Tuesday, June 19, 2012

40 Miles From Denver...

Wow.  So much for weekly posting.  I've been shameful at following up with my effort of one post a week.

So my last post was May 15th.  That was over a month ago.  Quite a bit has happened since then.  I've started a new job, read some good books, taken some good camping trips with the family, and been on some good bike rides.  There's been some bad in there too.  We'll get to that.

Right after my last post, Andi and the kids and I went on a camping trip to Redstone, CO.  Beautiful campground located south of Carbondale and near Aspen.  Redstone is a very small (population 93) town that was created as a place for a coal baron to house his miners back in the 1800s.  Lots of cool, gingerbread style homes mixed with new mountain style homes.  Andi and I have said we could live there.  Cool place.  Right along the Frying Pan River (a creek by eastern standards).  We spent 3 nights there.  First full day, we all walked the mile-plus into the town from the campsite.  As a treat, we had ice cream and the kids played at the park.  It was fairly hot and the kids didn't want to walk back, so I took Kady and we jogged the mile back to the campsite to get the car for pick-up of the rest of the family.  Even though Kady wanted to stop every 30 feet or so to check to see if the rest of them were behind us, it was a good trail run back.  Got up a good sweat.  Andi may have thought i got the short end of the stick having to go back alone, but i enjoy my solitary time (with the dog) where i can get in some exercise and move at my own, decidedly faster pace. The high altitude makes it even better (read: more strenuous).  The second day we went back into town, then drove up over some mountain pass (can't remember the name).  I saw several cyclists on what was probably 15 miles of uphill at between 6 and 13 grade.  While at the same time thinking them insane for attempting it, a voice in the back of my head said "someday you'll do this".  I do want to get better at climbing hills on my bike.  Someday I'd like to do "Ride the Rockies".

The following weekend, we were in Mesa Verde with the kids and my mom, camping in the pop-up.  This was a great trip.  I'd never been to the extreme SW portion of the state.  After a long 10 hour drive to get there, i really welcomed the out-of-car experiences we had in store for the next two days.  Day 1 was spent doing two guided ranger tours through some of the old ruins in the area.  The tour descriptions all made them out to be pretty strenuous, with steep descents and ascents into and out of the canyons, narrow ledges, and steep ladders to climb.  The rangers even talked of people dying on these trips from heart attacks and tried to talk people out of going.  Channelling my inner Indiana Jones, these were fantastic excursions.  Living up to the hype, there were a couple of times where i was out of breath after some climbs.   Day 2 was filled with more of the same.  The kids would like to go back and I really think we could've used one more day, maybe two, to do some of the "off the beaten path" and unadvertised tours.  They would take longer, be longer, and have more hiking.  Just what I'd want. 

As the above would indicate, we've been pretty busy.  In another frame of mind, I'd use that as excuse for slacking off on my working out.  I really have no excuse.  I don't think I've lifted weights since Memorial Day.  I think I'm enjoying my new time with the kids and Andi too much.  Or maybe I'm enjoying some new TV shows too much.  Or maybe I'm just enjoying coming up with excuses why I don't need to workout.  Whatever is going on, i need to stop it and get back in the mindset of working out.  I don't want to be ripped.  But i don't want to be "soft" either.  So far, i haven't lost the muscle firmness I've built up.  And truthfully, i feel pretty good.  I'd still like to be bigger in the chest and firmer in the gut.  Most people say they can tell I've been lifting weights and that I "look good".  But that shouldn't be an excuse to stop altogether.  We don't have any trips planned until late July and no more Cub Scout meetings until school starts up.  Only baseball on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings.  I WILL BEGIN TO LIFT WEIGHTS AGAIN.

One thing that I've been very happy with is the amount of cycling that I've been able to get in.  So much so that I'm finally starting to think of myself as a cyclist rather than just a bike rider.  Which i suppose is a good thing.  About a year ago i started shaving my legs like the pros in the Tour de France (and many other non-pros in the Denver area that i see on the bike routes) in a weird way to help me focus on my cycling regimen.  I figured not riding often and having shaved legs would just be weird.  If i could honestly say i was riding a lot, it wouldn't be so weird.  Yeah, weird in and of itself.  I know.  Anyway... back to the riding.  Andi (thank you Lord for giving me such an amazing and understanding wife) has been letting me take a couple of hours after work once or twice a week to get in some short, 20 mile rides.  I've been parking at Riverpointe (Santa Fe and US285) and then riding down to Chatfield, climbing the dam, and then riding back.  The first couple of times, the ride up the dam was awful.  Now its not so bad.  So I'm definitely getting stronger on the sustained uphills.  For Father's Day this past Sunday, i left the house at 8am and set out for a ride to Morrison, then down C470 to Chatfield, then to US285 where I hooked up with the Bear Creek Trail and headed back home.  I wanted to get 40 miles in.  When i passed my doorstep at the house, i had exactly 39, so i road around for another mile before i finished.  My thought on this route initially was that Morrison to Chatfield is typically downhill along C470.  What i didn't account for was the bike path that follows the highway actually has quite a bit of uphill.  The first 15 miles were peppered with long ascents followed by short descents.  The next 15 were a slight and steady downhill, then the last 10 were steady uphill back home.  My legs were cooked when i got home.  I have to say, i really wanted to stop and turn around at about mile 14 but, befitting on a Fathers Day morning, i began to think of my dad and how hard he fought his cancer before he died.  He never gave up the fight against his disease, so why should i give up because of a bit of muscle pain on a bike ride?  I kept going and I'm glad i did.  I felt amazing afterwards.  Tired, but amazing.  I know my goal on January 1 was to ride a charity ride.  That isn't going to happen.  With my new schedule and Andi's continued understanding, i am hoping to train up to 60 or 70 miles on a ride.  That way, when next years bike season kicks off, i can feel very good about entering a ride.  If i can get in two rides mid-week and one ride during the weekend, i should be able to get there.  Some of you might scoff at these totals (i know my brother-in-law would), but hey... you gotta start somewhere and do what you can, when you can.

On the food side, I've been eating a sack lunch at work 4 out of 5 days.  Usually a turkey, ham, or roast beef sandwich coupled with trail mix and/or a granola bar and a banana/orange/apple.  Dinners have been salmon, steak or chicken for the most part, with some salads and fruits thrown in.  Not a lot of meals out, and definitely far fewer fast-food meals than i was eating when i worked at my old job.  Have i mentioned i love the schedule?  Not only is it more time at home, its dinner at home. 

So, by next post, i am hoping to report that I continue to rack up some big miles on the bike and that i have resumed the weight training regimen.  I even want to work in more leg exercises. 

Will it happen?  That remains to be seen.  I've said i would in the past and dropped the ball.  Only time will tell.  I remain committed to a healthier lifestyle.  I just need the will to help me get there.  With the Lord's help, i can do it.

As always.... thanks for reading! 

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