Category: cycling


Got Running?


I have an admission to make. I have a bit of a crush on someone. My wife kind of knows about it, but doesn’t know the full extent of it. She (my crush) has a lilting British accent and she talks to me in the most calm and soothing way. Here’s what she sounds like:

For the last 9 weeks I’ve been on a running program called Get Running. I ran back in high school until I discovered cycling. I have run at various times to “get exercise” – on the beach on vacation, when I got sick of cycling. I usually ran (excuse the pun) right back to cycling because I hated running. Not unlike someone else I know. Between 8th and 9th grade I ran 500K over the summer. Between 9th grade and 10th grade I ran 1000K. I was a pretty serious runner as a 15 year-old. Cycling took me over at 16 and the running slowly faded. Years passed, I became at times a hard-core cyclist. I did some races when I first moved to Fredericksburg. Running was always about doing something different, but it never stuck.

Until I met, HER. She encouraged me for 9 weeks. She even let me listen to music while she occasionally broke in to tell me of my progress. She would say things like “Fantastic!” and Brilliant!” when I would finish the run. I got addicted to that as much as the running itself. The music part was great too. I could listen to my own music, Spotify, and in the end Pandora (XTC Radio, FTW!). I never listened to music when I ran back in high school. Those unfamiliar with the technology at the time, we had these things called “Walkmans”. A “portable” tape player that seemed to weigh as much as a bowling ball. There was also no such thing as “ear buds”. What we have today in the form unlimited music choices on a light, truly portable device is amazing. So it all came together with this program. And now I’m done.

I’m kind of sad now though. The relationship ended so abruptly. I got the final message that you see above, but no spoken words like “I’ve really enjoyed running with you”. There was a hopeful mention of a “next time”, but there is not any sign of where I go next to find that. It’s almost like she isn’t real.

Anyway, the program is pretty good. In all seriousness, I would change one thing about the program itself. The progression is pretty good, but you get to a point (I suspect others would to) where you need to “plateau”. That is where you reach a certain distance/timed run and you stay there for a while before you go to longer distances/times. So when you get to 15 minutes continuous runs, they should hold it there for a couple weeks, and even introduce some shorter runs again. Then increase the length of runs again. Maybe they think people will get frustrated with it needing to take more than 9 weeks to get to 30 minute runs, but I think it could be too much for some. There were days when I had all I could do to finish. A couple of times I was so tired I would easily trip over roots on the ground and fall on my – well you know. Now I feel good and will look at other programs or maybe configure my own. I am aching for cycling now, but the wintery weather we are having lately isn’t conducive. I don’t want to ride indoors. So we’ll see how things move forward. I may continue running while I begin my cycling again. The best part of this is I still go into the cycling season with good fitness. Not good cycling fitness per se, but at least less weight to haul up the hills when I do get back on the wheels. Exercise is such a wondrous drug. But I’ll miss that voice.

A Call to Ride

. . . for MS that is. For those of you who don’t know, every year in early June (sometimes it’s been late May) I do the Central Virginia MS Ride. It starts in Richmond, Va. and ends in Williamsburg, Va. after a 75 mile ride. Then the next day, it’s back to Richmond. This will be my 14th ride since moving here from upstate NY (my first ride was back in June of ’99 on my mountain bike). I ride for a guy named Bruce Lowery, who actually is recovering from a nasty bout with an infection in the ICU of the local hospital. It wasn’t directly related to his MS, but it was made more difficult, and life threatening.

So on June 2nd I’ll be on the bike again supporting Bruce. His wife Pam who works at UMW as well, turns into a dynamo for this event. She works one of the rest stops, providing hydration and food the riders. I’m always amazed to see how hard she works and I know she’ll be dripping with sweat again this year, and she doesn’t even ride!

Anyway, this is the part where I once again ask you for help. Go to my donation page and contribute what you can. Hey the DS106 Kickstarted project is over and I know you have some money again burning a hole in your pocket. I know I, as well as Pam and Bruce, will truly appreciate it!

Hey, I’ve even gone to the trouble to provide you with an easy to remember URL if you’re at a computer and don’t have this post handy.

Go here and pledge:

Climbing with technology

For the past several years I have had a couple of what I like to call “marker” bike rides. They are rides to let me know that I’m progressing adequately in my training. The Virginia MS Ride is one I’ve been doing for 12 years now. It is a ride that involves riding a long distance (75 miles each day), and it includes some hill climbing. No major elevations, but enough to challenge the legs. So my marker rides are a long day in the saddle, and a hill climb.

Today, I did the hill climb. Virginia has the great benefit of having some beautiful mountains in the western part of the state, and beaches in the east. The Blue Ridge Mountains happen to be just over an hour from my home, so I start from a base there and head almost immediately uphill.

This year I brought along some technology with me – my iPhone. Alright, I usually bring my iPhone, but a service called Strava allows me to use the iPhone’s built-in GPS to track my ride and plot my course, as well as my changes in elevation. The result is the page with the map you see above.

I am using the free version (5 rides a month) to get an idea of how the service works. It’s $6 per month to have unlimited rides. I like getting details on rides like the climb to Skyline Drive, but I don’t personally need details on every ride. For me it’s just fascinating to see the data on those special rides, and seeing how hard I did ( or didn’t ) work.

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