Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Adventures on Two Wheels

In the middle of reflecting that I'd yet to be caught in the rain on my daily ride to and from work, I was hit with a big, fat raindrop. My first thought was to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and get home before...what? Before I got wet? Because being wet is...not good?

I decided to enjoy the rain instead, smiling at the man & his son who pulled up beside me at the lights on their motorbike. Like we were in this crazy situation together.

"You're getting rained on too, hey?" Smile and shake of the head.

I was almost a little disappointed when I rode out from under the cloud. Riding home in a downpour would have made a much more entertaining blog entry. And made me feel just a little more like a hardcore biker.

Although cyclist is probably a more accurate term.

If I was honest, I'd admit that I'm proud of the slash of grease on my leg that I arrive home with almost daily. (Compliments of the generous Bike Doctor mechanics who tuned up my bike.)
I might even take a picture of it.

I've finally found some routes that I like to and from work. They're not the same, because although I enjoy crossing the Broadway bridge on my way to work, it's not so fun to have to ride across the other direction.

In fact, the bridge is one of my favorite segments of the ride to work. On my first day biking, I realized a little too late that the walkway on the north side of the bridge was closed, and I didn't want to go back to the lights and cross to the other side. So I waited for the lights at the top to turn red, leaving a significant gap in traffic, and I hightailed it across in the driving lane.

I have never gone that fast on my bike before. Oh my goodness! So much fun, I decided to go that way every morning.

I've tried a variety of options for the home route, but most of them involve me huffing and puffing and pedaling crazily in an oxygen-deprived state as I try to crest the hill at the top of Sask Crescent and Broadway. Today I discovered that using University bridge is a much more enjoyable option.

Riding my bike to work is becoming second nature, and on the days I drive I feel sluggish and slow, aware that there is a much better way to get from A to B.

Here's to early morning rides in the fresh air, and starting out the day with a smile on your face.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Carry a Small Grape

Today I found myself humming along to nothing in particular, brimming over with possibilities. A series of events, comments, and nuggets of wisdom from a beautiful book have coalesced to inspire an idea.
A plan.
A project.
I won't share all the details yet, because some dreams need to be nurtured a bit in the quiet of one's heart before they can stand up to the knocks they'll take once out in the open. But it's all about having a dream and a purpose. Moving forward with intention. Giving shape and reason to my activities.
The beautiful book I'm talking about is Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. The title bugs me a wee bit, because as a statement it is incorrect. Life is a noun, or sometimes an adjective, but never a verb. HOWEVER, as a concept it is brilliant. It's not a new idea, but at this very moment in time, this is the book I needed.
The subtitle is 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally. Sounds a bit self-helpish, but it's actually quite wonderful. Every page is full color, with stories and quotes and pictures and really wide margins to make notes in. Which I have.
There is a story about dancing in your car that made me smile, because I love to dance and sing in the car. One of my co-workers has caught me on more than one occasion and commented that I looked awfully happy on my drive to work that day.
Digh relates a story about her daughter who was delighted to find a minuscule grape in her snack one day, and carried it around everywhere with her, marveling in the wonderful smallness and cuteness of the grape. She challenges the reader to "carry a small grape"- to find something that creates wonder in you and carry it with you, taking it out every now and then to remind yourself to find the joy in every day. I haven't printed it out yet, but I think my "small grape" will be a picture of my niece, Jillian.

Because how can you not smile at this picture? It's her expression that I love more than anything. Happy, and a little bit sneaky.

Here's to the future. To dreaming and planning. To anticipation. To inspiration.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Running in Aqua Socks

I recently finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and oh my goodness. It has changed the way I think about running, and is slowly changing the way I run.
In a nutshell, he puts forth the idea that people are created to run. The presence of our Achilles tendon, the nuchal ligament on the back of our head, and our big butts are all useful only if we're running; we don't need them to walk.
He writes about barefoot running and how much more natural it is than running in running shoes, and how American marathon runners were faster back when they wore canvas flats than they are now with their expensive shoes. And they were injured less often.
One of the most important things I learned was that "shoes block pain, not impact." So you slam your feet down over and over, because you don't feel the pain that would normally tell you to correct your stride.
Our feet are incredibly sensitive for a reason. "They're self-correcting devices. Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms."
So I've started training, for very short periods of time, in aqua socks. Rather than spend a bunch of money on brand name minimalist running shoes, I got this idea from a barefoot running blog I stumbled across.
And boy is it fun! I feel much lighter on my feet and not like I'm plodding along in these thick-soled, "pronation-correcting" chunks of rubber and foam.
So far I'm on day 2 this new training, and am curious to see how it will effect my race in September.
Here's to running like a child again!