August 29, 2007

Ready for the fall.

This time next month, I'll be sitting in a Mexican restaurant in or around Cleburne fueling up for 500 miles of mayhem. If I get past the 375 mile marker, I'll be happy enough -- but I honestly see no reason why I can't conquer this distance and mark it off as a success. There are some challenges, however: I have not been able to meet my training mileage consistantly since the bike accident in July, and the car wreck. Life has literally been crazy this summer - but I feel a sense of relief lately; like all hardships, they are usually temporary - it's nice to be sitting on a solution now and finally being able to relax a little bit. Training mileage aside, the weight goal I had for myself continues to elude. I think in times of stress the body is just not working correctly, and I have been floating at the same weight (which I suppose is good in some way) for the past 45 days. NO change. Of course, that also means no changes for the worse, so I have to remember that point. I have a feeling the MS-150 coming up in two weeks will act as something of a metabolic springboard, and should hopefully get me back into a solid training routine. That is, of course, cutting things awfully close - but I'm banking on the notion that if NOTHING else, my leg muscles and cardio are well-rested. I have been able to commute by bicycle again, finally, which in the wake of the hip injury is a good thing. Finally, no more lingering pain, no more swelling -- I have actually been able to push the hills, hammer the flats if I want to, and generally enjoy riding again - instead of suffering thru it. I haven't lost too much time, but I also don't feel totally prepared. I've been looking back on the year's spreadsheet, and have noticed that consistantly I've under-shot myself with regards to pre-event mileage, and I have not seemed to suffer; sure the speed wasn't stellar, but I did in-fact finish the 600K within the time limits, so that means if NOTHING else I can indeed finish the Tejas 500. I will not age-group, place, or impress -- but I *WILL* finish, and that is my only goal. The 600K was *ONLY* three months ago -- it seems like FOREVER. The bank of endurance is still there -- the weight will hurt me, I have a feeling, but I can also - if I REALLY want to - lose ten pounds in the next 30 days. Women hate hearing things like that, but if I buckle down I can do it - and that will be an advantage. I'll worry about the other 30 this fall, during marathon training. Next spring -- look the F out. I don't want the perfect physique; I only want to feel good, fit into my clothes, and look like I belong on a bike. I remember saying that LAST year after Tejas wrapped... ugh. This time, I actually need to REALLY lose the freaking weight.

This weeks' commutes have been pretty good, especially yesterday's.

The morning was dark, the way I like it -- makes me feel ahead of the game, keeps heat at bay and traffic at a minimum. A special treat, however, this last morning was the nearly full and totally eclipsed moon! I knew it was coming, so I knew where and when to look for it -- but I tell you, seeing astronomical phenomenon from the saddle of a bicycle is fantastic. Big, dim amber, and downright spooky-looking, the moon hung low over the western horizon, giving a grand show while 80% of suburbia around me was still asleep. Awesome. I regretted having a camera, but I honestly don't own one that would have done the scene justice; I think it'd be neat to have a shot of the bike with the eclipsed moon in the background. Maybe I'll try again in February '08, when the next one is scheduled to come around.

While the car-free lifestyle still eludes me, yesterday I had a good taste of it. MS-150 packet pickup was held at a local mall, about 8 miles from work, so I mounted up on lunch and headed out. For once it wasn't blistering-hot, so it was fairly pleasant and a little breezy. I arrived, got my packet, and headed out to the eye doc's place to pick up some new specs, another car-trip saved. Not bad! A creative route back to work, some mild headwind issues and a few hills that I haven't climbed since I lived NORTH of work, and I was back at the office again with a full bag.

The ride home in the afternoon, with full bag, was a tough one. Hot, humid, and windy - I was blown dry, literally, for 15 miles or so. Dehydrated and whipped, I arrived home just in time to change and get ready to head to job#2 - something I was gonna have to ditch to the car for since my headlight crapped out in the later part of the morning commute - internal circuitry problem, and no time to swap to the older halogen light. So be it.... ugh. The high-pace hammerfest towards home, while only 15 miles, was excellent heat training for Tejas - unfortunately, it also reminded me that I was going to have to remember to drink a LOT more than I had. The rest of the night was suffered through with a vague headache and fatigue, and while I was pounding water and electrolytes all night, I barely caught back up. Probably better that I drove.

The trip home would have been better by bike, though -- the full moon rose right as the workbell rang, and I was treated to a massive orangish disc of light and shadow coming over the eastern suburbs; magical, and it gave me pause again while traffic zoomed around, oblivious. Sometimes I feel like these moments are reserved just for me - the rest of suburbia just too preoccupied to notice. Makes me sad to wonder how many moments like that are wasted to iPod fiddling and PSP hammering in the back seat of some SUV. Poor kids... I hope they will discover this stuff for themselves someday, or the wonder-ment that truly makes our existance here on Earth will truly be at risk.

Finally in the evening, showered and with al my stuff put away, I sat on the back porch and watched the moon grow brighter and brighter as it crawled up into the deep night sky and listened to the bugs singing in the grass. It was a little cooler, and my day was over - a little lingering soreness in the legs from the afternoon -- crawling into bed was gonna feel pretty good. Some commutes are hum-drum, but riding days like yesterday make it all worthwhile. I felt very satisfied with myself, and that is good for the soul.

Am I ready for Tejas? I dunno. But, I am ready to get my life back on the straight and narrow. Ready to relax a little, ready to enjoy the little things and get the mind stress-free again. Summer has hurt here and there -- I'm ready for a good Autumn already.

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