Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mountain Day

Today was Mountain Day at the college where I work; the President cancels classes and, in theory, we all head out to enjoy the outdoors.  In reality many of us (students and faculty alike) catch up on work, not to mention that staff don't get the day off.  But I try to do something outside every Mountain Day, and today I had brought my bike, so I turned my planned short ride into a slightly-less-short ride.  It's not close to peak foliage here yet (or at least I hope it isn't)--there is a lot of yellow and the occasional red or orange tree, but it's not what I would call classic fall. Still, it was a gorgeous day, and my ride mostly looked like this:

It was also an exciting ride because I wore a new cycling outfit.  The shorts are sort of a dark fuschia with white highlights--not exactly a butt-minimizing design, but kind of snazzy in a frightening sort of way.  Thing is, the shorts don't have grippers on the legs, so 5 minutes into the ride they had bunched themselves up into hot pants.  Which didn't really bother me, but I suspect the other residents of Western MA might prefer to see less of my upper thigh.  Still--and I say this with a whole lotta love--I live and work in an area where I can be pretty sure that a middle-aged woman riding in fuschia hot pants is not the oddest thing most people have seen that day.

I went on another beautiful ride this past weekend, out in the Berkshires.  I rode through three states (MA, VT and NY), which sounds impressive until you look at a map.  I started as part of a group ride and finished on my own, and I took this picture of the mountains (and part of my ziploc bag flapping in front of my phone):

At the end of the weekend I ran in a 5K sponsored by my college, and I would love to write a great race report about that, but that would require me to write about someone else's race.  My race was lame.  I kind of knew going into it that it wasn't going to be great--I was coming off a late night of festivities, I had the kids there to do a little kids' race so didn't really get to warm up--but honestly, I think my "not so great" should be about a minute faster than it was.  I got a side stitch, which as one of my friends pointed out sounds like an excuse from junior high track--"Coach, I can't finish, I have a cramp!" So enough about that.  It's still a very fun race, though, because a lot of students and colleagues do it, and the kids had a great time running, getting their faces painted, and coating themselves with cotton candy.  Plus a couple of my friends had great races, so at least I could bask in some vicarious satisfaction on that count.

I am sort of mystified by the contrast between my ability to run decently fast (for me) in a 5K at the end of a triathlon and my complete inability to do the same for a regular 5K.  Is it a physiological thing about the warmup?  Is it a mental thing, because in a triathlon I get to pass a lot of people who started before me?  Both?  If I can pull it off with scheduling, I am going to experiment a little this weekend, but I'll wait to say more until I see how that goes.

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