Sunday, May 23, 2010

That Was a Crazy Game of Poker

Yesterday was the Mid-state Poker Run. And as with any gathering of mountain bikers, beer was present and hijinks ensued. We got there a bit late and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do the actual poker run, but just hang out for a while.

So I ate a fabulous burger from the grill. Then I watched Chris M. put together a bike for his kid while Jon W9 supervised.

Then I watched Chris' super cute kid ride his new bike which, incidentally, had the fork on backwards. At that point, I started to feel a little guilty about the fact that I hadn't done the poker run. After all, it was a perfect opportunity to finally ride my bike after an extended hiatus. Low key, no pressure. All I had to do was get motivated to change my clothes and get on my bike.

So I did. And it felt very good to get back on the bike. So good, in fact, that I almost forgot all about the poker run.

That was, until I saw the first sign.

The trail was a little sloppy from the rain and I had a few mishaps, but I persevered.

And then I collected numbers from stations 2 and 3.

Just two more to go. Then I looked at the time. Oops. It was 15 minutes after the poker run was supposed to end.

So it was back to the tent for some super SWAG!

Thanks to Jon, there were some big time prizes.

The Badger was ready to rest.

And there was much hilarity to witness.

Someone had obviously been drinking a bit of this.

Life imitated art.

The charred remains of a few hot dogs were all that was left.

Bottom line: The Mid-state Poker Run was a good time and I definitely need to spend more time on my bike.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Four-Minute Mile

So, when I was about 15, I had this boyfriend named Tony. Despite the fact that he was a pathological liar, I thought he was really cool. After all, he played the guitar and had longish hair, a maltese cross earring and a motorcycle. But about these lies. They were ridiculous and seemed to have no purpose. I believed most of them because I was extremely gullible, and I wanted him to be for real.

One of the crazy lies he told me was that he could run a four-minute mile. I believed him. Of course, at the time, I had no idea how fast a four-minute mile was. Now I do.

While I'm sitting here waxing nostalgic about losers I've dated, I am actually getting to a point, and this story will be loosely tied in somewhere. 

The thing is, I've been running, see, which I already admitted. Up until last week, I was just going out and running for 20 minutes. I had no idea how far I was running. But I've  stepped things up a bit since I've decided to run a 5K. 

The fateful day is June 18. It's funny that I never would have ever imagined myself running a race. Somehow, though, now that I've raced my bike so many times, racing in another sport doesn't seem like such a leap.

So, for my past couple of runs, I have concentrated on running continuously for three miles. Turns out I can do it, just not fast. In fact, I am absolutely nowhere near a four-minute mile. But at least now I know how fast a four-minute mile is. 

How (not) fast am I? I might tell you in my next post. Then again, I might not.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pinkety Pink

As all four of my loyal readers have no doubt already figured out, I recently began RUNNING. That's right, RUNNING.

I have to explain my history with running. When I was a kid, my parents were runners. They ran all the time. They actually ran marathons. And as you may know from your own experience, when your parents are passionate about something, it can get rather annoying, particularly if they want you to get your roly poly arse off the couch to do it as well. As any of you who have read my Accidental Athlete post will be able to figure out, I rebelled against this idea and instead spent all my free time with my nose in a book. In fact, the more they talked about running and tried to get me to run, the more I dug my heels in.

Needless to say, I have subsequently had a somewhat unfair hatred of running. But since, for the most part, I'm a reasonable human being, I spent quite a bit of time examining this issue so I could look at running in a way that's not jaded by my past experiences. And I ultimately came to the conclusion that running is a smart option for me. Here's some of what went into that decision:
  • Everyone else is doing it—That might not always be the best criteria for making a decision. However, in this case, I think it's okay. A lot of cyclists I know personally or through the blogosphere have taken up running for cross training purposes and it seems to be working well for them. Alaska Jill has been known to do it. Fat Cyclist has taken it up. Even those a little closer to home like Ali and Marty have been doing it.
  • It's good exercise—This isn't actually my first foray into running. Several years ago, when one of my friends took charge of my training plan, he suggested I try it, the reason being that it's better for burning calories than riding. That way, when I was riding I could concentrate on my riding skills and actual training, rather than having to rely on it for exercise. And I have to say, during this time I was probably in the best shape I've ever been.
  • Running is efficient—I've often felt jealous of my friend the Dorktor. He's a runner, see, and in less than an hour he can be out the door, run seven miles or so and be finished. I don't know how many times I've opted not to do ANY exercise because I knew I didn't have time to load up my bike, drive to a trail and ride.
  • Variety is the spice of life—Cliched, but true nonetheless.
So, at this point I have been running for three and a half weeks and it's the only thing I've really been doing consistently (gasp!). It's about time for a progress report and some goal setting. That doesn't mean this is going to turn into a running blog, but the topic will figure prominently in some upcoming posts.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Like My Blog a Lot. Really.

It might really seem, from the way I've been neglecting my blog over the last several months, that I don't like my blog or my blog readers very much. In fact, the opposite is true. I enjoy having a blog. I like being able to write about anything I want, or at least anything I feel comfortable posting on the Internet. I like the fact that I can talk about topics on my blog that those who see me on a daily basis are sick of hearing about. I like that I can't really tell if my blog readers are tuning me out, like I can so easily with my husband. I like the conversations I have with people through my blog. There are some extremely cool people I probably wouldn't even know without this blog. I also like using it as a reference for myself and a way to jog my memory about past events.

That's a lot of things to like. Still, I haven't been updating it, which is the understatement of the year. One thing I have struggled with a lot lately is knowing what to write about and what not to write about. For example, lately I haven't been doing much that's bike-related, and that's supposed to be the main thrust of my blog. So, how far do I stray from the bike topic? What can I justify?

The other problem is that I've been on an emotional rollercoaster in recent weeks. I've been rethinking all my goals and plans, as well as reevaluating my life and my direction in general. I've also had a lot of upheaval and have discovered some things about myself that were not exactly a good surprise. Needless to say, I've been wallowing. A lot. I'm not a fun person to be around right now, and I don't want my blog to be a huge downer for the handful of readers I may or may not have left. 

But now that I've thought about all that, I've come to the conclusion that I'm really overthinking things. Maybe I should just post what I feel like posting and let the rest take care of itself. So, I'm going to try to start posting at least three times a week from this point forward. That will be my goal. 

But since I've just returned from my annual trip to Key West, I'm going to start with a few photos from the trip. (Nothing new here for those who have looked at my photos on Facebook already. Sorry.)

Beach near our hotel 

Yacht my husband coveted docked near the Westin

View of Key West airport from the tarmac

 Our awesome buddy Ben, the coolest guitar player in Key West and beyond

Mallory Square 

Looking at boats near the Galleon 

Ben with "old" Taylor and "new" Taylor

Manatee mailbox

Hangin' with Ben at the Whistle