Saturday, January 31, 2009

No Pain, But No Gain

I was terrified to step on the scale yesterday because my week did not go very well. In addition to eating everything in sight for at least three of the days and not tracking my points for five of the days, it was a recovery week, so I didn't have my workouts to bail me out. There was also another issue that I won't go into since boys sometimes read this blog and they probably can't handle it. Suffice it to say I was not optimistic that there would be no weight gain.

Thrilled is an understatement for how I felt when I saw that the number on the scale was exactly the same as last week. It doesn't get me closer to the 20 pound mark, which was my original goal for the amount of weight I wanted to lose in the 10-week package I bought. Last week, when I was at 19.2 pounds on week #7, it seemed like I would do it for sure, now I don't know.

I need to get back to business with a vengeance this week to shut down a couple of things that are starting. The first is that I'm starting to lose a bit of my motivation. It's not that I don't want to lose the rest of the weight, it's just that after a while, I always get bored with the whole weight loss process and it starts to get harder to stay on track. I have to shut that down, because I want to be able to lose at least 40 more pounds before I'm finished.

The other thing that happened is that I've been ridiculously busy, which should be obvious from the state of affairs with this blog. When I'm busy, I use it as an excuse to just throw things at my mouth haphazardly and not worry about if they're okay to eat or recording that I ate them. And for those of you who have been scoffing about me saying I'm busy (since I don't really work), I'm going to tell you all the things I did this week (and this doesn't even count eating, sleeping, showering, etc.):
  • Went to a two-hour meeting with one of my clients, whose office is 45 minutes away
  • Had a 30-minute weekly meeting with one of my clients
  • Went to a two-hour Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance presentation
  • Had a 30-minute meeting with my client regarding a specific project
  • Had numerous phone calls to coordinate a co-branded Webinar
  • Attended two networking lunches and an evening networking event
  • Wrote a Web post for one of my clients after doing the research for it
  • Wrote the second half of the content for a client's Web redesign, including gathering pdfs to attach and interfacing with the Web development company
  • Wrote introductory PowerPoint slides for a Webinar
  • Went to a meeting for the PR Committee of our local Ronald McDonald House
  • I finished my first batch of projects for a publishing company freelance thing I am doing. There were 30 of them and I had a week to complete them. I had to write 30 plot summaries, including gathering all information on the book (e.g., character names, time period, ISBN for all available versions, etc.). The information gathering took significantly longer than the writing.
  • I had a second interview for a "real job," which lasted two hours. It included an interview session, 30 minutes to come up with a marketing plan and 15 minutes to present it, a proofreading exercise and a writing exercise.
  • As a follow up to the interview, I had to make up a partial mock PowerPoint presentation and a two-page, graphically enhanced newsletter for their customers. I finished those projects at 1:00 this morning after working on them beginning in early evening.
  • Since it was a recovery week, I did three days of weight training, but only 5.5 hours of riding.
  • Spent close to no time reading blogs or on Facebook. :-(
So, now do you believe me, DG?

At any rate, I need to find a way to deal with all these issues, because I'm starting a new Web site next week, have another 30 summaries to write and I think things are going to be busy like this for a while. Not to mention the fact that I'm going to have significantly more training to do this week.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Never Again—I Mean It!

Something very momentous happened yesterday, and not in a good way. Yesterday I skipped the first day of training since Dec. 22 when I started my Friel plan. It was supposed to be a three-hour day, so instead of the 10 hours I was supposed to have in, I only had seven. I couldn't have skipped one of the hour and a half days so I didn't feel as guilty, could I?

Things have been so hectic around here lately. What with my freelance work picking up and starting a new freelance project that will be 20 hours a week for at least the next six months, not to mention my training schedule, still trying to get our super secret project finished and frantically cleaning the house last week to prepare for weekend guests, I haven't even spent any time on Facebook, and you know that's bad. It's obvious I haven't been keeping my blog updated.

At any rate, we spent Saturday and the first part of Sunday with our overnight guests. We had a great time with them, but someone (namely me) had too much to drink on Saturday night. It blows me away that I still do this every so often. I didn't think I was drinking that much, got a little silly, but felt like I was okay. That was until I woke up the next morning. I was drinking margaritas, which are normally pretty innocuous, but when I got up on Sunday and saw how much tequila was missing from that bottle I understood why I felt so rotten. By the time evening rolled around after several frantic sprints for the bathroom, I was finally feeling okay, but I wasn't about to ride the trainer at that point.

So not only did I not train yesterday, but I didn't train because I was hung over, which is really lame. I guess I need to get it together. I'm too old for this crap.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just the Opposite

Before I begin this post, yes, I do realize that I have been a complete slacker this week in terms of posting to both of my blogs. I had a couple of big projects I needed to finish and between freelance work, a few important meetings, training and working on our new project (which will hopefully be revealed next week), blogging has been very low on my list of priorities. I'm hoping next week will be better.

And now what you've all been waiting for—this week's weigh in. I keep remembering the Week #5 weigh in when I was sure I did great and couldn't figure out why I hadn't lost weight. If you'll recall, after I thought about it a bit, I realized that there were a lot of things I didn't do well.

This week was the opposite. I went into WW expecting to see no movement on the scale, or at least very little. It didn't seem promising. After all, last Friday I lunch with a friend at a restaurant where I could only estimate points values very loosely. My day continued as I had a Chai latte (which has way more points than it seems like it should). Then I went to El Azteco, had two Espescial margaritas and enchiladas de queso and proceeded to eat at least an entire basket of chips by myself. But that wasn't all. There were continued slips during the week, like the two oatmeal cookies and two yummy Fruity Pebbles treats (made by Sue) I had after the race on Sunday. Then there were the other two Chais I had last week (including a Grande at Biggby which has 8 points!).The list goes on and on.

However, when I stepped on the scale, I had actually lost 3 pounds. I couldn't figure out how I had lost weight considering how crappy I ate. Then I had a conversation with the leader and I started to put what I ate in context with the entire week and all the training I did. I guess I didn't really do that poorly after all. Turns out what really needs the most improvement is my ability to see my week for what it really was and to analyze it appropriately.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Will She or Won't She?

I'd already decided we were going to Snowcross today, but I hadn't decided if I was going to race. I thought it might be nice to just watch the race for once and not struggle through it myself. I dressed in riding clothes just in case and we made the trek to the Versluis Orchard.

We got a late start and the roads weren't great. Actually, I didn't think they were that bad until a semi in front of us blew out a tire and I had to put on my brakes. At that point, I realized it was a bit slippery.

We got to the venue literally five minutes before the race was supposed to start. I had already talked myself out of racing on the trip over, mainly because I didn't think we'd arrive with enough time to spare. The group was still milling around, however, and I asked Rick if I was too late. He and Cathy convinced me there was plenty of time and gave me the mandatory pre-race shot of peppermint schnapps.

I rushed back out to my car, grabbed my bike and changed my shoes. I was instructed to leave my bike outside and return to the garage. The racers gathered in the garage and Rick gave last minute instructions with a bullhorn. The garage door was raised, a shotgun fired and all the racers ran for their bikes.

After riding briefly down the road, we veered off into the orchard. Nate Versluis had plowed a course through the orchard for the race. All classes left at once, which is different from a normal Kisscross race. It was a little strange for me to be riding with everyone. Since I'm always last, I'm used to being by myself for most of the race, but because the A and B racers were doing more laps, they were out there for nearly the entire time I was. In fact, until the race was over and I saw the results, I didn't even know how many C racers were racing. As it turned out, there were only four.

I took my mountain bike instead of my cross bike today and it was a really good decision. The only time I really felt at a disadvantage was when I was trying to get over the barriers or when I had to walk up a hill. Since my bike is so ridiculously heavy, it was a lot of weight to lug up a hill. Other than that, though, having my mountain bike there was a positive experience.
Since I lack confidence on the bike, it really helps to have something bulkier with bigger tires. Given the course's snow and icy downhills, I know I would have walked a lot of sections if I had my cross bike.

Yes, I still came in last, but I had a good time out there, despite the fact that I was constantly sliding around and crashing into snowbanks. Surprisingly enough, I never got cold and it sure beat the crap out of spending that time on the trainer.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Now That's More Like It!

It was with a lot of apprehension that I stepped up to the scale this morning at Weight Watchers. One week without losing anything I could handle. I wasn't so sure about two. Luckily, I didn't have to find out. I left the meeting with the satisfaction of having lost another 2.2 pounds and a renewed commitment to keep plugging away at it.

It's a difficult journey for me, this weight loss. I tend to go for the instant gratification and once I've made a commitment to losing weight and put the effort into it, I want it all to be gone now. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way.

Being able to see progress keeps me motivated, though. Even last week when I didn't have any weight loss, I looked in the mirror and saw some definition starting to creep into my stomach where before it was just a gelatinous mass. (Sorry for the gross visual.) I might hate those oblique exercises I'm doing on the Bowflex more than anything else, but they're working.

Things are so busy right now it's a continual challenge to stay focused, not to mention keeping my blog updated. (This blog, fortunately, hasn't suffered as much as my other blog.) With all the busy times comes a lot of excitement and anticipation, though. Not only has my freelance work picked up tremendously, Chris and I have been working on a project very close to our hearts. It's going to be revealed in the next week or two, and I hope everyone else will be as enthusiastic about it as we are. I'm also thrilled that two EXTREMELY nice people (this one and that one) have agreed to be part of our debut.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I spent yesterday afternoon with Marne Smiley, executive director of MMBA. We were spreading the word about this year's Annual Meeting & Expo, which will take place Feb. 22. This year's Expo is at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing, and I can't begin to explain how excited I am about this change. In previous years, the Expo has been held in Davisburg at a venue which, in my opinion, was too small, too out of the way and definitely too cold. I spent the whole time I was there last year freezing my butt off.

At any rate, this year's venue has all the modern conveniences, such as heat. It's also not more than a few minutes drive from the highway, so it should be easier for attendees to make it. (It's certainly good for us, since it's only a mile or two from our house.) The hope is that the centralized locale will allow a lot more Western Michigan folks to attend. It's not such a haul.

Marne is very enthusiastic about the venue change as well. It is a bigger expense, though, so we are hoping to bring in lots of vendors to help defray the costs. I would like to make sure it goes well, not only to keep it in mid-Michigan, but also to increase the organization's presence in our part of the state. I'm going to do my best to help advertise it so locals who aren't currently involved will be encouraged to do so. There are probably a lot of riders out there who still don't know MMBA exists or understand the reasons for joining.

I plan to visit a few more businesses tomorrow and this weekend and get some signs posted in as many places as I can think of. Chris Mensing, our chapter president, will be out there spreading the word as well. Marne is still looking for vendors, items for the Silent Auction (in its second year after raising about $5000 for MMBA last year) and lots of attendees. If you have questions, need more info or want to donate anything, contact Marne at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is Actually Starting to Make Sense

Late last week, I noticed with disdain as I looked at my workout plan that my weight training routine was going to change. I've gone from the Maximum Strength (MS) to the Power Endurance (PE) phase. After all the trouble I had in the first few days of the last phase, I wasn't optimistic about figuring out my new workout. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the actual exercises weren't going to change, just the amount of weight and the speed with which I lift it.

For my first weight workout in this phase, I had to determine, through trial and error and some estimating, how much weight I needed to lift. This is similar to the process I had to go through in the first phase, but for some reason, it was much easier for the PE phase. I don't think there's anything inherently easier about this phase. The difference is that I'm starting to educate myself about the program and it's becoming more understandable.

Things aren't as daunting as they were in the beginning and I'm using the Mountain Biker's Training Bible as a reference to figure out what I need to do. Rather than looking at all the information and deciding it was overwhelming and whining about it, now I'm just systematically working through it.

It's not perfect. Chris is still plugging my workout times into the Excel file for me and filling in some of the blanks, but I'm actually learning to do some of it myself while he provides the basic framework. One of these days I may actually be self-sufficient in this area!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Something I'm Worse at than Mountain Biking

Yesterday, I slogged through 2.5 hours on the trainer, an act necessitated by the fact that we got snow dumped on us all weekend. Later that evening, I participated in an activity that was was very different from mountain biking in some ways. In one glaringly obvious way, this pursuit was startlingly similar to mountain biking. Turns out I suck at both of these pastimes—mountain biking and, wait for it ... roller skating.

Back in the day, my husband spent all his time traveling around the state to roller rinks with his buddies. Not only does he think it strange that I didn't spend my time similarly, he's incredulous that I can't skate at all. Because everyone learns how to skate when they're a kid, right? It's just like riding a bike.

So, last night we visited the scene of so many of my husband's adolescent nights—Edru, the roller skating rink in the small town of Holt with the zoo animals on the roof. I proceeded to attempt to skate and he proceeded to attempt to teach me. Needless to say, it was not an overly successful venture.

I'll probably keep trying, though, just like I do with mountain biking.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

It was great to have some recovery time this past week. My schedule consisted of the requisite three days of strength training, plus an hour of riding on Tuesday and Thursday and 2.5 hours of riding I have yet to do today. In addition, yesterday's scheduled riding was a "test" or time trial that I had to do. Given the fact that I don't have a lot of fancy equipment and the inconvenience of getting about five inches of snow within that time period, I had to do some creative thinking to figure out how to test myself.

In three weeks, I'll be testing myself again and tracking my progress, so I just needed to get a starting point. We actually have one of Coach Troy's Spinervals DVDs called Totally Time Trial, so I had a program to follow. The measurement part was taken care of by a brilliant idea from my husband. He suggested putting a computer on my back wheel and recording my mileage. (Obviously, my existing computer doesn't work because the front wheel doesn't spin on the trainer.) That way, in three weeks I can see if I have improved any if I am able to record more mileage during my next test.

My first effort resulted in a total distance of 14.32 and an average speed of 14.31 mph. I know that sounds pretty slow and I expect it to improve a lot. However, when I think about the days I was barely averaging 12 mph on a road ride, it doesn't seem that bad.

In other unrelated news, Pedal Pushers has me writing another article for them. It's set for release at the end of February, and this one will be about my journal as an "accidental athlete." I'm sure you'll all be awaiting it with bated breath.

One last thing—stay tuned for the announcement of an exciting new project. My husband and I are working on something that will hopefully make use of both our talents and our interest in mountain bike racing. It may be a few weeks before we're able to have anything concrete to show, but it's something we're very enthusiastic about.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Here's the Point Where I Start Growing Up

Something very depressing happened to me this morning. I stepped on the scale at WW and I hadn't lost anything. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. After all, I mostly stayed within my points values (if you include activity points) and overall, I really didn't do any worse than I did last week, when I lost 4.6 pounds.

It's true that this week was a recovery week, so I went from 9.5 hours of riding to 5.5 hours of riding. However, in my head I had already factored that in. I fully expected not to lose as much as I did last week, but I expected to lose something.

The leader tried to calm me down a bit and told me not to get discouraged, but I was pretty miserable. I sat through the meeting, though, and the longer I sat there, the more things I thought of that I didn't do well. For example, when I work out a lot it's a no-brainer to drink tons of water. I need it and I crave it. But this week, I didn't ride as much and there were some days I neglected water completely.

The more I thought about the things I didn't do very well, the better I felt. This seems counterintuitive, but it really does make sense. After all, if I do everything right and I still don't lose weight, it means I actually have no control over whether or not I lose and that makes me feel powerless. It's not that I'm a control freak, but I do like to know that my efforts are making a difference.

That being said, I didn't beat myself up for the things I did wrong or didn't do as well as I could have. I just realized that my initial impression of how I did may be wrong and that to really tell how I did, I have to keep track of some of the things I haven't really been paying attention to thus far.

It also means that I have to look at things more closely. For example, if I'm staying within my points value by eating two Hostess 100 calorie twinkie packs, granola bars and WW pretzel thins a day, that's probably not the same as staying within my points values by eating fruits and vegetables for snacks.

I'll try paying a little more attention and being more mindful of my choices in the coming week and see if it makes a difference.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Newest Challenge

Everyone who reads this blog (and several people who don't) know about all the training I've been doing because I am perpetually whining about it. Sitting on the trainer for three hours is boring, yada, yada, yada. Luckily, this week is a recovery week, which means today I don't have ANY training to do. None. Nada. No strength training and no riding. It's nice to have a break.

It also means I'll be doing a little less bitching today about how miserable it is to sit on the trainer. Instead, I'm going to tell you about how hard it is to ride rollers.

Yesterday, I tried them out for the first time. Since some people who read my blog are hardcore riders and just about everyone who reads my blog is a better rider than me, many of you will not be impressed by this feat. But let me tell you, for those of you who haven't ridden them, you can't imagine how hard it is.

The thing that really makes the rollers difficult, in my opinion, is the fact that you have to ride straight to stay on them. Now most of us think we ride fairly straight. I certainly thought I did. When I'm out on the road or on the trail it doesn't seem like I'm weaving all over the place. Apparently, though, I am weaving, if only in a slight manner.

I ended up riding the rollers for about 15 minutes and finishing the rest of my ride on the trainer. I was very excited when I could actually ride for a while without leaning on the wall. I'm going to commit to riding them at least once a week so I can get better at it. I'll keep my time to about 15 minutes to begin with until I can spend most of the 15 minutes riding without touching the wall. Then I figure I'll bump it up.

I'm glad to have a new challenge. I think it's an activity that will allow me to measure my progress and making progress always helps me stay motivated.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Can't Believe It!

I know I've talked about this on my blog before, but it continues to amaze me how much I get into reading other people's blogs. Reading someone else's thoughts day after day makes it easy to feel like you know them.

I have a rotation of blogs I read often and they fall into a couple different categories. The first are people I met and knew in person before reading their blog (or maybe they didn't have a blog until after I had met them). For example, there are Jake, Anne and Laurie. Another category is those people whose blogs I read before I met them (or maybe I still haven't met them, but have some chance of meeting them) like Danielle, Ali, Di and Corporate Hippy. Still another category is those people I have never met and will probably never meet like Fat Cyclist, Alaska Jill, Pioneer Woman and Alex. Regardless of what category they fit into, I feel like I've gotten to know them (or at least the person they seem like on their blog). So, it continues to amaze me when I see (or hear) something that doesn't jibe with the persona I have envisioned.

Now, I'll get to the real point of this post. Yesterday, Fat Cyclist posted some videos on his site. So now, Elden Nelson has a voice for me. Here's the problem. It's not at all the voice that was in my head. It's not that there's anything wrong with his voice. It's just not what I was expecting, even though I can't really pinpoint what I was expecting. At any rate, if you're a Fat Cyclist reader and you haven't watched the video, you should definitely do it. I'd be interested to find out whether it had the same effect on anyone else.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cool Bike-Related Christmas Presents Part 4: Various Goodies

Lo and behold, I haven't finished posting all my cool bike-related Christmas presents yet. This grouping including a basket for my cruiser. Now that I have my bell and my basket, my cruiser will be fully functional. There are also some shoe covers to protect my feet from the cold and some foot covering reminiscent of warmer days. Too bad the palm trees are making me pine for the Key West vacation I'll be missing this year.

Monday, January 5, 2009

5 Interminable Hours

That's my total time on the trainer between Saturday and Sunday. It was downright excruciating. I should have followed my first instinct on Saturday, when it was beautiful and the sun was shining all day. I thought I should have ridden outside, but I took the path of least resistance. I figured it was more likely for me to roll off the couch, pull on a pair of bike shorts and hit the trainer than to pull on a bunch of layers and get my mountain bike out of the garage. Besides, I'd knew I'd be doing an outdoor group ride on my birthday. Big mistake.

When Sunday rolled around, freezing rain had turned the roads into a skating rink. People started bailing left and right, but I was still determined to go out. I had to spend three hours training and I didn't think I could stand three sitting on my bike on the trainer. Then Barry called and asked me if I had studded tires and I realized all my training wasn't going to do me much good if I got hit by car or sustained some ridiculous injury by trying to ride on extremely icy roads.

So I rode the trainer. For three hours. I thought it was never going to be over. It's a good thing I only have to do strength training today or I think I would lose it. I just hope one day off is going to be enough for my legs and posterior to recover. I do see a lot of outdoor rides in my future, though.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I weighed in this morning. I feel like my training has really been helping my weight loss. (I know, duh, right?) The week of Christmas, for example, I kind of went overboard, but because of the training, I was still able to lose a pound. This week, my training increased and I only had a slight New Year's Eve indiscretion in the form of a piece of garlic bread, a cocktail and a piece of pumpkin ice cream pie.

What I took from this week's results is that if I slip up for a day or two and train hard, I can still lose a pound. However, if I only slip up for a meal and train hard, I can still pull big numbers. (Can you tell I've been watching Biggest Loser reruns?) So, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I got a respectable 4.6 pounds, bringing me to a four-week total of 14 pounds.

Next week, I go from 8.5 hours of riding down to 5.5 hours, so I'll have to take that into consideration with my eating.