Tour de DCPL VII

Library-themed bike racks, each says "read" in different languages.

This is my third year doing the Tour de DCPL. This ride continues to have appeal for me because it’s a ride that highlights libraries in the area, and the locations change every year.

This year, we went to a couple of libraries outside the DC Public Library system, in nearby Montgomery County, Maryland. We started at the Takoma Park (DC) branch, the oldest in the DCPL system. We then made our way to the Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd Park library, and received a special police escort to the Takoma Park (MD) Library in the town’s community center. We took the scenic Sligo Creek Trail over to the newly built Silver Spring Library.

The tour went on to the Chevy Chase and Tenley-Friendship libraries, but unfortunately, I had some pressing matters at home to take care of, so I cut out early and made my way back home.

I took pictures on Instagram, and my Flickr set is here. As always, many thanks to the DC Public Library staff for organizing this ride.

Freezing Saddles 2016

freezingsaddles2016
(website) (forum)
2015: 293 miles in 45 days
2016: 282 miles in 48 days

  • All of my rides were either commutes or running errands.
  • I biked to work more times this year (5 times, compared to only twice last year).
  • I managed not to get majorly sick this time, which is a plus.
  • The studded tires mostly worked. Putting them on was a pain- I ripped my hands on the studs, and messed up my derailleurs. Riding on them when there was no snow/ice on the ground was not pleasant, either. If I use them again, I would either put them on a winter beater bike or buy separate wheels for them so that I can put them on my bike more easily.
  • Wearing a mask did help on the really cold days.
  • MG wrote up a very nice interview.
  • I didn’t enjoy my experience nearly as much as I did last year, though. I will likely not participate again. I will, as always, keep riding throughout the winter.

I took photos on Instagram. I’m particularly proud of the shots I took that chronicled the lengthening of the days.

End-of-the-Year Totals 2015

For the month of December, I biked 104.39 miles in 19 days. I also ran 8 times for 22.99 miles.

For 2015, I biked 1313.36 miles over 212 days. On average, I biked 16.8 days a month. The months when I rode the most days were January, October, and August, with 23 days each. The month I rode the most miles was August, with 169.48 miles.

I didn’t do many organized rides this year. I rode the Vasa Ride, the Tour de Cookie, the Tour de DCPL, and the Great Pumpkin Ride. I didn’t do any of rides that I had set out in my goals.

I ran 198.05 miles in 78 days this year, which included five 5K races: the Mother’s Day 5K, the Pride 5K, the PGRC Women’s Distance Festival, the Great Pumpkin Run, and the Trot for Hunger.

I’ve been more socially active off the bike than on. I continue to commute on the bike, and I continue to run because I enjoy it. I’ve signed up for Freezing Saddles again this year, just for the hell of it.

I haven’t been blogging much, more for lack of desire than lack of content. My average life span for a blog (of which this one is my fourth, by the way) is about 5 years, so I think this one has run its course. I’ll check in again when the spirit moves me, but I’ll be mostly around elsewhere.

Best wishes to you all in 2016. Peace.

Trot for Hunger 5K 2015

Once again, R and I did the SOME Trot for Hunger 5K. Some thoughts:

  • It was much warmer this year than last year. I wore a light jacket, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, wool socks, and a hat. I took off the hat not even halfway through the run.
  • We situated ourselves closer to the start this year, at the pace marker more appropriate to where we’ve been averaging on our practice runs. This worked out better for us. Last year, we were farther away at a slower pace marker because I wasn’t sure that I could sustain my faster pace at the time. Last year, we ended up having to constantly dodge walkers and strollers. This year, we did much less of that.
  • It also helped that we were familiar with the course.
  • Last year, I was a lot more cautious– I went much slower in the beginning, even for me. This year, I started out at a decent clip.
  • I felt like I kept a constant pace throughout, which my Strava data corroborated. My breathing felt pretty relaxed. I felt fairly relaxed overall.
  • I beat last year’s net time by almost 4 1/2 minutes! Still well below the average for this race, but this was a new PR for me.
  • Next year, I hope to be faster, even if only by a little.

Great Pumpkin Run 2015

GPR2015
(No connection to the Great Pumpkin Ride)

The Great Pumpkin Run was held in Frederick, MD. I had signed up with a bunch of friends on a team. Skies were overcast, but it was not too chilly. I didn’t realize it was a trail run until too late. I had been training on pavement, so I was not prepared for the challenges with the terrain. I did wear two ankle braces, because my ankles are notoriously weak on uneven surfaces.

The first mile was mostly rocks. This was decidedly my least favorite part of the run. The rocks hurt to run on, and it was tiring to negotiate running on the path. I felt like I was expending a lot of energy for little progress, and felt pretty discouraged. When we passed the 1-mile mark, I groaned aloud. If this was how I was going to feel throughout the run, it was going to be very slow going. Luckily, the terrain changed.

The second mile was in an open field with some muddy patches. The field gave way to a wooded area, where there were Halloween displays of dismembered people and scary looking animals.

The last leg was on gravel with the last tenth of a mile through a corn maze. It was much easier running on gravel. The corn maze was blocked out so that runners didn’t have to figure out the maze, but the path was narrowed so that there was only room for maybe two people to run side by side. I could hear people cheering, but I couldn’t see them until the very end of the maze, which was the finish line. R apparently was pushed by another runner to get to the finish, and I had heard later that that was not an uncommon occurrence. Not cool.

As expected, again, I was by far the slowest member on the team. I was feeling really grouchy at the finish, but physically, I felt pretty good. Also as expected, I did not PR [edited 11/25: uh, according to my stats, I actually did?!], but my time was much better than I thought I had done. According to Strava, I had kept a fairly even pace throughout, improving as went through the race. My official chip time was faster than my Strava time, which I thought was unusual, but I’ll take it. We received free cider and a pumpkin for our efforts, and our team went out for a celebratory lunch at a brewpub afterwards.

Well, another 5K under my belt. I have one more race before the end of the year.