Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Collapsible Helmet?

As I wonder around our fair city, on my heavy duty tough guy 400 lb Bikeshare bike, I usually stick to the sidewalks.

Technically? This is not actually illegal in (most parts) of D.C., I learned tonight, after a quick spin around the Interwebs, spurred on by some of you who questioned the legality of such an activity. (And by the way, thanks for the welcome back from all peeps who have NOT forgotten me after all!)

But even though it's not illegal doesn't make it smart. Most of the time.

Here's my rationalization:
a) Most pedestrians are moving faster--way faster--than I am.
2) I'm only going a short distance.
iii) I have no helmet.
Or, more correctly, I have no helmet actually WITH me when I need one.

Take last Saturday, for instance. We strolled about a mile down the hill from our cozy nest to this lovely restaurant for brunch in Cleveland Park. I had some shopping to do afterwards down in Dupont Circle, about 3 miles or a few Metro stops away. But it was such a gorgeous day, I couldn't bring myself to head into the bowels of the earth to ride the Metro. So I hopped on a handy Bikeshare, and boddabing, Bob's your uncle.

View Larger Map

OK, so technically? I do have a helmet, but I don't want to have to schlep it everywhere just in case I need it.

So, as I was swimming tonight (swimming, yes!) I started thinking. "What I need," I thought, "is a helmet that I can fit into my backpack. Or my purse. If I carried a purse. Which I don't. I need a smaller, more compact helmet. Like a folding helmet. Or, even better, a collapsible helmet!"

For some reason, this made total sense to me at the time.

Now, however, in the comfort of my bed, several hours later, I'm sensing there just might be a flaw in my thinking.

I just bet you there's a market for this.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I have two new loves that I thought I'd share with you (all three of you), since it suddenly occurred to me that there may be people in the world who don't actually already know about these things.

First up: Capital Bikeshare.

This is quite possibly the most brilliant invention, ever. You pay a yearly (or daily) fee, and in return, get a key, which unlocks a bike that you can take and ride to wherever you like, then return to a Bikeshare location.

I had seen the rack of sturdy red bikes about two blocks from my apartment, but it looked complicated and scary, so I cleverly avoided trying it out for several months. But my commute these days includes about a one mile walk (or bus ride) home most nights, and while I like walking, it is sometimes just too slow if I'm getting out of work late. And I'm far too impatient to stand around and wait for the bus.

So, I gathered up my courage one day, and watched the BikeShare video, learned how it worked, and then gathered up even more courage and tried it.

Voila! (Or Viola?) It's simple!! You can pay on the spot for a day pass ($5.00) by credit card. (I paid the yearly $75 fee. The day AFTER a groupon expired for $37. Sigh.) You get 30 minutes to get to your next location before you incur more fees. So this is not the bike to take if you want to go for a 2-hour ride somewhere (although really, that would only cost another $3, so it wouldn't kill you either). You can use the bike as often as you like in a day, but only the first 30 minutes (each time you take it out) are included in the day rate.

But the yearly fee isn't bad, and it's for a good cause: Making the streets safe for the non-car bound!

You get the cutest little key for your keyring!

The bikes are heavy duty but fun to ride. Three speeds, with a handy basket in the front. I generally ride on the sidewalk because they're not exactly nimble and I do still value my life.

So far, only once have I wanted to use one and found them all gone. It was 7:45 a.m., and I just wanted a quick ride to Metro, but apparently so did everyone else. The other problem can be getting to the other end and finding there are no open docks. But Bikeshare promises that every 15-20 minutes they have someone shuffling the bikes around by truck. I've never seen it but I trust them.

But the best part is, whenever I find myself someplace in the city where I think, I could really use a bike, I turn around and, like magic, there they are!

For instance, my hair place is at 1522 U Street, which is about a 15 minute walk from the Metro or my bus stop. Not bad, but since I'm usually late to begin with, I inevitably end up jumping in a cab. No more!

View How Convenient Is This? in a larger map

If you're city doesn't already have this, I'm really sorry! The town I work in, one stop north of D.C., doesn't have it, which kind of sucks since if it did I could definitely ride all the way to work. So I feel for you. But it's the greatest idea ever, and I have NO idea why everyone does not use this.

Next: SharedBites.

I honestly thought blogging had jumped the shark. (I think jumping the shark has jumped the shark.) Who knew that there were still people out there churning these things out every few days??!

But I happened to stumble across this blog belonging to a D.C. Tri-chicka who I used to swim next to 16 lanes away from at Monday night Catholic University swim practice. (Not to put too fine a point on it, she was in the fast lane. You already know which lane I was in.)

Turns out? She has hidden talents. Not only did she marry the captain of D.C. Tri, she is a wildly brilliant blogger and baker. She has a baking blog (baking blogs are the running blog of the '10s). Someone should create the Baking Blog Family (is that thing still on?? Hi Mark!)

If you like baking, which I do, or you just like reading about baking (check!), you really must check this thing out.

Ms. Katie has a way with words and photos that make you just want to get all barefoot and preggers and in the kitchen.

I made her vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my boy's gluten-free sister, for Easter (only it turns out that, ha, vegan, does NOT mean gluten-free! Live and learn!), and they were phenomenal. PHENOMENAL! I ate them all and then joined Weight Watchers the next night. No, seriously, I did.)

I can't believe I didn't take any pictures. Trust me, these were fantastic. And so healthy! Like eating a bowl of oatmeal! With sugar, oil, and chocolate chips. Yum.

Need I say more?

Check her out. And tell her I sent you!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Now, Back to Our Show

So, it looks like I took a little break there. Heh. The problem with breaks is not so much the break as it is the starting up again. As you can imagine, not only did I take a break from blogging, but I pretty much took a break from the whole run, swim, bike thing too.

And, funnily enough, I started feeling way more aches and pains while NOT exercising. Weird huh?

First I developed this thing called achilles enthesitis, the main symptom of which was my achilles feeling like it was rubber band about to snap at any moment. The podiatrist told me to stay off my feet for six weeks, use a heel lift (or even to wear heels, if I owned any which I do not), and especially to STOP walking up and down the D.C. Metro escalator, which had pretty much become my only form of daily exercise since I moved in April of 2010. I might not be running, biking or swimming, but at least I was walking up those damn escalators twice a day!

But no. Turns out that was hurting more than helping.

Nothing for it but to fully embrace couch potato-hood, which in the dead of a D.C. winter, wasn't all that hard to do.

But I started feeling the old stirrings. I actually missed moving. Who knew?

The only thing I was really allowed to do was swim, so I mustered up all my courage (because, when you last left your heroine, she pretty much had grown to hate and detest swimming).

But the new, improved Not Born to Run has a new philosophy: No, not "Just Do It." More like, "Just Do What You Can."

I like it!

Thus mentally prepared for all contingencies, I got in the lovely 50-meter D.C. public Wilson pool (1 short mile from home), and did whatever I could. 100 m kick, 100 m pull, some flippers, a few meandering freestyles, and badda bing, 600 meters later, I'm good!

And? I actually WAS good!

I had only one New Year's resolution this year, and that was: To pay attention to my body.

And that meant paying attention to something that I had hoped if I ignored would eventually go away: Back pain.

Some of you who know me know I have had serious back issues before. In fact, I had been advised to have surgery at one point, but declined, deciding instead to try alternative therapies, including strengthening and running. So back problems scare me. And since my move in April 2010, mine had been hurting more and more, to the point that getting out of bed in the morning had become actually painful. I had trouble standing up straight. It pretty much hurt all the time.

(I don't know why I'm writing in the past tense here. Wishful thinking? Cuz things are the same.)

Anywho, to make a long story short, a few weeks ago I went to an orthopedic surgeon (not on my in$urance!), got an MRI (not covered til you meet your $1,800 deductible!) and then had an epiphany after receiving a marketing email from Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy, about this tri-chick who had suffered from back pain for years, and how Sports and Spinal cured her.

You don't have to tell me twice. I made an appointment and two weeks ago started seeing the lovely and incredibly toned Sonja.

Who, like so many other authority figures in my life, took one look at me and said, "You have so much potential!"


The good news is that she is very optimistic about my condition (whatever it is), and thinks she can turn things around. Apparently my spine has a lot of problems, one of which is it's about as flexible as (in her words) a "two-by-four."

She gave me some very specific exercises to do for my back and for a related ITB issue (the fun never stops). Plus swimming 2x week and spinning 1x week.

The first week I dove right in: swim, spin, swim, spin, swim...and? Get bronchitis!!

Oh wait. That wasn't part of the plan?

And that's where we are. In bed, feeling my chest rattle, looking up "pneumonia" on Web MD. (You know, just in case.)

But, I feel like I'm back, mentally at least.

And every time I go swimming, or sit through a spin class, I find myself composing a blog post.

Old habits die hard, eh?

So, in closing: I never thought I'd say it, but

I miss you, running. I'm sorry I let you down, biking. Let's try again, shall we, swimming?

But no threesomes for a while, ok?