For weeks a friend of our family's and longtime cyclist has suggested we take a ride to together. We always had good intentions, it just never seemed to happen.
We found a few hours to hit the road Friday and my only wish is I had done this much earlier. From the beginning, it was relaxing, yet challenging and I blocked out the cars. Tucson, Ariz., is a great cycling town and dozens of professionals and other serious riders descend on the city each year to ride the hilly terrain of the foothills. The strong cycling advocacy in my town has resulted in lots of nice bike lanes. I was still afraid of traffic, even with the bike lanes and never felt totally comfortable with cars whizzing by.
Friday's ride changed all that. We took off from my house and made our way along River Road, an east-west hilly road that splits Tucson between the foothills to the north and the city to the south. We rode to Sabino Canyon, a beautiful desert park at the eastern foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains and then cruised through a variety of neighborhoods. We returned following the same path for the first half and then headed south into the city and finally back up to my house.
I am no cycling expert. I fall much closer to the rookie category. Our ride was mostly instructional and I've started to inch my self away from rookie. I learned a lot more about shifting technique, riding with traffic and even practiced - as silly as it sounds - drinking out of my water bottle more effectively.
I can't wait these days to get back on my bike. Everyone has got to find a maven for themselves. Although Mike, it sounds like you might be one yourself.
My knee - the right one - has become a little bit tweaky lately. Every now and then when I run for more than 30 minutes it starts to ache on the left side - or inner side - of the knee. It hurts the most if I am sitting down on a chair and then slowly lift it up. I have no idea why my knee has started freaking out on me.
I haven't fallen or pushed it too hard in the past two weeks. I mean I hiked nearly 2,700 miles on the darned thing last summer and never had a twinge of discomfort. I did have a tight IT band issue last year, but I just stretched more and it cleared up. Plus, the IT band is on the other side or outside of the leg, not the inside.
I've talked to one of the trainers at my gym and he has made some suggestions to strengthen the knee. I'm debating whether to completely hold off on the running part of my training for awhile I haven't run since Saturday and my knee is just fine now.
I think I'm just going to swim, bike and strength train for now. I'm a little worried that I'll fall behind on my running stamina. Any suggestions out there? Gale?
On the days when I'm supposed to run, what can I do as an alternative? And how long should I stay away from running?
I am typically a controlled person. I do - on occasion - act impulsively. This weekend, as my husband, Adrian, and I traveled to Phoenix for the P.F. Chang's Rock n' Roll marathon, was one of those times.
Adrian was signed up for the marathon and I planned to cheer him on somewhere along the route and take photos of the event. We walked into the expo to pick up his race packet with thousands of other participants. As we passed by the registration table, he turned to me and said, "So, are you going to sign up for the half?"
Maybe it was seeing all of those psyched up people getting ready for race day. Maybe it was the free shots of cytomax and other running booty we received. Whatever it was, I found myself signing up for the half marathon within 15 minutes of Adrian's question. I figured, why not? I've hiked more than 13 miles in a day. I don't have to run the whole thing.
Here's how it went: Race day was great. It was an early start, but I slept well and really wasn't nervous because, quite frankly, I didn't have time to think about it. The marathoners left first at 7:40 a.m. The half marathoners - more than 21,000 of us - left at 8:30 a.m. The half marathon had a corral start, which meant I didn't cross the start line until 9 a.m.
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