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I Dood It!

My big ride this past weekend was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

I arrived early Saturday morning, unpacked Grace from the vehicle, and trudged through the mud, courtesy of some pretty bad storms the night before, to my team’s tent.

I felt a little out of place among the more experienced riders with all their gear – padded shorts, spiked shoes, etc.  I had on capri running pants and some old tennis shoes.  (Now full of mud.)

We started the ride as a team, but to me, the pace was too slow.  I powered up a hill and continued to ride at my usual speed until the first rest stop.  I waited there until the rest of the team arrived.  I hooked up with a few of them, including my boss, who agreed that if we were going to do the 100 mile trail, we better pick up the pace.

Even still, I felt the pace was too slow.  But since I’ve never ridden more than 30 miles in a day, I figured it was probably best they were pacing me. I had fun pushing the two guys to keep up with me though.  I’d hang with them until a hill, and then I’d race past them to the top.  They’d eventually catch up and then fly past me the down hill.

All the while, they marveled that I was riding without padded shorts, and that I could power up the hills without clips.  (Clips?  What are clips?). I just shrugged my shoulders.  “I don’t know,” I told them.  “I just pedal.”

I did hit a hard stretch about 60 miles into the ride, however.  We turned onto a 15 mile stretch of highway with a slight incline and the high winds (leftover from the storms) directly in our face.  I’d never been more happy to reach a pit stop.

The last 20 miles were filled with more hills, but as we climbed closer, my heart swelled with pride.  Me, a “rookie” as they called me, had ridden my first century ride.

8 1/2  hours after we started, we crossed the finish line, and immediately pedaled to the beer stand.

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Jack, Me and The Boss

 

 

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Close up of my proof

After a quick shower at the gym, we headed out for a much needed dinner.  You burn a lot of calories riding a hundred miles.

Afterwards I didn’t feel like pitching my tent in the mud, so I laid blankets down on the floor of my hubby’s Tribute, and tried to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning, a little sore, but determined to ride the 75 miles I’d been bragging about the last few months.  Getting back on the bike was a little uncomfortable at first, *ahem* but soon I was feeling good.

So good that when I got to the 100 mile cutoff, I decided to go for it again.

The rest of the team thought I was nuts, and maybe I was, but I love a good challenge.   This time, without anyone to slow me down, it only took me 61/2 hours.

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It was a great weekend.  Riding with thousands of people all there to support the same great cause was pretty heartwarming and inspirational.  I immediately signed up to ride again next year, and I’m making my hubby go too.

As for me, I’m quite proud of what I accomplished, especially since I just got my bike a few months ago.

Now on to find my next big challenge……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2016 in Health and Fitness

 

Mopey

I moped around for the first few weeks after returning from Colorado.  It’s just so beautiful there, and I could go from trail to trail to trail everyday, all day if I wanted.  (And I did wanted.) I SO didn’t want to come home.

Hubby, seeing how much I loved it, asked if I wanted to move there before moving to Florida.  I hadn’t really considered that, but YES!  Except they have winters there.  But I could deal with that.  Right?

I don’t know.  Seems like every time I go somewhere, Nashville, San Antonio, Florida, Colorado, I never want to come home.  Maybe what I really want is to NOT live here.

I’m tired of corn fields.  I’m tired of not having anything fun to do close by. I suppose that’s why I like working in downtown St. Louis.  Things are happening!  But’s it’s an hour away.  Sigh.

Mario is a senior this year.  When she graduates and moves away to college, we will likely move too.  Still not sure where to, but it’ll be far from Smalltown, USA.

In the meantime, I’m preparing for my big MS ride next weekend.  Having that to look forward to helps keep the moping at bay.  I love training for something and pushing myself physically.  175 miles in two days should do the trick.

Grace has been behaving nicely.  Just brought her in for a check-up, and she’ s feeling fine.  A little tweak here and a little tweak there.  We’ll be a great team come race day.

After that, well, I’m sure I’ll come up with something to look forward to.  Probably planning a trip to anywhere other than here.

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8 Comments

Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Everyday Living, Vacation

 

To the Top!

Wednesday marked the day of my real reason for making the trip back to Colorado.  That was the day I planned to beat The Incline.

The months leading up to my trip, I worked diligently to strengthen my legs and my stamina, knowing I’d have to overcome the altitude and lack of oxygen.  I was also determined not to slow down Abby, who I know is an Incline expert, and who agreed to make the trek up with me.  Heck, she went just the week before to test it out for us and beat her best time.  So yeah, I was bound and determined to not look like a sloth.

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The trail started out relatively flat, but got steep pretty quick.  I was breathin’ heavy right away, but soon fell into a groove.

There wasn’t much talking going on, as I was saving my breath, but I managed to sputter out a few words.  “What kind of time are we lookin’ at?”  And “Ugh, I thought THAT was the top.”

Every once in a while, I picked my head up to look around and admire the view, but mostly, my head was down and I trudged along.

At times, the people in front of me would “pull over” for a drink and a rest.  I just kept on going.  I basked in the glory of passing someone, even though it seemed to take a great deal more effort.  Abby would say good morning to each person we went by.  I barely managed a grunt.  Hopefully she was polite enough for the both of us.

As I took my last step, I turned to face Abby only a few steps behind me.  34:05 she stated with a smile and a high 5.

34:05!  WAY better than the 50 minutes I had set as a reasonable goal for a flat lander.  And only two minutes slower than her best time.  My chest swelled, and not just from trying to suck in the thin air.  I was proud of myself.

imageWe wandered around the top of the incline a while.  Abby pointed out the guys who were lifting a barbell over their heads.  We questioned how they got it up there, but then got our answer when they took it apart, split up the pieces, and ran down the mountain.  We just stood out of the way.  Best to let them go first.  They were making me look bad anyway.

We made our way down the 3 mile trail, occasionally having to get out of the way of runners.  I could barely keep from skidding while walking.  No way was I gonna run.  Besides, I remember how painful it is to run down a steep hill.   And I t was nice chattin’ with Abby.  I didn’t want to ruin it by panting through it all.

By the time we got down, I was starving.   We went to a place known for their big portions, and they didn’t disappoint.  I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t finish it all, but I gave it a great effort.

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We went our separate ways for a little while to shower and rest up for our next set of stairs at Seven Falls.

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Here’s where I was proud of Abby.  She’s afraid of heights, and I know from watching my Hubby, that fear can be paralyzing.  But she pushed her fears aside and climbed up the steep “ladder” where we were awarded with beautiful views.

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I went first on the way back down, hoping to block her view.  It’s really is a steep drop, and this is only from halfway up….

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It was a great day.  Everything I dreamed it would be and more.  Abby, thanks for sharing the day with me.  And get ready!  I’ll be back for bigger and better things…..

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8 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Friendship, Health and Fitness, Vacation

 

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The Fun Just Got Funner

Our first day in Colorado merely whet our appetite for outdoors adventure.

After we caught our breath from the climb at Red Rocks Ampitheater, we grabbed some lunch at the Airplane Restaurant and headed off to Garden of the Gods.

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Probably one of Amp’s favorite places.  Lots of rocks to climb.

 

The following morning, we met up with Abby for another tour of Red Rock Open Space.  She gave us the tour last time we were out, and. Amp was so impressed he wanted to go back.  This time there was water, which made it even more beautiful.

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Chip, seeing Colorado for the first time.

Amp, begrudgingly allowing a selfie for the sake of the blog.

 

 

 

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Shadow and Abby.

 

We said so long to Abby, and then moved on to Palmer Trail and Helen Hunt Falls.  The longer we went, the more we realized we were flat landers trying to keep up with the natives.

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But boy was it beautiful.

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We wanted to hit one more trail, but storms were brewing.  We got to see first hand the hail and flash floods Abby often describes on her blog.  Luckily we were safe in a car and not stranded on a mountain.

Our day may have ended abruptly, but to me the best was yet to come…….

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Family, Friendship, Vacation

 

The Guys’ Turn

I thought it only fair for the boys to have quality time with their mom since Mario had some a couple of weeks ago.  So I rounded ’em up for a trip to Colorado.  What better way to bond than a 13 hour car ride.

We piled into the car with all our Colorado necessities, and off we went.  We weren’t even out of the driveway, and the boys had their headphones on and their eyes glued to their screens.  My dreams of deep conversations and brotherly bonding flew out the window.  ***sigh***   This was gonna be a long trip.

Hours into it I began to appreciate Mario’s non-stop chatter.  To get them talking, I brought up “No Man’s Sky”, the game Abby’s son Meego had just downloaded.  They discussed the pros and cons of this game, which led into reviews of other games, and seemed to break the silence for the rest of the trip.  Still not the chatter Mario and I had, but better than complete silence.

After a short layover in Colby, Kansas, we made our way to the mountains.  As we got closer to our first destination, Red Rocks Ampitheater, I realized how great a navigator Mario was.  She was spot on, telling me how to get there, giving me plenty of advance notice, balancing the real world against what she saw on her phone.  The boys waited till it was time to turn and told me to turn.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to paint the picture for me of what I needed to do.  After many u-turns, and a lot of gas, we found our way.

My frustration ended quickly.  I’d forgotten how beautiful and breathtaking (literally) the Ampitheater is.

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Amp, much more comfortable here than in a cramped car, even allowed a selfie.

 

 

 

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And Chip, who was seeing things for the first time, humored me as well.

 

 

 

 

We realized just how high up we were, when we were completely out of breath climbing back up the stairs.

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Practice for what’s to come?

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 17, 2016 in Family, Vacation

 

Let the Summer Begin!

It’s been a weird summer.  Seems that June and August have switched places.  June was extremely hot and dry.  The grass died, the weeds died, we even had a tree die.  When the rains came, though, they really came.  So these past few weeks when we’d normally be seeing things die off, they’re thriving!  Even our little tree is sprouting again.  Makes me feel like we’re starting summer over.  Which is fine by me.

See, the first part of summer was all work no play, but our girls’ trip to Indiana changed that, and got the ball rolling for future fun.  Last night, Hubby and I played tourist while Mario and her friend attended a concert in downtown St. Louis.  We toured the Old Courthouse, watched the sun set on the Arch grounds and walked the city with a waffle cone full of ice cream.  (I haven’t given it up completely.)

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Not my pic of The Old Courthouse, but if you look to the right, the dark brick building is my old hotel, where we happened to stay the night of the concert.

 

 

 

 

 

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Again, not my pic, but this is what the Arch grounds are looking like these days.  They’ve been redoing the interstates and ramps to make the pedestrian commute much easier, safer, and nicer.  The dark brick building to the right is my old hotel.  In fact, you can see the room we stayed in last night.  Fantastic view.

 

 

 

Tomorrow is the first of 9 working days in a row, which will likely suck, but there’s a pot of gold waiting for me at the end.  Amp, Chip and I will leave next Sunday for an adventure of a lifetime.  Ok, maybe not.  But I get all giddy inside whenever I think about it.

I get to climb The Incline in Colorado.  Something I’ve been dying to do ever since I learned about it from Abby.  I love having a physical challenge to look forward to, and have been gearing up for it for months now.  I can’t stand the excitement!

The boys are NOT ready for a physical challenge, but are excited about visiting Colorado.  If the prospect of moving there can get them through one more year of school, then I’m all for it. And heck, I could visit them all. the. time.

After Colorado, the physical challenges ain’t over yet.  In September I’ll be biking 175 miles in two days.  My new bike is up for the challenge.  I just hope I am.  I’ve had some good training rides though, and have never felt better, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Fingers are crossed for some good weather for both.  These days, you just can’t be sure what Mother Nature is going to do.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2016 in Health and Fitness, Vacation

 

Girl Trip Gone Better

The last time I went on a road trip with my daughter, we came back in tears.

Since then, Mario has made remarkable strides with her bowling.  Enough so, that we decided it was worth the trip to Indiana for a week long bowling tournament.

This tournament is the largest youth bowling tournament in the world.  There are over 700 girls in her division alone, and people come from all over for a chance to win the Junior Gold title and possibly a spot on the USA Team.  It’s HUGE for young boys and girls alike.

Mario qualified for this tournament before going to Chicago where the problems began.  Well, not really problems necessarily, but changes.  She’s had to learn a whole new way of bowling, and a lot of her confidence was taken away.

After her tears dried, she got back on the lanes and fought hrough her demons.  She  practiced daily, worked with a coach, and has gotten most of her confidence back.

So she was excited to travel to Indy, meet some of her favorite pros, and bowl with hundreds of girls who would give her a run for her money.

And they certainly have.  Her scores haven’t been overly impressive, but her attitude, focus, and determination definitely have been.  The first day of competition, the ball stuck to her hand and pulled her down.  Her greatest fear had been realized, yet she picked herself up, laughed with her teammates, and bowled again.  Every day after that, the ball stuck to her hand at least once during the day, but she didn’t let it crumble her.  It’s very scary for me to watch it happen, but I am incredibly proud of her resilience.  I know she’ll overcome this, and will be back on this “stage” again next year.  Bigger and better.

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We’ve also taken advantage of all the down time between tournaments.  We went to a movie, swam in the pool, and paddle boated along the canal.

Oh, and can’t forget…  Caught tons of Pokemon.  In fact, the canal was FULL of people, old and young alike, catching Pokemon, finding Poke’ stops, and taking over gyms.  I found myself telling Mario to watch her step, move to the side, look out for the pylons…  And wondered how everyone else could see where they were going with their nose to their phones.  Even so, it was great to see all these people out walking around.  I know it’s getting my kids out of the house more.

Now off I go to her final match.  Six days of bowling – every bowler’s dream – is coming to an end.

Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth release each and every time.  (Next time you can wish for a win….)

 

 

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Bowling, Family