The bar exam is almost here...and maybe once it's over I can do something other than this with my life.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Yesterday didn't really go as planned. I wanted to ride 15 miles but only rode 11.11 because I took a wrong turn somewhere along the route I planned out and ended up 4 miles short. Additionally, I had an infuriating experience with an AT&T customer service rep who seemed to think I was too stupid to realize he was trying to swindle me. Then I laid down for a nap at around 2 PM and woke up at around 9:30 PM wondering why it was suddenly dark out and I hadn't gotten any studying done. It was not my finest day. I ate a small dinner after I finally woke up and then hit the books because that's just what one does when the bar exam is imminent.
In other news, I found this IBD awareness type website where they were selling "My IBD Can't Stop Me" shirts. I fell madly in love with the quote on the back so I ordered a lightweight tech hoodie thinking I would be able to wear it in the fall. Little did I know that Tennessee would get some cold summer mornings this week that would allow me to wear the hoodie now. Here's the front:
And here is the back.
I was a little hesitant about buying a shirt with "www.thegreatbowelmovement.org" on it, even in small letters, but I decided that life is short and maybe if more people were vocal about the challenges of living with Crohn's Disease, I wouldn't have had so much trouble getting reasonable accommodations at school. I had high school teachers who gave extra credit to students who didn't ask for bathroom passes. It was a serious problem for me because I genuinely needed to use the bathroom a lot during class, but I was also competing for valedictorian and didn't want my classmates getting extra credit that wasn't available to me. Then there was college when the housing committee could not seem to understand why a student with a medical condition that causes diarrhea should get first dibs on housing that had fewer people using the bathrooms. Fortunately the disability office was able to intervene on my behalf, but it always bothered me that that was necessary.
When they sent my hoodie, they included the sticker and buttons above. I'm pretty sure that no one will actually bother to ask me about my IBD when I'm wearing the shirt or otherwise, but it's important to me to support groups that are trying to spread awareness in whatever small way I can. What about you? Do you know anyone who has Crohn's Disease or Colitis?
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I got up this morning, put on a tank top and cycling knickers and headed out the door for an early bike ride. I didn't make it very far before I had to turn around and go home to change because I was cold. I hadn't checked the weather before leaving because southern summers are usually predictably hot. Imagine my surprise when I opened my weather app and saw this:
Apparently Nashville got confused and thought it was autumn. This would explain why there were some trees in the park whose leaves were already changing colors. I'm not complaining. Fall has always been my favorite season. I pulled on a warmer top and headed out for a second time for a gorgeous morning ride.
I got in 13.19 miles before it was time to head home to my stressful bar prep life. I'm not really sure how the exam is going to go at this point, but I've prepared for it the best way I and my overpriced study course know how. Maybe I'll pass and maybe I won't, but either way I'm just glad that this experience is almost over. It hasn't been a good one and I'm really ready to put it all behind me.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
There is a huge Johnny Cash mural on the side of this building I pass sometimes. I went by it again today and finally made a point of taking a picture. I can't say that I'm much of a fan, but I love the quote you see in the mural. I think everyone has two dueling natures, me included. I think studying for the bar has brought out the worst in me and I can't wait to be done so I can get back to myself.
Today's ride was 14 miles, all of them gloomy. It rained last night and when I went out this morning the rain clouds had not yet gone. I was mildly concerned that the sky would open up and pour before I got back home, but the weather cooperated. It was a physically demanding workout, but enjoyable nonetheless. Two weeks left until the bar exam. Time to resume panicking now.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Yesterday I did a long ride of 21.16 miles. I found a new route that I loved and I guess that's why I woke up this morning, went crazy, and decided to take the same 20+ mile route again. That's right, everyone. I did my first back to back long rides this weekend!
The route is an out and back that weaves through some really pretty areas. My only complaint is that there are some nasty hills towards the end of the ride that weren't too bad yesterday, but nearly killed my legs today. I know that if I keep doing hills I will get stronger and more fit, but it's hard to remember that when your muscles and lungs are burning on the way up a steep incline.
I know 20 mile rides are pretty standard and easy for a lot of cyclists, but for me it's still really challenging. My plan is to keep building up my endurance so that I can do progressively longer weekend rides. Who knows? Maybe this time next year I'll be blogging about my first century!
Friday, July 11, 2014
When I was running, I learned that not every run is a good one. Well, not every bike ride is a good one either. Normally I try to ride at least 10 miles a day, but today my body just wasn't having it. It's shark week and I am absolutely miserable--cramps, fatigue, and achey muscles make exercise a struggle. I made it 6.39 miles on one of the easiest routes I could think of and even that short ride left me absolutely exhausted. I thought about forcing myself to keep going, but ultimately chose to listen to my body. My body told me to go home and find a hot water bottle. That's exactly what I did.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
I take the bar in less than 3 weeks and the stress is really starting to get to me. I keep telling myself that I don't have to memorize everything about every topic that will be on the exam, but it's hard to stay calm. I keep imagining what it would be like to fail the bar after all this hard work. What would I tell people? How would I respond to rude or snarky comments from people who don't like me? Worse yet, how would I respond to people who pitied me? I've been telling people I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little girl and knowing that one test could ruin my dream is...terrifying.
I knew the best way to reduce my stress would be with exercise so I took Genevieve to the greenway for a 12.34 mile ride. I'm still mildly panicked, but the activity made me feel more like myself. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go tackle Remedies and Torts. Wish me luck, internet.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I was riding my bike one morning last week on a designated bike route when I had a really off-putting experience with a driver that I wanted to share. I was approaching a stop sign when some older man in a truck pulled up behind me and started honking his horn. Repeatedly.
Before I continue, I want to point out a few things. Under Tennessee law, bicycles are considered vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as other traffic. Additionally, Tennessee law allows cyclists to take up an entire lane, which is what I do if I am riding on a street without a bike lane for several reasons. The first reason is that taking the lane forces motorists to pass you in the other lane. If you ride too far to one side of a lane, some motorists will try to pass you in the same lane and for me, that is too close.
I also prefer to take up the lane to avoid cars parked on the side of the street. There is a phenomenon called being "doored" that happens when someone parked on the street opens their car door without checking for cyclists. If the cyclist is too close to the car when the door opens and they do not have time to brake, they crash into the door. A lot of people suggest that cyclists ride at least 3 feet from parked cars to avoid being doored and on a narrower street that means taking the lane. The final reason I prefer to take the lane is that if you ride too close to the curb in the right lane, there is nowhere for you to go if a car tries to pass too close. Being trapped between a curb (or a ditch or a railing) and a car that is crowding me seems more dangerous than riding in the center of the lane with flashing lights on my bike for added visibility. I'm sure some cyclists would disagree, but for me, taking the lane feels like the safer choice.
Anyway, back to the other morning. This guy starts honking his horn and since I was on a quiet side street with next to no traffic there was no reason he couldn't just go around me. I kept peddling and motioned for him to pass me. Instead of just going around me like every other car I have encountered since starting to ride on the road, this guy decided to pull over and lecture me about riding "in the middle of the street."
I was absolutely livid. I tried to explain to him that bicycles are considered vehicles and I had the same rights and responsibilities on the road as him. I told him that if I was too slow, he could just go around me. That's not right, he said. That would put him into oncoming traffic he told me before finally driving off. Apart from the fact that there was no oncoming traffic on that tiny side street, it really upset me to encounter a driver like that on a designated bike route that was clearly marked as a designated bike route. It didn't help that I'm a recent law school graduate who takes the bar in a few weeks and this idiot was arrogantly spouting off misstatements of the law to me like I was a child and wouldn't have the sense to call him on his shenanigans.
As someone who is both a cyclist and a driver, it doesn't make sense to me when drivers behave as though cyclists shouldn't be on the road when the law makes it clear that they belong there. Drivers may not like that the law allows cyclists to share the road with them, but harassing cyclists on the street is not going to change things and real talk: it just makes you look like an a**hole. If you are a driver who doesn't want to share the road with cyclists, why don't you try talking to your local government officials about putting in better bike infrastructure--separate and ideally protected bike lanes on every street that will allow both cyclists and motorists to get where they are going with minimal friction. And until that becomes a thing, drivers, please be courteous. Going around a cyclist is no different than going around a car that is moving slower than you. You may not like it, but that's the law.
***Although this post discusses some Tennessee traffic laws, it is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you need advice regarding your local bike laws, please find an attorney in your area.***
Monday, July 7, 2014
This morning I managed to get in 12.33 miles. It was another great workout. I've been exploring some of the side streets and bike routes around Nashville in an attempt to get comfortable riding on the roads. I'm getting better at not panicking when I hear a car behind me and my signaling is improving slowly but surely. I may not be the fastest cyclist, but I can feel myself getting stronger the more I ride. Improvement doesn't happen all at once. It's a process that happens day by day and mile by mile.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
I thought I would do a quick post from my phone to catch you up on the current fitness related happenings in my life. For starters, I went for a gorgeous bike ride yesterday that included a couple of milestones I wanted to share.
At 20.70 miles, it was my longest ride ever in terms of distance. It was also the first time I made it all the way to the top of a hill I have been trying to conquer since I got my bike. Those two things would have been enough to make this ride awesome, but it was also a really good ride in general-perfect weather, lots of wildlife, and a good audiobook to keep me company at the greenway.
Even though my legs were tired this morning, I decided to take a field trip to a mural I have been meaning to visit for some time.
In retrospect, I probably should have gone earlier so I could post this on the 4th of July, but better late than never. Did you have a good holiday?