Monday, July 30, 2012

The Best Bet I Ever Lost

Once again I have been absent....and I apologize.

There really hasn't been anything too exciting to write about.

Just life.  Ups and downs.....craziness of kids out of school for the summer.....changes at work....birthday anniversary....memories.....getting through each day.

Some days were easier than others.  But none of this is new.....the blog posts from the past year could apply on some of these days.

However, I just returned from an amazing inspiring adventure last week that was an incredible challenge for me....and most certainly the hardest thing I have ever done physically.

If you recall, earlier I mentioned that 2012 was the The Year of the Bike.  This runner chic was going to let wheels get her around instead of her own two feet.

A little background.  It all began with a bet.  A little bet over a few adult beverages.  This bet was with a few LIVESTRONG cycling friends.  The deal offered was if all three ran a marathon within a year, I would ride my bike at RAGBRAI - a little bike ride across the state of Iowa....471 miles to be exact.  Perhaps it was the beverages, but I recognized that marathons are hard for runners, let alone cyclists that have never run.  At this time, it was most definitely the beverages fault.  I said "Marathons are really hard.  How about you all have to run a half marathon, and then I'll do RAGBRAI?"

The deal was sealed with a toast.....and promptly forgotten by me....until we were all together again last October.  And it resurfaced....and strangely enough, while we were enjoying a few more adult beverages.  Hmmmm.....I see a theme here.

I still didn't believe they would complete this task.  Granted, one of the guys had fulfilled his end of the bargain and completed a half marathon, but I chalked that up to him trying to impress a girl....and apparently he did because they are now a very happy couple.

Still, certainly the other two would not run a half marathon.  OK boys, game on!  Again, I blame the beverages - a little liquid courage I suppose.

Fast forward to February....the LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon.  I was participating both as a runner (very slowly as I was wearing a tutu and planking each mile as part of my fundraising efforts for LIVESTRONG....see my post) and as the Team LIVESTRONG fundraising mentor.  As an experienced runner with 20 half marathons and 4 marathons under my belt, I could have easily provided these novices some bad advice - like "you should really consider drinking milk the morning of the race to prep your body." bad advice from me.

And guess what.

They both finished.   (Although I am still a little suspicious of one of the boys.  I never did see him before or during the race.....just at the end.  How do I know for sure he got that medal around his neck by crossing the finish line?  Did he offer someone a few bills for that medal?  He is a pretty stand-up guy so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt).

Uh-oh.....I was now on the hook.

This runner that only rode her bike once or twice a year - and the longest ride was one 65 mile - was in deep trouble.

And so my journey to become a cyclist began.

I have not run at all since that half marathon with the exception of the Champaign Half Marathon in April - on VERY limited training....and dressed as Wonder Woman (another fundraising moment).  To top it off, I was knocked out with a mysterious case of mono in March so no exercise but lots of sleep for an entire month.  

When April rolled around, it was no surprise to me that I was in the worst shape I had been in for years.  However, I started going to Spinning classes, rode hill workouts on the stationary bike and hit the weight room.

May rolled around and I was dusting off my bike, starting to rack up the necessary mileage.  I joined a woman's cycling group in town, the Spokeswomen, and  began doing some long rides instead of long runs on the weekends.  My alarm started going off at 4:45 am during the week in order to get in a 25 mile ride before I had to get kids off to camps and myself to work.

Before I knew it, July 20th was upon me.  I loaded up my bike, my tent, and my very stylish spandex padded bike shorts and headed west to Iowa.

The journey was just beginning.

As it turned out, this became the best bet I have ever lost.

Too much to share in one post so please stay tuned for recaps of this inspiring experience!

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