Tag Archives: Off Topic Thursday

Off Topic Thursday: Triathlon

28 Jun

I’ve been building to this Off Topic Thursday topic for a while now. Did anyone else notice my last three months were swimming, biking, and running? This month, it’s all about combining the three and talking about triathlons!

I did my first triathlon in 2004 when I was 14. It was a sprint distance race that I did with a friend on my swim team. The joke was on me because that friend was a runner and I was not. It went OK but I didn’t return to triathlon until 2014 after I got married. I looked up my results and all I can say is at least I got faster! I tried on my own through 2014 and 2015. At the end of 2015, I was suffering from bad knee pain when I ran and was limited to about a mile before I had to stop walking. Biking wasn’t so bad but it still wasn’t good. I was about to bow out of my last tri of the season, which I’d already registered for when my husband and a friend suggested we do a relay. It’s the only one I’ve done to date and I have to say it was amazing and I hope I can do another one again.

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Fist place Sprint Relay team! Go Team Bishop!!!

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In 2016, I decided to get serious and hired a virtual coach. I’ve met him in person a handful of times since he lives ten miles from me. He’d send me workouts to do each day and help me increase mileage and intensity of my workouts. With his help, I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon in September of that year.

I continued with my coach in 2017 and also set a crazy goal of doing a race per month. I over-committed and ended up with more than one per month and a total of 5 triathlons (2 Olympic, 3 Sprint). The schedule was a bit too much for me and I didn’t perform very well. However, I got into a great rhythm with my training.

I decided not to retain my coach for 2018, but I’m keeping him in mind for some goals I have for next year (keep reading). I joined a club team this year and last week I did my first tri as a team member. It’s fun to have a community that will push me instead of relying on myself. I’m hoping to participate in more of the workouts now that my class is over and I have a lot more time during the week. I’ve been taking part in weekend swims since January but it’s time to change my focus to triathlon as a whole. I have one more race this year, an Olympic in September on a course that I’ve done twice already and am excited to dominate again.

I do have one crazy goal. Well, half crazy. I want to complete a Half Ironman in 2019. The September race I’ve done has that distance as an option and I think I can do it. I’m doing a half marathon later this year to remind myself how much training this will involve but I really think I’ve got this. School will be done and I can devote more time to biking and running (I think I’m good on the swim).

I want to do a few sprint tris next year as well. I came really close to breaking 1:30 last week and I think I can do it! I just cramp up like I did before. That would be a good way to end my run. I’m thinking of focusing more on open water swims in 2020 along with some road races. I really just don’t like biking, haha.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Off Topic Thursday: Cycling

26 Apr

I’d almost forgotten it was Off Topic Thursday! My husband had to remind me when I was talking through my weekly posts with him. I’m so excited to share another thing I love outside of books, cycling!

I learned to ride a bike as a kid and my mom always enjoyed scenic rides around the area. When I started a sedentary job, I knew I would fight an uphill battle to stay fit before my wedding. I saw a sign in the office for the corporate Bike MS team and decided to join. That was 2013. I rode 50 miles in one day and raised $250. To get in shape, I found a local easy-going bike club and recruited my husband on a few rides. It’s only grown from there.

Last year was my fifth year of Bike MS and I’ve done three of the four courses offered in Michigan. My husband joined me for my second year and this summer he’ll hit his fifth year. Here’s a picture of us from 2016.

We’ve had a great time riding for Team Ford and I don’t see a reason we’ll stop doing this. If you’re interested in donating toward our 2018 ride (scheduled for July 14-15), you can donate at the link below.

Donated to Bike MS 2018!

Of course, Bike MS isn’t the only reason I cycle. Cycling is a key part of one of my biggest hobbies, triathlons. Most of the time I rode my bike last year, it was alone. I’m anticipating the same this year though my favorite route is closed for construction all summer. I’ll have to find something new.

I love cycling and enjoying nature on a bike. It’s fun to go fast, too! I’m not super fast myself but I do enjoy the ride. My goal for this year is to get faster and be more comfortable on the bike. I got a professional fitting in February so I’m excited to try it out on the road.

Any other cyclist out there? Competitive or recreational? Here’s a picture of my bike (Fuji Gran Fondo). Let me see yours!

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Now with pedals and aerobar! #bikenerd

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Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Off Topic Thursday (on a Tuesday): Knitting

20 Feb

I realized I’m not going to be posting on the last Thursday of this month due to a planned vacation so I’m here to do my monthly Off Topic Thursday a bit early. I want to talk about one of my favorite non-reading pastimes: knitting!

These three are a fair representation of the knitting I do. The first one, and a project many of you may know about from my monthly updates, is my obsessive baby blanket knitting! I have trouble sitting still and watching TV. If my hands aren’t busy, I’ll get fidgety which usually results in me eating something. So, to stop eating so much, I do crafts. While I latchhook and cross stitch, knitting is my biggest guilty pleasure. I decided to take those long hours spent watching Game of Thrones (the first and second times through) and put them to good use! I knit a baby blanket for every couple that invites me to their wedding for each child. I keep a stock pile of two ‘girl’ colors, two ‘boy’ colors, and two neutral colors. I send them off as soon as the couple announces the gender or I find out they’re not going to find out. My friends have given me really positive feedback and I have pictures of these babies coming home from the hospital in the blankets or wrapped in them at very young ages. It’s been really rewarding and I love doing it.

The second picture is a project I started last year and fell in love with. It’s called a weather blanket. Ideally, (unless you skip a row like me) the blanket has 365 or 366 rows, one representing each day of the year. The color of each row corresponds to the high temperatures of the day. In the one pictured, purple is cold and red is hot. I’m doing one for 2018 as well. The whole thing is shades of purple from dark to light. I don’t have any pictures of it yet (I’m a few weeks behind!) but I’m sure I’ll post to Instagram through the year so keep an eye peeled there.

The last one is my ugly project. It’s a remnant blanket, using remnants from yarn not completely used in other projects. I get remnants from friends so not all of the yarn is even mine. It’s taken on a life of its own and the blanket is no longer square and has inconsistent textures and weighted yarn. I love it. It’s been so fun to work on and I smile every time I see it. I think it’s one of those ‘only a mother could love’ situations.

I’ve knitted other things, too, but I stick mostly to blankets. I had too many scarves so I had to branch out. I’ve done winter headbands and mug coozies and I’d love to try socks or a sweater some day. I try to push myself to try a new stitch or technique each time I pick a blanket pattern so I’m always learning.

Are any of you knitters? What kind of things are you knitting? Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Off Topic Thursday: Brewery Desk

25 Jan

Hello, everyone!

I decided to start a new feature in 2018. On the last Thursday of each month, I’m going to go off topic. I won’t talk about books or reading or writing or libraries. Instead, I’m going to talk about something else I’m doing. Not going far for inspiration, I want to start with the desk I sit at when I write 90% of these lovely blog posts, my Brewery Desk.

I’ve made exploring breweries something my husband and I can enjoy together. He’s a big beer fan and I enjoy it enough to always find something I’ll like. I started with the front of this desk (second picture) after we went on a beer-focused vacation to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many of the stickers in that picture are from that vacation. I’d been using this desk for a few years and knew it was old. My mom had given it to me when I moved out and I called her to ask how emotionally attached she was to it and tell her my plan. She informed me she’d gotten it from her best friend in high school who found it in an apartment he was renting. I think her exact words were, “Chuck would be proud to know you were putting it to good use.” Thus, the brewery desk was born.

After I filled up the front, I started piling stickers on top. I started to the right, where my computer doesn’t sit. I’m slowly creeping left and I’ll have to find a way to keep my computer from heating up the stickers too much. My dad has promised to help me put some kind of protective seal on the wood but that hasn’t come to fruition yet.

The third picture is the underside of my desk. These are stickers that are either beer-specific (instead of for a brewery), are duplicates from a brewery represented on top, are for places I didn’t visit personally but got stickers for from friends, or are not breweries. In other words, it’s my catch-all.

I’m excited to keep traveling and exploring new breweries. Each one seems to have a different feel and I love seeing all the fun things brewers are doing with their beers. If I’m coming your way, please let me know of some good breweries along with the great bookstore recommendations.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!