Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Double Skyline Ride

On Saturday, I decided to try an old ride I used to do to challenge myself. Up to Skyline on King's Mountain Road, down Tunitas, out to the coast, and back. It's about 50 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. I was nervous. I hadn't done it in a long time, and I wasn't sure I physically was able.

After a nice breakfast (toast and eggs), I headed out on Pandora. I warmed up nicely and felt solid. I began climbing King's, trying to stay positive. Very quickly, I realized I had underestimated this climb. It was much harder and steeper than I anticipated. Sweat poured down my face, and I downed water. I tried to prevent the anxiety of the second climb from creeping it to no avail.

According to our plan, Alan left the house 20 minutes after me to see how long it would take to catch me. He caught me about a mile from the top, near the archery range in Huddart Park. Even though I knew that this would happen (he's a much stronger cyclist), it took all the wind out of my sails. It didn't help that he caught me during the steepest section at the top, where it took all my concentration to turn the pedals over. Meanwhile, he cruised along easily, trying to have a conversation. I just couldn't. I felt so insignificant next to him obviously struggling as he seemed to be having a walk in the park. He wanted to know what the plan was for the rest of the ride, but I couldn't think straight. Instead of planning on reconvening at the top, I waved him off. Basically, I told him to leave me alone and go ride on his own. So he did.

After he left, instead of feeling better, I felt abandoned. Frustrated. Defeated. What the hell was I doing? Why was I doing this? I didn't want to climb Tunitas on top of King's. This was enough. I reached the top of King's and turned around. On the descent, I beat myself up about how not worthy I was to be riding my bike. I told myself I sucked and thought about how I was going to mope around the house the rest of the day. I also realized, my legs had begun to recover, and I still had gas in the tank. I started thinking. What if...? Maybe I could still salvage this ride. I saw a doe and her fawn on the side of the road. I took it as a sign. I wasn't going to climb Tunitas today but I could something else.

At the bottom, instead of turning left to go home, I turned right. I decided to try to climb Old La Honda and ascend to Skyline again on a different road. It wouldn't be quite as challenging as Tunitas, but it would be a good challenge. Plus, I could always bail and just turn around and go home. I started feeling optimistic and excited as I neared the second climb.

Old La Honda was hot and steep, riddled with narrow switchbacks, but my legs kept turning the pedals over. I knew I was going to make it. I felt good. It didn't matter how slow I was; I was doing this. Eventually, I reached the top, just as I emptied my final water bottle. I felt immensely proud.

As I rode home, I could feel the fatigue set into my legs. My butt, hands and neck ached. But it didn't matter. I had salvaged the ride and proved to myself that my setback was all in my head. Next week--Tunitas!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Six Weeks Later...

It's now been about 6 weeks since I've started working out consistently again. I have good days and bad days, good stretches and bad ones. But overall, I've been gaining strength and fitness. According to Strava (where I've been logging my workouts), I've worked out 35 times since the beginning of June. I've only lost 4 pounds (I would like to lose about 20), and I still feel slow as molasses but there  are other positives I'm focusing on. 

Here are some positives I've noticed after 6 weeks of consistent work outs:
1. My mood is better when I workout, and I have more energy. 
Sometimes, reflecting on this helps get me out the door. When I have the choice between moping on the couch all day and just going for a run and feeling better for myself, I will often choose the latter. I HATE when I take rest days because they often turn into 3 or 4. Lately, I've been trying to workout EVERY day, even if it means weights or an easy swim or ride. Being on summer break, there are just no excuses. I have the energy, and my body always feels better afterwards. 

2. The workouts are getting easier and more enjoyable.
When I first started, it was a slog. Especially running, which was unfortunate, because that's my go-to favorite. Now, I'm finding my rhythm again where the miles float by unnoticed and I just zen out. It wasn't like that at the beginning. I had to push through. Running fitness is always the first to go and the hardest to get back. I still have a ways to go but I'm now looking forward to my runs and running a bit farther each week. I can't wait to hit the trails again. 

3. I have more strength and muscle.
I've been hitting the weights 2-3 times a week, and it makes a huge difference. I can climb more on the bike, and swim faster in the bay. I don't get tired as easily. It's been a bit frustrating as far as weight loss goes since muscle weighs more than fat, but my clothes are fitting better, and I feel better when I look in the mirror. 

4. I've been eating better.
When I know I have a workout coming up, I plan ahead. I have to fuel myself properly. I end up naturally avoiding junk food more and going for whole grains and fruit more. I also have been splitting up my meals into smaller portions and then eating more frequently throughout the day. I've also noticed my cravings for junk food have gotten less. I would like to cut back on drinking wine since we've been having about 2 glasses/night. It really adds up.

So, overall, even though I wish I had lost more weight, I'm on the right track. I'm feeling positive and motivated. During these next 6 weeks, I'd like to begin running on trails again and building up the mileage a bit. I would also like to increase my climbing strength on the bike. I used to be able to bike up to Skyline, down to Half Moon Bay and back. I think I can get back there these next 6 weeks. 

Not a workout pic but a cute pic of Rango, helping me recover.