I have to say, I had a pretty awesome birthday on Sunday. I got up at 6am, even did my 750 words, then dressed, had my pre-workout whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and went to pick up Lily. We were going for our first long bike ride + run workout. I have to say, I was nervous. This was my first team bike ride and even though I’d done some biking on my own, it was all pretty much on trails. It’s the TRAFFIC I was worried about.

Team in Training is very spirit oriented, very rah-rah. Which sometimes can be annoying but with TNT I don’t mind it at all. In fact, I really appreciate it. This week’s Spirit Challenge was to wear weird and crazy socks. I had bought some pink flame socks to go with my new bike shoes, but Lily came through with some rocking matching animal print socks which she gave me in the car. She is the greatest.

rockin' the crazy socks

We got out to Shadow Cliffs in Pleasanton and met up with the team. Guess how many other people were wearing crazy socks?? Not very many! So we won!!!!! We got some awesome TNT purple swag. Then our team mentor asked how many of us had not skipped a workout. Was I the only one to raise my hand? Really? I was presented with the golden sparkly cowboy/girl hat of fame!! WOW! Too much!!

mentor Annika giving me the hat!

This was all very fun and distracting but I knew that the actual bike ride was coming up. NERVOUS. I immediately placed myself in the “Developing” group (the beginner group). They had us ride around the parking lot a couple times. Well, that was fine. Then we headed up a hill out of the park and across a four-lane road, and… we were ON THE ROAD! Cars were zipping by. We were in a bike line. It was flat. For the first few minutes I was having an out-of-body experience as the cars whooshed by. But then I just kept watching the bike in front of me, pedal pedal pedal. I started to realize that it was not so bad. (whew!)

Our Developing ride was supposed to be 50 minutes- 25 minutes out and 25 back. But it ended up being much longer. There were some slightly scary moments – when we had to ride in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD because we were going straight, and there was a right-hand turn lane; when the “bike lane” ended and there were just cars (parked) and cars (moving) on both sides; when we came to a narrow curving overpass thing with basically NO shoulder and NO bike lane, and a few hills where my rubbery legs kept slipping off the pedals (toe clips being installed today!!). But I managed to deal with all of it without melting down or falling off or getting injured. Team mentor Karla who was bringing up the rear kept saying encouraging things to me, like, “You are so much better than you think!” and “You so got this!” etc. I couldn’t believe she was actually saying those words to me.

And one guy zipped by (not our team) and yelled out, “Nice socks!!!!!!” Hahaha.

After the ride (13.5 miles, 80 minutes!) we tried to quickly transition into running shoes and just take off for a “brief” 15-20 minute run. OMG. That was one of the most PAINFUL runs of my life. Ever. My calves and feet were SCREAMING and had no desire to run. Or even walk. Hobble maybe? I pretty much walk/hobbled/ jogged at a ridiculous pace. I couldn’t believe how jellified and also petrified and painful my lower extremities were. It was not a pleasant run. All I could think of was, I am going to do 6 miles of this?? NO WAY.

Thank goodness it was a short run. I got back to the picnic tables and pretty much collapsed. Happily, I was revived by birthday cupcakes! How sweet is that! Annika made them (with purple icing, natch) for me and Art, whose birthday was this week also. What an awesome team!

Truly though, NOTHING was a better birthday present than surviving that bike ride. Even enjoying more than half of it. And the nervous parts weren’t wildly, horribly debilitating. It was like butterflies in the stomach, not like panic attack level. So that was a huge victory. A great present. An enormous breakthrough.

I got home and had a wonderful birthday NAP. Zzzzzzzz.

Then cake and presents with my lovely family! Junior is away so it was Mister, Mom and Juniorette. We had an incredibly delicious cheesecake.

One of my favorite presents was this little kit which basically starts as a bunch of colored straws with holes in them…

Which you cut up and then follow numerical directions and they turn into… pig and chicken robots holding fish! WHAT!! Could there be anything cuter or more clever? I don’t think so. This was hands down one of my favorite gifts EVER.

After all the festivities, I got to go to San Francisco and have a girlfriend birthday dinner with one of my best buddies. It was sooooooo great.

Lobster salad!

It was really an extraordinary, wonderful day which made me feel very grateful and happy to be alive. I am a bazillion times healthier (and undoubtedly happier) than I was at 42, and I’m looking forward to more.