Tuesday, September 8, 2020

We keep moving along...

We had a low key summer due to safety measures surrounding the pandemic, but managed to muddle through the summer. Massachusetts kept a steady hold on Covid infection rates, but life definitely felt at a standstill. I've yet to get together with friends on a regular basis, and my nagging knee injury has curtailed any running and riding. It was a lazy summer. I can't remember a time when I've ever been less active or not had an event to train for -- my fitness has definitely taken a nosedive. I miss my friends, I miss my bike, and as hard as it is to believe, I miss running, too. 

We loved you, sweet dog

We lost Rigby at the end of August, which was incredibly sad. He was a massive shedder, and caused a lot of trouble when he was young -- barreling through the door and running full speed down the street, or chewing on things he shouldn't, (he once chomped down on the dining room table while standing next to me); and I often complained about having a 120 lb shadow constantly behind me, (if he wasn't standing next to me or underneath my feet, I was always within his line of vision) -- but the house feels empty now that he's gone. He was a sweet boy.

Ready or not, UMich

The boys left for Michigan a few weeks later, so the house is really quiet. It's amazing how much noise they must make because it's really quiet now. I miss them tons. I'm hoping to get back to the bike, and running, soon-ish? Honest to god, I've been such a disaster the last four months that I've managed to injure myself again -- so on top of my meniscus injury, I've got a strained ligament in my foot. (How I injured it is embarrassing, so no details). I was told it will likely take about six weeks to heal -- and I'm crossing my fingers that it's the last of my 2020 mishaps. I need to get back to something normal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Pandemic Spring

No runs, rides or walks, but baby bunnies for the win.
May 2020 was a brutal one and I really haven't had much desire to journal. High anxiety and knee pain from my run injury, (likely tendinitis, hopefully not torn meniscus), meant very little sleep -- which in turn lead to long and cranky days. Self-isolation was mentally taxing as my April sanity breaks of riding, (or running, or walking), were painful. It has taken six weeks to get to the point where I can walk down the stairs without pain, but a dull ache, reminiscent of a bruise being constantly poked, remains.

Normally, dealing with an injury is enough of a strain to the psyche -- but add in a pandemic, 120,000 deaths, rampant racial injustice, protests, riots, and the dumpster fire of a presidency -- well, it's been a craptastic Spring. I'm still holding out hope that we'll emerge from all of this stronger.

I've jumped* back into B&S bootcamp workouts on Zoom this month, adding a few minimal workouts to my week. (*Not literally. No jumping allowed). It irritates Will when he looks at my workout later in the day and points out the several things I shouldn't be doing. Honestly, I'm modifying a lot. It's hard to believe I was in Alaska just last June in peak physical shape, (though with a nasty calf strain dogging me.) Sigh. Injuries suck.

Meanwhile, my garden projects and baby bunnies have kept me smiling this Spring while I'm off the bike. It's been a struggle.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Cinco de NoNo

5K Cinco de Mayo QuaranTeam Virtual Run
Ohhhh dearie me, I made a big mistake. With gyms closed for the State's coronavirus shutdown, I joined B&S Fitness for online Zoom bootcamp the last week in April. Lila is doing it as well, and it's been great getting back into a regular workout routine with one of my favorite trainers, Betsy Caliri. (I've taken bootcamp with Betsy before and she's awesome.) I saw that other B&S athletes were participating in Ashley's QuarranTeam Challenge, (raising money for several local charities), and I signed up as well.

The virtual 5 mile/5K/5min plank Challenge (choice of, not all three combined) seemed doable to me. I suffered a sore knee a few weeks ago after my first run since taking a sheltering-break -- because I jumped the gun and took on too much at once -- so my plan was to run/walk the 5K in intervals. I figured that would be the best way to do it.

I was soooo freaking wrong.

I started feeling some pain around a mile in, so walked a little more than ran. At two miles, the pain was a little stronger, but I only had a mile to go, right?! So I continued on alternating run/walk intervals. I was sore a few hours later, but didn't think much of it.

Until my knee swelled up like a balloon. The pain was intense. Ice, Tylenol, rest, elevation... I've been doing it all for a week now and it's still bad. For several days after my run I could barely walk and the pain would wake me up at night. The swelling subsided a few days ago, and I'm moving a little better, but damn.

I really messed up.

Friday, May 1, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Complete

Day 30, That's a wrap
It rained on the last day of Thirty Days of Biking, of course. Looking back over the previous six challenges, it has now rained during five of my seven finales. If I were a wedding planner, I would advise against a ceremony on April 30th.

I headed out in a light drizzle towards Marblehead, intending to ride out to Fort Sewall and the perimeter of town, but remembered Amy mentioning some artwork installed outside of Tower School, so detoured at Smith Street and headed towards the school. (I wasn't impressed with the fish installation. Kind of bland.) From the school, I hopped on the bike path and continued towards Salem, feeling a bit chilled from the raw weather. That was it for me -- thirty days, done.

I didn't think I'd have the mental fortitude to ride every day this year, but the daily ritual of getting out on my bike, rain or shine, was exactly what I needed. The added stress of social distancing and masking up wasn't great, but not insurmountable. I took the stay-at-home advisory, which allows for outside recreation for fitness, seriously and kept my rides within a bubble. (Vermont suggests the bubble to be no more than ten miles from home -- I shrunk it to six.) Overall, it was a positive experience in a stressful time.

When I woke up this morning to pouring rain, my first thought was, "It's May. I don't have to go out there".

30 Days of Biking, done and dusted.

Defining Spring 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Penultimate Day

Day 29, Crystal clear surf today. Like diamonds. (Pic 1)
Day 29, Biggie clam  (Pic 2)
We had a (rare) sunny day after several gray days for my second-to-last ride in April. I rode around Marblehead Neck, stopping by Goldthwait Beach to kill some time, and then over to Stowaway Sweets to pick up an order of chocolates I'd placed earlier in the morning. The waves were beautiful after the stormy days we've had, and I found another big clam shell on the beach. There have been some big ones lately!

As for the chocolate -- it was part of a deal.

Chip had been dragging his feet on his English assignments based on the book, Like Water for Chocolate. English has taken a lower priority with him as he prepares for his AP exams in Physics, Calculus, Statistics and French, but the English work still needs to get done. I saw there were 12 chapters in the book and told him I'd buy a box of Sweet Sloops at Harbor Sweets and for every chapter he read, he'd earn two chocolates. Will laughed at me and said, "That's not going to work. He's not five!". Well.. I thought it was a good idea?

Then this morning, Chip told me he finished the book. He started last night and read it to the end. (It's not a long book.) Hahahaha. I owed him chocolate. I went online and saw Harbor Sweets was closed and limited to online orders only, with shipping. Whereas Stowaway Sweets was taking call-in orders and offered at-door-pickup!! That was perfect (!) and their chocolates are soooo good.

I called in an order for an assorted selection of chocolates and picked them up from a special order pick-up box. Chip was quite happy. :) It's good to have a win these days.

Outside Stowaway Sweets, picking up my order.
The pickup box!
The best chocolates. Chip earned them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Rainy Days

Day 27, Sun circle reflections (Pic 1)
Day 27, Another Nor'Easter  hits the coast (Pic 2)
Day 27, Sweet little discovery at Beach Bluff Park (Pic 3)
Day 28, light rain on my post-bootcamp ride
A view of Swampscott from Lynn (Pic 1)
Day 28, Parking is prohibited on the beach side of
Lynn Shore Drive, giving me my own protected
bike lane. (Pic 2)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Weekend Vibes

Day 25, Short and sweet to the beach (Pic 1)
Day 25, Sunny but still on the chilly side. (Pic 2)
Day 26, Remain Hungry. (Lol. Not a problem lately.)
Woke up early on Sunday and made dough for cinnamon rolls! I had planned to make the dough the night before, but was distracted by a group of middle aged women drinking, laughing, blasting bad 80s music, and having a party, with a fireon the trail below our bedroom window. What the hell?! WE HAVE A STAY AT HOME ORDER IN TOWN. How do I emphasize with the boys that they can't go off and hang out with friends while these chicks are partying it up next door? I walked over and spoke to them -- not very effectively -- and it left me unsettled. Needless to say, I did not make the cinnamon roll dough.

When I woke up on Sunday, I decided to make cinnamon rolls anyway... which is like a three hour process. While the dough was rising, I took a quick spin -- on another damp and gray day. Oh, Spring.

It was a productive morning, which turned into a lazy afternoon.

Homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch
A bit of icing added
So good. #pandemicbaking

Friday, April 24, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Rainy days and fried dough

Day 22, Happy Earth Day. Just hanging here with a pal.
Day 23, The Driftwood is open for takeout only, with their famous
fried dough available every day during the shutdown. (Pic 1)
We've had alternating days of rain and sun and I'm happy to be in the final stretch of 30 Days of Biking. My rides haven't been very ambitious or varied, but a few stops along the way make it interesting. On Tuesday, Earth Day, I stopped by Ware Pond to see the ducks. A goose came along and positioned himself right up beside my bike. (I had backed up a bit. I'm wary of geese.)

During Thursday's ride through town, I passed the Driftwood, which is normally crowded with townies on any given day. They are serving fried dough every day during the shutdown, which is a treat, so I stopped and ordered some and brought it home for the guys. (I ate a piece, first.)

Day 23, Not Gluten-free but delicious.
Driftwood fried dough. (Pic 2)
Day 24, Wet weather returns

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Through Snow, Rain, and Sunshine

Day 18, SNOW on April 18th. Crazy.
On April 18th, for the second time this week, we woke up to snow -- this time with temps cold enough for it to stick around. An inch covered the ground as I went for a quick ride while the snow was falling. Crossing Atlantic Ave towards the beach, I discovered the rain-snow line! (It was raining at the beach and snowing at the top of the hill on Beach Bluff Ave.) Riding home I could hear the morning birds chirping and a woodpecker knocking at a tree while the snow quietly fell. It was quite surreal.

Day 19,  The difference of a day. Sunshine and dry
streets. (Pic 1)
Day 19, Morning sunshine on Marblehead Harbor.
(Pic 2)
Day 20, wet and damp today. The buds are popping!
Day 21, hot colors on a cold day. My bike is well
hidden. (Pic 1)
Day 21 Detail from a shipping container wall
in Salem. (Pic 2)

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Michigan Bound

We have another wolverine.
After weeks of indecision, Chip finally made his college selection -- he's chosen the University of Michigan, joining his brother on the Ann Arbor campus.  He had some excellent schools to choose from, planning to major in biomedical engineering -- and while I'd hoped he'd stay close to home at UMass, I know he's where he wants to be and he'll be happy on campus with his brother. We are a maize and blue family.

I'm going to miss my little partner-in-crime! He's been too busy for bike rides lately, but hopefully we'll get out on some trails together this summer. (Fingers crossed!)

Friday, April 17, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Chilly Days

Day 13, Rainy day ride to Riverhead Beach
We had another week of cold, wet weather interspersed with a few sunny (but still cold) days. I'm continuing to get out early on the sunny days to encounter the fewest people, and sleep in a little later on the wet weather days. (I very seldom come across another cyclist, runner, or pedestrian on rainy days.) My routes are all familiar ones, inside what Chip calls my "bubble", as I stay within a 5-6 mile radius from home. Our emergency order is still in place in Massachusetts -- Covid-19 hasn't yet abated.

Day 14, Social distancing in Salem
Day 15, One Boston Day, honoring the region's resiliency
and strength following the marathon bombings 7 years ago.
“This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston. We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week. This is our f**king city. And nobody going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.” -- David Ortiz, April 20, 2013

Day 16, snowflakes in the morning, but Spring has spring
Day 17, another chilly day, temps in mid 30s at the start
(Pic 1)
Day 17, familiar routes through Salem  as I ride within
my bubble. (Pic 2)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Easter

Day 12, Easter colors. Bike for scale

30 Days of Biking, Rainy windy cold days

Day 9, Rainy day errands. Discovering a river in the woods
off Salem St, adjacent to the gold course
The weather has been typical of April -- cold, rainy, windy. Usually by Day 10 I'm regretting this whole challenge, but to be honest, I've been looking forward to my daily rides this year, even when it rains.

With sunshine expected on Saturday, (and hence, more people), I bundled up and rode out to Marblehead Neck to catch the sunrise. It was 35 degrees at the start of the day, and I didn't encounter a single soul on my ride. It still feels like winter.

Day 10, Looking for empty spaces (pic 1) 
Day 10, Crazy windy day, (pic 2j
Day 11, Rise and shine to catch the sunrise (pic 1)
Day 11, sunrise to the East, moon still high in the west (pic 2)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

30 Days of Biking, Ride Solo

Day 6, Rise and shine 
Day 7, Love (under the bridge 1) 
Day 7, Peace (under the bridge 2)
Day 8, Wearing a mask in public isn't that hard.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Thirty Days of Biking, Year 7

April 1, 30 Days of Biking
Year 7
In March, I didn't plan to ride 30 Days of Biking this year, although Will didn't believe me and insisted I would. He enjoys my yearly posts and likes to see where each day takes me. After I posted my first photo (above) on Instagram, he commented, "I told you so". Hahaha. He was right.

Being under an emergency order in Massachusetts makes it somewhat difficult and I don't know if I have the mental energy to keep it going for thirty days, but I'll give it a go. I need something normal back in my day-to-day, and getting out of the house for a short spin will help. I fully intend to be responsible -- social distancing and riding solo -- for as long as the experts advise. Shelter-at-home doesn't mean stay in your house 24/7, but if things change and I need to bail on this challenge, I will. 

#RideSolo #BeSafe

Day 2, Gray day and a quick swing near the pond
Day 3, Another spin on the Schwinn. It was a galoshes
and slicker kind of day.
Day 4, Social distancing, Nahant
Day 5, indoors today. I missed my opportunity to ride
socially-distant, so read of biking travels instead