HILLSLUG98239   28,241
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Really missing the bike

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm primarily a cyclist. I commute by bike most days, 9-10 months out of the year. Most weeks, I'll do anywhere from 50 to 75 miles commuting. If this was a normal year, I'd be up to around 80 miles on my weekend rides. But this is not a "normal" year.

In April, I decided to switch to multi-sport and set a goal of completing an Olympic-distance triathlon to celebrate my 50th birthday in September 2015. In May, my doctor recommended a complete hysterectomy due to increasing random growths and new scary-looking mass in my abdomen. We scheduled the surgery for mid-June, but I spent most of May & June knowing that I'd be off the bike, no running, and no swimming for four to six weeks.

In April, I weighed about 195 pounds (I'm 5'6", so that gave me a BMI of way in the low 30's and classified me as obese). I knew the bike portion of an Olympic-distance tri would be relatively easy. I hadn't attempted swimming for exercise in decades, and quite frankly, I haven't enjoyed swimming since Coast Guard boot camp in 1983. (Something about getting screamed at while trying to swim desptie suffering from the Cape May Crud (a bad head cold) and not being able to breathe made swimming less enjoyable than I remembered it being as a child.) And I couldn't run a mile, and the longest I'd ever run (when I was 25 pounds lighter) was three miles.

So I knew, going in, that switching to multi-sport meant spending less time with the bike I loved and more time doing things I don't love. {insert .jpg of me grimacing} But prior to my surgery, I had a case of the blues. Knowing I wouldn't be able to get any exercise other than walking made me sad. Knowing I'd have to stay off the bike made me really sad.

My surgery went well, and I receovered fairly quickly. I lost about 10 pounds within a week of the surgery. Since then, it's mostly stayed off. At my four-week check-in, my doctor told me I could ride and run again. I went to the office - I left my bike there, because the thought of having it home but not being able to ride was too much - and went for a ride. It was short, but it made me happy.

But now I am facing the pain of knowing that I simply cannot spend as much time on the bike as I used to and still give enough time to swimming and running. I still can't run a mile, but I am doing a walk/run at least twice a week, and I'm walking most days at lunch (although I haven't this week). Circumstances have allowed me to get in a few open water swims and several pool swims so far.

Tomorrow, I head to Leavenworth, Washington, for a training conference. (I don't like Leavenworth, so if you're one of those people that find it charming and adorable, please don't tell me how lucky I am. It's okay that you like it (the Hubs loves it), but I don't.) The past few years, the Hubs has been unemployed, so he's come with me. This year, he's working, so I'll be by myself. Normally, I would be bringing the road bike. I mapped out a lovely route with some great scenery and short hill climbs. I was really looking forward to doing this: www.mapmyfitness.com/us/cashmere-wa/
Then reality set in.

I need to take advantage of the pool at my hotel and swim. I want to got out for a longer walk/run (my morning walk/runs are less than two miles). That bike ride would probably take me at least three hours, which means it would be getting dark by the time I made it back to my hotel. And those hills probably mean some decent delayed-onset muscle soreness, which will make it harder for me to get a decent walk/run or swim. And I'm already planning to bring canning jars and my pressure canner because I'm headed to my parents' place to pick blackberries (and can pie filling and jam). So the car is really going to be full.

Even now, part of me is talking myself into taking the bike. Ride tomorrow evening. Swim Thursday. Run Friday. Bad Kim! Stop it! Much better plan: Swim tomorrow. Run Thursday. Swim Friday.

See what I'm facing? Riding the bike makes me happy, even when I'm suffering. And it's good exercise, even when I'm not suffering. It's counterintuitive to talk myself out of getting exercise.

I miss my bike!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GHK1962 9/13/2013 12:53PM

    Late to this blog comment (I was in work travel mode all week myself.)

And by the way, warning, warning, warning. I like making lists...a nerd thingy...so... LIST TIME!

1) Tri's ... my wife does them. Not the longer distance Olympic Tri though...the one down from that .. called Sprint Tri's. The Sprint Tri's are a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 5K run. (You mentioned a 5K run in your latest blog ... are you doing a Sprint Tri instead of an Olympic Tri?) She swims in the pool to train, but within a month or two of her actual Tri she practices in lakes and open water, as it is more realistic, as it helps you get the feel of open water and learning to sight as you swim. (I am just blathering a bit, as I am only spouting off stuff she tells me.) Nevertheless ... HIGH-5 for you doing this. That is totally freakin awesome!

2) Leavenworth - At first its an okay place (like at Christmas) ... but after a short while, what to do? What to do? And during Oktoberfest...there is only ONE choice of beer (whomever they go with as a vendor) .... c'mon!!! haha.

3) Errr....there is no #3 item. But it is my opinion that you cannot have a legitimate list without at least 3 items. Hence my faux item #3. :)

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HILLSLUG98239 9/11/2013 3:55PM

    I would LOVE to ascend Stevens Pass. The problem is getting back up the hill.

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KCNEWF 9/11/2013 12:28PM

    Come on . . . . you just know you'll want to do something bike crazy . . . Say ascend Stevens Pass on the bike instead of just riding 20 miles. :). Whatever decision you make, it will be the right decision for you! Just do what feels right!

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MISSG180 9/11/2013 8:45AM

    I'm so with you. My training has been utter crap because I can't quite get a grasp on a schedule.

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ARGENTPUCK 9/10/2013 11:09PM

    I don't understand this blasphemy of doing something other than cycling.

Seriously, though, much as it bums you out to train for the run and swim parts, good on you for sticking to it. Goals like these are such good motivators they even get us doing things we've hated for 30 years.

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HILLSLUG98239 9/10/2013 7:58PM

    I've done a couple brick workouts. (Well, brick "lite.") Over Labor Day weekend, I hiked, rode, and swam. My legs haven't felt the same since!

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SEATTLESIMS 9/10/2013 7:57PM

    I say, do a short swim then go for a bike ride.. or go for a bike ride and do a short walk.. mini-brick workouts even this early isn't a terrible idea. If you have the resources for the pool, get that swim in, but you should do what you feel driven to do at the time, if it is the bike, then bike.. then see if you have enough umph for a little swim afterwards?
Good luck and have fun!

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HILLSLUG98239 9/10/2013 7:56PM

    I have two years to prepare (but I just signed up for a sprint triathlon next June). A couple at our church offered me the use of their Endless Pool (before they knew of my triathlon plans!), but I have yet to take them up on it. I figure I will work on swimming during the winter. Right now, my biggest barrier is breathing while moving. I can hold my face in the water and breathe with the corner of my mouth under water, but once I start moving, all bets are off. I may have to break down and join a gym and work with a coach, but for now, I'll try my low-burdget way.

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BLUENOSE63 9/10/2013 7:51PM

  Sometimes we just need to vent sister! I hear what you are saying but if you wish to do an Olympic, you will have to get into the pool pronto. Have you ever heard of the Total Immersion swimming method. I switched to that after years of a conventional front crawl and it rocks. It can also take a relatively non swimmer to a swimmer quite quickly. Try it! Actually look for someone in your area to teach it and in about 5 lessons, you will be amazed at how easy it is to swim long distances.

Good luck on your Olympic. Read up on the Galloway method of running as it really works as well.

Happy 50th!

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HILLSLUG98239 9/10/2013 3:55PM

    OWL_20 - It's a valid question; no offense taken. I want to do something big for my 50th. Switching to multi-sport will help me lose weight more effectively than just riding. I used to run, and there really is no better way to drop weight, if for no other reason than running at nearly 200 pounds is so miserable.

Every year, I set a goal of riding a century before the end of the season. I have yet to make it. By switching to multi-sport, I can set difficult goals that are less likely to result in over-use injuries. And I want to love running again. And maybe I can learn to love swimming again.

I really do want to complete triathlons. I was just whining. And it will be a lot easier for me to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon for my 50th birthday than it will for me to get that novel written. emoticon

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OWL_20 9/10/2013 3:48PM

    Here's what I got and feel free to throw it back at me, I really don't want to offend. If you like the bike--why put yourself through exercise that you really don't like (swimming and running)? Why not set a tough biking goal instead that you'll love? Either way you go, have a safe trip!

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HILLSLUG98239 9/10/2013 3:42PM

    Solved it! If I can fit the bike & bike gear in the car, I'll do a shorter (20-mile-ish) training ride. Yay me! emoticon

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YUDEL6024KA 9/10/2013 3:37PM

    You can do it great job

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YUDEL6024KA 9/10/2013 3:37PM

    Great post

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A little down time is a good thing!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

We camped with our friend Richard last weekend. We went to Lake Takhlakh, near Mount Adams. Jim & I brought our mountain bikes. I mapped out a 12-mile course for us. Most of it was on forest roads, but there was a 4-mile section that was a multi-use trail.

Saturday, we hiked the Takh Takh Meadows trail. We deviated from the trail for a bit a scrambled around a 3500-year old lava field. The views of Mount St. Helens were amazing. The weather was great. One meadow we wandered through was a field of huckleberries. We sampled a few, but I never followed through with my plan to come back with a small bag and pick a cup or two. I love huckleberries, but I know berries are the primary source of food for bears. When there's a bad berry year, the number of human/bear encounters go up. I don't mind denying myself for the sake of making sure the bears are healthy and well-fed. (I also ate bunches of thimbleberries.)

I made chicken cordon bleu for dinner Saturday night. Yeah, I'm kind of a rockstar when it comes to camping & hiking food. We all ate too much, but it was delicious!

On our way to the campground, we stopped at a private campground to buy nightcrawlers for bait. The man who owns that place suggested a lake other than Takhlakh for fishing. Jim & I went there Sunday morning. Jim got a hit on his bait within moments of his first cast. (I don't have a fishing license, so I don't fish. Even when I have a license, I don't seem to do any "catching" when I'm fishing.) A short time later, we had two trout in our possession. Jim decided that was enough for the three of us for lunch. I plan to send a thank-you note to the man at the private campground. The fish at Tahklakh were tiny - I doubt Jim would have caught one we could keep.

After our fried trout lunch, Jim & I headed out on our bike ride. Even before we got out of the campground, I knew I didn't have enough gas in the tank for a 12-mile ride. Within a half a mile, we both gave up on the idea of even riding to the five miles to the next campground. My legs were tired, but I couldn't get enough air. Jim's legs were wiped out from our scrambling the previous day, and his lungs were burning. (He has diminished lung function.) We live at about 400' above sea level, and we were camped at about 4500'. I guess it made more of a difference than I realized. We rode up the forest road to a trail that took us back to the campground. My technical skills are pretty limited so I was occasionally terrified, but it was a fun ride. (One section of the trail had lots of roots. It was like riding down a staircase.)

After a short break, I went for a swim. Using Mt. Adams to sight where I was headed during my swim was delightful - lots better than staring at the lines on the bottom of a pool! And this lake did not have weird plants brushing up against me, which I greatly appreciated. My jumbo beachball was a great safety device. People in boats and fly fishermen could see where I was. More importantly, the Hubs could sit on the shore reading his book and still keep track of me. I'm still struggling with the breathing. I do okay just holding my head in the water and breathing, but as soon as I start moving I really struggle. I guess I've accepted that this is a new behavior I have to learn, and that's going to take time.

So I got to hike, bike, and swim all in the same weekend. Yeah, that was awesome!

I did not walk/run Tuesday morning, and I decided against riding my bike home Tuesday evening. We got home around 8 Monday evening to find unhappy cats and two very full litterboxes. After unloading the car, cleaning the cat boxes, starting laundry, and spending much time consoling the cats, we were both pretty tired. I didn't need my Tuesday morning to include the added stress of packing lunches & suits for the rest of the week and my bike gear.

I wimped out on the walk/run this morning, too. So I'm fixing to go do that at lunch. And I brought my bike stuff, so I can ride home tonight. My legs were tired after the hiking/scrambling and swimming, but I think they've had enough time to repair.

Oh, and my body weight & body fat stayed pretty reasonable, even with several days of drinking wine and eating too much.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EBRAINK 9/7/2013 7:49AM

    Wow, that sounds like a really wonderful vacation - so cool to be able not only to look at the lovely surroundings, but to get in the thick of it and hike and bike and swim in it. And I'm sure the bears would say "thank you" if they knew of your sacrifice! emoticon

Camp chicken cordon bleu, eh? Nice! We like non-standard camp food, too - I may have to try that in the dutch oven. Hmmmm.

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OWL_20 9/6/2013 7:17AM

    Your trip was awesome! When hubs and I go camping, we like to stay active, too. Good on ya for taking the bikes out there--I think the altitude can be killer hard to exercise in (and I'm a flatlander, too). Lovely trip, though!

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HILLSLUG98239 9/4/2013 3:49PM

    That workout sucked. It's only 80, but while I was running it felt like it was 100. That's what I get for not working out in the cool of the morning!

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Those same five pounds

Monday, August 26, 2013

I lost about ten pounds really rapidly (like within a week) after my surgery. Since then, not much. I'm finding that I'm losing & gaining the same five pounds over and over.

I'm not upset about that, though. I'm still happy that I'm under 190 and staying there. I'm wondering if 183 is a new "set point" for my body. If so, it will just take time to break through that plateau.

It's also possible that every time the scale hits 187 or 188, I panic about putting those easily-lost ten pounds right back on. And so I start paying more attention to my diet, or pushing myself a little harder in a workout.

Either way, this is good news in my mind. I control what goes into my body. I talk about having very little self control, but in reality, I have more control than I like to admit. It's just that the benefit of eating something I know I shouldn't is immediate, while the pain of doing so is delayed. If I knew someone would throw a rock at me anytime I ate one more cookie than I should, I probably wouldn't eat that cookie. So, clearly, I have self-control, I just lack the motivation to exercise it. (Much like I lack motivation to do an ab work out.)

So, anyone wanna sign up to follow me around with a pocketful of rocks?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BILL60 8/27/2013 9:08AM

    No one ever said it would be easy. Hang tough cause you can do it.

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    You CAN do this!!!

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FIRYMIST35 8/26/2013 4:16PM

  Lol! We might get in trouble if we followed you around with rocks, but it's an idea.

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NJPRINCESS9091 8/26/2013 4:14PM

    I will throw a rock when you need me too! Hang in there, it is about life style changes not perfection.

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Time for a pep talk

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I rode my bike into work this morning. I intend to ride home and then go for a walk/run so that I can get a brick workout in. Because of this, I didn't go for a walk at lunch. But now, as the ride home looms, I'm balking.

It's hot. Not terribly hot, mind you. Mid 90's, 20% humidity. Just hot enough to know I'm going to sweat like crazy on the way home. And I'm feeling a little cranky and headachy. So part of me really does not want to ride, let alone try running after the 10-mile ride.

So I'm writing this blog to remotivate myself. It's not windy, so the ride home will be nice. And I'm going to feel a great sense of accomplishment once I'm done with this brick workout. I'd feel downright silly if I drove home. And maybe I'll sleep really well tonight if I do this workout.

Yeah, that helped.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPTIMIST1948 8/24/2013 10:27AM

    Sometimes motivation is in short supply. Its the workouts we do when we dont feel us provide power for the workouts when we do...

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GIZMO_ 8/15/2013 3:56PM

    Way to work through the pain and suffering !!!

I need to google "brick workout".

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KROLES55 8/15/2013 1:22PM


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2WHEELER 8/15/2013 8:37AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon You earned that cookie!

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HILLSLUG98239 8/14/2013 10:11PM

    I did it. It sucked, but I did it.

It took me almost ten minutes to transition from the bike to running gear. And I only ran about half as much as I usually do. But I did it.

Now I need a cookie.

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GREENGENES 8/14/2013 9:02PM

    You can do it!

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Time to knuckle down!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My weight is creeping back up. Time to get serious again!

Last week, I forgot to bring snacks to work. I even forgot to bring my lunch a few days. While I opted for fairly healthy lunches (Subway 12" Veggie Delight - 600 calories with cheese), I prefer to save my money and eat homemade food. I think the snacks are the real key, though.

I usually eat at around 11. That way, I can get right out the door for my walk at noon. And I'm not hungry when I'm walking. I also have a snack at around 3:30 - 4, so I'm not hungry when I get on the bike for my ride home. (I ride into work on an empty stomach. That works, but I fear I'd be too ravenous if I tried riding home that way. Also, the ride home is longer and hot (at least it is right now) - not conditions I want to risk a bonk in.)

And maybe I ate too much pie. emoticon

So, it's Sunday, time to start fresh with a new attitude. Time to be grateful for the amazing gifts and mercies God has given me, and then knuckle down and but some of that to work. Time to sharpen my focus and keep my eye on the goal: an Olympic-distance triathlon in September 2015.

But first, I need coffee.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KCNEWF 8/11/2013 4:57PM

    Great attitude. You will do it!

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