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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Recent Blog Entries

I can see my roll from both sides now...

Monday, October 26, 2009

After a couple hours of drills I had a functional off-side (left-hand) roll in the Dagger RPM MAX Sunday night...

Here is a link to videos of the on- and off- side rolls as of last night...

Sorry the video isn't more complete - I didn't realize the lifeguard was only recording very short snippets, and there wasn't time to do a longer one.

I promise a more fun video for next week!

As a teaser preview, here's what I looked like on Saturday at a 350.org rally in Ithaca. That day I tested my "on-side" roll in my own boat (a CD Kestrel) in Cayuga lake and nailed it.

I'm the one in the orange boat facing away from the camera.
Bigger picture here: 3.bp.blogspot.com/_9OO4nfSajL0/SuOh7

I have arranged with a friend on Saturday morning to take my boat down to her waterfront and roll it a few times on each side while she holds the camera.

P.S. My current favorite tea is Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry. I THINK it's the flavor, but now, looking at the box, I wonder if the fact that the berries are going down some nice-looking rapids has anything to do with it? LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 10/27/2009 11:01PM


hehe. That's what FLOAT BAGS and a skirt are for!

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LJOHN44 10/27/2009 6:40PM

    Ooooh! You're a serious kayaker! Very impressive. I have a little Blast kayak- that thing would sink if I ever attempted a roll (which I wouldn't!) emoticon

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SECRETMUSIC 10/26/2009 12:10PM

    I'm so impressed!

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WALKWITME 10/26/2009 9:58AM

    From One Sagittarius to another ( Dec. 15 th. )

I Love It !

Wish I could Even attempt something like that.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 10/26/2009 8:50AM

    LOL, Don.

You should know me well enough by now to expect me to go at full speed toward anything I really want! hehe Like they typically say about Saggitarians, I have only one gear. Fast.

Besides, if I'm going to be the baddest 40-something ass on the river who used to weigh over 300 lbs by the time the snow melts in the spring, I need to get my stuff in gear.

(Maybe if there isn't enough competition in the above category I'll open it up to ANYONE who used to weigh over 300 lbs. hehe)

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CARRIE1948 10/26/2009 8:35AM

    Pretty cool.

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DDOORN 10/26/2009 8:15AM

    You're really going at this WW kayaking full steam ahead!

Woo hoo! :-)


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One Year Ago

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Seems like a good time of year to start reminiscing. Last October I weighed about 318 lbs (up from the low of 290 the previous year and would gain another 8 by December). I had heard of SparkPeople, but wasn't interested because it sounded mostly like a social networking site.

I was doing water aerobics 4x/week but I wasn't watching my intake anymore. I'd pretty much given up. I despaired of ever having an active life again, and wondered how I'd manage my slowly decreasing mobility with my arthritic knee. I spent a lot of time alone in that dank hole that JESPAH blogged about recently. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

Thank God (and I really do) that things have turned around. My quality of life is 200% better. I'm one pound away from having removed 150 of them, building myself into an athlete again, and best of all, everyday mobility is no longer an issue.

As one friend said this weekend while looking at my progress photos, "who IS that woman in the October 08 pictures?!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMAROLEMODEL 10/28/2009 9:25AM

    Wow you look amazing! Way to go on losing the 150 now! YOu look amazing and you are a constant inspiration!


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SECRETMUSIC 10/19/2009 9:59PM

    You look radiant!

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NGCHILD 10/19/2009 4:02PM

    You look fabulous!! CONGRATS on all your hard work!!


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CARRIE1948 10/15/2009 4:01PM

    Way to go.

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HEALTHY_CATH 10/14/2009 6:42PM

    Congratulations! I've had some trouble lately using walking as my exercise so your story is particularly inspirational to me. Way to go!

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GNUATTITUDE 10/14/2009 5:29PM

    The woman in those pictures is you--and you're quite fabulous! Kudos!

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USARUNNERGIRL 10/14/2009 12:15PM

    Congrations on your huge success. You are quite the inspiration to me. Your before and after picture speaks volumes.

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FIT_TERI 10/13/2009 9:11PM

    Wow, I just came across your page & blogs and I have to congratulate you on your progress. Very, very impressive. You should be very proud of yourself!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KIMBEEJ16 10/13/2009 5:24PM

    Congratulations! You have done an amazing job and in only 1 year! I hope to reach my 150 lb. loss by next Spring. Taking it nice and slow as I continue to find new ways to eat healthy and exercise. I have also recently begun to learn how to kayak...a friend is teaching me and we are headed out to the Gulf (off Florida) this Saturday! I'm in love with it! Also, thanks for the trophy icons...I am going to borrow them as needed...those little guys are hard to find. Some people just cannot understand the huge boost in quality of life after such a weight loss...I'll never get over being amazed by it. :)

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TELERIE 10/13/2009 5:11PM

    Wow! Just WOW! Admirations and congratulations and inspirations!

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COUNTRYMUSIC63C 10/13/2009 12:33PM

    You are such an inspiration. I am so happy for you. I cannot wait for the day when I will be in the 100's, I knw it will be awhile and I need to do the work. I am willing to do it. emoticon emoticon

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MYFEETHURT 10/13/2009 1:42AM

  Truly remarkable. You are really an inspiration to us all. I know it's been a lot of work...but it sure is paying off for you. Keep sparking! mary

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THOMS1 10/13/2009 1:27AM

    Wow, you are just amazing and you look amazing. Congratulations on you healthy lifestyle change!! IT WORKS!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WANDAC2013 10/13/2009 1:06AM

    WOW!!!!! Cogratulations! You look--and are--amazing!! emoticon

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ENLIGHTEN74 10/13/2009 12:53AM

    Wow ...am soo impressed with your resolve and staying on the path. I look forward to reading your previous blog entries to find out more about your journey. You look fantastic by the way. is it bad to feel slightly envious even though it couldn't have been a wall in the park? :-)

All the very very best to you to maintain your hard earned success. Cheers to a beautiful healthy life! emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 10/13/2009 12:28AM

    Very inspirationa - thank you! I am a memver since a month and hope to get where you are.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last night I successfully got my kayak roll down.

If you'd told me in December that by September I would have lost 140 lbs and taken up white water kayaking and would FIT in a Jackson 2Fun let alone do Eskimo rolls in it, I would have laughed at you. Unhappily.

But here I am! Doing it!
And here's another time I did it, just in case you thought this was the only time I managed it...

(and just in case you're wondering, here are the dimensions of the boats)

The photo in the yellow boat from July is in a SuperFun.

The video here is actually in a 4Fun. By the end of the evening I'd switched into a 2Fun and was rolling it even more easily.

Update: here's what the instructors did at the end of our weekend trip:
UPDATE: In October 2010 I ran that same waterfall at more than twice the volume. I failed my roll at the bottom, but my line was clean. Most people ran the sneak line and put in lower down.

UPDATE: By the following March I had a roll on both sides and was jumping off the diving board in my very own personal boat! LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CCKELLY3 10/21/2009 12:43AM

    This is SOOO awesome.

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COUNTRYMUSIC63C 10/11/2009 8:28PM

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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WALKWITME 10/6/2009 12:15PM

    I Just Loved It !

You are AWESOME !

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MS.ELENI 10/5/2009 10:18AM

    Loved this.Great video.Congrats to you

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ROSEHIP:-) 10/2/2009 4:15PM

    That is cool!!!!

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KRYSTLEKLEAR 10/1/2009 10:41PM


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SABRINAIS30IN09 9/30/2009 7:21PM

    Congrats!!!! That is awesome!!!!

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DDOORN 9/30/2009 6:03PM

    Oh go ahead and blow your horn...! Enjoy and savor your accomplishments...woo hoo! :-)


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/30/2009 5:49PM


Thanks! I'm kind-of stoked about this whole thing; I've been showing the video(s) to anyone who will watch them; I feel like a 3-year-old in the playground, going, "Mom! Mom! Look! Watch me!!!" LOL

I just calculate my BMI from the formula
BMI = kg/m*m

See the Wikipedia page for more information:

Or maybe did you mean how do I get an estimate of my body fat percentage? My Tanita scale uses bioelectric impedance. There's also a formula you can use to estimate it from BMI. When I was morbidly obese the numbers did not agree at all. The scale said my body fat was a lot less than the BMI equation did.

Comment edited on: 9/30/2009 5:56:33 PM

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TERRA49 9/30/2009 4:09PM

  Great funny video. Your spark page is so encouraging. What a success story you are. What method do you use to track your BMI? I think I should start to do that.

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KAWENNAKE21 9/30/2009 12:35PM

    I am inspired by your video and comment...9 months and 140 lbs...Congratulations on how you ROLL!! emoticon

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DDOORN 9/30/2009 12:34PM

    I am SO EXCITED for you! It has been AMAZING and INSPIRATIONAL to see you SPARKING SO...heck you're a whole FIREWORK DISPLAY! :-)

You've really helped me to get off my duff and start working my way off my plateau!


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I've already forgotten exactly how big I was... (or maybe I never actually knew?)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In the "overweight" and "normal" categories, the BMI number is not very helpful because it doesn't reflect the amount of muscle versus fat contributing to weight.

However, in "obese" and above, I think it's a pretty good gauge of the relative size of people for their frames.

As recently as December 8 2008 I was "Super Morbidly Obese," (BMI over 50).
On December 23, 2008 I dropped into "Morbidly Obese" (BMI under 50)
On May 24, 2009 I dropped into "Class II Obesity" (BMI under 40)
On July 31, 2009 I dropped into "Class I Obesity" (BMI under35)
In 7.8 lbs I will drop into "Overweight" (BMI under 30)

The reason I mention this is that I watched some of the excerpts from Biggest Loser on Hulu last night and was amazed at how LARGE all of the new contestants looked. Because last season I recall that only a few of them started at a BMI similar to mine.

So I went and looked up the numbers, and was shocked.

My starting BMI was 52.56 back in May 2007. In December 2008 it was 52.53

Of the contestants on the current show, only 5 of the 16 are actually larger than I was 9 months ago. None of those are as old as I am. Most contestants are the size range I was in until May 24. Only two are older than me, and the rest are younger.

Body image is such a bizarre and fluid concept. Most of the time I still wonder if a chair will hold me or if I can squeeze through a space occupied by other things. I have no clue what I really look like, anymore (I don't recognize recent pictures of myself, and don't even get me started on my reaction to the mirror - it's basically like viewing a Cubist Picasso. An eyeball here, something else there, some things look surprisingly small, others look big, and others just look strange - I simply can't process the entire image as a whole). Apparently this is not uncommon: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31489881/ns/hea

But I didn't realize that I'd forgotten how big I looked - or maybe I never really accepted it in the first place. Yes I have a pair of "fat" jeans I saved from last December and I have some "before" pictures on my spark page, but I think perhaps somewhere in the back of my brain I wasn't really *seeing* it, because it was too painful to actually contemplate.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHQUESTER 10/31/2009 8:45PM

    I know what you are talking about...I have recently had a wake up call from my friend who lovingly but firmly told me that I was fat...obese even....and I was like who are you looking at? But when I would see pics of me...I was like who is the person in that picture?? I asked my husband once why the camera was so distorted. He looked at me with some pity and said 'it's not'.

But I am on my way to making my outsides match what I feel they look like on the inside!

Good luck continuing on your amazing journey to do the same!

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SECRETMUSIC 10/26/2009 12:14PM

    This is a really thought-provoking concept. I think I'll reflect on this today. One of my issues is that I have never felt as large as I really was. Thanks for writing.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/23/2009 1:53AM

    OK, just watched episode 1.

Every woman on there aside from Shay is considerably smaller than I was last December. And I can honestly say I don't remember being even as big as they were, except perhaps Amanda, and she's the size I was in at the end of May.

So yep, I think my mind has actually blocked out my previous size, because it's just too painful to contemplate.


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WINTERWINGS 9/21/2009 8:04AM

    Just found your page and blog. Congrats on what you've acomplished so far. I like your comment about being able to ride horses again. My gelding is a trooper and packed me around before I got pregnant. Now I don't have the time, sadly, but I keep looking at him and thinking about it. Perhaps I'll make that a personal goal of mine too.

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CARRIE1948 9/17/2009 8:46AM

    As usual, I am in awe and wonder about your accomplishments.

Body image is weird. I don't feel that I look any different, which may be part of the reason that no one notices that I've lost weight.

When I look in the mirror, all I see is the weight. Then again, I can do that when I'm 100 pounds.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/17/2009 7:59AM

    How funny - I was playing the BIGGER or SMALLER game by myself in airports all the way to and from England last week. But I didn't have someone there to confirm or deny my impressions. And it didn't occur to me that we all do this...

I think I'm bigger than I actually am now, but I never realized how big I was when I started. Even now I'm not sure I understand how big I was at 335.6 ...

I'm looking forward to next week when I can watch Episode 1 of season 8 (Hulu delays streaming for a week) and take a close look at Rudy and Antoine, because they are the closest in BMI to where I was when I started.

Perhaps we need to take "before" and "after" VIDEOS of ourselves, to get the full impact of what we've accomplished?

Comment edited on: 9/17/2009 12:44:30 PM

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DDOORN 9/17/2009 7:39AM

    Our "personal" lens is SUCH a tricky thing...the way we can distort things to be either LARGER than life...or SMALLER...

It can certainly help us to "function" better if we aren't CRUSHING our self-esteem every waking moment when our size is so extremely huge. But on the other hand this also enables us to continue such a self-destructive lifestyle.

What an AMAZING transformation you've gone through! I think it is testimony, also to your past "normal" size that you can adjust your perceptions so quickly as you have.

I still battle the HUGE perception of myself and sometimes double check with my DW while out & about, playing the BIGGER or SMALLER game: I ask her when I see a fellow: am I BIGGER or SMALLER than that fellow...? It helps a bit to correct my "lens."


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Back in the Saddle

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I used to be a long-distance cyclist.

I bought my first (and only) bicycle, a steel touring Peugeot U-O9, around 1981 with babysitting money. I earned $1.50/hour. The bike cost $250.

Over the years with the help of my brother and later a boyfriend I modified things Saturae rims from Wheelsmith in Palo Alto, side-pull brakes, various incarnations of seats and pedals, and most notably a custom repaint and braze-add-on job by JP Weigle when I lived in CT. With the rack and saddle bag, etc. it weighs 30 lbs.

In high school the bike represented freedom. Freedom from the restricted weekend bus schedules, freedom from asking for rides from people with cars. I even commuted to school on my bike a few times a very hilly 14-mile round trip on busy streets, leapfrogging with buses, etc.

In college I rode with the team on their easy days. I learned how to ride in a pace line. I learned to pedal even when going downhill. I learned how to tuck myself into an aerodynamic shape when descending. In those days I used to sign up for 100-mile club rides, called Centuries. My first was the Pajaro Valley Century, noted for a 2000 ft climb within the first 25 miles.

In grad school I continued to ride my trusty Peugeot with a friend, until life got the better of me, I was spending too many days in the lab and the library, and started gaining weight. That was in the mid 1990s.

Fast forward to four months ago. Id been losing weight steadily since December and doing water aerobics 4x/week. Eventually I noticed that one of my classes was not challenging me very much. So I decided to investigate other arthritis-friendly options.

On April 23 I tried a spinning class for the first time. I thought I was just about going to DIE. At times my heart rate monitor was spiking so high (158 bpm) I wondered if I might be at risk for a heart attack. I deliberately slowed down, just in case I didnt want to keel over right there!

The class lasted 45 minutes. They were jumping up and down, sprinting, and standing out of the saddle in simulated hill climbs. All to music. And using resistance bands for upper body strength as a break. The instructor seemed more like a machine than a human. And that tiny little seat was KILLING my rear. By the time 45 minutes were up and it was time to stretch, I begged the instructor in a small voice, to get off and stand next to the bike for the stretching.

It took me a week to recover. Working at my desk while NOT sitting down was a challenge. During that 45 minutes of pain Id had ample opportunity to observe the other people in the class (I was in the back). They all looked really really fit. I decided that I would try and stick with it, because maybe the REASON they were fit was that they were in there doing this thing. I figured, even if I couldnt keep UP, at least I could keep GOING.

So a week later I went back. By then Id purchased a gel seat cover, and that helped a lot. I considered it a victory to simply stay ON THE BIKE for the whole 45 minutes. A week later I went back again. By then my rear was recovering pretty quickly within days rather than weeks. By the fourth week I decided I was ready to try doing this twice a week. So I did.

And eventually I started to get better. I hatched a plan. Id supplement with road riding. If I had improved to the point that I could keep up with the class by the end of the summer, Id one day ride to work (14 miles each way), go to spinning class afterward, and then ride home. My instructor said I was crazy. So did the other students.

Last week I went to see Lisa and Steve in the UK. I rented a bike and we went on lots of nice rides. Outside. On the road. On the LEFT (but never mind that). I discovered that all the spinning had translated into very strong legs and cardiovascular system. Once I got my balance and my road habits back, I was good to go.

So today, four months after starting spinning and 70 lbs lighter, Im DOING it. I rode this morning 13.73 miles in less than an hour on a bike that weights 30 lbs (still my trusty Peugeot), carrying 20 lbs of gear. In a few minutes Ill change back into my jersey and shorts and ride over to the spinning class and ride in there (on my bike on a trainer, for a fun change of pace) for 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes of crunches. And then Ill ride the 13.73 miles home.

By God, I think Im back!

Edit: Im home now. Here are my final numbers:

To work

* 13.73 miles
* 57 minutes
* 13.7 mph average
* 535 cal
* 142 bpm average
* 155 bpm max

Spinning (2.5 miles to get there from work)

* 19.47 miles
* 61 minutes
* 18.5 mph average
* 642 cal
* 126 bpm average
* 153 bpm max
Note: I discovered that spinning is better on a spinning bike - not enough resistance with the trainer to do all the jumping and standing.


* 13.03 miles
* 55 minutes
* 14.2 mph average
* 402 cal
* 125 bpm average
* 141 bpm max

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/16/2009 8:51AM

The fact that I *have* enough energy to do stuff like this I think proves that I'm eating enough... LOL

Comment edited on: 9/16/2009 8:51:23 AM

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    OMG-- I hope you eat enought to have the energy for all of that-- you are super impressive and super inspiring. Way to go!


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CARRIE1948 9/16/2009 8:03AM

    Way to go.

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DDOORN 9/15/2009 10:48PM

    I'm so EXCITED for your VICTORY! Triple WOO HOO!!

It's curious to hear your history of biking also... I never biked like that, just HAD to bike around Michigan State University to get from one end of the 45 acre campus to the other...lol.

Since dusting off my son's Diamondback Wildwood last fall I have LOVED getting out on the roads and biking 20-40 miles at a time, depending. Even though I cover roads over which I've driven a zillion times it feels like I "own" the road in a whole new way once I've "conquered" it with my bike. Certain hills are a challenge...especially at the beginning, feeling like the proverbial ant and the rubber tree...pedal as fast as I can...oof, only a quarter way up...get back at it, a little further, and when I succeeded in biking all the way up I was ecstatic and woo-hoo'd all the way down the other side!

I would just LOVE to be able to work up to biking a long distance...LOGHOUSE recently biked 300 miles over 4 days, averaging 70-90 miles a day....what exhilaration that would be!

My greatest obstacle is finding time to keep up my biking. Which is why earlier this year I had been inspired to consider biking to / from work 2-3 times a week (not on days where I would stay late with my private practice).

But then they started tearing up the road between home and work. A fellow I know tried biking this and had a nasty fall. I knew better than to even try. So this has let the steam out of that plan for NOW, but am hoping they'll wrap up this fall and next Spring I can put this plan into action.

Spinning has appealed to me, but again, finding time & $$ to pursue has stopped me from pursuing just yet. Sounds just AWESOME!

This biking has to feel so VICTORIOUS to you! I'm so happy that your trip to England has inspired and jumpstarted you so!


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ADDISADDICT 9/15/2009 10:21PM

    That is so awesome! You are such an inspiration! I hated spinning class -- maybe I'll give it a second chance!

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