What I’ve Learned So far……

 

 

I used to think that running was as simple as throwing on a pair of sneakers and moving swiftly through the streets.  There is so much more to running than that.  My lack of knowledge is how I got injured time and time again. I have learned so much in the past few months, some of these things I should have already known.

After the Long Island Half Marathon I continued with my routine care with the Sports Chiropractor, whom I still continue to see.  In addition to the ITB Syndrome, I was experiencing a secondary pain.  This pain would start sporadically on my runs and never at the same time or distance.  I would feel discomfort in the same exact place below my knee and to the left.  I had several treatments for this pain, all with no relief.  On a warmer day I decided to wear knickers for my run.  Of course I would look stupid if I wore compression socks with short pants, so I didn’t.  I ran for miles without pain.  It was wonderful.  I then tried to figure out what was different about this run from all the other runs.  The socks! The damn socks! The socks were the source of this secondary pain!  I brought them to the next visit I had with the Chiropractor and we had a good laugh about it.  The socks never bothered me in the cold weather but the warmer weather made my muscles expand and contract in a different way.  I have other compression socks that are more suitable for running but, at this point, I’m deathly afraid of them. 

My original discomfort from the ITB Syndrome continued.  It was advised that I use a foam roller, which is something I should have been doing regularly as it’s great for all types of athletes.  The first time I used it I thought I would vomit from the release of the tension in my muscles, I had only felt that way once before.  I am now a changed woman and an advocate for the beloved foam roller.  It didn’t cure my discomfort but it was a positive step towards wellness.  

During one of my regular visits to the Chiropractor, I wasn’t my jubilant self.  I expressed my exasperation towards my situation and questioned running in general.  At the time I had the firm belief that running sucks.  Why do I run? Why do I want to run? Running is hard and it hurts.  I’ll get into the remedy of how to make running easier in a minute but for now I’ll focus on this particular visit.  He said that I needed to strengthen my supporting muscles.  My hips, my glutes, and my IT Band all needed strengthening.  He advised that I do a couple of different exercises but, me being me, I researched it more and found this glorious resistance band routine.  Not only are my supporting muscles stronger but my booty never looked this great in my life.  Needless to say I will continue with this routine.  I gradually increased the resistance to the hardest band in my set. I feel the burn and bask in the joy that it brings me every time.

Running sucked because of my attitude towards it, and also my lack of a good support bra.  Every run I did had to be hard or fast.  Every run that I did started getting tough during the warmup.  Even the recovery in between the intervals were tough.  There was nothing easy about running. I had a couple of runs with my coach and she taught me a few things.  She taught me the concept of easy and recovery.  I found a great high impact sport bra and, with a new attitude, I started enjoying running.

On most days I love to run.  I look forward to my runs.  I have a new sense of adventure.  I run in places that I’m curious to see or places that I’ve been on my bike that I want to have a closer look at. I look on maps to find new places to explore.  Last week I ran for relaxation.  I gently placed each foot on the ground and moved with no great purpose or urgency.  I ran to experience the joy of running.  I made my way up and down the rolling hills and took in the beautiful sights and aromas.  At the end of my run I was almost dry, I had barely broke a sweat.  I can enjoy my runs as I enjoy my rides.  I no longer question why I run.  It’s no longer only about the things I would like to accomplish but a deeper feeling of serenity, at times.  Of course I’m still going to work on getting faster.  I still have goals and wish to accomplish them but I also know that going easy is part of attaining these goals.

This coming Saturday I will do a scenic half marathon in the Hamptons which I will tell you all about afterwards.  If all goes well I will run my very first full marathon in four weeks! Thank you for your continued support and your patience during my time of transition into a new sport.  Thank you all for reading!

Hot Hot Hot

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On these hot summer days I think of all the times I rode in the heat but one day really stands out. It was the day of the bike club picnic. It was close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the ride and very humid. We had about a dozen riders including the new guy that had just started riding with our group.

I believe the ride was to Belmont Lake and it was the day after the hot century ride which most of us participated in. The ride was going well. We went to the lake and we took our pictures. On the way back we hit the hottest part of our ride. We were rolling through an industrial area. It was very sunny with no shade in sight. Most of us were in need of water so we planned a water stop at the closest 7/11.

A few minutes from the water stop a member of our group got a flat. I wasn’t leading the ride but I was commander in chief and couldn’t leave my men behind. Half of the group went on to the water stop while the rest of us remained behind in the blistering sun with our friend who had flatted. They were getting the tools out for the flat change.

I was too hot to just stand around in the sun. I scanned my surroundings. That’s when I noticed it. There was a large office building with a few small trees in front of it. Each small tree cast enough shade for three to four people to take cover under. I went right for it. The guys looked up and saw where I was headed and they all spread out under the trees. They calmly changed the flat and I’ll never forget the funniest little detail. It was a senior member of the club. He was using a small hand pump and when it got tough he turned to the new guy and asked the new guy, who was young and strong, to pump. The new guy was more than happy to rise to the occasion. He finished the job and got our friend rolling again.

When we arrived at the water stop the rest of the group gave their sympathies that we had stood around in the hot sun while they were very comfortable in the shade. We looked at each other and laughed. We then informed them that we also remained very comfortable in the shade. One of the guys mentioned that one of us had a great idea by heading for the trees.  We rolled on to finish the ride with no other setbacks and enjoyed ice cold drinks and food at the picnic. 

On hot days please have compassion and support your friends. It’s not their fault when they have mechanicals in the heat. Just remember to take in your surroundings and be creative about staying cool. Check on your elderly neighbors to make sure they’re alright. Stay cool and don’t go too hard in the heat. Be safe everyone!

The Long Island Half Marathon

 

After three months of training the big day was here at last. I wasn’t as excited as I would’ve been if I wasn’t having trouble with my knee. I was still very excited but I just wasn’t sure how far I’d make it. I was hoping to make it all the way but I was prepared to cut it short if I had pain. The good news is that my chiropractor had a tent at the finish line so they would be able to care for me if I had pain. I also had an appointment set up for the very next day.

The night before I packed what I would need for the morning. I had to wake up very early to get into the park before the road closures took place. I packed my breakfast, my hydropack, my protein powder, and a bottle of water for after the race. I have a soft cooler bag with a hard removable liner. I put everything in the liner then put it in the fridge to be more efficient.

I woke up bright and early as planned. I made coffee while I got ready. I pulled the liner out of the fridge and placed it in the cooler bag. I brought the coffee with me in my thermos. I went out to the car in the pouring rain. I had forgotten something n went back inside to retrieve it. I had everything I needed and made my way to the park. The road closures were ready to take effect. In about two hours I’d be running my very first half marathon!

I chose a parking spot closest to the parking lot’s exit but furthest from the restroom. I knew that strategy would pay off later. I sat in my car and located my friend. She pulled into the spot next to me. I chatted with her as well as another friend on the phone while I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee.

My friend on the phone informed me that hydropacks weren’t allowed at the race. I checked the website and she was right. It wasn’t on the main page, it was on the nutritional information page. Luckily I had a water bottle with a hand strap and extra drink mix with me. I made the necessary adjustments, pinned my number on my leg, used the restroom, and we made our way to the starting line.

The excitement set in and I almost cried. I was really going to do this! I stood amongst the crowd in the rain awaiting the start of the race. The thing I dislike most is the countdown. It makes me nervous. I knew I wasn’t racing and just doing a long run but I still got nervous. I always get pre race jitters.

The race started. We walked to the starting line and started running shortly before. I started my tracking app and my watch. I made sure to start super slow. I was slowed down by the crowd going around a puddle and stayed at that slower pace. I kept my heart rate in the lower zones.

I got into a rhythm easily. A friend of mine told me that what makes this event special was the energy of the crowd. She was right. As yucky out as it was, a lot of people came out to cheer us on. I must’ve hi-fived at least a dozen people throughout the race. I cheered on the wheelchair race as they passed. There was a lot of excitement.

I ran comfortably, at tempo, gradually picking up the pace with each passing mile. I was cheered on by my friends through the RaceJoy app. Originally my husband was going to hang out at the park while I ran but it was so nasty out that we decided it was best that he didn’t. He said he would try to get to a spot that he could cheer me as I passed but we weren’t sure where because of all of the road closures.

It was exhilarating to run on the recently paved highway that was closed to cars. Never did I imagine that I’d be able to run on an actual highway. I glanced at the course before the event but I didn’t really examine it. The exit on the highway that we would get off was my exit. I was hoping to see my husband there.

I made my way to the offramp. As I came around the turn I saw spectators awaiting their loved ones. Among those spectators were my husband and stepson under my big umbrella. I was extremely happy to see them! I waved, giggled, and blew them a kiss as I passed. That filled me with new energy. It was mile 10, I was heading into the final 5k of the race. I picked up the pace. I was running considerably faster but sustainable for a few miles. I was passing a lot more people than I had been throughout the race.  I took that as a sign that they had used up their energy whereas I had saved mine.

In the final mile I picked up the pace again into my race pace.  My knee had been bothering me since around mile 5 but it wasn’t horrible.  It was a pain I could run through.  Little did I know the finish line was about 2 tenths of a mile further than it was supposed to be.  It took everything I had but I kept the pace all the way to the finish but I did not do a finishing sprint.  Seconds before I reached the timing mat they announced my name as a finisher.  I had completed something that I had wanted to do for some time.  I faced a challenge that once seemed impossible.  I crossed something off of my bucket list.  Most importantly, I completed something that I began!

Am I happy about my accomplishment? yes, I am.  I overcame a physical challenge complete with an obstacle.  Have I accomplished enough? no, I only completed half a marathon.  Am I thinking about the next challenge? yes! I’m getting the care I need for my knee.  Once my knee pain has been resolved, I’ll resume endurance run training.  I have my eyes set on a marathon that takes place at the end of the season.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do it but I won’t do it unless I can do it without pain.  I’ll keep you posted……

Congratulations to all of the participants of the Long Island Marathon Weekend, Ironman Virginia, AquaBike Worlds, GFNY, as well as all the participants of the several bike races that took place in the tri state area.  Be proud and happy of all that you had accomplished and don’t be afraid of new challenges!

 

Running

 

I started running outside in late December. It was a super windy winter morning. There was no way I’d ride in wind like that but running was just fine. It’s nice because I could still enjoy the outdoors, just in a different way. I met a friend of mine in the park and we ran along the fitness trail. It was a cold, sunny day. I had a lot of fun. It was the first time I’d ran outside since 2016.

On days that the weekend weather was good, I’d ride, but we had more cold days this past winter. I fell in love with trail running. It was warmer and less windy on the trail. Above that, it was exciting. There was no time to ponder life while running on the trail. My thoughts were occupied by looking for obstructions to hop over or run around. I twisted my foot a few times and stomped on hardened mud but, luckily, I remained uninjured by the trails.

I don’t run on roads with traffic. I choose to run on paths that are closed to automobiles. A lot of runners run on the bike paths, boardwalks, and trails. It’s somewhat social. Sometimes we speak to one another but mostly we just say hi to each other in passing. Not worrying about passing cars gives me the time to appreciate the world around me. I spend a lot of time taking in nature. I notice little things like swans swimming and turtles sunbathing on stones. Running clears my head in a different way than cycling does.

I like the benefits of cross training. It gives all of my leg muscles the opportunity to work. Instead of feeling a lot of soreness on certain muscles I feel some soreness all over. I no longer have that overwhelming feeling of not wanting to do anything at all. I look forward to each and every activity instead of feeling the occasional dread of exercising again. The only time I don’t look forward to exercise is when I have intervals to do. They’re not my favorite but I do like the way I feel when I complete my intervals without dying.

During one of our first runs together my friend asked me what my goals were. I had none. I have an athletic bucket list that includes running goals but I wasn’t sure what I could accomplish given my past with running.  I would go too hard too fast and get hurt. She “influenced” me to do the Long Island half marathon. I’ve been training smart and increasing my mileage gradually while following my heart rate zones to increase speed.  Things were going well. I even started participating in running races.  I really like the energy of these events.  It makes training runs that much more exciting!

Two days after completing the 15k trail race, where I took third place in my division, my left knee began to hurt.  At the recommendation of a friend, I started seeing a chiropractor.  I’m feeling better now but I’m going to be smart about it. If you asked me a month ago what my goals were for the half marathon I’d have told you that I want to complete it in two hours or less, now I just want to complete it.  So, this coming Sunday, I will run the Long Island half marathon and see how it goes. 

Thank you fir always being there for me! I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have to write.  With your love and support I can take on the world!

This Past Winter

 

Hmmmmm where do I start? Well I’m now more broke than ever. I bought a beautiful new bike, Sheena. Of course my power meter crank arm from Candy didn’t fit her so I had to buy a new power meter for her. I can’t keep buying new PMs for my bikes so I went with the pedals. For the first time ever I’m using basic road pedals. Lita still has the SPD pedals so I use her for casual rides when I’ll be clipping in and out frequently.

As if I could afford any more problems, my car crapped out on me.  I was financing it and had three years left. The transmission blew. I took the car back to the dealer I purchased it from and got into a lease.  I’m paying about a million times more per month due to the huge negative from my other car.  Not to mention that I had a negative on that car from the car prior to that one which I also purchased from the same dealership.  I’m DONE with financing used cars and financing in general.

I’m thin again! I lost 15 pounds and I feel amazing! One day I was walking through the mall back to my car after getting my eyebrows done. I was about to pass a very hip young woman’s store. I saw fashions that I couldn’t wear years ago when I was fat. They came back! I went in and bought three dresses and three bodysuits. I didn’t try them on because I was certain they would fit and that they would be very flattering. I was right on both accounts.

I’m stronger. I trained hard over the winter and cross trained. My weight loss combined with getting stronger is getting me up those hills faster. Not as fast as I would like, but definitely faster than before. I also look stronger. I’ve been keeping up with my strength training and loving it. I see a whole new me in the mirror. My arms are getting fairly ripped and my mid section is starting to have lines of definition. I flex my arms in the mirror a lot because I’m just so proud of them. My husband makes fun of me for it but I could care less. I’m finally starting to look like I’ve always wished I could look so, yes, I will keep glancing at my physique in the mirror.

I am absolutely radiant. A few friends of mine turned me onto the collagen powder supplements.  It’s known to improve strength and recovery within twelve weeks of use.  It’s been a few months.  The side effects are improved hair, skin, and nails. One of the doctors in the building that I’m close with came to ask me a personal question.  He asked if I was “expecting”.  I let him know that I wasn’t and asked why he thought that. He said it’s because my skin is glowing.  Even if it didn’t improve my overall strength, my glowing skin is worth taking supplements for!

There are so many more wonderful things that happened over the winter but I can’t tell you everything all in one post! I’ll make it a point to write all about my running adventures.  

Thank you so much for reading and for your continued support and encouragement! I really can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I started BLC.  Writing has kept me honest to my body and my life goals.  Knowing someone has read it means I must do it.  I encourage everyone to do what they have to do to accomplish their goals, whatever those goals are.  You only get this one life so make it count!

What’s Been Going On With Me?

 

 

That’s a very good question.  What could possibly render me silent? I’ll tell you all about it….. 

Shortly after returning from the honeymoon I woke up, stepped on the scale, and saw a high number.  During the honeymoon I did nothing for days, ate everything in sight, and drank all kinds of fruity cocktails.  I shrugged it off.  About a week later I stepped back on the scale and saw that I had lost a couple of pounds and wasn’t really worried about it.  Some time went by and that number wasn’t changing.  It took a bit of time to realize that it wasn’t the honeymoon that made me fat but that I slowly got fat over the past couple of years.

When I first started riding I weighed 22lbs less than I did at my moment of realization but I didn’t have any muscle tone to speak of.  In 2016 I weighed 17lbs less and was in the best shape of my life.  In two years I put on 17lbs!  I made excuses about the weight gain.  A friend of mine didn’t coddle me, she told me that I had to own it and do something about it if I was unhappy.  This is what started my journey. 

I’ve gained and lost weight many times over the years and every time I promised myself that it would be the last time.  This time I really mean it.  I’m getting to the age that I have to lock it down.  Not only that but I really have to make a healthy commitment to myself.  I never wanna spend hours looking through the closet or not want to post a pic because it makes me look fat.  These are things that didn’t worry me in 2016 and are things that shouldn’t worry me now.

How do you lose weight while maintaining strength in an active lifestyle? My friend told me that it was all about the macros.  Another person told me about the apple cider vinegar regimen.  I read about the apple cider vinegar and saw that it had many great health benefits so I got started on it.  I downloaded an app that helps me track my food intake, got started on the apple cider vinegar, and started working out every day.

I’m not doing crazy powerhouse workouts every day but just enough to keep burning calories and quicken my metabolism.  It’s also psychological.  Working out daily gives me the confidence that I’m earning food every day.  I’m doing three hard cycling workouts, two easy cycling recovery workouts, and two moderate/heavy gym days.  I’m working out 8-12 hours per week.

At first my gym workouts were just about getting stronger on the bike but I see so many changes in my body.  I really enjoy feeling strong.  I’m also enjoying my treadmill runs and I’m hoping to be able to run outside soon.  My new focus at the gym is to become firm.  I want to turn all of my fat into solid muscle.  I don’t need to be ripped but just very fit.  I don’t want any part of me jiggling.

I workout at the gym at 5am twice a week so I go fasted.  Many people swear that doing cardio while fasted is the key to losing weight.  I don’t know if thats what’s getting me thin but I do know something is.  Strength training is definitely the key to speeding up the metabolism.  After losing six pounds I noticed that my bones were starting to protrude.  If I looked like this already then did I really need to lose eleven more pounds?

A friend of mine has a scale that tells her all about her body composition.  She showed me the app on her phone once and it’s very detailed.  I realized that investing in this scale would benefit me greatly.  The last thing I need is to lose too much weight and not be able to ride efficiently.  The scale was a very small investment.  I got a rechargeable version of it on a Black Friday special for $24!

I’m not using this scale regularly, I weigh in with it once a week.  I keep my old digital scale in the bathroom for regular use.  I assumed that I was high in body fat simply because I’m fatty.  What I found out is that my bones are heavy, I’m very muscular, and my body fat was 18.2%.  A female athlete is supposed to have 14-20% body fat.  My new goal is not a weight goal but to get down to 16% body fat no matter what weight number gets me to that point.  I’m currently at 17.8%.  At this rate I may lose more weight than my original goal but we’ll see.  

It’s incredibly easy to lose control.  I’m not kicking myself for it and neither should any of you.  The most important thing is to own up to it and get back on track.  Whatever your goal is don’t wait until Monday or New Years.  It all starts here and now.  The holiday season is here and this is the time most people gain a few pounds.  I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy it but you certainly can’t eat treats every single day.  

Thank you to everyone who loves, supports, and helps me.  Without you my transformation may not even be possible.  I appreciate all the advice you have given me as well as your level of concern. I love you!

 I hope that your journey takes you to amazing places and new heights along the way.  Happy Holidays!

The Honeymoon (day 1)

 

 

I’m sorry I’ve been so distant.  I’m just trying to get settled into my new life.  I’ve been making a lot of positive changes which I will tell you about in due time but first I’ll tell you about our honeymoon.  

In my excitement to get away with my soulmate, I couldn’t sleep.  I was still high from the wedding and very excited to take my first real vacation in twelve years.  I eventually got to sleep, when my alarm went off my sweetie told me to stay in bed and that he would wake up first to start getting ready.  I woke up a few minutes later and started to get ready.  My brother in law was a few minutes late to pick us up so we had a few minutes to remember anything we may have forgotten.  Of course we remembered things when he came and we had to run back in, we had to run in anyway because we had to lend him something while we were gone.

We got to the airport with enough time to eat something before boarding.  The plan took off and landed on time.  There was a bus waiting to take us to our hotel once we retrieved our bags and made it outside.  The bus driver told us a few things about Aruba and showed us around on the way to the hotel.  He made the first stop to drop a couple off at their hotel and we were next.  The bus ride was twenty minutes, at most.  

We arrived at the Manchebo Beach Resort.  We were greeted warmly and were handed a cool towel to freshen up.  We checked in and they gave us a mojito.  We made our dinner reservations for that evening with the front desk.  Our room wouldn’t be ready for a couple of hours so we got a couple of things from our luggage and a nice young man showed us around the resort.  After that we went to lunch and it was delicious.  After lunch we went to the beach and another nice young man set us up in a palapa closest to the water.  

The beach was heavenly.  It was warm, breezy, and quiet.  The water was warm and inviting.  While we were in the water, the water carried us away and we had to search for our palapa.  When we found it we also found that two ladies that weren’t staying at our resort had set up directly next to us.  The palapas were spread apart so that guests could have their privacy but these ladies were right there.  They were loud and giggly.  We finally had a nice getaway only to be crowded.  I looked at them with disdain every chance I got.  They slurped their fruit and were very annoying.  After a bit of time had passed, they finally left.  We are able to enjoy the beach in peace and quiet.  The young man came to inform us that our room was ready but we decided to stay on the beach a bit longer.  

After the beach, we were showed to our room.  It was beautiful! The view was spectacular.  There were chocolate covered strawberries and champagne waiting for us as well a bouquet of flowers.  There was a balcony that overlooked the beach with a table and two chairs.  The room wasn’t huge but it was perfect for the two of us, it was also the only room with an ocean view. 

After bathing, we hung out in the room for a bit before heading to dinner.  We ate at the Chophouse which was indoors.  The very nice older gentleman that waited on us informed us that we may choose what we like for dinner but he had a very special dessert that he would be preparing for us.  Dinner was absolutely delicious.  As promised, for dessert he wheeled a cart over to us.  It had a few items on it as well as a single burner.  He prepared a flaming dessert which was simple, delicious, and fun to watch.  After the presentation a lady at another table inquired about the dessert and he informed her that it was exclusively for the honeymooners.  

We felt very special.  We had been there only a few hours and the staff made us feel like royalty.  They had a high level of communication.  Everywhere we went, including the bus ride to the hotel, everyone knew we were honeymooning. We highly recommend this resort to anyone who is looking to get away and be treated very well.  

We left the resort that evening to do a bit of shopping.  I was looking for a small purse to carry a few items around in while we were on vacation.  I found that as well as a straw hat to wear on the beach.  We danced to music outside of a piano bar and just had a good time walking around.  We went back to the hotel and watched the live jazz performance before heading back to our room. We were exhausted from the full day that we had just had.

The Wedding

 

 

On September 15th, I woke up an hour earlier than I should have.  In my excitement to marry my soulmate I couldn’t fall back asleep.  It was a beautiful morning, cool and crisp.  When my alarm went off I got up and got dressed to meet my friends for a ride.  

When I arrived to the start of the ride I discovered that I was the only one there.  I got ready and did CCP loops.  Only one of my friends showed up.  I knew my girl wouldn’t be there because she had a really bad cold.  We had a nice ride the day before just her and I.  My friend and I had a very nice ride at a social pace.  That was all we could muster with the blinding sun in our eyes.  We bumped into another friend on the path, Scuba Cyclist.  She asked me what I was doing there and I informed her I had a little less than five hours to go.  We counted down over the course of the ride and made it back to my car with plenty of time to spare.  I did my post ride ritual and then we parted ways.  We would see each other again in about four hours.

In my excitement I forgot to tell my groom that I was on my way back.  I let him know I was outside when I saw his car.  I forgot that he was getting dressed at home.  He hid in the other room and I darted into the bathroom.  Luckily, I didn’t see him.  We said goodbye through the bathroom door.  I took a shower, put on a casual outfit, and headed over to the makeup artist.

The makeup artist greeted me with a smile and immediately sat me down.  I let her know I was into a more natural look with bold eyes.  She assured me that, being that I have good skin, I wouldn’t need much makeup.  She put a flattering amount of makeup on me.  I looked pretty but something was missing.  I didn’t need to say anything, she knew what I was thinking.  She offered me some shimmer for my eyes.  It wouldn’t be visible unless I was looking down.  I would be looking down while reading my vows so it was perfect.  I was complete.  My makeup didn’t take much time.  I was going to do my own hair in the bridal suite but, at the last moment, I decided to get my hair done while I was there.  They were able to squeeze me in. I enjoyed being pampered and I watched in awe as my hair came to life.  I forgot all about the phone in my purse.  I didn’t hear it over the hair dryer.  My hair stylist took great care of me and thought of all the things I didn’t.  I didn’t think to dye my hair in advance so she sprayed some color to hide my grays.  She put on my jeweled headband and I was amazed at the princess looking back at me in the mirror.  Now I was truly ready for the day ahead of me.

I rushed out to my car.  I was running way late! I read all the texts I got.  One of them informed me of a street fair that caused a lot of traffic.  I was able to bypass it and made it to The Stewart Manor Country Club with only 15 minutes to get dressed before the ceremony.  I pulled up and abandoned my car outside with the door wide open and the keys inside.  I ran in and went straight to the bridal suite.  My girl was there with our photographer and she told me how beautiful I looked.  I forgot that I was pretty and I was happy to receive the compliment.  I thought she looked very pretty too.  She had very little makeup on and looked stunning.  I loved the shimmer of her eye makeup.  I told her how silly I was to have such a beautiful maid of honor.  Then the photographer took pics of me before getting dressed and then excused himself so my girl and I could get into our gowns.  

My right hand man, the guy who runs everything, came up to the suite and we let him in.  He informed me that there was no reason to rush as the ceremony couldn’t start without me.  He also informed me that the ceremony itself wouldn’t be more than 20 minutes.  He told us when he would come back for us and gave us pointers.  He took the framed pictures that I brought in to display in the entryway where the place cards were.  Our photographer came back and took more pics of my girl and I in our gowns.  Then we were beckoned to come downstairs for the start of the ceremony.  My father was at the base of the stairs waiting for me.  We were very happy to see each other.  I have five older brothers so he was excited to finally give someone away.

We were escorted to the door that led to the gazebo.  My right hand man opened the door and I saw my groom in the gazebo as well as all of our guests.  It was a perfect day for a wedding, warm and slightly overcast.  I got choked up for a second and tears welled up in my eyes but then I caught myself.  My father and I made our way to the gazebo and he gave me a kiss before giving me to my groom.  I told him how handsome he looked and he told me I was gorgeous. My dad was invited to stand in the gazebo for a few words.  He was then asked who gives me away and he answered, with pride, that he does.  He then left the gazebo and we continued with the ceremony.  I originally wanted a general, non religious ceremony but then our parents got involved.  God was mentioned so many times, even after I gave a three God limit.  We exchanged our rings.  We decided to say our own vows as well as the regular vows.  My groom almost made me cry but I held it together somehow without tearing up.  His vows to me were wonderful.  I read him my vows, a poem that I had written.  Afterwards I handed him the card that I had read from.  We went on with the regular vows and before I knew it we were wed and kissing.

I was glowing as we made our way down the aisle.  We were stopped and we greeted our guests as they went in to the cocktail hour.  I was so happy that it was a small ceremony with only a few guests because I couldn’t imagine kissing any more cheeks.  Then our photographer turned to us to take pics and we informed him that we ourselves were heading to the cocktail hour.  I cut the line and made myself a plate.  I sat down and ate until I was satisfied while talking to my new family members.  We then informed our photographer that we were ready.  We went back outside for more pics.

When we came back inside everyone was being escorted to the main dining room.  We lined up at the door ready for the introductions.  We made our way in and then danced to the first and second dances, we each picked a song.  My song was first and then his.  We mingled around and did a bit of dancing.  Our fathers spoke, then the best man and maid of honor made their speeches.  They were all very touching speeches.  I was very touched by all the things my girl had to say.  I love her and I couldn’t have picked a better woman to stand by my side.  Some of the best family members are the ones that you choose.

We had an awards ceremony where we gave out awards for various talents among our family and friends.  It was so much fun.  We said a few words, announced the recipients, and then took pics with them.  It was very important to us to do this ceremony.  It’s important to spread cheer and let the people that you love know what you love most about them.  We did the cake cutting ceremony and then it was time for the bouquet and garter toss.  My right hand man made me a small bouquet to throw so I wouldn’t ruin my beautiful flowers.  Some of the single women had already left so we were very short on single women, I even had my elderly aunt ready to catch.  One of my male friends offered to fill in.  We thought it was very funny so, at the last moment, we made it coed.  My oldest stepson caught it and then shared it with my special brother which was the sweetest thing ever.  Then everyone dispersed before the garter toss.  Being that both of our families are conservative, we made the last minute decision not to do the garter toss.  

We did the Cha Cha Slide and a bit more dancing and then that was it.  The reception was over.  I was a bit down, it was all over so fast.  This day that took year to plan was over in a flash.  We went home and my groom left to take the kids back to their place.  That’s when it started.  My friends posted pics on Facebook and the feeling of being on cloud nine went on into the evening.  I am very fortunate to have made so many wonderful friends.  They’re all very special in their own way and I’m so happy to call them my family.  My groom came home and we shared this joy together before we finished packing for our honeymoon in Aruba.

Will the next post be about the honeymoon in Aruba? There’s only one way to find out 😉

This Past Weekend (9/8-9/10)

 

 

For all those who celebrate, Happy New Year!  This past week was good and short.  I had the pleasure of having two Mondays off in a row!  I tried taking that FTP test on Wednesday but it didn’t go so well.  I wasn’t recovered enough to take it.  I’ve learned a valuable lesson about proper recovery.  I had a rest day after the long weekend of hammering but it wasn’t enough to get my legs back on track.

Saturday I woke up like any other day of racing at Floyd except earlier.  I forgot to register in advance so I could’ve not gone if I didn’t want to.  When I left it was raining but I looked at the weather forecast and it said it would stop within the hour.  I called my girl but she didn’t answer.  When I was halfway there she called back and informed me that it wasn’t raining where she was.  I took that as a good sign of the rain clearing within the hour.  When I got there it was still raining.  None of us ventured outside of our cars to start getting ready.  There’s no cellular reception there so information is hard to come by.  We finally got an email of the race being cancelled.  One of the guys made a call and let the race organizer know that there were enough people there to race.  The race was back on except, being that it was cancelled, the points wouldn’t count towards the series.  We were a all a bit bummed but we were also itching to race.  We all woke up with the intent to race and so racing is what we would do.  It was chilly but the rain had slowed down to a very light drizzle.  The race was due to start about 45 minutes past the scheduled time.  It was a combined field of cat 4/5 men and women.  I was a little nervous because the turns were wet and sandy.  I did a warmup lap and we lined up to the start about 5 minutes after I returned.  I hung in for a lap and a half.  My new friend is really nice and was encouraging me to stay on his wheel.  I stayed there for a while but I couldn’t hang on for very long.  I stayed on my teammate’s wheel for a bit but I lost his wheel on the tightest of the turns.  Shortly after that I saw him get dropped but I was too far to get to him before turning into the brutal headwind.  One of the other ladies stayed with me for a couple of laps and we took turns pulling but then I couldn’t keep up with her anymore either.  I was lapped twice but I finished the race.  It’s true that I came in last but I’m just happy to be the kind of person that finishes what I start.  That wasn’t always my thing.

After the race we got ready and my girl took me for a pre wedding night on the town.  We went to dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant and saw Chicago.  It was a great show.  The set and costumes were simple.  The story was told with amazing music and great lighting concepts.  I’m just so happy.  She took me out and made me feel so good about myself.  She went through great lengths to make the night very special.  What an amazing friend!

On Sunday I had a hangover, not a drinking hangover, I only overindulged in coffee.  I was tired from getting up early and staying up late.  I woke up at the same time I aways do.  I wasn’t motivated to exercise and, even if I was, my muscles were sore.  It was also raining and the roads were very wet.  I decided to listen to my body and be lazy.  Being that I had the following day off I found it to be more beneficial to save my legs and ride stronger on Monday.  I did a couple of errands and chores but, for the most part, I napped and watched TV.  I never get to watch TV so it was a nice and welcomed way to spend a rainy day.

On Monday it rained again so I slept in just a little bit and exercised all morning long.  I did intervals at my new FTP that I set for myself based on my recent efforts.  It was tough but very doable.  I still had legs so I went for another hour on the course.  I did my planks and, after not doing them all weekend, I felt very good.  I spent a half hour at the gym doing weight training.  It felt so good to exercise the morning away.  I spent the rest of the day doing wedding related errands.  I’m very excited for the big day.  

This may be my last post for a little while but I hope you all spend this time doing whatever it is that will bring you health and happiness.  Remember that your short term goals are just as important as your long term goals.  Have a great week!

 

Healthy Living Fridays (vol 17)

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Raw Energy Balls

 

I had never thought to make my own riding snacks.  I always bought Cliff bars.  Lately I haven’t been eating on the bike, possibly because Cliff bars aren’t very appetizing or convenient to eat.  My friend, Affluent Lady Cyclist, showed me her balls and I immediately asked her for the recipe.  She also gave me permission to share it with all of you.

What you will need:

  • Organic Dates (1 cup)
  • Organic Whole Grain Rolled Oats (3/4 cup, I prefer the quick rolled oats)
  • Salt (a dash, I prefer pink Himalayan salt)
  • Organic Cacao or Cocoa Powder (4 tsp)

How to make it:

Put the rolled oats and cacao powder in the food processor and mix until its a powder.  Add the dates and the salt and mix everything until its a huge ball.  Take small amounts from that ball and roll them into smaller balls.  If you desire, roll your balls in dry ingredients like coconut or minced nuts for a nice coating.  They can be consumed immediately.  Put them in the freezer so they can become more firm.  When you remove them from the freezer, they don’t take much time to soften up.  Enjoy your balls as a snack or take them on the ride with you.  They hold up well in your jersey pocket.