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.

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How the $10 Diet Direct Discount “works”

Make sure to use the slider to redeem the $10 discount!

Make sure to use the slider to redeem the $10 discount!

A good friend of mine used my “Refer-a-friend” discount code and brought up the point that to redeem his $10, he had to use the “Redeem your Rewards” in the Checkout section.  So if you do use the discount code, please remember to redeem the rewards, so you get the $10 off!  If you do not have the discount code yet, click HERE and you will be redirected to Dietdirect’s page.  The referral code is prepopulated this way at the time of your registration.

Click Register and see the pre-populated field.

Click Register and see the pre-populated field.

This will ensure that you are able to receive the $10 discount.

Let me know if anyone has any trouble with getting onto Dietdirect and I’ll be sure to help!

Diet Direct Product Review: Bariwise Caramel Crunch

Today I got a sample of the Caramel Crunch Protein Bar.  Let’s start with the nutrition, then I’ll focus on everything else.

Calories: 170
Fat: 5.5g
Sat Fat: 4.0g
Trans Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 5mg
Sodium: 100mg
Carbohydrates: 16g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 8g
Protein: 15g

OK, now that THAT is out of the way…

Appearance: Boxes lie.  This does not look like the box.  Yes it’s covered in chocolate, and technically has caramel in the middle (do not judge me for breaking it open and looking at it before taking a bite), but the “crispy” coating on the outside is way understated compared to the image, and the caramel is more of a 1:8 ratio with the peanut buttery base, rather than the 1:1 they’re displaying in the image.  Moving on!

The first bite:  Weird consistency…kind of like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Easter eggs (you know the ones, that have the Reese’s stuff inside but look egg shaped and cost like $0.50?)    Caramel…not so much.  More like peanut butter flavor and a bit of a caramel undertone.  The crunch is kind of reminiscent of a Nestle Crunch bar.

The remaining bites: Nibble vs. shovel…definitely shovel.  There is something about the first bite that is less than appealing, but like booze, it seems to tend to improve with the number of bites you take.

Buy it again?:  Honestly?  I don’t think so.  There are other protein bars that I still enjoy more than this bad boy.  Don’t get me wrong, if I was uber hungry (like now) and in a pinch (again, like now), then this bar would definitely get the job done.  And with 15g of protein and only 170 calories, it isn’t going to weigh too heavily on my conscience tonight when I go home.

The Scale Moved!

So, I haven’t been mentioning it, but for the last two weeks I’ve been jumping on the scale once every 4-5 days, just to see if I had experienced a loss at all.  Until this week I had not had any change, or it was going the wrong way!  Let’s talk about devastated shall we?  I felt like I was busting my butt trying to workout and eat healthier, skip the soda etc. etc. etc. and the scale was NOT agreeing with what I was doing?

This morning as I stepped on the scale, I was prepared for the “ugly number”…183.4…that seemed to be the trend starting after the holidays.  Nope, this morning I was 182.0!  Do not rain on my parade about how our bodies can fluctuate day to day, I know that, but today’s the first time since I started this new living style that it is cooperating!

The new living style I’m referring to is trying to eat smarter on a day to day basis, making smarter choices, and if I snack, snacking on Wonderslim Protein products.  No, I have no idea if today is just a fluke, I’ll have to keep working at this day in and day out to see if a trend will start.  My goal is pretty relaxed, I’d like to lose at least 3 pounds per month of fat.  Just 3.  Why 3?  That’ll be 9 pounds by the end of April, and another 3 by the end of May, so I’d be down to roughly 170 by June, with some muscle replacing some of that fat, and would be ready for a summer of motorcycle riding and looking AWESOME in general.  If by some miracle I am able to get to 5 pounds lost / month (which is entirely possible on many weight loss programs), that’d be 20 pounds between now and the end of May.

Why am I losing slowly this time instead of doing Ideal protein again?  I want to try to do this in a way that I don’t have to rebalance my how-to-eat strategy.  If I start my how-to-eat from the standpoint of eating normal food on a daily basis, then it’ll be less change for me.

I don’t have  a problem shelling out $10 for a box of 7 meal replacement bars, or hot chocolate, or pudding, or chocolate dream bars.  They taste great, and are so much lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein that I see them as an easy lifelong snack choice instead of my original snacks: ice cream, mini candybars, and cookies, like, a lot of cookies!

Will I ever be to the “snack on carrots+range/cucumbers/kiwi/fruit in general”?  That’d be ideal, but I don’t know that I’ll ever get there.  It still feels like a “chore” to eat healthy.  Dinner this week has been a huge success, sticking with my meal plan I set up on Sunday.  Three days down, two to go. Remaining meals: Braised Pork Chops and then Tenderloin with Creamy Garlic Sauce.  The weekend is completely unplanned, and I’m definitely OK with a few days of non-planning after a week of scheduled everything!

Tonight is a non-gym night, then it’ll be back to the gym Fri/Sat/Sun.  So I better live it up when I have an extra 2 hours available, because I’ll be praying to the God of the AMT for the next 3 days.