Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Hate the Wind!

My wife loves me so much that she let me buy a new road bike last month, even though my "old" road bike was still in excellent condition. I have always wanted a carbon framed bike, but they are pricey. I convinced her that I would love my road rides so much more that it would make me more pleasant at home and happier at work. I don't think she really believed any of my sales pitches, but she let me buy it anyway just because she is such an awesome wife.

I somehow thought I would be faster and happier on a new bike. To be sure I like certain things about this bike much better, but I was so used to the stiff ride of my aluminum bike that this new feel is going to take me some time to get use to. The reality is the big hills that I used to struggle to climb are just as steep, the wind that always blows from the northwest still blows as hard, and my legs seem to wear out at about the same mile markers on this bike as my old bike. So I don't know that I'm any better as a rider, but I look really cool and I get to brag to my buddies that I am riding a carbon framed bike.

I rode to Ellensburg today. First there was the stiff canyon breeze that got stronger with every mile that I got closer to Ellensburg. Then it started rainin, and then snowing, and then finally, hailing. Even my very "technical" (whatever that means) riding jacket did not offer much protection. Apparently, I was over confident because of what I paid for the darn thing. Finally, I got to Ellensburg and the weather improved--sort of. Blue skies and wind, more wind and stronger wind. I know that there are many people who ride bikes in Ellensburg, but I have no idea why. Riding in the Kittitas Valley is like riding in a wind tunnel--a very cold wind tunnel. The Kittitas Valley is absolutely breathtaking, but I was never so happy as to have that beautiful valley at my back and that omnipresent and violent wind wildly pushing me back down the Yakima River Canyon towards home.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Hate to Run!

Okay, I scheduled myself out of the office today, with the plan to climb Mt. Jefferson. Sadly, my climbing partner, TJ Hesselgesser's Grandpa passed away Thursday and we cancelled the climb. The Shewolf is uncomfortable with me attempting any technical climbing on my own, so I decided to do something else challenging. Those who are part of my vast worldwide readership know that I hate to run. What you probably don't know is why, and how much I hate to run. I think it all started with the first time I had to run to cut weight for wrestling in high school (circa 1973). Cutting weight became an obsession for me for the next decade. The "strength to weight ratio" is a tricky thing for wrestlers. The only real effective way for wrestlers to cut weight is to run. Some weeks it meant running a lot. It's not just that I had to run, but it was the running in rubberized suits, running hungry and running thirsty that created in me a total aversion to running. Now, my oldest daughter is an accomplised runner and keeps talking about the sheer joy of endorphins when she runs. Say what?! The reality is that I have never experienced an endorphin, an endorpho or anything remotely endorpinistic. I hate running, and it hates me. So, last night as I considered the disappointment of not being able to experience a big mountain challenge, I tried to think of some other appropriate challenge to fill the void. I decided a respectable, substitute challenge would be to go on a long run.

I went out this morning and bought an IPOD nano, compatible with the Nike Plus running system. I charged the unit and loaded it with some really awesome Rock tunes (Stevie Ray Vaughn, CCR, The Doobie Brothers, etc.). I started running at about 1:00pm. I ran as hard and as long as I could. When I got to 14 miles, I started thinking that maybe I would just run a marathon. It was only another 12 miles. How much harder could another 12 miles be? Apparently, exponentially harder! Something happened at Mile Post 16. My body broke down in ways that I couldn't imagine. It wasn't just the blisters on my toes--my legs felt like lead and wouldn't move. It was really weird. I'm a wrestler--I'm used to fighting through difficult things. This was , however, something altogether more painful and oppressive than about anything I have felt before. My feet felt like they were in cement. I ran another 2 and half miles. At 8+ minute miles, I ran for 2 hours, 32 minutes, and covered 18.5 miles.
Well, someday maybe I'll run a marathon...However, the reality is that I hate running so much that I'm sure I will never really consistently train, which means that a marathon might just be a pipe dream.
If ever I actually run a marathon, I would appreciate it if members of my vast worldwide readership would not bother to tell me Oprah's marathon time. I'm not sure if my tender male ego could take it if she turned in a faster time.
Above is a picture of Lil D after one of her cross country meets last fall.