adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘boneyard’

my favorite workouts #1: Green Gate Brick

Since we are within a month of leaving the beautiful mountains of Colorado for our new adventure in Michigan, I feel like I want to capture some of my favorite things about where I live.  Luckily, many of these places are right outside my own door.

One of the greatest things about getting fit and losing weight is that I have been able to get out and explore more of Colorado and my hometown.  Sadly, for many years I didn’t even fully appreciate all the trails, rides, and paths we have in our little town.  Many of these have been publicized in a great trail book called Mountain Bike Eagle, so if you do ever venture to Eagle, you can check them out too!

My favorite brick workout is a short but tough climb up the Boneyard on the east end of town.  When I started mountain biking last summer (disclaimer: still a total novice!), I used the Boneyard road to learn some basic MTB handling and climbing.  It was nice and wide, and I still fell a lot, but I wasn’t scared sh*tless that I would fall into a ravine or off a cliff learning to ride.  Now I use either the road or the trail (depending on how balanced I am feeling) to climb to the first connection between the road and the trail – the Green Gate.

Green Gate view. Early morning, Summer 2013.

Green Gate view. Early morning, Summer 2013.

 

Options:
When I started, I used to just ride to the Green Gate on the road, then ride down.  I would throw my MTB bike in the car, put on my running shoes, and run up the trail part to the gate.  When I got better at this, I would use the trail for both loops – MTB and running.  Sometimes, I ride for time up the road, which often takes me past the gate, and then I run.

The best thing about the Boneyard is that it is super flexible.  This version is the shortest, but there is another connection that would add about 20-30 minutes to your total workout, and then there is the option to do the full Boneyard trail, either on bike or run or both.

I love this in the early morning and see if I can knock it out in under an hour, or take more time and go farther if I have the opportunity.  Morning is the best time to do it before it gets too hot.

Tell me your favorites!  

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getting comfortable with discomfort

Ahh….a day off.  I mean, a day off in which I am completely disinfecting the house after a close brush with death flu and both of the children are running around since they are “feeling better”.

It’s been a while since I posted last, since I have been attempting to drink from a fire hose balancing a new position at work, family, and training.  You remember, training? For a trail half marathon I felt quite confident would be no problem way back in November when I suggested it to Mr. Prepared.  The new position at work has really been challenging, as it is a really busy time of year with the start of a new semester at the college.  In addition, just learning the day to day of who to call about what and what to do has been slightly overwhelming.  It has definitely put me out of my comfort zone.  Enough that I have found myself throwing some mental temper tantrums with a few bouts of tears thrown in, but you know what?  It’s good for me.

It’s a good idea to get uncomfortable in life.  Nothing ever changes if you’re always comfortable.  And I was getting pretty darn comfortable, I guess. I mean work was pretty dialed in, I had set some pretty serious but achievable racing goals for myself this season, and the kids were settled into a routine we have been doing for a while now.

Getting uncomfortable means that you have to expand  your “solutions playbook” and keep adjusting to what life is throwing at you.  More than a few times these past few weeks I have said that I think this new situation is too hard and I no longer wanted to continue.  But whether or not I wanted to, I had to keep pushing on.  As I push on, it gets easier- the new position, the training, finding balance between life and work.  And the opportunity to become a new, stronger, better version of myself has emerged.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Today I ran a new lactate threshold test on the treadmill with my “poor man’s Garmin”- a HR monitor strap and a piece of paper.  I ran faster and was able to hold a higher heart rate than the last test I did at the beginning of August last year.  I couldn’t imagine I might be in better shape than I was in the beginning of August- particularly after taking time off and not doing any consistent training.  But I guess I could be at a new base level of fitness that I didn’t have last winter.  As I ran the Boneyard last week in the snow, I remembered that I had just started trail running last March with Mr. Prepared.  I remember how uncomfortable that experience was the first time I ever did it.  And while trail running can certainly get uncomfortable, I know how lucky I am to be able to continue doing that, and it’s still as enjoyable as ever to push myself up the hill and be alone, singing out loud in the sunshine.

Lastly, if you think I am just plain nuts after this post, I messaged Swim Bike Mom about how one could possibly stand riding 3 hours on a bike trainer.  Her message?  Get comfortable with the pain.   So I guess if I am crazy, at least I have some good company.

a few of my favorite things…

The before picture. I’m a little nervous.

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, which I had been trying to celebrate every day this weekend so as to assuage my guilt for going to work last night.  I talked with the kids to make a list of “Dad’s favorite things” to give him or do with him all weekend.  Their list was pretty much what you would expect from a 3 and 5 year old- they came up with “The Muppets” and “breakfast in bed”.  So Friday night’s dinner was followed by The Great Muppet Caper (he was actually thrilled) and Sunday was breakfast in bed (not as thrilled).

Monday night we headed out for a date, which I concocted from what I know are 3 of his favorite things: running, tacos, and beer.  I agreed to run a trail he frequents on the west side of town.  Personally, I have found my comfort zone on the Boneyard section of trail on the other side of town, and I have been reluctant to get lost, I mean explore, the side we were headed to.

The threatening weather held just fine, with the cloud cover actually giving us some relief from the day’s hot temperatures.  The trail was dusty but in OK condition as we wound through the sage, pinyon pines, up and over School House Rock and into Hockett Gulch.  Taylor billed it as a “recreational run”, which meant he was bounding ahead like a gazelle and I was huffing and puffing to try to keep up.  It was fun and beautiful when we got to the high point (don’t ask me where).  At the top, I did a little happy dance that I had mostly survived.

Being out there reminded me of when we were younger and we used to hike and camp as many weekends as we could.  I love to be alone and outdoors with my best friend in the world.  As I grew heavier and older, we did those kinds of activities less and less.  I could come up with a hundred excuses for why I wouldn’t go for a hike or spend the weekend backpacking.  Today, I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to do these kind of things with my husband again.  It doesn’t matter if it’s just for an hour instead of a whole weekend, I value the time more than I ever did when my time was my own and fairly limitless.

I know that one of the reasons that I wanted to lose weight was so that I could go out and hike, backpack, and do things like that again without feeling tired or strained by it.  I don’t think I ever imagined that I could hop onto a trail and run for 5 miles, or that I would be so happy doing it.  But I do know that feeling like I could take on any physical challenge again has probably been my favorite thing about losing weight.  And I know that I will not take anything for granted this time.  Plus, tacos and beer taste just a little bit better when you know you have already burned them off.

Amazing! The after photo!

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