Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh! The pain!

I have had some painful medical problems that have pretty much changed my entire perspective of movement and made me realize what a blessing it is to be young and healthy and, of course, able to move freely. What I have is temporarily debilitating and will go away within a week or two (but it's keeping me off the bike for about a week. I may be able to go swimming to keep up my aerobic capacity...but there will be no bikes in my life for at least another week. No rock climbing, no cross country skiing, nothing like that.

That's pretty much torture for me.

But to keep you all at bay while I sit on my butt popping valium I will try to post some thanksgiving pictures for you in a little bit.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

And another blog!

Here is one all about staircases! Seriously lovely architecture in that blog!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Day in the Life...

This is the first thing I see when I open my eyes in the morning - A tangle of bikes. I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and get dressed, in all my winter stuff.

Not so bright eyed and bushy tailed. I'm tired!

I grab my work bag and my gym bag and head out to the car. I have to drive to work now, instead of walk like I did in MKE...yeesh.

It snowed, so I have to brush off the car, first time this season.

I'm using JR's car, so there's a lot of bumper stickers to amuse the people behind me.

I get in the car and start heading to work.

Early Morning Midtown is quiet since it's a student's neighborhood, being very close to the college.

Get to work where I park by the very cool tree that has lost all it's leaves and none of it's berries. We can't figure out why.

I work for eight hours...which I wisely didn't take pictures of...

Except to show you that we drink starbucks a lot here.

My office is, for the most part, obsessed.

Do you see the tiny elephant hidden in this picture? this elephant is from the zoo trip that JR and I took right before I moved to Michigan.
I drive downtown to the gym by my house...

Park far away and start walking there...passing the People mover track

Stupid advertising graffiti

An abandoned high rise...

I go to spin class for an hour (it's hard to bike here in the D, esp. now that the light is gone. It's not ideal but it gets me pedaling for an hour here and there...) and then to pilates and that eats up most of my evening. Spin class was fine. Everyone did out of saddle climbing and I just sat there and pedaled. I do what I want because spin classes are too intense for where I need to be in November. Pilates class was HARD!!!! I've never had a pilates class that hard in my life. Instead of the usual exercises we had a giant therapy ball incorporated into them and I was flopping all over the place. yeesh.

I get home and wash up and change into my PJs...

Eat a bowl of veggie soup I made, and check out the internet for an hour or so. After that I am tired so I call JR and then go to bed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dirt Road Riding!

Joey from The Hub of Detroit and I went out for my second dirt road ride. My first was the Kalamazoo road race. Apparently, there are roads made out of dirt everywhere in Michigan because we only had to drive a half hour or so to find a plethora of dirt roads to wander.

These roads stretch on forever.

We found some strange geologic formations - I love geology! This is an ancient delta we found, from the glacial periods.

Riding bikes makes me happy!

Joey is a great person to ride with - entertaining, doesn't mind pulling into the wind, and rocks his cross bike. This guy bunny hopped an interstate. Seriously! I witnessed it myself. that's where it ends! What now???

The off season starts!

This is the "start" of my second season of cycling. It's been a pretty neat ride, and a pretty neat off season too! I took almost three weeks completely off the bike (good, because I'm itching to get on it!) and that same three weeks completely off of exercise (not good!).

I don't think I've ever been so in tune with my body. When I started this thing I sort of just did whatever, muddled along. Sometimes I'd go to the gym, sometimes I'd swim, once in awhile I'd run. Sometimes I'd do a triathlon. I rode my bike a lot because I liked it but I didn't really do it for any particular reason or for any particular goal. I was creeping up on size 8's after having been a 4 or a 6 my whole life. (now you all can buy me pants!)

I decided to start racing after moving in with another cyclist, and dating (now engaged to!) a [ed. note: Jon is still a cyclist, just not a bike racer cyclist. But watch for him in the bloomer track 2009 perhaps!] cyclist. She gave me the motivation and he gave me all his wheels and pedals and stuff...

Anyways, I had no self awareness of my body but by the time august rolled around I knew every little muscle in my legs, I could see the way my body reacted to a three hour race, uphill both ways, or how it reacted to a two hour long easy ride. I could see (and not in that anorexic body inspection way) the way my body looked and felt at it's prime, the definition of leg muscles and my the fact that my ribs came back, in august, and how it worked like a well oil machine, placing well in every race I did, even finishing first a few times.

Now, I've just spent the last few weeks with the worst eating habits of my life. I have literally lived on chips and candy for the past few days, too, while I holed up in my office plugging away at elections. Now that elections are over, though, it's not time to relax for me. I have watched, with an athletes eye, my body degrade. These changes are unnoticeable to anyone besides me, but I feel them and see them - the definition of my calves, while still there is not as striking. I had to let my heart rate monitor strap out a teensy bit. I am not running the six flights of steps up and down the parking garage, instead I am walking them. I have gained a few pounds. While the six's still are loose, I can't pull them down without unbuttoning them any more...

It's time to start building the foundation for next year's racing season, time to wake up those sleeping muscles, get the metabolism going, and start eating like an athlete, not a overworked politico.

I'm so excited!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A little.update here and there....

It's GOTV weekend.

In my job, this means I have already put in many, many hours to prep for elections. I have not been outside in over a week. I mean, I've walked to my car from my house, and also from my office to the car, but it's just not the same. There have been some days where I've had breakfast lunch and dinner here. I haven't been on my bike since October 17th, they day before I got too busy to ride my bike.

I know this is all part of my job, so I'm not complaining, but I am out of shape! My season starts the 17th but I'm thinking that I need to start building base november 6th.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bicycle Touring, Circa 1944

If these two girls can do it, I can...yes they are touring in those clothes!

Two girls take off in 1944 across the eastern portion of the united states. They put this journal up online, and they have some great snapshots as well...

I highly recommend you read this if you like bikes, vintage clothes, life before disc brakes, or all three.

The Lure of the Open Road by Thelma Popp Jones

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Spending For Nov. and December.

Several blogs I read are embarking on a no spending challenge from November 1st to January 1st. (Yes, that is the holiday season!) The original person who proposed the challenge did it because of grocery reasons, but I want to do it because of more personal fiscal reasons – I already don’t spend much outside of what is budgeted. JR and I were calculating my cost of living last night and it comes out to roughly 10 hours of work a week, if I can find a job that pays 10/hr. That’s cheap!

I don’t have any debt so everything goes to savings in my case, but I wonder if I can make it through the holiday season without spending money on…frivolous things. I want to have an extra 500 in savings, other than what I’m on track to have, by the end of November…

Here is what I can spend money on:

Rent - It's cold in winter in Michigan! I don't want to live outside.
Electric - I'd also like that heater to turn on.
Internet - I have to work at home sometimes
Gas/Car Maintenance - I have to get to work...and at 200K+ Miles I change the oil a LOT
Groceries - I am in a temporary living situation so I can't stockpile at all. Otherwise I'd have to move a TON of food. I don't really have the ability.
Travel Expenses to WI/TN - I have to go home for Christmas and I'm heading to Tennessee to meet the rest of JR's Family. This is HUGE for us. The reason will be announced later.
Athletic needs - (IE: Shoes, insoles, not that heart rate monitor I’ve been eyeing!) This is a huge part of my life and will continue on despite not spending. I refuse to A) put myself at risk of injury because of a lack of good equpiment and B) Stop simply for this challenge.

I'm not sure how I'm going to swing Christmas this year. I usually opt out of the obligatory gift card exchange with my cousins, happy to just spend time with them, but I try to make things for my family. I've finished my dad's gift and am working on my sisters/mom's gift. I usually buy for my brother because he gets a very specific thing every year. Maybe I can get them done by the end of the month...another reason to try!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Home Organization Binder - A Novel!

Someone asked for me to put up photos of my Home Organization Binder. I know mines not the prettiest in the world - I don't have a color scheme or theme or anything, but it is fabulous to have, and keep me very, very organized and on task. I also have the advantage of having a lot of important Home stuff in one place...

My Home Organization Binder is actually three parts:

The first part is a simple Planner. For this I use the slingshot Planner. I love the creativity and Love that goes into this planner and I think this is the third or fourth year I've gotten one. I used to have this cute little Kate Spade planner but this one is a lot cheaper, at 15 dollars, vs. the 300 dollars the Kate Spade One Cost...

I record birthdays, appointments, reminders to do things, pretty much everything you can think of here...I even write down when I have to send out certain pieces of mail (that I write in advance) so they get there on time!

The Second part is my Training Journal. This is the Journal for everything that has happened. Race Reports, Ride reports, notes on how fast and far I went, I write down what hurts, what's going right, what broke on my bike, how many miles are on a certain set of tires, if I crashed, and so on...Every bit of training, even cross training, is recorded in as much or as little detail as I want. You can see the difference - the left side is a printout of a long race report I wrote for this blog, and the right side is the few rides that followed. You can see I'm having problems with my wrist at that point...You will later see that anything that needs to happen is in the binder part.

The Third Part is the Binder itself. These three object sit on a desk in my room together, or they go into the backpack when they are needed. The training journal is left home the most, then the notebook, and the planner comes out with me the most.

The binder is a simple target binder - I made this with things found around my house, at no cost to me.

The first thing you see is the budget! This is my handwritten budget , which you can usually find typed up in my other blog ;) I keep this on here to remind me what needs to happen, and keep me on track. It's easy reference as well, so I make sure I complete all those things.

I then have two plastic folders. These folders hold different things. The first one is a Grocery one and the second is Finance.

The Grocery one has Uncut circulars, My Coupon sorter (just a little index card holder with four pockets - Health and Beauty, Dry Goods, Other Groceries, ETC), scissors, pens, the current menu and my old menus. Each menu comes with a complete grocery list and price list of the items I purchased on there, so I keep them to reuse.

The second one is a finance folder. This has anything that needs to go to the bank, or get sorted - unpaid bills get stashed in here, mcl cash or rebates that need to go to the bank - anything with money. This is very empty right now since I'm caught up on bills!

The next thing in here is the Emergency contact sheet. I can't remember where I downloaded this one but if I find the link tomorrow I'll go ahead and update!

After this sheet I have my morning and evening routines...Please notice that I didn't do anything fancy for this! I just went ahead and took some scrap paper (that's why everything is on the right...each page has been re-used so the backs are already full!) and wrote what I needed to write down! I didn't even hole punch it, I just jammed the paper into the binder. IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE PERFECT! It just needs to function. I think we forget that in many situations and cause ourselves more frusteration than we need!

After that I have my weekly schedule. This is already outdated when it comes to the biking part - It's my off season! The meal planning and writing and laundry days are the same though...

Then I have my monthly cleaning schedule. I have four "zones" and I go by numerical days. So, every fifteenth, for example, I clean out the bathroom cubboards. At the 7th day (or more, some weeks) I have a "buffer day." This is the day I go back and do anything I happened to miss that week - I didn't clean the cubboards today, since I worked until nine, but I have a day to go back and fix that.

I have a page (not shown) of how to make home-made cleaning supplies. Any time I hear a new recipe I jot it down in this page. We only use baking soda, simple green, vinager, and other things that are edible/drinkable to clean with here...Makes me feel healthier!

I have a page to write down things I'd like to improve on my home. You can see the sidebar is people I admire. People flocking here from LLNOE, Dave Ramsey is on there...I may not agree with him politically but he's a common sense man! Other people listed are Eric Liddel, My parents, and My grandpa. there are more but I haven't had a chance to write them down yet.

Next I have a page of Phone Numbers, not listed here for obvious reasons!

After this I have what I call "the write list," again not shown here for obvious reasons - This is a page of adresses of people I write to frequently, as well as a tally besides their names listing how many times I've written to them. I like to be fair and equitable ;)

After this I have a page of Birthday and Anniversaries to remember:

Next, I have a start of a guest list...wonder what that could be for?!? This is also not shown for personal reasons...

Then, I have a list of account names for things that I rarely use. Again this is not shown

After this comes the "training section. This has first a master training schedule, printed as often as I update it. Right now this is my tenative '09 plan that has all the races I'm going to do and how to get to them and peak. This is the future planning part of being an athlete! I got this template from Joel Friel (I believe) and use it as a rough guide to getting me where I need to be. My training year is Nov 17th to Nov 17th...I don't know what states I will be racing next year so I just took guesses on what I need to do. I'll be updating this as the 09 schedules come out, and putting a new one in.

Next I have a very basic marathon training plan for the Little Rock Marathon. I'm not sure if this is the marathon I'll be running but for now I'm sticking to it, to be updated when I finalize what marathon I'll be running early next year.

The last picture I have to show you is of some basic blank calenders. I write the planned week's training plan in these. Every Monday, when I do my meal planning/financial planning/the rest of the planning, I also sit down and figure out what sort of training schedule I need for the next week taking into account my health, what races I'm doing, where I should be in the season, and of course, my personal life.

Second to last, I have all my old budget plans.

Lastly, I have my current bank statements.

And that, darlings, is my messy but functioning home management notebook!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh! Canada.

I went to Canada to ride my bike yesterday! The closest mountain bike trail to my house is actually in Canada, 6.5 miles away.

Canada, also known as America's Hat, is an entirely different country. They say "aboot" and everything is half in French and half in English.

This is what Canada sees when it looks at us. Lots of buildings.

There are many native species, including the rarely seen Canadian Geese. I was lucky to catch this flock resting by a fire hydrant in the wilds of Canada.

I was a novelty in Canada, and they all wanted to take pictures with me, the strange girl from Canada's Pants, otherwise known as the United States of America.

Luckly, I wanted to take pictures of them, too. See the maple leaf on his jersey? That means he's a real Canadian. I am not doing a good job of being American, because I am wearing the national colors of Belarus, also known as America's cufflinks.

After schmoosing with the Canadians for awhile, they all lined up for a race!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Bike Alcove

One of the best things about my bedroom in Detroit is having this little alcove space. I keep all my cycling stuff in it and Joey, my friend in the pictures, just figured out a way to store both bikes in standing up (they didn't fit with their wheels on the way the rack is normally used...)

I also hang up all the cycling "decor" I have in the nook - medals (all three of them...haha...) One of JR's collegiate national championships jerseys, and these epic amazing old italian, never been worn, entirely leather cycling shoes from way back my size. Thanks, The Hub!

Both the bikes (L - R) The Mollie B and Ron Jeremy, sitting pretty in my room!