Tuesday, 1 July 2014

This sh*t just got serious or 10x10=100

It seems as if this blog as deteriorated into random and sporadic posts about sports, politics or my health. I'm not certain when or how that happened, but this post will be slightly different.

This post is not only about sports, my health and politics, but it's also about how long I've lived in the greater London area! Ta-Daaah!

On the 10th of August I will have lived here for 10 years! My how time flies. 10 YEARS! In four years I will have lived here for the longest time I've lived in any city anywhere. Woah! I should become a citizen-oh wait. I did that. I should...hmmm...oh, I know!

I should cycle another 100 miles, because 10 (10th of August) x 10 (10 years here)= 100. And, so that is exactly what I will be doing. This year's RideLondon-Surrey100 is on the 10th of August, and I was lucky enough to receive a ballot place for the second year in a row. Just like last year I will be using my ballot place to raise money for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in memory of my dear friend, Scott Williams. I've set the goal as £100, since 10x10=100, but I'd love to raise more than that.

And now for the serious health sh*t. Last year my completion time for the 100 miles was 7 hours and 14 minutes. Not bad for a middle-aged, beginning cyclist on her first serious sportive, but I'd like to do better. Unfortunately, I've not been taking the best care of myself. I had several rationalisation (stress, friends visiting, buffets offered at courses and seminars) for the decadence I've allowed myself in the last few months, and I feel it. I'm not in the best shape and certainly not in good enough shape to beat my own time. But that decadence stops today!

From today until the 9th of August when I need to carb load, I will not knowing consume any foods containing glutenous white flour or excess refined sugar. I will also not consume any beer or cider. There are three exceptions to this: 1) During matches in the World Cup where the US Men's National Team is playing, but that applies to beer only, 2) On the 4th of July and ONLY if I attend the beer festival in Hersham (all bets are off) and 3) Em's wedding (no restrictions for me on that day, but I'll attempt to be moderate). If I consume glutenous white flour, refined sugar, beer or cider, before the 9th of August, I will have to donate £100 to the BNP.  And that's the political part of this post. Having created such a restriction for myself in the past, I find this VERY successful motivation.  The BNP has never received a cent from me, nor will they.

So there you have it. This post contained sports (London-Surrey Ride 100 and mention of the World Cup), my health (the diet restrictions) and politics, (I hate the BNP) in addition to letting you all know that I will have lived here for a whole decade on the 10th of August.

And now I'm off to get some miles under my wheels.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Genius? Really?!?

Me: I'm here to pick up my iPhone. It was getting the battery replaced. (Hands authorisation form given 30 minutes prior to Apple Store Genius)

Genius: Okay, I just need to see some ID.

Me: (Shows ID)

Genius: Hmmmm... the name on the form here is Paul Smith, and you're not Paul Smith.

Me: Uh...no...I'm not. I was just given that authorisation form half an hour ago and told to come back.  I also had the same form emailed to me if you need to see it.

Genius: No, that's fine. I'll just go back and sort this out.

Me: (Gets out iPad. Connects to Wi-Fi. Retrieves authorisation form from email and checks to see that name and all other details are correct on it. Waits. Waits. Looks at Facebook. Waits. Looks at Twitter. Waits. Waits.)

...Twenty minutes later...

Genius: (Comes out and looks perplexed) Is that the iPad you brought in to get fixed?

Me: No, I dropped off an iPhone 5 that needed a new battery.  (Pulls up authorisation form on email and turns iPad around for him to see)

Genius: Oh, I know where that is. I'll be right back.

I was lovely and polite to him for the rest of this transaction simply because I didn't want the poor Genius to feel stupid.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

I have fallen in love with an old friend

but it's probably not what you think.

In general, I like sports, but there are a few I LOVE. However, even with the sports I love, I need to be rooting for a team in order to keep my interest and make me pay attention over an entire season, but I still do love them and can appreciate watching teams I don't root for.  I just don't go out of my way to do that. So anyway, as sports goes I LOVE...

Basketball (MSU Spartans and Detroit Pistons. I used to love the Seattle Supersonics, too)
Ice Hockey (Detroit Red Wings)
Soccer or Football as it's known (more accurately) over here. (Arsenal)

Those were my three...until this year.

American football (I have to call it that or my British friends will jump down my throat about how it's not proper football-they probably will anyway) has never really peaked my interest much.  I found the game a bit slow with too many pauses in between plays.  I always saw cheering on my alma mater, MSU, during football games more of a social event and a good time to be spent with my college buddies. If I hadn't gotten a head's up about certain football games from my friends, I really wouldn't have cared.

It's not as if I could ignore American football. I grew up with it, as pretty much most every American kid did.  I played it with friends in my neighborhood and knew the rules, etc.  However, as I said it didn't really interest me much.  Since I was in the marching band in high school, I had to go to every home game, but I still just didn't care much. After high school I attended MSU. That year we played in the Rose Bowl and I still wasn't bothered. After graduation I moved to Seattle. My ex-boyfriend in Seattle and I lived together for several years, and he was and avid Seahawks fan, an avid football fan in general. I'd be in the kitchen baking or in the bedroom writing or reading and he'd yell for me to come into the living room to see the replay of some amazing touchdown or something. If anything, that just turned me off to American football.

But something happened this year.

I'm not certain exactly when American football seduced me.  Perhaps it was just seeing my facebook feed with posts from my friends back in Seattle about the Seahawks all season, but I would find myself looking up results on the internet when I woke up in the morning or searching for them at my lunch breaks.  Perhaps it was because the Detroit Lions actually won on Thanksgiving that made me start tracking MSU's football results (For me there was a link between these two teams). Whatever the reason, whatever it was, I was starting to really pay attention to American football.

It's as if an old friend from childhood got in touch with me and we started to chat. He started to flirt with me a bit and became interesting. I knew about him, knew him fairly well in fact since I grew up with him, but suddenly the things he was into that seemed dull now fascinated me and he became REALLY attractive.  Now I am in love and in another long distance relationship.

And it's been a good season to fall in love with American football as far as my teams are concerned.  MSU went to the Rose Bowl...and won.  This time I cared so much I screamed at the television until I was hoarse and cried a little when we won. And, tonight the Seattle Seahwaks are about to play in Superbowl 48.  I will be watching over here in London, which means I'll be up until 4am, trying my best to not anger my neighbors.

And so, victory tonight or no, I can honestly say I've fallen in love with American Football.

GO HAWKS!



Monday, 8 April 2013

And so it beings...

Wow!

Have I seriously not posted since last year?

Wow!

Okay, here I go...blogging away. I'd forgotten how much fun this.

Sometime ago I entered the ballot for the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100.  I didn't actually think I'd get a place.  I really didn't.  So, you can imagine my surprise when I did.

I was of course thrilled by this...and then terrified. However, there was one slight problem.

I no longer had a bike.

Well, okay I do still have a bike, but I can no longer ride it.  One fine day last summer an irresponsible dog owner on Rollerblades lost control of his rather large dog, which threw the full force of his weight into me as I was cycling along.  This lovely dog owner did stop to ask if I was okay.  As I sat in shock and bleeding on the ground, I answered that I was fine when in fact it was quite obvious that I wasn't.  Instead of asking me again to make certain I wasn't just in shock, helping me or giving me his details, the dog owner leashed his dog and skated away quite quickly.  Another stranger assisted me up and I limped to a shop to get some plasters.  This unfortunate event resulted in two things:

1. I re-injured my shoulder.  I've hurt this shoulder in the past in a couple of car accidents (not my fault and I wasn't even driving in one) and a climbing incident (nothing dangerous, just something stupid).

2. The frame of my bike was cracked and I've since been told it's now dangerous to ride.

I'm currently in the process of purchasing a new (and very nice) bike through the the Cycle to Work Scheme, but there's been an issue in regards to my training.

My damn shoulder began acting up quite painfully again recently.  In fact, I couldn't raise my arm above 90 degrees to my body without crippling pain.  Nor could I open a door or pick things up without wincing. After about a week of this, I finally saw my GP.  He gave me some physiotherapy exercises to do and prescribed Naproxin.  This past Friday, two weeks later, I went in for a follow up appointment, much improved, and he gave me the okay to begin to train. He did say, however, that I must start out slowly.

And so, tomorrow I begin with a pilates class.  My plan is to go to pilates at least once a week for core strength, spinning class at least once a week and cycle at least twice a week for very long rides.  (Until I have my bike, I'll be taking spinning classes to make up for not having a bike).  By June I intend to ride to and from work (about 50 miles round trip) at least twice a week.  I will also cut down on gluten, eat healthier in general and may even consult a nutritionist. Finally, I will no longer go to the pub for a casual pint or catch up over a bottle of wine with friends.  Alcohol may only be consumed on VERY special occasions (birthdays, weddings, travelling outside of Britain).

So, on the eve of all this as I sit drinking my last 'casual' glass of wine, I had a thought.  Perhaps I should track my progress via my blog.  After all, it will be interesting to look back on the changes I am about to undergo physically, as well mentally, after I complete this ride.  Therefore, in addition to the training, I'm going to post regular updates on how it's all going.  While these postings will really be more for me, I of course welcome you to read and feedback if you wish.  I wouldn't be posting this all publicly if I didn't want to share it with you.

Hmmmm...maybe I should change the name of this blog to "H on her Bike".

For those of you who are curious about the route, here's a little video mapping it out.