fitness and nutrition

Keeping Pace

When I was growing up, July was all about the Tour de France. It was on TV for hours a day at my house. Before TiVO, my Dad would get up in what seemed like the middle of the night to watch. For the most part, I found it completely boring. Hours and hours of rolling along. The scenery was nice…French towns and the occasional sunflower field. I was mainly irritated that the TV was occupied for so many hours a day.

Inevitably, my Dad would try to explain some of the strategy to me. How the teams worked, drafting, and so on. After many years of boredom, I became sort of fascinated with the many roles on these teams. Most of the athletes were not there to win for themselves. No, most of the guys had specific jobs that served to ensure the team’s leading rider came out wearing the maillot jaune.

Imagine it: you’ve been chugging over kilometers by the hundreds, even the thousands. You’ve summited mountains, taken treacherous downhill curves at high speeds. You’ve churned your legs day after day, through training and trials, and it all comes down to the final mile of the day. It’s a sprint finish. Your team sets up, a few of you lurking toward the front of the pack, staying out of trouble and in good position. Watching…watching…as so many other teams are doing the exact same thing….then….

BOOM. Almost imperceptibly, there’s a nod and someone flies off the front of the pack, his trailing teammates sprinting to stay in a cluster. Over a few hundred yards the tip of the spear, then his right hand man eventually peel off, their work done, their legs spent. If all goes as it should, the team leader comes out the winner of the day. Wears the yellow. The leadout men, who did the heavy sprint lifting, are left to come in 18th, 20th, 40th, who cares. Wherever their spent legs will coast them in.

After years and years of watching, I came to appreciate the pacers and their role. The dedication to a leader. The special craft in that support. All the teams working and split second strategy did make it an exciting few seconds of sports.

Sometimes pacing isn’t so hectic. We ran a half marathon a little over a year ago. One of the surprises at the pre-race expo was learning about the pacers. There would be people in the race running while holding up signs with times. Fifteen minute increments…2:00, 2:15, 2:30 and so on. If you were trying to meet one of those finish times for your race, you could hang with that pacer. In my case, I found a pacer and kept them in my sight. She had a flock of people running with her. Interestingly, she would stop and walk every once in a while, I guess to be sure she was hitting her goal on the nose. I passed the pacer a few miles in and in my mind I knew if she was behind me I was doing ok. I later wondered, was she a professional pacer? Her whole job was to make sure people made that goal?

I’ve noticed this in other contexts. Hearing my daughter tell stories of running alongside her teammates to help them make their benchmarks. People in health and fitness challenges jumping in to pace others over their personal finish line. And then there are people I pace off of, in the gym and in other areas of life, who may not even know they’re playing that role for me. People who just work hard naturally and I use their example as a model to keep in my sights.

It’s not really keeping up with the Joneses. There will be people who have habits and lifestyles I admire but pacing off them doesn’t make sense. It’s more about knowing the path I am on…sometimes the path I want to or need to be on, and finding partners or examples to pace off of. They’re moving along that path, ideally a little bit faster than me. Hopefully they’re willing to let me draft off of them for a while to make the path easier. At some point, like in the Tour, it may be my turn to take the headwinds at the front.

I am a helper. Maybe that’s why the idea of pacing people to their goals fascinates and resonates with me. Being a part of them moving along. Helping on the way. I’m not often the leader but I like being on the team that helps a leader succeed.

Who is pacing you out in life? Who is on your team, explicitly or implicitly? Who is on your path, smoothing the way or lighting the direction? Lifting your cadence?

On the flip side, are you pacing someone else out? Maybe without even knowing it? What does that mean for the choices you make? What direction are you leading in?

Another little something to think about.

friendship

Riding Free

This weekend I went for a bike ride. A different kind of bike ride than I normally post about.

The bike is still red but it’s a Motorcycle vs a self-propelled bike. An Indian bike to be specific. I got the chance to ride with a couple of pals and we left early before the heat of the sun was upon us. A quick breakfast at a local spot before we hit the road.

We headed straight for the mountains. I was a passenger so I was in the observation seat. The seat that allows you to take in all the sights, sounds and smells. Care free for the most part. Sometimes it’s nice to just be a passenger. A mindless passenger with no role aside from hold on!

I was specific on the type of ride I was willing to go on. A smooth ride, not a windy switchback ride. That meant we took a scenic route. It was pleasant.

Smelled a lot of fresh cut grass, some cow poop, some yummy baked goods and a little bbq. Got to see some rolling hills, pretty pastures, old and new barns, donkeys, ponies, horses, cows, chickens and a few dogs.

I waved to many people sitting on their porches and gave the side wave to many motorcycles as we passed. I heard lots of birds chirping, a few sirens, a couple of horns and as we passed through a town I heard people.

The sound of people was far less in this tourist town than usual. Maybe only 25% of the normal seasonal volume. It was a bit eerie. The sounds were also muffled as many wore masks. One notable sight was the tubing bus that passed us to head to the river. It was full of people but each and every one had masks on. Talk about a new normal. Below is a quick text break photo op. Got to make sure our connections know all is good when on the road.

By the time the tubers escaped the bus the masks were gone but for that bus ride they were mandatory. It was also noticeable that the parking lot for this normally full tubing place was desolate. I saw one bus load vs. the 10 that would normally pass. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people were struggling in this small town financially due to the pandemic and loss of tourist revenue.

We took a rest at the little town. It was getting hot so we got some water and a snack of beef jerky. I normally like to go into the jerky stores to sample the different flavors to try something new. Not this time. No samples! Thanks again covid. however, I was happy to buy some mystery jerky and support a small business in the area.

As I rode free, I took in the sites, the sounds, the smells and the new normal. Masks and all. I had a great time but it was different sitting in the observation seat this time. I just got to see the new normal from a different lens. This gave me a new perspective.

Safety first with helmets but no masks for these girls on this ride. We had a ton of fun which means we will probably have more bike adventures. Watch out for biker babe stories coming in the future.

Who knows what town we might ride into next……

 

fitness and nutrition

Recovery Around the World

One of my favorite self-made workouts. One of my only self-made workouts. A workout I do with a group of friends to compile miles for our 2020 goals project.

Usually on a weekend. Always early, before the day starts for most. And if we are lucky some of us get to squeeze in breakfast after.

This weekend was 15 miles but I added one on the end for 16 total.

The earlier version of this was about 11-12 miles and it crept up a bit for an added challenge. It takes some time but when you are with friends it doesn’t seem like work at all. That to me is the best kind of workout.

This workout also feels good on your body after. It’s sounds weird but it’s refreshing. From the shoulder work to simple adding in of pushups and sit-ups. I expect to do some version of this workout throughout the year just to get some miles in with a twist and some secondary work.

See a cheetah sighting via leggings in the Sunday Funday pic. Hats off to livesore for a fun print and a super comfy legging. I’m pretty picky about my workout clothes but these get the job done.

Next time you think lazy Sunday drop for 10 pushups and 15 sit-ups. You might surprise yourself!

Staying fit is a choice, but it requires hard work, dedication and a group of likeminded people in your circle of friends to stay the course.

hustle

My Set of 20s

Yesterday I rode my bike 20 miles. I thought to myself, how cool is that? I did 20 miles in January of 2020 in one ride.

Then I flipped a page in my notebook and realized I wrote 20 blog posts in January 2020.

I can even do sets of 20 unbroken pushups which is new for 2020. It used be a struggle for 8 then 10. I finally got to 15. Then for this exercise I pushed to 20. Then I did it more than once. Persistence pays off.

Funny how you can find motivation when you think of a number and how to make it fit in your world of cans or can’ts. I surprise myself some days. Maybe you could surprise yourself, too.

Then I thought to myself I should go buy 20 lottery tickets just to see how I fared. I am normally not a lottery player however I do buy scratch tickets each year around Christmas for stocking stuffers and it is always fun.

It took me a couple days but when I needed gas I snagged my twenty scratch off tickets. 20 of the same ones in a row to see if that helped my odds.

With a little luck I cashed out $35. A small profit of $15. The odds on the back of the card said 1 in 4 win. Electing 20 of the same card maybe helped my odds. Who knows. It was a fun experiment.

Not sure how people do this often. It’s definitely messy to scratch. At least I tested the 20 theory.

I am sure I did plenty of other things in sets of twenty but to keep this simple I will not list them all here. If by chance I spurred your interest in the lottery, please let me know if you win big.

2 Chicks always accepts donations to provide literacy outlets for kids in need.