Posts Tagged With: healthy-living


New Wheels, New Outlook

When he was young, my son used to test run shoes when he needed a new pair. He’d ask me if I thought one pair was faster than another. It was difficult to tell. Some shoes had serious speed factors, while others looked fast but might not run at top speeds. In the end the fastest shoes were always the shoes we bought. I loved that.

I think I stumbled on something similar in myself recently. Stay with me on this one while I mosey over to my point.

Want to see a sad photo I took while I spent time in snow country a month or so ago?

IMG_5514I know, right? Perfectly good bikes stuck in the snow going no place for a long time. They’re maybe even accumulating some rust, and weather related wear and tear. Poor, forlorn bikes.

It’s sad to me anyway. A big portion of the country lies buried or is shoveling out from under this white stuff. And bikes spend half the year in a dusty garage or shed corner, or left outside like these, unused, unridden, forgotten and silent. Blessedly, we don’t experience that here in the desert southwest.

Which means I get to ride my bike all winter long! In fact, it’s the best riding time of the year. Cool temperatures, sunny skies, dry trails, light breezes.

Want to see a really happy photo I took recently?

IMG_5667I’d like to introduce you to my new mountain bike. I wish I knew her name, but she hasn’t told me what it is yet. She’s a bit shy.

I’m extra happy about this new addition to my life because, well, it’s my first bike ever that isn’t a hand-me-down from someone else.

I shopped, and researched, and took six months to prove to myself how committed I felt to biking. Turns out I logged a bunch of miles from July to December last year. I rode over one hundred miles in October and November! Not too shabby. I fell in love with biking more than I thought possible. Getting around under my own power gives me a feeling of freedom like nothing else. It’s a bit addictive.

So after six months and lots of miles later I researched and shopped and test drove. And then spent a few days of angst and worry, and talking with bikers, and researching again.

Silly, you say. Maybe so, but I’d never spent so much money on a bike or anything else for myself for that matter. So this decision needed to be the right one.

The day I rode her home from the bike shop those two and a half miles felt spectacular. Christmas morning, Valentines Day and Easter plus my birthday all rolled into one couldn’t have topped that sensation!

I took her out for a short four-mile ride the next morning, since that was all I had time for a ride that day. I needed to get used to the newness, the quick response, the slightly wider handlebars, the bigger tire radius, the grippy foot pedals. I got overly confident and smashed my shoulder on a fall, which still has a bruise on it. But it didn’t deter me.

The following Tuesday turned into our official inaugural ride as a team. I’d intended to go less than ten miles. But, it became twice that. Yes! I rode twenty-one miles that day. I felt like a rock star. A personal best! I hope it’s the first of many twenty-plus mile rides. I also hope to take on some more challenging mountain trails as I gain more confidence and muscle.

Here’s the thing I’ve wondered; was it my bike or me that did that?

It’s a much better bike than my old one, well tuned, lightweight, new. Everything worked great, all twenty-four gears, the hydraulic brakes, and the front adjustable shocks. Those monster twenty-nine inch tires made the ride smooth and easy on my back and seat. Gravel, rocks, curbs, bumps gave me no worries at all. I felt like a kid out there with the world all mine to explore and conquer.

I wonder if I’m a bit like my son with his fast new shoes, convinced my bike is faster, when all it really amounts to is my mindset. I’m pretty sure the work I put in pedaling transfers more efficiently, but who knows? Maybe it’s all in my head and not in my feet. I feel pretty fast, though.

My gratitude overflows for such abundance in my life. How blessed I feel to own such an amazing piece of machinery that lets me go wherever I need or want to go, powered only by my legs, my heart and my determination.

Categories: Biking, Exercise, Gratitude | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guest Blog: A Half Crazy View of The Phoenix Half Marathon

My “half crazy” cousin, who ran the half marathon, has graciously agreed to be my first ever guest blogger! I’m excited about this for two reasons. First, she’s one very cool, fun lady that I’m always proud to introduce, show off and talk about. Second, she provides a real participant’s point of view of the Phoenix Half Marathon. 

(click here to get my spectator’s viewpoint as well as a nice intro to her in my companion post.)

Now, I turn you over to my cousin, Kettie Olsen. Enjoy!

My First Half Marathon

“You only get one first time. I’d been training for this a long time, starting with a five-minute run back in April of 2012. It was my first run since losing the boot I’d been wearing to heal from a stress fracture. It was hard and not fun. But as I built my endurance and strength back up, I had come to really enjoy the running and the discipline of daily training. I was almost sorry to see the race actually come because then it would never be my first one again.

I arrived in Phoenix late Friday night, more tired than excited. I was in bed at 11:30 and up at 3:30 to get ready to catch the bus to the starting line. I already had my race shirt. The thought of sleeping in, skipping the race, and just spending the day playing with my cousin had its appeal.

She's ready to go. Sunrise is still over an hour away.

She’s ready to go. Sunrise is still over an hour away.

It was cold and dark at the start line as I ate my pbj, drank some water, listened to the chatter of those around me, and waited for the time to pass. I wasn’t nervous and I wasn’t as excited as I wanted to be. It just kind of felt like another training run. With a lot of extra people.

That feeling persisted for the first few miles. Just another run, keeping it relaxed and easy, still got a long ways to go. It wasn’t until about mile six that I really started having fun. Everything had been fine up to that point – I’d been watching the other runners, creating mini lives for them in my head, waving at the spectators, thanking the volunteers, but at mile six I really started to enjoy myself and ran with a smile on my face.

What made the difference? Could have been the endorphins finally kicking in, the thought of being almost halfway done, or the sugar high from the chocolate Clif shot I ingested but I think what did it was the tunes. I don’t normally run with a soundtrack but I’d created a playlist of favorites for this race knowing there might come a point when I’d need some distraction. As Amy Grant started singing about Simple Things, I felt the grin start to spread across my face and as Basia sang about hugging olive trees in the south of France I thought, “Oh, I love this song!” Although it would appear that I had cut myself off from what was going on by inserting my ear buds, it actually intensified my desire to interact with the world around me. Because I was happier, I wanted to see others happier too. If I saw a little kid on the sidewalk close enough to receive a high five, I made sure I was there to give it. If someone cheered for me, I cheered for them and thanked them. If I passed someone who looked like they could use a kind word, I gave them one. I felt good and I was having fun.

Mile nine – downtown Mesa. The Olympic Fanfare and Theme plays in my earbuds. Man, I love this song too! Someone did a good job of putting together this playlist! Ten year old boy wearing white knee highs with a pastel heart pattern. Got to be a story behind that. “Awesome socks!” as I pass. That got a grin.

Mile eleven – my cousin is there again with my sign. She’s great! Mile eleven… Wait. That means I only have two miles left? If I kick it in I can be done in less than 20 minutes. Let’s go! I’m not a speed demon by any means but apparently I had more left in the tank than most of those around me and I started passing people more rapidly. I know I’m running close to an 11 minute mile pace for the race and that was my unofficial goal time. If I can nail this last bit, I can pull it off. Keep the pace, dodge the 10K walkers, stay out of the way of the two marathon runners who have just caught up with us. Really? So they’re running twice as fast as me? Wow. I think in the last 200 yards I passed 15 people as I sprinted for the finish line.

And just like that, it was done! Volunteers were at the line handing out medals. I almost asked for a kiss with mine. Haha. Took a cool wash cloth from another volunteer and wiped the sweat from my eyes, face, ears, and neck. Got a picture taken with my medal, found some water, some food, and my cousin/friend/personal cheering section/chauffeur and headed off to enjoy the rest of the day.

It was a fun run, a fun day, a great time. Every race won’t be like that. Some will be hard, some will hurt, some will have lousy weather. Stuff happens. Sometimes you just don’t feel good or run well for whatever reason. But my one and only first ever half marathon was a great time!”

The bumper sticker I bought for my cousin which inspired the title for this post.

The bumper sticker which inspired the title for this post. Check out their website at

Categories: phoenix, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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