Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wanting to Be a Skinny Bitch

You know the type: skinny, not an ounce of fat, and they ride bike like hell up a hill. I can't stand them! Damn skinny bitches. Well would you believe there was actually a book written about them. Yes, Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin is my latest read and it's getting a book review here on my fun blog 'cause I want to repeat the profanity they use in the book. No, the authors aren't riding bicycles, but they do tell you exactly how to become a skinny bitch. Unfortunately, it's nothing that I didn't already know - its all about becoming vegan which I'm maybe 90% at this point and allow a 10% "cheat" each week. (Cheating is dairy, meat, fish, or eggs). They talk about slaughterhouses, animal cruelty, you are what you eat, chemicals, environmental degradation, etc -- the normal vegetarian read. The really fun part about the book is the way it's written. It's hilarious and totally profane! You'll get the gist of the entire book by these couple Chapter Headings and quotes from some of the chapters:

Have no Faith - Government Agencies Don't Give a Shit About Your Health. The USDA - It's not what you think.

The Dairy Disaster "Go suck your mother's tits. Go on. Suck your mother's tits. You think this is ridiculous? It is. Get ready to use your head. "

The Dead Rotting Decomposing Flesh Diet

Sugar is the Devil

Pooping "Pinch a loaf. Lay cable. Drop the kids off at the pool. Let's face it; there is no greater pleasure than taking a big, steamy dump. But Shitting isn't just for kicks. It is a vital tool for weight loss and optimal health. Basic math girls, How much are you putting in your mouth, and how much is coming out of your ass?"

Don't Be a Pussy "Recognize that anything worth having is worth fighting for. Good health, vitality, more energy, more confidence, better sex, great abs, a tight ass - you either want 'em or you don't."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Barefoot Running (Almost Barefoot)

It was 50 degrees, sunny, and a beauty of day for December 27 - the perfect opportunity to try my feet at barefoot running. No, it's not really "barefoot" running. It's a term for running without sneakers or any kind of supportive upper shoes. It's basically running with a slab of rubber on your feet. The Vibram Five-Fingers (see an earlier post to see a pic) are often sold as kayak shoes and my very-smart kayaking hubby says, "why spend the money... you have a couple pair of kayak shoes you could try." So I did. Today was the virgin run and it was awesome. My thoughts kept going to the Tarahumara and their terrain. They obviously don't run on hardtop road, so I tried to keep it offroad as much as possible. I ran field and grass, soft berm of the road, dirt, and I couldn't help but connect the run with some blacktop. My feet obviously felt best in the grass and soft gravel. The blacktop was the worst feeling, but tolerable. I think my foot position is fairly flat when it lands, so I didn't have any heel-striking issues. There is definitely a feeling underfoot based on the terrain you are on and your feet and toes react amazingly - just like they are meant to! The coolest part of the run was climbing an embankment near my home. It's about a 40 % (or more) incline for 18 feet and you almost have to crawl up. I could feel my toes spreading out in the kayak shoes and helping grab the terrain to climb. Very cool. Sneakers were difficult to climb in to say the least. The run totaled about 50 minutes and so far I feel great.

A Teaser of What's to Come - Whitegrass!

Whitegrass is just about our favorite spot in the world in the winter. It's far (4.5 hours), or we'd be there a lot more than the once or twice a winter we get there if the snow conditions are right. This year, the dates are set for January 8, 9, and 10. It's Donna's birthday! And she and Brett are virgin Whitegrassers! Oh boy... are they in for a treat. Here are a couple shots to tantalize and tease. The long range forecast has it cold all the way up to Jan 8.... that means there should be snow somewhere in the next 12 twelve days. We are staying at the Purple Fiddle Roost. The Purple Fiddle itself is a party and a half (think West Virginia and drinking). There are several other locals planning to make the trek also. Total tally might be about 9 for the party. Here's the link to ALL the pictures of Whitegrass.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fit Chick Joins A Mountain Bike Team for 2010

If you frequent Mountain Biking Endurance races, chances are you'll be seeing more of FIT CHICK next year. She got an e-mail from Churtle the Turtle (Cheryl Sornson) to join no, not TREK, but a team to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis, Team CT. Its always good to see folks out there raising awareness of something. You know, awareness of beer, hummers, BBQ spare ribs and such. No, you know what I mean. Dr. Jim Wilson from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School started the team because of his research on CT over the past 20 years leading him to conclude exercise truly is the best medicine. Two really fast chicks are also on the team -- Nikki Theiman and Kristin Gavin. Those two race faster than many guys. And of course Cheryl is also on the Team. Lots of 40-somethings out there (or near 40-something).

Sick List

Finally... after almost two weeks of what started as flu, but ended up as a chest/head cold, the old bod is feeling more normal again. Even the beautiful snow on Sunday kept me down and Rick had to venture out on his own. A little Tylenol and OJ usually nips it in the bud and it did for a day or two, but then the head/chest thang started. So the activity level the past two weeks was fairly low. That first week I accepted as a "rest week" and rode the bike all of two hours. I managed to get a 45 minute walk on a treadmill in at the Y, but other than that, I was pretty much out of it. Action started picking up this past week and I got a run in, two or three trainer sessions, and I was really hoping to get out and ski/bike/hike today in Michaux, but mother nature doesn't want to seem to cooperate so I'm heading to the trainer and maybe the YMCA before we head to the Weisers for some holiday festivities at 4:00. I got a lot of reading done: Skinny Bitch and Precious were both quick reads. Neicey took Precious along and couldn't wait to read it and then see the movie (she usually reads the books first THEN goes to see the movie unless it gets poors reviews). It's a heart-wrenching story. Very graphic and sad.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"No one Over 40 Should be Using A Snow Shovel"

The weekend snow and removal of such white, fluffy substance was the topic at the start of meeting yesterday. This one guy was "bragging" about snow blowing snow from 194 feet of sidewalk and xxx feet of driveway. Somehow the discussion got into using a shovel to remove snow and the snow blower guy says (after he proceeded to tell us about a friend of his losing fingers in the snow blower), "my wife's cardiologist told her that no one over the age of 40 should be shoveling snow." Another guy in the room agreed; "yes, my friend who works at xxx heart hospital in Philadelphia said their doctors are saying the same thing." Huh?!?! And big mouth me says, "gee... I'd WANT to use the shovel to get some exercise." The room went silent, nothing more was said (maybe 'cause the meeting started?!) But I kept thinking about this. Granted if the "average" individual gets no cardio exercise, yes, shoveling snow is taxing. And yes, maybe those two guys in the room had heart issues and SHOULD be taking it easy (the one is a bit overweight). But shouldn't the doctors be saying, "shovel snow carefully. Start slowly and end slowly. Take smaller scoops, take breaks. It can be a good form of exercise." Shouldn't the doctors be encouraging activity and not encouraging people to lead such sedentary lifestyles like the majority of the population currently does? Then there's the snow blower and usage of gas to make it go. Hmm... yup - we need more gas powered devices in this world and inactive people to operate them. ARGH! Let's go shovel some snow... my driveway is 435 feet. Yeh baby...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Fallout of Born to Run

It appears the best-selling book about ultra running, Born to Run, is creating a bit of a phenomenon on several fronts. The two crazes catching on most from what I can tell are chia seeds and barefoot running. I too was sucked in by the compelling arguments in the book. First, the chia seeds. The Tarauhmara get their energy from Chia seeds. In addition to the incredible nutritional benefits, experts claim the seeds increase hydration, prolong stamina, and builds/repairs muscle tissues. Site upon site say the same things about chia seed consumption, so I'd say the facts are in and chia is a plus. The mexicans make a "fresca" with water, chia and lime juice, and make a "pinole" which is cornmeal, water, sugar, spices and the seeds. I haven't gotten as far as making the pinole yet, but I HAVE made chia pudding and simply love it. 2 tablespoons chia mixed in a cup of almond milk, with a squirt of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Yummy... if you can get past the fact it totally mimics frog eggs. Yup, when you mix the chia with liquid, it forms a frog-egg like gel around the seed. But it still tastes good. Oh, if you mix chia in your granola, the seeds will stick to your teeth and forms a gel with your saliva so you get frog eggs stuck in your teeth. mmmmm... And the energy? I'm not sure yet... the jury is still out and hasn't put it through a real test.

The other phenom from Born to Run is barefoot running. This too will give you tons of returns on a google search. My friend, Kera, has tried it on a treadmill, but I don't think the treadmill was a good test for her so she's waiting until warm weather to test it outside. Born to Run goes into an in depth discussion on human physiology and feet and the fact that many running shoes actually screw up our god-given alignment and form for running, thus the aches and pains (not the running). Athlete upon athlete have come forth and claim they have been healed of aches and pains by running barefoot. If you look at the evolution of the running shoe, you can see its all about "style," not so much your feet. There must be something to it. But alas, it's not really "barefoot." Our feet would be lunch meat in no time. A layer of rubber is on the bottom of your feet, but it's basically flat with no supportive upper. The Mexicans run in sandals which are just what I described above. Five-finger Vibrams are the newest craze to mimic running barefoot. They have a coat of rubber to prevent lunch meat production, with unsupported tops and toe slots to allow toe usage in running (supposedly it helps). I'm gonna try a pair of water shoes I got years ago that are non-supportive, flat, and have a nice sole of rubber. They should work just fine. So Born to Run is spreading some interesting trends. It'll be fun to see if they catch on and become a way of life, especially the barefoot part.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Trainer Riding 101

This class synopsis is written to provide an objective perspective or “how-to” of riding a bicycle trainer (no dummy; not training wheels… but a “trainer” described under definitions) to new students of this activity.

Bicycle: A two-wheeled device with a metal(ish) frame that is propelled forward when you rotate pedals connected to a chain. It also has handlebars for your hands and a small seat to park your butt.
Trainer: An individual that trains another individual, bug, or animal on a specific activity. Whoops… wrong trainer. A device you can “park” the rear tire of your bicycle on, raising the rear wheel off the floor allowing an individual to pedal like hell for miles upon miles and hours upon hours and never move an inch.
Individual: A person foolish enough to sit on his/her bike parked on a trainer and pedal like hell for hours upon hours and miles upon miles never move an inch.

Overview: Riding a trainer sucks. This class will provide some non-sucky advice on tolerating sitting on your bike parked in a trainer and pedaling like hell for hours upon hours and miles upon miles and never move an inch.
Advice: Avoid riding a trainer at all costs. Your butt will get sore, you’ll start hallucinating and singing, and its boring as hell.
Alternative Activity: Curling, Darts, or indoor Badmitton. Cards are good too.

Extra points: Buy as many DVDs of other individuals foolish enough to sit on their bike parked in a trainer for hours upon hours and miles upon miles and never move an inch and see just how many hours upon hours you can tolerate by watching them pedal like hell and never move. Have another individual in your household (not one that is foolish enough to sit on their bike parked in a trainer for hours upon hours and miles upon miles and never moving an inch) document the time spent beyond 10 minutes. If the DVDs of other individuals don’t’ help you stay on for longer than 10 minutes, buy a device that pumps loud music into your eardrums to a melodic tune of your liking. Yanni may not work - AC/DC will. Take a YOGA class to learn how to endure the impossible. Yes, there’s a reason Yogis can twist their bodies into pretzels. That same philosophy can be applied to figuring out how to sit on your bike parked in your trainer for hours upon hours and miles upon miles and never move an inch.

Final Exam: There ain’t one. You already did it. You accomplished the impossible and now know how to set your butt on your bike seat parked in your trainer and pedal like hell for hours upon hours and miles upon miles and never move an inch. Congratulations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Cars

Do you remember your first car? Oh what fun if you're my age or a little older. Here's my first...

1969 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Sedan. It wasn't really mine. Like most kids, I got the family hand-me-down. It didn't last too long once I got a hold of it.

But my 2nd car rocked:

No, this one wasn't mine either. My dad had a fetish for Volkswagens so this was his, but he left me drive it to school my senior year. To this day, I wish I still had it and tease Rick if I had money to waste, there would be a classic VW sitting in the garage. And here is my 3rd car which was truly mine -- I made the payments for it.

A 1977 Chevy Nova. Boring. But affordable. And your first???

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The First Cold Weekend

The biking has officially moved indoors for the winter unless we get some nice, sunny 40+ temp days. I'm a cold-weather wimp when it comes to biking. Rick is too. But have no fear... trainers are here! Between the two of us, we are on our 3rd trainer. Mine crapped out two years ago, and Rick had bought one that he seldom used, so I took his. He decided this year he wants another trainer so he just set one up last evening. Add to the trainer our constant 60-degree cellar, a DVD player, and we have the perfect set-up for a training room. No, it ain't perty - but who cares! And my collection of Coach Troy DVDs (Spinervals) takes the boredom out out trainerdom. I have about 11 DVDs now (you HAVE to have a lot to keep it from getting boring). Lately though, I've been reaching for the same DVD nearly every time I get on the bike for a long ride (3+ hrs). I love Hardcore 100. It's a group of maybe 30 people that Coach Troy coaches through a 5:30 hr ride! Yup, it's a 3-DVD set totalling over 5 and half hours of riding if you stick it out for the duration. I've made it to three hours, but fully intend to go longer 'cause the way the DVD is set up makes it interesting - you get to watch the folks on their bikes and train with them through really long sets and repetitions. Coach Troy has you shifting, standing, and changing things up throughout. But what makes it REAL fun is you start to learn the people. I haven't learned them by name, but "features" make them stick out. There's a much older gentleman that is always smiling at the camera and talking (but you can't hear what he's saying). Dang it if HE can get through this DVD, so can I! The one gal really needs to pull her zipper up on her top - I guess that's why the camera is focused on her tits all the time. Another gal wobbles back and forth in her seat; and the personal trainer seems SO full of energy that even at the 5 hour marker she's about to start spinning around the room. It's fun -- I really like the DVD. But there ARE moments of boredom... so the safety glasses went on for fun.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fun at Christmas

Oh what fun it is perusing the sale sections of newspapers. Check out these bargains:

Personal cup coffee brewers: $89.99 ($90 for one cup of coffee? Seems a little salty, doesn’t it?)

Single wine bottle chiller: $79.99 (add $200 and you can get an entire refrigerator WITH a freezer compartment!)
Automatic Wine Opener: $29.99 (What… it’s too hard to crank, turn, and pull by hand?!)
Automatic Hands-free soap dispenser - $29.99 (yup… that pumping hurts the heal of my hand)
Frappe Maker - $79.99 (what the hell is a frappe?)
Steam Jewelry Cleaner - $79.99
Triple-track electric shaver - $199.99
Deluxe Nose/Ear Hair Trimmer with Vacuum - $29.99 (just what I need, a nose hair vacuum -- Eewe!)
Bone-shaped dog bed - $12.99

And my favorite: the “Mangroomer” (an electric back hair shaver) - $39.99

Sunday, November 29, 2009

All Will Be Well 5K Run

Saturday was a charity 5K run/walk for Dan Lyons, a 23-year old gent diagnosed with leukemia. He was an intern this summer at my work and he's the type of guy that you instantly like. The lovableness showed yesterday with the turnout for the event -- maybe 300 people? Not sure, but it was pretty crowded for a small high school event. I can count on one hand the number of 5Ks I ran in my life (my preference is longer stuff), but this was one was a little special. We heard about the 5K at work at a time when two Biggest Loser team mates were starting to run a little more to lose weight and thinking about being able the run a 5K without stopping. Bingo -- this 5K was going to be their goal. So three weeks ago, Joann and Madra could easily walk 3 miles with a couple minutes of running thrown in the mix, but never ran a full 3 miles without stopping. Yesterday they not only ran 3.2 miles with nary a stop, but they ran part of it off-road. The course was around the perimeter of the Trinity High school. So we did some small hills, a lot of grass running, a tiny bit of trail running, and some track running. The key for both girls was the pace. In our practice runs at work, we kept it slow, slow, slow so they would not tire out and want to rest. Madra likes to pick up the pace, but Joann and I were quick to reel her back in and remind her of the goal - finish. At the race, we really had to focus on the pace because its SO easy to want to stick with the group that took off at the start like horses out of the gate. By the end, maybe a dozen or more of those fast starters were walking and we passed them all and finished without a single stop. Madra thought it took too long (37 minutes), but longer times are normal for off-road. There's clearly a difference between running in grass and running on asphalt. I'm proud of them both! Two new runners have just entered the running the world.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another 50-year Old Inspiration

I picked up an Oxygen magazine because I liked the haircut of a girl in the magazine not so much for the content of the mag -- women's bodybuilding. (Although I used to lift weights in another life and played with power lifting for a very brief time in 1987 - ha! Me, SUMU wrestler Chili! Funny). Perusing the mag, I come to find a fellow 50-year old with an inspiring story. Tosca Reno. She turned 40, was overweight, and decided to do something about it. Today, at 50, look at her! She did it through changing her eating habits and a lot of exercise - mostly weight-lifting. She's also the author of The Eat Clean Diet. It's pretty darn amazing what good food and little exercise will do for the 50-year old body. Damn -- there's hope for me yet!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Transylvania Epic Update

I got some inside scoop that a media event was held last weekend in State College on the Transylvania Epic and I said, "I'll bet Fit Chick was there." Sure enough, she was. And here's her take on the Event -- she updated her blog and wrote about it. The Transylvania Epic is a 7-stage mountain bike race to be held next May 31-June 5 2010. You have to have 3 riders from a team finish each 25-35 mile stage per day, or you could ride the entire 7 days solo which many folks will do. I'm guessing a team of 9 average riders could handle the race. "Average" meaning a rider that could do a 25-35 mountain bike ride one day, take a day off, then do it again? I guess maybe when you think about it that's really not average now is it. Each Team member could pick the stages they'd like to do which are interesting little loops. The new Raystown trails are one of the loops, and one of my favorite rides is in there too - RB Winter. Some other state college Epic rides are part of the stages also. Cool stuff.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Born to Run - What a Read!

What a read! Who would have thought I’d be mesmerized by a book on a bunch of Mexican Indians (Tarahumara) in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, racing against some of America’s best ultra runners like Scott Jurek. It was fabulous and brought tears to my eyes at the end. Perhaps the “star” of the book, “Caballo”, said it best in the end when offered a sponsorship from North Face: “No, thanks, I don’t want anyone to do anything except come run, party, dance, eat, and hang with us. Running isn’t about making people buy stuff. Running should be free, man.” And isn’t that what its really all about – living free and having fun? Which is pretty much what the Tarahumara do all day, every day – eat (corn, chia seeds, beans – they’re vegetarian!), run, drink corn beer, and sleep. Sparing you a long review (you can get those anywhere on the web!), suffice it to say it’s a good read with a spectacular ending where Caballo tells his life story. How he was born a scrawny marine kid who took up boxing to “fight” off the wise cracks of being a geek; how he got famous boxing, lost his girlfriend to another guy (and was devastated), and ended up in Maui living in a cave and running the side of the dormant volcano, Haleakala (Ricky and I were there!); how he to-this-day lives in a hut in Mexico and runs “free” with the Tarahumara and only goes back to the states to make a couple bucks to survive another year. The author did a fabulous job of pulling the characters together and describing the uniqueness of them all. Barefoot Ted, Jenn and Billy, the Tarahumara, Caballo (above in the pic), and of course himself, Christopher McDougall who works for Rodale (writes for Runners' World and Men's Health) and lives and runs in central PA! (don’t they all!?) Born to Run is currently #68 on Amazon's top sellers list. I think I’ll go for a run now!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Millersburg "Narrows"

My hubby and I were both raised in the quaint central Pennsylvania town of Millersburg (I was in the burbs on a farm). It's one of those communities that everybody knows everybody and they all come out to support a local event. It's home to the historic paddle wheel Millersburg ferry and the ferry crosses, you guessed it, the Susquehanna River. If you know your geology, you know every river has ridge lines and rocks where the mountains break for the river. The Dauphin Narrows is one of the most obvious with rocks jutting out everywhere. Millersburg has them too -- but in a much more controlled manner. Ricky and I went exploring this weekend in our kayaks at the head of the Millersburg mountain in what we are calling the Millersburg Narrows. The Lehigh was running but we're both weary of driving so much and the Dauphin Narrows was a little too high (4.25 feet). Millersburg is about 17 miles from our home so we opted to stay close to home. The paddle to the M-narrows from the put in was long - maybe a mile. Not so bad going down river, but after an hour and half of playing, the paddle back up river was grueling. We need to find a closer put in. The narrows themselves were beautiful. There were long ridges, like shelves, with water flowing over them like mini 1-2 foot high waterfalls. It was very scenic, and made it very obvious to see where you could and couldn't go through with a canoe. The Susquehanna River Trails Map shows far river right as the only accessible passage. We can see why. In between those shelves, is some very, very nice flow with beautiful, controlled, smooth waves. We didn't surf yesterday, but we definitely want to get back in there and explore some more. I believe the M-narrows will be one of our new favorite destinations once we figure out a closer put in. And the best part? Two bald eagles hanging out on a rock. There was an article in the local paper a year or so ago about the eagles nesting at the head of the mountain.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Final Statistics on our Biggest Loser contest At Work

OVERALL TEAM TOTALS for WEIGHT and PERCENTAGE. As a reminder, these were 5-person teams, and collectively, 40 people lost 298.1 pounds. I'd say that's a success!

High Voltage Lifers – 75 lbs & 38.47 %
Slim Gems -- 54.5 lbs & 29.03 %
Fatbusters United – 41.2 lbs & 21.70 %
Thinternational – 45.6 lbs & 24.53 %
Children of the Cornelius – 20.1 lbs & 11.79 %
Big Deal – 26.8 lbs & 12.92%
Gut Outtahere -- 17.4 lbs & 10.26%
NewPAlite – 17.4lbs & 13.77%

Final Results of Biggest Loser At Work

The winners have been determined. The two teams out of eight that were in contention for the overall win got together to compare notes of the final week. The captains talked about who was on the hot seat for both weight loss and exercise and “Paul’s” team swept all categories the final week and won the pot-o-money. His team collectively lost 75 pounds – nothing to sneeze at! Paul is the one that exercised 23 hours two weeks in a row, lost 15 pounds each week, and got one of his team mates to exercise 28 hours this final week doing walking of stairs, walking in general, etc (the reasons for my below post on “So You “Exercise", huh?”). The girl’s team that poured their heart and soul into this was 2nd place. At first I was a little disappointed for them, but their captain had SUCH words of wisdom: “Keep your heads up! The biggest challenges for us individually were to lose weight, gain better eating habits, and learn new exercise routines. In the process we developed great friendships and the camaraderie was a blast! Our energy was contagious. We could not have put together a better or more dedicated team and I wouldn’t trade any of you for anyone on Paul’s team. Okay,….maybe Paul. J …. " Madra was an awesome captain. Congrats girls! In my eyes, YOU won. BTW, Madra and one of her team-mates, Joann (my cube neighbor at work), will be doing their first 5K next week as a result of this competition. How cool is that! Joann is also talking about maybe doing the Harrisburg Marathon next year in the walking category. I might join her -- that would be an awesome, fat-burning workout. Every single person took something away from this contest. It was truly win, win.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Week 5 Biggest Loser at Work - One More Week To Go

Our work Biggest Loser contest is in the final days. There are only 5 more days of attempting to lose enough weight to make one of the 8 teams of 5 members proud to collect their $80.00 each. My team’s chances are zilch. We collectively GAINED 3 pounds this week and I had the proud honor of being one of those pounds (I’m not worried – I have 5 days to lose it again AND some to bring my total loss to 9-10 pounds). There really are only two teams that could win at this point. All the other teams are too far down in points to even come close to those two teams with 1 week remaining. It would be nice to see the all-female team win ‘cause they ALL worked really hard the past six weeks and are truly deserving of the win. The one gal (Madra, the former college basketball player) lost 17 pounds! She said she’s feeling real good about getting active again. The pizza party announcing the winners is next Friday over lunch. I’ll fill you in on the overall winning team after that.

Friday, November 6, 2009

So you "Exercise," Huh?

Being a loser here at work has put a new perspective on what we all term “exercise.” Some controversy over exercise week and a lot of points earned by one of teams (28 points for 28 hours of exercise by one of the members who is not your typical work-out type of girl?) raised some valid issues and arguments. The “hardcore” exercisers – those that run, bike, swim, etc – felt those that claimed climbing the stairs just to get to work should not be counted. Those that were counting all that stair climbing never climbed the stairs before; thus, it’s exercise in their world. And they have a valid point. The weightloss resources website states:
“Exercise is also known as physical activity. In simple terms exercise is any movement that works your body at a greater intensity than your usual level of daily activity. Exercise raises your heart rate and works your muscles and is most commonly undertaken to achieve the aim of physical fitness. What would be suitable exercise for one person may be too much or too little for another. "

Those are some well stated words on defining exercise. It certainly made me see the light from a different angle. At first, I agreed with the hardcore gal who felt those 28 hours aren’t valid – they didn’t compare to her sprints, isometrics, and running. But, just like on the TV show biggest loser, there are some folks who seldom move their bodies much. So those 28 hours are likely valid hours. They might be hours that you and I and Ms. Hardcore wouldn’t consider “exercise” in our daily routines, but they are exercise, nonetheless. Oh the water cooler chit chat of Biggest Loser at Work!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Biggest Loser Week 4

We have two more weeks to go, and we're down to a two-team battle after the exercise points were tallied - the High Voltage Lifers and Slim Gems. I'm rooting for the Slim Gems because they have really put a team effort into this and do a lot together as a team. High Voltage Lifers has one person pretty much carrying the whole team. Here are the team totals for the week.


Fatbusters United – +6.4lbs & +4.03% -- 54 exercise hours
Gut Outtahere -- 3.6 lbs & 2.04% -- 40.45 exercise hours (Jill was 23 hours)
Slim Gems -- 1.8 lbs & +0.21% -- 63.63 exercise hours (Madra had 23.5 hours)
Children of the Cornelius – 2.3 lbs & 1.43% -- 62 exercise hours
Big Deal - 6.5bs & 3.23% -- 27 exercise hours
High Voltage Lifers – 2.5 lbs & 1.73% --- 77.5 exercise hours
Thinternational – 1.3 lbs & 0.82% -- 45.5 exercise hours
NewPAlite – +1.3 lbs & +0.49% -- 37.5 exercise hours

The gal that won the hot seat this week for exercise hours, Madra, was a former college basketball player and she dug deep to her jock days to get in 23 hours of exercise. She also was the top weight loss person with 7.5 pounds. She truly worked her butt off this past week. The guy from the 1st week set the exercise precedent of 23 hours and that’s exactly what everyone was shooting for. Madra and I both were completely exhausted after those 23 hours. I had to go home and take a nap yesterday! Half-way through my last ½ hour at the YMCA on Tuesday evening, my body just shut down and said NO MORE. Madra also was completed drained and couldn’t do anything yesterday either. It was a fun week watching everyone exercise like crazy people. And my weight loss? Another 1.1 pounds to bring the total to 8.6 pounds. Just 1.4 pounds in the next two weeks and my goal is accomplished (10 pounds total). I’m a loser (and an exercise slacker!!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Paddle, Paddle, Paddle, and Ride, Ride, Ride

Hubby and I had a lovely paddle today on a creek in our backyard -- the Wiconisco. The creek starts in Williamstown and joins Rattling Creek in Lykens (yes, the same Rattling Creek as our Bike trails) and meanders through Lykens Valley for 34 miles. We paddled the last 8 miles today from just below Elizabethville to where it dumps into the Susquehanna river in Millersburg. The only reason we did it is because it was finally high enough to paddle! Normally, it runs SO low you scrape and scratch your way down. We played in little waves and had a good time for a little over 3 hours. The last two miles get a little bouncy with a couple small rapids. And Friday was spent in Weiser state forest riding very slow and easy snowmobile trail and fire road. I followed part of what I call the modified Rattling 50 Marathon route. It's the same route skipping all the singletrack, and I didn't do the start or finish (which total about 15 miles). That's the nice part of the Rattling Creek trails -- there are go-arounds for nearly all the singletrack. The trails were wet and even the leaves were holding little pockets of water and it was kinda cold. So I was a happy camper on fire road/snowmobile trails. 4 hours of saddle time. Good hours for the hot seat (I'm on the exercise hot seat at work for Biggest Loser).

Amazon Bestseller - on Running?

Hit search in on your favorite sport and you'll come up with dozens of books and other paraphernalia. Hit the bestseller list and you'll likely find few books on sports -- except for this one: Born to Run. It caught me off guard in amongst the novels (which I wouldn't waste my time reading - sorry novel readers!), so I had to explore what it was about. Born to Run, written by Christopher McDougall, is mostly about ultra distance running by a Mexican Indian tribe. What's astonishing is they do it completely naturally - no special nutrition, no fancy-dancy padded, high-tech sneakers (they wear little more than flip-flops), and no training. And that's where the author goes with the book, comparing us to them. He claims humans were born and built to run (hunters and gathers of prehistoric times?) and the Tarahumara Indians provide the proof in the today's modern world. The whole idea for the book started with a thought "why does my foot hurt." Read the reviews above for more info. I really like the "natural" part of it all. Yes, they eat "natural" diets in Mexico! The main staples of these people are Chia seeds, pinole (corn meal), and grain alcohol. The author also claims their clear-headedness has a lot to do with their natural ability to run. They just run and don't think too much about it. No heart rate monitors, no distance calculators, no gels or sports drinks, no thoughts about oh-my-aching-back. They clear their heads and enjoy the outdoor world. I like that clear head idea. Now where's that switch to turn off the brain.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Should Xterra Rethink Their Bike Courses?

This year's world Xterra female top podium spot went to a roadie, Julie Dibens from England. My Xterra hero, Melanie McQuaid, was third and my other Xterra hero, professional mountain biker Shonny Vanlandingham, was 5th. Mel won the worlds 3 times in the past and this is Shonny's 3rd year of racing and is screaming through the circuit giving the top podium girls a run for their money. She nearly always has the fastest bike split, and Xterra is all about the bike. But, In reading Mel's race report, she slips in comments like "this particular course would not be my first choice to represent the ultimate Xterra style challenge to showcase the off-road athletes." It turns out, the Hawaii bike course was fairly smooth and non-technical this year giving the roadies an advantage. The years that I was racing, I commented several times about that... they really need to put more technical bike courses in these races. This is Xterra! It's about being off-road and challenging. One of the races I used to do, King of the Hill in New Jersey, is no more, but that was a super non-technical course. I'd have to be hard-pressed to call Richmond technical too. Although some argue twisty and tight turns are technical. I don't agree. R.B. Winter is technical. I heard Alabama is technical. Now THAT'S the way a mountain bike course should be in every Xterra. Rocks, climbs, and logs; and a lot of them. Should Xterra rethink their courses? I think so. I'll just bet Mel and Shonny think so too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lake Placid Virtual Training Ride Review

Last night was a double hitter -- my first winter training cycling session AND my first look at Spinervals Virtual Lake Placid Training Ride DVD. Bottom line: am I happy with the DVD? Yes with a qualifier: Lake Placid will be visited only once a month but I'll look forward to seeing it each month. It's a DVD that you could get bored with real quick if you watch it too often; thus, once a month should be perfect. You basically follow Coach Troy riding a 56-mile loop around Lake Placid. It's not very scenic 'cause the camera is on the Bike and road in front of you, not the Lake. So you see what's ahead (mountains in the distance are nice -- sometimes the lake), but not what's on the side most of the time. It's hard to get a feel for climbs via the helmet cam used occasionally (the helmet cams produce semi-bad video so they only use it now and then), or the camera. But Troy does a good job narrating the entire ride by telling you what gear to use with flat spots or climbs coming up. Yes, he narrates the entire video. At first I sensed sort of a mundane narration, but it livened up a little as you got into the ride. To be honest, I was reading magazines at the long, flat sections that you could just sit and spin for 10-15 minutes. What I liked most about the DVD was it is ridden totally aerobically which is exactly what the doctor ordered for winter base training. You are in your small ring/15 (on a road bike on your trainer) nearly 75% of the time. Coach Troy encourages you to spin around 90-100 rpms most of the time which is not something I do 'cause it makes my heart rate go too high. So I typically stay around 75-80 rpm to keep the heart rate at about 75% for the 2 hour and 50 minute duration. I liked it, and am already looking forward to next month's ride.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Biggest Loser At Work - Week 3 Results

Weigh-in day is always fun for our Biggest Loser competition at work. Anything could happen and this week was one of those weeks. We are 24 days into the contest and you can really start to see results on some folks. One girl had very little to lose and she dropped more and now almost looks anorexic -- she agreed she's not going any further. One girl got pregnant and was replaced and our team mate that’s been gaining each week was dumped (siting medication reasons) and we got a replacement for him. Although, I can’t say it’s gonna make much of a difference for us ‘cause there are some teams that are SO into this and are out to win! They are constantly strategizing and they usually win points every week. Our team has too many Execs that 1) don’t exercise enough (although they are now using steps!), and 2) are simply too busy to think about eating/losing weight (one guy gained enough weight this week to weigh more than when he first started!) and 3) joined for the fun of it, and it IS fun. Several folks dropped a little more weight this week, and I only heard one or two putting money in the pot for gaining. One team couldn't participate this week because of a sick team member with the flu (out of the office all week). The guy that dropped 30 pounds in 2 weeks stayed the same this past week – he wasn’t exercising! But I overheard him, and several others talking about going “all out” this coming week for exercise week. It’s actually kind of funny to watch these folks that used to exercise very little if at all, now exercising over 10 hours a week. They are stiff, tired, and hurting (in a good way). One gal was limping like Captain Hook – she totally overdid it, but was happy she did. So the next exercise week will be fun seeing the hours come in. I’m supposed to be on the hot seat for exercise hours this week; but I can’t be sure I’m going to win ‘cause with other folks going “all out,” I’ll have serious competition! (Although I AM starting winter training tonight. Hmmmmm…) And my weight loss so far? I’m totally thrilled – 7.5 pounds overall. I’m officially getting back into the skinny girl clothes of Winter 2006/Spring 2007 and I feel awesome. I went for a run the other night and felt like a lightweight. It was SOO nice to be light on my feet. I’m heading out on the mountain bike on Friday and hopefully will feel the same way climbing up Deep Hollow trail. Very fun stuff.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's On!

The training logs of years past were dusted off and the Spinervals DVDs are positioned for "play." The winter training is officially underway. Thanks to the Biggest Loser at work, my team mate Donna (can I be on the team for Big Bear next year?), and following the Xterra Worlds, the enthusiasm has returned to get back into the fitness groove. My best fitness years were 2006 and 2007 - the winter I did the 3-hour trainer sessions twice a week with Coach Laub (for those that didn't know, Mike Laub is a certified coach). I believe Laub is still doing those sessions somewhere across the river in Camp Hill, but long hours away from home on Wednesdays and Sundays got to be too old too quick. Preferring to stay closer to home, Troy and the gang put together some awesome DVDs that should help endure those 3-hr sessions on my own. Rick even talked about joining me on occasion. I've been using the 5-DVD Endurance Building set, but recently added the Aero-Builder 5-DVD set and so far really like it. The Hardcore 100 and the Lake Placid Virtual Ride were just ordered and should be equally good. And the goal? Ironcross of course is at the top of the list, and I'd just like to be able to comfortably do long, fun stuff like Big Bear 24 Hour, a couple Adventure races, maybe a 50 miler or two if Kuhn holds them again, and maybe try the Michaux 40-miler again if doesn't decide to dump buckets of water. But the ultimate goal is that good feeling about being fit. That good feeling of no stress and no fat from tons of exercise keeping it at bay. Now THAT'S what its all about.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Biggest Loser at Work - Week 2 Results

There wasn’t as much gleeful cheering for losing weight this week and several folks had to dump dollars into the pot for gaining weight this time around. The guy that lost 15 pounds last week did it yet again this week. Yes I agree – its not healthy. But he claims he’s giving his body a rest now. He was also on the hot seat two weeks in a row and that’s the limit – so he’s pretty much done with the contest (in my opinion). So that means the rest of us have a chance yet! We have four more weeks for the contest. Here are the percentages of weight loss this week:

Fatbusters United – 10.4 lbs & 6.19%
Gut Outtahere -- 2.7 lbs & 1.71%
Slim Gems -- .09 lbs & .19%
Children of the Cornelius – 3.3 lbs & 2.12%
Big Deal - 3 lbs & .94%
High Voltage Lifers – 22.1 lbs & 11.26%
Thinternational – 7.7 lbs & 3.69%
NewPAlite – 1.7 lbs & 1.02%

I’m on team Gut Outtahere. We have a guy on our team that wanted to pay ahead for gaining weight and he’s right… he gained two weeks in a row. Geez! He’s really serious, huh. The excitement is waning a bit, but everyone is still enthused for the most part to try to lose a couple more pounds. I'm still dropping, but not by much (.9 pounds this time). It's focus time for me -- from here on out it will be difficult.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Xterra Worlds October 25

The Xterra Worlds off-road triathlon is this weekend. I still have to pinch myself to believe that 4 years ago this weekend, I was part of the competition in Maui, Hawaii. To say it was an experience of a lifetime is an understatement. And to think I almost cancelled the trip because I was scared TO DEATH to swim in the ocean. Ha! It was in a cove and I saw turtles -- it was delightful. Here are some pics. I really sucked - it took me 5 hours and 18 minutes to finish it! I was totally out of shape for it and screwed up big time in training for it - but I didn't care. Just to be in Hawaii and participating was worth the trip. You can watch it live this weekend. Check this link for a live broadcast on Sunday. Remember though, they are 6 hours behind us, so don't start watching until 3:00 pm. The scenery alone is worth the watch... but the inspiration that comes out of watching these athletes is even MORE incredible. You'll be inspried to get out and ride. Maybe you better go riding before you watch!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Skiing at Whitegrass! Oct 19

Check it out... our favorite ski destination in the world had snow this past weekend! OMG. Lucky dogs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Biggest Loser at Work - Week 1 Results

The weigh-in was Wednesday and all but 2 folks of the 40 people were giggling with weight-loss glee. It was actually quite amazing when you heard the numbers and no different than in the real-live show when it came to pounds lost. 9 pounds, 8 pounds, several 5 and 3 pound losses too. The winner for the week lost 15 pounds. He also was the winner of the most exercise hours at 29 hours!! My piddly 21 hours came in second. Holy hanna! Paul is quite impressive. He's Ethiopian and probably the most polite, courteous, mannerly and humble individual you'd ever meet. He's also very, very smart. His strategy was to do cardio workouts in the early morning for two hours and let that workout burn more calories throughout the day. Then after work, he'd head back to the gym and pump iron for two more hours. He said he averaged 2 pounds a day. And he's SO humble about it - not proud or boastful - just doing his daily workout. Amazing. I was a happy camper too even though I didn't win the hot seat for the team for most exercise hours. I dropped 3.6 pounds and for the first time in over a year, I'm squeezing my ass back into some pants that just weren't wearable. Being on a team and being a "team player" certainly has its advantages.

More Iron Cross Reading

Fit Chick wrote her own race report on Iron cross. This girl is simply out of us normal-person's league. She trains with the boys (tries to beat them most times), is paid to workout, and just isn't anywhere near a weekend warrior level. So why the hell do I have to compete with girls like this???? Why do race promoters think its ok for someone like me to compete with someone like her? I don't get it. If they would group all the "men" together, maybe I'd be ok with it. One of my friends, Kera, had to compete the same way the day before the Ironcross at Ironcross lite. All the Cat 1, 2, 3, and 4 women were grouped together as one happy family. I heard the pro girl just ran away with it. Is that fair? Not at all Mr. Race Promoters. Geez.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fit Chick

You saw the pic below of the gal with the pythons. Her name is Selene Yeager and she's the fitness director for Bicycling magazine,a.k.a. Fit Chick. She's actually quite impressive and has a series of exercise videos on bicycling magazine's website. Here's the link to her videos showing a variety of exercises. She's also the author of a book on cycling for women, Every Woman's Guide to Cycling, Everything You Need to Know, along with being co-author of nearly 20 other books including Food Remedies. She writes regularly for Bicycling, but also writes for Prevention magazine. In other words, she kinda famous. Reading her blog, I found it extra interesting (and of course inspiring) that I actually share a little background with her -- she too hired a coach and started training for triathlons after many years of cycling and occassional running. Of course hers was a tad more impressive -- Ironman. She spent 10 months training for her first Ironman in Lousiville Kentucky in 2008, and then went on to qualify for Kona in 2008 of which she gives the detailed race report. It brought back the memories (and a tear or two) of when I was lucky enough to go to Hawaii for the Xterra worlds. What a friggin experience of a lifetime. Thanks Fit Chick! You're an inspiration. BTW, she turned 40 this year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Thus, my forever joyous pleasure of competition in the biking world. For you newcomers, I'm the first pic. No, actually I'm the 2nd pic and my friends haven't figured it out yet that I really did finish the race. I love racing against girls like this. I used to be told "it'll make you a better rider." No it didn't you fat liar. This proves we really need to get more women into this sport so we can fight for fairness in women's categories.
And here are my two heros of the day... Donna on the left telling me to get the hell on my bike and ride. She waited for me here at checkpoint 2 and later at checkpoint 3 to ride the last half of the course . I didn't make checkpoint 3 -- but she rode anyway (and crossed the finish line!). Sheena is carrying the bike -- she rode the 1st half with me and kept me sane. As my legs seized up from cramps and I was stuffing a CLIF bar down my throat, I asked Sheena if she wanted some and her very innocent reply was, "No thanks. They make me fart." That answer cured all cramps - I laughed for the next two miles.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crampy Iron Legs for the Ironcross

Holy hell I hurt. Thank god for friends to push me a little further to make it hurt a little more (just kidding Donna). No, I was very, very grateful to have Sheena hang with me (she poached the course - it was awesome!) and know the way back when I finally said I can't do this anymore. I started cramping at 3 hrs and it felt like both legs were big old charlie horses. I sucked down endurolytes which helped, but it wasn't enough. I hung it up at about mile marker 35? Not sure. It was mid-way between checkpoints 2 and 3 (there were 4 altogether). You had to be at checkpoint 4 within 6 hours and I was at 4.25 hrs when I decided I'm done. I don't think I could have made the last check point in 1.75 hrs -- I had 2 more mountains to climb before that checkpoint and one of them was a big bugger! So at 4.25 hours we thankfully were on top of a mountain and could ride the ridge back to the finish. It still took about an hour to get back -- maybe a total of 50 miles by the time I was done? I don't know... but I DO know I hurt all over -- my shoulders, my knees, my legs, my crotch, my ass, my feet (the one went to sleep at one point), and my nose from blowing snotrockets all the time. That's what I get for not preparing more for this! That's what I get for thinking I could do it. Actually, entering this race was just what I needed to get my mind off the birthday so it WAS a success. But it DID confirm you gotta train to do these things and that means riding a bunch. Wanna do the Ironcross next year? Start riding now!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Record Number of Women Entered in 2009 Ironcross

31 gals pre-registered for the 7th annual running of the Irconcross. Every year this race has grown and this year it is capped at 300 of which I think the organizer will reach that max. The women's open division shows the annual growth nicely. The first year had 10 female finishers -- myself and Donna were two of them. The next couple years saw 16, then 9, then 24, 26, and 27 finishers on the women's side. All the while, we all race together as one big happy women's family. That means young, old, professionals and weekend warriors all grouped together unlike the men's division which usually has a Master and Singlespeed class along with the Open class. This year I see at least 3 over-50 gals, several 40 somethings and of course many 30 and 20 somethings. I recognize at least one pro in the mix too. For many years racing with the young gals annoyed me -- I felt it wasn't fair -- and a small part of me STILL thinks its unfair. But the larger part of me knows at age 50, it's officially the race against myself to challenge myself to finish. And that's my goal. Crossing the finish line makes me a winner no matter the placing. And I WILL cross that line, just like I did 3 other times. Ironcross, here I come.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Losing It At Work - Day 3

Boy are we having fun... folks are climbing stairs, sharing candy, hush-hush chit chatting in corners, and eating up all the salad in the snack bar. The Biggest Loser competition here at work is working! I hear people say they lost xxx pounds - in two days! I must admit, it's heartwarming to see people getting off their duffs and walking at breaks and lunch. This was what they needed to get moving. Many people simply don't have time outside of work to do any kind of activity. They are moms and dads and kids consume a TON of time. So having co-workers to climb stairs with and walk around city island at work is just what the doctor ordered. I'd say this challenge is a success in many ways. Its also nice to see so much camaraderie. We're normally a fairly quiet group and this challenge brought folks out of their shells. Awesome. And how are my 24 hours of training coming along? Well.... I'm one to listen to my body and after two days and 5 hours of exercise it's saying I'M TIRED - KNOCK IT OFF! So I'm going to slow up a bit to be rested for Sunday's big event (the IRONCROSS!) Granted, those 5 hours weren't too intense (walking at lunch, doing the stairs, core work in the am, ez biking/kayaking), the old bod still recognizes it as exercise and lets me know if it likes it or not. I think I'll still get about 21 hours in for the 9-day period and while my goal was 24 hours, staying in the 20-hour range will work too. My biggest challenge is keeping up the hours with activities that don't stress my system for Sunday. Hmmm.... yoga and stretching anyone?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm a Loser

Thanks to Donna, I'm now a loser at my work. She shared with me her work's version of Biggest Loser and I shared it with one gal in my office who just took off with it and is running one hell of a show. She rounded up 40 people that were divided up into 8 teams of 5 and tomorrow is the official start of the competition. Some teams are totally into it -- they had embroidered t-shirts with their team name, Fatbusters United (FU). Another team wrote this very creative article about the competition that appeared to have come off the Associated Press. Yet another gal responded to that article with an equally creative blurb relating all the teams and their response to the article. Some teams are seriously strategizing about how they are going to win; and yet others are in it simply because it took off the way it did and wanted to be part of the camaraderie associated with it. There's at least 5 people in the competition that are about as skinny as rails, but they wanted to partake in the fun. Some ask why I'm in it - I don't have any weight to lose. Guess what buckos, I have 10 pounds to drop according to the healthy weight charts. And maybe I'll just do it this time for a change having 40 others to compete with. And what's the prize? $70 bucks baby. We each threw in $10 and the winning team splits it all. the winners will be based on points with each team earning up to 15 points weekly on weight loss, exercise hours (that's MINE), and weekly objective which is usually weight loss or percentage of weight loss (one week is exercise -- that's MINE). I'm not really sure our team can win, but it certainly has me fired up to finally dig in and really try to drop some pounds. I'm in the "hot seat" the first week for getting the most exercise hours for our team to win the first 5 points. Do you think 24 hours of training and riding (IRONCROSS!) will be enough? Boy that hour swim and hour of stretching at the YMCA on Monday after the Ironcross will be nice... :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yup... $70 bucks was laid out for Ironcross. Guess that means I'm doing it. I like my Team this year -- Seymour Bunz. teehheee. The Ironcross is one of those races that you never know if you're ready for it until you're done with it. I guess a true roadie who puts in about 500 miles a week might be truly ready; but weekend warrior Chili who's down to 3 days a week of riding will just have to take a wait-and-see attitude and ride it for the challenge of it. One thing is for sure -- it'll likely be a beautiful, crisp fall day - it was the last 3 times I rode it. I'm not sure why, but I actually like riding fire road. Not in Weiser State Forest though. There's just not enough of it. I did a pre-Ironcross training ride on Friday in Weiser and I got real tired of riding the same two fire roads a couple times. Actually, I stuck in the Lykens hardtop climb to Lukes trails which is fire road for the most part. But I still could only endure 37 miles of the same scenery. When I was about to climb Lykens hardtop for 3rd time, I hung it up and went home. Sunday was a 2nd longish ride and I felt good doing it and felt satisfied I'll be as ready as I can be for Ironcross. (But now my back is killing me. I guess that 20 wheelbarrow loads of horse shit on Satruday between long rides didn't do me much justice, huh?) Bike selection is always a challenge for the Ironcross. You see all kinds - many are customized just for this race. My first year I rode a full suspension mountain bike which was a mistake (too heavy to carry up the run up AND it was slow on the fire road). The 2nd year I rode a hard tail, lightweight mountain bike. That was ok, but still slow. The third time I did it on a true cross bike. It was definitley the bike of choice for speed, but I couldn't ride it on singletrack AND I couldn't ride the last couple hills with no 3rd ring. This year, I'm riding a niner mountain bike with 700 x 45 cm tires. It still won't have the speed of the cross bikes, but I'll love that front suspension on Lippencote Trail and certainly will cherish my granny! Bring on the Ironcross!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Happy Team - Cap City 2nd Place Girlies 2009

The happy trio with their 2nd place. Donna wants to do it again next year -- same team, same race. I better start getting in shape now! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Challenge of the Cap City Challenge

It's such a fun race... hard as hell, but fun. This was the 9th year for the race, my 3rd; Donna's 4th, and Steph's 2nd. Steph had her first experience at podium -- we were 2nd female overall, 2nd female masters. (Yup, the Master's women rocked the course). There were 4 Master women teams and 4 female teams. In my 3 years racing this, it amazes me how they come up with different challenges all the time -- its the challenges that make this race really tough. We rode mountain bike for 23.5 miles (a lot of road), ran maybe 4 miles (?), and canoed maybe 3 miles -- but the challenges were definitely the hardest part of the race. 4 of the challenges were at the Wildwood Fire and Rescue training center. We first crawled through a dark tunnel, then rappelled (easiest challenge for all of us). Next was one of the hard parts; we had to push one of our team mates in a wheel barrow around maybe a dozen cones. One team mate had one handle and the other had the other handle. Steph, being the lightest of us, had the honors of the sitting in the wheel barrow. It was tippy, and it took us a few seconds to figure out how to balance her. Carrying Steph in the barrow was really killing me and Donna's back, but we managed to finish. Then we had to flip/flop a tractor tire for maybe 25 years, then carry the stinking thing (it was heavy) for another 25 or so yards, then roll it back to the start. Hard! The next challenge was swimming with the canoe into the river to a buoy, then get in the canoe in 8 feet of water. Not too bad except Donna was cramping - ouch! After the canoe, we were told to start a fire with flint, magnesium, a knife, and a little pile of shredded paper. No-can-do; the teams before us had the flints wore down to nothing so we all were left go after the mandatory 10 minutes. None of the teams that were there with us succeeded in starting a fire. Finally, the last 2 challenges on river front. The first was these 8 ft long 4x4 boards with pegs on the sides, suspended with ropes down the middle of them between two trees (sorry I can't explain it better). Suffice it to say it was the hardest of them all. We had to crawl across this thing (it would flip over from time to time if you weren't completely balanced in the center of a 4 inch board? wah!?) from one end to the other. Poor Donna cramped in the middle of it! She screams quite well. What made this one even more challenging is that the 3rd place Master female team was on our tails (they actually passed us in the canoe) and were doing the challenge at the same time. So we felt kinda pressured. DONE! at last. The final challenge was a rope net we had to climb up and over from underneath. Skinny girls on the team just crawled up and over -- fat ass struggled a little and with a little adrenalin and a really loud scream, I got over the top. Finally -- the finish in about 5 hours and 10 minutes. We were absolutely thrilled to be 2nd female team in. It was a fun but hard, beautiful day and my team mates were awesome. thank you girls! I had a blast. This race was truly, a "challenge," but I loved it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Twit Tweet and Faces in Books

I guess I'm just behind the times, but I tried get some updates on the Transylvania Epic and it looks like all the updates are in that Tweet thingy... I don't wanna twit or tweet or put on a face. I just wanna blog and peruse other people's blog. So are blogs old technology now and twitting and tweeting (or whatever the heck it is) and facebook the way to go these days? If so - crap. I guess I'll just be behind the times. There are already way too many passwords out there that I can't possibly remember -- there's no room for anymore in the few brain cells I have left.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting My Mind Off That Dreaded Birthday

I figured it alllll out... if I commit to something long and hard (!?!), I can keep my mind OFF the birthday coming up and ON that long and hard thing. The IRONCROSS on October 11 is the answer. It will keep me preoccupied with prepping for the race rather than dwelling on the birthday. Soooo.... I'm about to register for my 4th Ironcross. I wanna wait until I get through this weekend with Cap City on Saturday, and a nice, long, easy ride on Sunday for about 3.5 hours. If I feel pretty good after two days in a row of long events, I'm signing up for IC VII. Screw the birthday -- give me IRONCROSS! Oh, and I'm riding with lots of friends in Michaux on the dreaded day. Maybe I'll just ride for the full 24 hours to totally forget about it! Oh, and I'm repeatedly telling myself I'm turning 40 -- that seems to help too. Yeh, 40! Good age.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009 Cap City Challenge

My 3rd Cap City Challenge is about to unfold. On Saturday, Donna Weiser, myself, and Steph Mader will challenge other Master Women teams at canoeing, mountain biking, running, and special tests for a podium spot. Two years ago Donna, me and Lynne Fickes were 2nd out of 7 other teams in our division. It was really nice to see so many women’s teams that year. Cap city is fun -- even though its an “urban” adventure race on a marked course. The mountain bike portion, I understand, is true-blue mountain biking this time around (as opposed to the Harrisburg greenbelt which is fairly flat with no obstacles other than cars!) complete with rocks, climbing, and log hopping. And I’m always ready for a good paddle – even if it IS in a canoe and not a kayak. And the run? Well…. what can I say – it’s running (blah!). The really fun part of Cap City are the challenges. The challenges are what give you your podium spot - or not. You can hammer through them in no time flat, or some will stall the team and put you behind maybe ½ to an hour. You never know what the challenge will be. From climbing rock walls to wading in the river to attempting to climb a slippy log to brain tests – they all make the “challenge” part in Cap City real. It’s a fun day, and the weather will be perfect. Can’t wait!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birthday Blues - A Month In Advance

We had an interesting discussion at work on "big" birthdays -- the decade celebrations -- and our feelings at different milestones. Guys don't count in this discussion because they just don't have the emotional volatility women have! Most of us hated 30, one gal hated 40, and only one hit 50 (and 60) and she was thrilled with both. The 20-somethings didn't even join in on the conversation (bitches). I'm absolutely dreading 50. I just can't grasp it. I'm totally content with everything in my life and have no reason whatsoever to be "down", yet 50 is sucking the big one. Hubby keeps saying, "you have issues if its bothering you." So what are they? Could it have something to do with my mountain biking? I get frustrated all the time at the lack of categories for Master women in endurance mountain bike events -- now it will be worse turning 50. Guess what Mr. Race Promoter guys, we're all getting older and you're gonna need to think about categories for aging girls. I keep thinking I need to do something really big now that I'm 50. Like maybe start training for the Transylvania Epic in 2010. Just the thought of something really big like that ignites the enthusiasm which fights off the "dread" of the age thing. Maybe I should stick with the promise I made myself a couple years ago which was to do the Wilderness 101 when I turn 50. 2010 would be the year to do it. One thing is for sure - I have no plans to slow down none. Sooo... how do I combat the 50 Blues? Barf.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Wrap up.

No rain! Paddled the Lehigh River on Saturday. Tried to go for a bike ride yesterday in Weiser and my crank arm fell off (ha!) at about an hour into the ride so I ended up running for about 1/2 hour. Went back out on Labor Day to get that stinking ride in and had success. Long run tomorrow (1 hour), weights on Wednesday (I think 'cause we can't get out paddling because of the BASH prep), ride on Thursday, Off on Friday 'cause I'll be planted at the registration table at the BASH, ride saturday, run Sunday morning. All this in prep for my final race of the season -- the Cap City Challenge on the 19th of September. I've been thinking about what I might want to do for my 50th birthday celebration on Oct 17, and I think I'll just R.E.L.A.X. for a change. Wouldnt' that be a switch?!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's BASH Season!!

And the BASH will consume me and hubby's non-work life for the next 10 days.

It’s that glorious time of the year again – the annual trek to Camp Muckleratz near Halifax/Lykens/Elizabethville, PA for 4 days of mountain biking heaven in Weiser State Forest with 200 or so of our like-minded friends. This year is special. It’s the 10th year since RCST is putting this thing on. This will be my 7th straight year (I think -- I can't recall exactly! It might be my 8th) and I’ve watched it grow from 2 days and 50 folks that first year I attended, to this year’s record near 200 for almost 4 days. There are a handful of folks that share in the many, many years of fun. Keith Whitcomb, of course, is the brain child of the event and has been there for all 10. Don Andrews was there for 9 of them – we haven’t heard a peep from him this year yet (but likely will the night before). I believe Jane and Dave Grant have been there for at least 9 of them if not all 10. Birdman (Robin Reinhart) may be one of the few that have been there for near all of them too. Others share my 7-year record or close to it. My hubby Ricky is a six year veteran. I believe Donna and Brett Weiser are also 6 years. Steve Tuck might be 8 or 9 years along with Dean the Bikeman (Dean Hower). And other frequent riders are Rick Begley, Emory Ehrenfeld, Rick Michael, Joe Daversa, Teresa Spitler! and I'm sorry if I didn't mention you but I know there are more. Why the excitement??? Keith said it best; "it's like a family reunion man..." Not to mention it’s private property so we can DRINK! Hubby and I are the oddballs of the mountain bike community and don’t drink – but we enjoy watching everyone else make fools of themselves. And the Camp and atmosphere is VERY laid back and relaxing. No special rules, no guidelines, no cell phone reception (true!) and you can simply de-stress for a couple days and drink, and ride, and drink, and ride. We also purposely kept it small all these years but that may be tough to continue to do as long as the popularity of the BASH grows. My perspective has been from the registration table and helping to organize the event for the past 6 years. Our job is to make sure everyone else has a good time – and we do our darndest to make that happen. So here’s to another great year. RIDE!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"It's Getting a Woodie"

This is blog-worthy and funny as hell. Donna and I went to a canning class (yup... learning to can fruits and vegetables like your grandma did!) in Carlisle at the Kitchen Shoppe. If you've never been there, it's really cool and you could spend way too much money fairly quickly. It was a hands-on class learning to hot-water bath can and pressure can. The pressure canning was time intensive and you spent a lot of time watching the pot, so to speak to. There was a little gauge on our cooker that started to rise as the pressure rose. Donna says to me, "It's getting a woodie." And she chuckles. The gal standing next to me was watching her pot too and overheard Donna's comment. And the gal says to me, "What's a Woodie?" OMG. I said, "never mind." as I looked a Donna with a slight smirk (trying to contain my outburst of laughter just about ready to erupt). And this poor gal is looking SOOOO lost and bewildered. So I whispered in her ear, "an erection". "Oh." She says. And we changed the subject. Me and donna were the hippest in the class, IMHO. We are hip canners. Modern day canners? Oh, the PASA (PA Association of Sustainable Agriculture) gal was pretty cool and hip too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking a Break

You'll see fewer posts on these blogs... I'm stressing and need to cut back on things.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Dampened" Spirits

The weather guys screwed up this weekend and spirits were dampened in many ways. What was to be a very nice day yesterday turned out to be thunderstorms ALL day. Somewhere around 7:30 last night the sky finally turned blue. WTF!? Rick and I squeezed in a 1 hour ride on fire road in Weiser before yet another wind-whipping downpour came through around 4:00ish. So I spent time on the trainer - sulking.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Paddling Observer

Last night Rick and I had a watcher while we paddled in and around the rocks just above the Rockville Bridge near Marysville. We ran into this guy here before -- it must be good fishing at the Bridge. In the past, he would start flying as soon as he saw us (usually about the same time we spy him), but last night this gorgeous fellow left us get within 10 yards of him. Mr. Bald Eagle was either tired or full from eating, but he didn't flap his huge wings until we were almost on top of him. And when he finally did take off, he only flew about 100 yards away to a neighboring rock. He musta just got done eating one of those 40 pound river carp and was weighted too much to get much height to fly! Ha. What beautiful creatures. Probably one of the most awesome sights to see in nature. And of all nights, Rick didn't have the camera along! It was a perfect photo op. No, this ain't my picture, damn it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Riding Really Good Mountain Bike Trails

I had forgotten how riding really good, technical mountain bike trails can give you one hell of a workout. The Lykens Rattling Creek Trails are such beasts -- a couple times on Rock's Ridge and the old quads are squealing. I'm growing bored with the same trails at Rattling Creek, but they definitely give you a workout. Lately, I've sorta been takin' it easy on the bike -- a road ride here and there, a trainer session, or an easy ride on the easy stuff on the RCST trails. Last night I finally got a decent, technical, 2+ hour mountain ride in and it felt SOOOO good. I hurt today! And it's a good hurt. It made me realize I gotta get out more on mountain trails. I live about a mile from the side of a mountain that has an old, washed out jeep trail going to the top that the four-wheelers ride all the time. The first part is an 8-10 minute, rocky, "tech-fest" climb that is an awesome workout. Once I get up the rideable climb, I can continue another 15 minutes to an old mining trail -- but that has to be walked because it gets super-steep and rocky. Then I can ride the mining trail along the ridge of the mountain. I don't hit it too often 'cause the abandoned open mining shafts give me the heebie-jeebies, but its an awesome, close-to-home rocky, technical workout. Of course it's not near as good as living in the center of Michaux... but it'll do!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend Happenings - or NOT Happenings

Mother nature just wasn't cooperating today. We finally planned a nice ride on the Rattling Creek trails -- Rick and Keith the check things out to get ready for the BASH, and me to ride with my Cap City team mate, Steph Mader. And it rains! So we cancelled. It was kinda funny; Keith kept saying he was bringing "a friend that doesn't ride much," and when I talked to Steph, she said, "is Keith riding with us?" and I said yes. She said, "my boyfriend is coming up to ride with Keith." Small world! While Keith was lining up his work buddy, Ryan, and I was lining up riding with Steph, both Keith and I were telling each other, "oh, I'm bringing a friend" and it turns out the friends are friends! Ha... Keith and I both laughed. So the trainer entertained me this morning while it rained. Yesterday was fun too... an early morning hour run, then to the "the ledge" at the Rockville Bridge for a little kayaking in 5 ft waters. The bike with the trailer and the kayak is none other than Sam Mummert's. Who else would do this?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Horse Hill Climbing

No, this isn't about horses on the singletrack! This is about the horse field next to my house and how more than the horses use it. Sometimes I get bored riding and running the same back roads next to my house and last night was one of those nights. So to change it up, I hit the horse field. Dad keeps it nicely mowed around the perimeter and it's exactly 1/2 mile. A couple laps around that baby is one hell of workout. Why? It's field for one -- not real smooth, ankle turning divets -- a nice off-road challenge. It's hilly for a second reason. It's about a 3-4 minute climb UP the hilly sections depending which direction go. If I really want a workout, I go down the short part,and run up the long part -- the long climb takes about 6-7 minutes. And of course I have the horses to contend with. They're curious! What the heck is that person doing in OUR field. They have to come close and check things out and I'm chicken of the horses. Sometimes they run at you and I'm not so sure they are going to try to run me over. Mom and Dad get a kick out of me being afraid of them. They truly are harmless. So last night was a horse field run for about 45 minutes - a nice change up. Variety really is the spice of life!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Has Chili Bean Up To?

Well... Chili has been consoling hubby for the past few days over his anger over horses on singletrack in Weiser State Forest. He's finally coming around (tonight is the first night he ISN'T going to the trails to wallow in his sorrow), but I still sense a bit of bitterness in his attitude. We rode the horse trails last night for only about an hour 'cause his legs weren't feeling too good after being over there for 3 days in a row and hasn't been riding much at all. Tonight we plan to paddle and I'm hoping to squeeze in a run too. I've been earlobe deep in green beans which I'll take great pleasure in pulling and composting this weekend. Sooo... off to the other blogs and garden!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fired Up Hubby

Most of you know my hubby, Rick, is an even-keel, unexciteable kinda guy. I actually admire his stress-free attitude - he lets practically nothing get him upset or angered. He's a dear, but sometimes even fire under his butt wouldn't make him jump very high. Until yesterday....

He paddled the Lehigh River while Sheena and I went for a mountain bike ride in Weiser which turned out to be a horse turd dodging ride 'cause there was a horse competition on the trails. You saw my earlier post and if you are reading the RCST blog, horses on soft singletrack is a problem. When I told Rick what was going on, he immediately got hot! He said get Jim Theurer's phone number (the horse guy). He called and no answer. I said he may still be at Camp Muckelratz 'cause I think I overheard someone saying its a two-day event. Rick dropped everything and headed to Camp Muckelratz. No supper, no bath, no nothing -- just straight to the horse event at 7:30 at night after driving 3 hours to and from the Lehigh river. He talked to the guy reminding him of last year's discussion when Mr. Theurer put on the event and no horses on singletrack. All Mr. Theurer could say was, "DCNR said we could use anything we wanted." Rick came home and couldn't shut up. "We" (the bike club) built many of those trails and yes we knew it was multi-use but not for one of the user groups to completely tear it up and not fix it. I went to bed and he followed me saying "you're going to bed on me?" Of course I said no, lay down and tell me more. So he did. The horse people were looking at a map saying, "oh, I heard this trail is awesome." They were referring to Shale Run which ALSO is soft and will be completely ruined after last night's hard rain and 80 or so horses hooves chewing it up today. This morning, Rick was barely awake at 7:00 (he seldom gets up this early on weekends) and he was grabbing the camera, shoes, socks, dry clothes and heading to the woods. I really wanted to go along and trail run, but he couldn't wait 1/2 hour... he wanted to get before and after shots. I can't recall the last time I saw him so "concerned." He's pissed! And rightfully so... many, many, many people volunteered hundreds of hours building those trails. The horse folks aren't quite grasping the work we really put into it... nor is DCNR. Which is why Rick is on a rampage. It's very possible after this we'll pass our leadership of the club onto other folks to manage. I hate seeing Rick fired up! Its just not his style. He commented, "No one can fuck up rocks and water, can they." Hmmm.... he may have a point.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dodging Horse Turds

It was nice to mountain bike with Sheena today... I'm sorry she had to be subjected to my ranting and raving about horses on singletrack. Yes... there was a horse competition on the Weiser trails today and had I known, I would not have ridden there. You can read all about my rant and rave on the RCST blog. Back to the ride... it was AWESOME! I seldom get to ride with people so when I do, I have a blast. We both were a little tattered and torn by the end of our 3-hour tour, but overall it was a good day in the woods. We climbed, we rock-hopped (well.. tried to rock hop), we climbed a little more, fell, drank, cussed, spit, screamed down White Oak Road, and generally had a good time. Thanks Sheena! I needed that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trail Run Follow-up

Xterra has a nice write-up about Sunday's Trail run here. The final results aren't up yet. I'm still not complaining about my run/time... the winning gal of the 10K was exactly 1:00. I was 17 minutes back. I'm old, slow, and haven't been running... 17 minutes doesn't seem all that bad! Although today, 48 hours later, I'm barely walking. Yes, I'm paying for my fun run. The fronts of my quads are screaming bloody murder as are the muscles in my feet. I could sorta feel it when I was twisting and turning on the rocks that the footsies/ankles were straining a little more than they were used and yup, they are pissed off at me now. Oh well, they'll get over it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up - WW Paddling and Trail Running

Playtime started Saturday with a 2.5 hr whitewater paddle in the Dauphin Narrows. Hubby and I were out a little longer than normal and my shoulders, wrists, and lats were paying for it today. Had to stretch a bit this morning to loosen things up. The river level was 3.75 and dropping fast, so we wanted to take advantage of some nice surfing waves. Rick just loves the river, and we paddled from one side to the other 4 times -- attaining, surfing, and generally just enjoying day. Nice.

And today was the Xterra Trail run -- my first 10K and my very first race in age group 50-59. A 21K was being run at the same time for Xterra Trail Run Series Points -- the winner came in at 1:25! Holy hell. He was 8 minutes behind me finishing my first lap! (The 21K folks did two loops of the 10K and a little extra yardage. )

So how did I do? 4th in age group 50-59 at at time of 1:17. Yes, there were more than 4 women (yippee - I wasn't last!). I knew I wouldn't fare well 'cause a solitary running race with no other sport with it brings out the hard core runners and they were there in force. Rick and I were getting a kick out of some of them warming up. I was wondering why the totally ripped girl (who won of course) was doing push-ups to warm up, of course while EVERYONE was watching her as WE were listening to the pre-race instructions. Back to my run.... I felt FANTASTIC! Even after a 4 month lay-off and only starting to run at a slow-mo pace about 3 weeks ago. Not sure what the heck was going on, but I was passing people going up hill AND downhill. I must have passed about 2 dozen people and was feeling extra good. I figured why not push it if feeling so well -- so I did. The trails are uber-technical. Rocks upon rocks, with switchbacks, bridges, muddy and slick spots, and steep sections. That's where I passed folks -- on the rocks and downhills (in rocks). I got the impression some of the runners were not accustomed to trail runs 'cause they were almost walking through the rocky sections. Odd. There was a bees nest at one section and I had to yell at the people to keep moving as the bees were stinging them. Get the hell away from them rather than stand there and say "ouch! I got stung!" Doh. It was fun being a group to race rather than always bringing up the rear and racing alone. I could get used to this kind of racing! Fun stuff. And kudos to Don Morrison, the former MASS organizer of years ago. He's been doing more and more Xterra stuff and he does a fine job of it. Great race -- I'll be back next year!

And to end the weekend, Rick and I were going to ride mountain bike on the same trails as the run, but they are rocky, and the rocks were slick so we decided to bag that. Instead, we headed to the Lehigh River Gorge and rode rail trail. Don't laugh, I LIKE rail trail -- it's concentrated, steady riding and that's all I wanted after a hard trail run. We ended up riding for about 1.5 hrs -- perfect. Wasn't the weather incredible?