Thursday, July 31, 2008

Doggie Doo Run, 2008

Here's one for my local peeps.

I just signed up to run in and support a great local event, the Doggie Doo 5k!

You should, too.

It's hosted by Canine Partners for Life, a truly excellent organization in our backyards that helps support those in need of canine assistance for mobility or medical reasons.

As their website says...

Canine Partners For Life (CPL) trains and places assistance dogs with individuals with mobility impairments to help increase their independence and quality of life. CPL has several types of assistance dogs in its program including service dogs, seizure alert dogs, home companions and residential (community) companions.

Our recipients come from all walks of life and have a wide variety of physical disabilities including muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders and more. The one thing they all have in common is a drive to become more independent and a commitment to do what is necessary to have an assistance dog in their life.

If you remember, you helped me raise thousands of dollars for CPL during my training for Ironman Wisconsin. (Thank you again!)

The race is at Hagely Museum and runs along the river there. Seriously pretty stuff, folks. It's early in the morning and organized by those we trust (for good reason!) at Races2Run.

It'll be fun. I'm doing it. All the cool kids are doing it.

And for $15, you should do it, too.

I double dog dare you.

Here's Mischa, the dog my family raised from a puppy
before his formal training, working with his "mom."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Way Reasonable

The coolest thing about all your comments on my new plan is that everyone saw how completely reasonable it was!

Thank you! I totally agree!

That's big for me. Cause, I'm a chronic planner and I have biiiiiig ideas in the early stages and tend to overwhelm myself in the process.

Pushup goals? Totally manageable.

Frequency goal? An excellent idea.

FSR goal?

Weight goal? Toooootally doable.

Nice run last night (woot!) that was relatively pain free. Reminded me how LUCKY I am to be able to go out and run on a dime. It's such a gift. Really.

This morning, I was up early and in the basement (full of spiders) and wrestled with the swiss ball (my fave, as you know) and the assortment of weights down there. I have every intention of making that ball my bitch again, you know. Today, however, it was not. (I have a bruised right knee to show for it.) But soon. Soon... .

Also, last night I made yet another yummy Ellie Krieger dish, this one from the Food Network site. I'll blog about it later. It had pumpkin seeds and chicken and roasted tomatillos and it was nuuuuuummy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Operation Guns

With the change of direction in place and the new goals set, it's time to put my money where my mouth is.

Week 1
Operation Guns

Tues - Run (0:40)
Wed - Functional strength routine (FSR), Bike (1:00)
Thur - Swim (2,200), Run (1:00)
Fri - FSR
Sat - Brick (1:15 bike, 0:20 run)
Sun - Swim (time trial), Run (1:30)

It's so on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Change of direction

If you haven't already noticed, I've been blogging less about training recently and more about my so called life. The training is there, but it's more sporadic and falls victim to wedding planning and work exhaustion more than I'd like to admit.

I'm at a good point now to reassess and make a plan for the rest of the season -- what I want to do and how.

I know I'd like to continue to race. That's a given. Sprints would be a good way to keep me honest, especially since the only Oly's around here seem to be on wedding designated weekend. (And there are sooo many wedding designated weekends!)

But I'm also thinking of adding a different goal as a primary one. I want to improve on my running and safely build up to a solid weekly mileage. I also want to tone up and lose some weight before the wedding. Nothing drastic, just so my back and arms are nice and tight and I can feel comfortable in my wedding dress.

(Which is soooo pretty. I tried it on again yesterday for my FMIL, and I really, really like it. I'm having an issue since it doesn't really match the heiloom pearls or my mother's ring that I intend to wear, but I'll figure that all out later. For now, I'm just happy it's the right dress for me. The ivory version that's mineallmine is due in October 10th. Sqeeeeeel!)

So, I'm in the process of putting together a plan to keep my swimming and biking in line for sprint distance races, as well as build my running efforts. I find that running is the best weight loss bang for my buck, and I miss having higher mileage each week. So, a Sprint distance run-focused plan. I'll return to the ball of hell in the basement and the Elf's strength circuits to build my upper body and core.

If anybody is interested, I can (figure out somehow to) post my spreadsheet here so you can see my plan and progress.

I think there should be some goals involved, to keep me on my toes. Right? Here are the one's I've thought through so far...


  • Meet at least 80% of my training sessions (frequency) *
  • Work up to 25 pushups (continuous) and 50 pushups (in one day)
  • Hit a 5k in 33:36 minutes (10:30 pace)
  • Run 4 x week (min) **
  • Lose 5 lbs weight (160 lbs) ***


  • Meet at least 80% of my training sessions (frequency)
  • Work up to 50 pushups (continuous) and 100 pushups (in one day)
  • Hit a 5k in 32:00 minutes (10:00 pace)
  • Run 4 x week (min)
  • Lose 5 additional lbs weight (155 lbs)


  • Meet at least 80% of my training sessions (frequency)
  • Maintain pushups goal
  • Hit a 5k with mile splits all under 10:00 pace
  • Run 4 x week (min)
  • Lose 5 additional lbs weight (150 lbs)


  • Maintain pushups goal
  • Run at least 3 x week
  • Maintain weight loss (150)
  • Stay healthy for the November 22nd Big Day.
I'll keep y'all updated on the plan this week. It's almost done, but I need a little time to work on it tonight, just to get the kinks out.


* I struggle with consistency, so this is a biggie for me.
** Rest weeks will be shorter, easier runs. But the frequency will stay the same. I think it helps with my knee health to keep the frequency, but dial down the intensity and duration. Time off from running at all seems to hurt my knee, rather than help.
*** I'm currently at 165, and have been here pretty consistently for a long time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008



Good thing THAT pitty party train has left the station.


Feeling a little better now. Thanks for the nice comments and kicks in the balls I received through email. Both worked. I have tuned back into the channel where my life is actually grand and lovely and full of grace and wisdom. Me loves this channel.

Let's get a little random, here. M'kay?


There's some weird thing going on at the house across the street. The house across the street, where Mighty M and I are convinced the "nice guy" who lives there who we rarely see and who backs his car all the way up to the garage each and every time is actually unloading dead bodies into his home. Or into his car. Either way, suspicious.

Every 2 minutes, a buzzer goes off. Not softly, mind you. As in I can hear it in the freaking shower across the street, behind lots of brick and glass and doors and stuff.

Two days now, mind you. Two full days. Every two minutes. Every two minutes.

Thank goodness for air conditioners, fans, the tv, and melatonin.


I have continued on my quest to be the most fickle and impulsive bride there ever was. No, not trading in my groom. But things with the wedding dress continue to evolve.

Actually, the evolution has been halted this week, but my FMIL thinks I'm crazy. Everyone else would, too, but I haven't told them yet.



There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than going for a run in the pouring rain.

There is absolutely nothing more surprising than looking down and realizing you're wearing a white shirt and a white jog bra.

There is absolutely nothing more welcomed than turning around that very moment and seeing Mighty M drive up on his way home from work, ready and willing to give you and your corruption of minors getup a ride.


When you get a development and marketing nerd together with a graphic design nerd to "proof" their wedding invitations, expect a lot of edits.

A lot.


The mid-atlantic states have dried up of all Olympic distance races that I can race in August or September. There's like none. A ton of sprints, just no Olympics that fit with the your-life-is-dictated-by-the-wedding calendar.

Sprints it is. As many as I can get.


I continue to have trouble getting up in the morning. I'm convinced there is a lazy gene that is only expressed when you introduce sugar free chocolate pudding and salt and pepper popcorn into one's diet. Separately, of course.


I've gained two pounds on the pudding and popcorn diet described above. I feel like I've gained 10. I've done the math and it doesn't work out. It never does.


I've put a new sprint distance on my calendar for August 17th. Actually, to be more accurate, a sprint distance I've always planned on doing has managed to remain on the calendar, even after repeated attempts of my so-called-life to intervene.

In related news, my sister the all knowing maid of honor has planned a cool Beach-lorette weekend for me and the girls in September. Seems there's a tiny little sprint right there, that very Saturday morning.

These poor bridesmaids. Think I can convince them all to come? Bonus point to get them in the water.


I could go on forever like this. I should never consider Twitter. It would be as bad as facebook. (By the way, I'm a fan of the new layout. You? Discuss amongst yourselves.)

Instead, I'm going to opt for something productive. Coffee has finally kicked in. Freaking popcorn gene.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting Game

It's been quite a week. In fact, I'm in awe that it's Monday again.

In the past seven days I got my hopes up and then had them dashed about a professional "opportunity." I forked out hundreds of dollars for a car I loved, only to find out that I would have to trade her in within days for a car I'm "eh" about, to avoid about $3,000 worth of additional repairs. I've changed my mind about the wedding dress...again. I realized how very, very long it takes to get to all those dreams and how much patience it takes to get there.

And now I'm walking around with a heavy heart. Managing disappointment isn't fun. I don't pitch a fit or scream for different answers, but I do get sad. Not angry or irrational or despondent.

Just sad. Plain ol' sad.

I'm sad right now. I was hoping for some things to work out. I've placed my emotions on the table for important, valuable things. I've been patient.

And it seems I need to remain patient.

And even for a card carrying grownup, it still can make me sad.

As a drinker, I could manage this right quick. Make it through the day, pull up at the dinner table with a balloon in which to drown your tears, and put some aspirin on the nightstand. It was easier that way. In a sense.

Now, I just get to sit here, knocking this emotion around like a pebble in my shoe. Wishing it turned out differently, seeing the positive side, digesting the result, and moving on.

It's easier this way, of course.

In a sense.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Race Report: Diamond in the Rough 2008

Okay, so I'm actually writing a race report.

Can you believe it!?

Me neither.

It's going to be short, because it's still before noon and I have an entire day to fill with lovely things like sitting on my butt and maybe napping. I lead a tough life. I call it "recovery."


This was my least favorite part of the day. Not because it involved getting up at 4:30, although that's always fun. Nope -- it was because I've been feeling a wee bit ill recently.

Friday night I had some serious, omg can you PLEASE not break that hard Mighty M, nausea on the way home from his parent's house. Out of nowhere, just major car sick. I think it was because I was working on stuff in the wedding binder while he was driving back roads.


When I woke up Saturday morning and got the car loaded I realized I was still feeling it. Chalked it up to nerves.

But then a real indicator happened. I could barely look at my DD coffee.

Me. Having a hard time drinking coffee. If you felt that jolt in bed on Saturday morning, it was the world abruptly stopping spinning the moment I thought "coffee, ew."

For the next hour, I battled my inner voice telling me to head back, crawl into bed, and sleep the sickies away. The other half said, "LOSER" loud enough to confuse me into driving all the way to Perryville without a u-turn.

Once there, I learned it was a no wetsuit swim. FREAKING SWEET!! Part of my nerves were because I still hadn't resolved my zipper issues. (More on this another time. But basically it loves to unzip (splitting, not from the top) the moment I start swimming. And yes, it's as fun as it sounds.) No wetsuit meant no worries.

Setting up transition was easy peasy. Last year I won an entire year worth of Nuun with one good idea for transition. Here's the nugget I submitted: split your transition into two sides, the run gear and the bike gear.

It's particularly easy when you've "borrowed" a towel from you Y that has a strip down the middle. Thanks Y guys!

Now I have managed to get my transition times down to something totally acceptable. Whew.

After setting up transition, hitting the pot, and stretching by the water's edge for a while, it was time to race!

1 mile (37:13 including short run, 34:?? in water time ~ 1:58/100)

This was my best swim ever. EVER. The water was wonderful! Clean, calm, and nicely marked. I actually felt like I was cruising for this swim. For the first time in a long time I actually had a group to swim with as the entire field of women (including Athenas) started together. Thank goodness! It helps spotting and it's always nice to find some feet to draft off of.

By the time I got out of the water I was happy, loosened up, and ready to ride.


That split transition idea, no socks, and a nicely planned transition gave me 1:20 total. Not bad at all for me. I'll definitely take it!


27 miles (13.2 amph)

So, I kind of forgot that this ride was pretty hilly. In all honesty, I totally forgot. I knew there was a killer grade at mile 21 ish, but I forgot that the rest of the course was challenging, too!

A handful of miles into it, after we had ventured away from the river and inland a bit, we had been climbing a bit when I actually stopped.

It was my back. A few weeks ago, when Nana was first in the hospital, we babysat the nieces so my FSIL and FBIL could both go to the hospital. Sometime that day -- who knows when -- I pulled something in my lower back, on the right hand size. Kind of right where those dimples are. It basically has healed, but decided to SCREAM at me for the beginning of the Diamond ride.

Apparently my back was so totally not on board with the idea of doing climbs in the tri bike.

BUT, I plugged on just to see what a 7.5% grade for a mile would feel like. It made sense at the time.

Before I made it there, I did the first of two dangerous descents on the course. Sobering, indeed. Another rider had gone down hard. When I passed, he was being collared and already on a backboard, bloodied up and clearly not doing well.

Sobering. I thought of him often for the rest of the day. I hope he's alright -- if anyone knows what happened, comment or email me, okay?

So, the big climb. It sucked. But I did it, and made it over the top without totally losing my legs. For future reference, it's in two parts...the first is 1k, then there's a brief downhill (get some speed back!) and then another spike.

Everything from there on was cake. Just running the horses back to the barn.


Hmmm, can you say a good transition? Me, too. Sockless rocks, visors are better than hats, and putting a race belt on in T1 is best.

5 miles (13:01 avg)

Let's be honest here -- this is like my marathon pace. NOT my 5 mile pace, even 5 miles after a swim and bike.

But I'm okay with it.

I decided that I wanted -- FOR ONCE -- to have a relatively pain free run. I wanted to be able to run over the finish line and not feel like I've done more damage to my body.

So I took the run course with the plan to run 5 and walk 2. I've never used this strategy before and it was actually weird. I didn't like it totally, but it worked.

When I ran, it was strong and my knee didn't disintegrate by mile 2.

And this I consider a success.

What I wasn't happy with is that there was a super nice woman I was pacing near. I walked a small upgrade at mile 3 and she passed me. No big deal, right? I kept her in my sights for a while, but she turned it on a little at the end. I considered chasing her but thought, I'm not a strong runner. Best keep things to a moderate pace and finish.

Now I know I should have chased.

She got the #3 athena spot.


Anyway, lesson learned.


I've been battling a lot recently with race distances and my physical limitations and where and when to push -- push my body or push the registration button.

I *love* longer distances and I love the commitment needed to train for them.

But I hate racing them. There, I said it. The pain eclipses the joy of racing and I find myself swearing off the sport in the car, on the cellie with Mighty M, on the way home.

As soon as the memory fades, I'm there clicking "register" for yet another long race.

But yesterday was different. I wasn't dead last. I wasn't in terrible pain. I didn't swear off the sport. And I was even pleasant to be around when I came home.

In fact, I was singing with all the windows down at the top of my lungs the entire way home.

I think I found the joy of racing again. And I think it has something to do with the Olympic distance. It's manageable for me.

The other day, I had disclosed to Megan that I had a super secret plan to do another half in early September. It's close and gives me another opportunity to do that "build" I've been so looking for. It's the urge for more, more, more. As if I have something to prove to myself.

But I'm wondering now if I really need to do that. Maybe I should just have some fun for a while with Sprints and Olys. I already know I won't be doing a full Iron next year because of our desparate need to save money for a new house. So why not just have some fun and race a little. Work on getting stronger, not longer.

It's a thought. Possibly a good one.

Yesterday I fell asleep with my legs propped up on pillows and with a huge smile on my face. I fell in love with triathlon again. Maybe it's time to just let that be for a while. Enjoy it as it is.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Diamond in the Rough, aka Getting Smacked around by Hills in the Rough

Just got back from the Oly. Almost talked myself out of racing all together three separate times. THREE. Good lord I'm full of excuses.

Managed to ignore myself long enough to get out there and had a surprisingly good day. No land speed records, but a solid showing.

But that's not the news. I finished without (too much) knee pain. It took some strategerum, but my plan worked. Cause I'm just that smart.

Oh, and I managed to get my arse up a 7.5% grade for a mile without loosing it. It was touch and go there for a bit, but a lady has her decorum, you know.

Approximate times from my handy dandy wristwatch...

Swim (1 mile): 35 minutes
T1: not a clue
Bike (27 miles): 2:07 ish
T2: again, not a clue, but speedy this time
Run (5 miles): 1:04 ish

Total time: 3:47

Race report to follow. Promise. No really, I actually will write one this time. (Shut up, I will.)

Peace out, girlscout.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The most amazing chicken you'll ever have in your life OMG go make it now, now, now

You like that title? Huh?, too.

So, I'm a little frugal. And I'm the person in our lovely household who once (perhaps stupidly) raised her hand to volunteer to do all the food shopping for the whole house and most of the cooking, kind of every week, kind of indefinitely.

At the time, I didn't realize it meant until death do we part.

So, now you can find me at the Giant. Or Acme. A lot.

BUT, I take my task seriously and try to plan for a couple of complete meals each week that are healthy and (did I mention?) affordable.

Enter Grilled Tuscan Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon. I bow down to Martha and her prowess.

Here's the recipe, with my notes. And don't think that you can't make this on a training night. I came home, assembled the chick in the marinade, went out for a run, and by the time I was showered and ready to go it was time to fire the grill. It's actually perfect for the nights you have training!

We made steamed green beans and an awesome Blitz Bread I'll have to write about later. (But if you're like me, and think fresh bread is beyond your skill set, go and try this bread. It's yummy and easy. Really. No seriously.)



Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary [1]
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves [2]
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 or 10 serving pieces [3]
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice [4]


  1. Heat grill to medium. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup water and rosemary to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let steep 5 minutes. [5] Transfer to a blender. [6] Add oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth; let cool.
  2. Combine chicken and rosemary oil in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, and turn to coat. Cover, and let marinate at least 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator, turning chicken occasionally.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade; place on grill. Discard marinade. Cook, basting frequently with lemon juice and turning as needed to prevent burning, until cooked throughout, 20 to 30 minutes.
Recipe and Image Source

[1] Use fresh. Seriously, it's totally worth it.

[2] Truth be told, I always use more garlic than recipes call for. Sometimes it bites me in the arse, but not this time. I used three large cloves.

[3] I used bone-in chicken breasts for this for the first time -- and boy was it worth it. We removed all the skin and fat to make it healthy, but trust me there was still a boatload of flavor left.

[4] Mighty M just loves to juice lemons and limes now that we got a fancy new fangled juicer gadget for our engagement party. He squeezed the begezzes out of three small lemons to baste 3 large sized pieces of chicken.

[5] Never, ever, ever have I done this technique, but BOY did it work! We only marinated for an hour and the flavor of the rosemary was loud and clear in the chicken. I doubt this would have been the case had we skipped this step.

[6] Years ago my sister got me this sweet little mini chopper. I rarely used it. In fact, I never used it. (Sorry, sweets!) BUT NOW, I've been using it all the time to make dressings and marinates and spreads. Love it. Totally recommend it.

Irony, Day #2

Apparently, I was a week too early.

Don't worry, Wes, I'm all done with my pity party. No need for cussing, the moment has passed. Perspective found. (Whew!)

Went for a run last night that nearly kicked my butt. A lousy 3.2 that was brutal due to the 150% humidity. But, as always, it's better to know you can do it at all then get stuck with your training pants down on race day.

Speaking of race day...did I mention that I have a race. Like this weekend. As in Saturday of this weekend.


Denial is a powerful thing. A powerful, powerful thing.

I'm going to have to think about my goals for this. Some really sharp knee pain last night only 20 minutes in and the serious change in training plans this last month may mean I need to scale back my goals. Before I declare, I'm going to see how tonight's swim and tomorrow's bike go.

I's only an Olympic, right?


...yeah...even I don't buy that.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ironic, but not really

You know that when I texted the word "fat" to Mighty M just now, it automatically came up as "eat" on my intelligent-spell-it-for-you-cell phone?

Yeah. Ironic. Ha ha.

Especially because I was texting him this:

Having a fat (eat) crisis here.
Self esteem in the crapper. (actually had to go into the spell function to do that one...seems "crapper" isn't on the top list of words in my phone's brain. go figure.)
But hungry, ironically.

At no point in time, of course, have I actually used the word "ironic" correctly, but that's just to get Sam's goat. She hates that.

No word back from the M. Probably unsure how to approach this animal of deep seated insecurity. What to say. What to say.

The real question is: will it bite?

This is what happens when you get pictures of yourself on the beach from a delightful weekend. And you're in a bathing suit. That makes you look like a COW.

And you didn't even realize it.

Yeah. Thanks.

The whole time, you felt comfortable and at ease, even next to your ittyfreakinbitty FSIL (whom I love, don't let the ire fool ya). Unbeknownst to you, you looked like a bovine. And now there's proof. Out there in the world. As a reminder that you are not, in fact, the shape you imagine you are in your sweet little head up there.


Le freakin' sigh.

I hate body image issues. They suck. And don't spew about how beauty comes from the inside and I'm an active and healthy adult and I should be happy.


It doesn't work like that. At least not for me.

I don't want to be thrown that consolation prize. I want to be a beautiful and happy and active woman who isn't shocked by her picture in a bathing suit. I want to be able to ride 50 miles with ease AND look hot for my future husband.

NOT either/or. I want BOTH.

You know what? This is my biggest fear for the wedding. Not that I will be nervous and take a digger going down the aisle. Not that it will rain or snow or storm. Not that Might M will break all promises to not jam cake in my face.

No, my biggest fear is that I will look fat in pictures. That the permanent record of my wedding will be a collection of bad angles and unfortunate double chins.

And I don't want that. I love myself. I love the decisions I make. I believe in my choices. I think I'm a good daughter, sister, and partner. I know that I make a difference in my world.

But I photograph like a freaking mascot for Chic-fil-a.

And it makes me stinking mad.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Life *is* good

A family beach house, full of good people and good times,

A two-year old with limitless energy, a bottomless tummy, and a love of Uncle Mighty M that might rival mine,

A four-year old with a genetic love of all things beach, a willingness to be everyone's best friend forever, and the thoughtfulness to make sure we always had a "plan,"

Ice cream, and lots of it,

Sisters, both of them,

Salt and pepper shrimp on sticks and marinated flank steak, cut thin,

Buckets of coffee,

Leaving my car parked untouched for days,

Running the boards with my beebie,

Fireworks watched from beach blankets,

Seeing sparklers for the first time,


Digging in the sand with buckets,


Wine and friends on the porch,

Grown up naps,

60 year olds on bumper cars,

Christmas shopping in July,

Children's laughter in our home,

The use of the subjunctive,

Early morning thundershowers,

Sand toy bags,

and family.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's a small thing, but I'll take it

Recently, I've really solidified my relationship with my bike.

I love her. I love riding her. I love hunkering down in aero and really powering through. I love what it feels like to stand in the saddle to get through an intersection, knowing that all ya'll are jealous of my fine bike.

And I've become a much better rider this year, so I'm finally feeling a little more confidence out there.

And last night I did something that -- for me -- was kind of brave. Or at least smart.

I looked ahead.

You see, normally when I'm riding hills, I'm so focused on my gearing and my legs and effort that my vision is just the eight feet in front of my wheel. Lest you forget, I'm terrified of hills. They're my weakness, my fear, my limiter. So when I get on one, I put my head down and just focus on the task at hand.

I've always avoided looking at the top of the hill. It would have some psychological effect on me -- somehow the grade and length would magically multiply and I would instantaneously become convinced I couldn't do it. I would feel my legs shrinking from the proposed effort and I would slow to a meaningless grind.

So I stopped looking up.

Until last night.

I decided when I went out to find something to challenge myself. I was heading out on my standard route out Rt. 322. Really beautiful, generally uninterrupted for upwards of 25-30 miles, and a lovely and safe shoulder. But I ride there a lot. A lot.

So I needed a challenge to keep me engaged. This time it was to focus on the top of the hill, not just ahead of my wheel, to really learn about my own strength.

And, as I suspected, the estimations my brain makes when looking at a grade or distance are far afield from what my legs are actually capable of doing. The hills that look scary from the bottom turn out to be just fine with the right approach. The steep ones leveled out a bit when I connected what I was feeling in my legs and what I was seeing on the road.

There had been a disconnect there. My brain was continuing to interpret hills with the muscle memory of my legs years ago. But I've changed and my brain didn't get the memo.

So, it was really nice to change my perspective and learn a little more about what I can do. I'm still no Lance or Floyd -- and I still get effortlessly passed by guys twice my age on a regular basis -- but I know a little more about myself now.

Because I looked up.