Posted in College, Fitness, Food, Gaming, Life + Living, Menu Planning, Strength Training

Weekend update

Unfortunately, I didn’t get my strength training in as I had hoped.

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Organized accessories using a shower caddy

I did, however, complete 2 written assignments for college, get started on a third, cleaned the whole house (including 5 loads of laundry, excluding the kitchen, which Jeff cleaned), got new glasses,

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Taz approved

did the meal planning, grocery shopping, modeled a bridesmaid dress for my long distance bestie, picked up our bikes from the repair shop, and finally got off my feet to play guild wars 2 for a couple hours over the course of the weekend.

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Yes, I could’ve worked out instead of spending time on the computer, but I’m a big fan of balance and after so much work, it was time for a recharge.  It was a fantastic weekend and I’ve done enough of the prep work to be ready for Monday when it comes swinging. ūüėÄ

Bring it on.

Posted in Fitness, Life + Living, Self-Reflection

Broke a Spoke

Is it a bad thing when the subject line of a post is a spoiler for the story? ¬†I think I just like the phrase because it flows well. ¬†When I posted the update on facebook last night I said “bike breaks broke, good thing I’m just a few blocks from home.”

Let me just tell you–Dub Step is not nearly as empowering when you’re *walking.* ¬†Suddenly the crazy patterns and repetitive beats are just mocking your inability to keep up. ¬†I ended up turning the music off entirely and just listened to the critters in the surrounding growth and the traffic whizzing past me on the left.

So, as you can surmise, I rode my bike to work yesterday–an honest-to-goodness commute! ¬†It went really well on the way there– The scariest intersection had no bike path, 2 turn lanes on the right, 2 lanes in the center and 1 turn lane on the left–cyclists have to take one of the center lanes. ¬†As I put my foot down behind a car, waiting for the light to turn green, I just hoped that people could see my neon green and respect that I’m just trying to get to work–without trying to run me off the road.

Work went well but the wind picked up over the course of the day and I had a nasty head-wind to ride into. ¬†That, coupled with the hills was not helping things. ¬†It was already taking me nearly twice as long to get home when I heard a thunk almost at the apex of a hill. ¬†I quickly checked my bundle to make sure that I hadn’t lost any of my stuff, and all seemed well, so I kept going. ¬†MAN it was a hard ride–I just couldn’t get up that hill!!

Finally, when I made it up and began the descent, I had to ride the brakes to maintain a moderate speed… But something was wrong. ¬†They were rubbing unevenly, almost grinding! ¬†I came to a halt and did a brief inspection… The rear tire was locking up even without the brakes compressed.

I couldn’t ride with such an issue, but I didn’t have any tools (or know-how) to fix it on the fly, so I ended up walking the bike home. ¬†And then there’s me… in high-lighter green, with my black pants tucked into my sock (on the right side) lumbering along the side of the road feeling even *more* self-conscious than usual. ¬†Since I had turned off the music, I was able to focus but it turns out that was a bad thing. ¬†My wrist hurt, my back hurt from the previous injury, my knee was torqued (probably from trying to ride a broken bike up hill)… so I was in poor spirits when I got home.

Jeff helped me take a look at my bike and we found the culprit:

So, it’s back to driving to work, at least until I can get a proper tune-up on my bike. ¬†Jeff and I will be heading to Canada this weekend and there’s lots of prep-work to do for that, so it might not get repaired until next week. ¬†I will try not to be a sad panda until then.

Posted in Fitness, Life + Living, Strength Training

Rode my bike to work! And then some..

Yesterday was a good enough day weather-wise that I decided to check out the route to work. ¬† When I ‘measured’ it in my car, it was about 5.5 miles. ¬†Google Maps estimated it at 4.7 miles. ¬†When I geared up, I was prepared to do between 9.4-11 miles.

I did it–and getting to work actually went faster than expected! ¬†I took a victory photo and then started heading back towards home. ¬†Wanting some accountability, I had posted a message on Facebook as an open invitation to meet me at a coffee shop that was right on the way home, so I went there next.

Sparkling Mint Lime White Tea. ¬†Yummo. ¬†I would LOVE to know how to make something as delicious as this at home without all the sweetness. ¬†It tasted delicious, but I still had some miles ahead of me and it made my mouth all sticky. ¬†I had maybe half of it and then refilled my water bottle. ¬†I just looked it up online, and for a tea, it’s still not a great choice nutrition-wise: ¬†240 calories, 60 carbs, 58g sugar, 67mg¬†caffeine. ¬†Well… Coffee Shops still remain firmly in the treat¬†category…

No one took me up on my offer to meet up.  After hanging out for about an hour looking at the Parade of Homes catalogue and studying a little bit (textbook on my phone, booya), it was time to head back.

The only problem?  I live in a highway dense neighborhood.  I took a wrong turn.  On my bike. And had to go 3 miles out of the way to correct it.  Oi!

Whoops. Apparently clover-leaves are not lucky.

So after a long and tiring ride wherein I was thankful for both Dubstep and Sunscreen, I returned home, little worse for wear. ¬†All day yesterday after my ride I had tightness in my chest and I would cough if I breathed too deeply. ¬†Nothing to be worried about, just a little exercise-induced¬†asthma¬†like symptoms. I think if I want to continue doing this that I’ll need to get some biker shorts and maybe talk to my doc about the post-cardio breathing issues. ¬†I mean, they’re not bad enough to interfere with usual tasks, but it’s a little scary to have a coughing fit induced just by taking a deep breath.

Anyway, I’m going to start with once or twice per week, and build it up from there ūüôā It went really well.

Posted in Life + Living

Share the Road – It went well!

So, my mom and I are both members of A.B.A.T.E. of Minnesota (American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education), and, in cooperation with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, we put together an hour long “Share the Road” session to share with our colleagues here at work.

We had about 30 people attend and we used a PowerPoint slide to highlight the things we were speaking about.  We also included 3 condensed videos published by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and by the Department of Public Safety in Illinois.

The feedback that we received about the class has been tremendous and the buzz that I am hearing in the hallways (and the bathrooms) has been great–folks talking about how “I didn’t know bicycles could ride on the road–I’ll have to watch closer!” and “Motorcycles can fit in a blind spot no wider than a pencil? ¬†I never knew…”

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Additional Resources:
bicyclesafe.com

http://www.bikeleague.org

http://www.msf-usa.org

http://www.abatemn.org

Posted in Fitness, Life + Living

Spring Upkeep: Cleaning the chain

The handy thing about having a house is that they usually come with that handy thing called a garage. ¬†Garages are handy for lots of things! You can put tools in there… furniture you’re not using, vehicles you want to protect, lawn mowers in the winter, and snow blowers in the summer! ¬†Oh yeah–and bicycles in the rafters.

My bicycle lived in the rafters for a while and it worked out really well for all involved.  Last winter, though, I lost that luxury and my bicycle had to hang out on our deck instead. Phooey.

I probably could have taken more preventative measures, but the fact of the matter is that they (both mine and Jeff’s bikes) were left to the elements and now that it’s spring time, we need to invest in some major upkeep.

I was worried about the brake cable housing and the shift cables themselves and so I called the local bicycle broker for a quote.  All told, the guestimate over the phone came to about $60.  I chatted with my bicycling friends about this to see if they could think of anything, and my buddy Ramon came through!

We used a Park Tool CM-5 Cyclone Chain Cleaner¬†¬†and I have to say–it got the chain many times cleaner than my dawn-dish-soap-and-paper-towels routine. ¬†The solution in the reservoir was black by the time we were through.

Another valuable lesson that I learned was that the Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube needs to be shaken up quite vigorously prior to use. “What do you mean it’s not supposed to be clear?!” ¬†Apparently, this stuff is supposed to look like skim milk. ¬†I guess my application of clear fluid to my chain when I tried to do this myself was inefficient because I lacked the shaking skill.

Ramon lubed up all of the moving parts and had a friendly yet unnecessary reminder not to lube the friction surface for the braking system.  I guess some people lubricate the rim and the pad material?? He said it was a necessary precaution.  I stayed mum.

Now that the bike is put together, the plan is to take it out for a spin this weekend. ¬†My sister wants to meet up to go for a ride on Sunday, and, if I’m not too saddle sore, I’m going to check out my potential commute on Monday.

What is your favorite spring sport?  How do you prepare?