OK… So I’m slow.

I have to admit I am having WAY more fun just going out and riding my mountain bike or running on the roads/trails than I did this summer while I was “training”.  So much so (obviously) that my accounts of each and every workout are sadly lacking.  But, honestly, I would much rather give a recap of the good times I am having attempting to be fit and have fun… than bitch endlessly about each obsessive little failure in my training plan/schedule.  I’m sure that gets as old for readers (all four of you) as it does for me.

Saturday’s long run of just over 8 miles was comfortable.  Partially because I was careful to stay in “Zone 2-3” for the whole run (talking pace plus a little effort) and partially because I just called 8 miles a “long run”.  And this is the way it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.  Anything over 10 miles just …hurts…  And not in a good way.  So why do it?  I don’t need pain, I need fun.

Sunday I took a glorious day off to work on my Halloween costume and felt absolutely NO guilt.  Maybe I pissed a good workout day away, but I’m trying to achieve more balance and this costuming session was as important to me as a workout.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Monday I snuck out to Rhett’s Run.  A fun little mountain biking course on the back side of a big park that is all of 2 miles from my house.  I found myself feeling bad for not taking advantage of this resource more.  It’s a fun ride with a couple of good challenges but nothing life threatening.  AND… I was completely alone.  It was like my own private park.  And the fall foliage was spectacular.  So much red and orange from the leaves in the trees and on the ground that it was hard to tell where the trees stopped and the trail started.  I found myself off trail a couple of times just because I couldn’t see it!  Great fun!

I am admittedly VERY slow and cautious on my mountain bike.  But I have to keep telling myself that this is only the 5th time I have ridden offroad in 10 years.  It’s going to take a while to get my confidence and skill back.  In the meantime I go slow, step off a lot and stop to study the trails when I come to a new challenge.

What I am discovering (re-discovering?) about mountain biking is that I can ride much gnarlier stuff than I think I can and that the bike technology has gotten MUCH better in the last 10 years.  I need to have more confidence in my bike.  If I just pedal and work on my balance, that thing is like a mountain goat.  It can climb stuff and go down stuff that would have bucked me off the old bike.  I really think all this balance, power and rider position practice is going to be a HUGE boost next year on the road bike.  I doubt seriously if I will ever be “fast” on a mountain bike, but I don’t care.  I would rather be slow “on” a mountain bike than fall “off” going fast.  That will all come later (or not… I don’t really care).  It does make me a bit hesitant to go out with the group rides though because I know I will slow them down.  And I really don’t want them to push me to speed up (even though I know I will) because that always leads to something stupid (and painful).

There is one thing that I have learned (finally) in the past two years of HUGE homeowner projects and pushing myself in exercise and I am really trying to make this a lifelong mantra.  And this is simply “If you are doing something and say to yourself “This is stupid, I shouldn’t do this”… You are ALWAYS right.”  Whether it be pushing too hard and getting hurt or cutting a piece of wood in a way that is not safe, taking the extra time to do it RIGHT rather than just doing it is ALWAYS the right thing to do.  Maybe I’m getting old…  Maybe I finally found the common sense line to stand in…  Maybe my yellow streak is now glowing…  I don’t care.  My dad always used to call it “Live to fight another day”, and I finally get it.  And I can hear his next line echoing in my ears now… “WELL!  THAT only took 43 years…”

Yeah… I know… Thanks pop… 😉

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