Sunday, October 25, 2015

The brief return of shorts weather

Last Sunday, I decided that my break from early morning exercise should be over, so I planned to get up early Monday and do a sweatfest ride.  I was hoping to get back into my early morning routine, because it was working really well for me, until I quit getting up so early.  I managed to get up Monday morning and do my trainer ride, but I gave up again after that.  I've been consistently getting up around 5, but 4 is just too early right now.  It's been too hard for me to get to bed by 8.  Also, it seems slightly silly to be getting up super early to exercise at 4:30 AM when the weather is gorgeous and warm-ish in the afternoons.

This week : 
M : 30 min trainer (7.3)
4.8 mile Pub Run
T : bike 19.7
W : sprint bike 13.4 (19.4 mph, 886 ft)
F : bike 25.3 w/Byron
Sa : bike 13.3 (race photographer)

total bike miles : 79.3

When I first started biking, I felt like it did nothing for my lungs.  They ended up getting weaker because biking was not keeping them in shape like running did.  Now my lungs have gotten so weak, biking is hard.  I have been getting faster on the bike, and now my legs are strong enough for me to ride pretty hard, but I keep running out of oxygen and having to slow down.  I'm hoping that since biking is now making my lungs work harder, it will also help me start to strengthen them back up...

Run United 13.1 & Zombie 5k 2015

3rd annual Lewisburg half marathon and Zombie 5k.  And as of now, the last year of the Lewisburg half marathon.  Plans are to change it to a 10k next year.  It's too bad that I didn't get to run it this year, but at least I got to be a part of it through photographs!  And I got my exercise sprinting around on my bike trying to get as many photos as possible of both the half marathon and the 5k.

The half marathon started at 9:00.  I got photos of the start, then I rode to the two mile mark, and got photos of everyone as they passed that point.  After the last runner passed me, I had just enough time to get back downtown and into the first cemetery on the 5k course to capture the 5k runners as they began their race.  Then, I caught most of the 5k runners around their halfway point before sprinting my bike back out Fairview Rd to get the half marathoners again.  I had to jump off the bike and whip my camera out of my backpack a few times when I came upon the front runners.  But I eventually made it out to the turn-around spot where some teachers and students from my school had a water table.  I stayed there until the last runner passed, and then I rode back to town.  I took Rt 219 back to town instead of Fairview because it's shorter and flatter.  It also has much heavier traffic, but I decided it was worth it because I was tired from sprinting out Fairview and didn't feel like working too hard to get back to town.

Half Marathon

Zombie 5k

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Winter is Coming

I was pretty lazy for the first half of the week.  I was tired and busy with long hours in my classroom, and decided not to force myself to make time for exercise.  I did manage to bike enough at the end of the week to at least get my 3 hours of bike time in though.  And I ended up riding my horse 3 times this week, which is a lot more than just my usual Sunday trail ride!

The Pub Run this year had the biggest group so far, there were 7 of us plus a dog!  We actually got to break into two groups.  I ran with the faster group, and we ended up doing 3 loops instead of 2.  We were kind of hoping we would lap the slower group, but it didn't happen.

This week :
M : Pub Run 4.8 miles @ 7:42 pace
R : Bike 21.2 miles @17.3 mph, 1611 ft
Sa : Bike 27.3 miles w/Mark @16.1 mph, 2251 ft
Su : Bike 23.3 miles w/Dan & Todd @15 mph, 2516 ft

total bike miles : 71.8

Both weekend bike rides were pretty cold, with Saturday's in the mid 30s and Sunday's even colder.  But, I layered up with some of my warmer running clothes, and tried out my new bike shoe covers, which aren't very thick, but they are waterproof  and helped block the wind.  And I think they helped keep some of the heat in.  I also got to try out my new warmer bike gloves this weekend.  They are really stiff which makes it hard to drink without stopping the bike, and it is hard to grab the brakes from the drops, but as long as I stay in the hoods when I need to brake they are fine.  And they did keep my fingers warm enough, which is awesome, of course.  Especially given my history of trouble keeping my hands warm!

Bike/Photo Adventure #4

I woke up at 5 AM on Saturday morning.  The same time I have been getting up all week.  Saturday should have been my day to sleep in, but I had this photo adventure planned.  And it involved meeting someone at 9 for a bike ride.  Last time I did the bike ride first and then took photos, the light was awful with the sun too high overhead. So this time I figured I had better do the photos first.  And besides, with early morning photos, you get the chance of also capturing the fog rising.

Falling Spring Falls is actually only about 40 minutes away from Lewisburg.  Yet somehow, I had no idea it existed until less than a year ago.  And I didn't get around to visiting it until yesterday.  Better late than never!  My luck, Friday night was the first frost of the year.  It was in the high 20s when I woke up Saturday morning, and there was a good layer of frost on my car when I left home around 6:20.  I was treated to a great sunrise as I was driving east towards Covington, VA.  The color started around 6:40 AM with streaks of pink and purple.  It was tempting to pull over and take photos, but it was still so dark out, it would have required setting up the tripod, and it seemed like too much work for the side of a highway.  So I just drove along and enjoyed the view as the sky turned various shades of pink and purple for a solid 20 minutes.  Then the sky went gray for awhile.  Pink streaks appeared again briefly sometime closer to 7:20.  I arrived at the Falls shortly before 7:30, and snapped some photos from the overlook.

Once I was done taking photos from the overlook, I hopped the fence and took the well-worn dirt path over and around boulders until I was a bit more than halfway down the hill.  I didn't go all the way down to the Falls, mostly because of time pressure.  I want to go back in the summer and get up close when I won't mind getting a little wet.  

As I was headed back to my car, I noticed another path that looked like it headed towards the top of the Falls.  Curiosity got the best of me, and even though I was pressed for time to meet someone for a bike ride, I had to take the path.  I'm glad I did.  

Once I was done taking photos, I headed back down the road to Covington, where I met up with someone who took me on a gorgeous ride around the area.  We did a few good climbs, and saw lots of gorgeous views.  Around 19 miles, we split off.  I headed 6-7 miles back to Covington, and he continued on for a 60 mile ride.  The whole ride was cold and windy, but it was tolerable with company.  As soon as I split off on my own, I ended up going into the wind the whole rest of the way.  Fighting that wind was harder than the climbs we had done earlier.  It was brutal, but I eventually made it back to my car.  

Want to see even more photos?  
Visit GMcD Photography, where photos are available 
for purchase as prints and digital downloads. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

WVSOM All for One 5k

The second best thing to experiencing the adrenaline rush of race day firsthand, is to document others' joy as they experience the love of the run.

Hanging Rock in the Clouds

Holly and I had this great idea where we were going to get up ridiculously early on a Saturday morning, drive the 45+ minutes to Monroe County, hike a mile up a mountain, and catch a sunrise and fog rising out of the valley from the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory.  This was an awesome idea for really cool photos.  But sadly, the weather did not cooperate.  It was rainy Friday night, but we decided to take our chances anyway, because it's not exactly easy to schedule such a trip, and we knew if we didn't make it this weekend, it wouldn't happen.  So we stuck with our plan and headed out at 6 AM on Saturday even though it was really cloudy and slightly rainy.  We didn't quite make it to the top of the mountain before sunrise, but it didn't matter because there was no sun.  We saw fog in the valleys during our drive, but the top of the mountain was so high up in the clouds, we couldn't see down into the valleys.  So mostly, the trip was a bust.  I got a few ok photos, but nothing too spectacular.  And nothing like what I had been hoping for. And then it started raining and we had to hike back down the mountain in a cold miserable rain.  No fun at all.  I doubt the weather will cooperate for a fog-rising sunrise again this year, but maybe next year I will be able to try again on a perfect-conditions day.

Biking like there's no tomorrow

I got new orthotics on Monday.  Now the orthotics for both feet are molded to take pressure off what are apparently "prominent metatarsals."  Maybe my feet are just too bony.  Pretty sure there's not much I can do about that.  Except wear orthotics or expensive shoes.  Anyway, I did the Pub Run on Monday and my foot felt fine.  That's not really saying much, since it's a short and slow jog, but still, no pain is good.  And then, despite the fact that I've been telling myself and others that if I started running again, I would definitely ease into it...I didn't really ease into it.  I went for a run on Wednesday afternoon.  I did start out easy...I did basically the same loop as the Monday Pub Rns, but backwards, to change it up.  I started out at what felt like a nice easy pace to both my legs and my lungs.  The first mile was a 7:06 pace, but it felt  easy, and that's what matters, right?  After the first mile, it started requiring effort to hold that pace as my lungs started dying.  But my legs felt amazing, and were begging for more.  So I worked to hold the pace.  I started feeling discomfort in my foot.  I decided that foot pain meant I probably needed to take more time off, but since I was already out there, I might as well enjoy the run while I could.  So I did.  I worked to keep up the pace for the rest of the 3.1 mile run.  I finished the 5k in 21:57.  And I swear that the joy of the run was worth every second of discomfort or pain in my foot.

This week : 
M : bike 21.4 (17.6 mph/1713 ft), jog 3.2
T : bike 23.1 (16.7 mph/2290 ft)
W : run 3.1 (7:05 pace)
F : bike 26 (18.5 mph/1844 ft)
Su : bike 2.9 (photographing a 5k)
bike 23.4 (17.5 mph/2211 ft)

total bike miles : 97.1

I had some really good rides on the bike this week.  Because the gear sizes are different on this bike than my other bike, climbing was a lot harder at first.  The bike is a machine when you give it the right amount of power, but it took some getting used to and adjusting my riding before I could give it an adequate amount of power.  I think my time on the trainer helped me get stronger faster, and now the new bike is a beast.  Now that I have adjusted to it and found the power I need, it takes what I give it and we fly.  I am riding faster than I used to, and powering up the climbs like I own them.  I am loving this bike!  

I used the bike to get myself around a 5k course to take photos 
of the runners in a few different spots this morning.  

In other news, my asthma has been worse than ever for the last 2 or 3 days.  I needed to use my inhaler just to go about my day this morning.  I am not happy about this.  I'm also not happy about the fact that in a few more weeks my health insurance cost is going to more than double if I can't somehow find a different and better plan.  And the odds of me being able to find an affordable plan are slim to none.  As of now, I am leaning towards discontinuing my new asthma drug that seems to be making me worse instead of better, and going back to just using the albuterol inhaler as needed, and save new drug experiments for the magical day when I'm not getting screwed by my health insurance.  I guess if I'm not running races I don't really need my lungs to be at super-human capacity anyway.  Or normal-human capacity.  I just need to be able to go about a normal day, and I was able to do that before I went to the pulmonologist.  If I can't breathe when I exercise too hard, I can always exercise slightly less hard I suppose.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monsoon Week

So much rain.  I miss exercising outside every day.  Thankfully I made it outside twice this week, but the second time it was rather cold for biking and I did get rained on for the last two miles.  Slightly miserable.  Other than the cold and wet, it was an awesome ride though!

This Week :

M : trainer intervals 35 min/8.9 miles (5x 2 min hard, 3 min easy)
T : trainer easy 45 min/10.3 miles
W : 21.1 miles w/Stu, 16.9 mph, sprinted climbs
F : trainer speed 45 min/12.5 miles (16+ mph except for short warm up and cooldown)
Sa : 19.7 miles, 19.1 mph (3x Houfnagle Rd South sprints)

total miles : 72.8

Wednesday's ride with Stu was great.  We lucked out with a sunny and gorgeous day in the middle of all the rain we've been getting.  We had a good time racing the Strava segments, and I got some nice PRs on two of them.  My lungs struggled a lot, and it got harder to catch my breath after each sprint, but I managed ok.  My follow-up appointment with the pulmonologist is a month from tomorrow.  I feel like my asthma has been getting worse instead of better.  I might call and try to move the appointment up.  

On Saturday, I didn't want to venture out to far since the radar wasn't very promising looking, so I did three laps around Old Powell/Houfnagle (roughly 6.7 miles around).  Houfnagle is flat/lightly rolling, so it's as good a place as any around here to practice sprinting.  Plus, the wind was at my back on that road in the direction I was going, so I got some good PRs.  The first time down I took 40 seconds off my previous record, which has been untouched for a little over a year.  All three runs were faster than than last year's time even though I felt completely dead on the third lap.  Most likely the wind had something to do with me being fast even while dead!  

I haven't run for two weeks.  My foot hasn't bothered me at all, but it's always hard to tell how it is without actually running.  I did go see an orthopedic surgeon on Monday.  X-rays didn't show anything, but I didn't expect them to.  I got a Rx for new orthotics, then went to the PT place and found out that I could have shown up at any time to make an appt to get my current ones re-done.  I wish I had known that months ago...if I had gotten them reworked for this foot months ago, it might not even be a problem anymore.  Oh well.  I am going in tomorrow for the orthotics.  Not sure if I will actually get my current ones reworked, or just pay for new ones.  I don't think they are supposed to last much more than a year, and I've had the current ones for longer than that.  I'm going to ask the PT if it would be better to just get new ones.  

fall colors today


more fall colors