Sunday, July 26, 2015

My spirit animal is a masochistic mountain goat

This week I biked 134.8 miles with 15,194 ft of climbing.  That's A LOT of climbing.  My 200 mile week in RI got me 11,000 ft.  A normal 75-100 mile week in WV gets me 6-10,000.  My highest weekly WV mileage was a week last August when I got 135.9 miles.  (If I had checked that before today's ride, I would have biked a few extra miles to beat it...) The elevation gain that week was only 10,755 ft.  And this week I climbed over 15,000 ft.  And I feel fine.  I could go out right now and ride again.  My legs are strong.  My back has hardly been giving me any trouble this year.  Last year I could barely do any long rides because of awful back pain.  Without that pain this year, I have been able to ride 30+ miles easily.  And I have been trying to take advantage of it as much as possible.

My only problem lately has been neck pain.  It's like there are magnets in my shoulders and ears that keep trying to draw together.  I am constantly catching my shoulders hunched up by my ears and having to consciously work to relax them.  If I go too long without remembering to lower my shoulders, my neck cramps up pretty bad.  I think another contributing factor is my increasing fearless-ness on descents.  I have gotten over my initial fear of flying downhills, but in order to go fast, I have to crouch down and lay flat over the bike.  When I am this low over the bike, the only way to see where I am going is to bend my neck at a sharp angle.  I think that sharp angle is contributing to the pain.  I haven't yet figured out what to do about that.

Miles this week:
M : bike 55.3
T : run 5.5
R : run 5.6
F : bike 23.6
Sa : bike 23.7
Su : bike 32.1

total bike miles : 134.8
total run miles : 11.1


I decided at some point in the last few weeks that I missed running too much and needed to run no matter what.  Never mind the fact that my foot is clearly not pain free, or the fact that my inhaler barely works and I struggle to get enough oxygen when I run.  I still love the run, and I really, really, miss daily running.  I decided that I was going to run 3-4 times a week, breathe as best I could, and ice my foot really well after each run.  

This seemed to work well enough for a bit.  I felt good enough to add a weekly mileage goal on Strava.  (I have had a 75 mile/week bike goal all summer, and I have had a 15 mile/week running goal on and off, depending on how things are going.)  I added the 15 mile running goal last week, and ran 16 miles.  I didn't feel too bad.  I couldn't run as fast as I wanted due to the asthma, but my foot really wasn't feeling too bad, and I was really good about icing it after each run.  

This week, I ran twice.  The first run was decent.  My avg pace was below 8 min/mile, which at this point I have to consider pretty good, even though I would prefer it to be well under 7:30.  On my second run, I decided to do some 400m "sprints."  It wasn't quite all-out, but I would say I was exerting around 80% effort, instead of the 50 or less that I keep for most of my runs.  I spread 6, 400m sprints throughout my run, whenever I had a long enough flat-ish stretch.  All of them had an average grade of either 0% or -1%. 

("Teaberry short" is the complete stretch between the Longview & Summit 400s, it has an average grade of other words, it isn't the easiest recovery ever.  "WVSOM sprint" is the first half of the "WVSOM 400")

At some point during the week, my foot started hurting more than normal.  it might simply be that I spent a good bit of time walking around in my horseback-riding boots, which I don't ever seem to remember to put my orthotics in.  I normally where my Chaco sandals all day, because they are the only summer-type footwear I own that NEVER makes my foot hurt.  At all.  The foot pain got to be just enough that I managed to talk myself out of running my 15 miles this week.  I really, really, wanted to go out and run today after my ride, just to get to 15.  I am trying to balance my craving for running with my desire to be injury-free.  It's not easy.  But I did manage to talk myself out of running today.  I am starting to accustom myself to the idea that I may have to give up my fall races. That would be really disappointing, after already skipping all of the summer ones.  But I am seeing it as a very real possibility that I will not be able to run a successful half marathon by September or October.  Still hoping things work out though, of course.  


I found out sometime on Sunday that I wouldn't be working until Wednesday, so I decided I should make use of my extra two days off and go on an adventure.  The saga of Monday's ride can be found here.

I had planned to bike after babysitting on Wednesday, but ended up spending the time after work hanging out with a friend instead.  Babysitting 8:30-5:30 every day makes it hard to find energy for a good workout afterwards.  Thursday I got up early so I could run before work and have time to ride my horse after work.  (Wednesday I got up early to ride her before work).  Friday I didn't get home til almost 6, but I was overdue for a bike ride, so after eating just enough food to sustain me for a ride, I headed out on the bike and got a good ride in.  I wanted a longer ride, but there are only so many hours of daylight, and I couldn't risk getting stuck out past the point where there was enough sunlight to be safe.  

The Wheels of Hope ride last Saturday had left my neck really sore, and Monday's ride only made it worse.  Usually I can get about 20 miles in before my neck is really bothering me, but on Friday's ride it was hurting a lot sooner.  I really wanted a long ride this weekend, but wasn't sure how much pain I should really be inflicting upon myself.  There was a route I had been planning on the western end of the county that was 25-30 miles long, and I decided to do that on Saturday instead of trying to do a 50+ miler like I really wanted to do.  Now that I have this awesome roof-rack on my car, I am enjoying how easy it is to take my bike other places to ride.  So I drove out to the western end of the county and started out on the loop I had planned.  I ended up taking a wrong turn at some point, but by the time I figured it out, I had gone to far to make it worth turning back.  And I recognized the road name as one I had passed earlier, so I knew where it would spit me out, and knew it would be easy enough to get back to my car.  The road was some of the worst pavement I've ridden, which was unfortunate, but thankfully I survived it without flatting.  Because of the wrong turn, the ride ended up shorter than planned, but it included a good bit of climbing, with more than a fair share of 14% grades, so I didn't feel the need to add-on at the end.  

I stopped by the bike shop on the way home to drop off my bike so Stu could tune it up and put on the new front derailleur he ordered for me before I left for RI.  I hadn't gotten in put on yet because I was too busy riding the bike and didn't want to leave it in the shop.  I found out earlier this week that he wasn't too busy, so I knew I could drop off the bike and have it back later in the day.  I picked it up that afternoon, with its new derailleur and a new chain.  

After yesterday's ride, I was over 100 miles for the week, with 12-13,000 ft of climbing.  But I didn't feel the need to take a day off today, and I wanted to test ride the new parts on the bike.  So I picked a route that I hadn't done yet this summer and set out to make this a week of ridiculous climbing.  Somewhere in the middle of the ride as I was laboring up a mountain, I decided my spirit animal was a masochistic mountain goat.  Not that I actually believe in spirit animals...but if I did... I must be a mountain goat for the amount of climbing I am doing without my legs dying.  And the masochism is an excuse for why I would even try to do so much climbing in the first place.  Although I don't think it's actually masochism...because I wasn't in that much pain.  

Photos from today's ride:

I am not sure what this coming week will bring in terms of exercise.  I will be babysitting Monday-Friday, and it looks like the hours will probably be around 8:30-5:30.  That will make it hard to bike too much...but then again I might be determined enough to make it work. We shall see. If I have a lighter week, I will try not to feel too bad about it, since I put in such a great week of miles and climbing this week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bike/Photo Adventure #2

Adventure #1 can be found here.

Adventure #1 was mostly scary, wet, and miserable.  But that didn't stop me from making last-minute plans for a second adventure.  Because it's fun to kill two birds with one stone! (a/k/a bike somewhere new + take cool photos)

I had thought I was resuming my babysitting job on Monday, but I found out Sunday afternoon that I actually wouldn't be babysitting again until Wednesday.  So I started thinking about what to do with my extra two days off.  Sitting around the house doing nothing would be a waste.  I needed to do something adventurous.  I started thinking about a trip for Tuesday.  I've been wanting to bike the Parkway section of the Highland Scenic Highway, and it is located close to The Falls of Hills Creek, which I have photographed before.  (I was going to link to the blog post, but apparently I did not blog about it! I was last there on 6/23/14, with Holly.)  I decided that my next adventure definitely needed to be parking at the Falls, biking a 50+ mile loop that included the Parkway, and then photographing the Falls.  There has been much more rain this year than last year, so I knew the Falls would be more impressive than last time.

Holly and I at the lower falls

So I was going to do that on Tuesday.  But there was a smaller chance of rain for Monday than Tuesday, so as I was going to bed late on Sunday night, I changed my mind and decided to go on Monday.  I wished I had made the decision sooner so I could have prepared before I went to bed (and gone to bed earlier), but oh well.  Monday seemed like a better plan.

I got up at 6 on Monday morning so that I could eat a good breakfast and get on the road as early as possible.  The drive is about an hour long, and I knew the bike ride would take a long time.  I wanted to limit the amount of time I spent riding in the blazing midday heat.  I had to make a quick stop for gatorade and gas on my way out of town, but I was on the road out of town by 7:30.  I arrived at the Falls shortly before 8:45.  It started raining as soon as I got out of my car.  Of course.  It was not supposed to be raining.  I had just driven all the way up there, I couldn't just turn around and go back home.  On the other hand, 50 very mountainous miles in the cold rain was a very unappealing thought.  I spent the next ten or so minutes sitting in my car watching the rain go from lighter to harder to lighter to harder.  Then it seemed to stay on the lighter side, and I decided I needed to just go for it and hope that it was going to blow over soon.  I started my ride around 9.  Between the light rain falling, and the spray my bike created off the road, I got cold and wet pretty quick.  I had to be careful on the first long descent because wet roads and wheels are not a good combination.  6 miles into my ride, I reached Rt 150, the Parkway section of the Scenic Highway, and began the second of several long climbs.  There was an overlook at the top, but it was so foggy, I couldn't see anything but clouds.  The sun gradually came out, thankfully in time for me to get better views at some of the other overlooks.  On one of the descents, I got dive bombed by a bee.  And then almost immediately I got dive bombed by a second bee.  I'm pretty sure one of the stung hurt for a little while, and today it's itchy.  I can feel the small bump by my collarbone where it itches, but I can't really see anything.

By the time I reached the end of the Parkway and turned onto Rt 219 to loop back to my car, it was nice and hot out.  I was very glad that I had thought to put gatorade in one of my water bottles, and for the first time, I actually ate the power bar that I always stick in the pocket of my bike jersey.  It would have been a very bad day if I had not had that power bar.  The ride ended up being 55 miles with over 6300 ft of climbing.  It took me just under 4 hours to complete.  I was able to reach 40 mph on some of the descents, but it wasn't enough to make up for the vast amount of time I spent climbing at 6 or 7 mph.

photos from the ride
you can see in the photos on the left, the mountains are hidden behind the clouds

map and elevation profile of the ride

Once I finally arrived back at my car (at which point my neck was so cramped up I could barely turn my head, and I was desperate to be done...but hey, at least my back is still fine), I changed out of my wet bike clothes, strapped my lunch bag to my camera backpack, and headed down the path to the Falls.  I figured I could find a picnic table or bench somewhere to eat my lunch.  I ended up eating next to the upper falls, with the roaring of the falls as background music for my meal.  Then I continued to the middle and lower falls for more photos.  There were a lot of steps involved in getting down to the middle and lower falls...because a 55 mile bike ride wasn't enough torture for the day.  I had to go down and up a million steps too.  It was worth it, for the photos...of course.  

Nice, easy, paved path to the upper falls.

the upper falls

obligatory adventure selfie

and then there were stairs

the middle falls

this is my favorite shot from the day

the lower falls

And then I had to climb all the stairs to get back to my car.  It was tiring.  Then the drive home.  I arrived just in time to upload photos onto my computer before heading off to a 4:00 meeting.  And then after inhaling a quick dinner, I went out to ride my horse for the second time in two days.  I finally got to take a shower and relax around 8:30 PM.  A very long day, but also a very fun and successful one!

I captured this photo of the sunset on my way home from the barn.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Running and Biking

6 solid days of exercise this week, 3 runs, 3 rides.  That's the kind of exercise schedule I would like to have every week!  The runs are still leaning towards the shorter and slower side for the most part, but I am hopeful that distance and speed will come, especially if the pulmonologist helps me out with the asthma issues when I see him in early August.

This week:
M : run 6.5 
T : bike 21
W : bike 16.6
R : run 6.2
F : run 3.6
Sa : bike 65.2

run total : 16.3 miles
bike total : 102.9 miles

This week in running was the first time I ran 3 times in one week since the last week of April, and the first time I ran 6 or more miles at once since the middle of May.  I have been icing my foot after each run, and so far it seems to be going well.  Monday's run was slow, but not so much on purpose.  Since it was a struggle to keep up the pace, I purposely jogged on Thursday.  That ended up feeling even more miserable overall, although my lungs were happier.  After all that slowness, I was feeling a need for speed, so Friday I went out to the flattest neighborhood in town and did two, one mile sprints, around the loop.  I would say the sprints were somewhere around 90% effort, and my "recovery" in between them was somewhere around 75%, and about 3/10 mile.  So, not much of a recovery.  The second mile sprint was a lot harder than the first breathing-wise.  I was really struggling for oxygen by the time I finished it, but I didn't ease off the effort until I had reached the end of the mile.  The mile loop only has an elevation gain of 30ft.  I ran the first mile in 6:36 and the second in 6:52.

I kept my first two bike rides relatively short and easy this week, because Saturday's ride was the annual Wheels of Hope ride and I didn't want to burn out my bike muscles before my longest ride ever.  This ride last year was a mostly miserable experience thanks to lots of rain and my back not being even remotely strong enough for the 58 mile ride.  The course was different last year because of a bridge being washed out, but this year it was back to it's intended 65 mile course. 

I woke up to thunder on Saturday morning, which was not promising.  I had told myself that this year I would let myself wimp out if it was raining.  I checked the weather many times in the 2 hours between when I woke up and when the ride was supposed to start, and every time it had a different percentage chance of rain.  The ride was scheduled for 8, and at 7:40 it still wasn't raining, so I got ready and went out the door.  At 8, the ride was on, and we headed out hoping for the best.  I didn't know of anyone else riding the 65 mile, so I was on my own.  Then, about 10 miles in, two people I know passed me.  They were riding with a couple of other people, and we got a pace line going for the long stretch down into Alderson.  We ended up staying together for the whole ride.  I tended to pull away on the climbs, but since riding with a group is far preferable to riding alone for 65 miles, I always stopped to wait after the climbs.  We pace-lined most of the flats, which made them fly by easier.  We stopped at a rest stop around mile 36 for some gatorade and snacks.  We ended up finishing the ride in 4:46:14, with 3:46:10 of moving time.  7 miles longer than last year, but only 5 extra minutes of moving time.  And we climbed over 5900 ft! Thankfully, it only rained for a few minutes of the ride, and the sun came out for most of it.  It ended up being a gorgeous day!

Overall, I was very pleased with my ride.  I broke a bunch of my personal bests on Strava segments, and even stole first place on the leaderboard for once section of the 5 mile climb on Snake Run Rd.  My lower back did not give me any trouble at all, which was a huge plus.  My neck did cramp up pretty bad, and is still a bit sore, but this discomfort is far preferable to the back trouble I was plagued with last summer.  

Basil Smashed Peas on Pizza

I had a variety of ideas for dinner tonight.  I figured out pretty quickly that I was going to make baked chicken tenders, but it took me awhile longer to figure out what I was going to eat with them.  Did I want to make mac & cheese?  Did I want to make pizza?  Did I want to make some other kind of pasta dish?  If I made pizza, did I want the chicken tenders on the pizza, or next to it?  So many decisions...

I narrowed it down to pizza, so I pulled a hunk of dough out of the fridge to warm up while the chicken tenders were cooking.  (sliced b/s chicken breasts, coated with a mixture of garlic powder, italian bread crumbs, and corn meal)  I also had to come up with a vegetable to go with dinner. I had some leftover peas, and I remembered the Minty-Smash Peas that I made a few years ago that were pretty tasty.  I decided to make a variation of those.

I put about 1/2+ cup of peas into my food processor and sprinkled them with garlic powder.  Then I decided to use basil instead of mint.  I added a generous handful of fresh basil leaves to the processor, and added just a splash of olive oil.  When I blended it up, it seemed a bit too dry, so I added approximately a tablespoon of ranch dressing.

I was going to have the smashed peas next to my pizza, but then it occurred tome that I could use them as a pizza sauce of sorts.  So I did that instead.  I spread the peas out on my crust, topped them with a bit of sliced onion and two sliced mushrooms, added shredded colby jack cheese, and popped it in the oven.  (450 degrees, 20 minutes)

It was super delicious.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Creamy Basil Zucchini Salad

An actual food post!  I's been a very long time.  I just haven't been adventuring in the kitchen lately.  What I have been doing lately though, is craving cole slaw with my sandwich at lunch.  But I keep forgetting to buy cabbage.  I really wanted some kind of creamy cold salad with my lunch today, so I came up with this idea.  It was quite satisfying.

1 carrot, coarsely grated
3 inches of a medium zucchini, chopped small
1/2 avocado, chopped small
1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp mustard (I used Jack Daniels Mustard)
1 spoonful mayonnaise
garlic powder (to taste)

Mix everything together and enjoy next to the sandwich of your choice. 
This recipe makes approximately 2 servings.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

An Epic Adventure in which nothing went according to plan

...and the gps on my phone really, really, wanted me to total my car.  And possibly die.

I really, really, wish I had taken a break from freaking out just long enough to take photos of the insane road my gps tried to take me up.  But I was too busy trying to back down it without falling into a ditch or rolling over.  Even once I had made it safely to the bottom and managed to get myself turned around, there was no going back to take photos, I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible.  It didn't even occur to me until later that I should have taken photos.

Back to the beginning.  The photo-destinations I visited today have been on my list for awhile, but I was waiting for someone to go with me, as it was a lot of driving, and such trips are always more fun with a friend.  However, I am in my third week of no work (kids come back next week, then it will be back to babysitting for me!), and I only need so many days of sitting around the house before I really want something to do.  Something fun, to be specific.  There's always work I could do, but that wouldn't be the most enjoyable way to spend my free time.  Looking at my calendar for the week, and the weather, I decided that I would spend today adventuring.  The weather forecast said cloudy, but 0% chance of rain until mid afternoon, and the radar was clear.  (Tomorrow looked way better, but I have various appointments for my horse tomorrow because I am moving her to a new barn.  I'm sure there will be a post about that later.)

I was on the road at 8:50 AM.  It started raining at approximately 8:55.  I already had my bike on the car, all my bike and camera gear in the car, and I was on my way.  So I decided to take my chances and hope the rain wouldn't last.  The first 30 minutes or so were calm, then, on a narrow back road, I came upon stopped cars, and a police car parked diagonally across the road in front of them.  Turns out a car had gone over the cliff, they were in the process of a rescue, and we would have to turn around.  Detour 5ish miles back to Rt 60 to take it instead of the back road.  Still raining on and off.  More on than off.  Various slow-downs for construction.

The original plan was to go to Fayetteville, ride a 20 mile loop on my bike, take photos of the New River Gorge, then drive to Cathedral Falls and photograph that before returning home.  As I neared Rt 19 and the New River Gorge, it was still raining, and a bike ride was not very appealing.  I decided to change things around and go to Cathedral Falls first.  It was further than I thought it was, and I was starting to wonder if I had somehow missed it.  It was supposed to be right next to 60, and easy to find, but I was second-guessing.  So, while stopped for construction, I put it into my phone's GPS, which told me I hadn't passed it yet, but it was only 3 miles away.  (Hooray!)  The GPS took me another 2-3 miles, then told me to turn right onto Taylor Hill Rd.  All I could see to the right was a parking lot.  I took the following right, onto what actually looked like a road, but the GPS was adamant that I needed to turn around.  So I did.  And pulled into the parking lot that it was telling me was a road.  There appeared to be a very narrow road, that was a short/steep incline over some railroad tracks, then a hard right up a mountain.  My car scraped bottom getting over the tracks, but I made it, and barely made the turn up the mountain.  The road was barely wide enough for my car, and I was very skeptical as to how this was the "easy to find falls right off of Rt 60." After about 10 seconds, I came to a sign that said "Jeep road only, all other vehicles will be winched."  Now I was entering freak-out mode.  There was absolutely no possible way to turn around.  My preferred method of backing up is to look out the back window.  It was rather clouded up by rain.  I rolled down my windows and used a combination of the side mirrors and the back window to back myself down the road and back across the tracks, the whole time positive I was going land in a ditch or my brakes were going to fail and send me flying down the incline.  Somehow, I survived, and as far as I know my car is still in one piece.

I gave up on the idea of Cathedral Falls and decided to just head to Fayetteville.  A quarter mile down the road, I saw the falls on my left as I flew by them.  The sign said something about the Gauley River, nothing about the fact that there was a giant waterfall right there!  I found a spot to turn around, and this time made it to the falls.  It was still raining, so I had to juggle an umbrella with my camera, and pass on playing with the tripod, but I got a few photos.

Done at Cathedral Falls, I got back in my car and headed to Fayetteville.  I hadn't originally planned to stop at Hawk's Nest State Park on this trip, but I was really hungry and decided I may as well stop there on the way by, take some photos, and eat some lunch.  If it had turned out to be a long hike to the overlook I probably would have skipped it, but it turned out to be pretty short.  

The New River is a raging muddy mess after all the rain we've been getting!

Fed and mostly recovered from the terrifying-ness of my Cathedral Falls search, I got back on the road and headed to the Canyon Rim Visitor's Center.  It wasn't really raining anymore when I got there, so I decided to take my chances with a bike ride.  I had mapped out a route that would take me down into the gorge, across the river, and then climb back out the other side of the gorge, eventually ending up on Rt 19 which I could take over the New River Bridge and back to my car.  I had exported the route onto my garmin, so I pulled it up, expecting to be able to follow it.  It showed up as a thick purple line on a white screen, with no way to actually see the roads and no where I was going.  So I scrapped that plan.  I pulled up the route on my phone, and after a few wrong turns while trying to accustom myself to how it worked, I figured out how to follow it and set out on my way.  The course was outlined in red, and an arrow was following along the course as I moved along it.  Great.  Until suddenly the red line stopped.  I scrolled out on the map and discovered that I was not in fact on my planned course, but that somehow an extra line had been added, which I had been following.  The road was narrow and a mess of rocks and branches from recent storms.  There was no way I was backtracking.  It took me back out to Rt 19.  I scrapped my original plan, and decided to just wander.  So I took 19 across the bridge and wandered around Fayetteville for a bit.  15 miles in it started to rain again, and I wasn't too far from the bridge/Visitor's Center so I tended my ride.  

Once I had my bike stowed back on my car and my gear put away, I got my camera bag and umbrella and headed to the overlook.  

Done with taking photos, I put on dry clothes and headed home.  The sun came out sometime in the 1:30 drive.  And stayed out for the rest of the afternoon.  My luck.  It was supposed to be clear all morning and storm in the afternoon.  I got the opposite.  At least there weren't any thunderstorms while I was out and about!

As of right now, I am very grateful to have made it home in one piece, with nothing worse than some frayed nerves.  I will definitely be going back to these places on a day with better weather, to get some photos that are a little sharper, without the misty quality the rain lent to many of these.  And I'm glad that I now know exactly where Cathedral Falls is and I will not be trying to go up any more sketchy-looking roads.  Although I may have to park at the bottom of that one road and take photos of it next time I am in the area...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Back to the Mountains

Last week : 209.6 bike miles with 11,010 feet of climbing
This week : 101..9 bike miles with  10,164 feet of climbing
Saturday's ride alone had 4780 ft of climbing...
Yep, I'm back in the mountains.

This week 
T : bike 16.5
W : run 5.3
R : bike 33.6
F : run 5.3
Sa : bike 51.8
bike total : 101.9
run total : 10.6

It's been a good week of exercise.  It is ever so tempting to do a short ride or a jog today, but I've been asking a lot of my legs this week and I think they probably deserve a break.  They are a bit sore from getting back into running, and climbing mountains on a bike after 2 weeks away isn't so easy on them either!  My foot seems to be taking the running ok, I've been good about icing it afterwards, and sometimes it hurts later, but it hasn't been too bad, and it fees fine during the runs.  Happily, I have also been able to breathe a little easier during running, which seems to confirm my suspicions that the asthma trouble was primarily allergy related.  

Both long rides this week included some new climbs.  Thursday's new climb was one I've only ever gone down was tough crawling back up it but what doesn't kill me make me stronger!  The views on both rides were absolutely gorgeous, I lucked out with weather both times.  I had to stop and take pictures during Thursday's ride.  Saturday I opted not to stop, although I could have gotten some pretty awesome pictures then too.


(counter clock-wise)

Photos from Thursday

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Photos from Narragansett Bay 6/29/15 - 7/3/15

this one is from Waites Wharf in Newport

this one is unfocused chaos, but I find it appealing for some reason

I was lying on a rock basking in the sunshine when I heard footsteps.
Looked up and found a pair of squirrels out for a walk.

These two birds were entertaining.  
The white one kept puffing up its feathers and chasing the dark one.