Sunday, October 08, 2006

This is not a hill!

Seriously, that's what they painted on part of the ride I did yesterday! (Notice that I said "did", not completed. More on that later.) There I was, cruising along, looking occasionally for the little green painted arrows on the ground, when I saw those words (or similar words) fly beneath me.

Hmmm... Sure felt like a hill. Sure, a very shallow hill that's more of a flat molehill, but a climb nonetheless. However, it's understandable that, when you're hosting a "No Hill Hundred", you certainly should deny any knowledge of any hill-like presence.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Actually, the notice really made me chuckle as I stood on the pedals and climbed virtually effortlessly. I'll also admit that standing to climb was probably really overkill for that little non-hill.

The whole ride, including the not-a-hill-hill was really very, very enjoyable. From the human bike stands at the first rest stop for the metric (yes, you read that right: metric), to the very friendly volunteers, to the riders of all shapes, sizes, ages, and bikes, to the uncrustables they served at one of the rest stops, and even to the smiling and waving Search and Rescue folks providing SAG suport, my first official ride was a pleasure.

Let me amend that: it was wonderful until mile 54. I didn't bonk; I had plenty of energy. I'm not even positive that I started out too fast, though I'm considering it. I think my body just wasn't ready for 61 darned miles. My quads were in serious pain. I'm not saying they were sore, or cramping, or even a bit tired. They ached so badly that I had to take a break every one to two miles, watching my Garmin every foot of the way. I had to keep negotiating with myself just to go a little further, then I would take a break. This was also after I had slowed down to 10-11 mph, down from my 14-19 mph for most of the ride.

When I almost broke down into tears at the thought of the remaining miles, I made the decision: take a shortcut. You're here for fun, I told myself, not competition. Heck, there wasn't a mass start, and the only one with any knowledge of your time is you. If you're miserable, then there's absolutely no one who will benefit. Your longest ride this year, for heaven's sake, was only 25 miles, and you haven't ridden for weeks! Be proud of what you did, and finish with a smile.

So, openly announcing it to some who passed, and nodding to those who saw me going the opposite way from the route, I took a shortcut back. My total distance was 60.92 miles. I'm not ashamed at all. It was just shy of the ride's planned 61-point-something. (Yes, that's a bit shy of a true metric, so sue them and me.)

In case you're wondering how a shortcut only shaved off a fraction of a mile, let me go back to the beginning of the ride: we got lost. Yes, lost. I was blithely following a few riders, chatting along the way, when we saw a sign that said "no outlet". Really? That's pretty odd, since we just began. They kept going, and I turned around. (Heck, they saw the same sign I did, and even commented on it.) We had missed a turn. That's when I started looking for the green pavement markings religiously and checking my cue sheet obsessively. We also added about two miles to our trip.

So, that's why my shortcut still took me to nearly 61 miles.

Not bad. Not bad at all. And yes, I finished with a smile.

Next week: my first 5k. (Oh yeah, my other milestone of the past week: I ran three miles without stopping for the first time on Wednesday morning. Race day, here I come!)

Oh, more good/neutral news: My weight at this time is 205.3 pounds. That's back down 1.3 pounds from last week. This is making me think: perhaps I should stop counting calories temporarily and start listening to my body. If I'm maintaining my weight despite what I think is significant overeating, maybe my body's telling me something my brain is ignorant of: I need more food. I'm not saying that I'm going to do it, but I'm-a-thinkin': maybe it's time to intentionally put the obsessive calorie counting on pause. If I do take an official break (trial separation?) from my scale and calorie-counting software then, of course, I'll have guidelines to get adequate nutrition from fruits, vegetables, and all that other healthy stuff.

It's really food for thought, ahem, so to speak.

OK, onward and forward. I'll see you again next Sunday, if not before.

(Oh, and though I'm not responding directly lately, thanks to everyone's encouraging words and patient tolerance of my little tantrum. They really mean a lot. Seriously.)

Oh, one last thing: I fit into the skinniest jeans in my closet today. The last time I tried to put them on, I couldn't get them around my hips. OK, so they may have been a teenie-bit too tight. But, who cares? They fit, darnit, and I could breathe, move, and even walk around downtown. Yeehaw!

OK, I'll stop babbling now. :)


Heather said...

Oh awesome job!!! 61 miles, I have never ridden that far... You rock hardcore!

Next 5K next weekend, wow, October is going to be some month for you!

And yay on the jeans-- definately a nice feeling.

Kevin Ponds said...

You rock! I saw your blog in your signature on coolrunnings and have been reading it....I just signed up for blogger myself so I'm commenting for the first time :)

You truely are an athlete. 60 miles is quite a feat.