Yesterday I felt as if I had a no-lose situation - you know, the kind in which no matter what you choose, you'll come out a winner.
Friday was definitely what I'd consider a full-fledged toss-up - as least when it came to deciding what recreational, physical activity I'd choose after work.
We have been lucky - super lucky! - that mid-March has given us some May-like temps, literally in the 60s and 70s. And full of sun. A super-charged dose of Spring Fever has most certainly hit New England. I was not immune.
I spent Friday debating in my mind whether I'd run or get a ride in on the bike. The day was so nice. I couldn't let it go to waste.
In the end, the bike ride won out - mostly because I have that pesky and somewhat daunting duathlon only eight or so weeks away. (Yikes!) So, I hopped on my bike and headed out for another try at the 15-mile loop I'd ridden earlier in the week.
The ride was great. The weather was great. I felt great.
Cycling is still very much a challenge for me. I feel my speed drop - significantly - up the hills (some may call them slight inclines), and it literally takes my breath away. My legs burn, I feel myself sweating and huffing and puffing just to make it up to the top.
I passed exactly seven runners on Friday - yes, I counted - making me question (momentarily) whether I'd made the right decision. Would I rather be running?
The truth is, it was a win-win. I won if I rode. I won if I ran.
I put in 15 miles on Friday, the same loop I'd done on my Maiden Voyage of the season earlier in the week. I felt good to pull into the driveway several minutes ahead of my previous time. (Yay!) I honestly felt like I could have kept going. In fact, I wanted to keep going.
But TC and I had planned a long ride (for me), hoping to put in 30+ miles on Saturday. I knew I had to save my legs.
After my Saturday morning work obligations and an impromptu lunch date, TC rode to my house (5.6 or so miles) - where I was (almost) ready to go. I asked him to install my brand-new bike computer, which TC had surprised me with as a "just because" gift after our lunch. (He should have guessed that I wouldn't let it sit in the box on my kitchen counter if I was planning a ride that day.)
I was really taken off-guard when he presented me with the package in the parking lot. Why was he getting me a present? And I don't think I properly conveyed my appreciation, despite my many, sporadic thank-yous.
I'd been thinking for a while of getting a bike computer - which measures distance, speed, time - but had held off until I couldn't "live without it." I was getting close to that point, mostly because I had recently resorted to mapping out a route online, then using my running watch to measure my time. That, of course, would be followed by some crude calculations on my iPhone to determine my average speed.
Once the bike computer was installed, I was ready to go.
TC chose a route that had us pedal through Derry and into Hampstead, briefly into Sandown, then back to a familiar road from Derry to Manchester.
I won't lie. It was hard. The first part of the ride was relatively uneventful - other than the inner-tense moments while I maneuvered through traffic and lights in downtown Derry. I clicked along at a pretty good clip - and thanks to my new computer, I could see precisely how far I had traveled and how fast I was going.
The second half, just as we turned into Hampstead, brought us up a doozy of a hill (for me). I clicked through my gears and felt the burn on my legs. I watched my speed drop. Nine, seven, five... yes, miles per hour. (To compare, at flatter times of the ride, we averaged 15-17 mph, and on the downhills, came close to 30 mph.)
"Stand up," TC said, coaching me while he rode behind me.
"I can't," I said, almost completely exacerbated and now worried about simply staying upright- and unclipping properly from my pedals if I got to the point where I needed to dismount.
Shamefully, that happened. Yep, I had yet another Walk of Shame - after a longer-than-expected hill just zapped the life out of my legs and forced me off the bike. Frustrated, I made the slow walk up the very steep part of the hill.
Determined not to have a repeat of the Bow Hill Attitude (see this post), I shook off the embarrassment and frustration of having to walk my bike up the hill once I reached the top. I actually got back on slightly before the end of the hill - perhaps my small way of showing that hill that it hadn't completely defeated me - and we continued on our way.
The ride ended on a familiar stretch of roads, and TC and I parted ways with just a little more than a mile left (for me). He went right to go back to his place, I took a left to go home.
My trusty new bike computer told me I'd logged 31.5 miles when I pulled into my driveway. It was only the second time, I think, that I'd gone over 30 miles. (The other time was actually a mistake when I missed my turn on a ride last year. Remember this post?)
I felt great - and am nervously anticipating feeling a "good hurt" in my leg muscles in the morning. We'll see if that affects my tentative plans for some sort of run.
I guess this is just part of training for a duathlon. Soon, I'll be doing it all on one day.