The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bike Respite

I did NOT ride my bike this weekend! That’s just the way it worked out. Yesterday I went hiking instead, which made me realize how tight my hamstrings are from riding, so a little “cross training” is a good thing. The Hudson River Valley Ramble features over 160 walking and hiking events over 2 weekends, stretching from Manhattan to Albany. Yesterday I hiked up Anthony’s Nose with 8 other hearty individuals. Anthony’s Nose is a steep, 900-foot mountain on the eastern bank of the Hudson River in the beautiful Hudson Highlands. The trail went up and down quite a bit, so that the total elevation gain is 2,000 feet over 3.7 miles. This was not a hike for wimps! The views over the highlands were spectacular and we watched the hawks soaring overhead. The descent was only a mile and therefore steep, and it did bother my knees a bit; nothing that a recovery day can’t fix. I was tired when I got home. I managed to finish some cooking I had planned and spent most of the afternoon watching the Seahawks humiliate the Giants.

I spent the last few days doing a lot of cooking. I’m not sure why, but the cabinets were flying open and the pots were barely washed before being pressed into service yet again. I did put a few dinners in the freezer and we enjoyed the leftovers at lunch. Here is a partial list of what came out of my kitchen:
Giant tray of baked ziti, pot roast from the crock pot, Morrocan roast vegetables, asian flavored halibut and vegetables, lemon rice pilaf, large pile of tangy chicken wings (excellent choice for watching football), and baked tofu with tangy chicken wing sauce.

I belong to an organic food coop and I pick up a basket full of fruits and vegetables every two weeks. A week into this cycle and most of the food was still in my refrigerator. Yesterday I was down to a few carrots, a cabbage, a cauliflower and a head of lettuce!

I had a good week, eating properly, burning calories and lifting weights. My weight has come back down closer to where it should be. The fitness challenge is entering the last week and I continue to be inspired by the 40+ miles per week people as well as the folks who have gone from zero miles to 6 miles per week! I don’ think I will do another challenge in October, but maybe in November. It will be interesting what people do as the weather cools off, daylight hours decrease, and the indoor season becomes a reality.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Golden Apple Perfection

Venue, the God of Outdoor Events, was smiling down upon the Westchester Cycle Club on Sunday and sent a perfect day for the Golden Apple and the 1,000+ participants. The 100 and 125 mile riders were able to start early with but a slight chill in the air, maybe with arm warmers. The 75 and 50 milers saw the sun breaking through as they set out on their journeys. The 25 milers had bright sunshine from start to finish. I rallied some slow C riders for the 50 mile ride, and it was great. They ride just a bit faster than me, enough to push me to quicken my pace and prove to me that I can ride faster than I think! Everyone was given a pair of Golden Apple 25th Anniversary socks when they checked in and there was still Ben & Jerry's ice cream available (in addition to a full lunch) when we were done. Volunteers were plentiful and the entire event was well managed. I'm sure the Club brought in the revenue they need to support its activities and to donate a chunk of money to charity as well. I'm sure Mike the Event Man slept well on Sunday night.

DH returned from his XY vacation late late Friday night. Although he had a great time with his buddies and his mule, he did suffer from altitude sickness. He never really acclimated and wasn't able to do some of the hiking. One day he took a 3 hour nap in the meadow while the other guys hiked up to 12,000 feet. Doesn't sound too unpleasant to me! He was still feeling crappy on Saturday and when he took his bike out, he just couldn't do it. His heart rate was very low because his red blood cells were all pumped up, but his breathing was wacky. So he didn't ride on Sunday. I did pick up his socks for him. He is feeling better and is planning to workout today.

I am updating the Fitness Challenge after week 2 and except for me, the other participants are fairly consistent. 40 milers for the 1st week did 40 miles in the 2nd week, and 6 milers for the first week did 6 miles in the 2nd week. My mileage dropped from 31 to 17. Last week was not a good week for working out. Hoping this week will be better. One person dropped out after seeing the totals from the 1st week. It was too demoralizing to compare herself to the top contenders. That's exactly what I did not want to happen and why everyone has an alias (a fitness challenge spirit name). Oh well. Some people have commented that they are defintiely out there a little longer because of the challenge and that's what it's all about!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pass Interference

Waiting for the bus from Giants Stadium to Arena parking lot, slightly drunk man steps in front of me. Pass Interference. Penalty: He has to move halfway to the back of the line.

Leaving Giants Stadium, 3 lanes merge into 1 to get on the NJ Turnpike. Dirtbag driving Suburban cuts me off. Pass Interference. Penalty: He has to return halfway to the stadium parking lot. Throw in a personal foul for driving that gas guzzling monster, and he has to go all the way back to the stadium parking lot.

Driving home, son #1 changes radio station, son #2 calls pass interference. Penalty: son #1 loses control of the radio for half of remaining time in the car.

Monday morning, son #1 gets to sleep an hour later than son #2 because he doesn't have a first period class and can drive to school. Pass Interference. Penalty: son #1 has to drive son #2 to Cold Stone Creamery. Seems reasonable to me.

Commuting into NYC, man stands in front of me on train platform as train approaches. Pass Interference. Penalty: He has to return halfway to his car in the parking lot and miss the train. Ha!

Coffee break, deli across the street, purchasing refreshments for myself and a colleague. Deli worker ignores me requiring supervisory deli worker to tell him to help me and then gives me only 1 little jelly package for my colleague's pumpernickel bagel. Guess what deli worker, that's PASS INTERFERENCE. Penalty: forfeit half of the grape jelly packages and pumpernickel bagels in the deli.

As you can see, I am a ruthless referee, handing out penalties whenever I feel like it, just like NFL referees. And I don't have to wear a stupid zebra striped shirt either!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Penis Envy, $4000 on eBay, Flapper Pillowcase Dress, Phitness Phreak, INvalidation, HS Reading List

DH has gone on an all-boy vacation with a bunch of his buddies. He flew out to Reno and then drove to Bishop CA where he will get on a horse and ride into the high Sierras for 5 days. DH does not know anything about riding a horse, so hopefully all that will be required is that he remain upright and the horse will know more than he does. I know there are also mules involved. Oh, and guides. That's a good thing. Hopefully the guides will know how to do things like set up tents and cook and kill snakes. Now, I must admit that I am jealous. I would have gone on this trip without thinking twice, if I could. Oh well, another disadvantage of not having a penis.

Since DH is out of town, I get to drive to Giants Stadium tomorrow evening for the opening game of the football season-- Eli v. Peyton. I don't mind going to the game, although I probably would have given my ticket to a friend of son #2 and watched the game from the comfort of my living room. I just hate driving to Giants Stadium especially for a night game. I tried to talk the kids into agreeing to sell the tickets on eBay. I am told that these tickets are selling for over $1000 each, and we have 4 of them. They didn't even respond to my suggestion. So drive I will, to cheer for Eli and the Giants. Son #2 said I can wear his Tiki jersey.

Last night son #1 went to a Great Gatsby party at a very nice catering venue. One of his friends had neither a bat mitzvah nor a sweet sixteen, and her mom agreed to throw this big shindig for 60 of her closest friends. Good food, DJ, photographer, the whole shabang! Once again, I am jealous. I would love to make a flapper dress out of a pillowcase and go to a Great Gatsby party. And at my age, there would be drinking in addition to the good food and DJ, which would defintiely lend itself to many Kodak moments.

I am preparing the first update for the Fitness Challenge and boy, the competition is much tougher than I thought it would be! From September 1-7, I had 31 miles. I thought I would have an early lead which would fade over the next few weeks. Well, Phitness Phreak had 42 miles and 26.2 or Bust (who is obviously training for the NYC marathon) had 30 miles. Several participants had 25ish miles. A couple of people commented that they were defintiely motivated to do a little more because of the Challenge, and that is definitely what this is about. I hope no one is discouraged when they see how many miles some people have logged.

Speaking of fitness, I went for a club bike ride this morning. It was absolutely beautiful-- blue skies, temp in the mid 70s, just perfect. We rode past Club Fit, one of the biggest gyms/fitness clubs in the area. The parking lot was packed! I could visualize all those people riding stationary bikes and running on treadmills. How could they even think of being indoors on a day like today? I'm sure there's a myriad of reasons and explanations but they are ALL INVALID.

Today I was helping son #2 write an essay about Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild. That really piqued my interest and now I have to read the book. So that's what I'm gonna do!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Potential Energy

Every Labor Day weekend the bike club books a block of rooms at a small motel in Red Hook and rides the backroads of Dutchess county. On Sunday, I drove up with another club member, just for the day. It was a damp drizzly morning, and while many decided to wait until noon and take a shorter ride, 5 of us set out in the morning, knowing the weather was going to improve. It ended up being a fabulous ride, probably one of my favorites this season. We stopped at a beautiful farmer's market in Rhinebeck and bought fruit, cheese, bread and muffins for lunch. Then we rode to the Staatsburgh Mansion, and picnicked right on the banks of the Hudson. We continued to ride beautiful backcountry roads, past apple orchards, horse farms and corn fields. Our last stop was at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, home of the Fischer Performing Arts Center, which was designed by Frank Gehry. What a sight to behold! I'm so glad we rode the extra few miles to see it. The last few miles we rode were under a deep blue sky with a smattering of high clouds. Our ride was 44 miles. Of course there were hills, but nothing too dramatic, and I seemed to match the speed and pace of these women very well (there was 1 husband, but he slowed down to ride with us). The only disappointment was discovering that Red Hook does not have a Dunkin Donuts. I got over it.

I have already "banked" 27 miles in the September Challenge. Riding 84 miles over the weekend certainly gave me a major league head start. Everyone in the challenge has to have an "alias" which reflects their fitness challenge spirit. That way no one has to be embarrassed when I post weekly mileage updates if they are in last place. l have thought about it (hmmm.... Black Trek, no that doesn't reflect any spirit... Vergence Ranges, no that's too easy..... Hills for Breakfast, getting closer, at least that has attitude) and finally decided I will be Potential Energy. That's what you have when you get to the top of a hill. It's about fighting gravity which is trying to keep you down. When you climb the hill and fly downhill, you forfeit all your potential energy and you have to climb the next hill. There is always another hill, but there is always a reward when you get to the top! Everyone can find their potential energy if they are willing to fight against whatever is pulling them down. So what do you think-- Potential Energy exudes spirituality, right?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Millbrook Ride

Many years ago, (uh, about 20), my brother and I would ride from our parent's home in Hopewell Jct to Millbrook. It was always a favorite bike ride, really beautiful, challenging, and most of it on quiet back roads. When DH became my DH, he would ride with us, too. Yesterday, DH and I both took the day off and we decided to take the bikes up to Hopewell Jct. and ride to Millbrook. We even found the original route directions in my brother's handwriting. I knew there was a couple of really big climbs on this ride, but DH kept assuring me that the hills would be smaller than I remember them. Not. I'm grateful they didn't get bigger but they certainly didn't get smaller. This was a very challenging ride for me, 40 miles round trip. I felt like my legs were toast when we got to Millbrook. Luckily the ride out is more difficult than the return trip, but we still had to go over Chestnut Ridge. You know you are in trouble when you turn onto "Overlook Road." DH stuck with me, even though I ride much slower than him. He was wearing his heart rate monitor which beeps whenever he is not "in his zone" (kind of annoying but the monitor is broken and he can't turn the beep off). Everytime he pulled up alongside me, his heart rate monitor was beeping because his heart rate was way below the zone. Riding my speed for 40 miles, his average heart rate was 108. Holy cow the man is fit! Well, this ride was still a major success. It was as beautiful as I remember it, Millbrook is a funky little town, great for a lunchbreak, and although it wasn't a beautiful sunny day, the cooler cloudy weather was a nice change from the summer heat. We saw a soaring eagle and got to visit with some cousins. When we got home, I fell asleep on the couch watching the Yankee game. Today is the perfect recovery day, as the remnants of Ernesto churn up the coast. Tomorrow I shall ride again! The September Monthly Mileage Challenge began yesterday, and 40 miles converts to 10 miles in the challenge. Not a bad way to start the month!