Cardio Junkie in the Making

Strength training and cardio 2 to 3 times per week has been a part of my routine since the my early 20’s; however, intense cardio wouldn’t become a way of life until I started training for my first marathon when I was 39. Sure, I ran regularly, but without a watch to time myself and strive for improvement, I’m sure I dogged it more often than not. Even though I performed fairly well at races, I hadn’t yet developed the appetite for pushing myself to see where I could go.

Enter training for my first marathon, buying a Timex Ironman watch (there was no such thing as GPS), joining a group of guy running friends who challenged me at the track, and developing a zeal for pushing myself like I’d never known… I performed so well at my first marathon that I qualified for Boston and the deal was sealed. I developed a passion for running and have laughingly called myself a cardio junkie ever since.

As age and too many pounding miles took a toll on my body, specifically my spine, I transitioned to cycling. I’ve found a whole new group of friends in the cycling world and have discovered I have the same cardio high and feeling of satisfaction when I come in from a great ride as I did finishing a long training run.

My love of cardio exercise has left me strong and extremely fit. After my ride on Friday, 24 years after that spark was ignited, this popped up on my Garmin. To say it made my day is an understatement…


Overview of the Week

Before discussing each day’s workouts, here’s an overview of my workouts from this past week. Scroll down for daily details…



After a fun long weekend at the farm, we spent 6 hours driving home so I skipped working out.



To make up for a lazy previous day, I was out the door at 5:45 AM for a 5K around our neighborhood circle – quite the boring contrast to my two previous runs. It was 68° and humid and I finished with a 9:33 average pace and a sweaty mess.


It wasn’t until much later in my busy day before I had a chance to fit in an hour of strength training, followed by 10 minutes each of foam rolling and stretching.



Bill and I were out the door at 6:20 AM for a combined roads and W&OD Trail 42-mile ride to Purcellville. It was 67° and overcast (warming to 76°) and the fog gave the red sun an eery glow. Without climbing either of my favorite hills, I was able to maintain a 15.1 MPH average speed.



Once again I was out the door by 5:45 AM in the 69° high humidity for a sweaty circlefest run around our neighborhood. Cosmos the neighborhood cat counted my laps and cheered me on. I ran 5K at a 9:17 average pace, but Cosmos was not impressed.


Again, it wasn’t until later in the day that had time to lift for an hour, followed by 10 minutes of foam rolling and 10 minutes of stretching.



I slept a little later and didn’t make it out for my solo ride until 7 AM. It was 68° and mostly overcast for my 38-mile ride (14.6 MPH average speed) heading west. With my later departure, I was concerned I’d get behind a school bus and have to stop on my favorite hill, then figure out a way to start back up on an 11% grade. Luck was with me and I didn’t see any buses. Later in the ride I realized just how much luck really was with me and another rider I’d soon encounter…

As I pulled back onto the trail after climbing Thomas Mill, I fell into place behind a 30-something guy. I eventually passed him and he followed closely behind the remaining 2 miles to Clarks Gap. Once we started back down the other side of the gap, the guy passed me, turning and giving me the most beautiful smile. With that, he started pedaling hard and rode directly into this intersection just as a truck accelerated onto the entrance ramp to the highway.

I started screaming, “Watch out, watch out,” and only by the grace of God did the truck slam on its brakes and not hit the cyclist who would have been 100% at fault had he been hit. The truck stayed for a second with the driver giving me a look as if to say, “What just happened?” as the cyclist, now on the other side of the entrance ramp, rode away.

I still can’t believe how close the two came to colliding and I am shaking just thinking of it again…



With my 2 early morning clients on vacation, I was finally able to join my Dawn Patrol friends at 5:30 AM for a ride east on the W&OD Trail to a rolling hill loop around Vienna. Even that early, the temperature was 71° with 96% humidity, but occasional drizzle helped cool us off. Our 38 miles flew by (14.9 MPH average speed) and before I knew it, Bill and I were back home.

I was rushed to shower and get to the gym for clients and teaching my balance and stretching class. As usual during class I was active as I taught 15 minutes each of leg and core strengthening exercises, balance drills, and stretching.



My week’s workout plan included running on Saturday morning, but tingling in my right foot after Wednesday’s run reminded me that I need to limit the days I run to only twice per week. Last week’s 3 runs were mentally exhilarating, but obviously no longer what my body is capable of doing. I’ve always said that I want to run forever and if that means only running 2 short runs a week, then so be it.

Without a chance to do any strength training the previous day, I was up early and in my home gym for an hour of total body exercise.


If You Haven’t Checked in, Here’s What You Might Have Missed

In case you skipped checking in on my blog this past week, here’s what you missed…


  • • How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Any fall-like weather yet?
  • • What close calls have you witnessed while running, hiking, cycling, etc?
  • • Did you run in a race this weekend? If so, was it live or virtual?


And that’s my rundown… Have a great week!




I’m linking up with Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner and Kim from Running on the Fly for their Weekly Run Down. Be sure to check out not only the hosts’ posts, but those of the other great bloggers joining in on the fun!