Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Learning Journey

By not committing to racing, I now have a lot of time on my hands now. Well, that's not really the case. I seem to fill my free time as soon as I get it; but I'm diversifying my activities.

For instance, for the past few weeks I've been watching T-E-L-E-V-I-S-I-O-N. It's a rectangular box (panel) in my living room that emits images and sounds. One particular show (later made in to a movie) is called Avatar (The Last Airbender). I'm hooked on people's ability to "bend" water, fire, earth, and air. More fascinating, though, is Appa - the Flying Bison. I want one.

On the exercise front, things are changing too. I can't tell you the last time I rode my bicycle. It's so strange but liberating to not be consumed with a training plan, heart rate zones, and power zones. Instead, I've been jogging--quite a bit.

During my weekly visits to my grandparents' house, I run a 5-mile loop through Amish country. I don't understand how clothes get dry while hanging on a clothes line under cloudy skies in 17 degrees. Also, I learned that Amish people/businesses order a LOT of stuff as I was passed by the same UPS truck 7 times as it delivered to houses along the path I was taking. Granted, I grew up there; perhaps I didn't notice this stuff before? Nevertheless, the Amish community is getting into Solar energy; I think we could learn much from the way they harness and utilize the sun's rays.

Last week I started a swim class and overcame my fear of submerging my head and successfully performed controlled exhales underwater. While I could get around the water for a number of years, I have the most ungraceful way of kicking and moving my arms to generate movement--all with my head out of the water. I have a feeling I'm going to be a SWIMMER!!!! And I'm probably the only one in the world that likes indoor pools; the sunburns I got as a kid kept me away from many outdoor pools.

So, this series of events can mean only one thing: XTERRA. My new goal for this year. I'm going to try an off-road triathlon. There are two opportunities in Indiana, and I already know the mountain bike courses as they are on the racing series I've done the past 4 years. The layout is about a .5 mile swim, 10-13 mile mountain bike, and 4-5 mile trail run. Of course biking is my biggest strength; I'll have to really work in the pool to get ready. I'm STOKED about this new adventure!

Last year was an incredibly successfuly year for me racing. While I didn't win many races, I did win confidence, knowledge, and fitness. I learned so much about myself and what I can do. My only regret is taking 35 years to figure it out. May my next 35 be as fruitful!

And lastly, I have to mention the new car. I bought a 2011 Subaru Outback and love it. I hope we get many miles together through many adventures. I thought a pic of it in my driveway would be boring, so here are a couple from the World Wide Web.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mr. Wonderful and Projects

I complain sometimes about how long it takes Mr. Wonderful to complete a project. However, this week, he out did himself. With a sudden cold snap, Doc Breeden needed a warm place to stay while we work. After buying an electric heating pad, Jason decided to build a dog house.

And how awesome is this custom, insulated doghouse?!?!?!?

Doc seems to love it; it only took 90 seconds of coaxing with some chicken to get him to appreciate the labor endured and $$ spent. Or was it the 9 degrees that had him convinced?

Later in the week, I received my new Ikea drying racks in the mail. If you're like me, you have tons of clothes (especially workout clothes) that don't go in the dryer. These require "air dry" and my cheap, collapsible wooden Wal-mart rack finally broke. Eager to try these out, I pleaded with Mr. Wonderful to help me hang them--just in time to get my favorite tights dry for a weekend run!

Again, how awesome are these?
(or how lame am I for loving something like this?)

THANK YOU, MR. WONDERFUL!!!! Love, Ange & Doc.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Testing something

Just putting up some pics to test something.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blog Less Do More

"Blog Less Do More"

This was a bumper sticker quoted to me over a year ago. The question to myself now is, "What shall I do?" I'm pretty certain training for mountain bike racing has halted and I won't be committing myself to racing during the 2011 season for multiple reasons. While I enjoyed tremendous personal success during 2010, I'm not ready to make that level of commitment for the next year. Additionally, I would have to learn to train differently than this past year--another learning curve!

But back to the original question, "What shall I do?" In this new world of discovery, I have taken a giant rest break to ponder the possibilities. The current focus is Doc. Mr. Wonderful and I adopted a belgian malinois from the local shelter (see previous post); not recognizing the amount of time and energy this little guy required, we jumped in to the paperwork happy to have a canine in the household. But this one is far different from Maximus Breeden's temperament. You'd think we would have done a little more research, but Noooo....

In my quest to now keep from gaining 600 pounds and continuing to eat as much ice cream as I want, I've taken up jogging. Not only can I do it from my house, on a trail, in less time as cycling, I can take my new, ever-abundant-energy-dog, Doc. He loves our time together! Granted, he's better at sprinting; though he doesn't seem to tire even after 6 trail miles full of stimulation.

As I ponder my question, I'm dabbing into behavior modification techniques, jogging, and general laziness as my next obsessions. These bring me to new websites, new blogs, and go figure---more ways to spend $$ for gear!!! Perhaps something will strike me as much as cycling did; only time will tell. Or perhaps I'll become bored and jump right in to pedaling again. Please don't get confused--I'll always ride my bike; it's a tremendous feeling and exercise. I just may not ride fast.

In the mean time, I might learn from donkeys or find what I believe in the same way Jon Katz has.

As always...blog pics.

Here's Doc on the Dam of Yellowwood Lake

Here he is showing off his water pack!

Helping clear branches from a downed tree...

And going the wrong way with his "help"

Socialization day with Jake...

Enjoying the soft pine needles.

I like this section of the forest that marks the trees...I should really study up on some of these.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2nd Annual DCSSP&IC Ride

YAY!!!!! Thurston and Mom headed up another great ride around Washington, IN affectionately known as the DCSSP&IC (Daviess County Slow Spokes Pizza & Ice Cream) ride. Guess which part I named????

Mapping a 33-mile route, setting up a SAG stop, and bringing nice weather, these two also ensured we had a fun day. We had only 8 participants this year, including a couple fairly new riders. Lori & Penny did AWESOME on their first semi-organized ride. In fact, Lori's longest ride of the year had been 10 miles; when the day was done, her odometer read 27! Phenomenal.

There were some ups and downs--not only the hills, but the wind! Mr. Wonderful was competing in a sailboat race, so he welcomed it. We, however, were not so excited about the hindrance. But the sun was shining and the temperature was darn near perfect around 75 degrees. I have to admit my legs are a little sore b/c I haven't been riding much. And the 6-mile jog at Paynetown around Lake Monroe the same morning probably didn't help my performance on the DCSSP&IC ride.

Of course the pizza at Bobe's afterwards made it all worthwhile. And since we didn't have ice cream (as we were supposed to) I made up for it on Sunday by eating half a pint. The other half is still beckoning me.....

Some of you recognize this guy, Mike P, with his sweetie.

Story time with Thurston...

Meet my mother, everyone.

Starting the ride...

The girls in the group: Me, Mom, Penny, & Lori

The illustrious Dan Henrys

Our bikes at the SAG...or are we running away from the
atrocious GPC smell (corn ethanol plant?)

Helmetless Bernie decides to race one of the 109523958193 tractors we saw on the ride. It's harvest time, folks!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Doc and life

My life has changed a heckuva lot more than I thought it would with the new dog, Doc. He's a handful. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning, the canine can't seem to sleep longer than 5.5 hours. UGH. This only confirms my choice to not have kids.

But he's such a COOL dog. I've been hiking with him every weekend and play incessantly during the week. He's adjusted to our abode quite well and even seems to love me and Mr. Wonderful. He still has bouts of anxiety but is getting less anxious and more confident every day.

Yesterday, Cheryl went on a hike with me to Griffey where we saw a couple with 2 dogs on a leash. I wondered what Doc would do. For the most part, he was pretty good. At one point, the strangers allowed their big golden lab to sniff Doc. They practically touched noses, and Doc snapped. The owner apologized, but I don't know who did what first. Thankfully, that's all that happened as Doc was not on a leash at the point. The couple was friendly; I thought it was super cool of them to allow this interaction with a strange dog whose reaction would be unknown.
(Thanks, Cheryl, for helping with socializing him!)

In other news, I've officially given up racing this year. Last weekend, I missed my first DINO race in 4 or 5 years. Actually, I didn't miss it at all--I skipped it. Having gone way off the training plan and getting burned out, I decided fun would be choice from here on out. I ride when I can and jog at other times. Sometimes---ok, a lot of times---I just take a night off and spend it catching up on Netflix with Mr. Wonderful. I'm no longer stressed about workouts.

I had a terrific season and achieved at least 2 major goals; Even though I'm leaving the DINO series early, I've particpated in just over 10 races in and outside of Indiana this year still making it a solid effort. Now I'm really excited about the Fall events coming up: Hilly Hundred, Brown County Breakdown, some 6-hour races???? We'll see.

Here are some pics from a couple of excursions over the past month:

Belted Kingfisher--I didn't take this pic, though. Saw one on yesterday's road ride.

Morgan Monroe, Rock Creek Trail

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hocus Focus

A post is long over due. Unfortunately, I haven't enough focus to write about anything.
I thought of a title called "The Biggest Loser," but I don't really think of myself like that. After placing last in both Short Track and the XC race @ Muscatatuck, I thought it was a rather funny description. Short Track was hard. During the XC race I felt great! But my bike didn't. I DNF'ed due to a mechanical. It's kind of a cop out, I know. I could have kept going if I had left my chain in one gear; I'm not willing to do that. I like gears. So, my mental frustration exceeded my willingness to continue.

But that's been my biggest problem lately--my willingness to continue. I call it--BURN OUT. After 7 months of hard, dedicated training, I accomplished my big goal this year. I have had a successful first half of the race season--by my standards (and perhaps by others' as well). So now, I'm just "doing some time" to finish out the year as my focus is no longer on racing.

Sad? Perhaps. That's OK. I can accept my lack of motivation. I don't have the internal drive that pushes some people. If I were really that committed to racing, I would stop feasting on pizza and ice cream all the time paying attention to my power to weight ratio. I would be more committed than I have been this year. Ahhh--to strike the balance between fun and work. I'm going back to the fun side now. (Not that it's been dreadful or anything; I've learned much and am quite pleased with my efforts.)

Quick race report: I participated in a race in Chattanooga on Raccoon Mountain. AWESOME trail. Another bad race for me, though. Lack of training and proper gearing made this one hurt.

Note to self: When "mountain" is in the title of the location, a granny gear might be a good option!

In fact, I almost cried (seriously) at the finish at the sheer relief of being done. The trail has everything--rocks, roots, uphills, descents, switchbacks, cool, loud spectators, etc. I ran out of water with about 40+ minutes left and had been rationing some up to that point. Doh! Not used to the "longer" races--those being over 2 hours. But the location is certainly worth a road trip to just ride. Anyone? Also great road riding in those there parts of the country.

Thanks to MRL for the pics.

Confession: I have another excuse for my lack of focus. Mr. Wonderful and I are dog owners again! I've been wanting a dog since our Maximus Breeden (RIP) died last year. (He was the bestest dog.) I can tear up just thinking about him. Of course Lucy followed Max to the grave 3 weeks later with a completely unrelated illness.

Anyway, meet Doc. He's a rescued Belgian Malinois who has some rather special needs. Being neglected and abused, he has some issues. We're going to try to give him a wonderful home and lots of love. We've been on several hikes. Despite his issues, he's a very obedient dog and has come a long way in the 5 months he spent at a trainer's house after his rescue. I can't imagine the patience and nurturing required to bring him to the state he's at now. I also can't believe the heartless people of the world that could do what they've done to animals and humans alike. May karma get them.