Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Just had to share my latest "find"...One of the recent issues of Adventure Cycling www.adventurecycling.org/mag/ featured an article by Willie Weir titled "Uncomfortable." It was very inspirational in sharing the message that there is much GOLD to be mined when one pushes outside one's comfort zone and is willing to risk some discomfort.
Unfortunately his article is not available online and my copy of it has disappeared.
BUT: I e-mailed Willie and he scanned the article and e-mailed it to me! If anyone is interested in receiving a copy, SparkMail me your e-mail address and I'd be happy to send it your way.
Other really cool info on Willie:
He has his own web site which features his autobiography:
Travels With Willie (entire autobiographical book in PDF format)
A compendium of his blogs:
Definitely worth a look!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Well we pulled it off! 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I nailed 60 miles with a ride that had FOUR big climbs for a total climb of 3,500 feet (if you go by my map: ridewithgps.com/routes/750935 ) or over 7,000 feet (WOW!) (if you go by 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's map: ridewithgps.com/trips/414778 ) Don't ask me how there could be such a differential, GPS n00b that I am...!
I knew that this would be a challenge for me, to nail a ride with such a degree of climbing. But then, the WAY COOL part is that what goes UP, must come DOWN! :-)
It was a very chilly, foggy start in Port Crane. On my way there in my car I saw a thermometer at Chenango Valley Schools reported 35 degrees. Perhaps it nudged up a few degrees by the time we started. Maybe. Neither of us opted to wear any outerwear, however. I just KNEW a little pedaling would afford me all the heat I needed!
Although our first climb was taxing up past Cole Park, the view on our descent into Windsor was just gorgeous! The sun was coming up and peeling back the fog, revealing a pristine valley filled with all the colors of autumn just beckoning us to swoop down into the valley and catch up with my fellow bike club members in Windsor. I tried to capture some of these scenes on my cell phone camera, however had no luck. But here's a pic of 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I after arriving in Windsor with climb / descent #1 under our belts!
Very quickly I think we both learned one thing we have in common: SLOW is our LEAST favorite option when on our bikes! No stopping to smell the roses for us...if we're going to savor them, those roses will have to thwack our helmets as we whiz on by!
We had an enjoyable meet-up with several bike club members in Windsor and 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI fit in nicely with our group, finding much in common and sharing pleasant conversation.
Soon we were OFF for climb #2: Tuscarora Mountain! With a descent into McClure...which I figured would be a spot in the road by the look of it on the map, but WOW! There just wasn't ANYTHING THERE! We had a little break and more fun conversation while waiting for the group to catch up before heading northward up State Highway 41 into Afton. There was another climb on this leg of our journey, but probably the kindest climb.
We lunched at a mighty fine restaurant in Afton, The Main Street Grill and Bakery: www.mainstreetgrillandbakery.com/ . 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I both had the blackened tuna salad and a cup of the acorn squash soup...yum! Sam, the bike club ride leader had been singing the praises of this soup and it was no wonder! He said that the owner and chef of this restaurant was from NYC. How someone lands in an out-of-the-way place like Afton with a restaurant like this...? Go figure! As good as it was going down, however, my usually cast-iron digestive system was "talkin' to me" later during the last leg of our ride!
Another pleasure during lunch was that fellow SP member TEAMAGIS who ALSO happens to be a member of our bike club, belatedly joined us for lunch and for part of the ride. It was cool to have a little mini-meet-up between the three of us!
After lunch it was OFF from Afton with the bike club and in Ninevah, us "leaders of the pack" took some pics on the Ninevah bridge while awaiting the rest of the club:
From there 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I bid farewell to the bike club members who were returning to Windsor while we were completing the last leg of our journey up over Belden Hill toward Port Crane.
Although I've climbed Belden Hill a number of times, never easily, but always making it fairly comfortably with persistence, this time was WAY more tough! "Little Engine That Could" thoughts notwithstanding, I found myself panting I suspect *almost* as much as if I was a woman giving birth! Forget Lamaze, expectant ladies...for some practice just go climb a big, big hill! :-)
Was it the lunch? Was I just "all climbed out" from the rest of the ride? Along the way I passed a frog belly-up beside me on the shoulder of the road, thinking "hey buddy, I know the feeling!" I kept fighting off the urge to cave in, get off the bike and walk. Finally around 3/4 of the way up the hill flattened a bit and I DID cave, but not to walk, just to pause for a few minutes, gulp some water and then back to nailing the rest of this hill, doggone it! No croaking allowed!
And nail it I did! Finally swooping down and catching up with 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI in Port Crane and heading up to our cars, dousing myself with water, water and MORE water!
It was a very special day to share with a fellow member of SP, especially 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI as we BOTH have shed around half our body weight through our respective journeys thus far and this ride was yet one more WOO HOO! to our new, improved lives!
I was VERY fatigued later during the rest of the day. Nothing was particularly sore, just *ALL IN!* I don't think I've had ANY ride wear me out as much as this one did...but it was a *good* tired! I pushed the envelope in a great way today!
I later went out w/ DW to see the GREAT movie: "The Help"
www.imdb.com/title/tt1454029/ ...here I thought I'd snooze through a flick...IMPOSSIBLE! Riveting movie!
But then when sleep DID come...? I slept at least TEN hours...the longest sleep I've had in quite some time. I think my body took over and did what it needed to do...lol!
ps...long-winded...! Knew I needed some time to put this together...why I waited a bit.
pps...OH: this ride put me over 1800 miles so far for the season! There are a couple of GREAT rides scheduled for next weekend...am hoping Mother Nature will cooperate...!
ppps...Here's 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's blog on the ride:
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I know the drill. Been there, done that WAY too many times. Got it down to a science. Been back to basics and doing what I know *WORKS* for me this past week:
Daily Cardio: minimum of 35 mins. on treadmill every day (throw more on the fire if I wake up earlier...lol!), ideally 1st thing in the morning...which I did every day but one and made up for that later in the evening.
Daily tracking of my food: Nailed that too! Noticing my carb intake has been nice & low...about half of what SP recommends, which is what I *know* works for me!
Strength training? A bit slippery on that, have done 2 sessions, want to lock in on 3 per week.
Thing about all this is, while I can pat myself on the back for knowing what works and succeeding in being "on track," I could've avoided a whole lot of grief and drama by avoiding the backslide in the first place.
I am hoping to reconcile myself to accepting that I will always, ALWAYS, *ALWAYS* need to track my food. I believe that will be essential to maintaining a weight which is "good enough" for me.
But I know there is more to it that this. There is a certain mind set or psychology involved when it comes to maintaining. I know that I'm hooked on the weight loss mind set...can rev myself up and coach myself along quite nicely when it comes to LOSING the weight. In fact I'll go so far as to conjecture that I'm a bit "addicted" to this mentality which may be one of the sneaky, underhanded motivations behind my backslides: it's easier to whoop myself up into weight loss mode than it is to be just as enthusiastic about maintaining.
Let me share and give a shout out to one of SparkPeople's BEST crusaders of maintenance: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI! Check out her blog, Rockstars of Maintenance:
In the meantime my excitement is ramping up for the days ahead: For the next week we will have PLENTY of sunshine with temps in the 60s & 70s...who knows, maybe even 80s!
Our bike club has what promises to be a WONDERFUL ride on Saturday (44 miles) on which I'm hoping to piggy-back another bunch of miles up to around 60 miles and 3,500 feet of climb...oof! Will love every minute of it! :-)
Here's the projected ride:
Hope all us local Binghamton Area Losers are out there en masse soaking up the rays and SPARKING it up BIGTIME!
ps...oh, my mp3 message? Last shuffled track while on the treadmill this morning:
pps...thanks & shout out to REYVE01 for this wonderful graphic!
Sunday, October 02, 2011
I rarely remember my dreams. I'm sure I still dream...but it's only once a year or so that I remember my dreams.
Today I didn't have much time for my ride as it was late in the day and I knew it would be a race against the sunset. To make it more of a challenge I decided to tackle Belden Hill from two different routes. Within the 30 miles of my ride I climbed over 2,000 feet!
Here is the map of my ride which includes the various elevations:
Last year that first little blip of a hill around the 3 mile marker...? THAT would have been a challenge for me! You can see how much I blew that away with the climbs I did during the rest of the ride!
After working hard climbing route 79 through tiny, virtually non-existent towns in name only such as Quinneville and North Fenton for my first descent, I reached the summit with trees crowding both sides of the road. As I pushed on through the road pulled me out into a breathtaking vista sprawling on and on before me and down I FLEW into the valley straight and true, never touching the brakes as the road was in perfect condition. I'm betting I hit between 40-50 mph whizzing by a tractor, the only other vehicle on the road as far as I could see.
Not much rest after that descent before, heading westward into the sun which was moving closer to the horizon, I'm climbing again. During this descent, feeling the sun fueling my ride it occurs to me:
As a little boy I used to have recurring dreams of flying. Usually they would begin by stumbling as I'm walking down a stairwell. Except instead of falling I spread my arms and glide through the air! I'm betting it was a way for me to find a way out of my obesity and being able to move my body through the world in ways of which I could only dream.
When I'm streaking on down these hills it feels so much like I felt during these dreams...! At least as close as one can come within the limits of the physics of this world! Tapping into these memories it dawned on me why cycling means so much to me!
I typically struggle so much to let the child within come out to play...but not on my bike! Very similar feeling also to those years spent swimming in Lake Michigan for hours on end. Fearless and reckless like a little boy, just having a blast! Living life to the fullest!
Today? Woo hoo-ing, laughing and smiling as I sailed into the setting sun ( runnin' into the sun... www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJYRtOPUonA )...it was such a fine, fine day!
ps...while I've slacked in racking up the miles as these colder, darker days with more rain have been plenty, I've still racked an impressive 1739 miles so far this cycling season.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Yep: Back on track, re-committing to myself and dusting off all the stuff I know that works for me as I have written before. I'm coming to appreciate more & more the value of blogging and building a reservoir of one's trials and tribulations and more importantly, of one's wisdom and self-knowledge. When life pulls the rug out from under and you're frozen like deer in the headlights? You have all your smarts chronicled away in your blogs. I google 'em...where is that blog I wrote about...? Works pretty well!
How did all of this get started? After I did that awesome NYC Century I got an e-mail from Brightroom...a service that takes zillions of photos of athletes at events such as marathons and cycling, etc. They then offer to sell you photos of yourself in action. I thought: cool! I could finally get a good pic of me in action on my bike!
Well I went to look at the pics and was not very happy with what I saw! Despite my internal feeling and perception of myself as a light & sprite cyclist zooming about the city the external reality was a whole different story. Who stuffed that pillow bunched up around my belly as I'm bending over riding my bike?!?!
Well *I* did, that's who!
I saved a few thumbnails from Brightroom...not going to pay for a blow up of THESE! My 1st reaction was to tuck these away in shame. But I've decided I will share them after all as a motivator for myself. I want to look on a bicycle like I FEEL when I'm grooving to a workout while listening to Pat Metheny's tune "Eighteen": www.youtube.com/watch?v=sffBikk0dkw Revved, light & sprite!
So here are the thumbnails from the ride:
And here are a few that showed up under my number even though I don't see myself...just to share a few more itsy-bitsy slices of that Big Apple:
Now I realize it's only been a few days, but I've been back to my morning treadmill workouts, tracking all my food on the nutrition tracker and most importantly this morning I jumped back on the scale after an oh-so-long hiatus!
Like many of you I have a real messed up relationship with the scale. I struggle so NOT to give the numbers such power to BOOST or CRASH my self-esteem. They are just numbers. Like so many who have been successful in losing and more importantly maintaining their weight I'm still learning how numbers give me power. They remind me that in this world where SO much is beyond our control there are some vitally important things that are ALWAYS under our control.
I anticipated a much higher number on the scale and was amazed to find myself weighing in at 238. Not a good number at ALL, but a do-able number. I've been here, done this and although I'm getting tired of doing the Sisyphus rock-rolling up the hill I'm pleased to find that I haven't lost as much ground as I have in the past.
It seems when I let myself go and do my own thing I gravitate around the 240 mark. Although I take *some* comfort in this I know these are some decidedly dangerous waters in which sharks patrol! www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc9N-SPNsJE
Dusted off my old workout room as my fitness center is STILL bouncing back from the flood. I got over this sense of going back to "kindergarden" in retreating to my old home workout routines which I followed before joining the fitness center and am now getting up in the morning and tackling my treadmill 1st thing in the morning before my day runs away with itself.
It worked before. It will work again!
Another thought: a rebuttal to myself in an old blog where I contemplate this seeming "set point" of 240 which I reach when left to my own non-tracking devices. I once upon a time considered: is 240 "good enough"...? After all the extremely high weights I've run in my past, can I take comfort in the ability to maintain myself around 240? Is it "worth it"...? All the tracking, vigilance and diligence?
My present answer (hey, I realize NOTHING is ever set in STONE...!) is: Nope. It ain't good enough. I'm still WAY to critical of my body at this weight and there is far too great a dissonance between the lightness of my spirit and desires and what this body of mine will allow.
What's the magic number? Perhaps the 200 pound mark I reached in March 2010. We'll see.
Another goal I'm dangling in front of me? Dancing. I'm hearing that, of all places, a local martial arts studio offers a low-key beginner's dance class which might be a good fit for me. I may need to lose a little more weight before I jump in as I am OH-so-self-conscious and critical of my body and klutziness. We'll see...
But I really do YEARN to match my body with the ever-in-motion spirit of lightness and brightness that so often courses through my being!
Yours in SPARK!
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