Lured in as if by tractor beam

10 07 2012

A few years ago when I was a fledgling runner, I thought the end-all and be-all of my existence was an annual half-marathon.  Once this feat had been accomplished however I would always experience a bit of a let-down and find myself wondering what to do with the rest of the year.  Then somewhere — I think possibly in Outside Magazine — I read an article about a year-round fitness regimen and a new vision began to take shape.  Since I wasn’t really thrilled with running in the hot summers and puttering in my garden didn’t provide the same endorphin rush as pushing my body to its limits in sport, I seized upon a notion to work on strength in the winter, running in the spring/fall and biking in the summer.  Never having done a bicycle event in my life, Old Impulse-Control-Issues Me declared an autumn century ride to be the perfect next training goal after the annual half.  And I do believe this will be the year to finally follow through.

With that in mind, I signed up for the 2012 North Shore Century on September 23.  What I liked about this event was the range of distances available (100, 70, 62, 50 and 25 miles) and the fact that it was described as “family-friendly,” which to me signaled riders of all ages and abilities were welcome.  I felt  like this guaranteed:  (1) I shouldn’t feel too terribly much like I didn’t fit in with the crowd, and (2) there would be various “safety net” distances I could drop into should I not be up to the entire 100 miles.

Having investigated these bicycle outings a bit further since then, I now realize there is way more to them than merely showing up on a bike and pedaling.  In my research, I have encountered terms like “pace line”, “drafting” and “big/small chainring”, each one of which I greeted with a quizzical “huh?” followed by a slight cramp in the stomach.  I mean, I’m still not entirely sure what all 21 of the damn speeds are supposed to be used for.   And then there was the next-door neighbor who immediately dissed my bike when I told him about my goal (and prompted the “don’t underestimate me” rant I posted maybe a month ago).   So I realize I do have much to learn and indeed far to go.   But that’s okay.  It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bite off early more than I realize later I might be able to chew so I’m feeling quite at home with all of this right about now.

I did go out and buy a new bike.  It meant postponing my dental work but hey, a girl has to have her priorities.   And mine apparently don’t include Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos (or better teeth).

But isn’t she gorgeous?!  My new Trek Lexa XLS.  Once my big fluffy behind gets used to straddling that little bony seat, we are going to tear up these roads!

And new bike or not, I am also not stupid enough to show up a total virgin at this Century, so I registered for a couple of other rides in which to practice the new skills I’m going to need.  The first is Venus de Miles, the all-girl 25-or-61 miler, on July 29, and the multi-distance Bike Psycho Century on August 26.  So, what the hell.  Here we go with new bike in hand and training plan on the calendar boldly riding where my fat ass ain’t never gone before.

Lured in as if by tractor beam, I begin my Century training.



After the Anchorage half-marathon on Saturday, June 23, I took almost the entire next week off although I did do a lot of walking around on vacation.

Friday, June 29 – 45 minutes easy on the bike.

Saturday, June 30 –17 miles on the bike with some gentle inclines

Sunday, July 1 – I ran 5 ½ miles in the forest preserve near the house.  Still getting re-acclimated to the heat, I was pretty slow but I salvaged the workout by doing a few hills and then ran negative splits the last 1/3 of the outing.

Monday, July 2 – OFF

Tuesday, July 3 – The day got away from me due to chores and errands, and then it was 100 degrees outside (the first of three deadly hot days).  I had to do something so I spent 35 minutes outdoors on the bike after dinner.

Wednesday, July 4 – Four on the Fourth race in Elmhurst, IL.  We started at 7:15 and it was already 89 degrees by the time I crossed the finish line less than an hour later.  Scorching day!

Thursday, July 5 – 16.5 miles on the bike, a couple of pretty impressive hills

Friday, July 6 – 11.5 miles on the bike, mostly easy stuff around the subdivisions

Saturday, July 7 – OFF

Sunday, July 8 – 13.1 miles walk/jog, it cooled off outside but was still too hot to really “run”.  Yeah… so crazy for half-marathons,  I made up my own and did it.

Monday, July 9 – Active rest; worked in the garden for an hour before work

Tuesday, July 10  – Today.  First day on the new bike.  I’ll be back with details later.



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