It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Time has a way of going quickly when you are busy doing things that you love.
As I approach the end of my fifth year of post-corporate life, I continue to be amazed at the lack of white space on my calendar. There are always upcoming events to train for, the actual events to experience, and then the very brief period of rest and recovery before ramping up for the next one. The year 2016 has been a stampede of events upon events. Looking ahead, I expect 2017 to be even busier!
When I last wrote, CFL and I were training for Seattle to Portland (STP), a two-day, 206-mile bike ride. We’d never done a century ride before, much less two of them back to back. While we were among the slower riders in the throng of 10,000 cyclists, we got it done. We even managed to have some fun along the way.
We were all smiles at the start!
Enjoying a few miles of off-highway riding on a very nice bike trail.
At a food stop on Day 2, in front of the “World’s Largest Egg” in Winlock, WA.
My triumphant arrival at the finish line!
We’d barely had time to recover from STP when we were off for our second Ride Around Washington. Last year’s ride had taken us from Ilwaco on the Washington coast, approximately 400 miles to Walla Walla in eastern Washington. This year our group of 250 cyclists returned to Walla Walla and then rode another 400 miles all the way up to tiny Metaline Falls in the far northeast corner of Washington state. Our ride took us through the rolling hills of the Palouse.
We crossed over into Idaho a couple of times. Coming out of Lewiston we rode the historic Spiral Highway, which winds up 2,000 feet in eight miles. Such fun on a 95 degree day!
On our last day we crossed the Pend Oreille River on this beautiful bridge. Although it looked scary, it wasn’t.
I stopped to look directly down through the open grate at the river below.
We were happy to see this sign at last.
Finish line beers are the best beers!
Overall, it was a wonderful ride. I managed to complete it without injury (unlike last year) or any significant aches or pains. We relaxed and took our time, and still managed to find time for an ice cream stop most afternoons.
A mere week after returning from RAW, I tried something new — I competed in my first duathlon! I’ll never do a triathlon because I refuse to get in the water, but the idea of run-bike-run has always appealed to me. When a local duathlon was announced, of course I had to register.
The course was a 5K run through a county park, followed by a 21.5 mile bike ride (two laps of rolling country roads), and finally by the same 5K run again. Although I’ve done run-bike for fun several times, I only had one chance to practice run-bike-run before the event. I was totally mystified as to how the Transition area would work, but the friendly volunteers provided helpful tips on how to stage my bike and where to go as I finished one phase and moved on to the next.
I had no idea how much time I’d need during the two transitions. Therefore I had no idea how long the entire event would take me, but I roughly estimated I could do it in under 2:45:00.
Although it was mid-August, it was a cold, foggy morning. This made the first 5K easy enough. I shivered at the starting line, grateful for my arm warmers (sleeves). Then off we went — me at my usual slow, happy pace near the back of the pack.
Finishing the first 5K, I ran through the chute and found my way back to my bike. As I’m a wimp who doesn’t yet clip into my bike, I didn’t have to worry about changing my shoes. I simply removed my helmet, took a quick swig of water, and then I was on my way. Arm warmers are pushed down now! Although it was still foggy, I was well warmed up.
I’ve never raced a bike before, and I really had no idea how fast I might complete the 21.5 miles. It turned out that I can ride quickly enough when I’m motivated. I made up a lot of time on this section of the event.
Coming from a run to the bike, my legs do just fine, but going from the bike back to running is a lot harder. I sort of stumbled through the second transition, but I stashed my bike safely and found my way back out on the course.
I ran the second 5K a minute faster than the first one, even though I walked up the one big hill.
Another triumphant (if slightly bedraggled) finish line arrival!
My finish time of 2:33:02 was good enough to finish 20th out of a field of 39 — not bad for my first duathlon!
I’m now totally hooked and I can’t wait to do another one.
After mid-August, things got a lot quieter. I was training for a half marathon to be run in early November, but a nasty bout of shingles in October ended my racing plans for the year. Since my recovery from that, I’ve resumed running and riding but without any particular goal in mind other than daily mileage.
So now we’ve cycled through the seasons and found our way to late December. Our calendar is filling up with big plans for next year, but that will have to wait for another post.
Slow Happy New Year!