Sunday, March 20, 2011

'Til the Cows Come Home

This is completely not cycling related, but not all adventures are. Instead, I spent a sunny Saturday morning away from both bikes and Crossfit to expand my horizons and get a little a little closer to my food.

Real grass fed dairy is hard to find in this area, but for the warmer half of the year, The Swiss Connection brings top-notch raw grass fed dairy to the Bloomington farmer's market. However, the downside of their all-natural (and not the grocery store marketing kind) approach is that they don't produce year-round. So since November I've been getting by on Kerrygold butter and waiting for spring. When I saw a posting on Facebook that they were looking for volunteers to help move their cows from their winter pasture to the main farm as part of their bi-annual "cattle drive", I jumped at the opportunity to help out and maybe give the girls a pep talk to get the butter and cream flowing.

We were greeted by a neighbor of the farm, who does event catering with his chuck wagon and served up coffee brewed over an open flame.

This is me on the hay wagon that took us out to the winter pasture.

The cows awaiting round-up.

Farm owner Alan Yegerlehner giving instructions as the volunteers lined up.

Basically, they had a tractor and trailer with a movable corral panel on the back. Their were strings tied to both sides of the corral panel and the voluteers spread out about ten feet apart on each side and walked behind the tractor, creating a moving fence all the way back the farm, which was about three miles.

Moo-ing along.

This is near the end of the walk when the cows started getting spread out. It's a little hard to see the line running between me and the guy in front of me.

The cows seemed pretty excited to be back at the dairy. It's hard to see in the picture, but the ones in front started running about the time they got the barn in the distance.

After the we got back to the farm, we were treated to a nice lunch and lots of free ice cream. I had a good time meeting the farm owners and the other volunteers. Definitely a worthwhile morning, and I'm looking forward to trying the fruits, err butter, of my labor at the farmer's market in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Never Had It So Good

Now you can do what you want to
And never feel sad
You've never had it so good, babe
I've never had it so bad

I'm not really sure who the singer would be in this situation, but the chorus of this song has definitely resonated with me the last few weeks. In total, I'm three weeks into "Project Crossfit", and I did my fourth post-surgery bike ride this afternoon. I had a nice little plan laid out, but my body is really dictating my schedule more than my plan. And when you're the person who "can do what they want to and never feel sad", it all works out just fine.

For example, last weekend my Thursday Crossfit session left me completely trashed, so I decided to take the weekend off and just go in Monday instead of Tuesday. I rested Friday and thought I would ride both Saturday and Sunday, but when I woke up Saturday morning it was grey and in the 30's and I just did not feel good. So my workout was this, plus this:

Rather than forcing myself to ride when I was carrying a bunch of fatigue and no desire, I compromised by still getting in some physical activity by walking a couple of laps around the park and even playing on the swings a bit. The next day was sunnier and warmer, and I had no trouble getting myself out for a short road ride.

I'm still working my way up to the planned schedule of Crossfit on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, with cycling on Wednesday and Saturday, because managing my fatigue level is my top priority right now. I like feeling healthy and motivated for the first time in months, and I'm not about to mess that up for some short term gains. I've set a goal of peaking for the The Unnamed Epic on August 27, to which I will commit 16 weeks of dedicated training after I complete my experiment in achieving as much Crossfit mastery (and hopefully some visible muscles) as I can by May 8th. However, unlike years past, my real goal for the season is to maintain the "never had it so good" feeling that I have now, and not getting bogged down with burnout silliness.