Tentative steps after rehab


“Sense of overconfidence detected!”

It feels great to be moving around again and, as usual, I’m starting to think about bigger and better things, which of course, raises a HUGE RED FLAG. Continue reading “Tentative steps after rehab”

Scheduling workouts – stop the madness!

I often find that my biggest challenge really isn’t getting out the door.  Most of the time, I’m fully motivated, and follow through.  What *really* throws me off is a constantly changing schedule. Continue reading “Scheduling workouts – stop the madness!”

THIS is why I don’t bike on the streets

city bikingBefore I get started, I’m going to state something that seems obvious to me:  The more interesting the training area, the more enjoyable the training is.  I get it – you’re going to have a more interesting run in inspiring places.  Same goes for biking.  What could be more peaceful than flying down a local road into a brilliant sunset?

But the problem is when you get on a road, you could be taking your life in your hands.  You can ride in the bike lane, or in the absence of a lane, get as far to the right as possible.  You can arm your bicycle with blinking lights, wear a helmet and all the reflective gear you can find.  You can do all that, and it still won’t stop someone who’s simply not paying attention from killing you.

A triathlete acquaintance posted a story from my home state of Illinois early today, in which two bikers, a husband and wife, were killed from behind by an SUV driven by a 16-year old.  At this time, very few details are available, other than the riders were struck from behind, that the man died at the scene, and that his wife died later after being airlifted.  Both were wearing helmets.

The couple were on a training ride for a charity event to be held next weekend.  They were to participate in the Bike MS: Tour de Farms event in DeKalb, IL this weekend.

The latest reports state the driver was “issued a citation for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.”  In Illinois, this is a petty offense, punishable with a fine only, with a maximum fine of $1,000.

For the record, I’m not calling for the driver’s head – I have no idea what happened, and no idea of the circumstances surrounding the accident.  That said, let the record state that $1,000 is the cost of taking two bicyclists’ lives in Illinois.

That’s why stories like this really piss me off.  They’re the reason I don’t get out and bike as much as I’d like.  The simple fact that other people aren’t careful could cost you your life.

I’ve always been of the opinion that there need to be stiff laws in place to protect cyclists.  Laws that will force drivers to actually look for bikers and be careful.  I’m sorry – I just don’t think that $1,000 does the trick.

And, before I get the comments, I understand the whole “you take a risk when you walk out the door” thing.  But knowing the area in which I live, and seeing the number of people I see texting while driving, drifting in and out of their lanes with their heads down, that’s just not a level of risk I’m willing to take.  I value my life, and cherish the time I have with my wife, kids and friends too much to add that level of chance to my life.

Maybe that makes me a wimp.  Maybe that makes me a worry-wart.  It likely makes me a touch paranoid about this topic.  I’m OK with that.

The Washington & Old Dominion trail: A biking gem in Northern Virginia

What a crazy few weeks.  Work has been nuts, my son is back from college, new phones and a new car bought, and I’ve entered the final stretch of weekend classes in a certificate course.

The net result – not enough training, and not enough blogging, either.  I’ve worked out twice in the last two weeks, but I got back on track (actually…back on trail) Friday.

One of my favorite things to do when I can’t run is get on the bike and hit the trails.  Being more of a road bike guy, gravel and mud don’t really work for me.  I’ll do it for fun, but if the ride is about a workout, I’m on a road bike.

Fortunately for me, there’s a great paved trail not too far from me that stretches some 45 miles in its entirety.  The Washington and Old Dominion trail (technically the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park) is built on the bed of the railroad of the same name, which closed in the late 60s.  I’ve never ridden it from end to end, but I’ll get around to it one day.

The only down side to using the W&OD is that I have to load up the bike, and drive about 15 minutes to get there.  That’s because there isn’t a route to get there that doesn’t deal with the DC area’s insane drivers.  A workout isn’t worth getting killed over, after all!

W&OD map

The W&OD itself is a two-lane trial stretching from Shirlington, VA to Purcellville, VA.  It passes through heavily populated areas, suburbs, and more rural areas as you move westward.  Lots of nice towns, good food and bike-friendly things to do along the way.

Green LizardI typically start at the 10-mile marker near Vienna.  About 10 miles to the west is the Green Lizard bike shop in Herndon.  That’s my shortest ride – there and back.  I love to stop there, catch my breath and look at bike stuff.  The staff there is very knowledgeable and helpful.  They’ve got a full-service repair shop in there, if you’re in need.  Additionally, they have a coffee shop inside that makes smoothies – perfect on a hot day!

Mediterranean BreezeIf I’m not in a rush, or if I’m riding with the wife on a casual ride, we’ll stop in at Mediterranean Breeze, also in Herndon.  It’s just a block from the Green Lizard.  They do a little bit of everything on the menu, and everything we’ve had is pretty good (my personal favorite is the New Orleans jambalaya).  Good prices, too.  They also do a Sunday brunch, if that’s your kind of thing.

Carolina BrothersIf I’m on my own on a longer ride, I’ll go about 35 miles, and visit Carolina Brothers Pit BBQ (mile marker 27.5) in Ashburn as my midway point.  I’ve been there probably a half dozen times, and each time, the food’s been great – and cheap.  Of course, the down side is that the ride back ALWAYS takes longer than the ride there.  A belly full of BBQ will do that!

With all that said, today’s ride was short – 10 out and back, for 20 miles total.  It was my first ride on the bike this year, and it felt great to get out.  I pushed the pace on the way out, and focused a little more on form on the way back.  I deliberately didn’t time the ride, so as not to be competing with the clock.

Since it was a Friday afternoon, the trail wasn’t super-crowded, which is often the case on the weekends.  All in all, it was a great ride!

P R – the two letters that make us all smile

PRIt doesn’t matter if the improvement is a second, a minute or ten minutes.  Those two letters reflect the work you’ve put in.

It’s not a measure of you against the other guy – it’s a measure of you against yourself, and the clock is the only audience that matters.

Just remember to reset those PRs about once every ten years, or you’ll be chasing ghosts!




What’re you gonna do?


We all have had them – the bumps in the road that leave us wondering what to do and where to go from here.

Those things – the injuries, the relapses, the periods where we lose focus and pay the price – shouldn’t define us.  Not if we look ourselves in the mirror,  re-evaluate, and do what it takes to overcome them.

You’ll never lose as long as you keep competing!

#motivationmonday #planpersistprevail

Product Review: Yurbuds Focus

yurbuds focus
Yurbuds Focus:  $28.50

I’ll open this review by saying that I’ve always had problems finding earphones (especially earbuds) that stay put while I’m running.  In fact, for many years, I had been relegated to over-the-ear models because I simply couldn’t find a model that would comfortably stay in place.  It didn’t matter what size earpiece I fitted to the buds – they were coming out one or two miles into a run.

That little problem ended with the Yurbuds Focus. Continue reading “Product Review: Yurbuds Focus”