Conversations With My Type A Self
One reason I backed away from the ad agency life was to slow down, be less competitive and rely less on those “Type A” personality traits. I really want to remember to enjoy the scenery around me! With that in mind, I had a very difficult debate with myself yesterday about over-doing things.
It is in my competitive nature to strive for big goals, be motivated to push myself a bit harder ever day and continue to tack on more to my to do list. There are a few things I am trying to make healthy habits in my life right now. In no particular order: commuting by bike, CrossFit, walking my dogs and eating breakfast at home. Now, my type A self thinks that means I should be doing each of those, as often as humanly possibly – even if it means stressing out my body (and brain.)
Does waking up at 5am to be at CrossFit by 5:45am-7am, to come home, walk the dogs, make breakfast and then bike an hour to work (all before an 9 hour work day) sound a bit stressful to you? Me to. Instead of slowing down to enjoy my time, I was trying to shove as much stuff as possible into my mornings.
Yesterday, after some general counsel from friends, I came up with a better balance of things.
Here is the balance I have come up with for the first month of creating new habits:
- Bike commute 3 out of 5 days
- CrossFit 3 days per week
- Drive on the days I CrossFit (thankfully, one of these days is a day I am off)
- Walk the dogs 5 out of 7 days per week (We have a dog walker 3 days a week)
- Make breakfast 6 out of 7 days per week
For bike commuting, I’m not going to stress myself out on biking more than I drive.
Is it going to storm? Drive. Are the Broncos playing a home game and drunk traffic will be letting out as you need to be riding home? Drive. Does your wife get off early and driving would allow 30 minutes of time together before she falls asleep? Drive.
For CrossFit I may go more, but I won’t push myself to sacrifice to do so.
Walking the dogs is a brilliant way to spend 30 minutes. Remember that!
Making breakfast at home ensures I won’t be hungry in 45 minutes.
Now, I’m going to give this a go for a month and see what happens! How do you deal with tempering your competitive nature?
Week-End Round Up
Grab a delicious cup of coffee as it is time for the week-end round up. These are stories and links that caught my interest this past week! Have something to add? Put a link in the comments below.
Creating Healthy Habits
The Whole Life Challenge is at it’s half way point. For 28 days I have been eating 99.9% Paleo, stretching, working out and picking up other healthy habits along the way.
As I enter the second half of this challenge, including a week long vacation, it is now time to figure out how to implement those healthy habits into everyday life when I am not being held accountable by a challenge.
This topic was brought up last night by my better half, how do you apply a challenge to the every day?
I’ve learned over the past few weeks a few things about myself and striving for my “healthy.” The first piece of that is creating healthy habits. Below are the steps that have worked for me during this challenge, but also in the past when trying to wake up earlier, pick up a skill for cycling or a new routine at work. They work for me and maybe they’ll work for you too.
Steps to Creating Healthy Habits
I find that the first major step for me is completely submerging myself in the healthy choice I am looking to make. Whatever healthy choice you are tackling first embrace it, hug it tight and become very educated with it. Maybe you are starting to go to the gym, wake up early, or eat healthier – back your decision up with a lot of sound research on why you are making this HEALTHY choice. This will come in handy when you’re doubting yourself in a few days or when going gets tough.
Sign up for a group, buy a sleep app, save a ton of recipes to try and keep submerging. Task yourself to become an expert on this healthy habit. It will become so much of your every day that it really changes from a healthy choice to a healthy habit.
This is when you know you are fully submerged and ready to move on to the next healthy choice.
2. Limit the Options
In our house the only option for meals are Paleo. For the first 3 weeks in the challenge we hid the foods that we thought we would return to after the challenge, but ended up giving them away when we realized we didn’t want or need them in our diet. For myself, I bring lunch every day to work and the only option if I run out of food is a smoothie 4 blocks away from work. That is my only optional food at work.
If your only choice was between a chicken or a bison burger, you are doing great. If your only choice is to run at lunch or go to the gym, you’re an athlete. If you limit your choices, cut out the fat and give yourself less things to ponder, you will always succeed. Do not allow yourself the option to bail, skip a workout (unless sick or injured) or eat the crap. Those aren’t options, really they aren’t. When you don’t give yourself the option or choice, you don’t have to have will power to overcome it.
Think of one healthy habit that you practice in your life. This could be basic like doing laundry every Saturday morning so that you have clean clothes for the week, or taking your dog for a walk everyday after work. This is a healthy habit that you don’t even think of as an option, I bet.
The Whole Life Challenge was a purchased community. With the challenge came forums, comments and a community to push us to be better. Thankfully, cycling and CrossFit both have tight knit communities to push us. As the challenge winds down I plan on submerging myself even more in these communities to feed off others positive and healthy choices.
What community, meetup or group can you join to help this new habit?
4. Prepare for Success
This is honestly my favorite mental switch that I have found during this challenge.
Through out my life I have been prepared for failure. It’s ingrained in my makeup and not something I am proud of. By submerging myself into healthy cooking and a new sport, limiting the options of failure, and leaning on a great community when I’ve needed an upper I have set myself up success. Success in healthy habits that has led to a healthier, happier, and stronger me!
What are you preparing for, success or failure?
[Luke:] I can’t believe it. [Yoda:] That is why you fail.
This will be the hardest step of creating healthy habits. If you have built the foundation of healthy choices on all the above steps you will be left with only one thing, committing to these choices so that they can soon become habits.
More than anything, remember you are committing to yourself and your family. A healthier you is the best commitment you could ever make.
Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda
Photo Credit: scribbletaylor
27.5 Inches to Rule Them All
A great survey and infographic from Singletracks on how 27.5 are taking over, as they should!
A Delayed Reaction
The beginning of October I lined up for my second cyclocross race in Colorado. The Boulder Cup at Valmont Bike Park was easily one of my top 3 cx courses ever ridden. Unfortunately, going into the last lap I lost traction on a bridge and wiped out. Quickly dusting myself off I hopped on the bike and bridged the gap on the girl that had been on my wheel and now was 15 seconds ahead. Finishing the race, not in last place, I checked over my appendages and realized the road rash would hurt but I seemed to be okay.
24 hours later my left knee wasn’t bending and by the evening (36 hours later) I couldn’t bear weight without pain. A doctor’s appointment booked, and later an MRI. The end result of this minor crash was a miss-tracking patella and a small tear on the cartilage behind my patella. It could have been much worse and 3 weeks later I am feeling back to 80%.
Shift in Priorities
Often in life, it is when your heart breaks, or you crash you bike that we really take a count of priorities and needs in life.
The mission of this site is to empower women in cycling. I don’t plan on straying away from this but I do plan on empowering myself a bit more. Becoming a more balanced individual, going back to school and maybe even attempting cross fit!
I love riding my bike
Chances are that you are reading my blog (thank you) because you too love to ride your bike. As I shift things around, reorganize and create my content calendar for this site my reminder for all of us is that to slow down and enjoy the ride. Spending the money to have the lightest bike, power meters, or even to put a number on your bike isn’t required. Slowing down with a smile to other cyclists and maybe even giving back to the sport we all love.
My plan is to slim down my herd of bikes, buy less carbon and focus more on the adventure than the destination. I hope you’ll join me.
Safety Concerns for Giro della Toscana Leads to Protest
This past weekend a moment in women’s cycling history happened, and you probably didn’t hear about it.
In the fourth stage of the Giro della Toscana more than half of the racers did not finish. Why? In protest of the lack of safety for the group. This included lack of security for riders while on roads, and leaving the peloton to ride through traffic.
While this would have been worthy of protest if it happened at a local Cat 3 race, this race had the likes of world champ Marianne Vos and was to be considered a women’s pro road race.
With women’s cycling growing voice, and attracting more media exposure I’m glad to see that these ladies and their teams took a stance for safety and a clear division of how men and women are treated in this sport.
Sunday Linkage: High Heels, Bike Shifting and Interbike
ICEdot Crash Sensor Teardown
Citi Bike, bike share bikes, turned into a BMX machine
A weekly roundup of popular articles here on BSG, or that I found of interest. If you find something worth sharing, let me know on twitter or email.
A Cyclocross Race for Last Place
When someone asks how your race went, traditionally you want to tell them your place 1st or 5th out of 10, something to that tune. When you are in last place you want to list out all the other positives of the race, this was my race this past Sunday. My first race of any discipline in Colorado, my first cyclocross race of the season, and my first race as a Category 3.
Sure, I’m looking at most of this early season’s racing as practice and learning, but it was still a pretty brutal showing on my part.
The Course at Cross of the North
I strongly believe that my carbon 29er hardtail would be been better suited for tearing up the 95% sand course that made up the Cross of the North. Up and down you went, a lot of sweeping turns that let me learn with 4 laps of racing practice, how to turn in sand (you don’t “turn”) and how to gracefully place your front wheel to force you to tumble off the bike.
I’m sure with the proper training in my legs the sand would have been easier to spin through and the necessary dismounts on two sandy hairpins would have been unnecessary, but for this race they were necessary and my legs were toast.
Cyclocross in Colorado
To be honest my biggest reason for nerves going into the race was the people, or lack there of knowing the people. Cyclocross is about the community to me. Shelling out and racing for 45 minutes is just the icing on the cake. Driving to races in the heat, cold, snow and rain is my own version of being a fan of football. Instead of being crowded around a TV or a grill at a tailgate, I’m at a cyclocross race surrounded by some of the best people I could ask for. This to me is cyclocross and I could only hope that Colorado would deliver like Maryland and North Carolina have.
Most of my teammates of Team Cycleton don’t start racing until October, so there isn’t that instant family to find when showing up in the morning but there was faces that I recognized and was greeted with warm smiles. There was the chatter before the whistle at the line and friendly talks in the parking lot with faces you don’t recognize but saw you racing and find the light in the wreckage of your failed race.
Results are in the Smiles and Miles
The race was hot, dusty and a bit shattering for me. I was happy with last place in SW3, which would have been top 10 in the SW4. I am happy that I didn’t submit a downgrade request when moving and I’m happy I showed up to race. One more step closer to making Colorado my home and to create the community I miss so badly from North Carolina.
I need to thank the handful of fast dudes from Boulder Cycle Sport that were all super friendly and eased my nerves when the talked it up in the parking lot at 8am.
Thank you to Megan Hottman of The Cyclist – Lawyer as she encouraged me when passing (after flatting, getting fixed and catching me)
Cyclocross Bicycle Practice, or my First CX Race is This Weekend
My first cyclocross “race” is this coming Sunday; I use the word race loosely as I’m looking at it as bicycle practice, with a very high average heart rate.
Things to do for my first CX race of the season
Find wheels for my cyclocross bike. I have a pair of Specialized Roval Pave wheels that I’ll be swapping over from my single speed. This way I can leave my Powertap on the road bike, and not have to worry about durability thanks to the Roval Pave proofing themselves over the past couple seasons on my single speed.
Find tires for the above wheels. Not knowing any of the courses I’m going to go with my proven “all – around but slow on hard pack” setup. This is a Specialized Terra up front and Michelin Mud2 on the back.
Sign up for a Bicycle Racing Association Colorado license. This is the statewide governing body for all things bike racing in Colorado. While I don’t have to join to race, it saves me from paying one day fee’s and it gives my team points if I place at all.
Register. Thankfully I remembered to do this, and get the BRAC license earlier this week as online registration has already closed for this weekend’s races! Note to self: Always register the Wednesday or Thursday before race weekend.
Test Ride and Skills. This will be tomorrow. Not too much stress, just making sure my bike is functioning and hips are flexible for the mounts. The first few races will be skills clinics in themselves, but I do plan on working in one or two days of CX skills per week.
Review Course. Then forget what I reviewed.
Create CX’ing Playlist on Spotify. Do you have songs that pump you up? Maybe some Katy Perry “Roar”? Let me know what is on top of your list!
Rock Out. Because that is why we are all doing this right?
Photo Credit: Cross of the North Facebook page
As humans grow older it is easy to forget that we aren’t perfect at everything and we must try new things, or practice old ones, to continue to grow. Cycling adults know this to a certain point. If you aren’t good at climbing, go find a hill. If you are trying clip in pedals for the first time, practice on the trainer first.
The apparent things, that are new or rusty, are easy to practice. The learning curve is quick and you see improvement which keeps you motivated. There are other things such as flat fixing, group ride etiquette, or eating healthy, that come slowly or aren’t practiced at all until you are in the moment.
We don’t think of eating healthy as something you practice. You’re either doing it, or you are failing. You practice fixing a flat when you have a flat. The only time you ride in a group is on the Saturday morning anger-fest, and you are doing everything you can to hang on.
I encourage you to take this new month and practice a bit more
Practice is how I’m viewing my first few cyclocross races, and I will be putting in my schedule to practice cyclocross specific drills one day during the week (outside of racing) through ‘cross season.
Find a couple friends that you trust and practice pace lines on a friendly stretch of road. Ask your friend that is a billy goat on climbs to take one ride a month to help make you a better rider, in return if you are a better mechanic or descender – you pass on your skills.
What skills on a bike, or in life, could you practice a little more?
For me it’s climbing, cooking and patience. All three are things I plan on practicing a good amount this month. Hopefully the practice becomes habit and next month I can practice something different, or take these three things to a higher level.