What Rain?

After spending the last two days in Traverse City for work, without my running shoes or bike, I was determined to get a ride in tonight. I rode Sunday and enjoyed a skating party with my oldest daughter on Monday night, but with Barry-Roubaix 3 ½ weeks away, I wanted to get a 2-2.5 hour ride in tonight. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.

The last time I rode in the rain it ended up being a disaster. And although the temperature was about 10 degrees warmer than ‘that ride’, I knew I didn’t want to ride wet for 2 hours. So, I decided to do the next best thing: run. Outside. I just don’t mind running in the rain as long as I can keep my feet relatively dry.

I’ve been ramping up my training over the past month, but took it easy last week. I had a conversation with someone who scared me a bit into thinking I might be training too hard too early. Some mountain bikers who are carefully building towards their year this year will not touch running and instead focus all their time on detailed aspects of their riding. They are going to compete at a very high level this year and I have no doubt that their plan will work (and that it could work for me). However, after reading up on some beginner training techniques for building a fitness base; what some symptoms of over-reaching and over-training are; and how to use my Heart Rate Monitor better; I determined that I was probably o.k. to continue on with my plan. What I have currently determined for me is that I am still in a general fitness building and weight loss stage and that the benefits of running still outweigh any detriment it can cause to my mountain biking.

So, I threw on my shoes and went for a run. Here’s my run, although I don’t normally run that slow (and didn’t tonight, either), my time includes a 5 minute warm-up walk/skip: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/98327776

Tomorrow looks dry so I’m going to do my 2+ hour ride tomorrow night and hopefully be able to get a trail ride in on Saturday or Sunday to take out my new bike. Registration for the Iceman Cometh Challenge opens tomorrow, so I’m sure I’ll be all jacked on my ride tomorrow night, excited for another crack at a personal best performance in November…back in Traverse City.

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Keeping Hope Alive for the 2012 Vasa and Winter Wow!fest

I thought his was worth re-blogging from fellow lakeshore destination, Traverse City. I spend some time up there over the year with family, for work, and during Iceman weekend. Here’s another fun outdoor celebration that they put on that I’ll need to check out some time.

Keeping Hope Alive for the 2012 Vasa and Winter Wow!fest.

Winter Run (and Walk)

Tonight I thought I would just quick get out and do a run/walk. It’s been over a month since I’ve run last and didn’t want to get too ambitious. The last few times that I’ve ran I’ve struggled with a tight leg muscle so I wanted to start slow. I don’t like running and really only do it for the efficiency of the work-out and cross-training, so I didn’t want to push myself and then pay for it for the next 4 days. I don’t mind being sore, but when it interferes with my biking….

I have a pretty standard 1.9 mile route that gives me just enough of a work out to get the heart rate up for 15-20 minutes. Tonight, though, I decided to start out walking the first portion of that route to warm up and then jogged over to Howard which runs along Lake Macatawa’s lakeshore and on down to Dunton Park. The route is primarily an asphalt side walk so I can stay off the street.

I love running/walking through Dunton Park at night, especially in the winter because of its location right on Lake Macatawa. Tonight did not disappoint me. Dunton Pak is a 21 acre park with a nice hunk of lake frontage. The park has been developed over the years with gazebos for picnics, playgrounds, open fields to run around in, and wooden walkways right next to the water, which is frozen this time of year. In the summer the park offers a boat launch that is always busy with fishermen and families launching their vessels for the day. My kids only care about the playground and usually beg me to bike with them there anytime it’s above 45 degrees. The park is well lit at night making the trail easy to navigate. Running through the park is also fun because of all the stairs, switchbacks, ascending, and descending paths that wind you through the wooded habitat right next to the water. The added complications of snow and ice take out the monotony of running for me as well.

I noticed something cool again tonight that I had forgotten because it’s been since last winter that I’ve run through the park. Across the lake from the park is a heavy industrial metal recycling facility that lights up the sky and is filled with bright white steam from work going on. I found it to be a stark contrast to where I was standing. Where I was standing, amongst the trees, God’s hands had created. Across the lake, busy and large, man’s hands had created. Both were awe-inspiring to me. Some people might look at that contrast and say ‘what a shame’ that we have wasted the natural landscape for our machines. But I appreciate the balance between conserving natural spaces and being industrious with our hands. It reminds me that we need peacefulness, through playing in these parks, to help offset the disturbance of our work.

So, without my headphones on tonight, I enjoyed a quiet, refreshing breath of crisp winter air. It brought peace to a non-peaceful day and hopefully relaxing rest to my sleep.