The universe conspires against us – or does it?

23 01 2011

Now that I’m 23 days into a new year, I realized that I’m failing miserably at my New Year’s Resolution of getting into a regular exercise routine. After finding a house we really like near Iroquois Park, we decided to put our house on the market. The past couple weeks have been consumed with “de-shitifying” as I call it — getting rid of clutter, old clothes that no longer fit and whatever other crap that we don’t need anymore. But now the house is in good shape and we’ve had two different showings in the 10 days it’s been on the market. (Now if we can just get an offer!)

This weekend, I decided it was time I get out the bike rollers or the stationary trainer and get my butt in gear. Yesterday, I wasn’t really in the mood, but today, Carrick and I assembled the stationary trainer I got her for her birthday last month. Simple enough to assemble, except we can’t seem to get the magnetic resistance cable installed correctly. Despite the fact that the trainer is usable for now without the cable, we rationalized that maybe we just weren’t meant to work out together today. So what did we do instead, you ask? Carrick took a nap on the couch and I stayed in my PJs until 4 p.m.  

I have a really difficult time staying motivated to work out during the winter. I want to be outside, yet I’m not really a fan of riding in cold temperatures. I have no excuse to not use the indoor trainers. Today though, I think the universe may have been conspiring against us. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





My Dailymile.com year-end review

12 01 2011

I recently received an e-mail summarizing my year’s worth of workouts I logged on dailymile.com. Before I share the pathetic-ness (is that a word?) of the data, let me just say that while I did not work out nearly as often as I intended last year, there were also many workouts which I forgot to log each day on dailymile. Entering my information on the Web site was not something I got in a regular habit of doing. This year I plan to make a point to log each and every workout so I’ll have better information to compare by the end of this year.

It appears since I joined dailymile in May, I only logged 15 workouts. Sad. Anyway, here’s how the stats break down from May through December:

  • My goal was to lose 25 pounds. So far I’ve lost 11. Still a ways to go, but I’m getting there.
  • I logged 210 total miles.
  • I burned off the equivalent of 84 donuts.
  • Most miles logged in one month was 93 in August. Far less than most people do in a week.
  • Farthest ride was 50 miles.

Wow, I’ve got some catching up to do. I’m ready.

On a side note, I suppose since day 365 of this blog has come and gone, there’s really no need to continue numbering each post.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 365: Woo hoo! I survived 365 days!

3 01 2011

This time last year I embarked on a project I wasn’t sure I could finish. I started this blog 365 days ago. The original intention of the daily project was to share my thoughts about cycling and my attempts at weight loss. I had success with some things … other things, not so much. I plan to continue the blog posts, although it will probably be on a weekly rather than daily basis.

Looking back over the past year, this blog project has been a learning experience which enabled me to meet quite a few fellow cyclists (both in person and in the online world). While I may not have accomplished everything I originally set out to do, here are some of the things I learned from the project:

  • A 365-day commitment is much more time-consuming than I expected. Silly me. I figured each day’s post would only take a few minutes. Most of them took close to an hour, depending on the post’s topic. Some needed a bit of research, which took more time. Other posts just took a while to write because I’m not terribly comfortable writing. Getting past the initial stage of staring at the blank computer screen took me some getting used to.
  • Carrick has the patience of a saint (see previous item above). I’m not sure which one of us is happier that the daily posts are ending and life will return to normal. She’s been very patient with me through the project and is always very encouraging, which was a huge help. Thank you, Carrick.
  • I lack willpower for dieting. My original intention when I started this blog was to learn better eating habits and lose 20-30 pounds. I enrolled in Weight Watchers in July and have since lost 11 pounds. Not as close to my goal weight as I wanted to be by the end of the year, but I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. I’m learning to view my food choices as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It’s been a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but I’m getting there. And I’m not giving up.
  • Life sometimes gets in the way of plans. Work, after-work commitments and daily blog posts sucked up much more time than I anticipated, cutting into my cycling time (not to mention my neglect of my photoblog). I’ve now learned I need to allow for time in my schedule to enjoy regular bike outings, whether those are regular rides with Carrick, group rides or solo rides. By not planning in advance, I often let the opportunity slip by.
  • I learned to fix a bike. Not a big deal to most people, but if you knew how mechanically uninclined I really am, you would understand how pleased I am that Carrick and I went a little out of our comfort zone and took the Park Tool School classes to learn maintenance and repairs.
  • Louisville is a pretty awesome bike-friendly city. In fact, it’s #21 on Bicycling Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities.
  • My “rides wish list” keeps growing. Each time I hear about an interesting ride, I add it to the list. In 2011, I plan to make a more concerted effort to do some of the rides. I’m particularly interested in trying to do some long-distance overnight touring with panniers, tent, and other necessary equipment. The only thing I lack is a touring bike. Maybe that’s the next big thing to save money for.
  • I had a lot of fun rides. I may not have racked up a few thousand miles on the bike this year, like several commuters I know, but I still had a blast. Some of my favorite rides this year included (in no particular order): The Indy N.I.T.E. Ride; Lexington’s Legacy Trail; Back Bay Nature Preserve in Virginia Beach; McAlpine Locks and Dam; the Louisville Loop; and the annual Hike & Bike event.
  • I can do anything I put my mind to. Actually, I knew this before I started the blog. As I get older, I realize that really the only thing preventing me from achieving my goals is myself and I need to work on that. I intended to ride my first century ride this year, but I didn’t make it. I did, however, ride a half century during our Louisville Loop to Farnsley-Moreman ride this summer (and 50 miles of the 100 Miles of Nowhere ride back in May). Small victories, but ones I’m excited about. I learned how rewarding it can be to push myself past my comfort level at times. The sense of accomplishment inspires me to keep trying and keep pushing myself.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog this year and for leaving comments, tips, suggestions and encouragement. I greatly appreciate your support and I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog even though the posts will be weekly instead of daily. Probably a relief to everyone. 🙂

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 362: Time to get back in shape

31 12 2010

Having moved here to Louisville from Texas almost 10 years ago, I’m still not a fan of winter. I remember many Christmases in Texas when my parents and I cooked steaks or burgers outside on the grill in 70 or 80+ degree weather. In fact, their temperatures were in the 80s last week, while we were dealing with temps in the 30s here.

Once winter arrived in Louisville a few weeks ago, I figured it’s time to make some new playlists on my iPod and get out the indoor bike trainer or the rollers. (Perfect for trying out the new Spinervals DVD Carrick bought me for Christmas.) Today though, it was 64 degrees! I’ve not been on my bike for about a month. As my friend Tom said recently, sometimes “life gets in the way of cycling.” I had some house cleaning to do this afternoon to get ready for friends coming over tonight, but I decided that could wait. A nice leisurely bike ride outside during a perfect sunny warm day was the first priority on my list.

I changed into my cycling clothes, did a quick bike check of the brakes, tires and chain, checked the air in the tires, grabbed the house key and off I went. It felt good to be back on the bike, but it was windy today and I think the past few weeks sitting around on my lazy butt made for a bit of a struggle today. I never felt like I got into the groove of the ride. My shoulder was bothering me after starting physical therapy again last week. (Yesterday’s MRI should tell whether or not it’s a rotator cuff tear, which is what the therapist is betting on.) The wind made my breathing a bit difficult since I’ve not been training in a few weeks. Maybe having something to do with being diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma a couple months ago. Crap, I’m falling apart! I expected to be a lot older than 41 before having to deal with arthritis, rotator cuff problems and asthma. But things could also be a lot worse, so I hesitate to complain.

So despite an abbreviated ride today, it was still a pretty great day. And the house cleaning is finished. I wish all of you a Happy New Year! Be safe out there.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 361: My New Year’s Resolutions

30 12 2010

I can’t believe another year has already come and gone. And again, it’s that time of year to make New Year’s Resolutions. Normally, I make a resolution (or several), stick to it for a few weeks, then not really make much effort after that. But this year I owe it to myself to change those bad habits. I don’t really have much right to bitch about things if I’m not willing to put forth the effort to change. One of my favorite sayings is, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” I’m ready to make the change.

This is my plan:

  • Recommit to Weight Watchers – I had hoped to be much closer to my goal weight by now since joining WW a few months ago. Really, it’s no one’s fault but mine that I’m not closer to my goal. The past several weeks I lost my focus and quit tracking my food. As of today’s weigh-in though, I’ve lost 11 pounds total. Not as much as I wanted by now, but at least it’s something. I’ve still got another 15 or so I’d like to lose.
  • Stop dining out – Eating dinner out every night is getting old. And expensive. Neither one of us particularly enjoys cooking, so we prefer to just stop at one of the local restaurants on our way home from work instead. We avoid fast food chains, but we’re still eating larger-than-normal portions and not knowing the calorie and fat content of foods makes it difficult to stick to a diet (such as Weight Watchers). Starting Jan. 1 we cook dinner at home and eat out for special occasions.
  • Cycle more – I need to set a weekly mileage goal and stick to it. Otherwise, I let other daily tasks take priority and before I realize it, another day has passed and I’ve not developed a regular exercise routine. My plan is to schedule time in my day to work out in the mornings before I go to work. Or ride my bike to work which would be much more fun than dealing with rush hour traffic on the interstate.
  • Reduce use of car for short errands – I need to use my bike for short errands around town (particularly those that are close to home). I need the exercise and saving on gas money certainly can’t hurt either. 

I’m ready for a new year and new habits. It’s time for me to stop making excuses and start making changes.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 308: Cycling into a headwind

7 11 2010

It was another beautiful day today, so Carrick and I took a 12-mile round-trip ride out to the Water Tower. I’m getting more used to the traffic on the two-lane part of River Road. One reason why I enjoy riding this road is the lack of traffic signals or stop signs. It’s just a nice flat stretch of road (parts of which need to be repaved) that enables me to ride faster than I normally do when I ride through town.

Most of the time when I ride, I tend to ride at a comfortable pace, which makes for an enjoyable ride, but it also probably doesn’t do much to increase my endurance or sprinting. This afternoon, we were riding at 17-19 mph (I usually average around 12.5). About half way to our destination, it occurred to me that we were probably riding with a tailwind, although it didn’t seem particularly windy today. I preferred to convince myself that the increased speed came from getting in better shape.

On the way back home, I quickly realized my delusional thinking really didn’t do me any favors. What earlier seemed like a fairly easy ride felt a good bit more difficult once we realized we were riding into a headwind. According to today’s stats at Weather Underground, the max wind speed today was 12 mph with gusts to 15. Around 1 p.m. when we were out riding, the wind was coming from the south at 4.6 mph. We joked that it never fails — no matter where we ride or which direction we travel, we always seem to have the headwind on way home. I’ve had this happen on several group rides and also the 50-mile ride Carrick and I did out to Farnsley-Moreman a few months ago. It’s always fun to get 25 miles from home, turn around to ride back and realize the majority of that part of the ride is going to be into a stiff headwind. (I just tell myself it’ll burn more calories.) In fact, Cycling Performance Tips has some great information on riding into a headwind. For example, doubling your air speed (ground speed plus head wind speed) will more than double the calories expended per mile traveled.

I’m telling myself that the calories I burned riding into the headwind today justified the chicken fajitas and guacamole I ate for dinner tonight. 🙂 And that’s why I’m in Weight Watchers ….

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter = 3 points
— 1 cup LF chocolate milk = 3 points
— 1/2 banana = 1 point

Lunch:
— 1/4 cup hummus = 2 points
— 1 apple = 1 point

Dinner:
— 2 chicken fajitas = 8 points
— Iced tea = 0 points
— 1/4 cup guacamole = 2 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Exercise:
— 60 minute bike ride (13 mph average) = +7 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 307: Fall color and childhood memories

6 11 2010

I’m embarassed to admit that I slept so late today that it was almost lunch time when I got up. It’s rare that I sleep that late on weekends anymore, but today it felt nice. I knew we didn’t have anything planned and I was still tired from the stressful week we had with the sick dog (who is feeling much better now). So I indulged. After yesterday’s post about cold-weather cycling, I decided to get outside and enjoy a ride (it’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve been on the bike). The outdoor thermometer read 46 degrees, so I dressed in warm layers, pumped up the bike tires, filled my water bottles, put my small camera in my jacket pocket and headed out the door. I rode an easy 10 miles but was gone about 90 minutes by the time I stopped to shoot a few photos of the Fall color. The cool wind in my face … the smell of fresh air … hearing birds singing — what’s not to enjoy about that?

Fall color in the Audubon neighborhood

Yellow tree.

Tree and blue sky.

The past couple weeks have been busy enough I’ve not been able to make time to go out for a ride. That’s not really a good excuse, I realize. People manage to squeeze workouts into their busy schedules all the time. I guess I’ve just not been trying very hard. Anyway, I did enjoy the ride today. As I crunched over crisp Fall leaves on the ground, I thought back to when I was growing up in Idaho. My parents and I would get on our bikes on cool Fall days and ride through the local cemetery a few blocks from our house. The crunching leaves under our tires provided a nice soundtrack to our rides. Other times, Dad and I would ride for what seemed like hours on our bikes. I remember walking or riding my bike to school, or the nearby park to watch baseball games or dog shows. I often think about those times and how Idaho Falls seemed like the perfect place to grow up. I haven’t been there in 28 years. Part of me wants to go back to see how the town has changed since we’ve been gone. I imagine the town is now full of chain restaurants, Walmarts, gas stations and franchise stores which would make it look like any other town in America. I think I’d prefer to hold on to the image I have of the perfect small town I knew and loved when I was growing up.

Today’s food journal:

Lunch:
— Power Bar = 3 points
— Banana = 1.5 points
— 1 cup LF chocolate milk = 3 points

Dinner:
— Turkey sub sandwich = 9 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.