Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
I was a kid in a poor region of Kansas and I was a bookworm. For as active and as ....free spirited...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 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 :)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
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."
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
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
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:
- 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.
- It was getting dark and I haven't got my big light back from Recycled Cycles yet.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Put the computer on Damian so I can track mileage and speed
- Tilted the handlebars a little towards me to get better positioning on the hoods.
- Adjusted my right cleat so my knee wouldn't give me problems.
- 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!!!