Lately.

Selfie, 4/22

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, and I really miss it! I could spend a few minutes sharing all the excuses and reasons that I haven’t posted since February (oops), but you wouldn’t read it anyway, so let’s move on.

I have a few backlogs of thought explosions, and so, I thought it best to focus on one at a time. So, here we go for today: An Opinion on Opinions.

Recently, I’ve come to realize that many people like sharing their opinions (okay, that’s a lie, that’s something that I have always noticed). However, what I really have noticed is that many individuals, often cloaked under the guise of over-exaggerated analogies (I am looking at you, “Abusive Partner” story that’d going around) are becoming more insistent that somehow, their extreme, emotion-based rants will somehow change the minds of the opposing view.

For them, and for everyone – that’s not how it works. At all.

Society thrives with a diversity of thought. We move ahead, together, when we stop and LISTEN. But LISTENING requires conversations, not one-sided rants and an unwillingness to understand where someone is coming from.

Often, the problem that many find ourselves in – especially on the Internet – is that we frequent spaces that quickly become echo chambers. We bounce our ideas off of people we are confident will agree with us, and that can be dangerous. I am definitely guilty of this! The first step in moving past these pockets, however, is to go beyond expressing thought beyond gut-feelings, and share real-life examples, and even better, fact-based evidence to support the topics we express.

It’s easy to attack an idea, but when we share our humanity, I believe we can reach a point where we can step back and think: wait, maybe this person has a point, and maybe, we can do something about it to make it better.

For me, this was proven to me in my recent reading of Aubrey Gordon’s “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat.” I am an avid listener of Gordon’s “Maintenance Phase” podcast, and was eager to hear more from her on a topic I admittedly knew very little about. Listening (I read via the audiobook, checked out from my local library) to her stories, presented with scientific studies, real-life anecdotes, and an objective voice that was both confident and compelling, I was often uncomfortable, outside of my knowledge base, and, as the chapters unfolded, open to receiving that message.

In this life, there will be things we do not understand, but it’s our responsibility to educate and better ourselves. We will be wrong sometimes, but that willingness to listen will make the difference.

Side note: I’ve also learned, and have been actively practicing this lesson: it’s not our job to debate every bold statement we see or hear. Emotional health is important. Choose your battles.

Until next time (and a lighter topic),

Krissy

Peloton check-in

Three weeks and about 90 miles in, and I can say, with confidence, that the upgrade has been definitely worth it!

If you know me and my Peloton enthusiasm, it’s hard to believe that it could increase, but this move to the Peloton bike has certainly done just that….so here’s a few thoughts I had to share:

DELIVERY

My delivery day, Monday, February 8, was much anticipated and happily for me, everything went very smoothly. I had been reading and hearing about lots of supply chain delays, but my bike not only was delivered on the first scheduled date, but even a bit ahead of schedule (the original time was 6-8 PM, and I received a phone call from a NYC area code at 4 PM that the delivery drivers were en route).

The actual delivery/set-up process was efficient as well. There were two delivery persons (Rick and Kayla), and one came to the door, introduced himself and gave me an overview of the process. I showed Rick where the bike was to be placed in our house, and he told me there would be no issue in that placement. Then, he told me he’d be doing the last bike assembly steps, sanitizing the surfaces of it, then wheeling it in with his delivery partner, Kayla. That took about 10-15 minutes, then they brought it in (along with my ordered accessories – the shoes, weights, and earphones), then walked me through the screen setup on the tablet. Since I was already quite familiar with the app, it went very quickly so the bike was all ready to go!

“FIRST” RIDE

It was tough, as I had to wait a few hours until hitting that first ride on the new bike (dinner, bedtime, etc), but I logged my first ride on my new bike (and 298th official Peloton ride) around 8 PM with a 10-minute low-impact ride with my favorite instructor, Emma. Of course, it was extra magical as it was her newest Disney themed ride!

I had scheduled my workouts so that the next morning, I’d hit my milestone 300th ride, which worked out great!!

BIKE DIFFERENCES

Celebrating ride #300 on my new bike was a little bittersweet, as I recognize the role that my first bike played in developing my love for indoor cycle; to be honest, I’d still wholeheartedly recommend my original bike to anyone! From the sturdy construction, reliability, and ease of use, the Horizon bike is definitely a great way to get started with this type of exercise.

So, what, if any, differences have I noticed since making the move?

  • RESISTANCE – not only is the way you control resistance different (Horizon: lever, Peloton: knob), but the subtlety in small increases (or decreases) is significant! With my old bike, I could only move in +/- 10 percentage points (i.e 20 to 30) whereas with Peloton, it’s by 1’s, and I can SEE the change clearly displayed on the screen. This small change has not only caused me to be more mindful on a ride, but helped me understand how hard I am working on a ride. Of course, all bikes are calibrated differently, but seeing those numbers, and how I can improve them with small increases has really upped my game.
  • TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION – as alluded to above, seeing concrete data has changed the way I ride; not only with the calculations and data reports of resistance, cadence and output (which is totally new to me!), I’ve had such a great time with the other little niceties, like being able to add songs I like from rides to a Spotify playlist, having my mileage tracked with Strava, and seeing how my performance stacks up to other riders, friends, and groups I am part of. I really feel connected to a community, even when I am not live-riding with someone (which I hope to do soon!)
  • FEEL – I had debated the idea of swapping Peloton pedals (which come standard with LOOK-Delta) to accommodate my SPD cleats/shoes, but as of now, I’ve actually been surprised at how much I like the standard Peloton shoes and cleats. I had read so much about the difficulties of clipping in/out, and how the shoes were narrow, that when I tried them for myself, I was pleased to find those were not issues for me. The shoes are actually quite comfortable for my foot shape and size, and I appreciate the ability to customize the fit with the straps/ratchet clip. Additionally, I really like the solid feel I have under each foot with these pedals.

FTP TEST/POWER ZONE TRAINING

Now, to the biggest reason I looked into purchasing the bike – setting off on a new training regiment with FTP and Power Zones (PZs)!

There is a technical explanation on the Peloton blog, but a simple explanation is this: it’s a way to test your current level of power/fitness/efficiency, then train to improve it – all tracked in real, measurable data. This valuable training is not only a great way to challenge yourself, but for me, an excellent gauge to refer to in goal-setting in this stage of my endurance-sports loving life that has been unfortunately devoid of in-person events (aka I MISS RACES!)

It took me about two weeks to familiarize myself with the bike before I was ready to take the leap, but last Saturday, I decided it was the day!! I started wit the 10-minute warm-up ride in the “Featured” section of the app, under “Discover Your Power Zones” then went right into the 20-minute FTP test. OH MY GOODNESS! It started out okay, but before long, I was wondering how I’d complete the test without throwing up or passing out! Accomplishing that ride felt incredible, and though I wasn’t even sure how my “score” at the end stacked up to anything else, I was proud to earn it, and knew that it was a baseline, something I knew I could work to improve!

After the test, my FTP average was calculated to my 7 PZs, and added to a display on my screen. This way, in whatever cycling class I take, I can see what level I am performing at, and easily, visually set goals for each workout.

Since then, I’ve taken a variety of cycling classes (including the recommended training rides), as well as increased my frequency of strength and stretching classes. In just the past week, I’ve inadvertently hit some new PR’s, which I anticipate will happen more frequently now as I settle into understanding my fitness level – kind of like running, how you come out of the gate hot at the beginning. I look forward to continuing that momentum, but being very mindful of the balance in a varied training schedule.

UPCOMING GOALS/CHALLENGES

In addition to PZs, I will continue to work on my milestone rides, and my stretch goal at this point is to hit 500 rides on my birthday. I just hit 500 lifetime workouts (combined) and at 321 cycling classes at this point, so it’s possible, but I will monitor my progress as I work to integrate more running back into my schedule, too.

As silly as it sounds, I have been a little bummed out that I have not yet had a “shout it” for a milestone ride, though it’s not something that’s necessarily a big deal, especially since I have had such great support from friends and fellow riders. STILL! I will work to get one! Haha! I changed my leaderboard name again, and I think this is the catchiest, most-fun, and most descriptive of me yet: MinnieVanMom.

I am so thankful that I decided to start with Peloton, and even happier that the bike has added to the challenge and enjoyment. At this stage in my life, as well as this time in the world, home workouts have been a lifesaver, and are more convenient than ever.

If you’ve considered one but have questions, definitely shoot me a message or comment! Or, if you have one already (or a tread!) you should add me so we can workout together!

Save $100 on accessories when you purchase the Peloton bike or tread with this code: NWQM57

Minivan Life

Our 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

In early October, we traded in our 2017 Toyota Highlander for a 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited. It was a vehicle transition long in the making, as I had been researching minivans for a few months before we finally made the change. Now, just cresting 2,000 miles, I thought I’d share my thoughts on our move to a minivan.

Now, some people think of minivans as uncool, but let’s be honest – there are a lot of things about parenthood that are uncool, and caring what other people think of my car??? Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that! But what do I DO have time for? A comfortable ride, entertainment features for kids, functional seating arrangements AND tech to make my life easier? YES.

As it was, the Highlander was no longer the functional fit for our family. Now, the design has changed since our model year (you can now have a 7 or 8 seater, with optional captain’s seats in the second row), but when it came to our vehicle, there was a lot of wasted space. Since both Abby and Ellie are in convertible car seats, it wasn’t easy to access the third row if/when needed (you had to climb!), and due to the size of their seats, that wasn’t really a thing we could change. Additionally, I had grown wary of the door swing in tight parking spots, plus the fact that we had a lower-trim vehicle without power liftgate, and difficult-to-clean cloth seats.

So, the research began. First, I chatted with other minivan owners; friends, family, neighbors – and started making a list of prospective vehicles. I quickly narrowed down the search to these top three:

  1. Honda Odyssey
  2. Toyota Sienna
  3. Chrysler Pacifica

All three of these minivans featured the creature comforts that I was seeking, albeit at different price points and trim levels. At this point in the search, I was considering both new and certified pre-owned, and studied the manufacturer websites, blogs, and many YouTube videos (Tom Voelk’s was my favorite!) to learn more.

Now, I have to admit, the first two vans in my list were virtual no-brainers to include – after all, I usually gravitate toward those brands (my car history: 1988 Toyota Corolla, 2007 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota Rav4, 2017 Toyota Highlander), but there was something about the Pacifica that demanded a second look. From the increased amount of features, to segment differentiators like Stow-n-Go seating, plus the option to go Hybrid (at the time, it was the only minivan that offered it; the 2021 Toyota Sienna is the first model year to go hybrid), I was definitely being drawn in that direction.

At that point, hubs joined in the research game with me, and wouldn’t you know it, automatically eliminated the Sienna, on account of, “okay, that’s just ugly.”

So, it was Odyssey vs. Pacifica!

Taken on my December 2018 trip to Disneyland 😉

Now, if that above van was available, the decision would have been a lot easier! Haha! But really, now can you see how long I have been interested in minivans?

2021 Honda Odyssey

Anyhow, we set out to test drive our top two contenders at local dealers; and if there is anything positive you can say about purchasing a car during COVID, it’s this: you get to take the test drive on your own (no salesman in the vehicle). It was nice being able to poke around the console, drive around the places we’d be frequenting, and just get a feel of the vehicle.

Now, this is where I must admit that I surprised myself. See, I felt that the Pacifica had a lot to offer, but that I would ultimately prefer the Odyssey…but, it just wasn’t the case. The Odyssey was definitely nice, and I loved the dash (I had never experienced Apple Carplay, for example), but it felt too much like I was driving a car. After years of small/mid-size SUVs, I was used to the visibility, and this didn’t mesh with that for me – though, at that point, I thought it was something I could probably get used to.

Then, we checked out the Pacifica.

From the first time I opened the door, I already knew it was my favorite. The finishes were nice, but not overdone. The seats were comfortable, the features plentiful, and it just felt like a good fit for us. We did a little digging online, and decided to move forward with the Hybrid trim, as the tax incentives were very attractive, and the idea of not going to the gas station as often was very promising!

We were ready to trade up, but the first dealership we visited was a no-go. Hubs is a fan of negotiating, and they just wouldn’t budge! And to our surprise, they didn’t even try to stop us when we walked out the door. So, we let it go, and went back to the internet to look for a better dealer fit.

There she is!

It just so happened that after returning home from that dealership, I decided to open the search from 25 miles from our home, to 50 miles – which allowed us to see inventory at a dealer we hadn’t considered. For some reason, they had a LOT of the Pacifica, and specifically, a lot of the hybrid! So, it was up the road 40 miles that next weekend, where we test drive the van that would become our new family vehicle.

Plugging in at the park!

The experience was very smooth, and our salesman, Robert, was very courteous and helpful. We were able to get the sale taken care of, plus our trade-in, and all negotiations in time to hit dinner on the way home, and even a fun pickup of our friends Laurel and Dan (a fun story for another time!)

On the road!

Since bringing the van home, we’ve been very pleased – and me especially, as we’ve only had to fill the gas twice! The electric range with the plug-in is approximately 32 miles, which covers daily errands/taking Abby to school, and the convenience factors of the automatic doors, easily configurable seating, built in DVD players, and Apple Car Play are incredible; not to mention the upgraded features I never knew I needed: heated (and vented!) seats, heated steering wheel, remote vehicle start, and of course, that beautiful tri-pane sunroof.

So, long story short – I would definitely recommend this van, and am so glad we decided to make the move!

Leveling up to the Peloton Bike!

Level up!

After riding with the Peloton Digital App for 8+ months (and 209 rides), I am officially upgrading from Fauxloton to Peloton! As I mentioned in my 200-ride milestone post, I am thankful for the journey I’ve taken so far, and looking back, I am very grateful for the timing and progression of my Peloton experience.

When I first started out with indoor cycling, I had no idea what to expect. The closest experience I had until ordering my first bike was that of the laid-back, low-impact bikes often found in hotel gyms or the like – just leisure pedaling, as a way of recovering after weight-lifting or running. Now, with an assortment of Peloton cycling classes under my belt, I’ve discovered the basics of cadence, resistance, HIIT and Tabata rides, and more. I’ve taken classes with almost all of the current Peloton instructors (I still need to take a class with Cliff Dwenger, the latest German-language instructor), and know who to go-to for different sorts of rides, and what cool-down and post-ride stretches work best for me.

Although I may be upgrading to the Peloton bike, I am still a huge fan of the Horizon Bike that has carried me roughly 1,000 miles (I don’t have a clear number, as my odometer was reset prematurely) and ignited my interest in indoor cycling.

So, you may be asking…why upgrade now?

Here are my reasons:

  1. Data Compilation – with my current set-up, the data from each ride is very basic: duration, HR, and cadence. Although I can control resistance on my bike manually, the data is not shared with the Peloton app, or even to my onboard bike computer, which means I do not have power calculations (the info that’s used for the leaderboard, or Power Zones, for FTP (functional threshold power) testing. Of course, this is not necessary for everyone, however, as a runner, I thrive on that data, and am eager to measure performance improvement! Realistically, I don’t see road races coming back in their “normal” format for at least another six months, and I am ready for some measurable goal-setting!
  2. Social Engagement – riding “with friends” has been more of a nebulous experience with the app, as it does not have a traditional leaderboard, and searches via hashtag are not accessible during a ride. I have spent many a ride, trying to find friends by endlessly scrolling; an especially daunting experience when popular rides top at 4K+ riders! I am excited to ride alongside friends and celebrate milestones, and maybe even notice high-5’s!
  3. Spotify Integration – while it’s the instructors that personalize each ride, I’d say the robust collection of music are integral to the enjoyment of many a challenging workout, and I cannot begin to count the amount of times I’ve thought, “wow, I LOVE this song!” only to forget to go back and look it up later, or if it’s live, just be thinking about it for the rest of the ride. With the bike, you can save songs directly to Spotify!
  4. Efficiency/Convenience – if I were to rate my current experience, I’d give it a B! I know I am getting a great workout, and there are not SO many moving pieces that I get frustrated, but I have to admit that I look forward to it just being smoother/easier! Many a workout, I’ve forgotten to start my watch, or the connection with my phone and TV drops, or the HR monitor flakes out…you get the picture! Additionally, I recall the ease of moving straight into a cool-down ride or post-ride stretch on the bike, whereas I have to exit out, do another search, etc. It’s not a LOT of time, but in the long run, 2-3 min here and there, daily…that’s time I could be doing something else!

So, with those reasons in mind, I researched my options for upgrade: the original Peloton Bike, and the new (September 2020 release) Peloton Bike+. I read several articles, chatted with owners, and watched a handful of YouTube videos, which resulted in my ultimate decision of moving to the Bike.

Peloton

Now, I don’t think you can go wrong with either bike (here’s the official comparison page). The original is popular, and does so much! However, the Bike+ does have a few upgrades worth noting: auto-resistance (as in, the bike will adjust to target ranges automatically in On-Demand classes), larger monitor, ability to swivel the screen (for floor exercises/bootcamps), larger memory, better camera (for video chats), integration with Apple Health GymKit, better speakers, and a bit of an enhanced appearance (just looks a little more sleek/futuristic).

Ultimately, it came down to what I need – and in my current setup:

  • I don’t need the swivel (I have a wall-mounted TV in front of the bike)
  • I use headphones for 95% of my bike rides
  • I use a Garmin, not Apple Watch

So, with a savings of $600 (difference between Bike and Bike+), it was definitely an easy decision to make!

I completed my order this morning, and my delivery is scheduled for February 8! I am very excited to take my training to the next level, and look forward to learning even more.

If you’re looking to make the move to Peloton Bike (or tread) you can use my referral code (see below) for $100 off accessories. Or, if you just want to chat all things Peloton, find me on twitter or Instagram, because I could chat ALL day on it (if you know me IRL, you already know this, haha)!!!

What are your fitness goals for the new year? I am excited to get working on mine now!!!

My Peloton Referral Code: NWQM57

200 (rides) + 1,200 (miles)

Happy 200 to me!

Six months after hitting my first Century milestone, I have crossed 200 rides on the Peloton Digital App!

I would have never imagined that in late December, we would still be in the throes of a global pandemic, but here we are, and I am glad I had the foresight to prepare for it. Running has been going better than expected too, though I haven’t done any hard/speed workouts, I hit my annual goal of 1,200 miles run, so despite the rest of the craziness of 2020, I’m feeling good about my fitness progress.

It’s kind of fun to look back on my Instagram highlight reel to see how it all started, and how things have progressed over the last few months. Prior to purchasing my indoor cycle, I had never tried a spin class. I’d thought about them many times, but for some reason, never had the chance. Learning all about this discipline has been a fun adventure, and it continues to be! Discovering the opportunities to not only supplement my running goals, but to set, and work toward other milestones – including distance and performance-based targets – it’s been worth it all!

On top of the physical aspect of riding the bike, it’s been great connecting with other Peloton enthusiasts online (my favorite groups are Peloton Pacific Northwest, as well as Peloton Digital App users), and discussing rides and workouts with friends who have the bike and/or tread. The Peloton community is a lively one, and I am glad to be part of it, especially when most other avenues of socializing are not possible!

In the new year, I am looking to work toward measuring my progress, and I have a few ideas on how to get there! I am excited for what the future brings, and just so thankful for this outlet.

If you’re thinking about Peloton (the digital app, bike, or tread), I definitely recommend it. And if you’re already there, thanks for sharing this adventure with me!

Peloton LB: MinneVanMom

Yeti Ultra 24-hour Challenge

I first heard about this absurd challenge a few months back from my friends Carlee and Kat – the basic premise of this “ultra” was simple: run 5 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours, which, if executed correctly, would yield approximately 30 miles.

At the time, it did not sound like something I was remotely interested in. This was in April, near the beginning of Stay at Home orders (sigh), and I was still training for my marathon (double sigh).

Well, since then, I’ve been running the gamut of running-related emotions, and needed a positive outlet, which I was happy to find with my DONNA team, as well as a new goal: 110-miles! So, I figured I’d just start piling on the miles, and then come up with a proper training plan in the late fall.

Of course, once again, 2020 threw us some curveballs with a delightful late fire season, so that meant two weeks of no running, on account of bad AQI, as well as local fires and power outages. Nevertheless, once the air returned to crisp and clear, I knew I would never that for granted again, and started back on the run.

You still with me? 😉

Anywho, as my thumbs seemed to be getting a better workout than the rest of my body as I scrolled through Instagram, I re-happened upon the idea of taking on this Yeti Ultra 24-hour Challenge just last weekend. I thought maybe, I could take this on in a few weeks, and see how I held up. My friends Jess and Sam had just done a more extreme version of it – an extended David Goggins Challenge (the infamous 4x4x48 – four miles, every four hours, for 48 hours), so I felt even more inspired!

So, last night, I committed – with relatively good weather, decent running shape, and not much to lose (I officially have no “real” races on the horizon), I set out with my schedule, starting at 8:15 PM.

RUN 1: 8:15 PM – 5.06 miles, 47:19, 9:21 pace

Run 1 was like any other run, really. I often run after we put the kids to bed, so I stuck to my normal 5-mile. I listened to the “You’re Wrong About” podcast and just had a nice, easy run. Once I returned home, I showered, watch the “Father of the Bride 3-ish” special, then went to bed.

RUN 2: 12:15 AM – 5.1 miles, 48:57, 9:36 pace

Run 2 was a little weird, obviously, getting up to run in the middle of the night. I listened to the second part of the podcast I had started 4-hours earlier, and modified my route slightly to avoid the big up and down hill that I usually run (I’d run it earlier). I found it to be warmer than expected, and was able to run in my Oiselle flyout tank without getting sweaty, which allowed me to skip a shower after this leg (when I got home from the run I just sat quietly at the dining table sipping water). I changed into dry clothes, and set the alarm for 4 AM.

RUN 3: 4:15 AM – 5.11 miles, 49:31, 9:41 pace

This run was the hardest yet, I just felt like I was jittery from the alarm going off, and I couldn’t really relax. I switched to the WDW Radio Podcast and just tried to get in the zone. Not an eventful run, though I did see elk (in the distance), which was cool. Upon returning home from that run, I showered, wrapped my wet hair in a t-shirt and hit the hay to wake at 8 AM.

RUN 4: 8:15 AM – 5.05 miles, 47:15, 9:21 pace

After waking and getting dressed, I headed downstairs, where hubs and the girls were eating breakfast. I ate half of an english muffin sandwich, drank a glass of water, then headed out. This run, I was excited to listen to another episode of “You’re Wrong About” (about Anastasia!) and just zoned into the run. When I got back home and hit my Garmin, I was amused to see how close in pace that this run was to the first one.

RUN 5: 12:15 PM – 5.01 miles, 46:03, 9:12 pace

Now, believe it or not, this was the run I was most intimidated by. Despite the fact that it’s not “hot” by any means (it was 63 degrees), I’ve not done a midday run in – well, I can’t remember the last time I’ve done a midday run. Still, I laced up, loaded up my Spotify playlist, and just ran to an old mix I’d created for my marathon training, many moons ago. Fun fact in this run? I stopped at a friend’s house to pick up some old running gear, so I did this run with a cinch backpack, stopped at her house on the route, and carried the gear home! Extra bonus points for that? LOL

RUN 6: 4:15 PM – 5.10 miles, 51:22, 10:03 pace

I felt it big time on this run! I didn’t really feel fatigued, but OH MY GOSH, I had taken on some major CHAFE over the past two daytime runs and therefore, it was getting a little painful. Thankfully, I was able to push through with my pocket jogger shorts, which turned out to be even more great since about a mile it, the skies opened up and I was caught in a major downpour – I’m talking Florida-style, rivers running down the street, water sloshing in your sleeves and shoes, good ol’ fashioned rainy slog. Oh boy.

To alleviate a bit of the weather, I altered the course to hop onto a gravel trail that had a steep grade and I did a fair amount of alternating walking and jogging. I finished up the run with a small burst of energy and brought it in, a grand total of 30.39 miles at a pretty peppy clip.

SO, WAS IT WORTH IT?

Absolutely, yes! With the absence of “normal,” in-person races, this scratched my itch for something out of the box, challenging, and left me feeling proud of my accomplishment.

I don’t fathom doing another challenge like this anytime soon, as I correctly hypothesized that I’d prefer to get a long distance done in one fell swoop, rather than with restless intervals, but I appreciated the “different” feel of exhaustion.

I would recommend this challenge to anyone looking for a little push, and believe you me – you’ll feel that victory at the end!

THANK YOU

Thank you to my dear husband for humoring me in this endeavor, and my kids for not driving him TOO crazy today! 😉

So, if you’ll allow me to pop outta here…time to EAT!

Additional info: I rotated four pairs of shoes for this challenge:

  • Reebok FloatRide Run Fast (leg 1)
  • New Balance FuelCell Rebel (leg 2 and 5)
  • Hoka Clifton 6 (leg 3 and 6)
  • New Balance FuelCell Echo (leg 4)

Also, since this challenge took place during the Womxn Run the Vote Relay, it was extra fun to enter my runs and see that at the point I submitted my 4th run, my “Sunshine Voters” teammates and I had crossed the finish a day early (680+ miles)!

The Bike

Since April, I’ve pedaled 817 miles to nowhere on my Horizon IC7.9 Indoor Spin Bike, and taken 129 Peloton cycling classes, ranging from warm-up/cool-down rides to 45-minute Interval classes. I’ve really enjoyed the versatility of the Peloton app as well – using it for both indoor and outdoor runs, stretches, strength workouts and the family cardio classes that we can participate in via our Apple TV.

On the Bike

Of course, until recently, my comparisons between the experience of riding my personal spin bike with the Peloton digital app vs. the
“full package” of the Peloton Bike (with integrated screen and associated statistics) were not based on personal experience – just on reading site after site, post after post online.

So, as you might guess, I was stoked to finally take a spin (har har) on the Peloton bike on our recent visit to the Skamania Lodge, which boasts two Pelotons in their Fitness Center.

I had prepared myself for my ride by brushing up on what I’d need to be ready for my ride – my watch set up to broadcast heart rate data (I have a Garmin 645, so I could use that rather than tote along my usual Scosche HR monitor) and appropriate footwear (most hotel Pelotons have toe cage pedals, which is what this one had).

Upon entering the Fitness Center, I made a beeline to the bike (although there are two in the gym, due to COVID, one is covered up/unplugged for distancing), adjusted the seat down, and logged in with my Peloton profile. From there, I selected a 5-minute warm-up ride to acquaint myself.

Peloton screen

From the get-go, the first noticeable difference was that I felt a little further back than usual, but not uncomfortably so. You see, on the Peloton, you can adjust the handlebars up and down, as well as the seat, where my bike also allows forward and back adjustments to the seat. I just had to remind myself to keep my back flat, shoulders back, and I was fine. EDITED: After posting this to a Peloton group, I learned that I just didn’t know WHERE the adjustment was, and that there IS adjustment from front to back! Yay!!

That first ride flew by, as I acquainted myself with the interface and data screens. Though I’ve done dozens of warm-up rides in the past, it was my first time seeing the leaderboard (with the digital app, you only see “here now”), as well as seeing my output displayed (a figure calculated by your cadence and resistance readouts). Additionally, I played around with the resistance knob, and was surprised at the slight nuance in increases and decreases, since my bike only adjusts +/- 10, whereas you can move by 1’s on the Peloton, not to mention, you can see the actual read out on the screen.

Post-ride screen.

For my next ride, I chose a 30-minute Pop Ride with Cody, as he’s one of my go-to instructors for when I want a fun class with options to push myself or take it easy (since we were doing a hike later that day). As the class started, I discovered that the cadence and resistance call-outs made by the instructor were displayed above the readouts (with +/- indicators), which was really nice! Obviously, that is not an option on the app, as I don’t have that data available, I just “wing it” if I miss an instruction, and am always guessing at the appropriate resistance measure.

Throughout the ride, I scrolled through the leaderboard statistics, and worked to figure out what the rankings meant, and was excited to see that you could click on the music icon to see what current track was playing, and even save it (presumably to a playlist). I got/gave a few high-5’s, which was a lot easier to do than with the app.

Another surprise? THE SWEAT. Okay, I have to say this was kind of funny – over 100 rides in, I’m not saying I don’t usually sweat on my bike at home (because yes, I definitely do), but here, it was BUCKETS of sweat. And it wasn’t like the gym was too hot! And I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself significantly more than usual (as indicated by my HR data) but I was thankful for that gym towel to mop my brow! I had wondered why fellow members of the Peloton facebook groups I am in commented so much about the need for purchasing a mat to protect floors from sweat, as I hadn’t ever had that issue at home (maybe just a few drops, easy to clean up with wipes or a paper towel) but here, what a difference!

Post-ride selfie!

After the ride, I jumped on a cool-down (another PR, haha, that happens when you have only done a few bike rides, I suppose!), then scrolled through screens for a few minutes. The general feeling I had was that of incredible INTEGRATION. Aside from the physical difference of knowing my output, I appreciated having so much information available just clicks away.

I still believe that you can replicate the general experience pretty closely, but the difference between taking classes on the app, vs. logging in to the bike – it’s night and day! And this was with the toe cages, mind you – had I been clipped in, as I do with my own bike, I think I would’ve been pushed right over the edge.

So, tl;dr, if you were lost anywhere along the way, here’s a comparison between my bike and set-up vs. The Peloton, here we go:

BIKE HARDWARE

  • I was pleased to find that the overall feel was similar – comfortable and solid. I did feel a bit more secure in the ‘out of the saddle’ portions on the Peloton, but I think this is due to the thick, rubberized floor of the gym, compared to my floor at home.
  • I was pleased that the Peloton felt comfortable at 5’2″.
  • It just looks cool!

BIKE SOFTWARE

  • The screen is so good. I love how everything is right at your fingertips, and the interface is so intuitive.
  • Seeing all my stats in front of me was more powerful than the Leaderboard, but I could also see how that could be fun and competitive.

SOCIAL INTEGRATION

  • Okay, this is the thing I was most impressed by – integration to Strava (no waiting to upload Garmin data and no editing mileage (which I have to do with my current setup).
  • Seeing who was online, all-time stats, as well as filtering by hashtags – so fun! I imagined that this would be distracting during a ride, but seeing as it’s so easy to click around, it really wasn’t. On my own bike + phone, I really am just not coordinated enough for this.

In all, I can confidently say if you’re looking for a good workout, any bike and the app will work just fine…but if you want to push yourself, be insanely motivated, and become one with the Peloton universe…this is the way to go!

Skamania Staycation

This week, thanks to the generous assistance of my sister and brother-in-law, hubs and I took a three-day, two-night staycation 3.5 hours south to Stevenson, WA for rest, recreation and relaxation!

Skamania Lodge / Stevenson, WA

We chose Skamania Lodge as our home base for the trip, and we were very satisfied with the pick!

You can see our room from the back of the resort – top floor, right middle windows

The property itself is gorgeous – nestled into the hillside right above the Columbia River, and its low-occupancy due to COVID (I feel like the resort must have been operating at 10-20%) made it especially quiet and relaxing.

‘Windows on the Gorge’ Room

I was glad we went with this category room, as it had a lot of space, had a gorgeous view, plus was well-appointed with my resort must-haves:

  • Multiple outlets and USB plugs to charge phones/devices
  • Sitting space
  • Lots of light sources (natural, with big windows, plus tons of different lamps, great for reading)
  • Large coat closet with luggage valets

I also really appreciated the swivel mounted flat screen TV, so you could move it to face the couch or the bed.

Tall and impressive fireplace in the cozy lobby!

Aside from the room, the grounds and facility were well-maintained and modern. I appreciated the decor/theming (felt like a “real life” Wilderness Lodge), but loved how small and intimate it felt, too. For another Disney comparison, the feel was similar to that of Kidani Lodge, with a smaller check-in area and comfortable – rather than imposing – lobby.

Outdoor firepit area

Check-in was stress-free, and despite us arriving much earlier than the official check-in time, our room was ready immediately! It was nice to be able to head up right away, lug up our bags, then get to exploring the resort and town.

DAY 1Tuesday, Sept 1, afternoon

We headed into Stevenson that afternoon, and though we initially drove, we ended up just parking and walking around. Although we didn’t get to try out a brew pub that had been on my list (Walking Man Brewery) since it was closed that day (womp womp), we did have a snack and brew at Red Bluff Tap House, and took a stroll down by the waterfront and saw kite surfers.

That evening, we drove just a few miles down the road to Carson, WA to Backwoods Brewery for dinner where we enjoyed some great brews and an awesome Thai pizza.

DAY 2Wednesday, Sept 2

Wednesday started out chill – we slept in, I read in bed for a while, then we drove into town for a light breakfast from Bigfoot Coffee Roasters, a cute little place attached to the Chevron Gas Station! Normally, it appears to be a small cafe, but with COVID restrictions, it’s been reconfigured to a walk up window, and adjacent outdoor seating. I had an awesome cold brew coffee and a marionberry scone, while hubs had a crossaint breakfast sandwich and cappuccino. We were so happy with our picks and the laid-back feel, and we noticed a taco truck in the parking lot, so decided we’d come back for lunch!

Back at the lodge, I had planned to pop into a gym session (their COVID procedures mandate two guests at a time, in two-hour intervals, with an hour of cleaning time in between) because they boasted Peloton bikes, but alas, I missed the window as the woman who entered the gym with me beelined to the bike! Instead, I headed back to the room, grabbed my book I’d started that morning, and read a few chapters in the sunshine.

That afternoon, we had lunch at the aforementioned taco truck, then headed to White Salmon, WA, where we had booked a Rafting Tour with River Drifters.

On the river with our guide, Peter.

Wow! I have to admit, I was pretty much petrified before this tour, but the professionalism and enthusiasm of the staff, and particularly, our guide Peter, made me way less stress and we had a lot of fun.

After the tour, we changed, and headed to town for dinner (we hit another recommendation: Everybody’s Brewing) and enjoyed great food and drinks. We closed out the evening with a drive across the river to Hood River, OR where we had dessert and cider at Double Mountain Brewery. Both places were awesome!

Back at the lodge, I finished my book (!!) before hitting the hay.

DAY 3Thursday, Sept 3

First Peloton ride!

Our last morning – I did my best to “sleep in” and made it – to 7:30, so I was able to get dressed and ready to try again for a gym slot (8 AM). SUCCESS! I was the only one there at 7:45 AM, and lucky for me, the only one there the whole hour I was in the gym!

As a huge Peloton fan (check out my Century Ride post here), I was simply amped at the chance at riding “the” bike, and I was NOT disappointed! I did three rides (warm up, a 30-min Cody pop ride, and a cool down) and had a blast! I plan on writing a complete post after I finish this trip recap, so stay tuned for that.

After the gym, I showered, packed up, and we set out for coffee (back to Bigfoot!) and our last planned experience: a hike up Dog Mountain!

Dog Mountain Hike

Although we missed the “peak” season for hiking this particular site (if you Google search, you can see how gorgeous it is in wildfolower season), that worked in our favor, in terms of social distancing! We encountered just a handful of fellow hikers both ways, and much to my delight, we did see many cute canines traversing the rocky trails.

The entire hike took us a little over three hours, and we were glad we didn’t go any later in the day, as temps were in the low-90’s by the time we completed it.

From there, we hit the road back home!

It was a short, but rejuvenating trip. It was our first time to discover the Columbia Gorge area, but definitely won’t be our last.

…and from 100 to 110.

Hi again! It’s been a little over a month since my last update, since I didn’t have much to update about, until today.

The September rescheduled version of my June marathon that was cancelled has been, as you may guess – also cancelled.

So, without a marathon to train for the next indeterminate amount of months, I’m switching focus again, inspired greatly by speculation from my last fitness-related goal (26.2 to 100), wherein I aimed for hitting 100 Peloton rides on the day of my last scheduled marathon.

Running 21+ miles yesterday on the marathon course.

Since then, I’ve been running more, and cycling as cross-training, and it’s been going well; but if you know me, you know I need a tangible goal to keep on track, so here are my two new goals:

  1. Hit 150 rides (I’m at 115 now) by September 13.
  2. Begin training to run the Virtual DONNA 110

Yes, thanks to the encouragement of others the last time I posted the number “100,” my commitment to the DONNA Foundation, and the very obvious reality that in-person racing will not be the same for quite some time, I’m switching my focus to distance, and cannot wait to share the journey.

I am still working on all the details of how this 110-mile attempt will shake out, but I am ready to face this big goal, and hope that I might encourage others to jump in on this, or any of the other exciting challenges offered by 26.2 with DONNA! Use my code, KRISSY5 for 5% off any event, and be sure to let them know I sent ya! ❤

Thank YOU, *yes you* again for YOUR support, and I cannot wait to work toward this crazy, exciting new challenge.

Century Club

I did it!

It is June 28, 10:42 AM. I should be celebrating, medal around my neck, chomping down on a grilled cheese sandwich, and reveling in my accomplishment – a Boston Qualifying time, with time to spare, and immense gratitude.

Unfortunately, all the power of visualization couldn’t have prepared me for 2020, the year of chaos and crazy. Since the spring, it was obvious that things were different, and though I thought I might have to make a hard choice, it was ultimately decided for me, and I readjusted.

So, despite it all, I am so thankful to have one of those things I was craving – gratitude – and, even better, I possess it in great, great abundance, and for that, I owe so much to the Peloton community.

Over 100 rides, and 650+ miles, I’ve experienced so much. On the bike, worries really do melt away. Each instructor uses their unique gift to share a personalized experience, and each time I clip in, it’s a new opportunity to learn something new.

My indoor cycling officially kicked off on April 22, after my bike was assembled, and I tried a beginner ride. Since then, I’ve done warm-up rides, themed rides, artist rides, intervals, and more. I’ve pedaled through Asian Heritage Month, stepped up to challenge myself in the All-Star ride, dove in to just listen and feel with Tunde’s Speak Out ride, and celebrated with many uplifting and empowering Pride rides.

As I worked through my own disappointments of the year, I closed my eyes, and reached out for more.

Though I cannot deny that 2020 is a major bummer of a year in so many ways, I am so grateful that there have been shimmers of hope and optimism.

Thank you, Peloton, for reminding me that there’s still so much good out there.

Favorite rides:

  1. Emma’s Coldplay Ride
  2. Ally’s BTS Ride
  3. Robin’s Greatest Showman Ride
  4. Jess King’s Warped Tour Ride
  5. Peloton All-Star Ride w/ Alex Toussaint