Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sheathed in Lycra

As a runner, I always loved biking to cross-train. Now that I've embarked on the insanity that is the "Ride to Read" though, my running has taken a back-seat to biking. In the past three months, I've cycled 274 miles and run 24.

So obviously, I haven't been training for any fall races, including the half that I had been planning on.

But that's ok. I like getting involved in another sport. There's still a part of me that wants to hit the pavement running as soon as the Ride to Read is over, but in the past couple of weeks, I've increased the distance I can bike at one time by double. I keep going further and making more steps towards being ready for the 60-mile ride. I had started out on a mountain bike, and while I knew that it wasn't as efficient as it could be, I gave it my best and pushed myself to perform. This past week, a friend lent me her road bike to use for the ride, and I've been adjusting to it. Road bikes place more weight forward on your hands and wrists, and the handlebars are shaped differently, in addition to the obvious difference that the tires are about half the size of mountain bike tires. I'm practicing, though, and am planning on riding over 50 miles tomorrow. I'm at the point now where 20 miles is an easy after-work ride, so I'm not worried about it. In fact, I'm excited to keep making progress. After the Ride to Read, I am going to continue riding and work my way up to using clipless pedals. Of course, that will be as I get back into running.

On the running front, I'm going to do a hounds and harriers run with my fiancé's German Shepherd in October. Her name is Anna, and I can't wait to do some trail running with her. I went for a very short hike with her last week, and I ran a little bit on the trail and was immediately drawn to that old feeling of flying over rocks and roots, jumping over logs and nimbly fleeting over the ground. I can't wait to spend more time out on trails like that.

In the meantime, I'll keep pedaling!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1 Librarian. 4 Libraries. 60 Miles.

1 Librarian. 4 Libraries. 60 Miles. That librarian is me, and I'll be cycling to each branch of my library to raise money for a new main building.

This is a fundraiser I've organized for work, where I am the staff member who works with the Friends of the Library (the fundraising group). We will be moving into a new main library building next spring, but there is a lot that needs to go into it - literally. Besides bookshelves and desks, a library needs comfortable chairs for curling up with a good book in, and study carrels for students, and fun furniture in the children's and teen areas. To purchase these things, we need to fundraise, and I knew that it would be up to me to organize something.

I thought about endurance events where I could run really far and have people sponsor me. I formulated a plan where I would travel to each branch of the library (it's a county system with 4 branches) and end at the new building. Due to the distance that would take (60 miles), I knew that I would have to bike it. And so the Ride to Read was born. It will be held on September 19th, and I'm hoping to raise $5,000 for it.

I have a blog dedicated specifically to the Ride to Read (http://ridetoread.blogspot.com) which records my training and has all of the sponsorship information.

I'm serious about training for this. I am motivated as I haven't been in ages. I am supplementing the riding with total-body circuit workouts courtesy of Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 DVD, which I hope will build and round out the foundational strength I need. It's a chance to get back to that fitness level where I could keep up with the fast runners at a 5K and feel strong, nimble, fast, and just good all around.

I took pictures and measurements of myself at the start of training, because there is pudge creeping up in my tummy, back, hips, and thighs. It's time to nip all of that in the bud, get healthy, get to know my bicycle better than I ever have before, and to raise money for my library.

I feel a little daunted by the distance. I've never ridden more than 25 miles. I'm not a "real" cyclist. I didn't even know the proper way to mount and dismount the bike until a few weeks ago. But I'm determined to do it and learn along the way. It will make me a better rider, runner, and a healthier person, and maybe it will inspire some other people along the way.

If you're interested in supporting my ride, please visit the Ride to Read blog, and feel free to share the link with others!

Thank you, and stay tuned for updates!