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Archive for March, 2011

A little late but… St. Patrick’s day was super fun.  We both had the day off work, as did P&E, so we joined forces for a drunken, corned-beef-fueled celebration of our Irish heritage. 

Corned beef, veggies and Pete's soda bread YUMM!

Festive garlic & onion dip

Beautiful spring, beautiful people!

It was unseasonably warm and beautifully sunny in our backyard, perfect weather for Tully Tea.

Euchre was a lost cause after that drink

Mr. Meow enjoys a walkabout

 

Can I sit on this?

 

Nope.

 

Proof that Pat tried to fix it

It was a good thing I had the next two days off work as well… I did manage to go on a bike ride to blessed Ikea on Saturday while Pat was working.  I didn’t get an ice cream (too cold) but tomato soup was tasty.  Also completed my second successful Century Week!  This week is looking pretty promising, especially since Valley Forge is on Friday’s agenda.  Today we rode to work in the sleet– not nice!  

love!

  

 
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I rode 100 miles this week!  Impressive… except that I’m going to have to compress that distance into ONE DAY by the end of September.  Yikes!  But considering I usually ride about 45-50 miles a week, this is a good step (pedal stroke?) forward.  Now that we get an extra hour of daylight I know this is something I can easily keep up with.  My work is 2 blocks from the Schuylkill Drive trail and one loop on that is 8 miles.  Do that 3 days a week, add in my daily commute and one long-haul on the weekends and there’s my 100 miles.  I’m getting a little tired just thinking about it…  Today my body is sore, especially my hips and back.  I found this nifty website that has a little animated dude showing you how to do stretches.  Neat!

Pat had to work all weekend so I rode out to Forbidden Drive by myself yesterday.  I took the telephoto lens and got a few good shots of geese and ducks:

Geese!

Lift, I need lift!

I like his red eye... a lil freaky though

After riding around for a while I decided to lock my bike up at Valley Green, a random restaurant on Forbidden Drive, and check out a staircase I had seen earlier.  It led down to a little dam that you could walk out on and, after seeing a couple of 6 year-olds tromp out there, I decided I’d take the risk for some interesting photos:

View from the dam

Stairs leading to the creek

 

More stairs, I love the color of the moss

Hello, green bug!

Monochromatic creek

It was nice to get some fresh, non-exhaust-laden air and to spend some quality time in nature.  My ride home from Forbidden Drive was slow, slow, slow.  Not only was I a little tired but the feng shui of my bike shorts/saddle was NOT working out… let’s hope that doesn’t happen on our one-day century!  My partner-in-crime has to work again this weekend (boo!!) so we’ll see where my solo long-haul takes me.  I have a feeling Plymouth Meeting is in the cards, how can I resist a pit-stop for an Ikea ice cream cone?  Answer: I can’t 🙂

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…the tough go shopping!  My mom used to have a poster with that slogan and a photo of a really beasty looking motorcycle man wearing a feather boa and carrying shopping bags.  I was thinking about it the other day as we battled headwinds all the way home from a short trek out to Plymouth Meeting.  The ride there was pleasant– the sun was shining, I had lots of energy and the path was fairly clear.  We stopped at Ikea for bathroom breaks and a picnic but as we munched the sky started to darken, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.  I was not pleased.  And I did not feel tough at all.

Pit stop

I whined in my head (and out load) the entire 16 miles home: How is it possible to have a headwind on both legs of a roundtrip journey?  WHY does the wind have to be so mean?  Isn’t it possible for my bike to just ride itself?  WHOSE STUPID IDEA WAS IT TO INVENT A BIKE, ANYWAY?!  And so on and so forth. 

A storm rolls in

Why is staying motivated so hard sometimes?  Tonight I went for a quick ride after work and, although the wind was just as fierce, I loved every minute of it.  All I could think about was how strong my legs felt, how nice it was to be outside and how lucky I am to live in a city with a great bike path.  I was the Queen of Tough.  Then there are days I can barely motivate myself to take the stairs rather than the elevator at work.  What is the secret to Lance Armstrong-esque will power?

Sometimes the road-less-travelled SUCKS

I wish I knew for sure, but here are 3 ideas I like to keep in mind when I’m feeling unmotivated: Have a goal, reward your hard work and don’t be too hard on yourself.  I’m sure Lance would disagree.  But hear me out. 

Having a goal gives you something to focus on when you’re feeling pooped.  It can be something really big like “I want to be prepared for bad weather on our Europe trip so I’m riding to work in any weather, including this torrential downpour”, or something really silly like “I want to beat that trolley up the hill so I better huff it.”  It doesn’t really matter, it’s just something to occupy your mind and make you feel like your madness is justified.

Rewarding your hard work is probably my favorite motivating factor.  Again, it can be something big like A 6 MONTH TRIP TO EUROPE or something more realistic like a king-sized Snickers bar.  Either way I think treating yourself after you’ve overcome an obstacle is always nice.  Knowing there’s something to look forward to, a raison d’être, can make the difference between giving up and pushing through.  Not surprisingly a lot of my rewards are food-related.  Yay fatties!

Finally, not being too hard on yourself is really important to me.  It can be extremely difficult to stay motivated when you’re pushing with all your might, hunched over the handlebars and thinking you’re going to keel over at any minute when suddenly some old guy in a skin-tight racing uniform blasts past you like he’s trying to outpace a freaking cheetah or something.  Don’t let it get to you.  My strengths are different from his, but that doesn’t make me any less awesome.   Admire your achievements!

Sporty Spice

What keeps YOU motivated?

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Hello, real winter

Last week I spent 48 hours in Madison, WI for a work conference on how to create programs for teaching nanotechnology.  Needless to say, a very small amount of that time was spent doing anything non-conference related.  I did get a chance to stroll around one evening and got up early the next day to walk around a little.  I felt like I was in the Wisconsin version of Ann Arbor most of the time– college kids, funky little shops (saw my new favorite t-shirt slogan, “With Great Mustache Comes Great Responsibility”, ha!), friendly vibe and, of course, protesters! 

I kinda wanted to stand up there to take a picture...

On the first night I was there I saw about 200 people just milling about the Capitol, holding signs, chanting and occasionally blowing vuvuzelas at politicians inside the building:

The guy in the front was just chanting "shame!" the whole time

On the next night about 1,000 people marched around the building and had a rally at the entrance.  I guess later that night they found out that the Capitol has to be open during business hours.  Too bad it didn’t reopen until today, it looked really pretty inside!

The building is only 3 feet shorter than our nation's Capitol!

I left the rally early because the conference was buying us dinner at The Great Dane, a pretty yummy brew-pub.  I would definitely recommend the “cheese curds”, basically mini mozzerella sticks dipped in ranch.  Trust me when I say I ate more cheese in 48 hours than is probably recommended.  But what else am I to do in Madison in winter?  I brought home some delicious samples from FromagInation, my new, cheesy heaven on Earth.  Three words: onion-garlic-gouda. 

The diary in WI is definitely solid.

The conference was hosted by University of Wisconsin and we met in their new Engineering Centers building.  I did some poking around the campus before the day started, also reminded me of U of M.  I would love to see this city in springtime.

Old school...

... meet the new school.

Lots of interesting architecture

The Descendant's Fountain

I found this link for the fountain above.  When I saw it in person I just thought it had a really cool design and liked the name.  Now I want to go back when it’s running!  Here are a few more pictures from my trip:

Leaving the gov'na love notes (not)

Yeah dairy state!

Lots of peaceful protesters

Watching the action

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