Friday, May 17, 2013

The hard way

I have been pretty lazy for the last week and a half. Perhaps lazy isn't the right word for it. Busy? Unmotivated? Something.

Last week, I exercised three times - if you can call it that. I went for two hikes on Friday and walked 4 miles on Sunday. I definitely exercised my digestive muscles more than the rest of my body.

This week was off to a rather sedentary start, as well. And the weather took a turn for the cold and dreary.

On Thursday, the temperature spiked back up to a warm and sunny 77 degrees and I mounted my bike for the first ride in a few weeks.

I knew this might be my last chance to ride the Farmington Canal, so I wanted to go farther than I have been going since the start of the season. This meant one thing: conquering the dreaded, awful, terrible hill that I normally stop at.

Things were going well. The sun was shining, bugs were hurtling themselves at me, I was working up a good sweat and feeling pretty good. The hill was glorious to go down and I kept going and going until I got over 10 miles and realized it was nearing 7 oclock.

The way back was miserable. I managed to conquer the hill just fine, only having to drop down to 3rd gear to make it up that long and steadily inclining beast. But I started to feel the twinge in my foot, the twinge that could only mean one thing: impending foot cramp.

Every time I do a long bike ride, I end up getting debilitating foot cramps. My toes curl up, my leg shakes, it feels like someone is running over my foot with a car. I sometimes briefly consider amputation because the pain is so unbearable. I try to walk it off to no avail. It sometimes leaves me in tears. It is miserable.

I could feel the muscles in my feet start to twitch. I was still over 8 miles from my car. I hopped off, walked a little bit and realized that at my pace of 2.3 miles/hour it would take me until 10p.m. to get to my car if I had to walk the whole thing. I hopped back on and began the race...with myself.

Racing against your own body is a terrible thing to have to do. My hands grew sweaty, I felt anxious and nervous that my feet would seize up at any time. I pedalled faster than I have in a long time, with an average speed over 15 mph (my normal speed is approx 12.5). I just kept telling myself to go go go go go.

I was afraid to move my feet at all on the pedals or shift the pressure of my body against my foot. I was afraid to stop, I was afraid to keep moving. I counted down the miles. By the time I reached the 2 mile point, I knew things would be okay if I had to walk the rest. But I didn't. I reached the finish line, ripped my shoes off, and proceeded to get a miserable cramp in my left foot that spasmed for over 20 minutes.

Apparently, this is a common affliction. I read a lot about cycle-induced cramping when I got home. I may consider getting a primary care and seeing if they will prescribe me a low-dose muscle relaxant to take before I do a long ride for preventive purposes.

Here's a great article I found about these cramps:

And here are some snapshots from my ride yesterday:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

IML Update - 21 days and counting

I cannot even believe how quickly time has flown by. In exactly 3 weeks, myself and all of my worldly belongings will be loaded and transported hundreds of miles south to start a whole new life.

At this time, I'm feeling pretty neutral about the move. I know that I can be happy anywhere I'm sure I will find new places and people to enjoy, but dammit N.E., you and your loveliness are creeping up on me!

I have spent the last month doing this (and loving every second of it):

I will certainly be sad to leave these beautiful trails and good times behind.

1) Reduce Stress: All is clear on the stress frontier!

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: I KILLED it this week - doing a total of 49 miles between 2 bike rides, 1 run, and a ton of hikes.

3) Make more conscious food choices: I ate pretty alright last week, with lots of pre-planned meals and light lunches/dinners. This week (so far)...not so much.

4) Enjoy my hobbies: Last week was a whirlwind of awesome. I spent a lot of time with friends, made new friends, visited CT vineyards, enjoyed all sorts of food, went hiking and biking, enjoyed the sun, listened to good music, baked, and went shopping.

5) Keep my close friends close: All of these wonderful people keep reappearing in my life and I have to keep asking myself why I have been living here for over a year and now is the time I choose to reconnect...

6) Do what I can for my health: I feel great about my health at this time. I am drinking lots of water, exercising, flossing. I've cut down on snacking SO much since I moved here. I have minimized my stress and anxiety. I am down 12 pounds since I moved here. I have gained so much physical confidence. I have walked and biked and run so many miles I never thought I would see. In the last year or so, I have become a new person. And I like this new me.

Things to look forward to:
- road trip w/ Senor
- settling into new home (and decorating it, obviously)
- meeting SO MANY new people
- wearing dresses. every day.
- finding new places to hike and bike
- exploring my new home

Things I'm hoping to do in the next 3 mos:
- Jillian Michael's 30 day shred
- first 5k
- half century (longest ride to date is 31 mi)
- lose another 5ish lbs?
- find myself a wonderful southern gentleman
- continue on this path to self improvement