There’s been a lot on my mind. A lot of subjects I have wanted to write about: The Forgotten Workout, Finding the time as a Parent, Zia Rides 24 hours of Enchanted Forest, A New Outlook; Supporters, and the Upcoming Race, Breckenridge 68.
So let’s just see what happens as I allow my fingers move across the keyboard.
The Forgotten Workout:
Ugh. Strength. Yes. Me. I know it’s hard to believe. I more frequently do “my straightening out ex’s” than I actually do strength. At age 30 for women, and 40 for men, it’s imperative that we get into the weight room to maintain, and improve strength. We may or may not need to resistance training for bone health, based on what our other workouts are. I know for me, I don’t like the way my muscles look unless I am doing strength, and yoga ex’s twice a week. Yet, it’s the forgotten workout. The one, I always give into for a little relaxation, the one I miss because I had 8 to 15 hours on the bike 1 to 3 hours of running, and 2 to 3 swim workouts in a week. My excuses, time, energy, and cardio. Big Race is coming up, duration on the bike is huge, the forgotten workout, strength. My arms, yuck. So yeah, it gets us all. It’s about balance. Fortunately for me, I am an avid mountain biker, so I don’t need to have too much concern about bone health.
For all you road cyclists out there, you better get your time in the gym, we see cases of osteopenia in men as early as age 30 in road cyclists.
An added bonus for strength workouts in the gym is 20-40 minutes based on your gender, will increase your testosterone production, actually aiding in recovery.
Finding the Time as a Parent:
It can be very difficult. It may be a little easier now, or is it? Just different. I have always made the time, it’s a necessity. Getting my daily exercise is not something I have ever taken lightly. Recently as I have found my children getting older, I find myself reminiscing about the ‘good ol’ days’. No matter the age of my monkeys, I have always exercised, always found a way. And from the outside, I see many women struggle with this, and sometimes men. Finding the balance, and how to do it. Yes, it’s true I’m an exercise physiologist, so my health and fitness have always been at the top of the list. And it should be at the top of your list too because, your health is your wealth. It’s also important to understand, I speak from experience, my monkeys being 15 months apart.
When I was pregnant, I rode, until my knees went outside my belly, limited my off road to riding only the stuff I wouldn’t fall on. I swam, and I ran, which gradually became hiking. I still own M2’s swimsuit, I use it for a drag suit, that suit hangs down below my knees. I love that suit! It has served me well over the last 15 years.
Once M1 was born, I pulled a Burley behind the bike, ran with a Bob jogger, with suspension, and repeated above step until M2 was born. M1 was so young I could put her poolside during Master swim, in her car seat. Once M2 was born, I repeated the aforementioned step with Burley, and double jogger. It is an important trick of the trade to remember to fill the joggers and bike trailers with lots and lots of toys, snacks, and drinks. This will help with hours of entertainment, timing around nap time will get you some extra time too. This was always an interesting feat, 2 kids, and 2 dogs…getting ‘er done; however I could. Sometimes with tears, and frustrations, however, both would have been greater without movement.
The monkeys’ Dad always traveled quite a bit. At times being gone as long as 14 days. So frequently I was single parent. When both girls were young, I worked at the gym, by coaching Spin Class, and was able to do my swims, weights, and ride the Spin Bike while the girls were in child care. Many gyms offer free or very low priced in house childcare. What a wonderful way to get your workout in. Yes, there were times, I got called out of the pool, once that I remembered, but 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes, and this is always important to remember. Their Dad and I did switch off on the weekends, I rode long one day, he rode long the next. All the other days, I could either get my workouts done with the girls, or utilizing childcare at the local gym.
I do remember also using Baby Einstein, Tellie Tubbies, and Elmo to get some workouts in at home. An amazing thing happens when you don’t allow your kids to watch TV. You can then, put them in front of the tube, and you can get an excellent workout in, as they are glued to the screen like it’s something they’ve never seen before.
So now the monkeys are getting older. Toddler to Kindergarten. Their Dad is still travelling, I still need to figure out how to get my workouts in. They have not quite grown out of their wheeled devices. They are enrolled in Dance, Swimming, and the like. I drop the kids off, so they can get their exercise, and I can go get my exercise. Usually a run, or a quick bike ride. Of course, sometimes I would watch, on an “off” day. But why would I prioritize their health over my health? Why would we sacrifice so much of our own lives for our children? They want us to be happy and healthy. They want us to be the example for them, and show them the way. Through our actions. Our health is our wealth. Still using the local pool with child care, occasionally swimming masters when someone was around, riding long one day on the weekend, in trade, and riding indoors when needed.
Elementary school, the progression continues. They have totally outgrown any of their wheeled devices, we had a trail-a-bike, that was never used, because the kids were too close together in age to really enjoy it. They continued on with Karate, Swimming, Soccer, etc, I would sometimes run while they were at Karate, I eventually took up Karate with them, to be closer to them, and learn self defense. When they were swimming I asked permission to use the pool when the kids were swimming, it was never a problem. The other kids, and parents looked on, as I swam my laps during their swim team practices. I occasionally ran when I had to. As for soccer practice, I would drop them, off and usually go ride. This teaches our kids, you go exercise, I go exercise. It’s win win. Otherwise we’re teaching our kids, you exercise I sit here and watch. I don’t want my girls to grow up like that. I want them to be active, whatever that means to them.
I also adjusted; yes, this is an unfair advantage, my work schedule to accommodate working out while they were in school. There were also many mornings I got up at 3 am, and ran .3 of a mile loops around the house for 10 miles while they were sleeping. You have to be able to make it work. Motivation helps, but it takes discipline. I did many hours on the rollers, and trainers. I made it work. You can make it work to. Once you make the decision to.
The monkeys are older now, they are in middle school. They are old enough to watch TV and be on their screens for an hour our two while I am near by, outside exercising. I started with small increments, and they built trust. Believe it or not, monkeys like their independence, they like to be big kids at home, with no mommy or daddy. This was in addition to the above paragraph. Getting up at 3 am for work, or working out is tough. But your monkeys go to bed between 8 and 9, so why don’t you? It’s a great way to balance, and where there’s a will, there’s a way.
High school. Yes, complete and utter “freedom” especially when they start to drive. I exercise while they’re at school, and work when they’re at home doing homework. Not to mention being on at night, when my clients are doing their workouts, makes it easier for me to see their data, and communicate with them. High School even affords me the luxury of being The Ninja. If I have to be “The Ninja” for a couple of years, that’s no big deal. Ninja means, I drive for 6 to 10 hours, race for 6 to 12 hours, and drive for 6 to 10 hours. I’m getting ready to Ninja to Breck this weekend, not because of the monkeys, but because of work, money, and BoyZ (dogs) Ninja’ing is hard, but it’s doable. Especially when you get to reap the rewards of doing what you love, and being with your friends. Being the Ninja generally requires a serious ass kissing when I get back, and me NOT complaining about what a sty the house is. Got to pick your battles. Their Dad got mad at me, the 1st time I decided to do the Ninja, 3.5 hours away, 7 hour mountain bike race, 3.5 hour drive. Plus awards. It took me a year to finally decide to do it. And what it came down to was this: The monkeys are going to be living on their own in 2 years, if I can’t trust them for 24 hours, to take care of themselves, then, how can I trust them to take care of themselves in 2 years 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of their lives?
It’s true. We can not be helicopter parents, always hovering. I probably micromanage more than I should. But less than many. I have to be able to trust them to make good decisions. And fortunately for me, they do. And I have spies all over the place. So there’s no getting away with anything. Plus, one is too busy getting straight A’s to have the time to look up from the books. One’s a hard ass on the other one. And they’re both tattle tales. And they enjoy not having Mom around to nag them. I’ve got to let them grow up.
So keeping active is a lot easier, but it creates it’s own challenges. I’ve been a completely single parent for 2 years… and now again, the last 2 years. So these strategies work, even if you are a single parent.
So yes, I am a single parent of 2 teenagers, and I’m able to race bikes, and train, and live my life to the most, that I can…with 2 teenagers.
Zia Rides 24 hours of Enchanted Forest:
Oooo.. The good stuff.
They say a picture tells a thousand words, and pictures do. 24 Hours of Enchanted Forest delivered, as it always does. First off Zia Rides puts on a fantastic event. The last few years I have done it, it has been super dusty. For all racing I now wear a Buff. A scarf that can be used for many things As pictured here, to keep the dust out of my nose, throat, and lungs. When you’re out there for 24 hours, or even 3, 6, or 12 it can make or break your performance, and make your post race cough last for days. You would be amazed, even using a cover, can still lead to more crud in your orifices than you could ever imagine.
That’s one of the reasons I love my Rudy Project sunglasses so much. They’re big ( I wear them bigger than my face for a reason) and they have wings, which keep the sun from coming in the sides, and also keeps more of the dirt out.
This race was HOT. The plan was to race 10 hours on Saturday, and 5 hours on Sunday. To podium on SS, and have a good time while I was doing it.
3rd lap it hit. The talk around Bike Town was it was 97 degrees. I managed to get Heat Exhaustion, I wanted to lay down and take a nap, I kept going. This hurt me. It caused the next two laps to be very slow, or I thought they were very slow, and it caused me to get off the bike earlier than I wanted. I still managed 9.5 hours. I could have gotten more, if I had just taken that nap in the shade. Duly noted.
I am always so excited to see Curtis Gillen, of Gillen Photography, out there! He is such a nice guy, and takes such good pictures. I don’t wear chemical sunscreens (none of us should, they’re linked to skin cancer, and I won’t slather anything on my skin that has a benze- in it) I, however, am a leg dirt magnet. And it’s so funny, if I had a lap for every time someone told me I had dirty legs, I would have won Overall!
I HAD to stop and ask Curtis to take a picture of my dirty legs.
Of course, he obliged.
I did have some trouble 8th lap, tore off part of my under carriage. This made for a super painful next 2 hours, until I overcame that sensation. Who has done that seriously, anyone?
This is 1st thing in the morning. It is by far my favorite picture of all time. It is one of many words. And unlike many of my photos, captures the artwork and logos of all my sponsors. I seriously couldn’t do it without them. They are my life line. Thank you, Trail LED, eNRG Performance, Maxxis Tires, Terra Firma Racing, Madduck Cyclery, ESI grips, Fit to Win Cycling, Rudy Project, 2XU, and Salt Stick. I am so grateful for all of your support.
Curtis and I have great rapport on the bike, and him behind the lens. It’s very difficult to get pictures of me without food in my mouth. This is my 2nd AM lap. I am having another hard boiled egg. I call this one, SEE food. I/We couldn’t resist showing how I eat on the bike. I eat on the bike, like I eat in daily life. The best part of this lap was working through the “cud” of egg, and having a little tasty treat of banana in there. That made my entire day!
HugZ to Seth, owner, and master manipulator of good times. 3rd Place Hug.
I did get my podium. Could I have done better? Yes. Could I have been smarter? Yes. Could I have gotten 2nd Place? Easily. Could I have gotten 1st? If I had wanted to be competitive. Did I learn? YES! It was such a fantastic time. I could have turned Heat Exhaustion until 4 more hours later, if I had only gotten in the shade, and taken that nap. Lesson learned.
New Outlook Supporters:
I had a new experience this summer. One I learned so much from. One that opened my eyes to many a things. I was support for Tim Nipper on Tour Divide. Of course, I knew of Tour Divide. I was pretty good friends with Ray Porter, was part of his 1st failure on SS, I remember having conversations with him about how to be successful. We talked, he listened. Long hours on the road on his Tour Bike, with gears. I’ve never had to be support before. I have never been supported in my athletic endeavors. Being “present” and being supported are two different things. Support, is being there, being fully present for the person engaging in an athletic endeavor; Bottle hand-ups, Food, asking, “anything you need?”. I’ve done sag a few times, not quite the same. Support comes from making the other persons event, your event. It’s about having equal partnership in the outcome. Being vested. Tour Divide is a little bit different than some other events; Leadville, a 12 hour race or even a 24 hour race. Learning how to support across the miles: not being able to hand him water bottles, feed him Rib Eyes and Bacon, or knowing how he is truly doing; not being able to see his face, and read the truth in his eyes. It’s hard because I wanted to fix everything, make it all better, and I was not even able to give him a supportive hug or kiss. It’s about watching “The Dot” and waiting, waiting to hear from him. It’s about being on for your partner 24/7 in this case for 23 days. It’s about worrying if I’m going to say the wrong thing, at the wrong time. Support is about making sure you provide that person with what you think they need, and asking them, what they do need, and delivering 100%.
I have seen this in many of my athletes’ wives, not so much, personally in husbands, because I haven’t seen that dynamic, although I do know it exists. I have seen a glimpse of it in my own endeavors recently. Whatever they have been, even the support to finish writing tonight.
I never realized the amount of time and dedication it takes from loved ones. The examples I am thinking of are dear, dear friends of mine, he has raced many races, and she has been there for every single one, working logistics, giving bottles, encouragement, love. I always thought this was an amazing example, a dedication, a love so deep.
I have a grown a new appreciation for those who support us in our endeavors. Our goals, those things we like to do that make us happy, make us better people.
I get it now. And for every loved one who has supported their partner in races, and goals, I salute you. You are amazing. Sitting on the sidelines, waiting for your loved one, wondering how they’re doing out there, is hard work. I appreciate you, and all that you do, to allow your partners to fulfill their ambitions. Thank you, for supporting all the athletes I have coached. Thanks for being there, cheering them on. Thank you for allowing me a new experience. A new recognition in your sacrifice so your partner could do what they love. You truly are the greatest.
Upcoming Race; Breckenridge 68
Breck 100 has been on my radar for yearZ now. Saturday it comes to fruition. I had a dear friend of mine, strong as the Texas Longhorn sign up for the 100, and only complete 68. I decided, baby steps. I had planned to do the 2 year plan, and then, next year roll into the 100, and the 3 day Epic, and then, the following year, roll into the Full Epic. Goals are funny that way, always making us better people, striving to be the best person we can be. Being our Ultimate Potential. The 100 has a pretty high rate of non completion because the degree of difficulty. That’s another good reason to do the 2 year plan.
There’s only a few women who finish every year, it is my goal to be one of them. Next year, will be a serious year. In many ways I am excited about it. About being serious again. As far as Science and Coaching; every 3 to 5 years of hard racing you need to have an easy year. I have raced the last 2 years, I have made them my easy years, more about fun. More about allowing myself the freedom to move, and to have fun, and to keep the passion alive. As well as being a 2 year period of personal growth and renewal, and moves, many, many moves. 🙂
I’m skeered about Saturday. This will be the hardest race I have ever attempted. It’s been a long time since I have felt this way. Breck is the real deal. I did 25 of the Firecracker 50 last year. I have not been able to hit every race, that was on my list this year. Please refer to first topic; pick your battles, or in this case, races. I had a monkey home for the summer, not usually the case, a monkey that didn’t drive, so I did have some commitment that kept me from doing my “Dream List of 2017”
I remember this feeling. The Athlete, the nerves, the wondering what this race will bring. I haven’t been as compulsive as I usually am; checking the starting list, googling names, watching weather pattern for 2 weeks. I’m guessing that it’s probably because I know this is a training race. I knew it was 68 Miles and 8000 feet of climbing; I did not break down the 8000 feet until this past weekend. I know what to expect; I had seen a snap shot of the riding in Breck last summer, I have heard stories of the 100, I have coached athletes to Breck Epic. I know what’s there, and what to expect. I know that Breck has my strengths, and my weakness. I know what this will bring me, and yes, it skeers me. This feeling of being skeered, this feeling of being an Athlete again, this feeling, of knowing I am about to kick my own ass. This feeling of wanting to be the best version of myself, and compete with every ounce of my being. This is what it truly feels like to be alive. Living the Dream.
Maybe it’s a faux pas to post from one of my idols.
It’s where I got my start. Leadville owns a piece of my heart. I was not able to do the Marathon, or Half Marathon as planned, so this will be the 1st year, I have not been, in probably over a decade. I have big goals in Pb. I have lifetime goals in Pb.
I miss Ken and MeriLee so much. I wish I could give them a hug, like you wouldn’t believe. Maybe I’ll just go visit them. If the monkeys weren’t coming back in a week. This summer… this summer has been different. I look forward to the future, and all that it holds for me.
I look forward to riding my bike with a number on the handlebars; seeing new things, seeing things I have only heard about. Experiencing something new, something I have never experienced before.
I look forward to having my ass handed to me on a silver platter, and hopefully laying down in the dirt on the other side of the finish line, and yes, crying in all the goodness.
Peace, Love, and Great Adventures,