Seen on the run (October 23, 2014)

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Cool, dry breeze rustling the leaves. Dark and perfectly spooky.

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Seen on the run (October 20, 2014)

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ACAC update

Pool Running (and a whole lot of crazy)

Unfortunately, I’ve been doing more of this than anything else. I went for an easy 3.5 mile run the day after my century ride, which probably wasn’t smart. I had good energy, but I also had a sore right calf (more on the side). It wasn’t too bad, but seemed a little worse once I stopped. I took Monday off (I usually do), but Tuesday morning, it was still sore. So, I was at the pool Tuesday and Wednesday. By Thursday, it was feeling much better so I went for an easy four mile run. Friday, the soreness was gone, but it’s another rest day for me, anyway.

Saturday, 8 miles into a 13 mile run, my knee pain that had started in July came back. I completely freaked out. It was just one twinge, but I knew that was all it took. Energy-wise, I had been feeling pretty good. So good, in fact, that I was probably running faster than I should have been. I was purposely not looking at my Garmin, but figured I was running 9 minute miles (I would later learn that what had felt like 9 minute miles, were in fact 9:30 miles, but I don’t even want to talk about that.) I backed off the pace and took a shortcut back to my car (10 miles total).

I haven’t run since. My knee is definitely sore, but only when I do a deep knee bend. I’ve felt several more painful twinges, which I’m trying to convince myself were just in my head. I made an appointment with Dr. Wilder for next week, though. My plan is to take an entire week off from running, then try a test run. Otherwise, I’ll have to go into my appointment and say, “Well Doc, my knee hurt pretty bad for a minute on my run two weeks ago. I’m not sure if it hurts now, or not. I felt some twinges that may or may not have been in my head. What do you think it is, Doc?”

I’m pretty sure he’d tell me that I need to make an appointment with a different kind of doctor. And he’d be right. I’m certifiable.

Obviously, though, I think something is wrong. If I thought I could run (believe me!) I’d be running.

Restorative Yoga

I signed up a week in advance, knowing that it would be a great class to take the day after my century.

That day, I almost called and cancelled, though. I just didn’t feel like driving all the way into town. If I wasn’t signed up, there’s no way I would have gone. But I did go, and it was probably a good decision.

There was a different instructor, but the class was similar to the last one I’d taken. It started out a little frustrating. The first pose we did hurt my lower back. I tried several modifications, and the instructor gave me some suggestions as well, but I just couldn’t find a position that didn’t hurt. I ended up just doing child’s pose instead. Everything was fine after that.

Gentle Hatha Yoga

More of the same. Another great class.

Hatha Yoga

A new-to-me class and instructor. We started out with a crazy-looking move that I had never done before, which involved rocking from seated position with legs outstretched, onto our backs with our feet over our heads and back again. It looked a lot harder than it was. It was actually kind of fun.

I found this class quite challenging. Hilary’s Vinyasa classes move at an insane pace, and I end up drenched in sweat, but I prefer that to holding a difficult pose FOREVER. There were a few times in this class when I felt like the instructor was just being mean. I wondered if she was waiting to see how long it would take for us to give up and come out of the poses. My legs and arms shook, but I held on.

Humbling, and good for me, I’m sure, but not exactly enjoyable.

Cycle

Oh yeah, it’s time to throw out my tri shorts. They are threadbare. I put on a long shirt and wore them anyway, though.

The room was full of people, hot and humid.

I quickly learned that (as I had suspected), there was definitely something wrong with the “watts” feature on my bike last time. This time, I had a hard time hitting the numbers, not because it seemed too easy, but because I was afraid I would die.

Another great workout.

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Seen on the run (October 9, 2014)

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Cold, dark and peaceful. Nice to be outside again after two days of pool running.

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Culpeper Cycling Century 2014

I can now cross Century Ride off my bucket list (although I have a feeling it won’t be the only one I do.)

Saturday morning I packed up my car and put my bike on the rack in the predawn darkness.

The sun was just starting to come up when I stopped for coffee.

IMG_20141004_212655I picked up Andi and an hour later, we were in Culpeper.

We had about 15 minutes to use the port-a-john, pick up our packets, put air in our tires, pin numbers to our shirts and pack up everything we thought we’d need for the day.

IMG_20141004_081527_576We missed the start by about 6 minutes. We weren’t the only ones. About a dozen late-comers were straggling out of town with us.

The course was marked with arrows painted on the road (different colors for each of the distances). We followed the orange ones. We also had cue sheets, but really only needed them to figure out distances between rest stops.

I was a little concerned about my left calf. It felt tight and tingly. Nothing major at the moment, but we had a long way to go!

It had rained the night before, but the sky was clearing and the humidity was lifting. There was a bit of fall color on the trees and every once in a while the wind sent down a shower of leaves. It was turning out to be a beautiful day.

The first rest stop was at the Rapidan Volunteer Fire Department (mile 15.3). Quite a few people were milling about. We used the (indoor!) restrooms. I stretched my calf, ate a banana, and we were on our way.

The second rest stop was at the Brightwood General Store (mile 28.6).

IMG_20141004_105929_025IMG_20141004_105532_875Again, there were quite a few other cyclists. We grabbed some more food. I went for the freeze-dried pears and Fig Newtons this time.

IMG_20141004_105941_416The 65 mile course and 100 mile course split off from each other after this rest stop. We were on our own. Everyone who had been at the stop with us must have been doing the 65 miler.

We didn’t see another cyclist for the 11.8 miles between this rest stop and the next. The hills got bigger, but the views were worth it.

IMG_20141004_113731_861Strangely, the longer we rode, the better my calf started to feel.

By the time we pulled into the third rest stop (at the Hebron Valley Lutheran Church), the wind had picked up. All of the volunteers were bundled up and freezing. Only two other cyclists were there.

The food spread at this stop was by far the most impressive we’d seen. I had a mini Clif Bar and a baggie of trail mix and filled one of my water bottles with some lemonade flavored coconut water.

There were cut-off times for all of the rest stops. We pulled out of the third stop with 50 minutes to spare.

We had 17.8 more miles to go before lunch.

IMG_20141004_112145_010We saw one other cyclist on this stretch. He was off on the side of the road working on his bike.

When we arrived at the lunch stop, the same two guys we’d seen at the previous stop were still eating and there was a couple on a tandem bike. The cyclist we’d passed working on his bike rolled in shortly after we did.

Lunch was boxed lunches from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed, but my hummus wrap was quite tasty.

IMG_20141004_140038_669This was our longest break, but it didn’t feel like we lingered all that long.

The sun had been behind the clouds for a while. By the time we left, we were getting cold.

IMG_20141004_141556_131The 14.2 mile stretch between lunch and the next rest stop (at the Mt. Zion Church) included our last big climb of the day (not pictured.)IMG_20141004_123303_877We passed the couple who were riding the tandem bike on the climb. They were walking their bike. I figured they were probably doing the 65 miler (the two courses had merged again for a while at the lunch stop) but it felt good to know that (at least for a little while) we weren’t the last ones out there.

At the Mt. Zion Church rest stop I talked to one of the church volunteers, who told me that he was never going to do what any doctor tells him to do. According to him, the average doctor only lives to be 56 years old. Since he was already 74 and had been eating a pint of ice cream every night for as long as he could remember, he was just going to continue doing so.

I wasn’t sure of his facts, but couldn’t argue with his logic.

The SAG vehicle driver checked in with us. He made us take his number, and told us that several people had cramped up in the final stretch.

I hadn’t looked at the time since we left the third rest stop at about noon. I had no idea what time it was, and I don’t think Andi did either.

It was 20.2 miles between this rest stop and the Graffiti house (the last rest stop at mile 92.65.)

We set off before the two guys (two of the three 100 milers we’d seen all day). About a half hour later, they came flying by us.

My right quad was starting to talk to me a little. I figured it was because I had been favoring my left leg in the early miles. It wasn’t a big deal, but the SAG guy had me worried about cramping up.

We were mostly on country roads with very little traffic. Andi and I were talking more than we had all day, which made the miles go by faster. My Garmin had died at the last rest stop and it was kind of nice not to have constant feedback about distance and pace. I looked around more, and just enjoyed the beautiful day. I almost forgot about my quad and the pinch in my shoulder.

About two miles before we reached the last rest stop, the SAG driver pulled up beside us and asked how our legs were holding up. We told him they were fine. He said, “It’s 5:00″. We were surprised. He told us again, “It’s 5:00. The Graffiti House rest stop is closed.” I wondered why he kept telling us the time, and why they had closed the rest stop early if they knew we were still out here (even though he’d just told us the time, I was still thinking that he was telling us that they closed the rest stop early.)

He offered us food and water. We told him we were fine. I looked down at my water bottle. It was nearly empty, but we only had ten miles to go. I probably wouldn’t even drink what I had. I’d been looking forward to a few more Fig Newtons, though.

He looked a little pained, like he didn’t know what he should do, then said “Well, I guess the safest thing for you to do is to just follow the course to the finish.”

And then it dawned on me what was happening. He was very politely trying to tell us that the event was over. He had come back to pick us up in the SAG wagon.

No!!!

I would have been so upset if we hadn’t been allowed to finish. As it was, my heart sank for a minute. Wait, does not finishing before the end of the event mean we didn’t do the Century?

Hell, no! That’s just silliness. All I cared about was covering the distance, and we were going to do that.

That’s when the whole thing became incredibly funny. Andi and I were both feeling fine. Everybody had been telling us how strong we looked. All the volunteers had seen surprised by how much energy we still had. It was true. We could have ridden faster, we just had no idea that we needed to. We had obviously made the cut off at the last rest stop. The terrain had gotten easier. We hadn’t slowed down. How had this happened?

Andi said their cut-off times must be skewed.

At the next street crossing, a different SAG vehicle pulled out behind us. I was embarrassed and I felt bad making the poor guy stay late just because we hadn’t paid attention to the time. But there was no way we were not going to finish now! We pulled over in the empty spot where the last rest stop would have been and he stopped next to us.

He offered us food and water. I apologized profusely for making him stay late. He told us that it happens every year. Some years he’d been out until seven, eight at night. We took some snacks from him and he told us about the Graffiti house. I was still trying to process the whole situation and am ashamed to say I didn’t really listen. I do remember hearing Andi say “Oh, so that’s why they call it Graffiti house.”

IMG_20141004_213504Andi with Jim (I hope I got his name right. He was so nice and helpful. I really wanted to remember it!), the Sag wagon driver (and our own private escort for the last eight miles.) In silhouette, because I’m such an awesome photographer.

IMG_20141004_172253_456Jim drove in front of us and kept pulling over to let us catch up. I was relieved that he didn’t follow along behind. While that would have added to the comedic factor, it would have made me incredibly uncomfortable.

The final stretch was mostly flat. The temperature was dropping quickly. I was very happy when we pulled into the empty parking lot at the finish.

One hundred and one miles, done!!

Everything and everyone was gone. Even the port-o-johns!!

Jim took our picture and gave us some recommendations for dinner.

IMG_20141004_180150_895If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing! It was an awesome ride on a beautiful day, and now we’ll always have a story to tell about the time we were almost picked up by the SAG wagon.

I would, however, like to do another century and finish before the event has ended and everybody has gone home.

Oh, and Andi was right about the cut-off times being skewed. The Mt. Zion Church stop closed at 4:00, but the Graffiti House closed at 4:30. That meant we’d have only 30 minutes to ride 20 miles. It would also mean that we would have had to ride the last 28 miles in an hour just to make it to the finish before the end of the event (to put that in perspective, we usually cover 14-15 miles an hour on hilly terrain.)

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Seen on the run (October 5, 2014)

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ACAC continued (yoga and cycle classes)

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Gentle Hatha Yoga

Downtown
Friday, 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM

This class felt like it had a bit of restorative yoga mixed in, which was fine with me. We spent most of our time lying down and seated, but there were a few standing poses as well.

It’s a great class for recovery after a hard workout, or on a rest day.

Restorative Yoga

Albemarle Square
Sunday, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

This class requires so many props (bolsters, blocks, blankets, straps and eye pillows) that each session is limited to eight participants. You have to sign up in advance. I called a few hours before the class and the man who answered the phone told me that I was incredibly lucky. Somebody had just cancelled and he’d been unable to reach anybody on the wait list. He signed me up, but explained that I generally need to call about a week in advance for this particular class.

The session consisted of four completely supported (lying or seated) poses that we held for fifteen minutes each. In addition to these four poses, we started and ended with fifteen minutes of savasana (with props).

It sounds incredibly boring, but it felt amazing and I couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed. I almost didn’t want it to end.

I was a little leery of the eye pillows. They smelled (lavender?) and felt fantastic, but I’m ridiculously a bit paranoid about germs. In class, when an instructor tells us to rub our hands together to create heat and then place them over our eyes, I always cheat and put them on my forehead instead.  You should never touch your eyes! That’s how you get sick! I can’t let go of these thoughts. So, I didn’t like the idea of putting eye pillows that other people had touched and used on my eyes. I did it though, and tried very hard not to think about it.

I didn’t get sick.

Cycle CORE

Downtown
Wednesday, 9:15 AM – 10:15 AM

I wasn’t really interested in the core part, but this was the only cycle class that fit into my schedule for the day.

It was my first cycle class at ACAC. The online schedule says to sign up 15 minutes in advance (because there are a limited number of bikes). I arrived about 25 minutes before class and the sign up sheet wasn’t out yet. I went upstairs and did some foam rolling to kill time.

I wasn’t sure what I should wear, but decided on my triathlon shorts. I wore regular shorts over them so I wouldn’t have to walk around in them, though. There were only about 8 other people in the class and they were all wearing Capri workout pants.

The pedals on the bikes had clips on one side and cages on the other. I had worn running shoes and the cages worked fine, but it was nice to know that I could also wear my cycle shoes.

I started off with too much tension on my bike and quickly wore myself out. We did a number of intervals (speed, standing, hills). There was a puddle of sweat under my bike. I was happy that I’d worn shorts.

I also ended up being grateful that the class had a “core” component. That meant we were done with the bike portion at 45 minutes. I wasn’t sure I had another 15 minutes of cycling left in me.

We grabbed mats and kettlebells and went through a series of core exercises.

I was worried that my legs were going to be sore from all the standing (and hovering) we did on the bikes, but two days later it was only my abs that were sore.

Cycle

Downtown
Wednesday, 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM

I wore my tri shorts again and brought my cycle shoes to change into. This time I wasn’t the only one in cycle-type shorts.

The class was more crowded than the Cycle CORE class had been.

I liked that the instructor gave us number ranges to shoot for (cadence, resistance and watts). Although, I think there was something wrong with the watts feature on my bike. I was never working as hard as it seemed like I should be at the number she told us to shoot for. It was kind of fun to think that I’m just in such amazing shape that 300 watts is easy for me, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I was working hard! I started watching the clock with thirty minutes to go. A puddle of sweat accumulated under my bike again.

I grabbed one of the chilled towels out of the cooler on the way out. What a great perk! I wiped my face, then wrapped it around my neck. It always takes me forever to stop sweating after an intense workout. The towel helped cool me down more quickly.

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