Strava, Bicycling like a Beast!!!

Me and my “Little Brother”

Follow me on Strava

Follow me on Strava

 

Welcome back to my blog! Holy crap it’s been almost 5 months since my last post. That’s insane.  I have no excuse, I’ve been lax in my blogging admittedly.  I started this journey over 2 years ago on Ideal Protein, then transitioned over to Weight Watchers.  My weight has gone up, down, and up again, and now down again, and I’m starting to learn that it’s OK.

I’m fighting the good fight though, and knowing that TRYING is better than doing NOTHING.

 

Just to show how my weight has been going (gradually) down over the past 7 months, here’s my Weight Watchers Weight Tracking profile:

The last 12 months of my weight: Total lost so far, 15 lbs

The last 12 months of my weight: Total lost so far, 15 lbs

I’m far from perfect as you can see. This is all about accountability and transparency.  So here is me being accountable:  I still have 20 pounds that I WANT to lose.  Here’s me being transparent: I CAN DO THIS, but it MAY take LONGER than I WANT.  At the end of the day though, I’m 29 years old, I’m sure that fighting weight will be something I fight for a very long time, and I’m really just getting into the second battle, as it were.

My current weight: 186.0 as of yesterday morning (thank you nice people at Weight Watchers for not judging me too harshly).  My weight on January 15th when I weighed in for the first time at Weight Watchers: 201.  I have been down to 184 between then and now, and when I did Ideal Protein I bottomed out at 162, which had no muscle at all and still managed to be flabby.  This time, my goal is 165 but to have some actual MUSCLE under the flab as well as a healthier heart.

What I’m doing to move the scale this week: 31 miles on my bike yesterday, 20 miles on my bike today, hopefully at least 10 miles on my bike tomorrow (back to work for me, and it’s harder for me to bike to work going up hill for a measly 4 miles than do the whole bike trail of 20 miles).  I’m back tracking my food on my Weight Watchers Mobile App, but am honestly pushing more for the exercise this week than the food.  So EVERY day I’m going to try to do SOMETHING physically demanding for at least an hour.  That does NOT include my half an hour walk at lunch, no.  This is an hour of something that makes me sweat.  So if it’s not bike riding for a night, then it’ll be me going for a (shudder) run/jog or going to a Zumba class (kind of shudder, it’s $10/class).

This is just one week I’m trying this.  We’ll see how it goes.  But who knows, I might even surprise myself 🙂

Thanks for swinging by to my blog, I promise to work on updating a bit more frequently than once every 5 months!

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Every Mile Counts

5,280 feet… that’s how many feet are in a mile.  5 minutes.  That’s how long it takes to ride a single mile if I am riding 12 MPH.  35 calories.  That’s how many calories I successfully burned in those 5 minutes.  Every mile counts, that’s what I’m getting at I think. 

We had to take the car in this morning so we had some “pre trip maintenance” done, oil change, tire rotation, you know, the norm.  The bright side was we were able to pack the bikes into the back of the car (it’s a 2012 Ford Focus Titanium and the seats fold down) and then we could just ride to work from the car dealership.  Pretty sweet if you ask me!  So, despite the practicality issues, I was able to ride my bicycle yet again, getting closer to my 7 day goal (Saturday will be 7 days straight).  My official weigh in for the week is tomorrow. 

Last Thursday’s weight: 191.2…really hoping tomorrow is a “good” day!

How Fast Can You Get into Shape Riding?

Ahhh, the question I googled for days after starting this little “journey”.  Let’s take a look at what I got goin’ on…

Height: 5’7″

Weight: 192 LBS (yes, seriously)

Exercise Routine: 2-4 days per week, doing about 20-30 minutes on an elliptical or Arc Trainer, supposedly burning about 150-200ish calories…

———–The Progress ————-

May 13, 2013 : Bought my bicycle from Harlan’s Bike and Tour in Sioux Falls, SD.  It’s a Raleigh Misceo 2.0 and looks like a little punk rocker on wheels.  Rode 6 miles total, 3 miles each way from home to a local dog park and back.   Within the first mile, I wanted to kill myself.  After the 3rd mile and a bottle of gatorade, I thought maybe I would live.  By the 6th mile I was shaking and stumbling into the house.  I could not get off my bicycle, or onto my bicycle while it was in motion.

May 14, 2013 : Rode to work (thought I was gonna die) – avg speed: 7 miles at  12.5 MPH, total moving time = 35 minutes.  I did NOT track on my way home so not sure how I handled that…at first I was TERRIBLE at remembering to turn on my Strava app on my iPhone.  I now realized I COULD ride 7 miles and not die.  It was exhilarating even as I was exhausted.

May 17, 2013 : Rode to work (again, was gonna die) – avg speed: 8 miles at 13.1 MPH, total moving time = 38 minutes.  Again, I did not track on my way home. I was in so much pain that the following Saturday, I went back to the bike shop, convinced that my seat height was off, my legs hurt so bad just above my knees (quads) and I was sure something was wrong.  Two bike shops and 4 mechanics later, I was informed I was a wuss and my muscles would get stronger, the bike fit me fine and my legs needed to toughen up was all.

May 21, 2013 : Rode to work and didn’t track…took the “long way” home with my husband and boss…it was 15 miles in 72 minutes (1 hour 12 minutes) of moving time, averaging 13.0 MPH.  I didn’t actually feel like I was going to die, although my legs hurt REALLY bad the next morning.

May 27, 2013 : Finally caved and rode again, legs stopped hurting after 5 days of not riding, excuse was the rain we had torrential amounts of.  Rode an easy 6.7 miles up to a local park, unfortunately 1/4 of the bike trail was covered in water from flash floods, but I felt like a kid again, splashing through the puddles with my shoes dripping water and squishing when I walked into the house.  It was epic.

June 3, 2013 : Rode to work, tracked both ways!  Hooray!  To work = 13.9 MPH moving time 32 minutes, from work = 12.7 MPH thought I was gonna die.  Legs didn’t hurt as bad today, thought it was because of a tail wind.  I always ride home slower than I ride to work, after 9 hours I’m just exhausted.

June 6, 2013 : 13.4 MPH to work, 12.9 MPH going home

June 14, 2013 : Fast forwarding, rode my bike 3 more times between these, but this was the first day I broke 14 MPH for an average, that’s right.  14.4 MPH going to work.  Going home was even more impressive, 15.2 although I literally stumbled into the house when we got home and collapsed on my bed.  My amazing supportive husband also helped me by getting me a Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor and ANT+ Sensor that attached to my iPhone 4 so I could track my heart rate.  Average heart rate: 160 BPM, max rate: 170 BPM (at this point i thought my heart would hammer out of my chest and just go bouncing down the road).  I now had a new way to track what I was doing, and could actually see where my heart was working harder or was given more time than needed to recover.  I started listening to my body at these points and started learning how fast I really could recover.  Whoopie!  Exactly one month from starting bicycle riding I was down exactly 0 pounds (really didn’t care at this point) and was maintaining 2-3 days per week of riding.  More importantly, my heart, lungs and legs are in dramatically better condition, with my average speed increasing from 12.8 MPH all the way up to 15.2 MPH.  2.5 MPH increase, which may seem low, but when you think of it as a 20% increase in speed, that’s like going 72 MPH in a 60 MPH zone.

Today (June 18, 2013) : I’ve ridden my bicycle 7 of the last 9 days (Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sun/Mon/Today) and today I rode the long way to work (15.6 miles) and still managed to averaged 14.4 MPH for 1 hour 5 minutes, traveling the northern route of our local bike trails.  I had an extremely long day at work so took the short way home (7 miles) and still averaged 14.8 MPH, and the weird thing, that felt like I was “plodding along” at my previous 13.2ish MPH pace!  My thighs feel like rocks, my lungs are appreciating the attention, and my heart rate is averaging out closer to 156, still maxing out in the 170 range.

—————What have I learned?————–

Small goals equal huge victories.  I didn’t realize how much I set myself up for sabotage in a gym, but that’s not an option on the trails.  My first goal was simple.  Make it past Pasley Park without wanting to quit.  It is 1.8 miles from my house, and the first night we rode, I literally told my husband to just go, I’d meet him at home.  He pushed me, bullied me, and bribed me to keep up with him “just a little farther” until we made it to Spencer Dog Park, a perfect 3 miles from home.  He let me rest as long as I needed before we returned home.  I achieved my first goal only a week ago (June 11th to be exact).  I caught myself still pedaling evenly as I blew past the bench mark that had literally been my nemesis less than a month ago.

My second goal?  Make it to Spencer Dog Park without huffing and puffing but maintaining at LEAST 13 MPH.  I achieved that just last week on Thursday, after 2 days of riding and one day off.

My third goal? Ride the entire bike trail in a day.  I did this a couple of times actually, but this last Sunday (2 days ago) was the closest I got to doing it in one go.  My relaxation time was 3 hours instead of the full day of working normally.  My next big goal for that is to do it all in one go.

Ride up the “Hill of Death” without having to stop at the top.  This hill is something like a 15% grade or some nonsense (actually it varies between 8% and 33% throughout this horrendous zig zag action) and is seriously a 2nd or 3rd gear nightmare.  I got cocky the first time I tried riding up, I started in 6th gear.  By the end of the first stretch, I was down to 4th gear.  By the first corner, I was in 3rd, 2nd corner was 2nd gear, and I finished in 2nd gear, huffing and puffing.  I get to the top and am almost throwing up.  It doesn’t help that it’s already 5 miles into the ride before I get to HOD, but so far every time I hit the top, it’s at least a 2 minute through 5 minute break.  My goal is to be able to pedal slow but steady and make it to the top.

Just keep going.  When you think you can’t go anymore, trust me, you can.  Just push one foot down, just one more time, and before you know it, you’ll be home.

———————-

What helped me?

The Strava App, it gives trophies when you beat your previous times in various segments of regular routes, and compares you with others.

Endomondo – It’s a website with the National Bike challenge for this summer.  Our company is fighting for first place against a city across the river, and being raised with the East River/West River rivalry is helping push us to ride every day to stay in the lead.

Wahoo Fitness – App I’m using along with the Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor to see my heart rate while riding and after I’m done to see how I’m doing.

All these gadgets help me focus on the little details, rather than the irritation of the fact that I’m exercising.

In the future, my husband said he’ll pick me up more Wahoo accessories, including a cadence counter and a bike mount for my iPhone as well.

———————

What do I hope to accomplish with this riding?  Ideally, sure I’d like to lose like 40 pounds, have the heart of a rockstar and the legs of a goddess, but at this point, I will settle for the feeling of accomplishment I’ve gotten each time I’ve managed to go riding.  I am burning anywhere from 500 – 1,000 extra calories a day just by commuting to and from work, my body will eventually get on board.  There is always tomorrow.

Sometimes You Just Have To Take The Long Way…

Bike4L

This morning was a “long way” kind of a morning.   The fog was so thick I could not see across the river, I had to remove my sunglasses because water was beading up on them so heavily, and I watched while drops of moisture dropped down my helmet.  I rode with my husband and one of our coworkers, meeting up just outside of our neighborhood on the Sioux Falls area Bike Trail at 8:10AM and rode 16 1/2 miles around the Northern trek of the trails.  At times, my cadence was perfectly timed with my heart rate and respiratory rate, peddle peddle peddle-breathe….peddle peddle peddle-breathe… with the mist sinking into my skin, keeping me cool even as my muscles warmed up. I rode up a hill steep enough to give me time to reconsider taking it at least twice, through a group of geese socializing on the middle of the trail, and into the parking lot at work by 9:25AM.  My helmet was soaked, as were my gloves and hoodie, but it was an exhilarating ride.

Every time I ride my bicycle, I am amazed at how far I can go.  Now, no matter how tired I am or how long of a day I’ve had, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can ride either way home successfully, or either way to work and know I will make it there, eventually.

Today I will ride at least 20 miles total, as the shortest route home is still 7.3 miles, and burn at a minimum 700 calories.  My heart may not agree with the decisions I make while I’m climbing the numerous hills on my way to or from work, but it beats with elation when I manage to make it to my destination.

Sometimes, it pays to take the long way.

 

It’s just like riding a bike…

So, after a week of no riding, I was able to get back onto the trails today and ride to work.  Even though I could tell it had been a week, I was feeling pretty good.  The temperature was a temperate 60 degrees with a light breeze, really, I couldn’t ask for more.

a summer bike ride from Raffaella Loro on Vimeo.