Things I've never gotten around to posting...

I've had a hard time posting regularly, so things keep slipping by without me posting them (horrors).  In loosely chronological order...

1. We had our family Halloween party, an event which looms over me like the sword of Damocles for the month of October.  We've moved away from me sewing all of the costumes (because I'd rather spend my time on my bike or running than sitting at a sewing machine), but deciding on a costume and getting the stuff together is still stressful.

In case you don't have smallish kids, we were Felix, Vannelope, and Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph
2. I went for a 50-mile gravel ride.  I had hopes that this would go better than my last one since I hadn't just run 13 miles the day before.  It was a little better, but I still felt like I was riding through quicksand.  Luckily, there was a gorgeous fall day to distract me.

Gravel ride. Glorious fall.
It does make me a little nervous riding over such thick leaf cover. 
More fall colors. #ridinggravel #fall

It's fall. :)
The colors were just gorgeous
Fall. #gravel #colors #bikes
It started out pretty chilly but ended up just beautiful.
It was a really fun ride, but I drove home pretty frustrated by how crappy I'd felt on the bike.  I'm never fast, but these last couple rides I've struggled in places I had no business struggling. I considered what the problem could be.  I'm probably in the best shape I've been in the last year or so, so fitness shouldn't be the difference; if anything, I should be stronger.  Could it be the difference in riding partners? With my regular crew, we tend to ride more of an adventure pace -- lots of stops to check out cool things and take pictures. With Mickey (who's become my regular crew too), I definitely spend more time working to catch up.  OK, that could be part of why I feel like I'm struggling. 

Then it occurred to me: the only other time I've felt this unaccountably bad on the bike was in the spring when Dave and I set out for an 80-miler.  What did these three bad rides have in common? The tires I was running.  Narrow, but knobby.  All my other long rides had been done on my Dirty Kanza tires.  I was afraid I was making excuses by blaming the tires, but I'm happy to report that switching tires made a huge difference in my ride satisfaction.

3. I broke my new shoes

See where the eyelet broke?
I probably only had around 40 miles on my new Cascadias, just enough to know that I love them and be super disappointed in them already breaking.  I checked out the Brooks website to see what their refund/exchange policy was, filled out a form explaining the issue, and within two hours (on a Sunday, no less) had a response that they were shipping me a new pair of shoes.  Great shoes and amazing customer service!    I'll definitely be buying Brooks again.

4. I ran at Pere Marquette Park.  This is one of my favorite parks and favorite places to run.  It's also the site of the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Race, where I felt so terrible last year that I was seriously considering giving up running.  That made it even sweeter that the first 8 miles of my run felt amazing.  I still had to walk the big hills, but I ran parts I've never been able to run before.  And I felt great, strong and happy.  And fast, but that's because tons of people were there hiking.

The sunshine and unicorns disappeared for the second loop, unfortunately, and knee pain forced me to hike the majority of the remaining 6 miles.  It'll still go down in my books as a great run, and it makes me feel good about my chances of a PR in next month's race there.

When we hike here with my kids, they always have to stop and play on the rocks.
Plenty of hills
NOT the stairway to Heaven. But not as bad as they usually are, either.
And then the stairs.

5.  Nathan enlisted in the Marines.  I have my concerns, of course, but I think that this has the potential to be a really good thing for him.  The boy needs some direction, and he'll be getting that in spades.  This also means that I have a trip to San Diego in my future, most likely in mid-June though that depends on when he actually ships.  As a military sister, I'm already well versed in the reality that the military doesn't really care about my schedule.  Anybody know someone in San Diego I can stay with? :-) 


6. I posted these random facts about me on Facebook:

1. I used to weigh 50 lbs more than I do now. 
2. I'm scared nearly every time I get on a mountain bike.
3. My longest race so far has been 28 hours, but I'd love to do a multi-day expedition race. 
4. Nobody ever believes this, but I'm actually pretty shy. The Internet has made my life easier bc often now I already kind of know people before I meet them in person.

5. I get roped into lots of stupid stuff bc I hate to miss out.

6. I never had a boyfriend in high school.

7. It took me 11 years to graduate from college.

8. Two of my three kids have graduated from high school.

9. I'm almost always the slowest one in any group I'm in, which just tells you what awesome friends I have to still invite me along.
 7. I registered for the Castlewood 8-Hour adventure race (Dec. 7).

8. And a local 5K turkey trot. (Nov. 28)

9. And the Frozen Feet trail half marathon (Jan 25).

10. I'm newly grateful for good health after some abnormal results to yearly testing, followed up by further testing and a biopsy.  In the end, everything was normal, but it was a scary couple of weeks full of what-ifs.


  1. Beautiful pics of the rides and run. I'd be cautious riding on leaves too.

    Nathan enlisting in the Marines has to be mixed feelings. Tremendous pride yet scary because of the danger.

    Glad the test results turned out good. Those situations are always scary and stressful.

  2. Ha! I should do a "Races I never got around to posting" - it'd at least give me something to write about, and it'd be about a million words :).

    The Cascadias are one of my favorite trail shoes, but I get a big blister on my left foot (if you recall me whining about blisters from hell during Leadville training, hard to imagine that'd escape your mind :)). I think it's more a foot plant issue than a shoe thing. I've returned shoes to Brooks before, too - love their return policy.

    Happy Thursday, my friend!! Love you, always!

  3. Brooks are awewsome. I'm surpised you had issues, but not surprised their Customer Service was great. I have a pair of Cascadias as well...though I seldom trail run...when I do I'm ready lol.

  4. You've been busy! I'm glad the tires made the difference. Brooks is not very big here by us. I'm not sure why.

  5. Hey, show everyone a picture of your rock!

  6. LOVE your trail pics! A trail half sounds fun!

  7. What scares you most about leaf cover ... vermin popping up or voids you can't see?

  8. So sorry for your scary couple of weeks. That is no fun at all. Glad it was good news in the end but man!

    Your Halloween stress is my stress over planning our Christmas card. I'm trying to avoid the fact that it's time.

  9. So much in this post

    Love the Halloween outfits!!!
    Love the fall pictures...beautiful

    San Diego...that is close to me but maybe too far at the same time....over an are welcome to stay here If you want to....I have a race down there in June!!! So call those Marines and tell them best time is around June 2!!!!

  10. So glad that everything worked out with the scare! Thanks for the nice comment :)
    You rock catching up when I check in :)

  11. Is not necessarily just the knobs on your tires, there are other factors too…bead material (kevlar and aramid are better than steel) and casing TPI (threads per inch…more is better, preferably 120.)

    You might want to try out one of the current darlings of the gravel scene, Clement or Challenge. Clement X'Plor MSO or USH tires are both excellent on gravel and pretty darn good on pavement too. I rode a pair of MSOs about 2K miles last year and have nothing but good things to say about them. Good luck!


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