Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sun Therapy

The last couple of weeks have been brutal. Work has been hectic and between training, work and taking care of wedding details, I feel like I haven't stopped for a break. And I know that this coming week is going to be more of the same—only worse. I also know I'm going to be cooped up in a hotel for several days at the end of next week.
Needless to say, I wasn't about to miss this week's team ride, especially when the forecast called for mild temperatures and no precipitation. And what was that other thing? Oh yeah, can it possibly be the sun?

An extremely abbreviated version of the team met this morning in Hell, Michigan to ride some gravel and paved roads. Some of the gravel roads were a bit sketchy, what with the ice cover, but I didn't even crash.

All I've got to say after today is give me more. I'm ready to get off my trainer and get outside in the fresh air. It was only about 30 degrees today, and a little colder on the downhills, but with that sun shining down throughout the ride I was feeling energized.

There were actually some decent climbs on the route and it felt good to ride up them. I have always liked climbing hills better than going down them. I know that is kind of warped, but I love the feeling of accomplishment I have when I make it to the top of the hill, particularly a steep one.

I felt really strong today. Maybe all that training is starting to pay off. We rode at a leisurely pace for about two hours before we stopped for lunch and I couldn't believe we had already been out for that amount of time. After lunch, we wrapped up the ride with another hour of riding back to the car. What a great ride! I can't wait to get back out there.

Weight Progress (or lack thereof)

Well, it finally happened. I knew it was going to one of these times. I just didn't think it would be quite so soon. I actually lost nothing this week—not a single pound. It was a rest week, so I didn't get as much riding in as I usually do, but I did the Bowflex twice.

I did eat out kind of a lot again, actually more than last week, and that was probably my downfall. I did still eat healthy and I still feel like I'm moving forward, but the scale started going up after last Sunday and it only came back down Saturday and today. So, this is where I'm still sitting, and the coming week is going to be an even bigger challenge. Thursday morning I leave for our annual convention. I have to work Thursday through Sunday and I won't be leaving the Hyatt the entire time. This is my eighth year of going and every single year I have gained at least two or three pounds, even though I'm running my butt off the whole weekend. This year, I'm hoping just to maintain. I'll be posting my weight on Monday instead of Sunday, so we'll see how it looks then.

I found a particularly hideous fat photo for today:

Monday, February 18, 2008


Yesterday the weather topped out in the mid-40s and the forecast was calling for rain. It was too slushy and messy to ski, snowshoe or ride, but I wanted to get out of the house and avoid the trainer. The puppies were restless and were more than excited to get outside. We went to a local park that's a favorite of mine for hiking and I noticed this at the trailhead.

I know some people don't like dogs. I used to be one of them until I was converted. And no one really likes dog poop, do they? But this just seemed ridiculous to me. It was a trail. A trail in the woods. Now I consider myself to be a pretty responsible pet owner. My dogs are always on leashes, they don't go to the bathroom in other people's yards and if they're outside and start barking, I bring them in immediately so they don't bother anyone else. And if I'm walking them around town and they poop somewhere, I take care of it.

But this is the woods, and as long as they're not going right in the middle of the trail, I don't bother to pick it up. I mean, is someone out there picking up the feces from the deer, raccoons, squirrels and the like? If a dog can't poop in the woods, what is the world coming to?

Okay, I'm done ranting about that for now.

Anyway, it was pretty rough going. There was a lot of slogging involved. The girls had a blast, though, and we ended up being out for a little over an hour. Unfortunately, we were far enough from the car when it started raining that the last 20 minutes were spent in a deluge. They were pretty glad to get to the parking lot.

Poor Maddy. She really soaked it up.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weight Progress

Here's where I was a week ago:

Net weight loss: 31.5
Pounds left to goal: 33

Here's this week's stats:

Net weight loss: 33
Pounds left to goal: 31.5

Again, it's not as much as I was hoping for, but it's going down steadily, just slowly. I ate out three times this week—once for lunch and twice for dinner. I thought I was pretty good two of the times, but one was a Mexican buffet (need I say more?). I did work out really hard, though.

I did have a few victories this week. I went shopping and was able to buy clothes in a smaller size than what I am currently wearing, and in one instance I probably could have gone down two sizes. In fact, I was so confident about my weight continuing to go down that I bought this dress to change into after the wedding in Key West. At Chris' suggetion, I even bought it in a smaller size than what I'm wearing now. I hope it'll work as good motivation.

And here's this week's fat photo. Me+playing horsehoes=not a pretty sight

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm a Cover Girl!

Not really. Chris has just been playing around with Photoshop again. It's something to aspire, too, though. He also put something up on our Web site to surprise me for Valentine's Day. That's all I have to say tonight. I guess I'm kind of all posted out. It must be a record for the most posts in a week for me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to Me!

Check out my cool Valentine's Day gift from Chris. I desperately needed new mountain biking shoes before racing season starts. My first pair of mountain bike shoes were a clearance special, slightly too big, but the price was right. Their biggest drawback is the fact that they have laces. That would be fine if they would stay tied, but I had one too many experiences with having my shoelace wrapped all the way around my crank arm. Besides, they look cooler, and looking cool is at least the second most important factor when choosing gear.

One of my coworkers asked if Chris and I were doing anything special for Valentine's Day. "Yep," I replied. "We're doing the Recovery & Technique Spinervals DVD." It just goes to show how much my perception has changed. Two years ago I would have been severely disappointed if we didn't do something romantic. Tonight the most romantic thing Chris did for me was to change the Bowflex around between each exercise so I didn't have to do it myself. What a guy!

In all seriousness, though, I liked how we worked out with the Bowflex tonight a lot better than what we did Tuesday night. On Tuesday, we each went through all the exercises once and then switched. This time Chris did one set of one exercise, then I did the same exercise, Chris did the second set of that exercise, I did the second set, and so on. It seemed much more efficient since we only had to set up for each exercise once. We got into a really good rhythm. Gretch and Maddy weren't sure about it, though. They both kept trying to climb up on me when I was using it. Did I mention I like the Bowflex?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Like, I Totally Hate You, Coach Troy!

Late last week we received another shipment of Spinervals DVDs. One of them, "Totally Time Trial," was our activity for tonight. It is brutal, as you can see from how I looked when I finished. After a brief warm up, you have to do four, 15-minute intervals with two-minute rest periods in between them. It's supposed to simulate a time trial, and it is hard. You have to stay in your big ring on the front the whole time and he changes where you're at in the back and sometimes makes you stand up.

Considering I am going to be racing my first mountain bike TT in about two months, it was a rude awakening. I am really not ready to race yet. Hopefully, I will be by then. If I keep doing this DVD, it will definitely help.

I was really excited when I saw this:

I think tomorrow will be the "Recovery & Technique" workout.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Like It!

We finally worked out on the Bowflex for the first time tonight. I really liked it. The transition between the exercises wasn't the smoothest, but I think that will get a lot better with practice. Tonight I was still learning how things hook together and come apart.
Overall, though, I was really surprised at how ingenious the entire setup is. I loved being able to do so many exercises on one machine without having to lug around and switch out weights.

I also like how I don't have to leave my house to do it. Not having to worry about someone else being on the machine I want to use is also a bonus.

There was only one real problem. Regular readers of my blog (all two of them) may remember the injuries I sustained to my posterior while cross country skiing. It's not really bothering me too much anymore except when I sit down a certain way or put a lot of weight on it in a certain position. A couple of the exercises tonight were excruciating in that respect.

And you, lucky readers, got some bonus "fat pictures," too. Check out those chins, would ya?

P.S. Someone who may be reading my blog might be interested in checking our wedding Web site for updates.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weight Progress—February 10 (That's It?)

Here's where I was a week ago:

Net weight loss: 30.5

Pounds left to goal: 34

Here's this week's stats:

Net weight loss: 31.5
Pounds left to goal: 33

It's lonely. That measly little pound is really lonely. It desperately needs others to join it. It's true I did eat out what (for me) was a lot this week. That means I went out to lunch once and out to dinner twice. However, except for that potato soup I had to have, I thought I made pretty good choices.

I knew it was going to happen, though. I will confess that, even though I know you're not supposed to, I weigh myself almost every day. And there's usually a pattern. After my weigh-in day, my weight goes up a couple of pounds for the next two days, stands firm for one or two days and then in the last one or two days, it goes down enough to make me end up with some weight loss for the week. I guess as long as I end up with something to show for it at the end of the week I should be happy. The thing is, I'm getting impatient. I'm simply running out of time.

However, I did find someone this week who will alter my dress in three weeks. That means that I can wait to take it in until April 7 and still feel really comfortable about getting it back in time to leave for Key West. That's really good news. So, I'll keep plugging away and hope for the best.

And now for the fat picture of the week. (Not a picture of me in Key West, for the first time, but a picture of me in Comins.) Yes, this is me fumbling through trying to dance. I really need more practice before my reception. This one's for you, Don Green!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

10 Reasons I Like Snowshoeing Better than Skiing

Chris wanted to go skiing again today. I took a pass and decided to get my snowshoes out since I'm still smarting from some of last weekend's injuries. Other than the huge blister on my left heel, I fared much better with my showshoes than I did on skis. It prompted me to compile a list illustrating why I prefer snowshoeing.

  1. I'm fairly efficient at snowshoeing, as opposed to wasting a lot of time trying to pick myself up off the ground.
  2. I leave a much prettier trail on snowshoes than I do on skis.
  3. Snowshoeing has practically no learning curve. It's like walking, only your feet are farther apart.
  4. I can negotiate obstacles much more easily on snowshoes.
  5. Snowshoes take up a lot less room in your car.
  6. Snowshoes are not slippery on the bottom, unlike skis.
  7. Snowshoes are easier to take on and off (at least for me).
  8. It's a lot cheaper to buy a decent pair of snowshoes that it is to buy a decent set of skis.
  9. Snowshoes make a satifying crunching noise when you use them. Skis are too quiet to be trusted.
  10. It hurts a lot less to snowshoe.

So, there you have it—my take on the skis vs. snowshoes issue. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure if you're good at skiing it's probably much more fun to ski. It looks more fun. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever know for sure.

Tomorrow I have to try out the new three-hour Spinervals DVD that came in the mail today. Ooh, I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Now That's Dedication!

Here's where I pat myself on the back for something that doesn't begin to compare with the training other people (e.g., Alaska Jill) are doing, but felt like it took a lot of effort.

I decided to make yesterday my recovery day since everything hurt and I was ridiculously tired. It also enabled me to spend an hour and a half on the phone with my cousin who just had her first baby two weeks ago. (Now that is really brave!) I spent most of the day wincing when I had to move or sit down. I also examined myself for oddly placed bruises. The strangest seems to be in my armpit. (No kidding—I don't think I've ever had a bruise in my armpit before. Why would you?)

This evening I have to spend sitting through an obscenely long and boring bike club board meeting, which should last 30-45 minutes tops and will no doubt last 2 hours. My training this week is supposed to be 8 hours, with less base building and more high intensity stuff than in previous weeks. So, that meant I had to get up at 5 a.m. to ride for an hour and 20 minutes before going to work this morning. And I did it. The alarm went off and I actually got my bike clothes on, went upstairs and rode. It may be silly, but I do feel proud of myself.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cross Country Falling

There's a reason I didn't sleep very well last night. I couldn't get comfortable because everything hurt. And by everything, I mean my legs, my back and most of all, my butt.

Because of the large amount of snow we got on Thursday night and Friday, trail conditions weren't very good and instead of riding, Chris wanted to try cross country skiing again. So, we headed out to the county park and rented skis, boots and poles.

The beginner loop that took us an hour to finish last time took only half an hour this time, so we felt compelled to try the "harder" loop, especially since we had planned to be out for two hours.

I spent the next hour and a half admist drastic mood swings, back and forth between misery and euphoria. (Okay, euphoria might be a little strong.) On one hand, I felt like I actually was skiing for parts of it. I was going a lot faster and letting myself get some momentum and glide along in the tracks instead of trying to do whatever I could to slow myself down. Last time, to quote Chris I was just "walking with skis."

I even tried going down hills that I would have slid down on my butt or tried to go around last time. The hills were a lot bigger on the regular ski trail than they were in the beginner trail. I actually relaxed and glided down several of them with no problem. But every time I started to feel a little confident, I would end up on the ground again. I actually fell nine times during a two-hour period. The last time, I fell hard on my butt and now it even hurts to sit down.

The funny/interesting/ironic thing is that the "hard" ski trail is the "easy" mountain bike trail in the summer. It's a big, wide trail, with relatively small hills and nothing gnarly whatsoever that connects the "real" mountain bike trails, but for some reason it's really intimidating on skis.

Chris had a blast. He fell once or twice but is beginning to get really comfortable on skis. He's even started talking about buying some when he gets his REI dividend. For me, the jury's still out. We'll see how it goes next time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Weight Progress—February 3 (Better than Nothing)

Here's where I was a week ago:

Net weight loss: 29
Pounds left to goal: 35.5

Here's this week's stats:

Net weight loss: 30.5
Pounds left to goal: 34

(For all of you English majors like me who can't do math, that's 1.5 pounds since last Sunday.) I know it's something, but it doesn't feel like much and I'm one week closer to the wedding. I'm still trying to figure out how long I can safely postpone my dress fittings. If I could wait until the end of March, that would give me another eight weeks to work with. That's long enough that I could reasonably take off another 15 pounds.

The good news is that I hit the 30 pound mark, which is a milestone. However, I should be hitting the 50 pound mark by now and I would be if I hadn't gone backward and had to make it up again.

And now what you've all been waiting for—the "fat picture":