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Showing posts from June, 2009

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Rats

Some mornings I’m reminded that a mountain lion is known to roam the bike path near my office. On my bicycle ride into work this morning, I figured out why I sometimes feel more vulnerable: bunnies. When they are all over the bike path, I figure I am safe because rabbit is far tastier – and readily available – than heavy-breathing human. Now, mountain lion are most active at dawn and dusk, and dawn just happens to be when I’m in the neighborhood. This morning, I started to notice there weren’t any bunnies (or fellow humans) for a considerable stretch of bike path. Then, in a heavily wooded section, I saw a large rat in the middle of the path. It was mortally wounded, but not quite dead yet. I would like to have said I then scanned for paw prints and big cat scat, but instead I hauled ass out of there -- just in case I interrupted something's breakfast.

From 6 to 60

First week of bike commuting is in the books. I went from a long ride of 6 miles last week to three daily rides of 20 miles this week. And I still feel terrific. My gmap of the route is shorter by .7 miles because I had to use the manual function; it’s exactly 10 miles from garage to garage in real life. As you can see from the elevation , the ride in is a breeze compared to the ride home, where I climb, and then climb more and more. By the eighth mile, I’m firmly locked in a granny gear. As I crest the last long hill, my legs always shake as I catch my breath, wipe my brow and then try to make a sharp right around a street pole without falling into speeding traffic. Once I didn’t make it but had the wherewithal to fall on the sidewalk instead of the street. That is, until today. I shaved five minutes off both ways and kept it in a much higher gear. I even negotiated that tricky turn. I am rather amazed at how quickly I've improved, just like everyone said I would. I was so ha

Wordless Wednesday

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My Last Dry Run

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This Father’s Day I woke early to test both me and Penelope before I officially start my bike commute to work tomorrow morning. I needed to get a sense of how long it takes to get to the office, shower, dress, etc. The short answer: longer than I thought. That’s fine, though, because something pretty wonderful happened. On the way back, it’s almost all uphill in some variation and I made it the entire way without one stop or even a major pep talk on the hardest of the climbs. I arrived back at the house an hour and half later soaked and saddle sore but otherwise pumped to do it again in the morning, weighed down by a 15-pound backpack and something besides last night’s generous pour of sauvignon blanc in my belly. Someday this is going to seem so easy. Just not Monday.

Wordless Wednesday

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Coit In the Act

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Read this blog long enough (or look at the travelogs in the sidebar) and you’ll discover one of my favorite cities to visit is San Francisco. In all my trips, one of the few things I’d never done was visit Coit Tower. It’s an iconic landmark that, it turns out, isn’t as easy to find on foot as you might think. We were actually heading to another tourist attraction – the crookedest street on Lombard – when a local recommended we instead climb up to Coit Tower for a view. The unmarked stairs, he said, were just around the corner. True enough. The climb would include a lot more sets of steep stairs often bisected by homes and roads, but it was totally worth it just to experience an urban hike like none other. This is not for the weak of knees or tender of foot. We had one of each in our trio, but once you get to a certain point, ‘tis better to just keep moving upward and onward. At least I believe that's what my husband and sister were thinking since no one had a spare breath to

Wordless Wednesday

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Photo of the St. Louis arch by my daughter, Elise.

The Kind of Calls I Like to Receive

The nurse called today to give me the results of my lab work (at least the blood work). She read me the data and then said she rarely gives women my age cholesterol levels that good. She asked my secret and all I could think to say was, "Kumquats." I've been eating them by the fistful for weeks. And it sounded much better than beer and pizza, which had been my last meal prior to fasting for the test. So, my pulse and blood pressure are that of a 17-year-old. And my blood is itself in tip-top shape. Now to get my outsides to match my insides.

Just Passing Through

While our out-of-town company's still asleep and the blueberry muffins are in the oven, I wanted to let you know that I did my first group run of the season yesterday. Just a little under 2.5 miles in about 25 minutes. I've lost a lot more aerobic capacity than even leg strength, but it felt great to be out there again. My doctor on Thursday said she now suspects I tore my achilles -- not a great big tear, but enough of one to hinder me for months. It is improving, so the long rest did help. I'm next heading to an ankle specialist, but first she wants to see if a month of riding in lieu of most of my runs shows improvement. That'll make these Saturday morning outings with 75 of my closest friends even more exceptional. Yesterday I spent six hours walking around the Zoo; today it's showing everyone around La Jolla. I love it when I have a great excuse to go out and play.

Wordless Wednesday

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Weigh In On Races

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I started running marathons before the Internet took hold in households, so I didn't have the good fortune to read race reviews from a wide range of runners before deciding which to do. I just had recommendations from my small network of running friends -- told in person or on the phone since email wasn't around yet. Now, of course, there are numerous sites that allow you to weigh in on a race, one of the newest being Racevine . I found out about the site from Twitter and immediately signed up to provide my own take on some of my favorite races. Right now the startup is focused on marathons, half marathons and triathlons -- makes sense since runners also devote the most resources in these endurance events. But I'm excited to hear the site's management plans soon to broaden the critics' corner to include shorter distances since that's where I'm currently channeling my training. Sometimes after a big race, I'll do a blog search to see what people had to