Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

Mother’s May Miles

My family doesn’t really do “typical” or “normal” very well. Instead of the usual Mother’s Day brunch or large family event, my mom asked if we could all go on a bike ride.

los gatos creek trail
My mom on the ride
We did a nice 20-mile ride along the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Because we love to eat, we planned our ride so we could have a great lunch at the halfway point. We stopped in at a local pizza place and split a tasty pizza and some salads. (I meant to take a picture of my salad… but I might have eaten it all in my hunger-crazed state before I remembered that plan. I guess you will just have to trust me that it was tasty.)
treading lightly cycling
It was great to get outside and take a break from my crazy schedule. The weather was amazing. It was in the high 70s and low 80s the entire ride, which was comfortable in bike shorts and a tank (and about an entire bottle of sunscreen slathered on me). The trail is covered by trees along the way so it has pockets that are cool. Where the creek isn’t channeled and overly engineered, you can see fish swimming (and I mean big fish, more than a foot or two long) and the birds diving in and out of the water. At one point we had to stop riding so a group of geese waddle across the path.
los gatos creek trail 4
I’m looking forward to more warm days and more days out on the bike, especially if my knee keeps acting up and I can’t hit the streets for a run.

May Miles

swimming, swim cap, goggles, pull bouyWhile I originally thought of May as the month I would build my monthly running milage, my body might have other plans for me. I’m currently battling a bit of tendonitis in my knee, and I have to first rest and rehab before I can really be running much. I’m hoping that by the second or third week of the month I will be back to slowly adding miles, but it doesn’t look like it will be the massive running challenge I had imagined.

But that doesn’t mean that my May Miles challenge will go to waste. Instead I will use it to increase my swimming and biking miles. As frustrating as an injury can be, every injury is an important reminder or lesson, and it provides an opportunity to improve. For me my lesson was to listen to my body sooner instead of waiting for it to develop into a full-blown injury. And since my legs can’t pound the pavement as much as I used to or lift heavy at CrossFit, I am taking the opportunity to get back into swimming for the summer months and work on some technique and upper body strength at CrossFit (all while doing some super fun rehab exercises to get back in action). And with such beautiful weather, who could be upset about going for a swim?

Listen to your body

“Ouch. Ouch. Bad. Ouch.”

It turns out your body speaks pretty loudly if you listen to it. For the last three weeks I have had a slight “twinge” in my right shin. I had slipped while doing box jumps at CrossFit and completely bashed my right shinbone into the plywood box. If the lump I still have (three weeks later, I swear) is any evidence, I hit it pretty hard. I originally attributed my pain to the throbbing of my new shin growth as I ran, and really, it only hurt for portions of the run on and off. I pushed through it and cursed myself for being so clumsy.
But last week while building into my four-mile run (I’m currently training for a 10k, and this was my longest distance since August) that twinge got a whole lot louder. I tripped and just barely caught myself from falling at the 1-mile mark. Something pulled down the front of my shin into my ankle and I stubbed my toe, but I figured I really only lost a bit of pride to the drivers who watched my flailing and kept going.
Bad idea, I desperately wish I had been smart and walked home then and there. My calf and shin started to hurt and cramp with every step. I took walking breaks, tried to rub out my calf (all while looking around for anything even remotely close to being a foam roller in the middle of San Jose suburbs), and slowed down. It didn’t make a difference, my whole lower leg was suddenly angry, and it was being incredibly clear about it.
I walked most of the rest of the almost three miles before going home and icing. When I woke up the next day with a leg still aching while walking down stairs, I crossed my Saturday long run (set for 5 miles) off my calendar. When Saturday rolled around and my leg was still hurting, today’s run got the ax too.
As much as I desperately want to run and I feel the pressure to stick to my training plan, I decided to play it smart and listen to my body. I want to run the entire 10k in two weeks, but it’s a virtual race and walking isn’t too shameful. I’d rather still be able to at least walk at that point, so the few days of rest is worth it.
Instead of heading out for a run tonight I will be married to my foam roller and ice like clockwork. And after some amazing yoga today, my leg feels a bit better and I’m mentally ready to sit on the side-lines for a few more days.

San Jose Bike Party

Every third Friday of the month hundreds to thousands of people get together to dress up, blast some music, and ride through San Jose. For the past three years I have gone to the anniversary ride for the San Jose Bike Party, which is by far the biggest ride. This year more than 4,000 people joined the 24 mile ride.

let's go
This year was full of costumes and camaraderie. Along the ride neighbors came out of their houses to cheer and yell “Bike Party!” to all of the riders. As people drove by they honked their horns and waved at us. The community support and interest in the event is one of my favorite parts of the ride. There is nothing like having people come out of their houses to watch all of you ride by. “Bike Party” is yelled as a greeting, a rally call for riders, and a sign of support from non-riders (and as a battle cry during the bike jousting some riders do during the breaks).
Bike Party is a great way to spend a Friday night. It’s a fun way to get out, meet new people, and get more comfortable riding on the streets.

My first byline: San Jose Bike Party

This week has been absolutely brutal. Between midterms, group projects, the constant onslaught of interviews and writing for the paper and for class, and trying to find time to sleep, I unfortunately had time for little time for anything else.

But out of this disaster of a week I got a gem — my first byline. What was not only the most fun I had all week, the San Jose Bike Party was also the best research I have ever had to do for school. Check out my story!

San Jose’s Rolling Party

Riders decorated and lit up their bikes, blasted their music on speakers attached to their bikes or on a trailer towed behind them and dressed up as angels and demons in honor of the “Rapture” themed San Jose Bike Party on Friday night.
The San Jose Bike Party is a community bike ride organized and run by volunteers. On the third Friday of every month, people gather to ride their bikes around San Jose in different routes of about 20-30 miles with two stops along the way. The event draws people from all around the Bay Area, including Santa Clara students.
More than 4,000 people, many in costumes, hit the San Jose streets with their bikes in celebration of the ride’s fourth anniversary on Friday night. Their shouts of “Bike Party” and cheering echoed through the neighborhoods along the route.
“I like the energy,” said freshman Karina Soto, a San Jose native who participated in the Bike Party for her eighth time on Friday night. “(The Bike Party) is a lot of fun and everyone is really open and having a good time.”

To continue the story go to The Santa Clara  or pick up the paper on campus.

San Jose Bike Party

It’s the third Friday of the month and thousands of Bay Area residents are gearing up to make their way to the San Jose Bike Party. Today’s theme is “The Rapture” in honor of the potential end of the world tonight. They have asked everyone to dress up as angels and demons in case the prediction yet again does not come true and Harold Camping needs some help saving face.

Image courtesy of San Jose Bike Party
Bike Party has a nearly anything goes policy (except the rules on “How We Ride” and anything unlawful). People will light up their bikes, wear outlandish costumes, blast their music, and even pull couches and seats on trailers behind their bikes for the stops along the route. People ride on everything from rusted out or completely homemade bikes to the top of the line racing bikes.
Image courtesy of Richard Masoner
About every 10 miles there is a major gathering in a parking lot where people get off their bikes and dance, meet new people, or show off their special talents (last year a rider did a sort of fire dance for everyone). It’s a community built of frequent riders and those who have to unearth their bikes from the mountains of junk and dust that have been piled on it.
Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

If you are an avid cyclist or just want to have a good time with a few thousand other people you should come out tonight and ride with us. For more information check out SJ Bike Party.