I finally got outside this weekend and had a chance to enjoy the sun. A little too much it may seem, because I ended up with some pink shoulders and legs. I was too engrossed in a book to remember the sunscreen, but this was a hasty reminder to slip, slop and slap. But the sun was out and beautiful, and enticed me out of my cave.
First though, I had to brave the world of standardized testing and take the GRE. Very similar to the SAT, it is comprised of verbal, quantitative and writing sections, none of which seem to showcase any relevant skills besides the standardized test taking strategies that are touted by the designers of the exam. My scores were relatively average (one advantage of the computerized test is instant feedback), but hopefully 3 years of good grades and extracurricular involvement matters more than 2.5 hours of standardized testing.
On Saturday, besides burning myself to a crisp and pandering to the will of profit-mongering standardized test creators, I borrowed my roommate’s road bike and took it out for a spin. It was incredible. I never realized how different it would be to ride a road bike than a hybrid or mountain bike, but it was an incredible form of exercise. You can go much faster, with a much higher cadence, and actually feel like you are getting a workout. You can also ride much further to boot. I only went for a short spin because I couldn’t get out until almost 7:30pm, but I decided it was something that needed to be done again. Unfortunately, I had already bought a bike for the summer. After some research, I decided that buying a road bike would probably be out of the question because a decent one (even used) looked to cost upwards of $500, far more than my budget would allow. But I resolved myself to check out some garage sales in the morning just to see if I could come across anything. Alas, the garage sales work out, but I did stop by a used gear shop.
And as luck would have it, they had a road bike, in my size, and in my budget. Most of the ones they had were upwards of $700 (even used), but I’m counting myself lucky.
I have to figure out what to do with my other bike; I really don’t need two, and I don’t necessarily enjoy mountain biking. In the meantime I will probably end up posting it on Craigslist, and seeing what happens. Hopefully I can recoup the cost of what I paid for it. I am excited to start going for longer rides though, without carrying the extra weight the mountain bike brings.
This weekend was also the Bite of Bend. This event shut down the streets in downtown for two days, and involved lots of delicious food, good music and several sporting events (this is still Bend, of course). Downtown was packed. If you stood upstream of the event, it looked like a wall of people. All the restaurants turned themselves into food trucks for the weekend, and touted everything from thai food to pies to fresh juice and frozen yogurt. I discovered an amazing food truck that sets up shop mere blocks from my house, and watched the runners taking part in the Bend Beer Run (imagine a 3 mile run with 3 pit stops for beer) that I unfortunately couldn’t take part in.
This weekend also marked the first cross fit workout that didn’t bring an onslaught of soreness. The acclimation to cross fit can be tough, but I highly recommend it as a training tool. It is great to work out with other people and do exercises you may not be comfortable doing on your own. It is also a great way to build strength quickly. I’ve only been an official member for a week, but I can already tell that I am stronger. I have goals for where I want to be in 6 weeks when I leave Bend, and what I want to be able to do on my own. It is similar to rowing in the mental toughness it can take to get through a workout. It has been really interesting to talk to some of the coaches about rowing, and to hear their opinions. Erging is a key component of cross fit, but it isn’t something that is taught to the same extent as the other exercises. I worked with some of the coaches at the gym yesterday on rowing technique, and it is nice to be the expert on something when I have often struggled with some of the workouts they give. Considering the lack of rowing coaching they have had, they all had decent technique, but we went over the basics again and worked on specific areas to improve efficiency. With erging, cross fit is all about short distances (250s and 500s), so being efficient is particularly important.
Although Sunday’s workout didn’t leave me unable to get out of bed, I have a feeling today’s workout may have done the trick. A typical warm up and 3 x 5 shoulder presses were just fine, but the main part of the workout was 400m of walking lunges. With weight. You quickly learn in cross fit that the workouts that look short and easy are the most difficult (and often take the longest). 400 m is a lot of lunges. I did them with 10 lbs in each hand, and doing 5 push presses after every 10 lunges. And it only took 29:09. The scaled up workout was the 400m of lunges with 5 push ups every 5 lunges. Some of the guys were doing it with 45 lbs overhead, and tricep pushups. That was truly impressive. Needless to say, I doubt many people will be able to walk very well tomorrow. But that is the beauty of it all. Soreness reminds you of how to work hard, and what your body can take. I love the feeling.
After that workout though, I did feel the need to reward myself. I stopped by Bend’s newest frozen yogurt shop, and had a delicious combination of chocolate, peanut butter and pomegranate yogurt. However trendy frozen yogurt may be, you can’t deny its deliciousness and how well it hits the spot. And of course, all the talk of probiotics and other health benefits almost make it feel like you are doing yourself a service. I leave you with a photo of my after workout relaxation. Froyo and a book? I’ll take it anyday.