Biking

Outside All Day

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I started the day with a short little 7.17 mile run. The morning was cool but sunny. I didn't feel like running up the normal hill so I started with some running through my neighborhood and then I hit a shorter, steeper hill. After that I made my way on a pretty typical route. I was running slower than usual. My back has been hurting and I didn't want to push it.

It was a quiet morning and I did not see many other runners. I tried a new outfit which was completely mismatched. My tights are actually capri length but you can't tell due to the tall socks. The socks are thinner than my normal ones which actually felt good so I might be in the market for some new socks. I really liked the tights. I'm not sure how much they will ride uo when I am not wearing long socks but they were really comfortable. I also ran with a hat and gloves. I had my thumbs out of the gloves and my sleeves pulled up to my elbows. It doesn't long for me to get warm.

Overall even though my pace was slow I am happy with the run. My goal lately has been to run a decent amount of miles.

When I got home I saw my buddy's hat and gloves….he ran outside despite the chilly temperature. Too bad we didn't cross paths!

After a little bit of recovery time we headed out to do some yard work. I spent a couple of hours jumping up and down on an edger. After making a lot of progress but becoming totally bored we decided to do something fun.

There is a trail that I have been wanting to try. We have been on a more southern section of it but we wanted to try a spot closer to our house. We threw the bikes on the Jeep and drove to a park that is a few miles from our house. From there it was a very short ride to the trail. The first section of the trail was single track which I was not expecting. I described it as “50,000 times better than I was expecting!” I was so excited. It was very technical. It was narrow and filled with roots and rocks which made for a very bouncy ride. It was also muddy. Further out the trail got wider and had gravel. There were even some short paved sections.

The conditions varied throughout the trail and there were quite a few stream crossings. Some were ride-able while others required a carry. There were also many large trees across the trail requiring the bikes to be carried. I bet I jumped off my bike at least 20 times!

We rode out about 5 miles and then ended up at a road. Because we were already tired from running and yard work we decided to head back make it an almost 10 mile ride. The way back seemed like it was all uphill and we were both pretty tired.

I'm really glad we tried this trail out. We will definitely be headed back there to explore more. It's a good mix of challenging and easy, improved and unimproved, and it made for an amazing ride. I'm looking forward to going even further the next time we go there.

7 + 9 = getting outside!

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The morning started off with extremely dense fog. But I went for my long run anyway. I went without sunglasses and I wore my safety vest. That's how bad it was. I had roughly planned out a route that I thought would get me to the 7 miles that I needed.

I ran a trail along a parkway and then hopped off into a neighborhood. The first trail in the neighborhood was near a pond and covered in duck poop. There was so much that I couldn't even dodge it all. I figured I was early enough in my run that it would just fall off as I kept running.

My run started off fast. The first two miles were probably faster than I should have gone but this seems to be my thing lately. No steady paces for me. After that I slowed down quite a bit but still ran a decent pace.

Once I made it through the duck poop I continued on through neighborhood trails. I've run these before but don't do it often enough apparently. At a large intersection I decided to go straight….and then I realized that I had no idea where I was. I kept running but grew increasingly concerned about being lost. Honestly though how lost could I be? I could have just turned around and got back out the same way. I saw another runner so I asked him where I was headed. After he told me I stressed out knowing that if I kept going I was going to end up further from home than I wanted to be. I also saw a fence at the end of the trail and wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get out.

The trail crossed a road and I decided to take the road and try to get back on track. After running a short section I hit an intersection and turned in the direction I thought I needed to head. Then I saw speed bumps…..glorious speed bumps. Who gets excited about speed bumps??? Well that would be me! Because I knew that speed bumps lead to big roads. So I kept on that road wondering what big road I was going to intersect. Unbelievably I ended up on the road that I wanted. I was back to somewhere I knew….and I was much further along than I had expected.

I knew I was going to be half a mile short from my original plan but I decided to go towards home and add that distance at the end.

Throughout my entire run the fog never really lifted. It got lighter outside but I never had much visibility. As I got close to home I decided to run up a hill to a trail to ensure that I got to the distance I needed. This would also allow me to have a little bit of distance to walk home so I could cool down.

By the time I got home I was soaking wet from the fog but I had completed my 7 miles.

As if running 7 miles wasn't enough we decided to go for a bike ride later. First one of the year! The weather was much better. The sun was shining and it had warmed up. Warm enough for shorts! We rode a similar path to what I had run so that I could see where I went wrong on the trails. We also rode all the way to the fence which turned out to be locked….good thing I hadn't run out there. I would have had to jump the fence or turn around. And either way I would have been really annoyed!

We continued our bike tour to some other trails and into another neighborhood where I had previously gotten lost. I think I have a handle on these trails now. Hopefully the next time I'm there I can find them again.

Our ride ended right around 9 miles. Even though I had run in the morning it felt great to get outside again. I love unexpected warm winter weather!

Updated Plan and Goals

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My training plan page is now updated with the Reston 10 Miler Plan.

Goals for 2013:

1. Run 500 miles. This is not far for many runners but much more than I did last year.
2. Race enough of the =PR= Trophy Series races to qualify for a prize.
3. Ride 500 miles. Once again not hard for a biker but I haven't been doing much biking. We'll see how far I can get.
4. Kayak – a lot….as much as I can get my boat in the water.
5. Run the Nearly Naked Mile – I have been wanting to do this race for the past two years but I had conflicts. I'm hoping it works out this year.

11 miles of cross training

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Tuesday bike ride has been completed. We did a nice little loop. I was worried about my shoulder because it has been so painful since Sunday's race. Fortunately biking wasn't too bad. Most of the time I was fine. I didn't ride too aggressively but felt like I got a decent work out.

The temperature was cooler today ….fall weather is really setting in. It was a little bit windy which I could have done without but overall it was a nice day for a ride.

I'm really enjoying my riding days and glad to be using my bike more consistently. I'm hoping that can keep this up even as the weather gets cooler. I think the cross training is helping my endurance which leads to better running. :-)

Easy 9 Miles

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On the bike. Buddy wanted an easy ride today so I gave him one. I don't think it was easy enough because he didn't quite keep up but I just couldn't ride that slow.

We started on a road that we recently discovered while running but took it until we found the end. Then we ended up on some trails through a nearby neighborhood. It turned out to be pretty nice.

I like my biking days because I feel like I'm getting a work out but it's not nearly as hard as running is.

The weather has been absolutely perfect this week and I'm loving every minute that I'm outside. Cooler temperatures and very low humidity are wonderful!

I did my race down the hill at the end but didn't push nearly as hard today and only got up to 24mph. I hit 20mph going over the first speed bump! I love doing that. Especially after a relatively easy ride when I have a lot of energy left.

I think I'm starting to notice the endurance I'm gaining from the long runs. Yesterday's short run didn't feel nearly as hard and today's bike ride just felt plain easy. But that means I can push myself a little bit harder…

Cross Training Tuesday

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Today is my cross training day which means I went for a nice bike ride. I'm really enjoying riding again and I'm finding that having a schedule is helping me stick with it. I'm not sure what will happen after the ATM but I will change my training plan and make sure it still incorporates bike riding.

We set out to do a big loop and that's exactly what we did. It's a pretty nice ride. The only part on a street is within neighborhoods so the traffic is pretty tolerable (the rest is on trails). We tend to ride while most people are commuting home. We work earlier hours to allow us to spend more time outside in the evenings.

The ride was pretty uneventful. I kept my bike in a gear that was easier to peddle but required fairly consistent work. I felt like it was great exercise but my quads weren't killing at the end.

It was a beautiful day for a ride and nice to focus on something other than running.

13.3 Mile Cross Training

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Took a little bike ride this afternoon. Rode to my buddy's office and then he showed me the secret way home. It was a nice little 13 mile loop and ended up with the race home on our street. Today's max speed was 28.6 mph.

Overall it was a pretty nice ride with rolling hills. Much of it was on trails and in neighborhoods and didn't involve fighting traffic. There was one little incident crossing a road with a big truck….but what happens at that intersection stays at the intersection. Anyway I made it through and maybe will check 3 times instead of just twice in the future.

It was a beautiful day and I was glad to get out and do some cross training.

Terrific Tuesday for Biking

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Decided to go for a nice little bike ride today. My buddy picked the road that leads towards the single track. When we got close I suggested that we head down there. We couldn't even ride down the hill to get in. There was a large tree down across the trail so we had to carry our bikes over.

The first part of the trail was filled with thorny bushes. I definitely got a few thorns in me but I kept riding anyway hoping it would get it better. And it did! The trail is extremely narrow and the plants along the side are extremely overgrown. The trail is way more technical than it seems like it should be. It is filled with sharp turns, trees close together, stream crossings, and many tree roots. It's relatively flat though. Only a few little hills. The stream crossings were mostly dry today which meant in many areas we could avoid the shady bridges.

We took it pretty easy on the way out and just got a feel for the trail and the obstacles that we were up against. On the way back it was a different story though.

I started the way back with unintentional jump. I hit a large branch that was across the trail which sent my bike flying much higher than I expected. Luckily I was able to stay on the bike.

After that I had the best crash ever! I was riding over a root and got my peddle caught which threw me into a nasty slide and sent me off the trail directly head on into a large log (really a downed tree) which caused me to bounce backwards throwing me back onto the trail. It was slightly insane but somehow I managed to stick the landing and stay on the bike. My buddy was behind me wondering what the heck was going on. It was awesome and luckily I didn't get hurt.

Shortly after the crash I threw part of a bridge…unfortunately for my buddy it was a part it he was trying to ride. Riding over the bridge was unnecessary because the area was dry but to get back on the trail I had to cut over quickly to avoid a tree. My buddy thinks it's fun to ride these bridges that are really just pieces of wood thrown down. When I was cutting back to the trail I rode over one of the pieces of wood and threw it….unfortunately my buddy was on the piece so I sent him off the bridge.

After that I continued to bounce over tree roots. At one point I almost launched myself over a cliff….but I slammed on the brakes (what little I have left) and got a foot out of my peddle before going over the edge.

Before finishing the ride we had one more obstacle to get through. Here are some pictures.

Once we got back to the road the ride became much less exciting. We just had to dodge cars to get back safely. We did encounter a large group of bikers. One near the end of the group suggested that we join them but I looked the road bikes and figured we would struggle to keep up. And I had had enough adventure for one day……or so I thought.

When we got back to our street I decided it was time for a little race. I tend to ride down the hill as fast as possible just to see how fast I can go. I was able to get to 30 mph. My buddy wasn't able to keep up ….I started too soon for him and peddled really hard up hill before the big downhill section. I love knowing I'm violating the speed limit when I'm on my bike. I just hope I never crash while doing it. And I should probably get my brakes replaced before I do it again. My brake pads are pretty worn.

It was fun ride. I'm glad we went. I'm trying really hard to incorporate more bike riding into my busy life. I need the cross training and I have so much doing it.

And in case you are keeping track ….I updated my stats but it was a 10 mile ride. About a third of it was on the trail.

More adventure than I was looking for..

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Yesterday we rode our bikes out to the single track that we discovered back in January. We took the short cut into the park. I almost missed the steps that led to the trail. As soon as we got in there we realized that it's quite different during the summer. The plants/weeds were growing almost over the trail. Plants were hitting my ankles, legs, and sometimes even arms while riding.

As we got down to the main trails some of the areas were a little bit better but I spent most of my time worrying about ticks and poison ivy. A couple of summers ago I had bad reaction to poison ivy. I ended up with one eye swollen shut so I know I have to be extremely careful. While the riding was fun I was definitely stressed about all the plants rubbing my legs.

We rode in for a while and then decided we should probably just head out. After getting lost a few times we made our way back out to the road. By the time we got out my legs looked shredded from riding through plants with thorns.

It was fun but I'm not sure that I'll go back too soon because it was very stressful. I headed straight to the shower when I got home. So far I haven't found any ticks or any reaction to poison so I might be safe.

Unfortunately I don't think that park will be as good as I was hoping. We might be waiting until fall to ride there again.

Here is what the trails looked like.

21 miles….

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This past Sunday we rode 21 miles. It was nice to get out on the bikes and go for a long ride. After kayaking on Saturday it was good to really use our legs on Sunday. We rode from our house to trail that got us to the W&OD and then rode about a third of our trip on the W&OD.

I miss riding. We really don't do it enough anymore but we are starting to find more trails which I think will help us ride more often.

AND …the best part of the ride happened on the way back. I finally conquered the BIG hill. This hill has been a problem for me. I have never managed to get up it before without jumping off my bike and walking/running. This time I managed to stay on my bike and ride it! The problem in the past hasn't been my strength or my will….cause if you know me you know that I'm strong willed. The problem was my gears….well nothing is actually wrong with the gears but in the past I just wasn't using the correct gears. I would get there and realize I couldn't turn the pedals over. This time I used the granny gear and I was able to do it.

I was so stinking proud of myself.

It was a great weekend of paddling and peddling.