Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Julie's Excellent Vacation - 9/22

Woke up in Yosemite not knowing any of our layout since we arrived well after sunset. We were lucky to find our room...signage not so good at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. The good news about visiting national parks in the fall -- not as many families with kids, less tourists. The bad news about visiting Yosemite in the fall...most of the waterfalls are dried up. So the view out our window of the falls was of where the falls would be if there was water!! No hot water for showers either -- others had hogged it all -- so we dressed and headed for breakfast. We figured we'd get hot and sweaty hiking anyway. :-)

Only it was COLD. Like 40 degrees cold. After breakfast we headed to the little gift shop where we bought a couple of long sleeved t-shirts and a jacket. We didn't overpack enough for this trip. We headed to the visitor's center to get our park map, and headed off on our first hike. We did a 3 1/2 mile hike which offered "stunning views of Half Dome, Glacier Point and the Royal Arches." No cardio as the path was paved and mostly flat. The scenery was beautiful though!

We drove to Glacier Point afterward -- while it's only about 22 miles from the valley floor to Glacier Point, it takes you a good hour. The road climbs out of the valley up some hairpin turns. We stopped off to view Bridalveil Fall -- a short hike from the parking lot up to view the falls. Overheard in the parking lot "I saw more water in my shower this morning." Apparently the fall is HUGE in the springtime. Not so big in the fall. Continuing to the Glacier Point parking lot, there's a short hike (1 mile?) downhill to the lookout at Glacier Point (meaning uphill on the way back) and the view is stunning. We headed back to the valley for much-needed showers, followed by a delicious dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel. I wish I'd brought my camera there -- it was beautiful, romantic and reminded me a bit of the dining hall at Hogwarts (Harry Potter).

Where's Julie?

So it's been a while since my last post. No time on the bike to report. Kathy left September 15th for a week of work in LA, and I flew out September 20th to meet her in San Francisco. The week Kathy was gone I made no visits to the gym, but was busier than a one-armed paper hanger at work, walking all over the building. Not a lot of cardio, but at least I was moving and not sitting on the sofa! Evenings were spent trying to do chores, pack and love on cats. Here's the report on our "cross training" while on vacation:

Sunday, September 21 -- walked all over Union Square area including a little power-trying-on-of business suits. Doesn't count as "power shopping" as we didn't buy. But we did try on 6 suits in about 8 minutes. :-) Drove up to Lombard Street at the "crookedest part." Julie burned several calories gulping in fright as we drove up and down incredibly steep streets. Drove that section of Lombard just to say we did. Then parked the car and walked down and then back up Lombard for photo ops. Picked up Kathy's boss and headed off to Oakland for Kathy's last work thing for a week -- the open house for Youth Radio. http://youthradio.org/ -- very cool organization. Works with at-risk youth and teaches them about radio, tv, web, music, nutrition, career counseling etc. I went there knowing nothing and left wishing I was Warren Buffett rich so I could give them some. Kathy and I left and headed out to Yosemite!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Body not in harmony

Saturday morning we woke up before the 7am alarm and hit the ground running. Kathy ran to the farmer's market, I ran to gas up the car. Back home we ate, Julie ate some more, Julie stretched, we both geared up and headed out for our bike ride. It was supposed to be hot on Saturday, so we decided to ride as early as possible. Plus there was the threat of storms in the afternoon.

Now while it was cooler in the morning, it also started out at 90% (yes, you read that correctly) humidity. The temperature rose throughout the day while the humidity dropped. Why couldn't they both start out low and rise throughout the day? It probably has something to do with our proximity to Washington DC and all those politicians. :-)

The good news is that my legs felt great! I'd stretched a lot and everything muscle-wise was working. The only scary part in the first 5 miles was going across a 2 lane bridge with no shoulder...and the car behind me just HAD to get past me. Only there was on-coming traffic. I think maybe there was an inch between us. I'm pleased I didn't end up going over the bridge and ending up in the creek! I can't say whether this driver was one of those people who is afraid to cross the yellow line to get around a biker, or if this driver was just a jerk.

The bad news is that for me with my exercise-induced asthma, biking up hills in 90% humidity is like trying to breathe underwater. Kathy wanted to know if I wanted to turn around and go back. The thought of going BACK across that 2 lane bridge had me saying "no -- let's go on." So we pedaled on our little 13 mile loop, ending back several blocks from home. I didn't want to just ride 13 miles, but I knew doing that loop again wasn't an option. For my lungs, at least. So we did a couple of laps around the neighborhood, clocking in at the end with 18 miles. Go Julie! Go Kathy!

Sunday we both were pretty worn out from organizing a dinner party at a friends house...plus Kathy had some work to do and she had to pack for LA. So we opted not to ride. I don't even feel bad about wimping out. I think we both needed a day that wasn't filled with lots of errands and biking and all the other household chores. And I finally got that stack of paperwork filed and the mound of laundry ironed!

Today I had checkups with the doctors. I've apparently lost 1/4" over the years and now am 5' 6 3/4" tall. And in the losing category -- since August 27, 2007 I have lost 14 pounds!!! The doctor had to take out her calculator and subtract because she wasn't sure of her mental math! So the biking and visits to the gym and hikes helps. And I'm sure the red wine with dinner helps my cholesterol too -- we'll find out when the blood work gets done!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am not an Ironman

My friend Daniel, formerly of the No Train team, is training for an ironman triathlon in September 2009. Go Daniel! His blog is a little unfair, since he has you watch this 2 minute ad? infomercial? teaser? about ironman triathlons. You get totally sucked in -- much as I do when watching the ABC? Sports special on the Hawaii Ironman every year and I turn to Kathy and say "lets do it." Kathy kindly brings me back down to earth and reminds me that I can't run, I don't swim in the ocean, and they don't let you do one out of the three sports. Oh well...we are thinking about going to Hawaii for Kathy's 50th (which isn't until 2011 so we might go sooner). We'd go in the fall and would love to time it so we end up on whatever island the ironman is on -- and go cheer the people who come in at hours 15, 16 and 17. (You have to complete the ironman in 17 hours)

Why did start that ramble? Oh yeah -- Daniel. At any rate, he said that the difference between a spinning class and a reaction cycling class is whether a facility is licensed to offer "Spinning" classes -- which is trademarked and licensed and probably taught by instructors licensed in "Spinning."

Which brings me to my training...we did our 2 mile walk twice this week, and went to the gym today. Plus I walked a heck of a lot at work Wednesday -- easily 5 miles. Nope, I'm not exaggerating. It's a big building. And I am generally to impatient to wait for the elevators. For some reason it was a busy day in Annapolis, requiring Julie to run all over the building.

Saturday we're aiming for a 26-ish mile ride, and probably a 15-20-ish one Sunday. Looks like the rain won't happen until the afternoon Saturday, which bodes well for a nap!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saddle Sore

Today brought a beautiful blue sky with no humidity so we were heading out for a ride. When I got on the bike my rear end complained bitterly despite the nice padded bike shorts. We did a loop around the neighborhood to warm up before heading out. Today I don't feel like I ever warmed up. Probably a combination of not stretching enough yesterday after spinning, and not stretching enough today before biking. As we headed to the gate at Research Road, I seriously considered telling Kathy to go ahead without me, that I would do loops in the neighborhood instead. Then I realized I'd need to do 10 more laps do get in some decent mileage.

We did a modified route today that clocked in at 13 miles. That was enough for me, but Kathy went out and did it a second time. Go Kathy!! After showering and lunch we went out to map out a couple of routes for the future. I wish I'd ridden more, but I'm proud of what I did ride. Considering I really didn't want to in the first place!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I get it.

I now know why Bally's calls it "reaction cycling" instead of spinning class.

It's because your muscles take much longer to react to what you want them to do in the hours after you take that class.

The Marquis de Sade

So we braved the driving rain and wind and headed off to the gym this morning. We got there around 10:45 and were able to do some crunches and weight lifting before heading into our "reaction cycling" class. We had decided (stupidly, it turns out) not to wear our cycling shorts. Boy that was a dumb idea! I think they intentionally make the bike seats on the spinning bikes really hard and uncomfortable. The woman next to me was smart enough to bring in a gel-filled bike seat cover.

Then this tiny woman comes in to torture us...I mean lead the class. There wasn't an ounce of flab or fat on her body. I have no idea how old she was -- but old enough to have children as she mentioned them. So we're spinning away. Then she tells us this is the strength class...and we'll be climbing lots of hills. Maybe we should have told her we were training for a nice FLAT ride in Florida.

It was an hour long class. I thought I would never survive. And I don't stand and climb like everyone else. (i.e. riding your bike standing up on the pedals) I do a bit, but not for 3 minutes at a time like our dominatrix wanted. I did keep spinning with the tension on though. I don't think I've ever sweat that much. I know it was good for me, but my thighs are complaining. And I have laundry to do today. The washer and dryer are located in the basement. The bedrooms are on the 2nd floor. Ugh.

I'm not sure why it was "reaction cycling" instead of "spinning." Probably some marketing thing, like how a caterer can serve you "mini beef logs rolled in buttery puff pastry" when it's just "pigs in a blanket."

Ron's comment was that the Marquis de Sade invented spinning. I couldn't agree with him more.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More cross-training

This morning Kathy & I went for a 2 mile walk in our neighborhood wearing our hiking shoes. In just over 2 weeks we'll be in California, hiking in Yosemite!! I keep saying "Yellowstone" and Kathy has to correct me. I don't know why I can't get it through my head that it's Yosemite. At any rate, we've got 4 days to hike and explore Yosemite National Park. After which we head to Napa Valley for some wine tasting and a night in Calistoga where we'll get pampered with mud baths, mineral baths and a massage. Ahhhhh. A reward for all the hiking. :-)

Looks like the rain is supposed to start here tonight around 7pm and continue until Saturday night at midnight. So tomorrow we'll head for the gym for the spinning class. Actually, Bally's calls it "reaction cycling." What, do they have squirrels run in front of your stationary bike to see how you react? Throw things at you? See if you can talk on your cell phone and "reaction cycle" at the same time? Which brings me to the question -- why do people talk on their cell phones at the gym while they are working out? Are they trying to distract themselves from the exercise, like I do with recorded books? Or are they that important that they have to take every call (or make one) no matter what they are doing?

Sunday is supposed to be clear so we'll be able to do some biking outside. Wheeeee!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Alas, there were no cats sleeping with us this morning, ready to shut off the alarm and convince us to stay snuggled under the covers. No excuses....it was off to the gym we went. Thankfully I had a new recorded book to distract me from the blaring music and the multitude of tv screens. And from the fact I was actually exercising. Does anyone remember that machine from the 70's where you would stand on it and wrap large bands about your hips and butt? The machine was supposed to shake off your fat with no effort at all on your part. Don't you wonder how many people bought those things? What were they thinking???

We got an e-mail from the Smart Ride folks telling us that it was 10 weeks until the ride. Which is more accurate than the last e-mail which said "a few short weeks" when we were 3 months out. So 10 more weekends of riding. 10 more weeks of early mornings at the gym. GULP! Add to that, Tropical Storm / Hurricane Hanna which is headed up the east coast which will keep us home. Julie may not have enough sense to come in out of the rain, instead sitting in a field waiting for the rain to stop for the mass ascension at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (we did in 2006), but she does NOT ride in hurricanes. Or really bad rain. She has some sense. So, if it's raining this weekend, we'll aim for the spinning classes at the gym.

10 more weeks. Gulp.