Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday Middle-Fork Style

I am not a shopper.  I actually despise shopping, unless it's for food, bike stuff, or gear.  The weather was supposed to be awesome, upper 60's, perfect time for my husband to take me to Middle Fork.  Connor , my ss, hadn't crushed these trails since May.

All smiles

 We were going to do the loop, about 38 miles, at a casual pace.  I have had a lot of experience riding with Jim so I should have known better.  He likes to stop and take pictures, remove trees from the trail, and chat with anyone he may come across.  Those three things alone added several hours to our journey.  I am not complaining, I should have asked how many hours to plan for , instead of miles.   Any ride with my husband has a potential to be epic.  He does not disappoint.

Miss you John

Beautiful day 

Finally I got to see the memorial in person

TTM log

Making it look easy
Trying to keep feet dry

Friends Lisa and Steph

The happy couple

Monty's place

Crushing some gravel  Uphill

Odd sheep

Awesome day

Beautiful views on the way back


My awesome other half

After our ride we headed to Council Bluff campground to spend the night.  Did you know it's still open???  Support this by paying your camp/parking fees and they will leave it open next year too.  I have decided that ALL Black Fridays should be spent like this.  A TTM tradition, so to speak.

First customers of the day

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trail MOnstering in November

The weather has been quite nice this Nov. in Missouri.  It's not too cold yet and there has been minimal rain.  It takes a lot to keep a Trail Monster inside.  With proper planning and some gear adjustments we are still playing outside.  If we can do it, so can you. Get it together and GET OUTSIDE.

 Elephant Rocks in the Fall

Sometimes you gotta gravel

Night-riding in the neighborhood

Rock Yoga

Mr. Trail MOnster

Boys Hike at Council Bluff
Jim won a backpacking trip in Utah. Thanks Backwoods

Ready for a road ride

Climbing with Daddy

These are just a handful of pictures of what we have been up to.  Stay tuned.....  Video's are coming

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In For Review

I currently have some reviews in the works.  I have been using a Kurt Kinetic Trainer for a few months.  It's a bad@ss, green machine that rides just like the road.  I have a set of Specialized Fast Tracks tires, currently installed on Gus the Goblin, who will also receive his final review.  I also scored three different types of ear candy from Polk audio.  I have the 1000, 2000, and 3000 series.  As I work on these reviews, I want to cover " all the bases", so to speak.  If you are currently in the market for a trainer, tires, headphones, or a mountain bike, what questions would you have before buying ?  You can leave a comment or contact me by email.  Thanks for your help.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The State of Positivity

Let's face it, big or small, injuries suck.  Injuries that result in hospital visits and are followed up with rehab, tend to suck more.  However, if no bills are incurred, you may have to pay a "mental price".  I lose my confidence for a couple of miles, but I am always able to get it back.  I believe what keeps me moving is a combination of past mistakes and the fact that my mind does not care if my body gets hurt.

Up until a week ago, I had a relatively injury-free 2011.  Since January 1st, I have had several minor boo boo's, poison ivy, and that cataract thing, but nothing as epic as in the years prior. The following is an account of what I did when I injured the same ankle in 1999.  The Dr. had told me I would never run again.  I was destroyed.  Running was  "my thing".  I felt like my life had just ended.  I spent years in an antidepressant haze.  No one, not even the expensive psychiatrist, could grasp the depth of my loss.  The pain was unbearable.  I took up residence on my couch and waited for surgery.  I gave up.  I started to find comfort in food, lots of food. I chose to quit.  I was miserable for six years.  Understandably, injuries scare me.

  I could not repeat that cycle. I approached this injury differently. From the moment I felt my ankle snap, I remained positive.  I refused to accept I would be down for long.  I was not going to let this defeat me.  I had thrown in the towel eleven years ago.  I had no passion.  I had no fight. This time I was "coming out swinging".  There is no way I was going to give up my life again. I allowed myself a short  "pity party" and then put my focus elsewhere for a moment.  It's highly possible, I was slowed down in order to gain
some clarity about where my life is going.

  I followed the Dr. 's orders, more or less. The swelling has gone down and there is no pain while I ride.  Running is going to take more time.  I am okay with that as long as I can still bike.  I wish I had been introduced to the bike in 2000 after my surgery.  However, I wouldn't be the person I am today if that had happened.  After I hit send I am hopping on my bike.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


 This past Thursday evening I received a few lemons.  "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." That statement will be my mantra for the next couple weeks.  While night riding, I stepped off trail, perfectly between two rocks.  The only problem was it happened quickly. My body had continued moving forward, as my foot had clearly stopped.  There was some snap and pop followed by several grunts and hollers on the miles we had to walk out. Definitely not the ride Gabrielle Renner had planned.


 Once again, the two of us are thrown together and I am injured.  We briefly chatted about that injury and had several chuckles about almost making it through the year unscathed.  Thank you Jim for meeting us and  picking up my broken body, again.  Thank you Gabby for entertaining me and nearly freezing your butt off in the process.

I went to the Urgent Care Center, it was 11-11-11, and it was 11:11:11 as I was signing in.  What a shame those weren't my lucky numbers.

Look at the clock

  Jim kept me company while the Doctor took my info and later read my x-rays.  The good news is that the ankle is not broken.  That's awesome since this is the same ankle I had to have operated on in 2000.  As soon as the swelling goes down I will have a better idea if there is any tendon or ligament damage.

What a difference a few hours make

 The Dr. was surprised at my range of motion ( ROM ), which I am encouraged by.  He also said this may be a blessing in disguise.  Since I had surgery, my ROM is minimal.  After long or hard efforts, by run or bike, I experience moderate pain.  He is hoping the pop I heard and felt is the scar tissue located exactly where I had surgery.  This accident may stretch that area and give me better ROM and less pain in the long run.  Still too early to tell, but I like his way of thinking.  I have been icing, elevating, and wrapping my ankle like clock work, so I expect to heal quickly.

I am going to use this down time to spruce up a couple of blogs I have procrastinated on. I also picked up a couple of books on writing, I now have time to read. Happy riding and be careful out there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paying It Forward

From the moment I saw the light and got healthy, I can't resist helping someone else hop on the healthy bus.  In mid- Sept., I had such an opportunity come along.  My neighbor, Angela, asked if I would help her get started with a  walking program.  She said she was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and was committed to make a change. She wanted to get healthy.  Those of you who know me personally,  know she came to the right person.  I was more excited than she was to get started.

Angela is a working, single mom and only has 30 minutes to spare in her busy day.  We agreed that Monday through Friday we would walk every morning after putting our kiddos on the bus.  I mapped out several 2 mile routes that we could complete in her time frame.  We started that following Monday.  

As soon as the bus pulls away, we begin walking.  Not a casual pace, but conversational.  During these past 8 plus weeks we have encountered some wonderful weather, along with the cold and bone chillin' wind.  Less than a handful of days have been missed due to life getting in the way. 

We have gotten to know each other quite well and discuss several topics while we are trying to breathe.    Recently, the topic of Thanksgiving came up.  She told me of her plans to head to her family's neck of the woods.  She told me she was looking forward to eating tacos in Tenn., at one of her favorite restaurants there.  I cringed inside.  Then she told me about all the foods she was looking forward to indulging in once she got to her Mom's.  Again, I cringe.  I try to explain that I don't think it's a good idea to indulge in a holiday buffet right now.  I remind her of her goal and how far she has come.  Angela said she doesn't care and she is going to splurge.  After all, it's the holidays.  I have a couple more weeks to get her to see things my way.  If I am not successful, Angela will pay for it when she gets back.  Ha Ha 

But seriously, yesterday, she and I met at the bus stop, like usual.  She said " I want to show you something."  She had to roll down the waistband of her pants in order for them to fit.  I was so excited  for her that I gave her a hug and a huge slap on the back.  It's highly possible that I was happier about her progress than she was.  I said " see, you must be doing something right."  Of course, I couldn't resist saying something about all that hard work going to waste in a couple of weeks.  I still have time......  Fortunately , the bus came and I was able to sneak away without her seeing my tears.  They were tears of joy, I get emotional sometimes. 

Over these last few weeks I have noticed a huge change in Angela.  Beyond the physical, she has started smiling more and has just been happier.  It's so amazing to watch someone take charge of their life.  I feel honored to have had a front row seat.  I have watched Angela get excited about her life and what the future holds for her.  That is priceless.

I want to thank Angela, for letting me share her story.  I am very proud of her and how far she has come in these last couple of months.  Today, I informed her that we have walked about 80 miles together.  We did it 30 minutes, two miles, at a time.  That distance is just over 3 full marathons.  When you put things in perspective like that I believe it helps motivate you to keep going.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Change Your Life. Move Your Body.

 Every Wednesday, for six weeks, I attended a writing class.   I learned about format, punctuation, grammar, writing rules,  and different writing techniques.   I want to share my final paper with you.  After being told I could write about anything;  after three revisions, with teacher critique, the following is what I ended up with.

Change Your Life. Move Your Body.

Before you are done reading this, you will be inspired to stop the couch and mouse surfing. You will be ready to get your body moving.  It’s very easy to get busy with our lives and forget to take care of ourselves.  Moving your body is something you have to make time for, despite a hectic life.  Good health does not come in a bottle.  You have to get off the sidelines and get in the game.  If you don’t, you will gain weight and feel awful.  I can tell you from my own personal experience , if you don’t make a change, it will only get harder. 

I let myself go and gained nearly 100 pounds.  My health and happiness were greatly compromised.  As the days grew into weeks and months, I grew more depressed.  I had to do something.  When my daughter was born I took matters into my own hands.  After receiving a clean bill of health from my doctor I began a walking program.  I invested in a top of the line pair of shoes since I would be spending a lot of time in them.  I began walking for 30 minutes a day, pushing a stroller.  Less than six months later I was running again.  Running had been a huge part of my life before I became obese.  It felt great to get that joy back.  Another six months passed and I was introduced to mountain biking.  I had not been on a bike in 20 plus years.  I learned that you can teach an overweight dog some new tricks.

When I started my walking I had no idea where it would take me.  I was thrilled when walking evolved into running. When I met up with biking, I found my true passion.  My bike has changed my life.  Over the span of three years, I was able to chisel off 90 pounds and regain my life.  I have kept the weight off for three years and enjoy competing endurance events that range from six to twenty-four hours.  I would have never dreamed that I could become one of those ‘crazy athletes’, especially since I am over forty. I did not set out to achieve this level when I took my first step.  However, I believe I was made for this lifestyle.

Over time, I noticed that not only did my physical health improve, but my mental health also improved.   I became the happy energetic person I used to be.  I began looking forward to every day instead of dragging myself through like a robot.  I had a positive outlook that was contagious.  My friends and family watched me grow and then hopped on board.  They wanted to experience what I was experiencing.  It was great to have their support and be able to support them in return. I have made a lot of new friends along the way, who have kept me motivated and given me advice when I needed it.  I also have a new wardrobe that I feel confident wearing.

Before beginning any exercise program I suggest a visit with your doctor.  He or she can help point you in the right direction. Your physician can provide you with recommendations an appropriate activity and help you set realistic goals.  He or she can give information on diet and lifestyle changes you can make, along the way, to help achieve your goals.

            My advice is to purchase some decent shoes and equipment for your activity.  This gear is your tools for success.  You deserve to have quality stuff, buy it. Besides, if you spend $100 on running shoes, you are more likely to use them than if you spend $30.   Remember, you get what you pay for, and the cheap usually comes out expensive.

Do you ever wonder what kind of person is hiding inside of you?  My journey was anything but easy.  If it was easy everyone would do it.  I have a few suggestions to make it easier.
·         Tell your friends and family your goals. They can’t help if they don’t know.
·         Take a picture.  That way you can see your progress.
·         Track your workouts in a notebook. This will help you remember where you came from.
Staying motivated can be a challenge after you get moving. Here are a few additional suggestions.
·         Find a buddy to walk with.  If you know someone else depends on you, you most likely show up.
·         Surround yourself with like-minded folks.  They will help you stay on track.
·         Attend some community events that are geared toward health and wellness.  This will help you meet others and give you information on types of group activities in your area.
·         Look back at your workout entries.  Never forget where you came from. This will help you to keep moving forward.

I hope I have inspired you to get out of the chair and get your body moving.  You never know where it will take you.  YOU have to take the first step in order to find out.  I encourage you to take your first step toward a better life. What are you waiting for?

If you have any questions you can contact me personally at sydsmomma@gmail.com.  I also write a blog that contains motivational posts and inspirational stories. You can find it at apabstsmear.blogspot.com.  Leave me a comment and let me know you visited.