Yep we are beginning to fall into the category of people who think that the number of bikes you need is n+1, where n equals your current number of bikes. Jon at Carmel Cyclery did a nice job hooking us up with Specialized Stumpjumpers and just like that, we became [novice] mountain bikers and headed for the trails.
Not gonna lie. The timing could have been better as it’s nearing the end of the season but we were able to get back down to Brown County, Town Run and then ride in our first gravel ride event. We’d never heard of gravel rides before but they seem to be a cross between road cycling (in that there is very little single track) and mountain biking (very little traffic). We changed out flat pedals with SPDs and headed down to ride the Gravel Grovel in Hoosier National Forest for the 20 mile fun ride on our Stumpys. Why just the 20? Better to start something new and leave with the thought, “I can’t wait to do that again” rather than, “No way I’m doing that again.” Having just had a significant amount of rain, there was ample mud and slosh which added to the adventure. Hence the mudfest. Now we can’t wait to ride the 60 miler next year!
Although Tom’s always been a gym rat, for me getting back to it for spin classes has been a bit more problematic. Since the last time I took a spinning class the spin bikes have been equipped with mini computers that provide plenty of data to let you know if you’re working hard enough, or in my case, cheating. Apparently, even though I’m sweating like crazy, I need to cycle [a lot] harder to increase my wattage. For example, Tom averages over 200 watts in an hour long class and easily gets in 20 miles. The highest I can crank out, is low 130’s in 18 miles. Little wonder the man kicked booty in the mountains. His legs and heart are so strong. We have a ride picked out in early summer with 5,000 feet of daily climbing. I’m going to need to work a lot harder in the sweatfest.
I returned to the gym to spin because of a running injury and I’m taking two months off running to heal up. To keep my cardio going, besides spinning and trying to keep up with Tom, I figured it might be fun to get back in the pool. I think it’s been eight years or so? I know the elastic in my one piece swimsuit was dry rotted if that’s any indication of how long it’s been. The lap swimming looks more like a splashfest than a workout but I know time in the pool, help from my friend and patience will go a long way in improvement. And it’s kind of like golf… I need to keep my head down.
Festivities continue with the sufferfest. Yoga. It will be fun, he says. There’s a 12 day yoga challenge at Lifetime, he says. You could win a prize, he says. Again, I haven’t done yoga in about five years but the word “challenge” gets me every time.
Oh. My. Gosh. Yesterday’s flow class took more energy and strength than climbing Kancamagus Pass on a fully loaded steel bike. Nevermind, I don’t know yoga vocabulary. Nevermind I have the flexibility of a lead pencil. Nevermind I have a shoulder injury from going at it too hard in the pool and can’t raise my right arm above my head. It got to the point in class that I could do nothing more than collapse in pigeon pose while Tom and others cycled through their vinyasas, warrior threes, flipped down dogs and fallen stars. But… I’m going back for more yoga tomorrow for an easier class. I’m gonna get that 12 day challenge y’all, despite the sufferfest.
In early November I traveled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for an event hosted by Run.RiseRetreat. Lindsey Hein of I’ll Have Another was the moderator of the live event that featured one female runner each from their 30s, 40s and 50s. There were about 80 attendees, mostly female runners. There was so much love and good energy in the room!
I enjoyed sharing what running has meant to me in the last 30+ years. It’s connected me with some of the most meaningful relationships in my life. It’s gotten me through some of the most painful life experiences as well as provided so much time for solitude, prayer and reflection when on long, solo runs.
However, it was a bit humbling to sit between two such accomplished women, Katie, a rockstar speedster and Jess, an endurance shebeast. I won’t forget what Jess shared, “It doesn’t always get worse.” Good mantra to remember when I’m in yoga class, spinning or trying to swim to the other side of the pool. If you want to give the podcast episode a listen, it’s Episode 152.
And finally, a few days ago an article about our friend Whitney was published in the The Criterion. Whitney’s jaw-dropping conversion story and the impact Back on My Feet and his faith in God have had on his life is worth the read. When people have the courage to share their stories, it spreads hope and promise that restoration and healing can take place. Reactions from his story in the article have been nothing short of a lovefest.