Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Early Ride, A Late Ride and A Challenge

This morning I was the alternate Watchdog for the Terrier brick workout. About two weeks ago, they had sent out an e-mail saying that they needed someone to volunteer to watchdog this week and I wrote back saying that since I was the alternate, I was planning on being there anyway. So, I woke up at 4:30, ate, pumped up my bike tires, and headed to the Park.

Except it turned out that they didn't need me. Both of the original people who were assigned showed up and one of the original people had brought a friend. I figured that meant I could go ahead and leave since I was just the alternate, so that's what I did. I actually called Drew as well since we had talked about riding bikes after I was done with my Watchdog duties, I thought I'd see if he wanted to bike earlier. He was working on some work stuff when I called, so I ended up just going back home, which was fine with me. I was a little annoyed that I got up so early to ride 3 miles, but it was fine. We ended up watching some TV and falling back to sleep on the couch for a couple of hours before heading to work.

Since neither of us got a workout in today, we thought that maybe we should do something after work. I suggested that we go for a ride on the Westside Path since we didn't go biking this morning. It was my first time riding up the new and improved portion of the Path (so you don't have to actually enter Riverside Park anymore). It might have actually been just as crowded as the Park part was and going this way means you miss a hill, but it was nice to ride on that newly paved path!

Somewhere along the way, we passed a guy with a hard plastic cast over his left leg, who had a bike helmet, but it was just attached to the front handlebars. He didn't think he needed it on his head, I guess. This cast guy apparently was not happy that we passed him, because for the next few miles, we played cat and mouse with him. Every time we passed him, he'd speed up and pass us back. It was all pretty ridiculous if you asked me. Finally, we ended up making a silly little three-some of Drew, crazy cast guy and me bringing up the back. I actually was a little afraid a couple of times that he'd brake suddenly and I'd go flying, but it ended up being fine.

I almost had a heart attack going up the big hill by the bridge. I made it up to the top just as some other girl was getting on her bike and she sort-of darted out and almost blocked the whole path. My heart was already beating pretty fast from the effort of climbing up the hill and when she darted out, I just got really startled, which didn't help any. Shortly after that, we decided to just turn around and head home and not go the extra mile or so to the end of the path.

I spent a lot of time biking behind Drew and at some point I became convinced he was wearing my socks. Not that it's a big deal, I just thought it was funny. When I mentioned it to him, he looked down at his feet and rode his bike off the edge of the Path into the grass. It's not that big of a deal, it's probably about an inch drop, but in that split second where he was swerving and weaving, I thought for sure he'd wipe out. Luckily, he's a pretty good biker and was able to get back on the Path without any bumps or bruises. I felt pretty bad about making him lose his concentration.

I tend to do a lot of thinking on the bike. Today I realized that I'm not too worried about my own biking abilities or biking in a straight line or all that, but I am concerned about everyone else. I guess it's not unlike driving a car. I know I'm a decent driver, but everyone else on the road is crazy. And there were definitely some crazy bikers out there today!

The other thing I thought about on the bike today was doing an Ab Challenge. I've been thinking about doing this for a while now. To be honest, I think I gained a couple of pounds when I broke my arm and while I know you can't spot treat pounds or fat, I figured that doing some ab work would help me overall with swimming, biking and running. I also really liked doing Pilates with Nicole last year, but it's not really an expense I can afford right now to have private lessons, so I figured I could do some things by myself.

So, since I had been thinking about this for a while, I knew that I wanted to make the Challenge realistic. I didn't want to start it and then not be able to finish it for various reasons, so I thought that I should challenge myself to do 15 minutes of core work every day for two weeks. And on the bike, I realized, what am I really waiting for? If I'm going to do this for two weeks, I don't need to start on a Sunday. I can start tonight!

So, when we got home, we made dinner and then I (with Drew's help) pumped up my Swiss ball, got out my $2.00 Swiss ball exercise book that I got at TJMaxx and started reading. I actually really like the book. There are lots of exercises and they fully explain them all with beginner, intermediate and advanced variations. Then, at the back of the book, there are little workout plans. Not a bad value for $2.99. For two weeks of workouts, that's only $0.21 per workout! Hard to beat that!

These are the exercises I did with the ball tonight:

Sitting Balance - sit, lift one foot off the floor for a count of 5
Abdominals - sit, lean back slightly, hold for count of 5, roll back to seated
Toe Taps - sit, tap toes on one foot 10 times
Back Extensions - sit, roll forward on ball, rock back and forth for count of ten (ball on lower back)
Hip Circles - sit, swivel each way 5 times
Hamstring Stretch
Gluteal Stretch
Cat Stretch (like yoga, hands on ball)
The Swan - lie on ball, push pelvis into ball and lift head slightly
Bottom Toner (intermediate) - lie on ball, lift both legs while clenching butt!
Basic Crunches - lie on floor, legs on ball

This ball thing reminds me a lot of pilates and how you keep your own stomach muscles clenched while doing other exercises. I really enjoyed it and think that this could be a good challenge for me. I think that I spent about 20 minutes doing these exercises and I did them all while watching TV! I asked Drew if he wanted to join the challenge and he said that he didn't really want to but he thought he could probably benefit from some more core exercises. But, then he didn't do anything, so when I've got a 6 pack in 14 days (ha ha!) he can just be jealous!

Time: 1:11:30
Distance: 14.85 miles
Pace: 12.46 MPH

Total biking for the day: 17.86 miles

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