Thursday, October 30, 2008

4 for 4

I have hauled my fanny to the gym 4 days in a row this week -- yeah! I kept increasing the length of my cardio workout each day. Today I was tired. And I had to pee. So the cardio part wasn't quite as long. Hard to concentrate when your bladder is jumping up and down saying "Hey! What about us?" Ahh well....

Forecast for the weekend is supposed to be good so we'll be able to get some biking in. If the weather doesn't cooperate, there's always the trainer!

Today is "clean the house day" -- it's the off week for the cleaning lady, so Julie plays the role. Maybe I can get some more aerobic activity in by running up and down the stairs!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The plan

Ok. Crunch time. Literally and figuratively. Only 3 (GULP) weeks until the ride. So 3 weeks to concentrate on upping my aerobic workouts and riding as much as possible. Thanks to Greg for the trainer, as today's forecast is for rain, wind gusts and temperatures around 48. Brrr.

Yesterday I went to the gym. You know you haven't been in a while when you can't remember whether to hold your id face up or face down for the scanner. :-) Bally's had some special thing going on -- there were personal trainers trolling around everywhere I looked. I kept the headphones on and did not make eye contact with them...didn't want to encourage them. I really didn't want to go to the gym, but forced myself to anyway. Today I'll see if my friend Ron wants to go with me...we can work the guilt angle on each other.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back in the Saddle

It's been a long couple of weeks. That pesky cold I caught in California? Still hanging on. The coughing is slowing disappearing thankfully! Last Saturday we hauled out the bikes & gear. We did a little loop around the neighborhood then stopped at home to check in. I still wasn't feeling great, and my bike was making a strange rattling sound. So I opted to stay home, while Kathy did the big loop. I gave my bike a good cleaning and then hooked it up to the trainer. I thought I'd listen to my book on tape which does a good job of distracting me at the gym. Doesn't work so well on the trainer. So I popped in the soundtrack to the movie "Mamma Mia" and took off! I did about 40 minutes on it and felt pretty good. Kathy came back from her loop a bit windblown. Seems those 15-25mph wind gusts are might hard to ride in. So she did a stint on the trainer too!

This past weekend we were rained out Saturday, but Sunday we took to the roads. Between the neighborhood loop and the longer one, I rode 18 miles. Not where I expected to be at this point in my training, but A. further than I've ridden in well over a month and B. I felt great!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

September 26 - last day

We left Calistoga to head to the ocean and Point Reyes. More long and winding roads. Perhaps they were all straight at some point but the numerous earthquakes made them curvy? Had a yummy lunch at the Cowgirl Creamery deli in Point Reyes Station, then headed onward to the Point Reyes lighthouse. Yet more winding roads. Lots of views of cows. At one point the GPS showed no roads, just our car driving in the middle of nowhere. Getting closer to the lighthouse -- FOG. Kathy and I just started laughing as we hiked from the parking lot up towards the "view." Saw a deer grazing near the road. Debated about walking down the 300+ steps to the actual lighthouse. The warning said the walk up was like climbing up a 30' building. Braved it anyway, hoping that the fog would disappear. It didn't, but we did get some views of the coastline. Not the postcard views we saw in the gift shop, but worth it anyway. Then the climb back up. Pant, pant, pant.

Next Julie took the wheel for the drive to Muir Woods to see the Giant Redwoods. I know we've driving lots of winding roads, but this took the cake. Got to drive down Highway 1 right on the coast. I think I was glad I was not in the passenger seat looking straight down! Beautiful views, gorgeous scenery. Muir Woods was a nice little mile roundtrip through the Giant Redwoods grove. Back in the car, heading towards SF. Get on highway 101 again, round the bend to see the sunlight hitting the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Detoured to get some photos -- as did many other people. So strange -- Marin side was clear, fog started midway and the bridge disappeared! All in all, a very good vacation. We definitely want to go back and spend more time in SF, and Napa/Sonoma Valley. And maybe a trip to Yosemite in the spring when the waterfalls are flowing. Now it's back to work!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vacation - 9/25

We left Yosemite and headed towards Napa Valley where we were treated to a wine tasting at Robert Biale Vineyards. Hey, alcohol kills germs, right? :-) Delicious wines, followed by a yummy lunch. Continued up to our final destination -- Calistoga. We wanted a little pampering and had found a spa that had lodging. We'd scheduled mud baths, mineral baths, and massages. This was our first mud bath. Let's just say we've done that and won't be doing that again. Ever. Obviously you are nude for this put your feet into the tub o'mud. Then you squat in the mud and shimmy until you get down as far as you can and stretch out. When you are imagining mud, this is NOT the mud we splashed in as kids. This is like peat moss -- a thick concoction of yuck. Supposed to draw toxins out....was hoping it would draw my cold right out of me. It didn't. And now we have much everywhere. And I do mean EVERYWHERE. Shut your eyes right now and bring a happier image to mind!!

The rest of the treatment was nice and relaxing. So much so we couldn't make a decision where to eat dinner, and stumbled into practically the first place we found. Where they had homemade mac and cheese on the menu -- I was in heaven!!!

Vacation - 9/24

Woke up with a cold this morning -- ugh. Was not about to let it spoil vacation though, so we headed out again, this time driving to the south end of the park. We wanted to see the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Many more hairpin turns and miles later, we arrived at the grove. Pretty amazing -- there are giant trees in the middle of the parking lot. We started our hike which was billed at 2 miles roundtrip. Uphill. Lots of giant trees to look at -- some upright, some on the ground. See the photo of their roots? They are very shallow to support trees that can be up to 100 feet around. The cold started to win the battle, and I had to stop and rest for a while. Kathy went ahead to see the "Grizzly Giant" -- a huge tree. She took pictures so I could see what I missed. It wasn't too much farther -- but I was tuckered out from the blasted cold.

Headed to the Wawona Hotel for lunch -- rather rustic. Billed as one of the oldest continuously operating hotels. (Needs to be closed for some upgrades!) Headed back to the Valley, where we visited the Ansel Adams Gallery. The photobug in me was inspired. Stopped by the Village Store to stock up on EmergenC, orange juice and water. Drove (lazy) to the parking lot at Sentinal Bridge to get a good photo of Half Dome in the right light. Life is good. Decided to head back to the hotel and stopped off at a great lookout with views of El Capital, Half Dome & other Yosemite landmarks.

Vacation - 9/23

Had to check out of our hotel this morning, so we'd planned to drive the park from west to east, stopping to hike along the way. The next 2 nights we'll stay outside the park -- since this was a last minute trip we couldn't get more lodging in the park. I would recommend that the last night of your stay in Yosemite be outside the park if you have to leave early -- it's a good hour's drive that you save being outside the park. At any rate, we headed up to the Tioga Pass Road. We stopped and did a 1.5 mile roundtrip hike to Lukens Lake that involved uphill, downhill, and doing so at 6,000 ft. elevation. Wearing backpacks, mine filled with camera equipment, Kathy's filled with food & water.

Back in the car we headed on the "long and winding road," stopping again at Olmstead Point for another view of the park. We'd driven through the forest and arrived in the granite zone again. There's a lookout right off the road, or you can take a path down from the parking lot for addition views. More beautiful views, lots of photos. We then headed to lunch, which was spent at Tenaya Lake (photo above). I will keep that picture in my head the rest of the year as a I eat my lunch at my desk, envisioning our picnic lunch and the gorgeous views there.

Back in the car to see Tuolomene Meadows and drive to Tioga Pass...where we turned around and headed back the way we came. We stopped at the end to hike 2.5 miles roundtrip to Tuolomene Grove to see the Giant Sequoias. Mostly downhill with a photo op encounter of a mama deer and her two babies! Ended up at the "Dead Giant" which has a hole cut into it that you used to be able to drive cars through. And back uphill....and uphill...and uphill to the car. Hiking at elevation -- whew!