Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review

Earlier this week, Strava informed me that I had run 906 miles so far this year, and wanted to know what my goal was for the year.  First, I was sad to see that I hadn't made it to 1000 for the year.  Second, I was confused as to why they would wait til there were only a few days left in the year to ask me what my goal was.  Little late for that, isn't it?  Anyway, I spent a day or two thinking it was terrible that I only had 900 miles for the year.  And then this morning I looked back at my summary for 2014, and saw that I only ran 690 miles that year. 900 isn't looking so bad.  It's a far way from the 1490 I had in 2013, but I guess it's not bad for all the tendonitis and asthma issues I've been dealing with.

Although I managed to get more miles this year, I ended up with fewer races.  2014 had 9 races, 6 of which were half marathons.  2015 got me only 8 races, and only 3 of them were half marathons, none with particularly stunning times.

There's a part of me that says it's time to give up on my half marathon goals and accept that my body has decided to be old and broken.  Of course there's another part of me that says never give up.  And of course that is the part I want to listen to.  I clearly need to be smarter about training now, and much more patient.  Neither my lungs, legs, nor feet will be ready for a half marathon tomorrow or next week.  If I want to get back to half marathon shape without getting injured in either the training or the race, I am going to have to be careful.  I only hope that I can rise to this challenge.

2015 running

2015 biking
(2014 bike : 2291 miles / 158,000 ft elevation)

I have no idea what 2016 has in store for me.  After two years of tendonitis woes I am wary of making any lofty running goals.  Maybe 2016 will be my glorious comeback, and maybe it won't.  Only time will tell.  I am looking forward to finding out what I will achieve in the coming year!

December 21-27

Just a few days late in posting this weekly summary...oh well.  I was out of town without my computer on Sunday.  And then I got home and just didn't get around to it.

Last Monday I had a root canal to save the tooth I killed by crashing my bike 4+ weeks ago.  Thankfully there was zero pain when the numbness wore off afterward.  Plus, the tooth is not nearly as dark as it was before the root canal.  Headed to the dentist next week for internal whitening, and hoping it can be done in one session instead of the three she said it would need.  I'd be fine with leaving it as it is now, but I have to at least go to the dentist to get the temporary cap removed and a permanent cap put on it.

I love the snipping convenient.  Using it to show last week's exercise means everything is in reverse order though.

total bike miles : 18.2
total run miles : 20.1

I was pleased with my 10 mile run.  Any run faster than an 8 min/mile pace is pretty good at this point, and my legs didn't completely die at any point.  They are still not very happy any time I get above 8 miles, but they complained slightly less this time, so that's encouraging.  Baby steps.  I will get back to half marathon shape eventually.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Daryn Straley

I learned last night that a core member of the weekly Pub Runs here in Lewisburg died this weekend after hitting some black ice.  I am still in a state of shock and disbelief.  I only knew Daryn for a few months, and rarely saw him outside of the weekly runs (and subsequent beer-drinking), but you get to know a lot about a person when you run and drink beer together once a week.  He often brought his dog to the runs, and she would dictate our pace for the first mile or more, straining at the leash and pulling us forward, her excited yelps alerting people that we were coming.

I last saw Daryn a week ago at the last Pub Run.  He brought Chester home after the run, and then returned to the Pub to have a few beers.  And he brought me a Christmas present.  It was completely unexpected, but he handed me a bottle of whiskey, Jameson Black Barrel.  We had drank some together on a different night at the Pub, and he said he remembered that I had liked it.  It was such an unexpected and thoughtful gesture.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he is gone.  It's so hard to believe that he won't be standing at the meeting spot with Chester yipping at the top of her lungs when I show up for the run this evening, or future evenings.  His enthusiasm and general cheeriness will be sorely missed at the weekly runs.  My heart goes out to his family, who now must face the holidays without him.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter decided to show up

Last Saturday I enjoyed a sunny warm run in shorts and short sleeves.  This Saturday, there was ice and snow on the ground and a cold wind blowing. Last Saturday's run was definitely the more enjoyable of the two!

Runs this week : 
M : Pub Run 6 / 7:36
T : 6.1 / 7:56
F : 4.3 / 6:55
Sa : 5.2 / 7:58
total miles : 21.7

The Pub run this week was one of the warmest we've had.  It was actually warm enough to run in shorts, even though we were running after sunset!  It was just three of us again, it seems that the core group of runners has been established. Tuesday's run was just a jog around town to get some exercise. I took Wednesday off because of a staff/board Christmas party at 5.  I would have only had time for  a short fast run and I didn't feel like doing that.  I thought I would run Thursday, but I ended up babysitting all afternoon after school instead.  Friday the staff Christmas party/secret santa gift exchange was at 5, but I really needed a run, so I did short and fast.  In the snow.  First snow fall of the season happened on our last day of school before Christmas break.  No more than a dusting ever ended up sticking to the ground, but that dusting still hasn't melted in some places.  The roads froze into a solid sheet of ice overnight on Friday.  I waited til lunchtime on Saturday to run so that the roads wouldn't be quite as slick, but there was still ice in the shadows.  

In other news, I am kicking off my Christmas vacation with a root canal tomorrow.  Sadly, my front tooth did not survive the bike crash three weeks ago. Desperately hoping that the root canal goes without a hitch and no new problems arise.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Girls and their Horses

After a lovely 3 mile stroll though the fields on our horses this afternoon, we were all still hanging around and talking, and I had my camera out.  Sue convinced me to hand over the camera and get some photos taken of Pony and I.  She also took out my pony tail and took away my sunglasses.  I'm really glad she decided I needed my picture taken, because they came out great!  Afterwards, I took some photos of her and Nena with the horses.  So much fun!

Springtime in December

Wearing shorts to run in December?  Yes please!  And thank you!  Winters aren't so bad when it's December and above 50 degrees! I was very tempted to bike today, to take advantage of this lovely weather even though I should probably wait until my teeth are healed before I bike.  Then I slept in til 10:30, so I didn't bike.  I had plans to ride my horse with some people at 2:00, so sleeping more than half the morning took away the time I would have had to bike.  Probably a good thing.  Not that being around horses is any safer than biking right now...but thankfully I had a great time and nothing hit me in the face. Am I rambling?

Runs this week : 
M : Pub Run 5.8 
W : 5.6
R : 6.1
Sa : 7
total miles : 24.5

My legs were tired all week.  They never really recovered from last Wednesday's long run plus the ridiculous amount of hills I ran last week.  I was disappointed not to run anything longer than 7 this week, but but I did run 4 times and got my highest weekly mileage in a long time (not by much, but that's not the point).  In the end, I'm just grateful that I am back to running and my feet seem healthy.  Still having some asthma trouble, but it's not preventing me from running, only preventing me from running as fast as I might like to sometimes.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tis the Season

...for Christmas Card photos!  I've done a couple of fun sessions so far.

I absolutely love the soft golden light!

Running for the Hills

Oh how I adore running hills.  Each time I ran this week, I told myself I would run 4, maybe 5 miles.  But that is easily accomplished in less than 45 minutes, and I am so used to biking for an hour or two, that 45 minutes just doesn't feel remotely like an adequate amount of exercise.  I have no desire to stop after only 45 minutes.  So I just keep on going.  Wednesday was my first exercise post-crash, and my first run in about 10 days. I hadn't intended to take 10 days of, but I somehow never got around to running while I was traveling over Thanksgiving week, and then I had to take a few days off from exercising after crashing so that the hole in my knee could dry out a bit.

Runs this week:




week totals

2100 feet of climbing this week, that's no joke.  A normal 20-25 mile week for me tends to be between 1100 and 1200 feet.  For the most part, this week's runs felt really good.  Wednesday's run felt great for the first 8 miles, but shortly into the last mile my left hip decided it was done, and it hurt quite a bit for the remainder of the run.  I was definitely limping when I stopped running.  It is the hip I landed on when I fell last Saturday, so I'm guessing it still had some healing to do.  Thankfully, the pain didn't last long and I haven't had any trouble with it since.  Of course, I also haven't tried to run 9 miles again.  My upper legs have been pretty sore all week.  Running a bunch of hills after a bunch of time off is apparently hard on my muscles...go figure.  My last downhill today was killer, my legs were not happy with me.  I felt really strong on the uphills though! Plus, I just ran 2 days in a row for the first time, and so far so good!  Tomorrow's Pub Run will make it 3 days in a row, but at least it will be shorter (maybe) and flatter (definitely).

Post-crash update : 

This photo was taken on 11/30, 2 days after the crash.  Still some marks on my face. 

This photo was taken 12/5, one week after the crash.  The marks on my face are now very faint, because I picked off the scabs.  My teeth are not as loose as they were, and they still look and feel pretty good.  No sensitivity to cold, which I hear is a good sign.  I tend to think that if my teeth were dying, I would be able to tell by now.  But I'm guessing I'm not quite out of the woods yet. I certainly am not anywhere near ready to start biting into apples again.  Or even my lunch sandwiches, for that matter. I am getting pretty used to cutting my sandwiches into bite-sized pieces and eating them with a fork though...

The hole in my knee is taking forever to heal.  I can't help but think that if it were summer it would be so much further healed by now.  Given that it's cold out and I have to wear long pants every day, I've had to keep it covered with band-aids so my clothes don't irritate it.  The result is that it doesn't get enough exposure to air to allow it to heal quickly.  Thankfully I've been able to wear shorts around my apartment this weekend and leave it exposed to air.  It is now looking so much better.  Oh and I guess it's not really a "hole"... just a quarter-sized patch of skin missing.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bike Week + going out with a bang

Lots of bike miles this week!  I got 100 miles for the first time since early August.  Having a week off from school made it much easier to get the miles in, and the weather was cooperative as well.  As of yesterday morning, I had about 93 miles.  I thought about going for a run since I hadn't done that at all this week, but I was so close to 100 miles, I had to bike again.  Plus it was warm enough to bike in shorts!  I made plans with a friend to go for a 40-ish mile ride right after lunch.  The ride started out well enough.  We were cruising along at a good pace after racing down a long hill.  We were talking, and I was looking at him instead of at the road.  It was a freshly paved road, which means the edge of the pavement drops sharply several inches into the weeds.  My front tire slipped off the road.  Instead of doing the smart thing and laying over into the weeds, I tried to save it and swerve back onto the pavement.  It did not work out well for me.  Thankfully there were no broken bones and nothing needed stitches.  I do have a good bit of road rash though.  And the worst part is that one of my front teeth seems to have taken the hardest hit.  It got bent back a little bit.  I was able to push it back into place, but it was not a pleasant feeling, and it is now a bit loose.  I can't bite at all, and sometimes when I am talking my bottom teeth hit it, which is very unpleasant.  Small town life means I have already been put in touch with a dentist who is ready to help me out if I need it.  Only time will tell if my tooth will recover on its own or if I will need a root canal, or a new tooth.  For now all I can do is wait and hope for the best.  

As far as crashes go, I could not have been any luckier.  I wasn't alone and I wasn't seriously injured.  And, even better, minutes after I crashed, Merrick drove by in the bike shop van with his family, so they were able to take me and my bike back to their house and help me clean up the wound on my knee and some of the road rash.  It was nice not to have to bike up the three mile hill to home after that crash!   

Bike Rides This Week
T : 22.3 miles / 16.9 mph / 1148 ft (Portsmouth, RI)
W : 27 miles / 17.6 mph / 843 ft (Newport, RI w/Cecilia & Scott)
R : 43.6 miles / 15.3 mph / 33327 ft (Aquidneck Island, RI, TSS Thanksgiving Hill Fest)
Sa : 7 miles / 20.1 mph / 423 ft (Lewisburg, WV w/Dan)
total bike miles : 100.1

Thursday's ride with Ten Speed Spokes was my longest ride since late July, and my first ride over 30 miles on the Super Six.  It was a tough hill ride, and I forgot my inhaler, which didn't make the hills any easier, but I had a great ride.  It was fun to ride with a group for once.  

Photos from Tuesday's ride

My face post-crash.
I do not understand how I hit hard enough to knock a tooth out of place, 
but my face doesn't look any worse than this.  
My chin is bruised, but doesn't even have a mark on it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sunset over Narragansett Bay 11/25/2015

It's hard to beat a sunset over the water!  Lucky to be able to catch them on the East coast.

roaming through my childhood backyard

It wouldn't do to travel and not go on at least one photo-adventure!  I'm only in RI for a few days, and yesterday I spent the day feeling too cold to get myself out the door to wander around taking photos.  Luckily today was a bit warmer, and I didn't go outside at all before my adventure, so I couldn't be frightened off of it by any coolness in the air.  It turned out to be a gorgeous day for photos.

My friend and I used to have picnics under this railroad bridge.
I wanted to go down under it today, but the path was too overgrown to navigate with my cameras.

There were a few teepees in random places in the woods today.  
I've never seen them before.

The colorful leaves are already gone in WV, but I was glad to find some here in RI!

Of course I had to put my tripod to use and have some fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Winter is Coming

I had the bright idea to ride my bike at 8:30 this morning, without anything to cover my face and without my winter gloves.  Brilliant.  Not only was it cold, it was also windy.  I froze my face off, and my fingers were so cold they hurt.  But hey, I got some exercise and that's what matters!

It's been a good week of exercise.  Running is still going well.  I had toyed with the idea of running a fourth time this week, but I didn't get to it, and that's okay.  Maybe next week.

This week : 
M : Pub Run 7.4 miles / 7:15 pace / 187 ft
T : sweatfest 60 min / 16 miles
W : 7.4 miles / 7:23 pace / 551 ft
F : bike 21.6 miles / 15.9 mph / 2057 ft
Sa : 5.6 miles / 7:21 pace / 404 ft
Su : bike 15.4 miles / 16.9 mph / 1138 ft

total run miles : 20.4
total bike miles : 53

The Pub Run was fun this week.  There were only 3 of us, and we were all in the "fast" group.  We did 3 extended loops at a faster pace than usual, and then two of us decided to do the shorter loop one more time, at a hard pace.  I had to do a short cool down loop after that to slowly return my breathing to normal in an attempt not to go into a violent coughing fit.  Happily, I succeeded. 

For Wednesday's run, I tried out a potential 5 mile race course for Lewisburg.  It was brutally hilly, because the neighborhood we want to use is...brutally hilly.  I had to treat it like a "race" in order to even get myself to run it without dying on the hills.  Good workout. 

In other news, one of my orthotics was bruising the bottom of my foot and while I was running once a week I was ignoring it, and then I started running more and it was a bigger problem but I still didn't get around to getting it fixed.  It was starting to cause leg pain. I finally went to PT to get it fixed this week.  They gave me a new one, and now I am pain free in both feet, hooray!  Nothing can stop me now...except maybe asthma.  I have no control over that beast.

P.S.  I was walking through downtown today taking photos of the Holiday Festival and I saw snowflakes blowing around.  Winter is indeed coming. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Still running! And loving every second of it, of course.

It poured rain almost all day Monday, but I told people I would show up for Pub Runs rain or shine.  Several people backed out when the rain was still pouring down at 4:00, but I knew of at least one other brave soul who would show up, and I certainly didn't want to miss a day of running!  At 5:00, the sun actually peeked out of the sky to the west.  I wasn't sure how long the break would last, and so I decided to get a quick run in myself before the group run, in case we cut our run short.  It turned out that the rain did hold off for us and we had our longest run yet!

Wednesday was a teacher work day, and I went in early, so I also left a bit early and got in a good bike ride without having to worry about it getting dark.  After the ride, I was still feeling energetic, so I decided to run as well, since Wednesday is supposed to be a run day anyway.  I was treated to a stunningly gorgeous sunset that lasted for for the entire run.  The colors were so vibrant, and took up a good portion of the sky.  It was awesome.  But of course I really wished I had my camera!

This was the sky towards the end of my bike ride, 
before it exploded with vivid color.

This week : 
M : run 1.3 miles @6:57 pace 
group run 6.2 miles @7:58 pace
T : sweatfest 45 minutes/12.2 miles
W : bike 21.3 miles @16.9 mph, 1857 ft
run 7.3 miles @8:03 pace
F : run 7.3 miles @8:34 pace

I spent most of this morning telling myself that I should go for a bike ride, but I never got around to it.  Perhaps I needed some more time off.  I did ride my horse on Friday and today though.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Lake Sherwood Recreation Area

I had a fun night with a group of friends last night so today I was ready to recharge with some solitude and my cameras.  I slept in, then decided to drive up to Lake Sherwood for the morning.  It's a little less than an hour away, and I hadn't been there yet.

As I was driving along a winding road through the forest, I could see little waterfalls in the stream that paralleled the road.  I eventually found a spot to pull over right next to a neat area in the stream, and so I spent a good bit of time there before continuing on to the lake.

I love the sun streaming down in this one.

I eventually headed on to the lake, where signs informed me that all cars were charged a day fee from May through September.  Glad I came in November.  I didn't see a single other person the entire time I was in the area, which was perfect.  I like solitude on my adventures.  

I could hear the geese long before I could see them, and they were clearly not happy about my presence.  They took off for an even more solitary spot shortly after they caught sight of me.  I didn't even have time to adjust settings on my camera to get the exposure right.  And it was hard to focus because the sun was so bright. 

I kind of like the blurred effect in this photo.

This guy was also very unhappy with my presence and quite vocal about it.  It took me awhile to find him, but he was so loud I found him eventually, way up in a tree.  Thank goodness for zoom lenses...

It gets harder to find colorful photos every weekend.  
Now that it's halfway through November, there are hardly any leaves left anywhere.  
It has occurred to me that I'm pretty lucky it hasn't snowed at all yet.

I prefer colorful photos, but at this time of year it seems the only way to 
really get them is through heavy editing...

 Having fun.

Enjoying the peace and solitude.
I really wish I had thought to bring a book along.