April 30, 2014

Getting the Wheels Turning

A couple of years ago, I bought a bike. A really awesome new roadbike. With the intent to lose myself in a new hobby. A hobby that would allow me the chance to get away from everything for an hour here and there, and the chance to get into better shape. 

Life had other plans though.

I bought the bike at the end of the season in 2011, as they were closing out models in preparation for the coming spring. My hope was to be start riding as soon as the snow cleared and the temps began to climb. What we didn't expect was to find out baby #3 was on the way! Which always sidetracks so much for me because of the hyperemesis. So the bike was ridden a couple of times and then stowed away for another year.

Last spring C gave me the push I needed. Not a gentle nudge by any means but a full-fledged SHOVE. And I fell in love. I became addicted. Riding was the outlet I needed to clear my head, to work through whatever was bouncing around and jumbling my thoughts up. 

Baby Boy was only 6 months old when I started the season, and still needing momma quite often (if you get my drift) so I started with low mileage rides and a meager season goal. My hope was to hit 500 miles for the summer. Much to my surprise I managed to log almost 900!

This year I'm setting my sights higher.

I have two main goals:
  • 1500 miles pedaled
  • a 100-mile "century" ride.
My awesome friend, Flying Monkeys, is coming along for the ride. We've signed up for the 50-mile portion of the all-girl Spinderella ride in June, and the HeART of Idaho Century in early August. The Spinderella will be a good mid-point training ride in preparation for the century. Our hope is to finish the century ride and actually enjoy it. Well, as much as you can enjoy sitting on a skinny bike seat for that long. When it comes down to it, we want to finish and not hate ourselves, not hate the ride.

I'm nervous, and excited at the same time. 1500 miles isn't going to be easy to hit but it's going to be great motivation!

April 25, 2014

Sleep Struggles

Every few months I hit these cycles where I don't sleep well. To be more specific, I don't fall asleep well.

I lay in bed, thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done, all the stuff I should have done differently that day, all the stuff I need to do better tomorrow. So there I lay. My mind racing and my body exhausted; fighting a battle with each other, standing toe to toe to see how long my mind will whirl, finally easing itself to my body's weariness. Some nights the battle rages for an hour or so. Some night I easily see 3 or 4am on the clock on the nightstand.

I've tried the recommended tricks: shutting off all electronics for a length of time before bed, no exercising late in the day, no caffeine after lunch, writing down the surge of thoughts bombarding my brain to clear my head. Doesn't help. The more I think about how I need to sleep, the harder the fight is.

But I'm too tired to sew and it's too late to clean or call someone to chat. So I find myself sitting on the couch scribbling notes. Making myself plans for the cycling season. Trying to hash out a way to get the business where I want it go. Writing lists of the household chores that need to be tackled. And trying to figure out how to make it all work when I'll be struggling to function the next day on 4-5 hours of sleep.

And after about three weeks I fall back into the routine of falling asleep as soon as I lay down.

April 21, 2014

Setting My Course

I think I was about 11 or 12 when my dad first taught me to drive tractor. Looking back it seems young, but it's the way things were with farm-life. A necessity of sorts -- kids could help haul wagons, run lunch down to the field, fetch parts when stuff broke down. As they got more adept at handling equipment they advanced their way up to doing more involved tasks.

To this day I remember one of the most important lessons about doing field work: setting your course. As I positioned the tractor at the end of the field, about to begin my first pass with equipment my Dad told me to pick a point at the opposite end of the field and to drive towards that. Setting my sights all the way to my destination would keep my course straight. If I was constantly picking short points ahead of me, I'd meander my way across the field in a hap-hazard, crooked mess.

This is a lesson I've used many, many times throughout my life. From day to day simple tasks like mowing the lawn (because yes, I like my lines to be straight) to bigger endeavors like getting through grad school research. It's not always a guarantee something won't set you off course but it helps to get to your destination.

I've realized though, that in the craziness of life lately, I've started looking ahead only to those close landmarks. Some of it is a way to get through the busy days and challenges with trying to juggle so much; that whole "take it one day/project/step at a time" bit. But it's time for me to refocus and set my goals further out. 

It's time to look at some big things and make it happen!