Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bike Class Part Two & I Won the Husband Lottery

Bike Class on Thursday was slick!  The most important thing I learned was that I don't have to be intimidated by the bike.  It's just a series of adjustment screws, barrels, cables and hex bolts.  If something doesn't move in the right direction, just try it the other way.

We trued our rear wheels, learned about the internals of the bottom bracket, hubs & cones, and the headset, adjusted brake pads & cables, rear & front derailleurs and cables, and tightened all the stuff in between.  All in all, it was a productive class, and my bike was shifting like a champ today during my long aerobic ride.  The instructor, Seth, was a cool guy with lots of nice helpful tid bits.  Thanks for taking my picture in the shop too, Seth!

This week, I'm wrapping up a recovery week.  I still have workouts, but they are slightly less intense than a build week.  So it was weird that Thursday's swim felt a bit like I was dragging an anchor behind me.  A lot of my workouts this week have felt that way, but my coach, Kate, explained that a recovery week can feel like this.  The body is processing all the work it's been doing over the last 3 build weeks, and you can experience some sluggishness.  Athletes who taper before a big race can experience this too at the beginning of a taper.

Next week starts a new build week, and with that, my long runs become 4.5 miles instead of 4.  I must be crazy because this is pretty exciting stuff to me.  One of these days, I'll be strong enough to run the Applefest Half Marathon course for a long run.  A girl can dream.

Okay ladies, now don't be jealous, but after a day of crafting today with my good friend Angel, I came home to this:
That would be my incredible husband, David, cleaning the oven.  Not only did he clean all the crud out of the oven, but he scrubbed the cook top, took everything off the counters and scrubbed those too.  Where did this man come from, and how on Earth did he become my husband?  Answer:  God is soooo good.

From Colossians 3, verse 19:
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

And from me:
My husband, David, is harsh with the crud in the oven.  He is an amazing gift from God because he loves me and I love him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Got Greasy & I Haz Mad Bike Cleaning & Loob Skillz, y0! (Part One)

Yesterday I attended the first of two Basic Bike Maintenance classes at Goodale's Bike Shop.  It was just me and one other kid with a mountain bike, so we got a lot of attention from our instructor.

Some of you know, I intend to ride my hybrid for my first tri-season because I'm too cheap (and too novice) to invest in a good road/tri bike.  So, my hybrid was well overdue for a good scrub down and adjustment, and I learned a few cool things.

We went over getting our bikes into the stands, shifting to the smallest gear, and removing our wheels.  Then we used some high test, dissolving solution to clean up the drivetrain and brake systems.  Some of my gears were nice and caked with a flaky black junk.  Nothing the flathead screw driver, degrease solution and an air compressor couldn't handle, though.

Next we did a thorough wipe of the entire bike and wheels, loosened up all the brake and shift cables and did some tri-flow teflon drip lube in all the cable housings, and tri-flow sprayed all the pivot points.  Who know there were a million pivots in a rear derailleur.  I think that thing is more complicated than any part on my car.

Finally we had time to true our front wheels. This was probably the coolest part of the evening; although, I must say, that kid kinda kicked my butt.  He was pretty much a prodigy at truing wheels.  Maybe they'll give him a Summer job next year.

Since I needed my bike for a workout tonight, our instructor helped me get my bike back together.  The other kid left his bike in pieces for the second class on Thursday night.

After we were all done, I think I was dirtier than my bike.  We headed to the back to cleaned up, where I learned that Goodale's facility there on Broad street is pretty much GIGANTIC.  The store front is probably not even an eighth of the size of that place.  In the back, they have a HUGE storage room, to which I said, "Holy mackerel!  This place is enormous!"  That was nothing, the instructor said, "Oh you think this is big, check this out," and he opened another door which revealed a room, probably twice as big as the one I was just in that had rows and rows of new bike inventory.  I've never seen so many bikes in my life, unless you count that time I was in Amsterdam and saw that ridiculous bicycle parking lot on the canal.  My jaw dropped to the floor.

But wait, there's more, we walked down a long hallway and into another back room that was full of trainers that they use for their spin classes.

Anyway, that place is redunc-huge.

We cleaned up with some good ole GoJo, and I rolled on outta there.

Stay tuned for a summary of the second part of the class on Thursday, where we'll learn about making adjustments and some other stuff.

Now, what kinda scripture can I add here today?  I looked up "clean" and came up with this one:
"You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."  John 15:3
This is a pretty lame analogy, but degreaser over a drive train is like the word of God over us, it makes us shiny and new.  :)  Folks, this is why you need to go to church.  A good pastor will be a little more eloquent than me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why I Love Sundays

  • I get to sleep in some.
  • I get to experiment with new breakfasts.  (Today was a failed experiment of a blueberry omelet, but it was pretty funny.  It kinda looked like green eggs.  I just needed some ham to go with it.
  • I get to teach Sunday School to some very gifted three year olds that astound me with their clever little minds.
  • I get to worship my God and learn from our pastor, who is also gifted with a brilliant mind for taking something from the old testament and making it very relevant to things we go through today.  Like Numbers 11.
  • I have my long aerobic run.
  • I get to spend the afternoon with my husband and puppies.

    Today was especially lovely.  The weather was perfect, a nice dry, 52 degrees.  The park was filled with folks enjoying the last few nice days before Winter sets in.  The smiles on everyone's face reminds you that you're in good company with others delighting themselves in the beauty of our God's world.

    Today on my run, I passed a couple, probably around my age, and the gentleman said, "There she goes, making it look easy again!"  Now, I have to be honest, I don't remember this couple from any other time, but it gave me such a lift.  A lot of times, when I'm running, it's not easy.  I struggle with keeping my heart rate in the right zone and pushing my cadence when I start to feel slow.  There are too many things to think about that should start to come natural with time, but it's not that easy for me.  It was a surprising compliment from a stranger, and it made me smile.  Thank you, Sir!  I'll remember y'all next time!

    After I came home, my husband, the dogs, and I took a little nap on the couch while NASCAR was on, then we had a simple dinner at the diner, went grocery shopping and made four pizzas to freeze.  I cannot tell you how much I love my life.  :)

    It was a joyful day.  My long runs are a good opportunity to spend time with God, pray, and enjoy his world.  I am grateful for the incredibly blessed life I have.  My God is good.

    "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Mel in Tights Tumbling, Plus DC Rainmaker Giveaway

    I finally got to wear my brand new Moving Comfort running tights this morning, that I bought back in September.  It was a chilly 27 degrees; slightly cooler than my afternoon 45-50 degree runs have been.

    I never considered myself a "morning person" but triathlon training has a way of slowly de-night-owling a person.  When the Masters Swimming Club only meets from 6:30am - 8:00am, you have a regular job, day light savings ends, and a life on Friday nights, mornings become your training friend.

    My run this morning was progressing very nicely.  I was comfortable, in the zone, making good pace, when suddenly, about 2.15 miles into my run, my ankle decided to roll out from under me.  Luckily I have good instincts and immediately relieved all pressure from my ankle so as not to sprain it, but then I never think to NOT put my wrists down to break my fall.  So, for a tumble I went, landing on my wrists and getting my purty new tights all pine needley.  Boo!

    I was a little frazzled and lost my running mojo at that point, then I thought to myself, "I bet pro triathletes do this occasionally.  It's probably not just an amateur thing."  Then I thought back to one of my Triathlon heros, Jayne Williams, and how she'd probably take this opportunity to be proud of herself for looking like a dork.  So, I got up, brushed the pine needles off and continued my run.  I ended up with my best outdoor aerobic time since I started training!  Wo0!

    Before I go, I wanted to post about DC Rainmaker's Garmin Forerunner 210 Giveaway.  Mr. Maker has an excellent blog with probably the best product reviews out there that I've seen.  If you comment on his post above, blog about it, and tweet, you have several entries.

    I wonder if DC Rainmaker ever occasionally takes a tumble.

    I leave you with these words from David:
    Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.  The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.  The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.  Psalm 145:13-14

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    I Smell Like Chlorine

    I've only been swimming six times (twice a week for three weeks), but I'm already learning to love this smell.  Granted, it's kinda stinky and not a nice pretty smell like my Ellen Tracy perfume, but it's a smell of a good morning workout.

    Three weeks ago, when I started, I could barely get down 25 yards to the end of the pool.  Today I managed two sets of 100.  I was supposed to do more, but the rest ended up being 50s.  Let's just say, I've come a long way in three weeks, and the scent of chlorine on my skin verifies that I am totally doing this thing.  I'm training for a triathlon!

    I wonder if married triathlete couples find the scent of chlorine on each other attractive, because I doubt my husband finds it attractive, nor these dorky goggles I wear...

    So, this got me searching for "frangrance" in the bible to see what kinds of things God tells us about smells.  I found these verses interesting, from 2 Corinthians 2:14-17:
    But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to such a task?  Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.  On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
    What I love about this verse is it gives me such an empowering feeling.  Because I love Jesus so much, God will use me to triumphantly spread the knowledge of Christ throughout the world like a beautiful fragrance.  To those that accept the aroma of Christ, it is a beautiful fragrance to them, bringing life, and those that do not accept it, it is an odor of death.  When Paul asks the question, "And who is equal to such a task?" He's setting us up for the answer, that spreading Christ's love and sharing the gospel is a profitless job.  If we are truly in Christ, meaning we love Jesus with all our hearts and believe he is the son of God who made an enormous sacrifice so that we would have everlasting life, then we spread the knowledge of Christ out of obedience to our one true God and expect nothing in return.

    Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, and for sending us your precious son, Jesus.  Before coming to Christ, we were all walking dead.  Lifeless creatures that would surely perish.  You are so powerful, and so full of grace that you would help us.  You breathed the word into our hands, into our minds, and ultimately into our hearts so that we would know the love our Savior has for us.  Now it is our duty to share this fragrant news, and we do so with grateful hearts.  Amen.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Some Things are Best Left to the Professionals

    When my husband and I got married, I had a couple options to choose from: be a psychopathic bridezilla or just let the people who know what they are doing, do their jobs.

    Lucky for me (and everyone else) I chose the latter.  You see, these professionals have been doing their particular thing long enough to know what works and what doesn't.  Most of us have a vague idea of how we want things to be, but to implement them and get all the details just right takes a professional with experience.

    My wedding was beautiful and perfect.  :)  It ran smoothly, I wasn't stressed out, everyone partied their hearts out, and at the end of the day, the most incredible man I've ever known on this Earth was my husband.

    I started running in April 2010 after my friend, Erin, invited me to join her in the Gate City Striders Couch to 5K program.  After nine weeks, I went from weighing over 200 lbs and barely jogging 60 seconds to dropping 20 lbs and jogging continuously for 45 minutes straight.  I knew I wanted to try running, but the success was a result of the details and planning by the coaches who ran the C25K program in our club.

    So naturally, after several months of sticking with this running thing and seeing progress, I thought I might actually be able to complete a sprint triathlon without dying.

    I was still a good 40 lbs overweight and a bit clueless on how to train properly in running, let alone three disciplines at once (swim, bike & run).  But the not dying part is what ultimately lead me to my coach, Kate.

    My main goal was to get proper training without hurting myself, have some accountability, and to share my success with someone.  I followed my trusty philosophy of leaving things to the pros, and I hired my coach.

    I have survived week one and am now in week two of my official triathlon training plan.  I was intimidated by the schedule when Kate sent me week one, but to my surprise I've been able to do almost everything she's asked of me!

    This is why we have professionals, people!  I would have never developed a week of training for myself like this.  First of all, I don't understand a lot of the physiology of the body to know what to do when and for how long, but I also don't know what I'm capable of yet.  She does.  She's worked with enough people to know where my start is.

    Now, if my coach knows where my physical body's start is, then my Heavenly Father knows where my heart is.  As far as professionals go, He is the ultimate pro in all things.  He has filled my heart with hope and desire to improve my body's fitness and to fully enjoy this beautiful Earth He's given us to live on.  My heart's desire is to glorify him and to take good care of the one body He's given me for this one life.  I have a plan to complete a triathlon, but the steps are determined by my coach and my God.

    "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9