Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Biking on the Cape

I kind of fell out of my workout routine last week and I honestly have no excuses as to why I hadn't been keeping up with my runs. As any runner knows, though, once you stop - even if it's just for a few days - it gets harder and harder to pick it back up. You begin to lose motivation, other matters take priority, and you forget the reasons why you love to exercise in the first place. I tell myself that it happens to every athlete, but it still means that I need to motivate myself to get back into it. It's just part of the challenge.

 I'm on vacation yet again and each morning I've tried to convince myself to get out of the house and go for a run. I'm staying in a house on Cape Cod and although I've been waking up nice and early because my room faces the East, I still haven't "found the time" for a run. I put this in quotes because it is not a real excuse, but you know when you're on vacation and you decide to go to the beach and then you spend the whole day at the beach and then you come home and you contemplate going for a run but you're sunburnt, hot, and tired and all you want is a nice cool shower. Then once you're showered, it's a little too late to go for a run.

What a difficult life I lead.

 So yesterday morning, I was relieved to have other people motivating me to work out. We had all brought our bikes up because we heard there are beautiful bike trails here on the Cape. I've never been on a true bike trail before (in Hilton Head there were paved paths along the roads for bikers and runners but they were more like slightly wider sidewalks), so I really didn't know what to expect. Therefore, I was very hesitant to bring that bike that isn't mine with me for fear of something happening to it. But Chris made the good point that anything that would happen to the bike up here could just as easily happen to the bike at home. So lest I be a party pooper, I asked my friend to hook up my bike to his bike rack and bring it up to Cape Cod. And honestly, I am so glad I did. The paths were so beautiful. They were about as wide as a road with very little crossings, so they were very safe and secluded. We passed by teal colored lakes, cranberry bogs (which I learned aren't always flooded with water like in the Ocean Spray commercials), and little shops that are set up to sell lunches and ice cream to weary bikers. There was a cool breeze coming off of the lakes and you were just surrounded by trees. It was so relaxing and enjoyable I barely even thought of it as a workout. The path can be quite challenging, though - overall we had about a 170 ft elevation gain and the path itself is 26 miles long. We obviously did not go the full 26 miles because we'd have to go an additional 26 miles back home, but we certainly went far enough (15.6 miles total!). I wish there were bike paths like that near me - biking is such a different experience when you don't have to worry about getting clipped by cars.

I also forgot how much I love riding that bike. I haven't been riding it much at home because I won't be doing the sprint triathlon anymore (but more on that in another post), so I've been focusing on light sprint work instead to boost my ultimate game (more on that in another post too!). But if I had a couple thousand dollars lying around I would buy that bike in a heartbeat. The carbon frame weighs less than the water bottle I had brought along with me and the tires are so thin that only millimeters of the tire make contact with the ground. Therefore, when that bike gets going in the up gears she flies! At times I felt like I was barely putting any effort in yet I was zooming along on these trails. I'll be sad to see that bike go.

So here I am the next morning, legs only slightly sore and covered in chain grease (I'm terrible at getting off of that bike). It's beautiful here on Cape Cod and I honestly do enjoy running on vacation. I love being able to explore your new neighborhood, check out what types of stores are in the little town, and just getting lost in the change of scenery. And (except for my run two weeks ago), running just makes me so happy. It's hard to remember that sometimes, especially when you've been a little lax in your training.

What I'm trying to say is that it's ok if you mess up and miss one or two days (or maybe a week...), the important thing is to just get back on track at the same intensity you left off, unless you're just getting off of an injury. I motivate myself by remembering why I love to run: I love how accomplished I feel at the end of my runs, how healthy and strong my muscles, lungs, and heart are, beating a PR to see the results of all of that effort I put in. And all of that effort can be lost in just 1 week! I don't want to let that happen. I still have 5Ks to run and Ultimate to play before winter sets in.

I know what motivates me, but what are some of the things that motivate you to get back on track?

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