accompanies a perfect summer day. "

I'm grateful for the strength and depth of character I've been allowed to develop that's resulted from the harder periods of my life.  I stand in awe of the amaranthine nature of self-discovery and the leviathan depths of character and soul we possess as human beings.  The beauty of the nature of the construct of the human consciousness is transcendent - nothing short of marvelous.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."  Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Refrigerator

Verite - or Cupcake Royale - is the best darn cupcake place around!!!

btw - Jordaine....I'm still waiting for those pictures of the awesome gibberish we did with your magnetic poetry, and the pic of me with Mary.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Broken Thoughts about the Last Week

So I got off the evil medication that had been screwing with my thyroid last Sunday and around Tuesday/Wednesday I starting to feel much more like myself again. It's amazing how un-myself I get when every thing's out of whack. It feels like surfacing from the depths of the ocean when I get out form under one of these funks. Experiences like this ALWAYS make me appreciate how well I function when my body's working well.

Only memorable parts of this week were that I worked on all three of my bikes on Tuesday. It took two hours to clean/lube/swap out some parts/etc... Ironically after all of that Wednesday I start in to bike to get my blood drawn before going to work and the screw that holds the left crank/pedal in fell out. It was typical Seattle weather so it's rainy-gray-gray-gray-rainy-cold-rain some more so I couldn't find the screw and had to bike home one legged (over a mile). It sucked and I'm sure I looked really funny. Right now it's at a shop getting repaired and I probably won't get the bike back until about a week. I already miss it.

The high point was that since the road bike was out of commission I went mountain biking with Andrew at Soaring Eagle Park on Thursday, which is amazing. The terrain was great - lots of rolly single track, root encrusted, HUGE mud puddles filled with water everywhere and some nice stretches that you could get up some great speed. Anyway, it made me really appreciate Iri. It was definitely what she was made for and I realized why exactly I love mountain biking.

1. I get to get dirty. As my mom can attest, I LOVED playing in the mud and the dirt when I was a kid. I can remember one time in particular that it rained really hard and there was a massive amount of standing water/mud in our backyard and neighbors garden. When I knocked on the back door before coming back in the house my mom looked at me shocked through the screen door with a face I'll never forget. She told my brother and I "Stay there!". Putting paper bags on the floor in between the backdoor and the bathroom she told us to jump into the tub with all our clothes on. We were COVERED in mud. I can't imagine how much of a pain it was for her to clean up after us, especially me, when we were young.
2. Mud puddles, moguls, going down fast, etc... I love fun nifty things that make me do things/experience a feeling with my body I wouldn't normally get to.
3. I get to bike.
It's a total bonus I get to do all those things all at once with mountain biking.

Things are going well otherwise. Dwight, Paul's friend is coming down this weekend and there's the Tour de French Fry we're checking out on Saturday. Since I don't have Damian, I won't be participating, but it should be fun to take some good pictures. I ?think? Andrew's racing on Saturday and if he is I might go watch/play myself. Work's kinda sucked this last week, I've got a lot on my plate with 4 or 5 different projects going on and things are deadline sensitive right now, which always makes it a little worse. As usual, everyone thinks I'm their top's part of my job, but it gets tiring sometimes. I just finished The Autobiography of Malcom X, which I hadn't read in over 7 years and is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE books. Very well written and a beautiful story of an amazing personality.

A word I came across I like
deliquesce \'de-li-'kwes\ v *1: to dissolve or melt away 2: to become soft or liquid with age or maturity

Monday, March 23, 2009

Busy Weekend!

So this weekend both rocked and sucked.  Saturday was super fun.  Andrew had a mountain bike race, and I got to ride Iri (my new mountain bike) on real trails for the first time on some trails and dirty her up.  Plus, Sunday I did the longest ride I've ever done.

Saturday was really cool.  Andrew, Paul, and I headed out around 7:20ish after strapping Iri to the back of Andrew's truck.  We *just* made the ferry and went to Port Gamble, which is far north and kind of out in the middle of nowhere.  There were only about 20 people racing, 8 or so girls, 12 or so boys.  What was totally awesome about it was:

1. There was a lot of girls there, and I got to talk to them about bikes. I've never really got to talk to girls who bike, it's really predominated by the boys, and seeing so many of them out there was really awesome.

2. I forgot how AWESOME the before/during/after competition glow is.  Even though I wasn't racing, and not even really watching Andrew since it was a 14 mile out and back lap, I got to be there to be his cheerleader, something Paul's going to be doing a lot of in the next few years.  Seeing him suit up, register, warm-up, get started, and his "coming down" routine really reminded me of all of the awesome feelings I had when I competed in debate and forensics.  I LOVED the excitement, the focus, the anticipation, the dedication and mind obliterating absorption into what you did, then the come down afterwards, the routines and the butterflies and the glow of doing well.  I'm looking forward to getting to experience that again.

3. There was deep soul sucking mud I played around with forever while Andrew was mountain biking - Paul got some great pictures of both him and me.  

Before we got to the mud - this is me.  Happy.  On my Bike.  :)

Me fighting ferociously to keep Iri going through the deep icky mud. more mud!  
I like how the picture has my face in focus 
and the legs/wheels all blurry like I'm going super fast.

Here's a picture of Andrew starting and finishing....he did awesome!
He's the guy in red in the middle.

And a Mud Flecked Andrew finishing first in his age division!

I'm going to enter into the really chill lax competitiveness mountain bike races out near Sea-Tack that are going to happen on Wednesday nights starting in April.  I'm not sure I'm going to be ANY good at all - my thyroid is a little worse lately which is KILLING my ability to do...well most of anything with my body.  Anyway, I figure it'll be great to practice racing, increase my technical skills, and really push myself.

Saturday was bad because I didn't eat enough, and my body/emotions had a minor breakdown. I had a really bad evening and was exhausted.  It sucked, but whatever.

Sunday was great because I did 79 miles on the road bike.  That's right - 79 miles.  I was still feeling really blah from my body being stupid, and wasn't really into going out, but I wanted to do 76 (to beat Paul's record) and so I started and rode, and rode, and rode....and then eventually finished.  I did the Lake Washington loop with a lot of deviations (cutting out the big hill on Juanita).  
The sucky part of Sunday was that on the long ride my right knee started complaining 25 miles in, 55 miles in started really complaining, started screaming at 65 and then really was crunchy Monday morning, but is working itself out this afternoon.  It was a long day and oddly enough, I expected to feel more Go Me! after doing 79 miles.  But I kind of just feel like, "Yep, I did a long ride."  I suppose I'll feel another Go Me! when I pass 100.  

It was definitely a busy weekend!


Now I finally have the access to the pictures I take w/ my point and shoot's a picture of the most delicious flaky tasty crust on the awesome apple pie I made.    Yay for pie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Being Invisible

For most of my life I've been invisible.

I was a kid in a poor region of Kansas and I was a bookworm. For as active and as I was, I was pretty quiet and unobtrusive. In grade and middle school I always had my nose in a book and was a teacher's pet for the teachers who earned my respect. I was a quiet thorn in the side of teachers who were too stupid, unenlightened, or unimaginative to earn my respect. But generally I blended into the background a lot.

I didn't avoid life. I had a lot of acquaintances, not a lot of close friends. I moved from group to group...jocks to tokers to slackers to cheerleaders to nerds and back again. I wasn't particularly slim or typically pretty or interested in dressing "right" growing up either, and that's apparently a lot about getting noticed. I preferred the benefit of being able to observe and watch others. They were interesting. Besides, being a center of attention never really seemed appealing. I would have had to work really hard to be the center of attention and there just weren't a lot of benefits to it. Too much negative attention and too many people just wanting to use you. It also seemed a little petty and selfish, too. It ranked really low on my cost/benefit analysis scale. Something I've lived by for quite a while. How much the benefit outweighs the cost directly translates into how much effort I put into something.

In the past week I've felt a huge erosion to my superpowers of invisibility. Wearing makeup, hair color changes, wearing nicer clothes, and dropping this weight - things I'm naturally doing and not really doing for anyone in particular except myself - it's really changed the way people interact with me. They notice me. Look at me. Comment on how "You're recreating yourself!" "You look really great today" "I'm really impressed with your strength of will and determination" "You look so good!" etc....

This isn't me complaining people are commenting positively on me, but rather the realization I'm uncomfortable with people noticing me. Before, people only noticed me when I wanted them to notice me. Now people I don't know/don't care about are paying attention to me. It's different and odd. I don't believe people should notice me unless I want them to. This doesn't change my goal and I'm not going to live my life any differently than I have been, but this is a paradigm shift I wasn't really prepared for. It's strange, sometimes, how when you accept and go after a goal you encounter side effects on your life you weren't expecting.

This is one of them. I've lived almost all of my life invisible and I'm not sure I know how to proceed being seen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I've been saving up some money for two bikes - a mountain bike and a road/cyclocross bike for the last couple of months now. My first priority was the cyclocross bike because the only road bike I have right now is borrowed from a friend (which I'll have to return around August) and road bikes are more expensive. However, a pretty sweet deal came up on craigslist this past week. It's a 2006 Cannondale Prophet, the reviews of it are fantastic, it was a $1300ish bike selling for $500, and it hardly ever riden, in perfect condition (some chain rust was the only weak point), and it had great shock absorption. Oh, and it's RED. Great bike, really cheap, totally going to change the way I mountain bike, and in a color I prefer. I'd have been stupid not to get it, so I ended up becoming a pround parent of Iri. See below for photos.

I name all of my bikes, and some that aren't mine.

Gordon is Rich's old mountian bike I've given now to Paul. Gordon was Rich's middle name and I thought it fitting. It means "Large fortification". The bike is DEFINITLY too big for me, and it's a mountain bike, so the idea of fortificaiton fits well.

Dorthy is the Cypress hybrid Paul gave to me, also my grandmother. It reminds me of her. She was older, slower, not super agressive, but a really good thing in your life and fun. Switching gears was difficult for her, she definitly had a particular way of thinking, and switching gears on the Cypress was also the bane of my existence with that bike.

Damian is Andrew's Kona Jake I'm riding. Besides the whole OMEN reference, the name Damian's background is Greek in origin possibly meaning "to tame, subdue" although also close to the word for "Sprit" It also comes from the Sanskrit word "dam", meaning "who can give". It's fitting as the Kona Damian brings out in me someone who rides fast, sometimes needed to tame or subdue myself. In the first week I had the bike, I was told about 20 times by both Paul and Andrew "This bike goes fast. Don't do anything stupid." :) It has tremendous spirit and fittingly it ties in very well with the fact it was given to me by someone for a while.

Iri is my new mountian bike. It's a very unique bike, with really interesting geometry and I decided it needed a unique name. It's really cushy, like sitting in a soft armchair, and the name creates cushy mouth movements when said. IRI is hebrew and means fire, light. The bike is lipstick red, which is bright light and like irridescent fire. Besides, I'm going to burn some trails up on it :)

Searched for some better images on the web
(my camera's still not functional yet)
and found the below:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My bubba

I talked to my brother on Sunday. When we were kids he always called me "Sissy". I had to put a stop to that when we started going to the same high school - now I kinda miss it, so I call him bubba. Every time I talk to him now I realize how much I appreciate having a brother.

I abused the heck out of him when we were kids, buried him in the dirt, would tie him up and leave him in the closet when he wanted to "play", and once an attempt at a tap dance lesson ended up at the ER. Since he didn't do put his feet in the right places, I picked up both of his feet at the same time. He cracked his head into the door frame and we ended up at the hospital. It wasn't a big deal - he ended up cracking his head open a bit - the doctors told Mom and Dad to give him two Tylenol and call them in the morning if it was worse. I was just pissed off that I had gotten into trouble when it was his fault he wasn't graceful enough to tap dance right. To put it mildly, I was a hard sister to live with. Now that we're "all grown up", I'm realizing how much I really love him and how I really appreciate our relationship.

But the purpose of the post is to point out James wanted a correction made. He isn't lazy - he is unmotivated. :) Office Space came to mind.
A picture of my brother with his girlfriend this past year.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

slugging through the cookies and pie

The last couple of weeks I've felt like I've been slugging through the mud. I went on a new medication and the new meds block the uptake of the thyroid meds. Two weeks ago I started feeling run down, lethargic, sleepy, and kinda moody. This past week got more brutal. Muscle aches, joint pain, insanely tired but had an inability to sleep, mood swings, severe forgetfulness and mental fogginess, blah blah blah... last Wednesday was really bad so I went to see the doctor on Thursday and told her I was reverting back to how I was before I went on thyroid medication.

I don't want that. I like feeling healthy. A lot. I like having energy to do all that I want to, and the mental capacity and attitude to be happy and enjoy everything wonderful life has to offer. Anyway, I'm now on my way to feeling better, but it's going to take some time. And in the meantime, I just have to deal.

It's frustrating to have my body fight against me on this front. I just want it to work. It could be worse - I could have lupus or diabetes. But sometimes I feel like I'm biking in the mud alongside people who are sprinting by on nice paved roads. I could go faster if conditions were better. But right now I can't. So now I try not to do anything to irritate it, take it easy, try not to let it take over my thoughts, focus instead on the things I can really enjoy.

Part of doing things I really enjoy is baking. I made cookies on Saturday for people I love and appreciate - Elsa (a coworker I'm baby-sitting for this evening), Andrew, and Paul. Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip/Walnut Cookies. They rock. I really LOVE baking. It combines anal retentiveness of having the right amount of ingredients with the right processes. I get to mash chocolate chips into cookie dough with my hands, which feels really awesome, and I get to share my love with other people through good food. One of my all time favorite things to do. (thanks to mom, dee, and grandma mary for that). My mom is an amazing baker and I'm definitely her daughter.
Picture of Mom and I at the wedding in '07

Sunday I made this really kick-ass apple pie with the best crust I've ever made. Right now I'm arguing with Rich's old point and shoot trying to find the right cords for it so I can start taking some more recent pictures. When I get it up and running, there will be MUCH more photos - of pie and cookies and me :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wanderings through the past

I've been cleaning up my massive photo index, and it's slightly nostalgic - here are a few really pretty ones.
Okay, not super pretty, but it's one of my all time favorite photos of Rich and I up at Hurricane Ridge - same time the photo of Paul was taken (see the side of the page).

This used to be my kitty - Puk - named after the mischievous little troublemaker in A Midsummer's Nights Dream. I miss him.

This was taken on my honeymoon about 2 years ago in the National Rain Forest. That places like this exist a few hours away - the Northwest is an absolutely enchanting area. Except right now. It's been stupid cold lately which has prevented me from riding my bike (I don't have warm enough clothes to ride). I. AM. READY. FOR. SPRING. I really can't wait until the hiking/camping season starts so I can spend more time in areas that look like this. Ahhhhhhhhh............

But for right now I guess I'll have to settle for the pictures of the ocean and the warm beautiful green forests. This is called Beach #4 or something ridiculously simplistic like that. It's north of Ocean Shores, and is absolutely one of my favorite view points. The natural environment around here is soulful. It takes your breath away and makes your heart break a little with it's beauty.

As an update/side note: I'm having some issues with my body/thyroid lately - I'm making an impromptu trip to the doctor tomorrow. On one hand, I love my body and what it can do, but totally find it to be WAY too needy and temperamental lately. It's not cooperating with me. :(

Sunday, March 8, 2009

So close!

I tend to drop the most weight on the days I have active rest - basically when I'm not pushing myself, but maybe just commuting or biking around town (under 20 miles) really easy.  After pushing myself really hard this past week, I slept on Friday and did around 16 miles of easy riding yesterday.  Mainly because of the weather and the fact I had to work.  

All the hard work is paying off because this morning I stepped on the scale to find out I'm so close to one of my main goals I can just about taste it.  I'm 1/2 a pound away from being under 200.  That's 43 lbs I've lost total so far. 33 more to go.  So close!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Dad Would Be Proud

Growing up, my dad was a general all around handyman, who always knew how something worked, how to fix it, how to take it apart and put it back again.  He was a general all-source of knowledge about mechanics (he's a diesel mechanic), woodworking, electronics - you name it he knew how to fix it.  Some of my fondest memories of me with dad was "helping him" out in his sawdust strewn shop, screws and nails and tools strewn everywhere, greasy parts shoved in corners and hanging from the ceiling.  In the summer it was hot and dark and there was a tiny fan in the one little window of the shop which was attached to our wrap around porch. 

After years of living on and off with him, I got less interested in mechanical natures of things and, like most teenage girls, grew more interested in boys and having fun.  I'm predisposed to words and philosophy and poetry (still interested in boys and having fun) rather than mechanical things.  Physics stumped me, even though I made A's in it, and Geometry was the one class I ever earned a B in (and I earned that B).  My brain just doesn't naturally *see* the way things work.  

That's changing.  I am absolutely fascinated with bikes (obviously) - how they work, how to fix them, how the mechanics of it all come out.  It's become an extension of my body - and I believe I should know how to maintain and fix my bike (part of my body) as well as I know my own body (how to tell when something's off, what it needs to operate at it's highest efficiency, etc...).   Put simply - I would be as likely to slip in the snow/ice/sleet on my feet as I would on my bike.  Tonight was a great example of that.  I went out for coffee with a friend, ended up walking about a mile in typical rainy/sleety/snowy weather and slipped 5-6 times, got on my bike and rode the 4ish miles home and besides having some natural adjustment period to the higher tension of clip out in the pedals that had just been put on, didn't have one single issue.  It's becoming more and more natural for me to be on my bike than to walk or run or sit.  

Andrew's been really helpful and in the past week I've learned how to change brake pads, true a wheel, how derailers/shifters work and how to adjust them, how to maintain and clean my chain and cassette, among a plethora of other miscellaneous items. I feel really happy working on bikes, cleaning/fixing/adjusting.  I feel at home being greasy and dirty and sifting through my toolbox or using my awesome very handy multi-tool. :)  I think of my dad every time I get greasy and dirty fixing something.  In the back of my head I feel like he's there with me,  proud - supportive - happy.  That above all else gives me joy.  

I really do love my Dad.  This is a picture of him, me, and Cathy (my step-mom) at my wedding May 18th 2007.  I swear I'll get a more recent picture of me up here soon.

So as a tribute to my new semi-ish-mechanical self, when I have time (ha!) I'm going to tear apart my old bike (a Cypress hybrid I named Dorthy after my Dad's mom=my paternal grandmother) just to put it back together again.  Eventually I'll turn it into a mule.  Something to leave out in sketchy parts of the city, laden down with racks to haul groceries in, etc...  

Friday, March 6, 2009


I achieved one of my major goals last night. I did the hills route without walking up any of it. There's about 725' of climbing (probably a little more by the time getting home is included) and the total loop is about 16.4 miles. The hard part is seven or eight miles long. So it's about 100' of climbing for every mile traveling east from my apartment to the Burke. From the bottom of 24th, which starts the hills, to reaching the Burke, which is the end of the hills, it took me 54 minutes.

I can't describe how happy that made me and how amazing that felt. About five weeks was the first time I did it and it seemed at that time insurmountable, beyond my capabilities - I walked up 3 or 4 hills and struggled with the rest. The route is really awesome in that it starts with a looong slow climb and then has these small rolling hills that turn into steeper hills, then a nice downhill break, then the two "oh shit" hills. The first time we did the route, I walked up the crest of the first oh shit hill that killed me and looked up to see this straight road curve up...up...up...up to meet the sky so high above me. It crushed a small part of my soul - and that's not an exaggeration. I looked at Andrew and said, "You've got to be shitting me." After the crest of that last gnarly hill, though, it's over. You get this amazing downhill windy rush before you hit the Burke and the flats.

But I climbed both "Oh shit" hills. On the bike. No walking.

In some ways, these personal victories aren't translatable or describable to others in the same way they move me and have such a momentous nature. Sometimes it's really nice, because everything that I'm doing is for me and no one else will really know exactly what each achievement means and feels. They're my own personal gems of joy. I've found my source of everlasting sublime felicity - bliss incarnate. Sometimes I get sad others can't share my elation. :) I want to spread my happy feelings everywhere!!!!

"Strength is Happiness. Strength is itself victory. In weakness and cowardice there is no happiness. When you wage a struggle, you might win or you might lose. But regardless of the short-term outcome, the very fact of your continuing to struggle is proof of your victory as a human being."
Daisaku Ikeda

Strength is happiness. I haven't felt this filled with joy for this long - well, ever in my life before. I'm the happiest I've ever been. And like with the "oh shit" hills - there's nowhere to go but up.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Arduous Operoseness

"The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it."

Since last Saturday I've been pushing pretty hard on my body and it's effecting me quite a bit. I've only been getting 7 hours of sleep or less in the last few days and with my workload I should at least be getting 9. 10 is even better to allow my body to recuperate. I'm not drinking enough water - which had had some negative side effects, but now I know what's causing it I can rectify it, so I'm thinking of water as crucial to my progress as my caloric needs. And starting from 3/4/09 I'll include that in my tracking. Sunday to Tuesday I've built up a 2835 calorie deficit, so my body's not really getting enough to eat either.

I definitly paid for it this morning riding in. My pedaling technique was barely present. Lots of jerky uncontrolled movements, very spastic. I also wanted to focus on relaxing my upper body on the ride in, but I could barely stay awake on the bike, let alone have proper muscle control to relax my upper body. And when you can barely stay awake while you're riding on your bike - that's pretty bad. My easiest gears felt like they were some of the hardest. I felt like I was pushing against half set concrete.

It's weird - I feel like my body is wasting away, but it's also heavy, jerky, uncoordinated and tired. The lack of sleep is also contributing to a far away feeling in relation to my mind and body - a disconnectedness and lack of mental alertiveness that's difficult to overcome. Everything is slow - me on my bike, my brain, my body, my reflexes.

I really do believe that negative experiences can teach you valuable lessons, but I really wish I didn't have to learn this way. But I'm going down a road I've never been down before and while I've been getting really good advice from friends and books and resources, my body is unique and I'm doing something to it not most people do, so the changes and the limits it has are very individualistic. I'm doing the best I can with the knowledge I have now, which is the most anyone can do at any point in their life.

And even though what I'm doing is probably the most lengthy intensive difficult thing I've ever tried to accomplish, it's worth every moment and bruise and pain and exhausted day. Because to not do this would be to cop out and "The path of least resistance leads to nowhere."

And I have better places to be.

*Last quote by Andrew's uncle

Monday, March 2, 2009


So Sunday was my long ride, which I was really looking forward to as I hadn't been on my bike a whole lot in the past week. My legs get itching to spin...spin...spin...when I haven't rode in a while, and there's this low grade hum of "...I want to be on my bike...I want to be on my bike"...going through the back of my head. So I was really excited and pumped to be doing my long ride. I was also looking forward to the long ride so it could work out the kinks in my legs that I incurred mountain biking. After mountain biking on Saturday, my legs look like dalmatians - little black and blue bruises everywhere against my white skin and I have some pretty spectacular knots (I'm going to get shin/knee and elbow/forearm guards soon). About 30 minutes into it, my legs felt fine and I felt really good to be biking by myself, chilling out. I really love spending 3-6 hours alone, by myself, biking at my own pace, doing my own thing, looking at the beautiful scenery and riding.

I originally wanted to do 76 miles on Sunday, but ended up only doing 55.5 miles. I was okay with that deviation for a couple of reasons:

  1. It's the longest I've continually been on the bike. Before, I'd done 60 miles, but had two breaks of about 1 1/2 in between some of the segments (2 miles, 1/2 hour break, 40 miles, 1 1/2 hour break, 18 miles, done). So 55.5 miles continually is pretty good.
  2. It was getting dark and I haven't got my big light back from Recycled Cycles yet.
  3. The main reason was that the weather was contributing to the ride being very unpleasant. It was raining just about the entire time, and fairly cold. I didn't have fenders put on the bike because I need a different screw. I had started to put fenders on, but when I encountered the screw problem, I didn't want to bug Paul to help out because he was writing so I just left. It was silly and stupid and would have saved me so much hassle to just finish, but I was too eager to get going. So after about 4 hours of my feet swimming in 40 degree water I couldn't feel my toes and couldn't move them, putting my foot down when I hit a stoplight sent a painful shock up my leg. I was really getting concerned about damaging my feet. Which is REALLY stupid. I stopped and bought new socks and doubled up on the layers because my wool socks were shot (I had stopped and rung out about 1/2 cup of water 4 times already). You also get a back-spray from the rear tire that turns your butt into a mud/water bucket, and the front tire plasters your face in nasty water and you get to eat some asphalt backwash. No fenders riding in the rain = misery. There wasn't a dry spot on me. And I was covered in mud - it made pretty cute dalmatian freckles on my face to go with my dalmatian bruises on my legs :) It's just not pleasant for 5 or 6 hours straight. So I learned a very valuable lesson: being warm and having fenders is essential.

As a deviation: a couple months back I went on a hills route, then rode around with Andrew around some more hills and we got pretty far away from home and I bonked really hard. I had eaten, but not enough and there just wasn't enough food in my system to keep me going. It was miserable and horrible and a really awful experience. My brain shut down, I could barely keep pedaling, and mentally and emotionally I started going haywire - it had the same effect on me that say, going 36-48 hours without sleep would do. HOWEVER - Since then I ALWAYS have kept lots of food on me and I haven't ever bonked on a ride. Sometimes really negative experiences teach you valuable things. So, in addition to the "I will not bonk again" rule, I've enacted the "I will never under-layer on long rides" rule (at least until it gets to be summer). Which leads on to the next reason:

4. I learned lot of valuable things. (ordered in importance)

  1. I WILL NEVER GO OUT under-layered again. This is not the first time I've gone on a long ride and under dressed and been freezing and cold. It's stupid, it's counterproductive, and I won't do it again.
  2. It's imperative I put fenders on AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I've been putting it off for a week or so and before I went out I tried to put them on, but didn't because a screw wouldn't fit. I'm getting them on tonight. No matter how long it takes.
  3. I need at least 9 hours of sleep after a long ride/brutal weekend. I was exhausted this morning after 7 hours of sleep and it's not going to be great for my body's recovery if I don't give it enough time to recuperate.
  4. I need a goal of where I'm going, what route I'm taking, and then I just need to point my bike in that direction and go. If I don't know where I'm going, my resolve lags.
  5. Hills suck (well, that's not a revelation), but they're easy when I put my head down, only look at the road 8-12 feet in front of me and block everything else out with my cap and then pedal till I reach the top. It seems kinda silly, but when I do that, they're not so hard.

5. I also did a lot of adjustments I had been meaning to do for a long time.

  1. Put the computer on Damian so I can track mileage and speed
  2. Tilted the handlebars a little towards me to get better positioning on the hoods.
  3. Adjusted my right cleat so my knee wouldn't give me problems.
  4. I cleaned up Damian. Although after my fenderless ride, I think it's more dirty than coming off the cyclocross season when Andrew gave it to me. Which makes me kind of proud. Before, someone would look at Damian and say "Wow, it's really dirty, you must ride it a lot!" and I felt it necessary to explain it wasn't my hard work making it dirty, it was Andrew's. Now I just go "Yep!"

As a side note, YAY!!!! I finally got into my "skinny pants" - the pants I haven't been able to wear in over three years. I am SUPER SUPER happy about that. And really pleasantly surprised that when I came back from changing with a glow on my face Andrew instantly asked if they were goal pants and then said "Go You!" which makes me happy - I'm really glad he can share in some part the happienss of reaching awesome goals. He's really been an inspiration and a fantastic friend through this. Also, coming into work on Monday I go over 7 comments in two hours at work about how much weight I look like I've lost from multitudes of people. All because of the awesome skinny pants - not skinny pants, but the skinniest pants!!! And there are no more skinner pants left in my closet. Now I'll have to go out and buy new ones!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Happiness

Friday was amazing - after some initial forgetfulness and hectic work time and missing the right bus and ending up walking a ways to Le Gourmand, I had an AMAZING dinner!!  I had the chef's taster menu paired with wine.  It was a three hour experience and cost around $300 for two people - with four cocktails added to that beforehand.  So you could reasonable eat there for $100 if you just got an entree and appetizer.  If you're in Seattle - save up some money and GO THERE.  

Saturday - Ahhhhh.... woke up still full and happy from the night before - I slept like a log that night!  Paul and I went to Besalu and I was going to read for a while and hook up with Andrew to go mountain biking at noon, but I was itching to get on the bike, so called him around 10 and biked to his place.  We drove to St. Andrews and did about 9.5 miles.  IT WAS AMAZING!!!!  Moguls are my FAVORITE - which are little dirt hills that allow you to get some MAJOR air.  It was beyond beautiful.  I had a few falls/mishaps.  I violently hugged a tree (no major damage),  I went off a kicker into a drop, wasn't expecting it and was going WAY too fast for the next kicker that was *right* after that, so tried to stop and ended up flying over my handle bars and landing in brush.  I was actually really happy with this one experience where I lost control of the bike, got my left leg hooked in the bikes frame, hopped around on my right foot, finally hit the ground with my left, then somehow hooked my right foot up underneath the seat around the post, almost fell again, then somehow managed to keep upright and keep going.  I love that I can lose control like that, and somehow keep my bike up and keep going. :)  

The end result is that I love mountain biking!!!  It's hard.  It's a lot of work and technically difficult.  But it's totally worth it.