end of summer

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend Recap:

Saturday

It started with a workout at the Warrior Room, Kettlebell Conditioning. Most of the class was newbies so the instructor, Ashley, spent most of the class doing basic instruction. The few of us that are old hats were kind of set free to do the workout on our own. I loved that so many people were new! That’s awesome. If you live in Portland and were considering checking out the kettle bell gym, I highly recommend it! I started going almost a year ago simply because I had a Groupon deal for it and wanted to get some instruction on my kettle bell form. Who knew that I’d end up loving the classes so much I’d keep going!

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The one thing I hated? The partner workout at the end. One person had to hold a plank position with one hand behind their back while the other person did 20 burpees, then we switched. It was brutal and I seriously thought I might black out! Here was the calorie burn:

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Then I spent several hours picking tomatoes and jalapenos and making salsa. That first batch I made about a month ago is almost gone! There is one jar left and Michael loves it. We had so many jalapenos it was beginning to be overwhelming so I made salsa–a double batch this time. This should last us for the winter. In a few weeks when the rest of the tomatoes have ripened I will make spaghetti sauce with them and can those.

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Talk about labor! It was hard work. This time Michael helped me with some of the prep, which was much appreciated. It made 9 jars. I didn’t seal one of them and put it in the fridge to eat soon but the rest of them sealed properly. I was happy about that. And there is definitely something satisfying about pulling vegetables from the garden and canning them!

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I bought a canning kit that came with a proper funnel, tongs and other utensils you need for canning and they worked great! It was a really gloomy, dark day and it rained pretty heavily for most of it, so spending the day inside was ideal. Later that afternoon, as if I had’t done enough already…I did some crafts for the wedding:

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Saturday was a busy one! It was easy doing the crafts, though, because I worked on it while we watched “Bad Words.” (Super cute movie.)

Sunday

My Sunday started with yoga and then:

For some reason in August I started thinking about the sweat lodge I did years ago. I wrote about many years ago in the beginning of this blog, you can read it here: My First Wake Up Call – The Sweatlodge. Anyways, so lately I just started thinking about it and for some reason I couldn’t shake the thought. It kept coming back to me — this urge. I looked around online to try and find a local sweat because I didn’t want to drive to Breitenbush again and I asked my friend Star if she’d go, too.

Star, who is half Navajo, had talked to the stonekeeper of the sweat and she approved so we made plans to go Sunday. First I went over to her place to make prayer ties. We breathed our silent prayers on a pinch of tobacco and then rolled it up into the red cloth and tied them to the tie.

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It was a nice, calming ritual and when we were done we drove out to Sherwood (i.e. the middle of nowhere) for the sweat. We got there and saw the skeleton of the sweat dome. That’s when we found out that it was on Saturday at 4 not Sunday at 2 like their website had stated. Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated and disappointed and Sunday was pretty much a wash. Not only that, there aren’t any other sweats that I could go to before the wedding. 🙁

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This was really important to me and the disappointment was crushing. It also made me really irritated that they clearly didn’t know what they were doing or what was on their website…and why didn’t the stonekeeper inform Star of the change of date and time when they chatted? So flakey. I was pretty mopey the rest of Sunday and that sucked.

Monday

I actually made it to another kettlebell class, different instructor and not my usual class but I made it! It was an easier class than it normally was. I probably should have gone up in weights–if it was that easy–but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be really sore this week.

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Workout done, we could get on with the last day of the long weekend!

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We grabbed sandwiches for lunch and headed back out to Kelley Pointe Park. It seemed like a fitting place to spend a sunny day and celebrating the end of summer. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. We had a picnic lunch and then threw the ball for Bella in the grassy field area.

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After that we walked down to the sandy beach and set up a blanket. Bella was ready to play! She remembered the place and ran straight to the water and jumped in. She also made some dog friends and they splashed each other and played together. It was so cute to watch.

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She’s really funny because she hasn’t mastered the doggy paddle yet. She just kind of hops and jumps OVER the water instead of trying to swim. It’s hilarious to watch. I was hoping that her playing with the other two dogs she’d catch on and learn how to swim but not so much…Whatever, she was having fun and that’s all that matters.

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And what day at the beach would be complete if she didn’t roll around in the sand and get absolutely filthy? Yep, someone got a bath when we got home!

A Peach of a Century, Finale

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

After the first rest stop, the route wound through the town of Scio, over some bridges, across the Santiam River and into farm land. It was miles and miles of corn fields and recently tilled land. There were very few trees in this part of the route and because it was down in the valley there was just WIND. Wind, head wind, side wind, unfortunately no wind at our back making it any easier to ride!

This was the most difficult part of the metric century for me. I was feeling slow, lethargic, my lower back was starting to ache, I was getting a bit saddle sore, my neck felt fatigued. It was just hard. We were working so much harder than we had to because of that damn wind. I stopped a lot during the next 15 miles. I just had to. If I didn’t, I think I would have felt the mental fizzle and lost all of that excitement and fire that was motivating me to the finish line.

We were riding in the middle of nowhere, ironically not too far my aunt’s farm. I recognized a lot of the landmarks and road signs because of summers spent down on her farm when I was a kid. We rode over a covered bridge, which was really pretty.

Mentally I used the tactic of denial to get through this stretch. I refused to let myself dwell on the discomfort or pains I was feeling. None of it was so bad that I was miserable but it was definitely difficult and uncomfortable. Michael and I stopped under a tree in the shade to reload on water and apricots and just rest for a few minutes. I asked him how close we were to the last rest stop. “Have we at least gone 30 miles so far?” Yes we had. But not by much more. Okay. I can do this.

The last ten miles or so to the rest stop were hard but I made it. I was ready to eat lunch, too. The last rest stop was at the Pioneer Park in Stayton, at mile 43.5. That meant we had about 20 miles to go to the finish.

The food was set up in another covered bridge in the park, right next to the creek. They had the same food that was at the first rest stop, but also the sandwiches for lunch, too. You had to pre-order them and I’m glad we did. I needed something more substantial than trail mix, bagels and cream cheese.

I ate most of my ham sandwich, which wasn’t exceptional in any way but who cares at that point? I’d burned around 1900 calories by mile 43 and was ready to EAT. It came with Sun Chips and I ate 3/4 of the bag, and a Snickerdoodle cookie which I devoured all of. We let lunch sit a little bit (but not long enough for my liking) and then got back on the bikes. The thirty minute lunch break was a good rest. I felt like I got a second wind after lunch and the last 20 miles were MUCH easier for me.

DON’T GET CONFUSED! Make sure you take the right route! That could be awful! Like I said, I was feeling much better after lunch (despite a too-full tummy) and made better time. My body felt better, too.

There was still a heavy wind but it wasn’t as miserable as the other part before lunch. The back roads were pretty quiet and it was such a scenic route that I just enjoyed myself. I thought about how happy I was that Michael and I were able to do the event, and how happy I was that my body was relatively good.

See! I’m smiling! More cornfields. More farms. GENTLE rolling hills…at least for awhile. Then we saw came around a bend and saw this:

I think my exact words were: “Are you kidding me? COME ON!”  I mean really, who puts the hardest hills at the last 10 miles of the event?! That’s just mean. I saw the hill coming so I had plenty of time to dread it, anticipate it, and get nervous butterflies in my stomach. I huffed and I puffed and I made it up that hill without feeling awful! I was really proud of myself. Michael and I took a little break at the top.

Thankfully, the next part was a downhill coast. I’ve never been more happy for a downhill descent. We were so so close to the end. The next part of the route was on a really busy road. The bike lane was pretty wide but the cars were going really fast. It made a little bit nervous. Luckily there weren’t any crashes or anything (that I am aware of) during this event but when we first started out I did see a car almost clip one of the cyclists and that was scary.

We arrived at the starting point happy and accomplished! Michael reached out and held my hand for a second while we rode into the college parking lot. I had a big smile on my face and I felt SO HAPPY that I ended my summer on a high note. We did it!!! 5.5 hours of actual riding time! (I didn’t stop my watch during our lunch break.) It was a little slower than I had predicted we’d be but that damn wind slowed us down.

Stats:

Time: 5.5 hours
Miles: 64.2
Calories Burned: 2768

How was I feeling? Awesome! I felt even better once we changed out of our spandex! My body felt really great after I got off the bike. I was expecting to be stiff or sore but I wasn’t. After we changed and locked up our bikes, we grabbed our pie reward. You could choose Marionberry or Peach. It’s been years since I had Marionberry pie so that’s what I got. Michael got the peach. (I won’t lie, I was tempted to go back for a slice of the peach, but I resisted).

That pie was to-die-for.

Doesn’t that look good? After relaxing for a bit, we drove home. I was sweaty, sticky, sleepy and ready to be home. I took one of the best showers of my life, second only to the post-Hood to Coast shower–slathered on some Biofreeze and put on my compression tights while I relaxed. I felt awesome.

Dinner was simple. Michael grilled up some steaks, I steamed the last of our broccoli and made salads.

I also opened up a nice bottle of red wine that we got the last time we went wine tasting. I figured a nice bottle of wine was a good way to celebrate a good day! I had one glass of the red with dinner and it made me want to sleep. I may or may not have been in bed by 7:30 p.m. Sunday night!

This is what I wanted. I wanted to finish the summer with a happy fitness memory. Sure, it wasn’t the full 100 miles like I had hoped to do this year, but that doesn’t mean 64 miles is anything to sneeze at. I am proud of myself. I’m proud of Michael for doing it with me even though he wasn’t really in cycling shape (he’d been golfing and using the kettle bell more than cycling this summer). I was happy he was at my side to do the bike ride and that we both felt pretty good at the end!

QUESTION: Did you have a fitness event this summer? How did it go?