May flowers

Well, it’s been more than a month since I blogged because I haven’t really had any time to myself lately. I moved to the coast from the city and I’ve been trying to get settled in a new neighborhood. I also started a part-time job at a local coffee shop since I’m not teaching this summer. My ankle is finally healed to the point where I can run/jog a couple of miles a few times a week.

Yesterday, I raced for the first time since January’s surgery and I’m happy to report that my ankle was the LAST thing on my mind when I was out there. For one, my bike handling skills were a little rusty and this course was loaded with roots and rocks and it really kept me on my toes just trying to keep the bars straight. My hands were the worst though and I had arm pump within a few miles after the start. Thankfully, the course was laid out in my benefit as the last half of each lap was 4 or 5 miles of wide open fields. Toward the end of the  10-mile lap, the course muddied up a bit and I crashed once in a mud hole when I lost control and the bike went sideways. After picking myself up off the ground, I started the bike and was just getting back into my groove when I slipped on some slippery roots and wadded bad, taking a handlebar to the chest and knocking the wind out of me. I thought I was hurt (read: dead), hearing a few cracks as the handlebar crushed into my sternum. Bad thoughts entered my mind but I shrugged it off, moved my shoulders and arms around a bit and took a deep breath – all good!

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Handlebar to the chest. It looks better in person.

I picked myself up off the ground AGAIN and vowed not to crash again, rode another lap and a half to the checkered flag. I was able to lead from start to finish and grabbed the win, which was thrilling (even though there were only 2 of us in the class).

Smooth is fast!
Smooth is fast!

Here are the Garmin stats from the race:

I traveled 31.75 miles for a total of 1 hour, 42 minutes and 8 seconds.

I burned 805 calories at an average speed of 18.7 MPH. My max speed was 43.8 MPH!

My average heart rate was 177 BPM and my max was 197!

Click here for a link - Hare Scrambles – Sumterville by no1jenn at Garmin Connect – Details.

Thumbs up for first place!
Thumbs up for first place!

“Now is the tim…

“Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws, as if it were indeed sinful to compromise them. Don’t mind if others don’t share your convictions. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be?”

– Epictetus, The Art of Living

Racing family

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Funerals change lives just like racing.

Yesterday I attended the service for a 7-year-old Peewee racer; I wish I could have recorded the whole thing. Walking into the church, I nearly fell over and not because I had to climb a few steps on crutches. No, hobbling into the viewing, I saw hundreds of sharp-dressed people, both strangers and friends, who filled the room. The loving energy filled my heart. Watching the slide show of photos it was hard to keep my tears from falling and I heard others sniffling so I knew I was not alone.
That’s what I learned yesterday, again. As much time as I’ve been spending by myself lately, I am never alone with my FTR family.
My friend Jacob, his girlfriend and I drove more than 3 hours to spend less than an hour at the funeral but we were there. We showed up and we came together for Evan and his family even if we never met them or knew their name before then.
Driving home, I started to question life while at the same time I had never felt more alive. I hoped our presence was somehow comforting for the family. I hope they know they are not alone.

“A part of us has died. But he lived. He really lived.”

Symbolic

I recently spent two days living my best life: I went without creamer in my coffee, ate all (pre-prepared) raw meals and drank more than enough water each day. Then I drove downtown for the Tuesday night urban ride and broke my ankle and it all went to crap…

It all happened in a parking garage – we ramped up the first floor and as we were going around the first corner, I tried to take a short cut in between the concrete pillars and my front tire slid out and the next thing I know I’m on the ground in EXCRUCIATING pain and holding my right ankle. Note to self: there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

After getting a once over from one of the cyclists who happened to be a medic but assured me that my ankle probably wasn’t broken, I rode back to my truck with a few of my motocross friends who bailed on the ride to keep me company (thanks, guys) and managed to drive my stick shift truck home, get myself up three flights of stairs to the couch where I remained with ice packs for the rest of the night. The next morning, I woke up to a swollen and bruised ankle that I could barely move; at the doctor’s office later that day, X-rays showed a broken tibula and fibula.

The lateral malleolus fracture
The lateral malleolus fracture

Two days later I went in for surgery and I have been stuck sitting on the couch watching House Hunters and Law and Order ever since.

Frankenstein ankle
Frankenstein ankle

The bad news is I’m out for the season most likely, and I was on my way to battling for the Enduro championship. The good news is I have more than enough quiet time to myself, which is one of my New Year’s resolutions…

At least my cast is FTR orange!
At least my cast is FTR orange!

Crash is back!

I joined 16 other bicyclists last night for an 18-mile urban ride through the streets of downtown Orlando and beyond. This was my first urban ride in more than 2 years but what made me more nervous was meeting an entirely new group of cyclists (we are competitive by nature and often a little standoffish until we get to know you.) Plus, I had no idea how fast this “fast Tuesday” ride was. Before, we used to meet on Church Street but that ride started getting “too fast” for some and so the folks at Retro City Cycles started hosting a ride for the “not too fast.”

Tuesday's ride around Orlando
Tuesday’s ride around Orlando

Ironically, it was still FAST and, according to my heart rate monitor, my heart rate peaked at 190 BPM and averaged 161 BPM. Also, my max speed was 30 MPH – riding down the John Young Parkway overpass around mile 13 – while I averaged 10 MPH, which is hard to believe but we did do a lot of stop-and-go while waiting up for people. Thankfully, I was not the slowest and I only crashed once, less than a mile after the start in front of everyone, but at least I got that out of the way early!

There have been recent studies that suggest that indeed the body does crave consistency, and even that those whose lives are more consistent (sleep approximately same time/duration, eating is consistent, weight fluctuates less, etc.) live longer. – The Case for Continuous Progression

Countdown to Spring 2014

It’s been more than a week since the start of 2014, but I still don’t feel like it’s the New Year yet since classes don’t begin until Monday, Jan. 13. So, these past few days, I’ve been stuck in my office updating syllabi and moving over last semester’s course content to the new blank shells. (I was able to get away to Miami for one day for a journalism conference sponsored by Google!)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to meeting my new crop of students and hoping I can continue to feel like I’m exactly where I belong in front of the classroom giving back the education that’s been handed down to me. I realized over the winter break that as much as I love teaching and caring for others, I still need to live for myself and do what I want to do. This means that I’m going to start riding my bicycle more and renewing my CrossFit membership because those things bring me happiness. I also traded in my car over the winter break and scored myself a Yamaha blue Ford Ranger so I’ll be riding a lot more in the coming months as well.

 

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