Ziplining in Dubuque

By , August 7, 2017 6:30 am

This is the fourth year in a row we’ve vacationed with Gina, Steve, and Luca (nuestra otra familia) in Guttenberg, Iowa. Why Guttenberg? Because my family has cabins there (free lodging!), it’s on the Mississippi River (fun on the water!), and it’s beautiful and relaxing (Gina and Steve’s phones don’t even work there!).

The first two years, our river trips were over Labor Day. The trip shifted to July the third year/last year so Gina could do RAGBRAI, and because Luca started kindergarten before Labor Day. At the end of each visit, we always lament how fast it went, and last year we decided we should try to extend it to a whole week (from three full days and two partial days). It takes Gina and family two days to drive to Guttenberg from their home near Dallas – there should at least be more vacation days than car days, right?!

So, this year, we were in Guttenberg almost an entire week – we arrived Friday night and left Thursday afternoon. RAGBRAI kicked off our vacation in Iowa, but we did a lot more (besides bum around on the beach) while we were there! And now, you get to read about it… starting with ziplining!

Ziplining wasn’t on my radar for this trip until I saw a post on Facebook in April about Sky Tours Ziplining in Dubuque (near Guttenberg). Gina and Steve were interested, so when we were all together and river trip planning in May, we added it as a definite possibility on the activities tab on our trip spreadsheet (oh yes – there was a spreadsheet and LOTS of planning for this trip!). Gina looked up all of the information about it so we’d have it ready to go when we were in Guttenberg!

[Side note: I don’t know why it’s my style to include all of these decision making details and extra information in my blog posts. Like I think I will need to remember this down the road? Ha ha.]

At first glance, ziplining seemed a bit pricey to me – $65 per person, for nine lines/an hour and twenty minutes of entertainment. But that is probably (just guessing) cheaper than it is in tropical/exotic locations? However it compares, it ended up being worth it, and a total blast!

You have to have a reservation to zipline, and Sky Tours recommended making it twenty-four hours in advance, but when we called late Sunday night (I was impressed someone answered) we were able to make an appointment for Monday July 31st at 11:00 am.

Sky Tours asks that you get there fifteen minutes before your appointment to sign waivers and put the safety gear on. I was happy that they were prepared for us, and ready for us to go right at 11:00!

Our group consisted of the four of us, a woman (and I am assuming) her daughter, and two guides. The guides said they can do groups up to twelve or fifteen people! I liked our smaller group size.

Our guides were friendly and funny. They teased each other, teased us, and made jokes the entire time. It was right up my alley (although maybe a serious person wouldn’t like all the safety jokes?!?!).

We started with putting our harnesses on – it consisted of two leg straps, a strap that goes around your waist, and the front straps and carabiners that actually attach to the zipline. The guides pointed out to us that there was no upper body harness and to not tip upside down, because you could fall out of your harness (eek!). And they told us our helmets were just to protect our heads from hitting the lines/trees, etc., not from a fall. And with that, we were ready to go!

We walked to the first line and the guides started with sharing the history of the area we were in. It’s currently (and has been since the 40s) a YMCA camp, but in the 1890s, it was actually Union Park (click on the link for cool old drawings and photos) – an amusement park owned by the local electric company. It thrived until it flooded in 1919, and many structures were destroyed. Parts of it were rebuilt, but it was never as popular as it was in its heyday. In the mid 1930s the structures were dismantled, and in 1946 the YMCA and Boy Scouts bought the land.

While we were ziplining, we could actually see remnants of some of the structures – paths, walls, bases, and the large Olympic size swimming pool (rumored to fit 2,000 bathers). And we could see how they were built in low-lying land that flood waters would fill.

There are nine ziplines in the park, but recent storms made the dual-racing line unsafe (sad face), so Sky Tours actually cut the lines on that one until it could be rebuilt, and we ended up doing the longest line twice so that we still got to do nine lines.

Our first line (and most of them) started in the woods. One guide went to the other side to help us come in, and one guide stayed back to get everyone clipped in. For the first line, they went over basic safety (don’t tip back, where to put your hands, etc.) but not how to steer. I hadn’t even though of the fact that we could spin around on this thing! But you do! Weeeeeeeeee!

Steve coming in off the first line

Gina coming in off the first line

I was definitely spinning on my first line (and the following seven lines). When we were all done with the first line, and getting ready for the second, they explained how you can put one hand on the carabiner and turn it toward the direction you are spinning in order to not spin that way. Or hold it steady and turn your knees toward the way you are spinning? Yeah, I didn’t quite get it and found it counter-intuitive. But I tried to figure it out!

Most of the first few lines were from a high spot to a low spot in the woods, and had a short hike between them. Each one would have a different start and finish – sometimes you had a running start on the ground, sometimes you stepped off a platform, sometimes you finished on the ground, sometimes you finished on a platform, etc. The guides would explain each time what to expect, and what to do with our legs/body so we didn’t hit anything!

One of the middle lines we did went out to a tall freestanding platform. When we got out to it, we had to be strapped in to another line, so we wouldn’t fall off. The platform was wobbly, especially as more people got on it. I could see people being scared by that, but it didn’t bother me.

Steven coming in to the platform

Steven getting ready to leave the platform

In fact, I was never scared, or hesitant doing this, at all. I didn’t even have any gut reactions like “don’t jump!” when we went off the platform.

The line we did after the tower had what they called the “beanie drop.” They opened up a big box FULL of beanie babies and told us to pick one to take with on the line and try to drop in to a red bucket on the ground!

Our guides had stickers all over their helmets, and one of them told us it was for how many people they had fall off the lines (ha), but they later said it was actually for how many successful drops they’d made it to the bucket on the beanie drop. None of us made it! I swore mine was close, but there was another guide on the group batting at the dropped beanies with a stick, and he hit mine when I dropped it, ha ha ha.

We had a bit of a hike between some of the later lines, and got to see some of the ruins from Union Park. The tour guides provided water at two of the stops, which we appreciated.

The last lines we did were the longest ones – I think the longest was 1200 or so feet long and about 75 feet above ground (I turned my watch on and got to 34 mph on it). We hiked to the long line, rode it, zipped back down on another line, then finished with the long line, and I FINALLY FIGURED OUT THE STEERING (you can tell I am corrected my spin twice in the video):

Yay! Only took nine tries! Ha ha.

After we finished, it was a short walk back, we took off our equipment, said goodbye and were done!

The tour went by quickly, in a good way. With our smaller group, there was less waiting for everyone to do the line (and it’s fun to watch people go/come in, anyway). We all hiked at a good pace and the guides were organized and kept us moving. I enjoyed our guides, and the stories they told about the park and their ziplining adventures.

The ziplining itself was exciting! It was neat to be up in the trees, seeing things from a perspective I’ve never experienced before. I loved the flying sensation. It was never scary (even when I was spinning and landing backwards) and I always felt safe. We all had fun and agreed that we’d love to do it together again! Gina mentioned there is a place that does it by where they live in Dallas…

Training Week 407

By , August 6, 2017 4:57 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running in Iowa with Gina & Steve! And ziplining! And hiking!

Monday | July 31, 2017: 3 m run (w/Gina)
Loc: Abel & Esmann Island, Temp: 64°/64°, Time: 29:08, Pace: 9:42 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Tuesday | August 1, 2017: 3 m run (w/Steve) + hike (w/Steven, Mom, Dad, Gina, Steve, & Luca)
Loc: Esmann Island, Temp: 69°/69°, Time: 29:42, Pace: 9:53 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good (just tired – sleepy!)
Wednesday | August 2, 2017: rest
Thursday | August 3, 2017: 3 m run (w/Gina & Steve)
Loc: Esmann Island, Temp: 65°/67°, Time: 29:00, Pace: 9:39 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good (but itchy and swollen from bug bites)
Friday | August 4, 2017: teaching strength class
Strength: resistance bands, body bars, and core/cardio, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, just sleepy (and like I haven’t done strength in a week!)
Saturday | August 5, 2017: 7 m run + 1,008 yd swim
Loc: VP Woods Loop, Temp: 70°/72°, Time: 1:15:47, Pace: 10:49 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Loc: FitNation, Time: 20:12, Pace: 1:59 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Sunday | August 6, 2017: 11.3 m run (incl. 3 sets 4×400)
Loc: ML to Pine Dunes, Temp: 60°/69°, Time: 2:03:37, Pace: 10:57 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: pretty good!


  • I loved my Iowa runs with Gina and Steve! It was great to get a few easy miles in before we started our day. And it’s always a treat to run together.
  • I got SO many mosquito bites when we were in Iowa. Sigh. And the ones on my feet and ankles itch so badly when I am running.
  • The local preserve is open again (post flooding). Yay!
  • Saturday’s “fast for me” swim was inspired by the speedy lady doing drills in the lane next to me. And by me wanting to get out of there because she was splashing so much with her fly stroke, ha ha.
  • I did my speedwork during my long run again this week. That’s becoming a lazy habit – I hope to have a dedicated speed sesh next week! (I would have done my speedwork on Friday but I chose to nap after work instead – no regrets!)
  • I didn’t ride my bike this week. Not because I didn’t want to, but because other things had a higher priority. I am looking forward to getting back on next week!
  • As a birthday present, xaarlin signed us both up for a half marathon to run together in September! I’m excited!
  • Monthly recap time! In July I ran 117.6 miles (26 runs), cycled 224.16 miles (14 outdoor rides) and swam 5,254 yards (5 swims). My coldest run was 60°F and my warmest was 84°F. I taught 7 strength classes, and 2 fitness boxing classes.

Link to Training Week 406

RAGBRAI Day 7 2017 – Ride Report

By , August 4, 2017 10:23 pm

RAGRBAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. It started in 1973 when two feature writers for the Des Moines Register decided to bike across Iowa, and invited readers to join them. The ride has grown ever since and is now in its forty-fifth year. The route always starts on the west side of Iowa, and ends on the Mississippi River on the east side of Iowa, and takes the last full week of July to do – but the course changes every year! You can register for the whole week, or for a single day, which is what I’ve done the last three years (2014 – Day 7, 2015 – Day 4 and 5, 2016 – Day 7, 2017 – Day 7). 

RAGBRAI Day 7 (July 29) has come and gone! Dad rode for the fourth year in a row, Gina (my bestie) joined for her second year, and Andrew (Steven’s brother) joined for his first!

Gina, me, Andrew, and Dad

This year’s theme was “Take it Easy, Go North,” as the route stayed in the two northernmost counties of Iowa, and was only 411 miles long (total), and only had 13,078 of climb (total) – the third-easiest totals in RAGBRAI history.

Day 7 went from Waukon to Lansing, was 44.8 miles long, and had 2,900 feet of climb – a short ride, but with four major hills to battle!

map from here

We all stayed in Guttenberg (45 miles from Waukon) the night before. We headed for Waukon around 7:00 am, and started cycling just after 8:00 am. I had “reserved” a spot for our car that was a few miles away from the start area, so we actually ended up cycling 47.6 miles total (in 3:48:16, averaging 12.5 mph)!

When I was looking at the elevation map before the event, I mostly paid attention to the four large hills. I didn’t think about the beginning of the map, which shows rolling hills the entire time. For some reason, I assumed it would be mostly flat until we got to the big hills! It was actually the opposite – gentle rolling hills in the beginning, then massive hills with flats between them.

The point of me mentioning that is that it’s hard to stay with a group on rolling hills because your speed is constantly changing as you climb and descent – some people go up faster, some go down faster. I had it in my head that we wouldn’t break away from each other until the major hills. But Dad took off right away! We didn’t catch him until right before the first pass-through town, Waterville. I tried to stick around Gina as much as I could (she goes up faster, I go down faster) and Andrew was always right behind us.

I have to share a picture of this lady riding with her dog, that we all saw before Waterville. She was yelling at her dog to sit down when Dad and Andrew rode by, and they both thought she was yelling at them at first. Ha!

After fifteen or so miles, we were at Waterville, the first pass-through town. Getting in to town was a bit scary – the town was at the bottom of two large hills! You had to ride your brakes in, then immediately get off your bike.

Riding down in to Waterville

But we all made it! We re-grouped, re-sunscreened, ate (our own food, nothing bought) then got back on to ride the first major hill! (I also had my bike handle bar tip (while standing) and drag the skin on my inner thigh in this town and immediately leave a bruise… that I still have, sigh)

You can tell it’s an uphill because there are so many more cyclists in the photo! People really group together on the uphills and spread out on the downhills.

This is where I figured out the trick for powering up these long hills – ride next to someone playing music. Hill #1 was powered by Kanye West’s “Stronger.”

I got to the top and waited for my group – Andrew went by, then Gina, then Dad. We all stopped to buy water, and Gina told me it was a good thing she was riding next to Dad – her chain came off and he helped her get it back on! She said Dad also helped someone who fell – he picked her bike up so she could get back up. Aww.

Like I mentioned, it was flatter between the major hills, so we were all able to ride near one another (for about eight miles) until we got to the next major hill in Yellow River State Forest.

Hi, Gina! Hi, Dad!

I was really excited to ride through the state park. It sounded beautiful from the descriptions, and shady! We had great weather – low winds and sunny skies (63° when we started, no idea at the end). But I learned from the first hill that going so slow made me super sweaty because I didn’t have any wind resistance. I was hoping the uphill in the state park would be shaded, at least!

This area is called the “driftless” region, and the reason it’s so hilly is because it was never glaciated (hence, drift(left behind by glaciers)-less). There’s a few areas like this in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. And yes, I didn’t know this until I looked it up after the ride, ha.

The state park did not disappoint! The descent in was amazing, and the views spectacular!

This was the longest climb of the day, time-wise, at fifteen minutes. I stopped once to see how Dad was doing, then got back on my bike and realized I had WAY more climbing to do, up ahead. Oops.

This hill was powered by “The Final Countdown” and the theme song to Rocky.

I enjoyed the views but was happy to get out of there and ride downhill in to our next pass-through town, Harpers Ferry. We spent a lot more time in Harpers Ferry than the first town, enjoying food that we bought and being relieved we only had two major climbs left and thirteen miles left (we had already ridden thirty at this point)!

We had a flat stretch for a bit after Harpers Ferry and we all stayed together and chatted. And you know what came next – the third major hill. This one was powered by Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” I remember getting out of my saddle the most on this one, to move some of the strain in my legs for a bit, and get a power boost.

You can see on the side that there were people walking up the hills

I didn’t mind the hills or feel horrible on them (except the no breeze thing) but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved we only had one more left after that one! And that last hill came quickly!

I wasn’t around anyone playing music on this one, but chatted with this gal in the photo below, Lindsey, the entire ride up, and that helped me!

I was SO happy to get to the top and see a house there with water and Gatorade! It’s so great that people set up these aid stations outside of the pass-through towns. It’s rare you go more than a few miles without seeing something offered or for sale!

It better be!

I waited at the top of that hill (the last hill!) and Gina and Dad stopped. Andrew kept going. He had already told us if he stopped anymore he wouldn’t be able to get back on his bike. It was definitely getting to be that tired point of the day – midday, full sun, all sweaty from your last hill. I felt physically fine (except for a sore neck from my GoPro on top of my helmet) but was sweaty and ready to ride in to the final town.

After the last hill it was only a few miles in to Lansing! I got ahead of Dad and Gina on the downhill but we all stuck together to finish together at the end.

The Mississippi River!

I was sad Andrew wasn’t with us to finish together and dip our front tires in to the Mississippi River together, but he later told us he stopped to wait and waited so long he figured he missed us. I am happy he finished safely and found Steven, Steve, and Luca!

Dad, Gina, and I waited in line to dip our tires and take photos.

I was trying to get in touch with our group the whole time but the cell service was bad/overloaded. Steven finally got a hold of me and we all met up! (Steven and Steve picked up the car we left in Waukon and drove to Lansing to meet us. I greatly appreciate them doing that – that was a long day in the car for them!)

We only hung out for a bit then began the long ride back through Waukon to Guttenberg (we had to go that way to avoid the RAGBRAI route). We decided the riders should stick together since we were stinky, and we had some pretty goofy (dehydration influenced, I am sure) conversations in the car. Muah ha ha.

I loved RAGBRAI, as usual. I liked the challenge of the large hills. Although, now I realize the rolling hills means less time by my group, and part of the reason to ride together is to chat! I wonder what the leg we do of next year’s route will be like…

Training Week 406

By , July 31, 2017 7:50 am

Highlight of the Week: Riding RAGBRAI Day 7 with Dad, Gina, and Andrew!

Monday | July 24, 2017: teaching strength class
Strength: kettlebells, cards, and UGI balls, Difficulty: easy, Felt: decent
Tuesday | July 25, 2017: 10 m run (incl. 15×1:00)
Loc: Kilbourne/DPRT loop, Temp: 57°/64°, Time: 1:46:39, Pace: 10:40 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Wednesday | July 26, 2017: 3 m run
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Path, Temp: 80°/82°, Time: 31:18, Pace: x:xx avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: frustrated with work and life
Thursday | July 27, 2017: rest (massage!)
Friday | July 28, 2017: teaching strength class + 1,302 yd swim + 4 m run
Strength: braided bands and whole body, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine, just so tired (sleepy)
Loc: FitNation, Time: 29:22, Pace: 2:15 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 69°/70°, Time: 42:01, Pace: 10:30 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, once my legs warmed up

Saturday | July 29, 2017: RAGBRAI Day 7 (47.57 m bike w/Dad, Gina, & Andrew)
Loc: Waukon to Lansing, Temp: 63°/?°, Time: 3:48:16, Pace: 12.5 mph avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: great
Sunday | July 30, 2017: 3 m run (w/Steve)
Loc: Esmann Island, Temp: 61°/66°, Time: 30:05,  Pace: 10:01 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good


  • On Monday our temps and humidity dropped and I was so excited to run! But that pressure change also gave me a massive headache so I was in bed all day until I taught class. Wah. Next time we have a huge weather shift coming, I should take medicine before it happens.
  • I was able to enjoy the lower temps for my Tuesday run! And I was able to do my 10-mile loop that goes on the recently flooded trails. They weren’t flooded anymore, but at times, the smell of the stagnant water was so bad I would start to gag and my eyes would water. And parts of the trail looked horrible.
  • I said this last time, but man, a swim the day after a massage feels so good!
  • I sometimes feel so creaky/stiff in the mornings – I am guessing that is an age thing, since I am not training that hard. Yay…
  • RAGBRAI Day 7 was so much fun! I can’t wait to go through the pictures and write about it!

Link to Training Week 405

Training Week 405

By , July 23, 2017 5:08 pm

Highlight of the Week: Doing an outdoor ride during my lunch break.

Monday | July 17, 2017: 5.5 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: to VP Woods north and back, Temp: 70°/72°, Time: 57:41, Pace: 10:29 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: surprisingly good
Strength: kettebells and cards (core), Difficulty: medium, Felt: good, so sweaty

Tuesday | July 18, 2017: rest
Wednesday | July 19, 2017: 5 m run
Loc: to Northerly Island and back, Temp: 74°/74°, Time: 53:19, Pace: 10:40 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: tired (legs)
Thursday | July 20, 2017: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 76°/76°, Time: 32:16, Pace: 10:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | July 21, 2017: teaching strength class + 1,008 yd swim + 17 m ride + 4 m run (incl. 1/2/3/4/5 ladder)
Strength: kettlebells and cards (core), Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay, but a bit sore (left shoulder and right knee)
Loc: FitNation, Time: 21:57, Pace: 2:08 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: around Wadsworth loop, Temp: 78°/82°, Time: 1:00:54, Pace: 16.8 mph, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 76°/76°, Time: 38:38, Pace: 9:40, Difficulty: easy-ish, Felt: good, just hot face!

Saturday | July 22, 2017: 4.5 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 74°/78°, Time: 51:37, Pace: 11:28 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: legs so dead
Sunday | July 23, 2017: 18.55 m ride + 3 m run + teaching strength class + 18.4 m ride
Loc: home to Efit, Temp: 68°/71°, Time: 1:13:59, Pace: 15.0 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 71°/72°, Time: 30:34, Pace: 10:11 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: thirsty, but so much better than Sat!
Strength: core & boxing (pads & gloves), Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Loc: Efit to home, Temp: 77°/80°, Time: 1:08:01, Pace: 16.2 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay, but hot & thirsty & hungry


  • This week I realized I swim with my fingers spread. I concentrated on keeping them together when I swam and I felt like I was going smoother. I wonder how much I could improve if I actually knew what I was doing, ha!
  • I was about to start an interval at speedwork this week when a guy started to pass me and I sped up. I said to him, “I am not playing games, I am just doing speedwork!” I wonder if he got what I meant…
  • I love riding to the studio to teach. I’ve been lucky though – the two times I’ve done it, there have been even partners in boxing and I haven’t had to do as much (if there were uneven partners, I would be someone’s target mitts). And I still feel hungry on the ride home after not doing as much, which means I need to step up my game with that – I would be toast if I actually was someone’s punching bag in class!
  • I’ve never noticed this when driving (cause I wouldn’t) but sometimes when you are waiting for a light to change as a bike, if there isn’t a car on your side, only the other side will get a green… it’s really weird. If I go then, I am running a red!
  • Two things I forgot to note last week: 1. I woke up a few times with a cramp (not as bad as a charley horse, but similar) in my right leg. I am happy that’s stopped! 2. When I was on my long run last week I said hello to another runner and realized it’s the lady who runs the 5Ks in my town! I now know her name. I should have asked her for the schedule, ha. I’ve been trying to find it online!

Link to Training Week 404

Twelve Year Blogiversary!!!

By , July 21, 2017 7:07 am

Today is my twelve year blogiversary! Aww, my blog is almost a teenager. Although with how little I post now, it seems my blog is already going through the withdrawn angsty teen years. Ha.

The best thing about blogging is the connections you make, so thank you, readers! And thank you to the many of you that are “real-life” friends now.

And while I am posting less, I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Just waiting for the itch to write more again!

Random Thoughts Thursday 141

By , July 20, 2017 11:58 am
  • Has anyone had luck with ShoeKicker lately? I haven’t received any price alerts in a long time, and the other day I found shoes on Amazon for cheaper than listed on ShoeKicker. Hmm.
  • I was pumped for the season premiere of Game of Thrones last Thursday, then found the episode to be slow and a bit disappointing. Oh well! That is more likely to happen when something gets way too hyped up. It was fun to look forward to! And I laughed that Khaleesi slept through the entire episode in her cube then popped her head out when her namesake showed up at the end of the show. Ha ha ha!

  • It’s always funny to me on social media when something is trending (like the new episode of Game of Thrones) and people post about how they don’t care about it and are annoyed that everyone is talking about it. Well, guess what? Now you are, too. Yes, it’s annoying when everyone seems to be talking about the same thing (thing being hobby or interest), but we don’t have to be negative and say how we don’t like that thing.
  • It bums me out when I’m riding my bike and greet another cyclist and they don’t wave/nod/say hello back. It feels so unnatural to me not to acknowledge someone else (related: I ran yesterday in the city and had to hold back from saying hello to everyone).
  • Work is making me nuts and I am looking forward to a short break from it in August! (I’d love to write about all the things making me nuts, but I think that’s highly inappropriate to do in a public forum… so it stays offline.)

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 140

Training Week 404

By , July 16, 2017 6:50 pm

Highlight of the Week: Being able to find alternative cycling/running routes despite the flooding.

Monday | July 10, 2017: 4 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 77°/76°, Time: 41:32, Pace: 10:23 avg, Difficulty: easy enough, Felt: good, strong (but hot, of course)
Strength: Arms of Summer workout, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | July 11, 2017: 2 m run
Loc: Downtown Chicago, Temp: 79°/79°, Time: 18:50, Pace: 9:24 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, just hot
Wednesday | July 12, 2017: rest
Thursday | July 13, 2017: 3 m run
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 80°/80°, Time: 29:36, Pace: 9:51 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | July 14, 2017: teaching strength class + 925 m swim + 3.2 m run + 6.3 m run
Strength: kettlebell circuit and cards, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake Pool, Outdoor Temp: 61°, Time: 22:04, Pace: 2:05 min/100 m, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 64°/64°, Time: 32:25 , Pace: 10:12 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but legs tired
Loc: to VP Woods entrance, Temp: 67°/67°, Time: 1:05:08, Pace: 10:20 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Saturday | July 15, 2017: 27 m ride + 3 m run (incl. 4×400) + 5 m ride
Loc: to Kenosha County Bike Trail, Temp: 63°/70°, Time: 1:49:46, Pace: 14.8 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 70°/70°, Time: 31:16, Pace: 10:26 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: decent, hot
Loc: Rec Plex to Home, Temp: 70°/72°, Time: 21:39, Pace: 13.9 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, getting worn out

Sunday | July 16, 2017: 10.5 m run + 8.47 m ride + 840 yd swim
Loc: around Zion, Temp: 67°/66°, Time: 1:58:23, Pace: 11:16 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: great
Loc: to FitNation, Temp: 67°/68°, Time: 30:57, Pace: 16.4 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, nervous about traffic
Loc: FitNation, Time: 28:27, Pace: 2:05 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good


  • I was in the city for work training Tuesday through Thursday and didn’t make much time to work out, as is evident above. I am happy for what I could get in – two short runs during our lunch breaks!
  • Friday was my last swim with Anne (for now?) – she moved to Cleveland on Saturday. It’s going to be so odd not seeing her each week.
  • On Friday, the east/west roads immediately north and south of our house closed for river flooding, making my typical seven mile route and running on the trail impossible. I ran twice on Friday – once to each road – to see how bad it was. As I post this, the roads are still closed. And likely will be for a few more days.
  • I was planning to do a loop bike ride Saturday morning, but with so many roads closed for flooding, I did an out and back (which included a stop for speedwork in the middle).
  • We had extremely pleasant running weather on Sunday – mid 60s and overcast! Woot! What a treat! And bonus – I didn’t have to add two miles on to my route to avoid flooding because it was back to normal on that road, woot woot!
  • On Sunday night I rode my bike to meet a friend at the pool. I am thankful he drove and could give me a ride home – the riding route had way more cars on it than normal because of road closures due to flooding and it didn’t feel safe to ride on. Eek!

Link to Training Week 403

No outlet!

By , July 15, 2017 11:10 am

Apparently people don’t know what this means…

We live on a dead-end road (as seen above) that runs west from a main road. The roads north and south of us that run east/west are both closed to the west because of flooding from a local river.

The road north of us…

The road south of us…

So there are A LOT more people on the main road, trying to figure out where the hell to go, which is resulting in lots of cars FLYING down our street, only to get pissed off when they realize it goes no where.

Sigh. Calm down people. People live on this street. People run and bike on this street!!! (ha)

I hope the roads are clear soon, for everyone’s safety. And sanity.

15 days…

By , July 14, 2017 2:24 pm

… until we ride Day 7 of RAGBRAI!

The actual week long ride begins in nine days, on Sunday the 23rd. Some people doing the full week have already shipped their bikes to the start! And here I am, planning on getting a few more rides in (on the bike I’ll use at RAGBRAI) before the one day I ride, ha ha.

My bike band, wristband, and jersey came in the mail last Saturday. My team (Dad, Gina, Andrew, and me) will all be wearing this year’s jersey the day we ride. RAGBRAI is one of the few events I do and don’t feel silly for wearing this year’s “shirt”!

I’m excited to see “how bad” the hills are. And am wondering how much time, if any, I will have to spend out of the saddle (standing, not walking) to get up them.

I’m excited that Andrew is trying it for the first time, that Gina is doing it for the second, and that Dad is sticking with me for the fourth year in a row.

I’m excited that more riding has gotten rid of my weird inner elbow running tan lines (it obviously has made the shorts tan line, worse, ha)!

I’m excited that doing RAGRABI is associated with extended leave from work for me, Steven, and Gina and family. It’s going to be wonderful to spend all that time together.


Side notes:

  • Has anyone else watched the silly mockumentary on HBO, Tour de Pharmacy? It’s a mock documentary about the 1982 Tour de France, with a lot of famous actors in it. It’s so ridiculous – I laughed a lot.
  • And has anyone seen this video, The Backwards Brain Bicycle? We watched it in our work training this week. It’s about how this guy trained himself to ride a bike where turning the handlebars made the wheel go the opposite direction. Well, and about what that says about our brain and learning.

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